Tuesday, February 07, 2006

John Quincy Adams on Islam

And he [Jesus] declared, that the enjoyment of felicity in the world hereafter, would be reward of the practice of benevolence here. His whole law was resolvable into the precept of love; peace on earth – good will toward man, was the early object of his mission; and the authoritative demonstration of the immortality of man, was that, which constituted the more than earthly tribute of glory to God in the highest… The first conquest of the religion of Jesus, was over the unsocial passions of his disciples. It elevated the standard of the human character in the scale of existence…On the Christian system of morals, man is an immortal spirit, confined for a short space of time, in an earthly tabernacle. Kindness to his fellow mortals embraces the whole compass of his duties upon earth, and the whole promise of happiness to his spirit hereafter. THE ESSENCE OF THIS DOCTRINE IS, TO EXALT THE SPIRITUAL OVER THE BRUTAL PART OF HIS NATURE.
(Adam's capital letters)(John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy
By Samuel Bemis (New York, 1949) :267-268) His comparison with Islam:
In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar [i.e., Muhammad], the Egyptian, combining the powers of transcendent genius, with the preternatural energy of a fanatic, and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from Heaven, and spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth. Adopting from the sublime conception of the Mosaic law, the doctrine of one omnipotent God; he connected indissolubly with it, the audacious falsehood, that he was himself his prophet and apostle. Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST: TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE. Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. The war is yet flagrant…While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men.”
(Ib. :269) (I traced this down from The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam
By Robert Spencer :83)

Another contrast:
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. No in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?’ They said this to test Him, so that they could have some charge to bring against Him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with His finger. But when they continued asking Him, He straightened up and said to them, ‘Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,’ Again He bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So He was left alone with the woman before Him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She replied, ‘No one, sir: Then Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.” (John 7:53—8:11)

“There came to him (the Holy Prophet) a woman from Ghamid and said; Allah’s Messenger, I have committed adultery, so purify me. He (the Holy Prophet) turned her away. On the following day she said; Allah’s Messenger, Why do you turn me away? . . .By Allah, I have become pregnant. He said; Well, if you insist upon it, then go away until you give birth to the child. When she was delivered she came with the child wrapped in a rag and said; Here is the child whom I have given birth to. He said; Go away and suckle him until you wean him. When she had weaned him, she came to him...She said; Allah’s Apostle, here is he as I have weaned him and he eats food. He (the Holy Prophet) entrusted the child to one of the Muslims and then pronounced punishment. And she was put in a ditch up to her chest and he commanded people and they stoned her. Khalid bin Walid came forward with a stone which he flung at her head and there spurted blood on the face of Khalid and so he abused her.
(Ib. :75)

It seems there is no redemption when it comes to tyrants and slaves of the Prince of this world. I suppose people could argue that such a story is an accretion of folklore to the Islamic texts, religion and tradition. But basic facts and numerous observations* could be made to demonstrate that such a story fits into a broad pattern of Islamic history combined with attitudes towards the feminine that exist to this day.

There are other examples of inversions between the advice of Christ and the advice and actions of the self-defined Prophet, although the second tries to establish and claim similarities anyway. (You can read the Quran for yourself here.)

*For instance, one example that eventually got some coverage in the American Old Press:
Saudi media, in a rare criticism of the kingdom's powerful religious police, have accused the force of hampering efforts to rescue 15 girls who died inside a blazing school in Mecca a week ago. The al-Eqtisadiah daily said firemen scuffled with the religious police after they tried to keep the girls inside the burning building because they did not wear headscarves and abayas (black robes) as required by the strict interpretation of Islam.
(Toronto Star
March 18, 2002 Monday Ontario Edition
NEWS; Pg. A13
Saudi Arabia)

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