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"Discover the Truth's" Game

5:33
"The Punishment of Those Who Wage War Against Allah and His Messenger and Do Mischief in the Land is that They Shall be Killed or Crucified..."


From Discover the Truth:

Although the punishment described in the verse might sound harsh to some, the passage is only to those who spread mischief and were at war with Allah and His Messenger.
(October 5, 2014)

What the Quran Says

5:33. The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides

What the Apologists Want You to Believe

DTT's argument is that since the punishment is limited to those who "wage war against Allah" or "make mischief in the land," then it would never apply to undeserving people.

DTT also says that the verse was revealed during an occasion in which some or all of the persons punished were not innocent.  In this case, the culprits had killed their victim by driving a spike into his eye.  They were subsequently tortured to death by the prophet of Islam.

How They Do It: 'Adding' to the Quran

"Waging war on Allah" and "making mischief" are alarmingly ambiguous crimes against the very real punishment of dismemberment.  What Allah meant to say instead is, "all those opponents of Islam who waged war on the Muslims and caused loss to the life and property of innocent Muslims who fell into their hands should be appropriately punished." 

Why They are Wrong

The real problem that critics have with verse 5:33 is that the crimes aren't nearly as well-defined as the punishment.  How does one "wage war" on a Supreme Being or a man who has been dead for 1400 years?  What does "making mischief in the land" mean?

The verb used in 5:33 for "waging war" (h-r-b) is different from that meaning combat o r murder (q-t-l) even though the latter is essential for there to be a "loss of life" as DTT alleges there must be.  This is important because it is not possible to kill the two parties actually mentioned in the verse.  Therefore the "crime" is in the religious or moral realm.  This can certainly include killing Muslims, but is not necessarily limited to that.  If it were, then it would say so.

The Islamic definition of "innocence" is often different than how the rest of the world interprets it.  It does not apply to a woman wearing shorts, for example (some even feel that she has to cover herself completely).  What about someone who sincerely criticizes Islamic teaching - as the writer of this article is doing?  Would they they not be subject to the punishment of those who "wage war on Allah and his Messenger?" 

Even DTT's generic "eye for an eye" style interpretation is not consistent with the very sources they use.  The same historian DTT relies on to tie verse 5:33 to the incident in which a Muslim was gruesomely killed also narrates a different episode in which a Muslim kills an innocent shepherd in exactly the same way:
When he asked who I was I told him that I was one of the [Muslims]. Then he laid down beside me and lifting up his voice began to sing: "I won't be a Muslim as long as I live, nor heed to their religion give." I said (to myself) 'you will soon know' and as soon as the badu was asleep and snoring I got up and killed him in a more horrible way than any man has been killed. I put the end of my bow in his sound eye, then I bore down on it until I it out at the back of his neck.
And what was Muhammad's reaction?
[Muhammad] laughed so that one could see his back teeth. He asked me the news and when I told him what had happened, he blessed me. (Tabari 1441)
So, Muhammad felt that a non-Muslim's act of refusing to become Muslim (or mocking the idea) merits the sort of punishment that, had it happened to a Muslim, would be subject to crucifixion... such are the murky waters of supremacist ideology. 

To further complicate matters (for apologists), Muslims under Muhammad applied the punishment to non-Muslims who were accused of no crime at all.  Consider the fate of Umm Qirfa, an older woman with grown children:
Muhammad sent [Zyad bin Harithah] with an army against the Fazarah settlement. He met them in Qura and inflicted casualties on them and took Umm Qirfah prisoner. He also took one of Umm’s daughters and Abdallah bin Mas’adah prisoner. Zyad bin Harithah ordered Qays to kill Umm, and he killed her cruelly. He tied each of her legs with a rope and tied the ropes to two camels, and they split her in two.  (Tabari v.8 p96)
(Again, this is the same historian that Discover the Truth appeals to in trying to mitigate verse 5:33). 

Verses like this inspire the crucifixions seen in the Islamic State - and are even quoted during the event.  DTT gets credit for admitting that this type of extreme behavior is sanctioned by Allah (since it is based on the example of Muhammad), but non-Muslims generally believe in a different sort of God.

Further Reading

Discover the Truth Propaganda Index

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