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Why Suicide Bombing is So Much Fun
Posted: 27 December 2004 03:54 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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I thought readers of this forum might enjoy the following essay:

Why Suicide Bombing is So Much Fun

If you're anything like me, I'm sure you've wondered: What is it about suicide bombing?  Why is it so much fun?  This is the question I keep turning over and over in my mind.  There's an old saying (it might not be so old) that at the end of your life, you won't regret what you've done; you'll regret what you haven't done.  I would bet almost anything that this is true.  So now I'm wondering, when I'm old and sick and about to die, will I regret not having been a suicide bomber?

What's so good about blowing yourself up on a bus anyway?  The nails probably have something to do with it—because that was a really good idea someone had, to put in those nails, and good ideas make whatever you're doing more fun.  Think about it:  without the nails, you're just a big ball of fire—and blood—but with them, you're a ball of fire and blood and you're waving a thousand knives simultaneously in all directions.  That's a really big difference, and it shows.  You can see the difference every day on the news.  Some little girl took a nail in the eye and went blind; some soldier got a nail in his liver and is having surgery. Those are two people right there who would have gotten nothing at all (except the chance to hear a really loud noise) but for those nails.  So it was a good idea, and the guy who thought of it probably won some sort of prize.

Still, there's got to be more that's fun about suicide bombing apart from the nails.  Maybe it's knowing that everyone around you is going to die, and they don't know it, but you do.  Maybe it's that knowing look you get to put on your face, like: "None of you knows this yet, but all of you just lived your last moment of life right… now ..."  BAM!

Think about it.  That's got to be a big part of the fun.  It's like throwing a surprise party for everyone all at once.  The bigger the bomb, the more people who get surprised.  Even just keeping a secret is fun, particularly if it's a big secret—and this is a pretty big secret.  The secret is, "You're all gonna die right now for no reason.  Surprise!"  BAM! 

I read in the paper the other day that suicide bombers sometimes smile before they blow themselves up.  The driver who drove that truck into our barracks in Saudi Arabia a long time ago had a huge smile on his face as he was crashing through the gate.  Of course, that could've just been because it's so much fun to crash a truck through a gate in the first place—especially when there are guards screaming for you to stop.  And I heard that the last guy on a bus in Jerusalem smiled at a woman before he pushed the button and turned himself into a big ball of fire, blood, and nails.  I wonder if he wanted to smile, or if he just couldn't help himself—like he caught her eye, and there was a nice look on her face, and she seemed really nice, and he just smiled by accident and then thought, "Damn!  I'm a suicide bomber! I can't smile at that lady!"  BAM!

Or maybe he was acting like a suicide bomber—like he was in a movie about suicide bombers, starring himself.  He could have been thinking, "This is what a real suicide bomber would do, smile at her just before pushing the button.  This is what John Malkovich would do if he was playing a bomber in a movie."  BAM! There's no doubt that acting can be fun, so if some suicide bombers are acting like suicide bombers, they're probably having more fun than just regular suicide bombers.

Then there's the part before you even get on the bus, before you even go to the hardware store to get your nails—when you're just hanging out with all the people who know what you're planning to do and they're giving you high-fives.  Think about it.  The guy who says, "I'll do it this Friday.  On a bus."  That guy's a stud.  Everyone who knows him is going to be so proud to have him as a friend. I once knew a guy who went to run with those bulls in that little town in Spain.  He told everyone in the school he was going to do it, and we were all very favorably impressed.  He just seemed like a more important person after that—and he hadn't even done anything yet. I don't even remember if he went to Spain in the end.  I bet suicide bombing the running with the bulls would be incredibly fun.  And no one would be expecting it—least of all those bulls.

And then there's the people who don't know what you're planning to do—like your mom.  Your mom is going to be very, very surprised when she hears that you blew yourself up on a bus.  She's going to be sad, because she's your mom and she loves you and you're her only son—maybe you're not her only son.  Maybe you have like five or six brothers—but now you're going to be her favorite son, because you're going to be the son-who-died-and-went-to-heaven.  Not only that: you're going to be the son-who-died-and-went-to-heaven-and-saved-everyone-else-a-place-there. Because that's how it works.  If you're a Muslim, and you blow yourself up around people who aren't Muslim (or even if some of them are), you get to go to heaven and hold a space for your mom and dad and all your brothers and sisters—even if they didn't have the guts to be suicide bombers themselves.  So in the end, you really come out way ahead.  When the rest of your family gets to heaven (the Muslims call it "Paradise") it'll be like one of those clubs with a velvet rope, and the guy holding the rope—who will be like a huge angel with a sword or something—will look back at you and say, "Are these your people?"  And you'll say, "Yeah, that's my mom and my seven brothers, and that's my dad."  And the huge angel with a sword will pull back the rope and just let them in because you said so.  I don't care how many brothers you have, you'll have dibs on everything for a thousand years after that.

It's no secret that, if you're a Muslim, Paradise is guaranteed to be fun, particularly if you're a suicide bomber.  I mean, the best thing about suicide bombing—the most fun thing by far—is once you're in Paradise and everything is going great for you.  First of all, it's all outdoors, and there's no bugs, because bugs don't have souls and you need a soul to get into Paradise.  What's the Muslim word for "soul"?  I don't know, but you can be sure they have a word for it, because everyone knows that without a soul a suicide bomber would just be dead.

In Paradise there are rivers of milk and rivers of honey, and probably some ordinary rivers as well.  I think you really have to like milk and honey more than most people do to want whole rivers of them, but maybe Muslims do. You definitely couldn't swim in the honey river, though—because honey's much too thick to swim in and you'd drown.  Drowning in heaven is probably not like drowning here on earth because you're already dead, so I guess you just wait until somebody finds you and pulls you out of all that honey, then you both laugh about it afterwards.

The food in Paradise is also supposed to be excellent, but I'm not sure what kind of food it is.  Muslim food?  Probably. There's definitely a lot of fruits and nuts and fresh vegetables that are not particularly Muslim, but just ordinary food.  This will be good if you happen to be a suicide bomber who likes to cook food in different styles.

Then there's the clothing in Paradise, which is supposed to be very fine. There's a lot of silk and something called "brocade," which my mom says is even fancier silk than plain silk.  To me, it sounds like everyone just wears lady's clothing in Paradise, but they're probably very comfortable—and, anyway, everyone is in Paradise already so there's no need to stand out from the crowd.

Now we come to the most important part of Paradise—except maybe for God, who's supposed to be there too—the girls.  First, all of the girls are virgins and every suicide bomber gets seventy of them.  Or seventy-two.  It's pretty hard to imagine just how much fun this is, so we should take our time.  First, these girls are extremely hot.  There's no doubt about this. They wouldn't be the girls they give to suicide bombers in Paradise if they weren't absolutely the hottest girls in the world.  Think of the Hawaiian Tropic girls, just as an example: each one is so hot that you have to look at the next one to convince yourself that there's another girl in the world who is as hot as the last one you just looked at.  I've lived my whole life in California, and I still can't figure out where the Hawaiian Tropic girls come from.

Anyway, the girls in Paradise are quite a bit hotter than the Hawaiian Tropic girls, because they were made and then hand-selected by God. The Muslim Bible says they have “almond-shaped” eyes—which doesn't sound all that great, to tell you the truth, but it probably means that they have real seductive, exotic looking eyes, which is usually good.

The truth is, it's very difficult for mortals like us to imagine what these almond-eyed virgins look like, so I'm not going to try.  I'm just going to imagine what it would be like for a suicide bomber (who probably wasn't all that popular going to high school in Palestine or Iraq or wherever) to end up in Paradise and to be given seventy or even seventy-two Hawaiian Tropic girls who are virgins and who are just dying to get down with him and him alone.  Maybe this is selling Paradise short, because the girls there are even hotter, but it would still be amazing—and more fun than I think it's even possible to imagine.  I'm trying to picture myself, just having been on a bus, with my pockets full of nails and rat poison, and smiling at some lady like John Malkovich would and then BAM!—I'm kicking it in this really great park, by a river with 70 Hawaiian Tropic girls eating spicy food and waiting for my mom and dad and my brothers to show up.  It seems a little bit like a rap video, come to think of it—the ones with all the girls in bikinis swarming around the dudes wearing all the gold. But I'd be in silk, and eating almonds, and holding the almonds up to the eyes of some of the girls to see if they matched.

Come to think of it, Paradise cannot be all outdoors. There's got to be some privacy, otherwise, it would be way too wild and pornographic.  There must be some way to get it on with your ladies and still be discrete about it.

So now we've come to the topic of sex, which is a sensitive subject for most people, particularly Muslims.  I've heard that some Muslims want to kill Americans just because some of our television shows—like Baywatch—are way too sexy.  It turns out that it's a sin to be as hot as Pamela Anderson and to just show it off for everyone.  But what do the chicks wear in Paradise?  Those burkhas?  Even if they do, Paradise is still going to be extremely, extremely fun.

So you get to Paradise and you've got at least seventy of your own Hawaiian Tropic virgins (who are maybe wearing burkhas) and they are just begging for some action.  I don't care who you are, it's going to take some time before you get around to the first one after spending quality time with the others. These chicks are probably bisexual, and they get it on with themselves just to pass the time—but I read somewhere that bisexuality is a very big sin for Muslims, so they probably just have many other hobbies, like handicrafts, and then whenever you're ready, you just snap your fingers and the ones you want to see just drop whatever it is they're doing and come over and do whatever you want for as long as you can stand it.  I wonder if this is all spelled-out in the Muslim Bible. I'd like to know exactly what these girls expect from a suicide bomber and how they pass their time when he's busy.

Of course, being a suicide bomber in Paradise is probably much more fun than I've described, and that’s why there are so many people willing to do it.  You've got to die in order to do it right, and people everywhere are afraid of death.  We're not talking about a risk of death, we're talking death for sure—except for those bombers who screw-up making their bombs and just lose their fingers, or those who look too suspicious and get shot before they even get on the bus.  Those guys get totally gypped.  But even the ones who get shot go to Paradise too, if they die, so that's fine.  It's just the ones who lose their fingers or get wounded and caught by the police and interrogated who really have no fun at all. 

If you want to have fun as a suicide bomber, the thing to do is build a really big bomb, don't look too suspicious—until the last second, when part of the fun is to suddenly look really suspicious when it's too late for anyone to stop you—and then just push the button.  I guarantee you that Pamela Anderson is ugly compared to the next girl you'll see.

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Posted: 27 December 2004 04:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I am not quite sure if you were serious or kidding but, in case you were serious, the whole premise of your post is misguided.

Suicide bombers are not so because they believe it’s fun to be the things you elaborately described. Becoming a suicide bomber is a conclusion to an intricate set of factors, paramount of them is the factor of belief.

Every Muslim believes that the life we are living is a test. In fact, the Arabic word for this life is Addonya, or the low life. In the Quran, or the Muslim bible as you called it, it is mentioned several hundred times that this life is worthless if it isn’t spent in the service of the afterlife, or the eternal life.

In Islam the low life is merely a passing phase full of agony and suffering, and the shorter it can get the better it is. In fact, there is a known story in Islamic tradition that tells of the friends of the prophet, after hearing how great the afterlife is and how worthless this life is, started to pray that they die immediately. The prophet, seeing that his friends were growing depressed, advised them that one should pray that he lives as long as further living will guarantee a better afterlife, and that he dies otherwise.

I just cannot emphasize enough on how fundamental this belief is to Muslims. It is so powerful that, in fact, if a Muslim fell prey to injustice he can find absolute peace in the thought that he will be fairly compensated in the afterlife.

Now think about why students study so hard during their school years. Some study really hard and relinquish all social and leisure activities for the sake of scoring high grades. They do so because they believe that they will guarantee themselves a good life after school. It is a concept known psychologocaly as Delaying Gratification.

This is what devout Muslims are thinking of when they are ceding the pleasures of this life for the sake of a better afterlife. But then comes the ultimate solution to all this suffering.

Jihad, or the holy struggle, is the alternative to long years of suffering and hardship. If a Muslim enlists himself in the service of spreading Islam and is killed in the process then he will attain the highest level in Aljanna, or heaven. He will not be subject to the horrific grave questioning process, which all humans must go through otherwise.  He will not be burned by the intense heat nor will he be squashed by the masses on the Judgement Day. Instead, he will have a VIP pass right into heaven.

Furthermore, he will be able to choose 70 of his family members to take with him into heaven. Imagine if you tell a student that if he passes an exam then not only would you guarantee him the CEO position at Microsoft, but would also hire all of his relatives in executive positions at Fortune 500 companies.

Why does a skydiver jump out of an airplane even though such an act would normally be deemed insane? It is because he believes that his parachute will open and will allow him or her to descend slowly. Ask the same skydiver to jump down an elevator shaft and he would most probably refuse to do so.

The virgins part of the story has been exaggerated by the Western media beyond its real size in the Islamic culture. Yes, sexual desire plays a great role in all aspect of Islamic culture, but suicide bombers do not blow themselves up for the sake of indulging in unlimited orgies as you imagined. Although I assume that you will find amusement in the Muslim belief that each virgin regains her virginity after each sexual intercourse, and thus remains a virgin forever.

Also, the paradise you described is the Christian version of paradise. In Islam the rivers flow with wine, which is more attractive, in my humble opinion, than milk and honey! LOL Also, there is very little description of what food to expect in heaven, as what is mentioned in the Quran is limited to fruits that are actually handed down to you by the trees that bear them. But Islam does not limit heaven to what puny humans know or are capable of imagining, but is beyond what any person can even perceive.

So, if you truly believe in all that wouldn’t you accept some quick and minor discomfort before dying while you are exploding a bomb on a bus? I guess I would.

Another factor that amplifies the suicidal phenomenon is stronger frustration in the low life. Palestinians and Iraqis have been suffering for long periods of time, and they seem to have given up on any prospect for better living in this life. Combine this hopeless low life with the promises described above and you will find out why it is easy to recruit more suicide bombers.

Finally, I will now come to the reasons why Muslim suicide bombers blow themselves up in an attempt to kill Americans and Israelis. Jews, according to the Quran, are the eternal enemies of Muslims. Given that they had the nerve to occupy Palestine only proves that they bear nothing but hatred to all Muslims.

When it comes to Americans, however, it is a different story. Terrorists do not kill Americans because of Baywatch, nor because terrorists hate freedom or democracy. Terrorists kill Americans because they see them aligned with Israel, their eternal enemy in this low life. They also see them as the devil behind all the evils that are happening in the Middle East.

Of course, the fact that Islam calls for Jihad to spread the word of Allah helps to justify any act of aggression against Americans and all non-Muslim nations.

Only when Muslims begin to appreciate this life, or the low life, and perhaps learn that happiness in this life is worthy of pursuing as that of the afterlife, then maybe we will see the end of the suicide bombers. Of course, to demand that they give up the belief in the afterlife altogether is a very advanced step in my humble opinion.

Suicide Bombers are not daredevils, they are devout believers and must be dealt with as such and not as reckless adrenalin-junkies.

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Posted: 27 December 2004 07:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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My essay was, of course, an attempt at black comedy.  But I found your reply very enlightening.  Thanks for taking the time to download so much Muslim doctrine. 

David

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Posted: 27 December 2004 08:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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DavidO: that comedy was quite black indeed

however, I would like to suggest that when desperation overcomes hope, the desire to end one’s life in a very fast, and very public display by committing a suicide bombing, may exceed the desire to reach out and help humanity or the desire to improve the world to achieve a better future

or, alternatively, the energy released during the explosion may eliminate any possible pain experienced by the suicide bomber - this can be considered an “easier” exit from this world than, say, a samurai committing hari-kiri, in which he used a sword to cut through his own bowels, a far more painful method of suicide - in the pre-Mieji era (about the 1500-1700s), this form of suicide was considered quite honorable, similar to the apparent “honor” of the suicide bombers - the difference is that the samurai did not extend the sphere of death to include others who may merely have been in the vicinity of his suicide, preferring instead to be alone in the experience

nevertheless, suicide bombing is only a recent phenomenon since the explosive power of the chemical charges used in these events has only reached the destructive capability that we now see, in the past 40-50 years - like hand grenades, HMX or C-4, etc. - therefore, any reference to such actions in a historical book such as the koran or bible, etc. cannot not have been possible, since such destructive materials did not exist at the time of muhammad or jesus, etc.

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Posted: 27 December 2004 09:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“fjlomnix”]nevertheless, suicide bombing is only a recent phenomenon since the explosive power of the chemical charges used in these events has only reached the destructive capability that we now see, in the past 40-50 years - like hand grenades, HMX or C-4, etc. - therefore, any reference to such actions in a historical book such as the koran or bible, etc. cannot not have been possible, since such destructive materials did not exist at the time of muhammad or jesus, etc.

Allow me to disagree. You are right when you say that suicide “bombing” is a new phenomenon, but the presence of suicidal warriors is what gave the Islamic army its might throughout the Islamic history. Most warriors in history entered wars in pursue of honor and/or bounty. In Islam, however, warriors entered wars pursuing death itself! And even though the true intention of the Islamic leaders might have been the expansion of their sovereignity and the lucrative bounty, nonetheless the rulers never had to bother recruiting warriors as warriors were volunteering themselves in order to fulfill the Jihad dream.

I lived all my life in Saudi Arabia and still do, and as I was growing up I was heavily influenced by Islam and the Islamic history itself. During my teens I got overwhelmed with the desire to participate in Jihad. The only known Jihad opportunity at that time was in the Afghani war against the USSR, and I think it’s probable that if a recruiter found his way to me at that time I would’ve been enlisted in Al-Qaeda.

Jihad is sought because of its death potential and nothing else. Another interesting story in Islamic history is of the famous Muslim apostle and successful war commander Khaled Bin Alwaleed, as he was on his deathbed he said that he feels ashamed to have gone through all those holy wars, or Jihad, only to die on a bed like a mule.

I believe that the principles for suicide bombers have been woven into the Islamic doctrine since the day Jihad was decreed on Muslims. The only thing that was left for time was the invention of the bomb itself.

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Posted: 27 December 2004 09:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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In Paradise there are rivers of milk and rivers of honey, and probably some ordinary rivers as well. I think you really have to like milk and honey more than most people do to want whole rivers of them, but maybe Muslims do. You definitely couldn’t swim in the honey river, though—because honey’s much too thick to swim in and you’d drown. Drowning in heaven is probably not like drowning here on earth because you’re already dead, so I guess you just wait until somebody finds you and pulls you out of all that honey, then you both laugh about it afterwards.

But I’d be in silk, and eating almonds, and holding the almonds up to the eyes of some of the girls to see if they matched.

This is some funny sh*t

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Posted: 27 December 2004 09:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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ae:

it seems that your definition of a “suicide warrior” differs from the generally accepted notion of any “warrior” in the frame of mind, i.e., the “suicide warrior” is mentally fixed on death

however, you cannot expect anyone to believe that islamic warriors were so successful historically simply because they were “suicide warriors” - far from it - they were successful, because they were, in fact, effective warriors, just as a warrior should be - that means, ability to use weapons, ride a horse, etc. - obviously, the warriors of the time of mohammed and his followers were effective at fighting and winning battles and wars, not simply at dying by suicide

for example, the famous kurdish warrior-king saladin who successfully fought off the crusaders in the name of islam throughout present-day lebanon, israel and palestine, certainly did not go into battle to seek out death for himself, as you might suggest - instead, he fought many successful battles, living through each one to fight another battle - and he would most certainly have failed if his army was made up of “suicide warriors” rather than true “warriors”

moreover, the USSR invasion of afghanistan was not successfully fought by “suicide warriors”, but rather by persistent and strategic and tactically more effective true warriors

and to compare a “suicide warrior” from the time of mohammed, who had nothing more than a metal blade as a weapon to today’s “suicide bomber” who uses a powerful chemical explosive to destroy an area around themselves, is a poor comparison, other than the mere use of the term “suicide” in both cases - that is not a comparison, it is a contrast

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Posted: 28 December 2004 12:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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[quote author=“fjlomnix”]however, you cannot expect anyone to believe that islamic warriors were so successful historically simply because they were “suicide warriors” - far from it - they were successful, because they were, in fact, effective warriors, just as a warrior should be - that means, ability to use weapons, ride a horse, etc. - obviously, the warriors of the time of mohammed and his followers were effective at fighting and winning battles and wars, not simply at dying by suicide

Perhaps I am mistaken, but my knowledge of Islamic and Arabic history is inconsistent with your findings.

Before Mohammad’s arrival the Arabs were not known for their military skills, nor did they possess any special weapons or fighting tactics that would have allowed them to become the mighty army that they were after Mohammad’s arrival.

Also, when Mohammad started to preach the doctrine of Jihad and assemble the army, his followers waged the first war on Quriash, the Arab tribe in Makkah who kicked him out, and won even though the ratio of Muslims to Quraishi soldiers was 1 to 3. Furthermore, the Muslims had only two horses, 70 camels, and were lightly armed, unlike the Quraishis who had 700 camels, 100 horses, and were heavily armed.

What happened here? It is obvious that the Jihad doctrine was the deciding factor. The Muslim warriors were in to die while the Quraishis were in to curb the emergence of Islam. But this is not the end of the story, as only 13 years later did the Muslim army defeat the Roman army in Alyarmouk battle in which the Romans outnumbered the Muslims by 5 to 1. Please note that this is the very same Roman army that was bullying the Arabs around less than a decade ago. The Arabs did not make any discoveries in those few years, but had developed a Jihad principle that tipped the scales completely.

[quote author=“fjlomnix”]for example, the famous kurdish warrior-king saladin who successfully fought off the crusaders in the name of islam throughout present-day lebanon, israel and palestine, certainly did not go into battle to seek out death for himself, as you might suggest - instead, he fought many successful battles, living through each one to fight another battle - and he would most certainly have failed if his army was made up of “suicide warriors” rather than true “warriors”

Your example is out of context because Saladin arrived more than 500 years after the arrival of Mohammad. The Muslim army has grown much more professional by then. Also, as I explained in my prior post, the Muslim leaders might have had other aims for themselves, but you can bet that most of their soldiers were driven into war to seek ashahada, or Death in Jihad.

[quote author=“fjlomnix”]moreover, the USSR invasion of afghanistan was not successfully fought by “suicide warriors”, but rather by persistent and strategic and tactically more effective true warriors

I never said that the USSR was driven out of Afghanistan because of the suicidal warriors. I merely mentioned Afghanistan as being an opportunity for Jihad back in the most recent past. In fact, a couple of days ago the LA Times published an analysis arguing that the USSR pulled out because of the enormous bloodshed that it brought about in the region without being able to hold the region peacefully, and not because it was actually driven out by the fighting guerrillas.

[quote author=“fjlomnix”]and to compare a “suicide warrior” from the time of mohammed, who had nothing more than a metal blade as a weapon to today’s “suicide bomber” who uses a powerful chemical explosive to destroy an area around themselves, is a poor comparison, other than the mere use of the term “suicide” in both cases - that is not a comparison, it is a contrast

I fail to see the logic in your statement. Bombs have been available for a while now, yet almost all of the suicidal bombers are Muslims. You seem to be unable to discern the difference between the technological aspect and the religious doctrine that interweave to make the preset day suicidal bomber. Yes, the suicidal bomber is a new weapon because the technology is new, but it is the religous doctrine that allowed that technology to become the weapon it is today.

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Posted: 28 December 2004 12:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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[quote author=“fjlomnix”]you cannot expect anyone to believe that islamic warriors were so successful historically simply because they were “suicide warriors”

One more note, I don’t have to expect anyone to believe that because most scholars who study Islamic history agree that the advantage the Muslim warriors had against their enemies was the Muslim’s desire to die in battle. It is the strong and blind force of belief, my friend…

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Posted: 28 December 2004 01:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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in that case, ae, would you argue that it is a logical extension that a “suicide bomber” would want to carry the greatest amount of destructive power in carrying out their task? - and what is the desired end point? the ultimate conversion of this planet to islam?

also, I need to re-study my history sources - regarding the history of islam, I have previously only focussed my studies to the famous arab (and, presumably islamic) scholars in the technical and scientific fields, such as ibn al-shatir (an astronomer) and ibn al-nafir (a damascus physician) - anyway, it would seem unlikely that any islamic battles occurred with roman soldiers, since the roman empire had supposedly collapsed in the 5th century, well before the birth of mohammed (which, I think was in the 7th century)

since I am not able to read arabic (yet), I cannot read the texts and analyses by arabic scholars regarding islamic history at this time, so I will need to stop arguing about historical “facts”

nevertheless, I have an english translation of the koran, which I think may be somewhat close to being accurate - I would like to review the verses to find passages that are directed to “jihad” and, perhaps also see what passages there are regarding compassion and acceptance of others (I recall that Baghdad was at one time in the not-too-distant past, up to about the 1940’s or so, a thriving community containing muslims, jews and christians, all apparently living in harmony?) - also, I am very interested in any passages of the koran directed to education and learning for the benefit of future generations - I wonder…

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Posted: 28 December 2004 07:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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[quote author=“fjlomnix”]in that case, ae, would you argue that it is a logical extension that a “suicide bomber” would want to carry the greatest amount of destructive power in carrying out their task? - and what is the desired end point? the ultimate conversion of this planet to islam?

I’m sorry, but I didn’t understand the question. Please excuse my English as it is not my first language.

[quote author=“fjlomnix”]it would seem unlikely that any islamic battles occurred with roman soldiers, since the roman empire had supposedly collapsed in the 5th century, well before the birth of mohammed (which, I think was in the 7th century)

Not unlikely at all. I quote here an excerpt from Wikipedia.com:

Over the course of its history, the Roman Empire controlled all of the Hellenized states that bordered the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the Celtic regions of Western Europe. The administration of the Roman Empire eventually evolved into separate Eastern and Western halves, more or less following this cultural division. They are respectively known as the Eastern Roman Empire and the Western Roman Empire. By the time that Odoacer took power of the West in 476, the Western half was clearly evolving in new directions, with the Church absorbing much of the administrative and charitable roles previously filled by the secular government. The Eastern half of the Empire, centered around Constantinople, the city of Constantine the Great, remained the heartland of the Roman state until 1453, when the Byzantine Empire fell to the Ottoman Turks.

So the Roman army that the Muslims fought was that of the Eastern Roman Empire.

[quote author=“fjlomnix”]nevertheless, I have an english translation of the koran, which I think may be somewhat close to being accurate - I would like to review the verses to find passages that are directed to “jihad” and, perhaps also see what passages there are regarding compassion and acceptance of others (I recall that Baghdad was at one time in the not-too-distant past, up to about the 1940’s or so, a thriving community containing muslims, jews and christians, all apparently living in harmony?) - also, I am very interested in any passages of the koran directed to education and learning for the benefit of future generations - I wonder…

First of all, you need to familiarize yourself with a concept in the Quran called annaskh, or abrogation. This entails that if a verse is revealed that is in contradiction with a previous verse then the new one abrogates the previous one. So there are a lot of verses that talk about love and peace and even freedom of religion. Nevertheless, the last verses revealed included the following verse, which is found in Surah 9 Verse 29:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

And then came the most infamous verse which is said to have abrogated hundreds of previous peace verses, which is found also in Surah 9 Verse 5:

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

The study of Quran, as I think I made obvious, is quite complicated. The fact that Muslims are divided into warring groups based on the various interpretations of the Quran is telling. Anyway, I hope that I made my point clear. If, however, you need any assistance in your study of the Quran or Islamic hisory then I can point out some useful resources smile

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Posted: 29 December 2004 04:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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ae: the “logical extension” that I initially referred to in my previous post simply meant that, since “latent” suicide bombers (i.e., those who expect to be or are preparing to be “suicide bombers”, but who have not yet acted) are aware of the destructive capabilities of the suicide packages containing the explosive substances, such as C-4, symtex, HMX, etc., that have already been used successfully in previous bombings, then, by “logical extension”, it would appear logical that the latent suicide bombers will try to carry progressively more destructive substances in order to maximize the destructive impact of the bombing - in other words, “suicide bombers” would seek out the most destructive substances possible in order to achieve the greatest effect

this “logical extension” seems to appear in surah 9, verse 5 you cited:

And then came the most infamous verse which is said to have abrogated hundreds of previous peace verses, which is found also in Surah 9 Verse 5:

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

However, if the concept of “annaskh”, in which later passages carry greater weight than previous ones?, or, as you say, “abrogates” the previous passages, then perhaps in the later surahs, the above quote may also be abrogated?

my version of the koran is an english translation by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall originally published 1930 by Nusrat Ali Nasri for Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India.  It contains over 100 surahs.  You cited surah 9.  Therefore, there appear to be just under 100 more surahs to review for abrogation of the above passage.

also, if later surahs do indeed “abrogate” earlier surahs, then perhaps the koran should be read in order from the last surah to the first, ignoring successive earlier passages that reverse the later passages that establish the koranic philosophy/guideline/instructions?

nevertheless, my version of surah 9, verse 5 says:

“Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush.  But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo!  Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”

thus, my version is not quite identical to your version.  Most notable is that my version does use the expression: lie in wait for them in every strategem (of war).  Instead, my version uses the word “ambush”.  Similar maybe, but far from identical.

furthermore, the next verse, verse 6 says:
“And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the word of Allah, and afterward convey him to his place of safety.  That is because they are a folk who know not.”

thus, if verse 6 carries greater weight than verse 5, it seems that “suicide bombers” do not allow for this to take place..ever - and if the persons in the vicinity of the destruction are already “believers”, how would a suicide bomber know whether they are or not?, especially if the are already determined to carry out their destructive act regardless of the presence of any “believers” in the sphere of destruction or not?

It seems that the compassionate guidance of verse 6 of surah 9 is being ignored by successful suicide bombers

I am interested in making more sense of this important issue, especially since the koranic verses are rarely discussed in any of the media in this supposedly christian nation - however, living in a capitalistic and market-driven society (which includes most of this planet, even muslin nations), I really must continue to spend most of my time working

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Posted: 29 December 2004 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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This is an interesting issue.  I’d like to hear more about this.  AE, can you recommend any sources on the doctrine of abrogation?  And what do you think of fjlomnix’s idea of reading the Koran back to front?  Where would that leave the jihadis?

I’m also interested to know what life is like for you in Saudia Arabia, holding the views that you seem to hold and how you came by Harris’ book living over there.

DavidO

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Posted: 29 December 2004 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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i apologize for having to be brief as I am composing this post using my Pocket PC for I am away from home.

The Quran is not sorted in a chronological order for reasons having to do with the fact that the Quran was collected in one book more than a decade subsequent to the death of the prophet. In fact, some Surahs were not “revealed” complete but were mixed with others.

Many scholars interpret that verse you quote as a special privilege to Mohammad only, although it is obvious that you are right in that being a sorry attempt to legitimize aggression.

Finally, I have observed that some translations of the Quran attempted to tone down the aggressive nature of some of the verses. For instance, there is this verse that decrees the slaughter of infidels in a very gruesome tone, yet in some translations it was interpreted as to only say “kill” or something like that. I, unassumingly, believe that the translation of verse 5 that I used conveys the message of the original text more honestly. Note, however, that I am neither a translator nor a linguist therefore I might be wrong.

I promise to write a better researched reply once I get back home and sit before a proper keyboard instead of this lousy thumb-keyboard. Until then, I invite you to raise any more points that we should discuss.

Thanks…

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Posted: 30 December 2004 01:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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david0 - I suggest you pick up a copy of the koran (in english, I assume) and check out these passages - there are many verses that seem to be overly repetitive, but also some good, compassionate, seemingly sensible passages as well - if you do, I would be interested in how your version compares with mine

ae - thanks for keeping up with these replies

about your “thumb” keyboard, I have been using a one-handed keyboard for the past 3 years and have become quite proficient at it - it’s wonderful! - I use my left hand for all keystrokes and my right hand for the mouse or other activities - it is called the “matias one-handed keyboard” - there is also the “frogpad” - these are small, convenient keypads that condense the multitude of keys of a regular keyboard into a small keyboard - the keys are, therefore, larger and, after a few months developing proficiency, you will be able to type with one hane, such as while standing in a subway or at a bus stop - you will still be able to use the regular keyboard with two hands at any time - that ability won’t ever go away

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Posted: 30 December 2004 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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[quote author=“Arabian Enlightenment”]
Before Mohammad’s arrival the Arabs were not known for their military skills, nor did they possess any special weapons or fighting tactics that would have allowed them to become the mighty army that they were after Mohammad’s arrival.

Isn’t it possible that Muhammad was a good general?  Before Alexander the Macedonians were probably piss-poor fighters, but his genius enabled them to conquer most of the known world. The Scottish National Orchestra sucked when they were conducted by Alexander Gibson, but they sound quite good under Neeme Jarvi.

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