The Huffington Post must be getting nervous that too many people are discovering the truth about what Islamic texts really say. Thus they have given three Islamic apologists space to explain that the hadith in which Muhammad is depicted as prophesying that Muslims will bring on the end times by killing Jews wholesale is really quite benign and nothing to worry about at all.
The immediate cause for this exercise in damage control, say Nazir Khan, Omar Suleiman, and Justin Parrott in the HuffPo, is that “a Jordanian cleric visiting Canada recently misleadingly cited a hadith without context or explanation.” (A hadith is an account of a statement or action of Muhammad that, if deemed authentic, is considered normative for Islamic law.) The learned explainers don’t bother to elucidate for their hapless Huffington Post marks how it came to be that this Jordanian cleric would suddenly forget the context or explanation for this incendiary hadith, but they do note that “this is not the first time that this text has been used to foment anti-Semitic sentiment within the Muslim community.”
What’s that? This is not the first time that Muslim clerics have willfully misunderstood this text which, if Nazir Khan, Omar Suleiman and Justin Parrott are to be believed, is entirely innocuous, nothing to worry about at all? How is it that these imams, who have dedicated their lives to understanding Islam properly and teaching it correctly, could all misunderstand this poor little hadith in exactly the same way? Our intellectual and moral superiors, unfortunately, do not bother to answer such questions. Instead, they lament that “Islamophobes pounced on the opportunity to trigger alarm bells and generate a new wave of propaganda accusing Muslims of genocidal ambitions towards Jews, and to claim that Islam is inherently anti-Semitic and a threat to Western civilization.”
Those devils! How could those greasy Islamophobes take this pure, clear, sweet, cuddly hadith, brimming over with love for The Other, and dare to misunderstand it in exactly the same way that these willfully ignorant Muslim clerics have done, in order to “foment anti-Semitic sentiment within the Muslim community”? The audacity! The effrontery! Who do they think they are?
Don’t take my word for it: you can see for yourself how sweet this hadith really is. Here is the fullest version of it; the same story also appears many times in shorter forms in the two hadith collections that Muslims consider most reliable, Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim:
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews. (Sahih Muslim 6985)
That’s right: the end times will not come until Muslims kill Jews, so if Muslims want to hasten the consummation of all things, they can help the process along by murdering a Jew.
To be sure, to whitewash that is a tall order, and the results in the HuffPo are predictably meager. The thrust of the argument is that the text refers only to the unrighteous Jews, not the righteous ones. Oh, okay. What the HuffPo doesn’t tell you, however, is that while the Qur’an promises Paradise to the Jews (2:62), it also says that the “unbelievers among the People of the Book,” a group that includes the Jews, are “the most vile of created beings” and are headed for hell (98:6).
How can those two statements be reconciled? Very easily: the Jews who are righteous and will be saved are those who accept Muhammad as a prophet and become Muslims, and the Jews who are hellbound are those who remain Jewish. As the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, a notable and mainstream commentary on the Qur’an, explains: “Before his arrival they had all agreed to believe in him when he would come; then those who disbelieved in him from among them became envious of him.”
So the HuffPo is publishing a slyly dishonest piece that is endorsing the traditional Islamic idea that Jews have to convert to Islam to be saved. This is, of course, yet another in a long line of HuffPo articles absolving Islam of responsibility for the crimes done in its name and in accord with its teachings. When will the Huffington Post publish explanations of problematic bits of Jewish or Christian scripture? Don’t hold your breath; hell hasn’t frozen over yet.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.