|H.G.Wells on Islam|
- Friday, February 13 2009, 20:05:23 (CET)|
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H.G. Wells on Islam
It’s surprising that a late Victorian writer could be even slightly fair-minded in assessing Islam. Wells admits that Islam gave conquered people three choices; convert, pay a poll tax, or be killed. Since everyone back then, and today, pays taxes, the way was open for Christians to retain their religion without being killed. Indeed, as we know, in many instances Christians fled to Muslim rule to avoid the taxes imposed on them by greedy bishops. The point is that contrary to what our nationalists tell us, there was no forced conversion to Islam...in fact conquered people were treated far more leniently by Muslims than by Christians.
As only one example consider the contrast between the treatment handed out by Christians and Muslims when each conquered Jerusalem. When the Christians triumphed they killed every Muslim man, woman and child. The Jews were locked in their synagogue which was burned down, cooking them all. When the Muslims took the city the Jews were left free and the Caliph toured the conquered city with the Patriarch as his guest, guaranteeing the freedom of the city and its holy sites to all.
Following quotes taken from “The Outline of History” , volumes 1 and 2.
Muhammad’s injunction regarding slaves...
”And the slaves, see that ye feed them with such food as ye eat yourselves, and clothe them with the stuff ye wear. And if they commit a fault which ye are not inclined to forgive, then sell them, for they are the servants of the Lord, and are not to be tormented.”
(I can attest to this from first-hand experience. When I was eight we lived in Kuwait at a time when there were still household slaves serving the sheikhs. This was in the mid-50s. Also at that time the oil money began rolling in and almost the first extravagance was fleets of black Cadillac limousines...a few hundred per household. Limousines littered the roads in Kuwait city and since mechanics were few and in any case money was ridiculously plentiful, little effort was made to maintain or keep a car beyond a few months....these barely used Cadillacs and Jaguars were given to family slaves. Muhammad couldn’t foresee this delightful development but his words made it inevitable.)
“This insistence upon kindliness and consideration in the daily life is one of the main virtues of Islam, but it is not the only one. Equally important is the uncompromising monotheism, void of any Jewish exclusiveness, which is sustained by the Koran. Islam from the outset was fairly proof against the theological elaborations that have perplexed and divided Christianity and smothered the spirit of Jesus...all sacrifice was barred to the faithful; no loophole was left for the sacrificial priest of the old dispensation to come back into the faith, a purely prophetic religion, as the religion of Jesus was at the time of Jesus...Islam to this day has learned doctors, teachers and preachers; but it has no priests.”
“It was full of the spirit of kindliness, generosity and brotherhood; it was a simple and understandable religion; it was instinct with the chivalrous sentiment of the desert; and it made its appeal straight to the composition of ordinary men. Against it were pitted Judaism, which had made a racial hoard of God; Christianity, talking and preaching endlessly now of trinities, doctrines, and heresies no ordinary man could make head or tail of...what appealed to them (Muslims, mine) was that this God, Allah...was by the test of the conscience in their hearts a God of righteousness, and that the honest acceptance of his doctrine and method opened a door wide, in a world of uncertainty , treachery, and intolerable divisions, to a great and increasing brotherhood of trustworthy men on earth, and to a paradise not of perpetual exercise in praise and worship, in which saints, priests and anointed kings were still to have the upper places, but of equal fellowship and simple, understandable delights such as their souls craved for. Without any ambiguous symbolism, without any darkening of altars or chanting of priests, Muhammad had brought home those attractive doctrines to the hearts of mankind.”
Now for the Christians....
And here Wells betrays his own bias, which still, all things considered, is far less hurtful than the norm....
“Whole nations were converted to Christianity BY THE SWORD (emphasis mine)...”
..but then he adds, forgetting what he stated previously...
“...just as Islam in Arabia, Central Asia, and Africa had converted whole nations a century or so before.”
This is curious since he’s already said that Islam gave three choices...not just two. He admits that Charlemagne brought people to Christ on pain of death...no other option was made available. To be perfectly technical about it though he doesn’t exactly say Islam killed people into itself...he merely states “just as Islam did...” That could mean that Islam also converted hordes of people, as did Christianity, but without the threat of death....maybe Wells had to toe the line a little. Then he goes on...
“With fire and sword Charlemagne preached the Gospel of the Cross to the Saxons, Bohemians, and as far as the Danube into what is now Hungary; he carried the same teaching (sic) down the Adriatic coast, through what is now Dalmatia...”
And he wasn’t the only Christian to “teach” with fire and sword. Nowhere does Wells say, nor can anyone else, that Muhammad TAUGHT with fire and sword....he indeed CONQUERED with fire and sword, they all did....but Muhammad didn’t teach with those two implements.
When the First Crusade conquered Jerusalem, the Latin clergy dominated the native Greek Orthodox...”...and the Orthodox Christians found themselves in rather a worse case under Latin rule than under the Turk.”
There’s plenty more...enough for now. So, does this make me a “lover of Islam”? No. Neither do I hate Christianity. It’s the truth I prefer. In truth neither religion, or any religion, appeals to me. They seem retrograde and though they may have once served a purpose, to be bound by anything people over a thousand years ago believed seems counter-productive and dated. But Islam hasn’t brought us the wars that Christianity has in just the last two hundred years...never mind all their other bloodshed from centuries past. Christianity is the bloody threat, not Islam. That truth is abundantly clear to anyone whose eyes aren’t blinded by faith and cheerleaders.
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