For all the reports in the news media analysing the tragedy, horror and bloodshed that the world witnessed this past weekend (7th October 2023), there is one perspective and one narrative the media seems wilfully blind to; The fact that this was brought to us by yet another organisation that is proudly Islamic (HAMAS is after all the “Islamic Resistance Movement”).
How Islamic is Hamas though?
We try to understand this by reference to its original 1988 charter, it informs us about the nature of the organisation,
“The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinguished Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. it strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine” (Article 6)
Its view of Israel?
“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it” (Preamble)
‘The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: ‘O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’ (Article 7)
“The HAMAS regards itself the spearhead and the vanguard of the circle of struggle against World Zionism… Islamic groups all over the Arab world should also do the same, since they are best equipped for their future role in the fight against the warmongering Jews.” (Article 32)
On the possibility of a peaceful settlement with Israel?
“Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement… Those conferences are no more than a means to appoint the infidels as arbitrators in the lands of Islam… There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.’ (Article 13)
Now what have we learnt? Hamas declares itself to be Islamic and what is its understanding of the Quran and the Hadith? Peace with the Jews since it is a religion of peace? Does not sound like Article 13 of the 1988 charter is of that persuasion.
Moreover, Article 7 of the Charter as quoted above is a direct quotation from the Hadith,
“Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said:
The Messenger of Allah(ﷺ) said, “The Last Hour will not come until the Muslims fight against the Jews, until a Jew will hide himself behind a stone or a tree, and the stone or the tree will say: ‘O Muslim, there is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him,’ but Al-Gharqad tree will not say so, for it is the tree of the Jews.”
(source 1-Sahih Muslim Book 54, Hadith 103 or Sahih Muslim 2922 available at Sunnah.com, source 2-Sahih al-Bukhari 2926, 3593 Book 56 Hadith 139, Book 61 Hadith 100)
Another variant of the Sahih Muslim Hadith reads,
“Ibn ‘Umar reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
You will fight against the Jews and you will kill them until even a stone would say: Come here, Muslim, there is a Jew (hiding himself behind me) ; kill him.”
(Sahih Muslim 2921a, Book 54 Hadith 99 all available at Sunnah.com)
However HAMAS did ostensibly change its tune and in 2017 drafted a new charter. Despite this, the two elements highlighted from the 1988 charter still remain in the 2017 version.
It once again declares itself Islamic,
“The Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas” is a Palestinian Islamic national liberation and resistance movement. Its goal is to liberate Palestine and confront the Zionist project. Its frame of reference is Islam, which determines its principles, objectives and means.” (Article 1)
It also continues to demonise the Jews under what it refers to as “the Zionist project”
“The Zionist project is a racist, aggressive, colonial and expansionist project based on seizing the properties of others; it is hostile to the Palestinian people and to their aspiration for freedom, liberation, return and self-determination. The Israeli entity is the plaything of the Zionist project and its base of aggression.
The Zionist project does not target the Palestinian people alone; it is the enemy of the Arab and Islamic Ummah posing a grave threat to its security and interests. It is also hostile to the Ummah’s aspirations for unity, renaissance and liberation and has been the major source of its troubles. The Zionist project also poses a danger to international security and peace and to mankind and its interests and stability.” (Articles 14 & 15)
Now the 2017 charter has been given a “make-over” with some throw-away lines of Islam being a religion of peace but even this poses a conundrum as we shall shortly see,
“By virtue of its justly balanced middle way and moderate spirit, Islam — for Hamas — provides a comprehensive way of life and an order that is fit for purpose at all times and in all places. Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. It provides an umbrella for the followers of other creeds and religions who can practice their beliefs in security and safety…” (Article 8)
If Islam is a religion of peace as they say, would what we witnessed on Saturday have been conceived by them? Killing innocent civilians in their homes, carting away hostages and desecrating corpses? Remember they have said Islam is their frame of reference and determines among other things its “means”.
More importantly if Islam has an order fit for purpose at all times and places, then the standard “context” and “it was a command for that time” lens for the interpretations of the Quran and Hadith would not exist. So when the Quran says,
“…kill the idolaters wherever you find them” (Surah 9:5)
That is a marching order for today,
When it says,
“Fight against those who do not believe in Allah or the last day and do not forbid what Allah and His messenger have forbidden and do not follow the religion of truth, even if they are among the people of the book…” (Surah 9:29)
That is something to be done today,
In fact Mohammed Deif, the Hamas Military commander behind the attack stated,
“Righteous fighters, this is your day to bury this criminal enemy. Its time has finished. Kill them wherever you find them. Remove this filth from your land and your sacred places. Fight and the angels fight with you”
This is directly inspired by Surah 9:5 and 9:29 of the Quran. The calling Jews filth could also be a reference to Surah 98:6 which calls Jews and Christians (unbelievers from among people of the book) the worst of creatures.
Has Hamas overstepped the bounds of Islam though?
First, one wonders why there were pockets of celebration of the harrowing terrorist events of the weekend in Sydney Oprah house (where they chanted “Gas the Jews!”), the US, parts of the UK (until Braverman and Rishi Sunak cracked down on this), among the civilian Palestinians so-called who joined in desecrating corpses while screaming “Allahuakbar!!”. If what was done by HAMAS has nothing to do with Islam, why was it met with an “Allahuakbar!” approval in these circles?
Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the military wing of Fatah (another Palestinian political party) among other messages endorsing the events of the weekend stated via its Telegram channel ,
“Fight them and Allah would punish them by your hands and put them to shame”
-Reported by Palestinian media watch website palwatch.org/page/34635
This is another direct quotation from Surah 9:14,
“So fight them and Allah will punish them at your hands, put them to shame, help you overcome them”
Further more, Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyeb, the head of Al Azhar university, one of the top most universities in the world for Islamic education issued the following statement,
“Al-Azhar conveys its heartfelt condolences for our martyrs, the martyrs of the Islamic and Arab nation, the martyrs of proud Palestine, who attained martyrdom for the sake of defending their homeland, their nation and their cause, [which is also] our cause and the cause of all honorable people in the world: the Palestinian cause. Al-Azhar prays to Allah to grant the Palestinian people steadfastness in the face of the Zionist tyranny and terror.
“Al-Azhar salutes with utmost pride the resistance efforts of the proud Palestinian people, and demands that the civilized world and the international community examine in a spirit of rationality and wisdom the Zionist occupation of Palestine, which is the most prolonged occupation in modern history. This occupation is a stain on the forehead of humanity and the international community, which practices discrimination and knows only a double standard when it comes to the Palestinian issue.”
So the Palestinian population in Gaza, pockets of Muslims around Europe and America, the ruling Palestinian party in the west bank (Fatah) as well as the head of one of the top most Islamic universities on the planet all see absolutely nothing wrong with that act of terror over the weekend. What do these diverse array of groups of people have in common? Islam!
So in conclusion,
a. HAMAS describes itself as Islamic and governed by Islam under its old and new charters
b. Quoted directly from the hadith of Mohammed when stating it intends to fight the Jews to extinction in its old charter
c. HAMAS sees all the dictates of Islam as valid today, including killing the Jews wherever you find them and based on the Quran they believe Allah is punishing the Jews by their hands
d. This action which shocked the sensibilities of right thinking members of the public was applauded by Fatah, Al-Azhar, Palestinians in Gaza and pockets of Muslims around the world.
Like the Leah Sharibu story in part 1, it is interesting that high ranking Muslim officials and clerics never fail to defend these barbaric actions. If anybody should understand how peaceful Islam is, should it not be them?
Politicians and the media in the coming days will of course say once again that Islam is a very peaceful religion and HAMAS does not represent true Islam in all its glorious beauty but that begs the question,
“Why is it this one religion that keeps being misunderstood in exactly the same way by various distinct groups (Taliban, HAMAS, Boko-Haram, Hezbollah, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab, Jemaah Islamiya) world wide?”