Last Wednesday, the Islamic jihadist Mujaheed (formerly Michael) Adebolajo, his hands scarlet with the blood of the British soldier he had just brutally murdered on a London street and still holding the tools of his murder, approached a television cameraman and calmly began explaining himself.
In the course of his explanation, Adebolajo invoked the Qur’an’s ninth chapter (Surat at-Tawba), which enjoins Muslims to make war against and subjugate Jews and Christians, declaring: “we are forced by the Qur’an, in Sura At-Tawba, through many ayah [verses] in the Qur’an, we must fight them as they fight us.” He added: “I apologize that women had to witness this today but in our lands women have to see the same.”
“Our lands”? Adebolajo’s parents are Nigerians who immigrated to England in the early 1980s. But he meant neither English nor Nigerian lands, of course; Adebolajo converted to Islam around 2003, and that meant that in his mind he was no longer English, if he ever was. Islam supersedes everything else, demanding a loyalty above national allegiances and even ties of kith and kin. The Qur’an commands Muslims to “be good to parents” (17:22). However, even in that relationship, the overarching principle is that Muslims must be “hard against the unbelievers, merciful one to another” (48:29). This includes unbelievers of one’s immediate family: The Muslim holy book specifically forbids believers from being friendly with their non-believing relatives and non-believing clan:
O believers, take not your fathers and brothers to be your friends, if they prefer unbelief to belief; whosoever of you takes them for friends, those—they are the evildoers. Say: “If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your clan, your possessions that you have gained, commerce you fear may slacken, dwellings you love—if these are dearer to you than God and His Messenger, and to struggle in His way, then wait till God brings His command; God guides not the people of the ungodly” (9:23-24).
Explains the renowned Qur’an commentator Ibn Kathir:
Allah commands shunning the disbelievers, even if they are one’s parents or children, and prohibits taking them as supporters if they choose disbelief instead of faith.
The Qur’an emphasizes not only that a Muslim must turn his back on his kinsmen and have nothing to do with them if they are unbelievers, but that he should not even pray for them:
It is not for the Prophet and the believers to ask pardon for the idolaters, even though they be near kinsmen, after that it has become clear to them that they will be the inhabitants of Hell (9:113).