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).
In a Qur’anic account of Noah and the great flood, when the flood kills Noah’s son, Noah appeals to Allah on the basis of his promise to save Noah’s family: “And Noah called unto his Lord, and said, ‘O my Lord, my son is of my family, and Thy promise is surely the truth. Thou art the justest of those that judge’” (11:45). But Allah responds: “Noah, he is not of thy family; it is a deed not righteous,” referring to Noah’s son’s saying that he would flee to the top of a mountain to save himself from the flood (11:43, 46).
In line with this, the Qur’an holds up Abraham as a “good example” for the Muslims—uswa hasana, the same appellation given to Muhammad elsewhere (33:21). In Islamic theology, Muhammad’s example is the believer’s supreme guide. When the Qur’an says that Abraham also is a “good example,” however, it is in reference to a specific instance: when Abraham says to his pagan relatives,
We are quit of you and that you serve, apart from God. We disbelieve in you, and between us and you enmity has shown itself, and hatred for ever, until you believe in God alone (60:4).
Abraham is held up to the Muslims as a model of emulation, then, only when he declares his everlasting enmity and hatred for those who do not follow what Muslims believe to be the true religion.
Then the Qur’an adds a critical caveat: “Except that Abraham said unto his father, ‘Certainly I shall ask pardon for thee; but I have no power to do aught for thee against God.’” In other words, Abraham is a good example for the believers except when he says that he will pray that Allah will pardon his pagan father. The Tafsir al-Jalalayn, a venerable and respected Qur’an commentary written by two mainstream and revered Muslim scholars, emphasizes that this is “an exception where the excellent example is concerned, meaning that you should not imitate him in that by asking forgiveness for unbelievers.”
Abraham’s hatred is exemplary; his prayer for forgiveness for his kindred is not.
And so Mujaheed Adebolajo committed murder on a street of the land where he grew up in defense of those he considers his only true kith and kin: Muslims worldwide. British government and media elites, unsurprisingly, rushed to assure the public that Islam had nothing to do with his action. But in fact, nothing else did. Until those elites come to grips with the new allegiances to which converts to Islam like Adebolajo consider themselves bound, there will be many more such murders.