Rehab Dughmosh, a Muslim woman who tried to murder people with a golf club and a knife in a Canadian Tire store last June, appeared in court Friday and was furiously defiant:
Damn your legislation, damn your nationality, go to hell. Hey you infidels, I do not worship what you worship.
In saying this, she inadvertently provided us infidels with some useful information about Islam’s legendary tolerance. Dughmosh was quoting chapter 109 of the Qur’an.
Chapter 109 is an early Meccan sura — that is, a section of the Qur’an that Muslims believe dates from the early portion of Muhammad’s prophetic career. In Mecca, he was solely a preacher of religious ideas, not a military or political leader, as he became later in Medina.
Indeed, this chapter of the Qur’an is usually presented as an example of the tolerance of Islam.
Here it is in its entirety:
Say, ‘O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship. Nor are you worshippers of what I worship. Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship. Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship. For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.
But in her court appearance, Rehab Dughmosh was not sweetly quoting it as a sign of her tolerance. She was spitting it out as part of her repudiation of Canadian law and her demand to be tried only under Sharia — where she would be found not guilty, as war on infidels is mandated in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
At a previous court appearance in June, Dughmosh exclaimed (through an Arabic interpreter, of course):
I meant to harm those people. I reject all counsel here. I only believe in Islamic Sharia law. I would like to revoke my Canadian citizenship that I received. I don’t want to have any allegiance to you.
This is because she doesn’t worship what the infidel Canadians worship; she worships Allah alone, which makes her “the best of people” (Qur’an 3:110).
And she refuses to be judged by the standards of the unbelievers, who are the “most vile of created beings” (Qur’an 98:6).
According to most Islamic scholars, the Qur’an passage that Dughmosh quoted Friday was revealed at a time when the Muslims were a small, weak, embattled band, and feeling threatened by the pagan Quraysh tribe. It was a plea for tolerance for the Muslims, not a magnanimous granting of tolerance to an opposition group.
The classic Qur’an commentator al-Wahidi, however, explains that this sura was a rejection of an invitation from the Quraysh:
Come follow our religion and we will follow yours. You worship our idols for a year and we worship you Allah the following year. In this way, if what you have brought us is better than what we have, we would partake of it and take our share of goodness from it; and if what we have is better than what you have brought, you would partake of it and take your share of goodness from it.
Muhammad rejected the offer:
Allah forbid that I associate anything with Him.
In any case, another classic Qur’an commentary, the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, says that this sura was revealed before Muhammad “was commanded to wage war” against idolators. It does not therefore teach tolerance over the obligation to wage war against non-Muslims and to subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law.
Likewise, the Egyptian Islamic scholar Muhammad al-Ghazali — who is often cited as a reformist — writes ominously in his Journey Through the Qur’an about the limits of tolerance in his commentary on this sura:
Oppressing Islam and denying it the right to life cannot be tolerated. It must be explicitly stated that blood will continue to flow until this evil desire is removed and the power of Islam is restored and its Shari’a protected and its complete implementation guaranteed. Do the oppressors understand? (Emphasis added)
If Rehab Dughmosh has anything to say about it, the “oppressors” in Canada will come to understand. But it is not likely that they, or most other Western leaders, are disposed to listen.
And so, as al-Ghazali said, blood will indeed continue to flow.