‘War is Deceit’ – When Trust Makes Us Vulnerable

The ‘Prophet’ Muhammad famously said: “War is deceit”. Two incidents, barely a week apart, powerfully illustrated the fact that this is still seen as a cornerstone of jihadist strategic thinking.

In both cases a position of trust was used as a platform from which to unleash carnage in the name of Allah. A supposedly ‘model prisoner’ stabbed those responsible for his ‘rehabilitation’ to death on London Bridge (29 November 2019). A trainee pilot in Pensacola went on a rampage against those who were training him (6 December 2019). How could something like this happen?

Perhaps this story (found in Sahih Bukhari 52:271) from the life of Muhammad will shed some light: “The Prophet said, “Who is ready to kill Ka’b bin Ashraf (i.e. a Jew).” Muhammad bin Maslama replied, “Do you like me to kill him?” The Prophet replied in the affirmative. Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say what I like.” The Prophet replied, “I do (i.e. allow you).

Note carefully what happened here: One of Muhammad’s followers asks for permission to lie, and it is immediately granted to him. What happened next is described in Sahih Bukhari 53:369. Bin Maslama goes to the person marked for death by Muhammad and pretends that he is deeply disillusioned by the ‘prophet’. In this way, he gained the person’s trust and was admitted into his inner circle. After the ‘friendship’ was firmly established, Maslama asked Ka’b whether he could smell the perfume on his head, an act that could only take place between trusted friends. Trusting his ‘friend’, Ka’b allows this and is immediately grabbed and killed!

“War is deceit” indeed.


Much more, including several more examples (drawn from impeccable Islamic sources) of how deceit can be used as a weapon of war, can be found in my book ‘Nothing to do with Islam? – Investigating the West’s Most Dangerous Blind Spot’


Coming Very Soon! ‘The House Built on Sand’

Coming This Week: ‘The House Built on Sand’

A few weeks ago I sent you an email letting you know that my new book ‘The House Built on Sand’ would be released ‘soon’. Given how long it took to complete the final steps in getting it ready for the press, that may have been a tad optimistic!

Anyway, I’m finally able to say that the book will be released within the next week or so. In case you don’t know, ‘The House Built on Sand’ will be very different from my other books. Primarily because it is a work of fiction. It is, however, a novel with a serious message. Especially since it points readers to some of the same issues that I address in my book ‘The Mecca Mystery – Probing the Black Hole at the Heart of Muslim History

You may recall that I’ve been deeply impacted by the rampant censorship of non-politically correct voices on social media. As part of this my Twitter account of more than 100,000 followers was deleted without any warning. This significantly limited my reach in terms of reaching potential readers. I would, therefore, really appreciate your help to get the word out once ‘The House Built on Sand’ is released. You can do this in the following ways:

  • Get your own copy – better still get a few as Christmas presents (it will be available in both Kindle and paperback versions)
  • Forward the launch announcement (when it comes) to your friends
  • Post the link www.thehousebuiltonsand.com on your Facebook or Twitter feed
  • Post a review on the Amazon website once you have read the book.

I look forward to sharing ‘The House Built on Sand’ with you and I trust that you will agree with me that it is a great read (with a great purpose – i.e. getting people to think about the place of Islam in the modern world). I’ll let you know as soon as it is ready.


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The Knives are Out! (And Have Been for Long Time)

One weekend, two knife attacks in major European cities – London and The Hague. Obviously this is no coincidence. I suspect, however, that few people will realize what deep historical roots such random stabbing frenzies have in Islam’s past.

The Kharijites was a hugely influential early (7th century onwards) group of discontents within the ‘House of Islam’ who were convinced that the Muslim community was straying from the purity that existed during the time of Muhammad. They firmly believed that what the world really needed was a state wherein, as their catch-cry incessantly repeated, there would be ‘No judgement but Allah’s!

And how exactly was this lofty goal to be achieved? Here is how a historian of the movement, Muhamad bin Ahmad al-Malati, described their modus operandi: “…they would ‘go out with their swords into the markets while people would stand around not realising what was happening; they would shout “no judgement except God!” and plunge their blades into whomever they could reach, and go on killing until they themselves were killed’. Sound familiar?

ISIS, which can in many ways be seen as the modern-day descendants of the Kharijites, was not slow to learn the lesson. Here is, for example, an exhortation from the April 2016 issue of their online magazine, Dabiq: “One must either make the journey to dar-al-Islam, joining the ranks of the mujahidin or wage jihad by himself with the resources available to him (knives, guns, explosives etc.) to kill the crusaders and other disbelievers and apostates…

Over the next few days we will probably be ‘treated’ to multiple theories to try and explain the sudden surge in random knife attacks. Some of these will, no doubt, work very hard to get Islam off the hook by blaming alienation, psychological stress or western foreign policy. As you read these, remember that there is indeed nothing new under the sun! We are faced with an ancient ideology, that uses tried and tested methods. We must get to grips with this fact and target all our attention to defeating its truth-claims if we want the knives to go back in their sheaths.


For more on the role of the key texts of Islam in motivating violence see my book ‘Nothing to do with Islam – Investigating the West’s Most Dangerous Blind Spot


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Nothing ‘So-Called’ About Baghdadi’s Islamic State

The news that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi finally met his fate is to be welcomed. At the very least the action by the Trump administration will slow down the efforts of ISIS to rebuild their capacity to unleash terror. We should not kid ourselves however, that this means the end of the ideology that animated ISIS. This is because this ideology is deeply rooted in the classical teachings of Islam.

In recent years, Western leaders have fallen over themselves to denounce the “Islamic State” as somehow un-Islamic. A representative quote is this one from former President Barack Obama: “We are not at war with Islam but with those who perverted Islam”. According to this line of reasoning, ISIS is simply an aberration that cannot find any justification in the teachings of Islam for the actions of its members. In fact, some media organizations are so confident in their understanding of the finer points of Islamic theology that they’ve taken it upon themselves to deny the claims of some of the most devout Muslims on the planet that they are acting for Islam by routinely referring to ISIS as the “so-called Islamic State”. It would be rather comforting if ISIS was, indeed, simply some strange aberration with no link whatso- ever to classical Islamic teaching. However, if you have read this far you would be very aware that things are not nearly as simple.

In fact, ISIS prides itself on its orthodoxy and on the way in which it adheres to the Qur’an and Sunnah (example of the prophet) in all that it does. In doing so, they do not merely latch onto a fringe tradition within Islam, but can, as has been seen, quote from centuries of interpretation and commentary on the Qur’an to justify their actions.

The following are some of the actions in which ISIS engages (and that are often cited as examples of just how un-Islamic they are). I will now show how each of these practices can be justified from the Qur’an, hadiths and commentaries on the subject. It should be clear from this that to dismiss ISIS as having “nothing to do with Islam” is highly problematic. It also raises the basic question of how we can even begin to hope that our enemies will be defeated if we are in complete denial about the nature of their guiding ideology:

  • Declaring a religious war against those who do not accept Islam: “And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah,” [in other words, if they become Muslim – PT] “let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is For- giving and Merciful” (Qur’an 9:5).
  • Giving defeated civilians the choice of conversion, exile or paying a tax on non-Muslims: “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled” (Qur’an 9:29).
  • Calling for the conquest and total subjugation of non-Muslim societies through a religious war: It has been narrated on the authority of Abdullah b. ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah said: ‘I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and they establish prayer, and pay Zakat and if they do it, their blood and property are guaranteed protection on my behalf except when justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah’” (Sahih Muslim Book 1 Number 33).
  • Keeping sex slaves: There are several verses in the Qur’an that make it clear that Muslim men are permitted to have sex with those whom “their right hand possesses”. For example: “O Prophet, indeed We have made lawful to you your wives to whom you have given their due compensation and those your right hand possesses from what Allah has returned to you [of captives]” (Qur’an 33:50)186. This extends, according to a very troubling hadith, to the rape of captive women. “We went out with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi’l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing ‘azl’ (withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception). But we said: ‘We are doing an act whereas Allah’s Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him?’ So we asked Allah’s Messenger [Muhammad] (may peace be upon him), and he said: ‘It does not matter if you do not do it (withdraw before climaxing), for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born’” (Sahih Muslim Book 8 Hadith 3371)187.
  • Executing apostates from Islam:Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.” Statement by Muhammad according to Sahih Bukhari Volume 9 Book 84 Number 57.
  • Beheading those whom they regard as enemy combatants: There are several instances where beheading is held up as the desired response to opposition from unbelievers. In Qur’an 4:74, it is directly com- manded: “So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until you have inflicted slaughter upon them”. In Qur’an 8:12, the link between terror and beheading is used to “in- spire” Allah’s angels and, by extension, his followers: “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip”.
  • Crucifying Opponents: “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land” (Qur’an 5:33).
  • Executing Homosexual People: “Narrated By Abdullah ibn Abbas: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did (i.e., practice homosexuality), kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done” (Sunan Abu Dawud Book 38, Number 4447).
  • Destroying graves and non-Muslim places of worship: “Do not leave an image without obliterating it, or a high grave without leveling it” (Sahih Muslim Book 11 Hadith 120).
  • Corporal punishment of “disobedient” women: “Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], for- sake them in bed; and [finally], strike them” (Qur’an 4:34).

I realize that many readers have, perhaps, gone through the list above with a chill going down their spines. If the actions of ISIS, as arguably the most violent Islamic group of recent times, were, indeed, based on a legitimate reading of the key texts of Islam, what does that say about the possible impact of these very same texts on other Muslims? Would it not be fair to say that it would incline at least some of those other Muslims to violence in the name of Allah? This has to be the inescapable conclusion. Even if only a tiny percentage of Muslims decide to be obedient to verses such as these, we are still left with millions who are seeking to do the rest of us harm for the sake of their religion.

This is exactly the conclusion that so many people in our society desperately want to get away from with their continued insistence that there is no link between the teachings of Islam and violence. It is also why we should use the recent death of Baghdadi as a ‘teachable moment’ to point out just how deeply implicated the teachings of the Qur’an and hadiths are in motivating violence and carnage for the sake of Allah. 


For more on the role of the key texts of Islam in motivating violence see my book ‘Nothing to do with Islam – Investigating the West’s Most Dangerous Blind Spot‘ 


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