How Carnage and Atrocities ‘Heal Muslim Hearts’

In a recent communiqué, the Islamic State called on its followers to slaughter and terrorize every single Western person they could reach.  A snippet follows (emphases added):

Lions of Islam: Chase your preys whether Jewish, Christian or their allies, on the streets and roads of America, Europe, and the world. Break into their homes, kill them and steal their peace of mind by any means you can lay hands on. ... Solidify your plans and diversify the attacks: detonate explosives, burn them with grenades and fiery agents, shoot them with bullets, cut their throats with sharp knives, and run them over with vehicles. A sincere person will not lack the means to draw blood from the hearts of the Jews, the Christians, and their allies, and thus ease the suffering in the hearts of the believers. Come at them from every door, kill them by the worst of means, turn their gatherings and celebrations into bloody massacres, do not distinguish between a civilian kaffir [infidel], and a military one, for they are all kuffar [infidels] and the ruling against them is one. ... Intentionally seek easy targets before hard ones, civilian targets before military one, religious targets like synagogues and churches before others, for this will satisfy the soul.

Of curious interest here is not so much the sadistic though ultimately hackneyed calls for carnage, but rather the claim that torturing, terrorizing, and tearing infidels apart somehow “eases the sufferings in the hearts of the believers” and “satisfies the soul.”

Such claims are actually derived from Islam’s most sacred text.  The Koran exhorts believers to “fight them [those who oppose Islam], Allah will torment them with your hands, humiliate them, empower you over them, and heal the hearts of the believers, removing the rage from their hearts” (Koran 9:14-15).

As usual, to understand the significance of any Koran verse, one must turn to the sira and hadith — the biography and anecdotes of Muhammad, respectively — for context.  Koran 9:14-15 is connected to the slaughter of ‘Amr bin Hisham, a pagan Arab chieftain originally known as “Abu Hakim” (Father of Wisdom) until Muhammad dubbed him “Abu Jahl” (Father of Stupidity) for his staunch opposition to Islam.

After ‘Amr was mortally wounded by a new convert to Islam during the Battle of Badr, Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud, a close companion of Muhammad, saw the non-Muslim chieftain on the ground.  So he went to him and started abusing him, including by grabbing and pulling ‘Amr’s beard and standing in triumph over the dying chief’s chest.

According to Al-Bidaya wa Al-Nihaya (“The Beginning and the End”), Ibn Kathir’s authoritative history of early Islam, “after that, he [Abdullah] cut his [‘Amr’s] head off and bore it till he placed it in the hands of the Prophet. Thus did Allah heal the hearts of the believers with it.”

This, then, is the exegesis of Koran 9:14-15:

Fight them, Allah will torment them with your hands [mortally wounding and eventually decapitating ‘Amr], humiliate them [pulling his beard], empower you over them [standing atop him], and heal the hearts of the believers, removing the rage from their hearts [at the sight of his decapitated head].

The logic here is that pious Muslims are so full of zeal for Allah’s cause that the only way their inflamed hearts can be soothed is to see those who oppose Allah and his prophet utterly crushed — humiliated, mutilated, decapitated.  Then the hearts of the believers can be at ease and “healed.”

But there’s more.  Koran 96:15-16 alludes to the fate of ‘Amr and offers context: “No!  If he does not desist, we will surely drag him by the forelock — a lying, sinning forelock.”

According to al-Alusi’s exegesis, after Abdullah placed his foot on the dying foe of Islam, ‘Amr opened his eyes and recognized him.  The once proud chieftain lamented that he was being killed by a common “goat herder,” to which Abdullah replied, “Islam elevates and nothing is elevated above it.”  He then sheared his head off.  “But he could not carry it, so he made holes in the ears and put thread through them and dragged the head to the prophet.  Then Gabriel, peace be upon him, came laughing and saying, “O prophet, you got an ear and an ear — and the head between for a bonus!”

Based, then, on the treatment of ‘Amr bin Hisham (aka “Abu Jahl”) as recorded in the Koran and Islam’s other core texts, all sadistic acts carried out by the Islamic State — and now being called for against every Western person — were in fact committed by the earliest Muslims, and all with the complete approval of Muhammad (and apparently the “angel” Gabriel, too).  They include beheadings and mutilations (e.g., holes in ears of ‘Amr); humiliation and gestures of triumph (feet on chest of fallen victim, dragging his body, or head, on the ground); laughter, mockery, and celebration (for the hearts of the believers are now “healed”).

ISIS was so committed to promoting such atrocities that, back in its heyday in Iraq and Syria, it regularly disseminated gory videos and pictures of its victims precisely in an effort to “heal the hearts” of Muslims.  I still have access to them.  One showed the decapitated head of a Syrian soldier with the caption “healing for hearts.”  Several showed ISIS jihadists standing atop their slain victims.  Others showed jihadists laughing and joking around while holding the mutilated heads of their enemies — reminiscent of the “angel” Gabriel laughing and joking about the mutilated head of ‘Amr. 

Such is the true cult of jihad, which few non-Muslims can begin to comprehend — and little wonder, considering that their political leaders and media do everything possible to present Islam as the (perpetually misunderstood) “religion of peace.”

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Defenders of the West and Sword and Scimitar, is the Distinguished Senior Shillman Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and the Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Image: chidioc via Pixabay, Pixabay License.

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