Another chapter from the suspense novel, An Eye for the Beheading:
Chapter 4: Day of Doom and the Holy Quran
Bangladesh Hindu priest beheaded by Islamic State
The Itamar massacre which included the beheading of a baby...[in Israel/Palestine]
Israeli News: “a little child’s head [3-month-old Haddas Fogel] was decapitated” by Muslims Amjad Awad and Hakim Awad...
proudly admit they knifed to death five members of the Jewish Fogel family in the West Bank Settler village of Itamar on Shabbat."
Later, Palestinian TV aired an interview in which the mother of Hakim and his aunt said
they were proud of him for the attack which included the beheading.
His aunt described him as a “hero and a legend.”
The Jerusalem Post, Israel
Quran 5:33: The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution (by beheading), or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;
Palestinian school textbook:
--Muslims Martyrs who kill Jews: "God will not send away their works...and (will) admit them into paradise.”
Martyrs “will be given the highest place in paradise with the prophets and messengers.”
News: Palestinian militants...began gathering up the Israeli body parts, and at one point were seen playing soccer with the severed head of one Israeli soldier.
"People were running after me and we were kicking the head," he said. "We were spitting on it."
When we heard a helicopter we started running. I carried the head of the Jew and ran away from the area and I took it to the people in the resistance."
Telegraph Report, United Kingdom
Hours earlier, an Israeli shell aimed at a group of Gaza militants slammed into a nearby house and decapitated a 6-year-old Palestinian girl.
UN staff were beheaded as Afghans rage against pastor who burnt Quran
The Independent News
Quran 8:12: I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off.
Quran 47:4: Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), strike off their heads; at length; then when you have made wide Slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives
Quran 9:123: Oh ye who believe! Murder those of the disbelievers and let them find harshness in you.
Quran 2:191: Kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from wherever they drove you out.
Quran 8:17: It is not ye who Slew them; it is God; when thou threwest a handful of dust, it was not Thy act, but God’s...
“When Banu Qurayza Jewish tribe was surrendered (627 A.D.) unconditionally, the apostle confined them in Medina in the quarter of al-Harith, a woman of B. al-Najjar. Then the apostle went out to the market of Medina (which is still its market today) and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for them and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches tying theirs both hands with their necks.
This beheading went on until the apostle made an end of them. There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900. Apparently Muhammad himself worked on the digging of the trench into which the massacred Jews were to be thrown. But he (Muhammad) did not only take part in those preparations, the formulation of the text states but also participated himself in beading of at least two of the leading Jews.
Sahi Buchari Hadiths #143, page-700 : Sulaiman Ibne Harb…Aannas Ibne Malek (ra) narrated, “in the war of Khaiber after the inhabitants of Banu Qurayza was surrendered, Allah’s apostle killed all the able/adult men, and he (prophet) took all women and children as captives (Ghani mateer maal).. Among the captives Rayhana a beautiful young Jewish girl was taken by Allah’s Apostle as booty whom He married after freeing her and her freedom was her Mohr.”
According to the biography of Prophet Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq, Prophet Muhammad himself sanctioned the massacre of the Qurayza, a vanquished Jewish tribe mercilessly. Thus some 600 to 900 men from the Qurayza were lead on Muhammad’s order to the Market of Medina. Trenches were dug and the men were beheaded, and their decapitated corpses buried in the trenches while Muhammad watched in attendance."
Two weeks later, Afifah walked hesitantly toward her biology class on the lower campus. The stitched wound in her side still pained her, but other than that, and a constant glancing around where ever she walked, she felt almost back to normal, if Allah wills.
A guy student standing by an oasis of palms in the middle of the concrete, glanced at her. Afifah pulled her scarf lower on her forehead and looked away.
Her best friend Dalia paced beside her, a ready-helper if she needed anything. Dalia, was a political science major, an Egyptian from Cairo, who had come to take courses at Orange Coast and then transfer to UCI, the science and humanities ‘mecca.’
Well, neither of them used that term; it sounded blasphemous, but they heard the word so often from other students in Orange County, that it stuck.
“Have you heard anything from the police yet?” asked Dalia as she silenced her cell phone which was buzzing. “Probably my political theory study group asking, ‘Dalia! where are you?’”
Afifah glanced at her friend, and shook her head, her insides tumbling back into that horror—their chanting “Down with Israel!” then that sudden savage pain in her side and reverberating gun noise, and her collapsing into blackness.
She paused and then said, “I can’t understand why anyone would shoot at us, though it was Allah’s will, of course. It must have been.”
“Of course, Allah’s will, but, oh come on, these Americans are so two-faced; they talk big and give out scholarships—we got ones didn’t we? But they’re so pro-Zionist, they’d shoot their own mother if that protected Jews.”
“Dalia, I think that’s a bit harsh. Don’t believe all our own talk.” Afifah looked over at her friend again, and then around them, instinctively, as they approached the biological sciences building.
Her friend glared at her, but then broke into a smile and laughed and gave her a hug. “Yeah, maybe I am sounding too political for my own good. I’ve gotta run to study group, but remember just take it slow, since this is your first day back.”
“And phone me if you need help. Now I need to get movin’ if I ever plan to switch to UCI. Catch you later.” Dalia smiled and hurried away as she punched her cell, her robe swishing around her hurrying feet.
Afifah rubbed her moist eyes and stared at the wall frustrated and sad. Why’d she have to read this old depressing text—The Day of Doom about babies being cast into hell by the Christian god! How is this old poem possibly going to help me become a doctor?!
Infants damned because of Original Sin, according to their professor. Because all infants were born sinners, born evil!
More depressing than last week’s study of Jonathan Edward’s “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” where God denies humans any free will and then tortures them forever for doing what he has already decreed!
Christianity's very weird. How depressing. It was sick, this American literature. And not even like most Americans she knew. Why do we have to study this depressing stuff?
How’s this preparing me for medical school? I’d rather study for our cell biology test. Or read my Holy Quran.
Insha’Allah, how she would like to read Muhammed’s encouraging verses instead of these gross Puritan ones. Of course, the Prophet (peace be upon him) spoke of the fires of hell, too, but only for unbelievers, heretics like the Shia; and infidels were sent there, but not precious infants!
What sense did Wigglesworth mean in this horrible verse?
“Reprobate Infants plead for themselves.”
Oh, she understood the English text fine, but what rubbish!
Original Sin. Such Christian doctrines were so weird. She reached for her cell phone, pushed back her blue hijab, and thumbed Dalia’s number. No answer. Great. Afifah frowned and picked at her lip.
Dalia was probably arguing some point of Palestinian history with contrary members in her class. What a chatterbowl! But if she would only pick up, she’d help me get through this trash.
Okay, who else could she call for moral support and encouragement?
She looked down at the damning verses again, about how supposedly God had predestined babies to Hell…
1321: Then to the Bar all they drew near Reprobate Infants plead for themselves. Rev. 20:12,15, compared with Rom. 5:12,14 and 9:11,13. Ezek. 18:2.
1322: Who died in infancy,
1323: And never had or good or bad
1324: effected pers'nally;
1325: But from the womb unto the tomb
1326: were straightway carriéd,
1327: (Or at the least ere they transgress'd)
1328: who thus began to plead
Because they were to be cast into Hell…God petulantly responded back to the babies’ pleading..
1429: Will you demand Grace at my hand,
1430: and challenge what is mine?
1431: Will you teach me whom to set free,
1432: and thus my Grace confine?
1433: "You sinners are, and such a share Psal. 58:8. Rom. 6:23. Gal. 3:10. Rom. 8:29,30 and 11:7. Rev. 21:27. Luke 12:14,8. Mat. 11:22.
1434: as sinners may expect,
1435: Such you shall have, for I do save
1436: none but mine own Elect.
1437: Yet to compare your sin with their
1438: who liv'd a longer time,
1439: I do confess yours is much less,
1440: though every sin's a crime.
1441: "A crime it is, therefore in bliss The wicked all convinced and put to silence. Rom. 3:19. Mat. 22:12.
1442: you may not hope to dwell;
1443: But unto you I shall allow
1444: the easiest room in Hell."
Afifah grimaced and shoved back the text.
Predestined to eternal torment, but they get the easiest room! Sick. Twisted!
Instead she thought of her youngest brother, only an infant when she had left Nablus, Palestine for the United States last year.
She grabbed her cell phone and fingered up one of her pictures of him. Only a few weeks old. What a cutie! And she got to hold him—before she left on the plane--sitting by her father while her mother washed dishes and cleaned.
That perfect nose! Those eyes moving about in the dusky room, her following his gaze trying to figure out what he was looking at. Was he thinking at all or only in-taking images like a scanner?
And those little hands waving around like a band leader--
But then that perfect moment had been shattered.
Her father had suddenly hit the palm of his hand dramatically on his leg—her nephew had startled and cried.
And Walidy had cursed at the TV. And she prayed forgiveness for her father, and sat silently, while mother walked the crying infant back and forth.
In Arabic, the TV's words were being shouted out by a angry commentator: “Israeli planes have bombed Gaza City! Again! The Zionists have murdered a 12-year-old girl and her little brother. And three martyrs were killed!” Angrily, the rose-colored, but modestly covered commentator on Al Jazeera shook her fist.
Their father stood up and slammed his fist into the wall, cursing again.
I don’t want to think on that. Afifah closed the vivid memory of last year and looked at the screen of her phone. How she wished she could be in Nablus right now!
But she knew why not. I’ll call Hatim. He loves to hear himself talk about all things religious. She hid a smile from herself and punched in his number.
Fifteen minutes later she met him along with his older sister, Naheeda, also chubby like Hatim, a sweet but dingy girl. A little flighty. They sat in the college café and sipped expresso--well she did and his sister, but Hatim was too busy ranting about America’s current sins and its despicable pride.
“That Jew-lover Obama should stop funding Israel’s new tank!”
All political stuff Afifah and everyone knew by rote. But her friend always had to give this opening political statement to everyone before he warmed up and got intellectual about college studies.
She knew several of his professors had called Hatim aside and told him he could no longer participate in discussions if he didn’t shutter this opening political rants.
His sister, Naheeda, partially hid her gawky grin to Afifah.
More rushed words. Then finally, Hamid slowed down and started explaining on what she needed help with. "So you see Wigglesworth is partially correct."
She choked on a sip of coffee and brought her hands to her face in shock. "What?!"
Naheeda looked somber and confused too, no grin now, but handed Afifah an napkin to wipe off the coffee dripping on her chin.
“What!" she said again, agigtated, her side hurting where she had been shot by the unknown sniper days earlier.
"What do mean, Hatim?” She put her coffee cup down. “You know the Quran emphasizes Allah is all merciful and compassionate, not vindictive and cruel! ‘In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful.’”
“Yes, yes, Afifah, chapter one, verse one. But,” Hatim pushed the American lit text into the center of their table, avoiding the girls’ two espressos and reached for his Quran, carefully placing the sacred text on a spread napkin.
“you must remember Puritan Christianity and Islam are actually very similar in their philosophical view—
Afifah butted in, “What?! No way!”
She who normally hardly spoke in class, and only got vocal when in demonstrations, apologized. “Sorry, for sounding so angry, but Hamid, we don’t’ believe in Original Sin like these Christians--that babies go to Hell because of Adam’s sin! That’s infidel talk, horrible lies.”
“True, but that doesn’t solve the problem. Look at chapter verse in the Quran. ‘Those whom Allah wills to guide, He opens their breast to Islam; Those whom He wills to leave straying, - he makes their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies…’
“And ‘Whomsoever Allah guides, he is the one who follows the right way; and whomsoever He causes to err, these are the losers. Many are the Jinns and men we have made for Hell.’
S. 7:178-179 That sounds like Wigglesworth doesn't it?"
Afifah sat confused and very angry. Her side ached.
“And Afifah, look here.” Hatim tried not to look too triumph in his presenting of hard evidence for this ignorant Muslim, friend of his sister.
"He whom Allah sendeth astray, for him there is no protecting friend after Him. And thou (Muhammad) wilt see the evil-doers when they see the doom, (how) they say: Is there any way of return?”
“ … And they will have no protecting friends to help them instead of Allah. He whom Allah sendeth astray, for him there is no road.’
S. 42:44, 46”
“Clearly, Muhammed (Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him), clearly, emphasizes our fate in is Allah’s hand, whether to Heaven or Hell. And that includes all infants.”
Afifah sat quiet, utterly bereft.
She started to cry despite herself. No doubt I’ve read those verses many times, but--
But she had never thought about the verses alone, and certainly not in regard to infants like her baby brother.
Hatim noticed the tears, but continued, “To finish, I studied this in depth when I had the same course last spring. Christians turned against free will under the powerful guidance of the theologian Augustine--who was influenced by Eastern thinkers--and, again, in the European Reformation.”
She listened but refused to accept it. Why couldn’t Hatim understand her point?!
He kept talking, “Scholars Martin Luther and John Calvin attacked the views of moderate Catholics such as Erasmus who believed humans have choice.”
Now Hatim talked more softly, “Calvin and most after him emphasized Allah’s total sovereignty. Wigglesworth is just following the Calvinist way of thinking. Calvin spoke of reprobate infants, too.”
“And surely you remember Erasmus’s name, even if you are studying only biological sciences.” He grinned, chuckled in a friendly way, as he saw from her expression that his powerful point was having its effect.
“Yes,” Afifah wiped her face and agreed. She tried to smile, and appear thankful, but she wasn’t. I need to take a pain pill soon.
He failed to notice and added, "So you see, in a strange sort of way, Wigglesworth is very Quranic. Of course, he lacks the understanding that Muhammad, (peace be upon him) could give him if he turned to the true religion.”
Afifah listened. At least, bless his heart, Hatim had taken her questions seriously, and he had gently laughed, which eased her tension and frustration.
Then she spoke, “But, Hatim, we don’t believe Allah condemns babies do we? I don’t remember any verse that says that in the Quran.”
She wiped her face again with her napkin. Her side burnt. She needed to those pain killers in a few moments. “I need some water, Hatim.”
He took her empty coffee cup and walked over to the water cooler.
His sister Naheeda still had not said a single word, but her gawky grin was missing, and she stared toward her brother and then back at Afifah uncertainly. Finally, she took a sip of her coffee and looked around to see if she saw any of her infidel friends.
Hatim came back and handed the water to Afifah. But he wasn’t done and considered how to deliver his final proof with a little tenderness toward his sister’s friend. She was learning. Thank you, Allah!
“Well, listen," he stood and leaned forward, "some Muslim thinkers did believe in free will like Erasmus but al-Ash’ari in the the 10th century and al-Ghazali in the 12th century defeated them!”
“And ever since, we Sunnis have been predestinarians like the Reformed writers such as Wigglesworth and Edwards, though we don’t phrase it like such infidel Christians. Didn’t you study the central Islamic doctrine of qadar in your Nablus school?!”
“And, remember, Afifah, ‘insha Allah’ literally means ‘if Allah wills’ in English, so when people go to hell it is Allah’s will as much as when they go to Heaven.”
He sat down again. “Study what the Asharites said; they claim even in their teaching of “kasab” that all comes from Allah by decree including evil and Hell.”
Afifah hiccupped, then coughed, and couldn’t drink the water. She didn’t look at Hatim or his sister, but stared down at the swirled carpet below their table, stricken with inner agony, and physical pain.
But Hatim didn;t even notice. “Here’s the creed of al-Ash’ari: ‘We hold that there is no creator except Allah, and that the acts of human beings are created and decreed by Allah, as He said, 'Allah has created you and what you do' 37.96”
“And al-Ghazali: ‘…everything is due to the creation of Allah, for the choice itself is also due to the creation of Allah and man is forced into the choice which he makes.’”
Hatim caught a breath and changed direction.
“As for infants, there is a divided opinion as to whether they go to hell or not. Consider this hadith:
‘The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Four (kinds of people) will be brought forth on the Day of Resurrection: the infant, the insane, the one who died during the Fatrah (the period between two prophets) and the very old man.”
“All of them will speak in their own defense, then the Lord, may He be blessed and exalted, will say to a neck of Hell, ‘Come forth!’ and He will say to them, ‘I used to send Messengers to My slaves from amongst themselves. Now I am the Messenger of Myself to you. Enter this (i.e., the Fire).’”
“Those who are decreed to be among the doomed will say, ‘O Lord, how could we enter it when we are trying to escape it?’ And those who are decreed to be among the blessed will rush to enter it. And Allah will say: ‘You would have been more disobedient towards My Messengers.’ So those will enter Paradise and those will enter Hell.’ Abu Ya’laa.”
He sat back in his chair, satisfied with his proofs. And for his conclusive clincher, he said, “Notice, how similar the hadith is to Wigglesworth’s poem stanza, how the hadith speaks of decrees like the Reformed doctrine of damnation does.”
Finally, he looked at Afifah, triumph, waiting for her to show appreciation for his scholarship, and admit defeat.
He reminded himself that Allah had given him his scholarship and excellent mental recall; he would be gentle with this dear Muslim sister.
But Afifah didn't respond or act like he expected.
She avoided his gaze and didn’t speak, but picked at a worn spot on her chair’s fabric. Why did Hatim have to have so many hadiths memorized! Why did my Walidly make me come to America? Why have my last two years been so bad? Why Allah? But she knew.
Silent moments passed in the noisy cafe around them. Shifting uncomfortably in his chair, Hatim regretted his triumphal win this time. Usually in class when he had trumped someone’s skepticism or disbelief or contrary position, the budding scholar couldn’t help gloating and immersing himself in the win for hours.
But now sensing how deeply Afifah was devastated, he said, “Of course, there are, also, contrary opinions, Afifah.” He paused.
“The Quran doesn’t speak to this condition, and remember, unlike false Christianity, our faith is the absolute truth, and thus we know infants are born pure, not with Original Sin.”
Leaning forward now emphasizing each word, “And we know the Quran is perfect and eternal come down from Heaven. So even hadith must bow and worship it. So please don’t take my every comment to heart.”
He felt the urge to touch her arm, to console her, but, of course, refrained.
“Okay, thank you Hatim.” Afifah didn’t look his way, but stood, and walked off in search of her friend Dhalia, not even remembering to say goodbye to Naheeda.
As she hurried down the corridor, the stress and despair of her last two years came back and drowned her. She hurried into the restroom and swallowed a double doze of her pain medication.
Later, bleary eyed and sniffling, Afifah leaned in against her study desk, her stomach cramping.
Dalia surrounded her with her arms and consoled her. “Look, Hatim, is such a braggart. Don’t listen to a thing he says. Remember, I’ve studied hadith, too”—she paused—“at Cairo University last year before coming to America.”
“My prof was a renowned Islamic scholar. He showed us how many hadiths aren’t even necessarily true.”
Afifah blew her nose and listened.
“Lots of stories, including false ones were told in the years after the Prophet’s death. Don’t let these quotes of Hatim bother you.” Dhalia observed her friend, trying to see if anything she was saying was helping.
“Trust the holy Quran. It alone is perfect. Remember, I’m studying this Christian trash like you. NO babies are condemned to Hell! Allah is most merciful, most just.”
Still, Afifah said nothing, but started crying again.
Dalia, suddenly leaned back, took her arms and pulled Afifah around to face her. “Why this huge over-reaction? You haven’t sinned…my sister, have you?!”
Her roommate jumped up and shook her head. “No, I am pure. No boy has touched me! Thanks for such trust!” Afifah gathered up her things.
“Sorry, dear one; I shouldn’t have said that. But you seem so upset over a long infidel poem, a weird Christian one... But why are you letting your studies get to you?”
“Everything is wrong in my life!”
“But, it’s Allah’s will, you know that.”
“Yes,” said Afifah, bowed and mumbled, “I know.”
“Think, Afifah, Allah has blessed you. You are studying to become a doctor. You have the second highest grade point average at Orange Coast College; you probably won’t even need to go to UCI after all, though it’s a fine school for pre-med.”
“I think you’ll get a full scholarship to UCLA! And you live here in rich Orange County. From what you’ve said, you lived in considerable poverty in Nablus, right?”
Afifah didn’t answer.
“And think, you don’t have to go through all those Zionist checkpoints just to get to your relatives in Bethlehem…What is really bothering you?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
Okay, dear friend.” Dalia hugged her and went back to studying.
To be continued--