"The tragedy of common sense
it that it is not
"Politically correct Christianity
is tolerated but despised.
Full Gospel Christianity is
respected but persecuted."
"If you marry the Zeitgeist
you will soon become widow."
"To reach the source of a river
you must swim upstreams."
(Stanislaw Jerzy Lec)
"I note that all those,
who are positive to abortion
already are born."
(Obviously it is impossible to present comprehensive and completely accurate interpretations and explanations of various Islamic concepts, in just a few lines. For more detailed discussions, I refer the reader to Wikipedia, or to search the Internet. Muslim Internet sites should be viewed with a certain amount of skepticism, as they seem to rather whitewash the religion of Islam. The best is to read in many different places, though this requires a lot of time and effort. Maybe too much time and effort for most people. For this reason I have compiled the following mini dictionary. The reader may take it for what it is.)
Note! Islam is not defined by the opinions of well-meaning, politically correct Europeans. Nor do the "experts" at Södertörn University (a Swedish university known for its inferior academic standard) and similar institutions, that stand up for everything that is politically correct and in vogue right now (Islam-hugging, gender studies, Christophobia, Israelophobia etc), have any mandate to define Islam. This religion, just as any other religion, is defined by its own holy scriptures and the consensus that exists among its faithful interpreters (clergy).
Any reference to the Sharía Law in the following text is based on the numbering in "Reliance of the Traveller", compiled by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (see the entry word "Sharía Law" below).
Of the world’s approximately 1.6 billion Muslims, about 10% are Shiite Muslims (about 190 million people). Most Shiites live in southern Iraq, Iran, northern Yemen and in the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan.
Conflicts have always existed between Shiite- and Sunni Muslims, mainly because of different interpretations of the Qur’an. Tensions have been strong, especially in Iraq, and have until this day remained so. The war between Iran and Iraq in the 80’s was (perhaps partly) a result of these disagreements (it is likely that Saddam Hussein also had aspirations to expand his territory).
Salafism is a faction within Sunni Islam, which only accepts Islam as it was applied during the first three generations after Muhammad. They accept no reinterpretations of the religious texts and have a very strict view on how Islam should be practiced. Wahhabism (see below) can be viewed as part of Salafism. Salafists represent a militant, radical Islam and strive to establish the Caliphate over all the earth (without force if possible, by force if necessary). Many terrorists and suicide bombers are Salafists. The most extreme Muslims in Europe and the US are Salafists. They demand that Sharía law shall be imposed everywhere and that the countries of Europe must bow down to Islam.
Shiite Muslims believe that Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law Ali (ibn Abi Talib), who was Islams fourth caliph, was the foremost interpreter of the true doctrine. Because his views were considered a threat to Islam (by his rivals), he was murdered (in reality it was probably more about worldly power than about theology). Since then, he is honored as a martyr among his followers. The Shiite Muslims also believe in the Twelfth Imam after Ali (who goes under the name of "the Mahdi"). The Twelfth Imam lived in the 800s AD and disappeared in a mysterious way. The Shiites believe that he will one day return to earth, together with Jesus, to save mankind (obviously inspired by the Jewish/Christian Messianic belief).
It is perhaps worth mentioning that Nazi Germany, just before WWII, tried to establish an alliance with the Muslim world, and had extensive trade relations with several Muslim countries, particularly Iran, where they were very influential (45 percent of Iran’s trade was with Germany). The Germans had a very strong radio transmitter, used for propaganda (Radio Zeesen), which broadcasted in Farsi and Arabic. Through this medium they spread their anti-Semitic message and urged all Muslims to annihilate the Jews. During a transmission on July 7, 1942, the message was, among other things, that "the hope of salvation lies in the extermination of the Jews, before they exterminate you!" The Germans were no fools and knew how to charm the Muslims. They compared Muhammad’s struggle for Islam to Hitler’s struggle against England and the Jews, prompting many Shiite clerics to believe that Hitler was the Twelfth Imam.
Sufism is a branch of Islam, engaged in mysticism. The goal of Sufism is to seek the Truth through love and devotion. This is called tariqat the spiritual path to God. One would wish that Sufism were the dominant faction in Islam. Tariqat seems far more sympathetic than jihad.
Sunni is the largest of the two main branches of Islam (the other is Shiite). It dominates the Muslim world, except in Iran. Within Sunni Islam it is argued that Muhammad not only was the greatest prophet, but also the last. The Sunnis therefore obey only Muhammad’s commandments, and avert other prophets. Beside the Qur’an, the Sunnis also have a collection of scriptures, called the hadith. Hadith consists of stories about the Prophet (Muhammad) and quotations from him, regarding the practical application of Islam. Stories about the Prophet’s friends and followers are also sometimes referred to. There are several collections of the hadiths, compiled by various Muslim interpreters.
Wahhabism is a puritanical form of Islam, most common in Saudi Arabia. It is named after Muhammad ibn al-Wahhab, an Islamic reformer, who lived in the 1700s and who wanted to restore Islam to its original form (former glory). Many of today’s Muslim terrorists are/were Wahhabists (e.g. Osama bin-Laden).
Ayatollah: The word is derived from "ayat Allah" which means "the sign of God" and denotes an eminent religious/political, Shiite Muslim leader. Used mainly in Iran.
Emir: This word derives from the Arabic word "Amir-ul Momineen" and means "leader of the faithful". The title normally refers to military leaders. Can also be translated as "prince".
Imam: Among Shiites this word is used for Muhammad’s heirs, who are considered to be Islam’s true leaders. The Sunnis also use the word, relating it to a prayer leader.
Caliph (the word means "deputy"): The Prophet Muhammad’s successors were called caliphs and the area they ruled over was called the Caliphate, which meant the contemporary Islamic world (Muhammad was both a religious and a political leader). The first four caliphs Abu Bakr (632–634), Umar I (634–644), Uthman ibn Affan (644–656) and Ali ibn Abi Talib (656–661) are known as the Rashiduns (which roughly means "those who followed the right path"). The Sunnis regard the era of the Rashiduns as the golden age of Islam. During this period Islam expanded rapidly.
The Shiites, on their part, mean (as mentioned above) that the fourth caliph, Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was murdered 661, was the first imam and that his descendants are the only rightful heirs of the Caliphath.
A caliph is the only Muslim leader, who has the authority to order the martial (lesser) jihad (where the Muslims not only defend themselves, but attack to spread Islam). The last existing Caliphat was the Ottoman Caliphat (which ceased to exist when the last Ottoman caliph was removed from his position 1924). Since then no one in the Muslim World has had the authority to start jihad. IS (the Islamic State) has recently proclaimed the new Caliphat (and a caliph) in Syria/Iraq and thus considers their jihad to be legitimate (according to Muslim law). Most Muslim leaders seem to disagree with this.
Mufti: An Islamic scholar who interprets Islamic laws. Only a mufti can issue a fatwa, i.e. a formally binding interpretation of Islamic law.
Mullah: The definition varies for different areas. The Taliban refer the mullah to a traditional prayer leader at a local mosque.
Sheik: An elder or religious person, a wise person, who often have many followers. A sheik can simultaneously be a mufti.
Al-Nasikh wal-Mansoukh (the Remover and the Removed) is the principle which says that if two suras contradict each other, the last written sura is valid. The chronological order of a sura thus determines its importance to Islam and Islamic practice. This in accordance with the following suras (verse numbers according to Zettersten’s translation verse numbers differ slightly between different translations, often about two to a maximum of ten verses):
As often as we cancel a verse or let if fall into oblivion, we bring a better or it’s like instead; do you not know that God is omnipotent? (sura 2:100)
And when we put a verse in place of another, because God knows what best he sends down, they say: "You invent the past." No, most of them know nothing. (sura 16:103)
Allah can thus at any time substitute one sura with another and "better" sura. This, of course, facilitated things for Muhammad, as he could always adapt the Qur’an as circumstances wanted.
One can distinguish between two important periods in the life of Muhammad. During the early period, when Muhammad started to receive "revelations" from Allah, he lived in Mecca. Initially, Muhammad tried to convert the people of Mecca through persuasion. Many of the suras appearing at this time, seem relatively tolerant and non-violent, and it is in these that the Qur’an speaks of love, peace and tolerance (but even here the message of love is limited and by far not as challenging and universal as in the teachings of Jesus). Muhammad succeeded, however, not very well with his proselytizing in Mecca, and met with both derision and open resistance.
These moderate verses are cited by Muslims when they want to convince well-meaning Westerners that Islam is just as peaceful and loving as the message of Jesus. This is nothing short of outright fraud, which will be shown in the following paragraphs.
According to some Western interpreters of Islam, there are actually two Qur’ans; The Mecca Qur’an and the Medina Qur’an, which can be regarded as two different books in one volume. As the Medina Qur’an was written later, this is regarded as superior to the Mecca Qur’an, in accordance with the Al-Nasikh wal-Mansoukh principle.
In 622 Muhammad and his followers left Mecca in greatest secrecy, after being warned about a planned assassination attempt on him. The journey went to Medina, a city about 320 kilometers north of Mecca. The residents of Medina had asked Muhammad to come there, as their city was paralyzed by interior controversies and needed a peacemaker. and a strong leader. In Medina Muhammad didn’t have to ask twice and he quickly reached a position of power. Now he could reveal his true self. The suras that were written after his arrival in Medina have a more spiteful and hateful tone. They speak about killing all opponents (i.e. all infidels), beheadings, mutilations, terrorism and religious intolerance. It was no longer a matter of persuading people to join Muhammad, but now threats and coercion and even murder became tools to win souls.
Unsuspecting Westerners often talk about the tolerance and peacefulness of the true Islam, and that acts of terrorism in the name of Islam are perpetrated by extremists (who are an insignificant minority, and who have also completely misunderstood Islam). Sometimes these well-meaning Westerners even quote certain verses from the Qur’an to prove their point of view. These verses are always derived from Muhammad’s time in Mecca.
According to the principle that the last written sura cancels earlier and contradictory suras, most (if not all) of the rather tolerant suras written in Mecca are canceled by the more aggressive suras written in Medina. Sura 9:5 (sura 9 is one of the suras from the period in Media) says i.e.:
But when the protected months have expired, so kill the polytheists (aimed at Christians a.o.), wherever you find them.
The Qur’an contains a total of 114 suras, and according to all interpreters sura 9 is chronologically no. 113 or no. 114, that is either the second last or the last sura (see my list of chronological order of suras link above). Thus, there is no other sura which can annul what is said here. That is, regardless of what the more tolerant suras from the Mecca period say, it is the commandments in sura 9:5 that applies. But this is never (understandably) mentioned when Muslims talk about their wonderful religion to Western journalists, politicians and other members of the Compassion choir (the politically correct so called intellectual elite). And the likelihood that these well-meaning Westerners themselves would check what is written in the Qur’an (and the other holy scriptures of Islam) is virtually nonexistent.
Ayah is the name of the verses in the various suras.
Caliphate an Islamic empire ruled by a caliph, i.e. a leader claiming both religious and worldly sovereignty, acting as a deputy for the Prophet Muhammad. The caliphate is governed according to the holy scriptures of Islam, as interpreted in the Sharía law. According to Sunni Islam the caliph shall be elected by the people, while in Shiite Islam the caliph must be a descendant of the Prophet (and Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was Muhammad's first cousin).
Dar al Harb (The house of war) The part of the world which is not yet dominated and ruled by Islam and which, according to the holy scriptures of Islam, must be conquered (jihad).
Dar al Islam (The house of Islam) The part of the world that is already under the rule of Islam.
Dhimmi People of the Book, i.e. Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, are entitled to keep their faith when Islam takes over a country or an area, provided that they submit to Islam. They will not have to pay the regular tax for Muslims, zakat, but instead they must pay a special tax, the jizya, earmarked as a fee for Muslim protection. To be a dhimmi means a life under oppression. Under Sharía Law, dhimmis are not allowed to dress like Muslims, they are not allowed to build new churches and must not ring the church bells or display crosses or celebrate funerals or religious feasts in a conspicuous manner. They are not allowed to ride horses or own a sword (or any other type of weapon). When they meet a Muslim on the sidewalk they must step down into the street to let the Muslim pass. A Muslim can anytime visit a dhimmi's house and he must be accommodated for three days without paying. Etc, etc. A person belonging to the People of the Book must always show a subservient attitude towards their Masters, the Muslims. To boldly look a Muslim in the eyes without showing submission is regarded as rebellion. Should a dhimmi violate any of these rules, he loses Islam’s protection and is faced with four options; capital punishment, slavery, ransom or release (the Caliph decides, which makes it all rather arbitrary).
The concept of dhimmis was fully applied during Islam’s glory days (differing in cruelty how large was the jizya or how hard was the oppression of the People of the Book, depended on the cruelty or benevolence of the local ruler). Salafists, the Islamic State and other orthodox Muslims of today are planning to reintroduce the dhimmi system in every country they conquer.
Fatwa an advisory decision from a recognized theological authority within Islam (a sheik/mufti), concerning Islamic law. In the West we often associate fatwas with death sentences (i.e. the death sentence against the author Salman Rushdie). But fatwas can rule on virtually anything. There are even fatwas against terrorism, issued by moderate Muslim clerics (mostly living in the West). Every Muslim is bound to obey a fatwa, as it is based on Islam’s sacred texts.
The Hadíths represent collections of hadiths (prophetic traditions), containing the corpus of teachings, deeds and sayings of Muhammad. There are several collections, of which the hadith according to Bukhari is considered to be one of the more reliable. It contains 2602 hadiths. The hadíths are, just like the Qur’an, binding for the orthodox Muslim (here the reader can search in several different collections of hadíths, would you rather find a certain hadíth like book 62 number 65 this is best done on this site).
Halal Islam’s equivalent of Judaism’s kosher, i.e. halal means that something is permissible/clean, in other words in accordance with the will of Allah.
Haram the opposite of halal, i.e. that which is unlawful/unclean in Islam.
Jesus is regarded as a prophet within Islam. According to the Qur’an he is not the Son of God (to believe so is blasphemy), nor is he Man’s Savior. Sura 4:156 says:
And said: "Decidedly we have killed Christ, Jesus, the son of Mary, the apostle of God" but they have neither killed nor crucified him, to them it only seems so….
Jesus, thus, was not crucified, but "to them (the Jews) it only seems so". In 4:169 we read:, "Jesus, son of Mary, is only God’s apostle…" Sharía law o.9.8 has the following interesting passage about Jesus’ second coming (in conjunction with the End of Time):
…because he will not rule according to the Gospel, but as a follower of our prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Jesus, Islam says here, will not preach the Gospel but the Qur’an when he returns. This bears clear witness that Islam is one hundred percent incompatible with the Christian faith. According to the latter, Jesus is God himself, come to earth in human form, to save mankind from the consequences of Evil. He is not a "follower of" Muhammad and will definitely not preach the Qur’an. Muhammad was (even according to Islam itself) an ordinary human being who, unlike Jesus, performed no miracles, did not have a supernatural birth and is not predicted in any prophesies. Muhammad murdered, or had murdered, a very large number of people (according to Islam’s own history Muhammad killed only one man by his own hands, but countless others were killed at his explicit orders). After the death of Muhammad, his teachings have inspired to murdering, torturing, tormenting, oppressing and enslaving hundreds of millions of people (between 12 and 40 millions no one knows the exact number black slaves were transported to the Islamic world by Muslim slave traders the Muslim slave trade continued for more than 1000 years and ceased in the 20th Century after pressure from the Christian West). Of course there will now be many intellectuals who claim that slaves also existed in the Christian world, and that is sadly true. However, unlike the holy scriptures of Islam there is nothing in the Christian doctrine that allows slavery this I discuss in more detail here (sorry but not yet translated to English).
Most indications show that the Qur’an was written by Muhammad himself, and simply reflects his personality. It contains remarkably little love and tolerance (much less than in any of the other major religions of the world) and is dominated by exhortations to violence and murder and hatred and intolerance and oppression (especially if one takes into account that the earlier, relatively tolerant suras, written in Mecca, are canceled by the later, more aggressive suras, written in Medina see the entry word "Al-Nasikh wal-Mansoukh"). Muhammad was definitely not superior to Jesus. He was not even worthy of washing Jesus’ feet. And now the politically correct reader presumably thinks that I violate Islam, when I write this. First of all, it’s Islam that is violating the Christian faith, trying to reduce Jesus to an inferior follower of Muhammad. Secondly, I do not write what I write to offend, but because I am one hundred percent convinced that what I write is true! And truth is more important than anything else with the sole exception of love! And love is inseparable from truth!
Jihad means every Muslim’s duty to fight for Islam until the whole world bows under Islamic rule. Often, the so-called intellectuals in the West (who instinctively defend Islam, while they at the same time abhor the Christian faith) say that jihad (the spread of Islam through war) is based on a misunderstanding. The word jihad has, the argument goes, its root in the word mujahada, i.e. the same word as Mujahideen, which means to fight against the evil within oneself and has very little to to with waging war against non-Muslims. It is true that this type of jihad, which is called "the greater jihad", is also found within Islam. But in Sharía law there is little talk about this type of jihad. By far the largest space is devoted to the warlike jihad (called "the minor jihad"). In Sharía law o9.8-9, jihad is commented upon as follows (in my version of Sharía law, only about a quarter of a page is devoted to the greater, non-warlike jihad while almost 10 pages deal with the minor jihad):
The Caliph is waging war against the Jews, the Christians and the Zoroastrians until they become Muslims or they pay the jizya (see the entry word dhimmi).
The Caliph wages war against all other peoples until they become Muslims.
There is little support in the sacred texts of Islam for the opinion that martial jihad would be less important than fighting one's own inner demons (that there are compendiums, written by teachers at Södertörn University in Sweden, who claim otherwise, can be be ignored Islam is interpreted by its own sacred writings and not by compendiums published by politically correct subacademic institutions in Europe). In a hadith we find the following interesting statement by Muhammad:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle was asked, "What is the best deed?" He replied, "To believe in Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad). The questioner then asked, "What is the next (in goodness)? He [Muhammad] replied, "To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah's Cause" [bold letters added by me]. The questioner again asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" He replied, "To perform Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca) 'Mubrur, (which is accepted by Allah and is performed with the intention of seeking Allah's pleasure only and not to show off and without committing a sin and in accordance with the traditions of the Prophet).".
(Hadith according to Bukhari, Vol 1, Book 2, no. 26).
The reader can easily check the above quotes by going to the second link under the entry word "Hadith" above. Click on "2. Belief" and scroll down to "Volume 1, Book 2, Number 26". Note that in the expression "jihad (religious war)" normal brackets are used. The comment "(religious war)" is thus nothing I have added on my own as an explanation (in which case I had used square brackets, which is common practice), but is included in the original text, to clarify that the type of jihad Muhammad is speaking of here, is relating to war and nothing else! The warlike jihad is therefore (according to Muhammad himself) the second best accomplishment for a Muslim, after believing in Allah and his Apostle. This quotation proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the martial jihad is more important to Muslims than "the (peaceful) greater jihad". Reality also shows that this is the case. Both historically and in the present day. Had the Muslims been engaged in meditation and introspection rather than war and decapitating unbelievers, the world (and especially the Islam world) would have looked very different (for the better).
Jizya see the entry word Dhimmi.
Kufr (or kafr) is a negative term in Islam, which has a meaning of "infidelity", infidel (= non-Muslim). In my version of the Sharía law, kufr is translated with infidelity. Kufr derives from the Arabic word kafir, meaning to hide something. In Islam, kufr stands for everything that is unacceptable and offensive and disgusting in the eyes of Allah (haram). The term is used for people who rejects Allah or distorts the true faith. A person who is guilty of kufr is called a kafir and the very act of declaring someone as kafir (can e.g. be done by a Muslim priest) is called a takfir. The penalty of kufr is basically death (if the person in question maintains his erroneous views). According to Sharía law you are guilty of kufr if you e.g. claim that non-Muslim religions are acceptable (o8.7 (20)) or if you believe in the existence of natural laws (o8.7 (17)). The first of these Sharía law paragraphs shows, clearly, that the love and sympathy recent Swedish archbishops have shown towards Islam is not mutual. It is a one-sided love, which is met by contempt and scorn.
Mahdi is the Islamic equivalent of the Messiah of Judaism and Christianity. The Mahdi will rule over the world for seven or nine or nineteen years (according to different traditions) before the Day of Judgment. During this time, all injustice, all atrocities and all oppression will come to an end. For Shiite Muslims, the Mahdi is a central part of their faith and strongly associated with the return of the twelfth Imam (see entry word Shiite Muslims). Also Sunni Muslims believe that the Mahdi will appear at the End of Time. One hadith says that the Mahdi is right now hiding as "the sun behind a cloud", to appear when the time has come. According to both Sunni and Shiite traditions, the Mahdi will return together with Jesus.
It is obvious how strongly Muhammad has been influenced by Christianity and Judaism. The Bible talks about the Second Coming of Christ, when he, before the Final Judgment, during 1000 years will reign over Earth. During these 1000 years no suffering, no violence and no injustice will exist.
Ottoman Empire The Turkish Empire (caliphate), which under its heydays encompassed large parts of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. After WW1, where Turkey was one of the losers, the empire had dwindled to Turkey of today.
The Ottoman Caliphate (Empire) 1683, which was the year the Battle of Vienna took place. This battle put an end to further Islamic expansion into Europe.
The Qur’an Islam’s holy book (here you can read and search in several different Qur’an translations). According to tradition, the Qur’an was dictated to Muhammad by the Archangel Gabriel. Because the text, as Muslims believe, is directly dictated by Allah’s angel, there is no room for interpretation. Each word and sentence has its exact meaning and importance. What is said there must be literally obeyed. The Qur’an cannot, for this reason, be interpreted in relation to a changing reality. This makes Islam static. The thinking, the world view and the perspective on human value that exist in today’s Islam, are basically identical to what characterized the 600 century Bedouin tribes. No wonder that Islam is at odds with all other cultures and peoples (living in the 2000s). Nor is it surprising that orthodox Muslims are largely unable to adapt in the West. It is also quite obvious that modern science is almost entirely absent in the Muslim world. And the more influence Islam has in a country, the less qualified science is taking place in that country.
The Qur'an is generally thought to have existed in Heaven since the beginning of Time (which is difficult to reconcile with the principle that Allah anytime can replace a sura with a "better" one (see the entry word "Al-Nasikh wal-Mansoukh").
When Muhammad dictated the Qur'an, this was written down on anything at hand; parchments, flat stones, bits of bones etc (it is generally believed that Muhammad was illiterate). When Muhammad died no one knew for sure in what order the different suras had been "revealed" to Muhammad, which is reflected in the interpretation principle called Al-Nasikh wal-Mansoukh (see this entry word).
The third caliph, Uthman (ibn Affan), is perhaps best known for compiling the version av the Qur'an which is used today. Because of the very fast growth of Islam in the beginning, many different versions of the Qur'an soon arouse. In the new areas people were speaking different dialects and languages, which caused changes in spelling and text and there were (quite naturally) writing errors accumulating when the Qur'an was copied again and again. From the beginning part of the Qur'an was memorized by people in Muhammad's closest circle of friends. Many of them had already died in battle and there was a risk that important, original parts of the text would disappear in this way.
Because of the existence of several different versions of the Qur'an, some groups of Muslims had started to doubt the authority of the Qur'an. This is recounted in several hadiths. Uthman therefore appointed a committee, whose task it was to arrive at the correct, original version. When Uthman's committee eventually agreed upon the correct Qur'an version, this version was sent out all over the Muslim world. Uthman ordered that all deviating text variants should be immediately destroyed (that this should have succeeded to 100 percent is highly unlikely). Many (not all) Western scholars are of the opinion that today's Qur'an is virtually identical with Uthman's version. Whether this version is identical to the original version, dictated by Muhammad, is another question, to which I believe no one has an answer. The history of the Qur'an is a long and rather thrilling story, for which there is no place in this article (the interested reader can read more about this here).
The benevolent advocates of Islam, among European intellectuals, often refer to the Old Testament’s (OT) "atrocities" when defending the Qur’an. "There is at least as much violence in the OT as in the Qur’an!" they say. Firstly this is not true. But even if it were true, this cannot excuse Islam's atrocities. Each culture/ideology/religion and each individual is responsible for its/his/her own actions, irrespectively of what others do. Secondly the Qur’an claims to be God’s final revelation to Man, and therefore superior to the New Testament in highness and greatness and standard of moral. For this reason a comparison between OT and the Qur'an is meaningless, if we want to compare Islam with Christianity. For such a comparison to be relevant, we must compare the Qur'an with the New Testament. And in such comparison the Qur’an falls short! And very much so!
The Sharía Law is the interpretation of Islam and how Islam should be applied in all areas of life (and can be regarded as Islam's analogue to the Jewish Talmud not yet translated to English). It is not straightforward to interpret Islam’s sacred texts. The Qur’an contains e.g. contradictions, and according to what has been said above, the last written of two contradictory sura verses will apply. Because the suras are not in chronological order in the Qur’an, the interpreters have tried to make lists of the chronology (see entry word al-Nasikh wal-Mansoukh). The problem is that different interpreters have come up with variable results, giving uncertainties in some cases.
Alongside the Qur’an, Islam’s sacred writings consist of hadiths and siras (see respective entry word). In Sharía law, besides the Qur’an, the chronological order of the suras and what is said in the hadiths and siras, have been taken into account, i.e. the Sharía law gives Islam interpreted and clarified and ready to use. Now, to complicate things further, there are different versions of Sharía law. The good news is that they differ mostly only in detail (see next paragraph). If you want to know what Islam says, and don't want to spend the rest of your life studying the Qur'an etc, you should therefore go to the Sharía law. There you find instructions on almost anything. How to cleanse yourself. How to distinguish between different discharges from men’s and women’s genitals. How to view; science, cause and effect, jihad, homosexuality, apostasy from Islam etc . We also find inheritance laws and laws regulating marriage and divorce etc. Sharía law constitutes, in many respects, a scary reading.
There are four different Sharía-schools within Sunni Islam; Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali. They are identical to 75 percent. Of these Shafi’i is considered to contain fewer problems and differences than the others (i.e., if you read only one of the versions, you should choose Shafi’i to obtain the most accurate and representative picture of Sharía law). All versions agree that male homosexuality is an abomination and should be severely punished (beheading or stoning). All versions agree that anyone who renounces Islam must die (here we find some slight differences; according to one version, anyone who renounces Islam should be given one chance to come back to Islam before being killed, according to another he should be given three chances). A very good and transparent version of Sharía law (according to the Shafi’I school) is entitled Reliance of the Traveller by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri. You can find it for instance on Amazon. The book contains about 1200 pages and is surprisingly cheap. Reliance of the Traveller is based on the prominent Imam Nawawi’s compilation of Sharía law from the 1200s. There is an excellent index at the end of the book, making it easy to find the topic you are interested in.
Sharía law is also a part of Shi’a Islam. The difference is that the Sunnis base Sharía law solely on the Qur’an and the Sunnah (see this entry word), while the Shiites also base it on "the teachings of the 12 imams"). Islam defenders in the West often state that "all Muslims are certainly not of that belief", when trying to explain away Muslim terror and stoning of raped women in countries like Iran and Yemen. I.e., as there are different factions within Islam (like Sunni and Shi’a etc), and slightly different versions of the Sharía law, we cannot, according to the political correctness label, judge Islam based on what the "Islamists" do. "The true Islam is certainly just as good and loving as Christianity! Or probably more so".
Both Sunnis and Shiites, however, basically have the same fundamental belief, so I don’t think this argument is valid. What we call Islamists are in fact the true Muslims, who do exactly what the Qur’an and the hadiths (i.e. Muhammad) command them to do. I have never heard a prominent Islamic priest or leader accuse the Islamic State or Boko Haram for heresy! People who commit evil acts in the name of Jesus, do exactly what Jesus forbids them to do. Jesus says in his famous Sermon on the Mount:
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 7:21)
Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matt. 7:23)
Siras are stories about Muhammad’s life, and gives examples of how the faithful should live and act. These are guidelines, but not as binding as the hadiths.
Sura is the name of the different parts of the Qur’an (equivalent to the books of the Bible). The Qur’an contains 114 suras. The longest suras are generally found at the beginning of the Qur’an. And then there is a tendency for the suras to become shorter and shorter (with some exceptions). Sura two contains 286 verses (and is the longest sura) while sura 114 contains 6 verses.
Sunnah derives from the Arabic word "flow" and has the meaning of a "trodden path". Sunnah means simply what was taught in speech and action by the Prophet and what his followers are expected to follow. The sunnah sources are the hadiths and siras (see respective words). In certain traditions within Islam, hadith and sunnah are equivalent concepts.
Taqiyya or Al-taqiyaa the meaning of this concept is that Muslims have the right/are obliged to lie to, or deceive, non-Muslims for the benefit of Islam. We read the following in Sharía law r8.2:
Speech is a means to achieve goals. If a laudable goal can be achieved by both telling the truth and by lying, it is unlawful to achieve the goal by lying, because there is no need to lie. When it is possible to achieve such a goal by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if to achieve the goal is permissible, and mandatory to lie if the goal is mandatory [bold types added by me].
Therefore, it is unfortunately impossible to trust any peace treaty or other agreement with orthodox Muslims. For this reason Muslim leaders in Sweden can, without getting a bad conscience, deny that Islam orders the death penalty for practiced homosexuality and for those who renounce Islam (despite the fact that the hadiths and Sharía law dictates it). And of course, all good and benevolent Swedes believe in what the Muslims say "Certainly they can’t be as vile as lying to us! Could they?". Yes, that is exactly what they could, and can. They are even explicitly commanded to lie by their own sacred writings, as shown in the quotation given above!
Note! Jihad is one of the mandatory (and most important) goals in Islam!!! For this reason a Muslim is ordered to lie about jihad, as the truth about jihad definitely would endanger the goal. I all Muslims openly told politicians, journalists etc about the horrible destiny that awaits Europe within a generation or so, the European countries might awake to early, before check-mate is inevitable (the end of the European civilization).
Ummah is the Arabic word for "nation" or "community" and can have several different meanings. The word can refer to the Arab world or all the Muslim countries or all faithful Muslims across the world (even those living in non-Muslim countries).
To check what is actually written in the Qur’an seems to be a thought completely alien to a normal well-meaning Westerner, who probably believes that this would be offensive to the Muslims (it could be interpreted as if we distrust them). Their whole being (of the well-meaning Westerner) just k n o o o w s that what is written in the Qur’an are good, wonderful things a message full of love, peace and tolerance while the Bible is full of the most heinous atrocities (commanding Christians to take slaves and kill and rob and murder and hate). And this they know without ever having read either the Qur’an or the Bible. It is politically correct to have this opinion, and what is politically correct needs not to be verified since it is "more true" than truth itself. It is true per definition. Politically correct statements are above all logic analysis and all facts and any form of observation. They are true because they are true! And that is the end of it! Nothing more is to be said. And nothing more is allowed to be said.
No sane person could ever doubt that such an attitude prevents every meaningful attempt to analyze and discuss and understand Islam and the consequences of rapidly growing Muslim populations in Europe. The way most western politicians, journalists and intellectuals relate to Islam, endangers the whole Western civilization! The next coming generations of Europeans will harvest the dragon's teeth sown by todays politically correct, but abysmally ignorant European intelligentsia (note: intelligentsia has nothing to do with real intelligence)! Intelligentsia of today is just another word for "seduced by Utopian ideology"!