Historical Outline - Chapter 1 - The Dhimmi by Bat Ye'or

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Historical Outline - Chapter 1 - The Dhimmi by Bat Ye'or

ISBN:0838632629 Buy on Amazon
The Law

The Law says:
The best and most succinct description of the concept of dhimmitude and the foundation for our song. This is just an excerpt from the beginning.

Pages:p43 - p50
Extract:In the year 622, on the invitation of the Ansar—a group of pagans converted to Islam—Muhammad and his small band of followers left Mecca for Yathrib (Medina). The population then consisted of numerous polytheistic clans, of Jewish tribes that had long been established in Arabia, and of Arabs converted to Judaism. The Jews practised agriculture and various specialized handicrafts, while paying dues in money or in kind to pagan Arab tribes allied with them.


The arrival of Muhammad and his followers in Medina provoked no opposition from the Jews. The Prophet organized the Muslim immigrants into a community—the umma. He preached to them an egalitarian moral system founded on the principles of solidarity, charity, and mutual confidence and respect that ought to prevail among Muslims. These principles, revolutionary for a heathen Arab society, were applicable only within the umma [1]. Relations with non-Muslims were elaborated progressively, on the basis of a strategy of hostilities and truces pursued in accordance with the requirements needed to assure the Muslim victory. Razzias in the cause of Allah, during which war and religion were inextricably mingled, inspired many verses of the Koran regarding the jihad (Holy War) and its twofold reward: booty in this life and paradise in the hereafter. [2]

The doctrine preached by Muhammad was a simple one. The Koran is a book of divine origin revealed progressively to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. Islam is the only true and eternal religion (Koran 3:17). The prophets of Israel and Jesus had already preached it and foretold the coming of Muhammad, but the Jews and Christians, jealous of the perfection of the new religion, had rejected him and falsified their own sacred Scriptures. The Muslim faith stresses the divine character of the Koran and of Muhammad's preaching: "Whosoever obeys the Messenger obeys God." [3] Muhammad, being the last of the messengers sent by God to instruct humanity, is the seal of the prophets.

  1. The ordinance allegedly granted by Muhammad on his arrival at Medina and known as the Constitution of Medina, included both Jews and pagan Arabs within the Islamic community, but it proved ephemeral. See 1bn Ishaq (d. 767), Sirat Rasul Allah (The Life of Muhammad), trans. A. Guillaume (Oxford, 1955), pp. 231-33; Stillman, pp. 115-18; M. Gil, "The Constitution of Medina: A Reconsideration," in /OS 4 (1974): 44-65.
  2. The perfection of the Koran, the duty of Muslims to engage in jihad, and the inferiority of infidels are recurrent themes in the Koran and the Traditions (Surma). To avoid repetition, no further references to the Koran have been made on these themes. All Koranic quotations are taken from A. J. Arberry, The Koran Interpreted (Oxford: World Classics, 1964).
  3. Koran 4:82, 106, 135; 5:22; 6: 114, 126; 11:17, 20; 12:2, 104. See n. 2 above.