Following my recent post on defending Muhammad, an editor at Loonwatch correctly pointed out a mistake I made in transcribing an Arabic sentence. Instead of the correct, "I ask forgiveness from God," I had rendered it as "May God forgive me." I appreciate the editor's correction.
But I wonder if he missed something. The point of the story I was telling was that a Christian friend had shouted out loud, "God you suck!" and did not fear God's retribution because her relationship with him is based on love. A Muslim woman, I suggested, would never dare shout openly, "Allah you suck!" because her relationship with her Deity is fear-based. Throwing in the Arabic phrase as I did was simply for fun; it added nothing but a little spice to the story. And like a cougar pouncing on its prey, the editor leaped at my mistake and completely missed the point of the story.
It wasn't the first time. In two recent posts, available here and here, I noted that the Quran, believed my Muslims to be perfect in every way, contains at least one if not several apparent grammatical mistakes in Quran 5:56. I noted, as I describe in detail here, that Muhammad thought the structures carved from the rocks at Madayn Saleh were houses built by the Thamudians when in fact they were tombs built by the Nebateans. I suggested that the Quran's explanation of fetal development is unscientific, and asked Muslims how Muhammad's "marriage" to Safiya (discussed at length here in my review of a book by Omid Safi) can be considered anything other than rape.
Responses from Muslim readers were predictable. I was insulting the Prophet, said some, while others condemned my alleging the Quran contains mistakes. Others thought I was ignoring the issue of whether Translating-Jihad had mistranslated the Arabic word Nikah. But no-one even tried to answer my questions.
Speaking of Nikah, Translating-Jihad initially translated the word as meaning Sexual Intercourse, and Loonwatch replied that it means Marriage. Although I don't have a pony in this race, I would simply suggest it means both. Correct me if I'm wrong but in Muhammad's time there were only two kinds of sex, Nikah which was sex within marriage that was Halal (permitted), and Zina or sex outside of marriage that was Haram (prohibited).
When Translating-Jihad says that Nikah means sexual intercourse, and Loonwatch replies that it means marriage, they are both correct. The Aqd Al Nikah is the Marriage Contract - give one point to Loonwatch. On the other hand incest in Arabic is known as Al Nikah Al Maharim, or illegal sexual activity within the family - give one point to Translating-Jihad.
Of much more significance to me is that marriage in Islam equals the permission to have sex. When the Prophet allowed his warriors to "marry" female captives of war, he was allowing them to have sex with them. It granted sexual gratification to soldiers far from their homes, and had nothing to do with love, faithfulness, or mutual respect.
Marriage is viewed much differently in Christian and Muslim societies. Christians view marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman in which they both vow faithfulness to each other for the rest of their lives. Marriage in Islam is not a covenant but a contract, the Aqd Al Nikah, which allows a man to have sex with a woman. As far as the legal aspect is concerned, it's not that much different than purchasing a camel. Just as he can purchase a second or third camel without informing the first, he can yuzawwij alayha, or marry a second wife without even informing the first, much less receiving her permission. Just as a man beats a disobedient camel, the Quran commands him to beat a recalcitrant wife. And just as a man can sell his camel anytime he wants to purchase a better one, all he has to do is pronounce his wife Mutalaqa three times and she is divorced. Shaykhs have even recently issued Fatwas that this can take place on Facebook and as text messages on mobile phones.
Loonwatch's argument with Translating-Jihad also included whether sex with young girls (call it marriage if you will) was encouraged or discouraged within Islam. Again that seems to be missing the point. The problem is not that it is encouraged or discouraged, but simply that it is allowed. The reason it is allowed is that Muhammad did it.
The question to be asked is, "Is sexual intercourse between a 50-year old man and a nine-year-old child ever justified, in any circumstance?" My answer is "No", Muhammad nonwithstanding. The second question is, "Is a man ever justified in beating his wife, in any circumstance?" My answer again is a firm "No", the Quran nonwithstanding.