by Professor Moshe Sharon
Women in Green
April 27, 2004
There is no Fundamental Islam
“Fundamentalism” is a word that came from the heart of the Christian
religion. It means faith that goes by the word of the Bible. Fundamental
Christianity, or going with the Bible, does not mean going around
and killing people. There is no fundamental Islam. There is only Islam
full stop. The question is how the Koran is interpreted.
All of a sudden we see that the greatest interpreters of Islam
are politicians in the western world. They know better than all the
speakers in the mosques, all those who deliver terrible sermons against
anything that is either Christian or Jewish. These western politicians
know that there is good Islam and bad Islam. They know even how to
differentiate between the two, except that none of them know how to read a
word of Arabic.
The Language of Islam
You see, so much is covered by politically correct language that, in fact,
the truth has been lost. For example, when we speak about Islam in the
west, we try to use our own language and terminology. We speak about Islam
in terms of democracy and fundamentalism, in terms of parliamentarism and
all kinds of terms, which we take from our own dictionary. One of my
professors and one of the greatest orientalists in the world says that
doing this is like a cricket reporter describing a cricket game in baseball
terms. We cannot use for one culture or civilization the language of
another. For Islam, you’ve got to use the language of Islam.
Driving Principles of Islam
Let me explain the principles that are driving the religion of Islam. Of
course, every Moslem has to acknowledge the fact that there is only one
God. But it’s not enough to say that there is only one God. A Moslem has to
acknowledge the fact that there is one God and Mohammed is his prophet.
These are the fundamentals of the religion that without them, one cannot be
a Moslem. But beyond that, Islam is a civilization. It is a religion that
gave first and foremost a wide and unique legal system that engulfs the
individual, society and nations with rules of behaviour. If you are Moslem,
you have to behave according to the rules of Islam which are set down in
the Koran and which are very different than the teachings of the Bible.
Let me explain the difference. The Bible is the creation of the spirit of a
nation over a very, very long period, if we talk from the point of view of
the scholar, and let me remain scholarly. But there is one thing that is
important in the Bible. It leads to salvation. It leads to salvation in two
In Judaism, it leads to national salvation – not just a nation that wants
to have a state, but a nation that wants to serve God. That’s the idea
behind the Hebrew text of the Bible.
The New Testament that took the Hebrew Bible moves us toward personal
salvation. So we have got these two kinds of salvation, which, from time to
time, meet each other.
But the key word is salvation. Personal salvation means that each
individual is looked after by God, Himself, who leads a person through His
word to salvation. This is the idea in the Bible, whether we are talking
about the Old or the New Testament. All of the laws in the Bible, even to
the minutest ones, are, in fact directed toward this fact of salvation.
Secondly, there is another point in the Bible, which is highly important.
This is the idea that man was created in the image of God. Therefore, you
don’t just walk around and obliterate the image of God. Many people, of
course, used Biblical rules and turned them upside down. History has seen
a lot of massacres in the name of God and in the name of Jesus. But as
religions, both Judaism and Christianity in their fundamentals speak about
honouring the image of God and the hope of salvation. These are the two
The Essence of Islam
Now let’s move to the essence of Islam. Islam was born with the idea that
it should rule the world. Let’s look, then, at the difference between
these three religions. Judaism speaks about national salvation – namely
that at the end of the story, when the world becomes a better place, Israel
will be in its own land, ruled by its own king and serving God.
Christianity speaks about the idea that every single person in the world
can be saved from his sins, while Islam speaks about ruling the world. I
can quote here in Arabic, but there is no point in quoting Arabic, so let
me quote a verse in English. “Allah sent Mohammed with the true religion so
that it should rule over all the religions.”
The idea, then, is not that the whole world would become a Moslem world at
this time, but that the whole world would be subdued under the rule of Islam.
When the Islamic empire was established in 634 AD, within seven years – 640
- the core of the empire was created. The rules that were taken from the
Koran and from the tradition that was ascribed to the prophet Mohammed,
were translated into a real legal system. Jews and Christians could live
under Islam provided they paid poll tax and accepted Islamic superiority.
Of course, they had to be humiliated. And Jews and Christians living under
Islam are humiliated to this very day.
Mohammed Held That All the Biblical Prophets Were Moslems
Mohammed did accept the existence of all the Biblical prophets before him.
However he also said that all these prophets were Moslems. Abraham was a
Moslem. In fact, Adam himself was the first Moslem. Isaac and Jacob and
David and Solomon and Moses and Jesus were all Moslems, and all of them had
writings similar to the Koran. Therefore, world history is Islamic history
because all the heroes of history were Moslems.
Furthermore, Moslems accept the fact that each of these prophets brought
with him some kind of a revelation. Moses, brought the Taurat, which is the
Torah, and Jesus brought the Ingeel, which is the Evangelion or Gospel -
namely the New Testament.
The Bible versus the Koran
Why then is the Bible not similar to the Koran? Mohammed explains that the
Jews and Christians forged their books. Had they not been changed and
forged, they would have been identical to the Koran. But because Christians
and Jews do have some truth, Islam concedes that they cannot be completely
destroyed by war [for now]. Nevertheless, the laws are very clear – Jews
and Christians have no rights whatsoever to independent existence. They can
live under Islamic rule provided they keep to the rules that Islam
promulgates for them.
Islamic Rule and Jihad
What happens if Jews and Christians don’t want to live under the rules of
Islam? Then Islam has to fight them and this fighting is called Jihad.
Jihad means war against those people who don’t want to accept the Islamic
superior rule. That’s jihad. They may be Jews; they may be Christians; they
may be Polytheists. But since we don’t have too many Polytheists left, at
least not in the Middle East – their war is against the Jews and Christians.
A few days ago, I received a pamphlet that was distributed in the world by
bin Laden. He calls for jihad against America as the leader of the
Christian world, not because America is the supporter of Israel, but
because Americans are desecrating Arabia with their filthy feet. There are
Americans in Arabia where no Christians should be. In this pamphlet there
is not a single word about Israel. Only that Americans are desecrating the
home of the prophet.
The Koran sees the world as divided into two – one part which has come
under Islamic rule and one part which is supposed to come under Islamic
rule in the future. There is a division of the world which is very clear.
Every single person who starts studying Islam knows it. The world is
described as Dar al-Islam (the house of Islam) – that’s the place where
Islam rules – and the other part which is called Dar al-Harb – the house of
war. Not the “house of non-Muslims,” but the “house of war.” It is this
house of war which has to be, at the end of time, conquered. The world will
continue to be in the house of war until it comes under Islamic rule. This
is the norm. Why? Because Allah says it’s so in the Koran. God has sent
Mohammed with the true religion in order that the truth will overcome all
Within the Islamic vision of this world, there are rules that govern the
lives of the Moslems themselves, and these rules are very strict. In
fundamentals, there are no differences between schools of law.
However, there are four streams of factions within Islam with differences
between them concerning the minutiae of the laws. All over the Islamic
world, countries have favored one or another of these schools of laws. The
strictest school of law is called Hanbali, mainly coming out of Saudi
Arabia. There are no games there, no playing around with the meanings of
words. If the Koran speaks about war, then it’s war.
There are various perspectives in Islam with different interpretations over
the centuries. There were good people that were very enlightened in Islam
that tried to understand things differently. They even brought traditions
from the mouth of the prophet that women and children should not be killed
These more liberal streams do exist, but there is one thing that is very
important for us to remember. The Hanbali school of law is extremely
strict, and today this is the school that is behind most of the terrorist
powers. Even if we talk about the existence of other schools of Islamic
law, when we’re talking about fighting against the Jews, or fighting
against the Christian world led by America, it is the Hanbali school of law
that is being followed.
Islam and Territory
This civilization created one very important, fundamental rule about
territory. Any territory that comes under Islamic rule cannot be
de-Islamized. Even if at one time or another, the [non-Moslem] enemy takes
over the territory that was under Islamic rule, it is considered to be
This is why whenever you hear about the Arab/Israeli conflict, you hear -
territory, territory, territory. There are other aspects to the conflict,
but territory is highly important.
The Christian civilization has not only been seen as a religious opponent,
but as a dam stopping Islam from achieving its final goal for which it was
Islam was created to be the army of God, the army of Allah. Every single
Moslem is a soldier in this army. Every single Moslem that dies in fighting
for the spread of Islam is a shaheed (martyr) no matter how he dies,
because – and this is very important – this is an eternal war between the
two civilizations. It’s not a war that stops. This war is there because it
was created by Allah. Islam must be the ruler. This is a war that will not end.
Islam and Peace
Peace in Islam can exist only within the Islamic world; peace can only be
between Moslem and Moslem.
With the non-Moslem world or non-Moslem opponents, there can be only one
solution – a cease fire until Moslems can gain more power. It is an eternal
war until the end of days. Peace can only come if the Islamic side wins.
The two civilizations can only have periods of cease-fires. And this idea
of cease-fire is based on a very important historical precedent, which,
incidentally, Yasser Arafat referred to when he spoke in Johannesburg after
he signed the Oslo agreement with Israel.
Let me remind you that the document speaks of peace – you wouldn’t believe
that you are reading! You would think that you were reading some science
fiction piece. I mean when you read it, you can’t believe that this was
signed by Israelis who are actually acquainted with Islamic policies and
A few weeks after the Oslo agreement was signed, Arafat went to
Johannesburg, and in a mosque there he made a speech in which he
apologized, saying, “Do you think I signed something with the Jews which is
contrary to the rules of Islam?” (I have obtained a copy of Arafat’s
recorded speech so I heard it from his own mouth.) Arafat continued,
“That’s not so. I’m doing exactly what the prophet Mohammed did.”
Whatever the prophet is supposed have done becomes a precedent. What Arafat
was saying was, “Remember the story of Hodaybiya.” The prophet had made an
agreement there with the tribe of Kuraish for 10 years. But then he trained
10,000 soldiers and within two years marched on their city of Mecca. He, of
course, found some kind of pretext.
Thus, in Islamic jurisdiction, it became a legal precedent which states
that you are only allowed to make peace for a maximum of 10 years.
Secondly, at the first instance that you are able, you must renew the jihad
[thus breaking the "peace" agreement].
In Israel, it has taken over 50 years in this country for our people to
understand that they cannot speak about [permanent] peace with Moslems. It
will take another 50 years for the western world to understand that they
have got a state of war with the Islamic civilization that is virile and
strong. This should be understood: When we talk about war and peace, we are
not talking in Belgium, French, English, or German terms. We are talking
about war and peace in Islamic terms.
Cease-fire as a Tactical Choice
What makes Islam accept cease-fire? Only one thing – when the enemy is too
strong. It is a tactical choice.
Sometimes, he may have to agree to a cease-fire in the most humiliating
conditions. It’s allowed because Mohammed accepted a cease-fire under
humiliating conditions. That’s what Arafat said to them in
Johannesburg. When western policy makers hear these things, they answer,
“What are you talking about? You are in the Middle Ages. You don’t
understand the mechanisms of politics.”
Which mechanisms of politics? There are no mechanisms of politics where
power is. And I want to tell you one thing – we haven’t seen the end of it,
because the minute a radical Moslem power has atomic, chemical or
biological weapons, they will use it. I have no doubt about that.
Now, since we face war and we know that we cannot get more than an
impermanent cease-fire, one has to ask himself what is the major component
of an Israeli/Arab cease-fire. It is that the Islamic side is weak and your
side is strong. The relations between Israel and the Arab world in the last
50 years since the establishment of our State has been based only on this
idea, the deterrent power.
Wherever You Have Islam, You Will Have War
The reason that we have what we have in Yugoslavia and other places is
because Islam succeeded into entering these countries. Wherever you have
Islam, you will have war. It grows out of the attitude of Islamic civilization.
What are the poor people in the Philippines being killed for? What’s
happening between Pakistan and India?
Furthermore, there is another fact that must be remembered. The Islamic
world has not only the attitude of open war, but there’s also war by
One of the things which the western world is not paying enough attention to
is the tremendous growth of Islamic power in the western world. What
happened in America and the Twin Towers is not something that came from the
outside. And if America doesn’t wake up, one day the Americans will find
themselves in a chemical war and most likely in an atomic war – inside the U.S.
End of Days
It is highly important to understand how a civilization sees the end of
days. In Christianity and in Judaism, we know exactly what is the vision of
the end of days.
In Judaism, it is going to be as in Isaiah – peace between nations, not
just one nation, but between all nations. People will not have any more
need for weapons and nature will be changed – a beautiful end of days and
the kingdom of God on earth.
Christianity goes as far as Revelation to see a day that Satan himself is
obliterated. There are no more powers of evil. That’s the vision.
I’m speaking now as a historian. I try to understand how Islam sees the end
of days. In the end of days, Islam sees a world that is totally Moslem,
completely Moslem under the rule of Islam. Complete and final victory.
Christians will not exist, because according to many Islamic traditions,
the Moslems who are in hell will have to be replaced by somebody and
they’ll be replaced by the Christians.
The Jews will no longer exist, because before the coming of the end of
days, there is going to be a war against the Jews where all Jews should be
killed. I’m quoting now from the heart of Islamic tradition, from the books
that are read by every child in school. The Jews will all be killed.
They’ll be running away and they’ll be hiding behind trees and rocks, and
on that day Allah will give mouths to the rocks and trees and they will
say, “Oh Moslem come here, there is a Jew behind me, kill him.” Without
this, the end of days cannot come. This is a fundamental of Islam.
Is There a Possibility to End This Dance of War?
The question which we in Israel are asking ourselves is what will happen to
our country? Is there a possibility to end this dance of war?
The answer is, “No. Not in the foreseeable future.” What we can do is reach
a situation where for a few years we may have relative quiet.
But for Islam, the establishment of the state of Israel was a reverse of
Islamic history. First, Islamic territory was taken away from Islam by
Jews. You know by now that this can never be accepted, not even one meter.
So everyone who thinks Tel Aviv is safe is making a grave mistake.
Territory, which at one time was dominated by Islamic rule, now has become
non-Moslem. Non-Moslems are independent of Islamic rule; Jews have created
their own independent state. It is anathema.
And (this is the worst) Israel, a non-Moslem state, is ruling over Moslems.
It is unthinkable that non-Moslems should rule over Moslems.
I believe that Western civilization should hold together and support each
other. Whether this will happen or not, I don’t know. Israel finds itself
on the front lines of this war. It needs the help of its sister
civilization. It needs the help of America and Europe. It needs the help of
the Christian world. One thing I am sure about, this help can be given by
individual Christians who see this as the road to salvation.