An ongoing controversy in Canada shows the perils of assuming, as nearly everyone does, that mosques in the West teach peace and tolerance, and that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are moderate and loyal members of secular societies. The Dar Al-Arqam Mosque in Montreal is under fire for hosting an imam, Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr, who preached: “O Muslim, O servant of Allah, O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” A police complaint has been filed.
But this is a quotation that is attributed to Muhammad. Are the Canadian police going to stop imams from quoting Muhammad? Now that the “anti-Islamophobia” motion M-103 has been passed, it is unlikely that they will do anything at all: only non-Muslim foes of jihad terror can commit “hate speech.”
Nonetheless, the problem remains. Imams in Canada (and elsewhere) can call for murder (Qur’an 2:191, 4:89, 9:5), kidnapping (Qur’an 47:4) and rape (Qur’an 4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50, 70:30), all by quoting the Qur’an and Muhammad. So is it incitement to violence or the free exercise of religion?
Imam Ziad Asali of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects waxed indignant on CBC Montreal’s Daybreak: “I do not understand how this person was invited to come and give a sermon and spread this hatred in Montreal against any community….To use the themes of the Prophet to spread hatred is actually something that is disrespectful towards the Prophet himself.”
That all sounds great, but Asali tries to paper over the real problem by implying that the hadith is not authentic: “The hadith is one of more than 100,000 that are written in many books, some of which are considered authentic, while others are not, said Asali.”
Asali’s reply is misleading, although it’s noteworthy that he didn’t simply say straightforwardly that the hadith was inauthentic. He couldn’t say that truthfully, because it meets the standards Muslim scholars have for authenticity. There are hadiths that Muslim scholars consider inauthentic, but this one appears, with minor variations, in the two hadith collections that Muslims consider most reliable: Bukhari and Muslim. What’s more, it appears more than once in both, which is an indication that it was attested by multiple sources. This kind of attestation is what makes Islamic scholars consider hadiths authentic. Here are some of the hadiths:
“Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger said, ‘The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”’” (Bukhari 4.52.177)
“Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar: I heard Allah’s Messenger saying, ‘The Jews will fight with you, and you will be given victory over them so that a stone will say, “O Muslim! There is a Jew behind me; kill him!”’” (Bukhari 4.56.791)
“Abdullah b. ‘Umar reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: ‘The Jews will fight against you and you will gain victory over them until the stone would say: Muslim, here is a Jew behind me; kill him.’” (Muslim 6984)
“Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.” (Muslim 6985)
It’s also in Tirmidhi, yet another hadith collection, one of the six collections (along with Bukhari and Muslim and three others) that Muslims consider most reliable:
“Ibn ‘Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: ‘You shall fight the Jews. You will gain such control over them, that a rock will say: “O Muslim! This Jew is behind me so kill him!”’” (Tirmidhi 2236)
So what are Canadian authorities going to do when imams keep on quoting Muhammad?
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.