Imagery Of Islam

December 14th, 2004

For weeks and months the world was supplied with images of westerners and alleged traitors being decapitated in Iraq. For non-Muslim viewers these pictures likely appear to be the maximum amount of horror a human being can quell, but for Muslims decapitation is beyond the fear factor. It’s an anology to the ancient times of the Prophet Mohammad (saw) and the legendary Salah al Din Yussuf Ibn Ayyub – in the west known as “Saladin”.

Ironically, Salah al Din was born in the same city as Saddam Hussein, Tikrit, but in stark contrast to Mr. Hussein, Salah al Din was renowned for his chivalrous and merciful nature during battles. He is regarded one of the greatest military leaders in the history of Islam and probably the most prominent figure of the times of the crusade period. His reputation for being fair-minded and just earned him respect even amongst his enemies, to wit: the Christians. One example is his relationship with Richard the Lionheart. Their relationship entailed a balance of intense military rivalry with a mutual degree of respect. This sort of balance was paralleled with his relationships with other kings, such as Frederick I of Hohenstaufen, also known as Barbarossa (“Redbeard”).

Now what do Mohammad (saw), Salah al Din and the resistance fighters have in common?

Well… actually… nothing!

The resistance fighters use the imagery and vocabulary that Islam and the history of Islam gives them to gain spiritual support in the Muslim world. Using knives and swords to fight and punish the enemy – by decapitating them, as common in many so-called Islamic countries – is an allusion to the times when Mohammad (saw) and Salah al Din fought their enemies with nothing other than their bare hands and swords.
The resistance fighters – claiming that western imperialism and especially American military actions are threatening Islam – punish those that they consider enemies with the same means that Salah al Din punished his enemies, e.g. the infamous knight, murderer, looter and plunderer Raynald of Chatillon, who threatened to attack the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. He was decapitated and probably by Salah al Din himself.

There is just one fact that the resistance fighters have not taken into account when trying to represent themselves along the same moral level as Mohammad (saw) and Salah al Din. The latter were – even in the western world – renowned for never killing the innocent and in countless cases exercising compassion when the highest degree of punishment was due.

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