Posted by: stpowen | November 18, 2015

Islamic History Repeats Itself

Ecclesiastes 1:9. ‘That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.’

Mrs Marprelate and I have been on holiday in India. Yes, thank you for asking, we had a splendid time. We saw all the famous places, including the Taj Mahal, which is just as beautiful as people say it is, only much larger in real life than it appears in pictures.

Many people will know that the Taj Mahal was built in the 17th Century by the Moghul ruler of India, Shah Jahan, as a mausoleum for his beloved wife, Mumtaz. Perhaps less well-known is the fact that towards the end of his life, Shah Jahan was deposed by one of his sons, Aurangzeb, and spent his last years under house arrest, gazing across the river at the Taj and remembering Mumtaz.

The reason that Aurangzeb gave for seizing the throne was that his father’s rule was insufficiently Islamic. Although Shah Jahan had built several large Mosques, he had failed, in his son’s eyes, to obey the order of the Qur’an to wage continuous aggressive war against the unbelievers and to impose the Jizra, or poll tax, upon the Hindus and Sikhs in the Empire. Was it not commanded, ‘O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight’ (Surah 8:65) and ‘Fight against such of those who have been given the scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah has forbidden by his messenger and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.’ (Surah 9:29). Shah Jahan had made his eldest son, Dara Shikoh, his heir, but Aurangzeb defeated him in battle, captured him and executed him for apostasy. He also killed another of his brothers and various other members of his family. ‘O you who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brothers for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoever of you takes them for friends, such are wrongdoers’ (Surah 9:23).

Having gained the throne, Aurangzeb extended his realm to the south of India by force of arms, demolished several Hindu temples (the exact number is unclear), imposed the Jizra on non-believers and executed the ninth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, when he refused to convert to Islam. Under him the Moghul Empire reached its fullest extent and would have been greater still but for constant rebellions by his subjects. Even when over eighty years of age, he was still waging war in person. ‘It is not for any prophet to have captives until he has made slaughter in the land’ (Surah 8:67).

So when you here that I.S.I.S. (or whatever that group is currently called) is not really Islamic, and that Islam is a religion of peace, just remember Aurangzeb. It’s all happened before and there’s nothing new under the sun.



  1. Excellent and helpful article.

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