Given the so-called crisis between the US Administration and Israel, it is important to keep in mind the context of how our Muslim friends view this. Our Arab friends in the Gulf see us as abandoning our closest ally. From a Muslim point of view, all Muslims are brothers in Islam. They also see the non-Muslims as one (united) group. Israel and America (and for that matter Christian Europe) are therefore seen as one block.

If the US abandons Israel -- such a close friend, ally and in some deep way family to the US -- our Muslim allies reason that the US would surely do the same to them --who are not part of the non-Muslim world, and by definition, "not part of the non-Muslim family/brotherhood." This indicates to them that if our friends in the Gulf cannot trust the US to stand by them, outsiders will not fare better.

This means to our Arab friends and allies in the Gulf that they must look elsewhere for protection - maybe China or Russia - or even try to appease Iran, their hated/mortal enemy, to the fullest extent they can - which does NOT bode well for America.

Probably the best way to explain what the Muslims expect in this situation is to quote, a classic Muslim scholar, ibn Hazm on the concept of friendship, enmity, and war. This first appeared in English translation published by Prof. Bernard Lewis in Encounter Magazine in either 1968 (or possibly in 1969), and can be summarized as follows:

Being magnanimous to your enemy (after victory) is a fine thing. But magnanimity is not treating your enemy as your friend. It means that you must get him at your mercy and then show him mercy. If you treat your friend and enemy the same, you will arouse distaste for your friendships and contempt for your enmities and you will not be long for this world.

1. IBN HAZM (384-456/994-1064 CE) Muslim theologian and man of letters (Cordoba) The Book of Morals and Conduct (Kitaab al-Akhlaaq)

ibn Hazm on the Muslim concept of War (Enmity) and Allies (Friendships)

"The measure of prudence and resolution is to know a friend from an enemy; the height of stupidity and weakness is not to know an enemy from a friend.

Do not surrender your enemy to oppression, nor oppress him yourself. In this respect treat enemy and friend alike. But be on your guard against him, and beware lest you befriend and advance him, for this is the act of a fool. He who befriends and advances friend and foe alike will only arouse distaste for his friendship and contempt for his enmity. He will earn the scorn of his enemy, and facilitate his hostile designs; he will lose his friend who will join the ranks of his enemies.

The height of goodness is that you should neither oppress your enemy nor abandon him to oppression. To treat him as friend is the mark of a fool whose end is near.

The height of evil is that your should oppress your friend. Even to estrange him is the act of a man who has no sense, for whom misfortune is predestined.

Magnanimity is not to befriend the enemy, but to spare them, and to remain on your guard against them."


Related Topics:  Israel  |  Harold Rhode receive the latest by email: subscribe to the free gatestone institute mailing list

Comment on this item

Name
Email Address
Title of Comments
Comments:

Note: Gatestone Institute greatly appreciates your comments. The editors reserve the right, however, not to publish comments containing: incitement to violence, profanity, or any broad-brush slurring of any race, ethnic group or religion. Gatestone also reserves the right to edit comments for length, clarity and grammar. All thoughtful suggestions and analyses will be gratefully considered. Commenters' email addresses will not be displayed publicly.