Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rhetoric Paper: No Idea How Much of the Grade


A Man of Peace?

Jesse Broussard, Nicea Term Rhetoric, 1015 Words

EXORDIUM: Islam’s founder has been slandered as a bloody and violent man. Many terrorists have claimed to be carrying out his will (to the horror of many Muslims). Muhammad is hailed by many as the greatest moral example to ever walk the earth, a tremendous and peaceful prophet. So why the slander? Why call the peaceful Muhammad a man that engenders violence? Well, accusations are only slander if they’re false, so the real question is, are they true?

NARRATIO: Islamic law (based on the revelations of Muhammad) “rejects all attempts on human life,” according to perhaps the leading Shiite theologian,Grand Ayatollah Ali-Muhammad Sistani. Other Muslims state that“The Prophet Muhammad was assigned the Mission of peace in the world by Allah. The fundamental purpose (of Muhammad) was to attain peace with the lord, peace with the universe and peace with the people.” The Quran is cited as promoting peace: “Our Apostle has come to you making clear to you much of what you concealed of the Book…Light has come to you from Allah and a book which guides to the truth, whereby Allah leads to ways of peace those who seek His pleasure.” Also, “The more we emulate the Prophet, the more at peace we are with our Creator, other people, and ourselves.”

On the other side of the debate the general consensus is that Muhammad “was a thief, liar, assassin, mass murderer, terrorist, warmonger, and an unrestrained sexual pervert engaged in pedophilia, incest, and rape. He authorized deception, assassinations, torture, slavery, and genocide. He was a pirate, not a prophet.” And, oddly enough, there seems to be no neutrality—if any believe that he was a well intentioned but perhaps misguided man, and there must be some, they “open not their mouths.” Ironically, a statement from G. K. Chesterton, a great Christian theologian, is remarkably apt here. He says that if Jesus was not the Christ, he was the antichrist. Well, it seems that if Muhammad was not from heaven, he was straight from hell.

PARTITIO: The evidence, however, is all on one side and only on one side. PROPOSITIO: Despite the Muslim claims to the contrary, Muhammad’s life is a bloody life of sanctioned murders and mandated violence, not of peace with men.

CONFIRMATIO: The Quran recounts the assassinations of some poets that had criticized Muhammad, one of which is particularly striking in its detail.

Muhammad said, ‘Will no one rid me of this woman?' Umayr, a zealous Muslim, decided to execute the Prophet's wishes. That very night he crept into the writer's home while she lay sleeping surrounded by her young children. There was one at her breast. Umayr removed the suckling babe and then plunged his sword into the poet. The next morning in the mosque, Muhammad, who was aware of the assassination, said, ‘You have helped Allah and His Apostle.' Umayr said. ‘She had five sons; should I feel guilty?' ‘No,' the Prophet answered. ‘Killing her was as meaningless as two goats butting heads.'

And what of the commands of the great Prophet himself regarding warfare? "It is not fitting for any prophet to have prisoners until he has made a great slaughter in the land," "Truly, if the Hypocrites stir up sedition, if the agitators in the City do not desist, We shall urge you to go against them and set you over them…Whenever they are found, they shall be seized and slain without mercy—a fierce slaughter—a horrible murdering," “A single endeavor of fighting in Allah's Cause is better than the world and whatever is in it,” and finally, “A man came to Allah's Apostle (Muhammad) and said, ‘Instruct me as to such a deed as equals Jihad in reward.' He replied, ‘I do not find such a deed.’ ”

The Quran contains a footnote to clarify exactly who should participate in Jihad, and exactly what Jihad is.

Jihad is holy fighting in Allah's Cause with full force of numbers and weaponry. It is given the utmost importance in Islam and is one of its pillars. By Jihad Islam is established, … and Islam is propagated. …Jihad is an obligatory duty in Islam on every Muslim. He who tries to escape from this duty, or does not fulfill this duty, dies as a hypocrite.

It was revealed to Muhammad by Allah that if a Muslim does not commit Jihad, that Muslim will burn in hell. So, if you are a Muslim and you want your virgins and your thousand-year climax of love (seriously: these are the rewards from Allah), if you prefer paradise to hell, then you’d better grab a gun.

REFUTATIO: Muslims state that “We are now seeing a continuous barrage of sordid insults being hurled at the Prophet (peace be upon him)…(who) taught humanity mercy and justice, even during war…He brought laws of justice that were to be applied during all times both in war and peace…”

Our “sordid insults” are derived from direct quotes from the only surviving information on the life of Muhammad, which happens to be Islamic holy texts. To claim that we slant these quotes is absurd—they already are slanted. And it was his followers, who knew him far better than we do, who unapologetically wrote them—blame them.

Muslims also state that the greater definition of Jihad is “the spiritual struggle of each man, against vice, passion and ignorance,” and that is probably how many Muslims today interpret it. Unfortunately, this definition of Jihad came a bit too late for Muslims living less than 150 years after Muhammad to realize that they weren’t supposed to take over the known world—which they were doing, until the battle of Tours in 732. This is the classical rendition of the word Jihad: holy war, and that upon the infidels, not your own vices.

PERORATIO: Muhammad was a brute. The sooner that this is realized, the sooner we can move beyond our politically correct chains and suggest that maybe, just maybe, the creation reflects the creator, and a religion created by so vile a man may be in itself a vile religion.


B. A. Robins, “When does Islam permit the killing of Muslim non-combatants?The principle of Tattarrus,” http://www.religioustolerance.org/islkill.htm [accessed December 1, 2007]

Dr. Ali Zohery, “Prophet Muhammad: Leadership, Communication and Ethics,” http://prophetmuhammadleadership.org/prophet_muhammad.htm [accessed November 30, 2007]

“Celebrating the Prophet,” http://www.celebratingtheprophet.org/celebrate.htm [accessed November 30, 2007]

Craig Winn, “PROPHET OF DOOM: ISLAM'S TERRORIST DOGMA IN MUHAMMAD'S OWN WORDS,” http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1247286/posts [accessed November 28, 2007]

Dr. `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî , “For the Sake of Allah's Messenger,” http://www.islamtoday.com/showme2.cfm?cat_id=29&sub_cat_id=507 [accessed December 1, 2007]

Encyclopaedia of the Orient, “Jihad,” http://lexicorient.com/e.o/jihad.htm [accessed December 2, 2007]


A flick'ring flame, a dancing view:
Lamb-white skin laced with midnight dew;
Labyrinthine veins of marbled blue;

Long lashes closed, a haze of hair
As flamed curls toy with coy night's air,
And apple blossoms jewels she wears.

A languid lid unveils an eye:
Moss and clay evoke, imply...
A cat-like stretch; we watch light die.

A murm'ring smile, no word is said,
Enfolding arms, hand under head:
We'll drown in dreams where time is dead.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

My Rhetoric Teacher: Old Credenda

On Joy:

Joy is the priest of the emotions. The mediator, the mitigator, the inciter of chocolate riots. What is joy? Joy is looking to the laughably cloud-disheveled heavens with a prayer of thanksgiving on your lips, thanking the sovereign God that He saw fit to place you here, to bring your footsteps to the appropriate place so that you might see the pretty girl walking away and the man on the bike watching her and not the curb. Joy is the look you give him when he sees that you are the only witness, and you see that he has sprained his wrist.

On Weather:

Everywhere I look, I see a world of images that could end up abused on Christian posters and cards, tagged with verses in a juxtaposition that makes God seem merely quaint. But God does revel in a whitened world cross-lit by a pink sunset. If He didn't, I assume He would stop doing it. But what the Christian card won't show you is the other side of rime frost, the cost of white-wrapped bushes, and that's what the freezing fog can do to your sidewalk. You can see the spiked ice ornaments left on each pine needle, but the sheet of ice left beneath your feet is invisible.

If I am a consistent Christian, a connoisseur of the divine personality, then I should be able to enjoy the pink light on the frosted trees when I am warm and cocoa-filled beside my own cheaply lit indoor version, or while I lie on the frigid ground with a broken hip, unable to reach my cell phone. Unless I've slid all the way beneath my car, and can't see anything.

On Remodeling a Roof:

Rain on an old roof slick with grit and malicious thoughts. Boom-flown death sentences. It's my roof. I would not risk my life for it, but that is what I am doing. It is a game now. I cannot go inside and make life stop, or lie on my back and watch my ceiling slowly collapse beneath bursting tarps. It is no longer so much a game of points. Now we are playing dodge-ball, or buck-buck. We're riding bulls. It is about surviving. It is about not collapsing. It is about laughing. When I stop laughing, then I have stopped standing back up. I would rather ride one of the forty foot girders off the roof than fold now. God wants me on the angry bull. It pleases Him, and I can find no greater pleasure than that. No joy greater than sliding down a roof in the rain, trying to catch a truss. I will not become that kid on the playground who can't win and so squeals, "Stop it," and something about his mother. It is better to be beaten. I hate that kid—the kid who never could never appreciate a nosebleed—and my mother's the one who turned on the sink.

Wodehousian Fun