Global Events and Legal Developments in Christendom

The Christians also achieved their own crowning glory when Christopher Columbus, the first European to ‘discover’ America, set out from Spain to find an alternate route to India at the behest of Queen Isabella of Spain, (although Columbus himself was Portuguese), reached the shores of Cuba and began what would be a series of events that would catapult Spain from being a regional power to a superpower, (which would eventually rival the Uthmanis for a period). The question of whether Columbus was the first to find America is not contentious but rather it is a moot point as, in the words of Abdul Hakim Quick, “How can you discover a place, if the people are living there already? (Quick, Deeper Roots Lecture).” Certainly one can cite the plethora of information from Muslim sources of having trafficked between the Maghrib and West Africa and the Americas going back to the 10th Century CE and the stories of Mansa Musa, but that is to come later on in this book. Vasco De Gama followed in the footsteps of other Portuguese explorers and, in 1497, successfully went around the Cape of Good Hope, (South Africa), and onwards towards India and established a sea lane to India in 1498. Vasco De Gama subsequently sailed back to Portugal with the riches he desired, (spices). De Gama and other captains after him, would establish small strategic outposts in the territories they went around, (such as on the western coast of Africa and in India). These bases might simply be controlled by merely 20 men as there was no need for large garrisons. After all, the Portuguese, like their Venetian contemporaries, had perfected the art of occupation of territory by way of “…division of political opponents, the employment of economic resources for political ends, and the use of superior military technology when other measures failed (Hess, 1970, 1900).

However, in 1502, Vasco De Gama was sent back to India to reinforce the will of Portugal upon the Hindu Kingdom of Calicut, (or as it is called Kozhikode, and is located in the north of the modern day province of Kerala), and its ruler, (Swami Nambiyathiri Thirumulpad or in its shortened form, Saamoothiri). The ruler did not acquiesce to the establishment of a Portuguese trading post in his territory and thus ordered the killing of the Portuguese left behind by De Gama in Calicut. To retaliate and show the resolve of the Portuguese, on 29th September 1502 one of De Gamas ships, the Sao Gabriel, spotted the ‘Miri,’ a ship from Calicut that was carrying 240 Hujjaaj returning from Makka, (this number excludes women and children onboard).The Emir of the journey was Jawhar Al Faqih, who was apparently a financier/city in Makka. Other passengers of the ship “…were ten or twelve of the richest Muslim merchants of Calicut…(Subrahmanyam, 205).” De Gama and his men surrounded the Muslim ship, and the ‘Miri’ did not resist, (in spite of the fact they had ammunition and weapons on board). Jawhar Al Faqih offered generous terms for their release to De Gama, offering first money and spice for all of De Gama’s ships, even going as far as ransoming his wife, nephew and large quantities of spice in exchange for the freedom of the passengers. De Gama refused, and on October 3rd, after taking all valuables from the ship and embarking back onto his vessel, “…ordered his bombardiers to set fire to the ship [the ‘Miri’] in several places. They did so, and those on board the ship now realized at last that they had no hope of escape. Taking the few bombards they had, and stones in their hands, both men and women on board attacked the departing Portuguese boats…(ibid, 206).” As the ship burned, and the Portuguese eagerly watched, “…women on board waved their gold and silver jewellery and precious stones, crying out to the Admiral that they were willing to give him all that for their lives; some of the women picked up their infants and pointed at them, ‘making signs with their hands, so far as we could make out, that we should have pity on their innocence,’ (ibid).” However, the bravery of the Muslims should make us ashamed, as they did not cower or called the United Nations to help them, but in the account of Tome Lopes’s, one of De Gama’s crewmen, account of the event, the Muslims aboard the burning vessel, “decided to board one of the Portuguese vessels and rammed it…furious hand to hand combat ensued…(ibid).” Lopes marvels at the ferocity of the Muslims as they fought as if “…they did not feel their wounds…(ibid).” However, in the end all aboard were burnt alive, except for the pilot of the ship and twenty or so children, (who were subsequently converted to Christianity). De Gama was not satisfied and would not be happy till all the Muslim Arabs living in Calicut, (mostly traders), were expelled, as De Gama explained:

“For since the beginning of the world, the Moors [Muslims] have been the enemies of the Christians, and the Christians and Moors [Muslims] have been the enemies of the Christians, and the Christians of the Moors [Muslims], and they have been at war with each other, and on that account no agreement that could be made [between them] would be firm, (ibid, 214).”

It certainly does not leave much unanswered about De Gama’s intentions. For those who believe the Portuguese and Spanish expansion into the Muslim world was simply about spices and wealth was but a Crusader war first and foremost. In fact a few words should be said about the state of the Christendom, its rulers and their mindsets.

King Manuel I of Portugal, (who ruled from 1469-1521), had overseen the rapid rise of Portugal’s fortunes overseas as a colonial and trading powerhouse. He also had a “…rather strong Messianic streak, which made the capture of Jerusalem a particularly important objective in his policy decision…(ibid, 54).” It is strange however that some writers strangely try to brush aside these aims of Manuel, and try to portray his desires as simply a byproduct of his desire for power and economic benefit. This religious angle is something:

“…which robustly materialist historians…have expressed considerable skepticism. But such a round dismissal does scant justice to the sources of the period, and support for a partly religious…interpretation can be found in the writings of even Joao de Barros, who though asked by the court to write ‘of the deeds that the Portuguese did in the discovery and conquest of the seas and lands of the Orient,’ thought fit to begin his great chronicle Da Asia with the rise ‘in the land of Arabia [of] that great anti-Christ Muhammad,’ (ibid).”

Moreover the logical end goal of King Manuel was to be known as the Emperor of the East, cast in the Roman emperors of old, by recapturing “…the Holy Land, and the destruction of the pilgrimage centers of the Hijaz (notably Mecca), came to be seen as the potential climax of overseas expansion…(ibid, 57).” For this reason, King Manuel decided that a direct assault on North Africa and Egypt would be too costly, and thus, the smartest approach was choking the Muslims by taking their sea lanes and trade routes while propping up indigenous Christian kingdoms in Muslim regions. As we will see later, the king was elated to have received word of the Christian kingdom of Ethiopia and its Emperor, Lebna Dengel, who they mistook as the mythical Prester John.[1] They believed that in partnership with this supposed ‘Prester John,’ they could choke the vital red sea trading lane and its vicinity, while mounting attacks into the Hijaz to destroy the Muslims and Makka. After receiving word of the Christian kingdom of Ethiopia and the misidentification of its ruler as ‘Prester John,’ King Manuel,

“…wrote a letter to Pope Leo X…with the familiar projects of the union of Eastern and Western Christianities, the imminent destruction of Mecca (and the ‘tomb’ of Muhammad there!), all under the patronage of the Papacy, (ibid, 283).”

The Portuguese subsequently started propping up the Ethiopian King/Negus in his war against Imam Ahmed Bin Ibrahim Al Ghazi, as we shall see in due course.

The wealth and status these crusaders stole laid the foundation for their nations today. As for the millions of Muslims they killed along the way, we hold them accountable till today and will until all the injustices are rectified by the sword or By Allāh (سبحانه و تعلى) on the Day of Judgement. As for the killing of the Muslims on the ‘Miri’ was one of the events that led to the Mamluke Sultan Al Ashraf Qansuh Al Ghawri to send a large naval detachment to fight the Portuguese.

With the increasing presence of the Portuguese in the traditionally Uthmani, (actually Muslim), sphere of influence, the Uthmanis, (in a coalition with the Mamlukes[2] and the Sultan of Gujarat, amongst others), decided to fight the Portuguese navy, led by Francisco Almeida, (the Portuguese Viceroy/governor), off the coast of the Guajarati city of Kathiawaar in 1509. The combined Muslim forces lost, paving the way for the Portuguese to capture other key port cities of the region such as Mumbasa, Muscat, Goa, Sri Lanka, Malaqa and the Islands of Suqutra, (which is off the coast of Somalia) and Hormuz, (off the coast of modern day Iran and trading capital at the time). Portuguese trading posts were established in India and elsewhere on his route, while simultaneously him and his crew proselytised the natives to Catholicism and converted people forcefully on the way, (which is why Goa, De Gama’s landing spot on the Malabar coast of India, has a 30% Christian population, which is much higher than the national average which is 2.3%), (Government of India. Census of India 2001, Data on Religion). Thus the Portuguese, like the Spanish after them conquered in the name of Christ, with The Cross of the Order of Christ[3] adorned Portuguese sails in their travels to India, Brazil and Japan. Some may argue these are but coincidences and that papal authorities did not authorize their excesses but they would be wrong in that assumption as many Papal Bulls, (Papal pronouncements and edicts), and Papal Council records survive that evidence the crusading nature of the Church and its role as an incitor to the ‘Colonization Crusade,’ or as the French would like say, “A Civilizing Mission” or as the British were fond of saying, “White Man’s Burden” or perhaps in a contemporary context, “Operation Enduring Freedom.” This process of colonization was nothing but one in the series of continuous crusades since 1066. Pope Nicholas V issued a Papal Bull, called the Dum Diversas in 1452 stating:

“We grant you [Kings of Spain and Portugal] by these present documents, without apostolic Authority, full and free permission to invade, search out, capture, and subjugate the Saracens [Muslims] and pagans and any other unbelievers and enemies of Christ wherever they may be, as well as their kingdoms, duchies, counties, principalities, and other property…and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, (Curran, 67).”

This edict was a blatant statement of the Church authorizing the seizing of by force of Muslim lands and of enslaving their people, making the Church squarely responsible for not only inciting the waves of colonization that followed throughout the subsequent centuries, but also in the actual commissioning of the crimes against the Muslim Ummah, (among other peoples violated by the crusading Christians). In a later Papal Bull ‘Romanus Pontifex’, (which is included in full in Appendix R), in 1455, (underlining is mine):

“…if by his [King Alfonso’s] effort and industry that sea might become navigable as far as to the Indians who are said to worship that name of Christ, and that thus he might be able to enter into relations with them, and to incite them to aid the Christians against the Saracens [Muslims] and other such enemies of the faith, and might also be able forthwith to subdue certain gentile or pagan peoples, living between, who are entirely free from infection by the sect of Mahomet [Muhammad (صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم)]…But since, as we are informed, although the king and infant aforesaid (who with so many and so great dangers, labors, and expenses, and also with loss of so many natives of their said kingdom, very many of whom have perished in those expeditions, depending only upon the aid of those natives, have caused those provinces to be explored and have acquired and possessed such harbors, islands, and seas, as aforesaid, as the true lords of them), fearing lest strangers induced by covetousness should sail to those parts, and desiring to usurp to themselves the perfection, fruit, and praise of this work, or at least hinder it… to prevent this and to conserve their right and possession, [the said king and infante] under certain most severe penalties then expressed, have prohibited and in general have ordained that none, unless with their sailors and ships and on payment of a certain tribute and with an express license previously obtained from the said king or infant, should presume to sail to the said provinces or to trade in their port or to fish in the sea

We [therefore] weighting all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso- to invade and search out, capture, vanquish and subdue all Saracens [Muslims] and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit- by having secured the said faculty, the said King Alfonso, or, by his authority, the aforesaid infant, justly and lawfully has acquired and possessed, and doth possess, these islands, lands, harbors, and seas, and they do of right belong and pertain to the said King Alfonso and his successors, nor without special license from King Alfonso and his successors themselves has any other even of the faith of Christ been entitled hitherto, nor is he by any means now entitled lawfully to meddle therewith- in order that King Alfonso himself and his successors and the infant may be able the more zealously to pursue and may pursue this most pious and noble work, and most worthy of perpetual remembrance (which, since the salvation of souls, increase of the faith, and overthrow of its enemies may be procured thereby, we regard as a work wherein the glory of God, and faith in Him, and His commonwealth, the Universal Church, are concerned), in proportion as they, having been relieved of all the greater obstacles, shall find themselves supported by us and by the Apostolic See[4] with favors and graces — we, being very fully informed of all and singular the premises, do, motu proprio, not at the instance of King Alfonso or the infante, or on the petition of any other offered to us on their behalf in respect to this matter, and after mature deliberation, by apostolic authority, and from certain knowledge, in the fullness of apostolic power, by the tenor of these presents decree and declare that the aforesaid letters of faculty (the tenor whereof we wish to be considered as inserted word for word in these presents, with all and singular the clauses therein contained) are extended to Ceuta and to the aforesaid and all other acquisitions whatsoever, even those acquired before the date of the said letters of faculty, and to all those provinces, islands, harbors, and seas whatsoever, which hereafter, in the name of the said King Alfonso and of his successors and of the infante, in those parts and the adjoining, and in the more distant and remote parts, can be acquired from the hands of infidels or pagans, and that they are comprehended under the said letters of faculty…”

In simple English, Pope Nicholas declared that the recent acquisition of Non-Christian territories by Portugal in Ceuta, (Ceuta was held by Muslims), and elsewhere were theirs forever, not to be usurped by anyone, even if they be Christian. In essence, the Church had declared war on the Non-Christian world. Furthermore, the Pope confirmed the Dum Diversas of 1452 while, for good measure, the Pope declares that it is justified for the Portuguese to bar other powers from trading within their conquered territories unless a toll is paid and that Portuguese ships are used. This edict was a result of Portuguese realization that their profit would be cut in later years when other Christian powers manage to find a route to India, and thus offered the Pope to propagate Christianity in their newfound territories in return for exclusive rights to conquered lands. What resulted was a monopoly, reminiscent of the attempts of the gangs of Chicago muscle out competition from their turf, (albeit in this case, using ‘men of the Cloth’[5] as their alibi), and European powers were none too pleased about this pronouncement by the Pope. In addition, many people, even in Europe were asking, ‘how can the Pope grant the right to conquer and rule places and people that:

1)      Are not under the jurisdiction of the Catholic Church? (i.e. pagans and Muslims did not come under their official jurisdiction)

2)      And how can the Pope grant lands that he has not knowledge of and are not in his possession to give?

Questions such as these were posed by the famous Dutch jurist, Hugo Grotius, whom many consider the father of international law in Europe, (while the actual ‘father’ of International law as considered even by Christian Europeans is Muhammad Al-Shaybani, a Hanafi Faqih who lived during the 8th Century CE), and more specifically the Law of the Seas, (from which, now has come the Law of the Skies), which is used internationally nowadays, (interestingly enough, the origin of these laws are the Catholic Canon Law and old Roman civil law). He asked in his famous ‘Freedom of The Seas’, “Can any nation give away what it never owned, or discover what already belonged to someone else? Does a manifest injustice of long standing create a specific right? (Grotius, 52).” He argues that the Portugal’s claim of exclusivity to trade in the ‘East’ was based on false premises by saying:

“Neither can the Portuguese by any possible means claim to have discovered India, a country which was famous centuries and centuries ago! It was already known as early as the time of the emperor Augustus as the following quotation from Horace shows:

‘That worst of evils, poverty, to shun

Dauntless through seas, and rocks, and fires you run

To furthest Ind,’

And have not the Romans described for us in the most exact way the greater part of Ceylon? And as far as the other islands are concerned, not only the neighboring Persians and Arabs, but even Europeans, particularly the Venetians, knew them long before the Portuguese did, (Ibid, 56-57).”

Furthermore:

“But have the Portuguese completely covered the ocean, as we are wont to do on land, by laying out estates on it in such a way that they have the right to exclude from that ocean whom they will? Not at all! On the contrary, they are so far from having done so, that when they divide up the world to the disadvantage of other nations, they cannot even defend their action by showing any boundaries either natural or artificial, but are compelled to fall back upon some imaginary line. Indeed, if that were a recognized method, and such a delimitation of boundaries were sufficient to make possession valid, our geometers long since would have got possession of the face of the earth, our astronomers of the very skies, (Ibid, 70).”

And finally, Grotius argues that:

“But if the Portuguese call occupying the sea merely to have sailed over it before other people, and to have, as it were, opened the way, could anything in the world be more ridiculous? For, as there is no part of the sea on which some person has not already sailed, it will necessarily follow that every route of navigation is occupied by someone. Therefore we peoples of today are all absolutely excluded. Why will not those men who have circumnavigated the globe be justified in saying that they have acquired for themselves the possession of the whole ocean! But there is not a single person in the world who does not know that a ship sailing through the sea leaves behind it no more legal right than it does a track. And as for the assumption of the Portuguese that no one has sailed that ocean before themselves, that is anything but true, (Ibid, 71).”

Thus, Grotius argues that neither sailing a route implies ownership of a land, (which would thus give possession rights to the occupier allowing them to impose their writ over the land in question), nor Papal edict to that effect, since if it did, Dutch geographers would have demarcated the whole world as exclusively Dutch property! Moreover he sullies the claim that Portugal ‘discovered’ the routes they sailed on and the land they traded in but citing that Romans, Arabs and Persians had been to these places before Portugal, (thus effectively providing a European rebuttal to the Age of ‘Discovery’). However, it must be remembered that Grotius wrote this book in 1604 to justify the trading activities of the Dutch East India Company against the Papal edict granting Portugal exclusive status over India and its Asian holdings. Therefore, it can be argued that Grotius perhaps did not actually believe in the argument he posits, but rather does it simply to earn his pay from the Dutch East India Company, (of whom he was hired by to write this thesis). Nevertheless, his arguments are in agreement with what any person with a mind would argue about the absurdity of Papal pronouncements in regards to colonization of other lands.

The rights bestowed by Romanus Pontifex have served as the basis for legal arguments over the centuries. The logic of the rights of conquest and discovery were followed in all western nations including those that never recognized papal authority. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the 1823 case Johnson v. M’Intosh that as a result of European discovery and assumption of ultimate dominion, Native Americans had only a right to occupancy of native lands, not the right of title. This decision was upheld in the 1831 case Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, giving Georgia authority to extend state laws over Cherokees within the state, and famously describing Native American tribes as “domestic dependent nations.” This decision was modified in Worcester v. Georgia, which stated that the U.S. federal government, and not individual states, had authority in Indian affairs, but it maintained the loss of right to title upon discovery by Europeans.

In recent years, Native American groups including the Taíno and Onondaga have called on the Vatican to revoke the bulls of 1452, 1453, and 1493, (i.e. the edicts of 1452 and others are still in force legally according to the Catholic Church and thus, amongst other things, the Catholic Church is still technically at war with the non-Christian world, which would include the Muslim Ummah).

Pope Alexander VI issued Inter caetera on 4 May 1493, which granted to Spain all lands to the “west and south” of a pole-of-pole line 100 leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde Islands, granting all lands to the east and south of that line to Portugal. This bull and other similar to it made up the ‘Bulls of Donation.’ This bull was silent regarding whether lands to the east of the line would belong to Portugal, which had only recently reached the southern tip of Africa (1488) and had not yet reached India (1498). These lands were “to be discovered” beyond those along the west coast of Africa as far as Guinea that were given to Portugal via the 1481 bull Aeterni regis, which had ratified the Treaty of Alcáçovas, (included in Appendix R).

This nullification of Portugal’s aspirations led to the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, (included in Appendix R), between Spain and Portugal, which moved the line further west to a meridian 370 leagues west of the Portuguese Cape Verde Islands, now explicitly giving Portugal all newly discovered lands east of the line. Initially, the Tordesillas line did not encircle the globe. Spain and Portugal could pass each other toward the west or east, respectively, on the other side of the globe and still possess whatever lands they were first to discover. In response to Portugal’s discovery of the Spice Islands in 1512, the Spanish put forward the idea, in 1518, that Pope Alexander had divided the world into two halves. The Treaty of Saragossa (1529) settled the dispute by placing the antipodal[6] line 17° east of the Moluccas.

Inter caetera states:

“Among other works well pleasing to the Divine Majesty and cherished of our heart, this assuredly ranks highest, that in our times especially the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and be everywhere increased and spread, that the health of souls be cared for and that barbarous nations be overthrown and brought to the faith itself. …we [the Papacy] command you [Spain]…to instruct the aforesaid inhabitants and residents and dwellers therein in the Catholic faith, and train them in good morals.”

This papal command marked the beginning of colonization and Catholic Missions in the New World. An important if initially unintended effect of the combination of this papal bull and the Treaty of Tordesillas was that nearly all the Pacific Ocean and the west coast of North America were given to Spain.

Inter caetera stated that one Christian nation did not have the right to establish dominion over lands previously dominated by another Christian nation, thus establishing the Law of Nations. Together, the Dum Diversas, the Romanus Pontifex and the Inter Caetera came to serve as a justification for the Discovery Doctrine[7] and the Age of Imperialism.

The Treaty of Alcacovas which was signed between Portugal and Spain in 1479 was a ground breaking treaty in the history of colonialism, since it is one of the first international documents formally establishing the principle that European powers are empowered to divide the rest of the world into “spheres of influence” and colonize the territories located within such spheres, and that any indigenous people living there need not be asked for their consent (or even be informed that their fate was being decided upon).

In it, the allowances were that:

“… the said King and Prince of Portugal or the future sovereigns of Portugal or their kingdoms, in their possession or quasi possession all the trade, lands and barter in Guinea, with its gold-mines, or in any other islands, coasts or lands, discovered or to be discovered, found or to be found, or in the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo and Desertas, or in all the islands of the Azores, or the islands of Flores, as well as the islands of Cape Verde, or in all the islands hitherto discovered, or in all other islands which shall be found or acquired by conquest [in the region] from the Canary Islands down toward Guinea. For whatever has been found or shall be found, acquired by conquest, or discovered within the said limits, beyond what has already been found, occupied, or discovered, belongs to the said King and Prince of Portugal and to their kingdoms, excepting only the Canary Islands, to wit: Lancarote, Palma, Forteventura, Gomera, Ferro, Graciosa, Grand Canary, Teneriffe and all the other Canary Islands, acquired or to be acquired, which belong to the kingdoms of Castile. And in like manner, [they promised] not to disturb, trouble or molest any persons whomsoever, who, under any title or in any way or manner whatsoever, shall trade or traffic in or acquire by conquest the said trade of Guinea or that of the said coasts or lands, discovered or to be discovered, in the name or under the authority of the said king and prince or their successors. On the contrary, by these presents, they do promise and assure, in good faith and without deceit, the said king and prince and their successors, that they will not, of themselves or through others, order or consent, but rather forbid, that any of their people, native or subject, in any place or at any time, or in any case, specified or not specified, or any other foreign people who might be within their kingdoms and dominions, or who shall be equipped or provisioned in their ports, go to traffic in the said trade or in the islands or lands of Guinea discovered or to be discovered.”

These concepts would remain as generally-accepted principles in the ideology and practice of European powers up to the 20th century decolonization. The Treaty of Alcáçovas could be regarded as the ancestor of many later international treaties and instruments based on the same basic principle – for example the resolutions of the 1884 Conference of Berlin, a full four centuries later, which in much the same way divided Africa into colonial spheres of influence. Morever treaties such as those of, The London Pact,[8] Sykes-Picot,[9] The Balfour Declaration,[10] The Agreement of St.-Jean-de-Maurienne,[11] Sevres,[12] Lausanne,[13], The San Remo Agreement[14], the secret Tripartite agreement,[15]ARAMCO[16] and its scheming in Saudi Arabia and the Red Line[17] agreements are a testament that this legacy of division and conquest never ended and continues well into our times with the conquest of Afghanistan and Iraq by NATO forces, (which includes much of the old cast of villains that terrorized the Muslim world during the 17th-19th centuries), and the US, while, under the pretext of creating Forward Command posts for their armies to fight the War on ‘Terror,’ have erected the equivalent of Portuguese and Spanish trading posts[18] that projects American power well within the regions in question, thus resulting in colonization of the said lands in all but form.

The treacherous kafir T.E. Lawrence stated in an intelligence report that the Arab Revolt, in reference to Britain and the west, was:

“…beneficial to us, because it matches with our immediate aims, the breakup of the Islamic ‘bloc’ and the defeat and disruption of the Ottoman Empire, and because the states [Sharif Hussein] would set up to succeed the Turks would be … harmless to ourselves … The Arabs are even less stable than the Turks. If properly handled they would remain in a state of political mosaic, a tissue of small jealous principalities incapable of cohesion, (Kastan, Wail S. Hassan,‘T.E. Lawrence’).”

The Prophet (صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم) states, in an authentic hadith narrated by Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud, on the authority of Thawban, we’re told:

يوشك الأمم أن تداعى عليكم كما تداعى الأكلة إلى قصعتها فقال قائل ومن قلة نحن يومئذ قال بل أنتم يومئذ كثير ولكنكم غثاء كغثاء السيل ولينزعن الله من صدور عدوكم المهابة منكم وليقذفن الله في قلوبكم الوهن فقال قائل يا رسول الله وما الوهن قال حب الدنيا وكراهية الموت

The People will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating invite others to share their food.” Someone asked, “Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?” He replied, “No, you will be numerous at that time: but you will be froth and scum like that carried down by a torrent (of water), and Allāh will take the fear of you from the breasts (hearts) of your enemy and cast al-wahn into your hearts.” Someone asked, “O Messenger of Allāh, what is wahn?” He replied, “Love of the world and dislike of death[19]

We ask Allāh, The Almighty, for His forgiveness for our feebleness and wahn.

With these facts in mind, the Law of Nations developed, or as we see today, International Law, (it should be noted I have only briefly summarized a topic that would easily take writing a library worth of books to expound on fully). In international law there is a concept called ultima ratio regum or last argument of kings (force and coercion, by military or other means). Many in Europe and America have argued that dictatorships such as China or Cuba are examples of the above wherein due to their sovereignty they are free to do as they wish in their lands and abroad and not beholden to any one else’s laws.

Other states oppose this view. One group of opponents of this point of view, including many European nations, maintain that all civilized nations have certain norms of conduct expected of them, including the prohibition of genocide, slavery and the slave trade, wars of aggression, torture, and piracy, and that violation of these universal norms represents a crime, not only against the individual victims, but against humanity as a whole. States and individuals who subscribe to this view opine that, in the case of the individual responsible for violation of international law, he “is become, like the pirate and the slave trader before him, hostis humani generis, an enemy of all mankind, (Janis & Noyes, p. 148)”, and thus subject to prosecution in a fair trial before any fundamentally just tribunal, through the exercise of universal jurisdiction. Thus, we now begin to see and understand the basis of preemptive military strikes by countries in the present and the imposition of certain moral and ethical values imposed upon the Muslim world and its legal and political systems. Grotius says that:

“For those who force war upon barbarous peoples, as the Spaniards did upon the aborigines of America, commonly allege one of two pretexts: either that they have been refused the right to trade, or that the barbarians are unwilling to acknowledge the doctrines of the True Faith.(Grotius, p. 60).”

While he adds by quoting Plutarch[20]:

“…that it was greed that furnished the pretext for conquering barbarous countries, and it is not unsuspected that greedy longing for the property of another often hid itself behind a pretext of civilizing barbarians, (Ibid, p.57).”


[1] The tale spoke of a Christian patriarch and king said to rule over a Christian nation lost amidst the Muslims and pagans in the Orient. Written accounts of this kingdom are variegated collections of medieval popular fantasy. Reportedly a descendant of one of the Three Magi, Prester John was said to be a generous ruler and a virtuous man, presiding over a realm full of riches and strange creatures, in which the Patriarch of the Saint Thomas Christians resided. His kingdom contained such marvels as the Gates of Alexander and the Fountain of Youth, and even bordered the Earthly Paradise. Among his treasures was a mirror through which every province could be seen in which the prince’s realms were surveyed and his duties laid out. At first, Prester John was imagined to be in India. After the coming of the Mongols to the Western world, accounts placed the king in Central Asia, and eventually Portuguese explorers convinced themselves they had found him in Ethiopia.

[2] The Mameluke Sultan, Al Ashraf Qansuh Al Ghawri had sent his fleet in 1507 to defend the Sultan of Gujarat from the aggression of Vasco De Gama and the Portuguese fleet.

[3] A forerunner of the Knights Templar in Portugal, (The Knights Templar Order had fought during the Crusades and were established after the First Crusade, and existed from approximately 1118 to 1312). These were the same Knights Templar that massacred Muslims in Sham and specifically fought with their crusader zeal against the mujahid Salahuddin in the Battle of Hitteen under the leadership of Gerard de Riderfort. Sultan Salahuddin executed most of the Templars, who were obstinate in their kufr, after their spectacular defeat at the hands of the mujahideen, while the Crusader Gerard was executed in 1189 after the Battle of Akka (Acre). After the Templars were suppressed in 1312 by Papal authorities and a large number of them were executed in France, including their Grand Master Jacque DeMolay. Many of these knights took refuge in Portugal. Others elsewhere were absorbed into other orders such as the Knights Hospitaller. The influx of new recruits from theTemplar and the shift of the Knights Hospitaller to Rhodes, (an island near the southern coast of modern day Turkey), allowed the the Hospitallers, (now called the Knights of Rhodes), to harass Uthmani Shipping, attack the Uthmani naval mujahideen, (commonly known in the Christian world as the Barbary ‘Pirates’), and conducting small scale incursions into Anatolia and even Egypt with their typical crusader zeal. However in 1522 the Knights were defeated by the mujahid Uthmani Khalifa, Sulaiman, resulting in many of the defeated knights to leave and settle in the Kingdom of Sicily, while others wandered homeless until 1530 when Holy Roman Emperor Charles V conferred upon them the sovereignty of the island of Malta, (thereafter renaming the Knights of Rhodes to the Knights of Malta). The knights survived in Malta, carrying on the Crusader activities of their forefathers and harassing the Uthmani’s, with the end of these crusaders, ironically, coming not as a result of an Uthmani invasion, but rather Napolean Bonaparte’s, (another Allahless tyrant, albeit a brilliant military strategist), invasion of Malta in 1798. The order was revived in many European capitals in various forms but in 1834, the Order established a new headquarters in Rome. It was renamed ‘The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta,’ or as it is better known, ‘The Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM).’ Its sovereign status is recognized by membership in numerous international bodies and observer status at the United Nations and others. The Order maintains diplomatic relations with approximately 100 countries, with numerous ambassadors. It issues its own passports, currency, stamps and even vehicle registration plates. The Grand Master of the Order serves as a Papal Viceroy, providing Vatican diplomats with procedural support for making motions, proposing amendments and requiring votes in the sphere of international diplomacy. Many claim that the Templars and Hospitallers survived in the form of freemasonry, thus enduring the persecution and establishing an unbroken chain of transmission of the Crusades from 1066 to our age. However, these claims are without solid proof, and thus cannot be denied or agreed upon.

[4] The Apostolic See is used in the singular to refer to the See of Rome, (the central government of the Roman Catholic Church), referring to the Pope’s status as successor of the Apostle Peter.

[5] Christian clergy

[6] Of, relating to, or situated on the opposite side or sides of the earth

[7] The Discovery Doctrine is a concept of public international law expounded by the United States Supreme Court in a series of decisions, most notably Johnson v. M’Intosh in 1823. The doctrine was Chief Justice John Marshall’s explanation of the way in which colonial powers laid claim to newly discovered lands during the Age of Discovery. Under it, title to newly discovered lands lay with the government whose subjects discovered new territory. The doctrine has been primarily used to support decisions invalidating or ignoring aboriginal possession of land in favor of colonial or post-colonial governments. This decision is still in force today and denies, (and in all likelihood will never be repealed), Native Americans their rights as the true inhabitants and owners of, if not all, large chunks of North America, (including Canada, where the same logic has been used).

[8] The Treaty of London, 1915, was a secret pact between Italy and Triple Entente, signed in London on 26 April 1915 by the Kingdom of Italy, the United Kingdom, France and Russia. According to the pact, Italy was to leave the Triple Alliance and join Triple Entente, as already stated in a secret agreement signed in London, on 4-5 September 1914. Furthermore, Italy was to declare war against Germany and Austria-Hungary within a month — and in fact the declaration of war was published on the 23rd of May of the same year. In exchange, Italy was to obtain some territorial gains at the end of the war, (which included Germany’s Asia and Africa holdings)

[9] The Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 was a secret agreement between the governments of the UK and France, with the assent of Imperial Russia, defining their respective spheres of influence and control in west Asia after the expected downfall of the Uthmani Empire during World War I. It was largely a trade agreement with a large area set aside for indirect control through an Arab state or a confederation of Arab states. The agreement was concluded on 16 May 1916. Britain was allocated control of areas roughly comprising today’s Jordan, southern Iraq, and a small area around Haifa, to allow access to a Mediterranean port. France was allocated control of southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq around Mosul, Syria and Lebanon. Russia was to get Constantinople, the Turkish Straits and the Uthmani Armenian vilayets. The controlling powers were left free to decide on state boundaries within these areas. The region of Palestine was slated for international administration pending consultations with Russia and other powers, including the Sharif of Mecca.

[10] The Balfour Declaration of 1917 (dated November 2, 1917) was a classified formal statement of policy by the British government stating that the British government “view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” with the understanding that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” The declaration was made in a letter from Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lord Rothschild (Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild), a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation, a private Zionist organization. The letter reflected the position of the British Cabinet, as agreed upon in a meeting on October 31, 1917. It further stated that the declaration is a sign of “sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations.” The statement was issued through the efforts of Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow, the principal Zionist leaders based in London. The “Balfour Declaration” was later incorporated into the Sèvres peace treaty with Turkey and the Mandate for Palestine.  Naturally, the agreement went contrary to the Hussain-Mcmahon Correspondence, (1915-1916),  between Hussain Ibn Ali, (the Sharif of Makka), and Sir Henry McMahon, (British High Commissioner of Egypt), wherein McMahon promised the Arabs, (led by British agent T.E. Lawrence), in return for revolting against the Uthmani’s, all Arab states from the southern border of modern day Turkey would get independence.

[11] London Pact stated that if the Ottoman Empire was partitioned, Italy should receive a “just share” in the Adana Region. The borders of this occupation were to be decided at a later time.

[12] The Treaty of Sèvres (10 August 1920) was the peace treaty between the Uthmani Empire and Allies that divided Uthmani possessions amongst the Allies at the end of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles was signed with Germany before this treaty to annul the German concessions including the economic rights and enterprises. The Treaty of Sèvres imposed terms so severe that British policy seemed to have succeeded in strangling the sick man of Europe in his sick-bed in Asia Minor. This had been the dream of Christianity for nearly five hundred years beginning with the Holy Leagues, the Ottoman Empire put into a condition such that it can never be revived again in its old form. The Treaty was annulled by the Treaty of Lausanne

[13] was a peace treaty signed in Lausanne, Switzerland, (1923), that divided the Anatolian and East Thracian parts of the partitioning of the Uthmani Empire amongst the allies, by annulment of the Treaty of Sèvres (1920) that was signed by the Istanbul-based Uthmani government; as the consequence of the Turkish War of Independence between the Allies of World War I and the Ankara-based Grand National Assembly of Turkey (Turkish national movement) led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The treaty also led to the international recognition of the sovereignty of the new Republic of Turkey as the successor state of the defunct Uthmani Empire. The treaty also stipulated minority rights that Turkey had to give to its population including not discriminating between religions in Section III of the treaty, (i.e. no Ahl Al-Dhimma).

[14] The agreement was signed in 1920 dividing former Uthmani territories in the Middle East between France and Britain. The agreement involved that Britain and France would establish mandates over Middle Eastern territories. France got control over Syria and Lebanon, Britain over Palestine and Mesopotamia. The agreement was very much based upon the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. The main differences from the Sykes-Picot to the San Remo were that the state of Turkey had been established, taking most of the lands allocated for Russia, and the northern parts of the territory intended for France. Also, there were no more any traces of an Arab state, and the lands of Palestine were defined according to the Balfour Declaration, which was included in the British part of the agreement.

[15] The Tripartite Agreement (1920), confirmed Britain’s oil and commercial concessions and turned the former German enterprises in the Uthmani Empire over to a Tripartite corporation

[16] In 1948 Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon) and Socony-Vacuum Oil (now Mobil) join Standard Oil California, (now Chevron) and Texaco as owners of Aramco, (Arab American Oil Company). In 1933 Saudi Arabia granted oil concession to California Arabian Standard Oil Company (Casoc), affiliate of Standard Oil of California (Socal, today’s Chevron).

[17] An agreement signed by partners in the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC) on July 31, 1928. The TPC, afterwards renamed the Iraq Petroleum Company, was an oil company jointly owned by some of the world’s largest oil companies, (Anglo-Persian Oil Company/BP and Royal Dutch/Shell to name a few), which had a virtual monopoly on all oil exploration in Iraq from 1925 to 1961. The aim of the agreement was to formalize the corporate structure of TPC and bind all partners to a self-denial clause that prohibited any of its shareholders from independently seeking oil interests in the ex-Uthmani territory. It marked the creation of an oil monopoly, or cartel, of immense influence, spanning a vast territory. It is said that Calouste Gulbenkian, (an Armenian businessman and the founder of the TPC) took out a large map, laid it on the table and drew with a thick red pencil an outline demarking the boundaries of the area where the self-denial clause would be in effect. He said that was the boundary of the Uthmani Empire he knew in 1914. The other partners looked on attentively and did not object. They had already anticipated such a boundary. (According to some accounts, the “red line” was drawn not by Gulbenkian but by the French.) Excepting Gulbenkian, the partners were the supermajors, (ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, Total S.A.) of today. Within the “red line” was included the entire ex-Uthmani territory in the Middle East, including the Arabian Peninsula (plus Turkey) but excluding Kuwait. Kuwait was excluded, as it was meant to be a preserve for the British.

[18] In the famous example of Vasco De Gama, he established trading outposts at locations his crew stopped off at and initially were involved in trade, but slowly, these posts became the staging posts for the colonial hijacking of the countries in question.

[19] An authentic hadith recorded by Abu Dawud and Ahmad

[20] He was a Roman historian (of Greek ethnicity), biographer and essayist. Plutarch was born to a prominent family in Chaeronea, Boeotia, a town about twenty miles east of Delphi. His main works consist of the Parallel Lives and the Moralia.

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