Maimonides, the “second Moses” (d. 1203), was a renowned Talmudist, philosopher, astronomer, and physician. His Epistle to the Jews of Yemen was written about 1172 in reply to inquiries by Jacob ben Netan’el al-Fayyumi, who headed the Jewish community in Yemen. At that time, the Jews of Yemen were experiencing a crisis—hardly unfamiliar to Maimonides—as they were being forced to convert to Islam, a campaign launched in about 1165 by ‘Abd-al-Nabi ibn Mahdi. Maimonides offered the Yemenite Jewish communal leader guidance, and what encouragement he could muster. He makes clear that the unrelenting persecutions of the Jews by the Muslims is tantamount to forced conversion. The Epistle to the Jews of Yemen also provides an unflinchingly honest view of what Maimonides thought of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, and about Islam generally. Maimonides referred to Muhammad—Islam’s prototype jihadist—as a bellicose “ha-meshugga,” “Madman,” whose objective was “procuring rule and submission,” whereby “he invented his well known religion.” The Hebrew term, ha-meshugga, as historian Norman Stillman has observed wryly, was, and remains, “pregnant with connotations.”
Reflecting upon Maimonides timeless wisdom, we must have the intellectual fortitude to contemplate, with candor, from a non-Muslim perspective, whether Islamic jihadism and “madness”/“madmen” may interact in a complementary, even synergistic manner.Tragically for Western civilization, those who possess the intellectual fortitude to consider such a thing are few and far between (and will no doubt be written off as blatant "Islamophobes" if and when they do consider it).
|Clever guy, that Maimonides.|