Why is Islam so cruel and barbaric?

(A man about to be beheaded publicly in Saudi Arabia, in perfect accordance with Islamic law as recorded in the Hadith. Picture courtesy Amnesty. )

The Kuran is full of hatred towards unbelievers. The Hadith is even worse. It goes into the gory details of the kinds of "punishments" Muhammed meted out to people for even petty offenses. Judge for yourself. I will reproduce some of the Hadith where Muhammad shows his kindness. All of them are from Sunan Abu-Dawud (the Hadith that provides most of the Shari'a law on various punishments).

In this Hadith, Muhammad shows once again just how much he hates polytheists. It is Hadith such as this one that directly caused many Hindus to be tortured to death in the most cruel manner imaginable during the dark centuries of Islamic rule. Note that for polytheists, repenting does not save them from such a harsh fate.

Book 38, Number 4359:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:

The verse "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite side or exile from the land...most merciful" was revealed about polytheists. If any of them repents before they are arrested, it does not prevent from inflicting on him the prescribed punishment which he deserves.

Now Muhammad orders an adulterer to be stoned to death (there are many Hadith on stoning to death).
Book 38, Number 4364:

Narrated Nu'aym:

Ma'iz came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and admitted (having committed adultery) four times in his presence so he ordered him to be stoned to death, but said to Huzzal: If you had covered him with your garment, it would have been better for you.

This time, Muhammad orders the hand of a petty thief chopped off.
Book 38, Number 4367:

Narrated AbuUmayyah al-Makhzumi:

A thief who had accepted (having committed theft) was brought to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him), but no good were found with him. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him), said to him: I do not think you have stolen. He said: Yes, I have. He repeated it twice or thrice. So he gave orders. His hand was cut off and he was then brought to him. He said: Ask Allah's pardon and turn to Him in repentance. He said: I ask Allah's pardon and turn to Him in repentance. He (the Prophet) then said: O Allah, accept his repentance.

Once again, a man who stole a shield worth just three dirhams has his hands cut off on Muhammad's orders.
Book 38, Number 4373:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar:

The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) had a man's hand cut off who had stolen from the place reserved for women a shield whose price was three dirhams.

A woman has her hand chopped off for selling jewellery that she had borrowed.
Book 38, Number 4382:

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin:

A woman borrowed jewellery through some known persons and she herself was unknown. She then sold them. She was seized and brought to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him). He gave orders that her hand should be cut off. It is this woman about whom Usamah interceded and of her the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said whatever he said.

In this Hadith, Muhammad seems very eager to kill a thief, but when the people remind him that he is only a thief, Muhammad "relents" and orders his hand chopped off. The next time, he has his foot chopped off. This saga continues, with his other hand and foot being chopped off, before he is finally stoned to death.
Book 38, Number 4396:

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah:

A thief was brought to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him). He said: Kill him. The people said: He has committed theft, Apostle of Allah! Then he said: Cut off his hand. So his (right) hand was cut off. He was brought a second time and he said: Kill him. The people said: He has committed theft, Apostle of Allah! Then he said: Cut off his foot.

So his (left) foot was cut off.

He was brought a third time and he said: Kill him.

The people said: He has committed theft, Apostle of Allah!

So he said: Cut off his hand. (So his (left) hand was cut off.)

He was brought a fourth time and he said: Kill him.

The people said: He has committed theft, Apostle of Allah!

So he said: Cut off his foot. So his (right) foot was cut off.

He was brought a fifth time and he said: Kill him.

So we took him away and killed him. We then dragged him and cast him into a well and threw stones over him.

In this Hadith, Muhammad orders a man's hand to be chopped off and hung around his neck.

Book 38, Number 4397:

Narrated Fadalah ibn Ubayd:

A thief was brought to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) and his hand was cut off. Thereafter he commanded for it, and it was hung on his neck.

I ask my readers to bear in mind that Islam IS the example of Muhammad. The above instances are not mere history, but the normative code of conduct for Muslim societies for all time to come. Islam is unique in that it makes one man's conduct the basis for its law (Shari'a). All of the above examples are now cast in stone, and form the basis for Shari'a law for all time.

I have a few questions to ask of my readers after they have read the Hadith above:

1. Was Muhammad a kind and compassionate man, as claimed by Islamic apologists?

2. Could a man who displayed the kind of cruelty described in the Hadith above be called a Saint, let alone "the last Prophet of God"?

3. When one sees the kind of cruelty that routinely comes out of Islamic societies, is it against Islam, or directly in accordance with it?

4. Is anything the Taliban do against Islam? Indeed, Muhammad's punishments seem far more brutal than what the Taliban dish out.

5. Is there ANY place for such a barbaric cult in civilized society?

Notice that in none of the Hadith does Muhammad show an iota of compassion to those whose hands and feet he orders chopped off. Not once does he even ask "Did you fall on bad times? Why did you do what you did?" In Muhammad's time, if a man stole a loaf of bread to feed his hungry family, guess what? Too bad, his hands would be chopped off. There was no compassion in this man. When 1.2 billion people think this is the behaviour of the "perfect man", that is when we see all the barbarity that Islam displays daily. Beheadings, stoning, brutal intolerance and so on. It all comes from one man and his religion.

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