Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Shabir Ally vs. Jay Smith: Violence in the Qur'an and the Bible

Recently, Shabir Ally and Jay Smith debated the topic: "The Qur'an and the Bible: On the Question of Peace." Shabir is (in my opinion at least) Islam's top debater. (For all of you Zakir Naik fans, I simply must point out that Naik refuses to face Christianity's top apologists. Shabir faces them regularly.) Shabir rarely debates Muslim topics, so it was good to see him defending Islam this time. I disagree with his arguments, methodology, and conclusions, but he did a great job presenting them. (Compare Shabir's defense of Islam on the issue of violence with Nadir Ahmed's career-ending performance here.) I think Jay needed a bit more time to rebut Shabir's claims, but Jay did a great job as well. I'd like to see them do two separate debates on this issue: "Is Islam a Religion of Peace" and "Is Christianity a Religion of Peace?" This would allow a fuller discussion. However, this debate serves as a good introduction to the issue.





faktb said...

Thank you for posting the vids! The Islamic conquests were a continuation of Muhammad's example. In 628, he invited various rulers and kings to Islam. He said that if they didn't accept, then they would be defeated. After he died, his followers carried out his example. Shabir's attempt to "let the Koran speak" for itself contradicts what really happened in history.

Yahya Hayder Seymour said...

A Really Pathetic Argument from Faktb, thats like the common muslim assertion that due to the History of Christendom as an institution such as the Crusades, Witch Hunts and the Spanish Inquisition as well as other Colonial Hotshot adventures which even affected my ancestors, that the Bible is not peaceful. We argue a religion's nature based upon the Scripture.

ben malik said...

what's more pathetic is you response since it is a false analogy. Faktb wasn't citing any joe shmoe Muslim, but Muhammad and the followers he was referring to are his companions. Yet being a Shia I know that you believe that the first three so-called rightly guided caliphs were not so rightly guided.

Sunil said...

>> believe that the first three so-called rightly guided caliphs were not so rightly guided.

They are close companions of Muhammad. If they have not understood the true message of Muhammad, who else can claim to have? Uthman even took upon himself, the authority to put together a version of Quran and burn the variants.

Yahya Hayder Seymour said...

Well Ben,

Being a Shia does not tantamount to holding polaroid black and white views which missionaries can detect without even researching my views, Shias hold diverse opinions.

You know nothing about me, and from the looks of your previous posts, nothing about my beliefs so refrain from any personal commentary in future.

And Faktb cited no sources whatsoever.

ben malik said...

Well Yahya,

Nice way of evading my point concerning your false analogy. First of all, you know nothing of me either and do not know how much I know concerning your Shia beliefs. So don't presume that you do.

Secondly, I am going to call your bluff here. Do you hold that the first three caliphs were more qualified than Ali to lead the Muslim Ummah and that they were rightly chosen? Or do you believe that Ali was usurped of his right to succeed Muhammad since he was the most qualified to become the khalif and leader of the faithful?

Yahya Hayder Seymour said...

"Well Yahya,

Nice way of evading my point concerning your false analogy. First of all, you know nothing of me either and do not know how much I know concerning your Shia beliefs. So don't presume that you do.

Secondly, I am going to call your bluff here. Do you hold that the first three caliphs were more qualified than Ali to lead the Muslim Ummah and that they were rightly chosen? Or do you believe that Ali was usurped of his right to succeed Muhammad since he was the most qualified to become the khalif and leader of the faithful?"

Ben show where Faktb cited one source which can be verified?

As for calling my bluff, that wasn't my "bluff" per se, I said I Wouldn't say they weren't rightly guided. In that I don't denounce them as Kaffirs, I hold a much higher opinion of the first than the second two.

Secondly qualification has nothing to do with it. Ali was designated leader by God and the Messenger, if people choose another leader in his place for politics thats something else, Ali was the leader of the religion.

Ben Malik, I know enough about how much you know about my beliefs from the fact you had to call my bluff. And from the fact you demonstrated that Shia for you meant black and white opinions on relatively complex matters. As for everything else about you, it neither interests me nor concerns me, but I never got personal you did.

David Wood said...


How do you feel about the fact that the Qur'an we have today was compiled by Uthman, and that all other copies were burned? You said that Uthman wasn't rightly guided.

Yahya Hayder Seymour said...

Good Question David,

In terms of correct exegesis and even in terms of the structure and correct order, what Uthman did is viewed as problematic.

As far as content is concerned its valid and accurate.

ben malik said...


I will address your comments later tonight. But first, I would like you to view this clip posted by a Sunni and tell us which claims you exactly disagree with:

Moreover, I would like you to further clarify what you mean that, in terms of exegesis, structure and order, Uthman's Quran has problems. And please provide a reference for that assertion, a book perhaps, an article etc.

Yahya Hayder Seymour said...

Ben Malik,

The video is one of my personal favourites in terms of humour, it selects the most extreme cult like groups and political exiles from the Shia world, and attempts to depict them as mainstream. However they fall into a more minority worldview. I actually know shaykh yassir al-habib (the young kuwaiti) at the start of the video personally, and have debated with him on these issues.

As far as which claims I disagree with I feel it would be inappropriate to hijack this blog to highlight all my views on such matters perhaps we can discuss it elsewhere.

Further elaboration sure, do you have access to arabic sources or purely english ones?

David Wood said...


You're free to hijack this blog all you like, since there are clearly some interested readers. If you'd like, I can always make a post for discussing Shia Islam, and you can take everyone to Shia school.

Radical Moderate said...

The Second Video is no longer availabale???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Radical Moderate said...

Violence in the bible is a problem? I'm tired of hearing this. A problem? There is no problem. The verses are clear, and the consequences of not following those verses are crystal clear. The only reason God Ordained Genocide is to establish the Kingdom of Israel, so that the glory of God could become manifest in Christ. I dont have a problem with this.

David Wood said...

Part Two should work now.

Ken said...

From the Hadith of Sahih Al Bukhari:

Mohammad did indeed write letters both to the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius and the Persian Shah Khosroe (spelled Khusrau in the Hadith below) inviting them to Islam, saying “embrace Islam and you will be safe”. Because they both refused, the Arab Muslims attacked both empires. This was around 628 AD. Then after Muhammad died in 632 AD; the Muslims under Abu Bakr, Omar, and Uthman, by attacking both Persia and Byzantine (Egypt, Palestine, Syria, later other parts of N. Africa) were merely following the example of the prophet of Islam. It seems that an invitation to Islam means, “if you submit, you will be safe; but if you don’t, we have been commanded by Allah to fight you and do “Qtal” (fighting, slaying, killing) and “jihad” until there is submission. This is where the doctrine of Dar Al Islam vs. Dar Al Harb comes from.

“fight them until there is no more fitna” (Quran, Surah 8:39) which does not mean “persecution”, but it means “rebellion”, “sedition”, “mutiny”; “commotion”.

Quran Surah 9:29 “fight the people of the book until they pay the jaziye, being brought low”

and 8:39—mentioned in the debate.

Pickthall “And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah. But if they cease, then lo! Allah is Seer of what they do.”

Yusuf Ali And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God altogether and everywhere; but if they cease, verily God doth see all that they do.

Here are the references below from Sahih Al Bukhari:

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 189:
Narrated Anas:
When the Prophet intended to write a letter to the ruler of the Byzantines, he was told that those people did not read any letter unless it was stamped with a seal. So, the Prophet got a silver ring-- as if I were just looking at its white glitter on his hand ---- and stamped on it the expression "Muhammad, Apostle of Allah".
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 190:
Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas:
Allah's Apostle sent his letter to Khusrau and ordered his messenger to hand it over to the Governor of Bahrain who was to hand it over to Khusrau. So, when Khusrau read the letter he tore it. Said bin Al-Musaiyab said, "The Prophet then invoked Allah to disperse them with full dispersion, (destroy them (i.e. Khusrau and his followers) severely)".
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 191:
Narrated Abdullah bin Abbas:
Allah's Apostle wrote to Caesar and invited him to Islam and sent him his letter with Dihya Al-Kalbi whom Allah's Apostle ordered to hand it over to the Governor of Busra who would forward it to Caesar. Caesar as a sign of gratitude to Allah, had walked from Hims to Ilya (i.e. Jerusalem) when Allah had granted Him victory over the Persian forces. So, when the letter of Allah's Apostle reached Caesar, he said after reading t, 'Seek for me any one of his people! (Arabs of Quraish tribe) if present here, in order to ask him about Allah's Apostle.
. . . [too long for the com box, but you can look it up at the web-site] . . .
Abu Sufyan added, "Caesar then asked for the letter of Allah's Apostle and it was read. Its contents were:--
"In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful (This letter is) from Muhammad, the slave of Allah, and His Apostle, to Heraclius, the Ruler of the Byzantine. Peace be upon the followers of guidance. Now then, I invite you to Islam (i.e. surrender to Allah), embrace Islam and you will be safe; embrace Islam and Allah will bestow on you a double reward. But if you reject this invitation of Islam, you shall be responsible for misguiding the peasants (i.e. your nation). O people of the Scriptures! Come to a word common to you and us and you, that we worship. None but Allah, and that we associate nothing in worship with Him; and that none of us shall take others as Lords besides Allah. Then if they turn away, say: Bear witness that we are (they who have surrendered (unto Him)..(3.64)
Abu Sufyan added, "When Heraclius had finished his speech, there was a great hue and cry caused by the Byzantine Royalties surrounding him, and there was so much noise that I did not understand what they said. So, we were turned out of the court. When I went out with my companions and we were alone, I said to them, 'Verily, Ibn Abi Kabsha's (i.e. the Prophet's) affair has gained power. This is the King of Bani Al-Asfar fearing him." Abu Sufyan added, "By Allah, I remained low and was sure that his religion would be victorious till Allah converted me to Islam, though I disliked it "
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 267:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Khosrau will be ruined, and there will be no Khosrau after him, and Caesar will surely be ruined and there will be no Caesar after him, and you will spend their treasures in Allah's Cause." He called, "War is deceit'.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 268:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle called,: "War is deceit".
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 269:
Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:
The Prophet said, "War is deceit."

Austin said...

I like Shabir, but he is changing Islam to confirm to western ideals.

He talks about context a lot, gives a completely new context to a passage that I have never heard before, but does not support his case by quoting the traditions. I have no way of checking his interpretation since he does not site sources close to Prophet.

He takes this approach a lot in debates.

For instance I have seen him say elsewhere that he believes that Jesus was tortured and placed on the cross (which I do not see support for in his scriptures).

Does anyone know which of the Haddiths (if any) does he accept as authentic?

I like Shabir a lot and I don't think he is using taqiyya or deliberately misleading. I think he just wants Islam to be something that it isn't.