In the "comments" section of a recent post, Yahya objected to my claim that Muslim apologists are going to increase skepticism about Muhammad by attacking their own sources so frequently. Yahya called this a "pathetic argument." Let me give you an analogy in order to explain why I think this is a perfectly good argument.
Let's say that we're all members of the U.S. Secret Service, and that our job is to protect Governor X from being assassinated. Governor X is speaking at a rally, and so we decide to check people for weapons as they enter the auditorium. A man enters; we search him; we run him through a metal detector; and we let him through. A second man enters; we search him; we run him through a metal detector; and we let him through. And so on, and so on, until the the auditorium is filled with people.
Governor X gets up to speak, and suddenly an audience member pulls out a gun. We tackle him and drag him out. Here several questions should immediately arise in our minds: "How could this person have a gun when we searched everyone? Were our searches flawed? Does our metal detector work properly? Is it possible that other people in the room have weapons?" Let us further suppose that another person stands up with a gun, and another, and another. The more people who turn out to have weapons, the less we can trust that Governor X is safe.
Now let's apply this to history. The Secret Service agents represent Muslim scholars and historians, and the would-be assassins represent false stories about Muhammad. Muslim scholars and historians were supposedly the ones who were protecting and preserving the truth about Muhammad from generation to generation. Ibn Ishaq wrote our earliest extant biography about Muhammad. We open his biography, and we find that it's filled with false stories. Did Ibn Ishaq perform his Secret Service duties well? According to Muslims, no. He put the truth about Muhammad in danger.
Another early biographer is Wakidi. According to Muslims, Wakidi's text is filled with lies. So did Wakidi do a good job of preserving the truth? No.
In my debate on the Satanic Verses, I showed that a number of Islam's earliest scholars declared that Muhammad delivered verses from Satan. According to Muslims, these early scholars were either liars or they were fools, but they weren't reliable. So even the early Muslim historians and scholars weren't doing a good job of weeding out false stories.
In a recent post, I quoted more than one passage from Sahih Muslim, showing that, according to Muhammad, Allah will punish Jews and Christians in hell for the sins of Muslims. According to Yahya, these passages were fabricated. Yahya isn't the only one to challenge Sahih Sittah. When non-Muslims quote passages on killing apostates, even scholars such as Jamal Badawi will say that these passages in al-Bukhari were fabricated. In a recent debate with Jay Smith, Shabir Ally said, in effect, that any Muslim texts that teach violence have been fabricated. But what does this mean? It means that even Islam's most trusted hadith scholars allowed false stories to creep into their works. Thus, even al-Bukhari and al-Muslim couldn't distinguish truth from falsehood, using the most sophisticated methodologies available to them.
The result is that even the greatest of Muslim scholars are inaccurate. Both in a debate with Sami Zaatari and a debate with Adnan Rashid, I quoted the greatest Muslim commentator of all time: Ibn Kathir. Both Sami and Adnan rejected Ibn Kathir's claims. But Ibn Kathir's claims were based on his research of early Muslim sources. Hence, according to Sami and Adnan, even Ibn Kathir couldn't figure out what was true and what was false.
So what do we have today? According to Muslims, we have a large auditorium filled with thousands and thousands of false stories about Muhammad. This proves (1) that the early Muslim community was passing on false information about Muhammad, (2) that the early Muslim scholars were also passing on false information about Muhammad, and (3) that later Muslim scholars couldn't distinguish true reports from false reports.
The effects are already before us. Muslim apologists feel justified in rejecting practically anything I quote to them from their sources. But will it end here? No. Once we conclude that there isn't a single reliable historical source on the life of Muhammad, and once we conclude that Muslims have been lying from the beginning, it isn't a tremendous leap for us to say: "If that's the situation with your sources, how can I trust anything you say about Muhammad?" We can see, then, why a Muslim scholar recently declared that Muhammad probably never existed. I repeat: If Muslims continue attacking their own historical sources, they will increase skepticism about Muhammad.
Professor Wood said:
b«Once we conclude that there isn't a single reliable historical source on the life of Muhammad, and once we conclude that Muslims have been lying from the beginning, it isn't a tremendous leap for us to say: "If that's the situation with your sources, how can I trust anything you say about Muhammad?"b
Thates' true... absoluttelie true!!! Mister Yahya is a perfect example of that... muslims accepts -- has I saide yesterday in my small exchange of words with my friend Ibn -- what is more convenient to their argumentation...
everything is valid if it's according to a specific poit of view... and then... everythinge changes... that's not inconsistency... it's -- like professor Wood sayes -- lying...
Reminds me when KeithTruth made his video (watch?v=k8hqFIxddUY) in which he responded to Zaatari. At 2:58 (we have a different context here but that doesn't change anything)
"This just demonstrates how inconsistent the muslim apologists are. They pick and chose basically what fits their doctrine and discard whatever doesn't."
I think we have a perfect analogy here.
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