Friday, February 26, 2010

On the Proper and Improper Use of Extra-Biblical and Extra-Qur'anic Commentaries

I quote Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Jalalayn, and Tafsir Ibn Abbas when I discuss the teachings of the Qur'an. Muslims quote Tertullian, Augustine, and Aquinas when they discuss the teachings of the Bible. Yet there is a massive difference between the way Christians use extra-Qur'anic sources and the way Muslims use extra-Biblical source.

To illustrate the difference, consider the following imaginary (yet altogether typical) dialogues.

DIALOGUE #1
CHRISTIAN: The Qur'an says, "Fight those who do not believe" (9:29). This means that Muslims are supposed to fight unbelievers.
MUSLIM: No, it simply meant that one particular group of Muslims was supposed to fight a particular group of Christians that was attacking them at a particular time.
CHRISTIAN: That's not what it says at all.
MUSLIM: But that's what it means.
CHRISTIAN: Can you give me a Muslim source saying that?
MUSLIM: No, but that's what it means.
CHRISTIAN: Well, since you can't give any Muslim sources that agree with your interpretation, let me give you some commentaries that agree with my interpretation. Ibn Kathir says . . .
MUSLIM: Ibn Kathir! Who cares what Ibn Kathir or any other Muslim commentator says!
CHRISTIAN: It seems you don't want to listen to classical Muslim commentators because they say that "Fight those who do not believe" means "Fight those who do not believe."
MUSLIM: Enough of this paranoid, Islamophobic racism!

DIALOGUE #2
MUSLIM: Christianity is a religion of violence and bloodshed!
CHRISTIAN: Nonsense. Jesus said that we are to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:43-48). He said that His followers do not fight, because the Kingdom of God is not an earthly kingdom (John 18:36). When one of His followers used the sword, Jesus condemned the attack (Matthew 26:52). Paul said that we "do not war according to the flesh (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).
MUSLIM: Yes, but all of those verses mean the opposite of what they actually say. They really mean that Christians are to hate their enemies and that they are to spread Christianity through the sword.
CHRISTIAN: That's not what the verses say.
MUSLIM: But that's what they mean. And to show you that Christians are supposed to hate their enemies and spread Christianity through the sword, let me quote a Christian theologian from a thousand years after the New Testament was written.

Do you see the difference? When Christians appeal to Muslim commentators, it's to show that verses of the Qur'an mean what they say, and that Muslim attempts to reinterpret embarrassing verses are a modern phenomenon, often influenced by Western values. When Muslims appeal to Christian commentators, it's to show that verses of the Bible can't mean what they say, and that Christian attempts to follow what the Bible actually says are misguided.

Consider a few more illustrations.

(1) The Qur'an commands Muslims to beat rebellious wives (4:34). Westernized Muslims today say that this verse simply refers to a light, symbolic tapping with a toothbrush. Here Christians go to Muslim commentaries showing that the verse means exactly what it says, and Muslims reject the commentaries, choosing instead to go against the obvious meaning of the Qur'an.

(2) The Qur'an says that there is "no compulsion in religion" (2:256). Since the Qur'an plainly declares that earlier verses are abrogated by conflicting later verses, it's obvious that 2:256 was abrogated by verses such as 9:5, 9:29, 9:73, and 9:123. But Muslims don't want to admit that the few peaceful teachings of the Qur'an have been abrogated, so they reinterpret abrogation, saying that it only applies to the Qur'an abrogating previous scriptures. Thus the Christian pulls out Tafsir Ibn Abbas, Tafsir Jalalayn, and Tafsir Ibn Kathir to show that abrogation applies to earlier verses of the Qur'an, and commentaries are produced to show that 2:256 has either been abrogated or that it only applies to "People of the Book" who are paying the Jizyah. At this point, Muslims reject all of their greatest commentators, ignore the Qur'anic context, pound their fists on the table, declare that 2:256 is valid towards all people, use 2:256 to reinterpret clear Qur'anic commands to violence, and finally declare that Islam is a religion of peace and that anyone who disagrees is an Islamophobe!

(3) According to the Qur'an, men can have sex with prepubescent girls (65:4). Though the verse clearly discusses girls who haven't yet reached the age of puberty, Westernized Muslim proclaim that it doesn't mean this at all. Here we consult Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Abbas, and Tafsir Jalalayn, and we find that all of them understood 65:4 to refer to sex with prepubescent girls (i.e. exactly what the verse says). Modern Muslims, however, don't want to accept this, and so they once again throw out their greatest commentators.

(4) The Bible commands husbands to love our wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25), to be ready to lay down our lives for them, and not to be harsh with them (Colossians 3:19). The Bible declares that both men and women are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and that in Christ there is neither male nor female (Galatians 3:28). To show that these verses can't possibly mean what they say and that the Bible condemns women as the inferior sexual slaves of abusive men, Muslims go on to quote later Christian commentators who ignore the clear teachings of the Bible.

To sum up, Christians want to accurately report the meaning of both the Bible and the Qur'an, in order to allow people to make an informed choice between the two religions. Hence, Christians attempt to read both Christian and Muslim sources in context and to provide a clear account of what the religions teach. Muslims want to misrepresent both the Bible and the Qur'an in order to keep people from honestly assessing the evidence. Thus, Muslims distort the teachings of the Bible by appealing to extra-Biblical sources, and they reject extra-Qur'anic sources which declare that the Qur'an means what it says.

It could be useful to come up with some sort of rule about how to use sources outside of the Bible and the Qur'an. It might run as follows:

"Scripture is to be interpreted primarily by other scripture. That is, a verse is to be evaluated according to its context in the passage and in light of other verses in the text. If a verse is ambiguous, it should be interpreted based on clear verses addressing the same topic. Commentaries may be consulted here to provide the historical context, which reflects what the verse would have meant to the people to whom it was addressed. When someone attempts to deviate from the clear contextual meaning of a verse, commentaries should be provided to show that orthodox scholars prior to modern influence agreed with the clear contextual meaning, and that modern reinterpretations are therefore probably wrong. When a commentary presents an interpretation that conflicts with the clear contextual meaning, the commentary is to be rejected."

For some excellent examples of how these conflicting uses of extra-Biblical and extra-Qur'anic sources play out in debate, please watch our debate with Abdullah and Yahya on whether Islam is a religion of peace, as well as my debate with Abdullah on whether Christianity is a religion of peace. Pay attention to how sources are used. I haven't seen Mary Jo's debate with Tabasum yet, but I suspect that the same would apply to that debate. That is, I suspect that Mary Jo uses extra-Qur'anic sources to show that the Qur'an means what it says, and that Tabasum uses extra-Biblical sources in order to distort what Christianity actually teaches. Of course, this is simply a prediction based on my working hypothesis (which, in turn, is based on past observations). Anyone know whether my prediction is confirmed?

33 comments:

shafsha said...

thanks for the veru interesting topic ...

Actually I was interested to comment on this point specially after the last debate.

To make it clear:

there is a big difference between Tafsir and Bible commenteries

Tafsir depends mainly on Saying and actions of the messenger of Islam. But Commenteries no..

Second No one knows what the quran means execpt Allah, but the bible is not !!

third we can depend on the bible solely for our salvation, but quran doesnt give any details about anythings or any story !!
few examples:
life of Jesus is in the bible

But life on messenger of islam is not in the quran !! meanwhile they are ordered in the Quran to follow him as a superior example, how would they f=do so without Sira and Tafsir ?!

Many orders and rules in the quran cannot be done or expalined without tafsir..
for instance.. as mary Said How to become a muslim, how to pray, how to pilgrim, and I would add, other verses about cleaniness, or a verse like Sleep with your wives whenever , however method you like !!!
اتوا حرثكم انى شئتم !!
many many verese are very ambigious and even worse if you are reading the language in arabic you understand nothing ..
for example :
القارعه !! al karaea !!
العاديات !!! al adeyat !!
an many others!!

To make the story even more complex, Tafsir never agreed on a certain meaning !!! they list possible explanations, and then choose one !!!

Another important point, is th muslims are order to obey Allah, his meesenger, and those whom they submit to (oley al amr اولى الامر) and it was agreed that this would include muslim scholars !!!


Modern muslims would object on Tafsir, saying that Hadith is o be taken from hadith books, and they would accept only sound narrations, or Sahih...

well, but that not what great commentators did when explaining The quran !!! so this will raise a question: are muslims today who try to understand quran, are going to put their own methodolgy which great commentators didnt do ?! are they going to re-explain quran in their own methods, things that muslims over 1400 years didnt do ?!

and If quran is only to be explained through Sound Hadith, why they are having different sort of literature, like Sirah, and tafsir, in addition to the huge volumes of Hadiths ?!

why would they keep what they consider weak narrations in their own books till today ?!

more complex is that the degree of acceptance of hadith, many times varies between a scholar and another ...
For instnance some scholars today are trying to weakne some hadith in Sahih Bukhari, which all muslims over ages had considered as the most perefect book next to the quran !!

to coclude, there is a considerable lack of consistency in the methodolgy of muslims today, in order to justify their satanic teaching in such amodern pen world.

Sepher Shalom said...

I'm not sure if you guys have seen this narration before, but here is something from Bukhari related to S.65:4-

Volume 7, Book 62, Number 63: Narrated Sahl bin Sad: While we were sitting in the company of the Prophet a woman came to him and presented herself (for marriage) to him. The Prophet looked at her, lowering his eyes and raising them, but did not give a reply. One of his companions said, "Marry her to me O Allah's Apostle!" The Prophet asked (him), "Have you got anything?" He said, "I have got nothing." The Prophet said, "Not even an iron ring?" He Sad, "Not even an iron ring, but I will tear my garment into two halves and give her one half and keep the other half." The Prophet; said, "No. Do you know some of the Quran (by heart)?" He said, "Yes." The Prophet said, "Go, I have agreed to marry her to you with what you know of the Qur'an (as her Mahr)." 'And for those who have no courses (i.e. they are still immature). (65.4) And the 'Iddat for the girl before puberty is three months (in the above Verse).

It simply includes extra-Quranic quotation of the verse, but it does show that Imam Bukhari agreed with the verse meaning that prepubescent marriage is allowed.

The Fat Man said...

CONFIRMED

The Fat Man said...

David
I once had the following conversation

Muslim: To understand the Quran you need to use the Hadeeths, but only the hadeeths that agree with the Quran.

ME: Well how am I to know which hadeeths agree with the quran if the hadeeths are to explain the quran in the first place?

Muslim: Well that’s were the science of the hadeeths comes in, see we have Scholars, and they are really smart they study the quran and hadeeths and they know which hadeeths to use.

Me: Ok then here is what Ibn Ksthir says, or this scholar or that scholar...

Muslim: Scholars? Those are only men, we don't accept everything a scholar says only what the quran says....

Me: But wait you just told me that to understand the quran I need to read the hadeeths but only the hadeeths that agree with the quran. And to know which hadeeths agree with the quran I need to read what the scholars say, but now you say scholars are only men and you don’t listen to men but only the Quran...

Muslim: Yes you see now you understand... (I'm not making that part up, he really thought I was getting it and was really impressed started doing the whole MASHALLA thing. I mean he got really exited)

Pause for laughter because it gets better...

The Muslim then proceeded to read some verses in arabic... and then he said...

Muslim: See how beautiful that is (Then he gave the challange to produce something like it in arabic)

Me: I dont understand arabic, or have any clue as to what you just said.

Muslim: That’s ok I understand arabic and I will tell you what the quran says,,, YOU HAVE TO TRUST ME. (And no I'm not making that part up either

It was at this point that the conversation really went down hill, because I was unable to control my laughter at this point.

He finally said...

"Why are you not a muslim now? I have read for you lots of verses from the Allahs book in his won language Arabic. You should be a Muslim by now."

Now keep in mind this conversation started because I was invited by a woman who converted to islam. I guess these are the arguments that swayed her to leave christ.

Finally it broke down to the point, where he said I wasted his time, something about my mother working in a brothel with my sister, and then this was the strangest thing of all. He said "YOUR BUTT STINKS" (And no I'm not making that part up either.) and he then left the conversation.

shafsha said...

I also forgot to add, that one important reason why tafsir is essential for quran, but not for the bible, is the syle of writing !
the Bible is written in a simple narrative writting style, in a imple language, and has been translated to all a languages.
But the style of quran is poetry !! and not all people can understand poetry easily or even interesed in peotry!!
alos Quran is only in arabic, and can only be recited in arabic. They dont consider the translation of Koran as a Koran, it stay a transaltion ..

all these makes tafsir essential to understand Quran, while bible not

shafsha said...

Another major difference is the Reasons for revealing a verse (Asbab al nezool)..

It is well established that many verses has q reason/s why it was revealed at this time.. going to the tafsir is putting the verse back in the context of revelation ...


in the bible we have this but in a different form, like the reasons for writting each epistle, and to whom it was written, studying these things put verses back into their context to have a better meaning

Nabeel Qureshi said...

Fat Man--

Please tell me you had a camera -- see, this is why we carry cameras :-)

Nabeel Qureshi said...

In defense of the Muslims I know, though David is right in assessing their methodology, I think they're not doing this to intentionally deceive others. I think they themselves are deceived. When we show what's wrong with their way of thinking, they see us as enemies and therefore dismiss our admonitions.

The Fat Man said...

Nabeel unfortunitly it was on paltalk and I didn't record it. I was laughing to hard to think of it. :)

mkvine said...

Nabeel,

While I agree that carrying a camera is important, you still have to be careful when you use it around muslims lol

David Wood said...

mkvine,

I feel sorry for the Muslim who takes a swing at the Fat Man for recording.

Abdullah said...

Let me spell it out from everyone:

Quranic Commentaries = Non- Legally binding interpretations of individual verses of the Quran.

Concensus Fatwa = Legally binding concensus interpretations of Quran and Hadith, based on the collation, examination and holistic systematic scriptural interpretation.

Church Father commentary = Non- Legally binding interpretations based on the collation, examination and holistic systematic scriptural interpretation.

So you are right, Church Father/Classical Scholarship is not legally binding on a Christian...but the construction of their interpretations are so compelling, that if I were a Christian, I would certainly follw them! and I will use them again and again, because Liberal-compliant Christianity does not have a epistological leg to stand on, up against the superior'y reasoned interpretations of the cream of Christian scholarship.

Btw- Nice how you missed out my quoting of Calvin. Is it because you don't want to upset James White?

Negeen said...

FAT MAN- That conversation was just too funny. I don't know whether to laugh uncontrollably or feel really sorry for the Muslim you were speaking with. Sometimes a Muslim's evaluation process can be pretty twisted.

The Fat Man said...

David Wood said...
mkvine,

I feel sorry for the Muslim who takes a swing at the Fat Man for recording.

YES I WOULD SCREAM LIKE A GIRL lol

Semper Paratus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Fat Man said...

Nageen, Nabeel and David and anyone else who read the story.

What is really strange about the encounter is that it started out with a conversation with a recent Muslim convert to Islam. I was asking her question on how she could leave Christ for Islam. I was pointing out to here questions of Justification, Santafication, and glorification etc...

She did not have any answers and said "let me invite a "SHEIK" he can explain it to you he explained Islam to me"

Your right it was sad but if I didn't laugh I would cry.

Semper Paratus said...

Abdullah,

Since you decided to pick on Hogan's spelling in another thread, allow me to point out that you either don't know how to spell (e.g. "epistological" and "superior'y") or you don't know what you are talking about.

I assume that "concensus" is proper UK spelling or else I would have mentioned that as well. I'll chalk up "follw" as a typo.

As for the rest of your post, it is just as bad:

Augustine wrote a book retracting some of the things he once taught (i.e. Retractationes). If Augustine is to be followed, then his practice of disagreeing with "Augustine" can be followed.

Also, you're obviously not familiar enough with Dr. White's views. Dr. White does not agree with everything Calvin said. He would hardly be upset if someone dared to disagree with Calvin.

shafsha said...

Abdullah Said: "Quranic Commentaries = Non- Legally binding interpretations of individual verses of the Quran.

Concensus Fatwa = Legally binding concensus interpretations of Quran and Hadith, based on the collation, examination and holistic systematic scriptural interpretation."

Sir let me first question this: is this your own methodology ?!

Are you going to understand quran through Fatwas ?!

and who are making these fatwas arent they scholars as well, same as those who wrote the commentries or even less in knowledge ?!

Would you please tell us how would you understand a verse in the quran like Alef lam meeem ?!
or noon and the pen ?! or like Al Kareaa ?!

thanks

Nakdimon said...

Abdullah, you wrote about "consensus fatwa" (spelled it correctly Semper? LOL), but failed to explain what this consensus is. You said it is an interpretation "based on the collation, examination and holistic systematic scriptural interpretation". The question is: based on the collation, examination and holistic systematic scriptural interpretation OF WHOM? Of an individual scholar? of a commitee of individual scholars? of a number of individual Scholars? How large of a number of individual scholars? Aren't the tafsirs of Al Jalalayn, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Abbas, Qurtubi, Tabari all individual scholars too and when put together you kinda get a committee of scholars like the "consensus fatwa" concept? How then are the Tafsirs any different? What makes the consensus fatwa superior to the consensus tafsir, seeing that tafsirs are mostly also interpretations of Quran, Hadith and Sira literature? And in case of the "consensus fatwa", to whom does the fatwa apply? We can go to Islamqa.com and see a lot of fatwas. Do they apply to you as well? Please clarify this confusion!

Nakdimon

Nakdimon said...

Good questions Shafsha. Let's see what he answers. What DOES Aleef Laam Meem mean? What is the "consensus fatwa" on this?

Fernando said...

"Concensus Fatwa"...

hahahahahahahahaha...

I'm done...

Jeff said...

"In defense of the Muslims I know, though David is right in assessing their methodology, I think they're not doing this to intentionally deceive others. I think they themselves are deceived. When we show what's wrong with their way of thinking, they see us as enemies and therefore dismiss our admonitions."

Nabeel, I am curious.

I am a Christian (I believe in the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation of the Eternal Son of God, the whole shebang) and talk to a lot of Muslims.

I agree that the vast majority of them are honest..at least as we have to understand honesty and its limitations among fallen human beings. They are not 'out to deceive us'.

Now, what I am wondering is if you accept the possibility that Mohammed might just have been initially motivated by an honest attraction to monotheism, a sort of Wannabe Syndrome, which led him to convince himself that he was a prophet...as he understood the term.

I distinguish this from the theory that Mohammed was knowingly in league with Satan or that Satan was directly--as opposed to indirectly--guiding his steps.

I ask because I had a discussion in another thread with an intelligent commenter who was maintaining--I am sure out of love of Christ and the truth--that it simply had to be that Islam was Satanic in origin.

I don't have a fixed view one way or another but it seems to me that there is some evidence for both notions. I incline toward the "Human Sinfulness" origin rather than the "Satan's Hand" origin, though.

Jeff said...

Nabeel:

Another question I'd like to put to you is whether you think the 'slow and steady, focus on the positive, show respect' approach is a good one at least sometimes.

I have had GREAT success in getting many Muslims to listen to explanations of things like the Trinity and persuade them that they are something understandable that are not irrational and are conformable to monotheism. I think this relaxation in the resistance and defensiveness that you describe gives the grace of God a chance to do its work long term, either in the individual or in the Islamic culture at large.

One Egyptian Muslim friend had an argument with his family not long ago that Trinitarianism was BY DEFINITION Monotheistic. He won the argument too. Simply because he understands what we MEAN.

I have lots of these discussions with Muslims all the time and the majority of them are successful in getting Muslims to SEE what we MEAN, rather than blocking it out.

I get responses like: Wow! That's the explanation of the Trinity I've always been looking for. Thanks! Now I get it...

I ended a recent short note in which I've been explaining what Son of God means in a series of steps like this:

"The KIND of Unity He has is Tri-Unity. This is what 'Trinity' means. Not 'Three'. But 'Three-in-One”

I hope it will give you some idea of what we mean when we say that we believe in One God, but that that One God is Three Persons."

My Muslim correspondent replied:

"Oh I see! Interesting I understand it. "

Often in discussion with other Muslims, some of these folks will take my side and insist that the Trinity is comprehensible and monotheistic, even if it isn't true.

Of course, individual evangelization is necessary. But it seems to me that a sort of proto-evangelization is also necessary...a sort of John the Baptist work of preparing the way for people to GRASP what we are saying with their minds and imaginations.

Care to comment?

Semper Paratus said...

Jeff said: Now, what I am wondering is if you accept the possibility that Mohammed might just have been initially motivated by an honest attraction to monotheism, a sort of Wannabe Syndrome, which led him to convince himself that he was a prophet...as he understood the term.

I distinguish this from the theory that Mohammed was knowingly in league with Satan or that Satan was directly--as opposed to indirectly--guiding his steps.


Jeff, there is also a third possibility. Rather than saying that Muhammad was either insincere or demon possessed and in league with Satan, we could say he was both sincere (to a point) and that Satan or one of his minions was involved in the origin of Islam.

The both/and approach enjoys the distinction of recognizing not only the possibility but the reality that Satan would be interested in deceiving people about the person and work of Christ, as the Bible clearly says, and also that Muhammad, sincere as he might have been initially, feared that he was demon possessed, but, motivated by his desire to be a prophet, and supported by the positive affirmations of his wife and her cousin that he was not demon possessed but a prophet called by God, was deceived into believing that he was the real deal. In other words, Muhammad was both the subject of inter-personal as well as intra-personal deception.

The alternative creates a tension in your approach. You want to believe that Muhammad was not an outright liar, but the problem is that Muhammad's own description of the seminal moment of his "call to prophethood", complete with being manhandled by a spirit identifying itself as the angel Gabriel, led him to fear that he was demon possessed. He even contemplated suicide. If this didn't really happen, then Muhammad is an outright liar. But if we recognize the strong possibility of demonic involvement, then Muhammad could well have come to interpret this event in a way that was favorable to his initial designs on the prophetic office.

As you explore this issue further, you might consider "supplementing" your speculations with the authoritative pronouncements of Scripture on the activity of Satan vis-a-vis false prophets and false gods, and also the telling admission(s) of Muslim sources about the rise of Muhammad and the worship of Allah.

The following articles from David Wood might be of some help to you in this regard:

http://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/Wood/bewitched_prophet.htm

http://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/Wood/islam_beheaded.htm

Semper Paratus said...

Jeff, you might also consider reading the following article by Sam Shamoun:

http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/possessed.htm

Jeff said...

Thanks for the articles and thanks for the more relaxed and friendly tone. Much appreciated.

I have spent a great many years pursuing this subject...Bob Spencer is one of my old college buddies and I'm no newbie on all of this stuff. I've read and watched many of the written pieces and debates here...that's why I'm commenting and asking folks what they think.

Without having read the articles (as far as I know yet), I would simply say that Satan being "somehow involved" in the origin of Islam sounds to me either not really worth saying (Satan is involved at many removes perhaps in every mistake, fantasy, stupidity, act of wishful thinking, rationalization, etc.) or else speculation.

Or, I would admit that it's even possible that Mohammed was simply possessed by Satan or some other demon...though I doubt it.

I for one don't trust the Islamic sources all that much. Mohammed may be very much the fellow that the early sources describe or someone quite different. A few (I am not one of them) opine that he didn't exist at all.

I am quite prepared to believe that the story of the first 'revelation' is either:

1. True;
2. Embellished after the fact by Mohammed;
3. Embellished after the fact by others; or,
4. Invented by later Mohammedans.

To the extent that it WAS invented or influence by Satan, I think he achieved his aims in one way but also shot himself in the foot.

That involves a tension, yes. So does the question of human freedom, God's grace, and Satan's influence involve a tension.

Getting people to look up in the sky and say, "Gee, the One Who created all that must be wonderful beyond all telling!" or getting them to take pity on girl infants or wandering travelers for His sake is a push in a direction that Satan must have trouble being entirely satisfied with.

Since we HAVE converts from Islam here, it seems to me good to get their impressions. Do you find your Muslim relatives belief in a Creator simply Satanic? Or is there a genuine link between it and what you now believe?

Is it a matter more of exchanging evil for good? Or of getting a better idea of what good and truth are?

Semper Paratus said...

Provided I don't think you are just an atheist or Muslim heckler, as you insist you are not, it is my default mode to be cordial. I still remain somewhat skeptical, but let's see where the assumption you are who you say you are gets us.

First, although it is true to say Satan was "somehow" involved, that isn't what I said. So I'm not really sure why you mentioned it.

Second, I'm not sure why you would doubt that Satan was involved, as you said, not only because you don't have any Biblical reason to consider the possibility unlikely - indeed, the Bible, at the very least, renders the supposition entirely plausible - but because you go on to reject the historical sources, a fact that makes any statement to the effect arbitrary and subjective.

Third, as for an uncritical acceptance or rejection of Muslim sources, I think both approaches are problematic. No doubt the latter is something Muslims do when what those sources tell us does not reflect favorably upon Muhammad, the early Muslims, and the origin of their religion. The problem of course is that they unwittingly prove by this that what their sources say is likely very close to being accurate at such points. Are we really to believe that something Muslims find embarassing was, as you are "quite prepared to believe", invented by later "Mohammedans" (a term they find offensive by the way, something that seems to fly in the teeth of your "focuse on the positive, show respect" approach)?

Fourth, I still find it naive, as I mentioned to you before, that you expect Satan to virtually sign his name on the Qur'an. A good counterfeit tries to look as much like the real thing as it can while still being different enough not to be genuine.

Your earlier defense of Islam on the grounds that it forbids adultery is a good example. Forbidding adultery sounds good. But when we look more deeply we see that adultery has been redefined. Instead of adultery consisting of cheating on your wife, it simply means don't cheat on your wife with any woman that you don't officially add to your harem.

When you go on to ask, "Do you find your relatives belief in a Creator simply Satanic?", you are of course equivocating on what we are talking about. I wouldn't say the same thing about all Muslims that I would say about Muhammad. The overwhelming majority of Muslims are simply deceived...not demon possessed.

As well, there are no doubt "links" between what a Muslim convert used to believe and what s/he now believes as a Christian. That's the nature of a counterfeit. Islam attempts to present itself as the successor of Judaism and Christianity. That of course requires points of similarity if it is to be at all convincing.

Semper Paratus said...

edit: "focus"

Jeff said...

Always Prepared:

Well, thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt! If you live near Washington DC, perhaps I will have the good fortune of meeting you one day. Then you will see that I am not a "counterfeit".

Look: I don't think it's absurd or stupid to argue that Islam was founded by Satan in some direct sense. I just think it's likely incorrect at least in the direct sense of the word.

I don't reject all the Islamic sources by any means. But on the other hand, I also don't regard them as sacrosanct.

I don't think it has to be either/or, do you?

Can't we treat them as historical sources, which may contain truth but also may contain falsehood?

Oh, dear...I am running out of time. I have an engagement and my son has just returned home. My signal to go for now. But I'll come back and we can talk about this some more.

Signing off for now, Semper Paratus. Christus tecum; Christ be with you!

hugh watt said...

Hi Jeff. Maybe becuase i was a bit tired when i read your post but, i'm cofused,(or should that be confused). Let me through something into the mix here to see if i'm on the same page.
S:25v1-8, highlighting v8."..and the evildoers say: ye are but following a man BEWITCHED"! There were those who were saying this about Muhammad as stated in the Quran! Now look. This is a
statement from the Sirah of Ibn Ishaq who recorded the reaction of one of the most fervent opponents of Muhammad, al-Walid bin Mugira:

They said, "He is a kahin." He said, "By God, he is not that, for we have seen the kahins, and his (speech) is not unintelligible murmuring (zamzama) and rhymed prose (saj`) of a kahin." "Then he is possessed (majnun)," they said. "No, he is not that," he said. "We have seen and known the possessed state, and here is no choking, spasmodic movements, and whispering." "Then he is a poet," they said. "He is not that," he replied. "We have known poetry in all its forms and meters, and this is not poetry." "Then he is a sorcerer," they said. "No, he is not that," he said, "for we have seen sorcerers and their sorcery, and here is no spitting and no knots."
But what's this from Al-Bukhari Vol.4 P.266/7. "If a Dhimmi practices magic, can he be excused? Ibn Shihab was asked. "If one of those with whom Muslims have made a covenant bewitches people, will he be sentenced to death?" He replied, "We have been informed that allah's messenger was bewitched, yet he did not kill the magician who was from the people of the Scripture."
And, "Narrated Aisha. Once the prophet was bewitched so that he began to immagine that he had done a thing which he had not done."
That's just for starters. So, if i'm correct in my reading of your post, does this answer where Muhammad was coming from?

Semper Paratus said...

Jeff,

Your latest comments simply beg for a repeat of what I already said. I think if you look you will see that each of your points/questions were addressed by me and several statements of mine to you were not. I find it especially disturbing that you keep asserting that it is "unlikely" and in order to do so seem perfectly fine ignoring the Bible on this point.

Since you are not a Muslim, I have less interest in trying to persuade you otherwise, and I would rather not go back and forth saying the same thing. Provided your assumption on this issue isn't used as the premise of any argument in the future that I may take issue with, I am fine if you feel differently and will therefore let this matter go. Of course now that you are freed up, you can read up on those articles I directed you to and see if they don't persuade you to take a little more seriously what the Bible says about the possibility and reality of Satanic involvement in the origin of false religion and in instigating false prophets to inveigh against the truth of the Gospel. If that happens - i.e. if you give up on the un-biblical notion that it is unlikely - and if you consider afresh the possibility that Muhammad was, as Muslim sources themselves tell us, initially disturbed at the prospect that he was demon possessed, and that this judgment was one shared by others around him, even before he talked to the ill-tempered, violent spirit he called "Jibril", we just might end up on the same page.

sancaka2006 said...

Quran or Bible can teach whatever they want: peace, love, etc. Do they mean the same? Maybe not. The easiest way is to look at the leader. Muhammad went to many wars, whatever the reasons were. Jesus did not fight, although he was able to do that. Muhammad played politics, which was against the "true" love and peace being human relationship. Jesus did not play politics at all. He even helped the Roman soldier. Forget about their followers.

hugh watt said...

Sancaka2006. A tree is known by its fruit. Look at those who take the Quran and justify violence. It starts with Muhammad's example. These are not people who are doing their own thing.