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See: Project Rebuttal: What the West needs to know about Islam

Refuting the gross distortion and misrepresentation of the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, made by the critics of Islam

Read: Background to the Project

List of all Issues | Summary 1 | Summary 2 | Summary 3‎ — completed, 28th June 2013


September 12th, 2011

Issue 17

Issue 17[@16:19]: Walid Shoebat: “The Quran is broken down into two sections. One is called Makiyyah, which means what was inspired to Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, in Makkah. One is called Madaniyyah – what was inspired to Prophet of Islam in Medina or Yathrib. In Makkah you find much of the peaceful verses. Muhammad used to live with the Jewish community and Christian community in peace and harmony. So there were many verses in the Quran, that the [style of speech], even the Muslims used to worship in direction of prayer towards Jerusalem. They saw many elements of the unity between Jewish and Christians and Muslim faith.

Rebuttal 17: Walid Shoebat touches upon various issues that needs a breakdown.
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Issue 17a: Walid Shoebat – “The Quran is broken down into two sections. One is called Makiyyah, which means what was inspired to Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, in Makkah. One is called Madaniyyah – what was inspired to Prophet of Islam in Medina or Yathrib….”

Rebuttal 17a: Quran was revealed over twenty-three long years of which the first thirteen were in Makkah where the nascent Muslim community was under all kinds of relentless persecution and the rest was revealed when they were forced into exile and relocation to Medina. Quite logically, Quran had to be revealed over a period of time before it could be completed. Whether a verse was revealed in Makkah or Medina has more of historical value and has no bearing on the fundamental truths of the message and there are no contradictions therein.

Reader beware – There are no fault lines of Makkiyyah or Madaniyyah verses in Quran. A chapter [-surah] may be termed by some historically curious as Makkiyyah if its opening verse [-ayah] was revealed in Makkah. But, there is no hard and fast rule that some or all of the verses of the same chapter too were revealed in Makkah. Even if the rest of the verses of the chapter were revealed in Makkah, they might had been revealed years apart. Same holds true for Madaniyya. This movie tries to force a re-structure of Quran into chronological order which it is not. Quran is a preexisting full body of knowledge from the first cause, generally called as God, and specifically in Islam – Allah, though it was revealed piece by piece. The preexistence of this whole body of logic is metaphorically referred to as:

85:21. This is also the truth that it is a glorious Qur’ân,
85:22. (Inscribed) in a Tablet well-guarded (against corruption, distortion and destruction).[Note: this is not the last verse revealed, but Quran is referring to itself as a whole preexisting Book]

Muhammad never differentiated the verses and the message of Quran along Makkiyyah or Madaniyyah lines.

Muhammad Ali in his book, “Religion of Islam” [p. 38-39] deals in a gist with the issue at hand:

On referring to the subject-matter of the Makkah and Madinah revelations, we find the following three broad features, distinguishing the two groups of chapters.

Firstly, the Makkah revelation deals chiefly with faith in God and is particularly devoted to grounding the Muslims in that faith, while the Madinah revelation is mainly intended to translate that faith into action. It is true that exhortations to good and noble deeds are met with in the Makkah revelation, and in the Madinah revelation, faith is still shown to be the foundation on which the structure of deeds should be built, but in the main, stress is laid in the former on faith in an Omnipotent and Omnipresent God Who requites every good and every evil deed, and the latter deals, chiefly with what is good and what is evil, in other words, with the details of the law.

The second feature distinguishing the two revelations is that while that of Makkah is generally prophetical, that of Madinah deals with the fulfilment of prophecy.

Thirdly, while the former shows how true happiness of mind may be sought in communion with God, the latter points out how man’s dealing with man may also be a source of bliss and comfort to him.

Hence a scientific arrangement of the Quran must of necessity rest on the intermingling of the two revelations, blending of faith with deeds, of prophecy with fulfilment of prophecy, of Divine communion with man’s relation to and treatment of man.

It may be added here that the idea that the proper arrangement of the Qur’an should be in chronological order is a mistaken one. Most of the chapters were revealed piecemeal, and hence a chronological order of revelation would destroy the chapter arrangement altogether. Take, for example, the very first chapter chronologically, the 96th in the present order. While its first five verses are undoubtedly the first revelation that came to the Prophet, the rest of the chapter was not revealed before the fourth year of his ministry. Similarly with the second chapter in the present arrangement; while the major portion of it was revealed in the first and the second years of the Hijrah, some verses were revealed as late as the closing days of the Prophet’s life. Chronological order is, therefore, an impossibility.

By emphasizing and trying to create false fracture in Quran along chronological lines, these Islam haters forget that Quran has already answered their argument beforehand:

25:32. And those who disbelieve say, `Why has not (the whole of) the Qur’ân been revealed to him all at once? (But We have revealed it) in this manner (- piece by piece out of necessity). And (in spite of the fact that it has not been revealed all at once,) We have arranged it in an excellent (form and order of) arrangement (and free of all contradictions) so that We may thereby lend strength to your heart.

25:33. They bring you no parable (by way of an objection) but We have provided you with the true fact and perfect interpretation (of it, in answer to the objection beforehand).

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Issue 17b: Walid Shoebat continues – “…In Makkah you find much of the peaceful verses….”

Rebuttal 17b: What Walid Shoebat is not telling the audience is that in Medina too, essentially through out Quran there are peaceful verses and no violent message, not only in letter but in spirit as well, because it is the very definition of Islam i.e. peace and free of anxieties. This topic will progress further in the movie and any specific allegations shall be dealt with thence.
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Issue 17c: Walid Shoebat – “…Muhammad used to live with the Jewish community and Christian community in peace and harmony….”

Rebuttal 17c: Even thought these comments by Walid Shoebat are sly, he probably is referring to the early period of Muhammad’s exile in Medina. Still, factually it is the opposite, i.e. Jewish and Christian community used to live with Muhammad and Muslims in peace and harmony as they were bound by their peace treaty that they signed with Muslim government, which was established soon after Muhammad’s arrival in Medina – The majority of the Jews signed this agreement, that included the tribes of Bani Awf, Bani al-Najjar, Bani al-Harith, Bani Sa’idah, Bani Jash’am, Bani Tha’labah and the Jews of al-Aws. The tribes of Bani Quraidah, Bani al-Nadir, and Bani Qainuqa’ opposed the agreement only to sign similar agreements drawn up by the Prophet (s.a.w.) later on and accept their provisions. [Muhammad the Messenger of Allah, chapter: Key forces in the Madinah Community]
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Issue 17d: Walid Shoebat – “…So there were many verses in the Quran, that the [-style of speech], even the Muslims used to worship in direction of prayer towards Jerusalem. They saw many elements of the unity between Jewish and Christians and Muslim faith.”

Rebuttal 17d: As implied by the documentary in reference, Walid Shoebat is trying to position this historical peaceful stance of Muhammad towards Jews and Christians as a mere strategic positioning by the former. What he is hiding from the audience is that it is an article of faith for Muslims to believe in the same God, the Prophets and the revealed original Books of the Jews and Christians and just not offer a politically correct conciliatory lip service. Many verses can be quoted to validate this statement, but following sample should suffice:

42:13. He has ordained for you the same course of faith as He enjoined on Noah (to adopt), and which We have revealed to you, and it is that (same faith) which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, Jesus, so keep the faith and do not differ in it.

29:46. (Believers!) observe all the propriety when you argue with the people of the Scripture; but those who are bent upon behaving unjustly among them do not agree to these principles (so deal with them accordingly). And say (to them), `We believe in all that is revealed to us and in that which has been revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him we stand resigned.

Quran addresses the Muslims that their faith is the same that He enjoined on Noah (to adopt), and which We have revealed to you [i.e. Muslims], and it is that (same faith) which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, Jesus, so keep the faith and do not differ in it – then it was quite logical that unless Muslims were Divinely instructed to do so otherwise, they had no qualms in saying their prayers five times daily facing toward Jerusalem, the land of Abraham and Moses and city of Jesus.

Since Walid Shoebat also implicitly insinuates that Muslims later for some tacit reason changed the Qibla i.e. direction of their prayer away from Jerusalem, this change of Qibla needs further elaboration in light of Quran.

As stated in Rebuttal 17a above, Message and practices of Islam were revealed piecemeal to the Muslims. One of the incremental adjustment was that of Qiblah i.e. the direction of prayers, which was redirected from Jerusalem toward Masjid al-Haram (-the Mosque of Peace i.e. The Holy Kaaba in Makkah). This change was necessary for the mere fact that even though the Original Message given to Jews and Christians was the creed of Abraham, but factually Judaism and Christianity were later man made inventions and that they falsely claim the creed of the Patriarchs i.e. Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Due to this distortion the Jews and Christians make the following case:

2:120. And the Jews will never be pleased with you nor the Christians unless you follow their creed. Say, `Allâh’s guidance is the only perfect and true guidance.’ If you were to follow their low desires after there has come to you this perfect knowledge, you shall have from Allâh neither a protecting friend, nor any helper.

2:135. And they (the Jews and the Christians respectively) said, `Be Jews or be Christians, then you shall be on the right course.’ Say, `Nay, but (ours is) the faith of Abraham, the upright, and he was not of the polytheist.’

Whereas, Quran challenges them in their claims that Judaism and Christianity is not the creed of Patriarchs and Ismail:

2:140. Do you (O Jews and the Christians!) say that Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob and his children were Jews or Christians? Say, `Have you then greater knowledge or (is it) Allâh (Who knows better)?

To that effect Quran states again that Judaism and Christianity is not the creed of Abraham:

2:130. And who will show aversion to Abraham’s creed except he who has befooled himself. We did make him Our chosen one in this world, and surely he, in the Hereafter will surely be (counted) among the righteous.

2:131. When his Lord said to him [-Abraham], `Submit,’ he said, `I have already submitted to the Lord of the worlds.’

2:132. The same (faith) did Abraham enjoin upon his sons and (so did) Jacob (saying), `My sons! surely, Allâh has chosen for you this faith. See that when you die you are in a state of complete submission (according to His will).’

2:133. Were you present when death visited Jacob, and when he said to his sons, `What (God) will you worship after me?’ They replied, `We will worship your God, the God of your fathers – Abraham, Ismâîl and Isaac, the only One God, and to Him do we submit ourselves.’

Quran then makes the claim for itself as the true Message of creed of Abraham and all the Prophets:

2:136. Say, `We believe in Allâh and in that (the Qur’ân) which has been revealed to us, and what was revealed to Abraham, Ismâîl, Isaac, Jacob and his children, and what was given to Moses and Jesus and (we believe) in what was given to (all other) Prophets from their Lord. We (while believing in them) make no discrimination between anyone of them, and to Him do we submit ourselves entirely.’

Quran not only identifies the true basis of Abraham’s creed, it also draws attention to the actual symbol of that creed which was (re-)built by Abraham with help of his son Ismail:

2:127. And when Abraham raised the foundations of the House and Ismâîl (with him, and they were praying), `Our Lord! accept (this service) from us, You, indeed, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.

2:128. `Our Lord! make us both submissive servants to You (alone), and (raise) from our progeny a community (preaching virtue and) submissive to You, and show us our ways of worship and turn to us with mercy, for only You are the Oft-Returning (with compassion), the Ever Merciful.

2:129. `Our Lord! do raise among them a great Messenger from among themselves, who may recite to them Your Messages and teach them the Book and Wisdom, and may purify them. You, indeed, You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.’

After identifying the true creed of Abraham and the symbol of his creed, Quran then redirects the Muslims to pray away from Jerusalem:

2:142. The weak-minded among the people will say, `What has made these (Muslims) turn from their (first) Qiblah (- the direction they were facing in their Prayer, the holy place of worship at Jerusalem) to which they conformed (so far)?’ Say, `To Allâh belongs the east and the west, He guides him who wishes (to be guided) to the right path.’

The redirection away from Jerusalem additionally brings to light the separation of those who believe in the actual creed of Abraham (– Islam), from those who erroneously think that they are following the same creed in their faith:

2:143. And thus have We made you a nation exalted and justly balanced so that you may be a guiding example for all mankind (by carrying to them what you have learnt about Islam), and this perfect Messenger (of God) may be a guiding example for you. And We did not make that which you would have to be the Qiblah but that We might distinguish him who follows the Messenger from him who turns upon his heels. And this (change of Qiblah) is indeed a hard (test) except for those whom Allâh has guided aright. It was not Allâh’s purpose that your faith and your worship should go in vain. Surely, Allâh is Compassionate and Ever Merciful to the people.

Then, Quran redirects Muslims to pray toward Makkah, which is the fruition of prayers of Abraham, Ismail (2:129 above) and Muhammad:

2:144. Verily, We have seen the turning of your attention (O Prophet!) repeatedly towards heaven, We will certainly give you possession of the Qiblah of your liking. So turn your attention in the direction of Masjid al-Harâm (- the Holy Mosque at Makkah) and wherever you (O Muslims!) be, turn your attentions in the direction of it. And surely those (scholars) who have been given the Scripture know for certain that this (change of Qiblah) is a true commandment proceeding from their Lord. And (as for the disbelievers,) Allâh is not at all unmindful as to what they do.

Quran then addresses Muslims while referring to the likes of Walid Shoebat & Co.

2:145. And even if you should bring to those (who went astray and) who have been given the Scripture (before you) all kinds of signs together, they would not follow your Qiblah, nor would you be the follower of their Qiblah, nor would some of them be the follower of one another’s Qiblah [i.e. Jews and Christians, even thought both claim creed of Abraham, but reject each other, while denying it to Islam]. And if you (O reader!) should follow their low desires after (all) this knowledge [of Islam, the creed of Abraham] that has come to you, then indeed, you would be of the unjust.

Essentially, praying while facing toward Kaaba is not only a unifying gesture for Muslims in their faith, Islam, but even more importantly it also reminds them of their belonging to creed of Abraham. Else, devoid of this concept, facing towards Kaaba does not carry much value which is summarized in Quran:

2:177. It is not righteousness that you [outwardly] turn your faces towards the East and the West [for prayer], but righteous is the one who believes in Allah, and the Last Day, and the angels [i.e. follow the attraction of good] and the Book and the prophets [- all of them because they followed the creed of Abraham – 2:136], and gives away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask and to set slaves free and keeps up prayer and pays the poor-rate; and the performers of their promise when they make a promise, and the patient in distress and affliction and in the time of conflict. These are they who are truthful; and these are they who keep their duty [- in summary the followers of creed of Abraham]. – Muhammad Ali, Zahid Aziz.

Note: Use of [Brackets] are editorial comments by the writer of this Rebuttal and are not part of the original cited sources.

References:
Creed – 1: a brief authoritative formula of religious belief. 2: a set of fundamental beliefs; also a guiding principle – Merriam Webster
Charter of Medina – Islamic-World.net
Religion of Islam – Muhammad Ali
Holy Quran – Muhammad Ali, edited by Zahid Aziz
Holy Quran – Nooruddin (all, unless noted otherwise above)

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