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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


November 17th, 2011

Issue 30

Issue 30 [@24:55]: Walid Shoebat – Author, Why I Left Jihad – “But, the problem is that the peaceful Muslims don’t understand the edits that comes out of jurisprudence of Islam. If you look at interpretation of these verses in Al-Azhar University, in Islamic Shariah Schools in Jerusalem, in Jordan, in Syria, in Damascus, all throughout the Middle East, the jurisprudence of Islam clearly states emphatically that verse of the sword is made null and void all the peaceful verses. And, what does the verse of the sword say, [slide projected with voice – THE NOBLE KORAN, 9:5, Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikun (- “the unbelievers” – note this is not projected in the slide but the voice adds to the slide) wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them, and prepare for them each and every ambush. But if they repent and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) (-”the Islamic prayers” – note this is not projected but the voice adds to the slide), and give Zakat (- “alms” – added by the voice), then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful] – kill them when you see them, wherever you find them. This is not an allegoric kill, it’s a literal kill. Its the the killing of Zaraqawi right in front of the camera. Its the lynching you see in Ramallah. Its the killing of over a million Sudanese. In Sudan cutting the hands and feet from opposite sides. Here is the dilemma. The peaceful verse, even if the peaceful verse when it is quoted even by Bush, the verse goes as follows – who ever kills a life without just cause for doing mischief in the land then as he killed the entire earth – then you find the same verse in Judea-Biblical tradition. But most westerns never skip after that verse which makes very clear – those who do mischief in the land then cut their hands and the feet from the opposite sides and crucify them literally – and that’s what you see happened in Afghanistan, that’s what you see happened in Sudan. Huge amounts of crucifixions and beheading, and amputations and public assassinations. They really want to revive Islam as it used to be. This is why they call it Islamic Fundamentalism.”

[@27:24] [slide projected with voice – THE NOBLE KORAN, 5:33 – “The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.]

[@ 27:47] [slide projected with voice – SAHIH AL-BUKHARI, vol 8, Bk 82, Hadith 795 – The Prophet cut off the hands and feet of the men belonging to the tribe of Uraina and did not cauterise (their bleeding limbs) till they died.]

Rebuttal 30: Shoebat continues from where Spencer left in Issue 29. He asserts again that verse 9:5 voids the other injunctions of Quran and that limbs of war mongers be cut off for which he quotes verse 5:33 and a Hadith from Bukhari. His allegations need a breakdown as follows:
———–
Issue 30a: Shoebat asserts – “But, the problem is that the peaceful Muslims don’t understand the edits that comes out of jurisprudence of Islam. If you look at interpretation of these verses in Al-Azhar University, in Islamic Shariah Schools in Jerusalem, in Jordan, in Syria, in Damascus, all throughout the Middle East, the jurisprudence of Islam clearly states emphatically that verse of the sword is made null and void all the peaceful verses. And, what does the verse of the sword say, [slide projected with voice – THE NOBLE KORAN, 9:5, Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikun (- “the unbelievers” – note this is not projected in the slide but the voice adds to the slide) wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them, and prepare for them each and every ambush. But if they repent and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) (-”the Islamic prayers” – note this is not projected but the voice adds to the slide), and give Zakat (- “alms” – added by the voice), then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful]…”

Rebuttal 30a: There are NO violent verses in Quran. No verse in Quran incites violence. No verse of Quran has ever been or will be abrogated. The only verses that Quran abrogates are the previous Scriptures, including Old and New Testaments, the words of Allah which had decayed at human hands. That verse 9:5 or for that matter any verse makes other verses null and void in Quran is heresy and sacrilegious. The baseless allegations of abrogation of Quranic verses has been fully addressed and refuted in Rebuttals 9c and 21 before.

Shoebat admits that there are peaceful Muslims. What he attempts to sweep under the rug is the fact that the peaceful Muslims constitute the mega-majority of the billion Muslims. The true fact is that it is only the miniscule-minority of Muslims that grab the sensational headlines. A billion Muslims going about their normal daily lives does not call for very interesting news story. Shoebat appears to be anguished by the fact that these majority of peaceful Muslims do not understand the “Islamic Jurisprudence” that according to him, springs from the various Islamic centers in the Middle East. He further alleges that these centers support the abrogation of the “peaceful verses” in light of the verse 9:5, for which he concocts the label “verse of the sword.”

Islam does not come out of any center in Middle East, Near East, Far East, Down Under or Far Flung. Neither Hither, neither Thither. In Islam there are no Vaticans or Popes. There is no central authority. Quran is for the people not institutions. Quran is to be read and understood by an individual and not ritualistically sung by a choir. Islam has a bottom-up approach of reform for each individual. This reformation then naturally flows into a better society and enlightened institutions. This is direct opposite of other religions that needed a conversion at the top. Then from the kings’ courts the religions were enforced on the masses, without inculcating lasting reformation. Christianity needed Constantine, Buddhism needed Ashoka and Zoroastrianism needed Cyrus. Else, these religions had no chance of getting a foothold for the mere fact that these religions are based upon Gospels [-accounts] and have no utilitarian doctrine for wholesome uplift of humanity. Muslims are as diverse as an Inuit in Alaska to a Hispanic Chile. The only thread that binds them is the Quran and not any center.

Shoebat alleges that Al-Azhar endorses the abrogation of verses in Quran. This assertion is unsubstantiated. On the other hand, Al-Azhar has certified the book “Religion of Islam” by Muhammad Ali, the bulwark behind the rebuttals in the current Project. It is this book which blows the abrogation theory out of the water in its Chapter – “The Holy Quran – Theory of Abrogation” [pg 28-35]. See Al-Azhar’s endorsement of this and other books as well referenced in this Project by the same author including “Muhammad the Prophet” and “The New World Order” at this link. Can Shoebat produce a similar certificate for his abrogation theorem.

For this movie to hinge its arguments on a few contextomized verses of Quran exposes its own weakness. It is surprising that this documentary found only a couple of verses in support of its argument, and those too totally out of context, from a total of more than 6000 verses in the Quran. How pathetic. The glaring non-contextual use of verse 9:5 by this documentary is fully exposed in Rebuttals 4, 23, and non-contextual use of Quranic verses in general under 10, 28 and elsewhere.
————
Issue 30b: Shoebat continues – “…kill them when you see them, wherever you find them. This is not an allegoric kill, it’s a literal kill. Its the the killing of Zaraqawi right in front of the camera. Its the lynching you see in Ramallah. Its the killing of over a million Sudanese. In Sudan cutting the hands and feet from opposite sides…”

Rebuttal 30b: Extra judicial killings or punishments by anyone, an individual or a government, be they in Iraq, Sudan or elsewhere, they are all abominable acts that must be condemned.

With repeat non-contextual use of verse 9:5 the documentary has literally turned out to be a comedy. If we use Shoebat’s usage of the said verse in our times, then the main actors of this comedy are none but occupation forces in Afghanistan. The main actors are United States, Canada, U.K. Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, France, Australia and all the NATO. Comedy show begins when these actors meet the local insurgency which is in many ways the equivalent of “French Resistance”. The example of this comedy show is reflected in the non-contextual use of the verse 9:5 itself. Enjoy the show:

THE NOBLE KORAN, 9:5, Then when the Sacred Months have passed, then kill the Mushrikun (- “the unbelievers” – [in this case the non-submitting Resistance who do not believe in occupation]) wherever you find them [-by air and land operations and night raids] and capture them [-and imprison them in Bagram jail] and besiege them [-in Operation Anaconda, Operation Oqab etc.], and prepare for them each and every ambush [-by establishing outposts and listening posts in Eastern and Southern Afghanistan]. But if they repent [-and surrender] and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat [-in this case signing of peace treaty by Resistance as wished by U.S. State Department] , and give Zakat (- “alms” [-Resistance as “good citizens” pay taxes to Kabul government]), then leave their way free [-to live as they want or if they want to be part of Government in Kabul]. Verily, Allah [-NATO and ISAF] is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful [-because in this case U.S. and NATO are playing God]
[Note – the square brackets in this verse are only for emphasis and not part of the original source]

————
Issue 30c: Walid Shoebat – “… In Sudan cutting the hands and feet from opposite sides. Here is the dilemma. The peaceful verse, even if the peaceful verse when it is quoted even by Bush, the verse goes as follows – who ever kills a life without just cause for doing mischief in the land then as he killed the entire earth – then you find the same verse in Judea-Biblical tradition. But most westerns never skip after that verse which makes very clear – those who do mischief in the land then cut their hands and the feet from the opposite sides and crucify them literally – and that’s what you see happened in Afghanistan, that’s what you see happened in Sudan. Huge amounts of crucifixions and beheading, and amputations and public assassinations. They really want to revive Islam as it used to be. This is why they call it Islamic Fundamentalism.”

[@27:24] [slide projected with voice – THE NOBLE KORAN, 5:33 – “The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.]

[@ 27:47] [slide projected with voice – SAHIH AL-BUKHARI, vol 8, Bk 82, Hadith 795 – The Prophet cut off the hands and feet of the men belonging to the tribe of Uraina and did not cauterise (their bleeding limbs) till they died.]

Rebuttal 30c: Shoebat, glosses over the so-called “peaceful” verse that he attributes to President Bush. For the sake of the readers, said verse is fully cited as follows from the translation by Muhammad Asad with its footnotes:

5:32. Because of this did We ordain unto the children of Israel that if anyone slays a human being unless it be [in punishment] for murder or for spreading corruption on earth – it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind [40]. And, indeed, there came unto them [41] Our apostles with all evidence of the truth: yet, behold,notwithstanding all this, many of them go on committing all manner of excesses on earth [42].

40. This moral truth is among those to which the first sentence of verse 15 of this surah alludes, and its succinct formulation fully explains the reason why the story of Cain and Abel is mentioned in this context. The expression “We have ordained unto the children of Israel” does not, of course, detract from the universal validity of this moral: it refers merely to its earliest enunciation.

41. i.e., to the followers of the Bible, both the Jews and the Christians.

42. The present participle la-musrifun indicates their “continuously committing excesses” (i.e., crimes), and is best rendered as “they go on committing” them. In view of the preceding passages, these “excesses” obviously refer to crimes of violence and, in particular, to the ruthless killing of human beings.

These are the moral standards for sanctity of life in Quran. Any “violence” that Shoebat or any of the documentary “experts” dig out of Quran has to be read in light of the above verse. The double standards displayed by the makers of this documentary become even more glaringly exposed here. They decry contextomization of the “peaceful” verse 5:32 only because it suits their purpose. Readers would remember that when 9:5, the so called “verse of the sword” was under discussion, the movie makers had very conveniently skipped the adjoining verses which plainly explain the context of defensive wars (see Rebuttal 23). However, in the case of verse 5:32, the “peaceful verse” Shoebat is all too eager to tell the audience that “.. most westerns never skip after that verse which makes very clear…”

The reader must read verse 5:33 again as quoted by the documentary above. The verse does not condone any reprisal against peaceful and non-aggressive “unbelievers.” Further, it should be clear to the reader that in Quran when “Allah and His Messenger” are mentioned, it means the governmental system of Islam. In case for verse 5:33, “those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger [i.e. government of Medina]” refers to the anti-government insurgents or criminals who undermine the Divine system of governance that Muhammad established. It would be absurd to even imagine that anyone can wage war against God. Further, the mention of “mischief in the land” clearly implies the criminal elements in “land” under the jurisdiction of Muslim government of Medina. Note – repeat mention of Medina does not imply that this verse is time locked for early Islam, instead its implications are forever.

Since the main crux of quoting this verse by Shoebat is to bring up the issue of – killing, crucifixions and cutting off of limbs, it necessitates to take a diversion into Bible:

Matthew 5:27-30 “27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell. 30 If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell ”

We clearly see that “cutting off of hand” is already an established fact in Bible, the Book that Shoebat is bound to follow after his recent “reformation”. If the gouging of eye and cutting of right hand is to be taken literally, then what must one do if “right hand” is already missing due to previous crime or accident? There is no mention of “left hand”. Will such offender have free hand thereafter to commit sins? Should the “left hand” or second eye be cut or gouged instead? What about the next offense after all hands and eyes are already gone? How many intelligent Christians have actually cut-off their own hands or gouged their eyes? Answer is None! Essentially, the above passages of Bible are metaphorical in nature and no more.

Now, coming back to Quran. It is frequently mentioned in Quran itself that it is the finalization of Message of the previous Books:

5:48. To you (O Messenger) We have sent the Book in Sure Truth confirming the Divine Origin of whatever Scripture [besides Torah, Zabur and Bible, Zend Avesta, Vedas, Tipitaka, Tao Te Ching etc.] was before it. The Qur’an is the Watcher over the old Scriptures and guards the Truth in them [-Nooruddin]

Since, Quran is the final link in the chain of Books, it too employs the existing metaphors, idioms and narratives of previous Books that were ingrained in the linguistics, psyche and culture of the nations. Lets read the verse 5:33 used by Shoebat in light of its detailed commentary by Muhammad Asad:

5:33. It is but a just recompense for those who make war on God and His apostle, [43] and endeavour to spread corruption on earth, that they are being slain in great numbers, or crucified in great numbers, or have, in result of their perverseness, their hands and feet cut off in great numbers, [44] or are being [entirely] banished from [the face of] the earth: such is their ignominy in this world [45]. But in the life to come [yet more] awesome suffering awaits them –

43. The term “apostle” is evidently generic in this context. By “making war on God and His apostle” is meant a hostile opposition to, and willful disregard of, the ethical precepts ordained by God and explained by all His apostles, combined with the conscious endeavour to destroy or undermine other people’s belief in God as well.

44. In classical Arabic idiom, the “cutting off of one’s hands and feet” is often synonymous with “destroying one’s power”, and it is possibly in this sense that the expression has been used here. Alternatively, it might denote “being mutilated”, both physically and metaphorically – similar to the (metonymical) use of the expression “being crucified” in the sense of “being tortured”. The phrase min khilaf – usually rendered as “from opposite sides”- is derived from the verb khalafahu, “he disagreed with him”, or “opposed him”, or “acted contrarily to him”: consequently, the primary meaning of min khilaf is “in result of contrariness” or “of perverseness”.

45. Most of the classical commentators regard this passage as a legal injunction, and interpret it, therefore, as follows: “The recompense of those who make war on God and His apostle and spread corruption on earth shall but be that they shall be slain, or crucified, or that their hands and feet be cut off on opposite sides, or that they shall be banished from the earth: such shall be their ignominy in this world.” This interpretation is, however, in no way warranted by the text, and this for the following reasons:

(a) The four passive verbs occurring in this sentence – “slain”, “crucified”, “cut off” and “banished” – are in the present tense and do not, by themselves, indicate the future or, alternatively, the imperative mood.

(b) The form yuqattalu does not signify simply “they are being slain” or (as the commentators would have it) “they shall be slain”, but denotes – in accordance with a fundamental rule of Arabic grammar – “they are being slain in great numbers”; and the same holds true of the verbal forms yusallabu (“they are being crucified in great numbers”) and tuqatta’a (“cut off in great numbers”). Now if we are to believe that these are “ordained punishments”, it would imply that great numbers – but not necessarily all – of “those who make war on God and His apostle” should be punished in this way: obviously an inadmissible assumption of arbitrariness on the part of the Divine Law-Giver. Moreover, if the party “waging war on God and His apostle” should happen to consist of one person only, or of a few, how could a command referring to “great numbers” be applied to them or to him?

(c) Furthermore, what would be the meaning of the phrase, “they shall be banished from the earth”, if the above verse is to be taken as a legal injunction? This point has, indeed, perplexed the commentators considerably. Some of them assume that the transgressors should be “banished from the land [of Islam]”: but there is no instance in the Qur’an of such a restricted use of the term “earth” (ard). Others, again, are of the opinion that the guilty ones should be imprisoned in a subterranean dungeon, which would constitute their “banishment from [the face of] the earth”!

(d) Finally – and this is the weightiest objection to an interpretation of the above verse as a “legal injunction” – the Qur’an places exactly the same expressions referring to mass-crucifixion and mass-mutilation (but this time with a definite intent relating to the future) in the mouth of Pharaoh, as a threat to believers (see 7:124, 20:71 and 26:49). Since Pharaoh is invariably described in the Qur’an as the epitome of evil and godlessness, it is inconceivable that the same Qur’an would promulgate a divine law in precisely the terms which it attributes elsewhere to a figure characterized as an”enemy of God”.

In short, the attempt of the commentators to interpret the above verse as a “legal injunction”must be categorically rejected, however great the names of the persons responsible for it. On the other hand, a really convincing interpretation suggests itself to us at once as soon as we read the verse – as it ought to be read – in the present tense: for, read in this way, the verse reveals itself immediately as a statement of fact – a declaration of the in escapability of the retribution which “those who make war on God” bring upon themselves. Their hostility to ethical imperatives causes them to lose sight of all moral values; and their consequent mutual discord and “perverseness” gives rise to unending strife among themselves for the sake of worldly gain and power: they kill one another in great numbers, and torture and mutilate one another in great numbers, with the result that whole communities are wiped out or, as the Qur’an puts it, “banished from [the face of] the earth”. It is this interpretation alone that takes full account of all the expressions occurring in this verse – the reference to “great numbers” in connection with deeds of extreme violence, the”banishment from the earth”, and, lastly, the fact that these horrors are expressed in the terms used by Pharaoh, the “enemy of God”.

5:34. save for such [of them] as repent ere you [O believers] become more powerful than they:[46] for you must know that God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace

46. i.e. before belief in God and in the ethical principles decreed by Him becomes prevalent: for, in that event, repentance on the part of “those who make war on God and His apostle”would be no more than an act of conforming to the dominant trend and, therefore, of no moral value whatever. It is to be noted that the exemption from suffering relates to the hereafter.

The documentary finds every opportunity to make its case against Islam or Muhammad by quoting fragments of Hadith. They forget that Hadiths are based upon human efforts of transmission, collection and compilations. The collection task of e.g. Bukhari was not to qualify the Hadith content. The Hadith collectors of Sahih Satta had scrupulous quality control for collection, but they left it to the reader to accept or reject the content. Hadiths do not enjoy the standards of authenticity of Quran. Hadiths have a role as long they they explain and do not contradict Quran. If a Hadith contradicts Quran, then that Hadith has to be rejected, because the main show in the town is Quran itself and possibility exists of falsification of such a Hadith. Hadith matters are discussed in greater detail in Rebuttal 12.

Without going further into Quran for many many references, the very verse 5:32 above, that Shoebat glossed over, even by itself rejects the Hadith that this documentary quotes.

References:

Matthew 5:27-30 Bible.org
Al-Azhar endorses books by Maulana Muhammad Ali – Muslim.org
Message of Quran – Muhammad Asad
The Holy Quran – Nooruddin

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