• Reuben

Questions to ask Moslems

Updated: Apr 14


Consider firstly what British Prime Minister Winston Churchill wrote in the 1899 two-volume edition of "The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan" on the awfulness of Islam:


"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries [followers]! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities . . . but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith." (The River War, vol. 2, pp. 248-250).


About five years ago, a Moslem ex-Marine was travelling across America with a sign: “I’m A Muslim And A U.S. Marine — Ask Anything.”


Here’s a Starter Kit of Questions to Ask Moslems as “Me-Anything” Questions, Compiled by Hugh Fitzgerald from Jihad Watch:


1. What is the meaning of Jihad?


2. Why are Christians and Jews required to pay the Jizyah to Muslims?


3. Why does it say in the Qur’an that Muslims should not take Christians and Jews as friends, for they are friends only with each other?


4. It says in the Qur’an that “there is no compulsion in religion” (Qur’an 2.256). If there is no compulsion in religion, then why are people who leave Islam threatened with death?

5. Why did the Ayatollah Khomeini lower the marriageable age of girls to 9?


6. What is the surest way for a Muslim to get to Heaven?


7. Why did Muhammad attack the Jewish date farmers at the Khaybar Oasis?


8. How many wives did Muhammad have, and why was he allowed more than anyone else?


9. Did Muhammad own slaves?


10. Did Muhammad approve of slavery?


11. Why is Muhammad called the perfect man (“al-insan al-kamil”), and the model of conduct (“uswa hasana”)?


12. Exactly how many prisoners of the Banu Qurayza tribe were killed while Muhammad watched?


13. How many military expeditions did Muhammad take part in?


14. When, according to the Qur’an, is killing Infidels prohibited?


15. How did Muhammad react when he heard that Asma bint Marwan had been killed?


16. How did Muhammad react when he heard that a 120-year-old Jewish poet, Abu ‘Afak, had been killed?


17. How are non-Muslims described in the Qur’an? (see 98.6)


18. How are Muslims described in the Qur’an? (see 3.110)


19. Why do so many non-Arab Muslims take Arabic names?


20. When does the doctrine of “abrogation” (naskh) in Qur’anic interpretation apply?


21. Under what conditions can a Muslim man beat his wife?


22. What is the Muslim Heaven like?


23. When can a Muslim father punish his daughter without fear of being punished himself?


24. According to Islamic law, what must a Muslim husband do to be divorced from his wife?


25. Why is the testimony of a Muslim woman worth only half that of a Muslim man?


26. In what ways does Islam tend to favor Arabs over non-Arabs?


27. How did Islam spread all the way from the Hejaz to the Iberian peninsula?


28. Why did Muslims blow up the Bamiyan Buddhas?


29. Why did Muslims threaten to blow up a church in Bologna with a fresco depicting Muhammad?


30. Why have there been more than 30,000 terrorist attacks by Muslims since 9/11/2001?


31. Who was Kinana, and what did Muhammad order should be done with him?


32. Does Islam have a Golden Rule?


33. What is the doctrine of al-wala’ wal-bara’?


34. Why are there so many people in Pakistan named “Sayid”?


35. What kinds of music does Islam allow?


36. What is Dar al-Harb?


37. What is Dar al-Islam?


38. When does Jihad come to an end?


HERE ARE THE ANSWERS TO THOSE QUESTIONS


“M.I.” refers to the Muslim Interlocutor who has invited others to “Ask a Muslim” any questions they may have about Islam. Once the M.I. has answered (or tried, or refused, to), possible responses to him are given below, merely as a guide and not meant to be exhaustive:

1. What is the meaning of Jihad?


“Jihad” in Arabic means “struggle.” More specifically, it is the central duty of all Muslims, the “struggle” to spread Islam all over the globe until all Unbelievers either convert to Islam or accept the status of dhimmis and pay the Jizyah, or capitation tax. Jihad can take many forms, such as defending Islam from its critics, migrating to foreign soil for the purpose of propagating Islam, demographic conquest, and supporting its growth financially a central duty of all Muslims. But Jihad’s main meaning involves violence. No major Muslim group has ever repudiated the doctrine of armed Jihad. Violent Jihad is founded on many verses in the Qur’an, but in the Ask-the-Muslim context, have at the ready to quote, especially, the Verse of the Sword: (Sura 9:5, “Then when the sacred months are past, slay the idolaters wherever you find them…”).


M.I. will claim that the “real” meaning of Jihad is something like a “struggle within one’s soul” to become a better person, or “self-improvement.” He may offer that hadith where it is written that “Upon his return from battle Muhammad said, ‘We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad’ (i.e. the struggle against the evil of one’s soul).” But this hadith is of doubtful authenticity. It does not appear in any of the six sahih sittah (“reliable collections”) of hadith. One Muslim authority speaks for all of them when he writes that “this hadith has no source, nobody whomsoever in the field of Islamic Knowledge has narrated it. Jihad against the disbelievers is the most noble of actions, and moreover it is the most important action for the sake of mankind.” And he concludes that the evidence used as proof that Jihad on the battlefield is Jihad Asghar (lesser Jihad) and Jihad against the desires and Shaitan is Jihad Akbar [greater jihad] are weak if not false hadith. (Then urge onlookers, who will have been suitably impressed with your response, to google “Lesser Jihad” and “Greater Jihad” to find out more about this canard.)


2. Why are Christians and Jews required to pay the Jizyah to Muslims?


“Jizyah” is the capitation or poll tax that non-Muslims must pay to the Muslim state in order to be allowed to stay alive and practice their faith. It is the main, but not the only disability, inflicted on those non-Muslims who are the ahl al-dhimma, the People of the Pact, or dhimmis. While your Muslim propagandist will argue that the “jizyah” is not now exacted everywhere, it remains a permanent part of Islamic doctrine (and is, in fact, collected in the Islamic State). Remind your listeners that some Muslims in the West, such as Anjem Choudary, gloating over the vast amounts of benefits Muslim immigrants receive, call these benefits “the Jihad seekers’ allowance.”


3. Why does it say in the Qur’an that Muslims should not take Christians and Jews as friends, for they are friends only with each other?


Here you hope that your Muslim interlocutor simply denies this passage’s existence altogether. You then quote in full Qur’an 5:51, which is at the ready on your smartphone or on notecards. And to get to the reason for 5:51 (and many other passages of similar import, as 3:28, 3:85, 3:118, 7:44, 9:23 could also be quoted), Muslims are in a state of permanent war – violent Jihad, but Jihad conducted by whatever means, including peaceful ones. To prevent any relapse into Unbelief, to keep the Jihad fervor up, they are taught to distrust, and distance themselves from, all non-Muslims, who are depicted as if in a conspiracy (“they are friends only with each other”) against Muslims. It makes no sense for the “best of peoples” (Qur’an 3:110) to become friends with the “vilest of creatures” (Qur’an 98:6).


4. It says in the Qur’an that “there is no compulsion in religion” (Qur’an 2:256). If there is no compulsion in religion, then why are people who leave Islam threatened with death and many times killed?


The M.I. will have no answer to this, except possibly to claim what is being punished is not an apostate’s loss of belief but, rather, with that apostate’s proclaiming that turn to unbelief and thus harming Islam. The implication is that if an apostate does it quietly then there will be no punishment. But you can have ready 4:89: “They wish that you should reject faith as they reject faith, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of God; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.” 2:217, 9:73-74, 88:21, 5:54, 9:66 are ready examples from the Qur’an and Hadith that make no mention of an apostate only being killed if he makes public his apostasy. Have at the ready as well some of the hadith, as for example these:


Sahih Bukhari (52:260) – …The Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.’ “


Sahih Bukhari (83:37) – “Allah’s Apostle never killed anyone except in one of the following three situations: (1) A person who killed somebody unjustly, was killed (in Qisas,) (2) a married person who committed illegal sexual intercourse and (3) a man who fought against Allah and His Apostle and deserted Islam and became an apostate.”


Sahih Bukhari (84:57) – [In the words of] “Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'”


To which M.I. has NO reply.


5. Why did the Ayatollah Khomeini lower the marriageable age of girls to 9?

The Ayatollah Khomeini was a learned cleric, and he knew that Muhammad, the perfect man (al-insan al-kamil) and model of conduct (uswa hasana) had consummated his marriage to little Aisha when she was nine (she was betrothed to him at the age of six). What’s right for Muhammad is right for every Muslim, forever. Hence his eagerness to reduce the marriageable age to that of Aisha. Under the secularizing Shah, of course, the marriageable age of Iranian girls was 18 – for a good Muslim like the Ayatollah Khomeini, that was an abomination. Others, but possibly “not my Muslim friend here,” no doubt feel differently.


Again, NO reply.


6. What is the surest way for a Muslim to get to Heaven?


The surest way to Jannah (Muslim Paradise) is by engaging in violent Jihad and dying as a “martyr” while fighting in the path of Allah.


Such people go directly to Paradise,


Quran (8:15-16) – “O ye who believe! when ye meet the Unbelievers in hostile array, never turn your backs to them. If any do turn his back to them on such a day – unless it be in a stratagem of war, or to retreat to a troop (of his own)- he draws on himself the wrath of Allah, and his abode is Hell,- an evil refuge (indeed)!” Not only does Muhammad lay down the principle that a Muslim can serve time in Hell, but they may find themselves there for neglecting to kill unbelievers when directed to do so.


Quran (9:39) – “If ye go not forth he will afflict you with a painful doom…” It isn’t enough to believe. Muhammad is telling his soldiers (who do not want to fight) that they will be sent to hell if they do not join the battle.


Quran (3:169-170) – “Think not of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord; They rejoice in the bounty provided by Allah: And with regard to those left behind, who have not yet joined them (in their bliss), the (Martyrs) glory in the fact that on them is no fear, nor have they (cause to) grieve. Martyrs go directly from life to paradise, where they wait for those who must first go through the Day of Judgment.


There are other ways to get to Paradise, some not requiring violence. But if he does so, you must come back to those Qur’anic passages, especially 3:169-170, that rank dying in Jihad as the SUREST AND FASTEST way.


7. Why did Muhammad attack the Jewish date farmers at the Khaybar Oasis?


Muslims often claim that Muhammad only attacked in self-defense. Among the clear exceptions to that claim was his attack on the inoffensive farmers of the Khaybar Oasis. They had not attacked Muhammad, did not even realize that they were supposedly at war with him. Having recently agreed to the Treaty of Hudaibiyya with the Meccans, which caused some grumbling among his followers (who could not foresee that he would soon find a way to breach that agreement) Muhammad wanted to placate his followers, and an attack on the wealthy farmers of Khaybar would provide the booty that he could then divide among them. Essentially, Muhammad attacked the Khaybar Oasis because its inhabitants were an easy target, completely unprepared for attack – they are described in the hadith as getting ready in the morning to go out into their fields when Muhammad’s warriors suddenly appeared — and above all, rich enough to be worth attacking.


8. How many wives did Muhammad have, and why was he allowed more than anyone else?


According to the Qur’an, Muslim men are allowed to have up to four wives at one time (Qur’an 4:3). But Muhammad had between eleven and thirteen wives, with between nine and eleven at the same time. If Muslim Interlocutor (M.I.) denies this, quote the hadith of Bukhari: Sahih al-Bukhari 268—“Anas bin Malik said, ‘The Prophet used to visit all his wives in a round, during the day and night and they were eleven in number.’ I asked Anas, ‘Had the Prophet the strength for it?’ Anas replied, ‘We used to say that the Prophet was given the strength of thirty (men).’ And Sa’id said on the authority of Qatada that Anas had told him about nine wives only (not eleven).”


The rules that were set down for everyone else did not, in this case, apply to Muhammad. Islamic tradition justified this by noting Muhammad’s extraordinary virility (“given the strength of thirty men”) Now Islamic apologists claim that the reason for so many wives was to cement political alliances with the various Arab tribes to which the wives belonged.

In any case, whatever the justification given, it is surely worth bringing up the issue; onlookers will not be impressed with the M.I.’s explanation(s), but will likely see this an example of Muhammad’s hypocrisy, making one rule for himself and a different one for everyone else, and that is exactly the point you wish to make.


9. Did Muhammad own slaves?


Yes. Muhammad bought, sold, and captured slaves.


He bought slaves: “Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) reported: There came a slave and pledged allegiance to Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) on migration; he (the Holy Prophet) did not know that he was a slave. Then there came his master and demanded him back, whereupon Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: Sell him to me. And he bought him for two black slaves, and he did not afterwards take allegiance from anyone until he had asked him whether he was a slave (or a free man).” (Muslim 3901).


He owned slaves: “Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Apostle was on a journey and he had a black slave called Anjasha, and he was driving the camels (very fast, and there were women riding on those camels). Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Waihaka (May Allah be merciful to you), O Anjasha! Drive slowly (the camels) with the glass vessels (women)!’” (Bukhari 8.73.182).


He captured slaves, including women to be used as sex slaves. in Qur’an 33:50, Allah tells Muhammad “Prophet, We have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have granted dowries and the slave girls whom God has given you as booty.” At Khaybar, the beautiful 17-year-old Safiya was first taken as booty by one of Muhammad’s followers, but ultimately the Prophet claimed her. The fact that he then freed her (as the M.I. may mention) and made her one of his wives does not obviate the fact that he first possessed Safiya as a slave (having just had her husband Kinana tortured and executed, and killed her father and other male relatives as well, as you should make a point of noting). If the M.I. replies that Muhammad freed many slaves, you should be quick to agree – he freed 63 in all, and his wife Aisha freed 67 – but remind onlookers that over his lifetime he kept many more. Even if Muhammad urged his followers to be more humane in the treatment of slaves, and even, at times, to free one or more, this is not the same thing as opposing the institution of slavery. Muhammad continued to own slaves, including female sex slaves, throughout his life. The bizarre remark by Reza Aslan, CNN’s new resident expert on religions, that “if you know anything about Islamic history, the very first thing that Muhammad did was outlaw slavery,” is flatly contradicted by the biographical details of Muhammad’s life, as set out in Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira.


10. Did Muhammad approve of slavery?


The M.I. will insist that Muhammad instructed his followers to treat slaves well, and set out rules for their decent treatment, and this claim is correct. You can respond by even adding that he manumitted 63 of his own slaves over his lifetime, and often urged his followers to do so as well, as a way of expiating their sins. But you will insist that this does not amount to disapproving of slavery as such, and that Muhammad never denounced the institution of slavery in itself, nor did he call for its abolition. He legitimized, rather, because he was a slave-owner himself, and the Model of Conduct, the practice of slavery by Muslims over the past 1400 years until in the 20th century, outside pressures from non-Muslim powers stopped it wherever possible. This had consequences for many tens of millions of people enslaved by Arab Muslims, especially those from sub-Saharan Africa.. The slave trade in Africa that began the earliest, and lasted the longest, and claimed the largest number of victims, was that of the Muslim Arabs, who took a special interest in castrating young black boys in the bush, and bringing those that survived the operation – 10-20% — to serve as eunuchs in the harems of the Muslim world.


Possibly here is the place to state what the M.I. cannot deny, that slavery ended in the Muslim lands only under Western pressure, and as late as 1962 in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and that Arabs still enslave black Africans in Mauritania today; that should provide a salutary shock for onlookers. Slavery has also been justified recently by Islamic scholars in Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, as well as Mauritania. Those onlookers can be further reminded that the Arabs from the northern Sudan enslaved hundreds of thousands of Christian and pagan blacks in the southern Sudan during the Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005). Lest the M.I. insist that no Islamic authority nowadays defends slavery, you can respond with, for example, this from a 2006 interview with an Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, of the Iranian Assembly of Experts (80 respected theologians), who stated, “Today, too, if there’s a war between us and the infidels, we’ll take slaves. The ruling on slavery hasn’t expired and is eternal. We’ll take slaves and we’ll bring them to the world of Islam and have them stay with Muslims. We’ll guide them, make them Muslims and then return them to their countries.”


That should be the last word in this Q-and-A exchange on slavery in Islam.


11. Why is Muhammad called the perfect man (“al-insan al-kamil”), and the model of conduct (“uswa hasana”)?


The question is meant simply to elicit that for Muslims, morality is determined by whatever Muhammad thought or did. What else can the messenger of God, the seal of the prophets, be but the perfect man and model of conduct? See Qur’an 33:21, 68:4 and 68:6. And you want to give several examples of what he did that most offends our non-Muslim sense of morality, but that do not trouble Muslims at all precisely because Muhammad is the agent.

First, there is the consummation – that is, sexual intercourse — of Muhammad’s marriage to nine-year-old Aisha. For Aisha, be ready to quote her own testimony, of how she was called away from her swings, in case Muslim Interlocutor (M. I.) tries to claim that “no one knows how old she was, but the main thing is that she had reached puberty.” Note that child marriages in Islamic societies have been accepted because of Aisha’s example, though not everywhere is a child bride as young as nine been allowed. When the Ayatollah Khomeini was alive, he reduced the age at which a girl could be married to nine, but now it has been raised to 13, which is still quite young. You might also mention that child brides – around age 15 – are allowed in several Muslim countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan. And make sure to respond to the M.I. with the most disturbing example of the effect of Aisha’s marriage, which is in Saudi Arabia, where the Grand Mufti Shaikh Abdul Aziz Al Shaikh announced in 2014 that there would be no minimum age for child brides, which is still the rule. There was even a case of an 8-year-old forced by a court to stay married to a man in his 50s. Muhammad’s marriage has thus had consequences for tens of millions of Muslim girls over 1400 years.


A second example of Muhammad’s behavior as a model of conduct that will raise Infidel eyebrows is the killing of the bound prisoners of the Banu Qurayza, which Muhammad watched and even took part in. We regard it as an atrocity, but for Muslims, because Muhammad commanded it, it remains for ever acceptable. Should M.I. deny this happened, be ready to quote: “The Jews were made to come down, and Allah’s Messenger imprisoned them. Then the Prophet went out into the marketplace of Medina, and he had trenches dug in it. He sent for the Jewish men and had them beheaded in those trenches. They were brought out to him in batches. They numbered 800 to 900 boys and men.” (Ishaq 464)


A third and final example is Muhammad’s morality when it came to disciplining disobedient wives. Be ready to quote Qur’an 4:34: “Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.” What can the M.I. now respond to any of these three examples of the “perfect man’s” conduct?


12. Exactly how many prisoners of the Banu Qurayza tribe were killed while Muhammad watched?


The question is meant to elicit the information that Muhammad had the helpless prisoners (Jews of the Banu Qurayza tribe) brought out in batches to be killed, while he looked on. The number of prisoners is not known “exactly,” but between 600 and 900, according to Ibn Ishaq’s life of Muhammad, are believed to have been decapitated, with Muhammad taking part in a few of the killings himself. The precise numbers are not really the point, of course; it’s the enormity of the mass killings, a veritable bloodbath, that should make a deep impression on those listening to your exchange with the “Ask-Me-Anything” Muslim.


13. How many military expeditions did Muhammad take part in?


This question is meant to point out that Muhammad – in sharp contrast to the Lord Jesus Christ — was a man steeped in violence; he neither preached nor practiced non-violence. He took part in 28 military campaigns from 623 to 630, which can easily be found at Wikipedia; you can read out the names, in what will be excruciating for your M.I., of the bloodiest of those campaigns. Can he dare deny that violence of every type is central to Muhammad’s biography? Onlookers will quickly grasp that aspect of Muhammad that M.I. has tried to hide or explain away.


14. When, according to the Qur’an, is killing Infidels prohibited?


This question refers to, and is asked in order to elicit, as an answer, M.I.’s acknowledgement (and recital) of the Verse of the Sword: “Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters (mushrikun) wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.” (Qur’an 9:5) The actual four “sacred months” — the first, 7th, 11th, and 12th months in the Islamic (lunar) calendar – are of course not the real point of the question, but are merely an oblique means of entry, to get the Ask-Me-Anything Muslim to offer the apologetics for which you will be ready. He will undoubtedly try to argue that this verse was meant to apply to a specific enemy in time and space – the Quraysh tribe of Mecca, with whom Muhammad was then at war — but there is no textual or other evidence to support this descriptive-not-prescriptive argument which is so often invoked. The classic commentaries nowhere hint that this verse no longer applies (as some modern apologists suggest); in fact, they note that 9:5 “abrogates” many other milder verses in the Qur’an. Answering one recent apologist, Robert Spencer quotes several of those commentators: “Ibn Juzayy notes that it (9:5) cancels out peaceful verses; he says that it abrogates ‘every peace treaty in the Qur’an,’ and specifically abrogates the Qur’an’s directive to ‘set free or ransom’ captive unbelievers (47:4). As-Suyuti agrees: ‘This is an Ayat of the Sword which abrogates pardon, truce and overlooking’ — that is, perhaps the overlooking of the pagans’ offenses.” Another possible line of apologetics M.I. will proffer is that these “idolaters” need only “repent” of their idolatry to be spared. But your response is that they must not only “repent” but also “perform the prayer” (that is, the Muslim prayers) and pay the alms (the Muslim poor-due or zakat). In other words, they must convert to Islam if they wish not to be killed, rather than merely “repent” of idol-worship. If there is one Qur’anic verse above all others to bring to the attention of onlookers, and for which you will be ready to knock down the predictable apologetics, it is 9:5.


15. How did Muhammad react when he heard that Asma bint Marwan had been killed?


This question is meant to elicit the fact that criticism or mockery of Muhammad was seen from Islam’s earliest days as punishable by death. Asma bint Marwan was a female poet who had written some verses mocking Muhammad. In several versions of this story, Muhammad exclaims “who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?” One of his followers, Umayr, needed no more explicit instructions, and he killed her that very night. When he reported this to Muhammad, the latter exclaimed “You have helped God and his apostle, O Umayr!” You may wish to add, in an ostentatious show of scrupulosity, that this story, in its various versions, appears in what are considered to be very weak hadith by Islamic scholars.


16. How did Muhammad react when he heard that a 120-year-old Jewish poet, Abu ‘Afak, had been killed?


This question again underscores the harsh treatment of critics of Muhammad raised in the previous question. When he was asked about Abu Afak, Muhammad is reported in a hadith as saying: “Who will rid me of this pestilent fellow?” — which is what one of his loyal followers promptly did, stabbing Abu Afak to death. There is no direct quote from Muhammad after the killing, unlike the report of his exclamation after the killing of Asma bint Marwan, but it is safe to assume that if the person he called a “pestilent fellow” was gotten rid of, Muhammad was well satisfied. You want to make sure your listeners learn of these political murders carried out by followers of Muhammad to please him, as they are constantly barraged with propaganda — see any Muslim website — as to Muhammad’s “kind and gentle nature,” and his teaching of “love, kindness, and compassion.” You beg to differ, and so do the ghosts of Asma bint Marwan and Abu Afak.


17. How are non-Muslims described in the Qur’an? (see 98.6)


An impossible question for the M.I. to answer. If he doesn’t answer at all, he will look bad. If he claims there are “so many different views expressed in the Qur’an and Hadith,” but “on the whole the Qur’an is deeply respectful of Christians and Jews” – “Moses and Jesus, after all, are considered to be prophets in Islam” — he will look bad once you respond by quoting Qur’an 98:6, where Christians and Jews are called “the most vile of created beings.” That will make a deep impression on the onlookers who, never forget, are your real audience.


18. How are Muslims described in the Qur’an? (see 3.110)


Not quite so impossible a question as #17, but it should provide a salutary shock for onlookers to discover that the Qur’an describes Muslims as the “best of peoples” (3:110), especially after having just learned that they themselves, the non-Muslims listening to your exchange with that“Ask-Me-Anything” Muslim, are described in no uncertain terms in the Qur’an as “the most vile of created beings.” There is no possible way for the M.I. to put an exculpatory spin on either 98:6 or 3:110.


19. Why do so many non-Arab Muslims take Arabic names?


While Islam makes universalist claims, it is in fact a vehicle for Arab supremacism. Muslims must turn toward Arabia – the Hejaz – five times a day in prayer, must ideally read the Qur’an in Arabic, should model their behavior on that of Muhammad, and also in some cases on that of his Companions. The way of life that is normative in Islam is thus based on the teachings and practices of a 7th century Arab.


While taking an Arabic name is not required of converts, it is a longstanding practice, a way to slough off a previous, non-Islamic identity, and to express disdain for one’s previous life as an Infidel, while signalling a complete embrace of this new Islamic identity. The mass adoption of Arab names is prompted by, and in turn further promotes, the belief among Muslims that an Arab identity is superior to a non-Arab one. The M.I. will have difficulty deflecting attention from this matter, much less deny it altogether, as there are so many well-known examples (Adam Gadahn becomes Azzam al-Amriki, Cat Stevens becomes Yusuf Islam, Cassius Clay becomes Muhammad Ali). This business of name-changing is one more example of Islam as a vehicle for Arab supremacism, a theme you want to keep hammering home, to the great and well-deserved discomfort of your Ask-Me-Anything Muslim interlocutor.


20. When does the doctrine of “abrogation” (naskh) in Qur’anic interpretation apply?


This question is meant to raise the matter of the many contradictions in the Qur’anic text. Muslim scholars, having to reconcile these contradictions, came up with the doctrine of “abrogation” or naskh, in which later passages are said to “abrogate” earlier ones. The main internal contradictions in the Qur’an are between the later ones, identified as coming from the period when Muhammad was in Medina (hence called “the Medinan verses”) which are much harsher than the earlier ones from his time in Mecca (“the Meccan verses”). Why does this matter? It means that those milder verses that Muslim apologists tend to quote are often those earlier verses that have been abrogated by the later more unyielding Medinan verses, but the listeners are blissfully unaware of this, and assume that the milder abrogated verses are still valid. You must clearly explain how naskh applies, and give an example of verses that have been abrogated, and by what later verses. The Verse of the Sword, Qur’an 9:5, abrogated many earlier less violent verses. You can find them listed here. Muslim apologists, of course, will quote the abrogated verses as if they are still valid, in an attempt to give non-Muslims a false view of the Qur’an and of Islam.


21. Under what conditions can a Muslim man beat his wife?


This is to raise the matter of misogyny in Islam. Assuming that the M.I. will either deny that Muslim men are allowed to beat their wives, or will claim (falsely) that they can do so, but only “lightly,” you should be ready to respond with Qur’an 4:34: “Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.” Contemporary translations sometimes water down the word “beat,” but it is the same one used in verse 8:12 and clearly means “to strike.”


22. What is the Muslim Heaven like?


The Muslim heaven, Jannah, is described in the Qur’an and hadith in great and loving detail as an material paradise, with gardens of bliss, endless and delicious food that is forever fresh and can never rot, flagons of pure water and other drinks, fruit without thorns, fountains scented with camphor or ginger, and “maidens restraining their glances.” You get the picture – the Muslims are promised a very different sort of paradise from the one of Christianity, and let’s not forget the many fabled dark-eyed virgins available to service each Muslim man (contrary to popular belief, the number of houris is specified as 72 only in one hadith collection, Sunan al-Tirmidhi). The important point to be made is the stark contrast between Christianity’s heaven and the thoroughly material heaven promised to Muslims.


23. When can a Muslim father punish his daughter without fear of being punished himself?


This question is meant to raise the horrific business of “honor killings,” in which a Muslim father can kill his daughter without facing any punishment in an Islamic society. M.I. will deny that the father can escape punishment. But you should be ready with the following: The authority for allowing the father to kill his daughter is Umdat al-Salik or Reliance of the Traveller, a manual of Islamic law, certified in 1991 as a reliable guide to Sunni Islam by Muslim Council of Cairo’s al-Azhar University. This 14th-century law-manual states that punishment or “retaliation is obligatory against anyone, who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right,” EXCEPT when “a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers)” kills their “offspring, or offspring’s offspring” (section o1.1-2). In other words, when a parent, murders his/her child for the sake of honor, this is not a crime under Islamic law. You can also have at the ready a few examples of such “honor” killings where the father got off scot-free.


You can also, if you wish, give a few recent examples of honor killings that went unpunished, to show that this is a continuing problem. For example, in 2008, a woman was killed in Saudi Arabia by her father for “chatting” with a man on Facebook. “The killing became public only when a Saudi cleric referred to the case, to criticize Facebook for the strife it caused.” Or in 2013 in Yemen, a “15-year-old girl was killed by her father, who burned her to death, because she talked to her fiancé.” That should be enough to leave onlookers aghast.


24. According to Islamic law, what must a Muslim husband do to be divorced from his wife?


This question goes to the matter of how women are treated in Islam. A Muslim man need only repeat “talaq, talaq, talaq” to divorce — according to the Sharia — one of his wives. If the Muslim Interlocutor (M.I.) claims that this is false, you should respond that Muhammad himself divorced a wife in this manner, as is reported in a hadith of Muslim (9:3493). You can also google “triple-talaq” to find contemporary rulings upholding the practice, and examples of it being used, not 1400 years ago, but today. Divorce for women is far more difficult. They can apply to a Muslim judge (qadi) for a divorce, but they must have a “good reason” for it (mere claims of incompatibility will not do). In one of the “canonical” collections of hadith, Sunan Abu Dawood, Muhammad says: “Any woman who asks her husband for a divorce when it is not absolutely necessary, the fragrance of Paradise will be forbidden to her.” Clearly the bar for wives seeking divorce is set much higher than that for triple-talaqing husbands.


25. Why is the testimony of a Muslim woman worth only half that of a Muslim man?


This question again goes to the misogyny in Islam and the status of women. M.I. is likely to claim that Islam improved the lot of Arab women, compared to what they had to endure in pagan times. This is partly true. Islam did away with the practice of (female) infanticide that the pagan Arabs practiced. Another claim M.I. may make is that among the advances for women under Islam was the right to conduct business by themselves, citing Muhammad’s wife Khadija. But this claim is deceptive: Khadija was a successful businesswoman before she became a Muslim, or met Muhammad, so apparently this right for women to conduct business did not require the advent of Islam. M.I. will claim that the Qur’an provided women with explicit rights to inheritance, to property, the obligation to testify in a court of law, and the right to divorce. To which you are ready to respond that women might now have a chance to testify in court, but their testimony in Islam is worth only half that of a man. Quran 2:282: “And call to witness, from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not found then a man and two women.”


And while women were able to inherit property, they inherited only half of what a male relative would inherit: “The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females” (4:11). While women now had the right to divorce, it was, and is, under Shari’a, far easier for the Muslim man to obtain a divorce. And of course men could have plural wives, but a wife only one husband. And men had the right to beat their wives if they were disobedient. Having noted all this, you want to leave your listeners with Muhammad’s explicit description of women as inferior to men. The most effective quote to use for this is Sahih Bukhari (6:301): “[Muhammad] said, ‘Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?’ They replied in the affirmative. He said, ‘This is the deficiency in her intelligence.’“


26. In what ways does Islam tend to favor Arabs over non-Arabs?


Islam arose among the Arabs in Mecca, and it is toward Mecca, a city in the Hejaz, that Muslims everywhere turn in prayer. Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, the perfect man and model of conduct, was a 7th century Arab with the mores of his time and place. The only version of the Qur’an deemed fully accurate is that in Arabic. Among Muslims, the Arabs enjoy the permanent prestige of having been the ones to bring the Qur’an to the world, and in their language. This matter is raised as well in two other questions, #19 and #34. The charge that Islam is a vehicle of Arab supremacism cannot be refuted, and the experience of informants who have attended mosque open houses suggests that once made, it makes a deep impression on listeners, including not just Infidels but even some non-Arab Muslims who previously had never thought of Islam in such terms.


27. How did Islam spread all the way from the Hejaz to the Iberian peninsula?


Just a simple historical question, or so it may seem. Muhammad died in 632. Arab armies then swept from the Hejaz, through Egypt and across North Africa, and then crossed into and conquered the Iberian Peninsula by 711, that is, in the span of 80 years. The M.I. might claim that it was the obvious Truth of Islam that explained its rapid spread, not military force. You will concede that there have been a very few places where Islam did spread without the aid of a conquering army – such as in the East Indies, where the conversion of local rulers in Java and Sumatra to Islam meant the adoption of the faith by those they ruled, on the well-known principle of cuius regio, eius religio (“whose realm, his religion”), or today, where demographic conquest by Muslim migrants, assisted by their unwitting victims in Europe, is the chief means for spreading Islam. But this question is designed to note that Islam was spread mainly by armies, not only those that made their way from the Hejaz all the way to and up through the Iberian Peninsula (until stopped outside Poitiers by Charles Martel), but also those Muslim armies that conquered much of the Middle East, including Iran and Syria and Palestine, or other armies that seized much of India and Afghanistan. You want to make sure that the overwhelming role of violence in the spread of early Islam is understood by the onlookers. It was not, as Muslim apologists claim, the undeniable truth of Islam that mainly caused its spread, but the scimitars of its adherents.


28. Why did Muslims blow up the Bamiyan Buddhas?


In a well-known hadith, Muhammad says he will not enter a home where there are “dogs and pictures.” By “pictures” he is held to have meant all depictions of living creatures, so that statues as well as portraiture are considered haram. There are also many other hadith against images of animate beings. The Bamiyan Buddhas were statues that had escaped destruction not because Muslims had granted them some kind of special dispensation, but because until 2001, Muslims had lacked the wherewithal to destroy them. If M.I. claims that the fact that the Bamiyan Buddhas had not been destroyed long ago shows that it was not a religious but a political matter (as if a clear distinction could be made in Islam), with the Taliban’s Mullah Omar supposedly claiming that he was so angered that foreigners were willing to spend money to repair the Buddhas while Afghans were starving that he decided to destroy them, you can point to the consensus of the 400 Afghan clerics who said that the statues violated Islamic law. And remind M.I. – and those listening in — that just as many thousands of statues, stupas, and temples (Buddhist and Hindu) had been destroyed over many centuries all over present-day Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, it was now the turn of the Bamiyan Buddhas, because the Taliban’s explosives proved equal to the appalling task. Even so, it took several weeks of diabolically dedicated dynamiting to thoroughly destroy the Buddhas. You have hereby introduced the theme of Islamic destruction of the world’s artistic heritage, over 1400 years, and also the day before yesterday, with the Islamic State’s destruction of the Temple of Bel (a Mesopotamian monument) and the Roman theatre in Palmyra. Wherever Muslims can destroy non-Muslim heritage sites, it seems they will. From their point of view, why should they be forced to endure reminders of any civilization other than the only one that counts, that of Islam?


29. Why did Muslims threaten to blow up a church in Bologna with a fresco depicting Muhammad?


This question raises the matter of the extreme violence of Muslims in defending the image of Muhammad. In the church of San Petronio in Bologna, a fresco by Giovanni da Modena from 1410 depicts the scene described in Dante’s Inferno, Canto 28, where Muhammad — a sower of discord — is in Hell, pulling at his own entrails. You might even quote Dante as a way of overwhelming your Muslim opponent: «Or vedi com’io mi dilacco! / vedi come storpiato è Mäometto!» (vv. 30-31), which means: “See how I tear myself open! See how maimed Muhammad is!” The Muslim plotters considered this precious fresco, 600 years old, as blasphemous, and consequently believed they had a perfect right to blow up the church, together with the offending fresco. You should be ready to note that although the plot was discovered in time, the fresco now has a grate in front of it, and visitors must view the fresco from a greater distance, so that in its dark side altar it is now hardly visible. A part of Europe’s artistic heritage has now, thanks to Muslim threats, even if present, has been effectively rendered invisible. The point being made is that with millions of Muslims now in Europe, the threat to the West’s artistic heritage is very great now, and can only increase pari passu with the increase in the Muslim population that rank dying in Jihad as the SUREST AND FASTEST way.


30. Why have there been more than 30,000 terrorist attacks by Muslims since 9/11/2001? [Edit: Its actually > 40,000 by now, early 2022]


The point of this question is really nothing more than to publicize the huge number of Islamic terrorist attacks since 9/11. If you did not know this figure, what might you have guessed? One thousand? Two? Islam is an inherently violent faith, the Qur’an and Hadith fairly bristle with violence, the life of Muhammad seems to be one military campaign after another. Islam was spread, almost everywhere, by violent Jihad. In recent centuries, Muslim armies were successfully suppressed by the superior military might of Infidels. But now again that violence, against both non-Muslims and other Muslims deemed insufficiently orthodox (and therefore not really Muslims at all), has reappeared, not mainly in regular combat (qitaal), but in acts of terror. These are deemed legitimate means of Jihad. “Terror” is not prohibited, but mandated in Islam. As Muhammad famously declared, “I have been made victorious through terror” (Bukhari 4.52.220). The Muslim Interlocutor (M.I.) may deny that these are “terror attacks” or insist that “Muslims are its first victims” or make other attempts at deflection, but you need only supply the link to the list of the 30,000 plus attacks and invite onlookers to take a look and characterize these attacks for themselves. They will be deeply impressed.


31. Who was Kinana, and what did Muhammad order should be done with him?


This question offers one memorable example of the extraordinary cruelty of Muhammad in his lust for loot. Kinana bin al-Rabi was a leader in Khaybar to whom had been entrusted treasure by the Banu Nadir (the tribe had been driven from Mecca by Muhammad). When Muhammad entered Khaybar, he had Kinana seized and demanded he tell him where the treasure was kept. Kinana denied knowing where it was, and Muhammad threatened that “if i find it, I shall have to kill you.” Some of the treasure was found, and Muhammad again asked Kinana about the rest. Again Kinana denied knowing about it, and Muhammad ordered that he be tortured until he revealed where it was. In the end, Kinana did not give up any information, even with a fire started on his chest, and he was beheaded. His wife Safiyya was taken by Muhammad to be his sex slave, but he then married her. All in all, an unedifying spectacle of this “perfect man” and “model of conduct.” And that is the sole point of this query, to have the listeners learn of the unappetizing aspects of Muhammad’s biography that apologists keep, as best they can, hidden from view.


32. Does Islam have a Golden Rule?


This question goes to a main difference between Islam and Christianity. Muslims are nowhere encouraged to treat others as they would be treated, but to make war on all non-Muslims until they are killed, converted, or have accepted permanent status as subjugated dhimmis. The Golden Rule does not exist in Islam, and is antipathetic to the letter and spirit of that faith. In Islam, the world is divided between Believers and Infidels, Muslims and non-Muslims. Muslims are commanded to love only those who are loyal to Allah, and to hate those who do not, that is, the Unbelievers. Muslims should not treat the kuffar as they would be treated, for they are the best of peoples (3:110) and the kuffar the vilest of creatures (98:6). It makes no sense, in Islam, to treat the vilest and the best of peoples alike. There are passages in the Qur’an, and Hadith, too, that sound like the Golden Rule but which are meant to apply only to fellow Muslims, not to all men. For example, here are three: “None of you have faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself” (Sahih Muslim); “Whoever wishes to be delivered from the fire and to enter Paradise”¦should treat the people as he wishes to be treated.” (Sahih Muslim); and “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself” (Forty Hadith-Nawawi).


But in these hadith, the “neighbor,” “the people,” and the “brother” are all fellow Muslims. For a more detailed discussion, see Ali Sina on Islam and the Golden Rule here.

33. What is the doctrine of al-wala’ wal-bara’?

Al-wala’ wa-l-bara’ (“Loyalty and Disavowal”) is the doctrine of Love and Hate for Allah’s sake, one of the key beliefs in Islam, second only to Tawhid. It commands hatred of all that goes against Allah. This naturally includes hatred of those who do not believe in him, the mushrikun or unbelievers, while commanding Love for everyone who is pleasing to Allah, meaning the Muslims.


34. Why are there so many people in Pakistan named “Sayid”?

“Sayid” is an honorific meaning one is a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad through his grandsons. The adoption of this as part of one’s name, even in Pakistan, among those who live thousands of miles from Arabia, are clearly not Arabs, and for whom there exists not the slightest evidence that they are descendants of the Prophet’s tribe, is one more example of the desire of non-Arab Muslims to identify with the Arabs, going so far as to suggest an entirely factitious lineage connecting them to the Prophet. One more example – see #19 and #26 – that provides evidence of the supremacist position of Arabs within the supposedly egalitarian faith of Islam.


35. What kinds of music does Islam allow?


In Islam, singing (al-ghina) that is suitable for entertainment, dancing, or “frivolous” amusement, is prohibited. Muslim authorities differ on whether, and what kinds of, instrumental music is banned as well. That there is some ban on singing and instrumental music, the extent of which is still debated by Islamic authorities, is clear. This question should call to mind Ayatollah Khomeini’s reported remark that “an Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.” The point of the question is to ensure that others are aware of how much that we regard as innocent and pleasurable fun is grimly prohibited in Islam. You want simply to raise the issue of Muhammad’s negative attitude toward some, perhaps most, music, precisely because it is pleasurable.


36. What is Dar al-Harb?


Dar al-Harb means in Arabic the Domain or House of War, and includes all those lands where the Infidels still dominate. It is the duty of Muslims to conduct Jihad against Infidels in Dar al-Harb so as to spread Islam, though not necessarily through violence. There are many forms of jihad, including demographic conquest, which, as of now, seems the most threatening and effective form of Jihad, to be conducted until Islam everywhere dominates and Muslims rule everywhere, and Dar al-Harb has ceased to exist, having simply been incorporated into Dar al-Islam.


37. What is Dar al-Islam?

Dar al-Islam is the Domain or House of Islam, and includes all those lands where Islam already dominates and Muslims rule. It is the duty of Muslims to constantly expand Dar al-Islam through Jihad, until the whole world has submitted to Islam. This does not mean that everyone in the world must become Muslim, but everyone must accept the dominance of Islam. The point of #36 and #37 is to underscore the uncompromising division of the world, in the Islamic view, between Muslims and Unbelievers, Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb.


38. When does Jihad come to an end?


This question raises the matter of when a permanent peace can finally be declared between Muslims and Infidels. The answer, from the point of view of Muslims, is never, or rather, not until the final victory of Islam. While history is punctuated with numerous local “jihads” in which war is waged against the Infidels – as, for example, the jihad conducted in West Africa by Usman dan Fodio in 1809, known as the Fulani War, which established the Sokoto Caliphate – the Jihad as a worldwide phenomenon has no foreseeable or logical conclusion. Muslims have a duty to continue to wage Jihad until all the world’s Infidels have either been converted to Islam, or been killed, or are living as dhimmis, subjugated to Muslim rule, and having accepted numerous disabilities including, most importantly, payment of the Jizyah or capitation tax. The doctrine of Jihad is one of war-without-end, though it need not be conducted through violence alone. It is important to remind those listening in to your Q-and-A with the Ask-A-Muslim-Anything Muslim, that the demographic jihad and what Robert Spencer was the first to call, here at Jihad Watch, the “stealth jihad,” are the most insidious and dangerous forms of Jihad, though almost all of our attention in the West has, for understandable reasons, been on terrorism. Better to squarely face this bleak prospect than to soothingly delude ourselves that if only we avoid what some belittle as “hysteria” and pretend that there is nothing wrong with Muslim immigration, all manner of things shall be well. They aren’t and they won’t.


To know the only true living God and how you can receive eternal life from Him, read “How A Sinner Can Be Saved and Have Eternal Life” at https://www.2020scripturalvision.com/are-you-saved



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