Noted Muslim dawagandist Shabir Ally has arbitrarily come up with his own criteria which he has begun to use in his debates on the issue of violence and peace in the Holy Bible and Quran in order to mislead people into thinking that, whereas the Holy Bible does not clearly exhort believers to live peacefully with others, the Quran on the other hand does so.
1. Does the Book call towards peaceful living?
Ally asserts that the Holy Bible is ambiguous on this point since, whereas the NT does call its adherents to peaceful living, the Hebrew Bible does not since it sanctions the mass slaughter of peoples, specifically seven nations that lived throughout the land of Canaan.
2. Does the Book present its heroes and models as peaceful individuals?
Ally argued on the basis of the second criterion that the Quran depicts the most violent characters of the Old Testament are not mentioned at all, which is nothing more than an argument from silence and an indication of Muhammad’s ignorance concerning the existence of these individuals. Ally further asserts that some of the OT characters which are associated with some kind of violence are presented in the Quran as peaceful individuals whose violence are not mentioned at all.
3. Does the violence prescribed in the Book fit in with what we call the just war theory?
Ally argues that the Quran’s teaching on this subject does fit in with the just war theory, whereas the Hebrew Bible does not.(1)
With that said, I am going to show how Ally’s criteria, specifically his second criterion, end up proving that Muhammad was a violent terrorist who called his followers to violently subjugate all those who refused to embrace his prophethood. But first, I want to focus on what Muhammad believed about the Hebrew Bible in order to see whether Ally’s criticism of the OT Scriptures are consistent with what his own prophet taught.
Muhammad’s View of the Torah
According to the Quran, Muhammad came to confirm the divine origin and textual veracity of the very Scriptures which both the Jews and Christians possessed at that time:
Children of Israel, remember My blessing wherewith I blessed you, and fulfil My covenant and I shall fulfil your covenant; and have awe of Me. And believe in that I have sent down, confirming that WHICH IS WITH YOU, and be not the first to disbelieve in it. And sell not My signs for a little price; and fear you Me. And do not confound the truth with vanity, and do not conceal the truth wittingly. And do not confound the truth with vanity, and do not conceal the truth wittingly. And perform the prayer, and pay the alms, and bow with those that bow. Will you bid others to piety, and forget yourselves WHILE YOU RECITE THE BOOK? Do you not understand? S. 2:40-44
And they say, ‘Our hearts are uncircumcised.’ Nay, but God has cursed them for their unbelief; little will they believe. When there came to them a Book from God, confirming WHAT WAS WITH THEM — and they aforetimes prayed for victory over the unbelievers — when there came to them that they recognized, they disbelieved in it; and the curse of God is on the unbelievers… And when they were told, ‘Believe in that God has sent down,’ they said, ‘We believe in what was sent down on us’; and they disbelieve in what is beyond that, yet it is the truth confirming WHAT IS WITH THEM. S. 2:89, 91
When there has come to them a Messenger from God confirming WHAT WAS WITH THEM, a party of them that were given the Book reject the Book of God behind their backs, as though they knew not, S. 2:101
You who have been given the Book, believe in what We have sent down, confirming WHAT IS WITH YOU, before We obliterate faces, and turn them upon their backs, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-men, and God’s command is done. S. 4:47
Since these are the very same inspired writings we possess today this means that Muhammad basically testified to the divine inspiration and reliability of the Holy Bible.
The Quran also claims that the Jews and Christians of Muhammad’s time were studying and reciting the Book, thereby implying that they possessed the original, uncorrupt Scriptures:
The Jews say, ‘The Christians stand not on anything’; the Christians say, ‘The Jews stand not on anything’; YET THEY RECITE THE BOOK. S. 2:113
Those to whom We have given the Book and who recite it WITH TRUE RECITATION, they believe in it; and whoso disbelieves in it, they shall be the losers. S. 2:121
It belongs not to any mortal that God should give him the Book, the Judgment, the Prophethood, then he should say to men, ‘Be you servants to me apart from God.’ Rather, ‘Be you masters in that YOU KNOW THE BOOK, and in that YOU STUDY.’ S. 3:79
Those are they to whom We gave the Book, the Judgment, the Prophethood; so if these disbelieve in it, We have already entrusted it to a people who do not disbelieve IN IT. Those are they whom God has guided; so follow their guidance. Say: ‘I ask of you no wage for it; it is but a reminder unto all beings.’ They measured not God with His true measure when they said, ‘God has not sent down aught on any mortal.’ Say: ‘Who sent down the Book that Moses brought as a light and a guidance to men? YOU OUT IT INTO PARCHMENTS, REVEALING THEM, AND HIDING MUCH; and you were taught that you knew not, you and your fathers.’ Say: ‘God.’ Then leave them alone, playing their game of plunging. This is a Book We have sent down, blessed and confirming that which was before it (Ar. musaddiqu alathee bayna yadayhi – lit. confirming that which is between his/its hands), and for thee to warn the Mother of Cities and those about her; and those who believe in the world to come believe in it, and watch over their prayers. S. 6:89-92
Of the people of Moses there is a nation who guide by the truth, and by it act with justice… And there succeeded after them a succession who inherited the Book, taking the chance goods of this lower world, and saying, ‘It will be forgiven us’; and if chance goods the like of them come to them, they will take them. Has not the compact of the Book been taken touching them, that they should say concerning God nothing but the truth? AND THEY HAVE STUDIED WHAT IS IN IT; and the Last Abode is better for those who are godfearing. Do you not understand? And those who hold fast to the Book, and perform the prayer — surely We leave not to waste the wage of those who set aright. S. 7:159, 169-170
Muhammad even called the Jews and Christians to judge by their respective Scriptures, which again presupposes that these communities possessed the original, genuine revelations of God.
Hast thou not regarded those who were given a portion of the Book, being called to the Book of God, THAT IT MIGHT DECIDE BETWEEN THEM, and then a party of them turned away, swerving aside? S. 3:23
Here is how the Muslim expositors explained this particular text:
Have you not seen those who were given a portion, a share, of the Book, the Torah, being called to the Book of God (yud‘awna, ‘being called’, is a circumstantial qualifier), that it might decide between them, and then a party of them turned away, opposed? to the acceptance of its rulings. This was revealed concerning the Jews: two of them fornicated and they [the Jews] asked the Prophet to adjudicate the case. He ruled that they be stoned, but they [the Jews] refused to do so. WHEN THE TORAH WAS BROUGHT AND CONSULTED, the same verdict was found, and so the two were stoned, but they [the Jews] became wrathful. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=3&tAyahNo=23&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)
(Hast thou not seen how those who have received a portion of the Scripture…) [3:23]. There is a difference of opinion about this verse’s occasion of revelation. Al-Suddi said: “When the Prophet called the Jews to embrace Islam, al-Nu‘man ibn Awfa said to him: ‘Come, O Muhammad, and let the rabbis judge between us’. He said: ‘Let the Scripture of Allah be judge between us’. They said: ‘No! Let the rabbis judge’. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”. On the other hand, Sa‘id ibn Jubayr and ‘Ikrimah reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said: “The Messenger of Allah entered in on a group of Jews in a Jewish place of study and called them to Allah. Nu‘aym ibn ‘Amr and al-Harith ibn Zayd said to him: ‘O Muhammad, which religion are you on?’ He said: ‘The religion of Abraham’. They said: ‘But Abraham was a Jew’. The Messenger of Allah said: ‘In that case, let us go to the Torah and let it judge between us’. They refused. And Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”. Said al-Kalbi: “This was revealed about those who committed fornication in Khaybar and the Jews who asked the Prophet about the legal punishment of fornication”. The elaboration on this will come in Surah al-Ma’idah, Allah, exalted is He, willing”. (‘Alī ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi, Asbab Al-Nuzul, trans. Mokrane Guezzou http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=86&tSoraNo=3&tAyahNo=23&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Other Quranic verses which command the Jews and Christians to judge by their respective books include the following:
All food was lawful to the Children of Israel save what Israel forbade for himself before the Torah was sent down. Say: ‘Bring you the Torah now, and recite it, if you are truthful.’ Whoso forges falsehood against God after that, those are the evildoers. S. 3:91
Yet how will they make thee their judge seeing THEY HAVE THE TORAH, wherein IS God’s judgment, then thereafter turn their backs? They are not believers. Surely We sent down the Torah, wherein IS guidance and light; thereby the Prophets who had surrendered themselves gave judgment for those of Jewry, as did the masters and the rabbis, following such portion of God’s Book as they were given to keep and were witnesses to. So fear not men, but fear you Me; and sell not My signs for a little price. Whoso judges not according to what God has sent down — they are the unbelievers. And therein We prescribed for them: ‘A life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds retaliation’; but whosoever forgoes it as a freewill offering, that shall be for him an expiation. Whoso judges not according to what God has sent down — they are the evildoers. And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus son of Mary, confirming the Torah before him (Ar. musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi minal-tawrati–confirming that which is between his hands of the Torah) and We gave to him the Gospel, wherein IS guidance and light, and confirming the Torah before it (Ar. wa’musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi minal-tawrati), as a guidance and an admonition unto the godfearing. So let the People of the Gospel judge according to what God has sent down THEREIN. Whosoever judges not according to what God has sent down — they are the ungodly. S. 5:43-47
The obvious question to ask at this point is, why in the world would Muhammad exhort the Jews and Christians to judge by corrupted texts that no longer reflected what the original revelations actually taught? Doesn’t this refute the common Muslim assertion that the previous Scriptures had been corrupted, and that the Jews and Christians therefore no longer had them in their possessions?
In light of this fact, notice how Ibn Kathir, one of the greatest Muslim scholars that ever lived, interpreted this specific text:
“… The Prophet recited…
<<Bring here the Tawrah and recite it, if you are truthful.>> So they brought the Tawrah and read from it until the reader reached the verse about stoning. Then he placed his hand on that verse and read what was before and after it. `Abdullah bin Salam, who was with the Messenger of Allah , said, “Order him to remove his hand,” and he removed his hand and under it was the verse about stoning. So the Messenger of Allah commanded that the adulterers be stoned, and they were stoned. `Abdullah bin `Umar said, “I was among those who stoned them and I saw the man shading the woman from the stones with his body.” Abu Dawud recorded that Ibn `Umar said, “Some Jews came to the Messenger of Allah and invited him to go to the Quff area. So he went to the house of Al-Midras and they said, ‘O Abu Al-Qasim! A man from us committed adultery with a woman, so decide on their matter.’ They arranged a pillow for the Messenger of Allah and he sat on it and said…
<<Bring the Tawrah to me.>> He was brought the Tawrah and he removed the pillow from under him AND PLACED THE TAWRAH ON IT, saying…
<<I TRUST YOU and He Who revealed it to you.>> He then said…
<<Bring me your most knowledgeable person.>> So he was brought a young man… and then he mentioned the rest of the story that Malik narrated from Nafi`. These Hadiths state that the Messenger of Allah issued a decision that conforms with the ruling in the Tawrah, not to honor the Jews in what they believe in, for the Jews were commanded to follow the Law of Muhammad only. Rather, the Prophet did this because Allah commanded him to do so. He asked them about the ruling of stoning in the Tawrah to make them admit to what the Tawrah contains and what they collaborated to hide, deny and exclude from implementing for all that time. They had to admit to what they did, although they did it while having knowledge of the correct ruling… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 5:41 http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=776&Itemid=60; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)
Pay careful attention to Muhammad’s reverential treatment of the copy of the Torah that the Jews had in their possession. Instead of telling the Jews that what they had was a defective, corrupt copy of the original Torah, Muhammad actually praises their very own copy by confessing his complete trust in its textual veracity and authority!
Here is a final passage:
But had the People of the Book believed and been godfearing, We would have acquitted them of their evil deeds, and admitted them to Gardens of Bliss. Had they performed the Torah and the Gospel, and what was sent down to them from their Lord, they would have eaten both what was above them, and what was beneath their feet. Some of them are a just nation; but many of them — evil are the things they do… Say: ‘People of the Book, you do not stand on anything, until you perform the Torah and the Gospel, and what was sent down to you from your Lord.’ And what has been sent down to thee from thy Lord will surely increase many of them in insolence and unbelief; so grieve not for the people of the unbelievers. S. 5:66-68
Muslim biographer Ibn Ishaq provides the supposed historical context behind the “revelation” of the foregoing verses:
Rafi b. Haritha and Sallam b. Mishkam and Malik b. al-Sayf and Rafi b. Huraymila came to him [Muhammad] and said: ‘Do you not allege that you follow the religion of Abraham and believe in the Torah WHICH WE HAVE and testify that it is the truth from God?’ He replied, ‘CERTAINLY, but you have sinned and broken the covenant CONTAINED THEREIN and concealed what you were ordered to make plain to men, and I dissociate myself from your sin.’ They said, ‘We hold by WHAT WE HAVE. We live according to the guidance and the truth and we do not believe in you and we will not follow you.’ So God sent down concerning them: ‘Say, O Scripture folk, you have no standing until you observe the Torah and the Gospel and what has been sent down from your Lord. What has been sent down to thee from they Lord will assuredly increase many of them in error and unbelief. But be not sad because of the unbelieving people.’ (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], p. 268; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Here was Muhammad’s chance to plainly tell the Jews that they had corrupted the text of the Torah. Instead, Muhammad tells them quite clearly that he fully believed the Torah which they possessed.
With that said we are ready to proceed to the second segment of the first part of our rebuttal https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/shabir-ally-proves-muhammad-was-a-terrorist-pt-1b/.
(1) Ironically, in the closing statements of his debate with Dr. Douglas Jacoby, Ally raised the following objection:
“When we came to the NT on the other hand, and the OT more specifically, we saw that the Bible does not actually fit just war criteria because no just war criteria is going to justify your marching into territory and taking over the lands of people. Doug said that this land actually belonged to the Israelites. But who said that the land belonged to the Israelites? The Canaanites were already possessors of the land and possession is nine tenths of the law. But the Israelites came in and said, ‘God told us that the land belongs to us and we must kill you to take the land over, and this is what we’re going to do.’ This obviously is not justified in any moral system anywhere in the world, and this does not fit the just war theory.” (Violence, the Qur’an, and the Bible (Q & A Session – 4 of 4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciQHuTTuAMo&t=2140s)
To answer Ally’s question, even his own prophet Muhammad confirmed that God Almighty himself had given the land of the Canaanites to the Israelites!
And (remember) when Moses said unto his people: O my people! Remember Allah’s favour unto you, how He placed among you prophets, and He made you kings, and gave you that (which) He gave not to any (other) of (His) creatures. O my people! Go into the holy land WHICH ALLAH HATH ORDAINED FOR YOU. Turn not in flight, for surely ye turn back as losers: They said: O Moses! Lo! a giant people (dwell) therein and lo! we go not in till they go forth from thence. When they go forth from thence, then we will enter (not till then). Then out spake two of those who feared (their Lord, men) unto whom Allah had been gracious: Enter in upon them by the gate, for if ye enter by it, lo! ye will be victorious. So put your trust (in Allah) if ye are indeed believers. They said: O Moses! We will never enter (the land) while they are in it. So go thou and thy Lord and fight! We will sit here. He said: My Lord! I have control of none but myself and my brother, so distinguish between us and the wrong-doing folk. (Their Lord) said: For this the land will surely be forbidden them for forty years that they will wander in the earth, bewildered. So grieve not over the wrongdoing folk. S. 5:20-26 Pickthall
And We inspired Musa (Moses), saying: “Take away My slaves by night, verily, you will be pursued.” Then Fir’aun (Pharaoh) sent callers to (all) the cities. (Saying): “Verily! These indeed are but a small band. And verily, they have done what has enraged us; But we are host all assembled, amply fore-warned.” So, We expelled them from gardens and springs, Treasures, and every kind of honourable place. Thus [We turned them (Pharaoh’s people) out] and We caused the Children of Israel to inherit them. S. 26:52-59 Hilali-Khan – cf. Q. 17:4-8
Note how some of the Muslim expositors interpreted Quran 5:20-26:
(O my people! Go into the holy land) the purified Damascus, Palestine and parts of Jordan (which Allah hath ordained for you) which Allah HAS GIFTED TO YOU and made it a bequest of your father Abraham. (Turn not in flight) retreating, (for surely ye turn back as losers) who are punished: Allah will take away from you the quails and honey: (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=5&tAyahNo=21&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)
… Allah states next that Musa encouraged the Children of Israel to perform Jihad and enter Jerusalem, which was under their control during the time of their father Ya`qub. Ya`qub and his children later moved with his children and household to Egypt during the time of Prophet Yusuf. His offspring remained in Egypt until their exodus with Musa. They found a mighty, strong people in Jerusalem who had previously taken it over. Musa, Allah’s Messenger, ordered the Children of Israel to enter Jerusalem and fight their enemy, and he promised them victory and triumph over the mighty people if they did so. They declined, rebelled and defied his order and were punished for forty years by being lost, wandering in the land uncertain of where they should go. This was their punishment for defying Allah’s command. Allah said that Musa ordered them to enter the Holy Land…
(which Allah has assigned to you) meaning, which Allah has promised to you by the words of your father Isra’il, that it is the inheritance of those among you who believe…
(and turn not back) in flight from Jihad.)…
(“…for then you will be returned as losers.” They said, “O Musa! In it are a people of great strength, and we shall never enter it, till they leave it; when they leave, then we will enter.”) Their excuse was this, in this very town you commanded us to enter and fight its people, there is a mighty, strong, vicious people who have tremendous physique and physical ability. We are unable to stand against these people or fight them. Therefore, they said, we are incapable of entering this city as long as they are still in it, but if they leave it, we will enter it. Otherwise, we cannot stand against them. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=795&Itemid=60; bold and underline emphasis ours)
This means that, per Ally’s argument, Muhammad must have been a very immoral individual for believing that Israel’s conquest of the Canaanites in order to take over their land was thoroughly just since this expedition had been ordained by God!
It is these kinds of arguments which cause me to say that Ally is one of the most deceptive and dishonest Muhammadan polemicists out there, since he has shown that he is willing to lie and/or distort what his own religious sources teach in order to score cheap debate points and mislead his audience into embracing his false prophet.