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sharvy
04-18-2006, 08:13 AM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
:sl:
Thus we find that, in the history of Islam, no knowledgeable Muslim has ever left Islam. The only cases we find of former Muslims are people who were never practicing Muslims in the first place, nor did they ever have a good understanding of Islam.
:w:
As-salaam Alaikuum

Ansar, your claim "no knowledgeable Muslim has ever left Islam" just isn't true. At a university where I formerly taught, a colleague and friend of mine was a graduate of Al Azhar in Cairo. He grew up a devout, practicing Muslim, determined to devote his life to Allah, but gradually became disillusioned with all organized religion. Yet he does not hate Islam or any other religion. He recognizes the deep virtues of faith and community, but personally could not continue to believe in the supernatural. He does not proselytize his apostasy or have any wish to undermine the faith of others. When he goes home to Cairo he participates in family religious celebrations (but not in the US), because he loves his family and these family traditions. No one in Cairo, including his family knows he is murtad fitri. My friend has absolutely no reason to lie about this matter, and I know from many public situations in the US that he in fact is a scientific materialist.

But, Ansar, even though I think your claim is not literally correct, I do not see this issue as very important from the point of view of faith. So what if a few people knowledgeably reject Islam without malice or posing a threat because they find other communities and ways of life they prefer? If they will burn in hell, that is between them and Allah. There will always be sinners, right?

Respectfully,

Sharvy
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i_m_tipu
04-18-2006, 09:54 AM
Originally Posted by sharvy
As-salaam Alaikuum

Ansar, your claim "no knowledgeable Muslim has ever left Islam" just isn't true. At a university where I formerly taught, a colleague and friend of mine was a graduate of Al Azhar in Cairo.........
not sure what u understand by knowledgeable Muslim
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
04-18-2006, 01:05 PM
Hi Sharvy,
Thanks for your post. Your example isn't very different from HeiGou's. You're speaking about someone who just grew up as a Muslim, I'm talking about a knowledgeable Muslim who has studied the sciences of Qur'an (Ulûm Al-Qur'ân), the principles of Islamic jurisprudence (Usûl Al-Fiqh) and other Islamic sciences. Can you bring me an example of a Muslim who was well educated about his/her religion? And from what you say of your friend, he did not leave Islam because of any flaw he saw in the religion but because he personally found he could no longer believe in the supernatural.

As for the punishment, I have explained the conditions and the circumstances in which the punishment would be applied. The Islamic government has no interest in punishing someone like your friend who keeps his views to himself and does not incite any civil unrest or rebellion.

Regards
Reply

sharvy
04-18-2006, 01:36 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hi Sharvy,
Thanks for your post. Your example isn't very different from HeiGou's. You're speaking about someone who just grew up as a Muslim, I'm talking about a knowledgeable Muslim who has studied the sciences of Qur'an (Ulûm Al-Qur'ân), the principles of Islamic jurisprudence (Usûl Al-Fiqh) and other Islamic sciences. Can you bring me an example of a Muslim who was well educated about his/her religion? And from what you say of your friend, he did not leave Islam because of any flaw he saw in the religion but because he personally found he could no longer believe in the supernatural.

Regards
But Ansar, he has a theology degree from Al-Azhar:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Azhar

Al-Azhar University (al-Azhar al-Shareef, "the Noble Azhar"), is a premier Egyptian institution of higher learning, world-renowned for its position as a center of Islamic scholarship and education. It is connected to Al-Azhar mosque in Old Cairo, named to honor Fatima Az-Zahraa the daughter of the prophet Muhammad, from whom the Fatimid Dynasty claimed descent. The mosque was built in two years from 969 CE, the year in which its foundation was laid. The school of theology (madrassa) connected with it was founded in 988 CE as an Ismaili Shia school, but it later became a Sunni school, an orientation it retains to this day. It is one of the oldest operating universities in the world.

Al-Azhar is considered by most Sunni Muslims to be the most prestigious school of Islamic learning, and its scholars are seen as some of the most reputable scholars in the Muslim world. Among its stated objectives is the propagation of Islamic culture and the Arabic language (the language of the Qur'an.) To that end, it maintains a committee of ulemas (Islamic scholars) to judge on individual Islamic questions, a printing establishment for printing the Qur'an, and trains preachers in spreading da'wa.

Respectfully,

Sharvy
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Ansar Al-'Adl
04-18-2006, 03:29 PM
Hi Sharvy,
I know about Al-Azhar university, but can you see the fallacy in posting the qualifications of the university instead of the qualifications of the person who graduated from the university? There are many people who go to a university to study, but that doesn't make the as prestigious as the university itself. My point stands, especially concerning his reasons for leaving religion in general.

Regards
Reply

sharvy
04-18-2006, 04:26 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hi Sharvy,
I know about Al-Azhar university, but can you see the fallacy in posting the qualifications of the university instead of the qualifications of the person who graduated from the university? There are many people who go to a university to study, but that doesn't make the as prestigious as the university itself. My point stands, especially concerning his reasons for leaving religion in general.

Regards
Ansar, my colleague was an Islamic scholar; he originally came to the US to teach Islamic studies (and taught for several years), and later became a philosophy professor.

Respectfully,

Sharvy
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
04-18-2006, 07:11 PM
Hi Sharvy,
Originally Posted by sharvy
Ansar, my colleague was an Islamic scholar; he originally came to the US to teach Islamic studies (and taught for several years), and later became a philosophy professor.
He's gone from being a 'devout Muslim', graduate of Al-Azhar, to an 'Islamic scholar'. I'm not sure what your understanding of Islamic scholarship is, but now I'd really like to hear more about your friends qualifications, what braches of Shari'a he has studied and under which Ulama, what ijazahs he posses (if any), when he left Islam, and where I can find more information on him since his case is unprecedented in history.

Regards
Reply

sharvy
04-18-2006, 07:47 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hi Sharvy,

He's gone from being a 'devout Muslim', graduate of Al-Azhar, to an 'Islamic scholar'. I'm not sure what your understanding of Islamic scholarship is, but now I'd really like to hear more about your friends qualifications, what braches of Shari'a he has studied and under which Ulama, what ijazahs he posses (if any), when he left Islam, and where I can find more information on him since his case is unprecedented in history.

Regards
As-salaam Alaikuum

Ansar, I really don't know which Ulama or what ijazahs. I haven't spoken to him for several years now, but I will be happy to contact him and ask - if it will truly make a difference to you. As for giving out his name and professional information, do you really think I should, given that he doesn't want to make an issue of his apostasy and doesn't want to cause problems with his family? Again, if you really think it will make a genuine contribution to this discussion, I will ask - maybe his situation has changed and he wants to publicly discuss the matter.

But I guess one thing has become clear. When you speak of a "knowlegeable" Muslim, you mean someone that in effect has something like a PhD in Islamic studies - you don't mean an intelligent, devout mature Muslim that has opened up his heart and spent years thinking about and studying the Qur'an, as well as listening to the words of Islamic sages. In other words, only a tiny percentage of Muslims are "knowlegeable" in your sense of the term.

Respectfully,

Sharvy
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
04-18-2006, 08:03 PM
Originally Posted by sharvy
Ansar, I really don't know which Ulama or what ijazahs. I haven't spoken to him for several years now
Although you feel comfortable endorsing him as an 'Islamic scholar'.
As for giving out his name and professional information, do you really think I should, given that he doesn't want to make an issue of his apostasy and doesn't want to cause problems with his family?
If he is really an Islamic scholar then he should be known and recognized at some level. There are many people on the internet who claim all sorts of fabulous claims about themselves yet no one has ever heard of such people and they have no way of verifying these claims. If you want to use your friend as evidence that knowledgeable Muslims have abandoned Islam, then you should be prepared to disclose all relevant information. If either you or he does not feel comfortable in doing such, then he should not be advanced as evidence that knowledgeable Muslims leave Islam.

When you speak of a "knowlegeable" Muslim, you mean someone that in effect has something like a PhD in Islamic studies
Not necessarily a PhD, because these days people can get Phd's in all sorts of fields that don't really mean anything. What I mean is that the individual has studied Islam in a stable environment under other scholars to the extent that they are reasonably familiar with all branches of Shari'ah. I could ask you for any Islamic scholar who has left Islam, and there are millions of Islamic scholars in the world today, but I'm making it even easier. I am asking for any knowledgeable Muslim who has left Islam in the entire history of Islam. We have had numerous priests and rabbis, very knowledgeable about their religion leaving the religion, but we don't have the same when it comes to Islam.
you don't mean an intelligent, devout mature Muslim that has opened up his heart and spent years thinking about and studying the Qur'an, as well as listening to the words of Islamic sages.
According to you, your friend has rejected religion in general; he does not see any particular flaw in Islam. And I'm talking about someone who has, at one point in their life, firmly believed in the religion and then left. Your friend seems to be someone who has been wavering in doubt before giving up the idea of organized religion.
In other words, only a tiny percentage of Muslims are "knowlegeable" in your sense of the term.
I am referring to millions and millions of Muslims around the world, when I say 'knowledgeable'.

Regards
Reply

sharvy
04-19-2006, 07:30 AM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Although you feel comfortable endorsing him as an 'Islamic scholar'. ... I'm talking about someone who has, at one point in their life, firmly believed in the religion and then left. Your friend seems to be someone who has been wavering in doubt before giving up the idea of organized religion.
Of course, I feel comfortable endorsing him as an Islamic scholar. I personally know the man: he graduated with a religious studies degree from Egypt's top theological school, and I know for a fact on the basis of that degree he went on to teach Islamic studies at a reputable American university. He told me he had no doubts and was a firm, devout believer (i.e., no wavering doubts) upon his arrival in the US, but abandoned his belief living and studying in the US. Moreover, I know he is a kind, generous, intelligent sincere person. Why shouldn't I be comfortable characterizing him as an "Islamic scholar"?

If he is really an Islamic scholar then he should be known and recognized at some level. There are many people on the internet who claim all sorts of fabulous claims about themselves yet no one has ever heard of such people and they have no way of verifying these claims. If you want to use your friend as evidence that knowledgeable Muslims have abandoned Islam, then you should be prepared to disclose all relevant information. If either you or he does not feel comfortable in doing such, then he should not be advanced as evidence that knowledgeable Muslims leave Islam.
Ansar, I am saddened by the accusatory tone of this dialogue. I, myself have been a religious seeker for much of my life. I've spent time in Zen and Christian monasteries, as well as Hindu ashrams. Unfortunately I do not have any similar experience with Islamic sanctuaries. Reading your claim about knowledgeable Muslims never abandoning the faith made me reflect on my experience with these other religions and holy people. I realized it is true that many sincere, devout, learned people of faith have converted to other religions. On Mt Athos, I met a former Jewish rabbi living as Greek Othodox monk - a hermit, living a quiet life of solitude and meditation. I don't think any knowledgeable person from these other religions would doubt your claim that knowlegeable people of deep faith have either converted to other religions or later on lost their faith. But that realization brought me to the real point of the original post on this matter: the acknowledged existence of such apostates has never weakened the strength of the religion in general, or challenged the faith of true believers. In general their view is that such faith is a deeply personal matter between the individual and God. And I daresay Ansar, no amount of "proof" concerning this apostate is going to challenge your own deep faith in Allah - and nor should it! That was the real point I am trying to make - though the existence of this apostate is a fact.

If I do produce a copy of his degree and post the information, what then: character assasination, public hatred, embarassment for his family, or even worse? **Can you assure me that even if everything I claim is absolutely true, other Muslims will not unfairly harass him (or worse)?** (Perhaps that is the real reason there are so few "knowlegeable Muslims" that come forward with their apostasy.) Note that in this day and age such apostasy from other religions rarely produce such dire consequences. If you checked and verified the information, the degrees and names of his teachers and found them to be accurate - what then? What would it really prove?

As-salaam Alaikuum

Sharvy
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
04-19-2006, 06:57 PM
Hi Sharvy,
Originally Posted by sharvy
Of course, I feel comfortable endorsing him as an Islamic scholar. I personally know the man: he graduated with a religious studies degree from Egypt's top theological school, and I know for a fact on the basis of that degree he went on to teach Islamic studies at a reputable American university.
But since you are not familiar with Islamic scholarship yourself, how would you know what qualifies someone as an Islamic scholar and what doesn't? Because of his degree? On its own, it doesn't say very much. Because he teaches Islamic studies? There are numerous non-muslims in many western univerisities who teach Islamic studies having never been a Muslim.
He told me he had no doubts and was a firm, devout believer (i.e., no wavering doubts) upon his arrival in the US, but abandoned his belief living and studying in the US.
Now this is more interesting. So he changed his way of life after moving to another society? You mentioned that he gradually became disillusioned with all organized religion. This 'gradual' change only began after he moved to the US? Before that his faith was perfect and he was perfectly satisfied with 'organized religion'?

Ansar, I am saddened by the accusatory tone of this dialogue.
I'm not sure what accusations you feel were implied in my post, but at any rate, I apologise if my post offended you.
But that realization brought me to the real point of the original post on this matter: the acknowledged existence of such apostates has never weakened the strength of the religion in general, or challenged the faith of true believers. In general their view is that such faith is a deeply personal matter between the individual and God. And I daresay Ansar, no amount of "proof" concerning this apostate is going to challenge your own deep faith in Allah - and nor should it! That was the real point I am trying to make - though the existence of this apostate is a fact.
It is true that one's personal commitment to God is independant of another person's lack of commitment in their religion. But my original point remains the same. There simply have never been educated and devout Muslims who have later rejected the religion, though they have had the opportunity and often pressure to do so, especially in Non-Muslim countries. As Dr. Laurence Brown MD writes
The question pops into the average Western mind, “Why do some scholars of Christianity and Judaism embrace orthodox (Sunni) Islam?” There is no pressure upon them to do so, and a world of fleshy reasons not to -- things like losing their congregation, position, status, friends, family, job, retirement pension, etc. And why don’t Islamic scholars turn to something else? Other religions are much more permissive of worldly desires, and there is no enforcement of a law against apostatizing from Islam in Western lands.

So why have many Jewish and Christian scholars embraced Islam, while educated Muslims remain firm in their faith? Muslims suggest that the answer returns once again to the definition of Islam. The person who submits to God and not to a particular ecclesiastical belief will recognize a divine sense to revelation. The Muslim presents a continuum between Judaism, Christianity and Islam which, once recognized, sweeps the
sincere seeker down the smooth flow of revelation. The claim is that once a person sees past Western prejudices and propaganda, doors of understanding open. (Brown, The First and Final Commandment, p.33)
Dr. Brown was an atheist who converted to Christianity and finally to Islam.

If I do produce a copy of his degree and post the information, what then: character assasination, public hatred, embarassment for his family, or even worse?
You don't need to produce a copy of his degree for me or reveal his identity. I'm just trying to understand his story, which I'm hoping you can clarify. When did he leave Islam, after having learnt how much about Islam, etc. There are some Muslims who move to the west and give up practicing their religion and lose their faith. But none of them were educated devout Muslims who rejected Islam because they actually believed the religion was inadeuate or flawed. It is only the social or political environment which has ever caused uneducated non-practicing Muslims to drift from their religion.

Even in the case of your friend, you mentioned that he did not reject Islam or see any flaw in it, but simply grew disillusioned with all organized religion gradually.

(Perhaps that is the real reason there are so few "knowlegeable Muslims" that come forward with their apostasy.)
First, as Dr. Brown mentioned, there is no law against apostasy in the western countries. Second, the Muslim community doesn't care about someone who is not harming them or propagating a negative image of Islam. Christian priests who convert to Islam only praise Islam in their speeches but they usually don't go around throwing mud at Christianity. If an educated and devout Muslim became a Christian or Atheist, especially in a western country, and didn't bother himself with attacking Islam, he would not be bothered by the Muslim community. But if he publicly began attacking Islam and propagating a negative image of Islam in the media, that is when he might expect a negative reaction. So this really isn't an excuse because a knowledgeable Muslim could easily have the opportunity to leave Islam without any negative consequences, yet such an occurance has never happened.
Note that in this day and age such apostasy from other religions rarely produce such dire consequences.
I disagree. I have read the stories of numerous christian converts to Islam who speak of being thrown out by their families, continually harassed by their former community, slandered and once part of the Muslim community they become an outcast in society - getting strange looks and nasty remarks for their hijab or kufi. You can read a few convert stories here. These people continue to convert to Islam inspite of the difficulties that they face.

Regards
Reply

sharvy
04-21-2006, 04:16 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hi Sharvy,

But since you are not familiar with Islamic scholarship yourself, how would you know what qualifies someone as an Islamic scholar and what doesn't? Because of his degree? On its own, it doesn't say very much. Because he teaches Islamic studies? There are numerous non-muslims in many western univerisities who teach Islamic studies having never been a Muslim.

Regards
Ansar, I finally managed to contact my old friend. It was great talking to him again and I can thank this forum for prompting me to reestablish contact. Unfortunately it was only a short conversation for now, as we were both pressed for time. In general, he has no interest in either attacking Islam or having a personal discussion on the matter, and he certainly has no wish to go public in any identifiable way. He doesn't see how he can even engage in such a discussion in a forum like this without thereby publicizing his case and likely be interpreted as attacking Islam. That said, he does permit me to pass on the information that he does hold several ijazahs. The only one I understood was Hadith - he promised to email me the details - but wants me to keep the discussion very general. I am going on a two-week holiday with my family, but will continue the discussion when I return.

Peace,

Sharvy
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
04-21-2006, 09:00 PM
Hi Sharvy,
Thanks for your post.
Originally Posted by sharvy
That said, he does permit me to pass on the information that he does hold several ijazahs. The only one I understood was Hadith - he promised to email me the details - but wants me to keep the discussion very general. I am going on a two-week holiday with my family, but will continue the discussion when I return.
No problem. I look forward to your response to my arguments.

Regards
Reply

sharvy
05-13-2006, 03:13 PM
:sl:
Dear Ansar,

I've finally managed the time to get back to you. At Al-Azhar, my former colleague has ijazah in hadith from Muhammad At-Thayib An-Naggar, in usul al-fiqh from Badawi Abdul Latif 'Awadh.

Respectfully,

Sharvy
:w:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-13-2006, 08:30 PM
Hi Sharvy,
Thanks for your response.

I stand by what I said in my previous response to you:
http://www.islamicboard.com/265787-post60.html

Regards
Reply

sharvy
05-14-2006, 12:48 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hi Sharvy,
Thanks for your response.

I stand by what I said in my previous response to you:
http://www.islamicboard.com/265787-post60.html

Regards
:sl:
Dear Ansar,

Unfortunately I cannot comply with your request to privately contact my colleague: he made it very clear that he wants no personal part in this issue, because it is sensitive and he certainly does not wish to release any private contact info. Even with the best of intentions on your part, he worries that the information could find its way into less descrete hands.

I will remind you of your assurance:
You don't need to produce a copy of his degree for me or reveal his identity. I'm just trying to understand his story, which I'm hoping you can clarify. When did he leave Islam, after having learnt how much about Islam, etc. There are some Muslims who move to the west and give up practicing their religion and lose their faith. But none of them were educated devout Muslims who rejected Islam because they actually believed the religion was inadeuate or flawed. It is only the social or political environment which has ever caused uneducated non-practicing Muslims to drift from their religion.
As per your request, on those grounds, I contacted my colleague and responded in kind. Naturally you have every right to doubt the veracity of my and my colleague's claims. Frankly, I expect you to do so. Nevertheless, I stand by the truth of what I've written.

But you never answered the key question which i have asked at least twice: what difference does it ultimately make if you are wrong and his claim is true? Would the existence of such an educated, knowledgeable apostate fundamentally contradict the truth of the Koran? If true, would and should the claim be taken as a serious challenge to the faith of any devout Muslim? I don't think so - do you?

Regards,
Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-14-2006, 01:48 PM
Originally Posted by sharvy
Nevertheless, I stand by the truth of what I've written.
And what you said was that he gradually became disillusioned with organized religion, not that he found a flaw in Islam. If he has found a flaw in Islam please ask him to mention it and we can discuss it. I stand by my assertion that there has never been a properly educated devout Muslim who believed in the religion and then left it, because they felt there was a flaw in it. There are orientalists who never were Muslim who have different religious degrees, it doesn't prove anything.
But you never answered the key question which i have asked at least twice: what difference does it ultimately make if you are wrong and his claim is true?
But you have not even clarified what his 'claim' is! I'm interested to know when and why he left the religion, so far I haven't been getting a response. Why is that?
Would the existence of such an educated, knowledgeable apostate fundamentally contradict the truth of the Koran?
One of the signs of true eeman (faith) is that when it enters the heart it does not leave it. In the entire history of Islam, there has never been a single person who has had true faith and been well-educated about the religion but then left it. You haven't provided any information to the contrary. I'm not asking for personal details from your friend, I'm just asking for the basic details that are relevant to your claim. And there are numerous ways to discuss the issues while remaining anonymous. He can use an alternate e-mail address, for example.

Peace
Reply

sharvy
05-14-2006, 04:52 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
And what you said was that he gradually became disillusioned with organized religion, not that he found a flaw in Islam. If he has found a flaw in Islam please ask him to mention it and we can discuss it. I stand by my assertion that there has never been a properly educated devout Muslim who believed in the religion and then left it, because they felt there was a flaw in it. There are orientalists who never were Muslim who have different religious degrees, it doesn't prove anything.

But you have not even clarified what his 'claim' is! I'm interested to know when and why he left the religion, so far I haven't been getting a response. Why is that?

One of the signs of true eeman (faith) is that when it enters the heart it does not leave it. In the entire history of Islam, there has never been a single person who has had true faith and been well-educated about the religion but then left it. You haven't provided any information to the contrary. I'm not asking for personal details from your friend, I'm just asking for the basic details that are relevant to your claim. And there are numerous ways to discuss the issues while remaining anonymous. He can use an alternate e-mail address, for example.

Peace
:sl:
Dear Ansar,

As I told you in the very first post:

[He] gradually became disillusioned with all organized religion ... [and] personally could not continue to believe in the supernatural. He does not proselytize his apostasy...
And in a subsequent post I mentioned:

He told me he had no doubts and was a firm, devout believer (i.e., no wavering doubts) upon his arrival in the US, but abandoned his belief living and studying in the US.
Ansar, he became and atheist. He regards himself as an apostate. He does not believe that Mohammed (pbuh) really is the prophet of Allah. If that isn't "finding a flaw" in Islam, then what is? (He also believes, by the way, that, in general, time spent studying natural philosophy and science is time better spent than studying the Koran.)

Also note that you have now modified your orignal claim about Islam from:

"no knowledgeable Muslim has ever left Islam" to "there has never been a single person who has had *true faith* and been *well-educated* about the religion but then left it." And now you qualify that not only does the proposed apostate has to have been well-educated, knowedgeable, and of true faith, but also he has to "find flaw" in Islam. Where does that requirement fit in? My friend is certainly "well-educated" and "knowlegeable" about Islam. And, though he was born and raised in the faith, has certainly "left" Islam. Are there now additional "true faith" and "find flaw" requirements? As I repeatedly mentioned, he was a devout Muslim. Why else would someone spend years studying and obtaining izjazahs?

Peace,

Reed

:sl:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-14-2006, 06:11 PM
Originally Posted by sharvy
Ansar, he became and atheist. He regards himself as an apostate. He does not believe that Mohammed (pbuh) really is the prophet of Allah. If that isn't "finding a flaw" in Islam, then what is?
A flaw is a mistake, an error. According to you he didn't find that, he just became disillusioned with religion and personally could not continue to believe in the supernatural. I'm really interested to know more about his case but you're not providing any information other than essentially saying "I know someone who contradicts your claim". I maintain the same claim all along - everyone who has left Islam has done so due to sociopolitical factors or because they had an improper understanding of the religion. Your friend fits perfectly into the first category since you mentioned that he abandoned his religion after coming to the US - there are many weak Muslims who lose their religion once they become immersed in western society. Your friend didn't become any more intelligent after arriving in the US then he was before. As for spending years obtaining ijazahs, orientalists spend years studying Islam, but they don't believe in it. The more I think about it, the more absurd the claim is - no practicing sincere Muslim suddenly wakes up and says, "I can't believe in the supernatural" after they move to another society. That is indicative that they have had problems and struggles with their faith from the beginning. Unless he can bring some stunning proof that caused him to say, "This is it. This shows Islam can't be the truth." it just doesn't happen. If he has found something like that, then by all means please bring it forward and I'll be happy to discuss it. You really have not provided me with any information and that is why I was hoping to contact your friend himself, and there are a number of ways of doing that while maintaining anonymity.

Peace.
Reply

sharvy
05-15-2006, 07:01 AM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
A flaw is a mistake, an error. According to you he didn't find that, he just became disillusioned with religion and personally could not continue to believe in the supernatural.
:sl:

Dear Ansar,

It is my understanding that in the Koran, the Prophet (pbuh) claims that souls continue to exist after physical death and may be either punished or rewarded in the afterlife for their past deeds and actions. If any man knowingly reads these claims of the Prophet (pbuh) and declares them false, claiming there is no human soul that persists after physical death of the body, claiming that no reward or punishment will be given to person after physical death - is that not the same as finding a mistake or error in the Koran?

Respectfully,
Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-15-2006, 03:39 PM
Originally Posted by sharvy
It is my understanding that in the Koran, the Prophet (pbuh) claims that souls continue to exist after physical death and may be either punished or rewarded in the afterlife for their past deeds and actions. If any man knowingly reads these claims of the Prophet (pbuh) and declares them false, claiming there is no human soul that persists after physical death of the body, claiming that no reward or punishment will be given to person after physical death - is that not the same as finding a mistake or error in the Koran?
Not at all - he simply doesn't believe in afterlife, not that he found an error or mistake in the Qur'an.
Reply

sharvy
05-15-2006, 04:13 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Not at all - he simply doesn't believe in afterlife, not that he found an error or mistake in the Qur'an.
:sl:

Dear Ansar

So claiming that the Qur'an is mistaken is not the same as finding a mistake in the Qur'an. (My colleague certainly holds that many claims in the Qur'an are false and mistaken.) Sorry, that is confusing. Can you give me a clear example of what it is to genuinely find a mistake? For example my colleague does believe in Darwin's theory of evolution and denies the Genesis account - and he doesn't believe that there was a being such as Allah that created the universe.

But even if technically he doesn't find fault with the Qur'an, isn't it true to say that, as the case is described, he did leave Islam? After all, he has ceased all religious practice and intends never to be a practicing Muslim again.

Respectfully,

Sharvy,

:sl:
Reply

sharvy
05-19-2006, 10:56 AM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
A flaw is a mistake, an error. According to you he didn't find that, he just became disillusioned with religion and personally could not continue to believe in the supernatural. I'm really interested to know more about his case but you're not providing any information other than essentially saying "I know someone who contradicts your claim". I maintain the same claim all along - everyone who has left Islam has done so due to sociopolitical factors or because they had an improper understanding of the religion. Your friend fits perfectly into the first category since you mentioned that he abandoned his religion after coming to the US - there are many weak Muslims who lose their religion once they become immersed in western society. Your friend didn't become any more intelligent after arriving in the US then he was before. As for spending years obtaining ijazahs, orientalists spend years studying Islam, but they don't believe in it. The more I think about it, the more absurd the claim is - no practicing sincere Muslim suddenly wakes up and says, "I can't believe in the supernatural" after they move to another society. That is indicative that they have had problems and struggles with their faith from the beginning. Unless he can bring some stunning proof that caused him to say, "This is it. This shows Islam can't be the truth." it just doesn't happen. If he has found something like that, then by all means please bring it forward and I'll be happy to discuss it. You really have not provided me with any information and that is why I was hoping to contact your friend himself, and there are a number of ways of doing that while maintaining anonymity.

Peace.
:sl:

Dear Ansar,

I know many cases of religious people leaving their religion and becoming atheists. (I also personally know cases of former atheists becoming religious.) But you're right: (In general) no such person "suddenly wakes up and says" atheism is wrong or a particular religion is wrong. It is almost always a process - most often taking at least a year, and often more. However, there are many cases of practicing, sincere religious people who in the beginning, and as an adult, for many years have no doubts and no significant spiritual struggle - and my friend was one of them. In his case the conversion took several years. But once one finally reaches the conclusion that in all likelihood God does not exist, the strict logical implication is that in all likelihood Islam cannot be the truth. And that realization caused him to leave Islam. I still do not see why that does not count as "finding a flaw" in Islam. Again, can you please provide a clear example of what finding a flaw would be. For example, what would be a specific analogous case of a Christian convert to Islam finding a flaw in Christianity?

Peace,
Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Ayesha Rana
05-19-2006, 11:02 AM
Originally Posted by sharvy
:sl:
For example, what would be a specific analogous case of a Christian convert to Islam finding a flaw in Christianity?

Peace,
Sharvy
:sl:
Someone might realize that the All-powerfull God would not have offspring. He is The One The Only.
Reply

IceQueen~
05-19-2006, 11:08 AM
Originally Posted by Ayesha Rana
Someone might realize that the All-powerfull God would not have offspring. He is The One The Only.
exactly-if you give God partners (astaghfirullah) then u are dividing His power-so how can He be seen as all-powerful then? it's against the very nature of God.
Reply

Ayesha Rana
05-19-2006, 11:09 AM
Yup yup and erm God's don't get sent to hell.
Reply

...
05-19-2006, 11:14 AM
Originally Posted by Ayesha Rana
Yup yup and erm God's don't get sent to hell.
lolz:giggling:
Reply

sharvy
05-19-2006, 11:58 AM
Originally Posted by Ayesha Rana
Someone might realize that the All-powerfull God would not have offspring. He is The One The Only.
:sl:
Fine. So if someone believes or claims that Mohammed (pbuh) is not a true prophet of Allah, though he or she is mistaken, they are nevertheless *claiming* to find a flaw in Islam - right? If a Muslim becomes an atheist and leaves Islam because they *think* that many or most of the claims in the Qur'an are untrue or mistaken, then, misguidely or not, they are leaving Islam because because they *believe* or personally find it is flawed - right?

Respectfullly,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

sharvy
05-19-2006, 02:22 PM
:sl:
Dear Ayesha,

Originally Posted by sharvy
:
And what you said was that he gradually became disillusioned with organized religion [becoming an atheist], not that he found a flaw in Islam. If he has found a flaw in Islam please ask him to mention it and we can discuss it. I stand by my assertion that there has never been a properly educated devout Muslim who believed in the religion and then left it, because they felt there was a flaw in it.
Ansar
Your example of a Christian who converts to Islam because they find a flaw in Christianity:
Someone might realize that the All-powerfull God would not have offspring. He is The One The Only.
According Ansar's reasoning: you can't say the Christian in this case converted because he found a flaw in Christianity, you can only say that he became a Muslim because he came to believe that God cannot be divided and He can't have offspring - a fundamental tenant of Islam. So this is simply a case of someone coming to agree with Islam and not a case of someone rejecting Christianity because they feel it is flawed or mistaken.

At least that seems to be the logic in Ansar's response to me. Please show me why I am confused.

Respectfully,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-19-2006, 09:38 PM
Hi Sharvy,
Sorry for the delayed response.
Originally Posted by sharvy
So claiming that the Qur'an is mistaken is not the same as finding a mistake in the Qur'an.
No; one can simply choose not to believe in God, but that doesn't mean they have found a mistake in the concept of God. They just don't accept it. If I tell you that last week I had a headache, you can choose to accept the claim or not, but not accepting it does not mean that you have found a mistake in my claim.
Can you give me a clear example of what it is to genuinely find a mistake?
There are a rumber of errors that could count. For example, logical contradictions in the doctrine of the religion. For example (it's a poor example, but I'm in a hurry), if the religion says that salvation requires one to sincerely and fully be convinced that they will not recieve salvation - a logical contradiction. There are many types of contradictions and errors, mathematical, scientific, historical, practical and so on.
For example my colleague does believe in Darwin's theory of evolution and denies the Genesis account
Genesis is from the Bible not the Qur'an.
and he doesn't believe that there was a being such as Allah that created the universe.
You've already mentioned that. What I am trying to find out from you, and so far have been very unsuccessful in doing so, is WHY. What are his reasons for thinking that God can NOT possibly exist. Because if he was initially a believer and had faith in God, it would mean that for him to leave intellectually he must have found a reason that proves that God can NOT exist. What is that reason? I am familiar with the common atheist objections - problem of evil, omnipotence, predestination, etc. And I can respond to all of them, but I first need to know what your friends objections are.
But even if technically he doesn't find fault with the Qur'an, isn't it true to say that, as the case is described, he did leave Islam?
Yes he has left Islam from what you describe. I'm not concerned with that. I've been repeatedly asking WHY, but I'm not getting a response.
However, there are many cases of practicing, sincere religious people who in the beginning, and as an adult, for many years have no doubts and no significant spiritual struggle - and my friend was one of them. In his case the conversion took several years.
You're telling me that he had no spiritual struggles or problems with his faith and then he moved to a western society and gradually lost his religious commitment and now no longer believes in Islam. If that's the case then I would like to know his reasons, since obviously he must have a good reason why he feels that God cannot exist.
Again, can you please provide a clear example of what finding a flaw would be. For example, what would be a specific analogous case of a Christian convert to Islam finding a flaw in Christianity?
One example would be the trinity, because they found it to be logically incoherent. Now many Christians would contest that point, and I can discuss it in a seperate thread, but for the purpose of this thread I am mentioning it as an example. If your friend has a similar example of a doctrine he thinks is self-contradictory in Islam, I would be happy to discuss it in another thread.
According Ansar's reasoning: you can't say the Christian in this case converted because he found a flaw in Christianity, you can only say that he became a Muslim because he came to believe that God cannot be divided and He can't have offspring - a fundamental tenant of Islam.
Not quite - the idea here is that the view that a God can have offspring is illogical and self-contradictory, hence a mistake/flaw/error. Again, if your friend has a similar example of a doctrine he thinks is self-contradictory in Islam, I would be happy to discuss it in another thread.
Fine. So if someone believes or claims that Mohammed (pbuh) is not a true prophet of Allah, though he or she is mistaken, they are nevertheless *claiming* to find a flaw in Islam - right?
If someone found something in the life of the Prophet which does not fit with the belief that he is a prophet that would be an example. There are a number of such allegations which we have examined and refuted in other threads.

Regards
Reply

sharvy
05-20-2006, 10:22 AM
:sl:
Dear Ansar,

What I am trying to find out from you, and so far have been very unsuccessful in doing so, is WHY. What are his reasons for thinking that God can NOT possibly exist. Because if he was initially a believer and had faith in God, it would mean that for him to leave intellectually he must have found a reason that proves that God can NOT exist. What is that reason? I am familiar with the common atheist objections - problem of evil, omnipotence, predestination, etc. And I can respond to all of them, but I first need to know what your friends objections are. ... Yes he has left Islam from what you describe. I'm not concerned with that. I've been repeatedly asking WHY, but I'm not getting a response.
I am a former philosophy professor myself - philosophy of religion is one of my specialties - so I can speak with some knowledge on this matter. There are indeed a few atheists who believe that the concept of God is contradictory or are confused and believe that "God can NOT possibly exist". But the majority of atheists believe that, while it is logically possible that God exists, it is highly unlikely - so unlikely that it is reasonable to strongly bet against His existence. For example, I am an "atheist" with regard to the existence of leprechauns (though I may be wrong), but an "agnostic" with regard to the existence of Siberian tigers - I just do not know one way or the other whether they actually exist. In general empirical knowledge does not require absolute certainty: I just spoke to my brother in Chicago and claim to "know" he is now in Illinois. But it is POSSIBLE that I am the victim of an elaborate deception - and if I am such a victim, then my claim to "know" my brother is in Chicago is mistaken - but nonetheless completely rational and justified given my evidence and information. So justifiably claiming to "know" does not imply absolute certainty. Similarly, justifiably claiming to "know" that God doesn't exist does not imply absolute certainty - and my colleague - let's call him Salim - would not claim such certainty.

You ask "why" Salim became an atheist. I know his mind well on this matter, both from his writings, but also his lectures and personal discussions. He would say it was because he developed a much deeper understanding of science, evidence, and explanation than he had living in Egypt. For example, at the time he moved to the US, he was convinced that Darwin's theory of evolution was flawed and not good science. But after studying the issue in great detail, he became convinced that it was good science - and strongly supported by the evidence. Four hundred years ago, scholars had no natural explanation or mechanism to explain the existence of biological complexity - and without such a plausible natural mechanism, it was reasonable to posit the existence of God or a Designer to account for such fine-tuned, coordinated complexity and function as found in the human eye. But Salim became convinced that as the evidence piled in over the past 150 years, it is not reasonable to suppose that the human eye was deliberately designed by some supernatural deity. But once one gives up the claim that eyes and human beings were deliberately and intentionally designed, and adopt the belief that this incredible complexity likely evolved from simple one-celled organisms over the course of several hundred million years, by entirely natural processes, (in Salim's mind) it is only a short step to general atheism. After all, the universe itself is ultimately a giant complex thing. Scientists already can explain how entirely natural processes evolved atomically complex elements such as gold, from the original simple hydrogen molecules, which was the first matter to exist after the Big Bang. Salim sees a clear pattern in the history of human knowledge: in the past, things and phenomena that humans couldn't explain by a natural means were assigned a supernatural explanation: lightening, disease, famine, even the rising and setting of the sun. So there is a clear pattern in the history of theism and the supernatural of retreat: ok, you've convinced me that Johann's disease was smallpox and caused by a germ rather than a witch's curse - but what about Gerhard over there? He sees and talks to things that aren't there, and acts evil. And we can find no germs in his blood - surely he is possessed by a demon - he exhibits all of the classic signs. Nowadays, most Catholic priests would attribute such behavior to schizophrenia and a chemical imbalance in the brain. They would treat with medication rather than exorcism. That's because medical science has developed a plausible natural model for bizarre behavior. So over and over again we see this pattern of retreat. Michael Behe, a cell biologist claims: ok, so evolutionary science can account for the existence of eyes, but it can't account for the existence of the "irreducibly complex" mechanisms of cellular blood clotting. And many theists now concede that Darwin's explanation of biological complexity is probably right - but then ask what about the existence of the universe itself and the Big Bang. When science deals with one "gap" in our knowledge, to support their belief in God, the theists move on to a gap that science has yet to adequately explain to their satisfaction. In Salim's mind, the God of theism is a "God of gaps." So Salim doesn't think the existence of God is impossible, only that there is no good reason to believe in His existence. If, without any evidence, someone claims that there is a very large pot of gold buried 30 meters in the ground at a specific spot outside my front door - I recognize that the claim is *possibly* true, but nevertheless won't believe it and won't waste time and resources digging the hole. So the claim that God created the universe and planned the evolution that resulted in human beings is possibly true - but that possibility is not a good ground for positive belief in the claim. Salim regards the argument from design as the strongest and most plausible argument for God's existence. Once he found that argument to be fundamentally flawed, he gave up his faith.

There are many types of contradictions and errors, mathematical, scientific, historical, practical and so on. ...the idea here is that the view that a God can have offspring is illogical and self-contradictory, hence a mistake/flaw/error. Again, if your friend has a similar example of a doctrine he thinks is self-contradictory in Islam, I would be happy to discuss it in another thread. ... if someone found something in the life of the Prophet which does not fit with the belief that he is a prophet that would be an example. There are a number of such allegations which we have examined and refuted in other threads.
So the error that Salim finds is not a contradiction, but rather more historical in nature: He thinks that the evidence of science and history makes it probably false that the Prophet communicated with God and really was a prophet. But this is on par with someone who disputes some other historical fact about Mohammed. Hypothetically, suppose someone claims that Mohammed did not pen the Qur'an himself but set it up as a deliberate hoax with help from others (for example, there is evidence that Joseph Smith fabricated the Mormon tablets). Let's further suppose that while in error and not properly educated, this hoax proponent left Islam because he sincerely believed it was a hoax. Surely you agree, that would count as a case of leaving Islam, "because they *felt* there was a flaw" (in your words), right? In other words, the fact that he is demonstrably wrong - that you disagree with Salim or the hoax proponent, and would provide a clear-headed demonstration of the error in their views - doesn't negate the claim that Salim or the hoax proponent sincerely *feels* there is a flaw in Islam, and left Islam because of these presumably confused beliefs.

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

czgibson
05-21-2006, 12:30 AM
Greetings,

What an excellent presentation of the atheist position that last post was. It sums up my own beliefs pretty much perfectly.

I don't agree on the point about Siberian Tigers, though. They definitely exist - and here they are!

Peace
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-21-2006, 01:34 AM
Hi Sharvy,
Originally Posted by sharvy
Similarly, justifiably claiming to "know" that God doesn't exist does not imply absolute certainty - and my colleague - let's call him Salim - would not claim such certainty.
Right. But the problem here is that you are claiming that Salim had certainty of Islam and its veracity and then something so dramatic happened to him that he spun around completely to the complete rejection of God, believing His existence to be unlikely.
You ask "why" Salim became an atheist. I know his mind well on this matter, both from his writings, but also his lectures and personal discussions. He would say it was because he developed a much deeper understanding of science, evidence, and explanation than he had living in Egypt.
Then if he found conflict between science and religion then I would definitely question his religious understanding. There are millions of well-educated Muslims in the west who have a sound grasp of various branches of empirical science, it's not all Muslims are ignorant people living in third-world countries. I live in the west, am well acuainted with scientific theory and yet I find no conflict between that and my religion. But a Muslim who does not know their religion very well might. And that is why such individuals should rely on scholars and go to them to seek clarification on the issues concerning which they have doubts.

For example, at the time he moved to the US, he was convinced that Darwin's theory of evolution was flawed and not good science. But after studying the issue in great detail, he became convinced that it was good science - and strongly supported by the evidence.
First, Evolution theory itself is an extrapolation based on the observations we have gathered. And contrary to the prevalent perception, scientific theories are not at all concerned or formulated in the search for truth; they are utilized on the basis of their ability to provide the most parsimonious explanation for observable phenomena. And when one analyzes the premise of the theory we find the same basic assumptions. For example, orientalists will say that based on the similarities between Islamic practices and what some of the pagan arabs did, they theorise that Muhammad pbuh simply borrowed pagan traditions. Muslims point out that one need only look at the facts the other way, in that these practices were revealed by God to Prophet Abraham and passed down through the arabs; Muhammad pbuh confirmed some of the arab practices and clarified their divine origin, while rejecting those that were innovations. So the same basic facts can be analysed in multiple ways, and that is true with any theory in science.

Secondly, the foundation of biological evolution is not in any way conflicting with Islam. To quote the Fatwa committee of Shaykh Abdul-Wahhab At-Turayri:
Therefore, with respect to other living things, the Qur’ân and Sunnah neither confirm nor deny the theory of biological evolution or the process referred to as natural selection. The question of evolution remains purely a matter of scientific enquiry. The theory of evolution must stand or fall on its own scientific merits – and that means the physical evidence that either confirms the theory or conflicts with it.

The role of science is only to observe and describe the patterns that Allah places in His creation. If scientific observation shows a pattern in the evolution of species over time that can be described as natural selection, this is not in itself unbelief. It is only unbelief for a person to think that this evolution took place on its own, and not as a creation of Allah. A Muslim who accepts evolution or natural selection as a valid scientific theory must know that the theory is merely an explanation of one of the many observed patterns in Allah’s creation.

As for the fossil remains of bipedal apes and the tools and artifacts associated with those remains, their existence poses no problem for Islamic teachings. There is nothing in the Qur’ân and Sunnah that either affirms or denies that upright, brainy, tool using apes ever existed or evolved from other apelike ancestors. Such animals may very well have existed on Earth before Adam’s arrival upon it. All we can draw from the Qur’ân and Sunnah is that even if those animals once existed, they were not the forefathers of Adam (peace be upon him). (SOURCE)
But Salim became convinced that as the evidence piled in over the past 150 years, it is not reasonable to suppose that the human eye was deliberately designed by some supernatural deity.
Then Salim should be kindly reminded about some basic facts concerning the scientific method, and perhaps the example of the Newton's (d.1727) corpuscular theory of light which remained the dominant theory amongst the scientific community for over a century (chiefly because of his intelelctual status). However, due to discoveries in the early 19th century, Huygens' (d. 1695) wave theory was revived, and soon became widely accepted. Finally, quantum mechanics caused us to return to both theories and today we affirm a particle-wave duality of light.

Coming to the specific mention of the eye, I think it is worth noting the example of Dr. Laurence Brown MD, an american ophthalmologist, who converted from atheism to Islam. Did he willingly embrace illogical beliefs about a field he had spent his life studying?
Salim sees a clear pattern in the history of human knowledge: in the past, things and phenomena that humans couldn't explain by a natural means were assigned a supernatural explanation: lightening, disease, famine, even the rising and setting of the sun.
Salim seems to forget the distinction between cause and mechanism and again the goals and intent of scientific methodology. Saying that God causes the rotation of the earth explains the cause but not the mechanism. Analyzing the centripetal force on the earth, the angular momentum, and so on is an investigation into the mechanism. Religion has never explained the mechanism, at least not in Islam, but rather explains that God is behind the mechanisms which govern our universe.
When science deals with one "gap" in our knowledge, to support their belief in God, the theists move on to a gap that science has yet to adequately explain to their satisfaction.
In addition to what I've said above, I'd like to also point out that science is not a living entity which researchs and theorises on its own. It is the scientific community which does that, comprised of individuals like you and me; human beings subject to the same societal influences and pressures as anyone else. For example, homosexuality was always classified by the scientific community as a psychological disorder until recent times when it was replaced by homophobia!

Islam does not relegate God to the yet unexplained phenomena in our universe, or 'gaps' as you call them. On the contrary, Islam points out that God is the Creator behind these mechanisms and it is He who has ordered the universe as it is. You can provide reasonable scientific explanations for almost all phenomena based on the four fundamental forces we know of, but you still haven't answered what the source, cause or origin of these forces is, or what exactly they signify. You can postulate several laws about the transfer and conservation of energy in our universe, the unchangeable decrease in order and increase in entropy, without even arriving at the question of who infused our universe with this energy and order in the first place.
If, without any evidence, someone claims that there is a very large pot of gold buried 30 meters in the ground at a specific spot outside my front door - I recognize that the claim is *possibly* true, but nevertheless won't believe it and won't waste time and resources digging the hole.
This is an issue I have argued in great detail with atheists on; see the following posts for my debate on sufficient basis for the denial of God:
Ansar Al-'Adl
czgibson
Ansar Al-'Adl
czgibson
Ansar Al-'Adl
Root
czgibson
Ansar Al-'Adl
HeiGou
Ansar Al-'Adl

Within the context of the present discussion, I would just point out that 1. the entity in your example is inconsequential to your life and 2. in your example, Salim was already convinced and absolutely certain of the pot's existence and had been undergoing years of massive preparations and plans to uncover it, when suddenly he just abandoned it all and decided not to bother.
So the error that Salim finds is not a contradiction, but rather more historical in nature: He thinks that the evidence of science and history makes it probably false that the Prophet communicated with God and really was a prophet.
See the following posts for my arguments for why Muhammad pbuh must have been the Messenger of God:
http://www.islamicboard.com/193795-post26.html
http://www.islamicboard.com/176538-post11.html
Let's further suppose that while in error and not properly educated, this hoax proponent left Islam because he sincerely believed it was a hoax. Surely you agree, that would count as a case of leaving Islam, "because they *felt* there was a flaw" (in your words), right?
Yes it would be, but look at what I said in the same sentence as the above, and what you have yourself admitted as highlighted in bold - education. Of course it is entirely possible for someone to hold an erroneous belief concerning Islam and consequently loose their faith - but this is only reflective of their own ignorance of the religion, hence my point about educated Muslims. It is foolishness for someone to leave themselves to their spiritual struggles without consulting knowledgeable scholars who can clarify their misconceptions and remove their doubts. So I maintain that in the entire history of Islam, in stark contrast from the history of other religions, those who have left the religion have done so either for sociopolitical reasons, or due to their own ignorance. Never has a well-educated devout Muslim lost the path, because once true eemaan enters the heart it never leaves.

This discussion has started to branch off into many other discussions related to philosophy and science, and even Prophethood - so I would suggest that if you wish to pursue some of those lines of discussion, we can continue this in an alternative thread and leave this thread as an explication of the Islamic law relating to apostasy.

Regards
Reply

sharvy
05-21-2006, 07:29 AM
:sl:
Dear Ansar,

This discussion has started to branch off into many other discussions related to philosophy and science, and even Prophethood - so I would suggest that if you wish to pursue some of those lines of discussion, we can continue this in an alternative thread and leave this thread as an explication of the Islamic law relating to apostasy.
It is not my purpose in this thread to defend either the theory of evolution or atheism. But you asked "why" Salim left Islam and it was necessary to introduce those issues by way of explanation.

Let's further suppose that while in error and not properly educated, this hoax proponent left Islam because he sincerely believed it was a hoax. Surely you agree, that would count as a case of leaving Islam, "because they *felt* there was a flaw" (in your words), right? (Sharvy)

Yes it would be, but look at what I said in the same sentence as the above, and what you have yourself admitted as highlighted in bold - education. Of course it is entirely possible for someone to hold an erroneous belief concerning Islam and consequently loose their faith - but this is only reflective of their own ignorance of the religion, hence my point about educated Muslims. It is foolishness for someone to leave themselves to their spiritual struggles without consulting knowledgeable scholars who can clarify their misconceptions and remove their doubts. So I maintain that in the entire history of Islam, in stark contrast from the history of other religions, those who have left the religion have done so either for sociopolitical reasons, or due to their own ignorance. Never has a well-educated devout Muslim lost the path, because once true eemaan enters the heart it never leaves. (Ansar)
Ok, so you concede that, as described, it can reasonably be claimed that Salim left Islam because he felt it was flawed, and now the issue is: is or was Salim a "knowlegeable" Muslim. Do I have this right?

Respectfully,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-22-2006, 03:39 AM
Hi Sharvy,
Originally Posted by sharvy
It is not my purpose in this thread to defend either the theory of evolution or atheism. But you asked "why" Salim left Islam and it was necessary to introduce those issues by way of explanation.
The reason I asked was because you were attempting to use Salim as evidence that educated people have left the religion because they found it deficient. In the event of such a claim it is necessary to examine these details to determine what exactly this alleged 'deficiency' was, and how that reflects on the apostate's claim of 'education' in the religion.
Ok, so you concede that, as described, it can reasonably be claimed that Salim left Islam because he felt it was flawed, and now the issue is: is or was Salim a "knowlegeable" Muslim. Do I have this right?
We're bouncing back and forth between the two actually. What I have said and continue to maintain is that the only causes of apostasy in the Muslim community have ever been utter ignorance or sociopolitical factors - there has never been an educated faithful believer who turns around and rejects the faith. Now unfortunately, you can't have the cake and eat it too. If you claim that Salim left Islam for these doubts that we [muslims] commonly find as misconceptions of ignorant non-muslims, it means he wasn't properly educated about the religion regardless of anything else. And if he is said to not hold such misconceptions and erroneous views on Islam but simply abandoned the faith upon arrival in the different society of the US, then he falls under socipolitical factors.

Remember you said that:
He told me he had no doubts and was a firm, devout believer (i.e., no wavering doubts) upon his arrival in the US, but abandoned his belief living and studying in the US.
So he had absolutely no doubts or even the slightest of troubles with his faith upon arrival in the US. If he never had doubts it means he must have experienced a strong spiritual connection with God. If he did not, then he would most likely have questioned his faith especially in his teenage years and not have had the certainty you ascribe to him. And yet, with this absolute certainty he absolutely and totally rejects his faith after studying a few years in the US. What incredible and revolutionary scientific discovery could lead to that? His reasons I have been presented with so far could hardly form a coherent objection to the faith let alone the basis for such total rejection.

Peace.
Reply

sharvy
05-22-2006, 06:53 AM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hi Sharvy,

The reason I asked was because you were attempting to use Salim as evidence that educated people have left the religion because they found it deficient. In the event of such a claim it is necessary to examine these details to determine what exactly this alleged 'deficiency' was, and how that reflects on the apostate's claim of 'education' in the religion.

We're bouncing back and forth between the two actually. What I have said and continue to maintain is that the only causes of apostasy in the Muslim community have ever been utter ignorance or sociopolitical factors - there has never been an educated faithful believer who turns around and rejects the faith. Now unfortunately, you can't have the cake and eat it too. If you claim that Salim left Islam for these doubts that we [muslims] commonly find as misconceptions of ignorant non-muslims, it means he wasn't properly educated about the religion regardless of anything else. And if he is said to not hold such misconceptions and erroneous views on Islam but simply abandoned the faith upon arrival in the different society of the US, then he falls under socipolitical factors.

Remember you said that:
He told me he had no doubts and was a firm, devout believer (i.e., no wavering doubts) upon his arrival in the US, but abandoned his belief living and studying in the US.
So he had absolutely no doubts or even the slightest of troubles with his faith upon arrival in the US. If he never had doubts it means he must have experienced a strong spiritual connection with God. If he did not, then he would most likely have questioned his faith especially in his teenage years and not have had the certainty you ascribe to him. And yet, with this absolute certainty he absolutely and totally rejects his faith after studying a few years in the US. What incredible and revolutionary scientific discovery could lead to that? His reasons I have been presented with so far could hardly form a coherent objection to the faith let alone the basis for such total rejection.

Peace.
:sl:

Dear Ansar,

I cannot directly know the deepest heart and soul of another - so I do not directly know if Salim possessed true eeman in his heart. But I do know for sure that he finds flaw is the Islamic position on the theory of evolution as set out by the Research Committee of IslamToday.net , which you quoted. Salim definitely holds that all primates, chimps and humans included, evolved from a common ancestor; and that if all humans do descend from Adam and Eve, then Adam and Eve were not created independently from the other primates. And since Salim finds the Qur'an flawed in this and other claims, he cannot accept the Qur'an as the inerrant word of Allah. I know you disagree and can present arguments to counter his view on evolution, but that is not point here. The point is that it is very clear that Salim left Islam because rightly or wrongly he felt fundamental Islamic doctrine to be flawed. Assuming this is true, I think you and I can both agree that it is impossible for Salim to ever have possessed true eeman in his heart - no matter what Salim himself thinks about that. Are we in agreement on this point?

Respectfully,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-22-2006, 04:39 PM
Hi Sharvy,
Originally Posted by sharvy
But I do know for sure that he finds flaw is the Islamic position on the theory of evolution as set out by the Research Committee of IslamToday.net , which you quoted. Salim definitely holds that all primates, chimps and humans included, evolved from a common ancestor; and that if all humans do descend from Adam and Eve, then Adam and Eve were not created independently from the other primates.
No doubt his view would conflict with the Qur'an and Ahadith, but Salims needs to be able to distinguish between what scientific evidence has determined, and the extrapolations and interpretations we draw from that, and I have mentioned some excellent examples in my previous post concerning the scientific method.
Assuming this is true, I think you and I can both agree that it is impossible for Salim to ever have possessed true eeman in his heart - no matter what Salim himself thinks about that.
Yes, Salim's objections to the religion are at odds with his claim to have formerly been faitfully devoted to it and free of any struggles with his faith.

Peace.
Reply

Ayesha Rana
05-23-2006, 12:11 PM
Originally Posted by sharvy
:sl:
Fine. So if someone believes or claims that Mohammed (pbuh) is not a true prophet of Allah, though he or she is mistaken, they are nevertheless *claiming* to find a flaw in Islam - right? If a Muslim becomes an atheist and leaves Islam because they *think* that many or most of the claims in the Qur'an are untrue or mistaken, then, misguidely or not, they are leaving Islam because because they *believe* or personally find it is flawed - right?

Respectfullly,

Sharvy
:sl:
Well bro. Their reason wouldn't have any backing up cos the Qur'an doesn't contradict itself whilst Jesus being God does.
If they have found a flaw in Islam they were probably never really muslims to begin with cos Islam has no flaws-though you won't agree-and that would make them hypocrites. And if they never understood the religion properly and were weak in their faith to begin with well then that is their responsibility.
Reply

sharvy
05-23-2006, 10:03 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hi Sharvy,

No doubt his view would conflict with the Qur'an and Ahadith, but Salim needs to be able to distinguish between what scientific evidence has determined, and the extrapolations and interpretations we draw from that, and I have mentioned some excellent examples in my previous post concerning the scientific method.

"Assuming this is true, I think you and I can both agree that it is impossible for Salim to ever have possessed true eeman in his heart - no matter what Salim himself thinks about that." Sharvy

Yes, Salim's objections to the religion are at odds with his claim to have formerly been faithfully devoted to it and free of any struggles with his faith.

Peace.
:sl:
Dear Salim,

For the sake of discussion, I want to define a phrase in a special sense. For the sake of argument, let's say "steadfast faith" means "believing a claim with an unshakeable tenacity – and never giving it up, regardless of whatever evidence is presented against it." Now I know very well that "eeman" is not the same thing as "steadfast faith" in my sense, and it's important to understand that I do not intend the two to mean the same thing. For example, it is unfortunate that many Americans apparently have a "steadfast faith" that George Bush is a competent President, despite overwhelming and obvious evidence to the contrary. And, many parents continue to have steadfast faith in the basic goodness of their children regardless of whatever wicked deeds they commit. Steadfast faith can also be a good thing: there are cases where innocent people are framed to appear to be guilty of a great crime, but the steadfast faith of a loved one sustains and ultimately saves them. Sometimes steadfast faith is justified and rational, whereas in other cases it is irrational. So people can have steadfast faith in a true claim for either good reasons or bad reasons. Whether or not it happens in practice, theoretically in my sense, a Muslim can have steadfast faith in Islamic doctrine without possessing genuine eeman. However, it is my understanding that the reverse is not true: having eeman does imply having steadfast faith in Islamic doctrine. It is my understanding that on your view, though rare, it is possible for a Muslim to have several ijazahs, and even be an imam, without possessing genuine eeman. My friend Salim is apparently a case in point. Please correct me if I misunderstand this point.

You often cite Dr. Laurence Brown as an example of a prominent Christian who converted to Islam. Now it is perfectly clear that on my definition Dr. Brown did not have steadfast faith in Christianity. Other Christians have exhibited such faith in Christianity despite intense exposure to other religions such as Judaism or Islam. But here is the question: On your view was Dr. Brown a truly "knowledgeable" Christian before he converted? And if so, what is your basis for being so sure of this claim?

Respectfully,

Sharvy
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-24-2006, 03:24 PM
Originally Posted by sharvy
:sl:
Dear Salim,
:rollseyes
It is my understanding that on your view, though rare, it is possible for a Muslim to have several ijazahs, and even be an imam, without possessing genuine eeman. My friend Salim is apparently a case in point. Please correct me if I misunderstand this point.
You said that your friend had a religious degree from Al-Azhar. I know many people with religious degrees from Islamic institutes but that in no way would make them an Islamic scholars, in fact many orientalists have university degrees on Islamic studies. And I don't recall you mentioning that your friend was an imam - do you mean that he was the imam of a mosque in egypt? As for possessing genuine eeman, I have tried to decipher your story but there are too many statements that don't fit together. You said he had no wavering doubts or any struggles with his religion upon arrival in the US but then you mentioned that he suddenly abandoned it and apparently for no good reason. And then there is the statement that he 'personally could not continue to believe in the supernatural' and that he 'gradually became disillusioned by organized religion' in contrast to the idea that he specifically found flaws in islam after becoming educated in the west. So I can't say whether your friend had eeman or 'steadfast faith', I can't say how much he knew about Islam, I can say hardly anything about him since I still have not gotten anything besides of muddled and inconsistent picture.
You often cite Dr. Laurence Brown as an example of a prominent Christian who converted to Islam.
No I did not. I said only two things about him
Dr. Brown was an atheist who converted to Christianity and finally to Islam.

Coming to the specific mention of the eye, I think it is worth noting the example of Dr. Laurence Brown MD, an american ophthalmologist, who converted from atheism to Islam. Did he willingly embrace illogical beliefs about a field he had spent his life studying?
I would agree that Dr. Brown was never fully convinced of Christianity though he studied it in detail, as is evident from his book, The First and Final Commandment.

As for examples of Christian priests and scholars who have converted to Islam you can read here:
http://thetruereligion.org/modules/x...php?category=1
And there are many others not mentioned there such as Yusuf Estes.

So I still maintain what I have continuously said - in the entire history of Islam, in stark contrast from the history of other religions, those who have left the religion have done so either for sociopolitical reasons, or due to their own ignorance. As for your friend Salim, so far I can only see that he is claimed to have possesed a religious degree (though his education in Islam is severely called into question by the type of objections raised) and that he was allegedly perfectly happy with Islam but suddenly abandoned his faith for some unknown reason upon arrival in the states. Since it is impossible for me to find out the extent of Salim's knowledge or his reasons for abandoning the faith (I cannot read his writings or contact him directly), then the discussion on Salim is essentially pointless.

Regards
Reply

sharvy
05-24-2006, 05:55 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl

You said that your friend had a religious degree from Al-Azhar. I know many people with religious degrees from Islamic institutes but that in no way would make them an Islamic scholars, in fact many orientalists have university degrees on Islamic studies.
:sl: Dear Ansar (sorry about the boo boo in the previous post)

Doesn't having ijazahs in hadith and usul al-fiqh from prominent Islamic scholars on the faculty of Al-Azhar and getting a Ph.D. in Islamic theology make one an Islamic scholar?! If not that, what does? I'm a bit confused on this point:

Salim aside, is it or is it not possible to be a genuine Muslim Islamic scholar with 2 such ijazahs and at the same time not possess true eeman? Are you (indirectly) suggesting that the existence of such a scholar would violate Islamic doctrine?

Respectfully,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

sharvy
05-24-2006, 06:11 PM
:sl: Dear Ansar,

To follow up on your previous post:

And I don't recall you mentioning that your friend was an imam - do you mean that he was the imam of a mosque in egypt?
I never said Salim was an imam. But other converts from Islam apparently were – at least I found a list of such converts on the web with their testimonies.

As for possessing genuine eeman, I have tried to decipher your story but there are too many statements that don't fit together. You said he had no wavering doubts or any struggles with his religion upon arrival in the US
That's what he says

but then you mentioned that he suddenly abandoned it and apparently for no good reason.
I said no such thing: I explicitly said (more than once) that his change of heart was not sudden but took several years.

And then there is the statement that he 'personally could not continue to believe in the supernatural' and that he 'gradually became disillusioned by organized religion' in contrast to the idea that he specifically found flaws in islam
There is no "in contrast to" anything in Salim's story. I explained in some detail that his disillusionment with Islam and the supernatural was a logical extension of his acceptance of Darwinian theory. And since the accepted, mainstream position of science today is that humans and apes directly evolved from a common ancestor – a view Salim accepts – and you yourself agreed that "no doubt [Salim's] view would conflict with the Qur'an and Ahadith" it is clear that Salim does find flaw in fundamental Islamic doctrine on this and other matters – which is precisely what he told me. Moreover, unless you want to take the view that modern science has no credible reasons to hold that apes and humans share common ancestry, then you cannot reasonably hold the view that Salim finds this flaw "for no good reason." Salim and science may well be mistaken on this matter, but you can hardly accuse these prominent scientists and scholars of being flippant, arbitrary, or stupid in holding their position (which is usually the sense of accuse someone of "suddenly" changing their mind "for no good reason"). It is often the case that someone is wrong but nevertheless has strong, credible reasons for holding a view.


Peace

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-24-2006, 08:14 PM
Hello Sharvy,
Originally Posted by sharvy
Doesn't having ijazahs in hadith and usul al-fiqh from prominent Islamic scholars on the faculty of Al-Azhar and getting a Ph.D. in Islamic theology make one an Islamic scholar?!
First of all, you NEVER mentioned that your friend had a PhD in Islamic theology, you only said a religious studies degree. In fact you specifically implied that your friend did NOT possess a PhD in any branch of Islamic studies:
But I guess one thing has become clear. When you speak of a "knowlegeable" Muslim, you mean someone that in effect has something like a PhD in Islamic studies - you DON'T mean an intelligent, devout mature Muslim (i.e. Salim) that has opened up his heart and spent years thinking about and studying the Qur'an, as well as listening to the words of Islamic sages. In other words, only a tiny percentage of Muslims are "knowlegeable" in your sense of the term.
What am I to believe when the information keeps changing?! I'm just getting random tidbits of information about Salim's islamic education and then you're asking me to make a judgement on his case. I never found out any clear information regarding at what age did he study Islam, which sciences and for how long. And it is impossible for me to verify or even test the extent of his knowledge since I cannot ask him any questions concerning why he abandoned his faith.

Let's get one thing confirmed - at what age did he finish memorizing the entire Qur'an in arabic and under which teacher? This is a requirement just to be considered a 'student of knowledge' in Islamic studies, so imagine the requirements to be considered a scholar.
Salim aside, is it or is it not possible to be a genuine Muslim Islamic scholar with 2 such ijazahs and at the same time not possess true eeman?
No it is not possible. A genuine Islamic scholar has eemaan, and this is why we do not regard the orientalists who have several degrees in religious studies to be Islamic scholars, though they may have numerous PhDs, their understanding of Islam has been proven to be erroneous and plagued with misconceptions. As for the ijaazahs, it is impossible to find out the details since I cannot contact him - they vary greatly, some are extremely difficult to get and others are the complete opposite (I know a fairly young brother with over twenty ijaazahs yet he would not even dream of calling himself a scholar). I hoped to find out more but that clearly is not possible.
I never said Salim was an imam.
You said:
It is my understanding that on your view, though rare, it is possible for a Muslim to have several ijazahs, and even be an imam, without possessing genuine eeman. My friend Salim is apparently a case in point.
If your friend was not an Imam then why call him a case in point? Again, I am not getting any consistent or clear information from you.
But other converts from Islam apparently were – at least I found a list of such converts on the web with their testimonies.
I know of these (openly anti-islamic) sites and anyone can write whatever they wish on them. I personally have seen multiple case of non-muslims lying about being or having been Muslim. Even looking at what they write one can see that it is filled with the usual misconceptions and anti-islamic drivel. If you are already willing to accept such information then it places a serious doubt on the credibility of the information you are providing me with.
That's what he says
And impossible for me to verify.
I said no such thing: I explicitly said (more than once) that his change of heart was not sudden but took several years.
But you said it only took place after his arrival in the US. In other words, there was no gradual struggles before he came to the US. The initiation of these struggles was sudden.
And then there is the statement that he 'personally could not continue to believe in the supernatural' and that he 'gradually became disillusioned by organized religion' in contrast to the idea that he specifically found flaws in islam
There is no "in contrast to" anything in Salim's story.
The statement "personally could not continue to believe in the supernatural" STRONGLY implies that he did not hold such a belief to be mistaken but personally could not accept such a belief. If that is not what you meant then it justifies my statement that you are providing a very muddled and convoluted image of what really happened.
I explained in some detail that his disillusionment with Islam and the supernatural was a logical extension of his acceptance of Darwinian theory.
Which simply is not true. There is no relevance between biological evolution and the supernatural - in fact you haven't mentioned abiogenesis at all! There are numerous theists who believe in evolution.
And since the accepted, mainstream position of science today is that humans and apes directly evolved from a common ancestor – a view Salim accepts – and you yourself agreed that "no doubt [Salim's] view would conflict with the Qur'an and Ahadith" it is clear that Salim does find flaw in fundamental Islamic doctrine on this and other matters – which is precisely what he told me. Moreover, unless you want to take the view that modern science has no credible reasons to hold that apes and humans share common ancestry, then you cannot reasonably hold the view that Salim finds this flaw "for no good reason."
I have already answered this, I don't know why you chose to ignore my explanation. This has nothign to do with what 'science has concluded' it is the extrapolation of material observations; again what I wrote:
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
First, Evolution theory itself is an extrapolation based on the observations we have gathered. And contrary to the prevalent perception, scientific theories are not at all concerned or formulated in the search for truth; they are utilized on the basis of their ability to provide the most parsimonious explanation for observable phenomena. And when one analyzes the premise of the theory we find the same basic assumptions. For example, orientalists will say that based on the similarities between Islamic practices and what some of the pagan arabs did, they theorise that Muhammad pbuh simply borrowed pagan traditions. Muslims point out that one need only look at the facts the other way, in that these practices were revealed by God to Prophet Abraham and passed down through the arabs; Muhammad pbuh confirmed some of the arab practices and clarified their divine origin, while rejecting those that were innovations. So the same basic facts can be analysed in multiple ways, and that is true with any theory in science.

Secondly, the foundation of biological evolution is not in any way conflicting with Islam. To quote the Fatwa committee of Shaykh Abdul-Wahhab At-Turayri:
Therefore, with respect to other living things, the Qur’ân and Sunnah neither confirm nor deny the theory of biological evolution or the process referred to as natural selection. The question of evolution remains purely a matter of scientific enquiry. The theory of evolution must stand or fall on its own scientific merits – and that means the physical evidence that either confirms the theory or conflicts with it.

The role of science is only to observe and describe the patterns that Allah places in His creation. If scientific observation shows a pattern in the evolution of species over time that can be described as natural selection, this is not in itself unbelief. It is only unbelief for a person to think that this evolution took place on its own, and not as a creation of Allah. A Muslim who accepts evolution or natural selection as a valid scientific theory must know that the theory is merely an explanation of one of the many observed patterns in Allah’s creation.

As for the fossil remains of bipedal apes and the tools and artifacts associated with those remains, their existence poses no problem for Islamic teachings. There is nothing in the Qur’ân and Sunnah that either affirms or denies that upright, brainy, tool using apes ever existed or evolved from other apelike ancestors. Such animals may very well have existed on Earth before Adam’s arrival upon it. All we can draw from the Qur’ân and Sunnah is that even if those animals once existed, they were not the forefathers of Adam (peace be upon him). (SOURCE)
But Salim became convinced that as the evidence piled in over the past 150 years, it is not reasonable to suppose that the human eye was deliberately designed by some supernatural deity.
Then Salim should be kindly reminded about some basic facts concerning the scientific method, and perhaps the example of the Newton's (d.1727) corpuscular theory of light which remained the dominant theory amongst the scientific community for over a century (chiefly because of his intelelctual status). However, due to discoveries in the early 19th century, Huygens' (d. 1695) wave theory was revived, and soon became widely accepted. Finally, quantum mechanics caused us to return to both theories and today we affirm a particle-wave duality of light.

Coming to the specific mention of the eye, I think it is worth noting the example of Dr. Laurence Brown MD, an american ophthalmologist, who converted from atheism to Islam. Did he willingly embrace illogical beliefs about a field he had spent his life studying?
Salim sees a clear pattern in the history of human knowledge: in the past, things and phenomena that humans couldn't explain by a natural means were assigned a supernatural explanation: lightening, disease, famine, even the rising and setting of the sun.
Salim seems to forget the distinction between cause and mechanism and again the goals and intent of scientific methodology. Saying that God causes the rotation of the earth explains the cause but not the mechanism. Analyzing the centripetal force on the earth, the angular momentum, and so on is an investigation into the mechanism. Religion has never explained the mechanism, at least not in Islam, but rather explains that God is behind the mechanisms which govern our universe.
When science deals with one "gap" in our knowledge, to support their belief in God, the theists move on to a gap that science has yet to adequately explain to their satisfaction.
In addition to what I've said above, I'd like to also point out that science is not a living entity which researchs and theorises on its own. It is the scientific community which does that, comprised of individuals like you and me; human beings subject to the same societal influences and pressures as anyone else. For example, homosexuality was always classified by the scientific community as a psychological disorder until recent times when it was replaced by homophobia!

Islam does not relegate God to the yet unexplained phenomena in our universe, or 'gaps' as you call them. On the contrary, Islam points out that God is the Creator behind these mechanisms and it is He who has ordered the universe as it is. You can provide reasonable scientific explanations for almost all phenomena based on the four fundamental forces we know of, but you still haven't answered what the source, cause or origin of these forces is, or what exactly they signify. You can postulate several laws about the transfer and conservation of energy in our universe, the unchangeable decrease in order and increase in entropy, without even arriving at the question of who infused our universe with this energy and order in the first place.
Salim and science may well be mistaken on this matter
'science' is not an entity theorizes about our universe. There are individuals involved in scientific research who may do that, but they are just as culurally affected as you and I, as demonstrated by the example of the corpuscular theory and homosexuality above. Biological evoltion has to be the most feeble excuse for rejecting the religion that one allegedly had 'full certainty' about.
but you can hardly accuse these prominent scientists and scholars of being flippant, arbitrary, or stupid in holding their position
And I never did that. What benefit is there in falsely attributing insults to someone? And I said "apparently for no good reason" because as of yet, you have not provided one. And given the current trend in the discussion, I doubt I will ever hear the reasons.
It is often the case that someone is wrong but nevertheless has strong, credible reasons for holding a view.
Which I will never come to know about.

I really see no point in debating over your friend 'Salim' anymore and who he is supposed to have been since this discussion is going nowhere. I have explained my position and the Islamic law relating to apostasy, and you have provided no evidence to counter it, so if you do not wish to believe it that is up to you.
Reply

sharvy
05-25-2006, 09:41 AM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hello Sharvy,

First of all, you NEVER mentioned that your friend had a PhD in Islamic theology, you only said a religious studies degree. In fact you specifically implied that your friend did NOT possess a PhD in any branch of Islamic studies:
But I guess one thing has become clear. When you speak of a "knowledgeable" Muslim, you mean someone that in effect has something like a PhD in Islamic studies - you DON'T mean an intelligent, devout mature Muslim (i.e. Salim) that has opened up his heart and spent years thinking about and studying the Qur'an, as well as listening to the words of Islamic sages. In other words, only a tiny percentage of Muslims are "knowledgeable" in your sense of the term.
What am I to believe when the information keeps changing?!
:sl:

Dear Ansar,

I apologize for being less than clear. When I first raised the case of Salim in this forum it had been years since I was in contact with him. I honestly wasn't sure what exact degree Salim had from Al-Alzar, or whether Islamic universities like that even had "Ph.D." programs in the oriental sense. And I certainly did not know what an ijazah was until you introduced the term. However, after recontacting him pursuant to our discussion in this forum, I did learn that he obtained a Ph.D. in Islamic theology from Al-Alzar, as well as the two ijazahs. Since you specifically asked me about the ijazahs, that is the information I provided, thinking them more relevant and important for you than the Ph.D. Again, I apologize for the confusion.


"Salim aside, is it or is it not possible to be a genuine Muslim Islamic scholar with 2 such ijazahs and at the same time not possess true eeman?" Sharvy

No it is not possible. A genuine Islamic scholar has eeman, and this is why we do not regard the orientalists who have several degrees in religious studies to be Islamic scholars, though they may have numerous PhDs, their understanding of Islam has been proven to be erroneous and plagued with misconceptions.
So you are saying that if Salim identifies himself and presents you with copies of all his degrees and certifications and submits himself to questioning, and proves that he was in fact a genuine Islamic scholar who left Islam, then you will then acknowledge that Islam is flawed, because according to accepted doctrine such a situation is impossible? Do I have this right?

Respectfully,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-25-2006, 02:24 PM
Hello Sharvy,
Originally Posted by sharvy
Again, I apologize for the confusion.
And that is the problem with this discussion - you are using a case that you are not even certain about and then asking me to pass judgement. At any rate, can you confirm what age he finished memorizing the Qur'an?
So you are saying that if Salim identifies himself and presents you with copies of all his degrees and certifications and submits himself to questioning, and proves that he was in fact a genuine Islamic scholar who left Islam, then you will then acknowledge that Islam is flawed, because according to accepted doctrine such a situation is impossible?
I've pointed out that it is not degrees that make one a genuine Islamic scholar. A genuine Islamic scholar has eemaan and piety as well. Having said that if I had the opportunity to contact Salim I would be able to question his religious understanding and find out the reasons for his leaving Islam and then we would see if he truly contradicts my claim or not. If he did, of course I would acknowledge it, but from what I have seen in this discussion he is very far from challenging my claim.

Peace.
Reply

sharvy
05-25-2006, 03:19 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hello Sharvy,

And that is the problem with this discussion - you are using a case that you are not even certain about and then asking me to pass judgement. At any rate, can you confirm what age he finished memorizing the Qur'an? .
:sl:
Dear Ansar,

I will ask Salim your question the next time we get in touch.

I've pointed out that it is not degrees that make one a genuine Islamic scholar. A genuine Islamic scholar has eemaan and piety as well. Having said that if I had the opportunity to contact Salim I would be able to question his religious understanding and find out the reasons for his leaving Islam and then we would see if he truly contradicts my claim or not. If he did, of course I would acknowledge it, but from what I have seen in this discussion he is very far from challenging my claim.
You did not really answer my question. I want to know more than simply if Salim's claim truly contradicts your claim about knowledgeable Muslims. I want to also know on your part (incredibly unlikely as it may be):

would acknowledging that Salim memorized the Qur'an at a very young age and establishing that he obtained highly respectable ijazahs from honored, acknowledged Islamic scholars, as well as the Ph.D, entail acknowledging that Islam has a flaw? –

Would it be acknowledging such a flaw? Or, would you conclude it is indeed possible to undergo a highly rigorous, very respectable Islamic education and obtain the highest certifications, yet not possess eeman. If the latter is not possible, then, in principle, it would seem that in order to accept and acknowledge Salim's evidence purporting to establish his credentials, you would have to find flaw in Islam. This point is crucial to the discussion.

Respectfully,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-25-2006, 04:35 PM
Originally Posted by sharvy
Would it be acknowledging such a flaw?
No it would not and I have explained why multiple times. I have pointed out why the degrees would not make one an automatic Islamic scholar. I have mentioned multiple times that we have to be able to assess their education directly. But the point of the matter is that someone with even a basic Islamic education, let alone erudition, would not have such misconceptions - the only time people apostate is either from ignorance or due to sociopolitical reasons. Salim's example is a dead one because there is no way for me to assess his reasons for leaving or his Islamic education. That is why the entire discussion on Salim is pointless. You aren't able to provide me the information necessary, I can't contact him, you've admitted to providing me with contradictory information [unintentionally of course], and so on. You are only repeating the same points and asking me about him - I don't know Salim or his reasons for leaving the religion and since I will never find out there is no point in asking me about him.

And then you are asking me, essentially, what if my claim is false - What if there are knowledgeable people who have left Islam and think Islam is flawed?
The problem is you haven't done anything to counter my claim much less to disprove it so it's like asking me, "what if Islam is false?" - what do you want me to say? I can challenge someone to support their claim that Islam is false or that my claim is false and they will fail, because neither are false. If you could disprove my claims, then we would worry about the implications. If you can't, then there is no point.

Peace.
Reply

sharvy
05-25-2006, 07:46 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
No it would not and I have explained why multiple times. I have pointed out why the degrees would not make one an automatic Islamic scholar. I have mentioned multiple times that we have to be able to assess their education directly. But the point of the matter is that someone with even a basic Islamic education, let alone erudition, would not have such misconceptions - the only time people apostate is either from ignorance or due to sociopolitical reasons. Salim's example is a dead one because there is no way for me to assess his reasons for leaving or his Islamic education. That is why the entire discussion on Salim is pointless. You aren't able to provide me the information necessary, I can't contact him, you've admitted to providing me with contradictory information [unintentionally of course], and so on. You are only repeating the same points and asking me about him - I don't know Salim or his reasons for leaving the religion and since I will never find out there is no point in asking me about him.

And then you are asking me, essentially, what if my claim is false - What if there are knowledgeable people who have left Islam and think Islam is flawed?
The problem is you haven't done anything to counter my claim much less to disprove it so it's like asking me, "what if Islam is false?" - what do you want me to say? I can challenge someone to support their claim that Islam is false or that my claim is false and they will fail, because neither are false. If you could disprove my claims, then we would worry about the implications. If you can't, then there is no point.

Peace.
:sl:
Hi Ansar,

Here's the way I'm beginning to see this issue. According to you it is virtually impossible to have a sound, rigorous, proper Muslim upbringing, and then go on to get advanced certifications and not obtain eeman. More over you agreed it was impossible for Salim to have had eeman and have left Isam becauses he found the doctrine flawed. To claim that was possible would itself be challenge to the truth Islam.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I want to make sure that I fully understand your point of view: On the Islamic view, as a means of establishing truth, evidence and science are fine as far as they go, but they are feeble and pale by comparison with the mind of a scholar guided by eeman and scripture in the search for knowledge. Belief formed on the basis of evidence or science is always a mere extrapolation and profoundly subject to error. For any evidence set, there are always a range of competing extrapolations that one can draw from the evidence - all subject to error with the sole exception of a mind guided by scripture and the Divine grace of eeman. Thus it would be foolish and incomprehensible for Muslim like Salim to forsake the true path and reject the Word of Allah based on some frail human extrapolation in the name of the rickety contraption that humans call "science". So if a few people in white coats want to extrapolate the claim that humans and apes both directly evolved from a common ancestor from the evidence - what of it? All such extrapolations are just that - and are inherently weak and error prone. If the Qur'an teaches us that all humans descended from Adam (pbuh) and Eve and that Adam and Eve were created directly by God, separate from any other animal, then it is absurd and unreasonable to place any trust in the "scientific" claim. At best, and in its proper place, science is an adjunct to knowledge as revealed by Allah through the Prophet (pbuh) and it is the height of irrational hubris to ever put the word of science above the Word of Allah.

Have I correctly characterized your position on the matter?

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-25-2006, 08:22 PM
Originally Posted by sharvy
Here's the way I'm beginning to see this issue. According to you it is virtually impossible to have a sound, rigorous, proper Muslim upbringing, and then go on to get advanced certifications and not obtain eeman.
No, I never said that. I said to be a genuine Islamic scholar one must have eeman in God.
More over you agreed it was impossible for Salim to have had eeman and have left Isam becauses he found the doctrine flawed.
No, my position is that apostasy has only ever occured from ignorance or due to sociopolitical reasons. I can't comment on Salim since I do not have information about him or even a remote understanding of his reasons for leaving.
To claim that was possible would itself be challenge to the truth Islam.
No, I never said that either.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I want to make sure that I fully understand your point of view: On the Islamic view, as a means of establishing truth, evidence and science are fine as far as they go, but they are feeble and pale by comparison with the mind of a scholar guided by eeman and scripture in the search for knowledge.
No, absolutely not. I never said we should accept the word of a scholar over a scientist because the former has eeman. I don't know where you are getting these absurd ideas from. I am saying that no matter what religion one belongs to, one must understand the scientific methodolgy properly - science is not a search for truth; science is a search for ways of explaining observable phenomena in our universe. Those points you mentioned earlier about the evolution theory actually betray a poor understanding of science. I am not calling for people to belittle or reject science, I am calling for people to gain a proper understanding of science!

The problem in your quote when you say evidence and science are fine as far as they go is that NEITHER evidence nor science are being questioned here! I am all for an evidence-based approach to all discussions but what I pointed out (twice) was that we are not talking about evidence, but an individual's extrapolation from that evidence. And I gave numerous examples of this, I'm not sure why they were ignored. You have the example with respect to the theories on light - Newton decided on the basis of the observations that light is a particle, Huygens thought it was a wave. So it has nothing to do with evidence it has to do with how we interpret that evidence.

As for your mention of science (evidence and science are fine as far as they go), again it has nothing to do with accepting or rejecting science. I explained earlier that science is not an entity that researches and concludes matters. When Newton's theory which dominated for over a century was proven wrong does that mean that science was proven wrong?
For any evidence set, there are always a range of competing extrapolations that one can draw from the evidence - all subject to error with the sole exception of a mind guided by scripture and the Divine grace of eeman.
No, I never said that either. In fact it is specifically against Islam to ascribe infallibility to human beings outside of the Prophets. You've fallen into the fallacy of assuming that the intents and purposes of religion and science are the same when they are manifestly not. Islam teaches us how to live our life and how to draw closer to our Creator through righteous deeds as we are accountable in this life for all that we do. Meanwhile, the goal in science is to provide complete and useful explanations for the observable phenomena around us.
Thus it would be foolish and incomprehensible for Muslim like Salim to forsake the true path and reject the Word of Allah based on some frail human extrapolation in the name of the rickety contraption that humans call "science".
No again. Those are your words not mine. Why would I call my major field of interest a 'rickety contraption'? Do you assume Muslims are ignorant and backward people who regard science with disdain? Nothing could be further from the truth.
My position is that Salim has failed to show any contradiction between science and Islam.
If the Qur'an teaches us that all humans descended from Adam (pbuh) and Eve and that Adam and Eve were created directly by God, separate from any other animal, then it is absurd and unreasonable to place any trust in the "scientific" claim.
No, I specifically quoted a fatwa for you that explained that biological evolution stands or falls on the basis of scientific evidence.
Therefore, with respect to other living things, the Qur’ân and Sunnah neither confirm nor deny the theory of biological evolution or the process referred to as natural selection. The question of evolution remains purely a matter of scientific enquiry. The theory of evolution must stand or fall on its own scientific merits – and that means the physical evidence that either confirms the theory or conflicts with it.
What could be more clear than that?

Have I correctly characterized your position on the matter?
I regret to inform that I have never seen such a blatant misrepresentation of another's position.

Regards
Reply

sharvy
05-26-2006, 02:26 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
I regret to inform that I have never seen such a blatant misrepresentation of another's position.
:sl:
Dear Ansar,

I am so sorry that I misrepresented your position – I did not intend to – and that is why I asked. But you have to understand that you and I come from different cultures and circumstances, and I can assure you that your responses to me are just as confusing as mine are apparently to you. I should add that while I do have expertise in philosophy of religion, my main area of expertise is philosophy of science and the theory of evolution in particular. While we most likely will not agree on many fundamental issues, I do think it is worth the effort to understand the other's viewpoint. At least we should both be clear on what we are disagreeing with. So if you are willing, I would like to start with each of us clarifying our view on the role and status of science – I really do not understand the role of science as explained by you and the fatwa.

one must understand the scientific methodology properly - science is not a search for truth; science is a search for ways of explaining observable phenomena in our universe.
The way I put it is that science is not searching for certainty or absolute truth, but the most probable truth given our current state of evidence and knowledge. It not just searching for "ways of explaining observable phenomena in our universe." For example it is an axiom of philosophy of science that for any given dataset, there are theoretically an infinite number of competing hypotheses (or extrapolations) that will account for, and in that sense explain, the data. Each competing hypothesis is theoretically a "way" of explaining the given observations. But it is up to science to choose the best or better of those possible explanations. There are indeed properties like parsimony, that you earlier alluded to, which scientists use to choose the best explanation. But ultimately one must ask why is a more parsimonious explanation or hypothesis preferable or better. Ultimately one must link parsimony to probable truth in order to both make sense of why that quality is important and to understand what explanatory parsimony or simplicity is, and how to identify it.

I am all for an evidence-based approach to all discussions but what I pointed out (twice) was that we are not talking about evidence, but an individual's extrapolation from that evidence. And I gave numerous examples of this, I'm not sure why they were ignored. You have the example with respect to the theories on light - Newton decided on the basis of the observations that light is a particle, Huygens thought it was a wave. So it has nothing to do with evidence it has to do with how we interpret that evidence.
Some scientific disputes are matters of fundamental differences in how the disputing parties interpret mutually agreed upon evidence. But in other cases disputes arise because the two sides cannot agree on what count as relevant evidence or observations.

I explained earlier that science is not an entity that researches and concludes matters. When Newton's theory which dominated for over a century was proven wrong does that mean that science was proven wrong?
No, but it's fair to say that contemporary science and physics overwhelming rejects classical Newtonian physics as flawed and inaccurate. Properly understood, it's fair to say that contemporary physics has "concluded" as much – as long as one does not read certainty into that claim and understands it as meaning that on the basis of current evidence and knowledge, professional scientists can reasonably conclude (with high probability) that Einsteinian physics is more accurate than Newtonian physics. In that sense, science has "researched and concluded the matter." Doesn't the same sort of thing happen in various schools of Islam? Some respected body of scholars issues a fatwa and reaches conclusions on various issues of concern to Muslims. The US's most elite body of scientists – the National Association of Science (membership only offered to the nation's most accomplished scientists) – has recently issued an institutional report endorsing the reality of global warming. That does represent an important consensus and speaks for the conclusions that "science" has established, as opposed to this or that scientist.

No, I specifically quoted a fatwa for you that explained that biological evolution stands or falls on the basis of scientific evidence.
Therefore, with respect to other living things, the Qur'ân and Sunnah neither confirm nor deny the theory of biological evolution or the process referred to as natural selection. The question of evolution remains purely a matter of scientific enquiry. The theory of evolution must stand or fall on its own scientific merits – and that means the physical evidence that either confirms the theory or conflicts with it.
What could be more clear than that?
A lot can be more clear. The fatwa seems to be saying: Islam takes no position on the theory of evolution in general, but it does take a position on the status of humans within that theory. You are willing to grant that theory of biological evolution stands or falls on the basis of the evidence gathered by practicing scientists. Please grant for the sake of argument that this evidence strongly supports the theory. Grant for example that the current evidence that chimpanzees and baboons directly evolved from a common ancestor is overwhelming. If so, than the current evidence also overwhelmingly establishes that humans and chimpanzees directly evolved from a common ancestor – as far as science is concerned, THE TWO CLAIMS ARE PRECISELY ON PAR. Both claims are equally supported by detailed genetic, fossil, geologic distribution, and morphological data – of exactly the same sort. And it is hardly appropriate to a priori insist that the two claims are not evidentially on par, without in detail addressing the evidence. So it doesn't make sense for you and the Fatwa committee of Shaykh Abdul-Wahhab At-Turayri to claim that it is fine for a Muslim to accept on the basis of science that chimps and baboons have a common ancestor, but they must not apply the same evidential standards to the claim that humans and chimps have a common ancestor. And then add – oh, by the way, good science and Islam can never lead to opposing, conflicting conclusions. But what is that supposed to mean when the fatwa is instructing Muslims to ignore scientific evidential standards if they support the conclusion that humans were not independently created by God. Yes Ansar, a lot can be made more clear.

Respectfully,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Woodrow
05-26-2006, 03:04 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl

Thus we find that, in the history of Islam, no knowledgeable Muslim has ever left Islam. The only cases we find of former Muslims are people who were never practicing Muslims in the first place, nor did they ever have a good understanding of Islam.


This is one of those unchallangable claims. Personaly, I agree with the intent of the claim. However, it is not a legitimate claim as written. As it is written, the answer is written within within the statement and the only validation of the fact is the statement itself. Although it is a good and I believe true statement, it is not written in a challangable or debatable form. The inference of the statement is that a knowledgable Muslim is one who never leaves the faith. Therefore by projection we come to the conclusion that if a person leaves the faith he is not a knowledgable Muslim.

In my round about way, I am saying that this is not a debatable statement.
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-26-2006, 08:46 PM
Hello Sharvy,
Originally Posted by sharvy
The way I put it is that science is not searching for certainty or absolute truth, but the most probable truth given our current state of evidence and knowledge. It not just searching for "ways of explaining observable phenomena in our universe." For example it is an axiom of philosophy of science that for any given dataset, there are theoretically an infinite number of competing hypotheses (or extrapolations) that will account for, and in that sense explain, the data. Each competing hypothesis is theoretically a "way" of explaining the given observations. But it is up to science to choose the best or better of those possible explanations.
It is up to scientists; science is not an entity that chooses, but I assume you meant scientists.
No, but it's fair to say that contemporary science and physics overwhelming rejects classical Newtonian physics as flawed and inaccurate. Properly understood, it's fair to say that contemporary physics has "concluded" as much – as long as one does not read certainty into that claim and understands it as meaning that on the basis of current evidence and knowledge, professional scientists can reasonably conclude (with high probability) that Einsteinian physics is more accurate than Newtonian physics. In that sense, science has "researched and concluded the matter."
The only thing we have concluded is that Newton was wrong, Huygens was wrong and everyone else was wrong. We still are searching for a better answer.
Doesn't the same sort of thing happen in various schools of Islam? Some respected body of scholars issues a fatwa and reaches conclusions on various issues of concern to Muslims.
In Islam there is no new evidence. In science new evidence comes up all the time.
The US's most elite body of scientists – the National Association of Science (membership only offered to the nation's most accomplished scientists) – has recently issued an institutional report endorsing the reality of global warming. That does represent an important consensus and speaks for the conclusions that "science" has established, as opposed to this or that scientist.
Global warming is a phenomenon, not a theory.
A lot can be more clear. The fatwa seems to be saying: Islam takes no position on the theory of evolution in general, but it does take a position on the status of humans within that theory.
What Islam says is something that science is incapable of either proving or disproving. Just like I cannot prove that I had a headache last week, it is impossible for us to make a definitive claim about a time from which we have no evidence. There is no scientific evidence that opposes the Islamic belief. There may be some scientists who do, but we need to be able to distinguish between what scientific evidence is, and what interpretations people draw from that.
You are willing to grant that theory of biological evolution stands or falls on the basis of the evidence gathered by practicing scientists. Please grant for the sake of argument that this evidence strongly supports the theory. Grant for example that the current evidence that chimpanzees and baboons directly evolved from a common ancestor is overwhelming. If so, than the current evidence also overwhelmingly establishes that humans and chimpanzees directly evolved from a common ancestor – as far as science is concerned, THE TWO CLAIMS ARE PRECISELY ON PAR.
But that is the problem. There is no way for scientists to determine whether Adam and Eve existed or not. They can note simmilarities between various species and construct phylogenetic trees to illustrate that, but it brings us no closer to determining whether Adam and Eve existed or not. The belief in Adam and Eve is not a scientific claim because it is neither verifiable nor falsifiable with scientific evidence.

Let's take an example from math. If I told you that part of a pattern was {...1,2,3...} you might assume that it is an arithmetic sequence and the next number is four. All evidence (current terms) we have support the notion that it is an arithmetic sequence. But they could just as likely be from the Fibonacci sequence. The first pattern is simpler so we might be inclined to accept it, but it can just as easily be wrong. So when you say that all the evidence supports the evolution of humans, what you mean is that so far there is no scientific evidence that contradicts it. I could say exactly the same thing with respect to the Islamic belief.
So it doesn't make sense for you and the Fatwa committee of Shaykh Abdul-Wahhab At-Turayri to claim that it is fine for a Muslim to accept on the basis of science that chimps and baboons have a common ancestor, but they must not apply the same evidential standards to the claim that humans and chimps have a common ancestor.
The evidence that we don't have for humans is speciation.
And then add – oh, by the way, good science and Islam can never lead to opposing, conflicting conclusions.
There is no good science or bad science. Science and scientific evidence does not contradict Islam. The opinion and ideas of some scientists may, but then again that is not immune to cultural influence either. Just consider the case of homosexuality.
But what is that supposed to mean when the fatwa is instructing Muslims to ignore scientific evidential standards if they support the conclusion that humans were not independently created by God.
No it does not say this at all.

Regards
Reply

sharvy
05-26-2006, 10:46 PM
Originally Posted by Woodrow
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl

Thus we find that, in the history of Islam, no knowledgeable Muslim has ever left Islam. The only cases we find of former Muslims are people who were never practicing Muslims in the first place, nor did they ever have a good understanding of Islam.


This is one of those unchallangable claims. Personaly, I agree with the intent of the claim. However, it is not a legitimate claim as written. As it is written, the answer is written within within the statement and the only validation of the fact is the statement itself. Although it is a good and I believe true statement, it is not written in a challangable or debatable form. The inference of the statement is that a knowledgable Muslim is one who never leaves the faith. Therefore by projection we come to the conclusion that if a person leaves the faith he is not a knowledgable Muslim.

In my round about way, I am saying that this is not a debatable statement.
:sl:
Hi Woodrow,

Naturally I agree with you. Suppose my friend Salim were to present Ansar with solid credentials of holding respectable ijazahs and a reputable PhD in Islamic theology, and then submit himself to interrogation. I am virtually certain that Ansar would find his reasons for rejecting Islam to be weak and absurd – because Ansar has already said as much. At that point one of two things would happen:

1. Ansar would accept the evidence that Salim really did receive a solid Muslim education and training but conclude that he never possessed eeman and was therefore not a genuine Islamic scholar. Or,

2. He might simply refuse to accept that Salim could have had the education and upbringing he claims – finding it highly implausible that a Muslim with such an upbringing could reject Islamic because he became an atheist. Since the claim that Salim had such an education is an "extrapolation" from the evidence, Ansar might well find it more plausible to extrapolate that Salim's credentials are an elaborate hoax. After all, it is possible that, for example, the CIA would try to poison Islam with such imposters and sow dissension, isn't it? (Just an example Ansar - I not claiming you would use it.)

I say "might", but I just don't know. But I am reasonably sure that Ansar will not accept any extrapolation from the evidence that would contradict his claim that a "knowledgeable" Muslim could reject Islam. I know that Ansar will be very cross with me for voicing these suspicions because he hasn't actually made such claims. He will protest that's he has no coherent idea why Salim left Islam. Be that as it may, from the extensive dialogue we've had on this topic, that's the way I see it.

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-27-2006, 03:44 AM
Hi Sharvy,
Originally Posted by sharvy
Ansar would accept the evidence that Salim really did receive a solid Muslim education and training but conclude that he never possessed eeman and was therefore not a genuine Islamic scholar.
But that wouldnn't have anything to do with my claim. My claim is that apostasy has occured from either ignorance or sociopolitical reasons and 1400 years of history testify to this. As for Salim, I would sincerely like to discuss with him to find out, first of all whether he exists, and secondly his reasons to know why he abandoned the religion to see whether it was from ignorance or sociopolitical reasons. So far the discussion has been
Ansar - Apostasy has only ever occured from ignorance or due to socipolitical reasons. The notion of an educated Muslim leaving Islam because they found it deficient is absolutely unheard of.
Sharvy - I know an ex-Muslim who was a very well educated Muslim with several degrees and qualifications and he left Islam becuase he thought it was flawed, so you're claim is wrong.
Ansar - Alright, what was his academic background and what were his reasons for leaving?
Sharvy - Well he knows his reasons best and as for his background, all I know is he has a lot of degrees, therefore he's a superduper Islamic scholar.
Ansar - That doesn't really contribute very much to the discussion, does it? I guess he's a null example then if we don't have the details.
That's how I see the discussion - we don't know if Salim contradicts my claim or not, you've just been asking 'What if he does...?' which is of no concern to me since it has not even been shown if he contradicts my claim or not. So this is why this debate hasn't gone anywhere and my original assertion has remained untouched.
He might simply refuse to accept that Salim could have had the education and upbringing he claims
His education would be evident from simple questions. I could only reject his claims if he was incapable of answering the questions and displayed obvious misconceptions about Islam.

Regards


:sl: br. Woodrow,
In my round about way, I am saying that this is not a debatable statement.
It would be debatable if someone could bring forward logical arguments or evidence to counter it. In this case, neither of the two have been done so yes, the discussion in this regard is futile.

:w:
Reply

Woodrow
05-27-2006, 04:15 AM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl


:sl: br. Woodrow,

It would be debatable if someone could bring forward logical arguments or evidence to counter it. In this case, neither of the two have been done so yes, the discussion in this regard is futile.

:w:
:sl: The only problem I really have with the discussion is the mechanics. But, in reality I have no suggestions as to what could be done to have brought abought genuine 2 way dialogue. My apologies, I violated one of my own rules, which is to never critique, unless I know I can provide a valid alternative.

However, I see the thread as being valuable and knowledge is being exchanged. Perhaps, that is the purpose of this thread, Inshallah

:w:
Reply

sharvy
05-27-2006, 07:20 AM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hi Sharvy,

But that wouldn't have anything to do with my claim. My claim is that apostasy has occurred from either ignorance or sociopolitical reasons and 1400 years of history testify to this. As for Salim, I would sincerely like to discuss with him to find out, first of all whether he exists, and secondly his reasons to know why he abandoned the religion to see whether it was from ignorance or sociopolitical reasons. So far the discussion has been
[indent]Ansar - Apostasy has only ever occurred from ignorance or due to socio-political reasons. The notion of an educated Muslim leaving Islam because they found it deficient is absolutely unheard of.
Sharvy - I know an ex-Muslim who was a very well educated Muslim with several degrees and qualifications and he left Islam because he thought it was flawed, so you're claim is wrong.
Ansar - Alright, what was his academic background and what were his reasons for leaving?
Sharvy - Well he knows his reasons best and as for his background, all I know is he has a lot of degrees, therefore he's a superduper Islamic scholar.
:sl:
Dear Ansar,

This is a shallow mischaracterization of what I’ve told you. I’ve told you specifically which degrees Salim holds: He has ijazah in hadith from Muhammad At-Thayib An-Naggar, and ijazah in usul al-fiqh from Badawi Abdul Latif 'Awadh – two prominent Islamic scholars on the faculty of al-Azar at the time. He also holds a PhD in Islamic theology from that same institution. Moreover, I’ve told you his reasons for leaving: they were intellectual and not socio-political. He left because due to his contemplation of science, philosophy, and the evidence, he gave up the Islamic conception of science, became an atheist and an evolutionist and found flaw in Islamic doctrine, such as the claim that Adam and Eve, if they existed, did not share a common ancestor with apes and chimpanzees. (It doesn’t matter if science can or cannot verify the specific existence of Adam and Eve. Contemporary evolutionary science is claiming that all humans alive today shared a common ancestor with chimps. On the Islamic doctrine, as described in the fatwa, that can’t possibly be true – there is a conflict. Salim and I are both convinced that the evidence for human speciation is just as strong as the evidence for chimp speciation – which is considerable indeed.) Now Ansar, I grant that you find these reasons flimsy and incomprehensible for someone who claims to have had a sound Islamic education – but nevertheless, that is what happened.

What do you think Woodrow? Have I given Ansar no detailed characterization as to what qualifications Salim had and why he left Islam? You seem like a fair-minded person.

There is another issue that I am interested in: if Salim comes forth and identifies himself publicly or privately to you Ansar, would you then have a religious obligation to notify his family in Egypt of his apostasy, if you are so able? Would his family then have an obligation to shun him?

Respectfully,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

sharvy
05-27-2006, 11:54 AM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hello Sharvy,

It is up to scientists; science is not an entity that chooses, but I assume you meant scientists.

The only thing we have concluded is that Newton was wrong, Huygens was wrong and everyone else was wrong. We still are searching for a better answer.
:sl:
Dear Ansar,

Who is the "we" here: some scientists, most scientists, a consensus? Isn't it a fact that scientists do reach consensus on some issues (though there may be still be stray defectors), thereby justifying a general claim to "know" something to be true? Also, if the scientific "we" can conclude that Newton was wrong, that same "we" has concluded that Aristotle and Ptolemy were wrong, but has also concluded that Galileo was right about the motion of the earth. We are not still searching "for a better answer" than this.

For example, we have known for at least the last two hundred years that the earth spins in orbit around the sun – moving in two distinct ways, spinning and following an orbital path. That fact was not generally "known" or accepted in 1400 or at the time of Mohammed pbuh. So even before we launched satellites into space and were able to visually see and confirm this movement, science, by consensus, confirmed and established that the movement of the earth is highly probable and therefore, a justified belief. So if 100 years ago, I asked an educated person why they are sure the earth spins, on your view what should their answer have been? Merely that some scientists have said so and have done experiments to support that hypothesis? Or, should this educated person point out that a tremendous amount of scientific data and research over the course of two hundred years has established that the earth does spin – forming a stable consensus in the scientific community of experts. Since this stable scientific consensus has concluded with a high degree of probability (what I call "practical certainty") that the earth spins, an educated person can reasonably accept the matter as settled for all practical purposes – settled enough to devote tremendous amount of time and resources and bet on it if necessary. Without a real scientific consensus of this sort, no educated person back then could have reasonably claimed to "know" that the earth spins and moves around the sun.

So just as there is currently a scientific consensus that Galileo was right about the earth's movement, there is also such a consensus that Darwin was largely right about speciation and natural selection, and that humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor. Hence a well-educated person can reasonably claim to know this truth.

Global warming is a phenomenon, not a theory.
Ansar, global warming is both a phenomenon AND a theory. Just as the fact that matter is composed of atoms is both a phenomenon and theory. There is much confusion over the word "theory" which is used different ways by different people. Generally, as used in science, evolution is just a theory, in the same way that the atomic theory of matter is just a theory, the Copernican theory of the solar system is just a theory, or the germ theory of disease is just a theory. But theories, are not simply hypotheses or hunches, and they're not unproven speculation. Theories are systems of explanations which are strongly supported by factual observations and which explain whole sets of facts and experimental results. If a theory becomes well-established and highly confirmed – educated people may then conclude that the substance of theory is probable truth and thereby accept the existence of the corresponding phenomena, believing, betting, and acting accordingly.

What Islam says is something that science is incapable of either proving or disproving. Just like I cannot prove that I had a headache last week, it is impossible for us to make a definitive claim about a time from which we have no evidence.
While many working scientists do in fact use the word "prove" and "proof", most contemporary philosophers of science avoid this language. We prefer to use the terms "confirm" and "disconfirm", where "confirm" means to gather or obtain evidence which raises the probability of a hypothesis (never absolute certainty), and "disconfirm" means to gather evidence that lowers its probability (without rendering it impossible). The concept of "proof" is essentially mathematical, relating to deductive logic, and dates back to Aristotle, when the paradigm of justified belief was a valid deductive argument or a mathematical "proof" in which the truth of the conclusion followed by necessity from the truth of the premises and axioms. Science essentially uses inductive, not deductive, logic – the truth of a scientific claim is never "proved" or disproved with deductive certainty but only with a degree of probability in relation to the strength of the premises, observation, or evidence. So, science cannot "prove" with anything like deductive or mathematical certainty that the earth is not a flat disk. After all photos can be faked, minds can be tampered with and influenced. No matter what evidence that a scientist puts forth to claim that the earth is not flat, there is a member of the flat earth society that would find a compatible hypothesis to explain away the contrary evidence. And the flat-earthers are right! Science can't "prove" the earth is flat, but it's a mistake to play the "proof" game to begin with. What science can do is to systematically bring overwhelming evidence to bear on the claim that the earth is flat, and render the claim highly improbable with no good reason to believe or bet on its truth.

So while you or science cannot "prove" you had a headache last week. You and other sources (e.g. a hidden video camera) can certainly provide people with evidence that would make it, all things considered, reasonable to believe that you in fact really did have a headache last week. In that sense, science can gather evidence to confirm and establish the likelihood of your claim.

Similarly, the evidence is considerable that the Grand Canyon existed a million years ago, even if no one was around to see it – you can bet on it. For example, tomorrow, if someone discovered an alien satellite with a detailed geological record of the planet earth for the past few million years, before the data was fully revealed I would be willing to bet all of my savings that the data would show that the canyon was there 750,000 years ago – that would be a very good bet indeed. So while science can't make a "definitive" claim in your sense; it doesn't have to. If only has to make reliable, well-supported claims to be useful and get its job done.

But that is the problem. There is no way for scientists to determine whether Adam and Eve existed or not. They can note similarities between various species and construct phylogenetic trees to illustrate that, but it brings us no closer to determining whether Adam and Eve existed or not. The belief in Adam and Eve is not a scientific claim because it is neither verifiable nor falsifiable with scientific evidence.
As I mentioned in a previous post, it doesn't matter if science can or cannot verify the specific existence of Adam and Eve. Contemporary evolutionary science is claiming that all humans alive today shared a common ancestor with today's chimps. On the Islamic doctrine, as described in the fatwa, that can't possibly be true – there is a conflict. Salim and I are both convinced that the evidence for human speciation is just as strong as the evidence for chimp speciation – which is considerable indeed. Is it or is it not Islamic doctrine that today's humans and today's chimps did not evolve from a common ancestor? If Islamic doctrine is claiming there is no such common ancestry, then whether or not science can identify Adam and Eve is irrelevant. That issue aside, evolutionary science can bring plenty of evidence to bear that that doctrine is probably mistaken.

Let's take an example from math. If I told you that part of a pattern was {...1,2,3...} you might assume that it is an arithmetic sequence and the next number is four. All evidence (current terms) we have support the notion that it is an arithmetic sequence. But they could just as likely be from the Fibonacci sequence. The first pattern is simpler so we might be inclined to accept it, but it can just as easily be wrong. So when you say that all the evidence supports the evolution of humans, what you mean is that so far there is no scientific evidence that contradicts it. I could say exactly the same thing with respect to the Islamic belief.
No I mean much more than "so far there is no scientific evidence that contradicts" the evolution of humans. Your Fibonacci analogy is flawed. Suppose I have a barrel that I know contains a million marbles that are either red or black – but cannot know the color before I choose a marble. Suppose I turn the barrel multiple times before and after each pick completely randomizing the pick of each marble. Mathematically if the first 100 marbles I pick are black, the odds go up the next marble I pick will be black. If I pick 1000 straight black marbles, the odds are much stronger that the next marble I pick will be black – and it becomes more probable (not certain) that all the marbles in the barrel are black. And supposed I picked 990,000 straight black marbles. According to your line of reasoning all I have established is that "so far, there is no evidence to contradict the claim that the all the marbles left in the barrel are black," suggesting that I cannot have confidence in anything more. Yet mathematically I would be willing to bet my life savings that all the other marbles are black. That would be a very good bet: statistically I would have more chance dying in traffic accident driving to the market this afternoon – something I intend to do. The next marble MIGHT be red, and I have no evidence to contradict that POSSIBILITY, but it would still be a very wise to bet against that. However betting my life's savings would have been a very bad bet after only 3 picks. There are good, strong inductive samples to support a conclusion and weak ones. The slim extract of the Fibonacci sequence you gave me was an extremely weak inductive sample and any extrapolation of the sequence would be highly risky. My point is that not all inductive extrapolations are so risky as you seem to be suggesting – and the amount of evidence one has in support of a hypothesis matters a great deal.

In the case of evolution, the evidence goes well beyond merely claiming, "there is no evidence to contradict" human evolution. If one compares the genetic profile of humans and other primates – especially the random genetic flaws passed down from the ancestors of our respective species - one develops a very clear picture of human evolution that INDEPENDENTLY corroborates the rather considerable fossil data. The evidence renders the case for human evolution highly probable.

There is no good science or bad science.
Of course there is good and bad science. The flat-earthers and psychics practice bad science all the time, making fundamental errors in experimental design and statistical inference.

Science and scientific evidence does not contradict Islam.
I sincerely believe you are mistaken, and I think the discussion above shows that unfortunately you have flawed understanding of science and scientific evidence.

Respectfully,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

i_m_tipu
05-27-2006, 12:38 PM
There is no such thing in science which can say any absolute thing
Remember one thing clearly there are no absolute scientific proof in science
It just a data today and tomorrow can be garbage.

The truest thing is we human (all kind of man) can never create a tinny instance of nature we just assemble the parts of nature and create something artificial.


Why don’t people understand we and the whole universe were created and science is still researching something which is compare to nothing (not a tiny single thing) in front of nature. Which created by Allaah (SWT)

How can we compare ourselves beside the God?

Many of science’s basic discover or idea taken from religion even thou how can they deny the existence of god.

Can’t they look the sky, the star, the moon……………..
How can they deny the universe is not controlled………

Can any doctor or any scientist absolutely says or recommended any medicine for any disease for 100% heal. Answer is nooooooo

There is no absolute thing in science. Science has to depend on nature.

Can they explain what is nature???????????
Reply

sharvy
05-27-2006, 01:04 PM
:sl:
Hi i_m_tipu,


Originally Posted by i_m_tipu
There is no such thing in science which can say any absolute thing.
Remember one thing clearly there are no absolute scientific proof in science
I agree with you completely. No competent scientist would disagree.

Regards,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

sharvy
05-27-2006, 01:13 PM
Originally Posted by Alpha Dude
:sl:

Emaan is, from the athiestic perspective, whether we like it or not, termed as "blind faith". Blind because they have quote-unqoute scientific proofs which undermine the basic tenets of all religions; thus demoting such beliefs to the depths of fallacy.

From the Islamic perspective, emaan is something that is given by Allah, once it enters the heart it will never leave. This emaan empowers a muslim with something called optimism, optimism in the face of everything.

To suggest then, that our friend Salim had emaan to begin with is pointless because he would have retained this optimism in the face of whatever he learnt from his stay in the States.

:w:
:sl:
Hi Alpha,

I agree with you that by definition Salim never had emaan (what is the accepted spelling of that anyway? Ansar spells it eeman), since otherwise he would and could not turn apostate. The question is, is it even possible that, as he claims, he has had a rigorous Islamic education and upbringing, have those advanced certifications and not have emaan? I am not asking if it is unlikely - I grant that statistically it is very unlikely - I just want to know if it is possible.

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

i_m_tipu
05-27-2006, 01:33 PM
Originally Posted by sharvy
:sl:

they were intellectual and not socio-political. He left because due to his contemplation of science, philosophy, and the evidence, he gave up the Islamic conception of science, became an atheist and an evolutionist and found flaw in Islamic doctrine, such as the claim that Adam and Eve, if they existed, did not share a common ancestor with apes and chimpanzees. (It doesn’t matter if science can or cannot verify the specific existence of Adam and Eve. Contemporary evolutionary science is claiming that all humans alive today shared a common ancestor with chimps. On the Islamic doctrine, as described in the fatwa, that can’t possibly be true – there is a conflict. Salim and I are both convinced that the evidence for human speciation is just as strong as the evidence for chimp speciation – which is considerable indeed.) Now Ansar, I grant that you find these reasons flimsy and incomprehensible for someone who claims to have had a sound Islamic education – but nevertheless, that is what happened.
sorry for Interrupt

well i m afraid i don't believe u
or may be u r telling something very rare

Leaving Islam is a very far word sharvy, I never see, heard or read any knowledgeable devout Muslims ever deny the peace they got from Islam.


I personally believe as vast as people expand their knowledge as more as they thing themselves as a creator or do something which challenge the God (Naujubillaah)
But Not those who have knowledge in DEAN

I do believe ur friend Salim does not have proper understand in DEAN …

Allahu Alim (Allaah knows best)
Reply

sharvy
05-27-2006, 01:49 PM
Originally Posted by i_m_tipu
sorry for Interrupt

well i m afraid i don't believe u
or may be u r telling something very rare

Leaving Islam is a very far word sharvy, I never see, heard or read any knowledgeable devout Muslims ever deny the peace they got from Islam.


I personally believe as vast as people expand their knowledge as more as they thing themselves as a creator or do something which challenge the God (Naujubillaah)
But Not those who have knowledge in DEAN

I do believe ur friend Salim does not have proper understand in DEAN …

Allahu Alim (Allaah knows best)
:sl:
Hi i_m_tipu

Since I knew him well and know him to be a completely trustworthy honerable person, for what it's worth, I believe him, and his story makes sense to my ear. But he has not publicized his apostasy or told his family and friends - he loves them and wants to maintain good relations.

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

i_m_tipu
05-27-2006, 01:54 PM
Originally Posted by sharvy
:sl:
Hi i_m_tipu

Since I knew him well and know him to be a completely trustworthy honerable person, for what it's worth, I believe him, and his story makes sense to my ear. But he has not publicized his apostasy or told his family and friends - he loves them and wants to maintain good relations.

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:

hello sharvy

But he has not publicized his apostasy or told his family and friends

do answer that he do not sure 100% what's he doing.
Reply

sharvy
05-27-2006, 02:13 PM
Originally Posted by i_m_tipu
hello sharvy

But he has not publicized his apostasy or told his family and friends

do answer that he do not sure 100% what's he doing.
:sl:
Hi i_m_tipu,

He was a close friend and colleague of mine years ago, but I recently got back in touch with him to verify his credentials and views, as Ansar requested of me. He never raised the apostasy issue; it was I who raised it because Ansar kept repeating that never in the history of Islam has one single "knowledgeable" Muslim ever left Islam. Well since I had considerable personal experience with Salim (not his real name), I decided to describe his case to this forum - because eeman aside, it seems to me that with 2 ijazahs and a PhD in Islamic theology from Al-Azar, that Salim is "knowledgeable". Well it turns out that by "knowledgeable" Ansar means something very complicated, including having eeman. In truth, as Woodrow pointed out there is no way to prove Salim's case one way or another - even if Salim were to publicly submit his credentials and submit to Ansar's interrogation. At best Ansar would conclude that Salim does not possess eeman - something we already know (since, after all, he is an acknowledged apostate) - and then Ansar would find that Salim doesn't count because he is not knowledgeable. There is no reason to submit Salim to these "tests"; the outcome is already known. As far as Salim himself, while he thinks that Islam, Christianity and other religions are all flawed, he does not hate religion, and simply does not make an issue of his apostasy. He especially does not want to upset friends and family back in Egypt. But I gather he is entirely comfortable with his choice to become an apostate and does not regret it.

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Abu Zakariya
05-27-2006, 03:30 PM
sharvy

Just curious...

Why did he leave Egypt?
Reply

sharvy
05-27-2006, 03:39 PM
Originally Posted by Abu Zakariya
sharvy

Just curious...

Why did he leave Egypt?
:sl:
Hi Abu

Salim took a position at a good American university teaching Islamic studies. Originally he intended the move to be temporary, but it didn't work out that way.

Regards,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Syed Nizam
05-27-2006, 03:48 PM
Hi Sharvy,

I've got just one point to highlight. To be knowledgable is not a pre-equisite of having the eeman (faith). Just for thought, i've read somewhere that there are a lot of Islamic Studies courses in the west which are taught by someone who is not a muslim. Yes, this man knows a lot of Islamic Theology (some of them even have a Phd.) but does that means he is a firm believer in Islam? I believe the answer to that will be a resounding NO. To be knowledgable is one thing, to have faith is another thing altogether.

Peace...
Reply

sharvy
05-27-2006, 04:04 PM
Originally Posted by Syed Nizam
Hi Sharvy,

I've got just one point to highlight. To be knowledgable is not a pre-equisite of having the eeman (faith). Just for thought, i've read somewhere that there are a lot of Islamic Studies courses in the west which are taught by someone who is not a muslim. Yes, this man knows a lot of Islamic Theology (some of them even have a Phd.) but does that means he is a firm believer in Islam? I believe the answer to that will be a resounding NO. To be knowledgable is one thing, to have faith is another thing altogether.

Peace...
:sl:
Hi Syed,

I cannot see into Salim's heart. All I know is that he told me that at the time he got his degree and took his first job in the US he was a "devout" practicing Muslim who was sincerely committed to Islam. He changed his mind gradually over the next several years. Since I always found him to be an honorable, kind, trustworthy, generous spirit, with no particular agenda against Islam, I personally believe him. But it seems clear from what I have learned in this forum, that since eeman is always permanent, whatever "faith" Salim did have was not eeman. That's all I know. But note that I originally raised the case of Salim because Ansar kept repeating that no "knowledgeable" Muslim ever left Islam. It seemed to me that regardless of the issue of faith, Saim was a knowledgeable Muslim who left Islam - rare though that may be.

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Syed Nizam
05-27-2006, 04:31 PM
Hi Sharvy,

Again, regarding this issue i've just wanted to highlight something. Since the inception of Islam itself, there are a lot of people who will comes out and making all sorts of statement that he is a muslim. It's a norm nowadays, to see someone with a muslim name, but, unfortunately never practised Islam at all. Their actions and beliefs is actually a direct contradiction of the teachings of Islam. How could someone professed of being a muslim if their action and thinking is exactly the opposite? For instances, i knew someone who actually thinks that in order to be civilised, one have got to literally abandoned some commandments in Islam. If this is the case, how could he declared himself to be as muslim anymore?

In a sense, what brother Ansar has said is true. No true muslim will ever be tempted to become apostate after having eeman in Islam. For a true muslim believes that this life is all about trials and tribulations, it's only temporary and the life in the hereafter is for eternity. Life is but a journey. Form God we come and towards God ultimately we must return. All of us is going to be held accountable for our action in this world by God in the day of Judgement. Therefore, the ultimate aim is to live a righteous way of life, to invoke God's blesing. That's the true essence of a true muslim. That's why, a true muslim would never have converted in the first place... for whatever price it might be.

Peace...
Reply

sharvy
05-27-2006, 04:59 PM
Originally Posted by Syed Nizam
Hi Sharvy,

Again, regarding this issue i've just wanted to highlight something. Since the inception of Islam itself, there are a lot of people who will comes out and making all sorts of statement that he is a muslim. It's a norm nowadays, to see someone with a muslim name, but, unfortunately never practised Islam at all. Their actions and beliefs is actually a direct contradiction of the teachings of Islam. How could someone professed of being a muslim if their action and thinking is exactly the opposite? For instances, i knew someone who actually thinks that in order to be civilised, one have got to literally abandoned some commandments in Islam. If this is the case, how could he declared himself to be as muslim anymore?

In a sense, what brother Ansar has said is true. No true muslim will ever be tempted to become apostate after having eeman in Islam. For a true muslim believes that this life is all about trials and tribulations, it's only temporary and the life in the hereafter is for eternity. Life is but a journey. Form God we come and towards God ultimately we must return. All of us is going to be held accountable for our action in this world by God in the day of Judgement. Therefore, the ultimate aim is to live a righteous way of life, to invoke God's blesing. That's the true essence of a true muslim. That's why, a true muslim would never have converted in the first place... for whatever price it might be.

Peace...
:sl:
Hi Syed,

I agree with you - Salim's case ultimately proves nothing which is one of the principal points I was trying to get across to Ansar. What's the point of challenging the world to show him one example of a "knowledgeable" Muslim who left Islam. Salim would be the first to agree that no practicing Muslim should abandon religion on his account. He has never deliberately encouraged anyone to abandon religion and become an atheist. His own reasons for leaving Islam were personal, complex, and unique. Perhaps he is damned and worse off, but he is making his choice with eyes wide-open.

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Abu Zakariya
05-27-2006, 06:51 PM
Originally Posted by sharvy
:sl:
Hi Abu

Salim took a position at a good American university teaching Islamic studies. Originally he intended the move to be temporary, but it didn't work out that way.

Regards,

Sharvy
:sl:
So they contacted him and offered him the job because of his Ph.D?
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-27-2006, 07:04 PM
Hello Sharvy
Originally Posted by sharvy
This is a shallow mischaracterization of what I’ve told you.
Not really. True, you have named two ijaazahs and two scholars, but saying something like "I have an ijaazah in usool al-fiqh" is like saying "I've studied biology" - it doesn't help very much since I've pointed out that they are not all the same.

As for his reasons you just denied them being sociopolitical you didn't really give me any details. And saying they were intellectual doesn't help because Salim had the same intellect before and after he moved to America. What in his education of science would cause someone with 100% certainty to toss it all in the trash? And look at what you just wrote in your most recent post:
His own reasons for leaving Islam were personal, complex, and unique.
That's essentially the same as the meaning of the statement I attributed to you. You're raising a null case - since you don't know his personal and complex reasons why are you using them as evidence? And you write:
Salim's case ultimately proves nothing which is one of the principal points I was trying to get across to Ansar.
I beg your pardon? Are you not the one who raised Salim's case as an example to challenge my claim, or am I speaking to a different Sharvy? Haven't I been the one all along saying that the argument over Salim was pointless and null and didn't prove anything?
he gave up the Islamic conception of science
No such thing. Islam is not interested in defining or analyzing science.
Contemporary evolutionary science is claiming that all humans alive today shared a common ancestor with chimps.
Again, you need to distinguish between what scientific evidence states and how we interpret the evidence. We need to examine the interpretations themselves to see which is stronger. I gave you the example of the arab practices and how non-muslims look at them as having been adopted by Muslims and Muslims look at them as having some remnants of the practices of prophet abraham and consequently confirmed by the Prophet pbuh.
Salim and I are both convinced that the evidence for human speciation is just as strong as the evidence for chimp speciation – which is considerable indeed.
When I mentioned speciation I was speaking about observed speciation.
There is another issue that I am interested in: if Salim comes forth and identifies himself publicly or privately to you Ansar, would you then have a religious obligation to notify his family in Egypt of his apostasy, if you are so able?
First of all, how could I notify his family? Why would he give me their contact information? Secondly, I probably would not since I can't see any benefit in it.

Originally Posted by sharvy
Who is the "we" here: some scientists, most scientists, a consensus?
The entire scientific community. Everyone is looking for an answer.
Isn't it a fact that scientists do reach consensus on some issues (though there may be still be stray defectors), thereby justifying a general claim to "know" something to be true?
There was a general consensus on the corpuscular theory. There was a general consensus on homosexuality being a psychological disorder. And there have been hundreds of other examples like these as well.
Also, if the scientific "we" can conclude that Newton was wrong, that same "we" has concluded that Aristotle and Ptolemy were wrong, but has also concluded that Galileo was right about the motion of the earth. We are not still searching "for a better answer" than this.
Because this is now observable. If we had a time machine then the existence of Adam and Eve would be observable too. We don't.
So if 100 years ago, I asked an educated person why they are sure the earth spins, on your view what should their answer have been?
His answer should have been to cithe scientific theories and describe what the scientific community believed at that point. It seems you are still under the false impression that I reject science or belittle the views of the scientific community, and that's not true at all. I am all for productivity and research in science, but I also emphasize that laymen should understand scientific methodology.
There is much confusion over the word "theory" which is used different ways by different people.
Yes there is, but I have never made such mistakes so this is a strawman.
Theories are systems of explanations which are strongly supported by factual observations and which explain whole sets of facts and experimental results.
Yes; they are the most parsimonious explanation in accordance with experimental evidence.
While many working scientists do in fact use the word "prove" and "proof", most contemporary philosophers of science avoid this language.
Not my argument again.
So while you or science cannot "prove" you had a headache last week. You and other sources (e.g. a hidden video camera) can certainly provide people with evidence that would make it, all things considered, reasonable to believe that you in fact really did have a headache last week.
Exactly! Yet we do not have a hidden video camera to provide evidence that I had a headache last week, nor do we have a hidden video camera to provide evidence that Adam and Eve existed millions of years ago. This is precisely the point. If one makes an assertion about such a period of time, that assertion can neither be verified nor falsified by scientific evidence, since we have none from that time.
That issue aside, evolutionary science can bring plenty of evidence to bear that that doctrine is probably mistaken.
This is the fallacy I have been mentioning. What evidence makes it less likely that Adam and Eve existed? Nothing of this nature exists. You're speaking about probability here but the truth of the matter is that we have no way of assesing on the basis of scientific evidence the probability of such an assertion.
No I mean much more than "so far there is no scientific evidence that contradicts" the evolution of humans. Your Fibonacci analogy is flawed. Suppose I have a barrel that I know contains a million marbles that are either red or black – but cannot know the color before I choose a marble. Suppose I turn the barrel multiple times before and after each pick completely randomizing the pick of each marble. Mathematically if the first 100 marbles I pick are black, the odds go up the next marble I pick will be black. If I pick 1000 straight black marbles, the odds are much stronger that the next marble I pick will be black – and it becomes more probable (not certain) that all the marbles in the barrel are black. And supposed I picked 990,000 straight black marbles.
The flaws in such an example should be obvious:
1. The reason why it is foolish to suggest that the next marble would be red is because it is massively improbable for a red marble not to show up in the first 990 000 outcomes if there are any red marbles in the barrel. but what does that correspond to when we come back to the case of Adam and Eve?? That if they existed there is almost 100% probability that we should have discovered their bones or something by now? That's just nonsense. People who claim that Adam and Eve existed are not clinging to a remote probability that out of a 'barrel' of scientific evidence we have nearly exhausted there must be a single piece establishing the existed of Adam and Eve - on the contrary we're making an assertion about a time period for which we have no scientific evidence.
2. The other problem with your analogy is that, as I alluded to in the first point, you are hinting that there is a finite quantity of ALL scientific evidence which we have almost exhausted. If there are a billion marble in the barrel then we haven't even scratched the surface of a single one. It's like if someone asserts that there was a unique golden fish somewhere in the world a million years ago, and a fisherman says, "I go fishing everyday and I haven't come across anything like that".
3. There is also the implict notion in your analogy that scientists never cling to remote probabilities. That's also incorrect. Just consider the project of the University of California, called Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI); they attempt to analyze the radio telescope data coming in from space to detect signals from extraterrestrial life forms. The probability of detecting such signals out of the massive, vast universe of signals is next to nothing, and yet they engage in this project. How about a more familiar example? Evolutionists agree that the mathematical probabilities involved in abiogenesis are also next to nothing, yet most assert that it happened.
4. Lastly, you've provided me with an example of probability whereas it doesn't apply at all to the case of belief in Adam and Eve. Is there any conceivable way for us to assess the probability of their existence? No, there is not. There are an infinite number of possibilities, we have no way of knowing what is the reality solely on the basis of scientific evidence. In this regard especially, my example was a dozen times more accurate as there is no way for us to asses the probability of whether the sequence we have been presented with is the fibonacci sequence or an arithmetic sequence or perhaps any of a number of more complex sequences or series. Here's another: {1, 2, 3, 3.75, 4.21875, 4.482421875...}. This is a much better analogy because for each piece of evidence (numerical term) there are an infinite number of possibilties as opposed to two (red and black) and there are a number of possible patterns, in science we would incline towards the most parsimonious of them.
The slim extract of the Fibonacci sequence you gave me was an extremely weak inductive sample and any extrapolation of the sequence would be highly risky.
Would it make a difference if you knew 1000 terms of a sequence and yet there were still dozens of possibilties? Consider this example:
If I say that the expression n^2 +n + 41 generates a prime number when n is the set of positive integers, you could start testing the formula out and you woud find out that it works flawlessly.. until you get to 41, at which point it fails. One might be inclined to think that if an expression works for forty terms it is most probable that it will continue to work, but that's not applicable here since this isn't an issue of probability.

And that is why the example I gave with the fibonacci sequence was a suitable example. And consider that compared to the ocean of scientific evidence awaiting us, we have barely scratched the surface - comparable to knowing three terms out of a sequence.
In the case of evolution, the evidence goes well beyond merely claiming, "there is no evidence to contradict" human evolution. If one compares the genetic profile of humans and other primates – especially the random genetic flaws passed down from the ancestors of our respective species - one develops a very clear picture of human evolution that INDEPENDENTLY corroborates the rather considerable fossil data. The evidence renders the case for human evolution highly probable.
Do genetic simmilarities mean that it is any more probable that creation is false? No they do not. What then is the position on the theory of evolution? Consider another example; Suppose we know that the following ordered pairs are generated by a function: (1,1), (9,1), (13,1), (17,1), (29,1), (41,1), (101,1). One may make a fair conclusion that the function in question is simply f(x)=1. We would find numerous more points to support this and it would seem to work very well, but the reality of the matter might be that the function is f(x)=sin(90x) [degrees]. Just like the first function, the theory of evolution can be very helpful to explain many aspects of biology and allow us to analyse others with greater precision. It should be taken for what it is - a scientific tool, not a statement in the interest of truth. Scientists know now that classical physics is flawed and contradicts experimental evidence - but it is still used everywhere and still taught in the education system. We trust it enough for the construction of all modern architecture, the design of all new innovative technologies, the latest plans for space exploration, and so on. Why? because on the macroscopic level it works. It is a scientific tool. Currently scientists are racing to discover a 'grand unifying theory' which will put all these tools together in a coherent fashion.
Of course there is good and bad science. The flat-earthers and psychics practice bad science all the time, making fundamental errors in experimental design and statistical inference.
I would refer to that as misapplication and misunderstanding of science, but if that is what you meant, then we agree.
I sincerely believe you are mistaken, and I think the discussion above shows that unfortunately you have flawed understanding of science and scientific evidence.
Ditto.

In your subsequent posts you've repeated things that I feel I have answered before and in this post.

Peace
Reply

sharvy
05-27-2006, 08:29 PM
Originally Posted by Abu Zakariya
So they contacted him and offered him the job because of his Ph.D?
:sl:
Abu, I really don't know the details of that. Maybe the American university was looking for a entry-level Islamic scholar and contacted someone at Al Azar who then recommended Salim - that would be a typical scenario. I'm happy to ask him if you really want to know.

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

sharvy
05-28-2006, 07:15 AM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
"There is another issue that I am interested in: if Salim comes forth and identifies himself publicly or privately to you Ansar, would you then have a religious obligation to notify his family in Egypt of his apostasy, if you are so able?" Sharvy

First of all, how could I notify his family? Why would he give me their contact information? Secondly, I probably would not since I can't see any benefit in it.
:sl:
Dear Ansar

I notice you used the word "probably" - so there the chance that depending on how your discussion with Salim went, that you might feel obligated to protect Salim's family from his apostasy if you could. And isn't there a real possibility that in checking on Salim's credentials at Al-Azar and making certain people there aware of his apostasy, that they might know the family and feel obligated to contact them - to protect them?

Sincerely,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

sharvy
05-28-2006, 08:51 AM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hello Sharvy

“Salim's case ultimately proves nothing which is one of the principal points I was trying to get across to Ansar.” Sharvy

I beg your pardon? Are you not the one who raised Salim's case as an example to challenge my claim, or am I speaking to a different Sharvy? Haven't I been the one all along saying that the argument over Salim was pointless and null and didn't prove anything?
:sl:
Dear Ansar,

You win the challenge! I concede that it is absolutely true that no “knowledgeable” Muslim has ever in the history of Islam left Islam and become an apostate. [Of course it is also true that any apostate, by definition does not possess eeman and by your definition of “knowledgeable” cannot possibly count as knowledgeable.]

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

sharvy
05-28-2006, 09:21 AM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hello Sharvy

“So if 100 years ago, I asked an educated person why they are sure the earth spins, on your view what should their answer have been?” Sharvy

His answer should have been to cite scientific theories and describe what the scientific community believed at that point.
:sl:
Dear Ansar,

Ok, then by that reasoning, an educated person in 2006 should be sure that humans and chimps evolved from a common ancestor – because that’s exactly what “the scientific community” believes today. Right?

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Abu Zakariya
05-28-2006, 12:17 PM
Originally Posted by sharvy
:sl:
Abu, I really don't know the details of that. Maybe the American university was looking for a entry-level Islamic scholar and contacted someone at Al Azar who then recommended Salim - that would be a typical scenario. I'm happy to ask him if you really want to know.

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:
Well, this is kinda off topic, so if you do get around to ask him (and you don't have to) then you can PM me the answer.
Reply

sharvy
05-29-2006, 03:25 PM
Originally Posted by sharvy
:sl:

Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hello Sharvy

“So if 100 years ago, I asked an educated person why they are sure the earth spins, on your view what should their answer have been?” (Sharvy)

His answer should have been to cite scientific theories and describe what the scientific community believed at that point. (Ansar)


Dear Ansar,

Ok, then by that reasoning, an educated person in 2006 should be sure that humans and chimps evolved from a common ancestor – because that’s exactly what “the scientific community” believes today. Right?

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:
:sl:
Hello Ansar,

Has the infidel got your tongue?

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:

[Sorry, couldn't resist. For those of you less familiar with English, this jest is a derivation of a common expression one says to a person who you expect to speak, but for some reason doesn't: "Has the cat got your tongue?"]
Reply

sharvy
05-29-2006, 03:53 PM
Originally Posted by Abu Zakariya
Well, this is kinda off topic, so if you do get around to ask him (and you don't have to) then you can PM me the answer.
:sl:
Hi Abu -

Unfortunately I do not have the requisite standing to send you a private message (one needs 50 posts), so I will publicly post what Salim told me:


Salim says that a former Al-Azar colleague was teaching at an Islamic studies program connected to a mosque in a big US city. He was returning to Egypt and the mosque needed a replacement. Salim's English was already very good (he comes from a well-to-do Cairo family) but he wanted to improve it and see the US. He only intended to stay a year or two, but in addition to teaching at the mosque, he started taking classes at a nearby university. He then saw a posting for an assistant professor, non tenure-track position in an Arabic-Islamic studies program at that same university. He was encouraged to apply and was accepted. Keep in mind that this all happened many years ago.

Peace,
Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-29-2006, 04:30 PM
Hello Sharvy,
Originally Posted by sharvy
Has the infidel got your tongue?
No, but I have dozens of threads like this one to respond to daily in additions to the large number of private messages I recieve, plus the time I can spend on the forum is obviously limited, so I do request some patience from those awaiting a response from me.

In addition, since you responded to only one or two sentences from my post, I wasn't sure if you were going to go back and respond to all my arguments, so I decided to respond to some of the other threads first.
Originally Posted by sharvy
I notice you used the word "probably" - so there the chance that depending on how your discussion with Salim went, that you might feel obligated to protect Salim's family from his apostasy if you could.
I would have said definitely instead of probably but I am in no position to make a statement of absolute certainty on a future event, but I can say that it is massively unlikely that I would contact anyone if I could since I don't see any benefit in that.
And isn't there a real possibility that in checking on Salim's credentials at Al-Azar
I wouldn't care to check- his education would be evident from conversation. I would just be interested in dialoguing with him.
Originally Posted by sharvy
You win the challenge! I concede that it is absolutely true that no “knowledgeable” Muslim has ever in the history of Islam left Islam and become an apostate.
Although that's not quite what I've been saying.
Originally Posted by sharvy
His answer should have been to cite scientific theories and describe what the scientific community believed at that point.
Ok, then by that reasoning, an educated person in 2006 should be sure that humans and chimps evolved from a common ancestor – because that’s exactly what “the scientific community” believes today. Right?
1. I've explained in my previous post why the analogy isn't complete
2. I never said anything about what the person should believe; I said they should point out the views amongst the scientific community and describe where they are still looking for answers.

Regards
Reply

sharvy
05-29-2006, 07:39 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hello Sharvy,

Originally Posted by sharvy

"So if 100 years ago, I asked an educated person why they are sure the earth spins, on your view what should their answer have been?" (Sharvy)

His answer should have been to cite scientific theories and describe what the scientific community believed at that point. (Ansar)

Ok, then by that reasoning, an educated person in 2006 should be sure that humans and chimps evolved from a common ancestor – because that's exactly what "the scientific community" believes today. Right? (Sharvy)

1. I've explained in my previous post why the analogy isn't complete
2. I never said anything about what the person should believe; I said they should point out the views amongst the scientific community and describe where they are still looking for answers. (Ansar)

Regards
:sl:
Dear Ansar,

Sorry, but I am still not clear on your position. I did not directly speak of what someone "should believe", I was speaking about what someone is justified in assigning a high probability to – what they can reasonably be sure of given the available evidence. Please be clear and direct:

100 years ago, was an educated person justified in assigning a high probability to the claim that the earth spins and orbits the sun? (All other things equal) wouldn't betting for that claim have been more sure to win money than betting against it?

Would they have been rational and justified in betting good money that (if and when it happened) air and space travel would observe and confirm this spin? Suppose the bet were made just before the launch of the first satellite.

__Simply pointing out what the views of the scientific community are doesn't make the obvious connection between those views and probable truth – a point you are studiously trying to evade or ignore.__

Betting against the claim that the earth spins would have been foolish indeed – given the evidence and views of science. Keep in mind that in effect science makes such "bets" all the time. Governments do not spend billions of dollars and put tremendous resources into space programs and atom smashers without pretty firm evidence that the odds are in their favor for receiving a substantial payoff in either scholarly or economic terms.

If you want to deny there is a connection between scientific consensus and probable truth then your view of science is extremely radical and out of touch with the current consensus conception of science in both science and philosophy of science. The analogy between Newton's corpuscular theory of light and psychoanalytic views of homosexuality is weak at best: however well-confirmed corpuscular theory in fact was, it never equaled the level of confirmation supporting the heliocentric view of the solar system by the start of the 20th century. For one thing heliocentrism stood the test of time a lot longer. No competent physicist, including Newton himself, was ever as certain of that claim (or the ether theory) as a competent professional astronomer was of the claim the earth spins by 1906. That said, while irrational to "bet the farm," at some point betting for the corpuscular view of light was probably a better bet than betting against it (or betting for today's quantum approach). But the fact that it turned out to be wrong doesn't mean it was a bad or irrational bet at the time. Moreover, whatever consensus the psychoanalytic view of homosexuality enjoyed, psychoanalysis was never a true science, and its results in terms of probability and justified belief were never on as solid ground as either heliocentrism or evolution is today. I sincerely doubt any competent psychoanalyst would have bet his house on truth of Freudian theory the way any astronomer or physicist would bet his house on the claim the earth spins today. So there is "consensus" and "consensus" – some more time-tested and better supported than others. For example, I believe there is a consensus that humans probably evolved in Africa before migrating to other continents – but while this may be the strongest supported theory of human evolution, and enjoys a consensus, no paleo-anthropologist would put that theory on par with heliocentrism or the theory that chimps and humans share a common ancestor.

Eighty percent of all the scientists that ever lived are alive today. The capacity of science to gather evidence, do experiments and confirm data has dramatically increased in the past century – meaning that with more scientists and more rigorous research and testing, the time between hypothesis and well-confirmed theory is growing ever shorter.

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-30-2006, 04:06 PM
Hi Sharvy,
I've tried to find something in your above post which I haven't responded to before, but I haven't been able to. I don't see any benefit in repetition - do you?
"Probable truth" ? I've already addressed the issue of probability in my response to your marble analogy and I've shown why it was flawed. I've given more examples on interpretation of scientific evidence as well, and I responded to the issue of science and truth. I've responded to other analogies by pointing out the direct evidence cases and indirect evidence cases. I think you should research the consensus enjoyed by many theories in science that are no longer used. Light was one example, there's also gravity and pretty much all of classical physics.
Eighty percent of all the scientists that ever lived are alive today. The capacity of science to gather evidence, do experiments and confirm data has dramatically increased in the past century – meaning that with more scientists and more rigorous research and testing, the time between hypothesis and well-confirmed theory is growing ever shorter.
I have great hope in science; it has done wonderful things for us and will continue to do so by God's grace. But we should never forget what its focus is and what it isn't.

Regards
Reply

sharvy
05-30-2006, 08:17 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Hi Sharvy,
I've tried to find something in your above post which I haven't responded to before, but I haven't been able to. I don't see any benefit in repetition - do you?
:sl:
Dear Ansar,

You did not answer the following question:

100 years ago, was an educated person justified in assigning a high probability to the claim that the earth spins and orbits the sun? (All other things equal) wouldn't betting for that claim have been more sure to win money than betting against it?

A simple "yes" or "no" will do. Unfortunately I truly do not know what your response to this question is from your previous posts.

Regards,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-30-2006, 09:06 PM
Originally Posted by sharvy
You did not answer the following question:
Yes, I believe I did. This is the probability issue which I answered in great detail with your marble analogy and in response to other comments of yours.
100 years ago, was an educated person justified in assigning a high probability to the claim that the earth spins and orbits the sun?
Didn't I explain why this isn't analogous to the biological evolution of human beings? The above example is speaking of a current phenomenon - it is possible to get direct evidence for the earth's rotation and orbit. But what direct evidence can there be to show that Adam and Eve never existed? I think it would be very misguided for someone to think of biological evolution in terms of probability.
(All other things equal) wouldn't betting for that claim have been more sure to win money than betting against it?
Obviously now we can say with certainty, yes it would have. But who gambles with their beliefs? Stephen Hawking made a bet in astrophysics and lost.

Secondly, as I mentioned before the evidence in question is different here. Determining the existence of Adam and Eve is beyond scientific evidence.

Thirdly, for a non-muslim to believe that the theory of evolution is the most likely theory is up to them. On the other hand, rejecting faith and one's previously firm and absolute conviction on such a basis seems very suspicious and suggests that there was more to it than that.

Regards
Reply

sharvy
05-31-2006, 03:07 PM
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
“You did not answer the following question:

100 years ago, was an educated person justified in assigning a high probability to the claim that the earth spins and orbits the sun? A simple "yes" or "no" will do.” (Sharvy)

Yes, I believe I did. This is the probability issue which I answered in great detail with your marble analogy and in response to other comments of yours. Didn't I explain why this isn't analogous to the biological evolution of human beings? The above example is speaking of a current phenomenon - it is possible to get direct evidence for the earth's rotation and orbit. But what direct evidence can there be to show that Adam and Eve never existed? I think it would be very misguided for someone to think of biological evolution in terms of probability. (Ansar)
:sl:
Dear Ansar,

Geez Loueez, you call discussing the marble case equivalent to giving me a straight “yes” or “no” answer to that question!? Why, oh why, do you insist on being so evasive – are you worried that a specific direct answer will prove embarrassing to your view?

Look, Ansar, you are the first Islamic scholar that I ever had a discussion with about Islam. For some reason you often avoid direct answers to questions and use the standard politician’s tactic of answering a question I never asked, or indirectly answering by making an analogy that you think is relevant and I don’t. Then when I (or the reporter) tries to zero in on the issue, you use the typical politician’s response: “but I already addressed that issue”. I have no idea whether this style of discussion is a personal eccentricity on your part, or a cultural Islamic mode of “discussing” an issue. But is frustrating from a Western academic discussion point of view – if you were defending a Masters or PhD thesis at a university you would never receive your degree with that kind of rambling, indirect kind of response. This “defending a thesis” mode is the primary mode of academic discussion in all disciplines (in the West at least).

As I pointed out, earlier – at least twice - whether or not science can or cannot confirm or disconfirm the existence of Adam and Eve is completely irrelevant to the scientific case for human evolution, yet you keep raising the issue. An analogy: suppose John claims that (a) his grandfather Richard once had a real genuine American dime that was minted in 1892. Let’s grant there is no way to DIRECTLY confirm or disconfirm the existence of this particular dime. Ok, fine, science has nothing to say on this dime one way or the other, i.e. about claim (a) – there were indeed American dimes minted in 1892. But suppose John then makes the following claim about Richard’s dime: not only was the dime minted in 1892, but (b) that coin was minted in Puerto Rico! Well (I’m very sure) that (c) there has never been a US mint in Puerto Rico, which is something that science and/or historical research can confirm with a high degree of consensus and probability. So if John and Richard are right, then the scientific/historical consensus is plain wrong about the existence of a Puerto Rican American mint. On the other hand, if science is right, then John and Richard must be wrong about either (a) the claim that Richard had a real American dime minted in 1892, or (b) the Puerto Rican claim - one or the other. ***But the point is that if we grant the truth of (a), then science CAN strongly disconfirm the truth of the Richard’s Puerto Rican claim - he must likely be wrong about that– EVEN IF SCIENCE CANNOT DIRECTLY CONFIRM OR DISCONFIRM THE EXISTENCE OF THIS PARTICULAR DIME!!!*** The dime may or may not exist, but if it does, it is as sure as death and taxes that it wasn’t made in Puerto Rico. I am not sure how familiar you are with formal logic, but the truth of (c) is inconsistent with the joint truth of (a) and (b), but in isolation, (c) is logically consistent with (a) and in isolation (c) is logically consistent with (b). So whether or not science can establish the truth of (c) is completely irrelevant to the ability to establish the existence of this particular dime.


Extending this analogy to the case of Adam and Eve: there are two claims made in the fatwa: (a) that Adam and Eve existed and all humans today descended from Adam and Eve, and (b) that Adam and Eve were created independently and directly by God, and were not the result of evolution from non-human ancestors. Let’s call the conjunction of (a) and (b), “the Islamic position” on Adam and Eve. As you say (or as I am willing to grant for the sake of argument), science has nothing to say about (a) in isolation. But science does have something important to say about (c): all humans today evolved from non-human ancestors. In terms of formal logic, the truth of (c) is logically inconsistent with the truth of “the Islamic position” as described above; but (c) is consistent with (a) in isolation, and (c) is consistent with (b) in isolation. It is an unfortunate fact for the Islamic position that as a raw fact describing scientific consensus in 2006 (and not just any consensus but STRONG consensus) rigorous, scientific research and testing strongly confirms the truth of (c) human evolution from non-human ancestors. Thus, insofar as we grant the truth of (a), on pain of logical contradiction ***science can strongly disconfirm the truth of (b) that Adam and Eve were independently created by God, and not the result of evolution from non-human ancestors – the Islamic position must be wrong about that – EVEN IF SCIENCE CANNOT DIRECTLY CONFIRM OR DISCONFIRM THE EXISTENCE OF ADAM AND EVE IN PARTICULAR!!!***

So just as the scientific provability of the existence of Richard’s dime is completely irrelevant to science’s ability to establish that Richard and John are wrong about their claim (b), the scientific provability of the existence of Adam and Eve is completely irrelevant to science’s ability to establish that the Islamic position as described is wrong.

I hope I have made myself more clear.

Obviously now we can say with certainty, yes [betting the earth spins] would have [been a good bet].
First of all, it is false that we can now say with “certainty” that the earth spins – we can only make the claim with high probability – after all, for all we know it is POSSIBLE that aliens are messing with our brains and deliberately deceiving us about the spin of the earth. Science has not disproved that possibility.

Secondly, I did not ask you whether the bet would have been good “now”, IN HINDSIGHT; I specifically asked if it would have been rational for a well-educated, scientifically literate person to take that bet 100 years ago – on the basis of what was known then. So you still have not answered the question.

But who gambles with their beliefs? Stephen Hawking made a bet in astrophysics and lost.
“Who gambles with their beliefs?” What about your case of Hawkings?

Besides, as I pointed out, science and government take such gambles all the time, whenever they fund a major project such as a super collider or choose the moon titan for a major expedition versus some other moon. These choices are all made on basis of largely indirect evidence based on an analysis of probabilities. They a gambles or “bets” in my sense of the term. In my sense of the word: if they get no valuable results, they “lose” the bet and waste money, time, and other resources. If the probe to Titan breaks or is destroyed before finishing the mission, the taxpayer and the government loses the bet. When you drive your car to market, you bet on your belief that the action is safe and will not result in death or injury. A neighbor of mine lost that bet last week – but it was still a good bet and rational for him to set out for the store.

And Hawkings lost his bet. Sooooo….? What are we supposed to conclude – that it was an irrational or bad bet? That there is no such thing as a rational bet to begin with? What Ansar? Be clear and direct.

For example, Ansar, in the case of the marbles, if the first 950,000 marbles (out of 1 million) were black, assuming you had confidence that the setup was fair, would you personally bet 10 euros that the next marble would also be black? But suppose you made that bet and by pure chance, against all odds, the very next marble was the lone red marble out of the million. Well then, in that case you predicted that the next marble would be black, BUT YOU WERE WRONG. What should we conclude – that the bet was stupid or irrational? Or should we say that despite the fact that you lost the bet, it was a very rational thing to do because the odds were heavily in your favor?

Thirdly, for a non-muslim to believe that the theory of evolution is the most likely theory is up to them.
What we should be telling our children – Muslim or not – that whether or not they believe that matter is composed of atoms is entirely up to them? After all, no one has ever directly seen an atom or an electron – their existence is just an extrapolation from indirect evidence. Or, hey kids, whether or not you believe the earth is over 10,000 years old is entirely up to you. Sure, almost every scientist alive happens to believe that – but, hey, we don’t have any pictures or direct observations to go by – so it’s all a matter of whose opinion you want to accept.

That’s a great educational policy.

Peace,

Sharvy
:sl:
Reply

Ansar Al-'Adl
05-31-2006, 04:34 PM
Originally Posted by sharvy
Look, Ansar, you are the first Islamic scholar that I ever had a discussion with about Islam.
I'm not an Islamic scholar.

I won't waste my time with your ad hominem comments, or your assumptions about dialogue in so-called "Islamic culture".
Well (I’m very sure) that (c) there has never been a US mint in Puerto Rico, which is something that science and/or historical research can confirm with a high degree of consensus and probability.
What can science confirm that contradicts the Islamic position on Adam and Eve?
Extending this analogy to the case of Adam and Eve: there are two claims made in the fatwa: (a) that Adam and Eve existed and all humans today descended from Adam and Eve, and (b) that Adam and Eve were created independently and directly by God, and were not the result of evolution from non-human ancestors. Let’s call the conjunction of (a) and (b), “the Islamic position” on Adam and Eve. As you say (or as I am willing to grant for the sake of argument), science has nothing to say about (a) in isolation. But science does have something important to say about (c): all humans today evolved from non-human ancestors. In terms of formal logic, the truth of (c) is logically inconsistent with the truth of “the Islamic position” as described above; but (c) is consistent with (a) in isolation, and (c) is consistent with (b) in isolation. It is an unfortunate fact for the Islamic position that as a raw fact describing scientific consensus in 2006 (and not just any consensus but STRONG consensus) rigorous, scientific research and testing strongly confirms the truth of (c) human evolution from non-human ancestors. Thus, insofar as we grant the truth of (a), on pain of logical contradiction ***science can strongly disconfirm the truth of (b) that Adam and Eve were independently created by God, and not the result of evolution from non-human ancestors – the Islamic position must be wrong about that – EVEN IF SCIENCE CANNOT DIRECTLY CONFIRM OR DISCONFIRM THE EXISTENCE OF ADAM AND EVE IN PARTICULAR!!!***
This is simply laughable - all you've said is:
-Islam says humans descended from Adam and Eve, created by God
-science says humans evolved from non-human ancestors
-therefore, Islam is false

No you've chosen to ignore entirely ALL my points about scientific evidence, the function of science, interpretations and extrapolations, etc. etc. So if you want to ignore all that, what do you want me to do? I've already answered this and explained why science hasn't said anything, but from the scientifc evidence we have gathered to date, scientists have made such an extrapolation. You clearly are not here for dialogue if after 47 posts you still haven't considered a word I've said. I mean just look at this:
For example, Ansar, in the case of the marbles, if the first 950,000 marbles (out of 1 million) were black, assuming you had confidence that the setup was fair, would you personally bet 10 euros that the next marble would also be black? But suppose you made that bet and by pure chance, against all odds, the very next marble was the lone red marble out of the million. Well then, in that case you predicted that the next marble would be black, BUT YOU WERE WRONG. What should we conclude – that the bet was stupid or irrational? Or should we say that despite the fact that you lost the bet, it was a very rational thing to do because the odds were heavily in your favor?
You repeated the marble analogy again. Do you want me to just re-paste my criticism again too?
Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
The flaws in such an example should be obvious:
1. The reason why it is foolish to suggest that the next marble would be red is because it is massively improbable for a red marble not to show up in the first 990 000 outcomes if there are any red marbles in the barrel. but what does that correspond to when we come back to the case of Adam and Eve?? That if they existed there is almost 100% probability that we should have discovered their bones or something by now? That's just nonsense. People who claim that Adam and Eve existed are not clinging to a remote probability that out of a 'barrel' of scientific evidence we have nearly exhausted there must be a single piece establishing the existed of Adam and Eve - on the contrary we're making an assertion about a time period for which we have no scientific evidence.
2. The other problem with your analogy is that, as I alluded to in the first point, you are hinting that there is a finite quantity of ALL scientific evidence which we have almost exhausted. If there are a billion marble in the barrel then we haven't even scratched the surface of a single one. It's like if someone asserts that there was a unique golden fish somewhere in the world a million years ago, and a fisherman says, "I go fishing everyday and I haven't come across anything like that".
3. There is also the implict notion in your analogy that scientists never cling to remote probabilities. That's also incorrect. Just consider the project of the University of California, called Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI); they attempt to analyze the radio telescope data coming in from space to detect signals from extraterrestrial life forms. The probability of detecting such signals out of the massive, vast universe of signals is next to nothing, and yet they engage in this project. How about a more familiar example? Evolutionists agree that the mathematical probabilities involved in abiogenesis are also next to nothing, yet most assert that it happened.
4. Lastly, you've provided me with an example of probability whereas it doesn't apply at all to the case of belief in Adam and Eve. Is there any conceivable way for us to assess the probability of their existence? No, there is not. There are an infinite number of possibilities, we have no way of knowing what is the reality solely on the basis of scientific evidence. In this regard especially, my example was a dozen times more accurate as there is no way for us to asses the probability of whether the sequence we have been presented with is the fibonacci sequence or an arithmetic sequence or perhaps any of a number of more complex sequences or series. Here's another: {1, 2, 3, 3.75, 4.21875, 4.482421875...}. This is a much better analogy because for each piece of evidence (numerical term) there are an infinite number of possibilties as opposed to two (red and black) and there are a number of possible patterns, in science we would incline towards the most parsimonious of them.

Would it make a difference if you knew 1000 terms of a sequence and yet there were still dozens of possibilties? Consider this example:
If I say that the expression n^2 +n + 41 generates a prime number when n is the set of positive integers, you could start testing the formula out and you woud find out that it works flawlessly.. until you get to 41, at which point it fails. One might be inclined to think that if an expression works for forty terms it is most probable that it will continue to work, but that's not applicable here since this isn't an issue of probability.

And that is why the example I gave with the fibonacci sequence was a suitable example. And consider that compared to the ocean of scientific evidence awaiting us, we have barely scratched the surface - comparable to knowing three terms out of a sequence.

Do genetic simmilarities mean that it is any more probable that creation is false? No they do not. What then is the position on the theory of evolution? Consider another example; Suppose we know that the following ordered pairs are generated by a function: (1,1), (9,1), (13,1), (17,1), (29,1), (41,1), (101,1). One may make a fair conclusion that the function in question is simply f(x)=1. We would find numerous more points to support this and it would seem to work very well, but the reality of the matter might be that the function is f(x)=sin(90x) [degrees]. Just like the first function, the theory of evolution can be very helpful to explain many aspects of biology and allow us to analyse others with greater precision. It should be taken for what it is - a scientific tool, not a statement in the interest of truth. Scientists know now that classical physics is flawed and contradicts experimental evidence - but it is still used everywhere and still taught in the education system. We trust it enough for the construction of all modern architecture, the design of all new innovative technologies, the latest plans for space exploration, and so on. Why? because on the macroscopic level it works. It is a scientific tool. Currently scientists are racing to discover a 'grand unifying theory' which will put all these tools together in a coherent fashion.
“Who gambles with their beliefs?” What about your case of Hawkings?
Why else do you think I cited the case of Hawkings? One's predictions can very often be overturned, as happened with our theories on light, on gravity, on many things. If someone has no reason to believe otherwise, then they can surely go with whatever prediction they want. But when it comes to the theory of human evolution, Muslims certainly do have strong reason to believe otherwise, and there is no scientific evidence to contradict the Muslim belief. And while the theory of evolution will continue to work as a tool yielding a limited number of correct predictions (like n^2 + n +41) or an unlimited number of correct predictions (like f(x)=1), it will forever remain a scientific tool to be used and substituted by superior tools, all of which help to analyze the universe around us. Belief in God, belief in Angels, belief in the creation of humans by God are all matters of religious belief, not scientific enquiry. The IslamToday fatwa was absolutely right:
Therefore, with respect to other living things, the Qur’ân and Sunnah neither confirm nor deny the theory of biological evolution or the process referred to as natural selection. The question of evolution remains purely a matter of scientific enquiry. The theory of evolution must stand or fall on its own scientific merits – and that means the physical evidence that either confirms the theory or conflicts with it.

The role of science is only to observe and describe the patterns that Allah places in His creation. If scientific observation shows a pattern in the evolution of species over time that can be described as natural selection, this is not in itself unbelief. It is only unbelief for a person to think that this evolution took place on its own, and not as a creation of Allah. A Muslim who accepts evolution or natural selection as a valid scientific theory must know that the theory is merely an explanation of one of the many observed patterns in Allah’s creation.

As for the fossil remains of bipedal apes and the tools and artifacts associated with those remains, their existence poses no problem for Islamic teachings. There is nothing in the Qur’ân and Sunnah that either affirms or denies that upright, brainy, tool using apes ever existed or evolved from other apelike ancestors. Such animals may very well have existed on Earth before Adam’s arrival upon it. All we can draw from the Qur’ân and Sunnah is that even if those animals once existed, they were not the forefathers of Adam (peace be upon him).

After 86 posts, its clear this thread has run its course and there's nothing more to add.

:threadclo
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