Mashaa'Allah I finished listening to the debate, it was very good. Jalal thoroghly refuted Winn's points and made some important points that established that Islam denounces the killings of women and children. I also intend to provide my response to some of the points Craig raised in the debate.
Jalal challenged Craig throughout the debate for a single
statement that encourages terrorism, yet Craig failed to respond to the challenge throughout the debate.
Craig begins to respond to the challenge with the words:
Here's what the...eh..um...Islamic scholars who translated America's most popular...eh...english..eh..Koran had to say the first time Jihad was used in...uh...Allah's recital. uh...they're words, not mine:
Jihad is holy fighting in Allah's Cause with full force and numbers of weaponry. It is given the utmost importance in Islam and is one of its Pillars. By Jihad Islam is established, Allah's word is made superior which means that only Allah has the right to be worshiped and Islam is propagated. By abandoning Jihad Islam is destroyed and Muslims fall into an inferior position.
In his gross ignorance, Craig does not even know where this quote comes from. He attributes it to some Islamic scholars (doesn't specify which) who translated "America's most popular english Koran" (There is no such thing as an english Koran but assuming he meant the english translation of the meanings of the Qur'an then again he doesn't specify which) and he claims it was used at the first occurence of the word 'Jihad' in "Allah's recital". Now here's the truth:
This quote is the words of Muhammad Muhsin Khan, found as a footnote in his translation of SAHIH BUKHARI, and it neither appears in the Qur'an not any of the hadith.
How could Craig, who considers himself a scholar, make such a gross distortion?! Moreover, he never answered the challenge to provide a quote from the Qur'an and Sunnah, instead he provided the opinion of the translator. I have already dealt with this quotation in my article here
. As far as Muhsin Kahn's explanation that Jihad is fighting in God's cause, this is correct. With full force and weaponry? Physical Jihad can often entail 'full force and weaponry' when fighting an oppressive regime for the establishment of justice, but Jihad is certainly not restricted to that. Jihad is, as Jalal correct mentioned, struggling for the sake of God and this often takes the form of personal sacrifices in order to benefit one's neighbours and humanity as a whole. More info on the meaning of Jihad here
Now, the first verse in the Qur'an which mentions fighting
is the following (Muhsin Khan's translation of meaning):
2:190. And fight in the Way of Allâh those who fight you, but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allâh likes not the transgressors. [This Verse is the first one that was revealed in connection with Jihâd, but it was supplemented by another (V.9:36)].
Verse 9:36 reads:
36. Verily, the number of months with Allâh is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allâh on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred, (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islâmic calendar). That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein, and fight against the Mushrikûn (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh) collectively , as they fight against you collectively. But know that Allâh is with those who are Al-Muttaqûn (the pious - see V.2:2).
Both of these verses affirm that Muslims are to fight those those who fight them. This is explicity mentioned in the Qur'an.
Craig goes on to say:
In Prophet of Doom, the entire book, which is uh propbably the most comprehensive most chronological and best documented presentation of the formation of Islam and the words and deeds of Muhammad as they are revealed in the earliest Islamic scriptures, I organized the book chronologically, but at the end of the book what I did is I also organized the most important Islamic verses by context. Under the context of Jihad, I have some three or four hundred quotes from those Islamic scriptures, defining what Jihad is according to Muhammad. What's interesting is that all of those quotes have Jihad in a fighting context. "Jihad is ordained for you Muslims though you dislike it". By the way, the translators of the Koran when Jihad was mentioned said its Holy Fighting in Allah's cause though you dislike it. "its possible that youy dislike something which is good for you and like something which is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know". "Warfare is ordained for you". "Not equal are those believers who sit home and recieve no injurious hurt, therefore going out to fight. Those who strive hard fighting in Allah's cause with their wealth and their lives. Allah has granted a rank higher to those who strive hard fighting Jihad with their weal and their bodies"
In this section, Winn tries to meet Jalal's challenge but hopelessly fails. First, he begins by glorifying his book as the most comprehensive and best documented presentation of the formation of Islam. Sorry, Craig, I don't think so. Perhaps the most comprehensive book of slander on Islam, but in terms of Islam's formation we have millions of books on Sirah
(life of the Prophet saws) already which document "Islam's formation" and provide sources. Now he quotes some verses, the first being:
2:216. Jihâd (holy fighting in Allâh's Cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allâh knows but you do not know.
Winn did not provide the source for the quote, he just read it out without stating where it was from. I have already provided an explanation of this quote in my article here
. I'm not going to repeat the explanation again here (summary: tafsir of the verse is fight those who fight you) but I'd just like to point out that this once again fails to meet the challenge. Nowhere in the verse does it condone the killing of innocent, it just mentions that fighting is ordained for Muslims. Why? Allah clarifies in another verse:
4:75 And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allah, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help."
Fighting is thus for defense of humanity. This is mentioned EXPLICITLY in the Qur'an.
Winn then moves into another verse without even letting the listener know he's changed chapters. The verse he quotes is:
4:95. Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame, etc.), and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allâh with their wealth and their lives. Allâh has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit (at home).
Again, I have already explained this verse in my article here
. This also fails to demonstrate that the Qur'an supports the killings of innocents. It simply encourages Jihad, which we have shown is for the defense of humanity.
Again, Winn FAILS
to meet the challenge.
Winn then attempts to answer Jalal by quoting an alleged statement by a Saudi scholar, who's name he doesn't even mention fully but claims him to be the most senior scholar in Saudi - "Barak". First of all, Shaykh Aal Ash-Shaykh is currently the leading scholar in Saudi but all the scholars of Saudi unanimously condemn terrorism and there are hundreds of links available for that. Here's one:
One of the six scholars who was condemning terrorism in the above link was Abd-al-Rahman Bin-Nasir al-Barak. Whether this was the same "Barak" Winn was referring to remains unknown but regardless he has joined in the condemnation of terrorism. Again, Winn fails to meet the challenge.
Next, Winn tries to establish that Christians=Infidels in order to apply all verses of the Qur'an dealing with infidels to Christians. The question comes up, "Do Muslims really consider Christians to be infidels?!" I'll explain why I think this question is ludicrous.
Here's what the Oxford American English dictionary says about the term "infidel":
infidel |?inf?dl; -?del|
noun chiefly archaic
a person who does not believe in religion or who adheres to a religion other than one's own : [as plural n. ] ( the infidel) they wanted to secure the Holy Places from the infidel.
adhering to a religion other than one's own : the infidel foe.
ORIGIN late 15th cent.: from French infidèle or Latin infidelis, from in- ‘not’ + fidelis ‘faithful’ (from fides ‘faith,’ related to fidere ‘to trust’ ). The word originally denoted a person of a religion other than one's own, specifically a Muslim (to a Christian), a Christian (to a Muslim), or a Gentile (to a Jew).
Thus, by definition, ANYONE, who adheres to a religion other than one's own is considered an infidel!
Now, with regards to the Qur'an, the Qur'an uses the word Kaafir
which can refer to a wide variety of people. Not all kaafirs are the same
. There are different types of kaafirs, because there is different types of kufr. Thus, because the Qur'an gives a command relating to the kuffar in one verse, this does not mean that it can be taken as a general command. It has to be looked at in context to determine who, specifically, is being referred to.
Craig Winn then makes the following ridiculous claims about the Qur'an:
The..eh. the Koran is actually written in ah, in an ancient form of arabic called paleoarabic. It was written long before there were vowels in the language. And therefore, there are maybe, uh 500 people on the planet at anyone time who actually understand paleoarabic. Its as different from modern standard arabic as latin is from uh..italian. Second, rather than depend on one person's interpretation of the words in the sirah, the [?] and the hadith as well as the Koran, I have twelve different Korans, I used five of them in rendering in Prophet of Doom so that they would be as accurate as absolutely possible. And the scholars who made these translations..um..for the most part, agree on the terminology. um and by using five of them it becomes evident as to what the intent of the message was. [interruption] wait wait...one last thought, the fact is that we all speak english here! uh...on this radio show, if we were all jibbering away in paleoarabic, not a single soul on the planet would know what we're talking about.
There are perhaps the most ridiculous claims that Craig makes in his entire debate. He confuses the writing styles of arabic language at the time the Qur'an was revealed (Hejazi & Kufic), with the actual language used in the Qur'an. The Qur'anic language, known as fusha Arabic, or classical arabic, is actually understood by millions of Muslims around the world, not only 500 as he claims!! (Notice he contradicts himself later by saying not a single person on the planet would under the Qur'anic arabic). In fact, there are hundreds of academic courses people to take to learn the Qur'anic arabic, there are millions of people who do not even speak arabic as their first language yet they have learned to understand the Qur'anic arabic. This is nothing but a poor excuse from Winn to defend his complete ignorance on the Qur'anic language despite the fact that he claims to be a scholar of Islam, and thinks he has the authority to write a scholarly analysis of the Qur'an. He has no understanding of Usool At-Tafsir, Arabic grammar, yet he feels he has the ability to interpret the Qur'anic verses in his twisted manner in order to portray Islam as a violent religion. The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of arabs can understand classical arabic and in fact use it as a standard dialect to transcend the barriers in dialects between the various arabic-speaking groups. Also, he refers to the translators of the Qur'an as scholars but he doesn't realize that only a couple translators such as Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Taqi ud-Deen Al-Hilali and M. F. Malik have had a formal education in Islam. Winn's selective use of translations has resulted in gross mistranslations in his works, and we shall see an example of this later.
Craig moves on to attempt an answer to Jalal's persistent challenge to provide an ayat or hadith inciting violence. He claims to be quoting from "the sunnah", yet the quote he gives, "Wipe the infidels out to the last" he attributes to the "eight surah", a chapter of the Qur'an. Is he quoting from the Qur'an or the hadith? Is just he simply confused?
Later in the debate, Winn reads out this verse, 8:7, from the Ahmed Ali translation of the Qur'an, a translation practically unknown amongst english speaking Muslims. Ahmed Ali translates verse 8:7 as follows:
Though God promised that one of two columns (would fall to you), you desired the one that was not armed. But God wished to confirm the truth by His words, and wipe the unbelievers out to the last
We can compare this to other common Muslim translations of the same verse:
Pickthall Translation: And when Allah promised you one of the two bands (of the enemy) that it should be yours, and ye longed that other than the armed one might be yours. And Allah willed that He should cause the Truth to triumph by His words, and cut the root of the disbelievers;
Yusuf Ali Translation: Behold! Allah promised you one of the two (enemy) parties that it should be yours: ye wished that the one unarmed should be yours but Allah willed to justify the truth according to His words and to cut off the roots of the unbelievers.
Daryabadi Translation: And recall what time Allah was promising you one of the two parties that it should be yours, and ye would fain to have that the one without; Whilst Allah besought arms were yours to justify the truth by His words and to cut off the root of the infidels.
Muhsin Khan Translation:*And (remember) when Allah promised you (Muslims) one of the two parties (of the enemy i.e. either the army or the caravan) that it should be yours, you wished that the one not armed (the caravan) should be yours, but Allah willed to justify the truth by His Words and to cut off the roots of the disbelievers (i.e. in the battle of Badr).
Irving Translation:When God promised you that one of the two bands would be yours, you preferred the one that had no weapons [to fall] to you, while God wanted the Truth to be verified through His words and to cut off the last remnant of the disbelievers
Shakir Translation: And when Allah promised you one of the two parties that it shall be yours and you loved that the one not armed should he yours and Allah desired to manifest the truth of what was true by His words and to cut off the root of the unbelievers.
F. Malik Translation: Remember, Allah promised you victory over one of the two enemy parties and you wished for the one which was unarmed but Allah intended to prove the truth to be true according to His words and to cut off the roots of the unbelievers
Notice how Winn deceptively first attempted to establish Christians as the disbelievers referred to in the Qur'an, and then he quoted only a small portion on this verse, "wipe out the disbelievers to the last" to make it appear as though the Qur'an was giving an explicit command to slaughter all Christians! But in reality, if we use any of the translations cited, including the Ahmed Ali translation, we notice that the first part of this verse, and the part which Craig ommited, provides crucial details as to the nature of this verse. By reading the complete verse, we notice that this was not
a command to kill disbelievers, but rather a past description of the battle of Badr and the divine help the Muslims recieved in striking the main body of oppressive disbelievers. The disbelievers referred to in this verse are the Makkan idolaters, whom Jalal correctly points out to be the ones who drove the Muslims from their homes in Makkah and persecuted them for several years.
How can a past description of God's help in fighting oppressive idolaters be confused for a command to slay all Christians?!
As for the Battle of Badr, it is explained in the article on Commonly Misquoted verses and Narrations.
. The Muslims did not simply "choose" to leave Makkah as Winn states! They were driven out of their homes through fierce persecution - this has been unanimously recorded by all historians. Why would they suddenly decide to leave the city for no reason? Also, as Jalal pointed out, when the Muslims returned to Makkah they forgave the same disbelievers who had persecuted them. They did not "wipe them out to the last" as Winn would like listeners to imagine.
The debate finishes with Jalal's challenge still standing and Winn's attempt to slander Islam, utterly refuted.
Qur'an 61:8 They intend to put out the Light of Allah with their mouths. But Allah will complete His Light even though the disbelievers hate (it).