Debating with Muslims

Solkhar, a slick taqiyya doctor who presents himself as a “moderate” Muslim,  gets a good thrashing, here on the Gates of Vienna. Its a lengthy read, but well worth it. The arguments are always the same, so you should have no problem educating yourself.

We are most interested in your feedback…


“People of the West:

Your culture is determined by your technologies,

Our culture will teach us how to control your technologies.

Therefore, we are the ones who will learn to control YOU.

Your culture will adapt to service ours.”

*  But why bother with slick taqiyya doctors when you can get  the real, undiluted Islam straight from the source, Al Azhar university in Cairo, this beacon of Arab imperialism:


DR. Maryam Jameelah

On what foundation can a lasting reconciliation between Muslims, Jews and Christians be based? We must realize that under the existing circumstances, no friendship is possible. Jewry and Christendom have joined hands to destroy us and all we cherish. Zionism, freemasonry, Christian missionary activity and Orientalism have combined to annihilate us religiously, culturally and even physically. It would be sheer folly to kiss the hands that are beating us!.

Peaceful relations and mutual respect among us can only be achieved through strength. We must cease indulging in apologetics and present the Islamic message to the world honestly and forthrightly. Before we can hope to succeed with Tabligh on a large scale, we must first convert the nominal Muslims into true believers. We must establish a full-blooded Islamic state where the world will witness our precepts translated into action. Finally, we must crush the conspiracies of Zionism, free-masonry, Orientalism and foreign missions both with the pen and with the sword. We cannot afford peace and reconciliation with the Ahl al Kitab until we can humble them and gain the upper hand.

“The Qur’an Can Only be Understood in Arabic”

One of the most reliable ways that Muslim apologists defend the Qur’an’s more politically incorrect passages is to blame the translation and claim that the Arabic really says something totally different. Here are some problems with this strategy.

Games Muslims Play from the RoP

When Muslims accuse you of “Cherry-picking”

More from Caroline,  December 24, 2006

“Spencer cherry picks few out of the hundreds verses that deal with issues of peace and war, and misrepresents Islam by arguing that the Quran directs Muslims to fight non-Muslims on the account of having different faith. He does that by obscuring both the textual and historical contexts of the verses he cites. The Quran is unequivocal that fighting is a last resort and is permitted to repulse aggression and stop oppression and abuse.
From the article

When I see an apologist essentially making the claim that Islamic jihad is defensive only, I feel compelled to drag out this lengthy rebuttal which took a considerable amount of time to put together but which is the reason why some of us over at islam-watch (which has been down for over a week now) are working on creating this handbook for infidel debators, in order to provide everyone with an iron-tight rebuttal whenever we see these same myths dragged out. Everytime I read these threads I see more rebuttals which need to be formulated by willing particpants ASAP – including some I’ve seen here merely in the past few days, e.g. the tu quoque argument about Christianity being just as violent as Islam as well as the myth about the “3 Abrahamic faiths” – arguments which we haven’t gotten to yet. But here is my rebuttal to the jihad is defensive only myth (compiled from many online sources including Spencer, as well as some quotes from Andrew Bostom’s book):

Note: I believe one can skip past this entire thing by hitting page down. I have never before posted something of this length but I am doing so now because it is relevant to this common apologist argument and also because I don’t know how to link directly to a particular post in the middle of a thread at another site).

1.6: Jihad is defensive only

Myth: Apologists cite verses of the Koran that reference jihad in the context of terms like oppression and persecution in order to convey the impression that jihad is prohibited to self-defense (or merely “just” retaliation) and does not sanction violent, offensive warfare against unbelievers for the purpose of spreading the Islamic faith.

Rebuttal Summary:

1.61. Apologists are [the ones who are] cherry-picking Koranic verses and ignoring the Sunnah, which provides the necessary context for interpreting the non-chronological and often conflicting verses of the Koran in mainstream, traditional Islam.

1.62. Muhammad waged offensive jihad.

1.63. Sura 9 (especially 9:29), which legitimizes offensive jihad against unbelievers, is not abrogated or otherwise restricted by any chronologically prior verses, which appear to limit jihad to self-defense only.

1.64. The primarily offensive meaning of jihad is reinforced by hadiths with the strongest chains of narration.

1.65. Muhammad’s behavior is not historically circumscribed. Muslims regard Muhammad as the perfect man to be emulated for all time and the Koranic verses regarding jihad are viewed in mainstream Islam as having universal applicability and timeless relevance.

1.66. All mainstream Islamic schools of Islamic jurisprudence endorse an offensive understanding of jihad.

1.67. Traditional Islamic jurisprudence codifies into law 2 different kinds of obligations with respect to jihad. Self-defense is always an individual obligation (“fard-‘ayn”) incumbent upon every member of the ummah, while expansionist, aggressive jihad is a collective obligation (“fard-kifaya”).

1.68. The imperialistic history of jihad conquests after Muhammad’s death, beginning with the 4 “rightly guided caliphs” and continuing for 13+ centuries to the present day, reflects and confirms the legitimacy of waging offensive jihad in mainstream Islamic tradition.

1.69. The terms “oppression” and “persecution” in the Koranic verses typically cited by the apologists are imperfect English translations of the Arabic word “fitnah” which also means “disbelief” and “disorder” (conditions where the divinely-sanctioned supremacy of the Islamic order is absent). Hence apologists citing these verses in support of the claim that jihad is defensive only, if not merely ignorant about the doctrine of jihad, are often engaging in taqiyyah and manipulating language in an Orwellian fashion by inverting the normative (from an infidel perspective) meanings of the terms “oppressor/persecutor” and “oppressed/persecuted”, resulting in the thoroughly dishonest blaming of millions of genuine victims of Islamic jihad for their resistance to subjugation and oppression.

End of summary. Rebuttal itself:

Myth: Apologists typically cite the following verses from the Koran in defense of the claim that jihad is prohibited to self-defense.

22:39-40: (the first chronological verse sanctioning the use of warfare after Muhammad’s migration from Mecca to Medina): Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed able to give them victory (39); those who have been driven from their homes unjustly only because they said: Our Lord is Allah. For had it not been for Allah’s repelling some men by means of others, cloisters and churches and oratories and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is mentioned, would assuredly have been pulled down (40)

2:190-191: Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors. (190) And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. (2:191).

8:61: And if they incline to peace, incline thou also to it, and trust in Allah. Lo! He, even He, is the Hearer, the Knower.

4:75: And why should ye not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? – Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!”

17:33: Nor take life – which God has made sacred – except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law).

The apologist claim here is not that jihad is strictly nonviolent (an inner struggle), but rather that a necessary precondition for physical fighting (or qital) is circumstances of “persecution”, “oppression” and “injustice” and that Islamic jihad thus falls under the rubric of “just-war” theory, in particular, the part of just war theory concerning the justice of resorting to war (jus ad bellum), which implies:

“…self-defense from external attack; the defence of others from such; the protection of innocents from brutal, aggressive regimes; and punishment for a grievous wrongdoing which remains uncorrected. ….Walzer, and most modern just war theorists, speak of the one just cause for resorting to war being the resistance of aggression. Aggression is the use of armed force in violation of someone else’s basic rights.” (


1.61 Apologists are cherry-picking the Koranic verses cited above.

A) Apologists are neglecting to mention other verses of the Koran, which convey an offensive understanding of jihad, including Sura 9:

“Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (9:5)

Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.(9:29)”

He is the One who sent His messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, and will make it dominate all religions, in spite of the idol worshipers. (9:33) (see also 48:28, 61:9)

B) Further, there is currently no mainstream “Koran-only” tradition in Islam. In mainstream Islam, the Sunnah, or Traditions of the Prophet (Muhammad’s deeds and actions) are critical to interpreting and resolving the meanings of the non-chronological and often conflicting “revelations” regarding jihad in the Koran. (In his farewell address, Muhammad said, “I leave behind me two things, the Quran and the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.).” Mainstream Islam also includes the ahadith, or narrations about the life of Muhammad (depending upon the established validity of their “chains” of narration), as critical to interpreting the Koran.

1.62 Muhammad waged offensive jihad.

A) Given the central importance of the Sunnah in mainstream Islam for making sense of the jihad verses in the Koran, it is critical to establish that Muhammad himself waged offensive jihad, as a common tactic of the apologists is to claim that all of Muhammad’s actions were defensive only in nature.

During his own lifetime, Muhammad was directly or indirectly implicated in at least 70 (there is reported variation in the exact number) raids or battles over a brief 10-year period.

1. Some of these military endeavors could be classified as defensive, if one entirely ignores the history of Muslim provocation preceding them, including the Battles of Uhud (625) and “Trench”(627).

2. Numerous raids could also be classified as simple revenge attacks (e.g. on the B. Lihyan (Sept 627), the B. Thalabah at al-Taraf (Oct 627), the B. Judham (Oct 627) and the B. Farazah at Wadi al-Qura (Jan 628).

(The issue as to whether the final prophet of God’s revelation to mankind had any business engaging in so many bloody revenge attacks is beyond the purpose of this rebuttal. It is merely sufficient to note that both ostensibly defensive, as well as reasonable retaliatory military operations, still fall within the context of “just war theory”.)

3. More problematic were the numerous “pre-emptive” attacks on other tribes based merely on rumor, hearsay or even divine “revelation” of supposed hostile intent (including several raids on the Ghatafan tribe in 624 and 625 (e.g. at Dhat al-Riqa) the raid on the Jewish tribe B. al-Mustaliq in 627, the raid on B. Sa’d b. Bakr at Fadak in 627, and the expedition sent to the Byzantines of Tabuk in 630). Included in this category is the siege and subsequent exile of the entire Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir, merely on the grounds that the angel Gabriel supposedly “revealed” to Muhammad that some B. Nadir were planning to drop stones on several Muslims’ heads who had come to demand blood money.

4. Other attacks were so grossly disproportionate in terms of the provocations for which they were supposed retaliations, as to annul the legitimacy of a “defensive” claim in the context of just war theory. Among these were the siege and exile (ethnic cleansing) of the entire Jewish tribe of Banu Quanayza in 624, stemming merely from the fact that a Jew played a crude trick on a Muslim woman, the flimsy grounds for Muhammad breaking the treaty of Hudaybiah with the Quraysh before conquering Mecca, the punishment (roughly 800 men beheaded and their wives and children sold into slavery) meted out to the Jewish tribe of the Banu Quarayzah after their failure to actively defend Medina during the battle of the Trench, and the prolonged siege of Taif (it is difficult to argue that a prolonged siege of a community taking refuge behind their fortresses is somehow an act of self-defense). These sorts of grossly disproportionate actions on Muhammad’s part were based on “pretexts” so flimsy as to nullify the validity of a defensive claim.

5. Additionally, there were numerous raids for which there is no apparent defensive explanation at all (raid on B. al-Qurata at Dariyyah (627), raid on B. Hawazin at Turbah (628) raid on B. Murrah at Fadak (628,629), raid on B. Uwal and B. Thalabah (629), raid on B. Malawwih and B. Laith at al-Kadid (629), and raids on B. Amir and B. Tamin (629)).

6. Finally, there were attacks on tribes and peoples who merely declined an invitation to accept Islam (raids on the Christians of Dumat al-Jandel (Duma) in 627 and 631, raid on the Jews of Wadi al-Qura in 628, raid on the Bani Sulaym at Fadak in 629, raid on the B. Qudah at Dhat Athah on the border of Syria in 629, raid on the B. Kilab at al-Zuji in 630, and several attacks on Yemenese tribes in 631.) It goes without saying that waging war against those who refuse to surrender their religious beliefs upon an invitation to do so is not an action of self-defense. (note: ref for all of the above is Abul Kasem:

7. Moreover, a fundamental feature of all of these raids and battles was the seizure of copious amounts of “booty”, not only property but women and children as well. Shortly after moving to Medina, Muhammad and his followers began attempting to raid the caravans of the Meccan Quraysh, even though there was no indication that the Quraysh had any aggressive designs on Muhammad after his departure from Mecca. Apologists claim that the Muslims were merely trying to seek recompense for the Meccans having seized their property when they fled from Mecca to Medina. These attempted raids finally succeeded at Nakhla (Jan, 624) and much booty was seized (including prisoners). Nevertheless, attempted raids on the Quaraysh caravans still continued (leading, e.g. to the Battle of Badr in Mar 624). Muhammad and his followers, over the course of a 10-year period, seized so much booty (including human beings) in the process of presumably merely “defending” themselves against attack that they became extremely rich and prosperous. However, the seizure of booty (especially human beings who are sold into slavery) is not a “defensive” act and the sheer amount of attention paid to capturing booty in Muhammad’s brief 10-year career in Medina, betrays a fundamentally aggressive intent.

B) Many apologists strain to provide some plausible “defensive” justification for each of Muhammad’s aggressive actions, as his actions, enacted in the context of the “revelation” of the jihad verses, provide the best template for those seeking to understand the Islamic doctrine of jihad. A close examination of the apologist justifications for his actions turns out, as noted above, to include as “defensive”, not only violent and grossly disproportionate retaliation for comparatively minor offenses such as ridicule, the breaking of treaties on flimsy grounds, ethnic cleansing and preemptive strikes on the basis of merely anticipating or fearing future hostile intent (sometimes justified by “revelations” on Muhammad’s part), as well as attacks on the grounds that an invitation to accept Islam had been declined.

However, this entire apologist line of argument falls apart on its own logic, since if all these sorts of disproportionate and violent actions that Muhammad routinely engaged in were supposedly justifiable on defensive grounds, then from the outset, the Quraysh were presumably justified in expelling Muhammad from Mecca from the time he began assaulting their religious beliefs, and as Muhammad’s power grew in the wake of his unrestrained use of violence, any non-Muslims would have been justified, on similar “defensive” grounds, in not only plotting, but actually succeeding to assassinate either him or his followers at any time, as these would be actions which would qualify as “defensive” on the same moral grounds that apologists use to excuse Muhammad’s behavior.

C) What makes the apologist reasoning here disingenuous is in assigning the label “defensive” to each and every action perpetrated by Muhammad while at the same time assigning the label “offensive” (or “oppressive” or “persecutory”) to the very same actions (insult and ridicule, forced exile, plotting to assassinate or assassinating, murder, torture, theft and plunder, violent retaliation, the use of treachery and deceit, marshalling troops due to fear of being attacked, breaking of treaties and so on) when initiated by non-Muslims. Muhammad’s own example thus provides for an extremely one-sided and self-serving interpretation of what constitutes “aggression” on the part of unbelievers and what constitutes “self-defense” justifying the use of violence on the part of Muslims. We see this today, for example, when Muslims accuse western governments who are trying to fight terrorism within their borders, of “aggression” against the Muslim community, with attendant warnings that this “aggression” will justify (“defensive”) violence on the part of Muslim citizens in these countries. Similarly, restrictions on (or even legal prosecution) of Christian proselytizing in Muslim countries is considered “defensive” while any parallel attempt at restricting the expansion of Islam within predominantly Christian countries is viewed as an act of “aggression”.

1.63 A chronological ordering of the jihad verses in the context of the Sunnah shows a progression from an apparently defensive (or at least restrained, with respect to the use of violence) posture to a mandate to wage offensive warfare for the express purpose of spreading the Islamic faith.

A) The apparent “defense-only” verses were revealed relatively early after Muhammad’s exile from Mecca to Medina, while the offensive verses of Sura 9 were revealed later in the Medina years as Muhammad proceeded to consolidate his power on the Arabian peninsula (e.g. Sura 9:5 was “revealed” at the time when Muhammad broke the treaty of Hudaybiah with the Meccans, while 9:29 was revealed in the context of Muhammad sending an offensive expedition against the Christian Byzantine empire at Tabuk). Traditional Islam has generally viewed Sura 9 as abrogating or “replacing” the previous jihad verses that appear to limit jihad to self-defense only, although it is also true that many reformist Muslims have rejected this claim of abrogation. However, appeal to abrogation isn’t necessary to rebut the apologist claim that jihad is prohibited to self-defense only, as it merely sufficient to note that there is no mainstream Islamic tradition in which Sura 9 (especially 9:29) when interpreted within the indispensable context of the Sunnah is clearly offensive in nature, is in itself considered to be abrogated or even restricted by any chronologically prior verses related to jihad, which means that there is currently no mainstream tradition in Islam which deligitimizes the mandate to wage offensive warfare for the express purpose of spreading the Islamic faith.

B) If one accepts the equal validity of both types of jihad verses, offensive and defensive, then the question becomes one of understanding, based on the Sunnah, when the offensive, as opposed to the defensive understanding of jihad, is to be applied. But contrary to the apologists claims, this does not imply that the apparently defensive verses somehow impose restrictions upon the offensive verses (like 9:29). Rather, the co-existence of these 2 types of verses has been interpreted by Muslims historically to imply the permissibility of restricting jihad merely to self-defense and expedient self-restraint when weak, while waging offensive jihad to make Islam supreme when Muslims are in a position of strength to do so. In this, Muslims are merely following the example of Muhammad himself.

C) Not un-coincidentally, the apologetic “defensive” interpretation of jihad gained a good deal of currency in the past century precisely when Islam was, historically speaking, at its weakest and also when Islam happened to come into deeper historical contact with the West, for whom the offensive nature of the jihad doctrine is anathema to their sensibilities, leading to a developed “apologetics” (partly developed by westerners themselves) about the jihad doctrine. As the Islamic world has experienced a resurgence, however, with the retreat of western colonialism (which held the jihad impulse in check), the influx of enormous oil capital into Muslim coffers and the unprecedented migration of Muslims into dar al-harb, there has been an historically parallel resurgence of offensive Islamic jihad on a global scale, impacting modern-day Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, the Phillipines, Kashmir, Chechnya, Sudan, Nigeria, the Balkans, and now, in what we call “terrorism”, the heart of Europe and the United States as well.

1.64 The offensive meaning of jihad is reinforced by hadiths with some of the strongest chains of narration.

A) Some apologists claim that the frequent reference to “unbelievers” in the Koran is merely a factual description of the polytheists who were actually fighting with Muhammad and not an indication that Muhammad was fighting them because of their unbelief. This claim is negated not only by the numerous lives that Muhammad agreed to spare after battle only if they accepted Islam but also by the fact that Muhammad issued the invitation to embrace Islam prior to attacking many polytheists and ‘people of the book’. (If Muslims were merely defending themselves against literal physical attack, then of what relevance would be their adversaries’ beliefs?).

B) That Muhammad was fighting people because of their unbelief is demonstrated by several hadith which are accepted by mainstream Islamic tradition as some of the most well validated, in terms of the established authenticity of their chains of narration (verses considered as mutawatir). They are also considered to represent the chronologically final statements of Muhammad in terms of clarifying his own understanding of his Prophetic mission:

(Bukhari 1:24): Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: Allah’s Apostle said: “I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah.” (also Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 33)

(Bukhari 4:65): “A man came to the Prophet and asked, “A man fights for war booty; another fights for fame and a third fights for showing off. Which of them fights in Allah’s cause? The prophet said, “He who fights that Allah’s Word (i.e. Islam) should be superior, fights in Allah’s cause.”

(Sahih Muslim 3:4294): “Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war…When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them.. ….. If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them Jizya [tax]. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.”

C) There is no plausible defensive interpretation of these hadith (and neither, given the fact that there is no mainstream “Koran-only” tradition in Islam, can they be dismissed out of hand), which make clear that Muslims emulating the example of their prophet, are to fight physically in order to propogate the Islamic faith. The lives of unbelievers who refuse to embrace Islam upon an invitation to do so, are to be spared provided they agree to accept Islamic rule and pay the jizya.

1.65 Muhammad’s example is not historically circumscribed. He is considered the perfect man to be emulated and the Koranic verses regarding jihad are considered by Muslims to have universal applicability and timeless relevance.

A) Some apologists concede that while it may be true that Muhammad waged offensive jihad, Muhammad’s behavior is historically circumscribed and not intended to apply beyond the context of 7th century Arabia.

However, in Islamic tradition Muhammad is al-insan al-kamil, the perfect man, and uswa hasana, the most perfect model of conduct to be emulated. (Koran 33:21 “Ye have indeed in the Apostle of God a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in God and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of God” and 34:28: “We have not sent thee but as a universal (Apostle) to men, giving them glad tidings, and warning them (against sin), but most men understand not).

Sheik Al-Qaradhawi reflects the mainstream Islamic view on this: “The prophets that Allah sent prior to Muhammad were sent for a limited time …and to a specific people. … Allah established in the life of the Prophet Muhammad general, eternal, and all-inclusive characteristics, and he gave every human being the possibility to imitate him and take his life as a model.”

B). The instruction to wage jihad until judgment day, as conveyed in several hadiths, also belies the claim of ‘historical circumscription’.

Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 14, Number 2526:
Narrated Anas ibn Malik: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Three things are the roots of faith: to refrain from (killing) a person who utters, “There is no god but Allah” and not to declare him unbeliever whatever sin he commits, and not to excommunicate him from Islam for his any action; and jihad will be performed continuously since the day Allah sent me as a prophet until the day the last member of my community will fight with the Dajjal (Antichrist). The tyranny of any tyrant and the justice of any just (ruler) will not invalidate it. One must have faith in Divine decree.

Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 14, Number 2478:
Narrated Imran ibn Husayn: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: A section of my community will continue to fight for the right and overcome their opponents till the last of them fights with the Antichrist.

When these hadiths are interpreted in light of the meaning of jihad verses such as 9:29, it can be concluded that Muslims are to fight the polytheists and the “People of the Book” into perpetuity, until they either embrace Islam or agree to pay the jizya “in willing submission” to the divinely sanctioned Islamic order.

C. Furthermore, if the apologist claim were true that Muhammad’s example with respect to jihad had no relevance beyond 7th century Arabia, then there would be no logical reason to assume that anything else revealed in the Koran or Sunnah should have any applicability beyond the 7th century either. Any basis for assuming the timelessness and universality of the Islamic religion, as revealed in the Koran, would be called into question by this claim.

1.66 In accordance with the reasoning laid out above, all mainstream Islamic schools of jurisprudence endorse an offensive understanding of jihad.

1.. Maliki jurist Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406): “ In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the [Muslim] mission and [the obligation to] convert everybody to Islam by persuasion or by force…. The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense…Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.”

And also Ibn Abi Zayd al Qayrawani (d. 996): “Jihad is a Divine institution. … We Malikis maintain that it is preferable not to begin hostilities with the enemy before having invited the latter to embrace the religion of Allah except where the enemy attacks first. They have either the alternative of converting to Islam or paying the poll tax (jizya), short of which war is declared against them.”

2. Hanbali jurist Ibn Tamiyyah (d. 1328): “Since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God’s entirely and God’s word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought.”

3.Hanafi jurist Shaikh Burdanuddin Ali of Marghinan (d. 1196): “It is not lawful to make war upon any people who have never before been called to the faith, without previously requiring them to embrace it, because the Prophet so instructed his commanders, directing them to call infidels to the faith, and also because the people will hence perceive that they are attacked for the sake of religion, and not for the sake of taking their property, or making slaves of their children, and on this consideration it is possible that they may be induced to agree to the call, in order to save themselves from the trouble of war….”

4. Shaafi jurist al-Mawardi (d. 1058): “The mushrikun [infidels] of Dar al-Harb are of two types: First, those whom the call of Islam has reached, but they have refused it and taken up arms. The amir of the army has the option of fighting them… in accordance with what he judges to be in the best interest of the Muslims and the most harmful to the mushrikun…. Second, those whom the invitation to Islam has not reached, although such persons are few nowadays since Allah has made manifest the call of his Messenger…it is forbidden to begin an attack before explaining the invitation to Islam to them, informing them of the miracles of the Prophet and making plain the proofs so as to encourage acceptance on their part; if they still refuse to accept after this, war is waged against them and they are treated as those whom the call has reached.”

5. Sufi scholar (Shaafi school)) Al-Ghazali (d. 1111) said the objectives and methods of Islam are to: “…suppress the enemies of religion through the jihad in His cause, and to gain their wealth, women, and lands until they surrender to Islam.”

6. Shia scholar al-Amili (d. 1621) “Islamic holy war against followers of other religions, such as Jews, is required unless they convert to Islam or pay the poll tax.”

7. Shia (Jafaari) scholar Ayatollah Khomeini (d. 1989): “But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation. For they shall live under [God’s law]. … Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those (who say this) are witless.”

8. Al-Azhar (Sunni) scholar Muhammad Sai’id al-Buti: “The Holy War, as it is known in Islamic jurisprudence is basically an offensive war. This is the duty of Muslims in every age when the needed military power becomes available to them. This is the phase in which the meaning of Holy War has taken its final form.” (ref)

(For an in-depth treatment of similar statements from contemporary Muslim scholars, see “Truth about Islam, Part I, by Shabana Muhammad:

1.67 Islamic jurisprudence codifies into law 2 different kinds of obligations with respect to jihad. Self-defense (“Al-Jihad al-Daf’a”) is always an individual obligation (“fard-‘ayn”) upon every member of the ummah, while expansionist, aggressive jihad (“Al-Jihad al-mubadahah”) is a collective obligation (“fard-kifaya”).

A) Obviously, the existence of these two categories of obligation in traditional Islamic jurisprudence negates the claim that jihad is defensive only.

According to Rudolph Peters, “Expansionist jihad is a collective duty (fard ‘ala al-kifaya), which is fulfilled if a sufficient number of people take part in it. If this is not the case, the whole umma is sinning…Sometimes jihad becomes an individual duty. …Moreover, jihad becomes obligatory for all people capable of fighting in a certain region if this region is attacked by the enemy. In this case, jihad is defensive. ” (“Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam”, in Legacy of Jihad).

Majiid Khadurri notes, “The jihad, on the other hand – unless the Muslim community is subjected to a sudden attack and therefore all believers, including women and children, are under the obligation to fight – is regarded by all jurists, with almost no exception, as a collective obligation of the whole Muslim community. It is regarded as fard al-kifaya, binding on the Muslims as a collective group, not individually. If the duty is fulfilled by a part of the community it ceases to be obligatory on others; the whole community, however, falls into error if the duty is not performed at all.” (“The Law of War”, in Legacy of Jihad.)

Moreover, “…many of the stipulations and restrictions governing aggressive jihad were dropped in the case of defensive jihad. For example, the Muslim ruler did not have to announce the obligation to join the defensive jihad nor conscript soldiers for its prosecution. Similarly, all those groups who were normally exempt from participating in the aggressive jihad, e.g., women, minors, the elderly, young men who had not been granted permission by their parents, were required to participate in defensive jihad.”

B) The existence of these 2 obligations in Islamic law is confirmed by Muslim sources:

Reliance of the Traveler: “09.1 Jihad is a communal obligation. When enough people perform it to successfully accomplish it, it is no longer obligatory upon others (O [the following is an excerpt from the commentary of Sheikh ‘Umar Barakat]: the evidence for which is the Prophet’s saying (Allah bless him and give him peace), “He who provides the equipment for a soldier in jihad has himself performed jihad,” and Allah Most High having said: “Those of the believers who are unhurt but sit behind are not equal to those who fight in Allah’s path with their property and lives. Allah has preferred those who fight with their property and lives a whole degree above those who sit behind. And to each, Allah has promised great good.” (Koran 4:95)”

“If none of those concerned perform jihad, and it does not happen at all, then everyone who is aware that it is obligatory is guilty of sin, if there was a possibility of having performed it. In the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) jihad was a communal obligation after his emigration (hijra) to Medina. As for subsequent times, there are two possible states in respect to non-Muslims.”

“The first is when they [i.e. Muslims] are in their own countries, in which case jihad is a communal obligation, and this is what our author is speaking of when he says, “Jihad is a communal obligation,” meaning upon the Muslims each year. The second state is when non-Muslims invade a Muslim country or near to one, in which case jihad is personally obligatory upon the inhabitants of that country, who must repel the non-Muslims with whatever can.”

Al Ghazali: ” One must go on jihad (i.e. warlike razzias or raids) at least once a year”…

Ibn Tamiyyah: ” The most serious type of obligatory jihad is the one against the unbelievers and against those who refuse to abide by certain prescriptions of the Sharia, like those who refuse to pay zakat….This jihad is obligatory if it is carried out on our initiative and also if it is waged as defense. If we take the initiative, it is a collective duty [which means that] if it is fulfilled by a sufficient number [of Muslims], the obligation lapses for all others and the merit goes to those who have fulfilled it…But if the enemy wants to attack the Muslim, then repelling him becomes a duty for all those under attack and for the others in order to help them……So the latter [form of jihad] consists in defense of the religion, of things that are inviolable, and of lives. Therefore it is fighting out of necessity. The former [type of jihad], however, is voluntary fighting in order to propogate the religion, to make it triumph and to intimidate the enemy, such as was the case with the expedition to Tabuk and the like.” (LOJ – excerpted from Rudolph Peters “Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam”).

Ibn Qudama (d. 1223): “Legal war (jihad) is an obligatory social duty (fard-kifaya); when one group of Muslims guarantees that it is being carried out in a satisfactory manner, the others are exempted.”

Molla Khosrew (d. 1480): “…jihad is a fard al-kifaya, that is, that one must begin the fight against the enemy, even when he [the enemy] may not have taken the initiative to fight, because the Prophet…early on…allowed believers to defend themselves, later, however, he ordered them to take the initiative at certain times of the year, that is, at the end of the haram months, saying, “Kill the idolaters wherever you find them…” (Q9:5). He finally ordered fighting without limitations, at all times and in all places, saying, “Fight those who do not believe in God, and in the Last Day…”(Q9:29); there are also other [similar] verses on the subject. This shows that it is a fard al-kifaya.”

Hasan Al-Banna: “The author of the “Majma’ al-Anhar fi Sharh Multaqal-Abhar”, in describing the rules of jihad according to the Hanafi School, said: “Jihad linguistically means to exert one’s utmost effort in word and action; in the Sharee’ah it is the fighting of the unbelievers, and involves all possible efforts that are necessary to dismantle the power of the enemies of Islam including beating them, plundering their wealth, destroying their places of worship and smashing their idols. This means that jihad is to strive to the utmost to ensure the strength of Islam by such means as fighting those who fight you and the dhimmies (if they violate any of the terms of the treaty) and the apostates (who are the worst of unbelievers, for they disbelieved after they have affirmed their belief). It is fard (obligatory) on us to fight with the enemies. The Imam must send a military expedition to the Dar-al-Harb every year at least once or twice, and the people must support him in this. If some of the people fulfil the obligation, the remainder are released from the obligation. If this fard kifayah (communal obligation) cannot be fulfilled by that group, then the responsibility lies with the closest adjacent group, and then the closest after that etc., and if the fard kifayah cannot be fulfilled except by all the people, it then becomes a fard ‘ayn (individual obligation), like prayer on everyone of the people. This obligation is by virtue of what He, the Almighty, said: ‘Then fight the polytheists…!’ (Surat at-Tawbah (9), ayah 5) and by what the Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘Jihad is in effect until the Day of Judgement’ If the whole body [of believers] abandons it, they are in a state of sin’ (up to where the author of the book says: ‘If the enemy conquers any territory of Islam, or any regions of it, it becomes a fard ‘ayn, and the woman and the slave shall go forth without the permission of husband or master. In the same way, the child shall go forth without the permission of his parents, and the debtor without the permission of his creditor.’”

Sheik Al-Qaradhawi: ” In the Jihad which you are seeking, you look for the enemy and invade him. This type of Jihad takes place only when the Islamic state is invading other [countries] in order to spread the word of Islam and to remove obstacles standing in its way. The repulsing Jihad takes place when your land is being invaded and conquered… [in that case you must] repulse [the invader] to the best of your ability….”

1.68 The imperialistic history of jihad conquests after Muhammad’s death, beginning with the 4 “rightly guided caliphs” and continuing for 13+ centuries into the present day, reflects and confirms this offensive understanding of jihad.

A) After Muhammad’s death in 632, the first 4 caliphs and their successors proceeded to conquer nearly half the known world for Islam. And here, the chronology of Muslim conquests speaks for itself.

It goes beyond straining credulity (into downright dishonesty) to claim that each step in the history of Muslim conquests beginning with Muhammad’s conquest of the Arabian peninsula and extending outwards first to conquer the Byzantine and Persian empires, and then proceeding to conquer northern Africa, parts of India and central Asia and even parts of Europe (including Spain, the Balkans, parts of Poland and Hungary) as well were all somehow undertaken “defensively” and solely in response to what non-Muslims normally understand by the terms “oppression”, “persecution”, or “injustice” as by any objective historical standard, Islam has been one of the most successful imperialistic ventures in human history.

B) Nor, in contrast to the claims of some apologists, did this conquest occur nonviolently (see Handbook Section 1.5: Islam Was Not Spread by the Sword).

C) Nor will it do to claim that the first 4 caliphs, who enacted this pattern of aggressive conquest far from the Arabian peninsula, after Muhammad’s death, were somehow ignorant of the “true” defensive meaning of jihad. Rather, it requires some hubris for modern apologists to claim that they have a better understanding of the ”true” meaning of jihad then the 4 “rightly guided” caliphs, as the caliphs were all intimate companions of Muhammad himself.

1.69 Orwellian use of language by the apologists: the word “fitnah”

A. The apparent defensive meaning of the verses cited by the apologists, in which permission is granted (22:34) or even commanded (2:191) to fight persecution and oppression (more broadly construed as “injustice” by the apologists) is elastic enough to support an understanding of jihad which is actually offensive in nature.

The word “persecution”, employed in these translations (by Pickthall) is only one translation of the Arabic word “al-fitnah” (which is rendered literally only in the Koranic translation of Hilali Khan). “Fitnah” is translated as “tumult and oppression” by Yusuf Ali, “as oppression” by Khalifa, as “sedition” by Palmer, as “idolatry by Dawood, as “civil discord” by Rodwell, and as “temptation to idolatry” by Sales. (Elsewhere it is variously translated as “commotion”, “internal discord”, “tumult”, “division” and “insurrection”). The term fitnah is evidently a difficult one to translate into English. According to an Islamic glossary (,

“Fitnah has been used in the Quran in two meanings. It refers, firstly, to persecution, to a situation in which the believers are harassed and intimidated because of their religious convictions. Secondly, it refers to the state of affairs wherein the object of obedience is other than the One True God.”

Given the historical context of the revelation of 22:34, it is reasonable to assume that the first meaning (actual persecution) applies in this verse. The word “fitnah”, however, also appears in verse 8:39 (And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah. But if they cease, then lo! Allah is Seer of what they do). The addition here of “and religion is all for Allah” suggests the second meaning of “fitnah”.

B. Hence, Muslims invoking “persecution” or “oppression” as a precondition for waging jihad, often mean something special with regard to these terms which differs from the normal non-Muslim understanding, namely that the non-acceptance of the Islamic faith or resistance to the divinely-sanctioned political “order” of Islam (the imposition of Sharia law and the reduction of non-believers to dhimmitude) in itself constitutes conditions of “oppression”, “injustice”, and “persecution”, whereas violent jihad to spread the Islamic faith and impose Islamic law is a “defensive” struggle to remove these conditions.

The so-called “extremists”, as it turns out, are often more honest about these subtleties than are the apologists. According to Sayyid Qutb, for instance, “If we insist on calling Islamic jihad a defensive movement, then we must change the meaning of the word ‘defense’ to ‘defense of man’ against all those elements which limit his freedom. These elements take the form of beliefs and concepts, as well as of political systems…..”. According to S.A.A Maududi, “ “Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and program of Islam. Islam requires the earth – not just a portion, but the whole planet.” (Jihad in Islam, Lahore, 1991 ).

Hence, a more nuanced understanding of what Muslims mean when they cite supposedly “defensive” verses, and use terms such as “oppression” and “persecution” and “injustice” to legitimize Islamic jihad in the supposed context of “just war” theory, sometimes reflects mere ignorance about the doctrine of Islamic jihad itself but is also quite often a mere exercise in taqiyyah, in which Muslims use Orwellian language to conceal the real meaning of these terms from the infidels, namely that unbelievers opposing or resisting the Islamic agenda to reign supreme are guilty of “persecuting” or “oppressing” Muslims, which legitiimizes the “defensive” use of violence against them in order to fight against their “aggression”.

Conclusion: Given the flexibility in the Muslim meanings of terms like “oppression”, “persecution” and “injustice”, the infidel debater should press the apologist espousing this myth to clarify iin no uncertain terms whether or not he/she would support or justify the use of violence in any situations where the unbeliever either thwarts the propogation of Islam or resists or thwarts attempts to impose Sharia law, which reduces the unbeliever to dhimmi status within the Islamic order.

3 thoughts on “Debating with Muslims”

  1. When muslims grow up , we might be able to debate with them
    For now ( forever ?) we can only contain their violence , react to their idiocies , try and stop them taking over

  2. Negotiating with moslems is the equivalent of farting against thunder. We need to believe them – they will never be satisfied until the world caliphate is imposed. Sadly, it is we or they; we must move heaven and earth to ensure that it will be we. We have no choice – the die is cast.

  3. Why Christians Can’t Debate Muslims
    I’ve been watching some Muslim-Christian debates recently, and frankly, the Christians don’t usually do very well. Here are three reasons I think this is true.

    1. The Muslim’s mind is made up before the discussion even begins.

    (Or, if I were as blunt as Simon Cowell, I might say, The Muslim has a closed mind). He comes into the debate absolutely convinced of four things: 1) Muhammad is the perfect man, 2) the Quran is the perfect book, 3) Islam is the perfect religion, and 4) if you disagree, you are totally wrong. His role in the debate is only to convince you that he is right and you are wrong. As my Islamics professor Dr. Ismail Al Faruqi used to say, “To convince someone of the truth of Islam, you give them evidence. If they refuse to believe, give them more evidence. If they continue to refuse, you conclude they are either malicious or ignorant.”

    This is a world apart from the Western idea of debate where two opposing sides present their ideas, discuss the evidence, and reach conclusions in which they both might change their minds. There is no give and take on the part of a Muslim when she is discussing the things she is convinced of before the debate begins.

    The Muslim might respond to the above paragraph by saying, “Everyone does that; not just us.” Well, I don’t. I go into a discussion prepared to listen, think, and change my mind if I see I was wrong. When I read, for example, the books of Bart Ehrman that challenge the way I have looked at my faith or the Bible, I’m prepared to rethink my beliefs. That doesn’t happen with the Muslim.

    (A quick aside; Muslims love writers such as Ehrman who challenge traditional Christian assumptions, but a Muslim Bart Ehrman – that is, a Muslim scholar who used the same scholarship to reach the same conclusions about the Quran that Ehrman has about the Bible – would be ostracized in America and beheaded in Saudi Arabia. It’s interesting how many ex-Christian pastors convert to Islam when their beliefs about the Bible are challenged. Rather than use the challenge to grow to a more mature understanding of faith, they jettison it all and go on a lifelong quest for the “perfect book” which they eventually conclude is the Quran).

    The result is that the debate with the Muslim will never go very deep. It can’t because he is unwilling to be challenged in what he believes.

    2. Muslims love to throw out “facts” that the Christian is unable to counter.

    As a child I heard the statement, “A fool can ask more questions in five minutes than a wise man can answer in a lifetime.” Similarly, the Muslim can make more claims in a twenty-minute debate than a person who doesn’t know much about Islam can answer in a long time. Even to do the research is a daunting task.

    Here’s one example; I could give dozens. Muslims love to say, “Muhammad forbade the practice of female infanticide, which was commonly practiced in the jahaliya (pre-Islamic period of ignorance)”. One online Islamic site claims, “Prior to the advent of Islam, female infanticide was rampant in Arabia. Baby girls were buried alive the moment they emerged from their mother’s womb.”

    When the Christian hears that infanticide was “rampant” but Muhammad stopped it, she thinks, “Wow, that’s impressive.” Not one in ten thousand can give a response.

    The fact is, the Muslim claim that Muhammad forbade this practice is based upon a single sentence in Quran 81:8,9. In the midst of a striking and poetic description of the final Day of Judgment, Muhammad asks, “When the female who was killed at birth will be asked, ‘What was your crime?’, what will her response be?”

    The historical truth is that female infanticide was not “rampant” in Saudi Arabia. It was seen as something shameful by the Arab tribes themselves. The Quran, the hadith, and the early biographies of Muhammad are filled with the names of women who obviously were not killed at birth. Female infanticide was an exceptional practice condemned by the Arabs themselves.

    The most authoritative biography of Muhammad, “The Life of the Prophet” by Ibn Ishaq, discusses a group of men who broke with polytheism to follow the monotheism of Abraham before Muhammad announced that he was a prophet. These men, known as the hanifs, were relatives and associates of Muhammad, and he was greatly influenced by their beliefs as a young man. They practiced meditation in the caves of Hara and Muhammad, following their example, was in the same cave when he claimed Gabriel appeared to him.

    Ibn Ishaq says the following about one of these hanifs, “Zayd bin Amr stayed as he was; he accepted neither Judaism or Christianity. He abandoned the religion of his people and abstained from idols, animals that had died, and things offered to idols. He forbade the killing of infant daughters, saying that he worshipped the God of Abraham, and he publicly rebuked his people for their practices.”

    The following is clear from Islamic history itself:
    1. Female infanticide was the exception, not the rule, in pre-Islamic Saudi Arabia.
    2. The hanifs, who were associates of the young Muhammad and included his wife’s cousin Waraqa bin Naufal, condemned the practice and publicly rebuked those who did it long before Muhammad mentioned the subject in the Quran.

    My point is that it takes a lot of research for the average person to counter the claims Muslims so easily throw out in discussions and debates. We haven’t done that research, and we are easily duped by those claims.

    3. Muslims don’t always tell the truth in debates.

    (Again, if I were Simon Cowell, I might have phrased the above sentence a bit differently).

    It amazes me how easily Muslims in America throw out information that is a lie. Again, there are dozens of examples, but one of the most common is that Aisha was a teenager when Muhammad married her. EVERYBODY in the Middle East has known for 1400 years Aisha was 9 years old when Muhammad married her; it’s not even a matter of discussion. Realizing that the idea of a self-proclaimed 53 year old religious prophet having sexual intercourse with a 9 year old child is distasteful to Americans and is cause for really bad jokes (What do you call a Catholic priest who has sex with a 9 year old? A pedophile. What do you call a Muslim who does the same thing? Khatem Al Anbiah – the seal of the prophets), Muslims simply change their own history. I’ve given information about Aisha before, so won’t repeat it here.

    So the next time you hear a Muslim argue that “jihad is an inner spiritual struggle”, or “the Quran explains osteoporosis” (yes, there is a verse in the Quran where Zakariya complained about his grey hair and his “weak bones”), or “Muhammad understood embryology hundreds of years before medical science” (because the Quran discusses “the piece of dirt” and the “nuftah” and the “attached thing like a leech” and the “piece of chewed-up thing” for which ten Arab scholars will give ten different explanations), take it with a grain of salt. If you are inclined to believe what you hear, at least take the time to do the research.


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