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Allah as the Best of Deceivers?

I recently published a two-part article (see here and here) comparing the God of the Bible with the God of the Quran, showing that Yahweh of the Bible seems more violent and warlike than Allah of the Quran.

The response from the anti-Muslim critics was minimal.  Three very weak responses were provided by Halal Pork, Farlowe, and Nerses.

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Halal Pork replied as follows:

One of the names of Allah is Al-Mukkar-the Deceiver.Why is that not included in the list

I included the twenty-five most common names used for God in the Quran. The term khayru al-makireen is used in the Quran only twice. That’s why it wasn’t included in the list.

The fact that khayru al-makireen didn’t make the list says a lot.  Consider that God is called Merciful over 300 times in the Quran, and the term khayru al-makireen is used only twice.  I wonder which one Islamophobes will focus on?

Meanwhile, the name Lord of Armies is used in the Bible for God just under 300 times.  The most common descriptive name for God in the Quran revolves around mercy, whereas the most common descriptive name for God in the Bible revolves around armies and war.  This was the main point of my two-part article.

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The term khayru al-makireen is first used in verse 3:54 of the Quran:

And they schemed [against Jesus] and God schemed [against them], but God is the best schemer.

This is alternately translated as “deceiver” or “plotter”–the translation of “deceiver” is preferred by anti-Muslim elements, whereas “plotter” by Muslim apologists.  I’ve chosen the more neutral “schemer.”

The context of this verse can be found in Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, as follows:

God says: And they, the disbelievers among the Children of Israel, schemed, against Jesus, by assigning someone to assassinate him; and God schemed, by casting the likeness of Jesus onto the person who intended to kill him, and so they killed him, while Jesus was raised up into heaven; and God is the best of schemers, most knowledgeable of him [Jesus].

Some killers schemed against Jesus, and so God schemed against the killers to fool them.  God made someone else look like Jesus–a willing martyr, by the way–and the killers murdered him instead (don’t worry, he is promised heaven).

So, that is the context in which God “schemed.”

If Osama bin Ladin tried to kill the President of the United States, but the Secret Service used one of the President’s doubles to “deceive” OBL, would there be anything wrong with this? That’s the exact same situation as appears in the Quran.

The term khayru al-makireen is repeated in verse 8:30, again in the context of those who tried to assassinate one of God’s prophets, in this case Muhammad himself. The leaders of Mecca planned to assassinate him, “scheming” against him by deciding to do the ugly deed altogether as one so that nobody could assign blame to any one single tribe.  This would prevent any possible retaliation. They also planned on killing Muhammad using the cover of darkness.

The Quran says that God “schemed” against these killers, and fooled the killers by making them think Muhammad was in his bed when in fact it was his younger cousin Ali.  When the killers found out it was just Ali, they didn’t kill him since he was just an adolescent.  In the meantime, Muhammad slipped away and fled to another city with his life.

So once again, God’s “scheming” involved fooling killers so that they could not murder.

How one could twist this into something negative, I don’t know…but I guess Islamophobes are very adept at twisting things.

But in any case, the attribute of “scheming” or “deceiving” has nothing to do with the context of war. Therefore, it has nothing to do with the topic of my article and Series, which is about whether Islam is more violent and warlike than Judaism and Christianity. What relevance does “scheming” have to do with that, except maybe that God schemes against killers to prevent them from killing?

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In any case, since this has nothing to with the topic at hand and is mostly a religious discussion more fit for Christian and Muslim apologists, I’ll just link to a Muslim apologist who responds to Christian polemicists:

The Biblical God As a Deceiver, by Bassam Zawadi

In that link, Zawadi notes that the Bible contains numerous verses in it where God “deceives.” Once again, for me the interesting thing about it is the level of pure hypocrisy of anti-Muslim Jews and Christians who vilify Islam and the Quran for what is found in their own religion and holy book.

Zawadi points to the following verse of the Bible, for instance:

Jeremiah 4:10 Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, the people have been deceived by what you said, for you promised peace for Jerusalem. But the sword is held at their throats!”

Of relevance here is the fact that unlike the two Quranic verses–which show God stopping people from killing by deceiving murderers–the Biblical verse in which God deceives involves him tricking a population into thinking they would have “peace” when in fact “the sword is held at their throats!”  The Bible says:

4:16  “Tell this to the nations, proclaim it to Jerusalem: ‘A besieging army is coming from a distant land, raising a war cry against the cities of Judah.'”

God deceived so that a “besieging army” could carry out its war of conquest.  Similarly, God will delude people in 2 Thessalonians 2:11 so that Jesus can kill and destroy them.

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As for Farlowe’s response, this is perhaps the weakest and most desperate response of all.  He writes:

Yahweh, God of War, yet the Jehovah’s (Yahweh’s) Witnesses (aka Watchtower Society) are a pacifist group who refuse to fight in armed forces in every country they live.

Why on earth would we restrict this to Jehovah’s Witnesses?  All Jews and Christians believe that Yahweh is the name of God.  This seems one last, desperate attempt to obfuscate the issue.  Jehovah’s Witnesses are not even considered to be Christians by our Evangelical opponents; they are condemned as a deviant cult.

Although Christians might use the term “God” more often for God than “Yahweh,” they certainly believe Yahweh of the Bible to be God.  But if one wants to play most common name associations, then Judaism would be most associated with the term Yahweh.  And, traditional and Orthodox Judaism is certainly not pacifist–as my next article in the Series will clearly show.

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Nerses relies on a fall-back argument similar to the trite “But Jews and Christians don’t take the Bible literally like Muslims…!”, which I refuted in part 7.

My next article in the Understanding Jihad Series will be about Jewish law (Halakha) and will address the basic premise of Nerses’ argument.  However, the entirety of his claims will take several articles to thoroughly refute.  Nerses regurgitates the standard lies that are found in Robert Spencer’s book–lies that will be laid to waste over the course of this Series.

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Lastly, I have said it before and I’ll say it again: Muslims shouldn’t vilify other faiths because they have plenty of “tricky issues” in their own religion that they must deal with.  Even if the Islamophobes could prove that the God of the Quran is very deceiving, how would that refute anything I’ve said?  My point is not that Islam has no “tricky issues” to deal with–only that Judaism and Christianity do too (perhaps more so).  Specifically, in the case of war and violence, the Quran pales in comparison to the Bible.

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  • Jean J. Stuart

    I think missionaries need to take a closer look at their own Bible and see how many times The Prophets accuse YHWH of deceiving humans. Here is a great article on this:

    http://discover-the-truth.com/2013/08/28/bible-yahweh-best-of-deceivers/

  • Michael Elwood

    Thanks, Garibaldi. Ironically, what made me look into the subject further was an article on wikiislam:

    http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Allah_the_Best_Deceiver

    Ever since someone posted that amusing article about the Quran supposedly asserting that the earth is flat (complete with graphic pictures), I’ve liked that website. Not because I agree with it, but because it has everything Islamophobes believe in searchable form (which keeps lazy people like from having to search all over the internet).

  • Garibaldi

    Excellent comment Michael.

  • Michael Elwood

    I didn’t comment on this article when it was first posted, so this is a little late. When I study the Quran, sometimes I just read whatever page I open it up to, and sometimes I do it topically. I recently finished a topical study of what the Quran says about lying which is why I’m commenting on this article now.

    First, I should point out that in Quranic Arabic, words derived from the min-kaf-ra root always mean to plan, plot, or scheme, not deceive. For the MKR root, Lane’s Lexicon says:

    “. . . .I know not any instance being trans. by itself: except as meaning he plotted a thing. . . .”

    and,

    “. . .makara also signifies He managed with thought, or consideration, or acted with policy, and practiced stratagem, in war.”

    and,

    ” . . . .makru allah signifies God’s granting a man respite or delay, and enabling him to accomplish his worldly aims [so as to bring upon himself the punishment due to his actions]”

    Even if you didn’t know the dictionary definition, you can infer its meaning from the context in the Quran. Every time a form of the word makara occurs, translate it as deceive (as Islamophobes insist) instead of plot/plan/scheme:

    8:30 The ingrates [yamkuru] against you to confine you, to kill you, or to expel you. They [yamkuruna], and God [yamkuru], and God is the best [al-makirina].

    I know and you know what it means to plot/plan/scheme to kill someone, but what the hell does it mean to deceive to kill someone? Think about it. . . let it marinate. . . Do you see how ridiculously ill-fitting the Islamophobic interpretation/translation is? Makara is a synonym of kayada, and it’s used in much the same way in the Quran. For example:

    12:33 He said, “My Lord, prison is better to me than what they are inviting me to do. If You do not turn their scheming [kaydahuna] away from me, I will fall for them and be of the ignorant.”

    12:34 So his Lord responded to him, and He turned away their scheming [kaydahunna] from him. He is the Hearer, the Knowledgeable.

    86:15 They are plotting a scheme. [yakiduna kaydan]

    86:16 And I plot a scheme. [akidu kaydan]

    In the Quran, various forms of the word deceive are derived from the khaf-dal-‘ayn root, not the mim-kaf-ra or kaf-ya-dal roots. For example:

    2:9 They seek to deceive [yakhadi’una] God and those who acknowledge, but they only deceive [yakhada’una] themselves without noticing.

    And just as Islamophobes have redefined al-makirina to mean deceiver, they have redefined taqiyya and kitman to mean lie. If I’m not mistaken, the word taqiyya doesn’t occur in the Quran. But other words derived from the waw-qaf-ya root do occur in the Quran. For example, the Quran uses the word taqiyyan (which means righteous) for John in 19:13, for Mary in 19:18, and for all righteous people in 19:63.

    If I’m not mistaken, the word kitman doesn’t occur in the Quran either. But other words derived from the kaf-ta-mim root do occur in the Quran. For example:

    2:42 Do not obscure [taktumu] the truth with falsehood, nor keep the truth secret while you know.

    2:159 Surely those who conceal [yaktumuna] what We have sent down to them which was clear, and the guidance, after God had made it clear in the book; these will be cursed by God and be cursed by those who curse;

    3:71 O people of the book, why do you dress the truth with falsehood and conceal [taktumuna] the truth while you know?

    3:187 God took the covenant of those who were given the book: “You will proclaim to the people and not conceal [taktumuna] it.” However, they threw it behind their backs and purchased with it a cheap price. Miserable indeed is what they have purchased.

    40:28 And a believing man from among Pharaoh’s people, who had concealed [yaktumu] his belief, said: “Will you kill a man simply for saying: ‘My Lord is God’, and he has come to you with proofs from your Lord? And if he is a liar, then his lie will be upon him, and if he is truthful, then some of what he is promising you will afflict you. Surely, God does not guide any transgressor, liar.”

    In the examples above, we’re told NOT to practice “kitman”. The exception is 40:28 where someone who’s life is in danger practices what Islamophobes call “kitman”. This type of dissimulation is similar to what Muslims practiced in Christian Spain in the 1500s, or atheist USSR in the 1900s (also note the difference between dissimulation and simulation). In the Quran, various forms of the word lie are derived from the kaf-dhal-ba root, not the waw-qaf-ya or kaf-ta-mim roots. For example:

    3:78 From amongst them is a group that twists their tongues with the book so that you may count it from the book, while it is not from the book, and they say it is from God while it is not from God, and they knowingly say lies [al-kadhiba] about God.

    10:69 Say, “Those who invent lies [al-kadhiba] about God, they will not be successful.”

    16:116 You shall not invent lies [al-kadhiba] about God by attributing lies [al-kadhiba] with your tongues, saying: “This is lawful and that is forbidden.” Those who invent lies [al-kadhiba] about God will not succeed.

    36:15 They replied: “You are but human beings like us, and the Gracious did not send down anything, you are only telling lies. [takdhibuna]”

    40:28 And a believing man from among Pharaoh’s people, who had concealed his belief, said: “Will you kill a man simply for saying: ‘My Lord is God’, and he has come to you with proofs from your Lord? And if he is a liar [kadhiban], then his lie [kadhibuhu] will be upon him, and if he is truthful, then some of what he is promising you will afflict you. Surely, God does not guide any transgressor, liar. [kadhdhabun]”

    In the examples above, we’re told NOT to lie. However, just like today, in 36:16 Muslims were accused of lying. The irony is, even if the Quran advocated “taqiyya” and Kitman” as Islamophobes understand them, doesn’t the Bible also advocate it? The Bible says:

    “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

    1 Corinthians 9:19-23

    Also, Martin Luther wrote in a letter:

    “What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church…a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.”

    Max Lenz, ed., Briefwechsel Landgraf Phillips des Grossmuthigen von Hessen mit Bucer, vol. 1

    How can “taqiyya” and “kitman” be good when Christians do it, but bad when Muslims do it? Anyway, this article and the other ones by Danios are important because taqiyya and kitman (along whith the equally dubious concept of naskh wa al-mansukh) are the main ways Islamophobes explain away the facts about Islam and Muslims.

  • Enzo

    I believe the problem in the Qu’ran vs Bible is both mention atrocities. What makes the Qu’ran more dangerous is the prophet personally was involved in the questionable acts and so were hos followers. In the Bible Moses or Jesus are not in the acts, some or direct from God but never in the hands of people. Anytime a group of people look up to someone who is doing questionable acts there is further risk the followers would do the same. The fact that the Qu’ran even once (or twice) references their g-d as a deliver is a bit concerning and perplexing, we learn something new every day.

  • Snoman

    “But that is basically my experience with Salafis. i hope people benefited.”

    Thanks for your input.

    This is the reason I am replying to this thread so much. If it was any other Islamic group, another other Religion or even most political groups and ideologies were being attacked with such generalities as much as Salafiyyah was then nobody on this site would take it, and in some instances, they would be banned.

    Yet when its Salafis, its ok that we are all “divisive, misogynistic, literalistic, anthropomorphistic”, but imagine if that was another other group. Imagine if Robert Spencer said that about Muslims.

    You can disagree with our point of view, but why take a loon approach to us? What other Islamic group’s theology would be discussed on these boards?

  • Solid Snake

    A note on the Salaf, philosophy, and my personal experiences.

    As Snoman menyioned, some of the Scholars of the past were very knowledgeable in debate and philosophy for the main purpose of rebutting the philosophers of their time who brought forth arguments regarding the nature of God and against other established principles of Islam. By no stretch could you call them philosophers, philosophers meaning that they lived and believed according to a specific philosophy.

    For some reason Salafis are always branded extremists or ‘terrorists’ despite their uncompromising anti-terrorism and anti-suicide bombing stance.

    My experience with Salafis is as follows: It is also beneficial to note that even withing Salafiyyah there are slight variations. the Salafis I have dealt with are what you would call “Classical Salafiis”.

    My older brother is a Salafi. He possesses a Masters degree in engineering, his professor is a Salafi, he has a PhD in Engineering. At the Salafi Masjid in Detroit you will find a diverse population ranging from Pakistani MD’s to African American business men to regular joe’s. Their wives know how to drive and do drive.

    At one lecture the speaker was explaining a hadith regarding the mahram. Women are allowed to drive to the store, take their kids to school, etc etc. The mahram ruling applies only if she is to travel more than a days travel, I believe, I could be wrong tho. SO the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia is a mix of political and religious reasons.I believe Imam Al-Albani said it was permissible for women to drive.

    This is regarding my experience with Salafis here in America. there are accusations made that all salafis are unintelligent or unsophisticated or backwards which is not correct at all.

    In terms of their stance on terrorism and ‘causing mischief in the land’ they are uncompromising. In fact when I first began to dig through the Islamophobes arguments I wanted to show proof that a majority of Muslims and scholars do not support terrorism, What i found was surprising. Salafi Scholars forbade the harming of American (or anyone else) non combatants and civilians (it was a question asked by someone) in Muslim lands. Their property and financial assets were to be protected. They also condemned suicide bombings and those who call to overthrow governments.

    But that is basically my experience with Salafis. i hope people benefited. Oh and I am not saying that all Salafis are like those I described above.

  • Snoman

    “If you say he was a Sunni based on your sources, then that’s just circular argument. Nevertheless, I do agree that he was no infallible Imam, not because Sunnis say so, but this is what modern academic studies of Islamic history reveals.””

    Honestly, I forgot to comment on this. This in and of itself should prove which sources are incorrect. Since we only have one source that we know is incorrect, the only other option is to the Sunni side or what is agreed upon from both sides because there is no reason to doubt it unless we doubt the WHOLE system, and then, what are we actually discussing? 😛

  • Snoman

    “Forget the differences, focus on the commonalities!

    There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah!”

    I’m only defending what I think is the truth. I am not out to attack anyone’s beliefs, but I do think I have a right to defend mine.

  • Snoman

    “Prove what? That Jafar Sadiq was a philosopher? Any scholar of Islamic philosophy will you tell you that.” And any Sunni scholar of history and aqeedah will tell you otherwise. You need to show what his philosophical beliefs were and what the proof that he held these beliefs are. The reality is his contemporaries say one thing, and the people who came after him differ. Like the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Proof is on the claimant and swearing an oath is on the one denying.” Show me some proof that Imam Jafar was any different than any of his contemporary scholars in his views towards aqeedah and philosophy.

    “Your response is basically that since Sunnis believe Jafar Sadiq was a Sunni, anything the Shiites say about him is unreliable at best or false at worst, including the claim that he’s a philosopher. Here’s the thing. Not only was he a philosopher, he was also a physicist, an astronomer and alchemist, among other things. Does that mean he was none of these if he was a Sunni? Has it occurred to you that Shiite sources record about him things that are opposite to what the Sunnis say? If you say he was a Sunni based on your sources, then that’s just circular argument. Nevertheless, I do agree that he was no infallible Imam, not because Sunnis say so, but this is what modern academic studies of Islamic history reveals.” No, thats not the case. Imam Jafar is recorded the same in both Sunni and Shii sources, that he was a regular Muslim scholar and he renounced Shiism publically, including those who attributed false things about him such as Zurara, especially the claims that he was an infallible Imaam. However, whear the Sunni and the Shia sources differ is that the Shia sources claimed that Jafar used to claim he was an Imam in PRIVATE and that what he said about Zurara in public was to protect him because the Sunnis were going to kill him if he “knew the truth.” This is what I was referencing. As far as Jafar being a philosopher or from the people of Kalaam, you need to prove this or else its meaningless. Besides, ONE person whose works haven’t been recorded as opposed to Abdullah bin al-Mubaarak, Sufyaan at-Thawri, Sufyaan ibn Uyaynah, Abu Hanifa, Imaam Malik, ash-Shaafi`ee, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, al-Bukhaari, Muslim, Abu Dawood and yes, even Hasan al-Basri رحمه الله أجمعين were very critical of the people of Kalaam and philosophers and your only response is Imam Jaafar, who we don’t believe was from the people of kalaam? Besides, being a scientist doesn’t mean he was a heretic, because that is in the secular world so what difference does it make? A lot of the great scholars were also scientists, physicists, anthropologists and even philosophers in a sense. Take Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله who was a great philosopher in his own right, but it didn’t affect his views towards his religion, he just used it to refute philosophers. This is different than claiming that Imam Jaafar رحمه الله was a philosopher who had a different belief system than the rest of the Muslim scholars at the time. He could’ve studied philosophy along with the other sciences, but that doesn’t mean he was a “philosopher” in the sense that he was from Ahl al-Kalaam or a Mu’tazili or something that is not “Sunni.” (since you seem to have a problem with that term)

    “Here’s something that I’m sure you’ll find hard to digest, “It has to be firmly established that at this time (the Umayyad period) there were no Sunnites in the strict sense….There was no Sunnite self-awareness as such, however, since it had not occurred to anyone to think of himself as a Sunni or as belonging to the Ahlus Sunnah. The latter phrase begins to be used in the later 9th century, but was not in common use until the 10th century, and the adjective sunni tends to be first recorded towards the end of the 10th century” (p.21, Islamic Philosophy and Theology, W. Montgomery Watt).”
    I don’t disagree with this in essence, the early Muslim scholars did not AS A WHOLE refer to themselves as Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jamaa`ah, or the Salafis or ahl al-Hadeeth or any of these labels. This is without a doubt the case, so I’m not sure why you would quote this Montgomery Watt (is he Muslim? is he a Muslim scholar? I don’t know him) when you quote the sources he quoted, i.e. sources written by Sunni scholars. However, they did use this terminology and did recognize that there was a distinction between them and the innovators, as an example of the top of my head it is recorded in Sahih Muslim on the authority of ibn Sireen رحمه الله that he said, “They did not ask about the Isnaad (chain of narrations for hadeeths), but when the fitnah (second civil war) happened they would say, ‘Tell us the names of your men.’ So they would look to Ahl as-Sunnah (people of the Sunnah) and they would take their hadeeth and they would look at the people of innovations and they would not take their hadeeth.’ So to say what Mr. Watt said is somewhat true somewhat false, but there was definitely a distinction between the people of the sunnah and the people of innovations in the Muslim scholars minds.

    “As I showed above, the term Sunni wasn’t in vogue until the 10th century, and I can quote more academic historians if you want, so the claim that Wasil Ibn Ata did not consider himself a Sunni is anachronistic.” Again, you’re only partially right, but the term “Sunni” is the only term we can use to describe them. Whether they used labels to refer to themselves is moot because they recognized themselves as a group versus those various heretical groups. Its not like Hasan al-Basri was a Mu’tazili and Imam al-Bukhaari was a Khaarijee and Muslim was a Shi’ee, etc. They all agreed these groups were heretical. As such, while the term wasn’t widespread, it WAS used unlike how you’d like to imagine. Again, refer back to the narration I mentioned in Sahih Muslim.

    “I did not claim that Hasan Al Basri referred to himself as a Sufi, so your request is tantamount to attacking a Straw Man.”
    I apologize, I thought you said he was a sufi, but we say he is from the Salaf. So if he is a “sufi” then he is really a Salafi to us, whether later Sufis claim that he is an inspiration to them. Similar to the issue of Jaafir as-Saadiq رحمه الله, I don’t believe he was a philosopher, from Ahl al-Kalaam or anything else. I believe him to be the same as Abdullah ibn al-Mubaarak etc. Which is “Sunni”, or Ahl al-Hadeeth or Salafis or etc.

    “That is a no true Scotsman fallacy. The folks at IA are extremist Salafis, not Khawarij since their CENTRAL BELIEFS aren’t the same as the latter. Would you say Asharis and Mutazliah are the same just because they interpret Allah’s Hand metaphorically? I’m sure you won’t. On the basis of the same reasoning, you cannot equate the Salafis at IA with the Khawarij.”
    I disagree. Extreme Salafis are something like Shaykh Rabee` al-Madkhali’s students, thats an extreme Salafi. They consider themselves part of the Salafi movement. Islamicawakening are not Salafis PERIOD whether or not some of them agree with us the Ash’asris and Mu’tazilis are incorrect in their interpretation of the Attributes of Allah because they don’t consider themselves part of the same movement as people like Shaykh Albani, Ibn Baaz and Shaykh Uthaymeen رحمهم الله let alone Shaykh Rabee al-Madkhali, Ali al-Halaby, Abu Hassan al-Ma`rabi (who has a free book that is passed out by the Saudi government in Saudi against terrorism and suicide bombings) etc. Their methodology is different than ours. Salafis don’t even believe in the revolutions that are going on in the Muslim world today, let alone suicide bombings and killing of civilians. One of our main principles is we do not revolt against the rulers and they are the complete opposite. How can anyone be a Salafi who believes in revolutions? Thats like calling them “extremist Muslims”, would you say they are an extreme version of you? I don’t think you would agree with that whether or not they agree with you in some of your basic religious beliefs.

  • AJ

    Forget the differences, focus on the commonalities!

    There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah!

  • IbnAbuTalib

    Snoman: Prove this.

    Prove what? That Jafar Sadiq was a philosopher? Any scholar of Islamic philosophy will you tell you that.

    Snoman: You might have confused him confused with Zaid ibn Ali, the Imam of the Zaydiyyah sect of Shi`asm. He was a Mu’tazili while Imam Ja`far was a Sunni who was one of Abu Hanifa’s teachers. Any attribution to him that he was a Shi`i or a Mu`tazili or thought of himself as an infallible Imam is known to be completely false and that he himself belief these people BY NAME in public. One example is Zurara, so please keep this in mind when you bring me your sources that he was a philosopher.

    I didn’t claim Jafar Sadiq was a Shiite or a Mutazilite. I did claim that he was a philosopher. Your response is basically that since Sunnis believe Jafar Sadiq was a Sunni, anything the Shiites say about him is unreliable at best or false at worst, including the claim that he’s a philosopher. Here’s the thing. Not only was he a philosopher, he was also a physicist, an astronomer and alchemist, among other things. Does that mean he was none of these if he was a Sunni? Has it occurred to you that Shiite sources record about him things that are opposite to what the Sunnis say? If you say he was a Sunni based on your sources, then that’s just circular argument. Nevertheless, I do agree that he was no infallible Imam, not because Sunnis say so, but this is what modern academic studies of Islamic history reveals.

    Here’s something that I’m sure you’ll find hard to digest, “It has to be firmly established that at this time (the Umayyad period) there were no Sunnites in the strict sense….There was no Sunnite self-awareness as such, however, since it had not occurred to anyone to think of himself as a Sunni or as belonging to the Ahlus Sunnah. The latter phrase begins to be used in the later 9th century, but was not in common use until the 10th century, and the adjective sunni tends to be first recorded towards the end of the 10th century” (p.21, Islamic Philosophy and Theology, W. Montgomery Watt).

    Snoman: Wasil bin Ata` didn’t consider himself a Sunni and was labeled a “Mu`tazili” (one who goes out) by his teacher al-Hasan al-Basri. So I’m not sure how he’s an example? He was the leader of the Mu’tazila who said things like “We are men and they are men” when referring to the Companions and they rejected narrations when it went against their “logic”, something which the traditional Sunni scholars said they have very little of. Again, I’m not sure how him just living in the first three generations means anything? The khawaarij, shi`ah, jahmiyyah and mu`tazila ALL rejected the Companions understanding of the religion.

    As I showed above, the term Sunni wasn’t in vogue until the 10th century, and I can quote more academic historians if you want, so the claim that Wasil Ibn Ata did not consider himself a Sunni is anachronistic. In any case, the main point is, he and other “heretics” like him appeared in the first three generations of Islam. The hadith about the Salaf, as I pointed out earlier, is general. It does not say exactly how the first three generations were best. You have imposed a late interpretation on it to make it mean something that you already believe in, thereby committing circular reasoning. In fact, your claim that the early Sufis were actually Salafis is an example of circular reasoning.

    Snoman: I’d like you to present me some sort of evidence that Hasan al-Basri actually referred to himself as a Sufi or did any of things Salafis criticize Sufis for like: dancing, chanting in unison, blindly following their teacher, etc.

    I did not claim that Hasan Al Basri referred to himself as a Sufi, so your request is tantamount to attacking a Straw Man.

    Regarding the idiots at IslamicAwakening, you write, “They are not Salafis in the sense of the Salafis we are discussing…..”

    That is a no true Scotsman fallacy. The folks at IA are extremist Salafis, not Khawarij since their CENTRAL BELIEFS aren’t the same as the latter. Would you say Asharis and Mutazliah are the same just because they interpret Allah’s Hand metaphorically? I’m sure you won’t. On the basis of the same reasoning, you cannot equate the Salafis at IA with the Khawarij.

  • Snoman

    “I can understand the need for Arabic in discussing some religious customs or technical issues with specific or broader meanings (for instance, ‘hijab’ being more than just a headscarf), but the more you use them colloquially, the more alien and invasive your religion (and therefore Muslim communities) will appear.”

    I feel this way about the word Allah. I feel like the word God doesn’t do the concept of “Allah” justice and I feel the word Allah is better. This works ALL over the Muslims world and doesn’t create any alienation even though 81% of the Muslim world is not Arabic.

  • AJ

    Jack,

    Any Muslim that prays or does the Adhan, uses the word “Allah” numerous amount of times. If you find it chauvinistic or get offended by it, that’s your problem, not ours. I am not offended by Hindus calling their god Ram or Sita or Ganesh or whatever so take a chill pill. I am not going to chide them and suggest that “Hey if you want to be assimilated into American society, you better start calling all your gods, just “God”, i.e. pronto!”

    Sheesh!

  • Snoman

    I also wanted to add that you did not address the verses from the Qur’an that I presented as evidence for singling out the Companions and their followers as being the saved sect in the 73 sect Hadeeth. I hope you can address that in your reply.

  • Snoman

    Wow, I hope that post can actually be deciphered. LOL, I put it in Word so I can type it out where I can make sense of it and when I put it back in here the format was messed up. I hope the mods can fix it 😀 Thanks

  • Snoman

    “As expected you did not address my points adequately. In response to my claim that Salafis are unphilosophical, you simply said that even Asharis and Mutazilites reject Avicenna and Ibn Rushd. That’s not my point.” All I’m saying is this isn’t something the Salafis of our times invented and that it’s a well known principle of Ahl as-Sunnah at large. So specifying the Salafis and ignoring everyone else is similar to what our Loon pals do to the Muslims.
    “My point is that Salafism rejects philosophy, and consequently Kalam, by and large. They argue that such methods were not used by the Salaf which is false since Jafar as Sadiq (rha), esteemed by both Sunnis and Shiites, was a philosopher (among other things),” Prove this. You might have confused him confused with Zaid ibn Ali, the Imam of the Zaydiyyah sect of Shi`asm. He was a Mu’tazili while Imam Ja`far was a Sunni who was one of Abu Hanifa’s teachers. Any attribution to him that he was a Shi`i or a Mu`tazili or thought of himself as an infallible Imam is known to be completely false and that he himself belief these people BY NAME in public. One example is Zurara, so please keep this in mind when you bring me your sources that he was a philosopher.
    “and he was among the first three generations. So was Wasil ibn Ata, the founder of Mutazilism. Also, both were not anthropomorphist.” Wasil bin Ata` didn’t consider himself a Sunni and was labeled a “Mu`tazili” (one who goes out) by his teacher al-Hasan al-Basri. So I’m not sure how he’s an example? He was the leader of the Mu’tazila who said things like “We are men and they are men” when referring to the Companions and they rejected narrations when it went against their “logic”, something which the traditional Sunni scholars said they have very little of. Again, I’m not sure how him just living in the first three generations means anything? The khawaarij, shi`ah, jahmiyyah and mu`tazila ALL rejected the Companions understanding of the religion.
    “You know what is funny? Even Shiites accept the hadith about the Ummah being divided into 73 sects! Of course, their interpretation is different from yours.” My interpretation is the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “What I am upon and my Companions.” Their interpretation is that this means “They were upon the 12 Imamate.” It’s up to you to see if our difference in interpretation is valid.
    “Your argument is you follow only those from the first three generations who did not reject the Companions. On this basis, you reject the Khawarij and the Shiite. However, the Mutazilities and the other early sects do not reject the Companions. Why then are they condemned by the Salafis?”
    False, I already mentioned this earlier so I’m not going to repeat myself. In fact, the Mu’tazilah (those who go out, i.e. out of the understanding of the Muslim scholars at the time) used to defame Mu`awiyyah رضي الله عنه, something you’re not even willing to do I noticed.
    “Moreover, even the Asharis/Maturidis are very strict about upholding the sanctity of the Suunah, and yet they are also not safe from being classified as deviants by the Salafis!” Because they went against the Salaf in issues of Aqeedah. I noticed that when talking about the Mu’tazilah you said “do not reject the Companions” but you didn’t say that when talking about the Ash`aris and the Mu`tazilis. I feel like perhaps you are not sure what these groups are and the fact that you would use the Mu’tazilis as a group that could possibly be on the Sunnah/understanding of the Companions is mindboggling.
    “Another question, since you believe that only those who followed the Companions are on the right path, then what do you make of those Muslims today who believe Islam is against slavery? None among the first three generations of Muslims outlawed slavery. Since they knew Islam best, can we say that those who promote the eradication of slavery have deviated from Islam as, in fact, the Salafi scholar Shaykh Saleh Al-Fawzan said?” Of course, if they mean it as a belief that Islam outlaws slavery. Islam never outlawed slavery, but it didn’t encourage it either. So we cannot say “Islam bans slavery” but we can ban it in our countries.
    “In sum, in the first three generations of Islam, there were notable people who practiced philosophy and Kalam. There were people who were not anthropomorphist. As the presence of Hasan Al Basri (rha) shows, even Sufism was practiced by the earliest Muslims, and we all know how viscerally the Salafis hate Sufism!” Apparently you’ve never read the works of Ibn Taymiyyah or Ibn al-Qayyim رحمهما الله. Salafis don’t hate Sufis, they hate a specific type of Sufism that exists almost exclusively today. The early sufis were “salafis” in our opinion. However, I’d like you to present me some sort of evidence that Hasan al-Basri actually referred to himself as a Sufi or did any of things Salafis criticize Sufis for like: dancing, chanting in unison, blindly following their teacher, etc.
    “What makes them Khawarij? Do they believe that any grave sin takes a Muslim outside of the fold of Islam? Do they hate Ali(ra)? Do they believe that any Muslim, even if he is not of Quraish, can be Caliph? If the answer to all these questions is no, then why do you call them Khawarij? In fact, you admit that the idiots at IslamicAwakening are not guilty of these things, “Some of them ascribe to the Salafi creed and the guy that runs the site claims to have studied Hanbali fiqh”. So how can someone who ascribes to the Salafi fiqh be considered a Khawarij?” Salafi fiqh? I said Salafi aqeedah, there is no “Salafi fiqh.” They are khawaarij because they consider it permissible to kill innocent people and because they consider “ruling by other than what Allah rules by” to always be major kufr that takes a Muslim out of Islam, effectively making rebellion against all the Muslim states that exist today permissible, which is a type of khawaarijism. They don’t consider all major sins to be kufr (although some do, I spent a lot of time wasted on that site so I know them intimately) but they do consider the major sin of ruling by other than what Allah revealed by to always be major kufr, so that’s what makes them khawaarij. They are not Salafis in the sense of the Salafis we are discussing nor do they attribute themselves to Saudi Arabia or the Salafi scholars from Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt or North Africa, so even if you don’t accept them as being khawaarij, they don’t attribute themselves to the Salafi movement even if they agree with us in issues of “anthropomorphism” as you claim to be the Salafi belief.
    “Okay, name a few well-known Salafi scholars, past and present, who believe in Heliocentrism.” Ok, I’ll see what I can do.

  • IbnAbuTalib

    Snoman: “You claim that they don’t represent the first three generations, yet were the first three generations pro or anti-philosophy? Where they literalists or not?”

    As expected you did not address my points adequately. In response to my claim that Salafis are unphilosophical, you simply said that even Asharis and Mutazilites reject Avicenna and Ibn Rushd. That’s not my point. My point is that Salafism rejects philosophy, and consequently Kalam, by and large. They argue that such methods were not used by the Salaf which is false since Jafar as Sadiq (rha), esteemed by both Sunnis and Shiites, was a philosopher (among other things), and he was among the first three generations. So was Wasil ibn Ata, the founder of Mutazilism. Also, both were not anthropomorphists.

    Snoman: As such, Salafis stay with the early generations that followed the Companions because that is SPECIFIED by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. None of these groups that you mention claim to follow the Companions. In fact, the Khawaarij and the Shia specifically don’t see any virtue in the Companions and this is where there heresys originate.

    You know what is funny? Even Shiites accept the hadith about the Ummah being divided into 73 sects! Of course, their interpretation is different from yours.

    Your argument is you follow only those from the first three generations who did not reject the Companions. On this basis, you reject the Khawarij and the Shiite. However, the Mutazilities and the other early sects do not reject the Companions. Why then are they condemned by the Salafis? Moreover, even the Asharis/Maturidis are very strict about upholding the sanctity of the Suunah, and yet they are also not safe from being classified as deviants by the Salafis!

    Another question, since you believe that only those who followed the Companions are on the right path, then what do you make of those Muslims today who believe Islam is against slavery? None among the first three generations of Muslims outlawed slavery. Since they knew Islam best, can we say that those who promote the eradication of slavery have deviated from Islam as, in fact, the Salafi scholar Shaykh Saleh Al-Fawzan said?

    In sum, in the first three generations of Islam, there were notable people who practiced philosophy and Kalam. There were people who were not anthropomorphists. As the presence of Hasan Al Basri (rha) shows, even Sufism was practiced by the earliest Muslims, and we all know how viscerally the Salafis hate Sufism!

    Snoman: As far as Islamicawakening, they are khawaarij and this is well known.

    What makes them Khawarij? Do they believe that any grave sin takes a Muslim outside of the fold of Islam? Do they hate Ali(ra)? Do they believe that any Muslim, even if he is not of Quraish, can be Caliph? If the answer to all these questions is no, then why do you call them Khawarij? In fact, you admit that the idiots at IslamicAwakening are not guilty of these things, “Some of them ascribe to the Salafi creed and the guy that runs the site claims to have studied Hanbali fiqh”. So how can someone who ascribes to the Salafi fiqh be considered a Khawarij?

    Snoman: Shaykh Bin Baz may Allah have mercy on him did believe that, but that doesn’t mean all the Salafis believe that. He was also an old man who studied science (if we can call it that) in Saudi Arabia something like 80 years ago.

    Okay, name a few well-known Salafi scholars, past and present, who believe in Heliocentrism.

  • Snoman

    “How about my criticisms:
    such as that Salafis tend be literalist” Whats wrong with that?

    “anthropomorphist” I don’t agree. They believe that they follow what the Qur’an says. Allah says He is Merciful, that means He is Merciful, not like what some say “He wants good for His servants.” This is the position of the Muslims scholars from the time of Ahmad bin Hanbal and al-Bukhaari may Allah have mercy on them until our times. Either case, this is a very detailed criticism that I can’t respond to in a context liket his.

    “unscientific (Abdullah Bin Baaz believed that the sun revolved around the earth and whoever thought otherwise is a Kafir; go to Islamic Awakening and you’ll find many who believe in geocentrism),”

    Shaykh Bin Baz may Allah have mercy on him did believe that, but that doesn’t mean all the Salafis believe that. He was also an old man who studied science (if we can call it that) in Saudi Arabia something like 80 years ago. As far as Islamicawakening, they are khawaarij and this is well known. The fact that you would equate them with the Salafi movement implies you don’t know Salafiyyah nor do you know what Islamicawakening is (you do this every time you bring up Salafiyyah, I hope you repent from your accusations). Just because some of them ascribe to the Salafi creed and the guy that runs the site claims to have studied Hanbali fiqh, doesn’t make them Salafis. Especially since they make takfir of the same Bin Baz may Allah have mercy on him that you use as an example of ALL Salafis (much like the same Loons you claim to refute do to Muslims at large).

    “unphilosophical (which means some of the greatest minds of Islam like Ibn Rushd, Avicenna, et al. are deviants)” Is this unique to Salafis? Even Asharis and Mutazili scholars say this about those individuals.

    “and largely unintellectual, among other things. And these people are supposed to be following the Islam of the first three generations?” I believe your criticism of them, as well as your view of Islam is general is largely unitellectual. What does that mean really? You claim that they don’t represent the first three generations, yet were the first three generations pro or anti-philosophy? Where they literalists or not? Did they not write books like “Khalq af`aal al-`Ibaad” or not? A book I’m sure you would consider anthropomorphist written by Imam al-Bukhaari rahimauAllah? Or “Ar-Radd ala al-Jahmiyyah” by Imaam Ahmad rahimahuAllah? Or etc etc?

    Here’s the thing. The first three generations also contained groups like the Shia, Mutazilah, Qadirites, Khawarij, Murjiaites, and predeterminists.
    The first three generations also saw a lot of civil wars between the Muslims. My questions to you are, since the hadith about the Salaf does not specify any particular group but simply says generally that the first three generations are the best, on what basis do you reject the aforementioned *snip”

    The Basis is simple…

    1) Qur’an: Allah said “The first and foremost from amongst the Muahijreen and the Ansaar and THOSE WHO FOLLOW THEM Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him” Allah also says “Whoever apposes the Messenger after guidance has been shown to him and follows a path other than the path of the Believers, We will leave him upon what he is upon and throw him into hell and what an evil abode” Allah in Surat al-Anfaal says the Muhajireen and the Ansar are the “Belivers truely” and in surat al-Hashr says about those who come after the Mujahireen and the Ansar as those who say “O our Lord forgive us and our BROTHERS WHO HAVE PROCEEDED US IN FAITH”

    2) Sunnah, Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم says, “Upon you is my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs.” He also says صلى الله عليه وسلم “My Ummah will split up into 73 sects, all of them in Hell except one.” So they said, “Who are they O Messenger of Allah.” He صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “What I am upon and my Companions.”

    As such, Salafis stay with the early generations that followed the Companions because that is SPECIFIED by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. None of these groups that you mention claim to follow the Companions. In fact, the Khawaarij and the Shia specifically don’t see any virtue in the Companions and this is where there heresys originate.

    As far as their political differences, the Salafis don’t follow that. Thats not religion (unlike for the Shia and the Khawaarij) and as such doesn’t affect their view of them in TOTAL as a group to follow.

  • IbnAbuTalib

    Also, the Hilali-Khan translation of the Quran is a good example of the extreme intolerance Salafism embodies. Contrast that to Muhammad Asad or even Yusuf Ali’s translation and you’ll get a completely different picture of the message of the Quran. Subhan’Allah!

  • IbnAbuTalib

    Snoman: They don’t blindly follow their school of thought.

    I agree that not blindly following a madhab is not a good criticism of the Salafi movement. How about my criticisms, such as that Salafis tend be literalist, anthropomorphist, unscientific (Abdullah Bin Baaz believed that the sun revolved around the earth and whoever thought otherwise is a Kafir; go to Islamic Awakening and you’ll find many who believe in geocentrism), unphilosophical (which means some of the greatest minds of Islam like Ibn Rushd, Avicenna, et al. are deviants) and largely unintellectual, among other things. And these people are supposed to be following the Islam of the first three generations?

    Here’s the thing. The first three generations also contained groups like the Shia, Mutazilah, Qadirites, Khawarij, Murjiaites, and predeterminists.
    The first three generations also saw a lot of civil wars between the Muslims. My questions to you are, since the hadith about the Salaf does not specify any particular group but simply says generally that the first three generations are the best, on what basis do you reject the aforementioned groups? You cannot say that these groups are to be rejected because they contradict the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah as understood by the Salaf since, as I have pointed out, these groups were also part of the Salaf! Also, who was practicing Islam better, the forces of Muwawiyah or Ali (God be pleased with both of them)?

  • Snoman

    I just find it amazing that your criticisms of Salafis are the following:

    1) They don’t blindly follow their school of thought.
    2) A layman did something that you thought was rude (not sure if the Rosemary story is even something you experienced or if you’re just passing on a story). Is the Salafi methodology to do that? Maybe you should stop criticizing the whole movement due to the actions of some individuals just like you don’t like it when people do that to Muslims in general.

  • I don’t care if salafis choose to follow the Hanbali madhhab. That’s their prerogative. But when they come into the masjid and start insulting the people who follow different schools, that’s where I draw the line. There’s no need to accuse an 80 year old Auntie, who doesn’t even speak English, of biddat because she uses a rosary to count her zikr. That’s just bad manners.

    Khair, I can dislike how someone practices Islam without oppressing them. I try to follow the sahabah when it comes to correcting people, meaning that I criticize a group generally but when it comes to individuals I never try to assault the nafs. That gets us nowhere as an ummah.

    I am critical of salafis but I am also critical of the spiritualists, the “God knows my intention so I don’t have to follow any rules” Muslims. And I am also critical of myself. Regardless, Allahu alem who is going to jannat and who is not. My love or dislike for a particular interpretation of Islam means nothing on the Day of Judgement.

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