Friday, November 14, 2008

Attacks on Islam

I mentioned in my last post that I've recently begun reading Why I Am Not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq. I'm now in the fourth chapter and it's obvious that his book is an all-out attack on Islam.

He states that his inspiration for writing the book was the Salman Rushdie affair. Rushdie wrote The Satanic Verses in 1988. The phrase "satanic verses" refers to some Quranic verses supposedly produced and later retracted by Muhammad about the pagan Meccan goddesses being daughters of Allah. The publication of Rushdie's book caused an outrage in the Muslim world and a fatwa was issued against him by Ayatollah Khomeini. Warraq was disturbed by Western criticism of Rushdie and even support of the fatwa.

In the introduction, Warraq states that he wouldn't be offended if his book were called an extended bibliography and that is an accurate description; he mainly gathers together, filters, and summarizes writings by many authors throughout history, both Muslim and non-Muslim. He draws extensively on Islamologists who have done extensive research on the veracity of the Quran and Hadith.

As the title of this post suggests, his book is beyond critical to the point of being hostile. As with all of my reading, I take it with a grain of salt and don't just blindly accept all of the claims made but it does raise a number of good points about which to think. Since he is very hostile, he makes no attempt to sugar-coat his arguments or keep them politically correct. This allows him to bluntly state his point and be very clear.

I haven't even finished the first four chapters but he's made many connections between the beliefs and practices of Islam and those of its immediate influences, Judaism and pre-Islamic Arabian paganism. He states that Muhammad, having initially learned pieces of Judaism and Christianity on his travels, set out to become a Jewish prophet. After failing to convince the Jews of his prophethood, his goal changed to simply creating a new religion for the Arabs and reached back to their Ishmaelite and Abrahamic roots, seeing himself as a new Moses for the Arabs. Islam obviously takes many stories and tenets from Judaism but many connections are made to Jewish writings outside of the Old Testament with which Christians would not be familiar. He draws many parallels between practices at Hajj and pre-Islamic pagan rituals, which aren't very hard to accept. Additionally, he makes a very good point that the Quran makes comments about the Christian trinity being composed of God, Jesus, and Mary, which is blatantly wrong and, one would think, something it should get correct considering it is refuting the trinity. In fact, the Quran's understanding of the trinity, leading to most Muslims' understanding of the trinity, is a pretty far cry from the accepted trinitarian theology.

He then produces many arguments stating that the Quran and Hadith were actually created after the fact to legitimize a created religion and the battles, hijrah, and various other events in early Islam never actually happened.

In any case, there's a lot of stuff to think about and carefully analyze and I still have the majority of the book to read.

12 comments:

Azooz said...

"Attacks on Islam"

This has been my favorite subject for over a year now - I honestly think that it is all these attacks on Islam that are spreading Islam and Islamic knowledge so fast.

I think your blog spoiled that book for you, Ibn-Warraq's book is aimed at people who have little knowledge of Islam, there are much better informed anti-Islamic people online and they aim their attacks at a higher level of knowledge and I think you will find them just as you wrong as Ibn-Warraq, at least in the hate part. HotAir.com is one I hear of most often, they have a group of people who know Islam and the Quran very well and write lots of anti-Islamic stuff about it - I do not mind becuase i think it all goes to spread Islam in the end.

The "Save me from Islam" vibe i told you about a while back exists in Arabic for Arabs also, it is what makes people read Ibn-Warraq and other books and sites, but I know that there is nothing to them at all. If there was one single weakness it would be well known in Arabic, especially in the poetry level of the langauge that the Quran uses, there is none in Arabic, and we have been searching it for well over a 1,000 years.

I would love to expand further on the subject of the attacks spreading Islam, I think it is important but find it hard to put all my ideas about it in order, if you have questions about it go right ahead.

Azooz said...

Aayah 32 sowra 9 mentions 4 words (Sa-yothh-hiraho ala aldeen kolih) (sp) that mean that when people compare Islam and study it they will find no weakness in it to attack, and when Islam is attacked as a religion it will always win.

Ibn Warraq can not write anything to disprove that verse (or any other) from a historical perspective, and especialy not in Arabic. It's like useing his own words against him, the more he warns people about Islam the more he leads them towards it.

I have no link, but HotAir.com have a blog of the Quran you might prefer reading, it is a very harsh criteque by Mr D Pipes, a well known Islamophobe and it is probably one of the worst you could find and better than Ibn-Warraq could write. I used to read that Quran blog for the comments, all from people who would never, ever consider reading the Quran unless their trusted Islamophobe Mr. Pipes was explaining it to them - it's a false sence of security, becuase they can read the English Quran just as well as he can.

Ibn-Warraq and Pipes speak about Islam from a theoligical perspective, but they consider the Quran a normal book that a simple and illiterate desert goat herder could write, it is not that type of writeing and not the type book any human could hope to write, and it says to clearly itself.

The Quran is a miricle, each verse is a miricle, attacks by Ibn-Warraq and others are not going to prove otherwise, all they would have to do is simply produce a page like it, that can't be done.

Anyway, please tell me if you find anything on HotAir's blog of the English Quran that you think is a weakness, you will find the same verse explained on many of the Islamic sites and you will be able to judge the truth for yourself.

Anonymous said...

how are you doing these days... u have not write for a long time. wonder what happened to your enthusiasm??

Anonymous said...

Why did you disappear all of a sudden? Ramadan is a good time to make a comeback.:) It was a pleasure as well as enlightening reading your blog. We'll keep you in our prayers.

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