”An interesting discussion with Ali Sina”
From Part Four
Wahid: I asked. Q 1) What are your specific reasons for suspicion about the authenticity of the “sahih ahadith” literature?
You responded Sina: A. If a hadith attributes miracles to Muhammad, I reject that hadith. Muhammad in the Qur’an confessed he is unable to perform miracles.
Your criterion to judge the authenticity of hadith with reference to the Qur’an is partly the same as mine. However there is one big difference. You limit it to only hadiths relating to miracles but I take the Qur’an as the reference for confirming the validity of the entire hadith literature. The reason I have told you in my previous response – because the Qur’an makes it abundantly clear that Prophet Muhammad preached and lived only in accordance with the Qur’an. So the criterion should be applicable to all hadiths.
Sina: The main difference between you and I, is that you have accepted the Qur’an as the word of God while I think it is all lies and hallucinations of a mentally disturbed man.
Do you have any proof that the Qur’an is the word of God? If you have it, please present it and that would be the end of discussion.
Do I have any proof that Muhammad was mentally sick? I do and I have presented my evidence in my book in such a way that anyone who reads it will be compelled to accept it. I sent my book to many scholars who promised to refute it. Several of them are now my allies, but most of them never wrote back. I suppose they went into shock and stopped reading.
I am going to send you my book anyway. You may choose to read it or not. My offer is always open. Prove me wrong and I will stop this site and withdraw my book.
Wahid: You wrote: Sina: So the Qur’an mentions the qiblah and the time of the salat. It also allows Muslims to shorten their prayers when raiding and looting the unbelievers. That we can understand. After all looting is more important. However, in nowhere in the Qur’an there are instructions as to how to perform the salat, do the ablution or what to say during the prayers. These instructions are in the hadith.
You say that there is no need to consult the hadith to learn about the rituals of Islam because they have percolated down from one generation to another. What is this “percolation?” Isn’t it oral hadith? Hadiths are stories about Muhammad that passed from one generation to another until they were collected and written down about two hundred years later. You say they are not reliable.
I had given the Qur’anic verse revealing that Allah had taught Prophet Muhammad how to do salat. A hadith already given also corroborates this (hence that hadith is acceptable). That method had “percolated” down through generations but the number of rakats, and the number of times the obligatory salat has to be performed daily, differed depending on the hadith one accepted.
The “percolation” simply means this: The mode of performing the salat (i.e., the physical process) is taught by one’s parents or others through demonstration, and the method was transmitted as such (not as oral tradition) from one generation to the next. The salat method was originally demonstrated by Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad for teaching him. The method was not formulated by Prophet Muhammad but by Allah. (Everything in Islam is Allah’s directive). I do not think a Muslim anywhere in the world knows the hadith (about how to do prayer). It is always the parents or guardians who teach (by demonstration) their wards at young age, and they, in turn, teach their children and so on. Thus originating from Gabriel’s demonstration, the method of salat “percolated” down through generations. I hope it is now clear. That is why I say even in the absence of hadith literature, the method would reach the present day.
Sina: If the method you describe is foolproof, then how is it that the Shiites pray differently? It is logical that each person will develop his personal habits and will pass those habits to his children who in turn change those rituals slightly and pass them on and after 1400 years you’ll have thousands different forms of prayer.
We are not talking about who invented those rituals. Until you do not prove to us that it was Gabriel who thought those things to Muhammad your insistence is not going to convince us. That is another subject, which I am asking any Muslims to prove. At this moment however, we are talking about whether Islam can exist without hadith.
Wahid: For over two hundred years after the death of Prophet Muhammad there was no hadith literature but the method of salat had percolated down generation after generation in that period.
Sina: Your reasoning baffles me. This “percolation” you are talking about is nothing but oral tradition. You do not have a problem with that. But you don’t like the idea that someone collect those oral traditions and put them in a book? This is absurd. Just in 200 years already we can see variations have developed in hadiths. For example, there are several hadiths about the massacre of the Bani Quraiaz. But there are discrepancies between the numbers of men that Muhammad beheaded. They vary between 600, to 900. If the hadiths were not written down the variations would have been even more.
Let us be honest. The only reason you don’t want those hadith is because they embarrass you. Once upon a time we too felt the way you feel. The difference is that we decided hiding our heads in the sand is not the answer.
Wahid: Your second point is: “in nowhere in the Qur’an there are instructions as to how to do the ablution or what to say during the prayers.”
Here again you are wrong (Your statement only gives me the impression that you have not studied the Qur’an in full and in detail). The Qur’an says how to do ablution as follows:
5:6 O believers! When you prepare for prayer, wash your faces and your hands to the elbows, and rub your heads (with water) and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If you are in a state of ceremonial impurity (i.e., sexual intercourse), purify yourself (by taking bath). But if you are ill or on a journey or any of you comes from toilet or you have been in contact with women, and you find no water, then take for yourselves clean soil and rub your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to create difficulty for you, but to make you clean and to complete his favour on you that you may be grateful.
Nobody needs any additional information to do ablution.
Sina: No one can perform the wudu in proper order and detail by just reading these general instructions. We all know there is much more to the ritual of wudu than what this sentence says. Give this verse to someone who has never seen ablution and see whether he can figure out how to do it right. You already admitted that the Qur’an without hadith is not complete. You quoted a few hadiths that you decided they are sahih and also said you’d rely on “percolation,” which is also oral tradition, except that it is far less reliable.
Wahid: The Qur’an also instructs what to say during the salat.
29:45 Recite what was transmitted to you from the Book (i.e., the Qur’an) and establish the Prayer; for Prayer checks the shameful and detestable deeds. And remembrance of Allah is the greatest (deed). And Allah knows all that you do.
(Gabriel should also have taught Prophet Muhammad what to say during the salat; otherwise the demonstration of the salat method would not have been complete).
Sina: Here again we see no detailed instructions as to how perform the salat. If this was all it was needed to perform the salat why would Gabriel needed to teach it to Muhammad?
By your own statement we can conclude that the Qur’an was not enough and that is why Gabriel had to show to Muhammad how to perform the prayer. Then Muhammad explained that orally to his followers. That is what constitutes hadith. Therefore, again we see that without the hadith, not even the pillars of Islam can be practiced. Of course, there is a lot more to hadith. It is also the source of the history of Islam and that is the most important function of it. Islam will not become meaningless even if Muslims prayed differently, but without a history, the very existence of Muhammad can be questioned.
Wahid: You wrote: The fact is that not only one cannot know how to perform prayers, fast or do hajj without relying on oral traditions.
This is totally wrong. I have explained this in my previous response and in this also. All the religious rites, prayers, and rituals directed by Allah in the Qur’an can be performed as per the instructions given for each in the Qur’an. It is clear from the case of salat discussed above. The religious directives (including methods of prayers, etc.) are given in about 1000 verses (excluding the repetition of verses, instructions applicable only to Prophet Muhammad, his family, and people of Prophet’s time). Allah expects you to do the prayers and rituals as He instructed in the Qur’an and not in any other way.
Sina: How can it be “totally wrong” if you said that Gabriel had to teach Muhammad how to perform the salat? By saying such thing you are admitting that Gabriel knew that the instructions in the Qur’an are not enough.
Wahid: You wrote: Both of us agree that some of the hadiths are false and some of them are sahih. Our criteria however are different. I use logic as my criteria and you use shame. I say it is not logical for believers to forge tales about their prophet portraying him as a villain. You say since Muhammad was a holy man and the stories attributed to him portray him otherwise then the stories must be forgeries. This is not a logical conclusion, because: a) believers will never malign their prophet. On the contrary they will do their best to hide his shortcomings, as Ibn Hisham did with the Sira of Ibn Ishaq and as you are doing now, and b) your belief that Muhammad was a holy man is a fallacy of Question Begging.
I agree with you. I take every hadith that does not agree with the Qur’an or that is not mentioned in the Qur’an as false because from the Qur’an it is clear (please see my previous response in which I have given the Qur’anic verses) that Prophet Muhammad would never change, add or delete anything, nor covey anything to the people other than the Qur’anic revelations. So my criterion to identify the authentic hadiths is foolproof. Your criterion applies to certain aspects only.
Sina: Well, that is because you think the Qur’an is the word of God. If you have any proof to substantiate that belief let us know it and we too will adopt your criterion.
Since you cannot prove that the Qur’an is the word of God and I have a lot of evidence to prove that it is not, my criterion is different from yours. I see Muhammad as a liar. So I do not pay attention to what he wrote in the Qur’an, unless I want to use his own words against him. I give more credence to what his followers said about him. Particularly when they spoke of his crimes I know that they were not lying.
As you see, your arguments convince only another believer. For unbelievers you have no arguments. The claim that the Qur’an is the word of God is a circular reasoning.
Non-Muslim: - How do we know that the Qur’an is the word of God?
Muslim: - Muhammad testified to it.
Non-Muslim: - How do we know Muhammad was not lying?
Muslim: - The Qur’an says that Muhammad is truthful.
This kind of logic does not convince rational people.
Wahid: No Muslim can ever think of, let alone telling, a derogatory word about Prophet Muhammad. Perhaps even you may be having second thought about what you are writing about him. My discussion so far was about the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad as to how he lived perfectly as the model of Islam in accordance with the Qur’an. I have, in the beginning itself, made it clear that I use the word hadith to mean only the reports on religious sunnah (either not mentioned in the Qur’an or different from the Qur’an). I have already told you I do not know how sunnah other than that mentioned in the Qur’an crept into the religion.
Sina: Yes you told us that Muhammad lived perfectly as the model of Islam and I do not disagree. However, I reject that model as diabolic and evil. If Muhammad came today and did what he did back then he would have been put in jail for good
Throughout this discussion you did not give us any proof that Muhammad was a prophet of God. You repeated instead that he was a perfect example and that he followed the Qur’an to the letter. These arguments may be effective for Muslims who have abandoned reason and have taken the leap of faith to believe anyway. For skeptics and those who do not believe you have to come up with actual proof.
I have proven that Muhammad was a insane and I am offering a prize to anyone who can prove me wrong. My claims are logical and are backed by proof. I am inviting anyone to write an equally convincing refutation of them. “We believe that Muhammad was truthful,” “We believe that he only spoke what God instructed him to say,” etc are no proof for me. In my book you never find. “I believe!” Who cares what I believe or don’t believe? People want evidence. In the very beginning of my book, you’ll see I am urging everyone to doubt everything I say and never believe a word unless they are fully satisfied with the evidence.
That is the main difference between me and Muhammad. I am not asking anyone to follow me, wage war for me, loot and bring a fifth of the spoils to me, obey me, don’t have an opinion contrary to mine, etc. Despite that I am asking people to never believe me unless I prove my points beyond the doubt.
Muhammad on the other hand asked all those special privileges for himself but never gave any proof of his claim except the sword. You are a man of science; don’t you think that it is illogical to follow someone without asking for proof when we know that he benefited immensely from the sacrifices that his followers made for him? Here is where you have to use a little bit of commonsense.
Wahid: But your intention is totally different. You are not taking hadith for religious purpose as Muslims do. You are using it to insult and criticize Islam and Prophet Muhammad. I have clearly shown that your criteria are highly subjective and full of uncertainties..
Sina: I never hid my intention. I am not a Muslim. I have evidence that Muhammad was a conman. Why should I take the hadiths as the source of religious guidance? My goal is to prove to the world that Muhammad was mentally sick. I use the Qur’an and hadith to prove my case against him. You must have seen in the movies that when cops arrest someone the first thing they do is to read him his right. They inform him that anything he says can be used against him. From there on, they only listen to what may incriminate him. It he repeats a thousand times that he is innocent and he was somewhere else when the crime took place, they do not register that. They only record what can be used against him. That is what I do with hadith and the Qur’an. I look for evidence to prove that Muhammad was a liar and I have found thousands of them. One would have been enough.
That does not make my criteria subjective. I look at the Qur’an and hadith in an objective way. It’s the believers who look at it in a subjective way.
Who do you think is more objective to analyze the Bible? A believer or a non-believer? Of course believers cannot be objective in relation to their own faiths.
Wahid: If Prophet Muhammad had waged war, it is because he was attacked. He had not attacked any body first. As I already mentioned in my previous response, the reason was he preached something totally opposed to the long-cherished traditions and beliefs of his people
Sina: Is this objective? Of course not! All the wars of Muhammad (with the exception of two) were offensive. They are called ghazwa and saria. (raid and ambush). Muhammad bragged that he was made victorious with terror.
It surprises me that you don’t know the history of Islam. The claim that the Meccans were angry because Muhammad was teaching something different to their cherished beliefs is a lie. This bogus claim, repeated by every Muslim is not what we can learn from the Qur’an, the Sira and the Hadith. You have written five books on Islam and hundreds of papers and you have not even read the Sira of Ibn Ishaq, the Tarikh Tabari and the Tabaqat of Ibn Sa’d? What kind of scholarship is this?
Wahid: One thing I noticed in our debate was while I was trying to take one issue, your approach was to bring several issues at a time. So our debate could not concentrate on one subject and settle it.
Sina: That is not true. The subject we are discussing is whether Islam can exist without the hadith and I did not deviate from the subject. I brought many examples to make my point.
Wahid: You wrote: You are ashamed of what Muhammad did, and you should be. But you should be equally ashamed for trying to deny the truth about him.
In this statement you are not only talking about me but also the entire Muslim world. Mr. Ali Sina, the entire Muslim world is all praise for Prophet Muhammad for his noble and valiant 23 years of life facing all kinds of odds against him. He had the only intention of bringing the humanity from darkness to light surrendering totally to the will of God.
Sina: But of course dear Prof. Wahid! I am not talking about you at all. I have nothing but respect for you as an individual. I am addressing the entire Ummah. It is time for Muslims to pull their heads out of the sands of denial and face the truth. Muhammad was not a valiant man. He was a coward. He waged 78 wars but never fought personally. He used to wear two coats of mail, one on top of the other, which would make him so heavy that he needed help to walk. In that state he would stand behind his army, well protected and would then tell them that if they die they will be rewarded with virgins. He never risked his own life. Read my book and you’ll get to know your prophet.
Muhammad’s intention was to enrich himself and to become powerful. You need to read my book and see the evidence for yourself. Please stop rehashing what you have learned since childhood and start learning the truth.
Wahid: As is evident from your statements above, you have not studied the Qur’an in full (I have given proof of that while answering your question on ablution). If you study the Qur’an dispassionately and without any pre-conceived notion, you will indeed find it enlightening and illuminating. Without studying the Qur’an in full, it will not be possible for you to comprehend the essence of the Islamic doctrine. (Its previous versions are the Injeel given to Prophet Jesus and Taurat given to Prophet Moses). Science (another domain of knowledge taught by God) fuses beautifully well with the Qur’an. And together they form holistic knowledge, which I call Islamic Science, the totality of the revealed knowledge by God. Scientists are the messengers of science as prophets are messengers of religion. None can get any information unless God wills.
Sina: As I demonstrated your argument was not valid. I read the Qur’an in its entirety first, in 1994, dispassionately and without any preconceptions (I was a believer then). It was then that I started having misgivings about Islam, and since then I must have read each verse of the Qur’an between 20 to 100 times. But there is one thing else that I studied, which you never did and that is the history of Islam. If you read the Tabari you will become so sick that you will probably leave Islam even without reading my book.
My interest in debating with you was to talk about science and Islam. This is your area of expertise. I want to show to Muslims that there is nothing scientific in the Qur’an, that such claim is bogus and preposterous.
Wahid: The entire universe is a giant computer with built-in programs, designed and created by Allah with specific purpose. I proposed a computer model of the universe in 1998 in my first book by explaining the Qur’an in the light of science. Later (in 2002) some
Sina: Dear Professor, you are engaging now in the logical fallacy known as Non Sequitur. This is the fallacy of stating, as a conclusion, something that does not strictly follow from the premises.
So you compared the universe to a computer. That is a good analogy. But how from here you conclude that Islam is the light to mankind? Muhammad was a thug. This is clear from his words in the Qur’an and what his followers have narrated. This man was an utterly ignorant man who thought the Earth is flat, the mountains are pegs to keep the earth from shaking when we walk on it, that the stars are adornments that are hung from the lower heaven which acts like a ceiling, and the Moon and the Sun go around the Earth. The Qur’an is the book of asininity. There is nothing scientific in it. Muslims have been reading this book of nonsense and are the only people who have NOT contributed anything to Modern science. All inventions and discoveries are made by people who never read the Qur’an.
It is embarrassing that a man of your caliber and credentials should cling to this book of stupidity and make such absurd and unsubstantiated claims.
Wahid: 41:52-53 “Say: See you if the (Revelation) is (really) from Allah, and yet do you reject it? Who is more astray than one who is in a schism far (from any purpose)? Soon will We show them our Signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in themselves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (Qur’an) is the Truth. Is it not enough that your Lord does witness all things?”
Sina: Muhammad was a narcissist and like all narcissists he was an expert in straw man fallacy. You can see the same way of speech by this buffoon acting as the president of
Wahid: Already signs have appeared. Anything that denies God and His word (the Qur’an) will fail sooner or later.
But that is another subject. Many religious people believe in creation. The question that I would like you to answer is in what ways this proves Muhammad to be a true prophet? He was not the first to come up with the story of creation. This story is antique. Muhammad simply copied it from the Bible, but the story is much older than the Bible. Assuming
You make two unsubstantiated claim. It means you have not given us any proof. The first is that the story of the creation is unique to the Qur’an, which clearly is not so and the second is that those stories are true.
Wahid: Ali Sina, I think I should stop here because we are poles apart in our approach to understanding the Qur’an and Islam – the religion of God. I do not think anything worthwhile will emerge out of our debate. I thank you so much for the discussions.
Sina: Well dear Professor, you wanted a debate with me and you got it. I do not shun debating with Muslims. I just don’t debate with any Taqi, Naqi and Morteza. But it was a pleasure to debate with you. I would have preferred we talk about the Qur’anic science. I know about the volumes of lies that Muslims have compiled on this subject and it was my wish that I debate this issue with someone who specialized in Islamic science to prove once and for all that it’s all hoax. There is no science in the Qur’an. That book is not the word of God. It is the drivels of a mentally sick man.
I think the debate was quite worth it. The more we probe into Islam and discuss it with the respected scholars of this religion, the more it becomes clear that this religion is false. There is not a single claim made by Muhammad and Muslims that can stand scrutiny.
In conclusion, I would like to ask you again to please pull your head out of the sand dunes of
Islam is a lie. It has survived so long because before no one could criticize it. You can keep the darkness forever, as long as you put off any light as soon as it stars. But with the advent of the Internet, Muslims cannot put this light out. The light is becoming larger and spreading. Once the truth spreads, Islam will become history. This can happen in just a few short decades. If you want to leave a trace of yourself, read my book, leave Islam and join us.
All the best, Ali Sina