A Beginner’s Guide to Countering Islam

Understanding Islam’s core religious texts

   There’s something different about Islam. Many of us realize this is the case, many have an undefined feeling that there is something ‘wrong’ with it that is at odds with our Western values, but are unable to articulate it.

   Perhaps my extensive learning and experience in the subject of Islam after more than a decade working in the Middle East may be of value to those who have found themselves browbeaten by Islamic apologists and wished they had good rebuttals, for those interested in Christian outreach to Muslims, or people that just want to understand Islam.

   Discussion about Islam is surrounded by a great deal of ignorance, assumptions and emotion – however these only cloud the issue. The way to truth is through facts.

   My intention is that the information that I share will be useful to any who want discuss the subject of Islam and the recent major Jihad attacks intelligently, to rebut often dishonest or misguided arguments, and understand the threat of supremacist political groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and the ultimate motivation and methodology behind Jihad. It is easy to spot where a bomb went off, it’s harder to trace networks and subtle, subversive political and social infiltration.

   Recently I participated in a university forum dedicated to counter-terrorism. The particular discussion topic was ‘religious terror’, however we were explicitly advised by moderators to leave any discussion of religion out of the subject of ‘religious terror’. Though of course if Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism were discussed or even criticized this was allowed without objection.

   There was, of course, one religion that when mentioned, even in the most respectful and scholarly fashion with detailed references, even when referencing the public quotations, publications or documents from terror groups and their leaders, would receive almost immediate objection and accusations of the dreaded ‘Islamophobia’.

   Any comments relating to the recent major acts of terror by Muslims in Europe and America were met with i) “This has nothing to do with Islam” and ii) “You’re an Islamophobic racist if you want to discuss a connection between terrorists shouting ‘Allahu Akbar!’ (Allah is greater! [than your God]) while murdering Westerners and Islam”. These claims were made by Muslim housewives, graphic artists and clerical workers who seemed to be on the forum purely to police any discussion of Islam and complain vehemently to the moderators about how offended they were.

   No genuine discussion of the motives and doctrine of the terrorists was allowed by the university staff. Both our next and current generation of academics, terror analysts and policy makers seem required to bury their heads in the sand and remain in denial.

   Detailed references to the most authentic Islamic sources will be invaluable for those wanting factual information on Islam, its political and social aims in the West, its ideology, common arguments and methods.

   Much ignorance exists among Western policy makers, researchers and the otherwise educated, it is also surprising to me how Christians and Westerners are apologists for Islam and defend those expressing an ideology that intends to subjugate them.

   For the record, I have good Muslim friends. From my interactions I realized that I know more about the doctrine and history of Islam than they do, and the Muslims I have (carefully and respectfully) spoken to on the subject. I have visited nearly every country in the Middle East multiple times working in a sensitive role.

Let me set a foundation

   I will cite only the most authentic, credible Islamic sources to present the theology, ideology and doctrine of Islam. A simple rule is that Islam is what is found in the Quran and the sayings and actions of Mohammed. If it is found there it is Islamic, no matter what your neighbour or colleague says or feels.

   Islamic doctrine is found in 3 works of literature

  1. Quran
  2. Hadith (A collection of reports describing the words, actions, or habits of Mohammed)
  3. Sira (Mohammed’s biography, first collected together by Ibn Ishaq).

   These works are listed in order of their relative importance.

   There are strong and weak Hadith. The most authentic or sound collection of Hadith is considered to be that written by Bukhari followed by Muslim, referred to as Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. Sahih means ‘sound’, denoting good, reliable, strong or trustworthy.

  • The Quran contains a little bit more than 150 000 words, it is roughly the length of the New Testament.
  • The Sira is a little bit over 290 000 words.The Hadith of Bukhari is a little over 640 000 words, containing several thousand reports.
  • The Hadith + Sira = the Sunnah of Mohammed. The Sunnah + Quran = the primary sources for i) Islamic theology and ii) Shariah, Islamic Sacred Law.

   The Sunnah are the record of the teachings, deeds and sayings, permissions and disapprovals of Mohammed, as well as reports about his companions. Sunnah is also defined as a path, a way, a manner of life (thus making Islam a social order as well); the Sunnah contains the traditions and practices of Mohammed that have become the ideal model to be followed by Muslims, since Mohammed is regarded as the perfect Muslim.

   Often the “You’re quoting that out of context!” argument is used to de-legitimize the use of uncomfortable passages from the Quran, and it is true that the Quran makes statements that often lack context. The Hadith collections and the Sira provide that context.

   Then there are the Tafsir, commentaries on the by Quran by revered scholars of Islam. Literally, Tafsir means ‘interpretation’ and is the equivalent of Christian exegesis. Tafsir deals with linguistics, jurisprudence (law) and theology – and the Tafsir often provide detailed additional context for verses in the Quran.

   One of the best online resources for searching and comparing the Quran, Hadith and Tafsir is http://www.quranx.com

   For example, use Quranx to compare Q4.34 (Quran Chapter 4, Verse 34): “As for women of whom you fear rebellion, admonish them, and remain apart from them in beds, and beat them.”
See http://quranx.com/4.34.

   Select the Arberry and Maududi translations and observe the differences and similarities in the various translations. (Note, the verse does not refer to women who have rebelled, it refers to women from whom you fear rebellion.)

   Next we refer to the Tafsir for clarity on the verse. I’ll select 3 from Quranx.

   Now, let’s examine the Hadith. These are best searched with Google to find relevant references, after which they can be viewed on Quranx.

   Iyas ibn Abdullah ibn Abu Dhubab reported the Messenger of Allah as saying: Do not beat Allah’s handmaidens, but when Umar came to the Messenger of Allah and said: Women have become emboldened towards their husbands, he (the Prophet) gave permission to beat them.

   Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab:The Prophet said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife. http://quranx.com/Hadith/AbuDawud/DarusSalam/Hadith-2147

   Finally, let us examine Islamic Sacred Law (Sharia) for its ruling. From the highly respected Sharia manual, The Reliance of the Traveller:

   M10.11: Dealing with a Rebellious Wife When a husband notices signs of rebelliousness in his wife (nushuz, dis: p42) (O: whether in words, as when she answers him coldly when she used to do so politely, or he asks her to come to bed and she refuses, contrary to her usual habit; or whether in acts, as when he finds her averse to him when she was previously kind and cheerful), he warns her in words (O: without keeping from her or hitting her, for it may be that she has an excuse. The warning could be to tell her, “Fear Allah concerning the rights you owe to me, ” or it could be to explain that rebelliousness nullifies his obligation to support her and give her a turn amongst other wives, or it could be to inform her, “Your obeying me [def: (3) below] is religiously obligatory”).  If she commits rebelliousness, he keeps from sleeping (O: and having sex) with her without words, and may hit her, but not in a way that injures her, meaning he may not (A: bruise her,) break bones, wound her, or cause blood to flow. (O: It is unlawful to strike another’s face). He may hit her whether she is rebellious only once or whether more than once, though a weaker opinion holds that he may not hit her unless there is repeated rebelliousness. 
(c) if keeping from her is ineffectual, it is permissible for him to hit her.

   I believe this will suffice to get you started on the road to critical examination of Islam.

   Back to the Quran. Passages about Allah, based on textual analysis of the Quran, are 14% of the total content. The remaining 86% is about the life, sayings and deeds of Mohammed.

   It is a fundamental principle of Islam that a Muslim is to follow the example of Mohammed, the ideal pattern of conduct. This is stated in the Quran 91 times. These commands take two forms — historical examples and direct commands. Mohammed is ultimately the ideal moral example for all Muslims to follow.

   Finally, the Quran has an early period and a late period, often referred to as the Meccan Quran and Medinan Quran. They have wildly contradictory peaceful and violent verses. The Law of Abrogation (Naskh) tells us that a chronologically later verse is theologically better than an older one. However both verses stand as true, since the Western concept of unitary logic and disqualification does not apply for theological reasons.

   (Note, the Quranic progression is from peaceful to violent, which is the direct opposite of the Biblical progression).

Q2.106: And for whatever verse We abrogate or cast into oblivion, We bring a better or the like of it; knowest thou not that God is powerful over everything? http://quranx.com/2.106
Q16:101: And when We substitute a verse in place of a verse – and Allah is most knowing of what He sends down – they say, “You, [O Muhammad], are but an inventor [of lies].” But most of them do not know. http://quranx.com/16.101

   The same process of consulting the Hadith, Tafsir, Sira and The Reliance applies to these verses for context and clarity.

   Approximately 225 verses are abrogated by later verses. 71 of the 114 chapters of the Quran have abrogations, cancelling the previous verses.

   Further confusion arises because the Quran is arranged by length of chapter, it is not in chronological order.

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4 Responses

  1. Sane James says:

    Thank you, ECAW, the resource you highlighted is one I was unaware of. I did not want to post too lengthy an article, and will return to these topics in future.

  2. ECAW's blog says:

    With regard to Sane James’ last two points about abrogation and the order of suras in the Koran, this presentation of the Koran may be helpful:


    It shows the suras in chronological order and all abrogated verses are highlighted in situ along with their abrogating verses.

  3. Sane James says:

    Walter, if you feel strongly about defending Christianity and view Islam as a threat to Western civilisation, then I encourage you to write well-considered articles on a personal blog or submit them to sites such as this.

    However, just as you are not swayed by the Quran, the people you want to reach are not swayed by the Bible. You may not be aware of the depth of indoctrination or belief held by Muslims, and the persuasive sophistication of the sophistry used against the Bible and Christianity by the purveyors of civilisation Jihad against the West.

    You have to use their own sources as credible evidence that they are in error.

  4. Walter Sieruk says:

    How about “countering Islam” with the truth of the Word of God, II Timothy 316..Meaning the Bible. As this following essay explains.
    The way for a person to discover the truth concerning the nature of Jesus is found in the Bible verse Isaiah 8:20. This instructs “To the law of the testimony. If they do not speak according to the word, it is because there is no light in them.” [N.K.J.V.] In other words, if a religious teacher has teaching that are in contradiction to the Word, the Bible, then that teachers is a false teacher who teaches false doctrines. The Muslim clerics, as the imam and mullahs, teach and speak doctrines about God from the Quran .
    As the Quran in 112 teaches “He is God alone: God is the eternal begetteth not…” Likewise, this religious book which is the entire foundation of and for Islam further teaches in 19:35. “It is not befitting to God that He should beget a son.” In great contrast the Bible teaches in John 1:14. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory , the glory of the only begotten of the Father ,full of grace and truth.” Likewise John 3:16 teaches “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son… Then just a little further in verse 18 it is written about Jesus Who is “the only begotten Son of God. “ Other places in the Bible further teach that Jesus is the Son of God as in Matthew 16:15:16. Luke 1:35. John 3:36. First John 4:14. 15. 5:14,15. Moreover to be even more clear the Bible teaches that Jesus is the Son of God, Who is God the Father. As found in Matthew 3:16,17. First John 2:22,23. 4:14,15. Of course , it ,very much, needs to made even more specific . The Bible teaches that Jesus is also God the Son. As seen in Hebrew1:8 and First John 5:20. The imams and mullahs as well as the other apologists for Islam will try to “explain” this all away. As in they will try brush off all those Bible verse off by making the claim that the Bible had been corrupted, through time, by Christians and that’s why the Bible reads as it does. That claim they make actually underestimate the Power of God to protect and keep His Word safe and intact ,through time, and away from the corruption of men.
    In conclusion ,with the above instruction of the way to find doctrinal truth in Isaiah 8:20 and in the light of the Bible verse provided it may be clearly seen, by all those who are willing to see, that Islam is in terrible doctrinal error and it is therefore a false religion, Proverbs 14:12. John 14:6.
    In addition there is a Christian internet site which replies to the many claims made by the imams and mullahs as well as the other apologists for Islam. It’s http://www.answering-islam.org

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