Leaving Islam




This is Wissam Nasr's response to Ali Sina's letter


Hi Ali, 

I read your reply and I found that it is filled mostly with insults and almost no facts. You have not cited any of your sources and you use a great deal of rhetoric in place of actual, verifiable facts. Also, as a former writing teacher, I can tell you that your word choice does not bother to conceal your seething hatred of Islam. Next time you write a response in our debate, I simply ask that you fill your letter less with insults and more with citations. Where are you getting these ideas? Show me your claims corroborated by any book and tell me which book. If you have an opinion, that's fine. But we want facts here, Ali. All I am asking is: Where did you get your facts?


First of all, if you re-read your own email, you have falsely attributed what is written in some parts of the Oxford History of Islam to my own words. Please pay more attention to what I write (it helps you to formulate better arguments if you actually listen to the other side), and remember--I did not say these things. No less than 15 of the world’s most eminent scholars---many of which are not Muslim--wrote the Oxford History. But in your entire letter, you have not cited even one single idea that you put forth. That is in stark contrast to my letters. You are just spewing out anger--which is fine, if you CITE your anger. I suspect that is why your website is considered by many to be the equivalent of a cyberspace "freak show"--a place where people visit but no one really believes what is actually shown. As I said before, I wonder what an objective and informed scholar of Islam would say about your website and the claims related therein. Since I enjoy eradicating ignorance--as much as you enjoy attempting to eradicate Islam by spreading half-truths and outright lies--I will now answer several of your erroneous claims.


You say:

Dear Mr. Nasr.

You refute my claim that Islam is a religion based on blind faith and quote from The Oxford Dictionary of Islam written by John Esposito that says, “Faith is never blind in Islam”. Perhaps that definition satisfies you, but it does not satisfy me. I have stopped believing blindly in anyone. I look at the facts and make my own mind.  

The very fact that Islam means “submission” indicates that it is contrary to freethinking. This word does not drive from Salama which means health or Salam which is a wish for good health or peace. Islam drives from taslim which means surrender or submission. You cannot think independently and submit your intelligence and your will to someone else at the same time. A prerequisite of freethinking and rational thinking is doubt. Belief is the antithesis to doubt.  

Let me make this concept clear. Belief means accepting something without evidence. According to Oxford Dictionary belief is: “The feeling that something is real and true”. Thus belief is based on feeling not facts. And feelings can be wrong.  


Ali, I think you have completely misinterpreted the dictionary’s meaning. First of all, the definition of “belief” that you offer above, is obviously NOT THE ONLY definition of “belief” in the Oxford English Dictionary. That is just one of the many definitions of the word “belief,” so once again you are being misleading. The truth is that believing can obviously be based on facts. For example, if I see a car crashing into a street pole, I believe it happened. I just saw it happen in front of me, so I believe it. This can be seen from definition #2 in the list below, where it defines belief as the mental acceptance of and conviction in the…actuality…of something. So as you can see, your definition that belief means accepting something without evidence is narrow and limited at best, and does not represent the FULL meaning or the VARIOUS meanings (both connotative and denotative) of the word “belief.”


Belief (from Dictionary.com)

  1. The mental act, condition, or habit of placing trust or confidence in another: My belief in you is as strong as ever.
  2. Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something: His explanation of what happened defies belief.
  3. Something believed or accepted as true, especially a particular tenet or a body of tenets accepted by a group of persons.



You also say:


 “Faith is never blind in Islam”. Please tell me how factual are the beliefs in Miraj, in Jinns, in splitting the moon or in the Quranic story of creation? All these beliefs are contrary to science and human logic. They are based on blind faith and sheer ignorance. Instead of listening to John Esposito or other apologists of Islam you better listen to what science and commonsense dictate. How any intelligent rational being can believe in Miraj, Jinns or other Islamic nonsense? Isn’t this blind faith?  


My response is this:


Jinn (better known as demons), for example, do exist and this is a scientific fact. The Jinn can be proved through exorcism, which is proven to exist. It is based on evidence from hospitals--such as public records from Georgetown Hospital in Washington, DC. --which has hosted exorcisms in the past, and also the fact that several years ago, the New York State government paid for an exorcism in Creedmore Psychiatric Hospital in Queens, New York. When the doctors at Creedmore went to the State authorities and told them that an 8 year old boy was speaking ancient Babylonian and fought of 5 security guards, the doctors insisted that the boy was not insane as originally thought--he was possessed by a supernatural entity. So as you can see, Ali, even men of science like our medical doctors, and even disbelieving or skeptical individuals like our United States government authorities apparently acknowledge the supernatural, and more specifically, demonic possession, or else they would not have paid or participated in an exorcism. This is, of course, in addition to the dozens of exorcisms that both priests and impartial, independent, and corroborating witnesses have reported seeing. Therefore, it is not blind faith to believe in the Jinn. Jinn exist—just ask the New York State authorities that approved tax payer money to pay for their exorcisms, or you can ask the doctors that heard that boy speak ancient Babylonian.


As for the Quranic story of creation, it is not incompatible with either science or religion. Although “evolution” is still a THEORY and not a LAW, Islam is STILL compatible with evolution, nonetheless. It is said that God created human beings—so it must follow that humanity must have started at some point in earth’s history. The Quran does not specify when Man was created—it could have been at anytime, but the point is that at some point some original man and woman must have existed. We are descended from an original pair of human beings that must have been the first of our species, and any anthropologist would tell you that. There had to be a first pair. As soon as man and woman showed up on the scene is where the Quran really picks up the story, and frankly, it is more concerned about teaching them spiritual development so they can facilitate their lives on earth than with the specifics of evolution (Islam also mentions that all life was created from water at some point, so there remains the possibility of evolution) Or, if that answer doesn’t satisfy you, you can choose to believe--as many religionists do—that God simply created the Earth and everything in it (fossils included) in one fell swoop. This is also possible in the Quranic “creation story.”


As for the Miraj (the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad into the different worlds of God) it is a fact because it is based in an incredibly credible source—the Prophet Muhammad. His honesty and character seems to be a big part of your argument against Islam, so let me first bring in what you say about that (By the way, your letters are grammatically incorrect. I suggest you polish your writing skills, Ali):


What the belief in Muhammad as a messenger of God is based on?  Who said Muhammad was truly a messenger of God and not an impostor? Can you present any solid evidence for that belief? Muslims believe Muhammad was whom he claimed to be because that is what is written in Quran. But the Quran came out of the mouth of Muhammad. If he was a liar the Quran is also a lie. Who said Quran is from God? Muhammad the liar? Isn’t this circular reasoning? Isn’t this blind faith? Can you prove that Quran is truly the world of God? This book is full of mistakes and sheer nonsense. How can one believe in Islam without blind faith? 


This is an easy one to answer. If you read any credible history book (you can choose to read an Oxford University Press biography of Muhammad, since you respect them enough to use their English dictionary) you will find that the Prophet Muhammad was widely known for his veracity and good character. Simply put, no contemporary of Muhammad—including many of his own enemies—have accused him of being a dishonest man. If you think they did, show me where you got that information and I will counter it with information from more reliable and unbiased sources than the ones you quoted. You should read Karen Armstrong’s or Abdul Hameed Siddiqi’s biographies of the Prophet Muhammad, which should be “objective” enough for you, since many other scholars respect them. I suggest reading the about the situation of the first Muslim refugees that were sent to Abyssinia because of their persecution in Mecca by the Quraish tribe. Read about how the Emperor of Abyssinia (a Christian) was visited by the enemies of Muhammad (who wanted to take back the refugees) and his own enemies testified to Muhammad’s honesty and fair-dealing. Many people in Mecca (even some of his enemies!!)  asked the Prophet Muhammad to hold their money for them, since they knew that Mohammed would never steal from them. In fact, he was well known throughout Mecca as THE most honest man in the city. As proof of this, he was often asked to settle disputes amongst the tribes and people of Arabia well before his prophet hood began, and he was also hired as a business representative of his future wife, simply based on his honest dealings. In addition to this evidence of his fair-mindedness and honesty, one should look at his disciples, which would include what scholars refer to as “The Rightly Guided or Righteous Caliphs” (the first four caliphs). All scholars agree that they were men of the utmost integrity. If that is indeed true—and I challenge you to find me a book that says that it isn’t true—wouldn’t it make sense to see that whom THEY respected was much better in character? (As the Four Caliphs unanimously agreed as well as all his followers?).


The Prophet Muhammad is a Prophet—not only because the Quran says so—but also because this man had almost no knowledge of any monotheistic ideas, didn’t know how to read or write, and was a shepherd and businessman for the first 40 years of his life and still came down preaching about the original religion and monotheism of Abraham and told stories of earlier prophets which he could not have possibly known through his very limited contact with Christians and Jews. More importantly, he also revealed what is acknowledged to be the best written and most influential book in history, the Quran. Even if you do not like the Quran—and I have no idea why you wouldn’t since even Islam’s worst enemies agree that it is filled with wisdom—you are forced to agree that it was the most influential book in history, or at least one of the top three. Tell me then, Ali, is there another example of an illiterate person revealing such a profound and timeless book? Who?


As far as the claim that the Quran is not the word of God, let us turn to the verse in the Quran that asks anyone (or ALL) of humanity to come up with a single chapter or Sura that can match it. Who has accomplished such a feat? You? Who? And if you THINK that you can find someone that can write a chapter as well-written and profound as any in the Quran, show me who will agree with your opinion that that particular piece of writing is better than any chapter or Sura of the Quran. Personally, I would love to see you (or any of your “staff”) try to come up with any piece of writing that is widely acknowledged to be better and more influential than the Quran. Since it is obvious that no one has accomplished such a feat, it is clear that no human being can match the depth of knowledge found in the Quran. To me –and 1.3 Billion other rational people in this world—this is proof that the Quran is indeed God’s direct word, a book of guidance for humanity that affirms what the “Hebrew” prophets were telling us all along—to stop our evil ways and worship one True God (incidentally, that is what Zoroaster originally said, until his religion was corrupted by polytheistic priests (for more on that, read The History of Religion by Karen Farrington). Thus the Quran is an incredibly well written book of profound knowledge that is in the Abrahamic tradition---oh yes, and all revealed to us by an illiterate person who never attended a day of school in his life. Since this feat has not been recreated by anyone either before or after the Prophet Mohammed, it suffices for me at least, that this is indeed the word of God himself. If you do not believe that, no matter—tens of thousands of people convert to Islam every year in “advanced” societies like America and Europe. And many of them are found to be normal, rational, thinking people, even by your own skewed definitions.


You say that the Quran is filled with mistakes and sheer nonsense, amongst your other insults, but you fail to point out these largely subjective claims. Show me the mistakes. I would love to know how you found mistakes in a book that is widely acknowledged to contain absolutely no mistakes or contradictions. If you think so, show me a single contradictory claim in the Quran, and I will be more than glad to reply to it and set you straight. In fact, as you will see in this letter, you have claimed that the Quran has mistakes in it, when in fact you LITERALLY PUBLISH ONLY HALF OF A VERSE. And then YOU OMIT THE MOST IMPORTANT PART, THE PART WHICH PROVES YOU WRONG. But more on your deception later. For now, let us examine your next claim:


In your second point you claim that Islam did not expand through violence. Sir, who do you want to fool? Are you going to deny all the books of history including your own? Islam is advanced through violence since the day one. What do you think Muhammad was doing in his Qazvahs (raids)? The reason the first time you send me this message I just published it without responding to it is because I have no time to waste with people who either have not read anything about Islam and defend it or just resort to deceit and lies.  

You claimed that after the invasion of Arabs the population of Iran and Egypt remained predominantly non-Muslim for centuries. That is true but you forget to mention that this resistance was a bloody resistance. Iranians fought a long time against Islam until they succumbed under the brutal forces of darkness.

You wrote:

With time, more conquered peoples embraced Islam....forced conversions were rare, but in some cases the imposition of higher taxes on non-Muslims may have created an economic incentive for embracing Islam.” 

It amazes me that you cannot see the evil in this confession of yours and use it to present Islam as a non-violent religion. Here you admit that people were “conquered”. Tell me how this is possible without war and the use of violence? You say forced conversion were rare. They were not rare. But the fact that you admit that people were forced to convert demonstrates that Islam is not that religion of peace that you want to present it. You talk of imposition of taxes on non-Muslims as an incentive for people to embrace Islam. So by your own admission people did not convert to Islam because they found it a true religion but because they were under duress. If you know this much of Islam aren’t you ashamed to belong to this oppressive and violent cult? What do you think if the West starts levying especial taxes on Muslims? Would that be fair? How many Muslims will remain faithful when they have to give 50% of their income as penalty for being Muslims? (50% is what Muhammad charged the Jews after raiding their town in Keibar) Is this a humane law? 

You say Islam did not spread through violence. Then how do you suppose it spread? Through dialogue and open discussion? Would you publish this letter of mine in your site (just as I publish yours in mine) to prove that you mean what you say and you are not afraid of open discussions? My friend, which Islamic country allows open discussion about Islam? Which Islamic site allows it? In which one of Islamic countries you can decide to leave Islam and live to tell about it?  Do you know what is the punishment of the apostates in Islam? Read this if you want to refresh your memory    http://main.faithfreedom.org/Articles/quran_teaches.htm



Ali, once again you are twisting the truth. You are so good at this that I almost admire your talents. You should work as a Press Officer for any government in the world. Your claim that Islam advanced through “violence” is wrong. First of all, regarding the Prophet Muhammad’s “raids”, these were actually done during a time of war that was declared—not by the Prophet Muhammad—but by the Quraish Tribe that wanted the destruction of the Muslim community. His raids were nothing more than attempts to disrupt their economic trade, which was their “life-blood”, if you will. They were not massacres, as you are trying so hard to have us believe. If they were massacres—or if the Prophet committed any massacres at all—show me where you got your information. CITE IT and I’ll be happy to listen to you. Don’t just give me what you think. Give me what you think if it is based on FACT, and show me where you got your FACTS. This is not an unreasonable demand. I am willing to listen to your claims as long as you support them with facts. In that sense, I am much like the rest of humanity.


You also say that since there was incentive to convert, that that is a tacit acknowledgment that Islam is not the “True” message. Well, Ali, what about the Mongols who conquered much of the Muslim empire and then converted to Islam? They did not need to convert to Islam for any incentive--they simply saw it as the Truth after they were already in power. If you think that is an exception, then what about the Turks, who conquered even more of the Muslim Empire? They also converted to Islam after their military successes and after they were in power. So as you can see, Ali, it does not matter whom you are, where you are, or when you lived—Islam is the truth and you are invited to see it. You do not need incentives to learn about Islam, as the Turks and Mongols found out. Thus, your argument is defeated.


As for the rest of your paragraphs, you keep using the phrase “You claim…” to describe what I wrote in my previous email regarding the spread of Islam. Ali, I do not claim anything—this is what I have read in the Oxford History of Islam, a book that is respected by all people, scholars and laymen alike, for providing accurate and scholarly information about Islam. I didn’t claim that forced conversion was rare—the scholars in the Oxford History of Islam did. Contrary to what you think, John Esposito did not write it. There were 15 of Islam’s foremost scholars—many of them NOT Muslim--that wrote each of its 15 chapters, and John Esposito, a renowned Islamic scholar edited it under the peer review process of Oxford University Press. This means that every other scholar involved had to approve each chapter, effectively meaning that 15 scholars reviewed each chapter for its accuracy. Therefore, if you have any problem with what is said, either take it up with Oxford, or dare to cite a more authoritive and accepted source than the Oxford History. I don’t think you can find one, and I constantly cite the Oxford History because if I don’t, then you will find some pretext to attack my sources. So to pre-empt your attacks on my sources, I simply resort to quoting the most widely accepted source I could find.

  You can read the Ali Sina's response to the above here


Part 2 

(This part has not been contested yet)

And just to clear things up, the protection tax that the Islamic Empire charged non-believing communities was not 50%. If Mohammed charged that to anyone, show me where you read that—once again, CITE YOUR SOURCES. It helps your credibility Ali. And even if we assume that he did charge 50% tax, that was not the tax charged to other communities anywhere else, which also leads to me believe that you are taking things out of context (the Quran makes no mention of a specific percentage for the protection tax, although many Islamic scholars determined that it should be one Arabic dinar per year [“The Meaning of the Holy Quran,”Abdullah Yusef Ali]). In fact most people were fine with paying a protection tax, since this was the norm under empires before the 7th Century AD. In addition, whoever paid the tax did not have to fight for the Muslim armies, which was greatly appreciated by its non-Muslim citizens, many of which did not want to be forced to fight in other people’s wars. Compare that to previous empires which forced all men, regardless of origin, to fight their wars. Islam was a blessing to its citizens, as the Oxford History makes clear.


Nevertheless, in regards to the situation with the Jewish tribes of Arabia, remember that the Jewish tribes broke their treaties with the Muslims and waged a merciless war on the Prophet Muhammad first. They even tried to assassinate him. When he finally subdued them, instead of bringing them for trial under his own courts, he allowed them to be tried in their Jewish courts. Even their own Jewish judges convicted them of breaking the agreements he had signed with them, and their own Jewish judges doled out their Mosaic punishments for treason, etc. which by the way, are much more harsh than any Islamic punishments, and you are invited to find that out. The Prophet Muhammad taught those Jewish tribes who conspired with the Quraish Tribe a lesson, but like the Quarish, he forgave them for their breaking their word (For example, the Prophet Muhammad forgave the Quraish after their failed defense of Mecca, forgave them for their own failed assassination attempt, didn’t kill anyone except for the most hardened criminals, and even appointed the Quraish leaders to be in charge of Mecca! He also forgave the Jewish woman who tried to poison his food while on diplomatic trip to the Jewish Tribes!! What leader in history has immediately forgiven the person who tried to assassinate him and let the would-be assassin live without punishment? This is a perfect example of the Prophet Muhammad’s widely acknowledged strength of character and forgiveness)



As for these questions:


You say Islam did not spread through violence. Then how do you suppose it spread? Through dialogue and open discussion? Would you publish this letter of mine in your site (just as I publish yours in mine) to prove that you mean what you say and you are not afraid of open discussions? My friend, which Islamic country allows open discussion about Islam? Which Islamic site allows it? In which one of Islamic countries you can decide to leave Islam and live to tell about it?  Do you know what is the punishment of the apostates in Islam? Read this if you want to refresh your memory.    http://main.faithfreedom.org/Articles/quran_teaches.htm


I have answered some of these ridiculous claims in my last letter. If you read the Oxford History, our most eminent scholars say that Islam as a religion spread through merchants, traders, preachers, and scholars. The Islamic Empire as a political entity spread through conquest—but conquest is not necessarily violence. There were many cities and regions that chose instead to sign peace treaties with the Muslims instead of mobilizing to fight wars against them. This was an attractive option, since as I mentioned before, the Muslim army would offer to protect the city and its inhabitants from such brutal armies and brutal rule as the Roman Empire and the Persian Empire, but would live APART yet CLOSE to the town, thereby letting the inhabitants of the “conquered city” live as they did without interference. These “garrison towns” eventually became enormous cities and centers of trade in their own right. So as you can see, Ali, many cases of “conquest” were not through violence, but by literally starting Muslim cities nearby in order to provide protection and administrative support to the land under Muslim control.


As for your claim that Islamic sites won’t publish your papers, I cannot speak for them, but as for my own site, iifhr.com, we would not publish your papers because they are not based on fact and many parts have no citations. We only publish scholarship, and unfortunately, your writings do not qualify as such, since they have so many skewed facts without any cited sources. Frankly, if you work on your writing skills, Ali, then we’ll talk. I am more than happy to publish any criticism of Islam as long as it is based on facts. That is my duty to bring people a balanced message, and you have my word on it.

Another of your claims is as follows:

You say that if Islam was the religion of violence then all the 1.2 billion people would be armed to the teeth to fight in the holy war. As a matter of fact the good news is that most of the Muslims are not living by what Islam requires from them. We even have nations such as Bangladesh and sometimes Pakistan that elect women as their rulers. This is completely against what Muhammad said about the women. He said "Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler." So fortunately Muslims are not aware of the inhumane teachings of Islam and the majority of them still are under the delusion that Islam means peace. Nevertheless Muhammad was clear about it. He not only said that Paradise is under the shade of the sword but also made his Allah reveal:  

2:216, Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you 

Now can you please tell us how fighting can be good for us? Please don’t tell me that the meaning of that verse is “self-defense”. There is no need for God telling people to fight, kill and maim their enemies in self-defense. Self-defense is natural in all living organisms including bacteria and viruses. It is just ridiculous to claim that all these violent verses are for self-defense. Does this verse sound to you a teaching for self-defense?

9:5, But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem.


In response to the first paragraph, Ali, you cannot say who is living by Islam and who isn’t. This is for two reasons. First you have a limited knowledge of Islam (don’t worry, we all do—no one can know EVERYTHING THAT WAS EVER WRITTEN about Islam, and even if we did, there is no guarantee that our interpretations would be free from all bias and previous experience in order to be truly “objective.”) Second, there is no one country that represents Islam to the fullest. It is true that some people call themselves Muslim and do not act like it. But no country claims to be perfect Muslims, so when you bring up places like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or Afghanistan, remember that they do not, as a body of people, represent ALL Muslims any more than the Muslims in America or Brazil or Bosnia do. Islam is a personal decision—some choose to heed the call, some do not, but the perfect ideals are there for us to try and reach, permanently enshrined in the Quran. So if you must, then try to judge individual persons instead of entire societies, because my dearest Ali, that would be STEREOTYPING. And even judging individual persons would be wrong for the same reason that it would be wrong for you to judge Islam—you have a limited knowledge, and therefore you would not make a perfect judge.


As for the verses you bring up, let us see Abdullah Yusef Ali’s widely respected and acknowledged commentary on these verses, from his authorities “The Meaning of the Holy Quran”(The verse you quote, incidentally, is included in one part of the Quranic discourse on charity.) For purposes of this debate, you can accept his commentary as representing the beliefs of all Muslims.


2:216, Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you 


Before I go on, it is interesting to note that you have (maliciously?) not included the entire verse. Therefore allow me to complete the entire verse in ITALICS AND UNDERLINE. Since this is a recurring phenomenon on your website and in your writings, you will see me doing this often. Ali, you and I know perfectly well that is UNETHICAL IN THE EXTREME to post only part of the verse. Yet you know this, and do it anyway.


2:216, Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that you love a thing which is bad for you, But God knoweth, and ye know not.


Abdullah Yusef Ali’s commentary: “To fight in the cause of Truth is one of the highest forms of charity. What can you offer that is more precious than your own life? But here again the limitations come in. If you are a brawler, or a selfish aggressive person, or a vainglorious bully, you deserve the highest censure. If you offer, however, your life to the righteous Imam who is only guided by God you are an unselfish hero. God knows the value of things better than you do.



Now, Ali, let us look at the verses before and after the verse you tried to quote, in order to get THE FULL PICTURE, which is something that, if revealed, will prove your claims wrong.

Sura 9 (entitled: Repentance or Immunity)

1. A (declaration) of immunity from Allah and His Messenger, to those of the Pagans with whom ye have contracted mutual alliances: -

2. Go ye, then, for four months, backwards and forwards, (as ye will), throughout the land, but know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah (by your falsehood) but that Allah will cover with shame those who reject Him.

3. And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger, to the people (assembled) on the day of the Great Pilgrimage, - that Allah and His Messenger dissolve (treaty) obligations with the Pagans. If then, ye repent, it were best for you; but if ye turn away, know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah. And proclaim a grievous penalty to those who reject Faith.

4. (But the treaties are) not dissolved with those Pagans with whom ye have entered into alliance and who have not subsequently failed you in aught, nor aided any one against you. So fulfil your engagements with them to the end of their term: for Allah loveth the righteous.

5. But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

6. If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah. and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.

7. How can there be a league, before Allah and His Messenger, with the Pagans, except those with whom ye made a treaty near the sacred Mosque? As long as these stand true to you, stand ye true to them: for Allah doth love the righteous.

As you can see, Ali, you have taken only ONE sentence from ONE paragraph (paragraph or “aya” #5) in the Quran to say that Islam is a violent religion. You did not even include the entire paragraph. This on top of the fact that you did not include the verses before and after the SINGLE SENTENCE you quoted, in order that you attempt to paint a FAIR picture of the verse and more broadly, the religion of Islam. The verses above can be summed as follows:


If any pagans make a treaty with you, honor it. If they break it, then allow them 4 months of back and forth diplomacy and fact-finding in order to try to restore the treaty. If the pagans insist on going back on their word, then war (and remember that Islam has VERY strict guidelines on war, such as no killing of women, children, the elderly, or plants and farm fields, and that war can only be declared by a legitimate and established nation) should be pushed with vigor. But, if the pagans do not want to go to war, and instead repent for breaking their treaty, and follow a path of repentance and charity, then all conflict must cease. Furthermore, as you can see from verse 6, we must allow the pagans to secure asylum with us if asked, or otherwise ensure their safety and security. So as you can see, Ali, the Quran asks that war be a last resort when all other measures fail, and that forgiveness and peace be the highest priority, which is quite a different picture than what you paint by taking one sentence completely out of context and then saying that this sentence sanctions unwarranted violence in Islam. But you are adept at taking things out of context and painting them in the worst possible light, as you website can attest to.


Your next claim is as follows:


You say Jihad means struggle against "self". Really...? Was Muhammad struggling against his self when he raided the Jewish quarters of Medina massacred all their men and enslaved their women and children? Do you really believe that by waging war against innocent people killing them and raping their wives Muhammad was just struggling against his ego?


Volume 4, Book 53, Number 392:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
While we were in the Mosque, the Prophet came out and said, "Let us go to the Jews" We went out till we reached Bait-ul-Midras. He said to them, "If you embrace Islam, you will be safe. You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I want to expel you from this land. So, if anyone amongst you owns some property, he is permitted to sell it, otherwise you should know that the Earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle."


Perhaps you have forgotten the famous saying of your messenger of peace who said:

"I have been ordered by God to fight with people till they bear testimony to the fact that there is no God but Allah and that Mohammed is his messenger, and that they establish prayer and pay Zakat (money). If they do it, their blood and their property are safe from me" (see Bukhari Vol. I, p. 13).



Ali, if you claim that Mohammed massacred the Jews mercilessly, show me where you got this information. Just cite it. Then I will show you the verse in the Quran that talks about Jihad as specifically prohibiting slaughter of innocents, including women, children, and the elderly. Since Mohammed was considered by all of his followers to be an embodiment of Quranic principles it is impossible that Mohammed would disobey the Quran and slaughter the Jews of Arabia in the manner you described. If you still insist that he did, show me your sources and let us see if they are biased or objective.


As for the above two hadiths about the Jews, all scholars agree that the Jews of Arabia were engaged in treason against Mohammed. They violated each one of the peace treaties he held with them. This is agreed upon by all scholars, PERIOD. Therefore, if he wished to expel some of the Jews from Arabia, it was only the Jews who refused to live in peace with the Moslems. You are trying to say that our Prophet Mohammed had something against the Jews based on their religion. This is false, since the Quran teaches us to respect Jews and Christians. In fact, if you will pick up a high-school history textbook (which apparently you have not done), you will see that Jews attained their “Golden Age” under Muslim rule, especially in places like Spain. Like the pagans and all other people, Mohammed simply asked them to respect the treaties that they signed. If they chose to violate those treaties to gain some benefit for themselves, then they are subject to the consequences. Any and every country and empire in history follows this same rule, but often with much more brutal results than Mohammed decided upon.



Your next claim, related to the above hadiths is:


If you disagree with the meaning of this hadith, please try to convince your own coreligionists first. For example try Dr. Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti, the Azhar scholar, who in his book, "Jurisprudence in Islam" says: 

"The Holy War, as it is known in Islamic Jurisprudence, is basically an offensive war. This is the duty of Muslims in every age when the needed military power becomes available to them. This is the phase in which the meaning of Holy War has taken its final form. Thus the apostle of God said: ‘I was commanded to fight the people until they believe in God and his message ..."’  : (page 134, 7th edition) 


My response to this is: That is that particular scholar’s opinion. I can guarantee you that there are other scholars, of equal standing, that disagree with his exact words—which by the way are translated from Arabic to English and thus suffer the loss of meaning and intent as in all translations. Ali, this scholar, Dr. Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti, is not our Pope. He is allowed to express his opinion and it is not binding on anyone at all. He will tell you the same thing I have just said—that his opinion is not binding on any Muslim and only represents his thoughts.


Your next paragraph is filled with nothing but rhetoric:


Notwithstanding the errors in your letter, you said something that I agree completely and that is the “normal, average Muslim loves peace”. This is absolutely true. But the “normal, average” Muslim knows nothing about Islam. He reads the Quran but does not understand it. Muslims are unaware of the violence that exists in that book. They are oblivious of who was Muhammad and how ruthless, pervert, crazy and violent was that man. And that is why our site, the faithfreedom.org and its dedicated writers try to remedy. We are mostly ex-Muslims who started to read the Quran and after the initial shock and denial came to see the real face of Islam. Now we are determined to unveil the real Islam to the world and especially to our Muslim brothers and sisters. By extremists we do not mean all the Muslims, we mean the REAL Muslims who understand the Quran and practice it.


By you saying that “the “normal, average” Muslim knows nothing about Islam,” you are stereotyping (sigh, yet again). How do you know that they know nothing about Islam? Have you met all--of even half—or even a quarter—or even 1/1000th of all Muslims? You claim they know NOTHING about Islam? That is a pretty strong statement. I would have to respectfully disagree with this rather absurd claim. I think that your “average, normal Muslim” is quite knowledgeable about his religion and his own beliefs. Not withstanding that, you do not support your statement with any facts, citations, or research studies that prove that the “average, normal Muslim” knows nothing about his religion. You are just using your own, obvious hatred towards Muslims to try to support this claim. That is why you are not--and will never be--a serious scholar, Ali. Opinions are fine—but they must be based on FACTS. Bring your facts to me, Ali. I am patiently waiting.




Your next claim is that:


Furthermore you denied the fact that Quran says Earth is flat and Sun rotates around it. I am not going to discuss that here because I have discussed it elsewhere and if you care you can read it in this link:


See also this article:


Ali, I have read those articles and they are utter distortions of the Quran and Sunna. In fact, the claims set forth are so utterly preposterous that I invite you to bring in any scholar on Islam—either Muslim or not—to read your articles and tell me that your interpretations are valid. The simple fact is—as I mentioned before—that if we were taught to believe that the earth is flat and the sun rotates around it, Muslims could not have been able to make such incredible advances in astronomy. Period.

The Oxford History of Islam tell us about one astronomers work, Al Farghani:

“Al Farghani gave revised values for the obliquity of the ecliptic, the precessional movement of the apogees of the sun and the moon, and the circumference of the earth.” (164, Esposito)

Tell me Ali, how can Al Farghani tell us the circumference of the earth, if Muslims believe it to be flat? On top of that, if the Quran tells us that the earth is flat and that sun rotates around it, wouldn’t he be executed for heresy? Ali, dearest friend, you need to read more books!

While we are at it, let us see what the Oxford History of Islam has to say about Islam and science:

“Science was an extensive cultural undertaking that occupied the minds and energies of many of the leading intellectuals in medieval Muslim societies. Indeed, science was practiced on a scale unprecedented in earlier or contemporary human history. In urban centers from the Atlantic to the borders of China, thousands of scientists pursued careers in diverse scientific disciplines. Countless artifacts, ranging from architectural monuments to intricate automata and instruments provide a vivid testimony to the scientific and technological achievements of these scientists. Their written contributions are equally compelling: thousands of scientific manuscripts, from various regions of the medieval Islamic world, are scattered in modern libraries all over the globe. Considerable resources were also devoted for the support of scientific activity in Muslim societies. Until the rise of modern science, no other civilization engaged as many scientists, produced as many scientific books, or provided as varied and sustained support for scientific activity.” (155, Esposito)

Ali, as you can see, scholars agree that Islam is compatible with science. That is why Muslims were able to pursue scientific studies so well, and in fact, as is clearly stated above, better than anyone had done up until that point. If I make a humble suggestion to you Ali, please remove those silly articles about Muslims believing the Earth is flat. They really ruin your credibility in the face of what modern scholarship tells us.

Furthermore, your rather preposterous articles on Islam and science are based on the English translations of the Prophet Mohammed’s words, and as we all know, no translation can be perfect and elucidate the exact meaning of the original. But most of articles’ arguments center on nit-picking the words of the Quran and the Prophet—which is fine, if you nit-pick on the original Arabic words. Your articles thus fail on many different levels of scholastic thought.

Your next claim is:

But I totally disagree with you for crediting Islam for the intellectual prowess and scientific achievements of the great minds born as Muslims. This is utterly dishonest.  

What the talents and achievements of Rumy, Ibn Arabi, Ibn Sina and other luminaries born as Muslims have to do with Islam? Does Quran teach Algebra, Chemistry, Biology or Astronomy? Muhammad made a mistake in parting the inheritance. This guy could not add simple fractions. Why you want to credit Islam for the achievements of these great minds? Our people had a culture and a civilization that predated Islam by thousands of years. It is amazing that we call our own architecture, art, science and literature “Islamic”. What is Islamic about them? We even call Arabic names Islamic. What do you think Arabs used to call themselves before Islam? I noticed that Pakistanis and Bengalis have Persian names and they call these purely Iranian names like Parviz, Afrasiab, Sardar, Kamran, etc. “Islamic”. This is amazing. Please, give credit where credit is due. What our people created with their own genius is not Islamic. It is ours. The accomplishments of our luminaries are no more Islamic than the theories of Einstein are Jewish and those of Hawking are Christian. Yet no Christian of Jew would credit his religion for the greatness of their scientists and philosophers. Only Muslims who do not mind to live a faith full of deceit make such claims.  

Ali, you made a mistake--I am not crediting anyone with anything in this matter. The scientists themselves were Muslims and credited God with giving them the knowledge and resources to pursue their scientific studies. If they were indeed Muslims, then they know that all knowledge is with God. Those scientists simple credited God with revealing knowledge to them—that is something that all Muslims do: They praise God for everything given to them, including knowledge. To a Muslim—scientist or not—they thank God for everything, including all architecture, art, science, or literature produced by their own hands. In short, none of them would take credit for their advancements, without crediting God first and foremost. So it is not that we necessarily credit our religion, per se, for our advancements—it is that we credit God and the religion he has brought to us, which has set the stage for our advancements. Without Islam, who knows when or where these same scientific achievements would be discovered? As for artistic achievements, Islam IS directly responsible for them, because without Islam the arts of these people would never be created in the same manner and style.

As for your claims that the Prophet Mohammed could not do his math in regards to inheritance, I suggest you read more about this topic from Muslim scholars and theologians for more insight into how inheritance is drawn. All I want to say is that you are incorrect, and although I would love to correct you, I do not wish to type pages of notes for you to read. So, that said, I would rather direct you to Abdullah Yusef Ali’s : “The Meaning of The Holy Quran,” to further educate you about your erroneous claims. I will let the experts do the talking on this matter. I hope you take my advice and read the commentary, since it instantly disproves your ridiculous claims. At any rate, whatever unlikely inheritance situations you bring up on your website, sincerity and equity is what matters in all situations. The Quran merely lays our broad outlines for inheritance so we can have guidelines for fair dealings, and sincerity and fair dealing are the two of the highest ideals possible to all Muslims.

Your next, rather ridiculous claim is:

What Islam did for art? What it did for music? What the prophet say about the poets? What were his views on Economy? Or Astrology? How much he knew about Agriculture? He once said it is useless to pollinate the female date trees with male flowers of the male trees. Then when the trees did not produce dates he said I am just a man and I make mistakes. This man was an absolute ignorant. That is why those who believe in him have sunk into fanaticism and have not advanced.

First of all, Islam—as ANY history book will tell you—advanced art, economics, law, and science as well as many other subjects. The point illustrated, Ali, about the trees that produce dates (although as usual, you have not cited it) would be that the Prophet Mohammed is a man and nothing more. He is not a God, or a “God on Earth” as some people suppose the Prophet Jesus to be. He always claimed to be a man, and if this hadith is in fact true (since you did not cite it, I cannot verify it, and as we will see below, you conveniently omit parts of the hadiths to twist their meanings) then I would personally explain it as a simple mistake he made about a matter of agriculture—and all men make such small mistakes. As for the claim that those who believed in him are fanatics and have not advanced, this is hateful rhetoric, and nothing more. At any rate, I have not verified the hadith, so I will not comment on it further, until I can investigate it for myself. It is very difficult to believe that the Prophet Muhammad could make such a mistake, but I will keep my mind open to such an idea as long as you direct me to your sources and we examine them fully and without bias.

You continue with:

What happened to Ibn Sina and Ar Razi? They were called apostates and their philosophical books were banned. Ar Razy wrote a tome on rationalism and rejected the mumbo jumbo of religion. He called prophet "Billy goats" and  "charlatans" His book was destroyed. All is left are fragments of his sayings in a book of refutation to him. In Islam the freethinking is discouraged. If it weren’t for Islam most likely we would have the enlightenment happen in Iran 400 years before it took place in Europe. Imagine where would we be now if we had achieved what we achieved 400 years ago. We shall never know the extent of the damage that Islam caused to the world of humanity. Just think all the libraries and books that the Islamic forces burned. Who knows how much human knowledge was lost then. I had an Iranian who challenged me to show him one great Iranian poet prior to Islam. He claimed that prior to Islam there were no great minds in our country as if we have to thank Islam for great men of our land who only were born after Islam. What he wanted from me was to produce what his savage masters destroyed 1400 years ago. Now This brainwashed man does not ask himself how Iran became a world power if it did not have any great minds. How can I produce the evidence when Muslim invaders destroyed all the evidence? 

Once upon a time Iran was one of the great powers of the world. We were one of the contributors to human civilization. My people wrote the first charter of human rights. We banned slavery completely 2500 years ago. Women ruled our great land. All nations that were part of our vast empire were free to practice their religion. This is mentioned in the Bible too. We believed in the benevolent Ahura Mazda, the god of light and practiced good words, good deeds and good thoughts.

But today we have forsaken our god of light and follow the sadistic deity of Muhammad who craves for blood and calls for the heads of those who do not want to submit to his despotic authority. Today we are a poor thirds world country sinking deeper and deeper day after day. Human rights are inexistent, women are second-class citizens, minorities are persecuted, poverty is rampant and we are known as a nation of terrorists. This is what Islam has given us.


My response is as follows:

Show me your evidence that the Muslim empire engaged in burning libraries. This is expressly forbidden in our religion. Please cite your sources that Muslims engaged in this type of activity systematically or even at all. It is well known that we try to cultivate knowledge and seek it, just as much from Islamic sources as from all other sources. Knowledge is knowledge, and a famous ideal that we have is to “Seek knowledge as far away as China.” Islamic scholars translated the works of such famous philosophers as Plato and Aristotle, so believe me, Ali, we are not afraid of “un-Islamic” ideas and books—we just do not approve of books and writings that insult our beliefs and resort to curses and hatred. No Muslim would EVER burn a library! Period. Show me your evidence that this practice occurred; that this practice (if it happened) was condoned by Muslims; and that this practice lives up to Islamic ideals.

As for your claim that Iran would have had their “enlightenment” 400 years before it happened, this is speculation based on nothing. How do you know that there wouldn’t be wars, famine, or other catastrophes that would have interfered with your scenario? 400 years is a long time to cover, and your claim has no factual basis to support it whatsoever.

As for your claim that Islam has contributed to Iran’s third-world status and “this is what Islam has given us,” well, I don’t think that Islam has intended that Iran become a third-world country. I think that is largely due to the corruption of its government, and corruption is something that Islam strives to destroy. Islam is not to blame for Iran’s present situation—many other societal, economic, cultural, and political factors must be taken into account. But you are blaming Islam for everything, which no sane person would ever do—and if you still stand by your claim, then show me one person, scholar, diplomat, whatever—that agrees that Islam is entirely to blame for Iran’s present situation. Which is not to say that it so bad—Iran is—based on college enrollment statistics—THE most highly educated country on earth (based on an article I read in the New York Times. Feel free to visit their website and run a search on the article.)

But also, and very importantly, I see that you have written above that you worship Ahura Mazda, which could only mean that you are a Zoroastrian. If indeed you are a Zoroastrian, then you are lying on your website when you say you are an ex-Muslim. I have met people like you, Ali, people that are atheists or pagans that spew out hate against Islam under the guise of “ex-Muslims” to help gain credibility for their words. It is apparent that you are angry about the expansion of Islam into Iran and the subsequent displacement of some Zoroastrians to India. I see now why you think that Islam is only bent on violence—it is because you harbor a personal hatred for Islam in regards to its effect on Persian/Iranian culture and the migration of Zoroastrians into India and the diminished status of that Pagan, fire-adoring, cult. I am not well aware of the facts of the migration of the Zoroastrians and if its cause was indeed by Muslims or a combination of other factors (Doesn’t matter though, since I know you will blame EVERYTHING on Muslims). I would be glad to accept suggestions on books that would help me to learn about this stage of Islamic expansion. At any rate, however, your true colors are shown. Your words in your last email reveal you to be a Zoroastrian and not an ex-Muslim after all. Tsk, Tsk, Ali—I have caught you in yet another lie that you have posted on your website. I am waiting for your denials.

Your next claim is as follows:

Look at our countries; all Islamic counties; look at us! See how miserable, barbaric and pitiful are our societies. Show me one Islamic country that is not in war. If we are not fighting with others, we are fighting amongst each other. What do you expect from a people who are brought up to believe that “paradise is under the shade of the sword”? What do you expect of the ignorant people that eulogize martyrdom and celebrate death? What do you expect from the society that its spiritual leader (Khomeini) says: “Economy is for the donkey”? What do you expect from a society that dresses up a toddler as suicide bomber and take pride in their own stupidity? What do you expect of a society that massacres 3 million of his own people (Pakstanis in Bangladesh) and their spiritual leader issues the fatwa that rapping the Bengali women is acceptable according the Sharia and the Sunna of the Prophet. Now please don’t say he was wrong because he based his fatwa on this Quranic verse:

4:24 Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those (captives) whom your right hands possess.

Or see this story of Muhammad’s raid of Kheybar where he gives permission to his followers to enslave war captives and rape them, Sahih Bukhari 1.367

Or this one:

Volume 7, Book 62, Number 137:
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
We got female captives in the war booty and we used to do coitus interruptus with them. So we asked Allah's Apostle about it and he said, "Do you really do that?" repeating the question thrice, "There is no soul that is destined to exist but will come into existence, till the Day of Resurrection."

Do you know what is coitus interruptus? The followers of the Holy Prophet used to rape the women they captured in their raids and withdraw before ejaculation. They report that to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon his immaculate soul) and the only thing that occurred to this man is that even if they withdraw and spill their semen on the ground if Allah wills the women will become pregnant. 

Forget about the stupidity of his statement; think about the inhumanity of this man.

These are not stories narrated by Jews. These are stories counted by the followers of Muhammad, people who believed in him and loved him. Would anyone fabricate damaging stories such as these for the object of his adoration? These stories are true. The Ahadith are filled with tales of inhumanity and barbarity of Muhammad. Is this the man you call the prophet of God? Is this the person you follow?

Oh Ali, Ali. Your unethical brand of scholarship is once again revealed, and now I have hard evidence that you are a liar. In the hadith that you quote above, you have taken out the most important part: That the Prophet Muhammad did not approve of the practice of Coitus Interruptus. Ali, you are officially a liar now, as the following hadith will illustrate:

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 432:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:

that while he was sitting with Allah's Apostle he said, "O Allah's Apostle! We get female captives as our share of booty, and we are interested in their prices, what is your opinion about coitus interrupt us?" The Prophet said, "Do you really do that? It is better for you not to do it. No soul that which Allah has destined to exist, but will surely come into existence.

Volume 3, Book 46, Number 718:

Narrated Ibn Muhairiz:

I saw Abu Said and asked him about coitus interruptus. Abu Said said, "We went with Allah's Apostle, in the Ghazwa of Barli Al-Mustaliq and we captured some of the 'Arabs as captives, and the long separation from our wives was pressing us hard and we wanted to practice coitus interruptus. We asked Allah's Apostle (whether it was permissible). He said, "It is better for you not to do so. No soul, (that which Allah has) destined to exist, up to the Day of Resurrection, but will definitely come, into existence."

Volume 5, Book 59, Number 459:

Narrated Ibn Muhairiz:

I entered the Mosque and saw Abu Said Al-Khudri and sat beside him and asked him about Al-Azl (i.e. coitus interruptus). Abu Said said, "We went out with Allah's Apostle for the Ghazwa of Banu Al-Mustaliq and we received captives from among the Arab captives and we desired women and celibacy became hard on us and we loved to do coitus interruptus. So when we intended to do coitus interrupt us, we said, 'How can we do coitus interruptus before asking Allah's Apostle who is present among us?" We asked (him) about it and he said, 'It is better for you not to do so, for if any soul (till the Day of Resurrection) is predestined to exist, it will exist."

Volume 9, Book 93, Number 506:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:

That during the battle with Bani Al-Mustaliq they (Muslims) captured some females and intended to have sexual relation with them without impregnating them. So they asked the Prophet about coitus interrupt us. The Prophet said, "It is better that you should not do it, for Allah has written whom He is going to create till the Day of Resurrection." Qaza'a said, "I heard Abu Sa'id saying that the Prophet said, 'No soul is ordained to be created but Allah will create it."

The above hadiths—shown in their entirety, without the omissions that you deleted in order to paint us as rapists—clearly show that the Prophet did not approve of this practice. But the most important point that I am making here, Ali, is that you have omitted the most important part of the hadith, the part that shows the Prophet’s disapproval of Coitus Interruptus, so your credibility is officially destroyed. Shame on you, Ali for intentionally omitting this critical fact. Shame! How can I debate you if you choose to omit such important information, especially in order to twist the meaning of the Prophet’s words towards a violent, sexually perverted stance? Because of this instance of deception, you can consider this debate over. Your unethical behavior has disqualified you. Simply said, I cannot trust a word you say anymore, Ali, so I will not bother to engage you in an “open and honest” discussion, if you cannot be honest.

As for the fatwa that you claim supports rape as legal in Islam, I simply ask that you show it to me. Since we have illustrated that you are a liar, I am confident that it does not exist or you are lying about parts of it. And even if there is such an insane fatwa, you are forgetting that a fatwa is simply a legal OPINION and NOT BINDING on anyone in Islam. It is just an opinion, not some holy decree from the Pope.

As for your question: What Muslim nation is not at war, that is easy—there are many, such as Egypt, Senegal, Qatar, and Iran. And even if there is war in some Muslim countries, almost none of these wars are “holy wars.” They are political disputes, or land disputes, or liberation movements. If the name of Islam is invoked in such conflicts, it is because some people resent the injustice occurring in their ongoing armed conflicts and wish to say that Islam would oppose such injustice. The point is that we must be careful of who says what in a war, because many people falsely try to use religion as a rallying point for their sometimes very non-Islamic causes.

As for your quote from Khomeini, all I can say is that the Ayatollah Khomeini was a power-hungry murderer and does not represent Islam. Also, he is the “spiritual leader” of the Shi’ite sect of Islam which compromises only 10% of all Muslims, so I know that Sunni Muslims (the majority at 85%) would not allow him to speak on their behalf. Besides, that quote is simply Khomeni’s opinion and not backed up in the Quran or elsewhere.

As for the Palestinians dressing up their baby’s as suicide bombers, once again, that is not approved of by Islam. You keep saying “What kind of society….?” Ali, there is no single society that can speak for Islam, and I have never heard the Palestinians or Iranians or anyone else for that matter say that they speak for all Muslims. So their societies and their cultures are separated to a certain degree from Islam, which are their religious beliefs. Also, keep in mind that there have been cases of Christian Palestinians acting as suicide bombers (since all Palestinians suffer, both Muslim and Christian, under Israeli occupation), and that is a perversion of Christianity just as much as suicide bombings are a perversion of Islam.

Your next claim is as follows:

Dear Mr. Nasr, you “beg, beg, beg” me to read the Oxford History of Islam to see what your “foremost scholars” say about this religion. Please tell me why should I listen to your foremost scholars when I can read the Quran, the Hadith and the history of Islam on my own? Why should I rely on the regurgitated sanitized version of your scholars when I can go to the source and see what Muhammad said and what he did? This is the problem with Muslim world Sir. I read tons of these apologetic lies about Islam written by high-ranking scholars and Mullahs prior to reading Quran. But only when I read the Quran I came to see the light and found out all those books are propagandas not worth the paper they are written on. Read the Quran Sir. If you want to understand Islam please read the Quran and then read the Hadith. Do not let someone who has received millions of dollars from his Saudi or Iranian Masters fool you with his apologetic propagandistic lies. Read the Quran if you want to know the real Islam.  

You want to know why you should listen to our foremost scholars and not to you own skewed interpretations? Because many of them have been studying this subject for 20+ years each. Let me quote what it says on the USC hadith database (where, incidentally you have some of your hadith links set to, although you deleted some of the words of the hadiths out of your obvious hatred for Islam) since it sums up my argument:

The collections of ahadeeth have for the most part stabilized, and with the advent of the printing press, the collections are easily mass-produced. There is a blessing in all this of course, but there is a real danger that Muslims [or non-believers] will fall under the impression that owning a book or having a database is equivalent to being a scholar of ahadeeth. This is a great fallacy. Therefore, we would like to warn you that this database is merely a tool, and not a substitute for learning, much less scholarship in Islam.

Ali, you cannot properly interpret the hadith because you do not know enough about the hadith to interpret them. It is clear that you cannot read Arabic from the way you have misinterpreted the Quran and the Sunna and the way you dwell on and twist their English translations. It is also clear from the above examples that you have included some parts of a hadith and have excluded the most critical parts, in order that you paint us as barbarians, murderers, etc…That is why you need to read what people more learned than you write in their books. Because as we have seen, you are not knowledgeable—or ethical—enough to interpret them accurately.

Furthermore, there are 15 authors of the Oxford History of Islam—many of them non-Muslim--and I do not think that any of them engage in propaganda. If you believe they do, then show me your evidence. I will patiently wait for you to produce support for your claims.

Your next claim is:

From your “Oxford History of Islam” you quoted:

"About Christians themselves, the Koran is quite charitable. Apart from accusations of heresy for their stand on the Trinity and some chiding for the conviction that theirs is the true religion, the Koran declares that Christians are people of compassion and mercy, that they will be able to enter paradise, and even that they are nearest in love to the Muslim believers. (page 307)"


But does this book say that the above mandate is “abrogated”? Does it say that later when Muhammad became powerful he “revealed” very harsh verses ordering Muslims not to befriend the Christians and Jews and impose on them extortion tax?  Does Mr. Esposito quote the following verses? 

                3: 85  "Whoso desires another religion than Islam, it shall not be accepted of him; in the next world he shall be among the losers."


3: 28 "Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers:


9:29, Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.


Q.3: 118 O you who believe! Take not as (your) bitaanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends, etc.) those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse.


Q.5: 51 O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as awliya’ (friends, protectors, helpers, etc.), they are but awliya’ to one another…  


I doubt if Mr. Esposito has mentioned anything about these verses. So why should anyone trust such biased book?


Ali, my response to this must be in many parts, since I will explain each one of the above verses to you. Before I get started, keep in mind that I have proven you a liar already, a liar being defined as one who conceals facts. Nevertheless, let us get started:

First of all, how are the above claims of religious tolerance abrogated? Are you forgetting that often times Muslims allowed Christians to keep their houses of worship for their masses on Sunday, as long as the Muslims could use the same space for their Masses (Jumma) on Fridays? Are you forgetting the Golden Period of Medieval Europe was in Spain, where Christians, Jews and Muslims, came together for intellectual dialogue? Was it us who started the Crusades? It is agreed upon that the Crusades had many causes, the main one of which was religious intolerance. If there exists any religious intolerance by Muslims against ANYONE--including Christians--it is AGAINST the teachings of the Quran, as ANY Muslim will tell you. One of the most famous verses of the Quran is one that says (paraphrased) to let people believe in what they believe, and for you to believe in what you believe. This is supported by other verses in the Quran, such as:


Say, “The Truth is from your Lord”: Let him who will, Believe, and let him who will, reject it…..”


Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for you Faith Nor drive you out of your homes, From dealing kindly and justly with them: For Allah loveth those who are just.


There are many other verses that promote religious tolerance in the Quran, despite whatever snips and cuts you may take out of context from the Holy Quran.

Let us now examine each verse you have quoted above:

3: 85  "Whoso desires another religion than Islam, it shall not be accepted of him; in the next world he shall be among the losers."

The above verses simply remind Muslims that that we do not claim to have a religion peculiar to ourselves. We believe all religion—i.e.—God’s message to mankind—is one. It is the same message that has been taught by every Prophet before Muhammad—that we should stop our wrongdoing and submit our wills to Allah’s directives as outlined in his scriptures and his messenger’s words, all of which have been revealed throughout time and to different peoples. Basically, we believe that God implanted the instinct of submission in all of our souls, and if you deliberately reject that idea, then you are being false to your own nature. Islam in the above verse means “submission.” So, in short, if you do not submit to God, then your way of life will not be accepted by Him.

At any rate, the above verse also implies that other human beings are not fit to make the final determination of anyone’s personal beliefs nor dole out any punishments—that is for God to do on the final day of judgment, so that means that Muslims are not allowed to be intolerant of other beliefs, since only God is the best judge to decide whether you believed in him or not, and all punishment is with him, not with any Muslim. A famous saying of the Prophet Muhammad is “A Muslim is someone from whom their hands and tongues you are safe.”


3: 28 "Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers:


Again, Ali, you did not even quote the entire verse. At any rate, let us turn to Abdullah Yusef Ali’s Commentary on this verse, since he is widely believed to be scholarly enough to explain this verse. Keep in mind that there is no bias here in choosing Yusef Ali’s commentary—for purposes of this debate you can take his words as the official Muslim position.


“If faith is a fundamental matter in our lives our associations and friendships will naturally be with those who share our faith. “Evil communications corrupt good manners”: and evil company may corrupt faith. In out ordinary everyday affairs of business, we are asked to seek the help of Believers rather than Unbelievers. Only in this way can our community be strong in organization and unity. But where there is no question of preference, or where in self-defense we have to take the assistance of those not belonging to our faith, that is permissible. In any case we must not weaken our brotherhood: we must to make it stronger if possible.


So you see, Ali, once again you are taking things out of context—It is not that we must persecute or be prejudiced against Unbelievers, it is just that we should simply prefer Muslims for our everyday friendships. You will find that every major religion has the same philosophy—to prefer friendships with people from the same faith to friendships with others that do not share the same faith. In this sense, we are no different from Christians or Jews.




9:29, Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya (1281) with willing submission (1282), and feel themselves subdued.


Yusef Ali’s Commentary:


1281: Jizyah: the root meaning is compensation. The derived meaning, which became the technical meaning, was a poll tax levied from those who did not accept Islam, but were willing to live under the protection of Islam, and were thus tacitly willing to submit to its ideals being enforced in the Muslim State. There was no amount permanently fixed for it, and in any case it was merely symbolical—an acknowledgement that those whose religion was tolerated would in their turn not interfere with the preaching and progress of Islam. Imam Shafi’I suggests one dinar per year, which would be the Arabian gold dinar of the Muslim States, equivalent in value to about a half a sovereign, or about 7 or 7 rupees. The tax varied in amount, and there were exemptions for the poor, for females and children, for slaves, and for monks and hermits. Being a tax on able-bodied males of military age, it was in a sense a commutation for military service.


1282: ‘An Yadin (literally, from the hand) has been variously interpreted. The hand being the symbol of power and authority, I accept the interpretation “in token of willing submission.” The Jizyah was thus party symbolic and party a commutation of military service, but as the amount was insignificant and the exemptions numerous, its symbolic character predominated.


So you see, Ali, the Jizyah tax was not the “extortion” you claim it to be, nor was it some sick tool of humiliation.” It was simply a nominal amount of money paid by those who accepted the (physical and religious) protection of the Muslim State and thus did not need to engage in any military service on its behalf. The phrase “and feel themselves subdued” thus means that they acknowledge—in a largely symbolic sense—that they are living in a Muslim State and should respect its ability to propagate its religion peacefully and without interference.



Q.3: 118 O you who believe! Take not as (your) bitaanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends, etc.) those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed, We have made plain to you the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses) if you understand.


Once again, Ali, you choose to publish some parts and not others. The Italics above show the sentence you left out of the last verse (Tsk, Tsk, that is unethical!) Allow me to write the next verses as well, since it clears up some of the hatred you attribute to us:




Lo! You are the ones who love them but they love you not, and you believe in all the Scriptures [i.e you believe in the Torah and Gospel, while they disbelieve in your Book, the Quran] And when they meet you, they say, “We believe,” But when they are alone, they bite the tips of their fingers at you in rage. Say: “perish in your rage. Certainly, Allah knows what is in the breasts (all the secrets).




If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but if some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if you remain patients and become Al-Muttagun [the pious]. Not the least harm will their cunning do to you. Surely, Allah surrounds all that they do.


Before I go on to explain these verses, let me include the other one you brought up, since we can try to lump them together in a sense:



Q.5: 51 O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as awliya’ (friends, protectors, helpers, etc.), they are but awliya’ to one another. And if any amongst you takes them (as awliya) then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers and unjust).


Ali, as you know, Muhammad met a great deal of resistance to his message from some Christians and especially Arabian Jews and Pagans. They simply desired that Mohammed, his message, and his followers cease to exist or be persecuted and killed themselves. As it says in the verses above, those outside our religion usually desire the end of our community. Your website is testament to that. But as for other organized religions, such as Christianity and Judaism, they believe that they are holders of the Truth, and therefore reject all other religions. All Christians seek to convert All Muslims. Some other—more insidious—“Christians”, “Jews” and Pagans (Let us just say a small minority), actively seek to subvert Islam in through various methods. That is why the Quran tells us not to take those outside of our religion as intimates, since their beliefs might contribute to an agenda that is against Islam. It does not say, “Don’t ever speak to anyone outside your religion!” The Quran simply says be careful of those who do not share your faith, since if they get close to you, they might influence you in a way not conducive to the proper observance of Islam. Furthermore, while the Quran states, “You are the ones who love them,” it also mentions that they do not believe in your revelation and therefore might mean you ill will in some way, shape or form.



Yusef Ali’s Commentary on the above verses further expands on these ideas:


“That is, look not to them for help and comfort. They are more likely to combine against you than to help you. And this happened more than once in the lifetime of the Prophet, and in after-ages again and again. He who associates with them and shares their counsels must be counted as of them. The trimmer loses whichever way the wheel of fortune turns.”



Your final comments are:

Then you asked me: “where is your claim of religious intolerance here?” Dear Mr. Nasr, John Esposito is lying. He is reinventing the history. I don’t have to quote you the violent history of Islam. Any book of history will tell you that. How ridiculous is this claim that the Christians “welcomed” being conquered by a brutal force such as Muslims, be reduced to second class citizens, pay extortion tax, be called Najis (filty, impure) and feel grateful. This not only demonstrates Esposito’s total intellectual dishonesty but also his lack of judgment. Could anyone say a lie more conspicuous than this?  

At the end of your letter you urged me to make a distinction between Islam and the action of the “bad” Muslims. Obviously, despite your claim of having read my ENTIRE site, you haven’t read anything. If you had you would have known why I blame it all on Islam and not Muslims. I regard Muslims, with all their violence and acts of terrorism, victims of this barbaric cult of Islam. I have proven case after case that all the mischief of the Muslims is inspired by violent teachings of Islam. I have shown that the more a person is “Islamist” and the more he lives by the Quran and the Sunnah, the more he is a potential terrorist.


Ali, here is the impasse that we will have in our future debates—the credibility of sources. Ali, prove to me that John Esposito is a liar. Show me anyone, anywhere that accuses him of being one. You will not find anything but words of respect for him. This is in addition to the fact that John Esposito did not even write the words that you are quoting, but it is from Jane I. Smith, a professor of Islamic Studies at the Hartford Seminary and the co-director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. Also for your information, John Esposito is professor of religion and international affairs and founding director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He is also the Editor in Chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, and the author of at least 8 more books about Islam. So you see, my dear friend Ali, he is highly respected and probably not a liar. You, however, as we have proven in the case of the “coitus interruptus” hadith, are a liar. You also can’t go around calling everyone who does not think Islam is evil, an “apologist.” That word is a largely subjective characterization. A more accurate way of determining whether someone is an apologist is to stipulate the criteria for being called an apologist and try to apply it to each author we quote. You won’t see me calling your sources racist, so don’t call mine apologist—especially if the authors of the Oxford History would not be considered such. I suggest we stick to widely acknowledged sources as a compromise.


At any rate, Ali, this debate is over by disqualification. Since I have proved you to be a concealer of facts, it follows that no one can trust your words. In fact, this is what every Muslim who visits your website tries to tell you—that you are hiding some important facts from the visitors to your site in order to paint Islam in the worst light possible. This is in addition to the fact that I have refuted every single one of your hateful arguments, and that it is clear that you are biased against Islam to the point of making things up out of thin air, such as telling the world that we believe the Earth is flat. Ali, a debate is meant to be an exchange of ideas and formal arguments, and it is assumed that both sides will be as honest as possible. You have breached your side of the agreement. Therefore, you have lost. I expect you to take down your site immediately, as per your “challenge.” If you do not—and frankly I don’t expect you to actually admit defeat even when it is handed to you on a silver platter—it is of no consequence, since everyone who reads our “debate” will find out that you are a liar and stop visiting a site that spreads lies and biased information. So either way, Ali, you have lost. I hope the rest of your hate groupies find out the Truth---not about Islam, since that is impossible for such narrow-minded people--but about you and your deceptive ways. If I have proven nothing else in our dialogue, I have proven that you are a liar, and this is indeed a victory for all people interested in the sincere truth. Anyway, since I am the Executive Director of a legitimate and well-respected organization, I have better things to do than argue with liars. This is not to say that I am withdrawing from any “debates,”—I am just not interested in debating with you anymore, in light of your unethical behavior, deceptive methods of argumentation, and malicious fact-twisting. Goodbye Ali. I hope that before you attempt to “eradicate” Islam, you eradicate the hate that exists within your heart. You might get an ulcer one day because of it.  



Wissam Nasr

Executive Director

The Islamic Institute for Human Rights  


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