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Islamic arguments get lost in frivolity

Reader comment on item: Tectonic Shifts in Attitudes toward Israel
in response to reader comment: Guiding the perplexed our dear Raul and Muhammad converted to Judaism! I'm not kidding! What a disaster

Submitted by Prashant, Jan 10, 2019 at 22:18

Dear Dr Pipes,

Is it possible to have a seemingly logical but actually absurd discussion about things? Many dialogs between Alice, and other characters in 'Alice in Wonderland' fall in this category; they make sense but then they do not quite make sense (example: 'Begin at the beginning,' the King said gravely, 'and go on till you come to the end: then stop.')

When I read the arguments of Islamic 'scholars' defending Islam, I get the same feeling: their arguments make sense but they do not quite make sense. Dhimmi No More pointed us to a hadith in which Islam's prophet vacated a seat on which he was sitting and placed the Torah on that seat. This was at a time when he was being asked to do justice to a Jewish couple involved in fornication. In this process according to the hadith the prophet said a few good words about the Torah (I believed in thee and in Him Who revealed thee.)

What should be the biggest question/issue related to this incidence in the study of morality/religion or history? Ideally none. But if you still want discuss it, the best possible thing to conclude from this episode would be that the prophet of Islam was trusted by people around him so much that even Jewish people came to him to seek justice. That would be in a reasonable world but not in the Islamic wonderland!

In Islamic scholarly questions about this episode are: Why did Muhammad show respect toward the Torah if he also believed that it was a corrupted word of God? Did he convert to Judaism by showing respect toward the Jewish book?

Any reasonable person will keep a book on a seat and not on ground. Case closed. Polite people say nice things about all scriptures. Case closed shut. But not in Islamic wonderland!

Islamic scholars take a very different approach. First they discredit the hadith and say that it came from unreliable sources. Wow! if the truth shows that Muhammad showed some respect to a different religion, then it better be a lie! Go figure. And the argument does not end just there. Those scholars who are willing to admit that the above incidence is truthful say that when Prophet uttered the respectful words toward the Torah, he was not referring to the Torah at hand but to the "true Torah" that was revealed by God to Moses. So under no circumstances Prophet is allowed to utter a nice word toward the scripture of other religions.

Frivolity is not always bad but I think Muslims fall prey to not looking at the true intended message behind an incidence and to focusing on the literal meanings. That harms them. This entire message of mine will be useless in the context of any other religions. For example, no one cares how any one of 330 millions Hindu gods acted at different times of their life times (we discuss very high level issues like whether a king owes more loyalty to his wife or to his kingdom; this issue we have been debating for the last 5000 years!).

Submitting....

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