Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "Did Muhammad Confirm the Torah?: Addressing the Smokescreens of a Muslim Polemicist"

by

Bassam Zawadi

 

Sam Shamoun's article could be located here.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

 

It seems that Zawadi never learns and just doesn't know when to give up, no matter how many times he has been refuted. He is trying so hard to disprove the fact that his own religious scripture along with specific traditions attributed to Muhammad confirm the textual preservation and auuthority of the Holy Bible.

 

My Response:

 

This is Sam Shamoun starting off with his usual cheap debate tactics. He psychologically tries to brainwash the reader into thinking that he is winning.

 

We will see who is desperate and doesn't know when to give up.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

 

There are several major problems with Zawadi's assertions. First, there is an obvious reason why other versions of this event conveniently omitted this particular section of Muhammad praising the Torah in his hands and it has nothing to do with this specific part being unreliable. It rather has to do with certain Muslims being troubled with their prophet embracing the Torah as the uncorrupt Word of God and as the standard to consult and judge by.

 

My Response:

 

Sam Shamoun can't prove this assertion. He has committed the fallacy of circumstantial ad hominem.

 

This is Shamoun's first fallacy and show of desperation.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

 

Second, just because the chain of narrators for a given narration is deemed weak this doesn't mean that its contents are false or unreliable especially when there are other reports to support it. More on this shortly.

 

My Response:

 

Yes it can become reliable if there are other authentic narrations to support it. However, as we will see Shamoun does not provide us these other authentic reports that would help him prove his case.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Third, Zawadi himself admits that not every Muslim considered Hisham ibn Sa'd unreliable since one of his very own scholars whom he quotes quite extensively throughout his articles and "rebuttals" deemed him acceptable:

. (depending on SOME scholars such as Sheikh Al Albani who credited Hisham bin Sa'd although I still believe that the majority of the hadith scholars have spoken against him and thus their case is stronger) . (emphasis ours)

Now the reader may be wondering who exactly was sheikh al-Albani. Apart from being one of the authorities that Zawadi quotes ad nauseum ad infinitum al-Albani is considered by Salafi Muslims to be one of the greatest hadith scholars of all time (1, 2, 3). Hence, if Hisham was good enough for al-Albani then he should be good enough for Zawadi, irrespective of how many other Islamic authorities disagreed (which is nothing more than the fallacies of ad populum and of ad verecundiam).(1)

 

My Response:

 

Here comes Shamoun's second fallacy, which is that of appeal to authority and his second act of desperation.

 

Now what did I say in my previous article? I said the following...

 

This Hadith's classification differed because scholars of Hadith disagreed on Hisham Bin Sa'd. Therefore, the hadith is not reliable to use as evidence for there is doubt in regards to one of its narrators.

 

 

Here we have a big bunch of scholars casting doubt on one of the narrators in the chain of transmission.

 

When there is a doubt like this, how can we simply ignore it, turn a blind eye and say it is authentic?

 

I understand that Christians like Shamoun who have blind faith and don't mind believing in books whose authorship are doubted by Christian scholars (e.g. Hebrews, 2 Peter, etc.) won't have a problem with doing that, however us Muslims do.

 

So if Shamoun wants to convince a Muslim of his argument, he must use reliable narrations, not doubtful ones.

 

Of course, Shamoun's argument would work on Christians. For God sake, Christians believe in the whole Bible without any chain of transmission so why on earth would they reject a hadith based on a weak chain of transmission?

 

I quote Sheikh Albani a lot, because I have very easy access to his books on the Internet. I might have to struggle a lot for the others. So me quoting Sheikh Albani often doesn't mean that I don't consider the scholarship of other hadith scholars.

 

Conclusion: The narration is doubtful because there is a doubtful narrator.

 

 

Shamoun in his appendix lists a bunch of links that criticize Albani. However, one could visit the below link to see the refutation of these arguments.

 

http://www.islaam.net/main/display.php?category=36

 

 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Moreover, a report's reliability is strengthened when there is sound corroborating evidence verifying or supporting its contents. This is precisely what we find in the case of this narration, namely, there are specific Quranic verses and Islamic narrations which provide evidence establishing that this narrative from Abu Dawud accurately reflects Muhammad's attitude towards the Torah which was in his possession at that time:

He has sent down upon you the Book with the truth, confirming what is BETWEEN ITS/HIS HANDS (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi), and He sent down the Torah and the Gospel before this, as guidance to the people, and He sent down the Salvation/Criterion (al-Furqan). As for those who disbelieve in God's signs, for them awaits a terrible chastisement; God is All-mighty, the Avenger. S. 3:3-4 our translation

And before this, was the Book of Moses as a guide and a mercy: And this Book CONFIRMS (IT) in the Arabic tongue; to admonish the unjust, and as Glad Tidings to those who do right. S. 46:12 Y. Ali

They said, "Our people, we have heard a Book that was sent down after Moses, confirming what is BETWEEN ITS HANDS (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi), guiding to the truth and to a straight path." S. 46:30 our translation

 

My Response:

 

I have already dealt with these 'Quran confirming the Bible' arguments here. No need to rehash. Plus Muslims believe in the revelation sent to Moses and Jesus (Surah 4:163-164).

 

Do Muslims or Christians believe that the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke or John were revealed to Jesus?

 

Answer is no.

 

Do Muslims or Christians believe that the New Testament letters of Paul, John, Peter, etc. were revealed to Jesus?

 

Answer is no.

 

Do Muslims or Christians believe that most of the books in the Old Testament (e.g. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel) were revealed to Moses?

 

Answer is no.

 

Both Muslims and Christians don't believe these books were sent to these Prophets. So why is Shamoun arguing that the Qur'an is affirming these books? The Quran is affirming the truth of the revelations that God has sent and were still partly preserved.

 

Anyways, I again ask my readers to go here for more on the issue.

 

 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

 

Zawadi erroneously thinks that the words "innovated" and "innovation" imply that Muhammad believed that the Jews corrupted the text of the Torah. Talk about being desperate! In light of Muhammad informing the Jews that he did believe in their Torah these words can only mean that the Jews innovated new doctrines and/or interpretations that went against the plain meaning of the Torah thereby distorting it. Zawadi even admits that this is a possible meaning of the narrative since he then says:

 

My Response:

 

I argued that the words implied the possibility. It could validly be interpreted as the Prophet intending to say that he believed in the Torah that was with them (the truth contained in it), however they have innovated by adding to it.

 

Shamoun is desperate for calling my valid interpretation desperate.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

It is not only possible it is actually the only plausible meaning in light of the overall teachings of the Quran and the narratives attributed to Muhammad. Here are other citations from Ibn Ishaq which further corroborate this point:

The apostle wrote to the Jews of Khaybar according to what a freedman of the family of Zayd b. Thabit told me from 'Ikrima or from Sa'id b. Jubayr from Ibn 'Abbas: 'In the name of God the compassionate the merciful from Muhammad the apostle of God friend and brother of Moses WHO CONFIRMS WHAT MOSES BROUGHT. God says to you O scripture folk, and you will find it in your scripture "Muhammad is the apostle of God; and those with him are severe against the unbelievers, merciful among themselves. Thou seest them bowing, falling prostrate seeking bounty and acceptance from God. The mark of their prostrations is on their foreheads. That is their likeness in the Torah and in the Gospel like a seed which sends forth its shoot and strengthens it and it becomes thick and rises straight upon its stalk delighting the sowers that He may anger the unbelievers with them. God has promised those who believe and do well forgiveness and a great reward." I adjure you by God, AND BY WHAT HE HAS SENT DOWN TO YOU, by the manna and quails He gave as food to your tribes before you, and by His drying up the sea for your fathers when He delivered them from Pharaoh and his works, that you tell me, DO YOU FIND IN WHAT HE SENT DOWN TO YOU that you should believe in Muhammad? IF YOU DO NOT FIND THAT IN YOUR SCRIPTURE THEN THERE IS NO COMPULSION UPON YOU. "The right path has become plainly distinguished from error" so I call you to God and His Prophet' (313). (Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, p. 256; bold and capital emphasis ours)

According to what I heard from 'Ikrima, freedman of Ibn 'Abbas or from Sa'id b. Jubayr from Ibn 'Abbas, Jews used to hope that the apostle would be a help to them against Aus and Khazraj before his mission began; and when God sent him from among the Arabs they disbelieved in him and contradicted what they had formerly said about him. Mu'adh b. Jabal and Bishr b. al-Bara' b. Ma'rur brother of B. Salama said to them: 'O Jews, fear God and become Muslims, for you used to hope for Muhammad's help against us when we were polytheists and to tell us that he would be sent and describe him to us.' Salam b. Mishkam, one of the B. al-Nadir, said, 'He has not brought us anything we recognize and he is not the one we spoke of to you.' So God sent down about that saying of theirs: 'And when a book comes to them from God CONFIRMING what they have, though beforehand they were asking for help against those who disbelieve, when there came to them what they knew, they disbelieved in it, so God's curse rests on the unbelievers.'

Malik b. al-Sayf said when the apostle had been sent and they were reminded of the condition that had been imposed on them and what God had covenanted with them concerning him, 'No covenant was ever made with us about Muhammad.' So God sent down concerning him: 'Is it not that whenever they make a covenant a party of them set it aside? Nay most of them do not believe.'

Abu Saluba al-Fityuni said to the apostle: 'O Muhammad, you have not brought us anything we recognize and God has not sent down to you any sign that we should follow you.' So God sent concerning his words, 'We have sent down to thee plain signs and only evildoers disbelieve in them.' (P. 257; bold, capital and italic emphasis ours)

Interestingly, the foregoing provides an explanation of what Muhammad meant when he said in the Quran that his scripture confirms the Books in the possession of the Jews and Christians. By confirmation he didn't intend to convey the notion that the Quran accepts only certain parts of the Judeo-Christian Books, contrary to the wishful thinking of Muslims like Zawadi, but that it testifies that these texts are completely reliable and fully authoritative.

 

My Response:

 

More of Shamoun's silly 'confirmation' arguments. I again ask the readers to refer here.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

 

If Muhammad believed that the Jewish-Christian Scriptures were corrupted he could have stated it here by simply telling the Jews that he didn't fully believe that the Torah which they had was completely reliable. Instead of denouncing the textual purity of the Torah he confirms his belief in its authenticity and textual accuracy.

 

My Response:

 

And I argued that the Prophet's accusation of them innovating does just that.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

 

In fact, various Sunni Muslim groups accuse each other of "bidah" (innovation) which refers to the interpretation of the Quran or hadith and certain ways of practicing the faith. They are not accusing others of corrupting the text of the Quran. That Zawadi now wants to apply this word as meaning "corrupting the text itself" seems to be itself an innovation.

 

My Response:

 

Shamoun committing his third fallacy, which is that of hasty generalization and exposes his third desperate act.

 

He erroneously assumes that whenever the word 'bid'ah' is used then it is always referring to the same thing.

 

Bid'ah linguistically means 'innovation'.

 

The Bid'ah that is condemned in Islam is Bid'ah related to issues of religion.

 

Now, when Muslim groups today accuse each other of Bid'ah it is related to misinterpretation of text and introducing new forms of worship.

 

However, that doesn't mean that this is the only meaning.

 

Shamoun generalizes the term and thinks that the Prophet's usage of it to the Jews (even though the Prophet did not actually use the word bid'ah, he used the word ahdathtum) is the same as Sunni groups today would use it against each other.

 

Thanks for continuing to show how illogical your arguments are Sam. 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

 

Yet the reader should be able to spot the problems with the assertions of al-Asqalani and Zawadi. The report from Abu Dawud nowhere has Muhammad saying that he believed in the original Torah. Nor does the hadith quote Muhammad stating that he only believed in a specific portion of the Torah, that he embraced only the part which mentions the stoning of adulterers and adulteresses. There is no restriction mentioned in this report, in the other narrations, or in the Quranic verses. It never says "the original Torah" or "only this part of the Torah" or "certain parts of your scriptures only". No, the report unambiguously records Muhammad affirming his faith in the Torah which he was holding in his possession. As troubling as this is to Zawadi, this narrative clearly proves that Muhammad was convinced that the Torah that was extant during his time was the original revelation from God.

 

My Response:

 

Shamoun called my arguments and me desperate around three times in his article.

 

His arguments are so pathetic and weak that this is the only thing that he can do.

 

When you tell a Christian that Jesus said that the Father is greater than Him in John 14:28, Christians will argue back that here Jesus meant that the Father is greater than Jesus in authority. However, the verse does not say "Greater than me in authority". But the Christian will reply back and say that you must interpret the verse to mean that in order to harmonize with the Christian creed.

 

Now this is hypocrisy.

 

Because Shamoun is demanding a statement such as 'confirming the original Torah or the truth contained in the Torah' etc. while what we say is that in order for there to be harmonization it must be interpreted this way.

 

Also, we believe the Torah is that revelation sent to Moses. Therefore, in this context the Prophet is referring to that Torah that was revealed to Moses, not the Old Testament.

 

But no, Shamoun demands an explicit statement the way he wants.

 

Pure double standard. My position is that I accept ALL the narrations that speak about Bible corruption and harmonize those verses that are abused by missionaries, while they (missionaries) can't harmonize everything together.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

We will finish off our rebuttal by adapting and modifying Zawadi's concluding remarks.

  1. The hadith from Abu Dawud was seen to be authentic due to the fact that one of the greatest hadith scholars (according to Salafis) sheikh al-Albani deemed one of the narrators, Hisham Bin Sa'd, to be reliable thereby strengthening its chain.
  2. The reliability of this report is further supported by certain verses from the Quran and specific Islamic narratives, such as the ones we quoted from Ibn Ishaq, all of which speak of Muhammad having access to uncorrupt copies of the prophetic Books like the Torah.
  3. Since this hadith is authentic by the criteria of Muslim scholars it does indeed support our claims that Muhammad believed in the textual authority and reliability of the Holy Bible, thereby disproving Zawadi's desperate attempts to show otherwise.

 

My Response:

 

Shamoun in point number 1 commits the fallacy of appeal to authority and turns a blind eye to the evidence that shows that this narration is doubtful.

 

Shamoun in point number 2 misinterprets the verses that talk about confirmation of the previous revelations.

 

Shamoun in point number 3 continues to show his desperation by calling me desperate and assumes that we have to accept his ignorant interpretation of scripture and hadith.

 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

It seems that Bassam Zawadi has been getting most of his research for his articles and "rebuttals" from this Islamic forum

For instance, the arguments which he uses here are actually taken from the responses of the Muslims in this forum. What makes this rather amusing is that even though Zawadi admits that there are Muslims like al-Albani who classified Hisham ibn Sa'd as trustworthy or good he failed to list the names of the other scholars which were provided for him by these very same Muslim posters.

We have, therefore, decided to include their comments here so as to allow our readers to see the names of all the Muslims who deemed Hisham reliable:

09-03-2007, 08:39 AM

Ayman bin Khaled

He was accepted by:

a) Al-ei'jli: He is hasan in hadith

b) Abu Zar'a: he is an honest Sheikh

c) Abu Hatim: We write his Hadiths

d) Abu Dawud: accepted the hadiths he narrates from Zaid bin Aslam

e) Ali Bin Al-Mudaini: he is good but nit strong

f) Imam Bukhari: narrated from him in the Adab Mufrad, A Hadith in the Saheeh (Ta'leeqan)

g) Imam Muslim: narrated from him in the shawahid

h) Al-Saaji: He is honest (Did Prophet Muhammad Confirm the Old Testament?;
source)

Note that the two most stringent hadith compilers, al-Bukhari and Muslim, narrated from Hisham! In light of just how meticulous these two hadith scholars were (at least this is what Sunni Muslims always tell us) this pretty much establishes that Hisham can be taken as a reliable transmitter of hadith, and therefore establishes the veracity of the report from Abu Dawud.

 

 

My Response:

 

To claim that I have been getting most of my research from a forum is a great exaggeration. One who visits the forum and sees all my posts can clearly see that the vast majority of my posts have to do with Salafi to Sufi/Ashari dialogues and not with articles on my website. Even if none of my research is original, what matters is if what I am actually putting forth is the truth or not, regardless of where it comes from. (It's funny how Shamoun takes most of his ridiculous anti Islamic research from deviant groups like hadeeth rejecters, shias, Sufis, etc. and at least I put an acknowledgment for the help I received in my original article)

 

Shamoun asks why I didn't list out the names of the scholars that accepted Hisham. Well the reason for that is because I didn't find it necessary to do so.

 

First of all I was already honest enough in my article to admit that there wasn't a consensus on Hisham's weakeness.

 

Secondly, my main argument in the article was that the scholars have differed about the reliability of Hisham. Thus, since there is doubt and no certainty regarding him we can't be confident about taking hadith from him. What also causes greater doubt is the fact that there are several authentic narrations regarding the event, yet they don't include this statement.

 

This argument of mine is still standing and Shamoun hasn't been able to refute it.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

 

In the same discussion thread, another poster named Moumen wrote on 09-01-2007, 05:47 PM:

However, this report has been used by some scholars to prove that there were uncorrupted copies of the Torah in hands of Jews of Madinah together with other corrupted copies. Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah used it as a proof that the corruption in the Torah is not so grave and its main teachings are still intact and pristine.

I recall these views from very ancient readings, so forgive me if I'm mistaken. (Emphasis ours)

How interesting. Even the Salafi's most celebrated scholar, Ibn Taymiyyah, used this narration to prove that the corruption of the Torah was so insignificant that it didn't call into question its essential textual purity!

 

It is little wonder that Zawadi failed to mention any of this since this bit of information soundly exposes and refutes his desperate crusade against the Quranic witness to the authority and preservation of God's true Word, the Holy Bible.

 

My Response:

 

How low and desperate does Shamoun have to go? He relies on a poster in a Muslim forum to prove his point.

 

Notice what the Muslim poster said at the end...

 

I recall these views from very ancient readings, so forgive me if I'm mistaken.

 

 

Where are the references for these ancient readings? Can't Shamoun at least research into the matter and see if the Muslim poster was right or wrong? Who were these scholars that accepted the reliability of the Abu Dawud narration and then used it to reach these conclusions? Even if it is true, what more did these scholars say? The Muslim poster only stated that the scholars believed that there were true copies in the hands of the Jews in Medina along with corrupted copies. Well isn't it possible that these same scholars only believed that these true copies were there during the Prophets time but not anymore? That it was only in that Medina and nowhere else? That the corrupt copies were the ones that surpassed and lived on? Did Shamoun research the matter?

 

As for Ibn Taymiyyah's position, it is made clear when he said...

 

 

With regard to the Gospels that the Christians have, there are four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are agreed that Luke and Mark did not see the Messiah; rather he was seen by Matthew and John. These four accounts that they call the Gospel, and they call each one of them a Gospel, were written by these men after the Messiah had been taken up into heaven. They did not say that they are the word of God or that the Messiah conveyed them from God, rather they narrated some of the words of the Messiah and some of his deeds and miracles. (Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Jawaab al-Saheeh, (3:21), cited here)

 

 

Clearly, Ibn Taymiyyah views the Gospels as ones written by men after the ascension of Jesus and not the Gospel that was revealed to Jesus directly from Allah.

 

Also, one can read Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah's book Al Jawab Al Saheeh over here and go to pages 144 and 146 of the book (or pages 166 and 168 of the Acrobat reader) and see Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah refuting Christians just as I am refuting Shamoun when they use the argument that the Qur'an affirms the authority of the Bible!

 

 

I believe Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah just makes it so crystal clear on page 146 when he says...

 

 

The Torah and the Bible that is present nowadays are not those that were presented by the Prophets Musa and Jesus.

 

 

How clear can it be?

 

What is Shamoun's scholarly approach?...

 

Relying on a mistaken anonymous Muslim poster from a forum!!!

 

What a pathetic joker. If this kind of sloppy scholarship comes from a person who supposedly studied Islam for around 15 years, then what to expect from other missionaries?

 

When I ask that Muslim poster for help, I make sure that he quotes me the proper authorities to back up his opinion, unlike Shamoun that took it at face value.

 

That is why I didn't mention what that Muslim poster said. There simply was no evidence for what he was saying to be true.

 

Since Shamoun is so obsessed with this Muslim poster, then why doesn't he agree with him on the fact that the report is weak when he says...

 

This report is considered weak because...

 

but the report is weak due to another reason.

 

 

In conclusion, Shamoun has not given us any objective and sound evidence that is certain beyond any reasonable doubt that the Abu Dawud narration is authentic.

 

Secondly, even if he does it still does not prove his point as I have already shown previously.

 

 

 

 

 

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