A Response to Sam Shamoun's Article, "The Prohibition of Marrying as a Muhrim: Another Case of Muhammad's Inconsistency"


Bassam Zawadi

Sam Shamoun's article can be found here. One should read it first before reading this article.

The funny thing about this article is that I will point out how Shamoun refutes himself.

Shamoun mentions the statement of Imam Tirmidhi:

Tirmidhi said: "There is disagreement concerning the marriage of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to Maimunah, for he married her on his way to Makkah. Some said: 'He married her before he put on ihram, but the news of his marriage became known while he was in the state of ihram. Later he consummated his marriage with her in Saraf, on the road to Makkah, after he was free from the restrictions of ihram.' (added emphasis is mine)

Notice how Imam Tirmidhi mentions the opinion of some scholars who stated the perfect solution to what Shamoun exaggerates as a big problem. Nowhere in the article does Shamoun even refute this argument, and he is the one who cites it himself!

This easily explains the two opposing views found in the hadith.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) married Maimunah right before he put Ihram. So, technically speaking, when he married her, he wasn't in the state of Ihram. But right after marrying her, he became in that state, and the rumors spread that the Prophet (peace be upon him) just got married while he was wearing the Ihram. So this could easily explain why many could have possibly thought that the Prophet (peace be upon him) got married. In contrast, in the state of Ihram they mistakenly thought that if the Prophet (peace be upon him) did marry her before the state of Ihram, they would have definitely known about it.

Shamoun even provides another proper solution to the 'problem':

A Muslim may raise the objection that this prohibition came later because there was no hajj or umra before that time. This one was the first time that Muslims were permitted to enter Mecca on pilgrimage, which means that subsequent pilgrimages would have taken place after this time. Thus, Allah couldn't have forbidden marriages during a state of ritual purity before Muslims started making trips to Mecca.

Shamoun tries to refute this by saying:

The problem with this position is that an all-knowing deity could have informed Muhammad during his first pilgrimage to Mecca after his migration that contracting marriages with women during this time is absolutely forbidden. At the very least, Allah could have sent down a revelation shortly after Muhammad desired to marry Maimuna that such a proposal is prohibited, and that he must wait until his period of ritual purity was over.

This is a weak answer. There is no reason for us to believe that Allah should have made this law applicable during the first pilgrimage. Allah, in His divine wisdom, chooses when is the most appropriate to reveal His laws and have them implemented.

Similarly, we can ask Shamoun why the Biblical God did not immediately declare all foods clean since Jesus said they don't make you impure in the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 7 (according to the Christian understanding of this verse).

Thus, we see that Shamoun has offered a proper solution to the argument he has raised himself, yet couldn't refute it properly with rational evidence! Instead, his own subjective personal opinions don't like the idea of Allah gradually revealing and imposing laws upon the Muslims over time. But that is no argument!

We congratulate Shamoun for being the first missionary to get involved in Islamic apologetics!

Also, let us say for the sake of argument that none of the solutions above work and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) did do what was forbidden for the rest of the Muslims. So what? There are already examples of these kinds of things.

One example is that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was allowed to have more than four wives, while the rest of the Muslims didn't. Wow! Should I become an apostate now? This is a privilege bestowed upon him by God, and who am I to question it? (See this)

To use this as evidence against the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is to commit the fallacy of circumstantial ad hominem. Just because it appears that Muhammad (peace be upon him) might have a motive for doing something, that doesn't make that something false.

Plus, I can give several examples of my own, which show that specific laws and commands found in the Qur'an and authentic Prophet traditions did not favor Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). So, will Shamoun accept these as valid circumstantial evidence for Muhammad's Prophethood if I show these? He definitely will not and will reply by saying that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is only pulling an act to make his 'lie' more believable to the people.

Well then, how can we get through to people like Shamoun that have already made up their minds concerning Muhammad (peace be upon him)?

Also, this issue that Shamoun is raising is not significant, and he is exaggerating the implications of his argument. Yes, we have differences among our scholars, and each one has his own valid pieces of evidence to support his position. There is enough room for differences of opinion. Even the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) had differences. This in no way compromises the veracity of our faith.

If it did, then Shamoun's faith would also be proven to be false since there are plenty of differences of opinion on several issues regarding the interpretation of the Bible.

So, we ask Shamoun to be consistent in his methodology and start providing more serious arguments than this one.

We also ask him not to refute his own arguments and to leave that job to Muslim apologists such as myself.

Thanks, Sam.

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