Rebuttal to Answering Islam's Article "Muhammad's Idolatry and Arabic Grammar: Exposing the Smokescreens of Muslim Apologists"
Acknowledgement: Many thanks to Shaykh Jalal Abu Al Rub for his input.
One of the Arab contributing authors to Answering Islam by the name of "Dimitrius" wrote an article over here. Readers must first read Dimitrius's article first before proceeding on.
Khadija's statement makes absolutely no sense unless at some point Muhammad had indeed worshipped Al-Lat or Uzza. Khadija telling Muhammad to "stop" worshipping a deity he never worshipped in the first place does not make sense at all. She understood exactly what he was saying that he "no longer" worshipped these deities and as a result she told him, "then leave Al-Lat and Al-Uzza."
First of all, it does make sense. Khadeejah said, "Khalli", meaning, "ignore al-Lat, ignore al-Uzza." She was comforting him by asking him to not mention these idols and not that they worshipped the idols with her telling him, 'Let's not worship these idols." The first and second part of the narration speaks about the present, negating the worship of the idols now and negating their worship in the future as well. The context of her statement would be irrelevant and out of synchrony with the first part, if she was saying, "Let's stop worshipping them then."
Secondly, Dimistrius's argument doesn't make sense. As Mohar Ali pointed out and which Dimitrius failed to address:
For if the Prophet, after having worshipped the idols with Khadijah for any length of time, had subsequently developed a new attitude towards them she would have been well aware of it and the conversation on the subject would have taken a different form. At least Khadijah would not have cut short of the subject by saying "leave that Al-Lat, leave that Al-'Uzza" and would rather have sought some explanation for her husband's new attitude. Nor would the Prophet have replied in the manner he did but would have used some other words indicating the reason for his new attitude, especially as he was talking to his wife. Thus the tenor and purport of the conversation make it amply clear that it took place, if at all, at the very initial stage of their marital life when the Prophet was confronted for the first time with a situation which necessitated a statement of his attitude towards the idols. Most probably it took place when he spent the night for the first time with Khadijah's parental family or it was the annual occasion falling for the first time after their marriage when the Quraysh used to pay homage to those idols. These explanations of the incident having taken place at the initial stage of their married life would fit in well with everything in the report. It would agree with the correct meaning of the Prophet's statement, as noted above, without the need for manipulating it in order to make it conform to a particular preconception.
Dimitrius then tries to refute the grammatical objection that Muslims put forth. He said:
Second, the Muslim excuse that in Arabic one would never refer to a couple (two people) using a plural pronoun actually condemns the Qur'an itself. Let us see examples from the Qur'an itself where a couple is being addressed, but the plural pronoun, not the dual, is used.
In Sura 22:19 the verse in Arabic reads:
"Hathani Khasman ikh-tasamau fe rabihim"
"åÐÇ äö ÎóÕúãóÇäö ÇÎúÊóÕóãõæÇ Ýöí ÑóÈøöåöãú"
In English this is translated as:
"These two antagonists dispute with each other about their Lord."
What the English translation doesn't show you is that the word rendered as "dispute" is actually "ikh-tasamau" which is a verb form used to address a plural (more than two individuals). But clearly here the verse mentions that two and only two people are antagonizing about their Lord. So to claim that no individual well-trained in classical Arabic would use a plural when referring to a dual actually insults the author of the Qur'an, whom Muslims believe to be God who wrote the Qur'an in perfect Arabic. So if Allah uses the plural pronoun when referring to less than three people, then it is surely acceptable for the authors of hadith also.
"Khasmani", is about those who met at the Battle of Badr (refer to Qur'anic commentaries). When it started, three sets of fighters from each side started a dual, a total of six people fighting. So, "Khasmani", is about two sets of men and not about two men fighting each other. It was about an incident in history when six men fought each other where each set was fighting on behalf of its army. This is why the Ayah used the term, "Ikhtasamu" (i.e. they fought each other, in the plural [more than 2]). If it was about two persons, it would have said, "Ikhtasama" (the two of them disputed with each other). Hence, Dimitrius has failed to provide a good example in this case.
Dimitrius then tries to give another example:
Here is another example from the Qur'an where the plural pronoun is actually used to refer to a single individual, much less a dual. Sura 2:17 reads in Arabic:
"Mathalahum kamathal al-lathy is-tawkada naran, fa-lama da'at ma how'lahu, tha-haba Allahu bi-nourihim."
"ãóËóáõåõãú ßóãóËóáö ÇáÐöí ÇÓúÊóæúÞóÏó äóÇÑÇð ÝóáóãøóÇ ÃóÖóÇÁóÊú ãóÇ Íóæúáóåõ ÐóåóÈó Çááåõ ÈöäõæÑöåöãú"
In English this is translated as:
"Their similitude is that of a man who kindled a fire; when it lit all around him, Allah took away their light and left them in utter darkness."
Here the author of the Qur'an is talking about people who have gone astray and gives a parable of someone (singular) "ÇáÐöí" who lit a fire (also in the singular) "ÇÓúÊóæúÞóÏ" and it lit all that was around him (singular) "Íóæúáóåõ". Then Allah removed this light from around THEM "ÈöäõæÑöåöã". Here, the author of the Qur'an is still in the parable but uses the term THEM to describe HIM.
Since the Qur'an uses the plural pronoun when referring to both singular and dual groups, it is no surprise that the authors of the hadith also employ this methodology.
The parable started with "Mathaluhum," (i.e. their example) and not "Mathaluhu", (i.e. his example). So, it is about a group of people and not about one or two people. When the example finished, it ended with the plural, "ma Haulahum"; again, about the Kuffar as a group of people. So the parable is about the plural and not about a certain man. So again Dimistrius's example is flawed.
In conclusion, Dimitrius has failed to put forth his argument successfully. It's also a shame that an Arab such as himself made such fundamental errors. Answering Islam needs to find itself another Arab contributor who could put forth some reasonable arguments. It's funny that Shamoun who can't speak Arabic at times puts a stronger case than what was just shown here and that is definitely not a compliment to either Dimitrius or Shamoun.
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