This is a guest post by Seid D.
In his recent debate with Cosmic Skeptic and Dr Colin Brewer,Mohammed Hijab has made 4 arguments to justify his belief in Islam:
- Preservation of Qur’an;
Original video is here
I am going to address all his arguments,one by one:
1. Preservation of Qur’an:
Mohammed Hijab quoted verse from Qur’an which says: ‘’ Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.’’ 15:9
I have no good reason to verify this argument and I’ll show why in a while.
I’ll only give a link where we have the evidence to think contrary: https://wikiislam.net/wiki/Corruption_of_the_Quran
So,I’ll grant Hijab his argument that Qur’an has been perfectly preserved.
What kind of argument Is that?
Let me remind you that Mohammed Hijab belives that this is the good reason to justify his belief in Islam.
First,there are many,many perfectly preserved books. In case you don’t trust me,don’t worry,just let me know and I am going to present my evidence. I don’t want to present them here for the sake of shortening this post.
Are all of them revelation from God? Surely not! Hijab would probably agree with me here.
The fact that Qur’an is (when granted) preserved does not prove much,and definitely not its divine origin. There are many books,even older than Qur’an which have been preserved,1400 years is relatively not much,when compared to other preserved books. This argument would only lead us to conclusion that Muslims really wanted to preserve their holy book and fullfil Qur’anic prophecy.
Furthermore,Qur’an even asks Muslims in chapter 54:17 to learn it:’’ And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?’’ This seem to be self fulfilling prophecy,no?
To be perfectly honest,was that a hard task? I don’t think so,given how many followers he had…
This is probably the best argument Muslims have,yet it failed miserably to prove Quran’s divine origin.
On many instances Qur’an challenges its doubters to produce a chapter like it:
‘’Then let them produce a statement like it,if they should be truthful’’ 52:34
This argument is at best unfalsifiable one,simply because Qur’an does not give any criteria upon which we can judge those who want to win the challenge.
So basically,an all-knowing god challenged us to produce a chapter like his revelation without giving us any criteria or any information about that challenge? How convenient!
So,I have a few questions about it:
1.Who’s going to judge the challenger?
2. Based on what when Qur’an itself does not give any information or criteria?
3. How can we know if we won the challenge or not?
Without most crucial part in this challenge,which is criteria,we are unable to address the challenge.
We have pagans from Mohammed’s time saying that they could produce something like it,and Qur’an itself talks about that: ‘’And when our verses are recited to them,they say,’’ We have heared. If we willed,we could say (something) like this. This is not but legends of the former people’’ 8:31
If we are to ask Muslims,they would ofc say that nobody can beat the Qur’anic challenge.
Tho,all this is subjective without any objective criteria. We can argue that we won they can say we didn’t…
All of this shows how bad this argument actually is.
Tho,I’ll argue that this challenge itself is capable of discrediting whole Islam.
Imagine an All-knowing God giving us this to prove his exsistence? We have to bare in mind that Islam is meant to be the final and universal religion,literally for everyone until the last day.
In short,this can’t be the universal challeng,since things like language aren’t universal.
According to ISTIZADA’s article,there are about 420 million people around the world who can speak Arabic. And yet,there are about 7.4 billion humans today.
The majority of population cannot address this challenge because they don’t speak Arabic.
That should do it…
This time,the ‘’challenge’’ is about contradictions.
‘’Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from (any) other than Allah, they would find therein much contradictions.’’ 4:82
I would rather call this a statement than a challenge,because it does not challenge us to do something,it rather says it has no contradictions because its author is an All-knowing God .
First,I have objections to the verse itself.
Do you guys see a false conditional statement in this verse?
The verse states that if the Qur’an was from a source other than Allah, then it would contain many contradictions.
Now consider this question, is it possible for a man-made work to contain no errors or contradictions? This should be uncontroversial. There are countless human texts that would be free of any errors, specifically falsifiable or ‘findable’ errors.
Then, if it is the case that it is possible for man-made works to be free of any errors, then it is also possible for the Qur’an to contain no errors and be man-made i.e. be from a source other than Allah.
Given the above possibility, Sura 4:82 constructs a false conditional for it is easily possible for the Qur’an to be “from other than Allah” and yet contain no errors.
Thus, Sura 4:82 is an erroneous statement.
Plus,I don’t agree with Mohammed Hijab that there aren’t any contradictions in the Qur’an,but I don’t want to argue about contradictions,in atheist community there are many people and articles which talk about contradictions in the Qur’an and all the other holy books,so I’ll simply post the link to article which highlights some of the contradictions found in the Qur’an:
I don’t want to argue about contradictions found in the Qur’an simply because of apologetics and fact that they are going to try to dismiss all the contradiction claims.
So,I’ll simply grant them their claim that there aren’t any contradictions in the Qur’an and let’s see where is this argument going to take us.
Important thing to mention is that Hijab thinks that contradictionless is unique to Islam and Qur’an, but that’s not what we hear from other belivers.
On example,Christians and all the other theists claim that their holy books are definitely contradictionless.
In which case we can simply say that our Atheism is a refusal to play an impossible game as proposed by youtuber TheraminTrees.
Given the apologetics, every single religion can claim that its holy book is contradictionless.
And all of that does not allow us to find the truth, I would highly recommended the video ‘’ the impossible game’’ by TheraminTrees ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gcw1YEtTQCw )
This is the last argument in favor of Quran’s divine authorship as proposed by Mohammed Hijab.
Muslims like to claim that we can find only correct prophecies in the Qur’an and authentic hadith.
Before I address this claim, I have to mention few things.
- Texas sharpshooter fallacy: The Texas sharpshooter fallacy is an informal fallacy which is committed when differences in data are ignored, but similarities are stressed.
- I would argue that good prophecies should be:
-predictions and not retrodictions;
I’m going to elaborate on every point:
Accurate: Prophecy really happened;
Specific: To be precise and clearly defined;
Verifiable: Possible to be checked or demonstrated to be true, accurate,justified or eventually falsified;
Prediction not retrodiction: Meaning that prophecy should be talking about something that’s going to happen in the future,what would naturally mean that we shouldn’t make a big fuss about prophecy which would say on example in the future we will see animals.
Such prophecies shouldn’t be special in any shape or form since they are based on retrodiction.
What would be special about seeing animals in the future when we already saw animals in the past and still see them in present times?
I hope you got the point…
If you don’t agree with my criteria for good prophecies,please just say it,I would be glad to discuss it!
I tried to find the most popular one and I’ve found the prophecy about tall buildings,so I’m going to use it.https://callingchristians.com/2011/12/26/prophetic-miracle-of-muhammad-saw-desert-arabs-competing-in-building-skyscrapers/
It comes from hadith: “The Hour will not be established-till the people of the desert (the camel shepherds) compete with one another in constructing high buildings.”
I couldn’t find the reference,but I assume that Muslims have no reason to lie about their own sources.
So,let’s put from what I found to be the most popular hadith about prophecies on my test!
Is it accurate? Is it specific? Is it verifiable? Is it prediction and not retrodiction? Does the author of article use the Texas sharpshooter fallacy ?
Let’s find out!
Accuracy: If we are to trust the conclusion reached by our Muslim friend,then yes,with the photo of Dubai’s skyscrapers in the middle of desert,he is obviously making point,isn’t he?
I won’t say anything now,but let’s grant him first condition,let’s say that prophecy is indeed accurate without mentioning the Texas sharpshooter fallacy .
Specificity: Is it really specific? Do we have a specific timeframe? I don’t think so,the only timeframe we have is ‘’ The Hour will not be established-till…’’
Is that really a specific prophecy when it comes to timeframe? Definitely not! We are told that such and such will happen before the last day! That’s about time specificity!
What about location specificity? Well…No! We have mentioned:‘’ the people of the desert (the camel shepherds)’’ Is this really specific? Which desert? There are about 20 world major deserts,but we also have the ‘‘camel shepheards’’ detail,it’s still not specific since camels aren’t specific to a single desert: ‘’ There are around 14 million camels alive as of 2010, with 90% being dromedaries. Dromedaries alive today are domesticated animals (mostly living in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Maghreb, Middle East and South Asia). The Horn region alone has the largest concentration of camels in the world, where the dromedaries constitute an important part of local nomadic life. They provide nomadic people in Somalia and Ethiopia with milk, food, and transportation. ’’
So yeah,definitely not specific,I would surely expect more specificity from an All-knowing and All-powerful god.
Verifiability: Are we able to verify it? Obviously not,since we don’t have the specific details and we have literally nothing to verify.
Prediction and not retrodiction: Is this prophecy more prediction than retrodiction?
No,I would argue.
If we examine the prophecy,it talks about constructing high buildings.
Did we see such in the past (Mohammed’s past) ? Absolutely!
According to the Qur’an itself,there were high buildings before:’’ And Pharaoh said, “O Haman, construct for me a tower that I might reach the ways – The ways into the heavens – so that I may look at the deity of Moses; but indeed, I think he is a liar.” And thus was made attractive to Pharaoh the evil of his deed, and he was averted from the [right] way. And the plan of Pharaoh was not except in ruin.’’ 40:36-37
Also,tall buildings in ancient world weren’t as unusual as you might think.
‘’ The Lighthouse of Alexandria, sometimes called the Pharos of Alexandria (/ˈfɛərɒs/; Ancient Greek: ὁ Φάρος τῆς Ἀλεξανδρείας, contemporary Koine Greek pronunciation: [ho pʰá.ros teːs a.lek.sandréːaːs]), was a lighthouse built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom, during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (280–247 BC), which has been estimated to be 100 metres (330 ft) in overall height. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, for many centuries it was one of the tallest man-made structures in the world.’’ Wikipedia
‘’The Temple of Artemis or Artemision (Greek: Ἀρτεμίσιον; Turkish: Artemis Tapınağı), also known less precisely as the Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple dedicated to an ancient, local form of the goddess Artemis (associated with Diana, a Roman goddess). It was located in Ephesus (near the modern town of Selçuk in present-day Turkey). It was completely rebuilt twice, once after a devastating flood and three hundred years later after an act of arson, and in its final form was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. By 401 AD it had been ruined or destroyed. Only foundations and fragments of the last temple remain at the site.’’ Wikipedia
‘’The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus or Tomb of Mausolus[a] (Ancient Greek: Μαυσωλεῖον τῆς Ἁλικαρνασσοῦ; Turkish: Halikarnas Mozolesi) was a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC at Halicarnassus (present Bodrum, Turkey) for Mausolus, a satrap in the Persian Empire, and his sister-wife Artemisia II of Caria. The structure was designed by the Greek architects Satyros and Pythius of Priene. Its elevated tomb structure is derived from the tombs of neighbouring Lycia, a territory Mausolus had invaded and annexed circa 460 BC, such as the Nereid Monument.’’ Wikipedia
‘’ The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex bordering present-day El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. Based on a mark in an interior chamber naming the work gang and a reference to the fourth dynasty EgyptianPharaoh Khufu, some Egyptologists believe that the pyramid was thus built as a tomb over a 10- to 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC. Initially at 146.5 metres (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years until Lincoln Cathedral was finished in 1311 AD.’’ Wikipedia
All of the these were built before Mohammed was even born,what shows even clearer that this prophecy isn’t as amazing as Muslims see it.
When scrutinized,it seems to be nothing more than a perfect example of the Texas sharpshooter fallacy.
We see that Muslims ignore the fact that hadith does not specify the time and location of event,so with ignoring these really important things,they can infer a false conclusion and that’s the Texas sharpshooter fallacy in a nutshell.
That’s it! We debunked the most popular Islamic prophecy from what I could found.
If you think there are better prophecies which can pass my criteria,be sure to send them,from what I would could found not a single one was specific,given that all of them say ‘’before the last hour’’ what is by no means specific,I can also make 100 prophecies,some of them can come true,when they aren’t specific,they simply can’t be verifiable or falsifiable and that’s why Muslims tell us that some prophecies are yet to happen,but they can’t say when and we can’t verify their claims because we have nothing to verify.
It seems that Hijab actually does not have good justifications for his belief in Islam,we checked and scrutinized all of his arguments.
Contradictionless and preservation is definitely required,however,they aren’t sufficient to prove divine origin of a book,simply because there are books written by humans which are both preserved and have no contradiction at all.
For two other argumenst,I showed how pointless the inimitability argument actually is,given that we have no objective criteria to it.
Prophecies can be good as argument only if they pass all the criterias I presented and if they avoid the logical fallacies I mentioned.
3 thoughts on “Mohammed Hijab and his 4 arguments in favor of Islam?”
Brilliant as always Abdullah!
Thank you for all that you do and have done.
I’ll start from the top from the top. Preservation is a legitimate requirement for a book to be considered the word of God. For you to say “So what” is disingenuous. Not believing in God is one thing, but not acknowledge a requirement is another. No book in history has been preserved like the Qur’an. You can burn every copy in any translation and have it rewritten in a couple weeks from a hadit. Since you’re familiar with Arabic I assume you know what that means. Inimitabilaty means in every sense of the structure of a verse. Language, meaning, rythym, structure, etc. That’s not the only verse that makes the challenge. Since you like links, check this one for the criteria: https://www.islamic-awareness.org/quran/miracle/ijaz
As far as contradictions go, why give a link instead of list your own? The Christians say the same about their Bible? Sure, but it has contradictions like the crucifixion and resurrection compared to the sign of Jonah 3 days and 3 nights when he was supposedly only buried 2 nights and 1 day. That’s, and how the Messiah (whose name wasn’t Jesus) never claimed to be God or told anyone to worship him. Those are just 2, but they’re major. Impossible game? How are you going to flip flip by saying that this wouldn’t be the only book without contradictions, then say there are contradictions, then say there aren’t contradictions because you don’t want to argue with apologetics? What kind of game is this where you contradict yourself refuting what you think has contradictions? On the predictions part, you do it again. You said you couldn’t find the hadith, yet you’re saying it doesn’t give specifics. How do you know if you can’t find the narration? Still can’t find it? I’ll help you. It’s in nearly every major hadith book in one of the most famous hadith. I don’t know if any masjid has ne or heard this in a khutbah. The hadith of Jibreel has to be one of the most famous, if not the most hadith because it deals with the five pillars of Islam, and you couldn’t find it? It literally has the word “Arab” in Arabic in that particular part about the tall buildings. Let’s not be disingenuous.
You missed some critical points and have a lot of gaps that you conveniently filled in yourself.
1) The preservation argument is not about “oh look, a book that has been preserved for so long”. It first includes Allah’s promise to preserve it, it then encompasses that the book, the message remained the same throughout (in time across geography and copies), and thirdly – something you will not understand because of your deviating frame of reference – the whole idea that the preservation is unique is due to the nature of the Book and áll that it includes.
2) The same applies for your second, very weak counter-argument. It is flawed in so many layers and it is drowning from faulty assumptions that are in favor of your argument, that I do not even know where to begin. The challenge in the Book is as active and as passive as you want it to be. And for your convienency, you may take the most easy criteria that YOU can think of, as long as you are honest to yourself (the sincerity is something you do not understand that is actually the criteria for engaging in this). Oh btw, whatever comes to your mind when you think of “produce something similar” (consistent message, ground rules for every aspect of life, philosophy, socials, moral consistent standards, falsification challenges, reaching, influencing and inspiring the people for over a thousand years) is sufficient.
3. your third critical error is about the claim to find contradictions, where you compare the Book with the possibility to make error-free pieces by men. No one was denying that, so once again you are fighting against very convenient, imaginary counter arguments! The thought provoking statement is regarding a concept in a book that encompasses very aspect of life and afterlife in a consistent matter in all layers (philosophical, economical, socially, morals, forecasting) with bits and pieces throughout a period of 20 years. See? You’re welcome. Also, I am very happy, I thank you with all my heart, that you showed me the anti-islamic propaganda page with the contradictions. Because at first I was in doubt that they would truly constitute contradictions, but then I opened the link and I went through a lot of these (not all), and I have found ZERO contradictions. What I did find is cherry-picking by someone who’s SOLE purpose is to have critique and discredit a concept, this was so obvious. So I will challenge you to pick ANY of those “contradictions” and have me explained to you why it is flawed to regard it as a contradiction. But do not bother: I can already tell that a few of the essential things in the understanding of the Quran (sincerity, holistic approach, understanding foundational verses vs non-foundational, and above all, understanding that the language is not a goal: in no way we can now wether language is sufficient to encompass all that is in the true meaning of the message, so we will NEVER hold on to a single word or phrase OVER the foundational versus of the Quran and over the hollistic message. If you would understand what I mean here, you could have saved yourself the effort..
4) The Prediction argument. It seems you wet your pants when you saw M. Hijab use this argument. You could have saved yourself all the effort if you would ask yourself: is Mr Hijab a Muslim truly because (among others) this particular argument? Meaning, if there were no predictions in the Quran, he would not have been a Muslim? Yep, now that that sinks in your brain, you know the answer is No. And same applies for all Muslims. This is actually a non-argument for any Muslim, and next to that, nowhere that Islam, nor the book nor the prophet claim that the the very reason of any prediction (regardless of your criteria) is the reason you should believe in it/confirms the Islam!! This means this is an argument from you against Mr Hijab specifically, and not against Islam or the Prophet. This also means that since you clearly did not understand that by yourself, you will have to have him explain to you or give him the change to explain how the predictions argument exactly contributed to the overall discussion.