So I lost a battle in my Jihad….

Last night I had my debate with Walid Shoebat and in many ways it went as expected, with the exception I didn’t expect to lose:)

What I mean by “lose” is purely in the scholarly debate sense, not whether one has or hasn’t made good arguments. On that front I believe I made great arguments.

However, I feel this pain and longing within me that at times makes me sad and others very angry. I allowed myself to get “abused” by him and the callers, when in my opinion, I was the only one doing the right thing.

Walid’s main arguments were juvenile at best and I let him get away with it. His overall all message is: I’m an Arab who speaks Arabic, so I know more about Islam than non-Arabs and those that don’t speak Arabic! His background as a “former terrorist” is murky at best because he doesn’t have proof and by his own words he seems shaky. Not to mention that he makes these claims in America, yet somehow can fly around the US from state to state with ease to make thousands of dollars……what happened to the FBI’s terror watchlist?

Consider these clips on youtube:

What does this video prove you might ask? Well it definitely proves the “shaky” nature of his claim to fame and the crux of his argument that he has been there done that. Then there is a whole 9 part series by a brother “Mr Muslim” that calls this guy on pretty much all he has said about his history.

But I know what your going to say….why attack the messenger and not the message…well I intend to, but my point is we are already starting with a guy that has credibility issues in the first place. See I didn’t go there last night, because I was trying to take the high road as my religion teaches me. I don’t seem to have those problems proving that I am who I say I am:

See when I say I served and continue to serve this country I have proof….see that badge right those word… Presidental Service Badge! They don’t just give those away in the Military they are serialized! But nevertheless, My point on credibility goes a long way into this argument.

From the beginning, lack of credibility reflects poorly and begs one major question: “What is your Intention/Purpose?” If I said and I do say, that my intention in my message is to help to continue to serve my country by illustrating that Muslims are fighting and serving this country then you can plainly see that I did wear the uniform and not only that served in the White House, then even without the hard core facts, one can safely assume there is at least “some” truth to what I say. But…….

If one claims to have committed acts of terror against Israel, but now is a staunch supporter, and not only has no proof of his past, but also can’t recall the facts of one such event…….then…..where did he come from and what’s his purpose?

I believe his purpose is solely to promote “Christian” Zionism at any costs. That means he has to lie his way to the top ensuring that Muslims/Islam always looks bad and Christians/Jews always look good. No ordinary Zionist can get away with this as he does, because he has such a “good” PR thing going for him. It’s one thing to be just another hate-mongering so-called Christian. It’s another to be a hate-mongering Christian that can also say that they have been on “the other side”. People tend to listen more. It’s sort of like a person like me who never drank alcohol telling alcoholics the danger of alcohol, vice a former alcoholic doing the same. It doesn’t mean that alcohol isn’t bad, but the argument against it becomes a little more stronger. But how would the people in Alcoholics Anonymous feel if they found out their favorite former alcoholic, never drank alcohol in their life?

Moving right along…

What really upset me more than anything is how Mr. Shoebat made a mockery out of the listeners by telling outright lies (that shouldn’t surprise me). He literally fed into their zealous fervor and fanned the flames of hate. Case in point: Hadith. He knew that the only one present that knew the truth was me. He sold this false argument that Muslims regard Hadith as holy and must obey them. He knows and I told him such that it’s such a lenghthy discourse that we could never do the subject justice. So what are Hadith anyway?

Hadith are in religious terms, recorded sayings, actions, and practices of Muhammad (saw). However, they recordings are not by Muhammad (saw) himself but others. Because of this number one fact, there is a whole science of Hadith which very quickly as a start one can go to wikipedia to get into. Not all Muslims believe in the same Hadith and not all Muslim believe in the chains of narration. The fact remains that the only text Muslims believe is Holy is the Quran. The Hadith are merely a tool and as such the usage of such varies from Muslim to Muslim.

Another point of note is this idea of religious context. Mr. Shoebat continually argued from a position that what he reads is crystal clear….That is a lie. For instance, and serious religious scholar knows that when attempting to understand a religion one must look at several things: History, Language, Text. In other words context. You can’t just pick up a Bible, Tanakh, or Quran. Read a sentence or two and say you know without a shadow of a doubt not only do you know what that religion is all about, but also you know how the actual adherents of that religion interpret it. Which is why in religious studies you have what they call exegesis.

The word exegesis can mean explanation, but as a technical term it means “to draw the meaning out of” a given text. Exegesis may be contrasted with eisegesis, which means to read one’s own interpretation into a given text. In general, exegesis presumes an attempt to view the text objectively, while eisegesis implies more subjectivity.

One may encounter the terms exegesis and hermeneutics used interchangeably; however, there remains a distinction. An exegesis is the interpretation and understanding of a text on the basis of the text itself. A hermeneutic is a practical application of a certain method or theory of interpretation, often revolving around the contemporary relevance of the text in question.

Traditional exegesis requires the following: analysis of significant words in the text in regard to translation; examination of the general historical and cultural context, confirmation of the limits of the passage, and lastly, examination of the context within the text.

Although the most widely-known exegeses concern themselves with Christian, Jewish and Islamic books, analyses also exist of books of other religions.

For Islamic Studies in particular you have a term that I used often and Walid tried to keep the listeners ignorant to called Tafsir. Tafsir is the Islamic Studies science that involves itself with the exegesis of the Quran for the most part. See how scholarly this can get?

My point is that Walid is and never was about education. He wants to keep the listeners ignorant and ensure that all they have to know is the hate speech he propagates. Yet, the Hypocrisy of the whole thing is that Christians get exegesis every Sunday Morning. From Church to Church, Ministers give contextual arguments as how to properly understand the text according to their tradition. If one who had no innate knowledge of Christianity came to the pulpit and said “Jesus is violent because he said he came not to bring peace, but a sword” automatically, a Christian with sense would refute that as a misunderstanding of the text, we have to look at context, etc. etc. they may also counter with other scriptures that seemingly say the opposite like “Blessed are the Peacemakers..”. But let me or any other Muslim do that with the Quran and automatically we are lying!

I don’t see how anyone cannot see the Hypocrisy in that!

So what were some of his laughable “arguments” now that I got the scholarly definitions out of the way? His favorite hadith, which I by the way accused him of have a static list like talking points:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah ‘s Apostle said, ” I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,’ and whoever says, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,’ his life and property will be saved by me except for Islamic law, and his accounts will be with Allah, (either to punish him or to forgive him.)”

To the ill informed, this is obviously a declaration of war against all Muslims for all times, but what Walid and others won’t tell you it that these reports (Hadith) primarily concern themselves with a particular situation or verse from the Quran. Which highlights the need for true exegesis, because if one did, they would easily find “neat” little commentary such as the one contained on pages 418 and 419 which I provided here to read and the entire text at the bottom.  The author more than debunks the myth Walid tried to put forward with his Hadith commentary to ignorant listeners…

religionofislampg418.pdf religionofislam419.pdf

But like I warned, actual scholarly debate and truth is not the point. The only “point” trying to be made is this idea that Islam from inception is violent and all who subscribe to it by default belong to and believe in a violent religion. The only proof to such a claim is the action of “some” Muslims and “some” countries, but no one seems to acknowledge that if said allegations are true than Muslims such as myself and those in my blogroll or those on the Muslims against terror banner are really wasting our time, and should be the same as the terrorists. But the Truth is and has always been that the overwhelming majority of Muslims do not subscribe to terrorist ideology or practice.

Why is that? It’s quite obvious that it’s translation. Sorry Mr. Shoebat, just pointing at a text, word, verse, etc. is not enough to explain why or what adherents actually believe or how they interpret said text, word, verse, etc. This of course is a discourse in epistemology, but I doubt Walid or his band of zealot hate-mongering so-called Christians care to talk about Philosophy.

Then of course, callers wanted to move from attacking the text they obviously can’t explain, to defamation of character and talking about Aisha and her marriage to Muhammad (saw) of course! Which of course had nothing to do with the topic of what Islam means, but as before, if one studied they would know that there is no consensus to the age of Aisha and various reports have her at anywhere from 6-17! Nor does anyone want to tackle the nature and purpose of any of the marriages during that time either!

The point is just to make statements that “appear” to support a claim, without doing any actual work. A noted scholar, Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote concerning the Aisha issue:

“A great misconception prevails as to the age at which Aisha was taken in marriage by the Prophet. Ibn Sa‘d has stated in the Tabaqat that when Abu Bakr [father of Aisha] was approached on behalf of the Holy Prophet, he replied that the girl had already been betrothed to Jubair, and that he would have to settle the matter first with him. This shows that Aisha must have been approaching majority at the time. Again, the Isaba, speaking of the Prophet’s daughter Fatima, says that she was born five years before the Call and was about five years older than Aisha. This shows that Aisha must have been about ten years at the time of her betrothal to the Prophet, and not six years as she is generally supposed to be. This is further borne out by the fact that Aisha herself is reported to have stated that when the chapter [of the Holy Quran] entitled The Moon, the fifty-fourth chapter, was revealed, she was a girl playing about and remembered certain verses then revealed. Now the fifty-fourth chapter was undoubtedly revealed before the sixth year of the Call. All these considerations point to but one conclusion, viz., that Aisha could not have been less than ten years of age at the time of her nikah, which was virtually only a betrothal. And there is one report in the Tabaqat that Aisha was nine years of age at the time of nikah. Again it is a fact admitted on all hands that the nikah of Aisha took place in the tenth year of the Call in the month of Shawwal, while there is also preponderance of evidence as to the consummation of her marriage taking place in the second year of Hijra in the same month, which shows that full five years had elapsed between the nikah and the consummation. Hence there is not the least doubt that Aisha was at least nine or ten years of age at the time of betrothal, and fourteen or fifteen years at the time of marriage.”

Later research

Research subsequent to the time of Maulana Muhammad Ali has shown that she was older than this. An excellent short work presenting such evidence is the Urdu pamphlet Rukhsati kai waqt Sayyida Aisha Siddiqa ki umar (‘The age of Lady Aisha at the time of the start of her married life’) by Abu Tahir Irfani.[4a] Points 1 to 3 below have been brought to light in this pamphlet.

1. The famous classical historian of Islam, Ibn Jarir Tabari, wrote in his ‘History’:

“In the time before Islam, Abu Bakr married two women. The first was Fatila daughter of Abdul Uzza, from whom Abdullah and Asma were born. Then he married Umm Ruman, from whom Abdur Rahman and Aisha were born. These four were born before Islam.” [5]

Being born before Islam means being born before the Call.

2. The compiler of the famous Hadith collection Mishkat al-Masabih, Imam Wali-ud-Din Muhammad ibn Abdullah Al-Khatib, who died 700 years ago, has also written brief biographical notes on the narrators of Hadith reports. He writes under Asma, the older daughter of Abu Bakr:

“She was the sister of Aisha Siddiqa, wife of the Holy Prophet, and was ten years older than her. … In 73 A.H. … Asma died at the age of one hundred years.” [6]

This would make Asma 28 years of age in 1 A.H., the year of the Hijra, thus making Aisha 18 years old in 1 A.H. So Aisha would be 19 years old at the time of the consummation of her marriage, and 14 or 15 years old at the time of her nikah. It would place her year of birth at four or five years before the Call.

3. The same statement is made by the famous classical commentator of the Holy Quran, Ibn Kathir, in his book Al-bidayya wal-nihaya:

“Asma died in 73 A.H. at the age of one hundred years. She was ten years older than her sister Aisha.” [7]

Apart from these three evidences, which are presented in the Urdu pamphlet referred to above, we also note that the birth of Aisha being a little before the Call is consistent with the opening words of a statement by her which is recorded four times in Bukhari. Those words are as follows:

“Ever since I can remember (or understand things) my parents were following the religion of Islam.” [8]

This is tantamount to saying that she was born sometime before her parents accepted Islam but she can only remember them practising Islam. No doubt she and her parents knew well whether she was born before or after they accepted Islam, as their acceptance of Islam was such a landmark event in their life which took place just after the Holy Prophet received his mission from God. If she had been born after they accepted Islam it would make no sense for her to say that she always remembered them as following Islam. Only if she was born before they accepted Islam, would it make sense for her to say that she can only remember them being Muslims, as she was too young to remember things before their conversion. This is consistent with her being born before the Call, and being perhaps four or five years old at the time of the Call, which was also almost the time when her parents accepted Islam.

Sources at the bottom….

My overall point is it took me 5 hours to just locate emphasis on these two points. Things are not as it appears because some so-called former terrorist claims it is so. If people actually did some reading, something the ignorant don’t care to do, they would laugh at Walid as I did last night….accidentally….

I have a book called Systematic Theology that is at least a thousand pages given to me by a good Reverend that he wanted me to read just to explain a few points about Christianity.

If you are going to market yourself as having knowledge, then tell the truth. Explain to those ignorant of the subject that Exegesis cannot be explained in a 2 hour session with nothing but talking points. Explain that quoting a verse from any religious text is never enough without examining the context.

What I dare any of you Walid Supporters to do is investigate my sources. Read something for a change….

Lastly, the most comical thing last night was when Shoebat wanted to talk about the “horror” of what some Muslims believe with happen to the Jews in the last day! Totally ignoring the fact that his beliefs are a mirror image!!!! He believes as an Evangelical is that when Jesus returns the Jews will have to convert to Christianity or go to hell! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!!!

I grew up in the Church as a Christian. I practiced and taught Christianity for many years. I have gone and still go to Church (on occasion) I have probably been to Church more times than either Walid or the callers last night combined! My point is what Walid and the callers practice is not only NOT Christianity, but it is no different than radical Muslim beliefs. The only difference is they don’t kill they just support and get others to do the killing for them. They advocate hate, ignorance, and intolerance against all Muslims, just like the terrorists do the same against Christians and the West. They won’t acknowledge the good in Islam or Muslims, and neither will the terrorists about Christianity or the West. They await a savior that will unite the world under Christianity and send the non-believers to hell, and so do the terrorists!

Then again Cain killed Able!

These guys are not Christians, they don’t promote peace, nor are they peaceful. I know true Christians like my grandfather who has taught Christianity for 50 years, these guys are a joke. One caller even had the nerve to say God bless to Walid, emphasizing only Walid…. I thought it was Jesus (saw) who taught that we should pray for all, even those we disagree with! When you go there, it’s quite obvious how much Christianity you have in you heart…

My sources and other “good” stuff:

Judge for Yourself – a Fake?…Case against Walid Shoebat

Terror Watch List FAQ from the FBI

Fighting in the Cause of God

Age of Aisha (ra)

Did Prophet Muhammad (saw) other the killing of 900 Jews?

The Religion of Islam…Download PDF book and read the section on Jihad Chapter 5


  1. If I never say another word, I want to say THANK YOU!!! Where would we be without fine young people like you and others who serve our great country. I can’t remember if I thanked you before. But I can never thank you enough so what does it matter.


  2. I don’t really see why you think you lost the debate. Getting abused may be awful, but it doesn’t make you lose a debate. So far, it sounds to me as if you managed to ‘hold your position’ fairly well…


  3. Richard, my point in saying I lost was when it comes to the “rules of debate”, I made amateur mistakes (although I am an amateur 🙂 ) the most significant was that I was too nice and didn’t go for the throat which I believe are serious inconsistencies with Walid. Furthermore, I didn’t attack his every accusation as I did in this post. I let him grand stand in Arabic and misuse text and didn’t counter point by point.


  4. I think you’re confusing two sets of rules: those for a debate and those for a discussion. In a debate you’re supposed to go for the jugular, but only in a discussion you’re supposed to ‘counter point by point’. The latter is only possible if both participants respect each other and are both interested in a common goal: finding common ground. But that’s a discussion, not a debate.

    In a debate you don’t respect anything, you don’t allow the other one space and time to ‘counter point by point’. In fact, one of the tricks of the trade is to increase the number of points brought up to such a level, that the other one isn’t able to deal with them all.

    The other trick (and this is the one you’ve fallen into I fear) is to exploit the other one’s lack of content-knowledge. If you are debating islam with someone who knows Arabic (I gather you don’t), you’ve already lost it when you allow Arabic to become a subject.

    Your strategy should be to immediately discount the entire subject as relevant, don’t go into details, don’t go into content. (you seem to me to be a person that loves content, in this case, that’s a pittfall)

    There’s a couple of points to be made:
    1. ‘Arabic’ is a non existent language. There is no Arabic, just a set of widely divergent dialects (Maghribi, Levantine, Egyptian, Jemenite etc…) You may want to learn a few phrases in various dialects to illustrate the point.
    2. The Qur’an and ahadith are written in Classical Arabic, a language now only known among higher educated scholars (either muslim or non-muslim). Claiming that Arabic gives you an advantage in a discusion on islam is like a Frenchman claiming he understands Catholicism better because he knows Latin.
    3. Most muslims don’t even speak modern Arabic.
    No doubt you’ll add to that!

    (Incidentally: I myself don’t agree with the above. I think any religion older than say 200 years should have representatives that know the languages of its scriptures well enough to make theological or exegetical points)

    Oh, and when you still expect you can’t win a particular battle, don’t fight it! It might do more good than loosing it. (there’s a variation of this: pick you enemies carefully!)


  5. Besides my job as an archaeologist, I teach history at a school for adults (usually what Americans call ‘seniour citizens’). One of my subjects is the formative period of islam (say: first three centuries). As islam is as much a subject of discussion in Europe as it is in the US, you’re bound to get questions on islam and muslims now.
    I tend to counteract the tendencies of the people I get in class. When I get a group that holds a favorable view on islam, I teach them a lot more about critical ideas on it. A class critical of islam gets the reverse treatment.
    So over the past years I’ve gotten the hang of arguing points, regardless of whether I agree with them.


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