The story of Shakila Khan

http://alisina.org/blog/2011/10/24/what-is-my-identity/

This post is refutation of the above post from AliSina.org. I claim this story to be fraud – as to the involvement of Sina – of that I am not sure.

A person calling herself Shakila Khan claims she is an ex-Muslim and below is her email to Ali Sina.

I really do not know how or where to start but the fact is that I am really and truly confused with regards to my identity.. I have been born and bred in a typical Sunni Muslim household.. I have always considered myself a very moderate Muslim or rather a liberal one.. I have had boyfriends and relationships.. I have tons of Non Muslim friends who I adore and trust much more than their Muslim counterparts. I have never ever discriminated anyone based on their religious background. I treat people on the basis of their nature and their moral character rather than on their religious beliefs. I do not have any prejudice for any religion, NO actually that is not true.. I do hate those so called Muslim fundamentalists who kill innnocent people in the name of God.. Ever since 9/11, I have been having some doubts but I was too cowards to face them or even acknowledge them until recently when I came accross Daniel Pipes and thru him, I came to know about you..I am really confused and going thru an identity crisis.. Pleas help me..

Subsequently, Shakila started the following blog:

Liberated

However, when her story was questioned – interesting holes began to emerge in her story.

  • She claimed to be about 35, of Pakistani parentage, but has lived in Dubai since the age of ten. However, when asked to communicate in Arabic, or in a Pakistani language, she remained unresponsive.
  • As to her meticulous use of American English, she claimed it was due to TV influence. Although she could account for her lack of any knowledge of the Arabic language. If her language style used in the blog and the above email are compared, then it is quite noticeable that the language styles are very different.
  • When her alleged association with Robert Spencer was questioned, then she claimed that he was good friend. Furthermore, someone called “bob” updated her blog from America and not she, herself.

As of Tuesday, January 22, 2013 – this blog is no longer being updated. This remains quiet an interesting little mystery. . .

Samiri

This is a quick refutation of the following article by Ali Sina:

http://alisina.org/blog/2010/11/29/samaritans-and-moses/

In which he alleges the following:

In the Bible (Exodus 32) there is a story about Israelites worshiping a calf when Moses went to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments from God. On his return Moses was angered and ordered “everyone to put on his sword and kill his brothers, his friends, and his neighbors” (Ex.32:27). In this story the culprits are the Israelites and Aaron the brother of Moses who let himself to be influenced by them. This incident is reported in the Quran.

He [Allah] said, “We have tempted thy people since thou didst leave them. The Samaritan (in Arabic Samiri) has led them into error.” Then Moses returned … … and we cast them [(gold) ornaments], as the Samaritan also threw them, into the fire.” (Then he brought out for them a Calf, a mere body that lowed; and they said, “This is your god, and the god of Moses, whom he has forgotten.”) … Moses said, “And thou, Samaritan, what was thy business?” …– Quran 20:85-88, 95

In the Quranic version the culprits are the Samaritans who mislead the Jews into worshiping the bull. But in the original story of the Bible there is no mention of any Samaritan. When questioned, Muslims claim that the Bible is corrupted. However, at the time of Moses, Samaria did not exist and there was no one known as Samaritan.

Here, Sina mistakes Samiri, an individual, with the Samaritans سامريون – an offshoot of Judaism. A likely possibility is that Samiri is the Biblical Zimri, son of Saul and the Prince of the Tribe of Simeon. The Old Testament does mention Zimri as someone, of ill repute, who openly defied Moses. However, in the Bible he does not have any connections with the story of the calf.

This bizarre mistakes of Sina is probably just based on somewhat similarity of name. I think, I have already sufficiently established the quality of Sina’s research, therefore, I am not surprised by the error.

Light

This post is refutation of the following article by Ali Sina. Moon Light – which Sina wrote as part of his review of a debate held between Dr. Zakir Naik and Dr. William Campbell. The orignal debate is here:

This discussion is regarding:

“Dr. Naik insists that the Quran makes it clear that the light of the Moon is borrowed light and to prove that, he claims ‘nur’ means reflection. This is not a fallacy but a blatant lie.”

Sina states as his conclusion:

“Nur is a common day to day word. Every Muslim whether Arab or not knows that nur means light and not borrowed light. But when it comes to defending Islam and protecting it from being ridiculed, they remain silent and go along with the lie. All these Muslims in the hall listening to Dr. Nailk’s charade felt that it is their religious duty to take part in this taqiyah and not object when someone lies for the glory of Islam. This comes so natural to Muslims that they do it subconsciously. They think they are fooling others. In reality they are fooling themselves.”

The word ‘Nur’ does mean light. However, it is not necessary that 1400 years ago the word had the exact similar connotations as today.

For example:

Consider the English word: ‘Mouse’. Primarily, the word means a small furry animal, but, the word also refers to an electronic device in computing. Consider the word ‘Car’ – it refers to an automobile. Yet, the word used to mean: “two-wheeled Celtic war chariot”. Nowadays the word exclusively means an automobile.

Rather than conducting some research to verify this, Sina, it appears, assumed that Dr. Naik was “blatantly lying” and hence his comments above.

Meaning of the word ‘Noor’

The classical Arabic dictioanry Taj Al-Aroos states:

{النُّور، بالضمّ: الضَّوْءُ أيَّاً كَانَ، أَو شُعاعُه وسُطوعُه، كَذَا فِي المُحكَم، وَقَالَ الزَّمَخْشَرِيّ: الضياءُ أشدّ من النُّور، قَالَ تَعَالَى: جَعَلَ الشمسَ ضِياءً والقمرَ نُوراً} وَقيل: الضِّياءُ ذاتِيٌّ،! والنُّورُ عَرَضِيٌّ، كَمَا حقَّقه

The word "Dhiya'a" is of more intense meaning than the word "Noor". As the Almighty said: He made the sun "Dhiya'a" and the moon "noor". And it is said: The word "Dhiya'a" is 'Essential' and the word "Noor" is 'Accidental'.

The word “ذاتِيٌّ” means Essential, Intrinsic, Autonomous, etc. Whereas the word “عَرَضِيٌّ” meaning ‘Accidental’ is understood, in philosophical terminology, as:

“Any entity or event contingent upon the existence of something else.” [*]

[*] Hans Wehr [Page 604] and Dictionary.com

Conclusion

There is enough evidence to show that interpretation of the word ‘Noor’ to mean ‘reflected light’ was not dreamed up by Naik but has its basis in Classical Arabic and Quranic Exegesis.

As it will be repeatedly shown throughout this site – Sina does not have adequate knowledge of Islam. His standard of scholarship is extremely poor and such “mistakes” are rather common for him. Some understanding of Arabic and checking his sources might go a long way to correct all such errors, rather than just relying on the usual anti-Islamic websites.

Quality of research II (a)

As the book wishes to advance the idea of a psychological biography, therefore, it is roughly split into two halves. In the first the author presents an abridged version of Prophet Muhammad’s life and in the second part, he attempts to build a psychological profile of him. This additional study will look at the sources of used for both these major aspects of the book.

It has been shown to some degree, in Quality of Research I, how the author relies on secondary or tertiary sources, and is unable to examine primary sources himself, because of his inability to understand Arabic. This led to many basic errors that would otherwise not have occurred. Often, the sources he quotes are commonly found on the Internet, meaning that the author has not studied the actual books but as he came across the material on some website, it was included without verification. It is also clear that mostly the sources of his ideas and references tend to be other established, biased anti-Islamic sites.

One thing that is instantly apparent when looking at this aspect is the scarcity of any cited references that are relevant to the crux of his argument. Narrative of Prophet Muhammad life is built with sporadic references, and it is scattered with author’s views and assertions, which usually makes it difficult to discern the sources of his claims.

It appears that the two principle sources of the book used for the biography section are a Persian edition of ‘Tabqat of Ibn Sa’ad’ and William Muir’s ‘Life of Muhammad’. Some use has also been made of Ibn Ishaq and Hadith from Sahih Bukahri and Muslim are used throughout the book. Note: All books are freely available on Internet.

A section titled ‘The Myth of Persecution’ [Follow the link for complete text] from page 17 of the book and its sources and reference are examined closely as follows:

“There are also stories of Muslims being beaten by their family members for converting to Islam. A hadith narrates that Omar, prior to his own conversion, had tied up his sister forcing her to leave Islam.[25] Omar was a violent and strict man, both before and after his conversion.”

[25] Sahih Bukhari Volume 5, Book 58, Number 207

“There is a story of persecution about a woman known as Summayyah. Ibn Sa’d is the only historian who says Summayyah suffered martyrdom in the hands of Abu Jahl. Al-Bayhaqi relying on Ibn Sa’d writes, “Abu Jahl stabbed her in her
private parts.”[26] If this martyrdom had really occurred it would have been trumpeted forth by every biographer and would have been reported in innumerable traditions.”

[26] Al-Dalaa’il, 2/282

However, Muir has shown that after Yasir died of natural causes, Summayyah married the Greek slave Azraq and had a child called Salma.27 How then are we to understand that she died under persecution?

[27] Sir William Muir: The Biography of Mahomet, and Rise 0f Islam. Chapter IV page 126

This section of the book is erroneous from several different aspect which will be dealt separately, at the moment inadequate research is under review. The whole argument that:

“There is no evidence of any persecution against Muhammad and Muslims in Mecca.”

is based around the singular report of Summeya, and nothing more. This whole section relies on just 3 references – which is inadequate, to say the least. And the whole argument that Muslims were not persecuted in Mecca is built on a singular reading of Muir [which as will be shown itself is erroneous]. The author did not see fit to gather further evidence but proceeded to declare: Muslims were not persecuted in Mecca.

However, the author continues to make further absurd and baseless claims such as:

Claim 1

“Religious persecution in those lands was unheard of. Polytheistic societies are generally tolerant by nature. They were offended when Muhammad insulted their gods, but they did not harm him.”

Answer

The assertion: “Religious persecution in those lands was unheard of” is simply baseless. Muir himself provides an overview of Arabia before the advent of Islam.

LIFE OF MAHOMET. VOLUME I.

In short, Jews were of multiple tribes and mostly based near Medina. They were powerful enough to keep the local polytheistic tribes at bay, however, not powerful enough to be able to dominate them. They had formed alliances and lived in relative peace to each other. Christians, on the other hand, were fewer in number around Mecca and weak. Their nearest base of power was Abyssinia, which tried several times dominate the Meccan pagan, but did not manage it. There was constant strife between Christians, Jews and the Meccan Pagans.

When Sina has read the work of William Muir, then on what bases has he disregarded his research on this matter? And what sources does he have to make the above claim? The author has not explored history of early Arabia – as he does. It will be repeatedly highlighted that Sina is largely ignorant of Western scholarship of Islam.

Claim 2

“Muhammad encouraged his followers to leave Mecca. This upset those whose children or slaves had converted to Islam. Some of the slaves were caught while trying to escape and were beaten. That was not, of course, religious persecution”

Answer
Claim 3

“Muslims make many baseless claims. Polytheists generally don’t give a hoot about what others believe. They are pluralistic by their verynature. Ka’ba housed 360 idols, each a patron of a different tribe. There were Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Sabeans (an extinct monotheistic faith) and all sorts of religions in Arabia, whose followers were freely practicing their religions.”

Answer

Sina seems to have missed that Arab Pagans were Hellenistic, – all their gods belonged to a single pantheon – and as such belonged to a single religion. As pointed out previously, he has no evidence for his claims. And there is evidence to the contrary, which he chose to overlook.

As to: “Muslims make many baseless claims” – It is ironic that the authors claims are the ones lacking in

“Religious intolerance in Arabia began with Islam. There is no evidence of any persecution against Muhammad and Muslims in Mecca. Nonetheless, Muslims make such claims because Muhammad has made that claim. Astonishingly, even some non-Muslim historians who are not sympathetic to Islam have fallen into that trap and have echoed this untruth.”

Muddying the Water

I was somewhat saddened by this:

Yes of course! That is because they have seen the evidence many times, even in your own writings. Show me one Muslim who does not try to highlight the evil things happening in the non-Muslim world to justify the evil of the Quran. Show me one Muslim who does not bring up the crusades, the inquisition, George Bush, 1st and 2nd world wars, rapes and domestic abuses happening the the west to justify jihad, terrorism and Muhammad’s rapes and pedophilia. Examples? Your own writings! The writings of Rainbow, Zeitouni, Ali (the sinner) and every one of you Muslims.

Read here:
http://alisina.org/blog/2012/12/22/imam-husseins-martyrdom-who-to-blame/#IDComment529077305

His accusation:

“bring up the crusades, the inquisition, George Bush, 1st and 2nd world wars, rapes and domestic abuses happening the the west to justify jihad, terrorism and Muhammad’s rapes and pedophilia”

and all the others mentioned in his comment are simply untrue and as such the whole comment is a baseless accusation. I tried asking him to give me some examples from my many comments. But he hasn’t/couldn’t and even attempted to shift the burden of proof to me.

” If you can prove I am lying, why you write these complaints? Just write your evidence and expose me publicly. ”

I can prove that you are lying. No comment of mine or any other piece of writing makes the aforementioned argument. Also I am exposing this lie in public. Evidence?

http://intensedebate.com/profiles/aminthemystic

http://intensedebate.com/profiles/aminriadh

These are my comment streams – in neither of them a comment exists that makes the argument of which I was accused.

The reason I say saddened is because of the impending promise of a serious debate. This kind of lying muddies the water – now he is a person who is openly lying about me and that puts a different complexion on things. This is, to a degree, different from his previous accusation of lying aimed at me and his attributing adjectives such as evil. I am not surprised by it as it is more evidence and affirmation of what I say about the person behind the pseudonym ‘Ali Sina’. He is a hate monger.

NOTE: This also shows his mentality and view point of Muslims. He has a certain projection and image of Muslims. Whether we conform to it or not that does not matter to him. He will always advocate his ‘image’ of a Muslim and this will be shown by other examples too as this site progresses.

Quality of research I

In this study I will analyse and demonstrate that the book ‘Understanding Muhammad’ is poorly written especially when you considers the quality and scope of the research carried out by the author.

The author of the book is not a scholar of either Islam or any related field such as Middle East, Arabic, etc.; Nor of Psychology and Psychiatry or any related field. His biography alleges that he pursued higher studies in Europe and he uses the title of ‘Dr.’ in an interesting way by claiming that this is only how others refer to him. As to what field, which university, etc., all such details just like his real identity are not disclosed. It is important to point out that the author himself does not claim to be an academic/scholarly expert either. I mention this simply to clarify that this book in not an academic study carried out by an expert.

A book by no means has to be an academic study written by an expert to be valid, useful or worthy of merit. The author’s approach and methodology will be looked at in more detail in a separate study, however, at this point, I simply wish to highlight that this book is not written from an objective view point.

The use of Internet

I began to notice that many of the posts on his site alisina.org were not original ideas or research but reminiscent of old material found on many anti-Islamic websites. This led me to closely examine the sources of the book, which revealed a clear pattern that most of this book was researched by using the Internet. Although there is nothing wrong with the use of Internet per se for research purposes but in the case of this book, it has led to many errors and dishonesties.

The author is not able to read the the original, primary and source material in the Arabic language and it seems no effort was made to verify the accuracy of the translated material which has resulted in some interesting inaccuracies. The over-use of Internet meant the overall quality of the book is affected as the author does not have authoritative command over his material and subject. It has already been pointed out that this book is not an objective study and the author’s use of sources from biased anti-Islamic websites is an evidence to this.

Examples of Inaccuracies and Dishonesties

Example 1

The following is an extract from ‘Understanding Muhammad’ Page 4 of the second and the fourth editions:

“Traditions that are diffusely recurrent are called mutawattir. These traditions have come down to later generations through a large number of chains of narrations, involving diverse transmitters. It is virtually impossible that all these people, living in different localities and espousing (at times radically) different views, would come together, to fabricate the exact same lie and attribute it to their prophet.”

The next extract is from Mutazilah Wikipedia entry:

“In the Islamic sciences, hadith are classified into two types regarding their authenticity. The first type is diffusely recurrent (mutawatir) reports — those that have come down to later generations through a large number of chains of narration, involving diverse transmitters such that it is virtually impossible that all these people, living in different localities and espousing different views, would come together, fabricate exactly the same lie and attribute it to the Prophet of Islam or any other authority.”

Now comparing the above extracts clearly reveals the source of the passage to be this Wikipedia entry. It is also noticeable that not much effort was made to adapt or alter the passage but a slightly summarised version was simply copied and pasted into the book. The full ramifications of this will be examined later but I wish emphasise that the purpose of this borrowing is to create a false impression in the mind of the reader, unfamiliar with the subject, that the usage of the Hadith Corpus will be according to this measure and this simply is not the case. For one thing most Hadith are actually known as Khabr al-Wahid – those that in the first three periods of Islam had singular or few transmitters. For another Sina lacks the knowledge to actually distinguish between several different categories of Hadith.

Example 2

Another example of an inaccuracy is the following extract from the footnote of the fourth edition of the book on page 8:

7 Muhammad had four daughters and two sons. His male children, Qasim and Abd al Menaf (named after deity Menaf) died in infancy. His daughters reached adulthood and married, but they all died young. The youngest daughter, Fatima, was survived by two sons. She outlived Muhammad by only six months.

The generally accepted version is that Prophet Muhammad has six children with Khadijah – Qasim and Abdullah and four daughters. Yet the above passage states the name of the second son to be “Abd al Menaf”.

The source of this quote appears to be http://www.answering-islam.org/Books/Jeffery/infancy.htm

In particular:

“(i) We read in the Kitabu’l-Bad’i wa’t-Tarzkh of al-Maqdisi,5 that according to the ancient authority al-Qatada, the first son whom Khadija bore to Muhammad in the Jahiliyya was named by him ‘Abd Manaf, i. e., Servant of Manaf. Now Manaf was an ancient idol venerated by the Quraish, and at one time seems to have been the most important divinity at Mecca (a’zam asn am Makka).”

However Sina did not verify the actual Muslims source of this quote, which states:

وروى سعيد بن أبي عروة عن قتادة قال ولدت خديجة لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عبد مناف في الجاهلية وولدت له في الإسلام غلامين وأربع بنات القاسم وبه كان يكنى أبا القاسم فعاش حتى مشى ثم مات وعبد الله مات صغيراً وأم كلثوم وزينب ورقية وفاطمة

Said bin abi Urwah reported from Qatadah, He said "Khadijah bore Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) Abd Manaf in Jahilyah and she bore him two sons and four daughters in Islam . Al-Qasim and because of him he was named (Kunyah) Abu al-Qasim and he lived until he could walk and then he passed away and Abdullah who died whilst young.

According to the above this would mean the total number of sons would be three not two, hence Abd al-Manaf is an additional son and distinct from Abdullah. However the author only read the extract from answering-islam and assumed Abd al-Manaf to be in place of Abdullah.

At this moment the main concern is with looking at how poor research led to errors and this example too will be examined in further detail. However it is worth pointing out that the above Hadith is minor, classified as Fabricated and even contradicts another version of similar report by Qatadah. And despite the author’s intimation of of restricting to Mutawattir (recurrent) Hadith, he has included this despite its contradiction to more authentic Hadith.

Example 3

The footnote from the second edition of the book states on Page 8 states:

“Acording to one tradition (that I have not been able to verify its authenticity) Muhamamd’s original name was Qutham. He was also known as Halabi. He changed his name to Muhammad (praised one) at the age of fifty-three, when he migrated to Medina.”

Although the author admits he is unable to verify the authenticity of this singular and elusive report but again my primary interest is with the author’s research. I questioned the author about this here. He stated:

“This footnote you mention was removed from the third to fifth editions of Understanding Muhammad. The reason I removed it was because I had little documentation to support it. But it is added again in the sixth edition. The sixth edition says.
Nur al-Din al-Halabi (d. 1634), the author of the book Insan al-`uyun fi sirat al-Amin wa-l-Ma’mun, popularly known as al-Sira al-Halabiyya, V.1 page 128, says Muhammad’s birth name was Qathem (not to be confused with Qasem, which was the name of Muhammad’s first son). Qathem means damaged or rotten, such as damaged milk. Al-Halabi explains, “After the death of Qathem Ibn Abd-Al-Mu’taleb (Muhammad’s Uncle) at the age of nine, three years before Muhammad was born, his father Abd-Al-Mu’taleb felt so bad that when the prophet was born, he named him Qathem.”

This, akin to the examples given above, is a partial quote found on the internet. If you remove the interjection it reads:

“After the death of Qathem Ibn Abd-Al-Mu’taleb at the age of nine, three years before Muhammad was born, his father Abd-Al-Mu’taleb felt so bad that when the prophet was born, he named him Qathem.”

If the author had verified this he would have found the actual reference from Sirah al-Halabia to be:

لما مات قثم بن عبد المطلب قبل مولد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بثلاث سنين وهو ابن تسع سنين وجد عليه وجدا شديدا، فلما ولد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم سماه قثم حتى أخبرته أمه آمنة أنها أمرت في منامها أن تسميه محمدا، فسماه محمدا


"When Qathem Bin Abdul Muttalib died three years before the birth of the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him), he was a boy of nine years. He (Abdul Muttalib) suffered greatly. So when the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) was born he named him Qathem until his mother Aminah informed him that she was ordered in her dream to name him 'Muhammad'."

As to the following claim:

“Qathem means damaged or rotten, such as damaged milk.”

Then its source is the following Youtube video:

However, the video simply makes the above claim, but, does not give any references, source or evidence of any other kind. Looking up this name in classical Arabic lexicons Qamoos al-Muhit and Lisan al-Arab reveals:

وقُثَمُ، كزُفَرَ: ابنُ العباسِ ابنِ عبدِ المُطَّلِبِ، صَحابِيٌّ، والكثيرُ العَطاءِ، مَعْدُولٌ عن قائِمٍ، والجَموعُ للخَيْرِ والعِيالِ،كالقَثومِ، والجَموعُ للشَّرِّ، ضدٌّ، واسمٌ للضِّبْعانِ. [القاموس المحيط]

Qutham akin [similar pattern] to Zufar: Son of Abbas ibn Adb al-Mutlab, a companion, abundance of giving.

قَثَم لَهُ أَعْطَاهُ دُفعة مِنَ الْمَالِ جيِّدة مِثْلَ قَذَمَ وغَذَمَ وغَثَمَ. وقُثَم: اسْمُ رَجُلٍ مُشْتَقٌّ مِنْهُ، وَهُوَ مَعْدُولٌ عَنْ قاثِم وَهُوَ المُعطي. وَيُقَالُ لِلرَّجُلِ إِذَا كَانَ كَثِيرَ العَطاء: مائحٌ قُثَمُ؛ [لسان العرب]

Qutham: The name of a man, then it's derived from Quthama (The Verb). It is an altered from of Qathim meaning 'A donor' (i.e. One gives abundantly).

In order not to make this post too long another aspect of this poor research and its effect will be examined in the next post.

A challange to a debate

It appears that there is some newsworthy development. Read Sina’s reply to me in comment section of his blog site.

"Wow! That is great Amin Riadh. To encourage you to continue with your anti me blog I offer to have a debate with you once you have at least ten articles."

His debates are perhaps his only claim to some fame. I attest the authenticity of his debate with a ‘Maulana Ajmal Qadri’ because they appear to be written by a Western teenager. So far, he has been unable to come up with a reasonable explanation as to why Ajmal Qadri is the writer of those alleged emails written so poorly. Sina seeks fame and some kind of “credibility” through these debates – which otherwise he seems to be desperately lacking. This is why I did not want to create a site which does nothing more than feed his darkness.

Once previously Sina challenged me, in a throwaway comment, to a debate regarding Quran after I exposed his hocus pocus about a Quranic verse. And then there was some hoo-ha over his book – which he claims Muslims are unable to read and stay Muslim and they often claim to have read but they lie about it! However this challenge does appear to have some weight behind it.

One interesting thing. He is as dogmatic as me, read:

“It’s truth that will set us free. If I am not telling the truth, prove me wrong.

You can’t prove me wrong. ”

Read more here.

Whatever will happen will happen. Today is Saturday, 23rd December 2012. And to be touch over dramatic, it could yet prove to be a day of days. . .