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.