Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Nadir Ahmed Rattles Sam Shamoun (Alcohol Debate)


Alcohol: Muslim and Christian Perspectives Analysed

Sam Shamoun (Christian) Rattled by Nadir Ahmed (Muslim)

A Muslim apologist, Nadir Ahmed, has put forward a useful argument which can be employed to pacify fundamentalist Christian hate rhetoric and help the Christian focus whilst preaching Islam to them.

Some fundamentalist Christians cling to the idea of Islam and the Quran being from Satan. A quick way to counter this would be to simply point to all the fine teachings in Islam and conjoin this to the Biblical verse (Mark 3:23) which teaches the devil cannot drive out the devil (thus the devil will not produce good teachings).

The Christian, if sincere, will relent and the conversation can progress.

Nadir Ahmed’s argument takes this one stage further and he uses the fine Islamic teaching of alcohol prohibition and contrasts this with the Biblical allowance of alcohol consumption and subsequently draws the conclusion that this is another proof for the Quran and Islam being from God whilst this militates against the Bible’s exclusive claim to God.

It is a decent argument in the sense that it will get the sincere Christian to challenge his/her world view and research Islam – God willing.

Ahmed claims this Islamic prohibition of alcohol has saved “billions” of lives by saving babies from FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). I do want to state the misery of alcohol does not only manifest itself via FAS but a whole host of ailments and societal problems.

Of course the claim of “billions” can be challenged and dismissed as hyperbole but the skeleton claim of Islam (potentially) saving many people from the harms of alcohol is valid; noticeably, Christianity cannot make the same claim as Christianity does not forbid alcohol consumption. Actually, the Bible contains some interesting verses in relation to alcohol:

Ecclesiastes 9:7 instructs, “Drink your wine with a merry heart.” Psalm 104:14-15 states that God gives wine “that makes glad the heart of men.” Amos 9:14 discusses drinking wine from your own vineyard as a sign of God’s blessing. Isaiah 55:1 encourages, “Yes, come buy wine and milk…” [1]

For the fundamentalist Christian this argument is quite disconcerting and one particular Christian fundamentalist, Sam Shamoun, was evidently rattled by this. Shamoun even wrote an article intimating Islam does not forbid alcohol consumption – anybody with a basic grasp of Islamic Jurisprudence will know Islam does not allow alcohol consumption. [2]

Sam Shamoun Rattled into Desperation and Counter Polemics

Firstly Shamoun makes a big hoo-hah over the figures Ahmed abstractly mentions; “billions”. Well, let’s simply put this down to hyperbole on the part of Nadir Ahmed. Shamoun dedicates a whole section on this. Get over it Sam and deal with the fact that Islam has saved people from the misery and ill-health which is associated with alcohol – I’m British so I should know about the harms of alcohol. These harms have been PREVENTED pre-emptively by God through Islam.

Sam Shamoun Claims the Quran is Contradictory over the issue of Alcohol.

Shamoun’s denial of Islam possessing better teachings with regards to alcohol than Christianity leads him into a full frontal attack; a myopic, intellectually dishonest and poorly judged attack.
Shamoun has obviously never heard of progressive revelation or is concealing this knowledge from his readers in a misguided attempt to direct them to the wrong conclusion.

OK, in the Quran (4:43) we notice God is instructing the believers not to make As-Salat (prayer) when in a drunken state.

O you who believe! Approach not As¬Salât (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning) of what you utter… (Quran translation, 4:43)

Obviously there is no outright prohibition here; ALL scholars and learned Muslims know the Quran was revealed in stages over a period of over twenty years. Initially, alcohol was not outlawed by God but eventually it was prohibited outright (5:90)

O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, and Al-Ansâb[], and Al¬Azlâm (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaitân's (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful (Quran translation, 5:90)

Shamoun feebly attempts to present this as a “contradiction” – it is clearly not due to the progressive nature of the revelation. I’d imagine Shamoun knew this basic knowledge but carried on regardless

Shamoun’s rattled state also leads him to draw attention to God stating a scientific accurate point related to alcohol in the Quran (S. 2:219); that of benefit being in alcohol. It is a scientific fact that alcohol does have benefits; it also has harms too. So Shamoun, unwittingly, highlights another positive for Islam.

They ask you (O Muhammad SAW) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: "In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit, for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit”… (Quran translation 2:219)

He also makes mention of wine being available in Paradise. Shamoun makes a big song and dance about this but if he bothered to do a spot of investigation he would realise the wine in Paradise is not the same as the earthly wine which is prohibited [3] Furthermore, Shamoun should ask himself why Christians believe the man he takes for his god (Jesus) drank wine? ((John 2:1-11; Matthew 26:29) [1]

Sam Shamoun should relent with his objections and ask himself why the man he believes to be the incarnation of God was drinking wine and turning water into wine? Shamoun should be consistent; inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument. Food for thought, Sam, think about it, please.

NOTE: Muslims believe in Jesus (pbuh) as a mighty Prophet of God rather than an incarnation of God. This is one of the Islamic beliefs which helped to cement my faith in Islam – this Islamic belief makes sense!

Shamoun’s desperation reaches its zenith

Sam Shamoun even tries to intimate Islam allows alcohol consumption – despite all the experts disagreeing with him. We should note there are mitigating circumstances for Shamoun’s intellectual dishonesty; his world view of Islam and Christianity has been turned on its head, after all Shamoun fundamentally believed Islam is from the devil and Christianity is superior but Nadir Ahmed’s argument challenged him quite profoundly.

Sam Shamoun Appeals to Modernists to Suggest Alcohol is Allowed in Islam!

Shamoun appeals to the progressive modernist movement, a movement which simply acts according to its own desires rather than source texts or intellectual honesty. He uses this minority group to try to instil doubt, Shamoun is targeting his fellow fundamentalist Christians – their world view is being challenged and Shamoun does not want these individuals to contemplate upon the significance of Ahmed’s pronouncements. In doing so one would inevitably begin a sincere research of Islam; does Shamoun really want this? I don’t think so.

To highlight Sam Shamoun’s inconsistency; the group he appeals to would be similar to “Christian” groups which would support homosexuality and openly gay “clergy”. Would Shamoun like it if I began using their nonsensical material in order to cloud issues? No, he would accuse me of intellectual dishonesty. Sam, inconsistency is a sign of a failed argument. However, Shamoun has mitigating circumstances as he has just been rattled – his world view has just been turned on its head.

Addendum: These “progressive” groups seem to have an eschatological interest. A sign of the End Times is in fact much wine being drunk [8] [9].

Shamoun Resorts to Real Desperate Measures to Suggest Alcohol is allowed in Islam!

Sam Shamoun claims the Ahadith literature was written “centuries” after the Prophet thus cannot be trusted.This is Sam Shamoun simply being ignorant and inconsistent (hypocritical).

Firstly, to correct Shamoun, some ahadith literature was indeed written at the TIME of the Prophet and the isnad system is what Muslims go by, therefore Muslim traditions CAN be trusted as a functional system of verification was in place. The Prophet taught his Sunnah in three ways; verbal, written and via demonstration [4]. Try doing a spot of research before spreading misinformation, Sam.

Allow Mohsen Haredy to educate us all:

On the other hand, we have evidence that the Prophet approved of writing down his hadiths. We find that many Companions recorded hadiths. For example, `Abdullah ibn `Amr was permitted and even encouraged by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to write down Hadith. In addition, some 50 Companions and many followers are said to have possessed manuscripts (sahifah, Arabic plural suhuf), which was used as a term to designate compendia of Hadith that emerged during the century before the formation of the classical collections. The original manuscripts have been lost, but a very few copies have survived [4]

Sam should reflect upon the Gospels

Were the Gospels written at the time of Jesus? No. Jesus never saw nor sanctioned the four Gospel accounts never mind the other compositions of the New Testament. Shamoun would reject the Gospel accounts if he was consistent and true to his rhetoric

Furthermore, Shamoun’s New Testament is based upon the fourth century document found by Von Tischendorf, Codex Sinaiticus, at Mount Sinai. That manuscript was written FOUR centuries after Jesus, pbuh! [6]

Sam, care to be consistent and put down your Bible?

Of course, Shamoun has mitigating factors which cushion the blows to his consistency and intellectual integrity as he has been rattled; his world view of Islam has just been turned on its head. Instead of doing earnest and sincere research for the Truth, Shamoun opted for denial. Please think, Sam.

Shamoun even talks about abortion

He spectacularly claims Islam’s view of the baby in a human capacity from 120 days onwards is “dehumanization”. He thinks this has led to or can lead to detrimental effects on children through abortion

Sam, abortion is a problem in the West because we in the West are promiscuous. Muslim countries do not have the same issues with abortion because sex is generally carried out within the confines of marriage. This appears to be another argument in favour of those who will claim Jesus will support the Muslims when he returns.

Shamoun for some reason (I still have not figured out why in terms of the Bible) claims the Christian view is that the baby is considered human at the point of conception (sperm plus egg).

Shamoun forgets basic facts of life; the fertilised ovum’s two components (sperm and egg) are destroyed through natural processes (i.e. through wet dreams for men and for women in the form of unused eggs). Thus this basic fact of life militates against Shamoun’s view as the two components of what Shamoun deems to be the baby have and are regularly destroyed biologically – this is not a fool proof argument against Shamoun’s view but does offer scope for further investigation.

It must be noted Shamoun offers NO Scriptural support for his view; he basically puts forward Biblical passages and comes to a conclusion which does not follow – welcome to the world of Sam Shamoun

The Islamic view seems to make sense philosophically and biologically. Shamoun’s personal view can be dismissed in favour of the Islamic view:

“Embryonic development was central to the Muslim arguments on abortion. According to Muslim scholars, it is lawful to have an abortion during the first 120 days, but after the stage of ensoulment (after the soul enters into the fetus), abortion is prohibited completely except where it is imperative to save the mother's life. After ensoulment, however, abortion is prohibited absolutely and is akin to murder” [6]

Shamoun asks about the previous Prophets
He wants evidence to show God forbade the people of the past Prophets from alcohol consumption. This is irrelevant. Shamoun should ask himself why Lot is drunk in the Bible (Genesis 19), at the same time he should ask himself why Noah is drunk in the Bible (Genesis 9).
The fact remains, Islam has prohibited alcohol consumption and saved people from the harms of this intoxicant. All praise is due to God

Shamoun changes tack - prepubescent girls

Thanks for bringing this up Sam. Geza Vermes, the famous Jesus scholar, indicates the Jews at the time of Jesus would marry the prepubescent girl and wait for the right biological moment (three months after puberty) and then consummate the marriage [7]. It appears the Arabs at the time of Muhammad did the same thing as the Jews at the time of Jesus. Neither Jesus nor Muhammad prohibited this practice.

Sam Shamoun would not be Sam Shamoun if he did not make a crazy claim up in this section; he suggests the Quran allows sex with prepubescent girls – welcome to the debauched mind of a rattled fundamentalist!

This malicious claim has been addressed previously, see here:
http://thefactsaboutislam.blogspot.com/2009/07/does-quran-allow-sex-with-immature.html
Conclusion

Nadir Ahmed’s argument has use and for the people of understanding will be a catalyst for independent research and truth seeking (God willing)

When fundamentalists who believe Islam is of the devil are challenged intellectually with proof texts some resort to denial – Sam Shamoun falls into this category. Shamoun’s denial led him to further error

If you are a Christian I would like you to take some time out and give Islam a chance, read a translation of the Quran, pop into your local Islamic centre and speak to Muslims in your locality whilst praying to God to guide you to the Truth.
May Allah guide us all. Ameen

Translations from Quranic passages taken from Dr Muhsin Khan’s translation

References

[2] Reliance of the Traveller, Ahmad ibn Naqib al Misri, edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Amana Publications, 1994 (O16.1)

[3] Tafsir Jalalayn 37:34

[5] What did Jesus Really Say? Misha’al ibn Abdullah, IANA, 2001, Second Edition, pg 224

[7] Jesus the Jew, by Geza Vermes, 1973, William Collins sons and Co Ltd, pages 219-222
[8] The Signs before the Day of Judgement, Ibn Kathir, Dar al Taqwa, 2000 pg17

[9] Bukhari Kitab al Ilm, 1/30,31

Appendix

Do you want to learn more about Islam and the Islamic view on Jesus? See here:
http://www.ediscoverislam.com/

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is well known that "rattled" is a good description of the psyche and mental health of Nadir Ahmed. Even acknowledging that this guy is a Muslim, much less that he is somehow a champion of the Muslim cause, the latter of which has not only been denied by Christians but many others who know just how poorly Nadir has done in all of his debates with Sam Shamoun (and others), should prove to be a major embarassment. It also goes a long way in telling everyone just how competent and sensible Yahya Snow is to judge and report on such matters.

Yahya Snow said...

@anonymous,

Calm down with your anti-Nadir Ahmed rhetoric...the article is not about Nadir Ahmed but it is about Shamoun's anaemic response

The article is written by myself not Nadir Ahmed.

This has very little to do with Nadir Ahmed and the article did not "champion" Nadir Ahmed but the article did highlight the feeble state of Shamoun's response.

I would advise you to look beyond your disdain for N.Ahmed and concentrate on the arguments put forward...I think you will find them to be pretty potent.

PS, please cool down with the uncalled for insults...and try reading the material before commenting

Peace

Yahya Snow said...

@anonymous cont..

Oh yeah..this just further strengthens my view of anonymous comments being a shield which sets an individual free from the responsibility of the words put forward.

Would you have commented in such a clumsy fashion if your identity was appended to the said comment?

I doubt it

Kelly L. said...

Does the Judeo-Christian Bible forbid or condemn alcohol?

No. It does, however, clearly condemn the practice of drunkenness, commands us not to love alcohol, and even cautions us not to like it too much. In the Old Testament, there are about 113 neutral references to alcohol, including the “non-references” such as winepresses or wineskins, seventy negative, and only thirty-one positive. In a couple of cases, there were times where alcohol was temporarily forbidden, like before the priests entered the tabernacle (Leviticus 10:8-11), when priests were to enter the inner court (Ezekiel 44:21), or during a time of the Vow of the Nazirite (Numbers 6:1-20). As well, there were some who were temporarily not to drink, like Samson’s mother while she was pregnant with him (Judges 13:4). A temporary or even permanent banishment on something is not the same thing as a total condemnation. Other things, such as sexual relations, have been temporarily forbidden, like when Moses was consecrating the Israelites to prepare for the Lord’s visit (Exodus 19:15); but this is no way condemns sex. Daniel made the personal choice not to “defile” himself with King Nebuchadnezzar’s “royal food and wine” (Daniel 1:8), but it is unclear if that decision was based solely on the wine. The Ten Commandments and the ordinances, property rights, sundry laws, and covenant with God (Exodus chapter 20-24; Deuteronomy 5:7-21) say nothing whatsoever about alcohol.

The New Testament is more consistently negative in its approach to alcohol. There are about fifteen neutral, twenty-seven negative, and only three positive references. There was one individual, John the Baptist, whom we know of, who was not to ever drink (Luke 1:13-15), but Scripture does not tell us why. But again, while we see multiple warnings against drunkenness in the New Testament, at no point do we find the universal statement to all readers that one “shall not” or even “should not” ever consume alcohol.

Google: A Toast to the Holy Ghost?

Anonymous said...

How funny. First you complain that I should not focus on the name of Nadir Ahmed, and then you pretend that knowing my name is relevant to determining the validity of what I have said.

Few people would deny that Nadir is off his rocker. You are an exception. And there is no doubt that you are holding forth Nadir as something special in your screed against Sam and are pretending that he did a good job and that other Muslims should emulate his approach.

Since you begged me to focus on the problems with your proferred line of argumentation, picked up unreflectingly from Nadir, allow me to point out one problem.

On one hand you justified earlier allowances in the Qur'an to drink alcohol on the basis of progressive revelation. However, you also condemned the Bible, which came BEFORE the Quranic prohibition, because Allah at that time allowed people to drink alcohol. In so doing you have spoken evil of Allah. You need to repent of this evil. Consider yourself rebuked.

Anonymous said...

Lol!!! Good point, anonymous. Yahya will probably delete your comments.

1moremuslim said...

To one of the Anonymous:

You fail to understand the whole point: I don't see this article condemning the Bible. The point is simply; If the Bible is the word of God, then the Quran, which has more valuable guidance ( regarding Alcohol) cannot be fr om Satan. Further more, The Quran, even before the prohibition of Alcohol, never encouraged the consumption of Alcohol, that cannot be said with regard to the Bible. Paul clearly encouraged drinking wine. See the difference?
Why can't you value the Biblical teaching; The devil cannot be divided upon himself.

1moremuslim said...

To the other Anonymous:
Yahya will not delete any comment. That is something Acts17 would do. My posts on Acts17 blog get queued for 3 days before approval, sometimes they never appear. One might ask why?

Ali said...

alcohol causes so many problems. islam forbids it and christianity allows it.
reminds me of a storey. 3 eid's ago an 18 year old muslim girl, who wore the hijab, was killed by a drunk driver. and lets not forget america is a christian country, with 80% professing to the paul faith.
i keep hearing in the news, alcoholics beating their children/wives, being in depression etc. alcohol is in NO WAY healthy, it kills brain cells from every sip. what religion would allow something horrible as this? christianity.

Ali said...

kelly, thats quite stupid. drink alcohol but not get drunk? yeah who follows that rule? it's like saying smoke but don't get addicted to it. alcohol has terrible effects, even if you dont become "drunkeness". just admit it, all doctors and scientists do, that being said, many doctors and scientists who read upon Islam end up embracing it.