Islamic conquests and the Jizya

Were Muslim conquests meant to forcefully convert people to Islam?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)

This has to be the most typical, worn-out contentions put forward against Islam by its detractors (most often by Christian evangelists): that Islam spread across the world through the sword. This pedestrian notion contends that Muslim conquests assaulted innocent neighbouring countries and forced their denizens to accept Islam, pay a tax poll or die. Often the tax poll would not even be mentioned in the argument. They would have their audience believe Muslim military expeditions were sweeping through the world, sword in hand and giving the ultimatum, Islam or death. Nothing could be further than the truth. Even if one were to accept the basic assumption that there were military operations under the supervision of Muslim generals that had its victims compelled into Islam or die upon refusal that cannot in any way be used as an indictment against Islam for the simple fact that excercising compulsion on people to enter into Islam is antithesis to its very roots. The Qur’an clearly sets forth the criterion unambiguously that is to be observed by its adherents:

لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي ٱلدِّينِ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ ٱلرُّشْدُ مِنَ ٱلْغَيِّ فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِٱلطَّاغُوتِ وَيْؤْمِن بِٱللَّهِ فَقَدِ ٱسْتَمْسَكَ بِٱلْعُرْوَةِ ٱلْوُثْقَىٰ لاَ ٱنفِصَامَ لَهَا وَٱللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

“Let there be no compulsion in religion for truth stands out clear from error. Whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has taken hold of the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks and Allah hears and knows all things.” (Surah al-Baqarah, chapter 2, verse 256)

The above verse was revealed in Medinah regarding the Ansar who were trying to force their children to accept Islam which means that the disbelievers were free to accept Islam or deny it even when the Muslims were in control of the state.

Will the 500 please stand up?

Did 500 people really see Jesus’ alleged resurrected body?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17) The whole of the Christian faith according to Paul hinges on this doctrine, the belief that Jesus after having been brutally executed was raised alive or resurrected from the dead. The aforementioned verse is a challenge made against those who may have doubts concerning Jesus’ resurrection. The challenge is confidently  given after some “proofs” are presented in previous verses. Among them is the remarkable claim that exactly 500 people many of whom were still alive(according to the testimony) when Paul wrote about it simultaneously witnessed the resurrection. Did 500 people indeed witness Jesus in his resurrected form?

“Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:6)

There is no ambiguity in the language above. The claim is that 500 people did indeed see Jesus after his alleged execution together at one time. Ron Rhodes like so many others who believe in the testimony supplied by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 writes:

“As noted above, Paul said the resurrected Christ appeared to more than 500 people at a single time, “most of whom are still alive” (1 Corinthians 15:6). If Paul had misrepresented the facts wouldn’t one of these 500 have come forward to dispute his claims? But no one came forward to dispute anything because the Resurrection really occurred.” [1]

New Testament Anachronism Part 2

The Anachronistic Tale of Mark 2:26, Part 2

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

The following is a continuation of the Addendum section in the article New Testament Anachronism.


There are some additional points that were left out in the discussion above. To add further clarity to our case we will go through the primary solutions offered by exegetes in more detail. These solutions are obviously invented so that they may retain the belief that neither Jesus(of the NT) nor Mark committed any errors. We will prove that the most notable of conciliatory attempts is founded upon an egregious variant that is untenable.

The very reverend Harvey Goodwin who was Dean of Ely writes in his commentary regarding the verse:

“There is a difficulty in the words, the days of Abiathar the High Priest. In I. Sam. xxi. From which this account is taken, Ahimelech, is the high priest. There is however considerable confusions in the names about this part of the history : Ahimelech himself is called Abiah, I. Sam xiv. 3; and whereas (I. Sam. xxii. 20) Ahimelech has a son Abiathar, in II. Sam. viii. 17 Ahimelech is the son of Abiathar, and in I. Chron. Xviii. 16, Ahimelech. Amidst this variation we can hardly undertake to explain the difficulty in the text.” –ALFORD. Lightfoot has this note : “It is well enough known what is here said in defence of the purity of the text: namely, that Ahimelech the father was called Abiathar, and Abiathar the son was called also Ahimelech. But I suppose that something more was propounded by our Saviour in these words. For it was common to the Jews, under Abiathar, to understand the Urim and Thummim. Nor without good reason, when it appears, that under the father and the son, both of the name, the mention of inquiring by Urim and Thummim  is more frequent than it is ever anywhere else ; and after Abiathar the son there is scarcely mention of it at all. Christ therefore very properly adds, in the days of Abiathar the High Priest, therein speaking according to a very received opinion in the nation : as though He had said, David eat the shew-bread given him by the High Priest, who had the oracle by Urim and Thummim present with him, and who acted by divine direction.”

The Bible demands that a rape victim marries her rapist for life

Does Deuteronomy 22:28-29 teach that a female rape victim gets married to her rapist?

By Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons.)

    The short and simple answer to the above question is yes. A lot of Christians however, would have us believe that the verses at hand have nothing to do with a raped victim and that it is only the Muslim imagination which says so. Is that really the case? Let us have a look at what the verses say:

“If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.” (King James Version)

The observant reader will ask where exactly does the above say rape which is without a doubt a valid question. Well, the above does not say rape because it is written in a language which is not contemporaneous to ours. The key veiled expressions in the above are “lay hold on her” and “humbled her”. To the uninitiated those may sound fine and are simply an idiomatic expressions referring to sexual intercourse that is consensual in nature. Such an interpretation is not only inapt but also grossly erroneous. To get a better idea of what the verse is actually saying let us return to the modern era and read the following rendering from the Christian scholars who produced the New International Version of the Bible:

“If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.” (New International Version)

“Humbled” which is used in the KJV  is an old expression which basically means the same as “violated” albeit the effect is significantly toned down. However, year 2000 version of the KJV uses the verb “violated” rather than “humbled” in its revision. How does a woman get violated if the sex is consensual? Verse 28 in no uncertain terms tells us clearly that the violation is due to rape. The expression “lay hold on her” used in the KJV is a somewhat of a coy way of saying that she got raped. Similarly the English Standard Version renders the verse as follows:

“If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.” (English Standard Version)

The New American Standard Version and the New Revised Standard Version concurring with the ESV translate the Hebrew verb(which we will look at in due course) as “seizes her”.

The word “seizes” is self-explanatory to anyone with a good grasp of the English language. However, for the benefit of those who lack that level of comprehension and perhaps those are able to understand yet are in denial of its obvious meaning let us turn to the dictionary definition of the term:

“1 ~ stf (from sb) to take sb/sth in your hand suddenly and using force SYN GRAB: She tried to seize the gun from him… 2 ~ sth (from sb) to take control of a place or situation, often suddenly and violently: They seized the airport in a surprise attack. ” [1]

From the above definition taken from the Oxford Advanced Leaner’s Dictionary one can conclude that the verb “seize” in English means to take something by force often violently without the consent of the person seized upon. Relating the word to the verse it is thus crystal clear that what is meant by “seizes her” is that the poor woman is forced(violently) to have sex without her consent which in short means rape.

What does “yawm” (يوم) mean in the Qur’an?

Does yawm(plural ayyam)refer only to a 24-hour period due to the rotation of the earth?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons.)

One would often hear criticism levelled against the Qur’an by the “scientific” skeptical community alongside Christians working together as detractors of Islam that the Qur’an is unscientific in its description of the creation of the universe. The Dawkins wannabe would say, “The Qur’an like the Bible says that the heavens and the earth were created in six days! Isn’t that laughable as we know today that it took billions of years for our universe to form?” Is that a valid understanding of what the Qur’an says? Many critics will insist that the word used in the relevant verses is ayyam which stems from the singular yaum referring to a 24-hour period that includes sunrise and sunset. Is that a correct representation of the Arabic language? Unfortunately for the detractors it is a complete and total misrepresentation of Arabic and ultimately the Qur’an as we shall prove in this article.

One of the standard lexicons of the Arabic language is Lane’s Lexicon which was put together by Edward William Lane. The following is the entry on yawm in Lane’s Lexicon [1]:

يوم  A time, whether night or day; (Msb;) time absolutely, whether night or not, little or not: this is the proper signification; (Kull, p. 390: ) and day, meaning the period from the rising of the sun to its setting; (Lth, TA;) the time when the sun is above the earth: this is the common conventional acceptation: (Kull, ubi supra: ) and the period from the second [or true] dawn to sunset: (Msb, Kull: ) this is the legal acceptation: (Kull: )and a civil day: the period of the revolution of the greatest firmament. (Kull.) – Also, An accident, or even, syn. كون and كائنة. “

From the above we see that the primary definition is not the one suggested by the detractors. Rather, as Lane writes its proper signification is “time absolutely” and this time may be long or short, that is, in Lane’s wording “little or not”. We also learn that the word may refer to a period or an event. Thus if it is in the plural ayyam it could mean periods or events.

New Testament Anachronism

The anachronistic tale of Mark 2:26

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

   In previous articles we have exposed and refuted fallacious charges of anachronism laid against the Qur’an by its detractors. The uninitiated missionary does not realise that the claim of anachronism is easily levelled against his Bible in a much more forceful manner. In this article we will look at one particular example out of numerous others of a clear anachronistic datum provided in the New Testament which is attributed to Jesus Christ. In the example in question we see Jesus anachronistically teach that David and his men ate the show bread which was reserved for the priests in the temple when they were hungry during the tenure of Abiathar as high priest. Any reader who is familiar with the story which is recapitulated (inaccurately) from the Old Testament knows that it was not Abiathar who was the high priest at that time but rather his father Ahimelech. The following are the relevant passages which you may read and compare for yourself:

Mark 2:26  1 Samuel 21:1-6
“how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest. Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?”David answered Ahimelek the priest, “The king sent me on a mission and said to me, ‘No one is to know anything about the mission I am sending you on.’ As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find.” But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here—provided the men have kept themselves from women.” David replied, “Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual wheneverI set out. The men’s bodies are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!” So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the Lord and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away.

Commenting on the problem Eminent New Testament textual critic Prof. Bart Ehrman writes in his popular book ‘Misquoting Jesus’:

“…in Mark 2, where Jesus is confronted by the Pharisees because his disciples had been walking through a grain field, eating the grain on the Sabbath. Jesus wants to show the Pharisees that “Sabbath was made for humans, not humans for the Sabbath” and so reminds them of what the great King David had done when he and his men were hungyr, how they went into the Temple “when Abiathar was the high priest” and ate the show bread, which was only for the priests to eat. One of the well-known problems of the passage is that when one looks at the Old Testament passage Jesus is citing (1 Sam. 21:1-6), it turns out that David did this not when Abiathar was high priest, but, in fact, when Abiathar’s father Ahimelech was. In other words, this is one of those passages that have been pointed to in order to show that the Bible is not inerrant at all but contains mistakes.” [1]

Did the Egyptians use crucifixion?

Does the Qur’an commit an anachronism when it says there was ‘crucifixion’ in the Egyptian civilisation?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc. (Hons.), MCollT

Today I had a dialogue with a Christian that goes by the name ‘kevangreen’ on Paltalk who was recycling a common objection raised against the Qur’an by Christian missionaries namely that it says that the ancient Egyptians practised crucifixion. The relevant verses are as follows:

Said [Pharaoh]: “Have you come to believe in him ere I have given you permission? Verily, he must be your master who has taught you magic! But in time you shall come to know [my revenge]: most certainly shall I cut off your hands and your feet in great numbers, because of [your] perverseness, and shall most certainly crucify you in great numbers, all together!” (26:49)

Said [Pharaoh]: “Have you come to believe in him ere I have given you permission? Verily, he must be your master who has taught you magic! But I shall most certainly cut off your hands and feet in great numbers, because of [your] perverseness, and I shall most certainly crucify you in great numbers on trunks of palm-trees: and [I shall do this] so that you might come to know for certain as to which of us [two] can inflict a more severe chastisement, and [which] is the more abiding!” (20:71)

The Christian missionary posits the claim that the Egyptians did not have crucifixion as a method of punishment or execution. Thus their contention is that the Qur’an is grossly misrepresenting history. Did the Egyptians practice crucifixion or do we see here an example of an anachronistic information in the Qur’an?

Steve Bates writes:

“In other nations of the ancient world crucifixion was the main form of execution, and thousands of criminals were crucified. Criminals were crucified in Egypt, and Alexander the Great, after a seven month siege to conquer Tyre, ordered two thousand Tyrians to be crucified as punishment for their resistance.” [1] (bold and underline emphasis added)