Reply to Robert Spencer on Islam and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) – Kashmir Reader
Spencer quoted my article published in Kashmir Reader under the title “No place for xenophobia and violence in Islam”
Kashmir Reader published my article with the title “No Place for Xenophobia and Violence in Islam” on November 22, 2020 (https://kashmirreader.com/2020/11/22/no-place-for-xenophobia-and-violence – in-Islam). The article was quoted by Robert Spencer (November 30, 2020) on his website www.jihadwatch.org. The link is “https://www.jihadwatch.org/2020/11/the-general-spirit-of-quran-is-to-extend-ones-compassion-and-mercy-to-all-men-and- women-inhabiting-the-planet After quoting a few lines from my article, he wrote in response and I quote: “Ashraf Amin writes this about Muhammad: ‘When he was stoned, mocked the streets of Taif, he instead of cursing the wicked, prayed to Allah that their offspring may accept the message and meaning of Islam. He does not tell the whole story. Islam imposes death on non-Muslim subjects of the Islamic State who mention “something inadmissible concerning Allah, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) or Islam” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o11.10), and such laws are based on passages from the Hadith and Sira in which Muhammad orders the killing of people who insulted him, including Abu Afak, who was over a hundred years old, and the poetess Asma bint Marwan Abu Af ak was killed in his sleep, in response to Muhammad’s question: “Who will avenge me on this villain?” Similarly, Muhammad on another occasion exclaimed, “Will no one rid me of this daughter of Marwan?” One of her followers, Umayr ibn Adi, went to her home that night, where he found her sleeping next to her children. The youngest, a breastfed baby, was in her arms. But that didn’t stop Umayr from murdering her and the baby. Muhammad praised him: “You have done a great service to Allah and His Messenger, Umayr! (Ibn Ishaq, 674-676).
Then there was Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf. Muhammad asked: “Who is ready to kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who injured Allah and His Apostle?” One of the Muslims, Muhammad bin Maslama, replied: “O Allah’s Apostle! Would you like me to kill him? When Muhammad said he would, Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say one (wrong) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab).” Muhammad replied, “You can tell.” Muhammad bin Maslama duly lied to Ka’b, luring him into his trap and murdered him. (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 369) Similarly, the popular online fatwa site Islam QA called for death for blasphemers on a page it later deleted. He used both Quran and Hadith to make his point. “Scholars are unanimous,” the site explains, “that a Muslim who insults the Prophet (peace be upon him) becomes a kafir [unbeliever] and an apostate who must be executed. This consensus has been reported by more than one of the scholars, such as Imam Ishaaq ibn Raahawayh, Ibn al-Mundhir, al-Qaadi ‘Iyad, al-Khattaabi and others.
Before responding to Spencer’s allegations and claims, it would be good to introduce him first. Robert Spencer (b. 1962) is director of Jihad Watch and Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is the author of twenty-five books, including the New York Times bestseller, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (Regnery Publishing). Spencer has conducted seminars on Islam and jihad for the FBI, United States Central Command, United States Army Command and General Staff College, U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group, Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF ), the Department of Justice’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory. Council and the US Intelligence Community. He discussed jihad, Islam and terrorism at a workshop sponsored by the US State Department and the German Foreign Office. He is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy. Among several of his books are: Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith (Encounter Books, 2002), Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West (Regnery Publishing, 2003), The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims (Prometheus Books, 2004), The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion (Regnery Publishing, 2006), Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Is Not (Regnery Publishing, 2007), Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs (Regnery Publishing, 2008), Did Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry Into Islam’s Obscure Origins (ISI Books, 2011), Not Peace But A Sword: The Great Chasm Between Christianity and Islam (CA Press, 2013), The Complete Infidel’s Guide to ISIS (Regnery Publishing, 2015), Confessions of an Islamophobe (Bombardier Books, 2017), The Palestinian Delirium: The Catastrophic Story of the Middle East Peace Process (Bombardier Books, 2019).
The titles of Robert Spencer’s books are evocative of their content. His speeches are just as venomous and provocative. He is xenophobic and Islamophobic through and through. It pits Islam against Christianity and America, and all of the West. It provokes the clash of civilizations, blocks the doors of dialogue and sows the seeds of enmity between Muslims and Christians. Coming now to my article which Spencer has refuted, I think he ignores or ignores the answers given by Muslim scholars like Maulana Shibli Noamani, Dr Muhammad Hamidullah, Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, Maulana Wahid-ud-Din Khan, Dr Tahir-ul -Qadri, etc. to the questions raised by him. Furthermore, some influential preachers of Islam like Dr. Shaykh Ahmed Deedat and Dr. Shabir Ally have also responded to these allegations appropriately. Specific responses to Spencer’s accusations are also available at https://islamqa.info. The website is overseen by Shaikh Muhammad Salih al Munajjid.
The point to emphasize is that the source of Spencer’s findings on Muhammad (SAAS) is the book, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s “Sirat Rasullulah” by A. Guillaume (1888-1965), a British Christian Arabist. Guillaume relied on Hadith reporters like Al-Wakidi, al-Fudayl, Muhammad bin al-Hajjaj, Ibn al Gawzi, etc, in connection with the killings supposedly ordered by Rasullulah (SAAS). Such narrators were accused of fabrication and faulty reporting in Hadith by the great Muhadithun. Spencer must be aware of the authenticity and non-authenticity of hadith in Islam. However, in the case of the murder of Ka’b bin Ashraf, Nadr bin Harith, Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl, Abdullah ibn Saad ibn Abi Sarh, Habbar bin Aswad, Miqyas Subabah Laythi, Huwairath bin Nuqayd, Abdullah Hilal, Nadr bin Harith and Uqbah ibn Abu Mu’ayt, Ibn Khatal, etc., they had not been killed at the request of the Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) for the sole reason of blasphemy. They deserved punishment instead of their crimes of treason, violating the honors of Muslim women and inciting the people against Muhammad (SAAS) and his followers, after some of them even signed the Covenant of Medina (Mithaq-i- Madinah). Ignoring all these causes, Robert Spencer would only stick to blasphemy because it serves his interests. The main flaw of Spencer’s position is that it does not present the full picture of Uswa-i-Rasul (The character of Muhammad (SAAS)).
It selects events from the life of Muhammad (SAAS) and comments on them out of context. Pressed to prove the superiority of Christianity, he hides the truth of Islam and the good in the Sirah of Muhammad (SAAS). He would evoke the murders committed by the companions of Muhammad (SAAS) [in retaliation] but will not give a distant reference to the conspiracies, betrayals, plots of the Jews, hypocrites and pagans to annihilate the community of believers in Medina. In an authentic Hadith recorded in Bukhari and narrated by Hadhrat Aisha (RA), it is narrated that Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) never took revenge (on anyone) for his own good, but (did not fact that) when the legal obligations of Allah have been outraged, in which case he would take revenge for Allah’s sake. Unfortunately, Spencer attempts to show that Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) did not spare his enemies. He even goes on to say that the Prophet (SAAS) could not accept any criticism and insult. The entire mass of Sirah’s books is filled with countless episodes and incidents recording the mistreatment – physical, psychological and emotional – of Rasulullah (SAAS). In this case if Muhammad (SAAS) would have avenged all the insults, there would have been mass murders! Does Spencer know: how many men were killed in the battles waged under the direction of Mahomet! Only 463, of which 200 include Muslim soldiers. Hundreds of prisoners fell into the hands of the Muslims, if all the enemies who had insulted the Prophet (SAAS) had been separated and ordered to be killed, the number would have been staggering!
Robert Spencer needs more knowledge about Islam. He must run away from his arrogance and selfishness to see the true image of Islam. Instead of labeling Islam as radical Jihad and violence, he should be well acquainted with the notion and nuances of Jihad in Islam. He seems very poorly educated on Islam, when he equates the actions of the Islamic State with Islamic Jihad. It fails to catch up with the peaceful treaties of Rasulullah (SAAS) with the Christians of Najran, the Jews of Medina and the polytheists of Mecca (in Hudaibiyah). He closes his eyes to the hadiths of Rasulullah in which he particularly insisted on the protection of non-Muslims and the substitution of a bad deed for a good one. He ignores the verses of the Koran which speak of Adl, Qist, respect for the prophets, protection of the weak and vulnerable, choosing one’s faith by conviction, etc. In all, he is poorly educated in the scriptures of Islam. I suggest Robert channel his energies into unbiased and neutral Quran, Hadith and Sirah of Muhammad (SAAS) research instead of his relentless propaganda against Islam drawn from weak and unreliable sources. This would be more in the interests of Jews, Christians and Muslims.