Dealing with Doubt: finding certainty when faith is attacked

Islam is the flavor of the month.  It’s on the tip of every tongue, and the front page of every publication.  News reports start and end with Muslims, and the negativity is at times overwhelming.  How can a Muslim cope?  How can they and non-Muslims filter the gold from the garbage to find the truth about Islam?  One famous saying comes to mind:

Al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali said, “I memorised from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘Leave what gives you doubt for what gives you no doubt.'”

– at-Tirmidhi

The theme of this essay is leaving what is found to be false, for what is found to be true, and how.  It uses examples from the website WikiIslam to show how all people who disparage Islam exercise their hateful and deceitful agenda.

  1. I. Bias under the guise of academic objectivity

In its “About” page, WikiIslam claims to be a “website where anyone can post anything about Islam”, “a community-edited website where Muslims and non-Muslims are able to share their knowledge of Islam in separate articles”.  It also claims to be “the one-stop source of high-quality factual and objective information about Islam” and promises  to allow Muslims to have their own articles in response to an article on the site.”

The claims to objectivity and image of academic neutrality that WikiIslam aims to present are provable fallacies.

There are, to be fair, articles by Muslims, but these are nowhere to be found when reading the articles that they address.  In other words, Muslim submissions, specifically pro-Islamic ones, are kept separate, hidden, in fact, from the non-Muslim submissions.  Why could all points not have been presented in the same article, if indeed objectivity is the aim?  The discriminatory, separate-but-unequal treatment of Islamic viewpoints is a token offering of fairness that does not stop the reader from gaining a skewed perspective, as they will most likely read the anti-Islamic viewpoints and never find the hard-to-find pro-Islamic viewpoints. (I for one read many articles on the site for hours without encountering a single pro-Islamic viewpoint or Muslim-submitted article.  I only came across them by accident by later going to the “About” page.)

Perhaps WikiIslam intends the noun form of the word ‘objective’, rather than its adjective.

The “Recent Testimonies from Former Muslims” section on the Main Page is another obvious hole in WikiIslam’s claim to objectivity.  The testimonies are followed by more testimonies of people who left Islam.  Why, if they are neutral or objective, is their no invitation for testimonies of people who have converted to Islam?  Why, if it is claimed that no convert to Islam has submitted a testimonial, are there no links to the many articles about conversion to Islam?  There are in fact many high profile recent stories, such as Lauren Booth, journalist and sister-in-law of former UK prime minister Tony Blair.  Mike Tyson, a former heavyweight boxing champion, also seems to have had his story neglected.  There are many other famous and non-famous converts of many walks of life whom WikiIslam neglects or chooses to ignore.

In the “Non-Muslims” section at the bottom right of the Main Page, under the heading “Apostasy”, there is another link to “People who left Islam.”  Next to that is a form to “add your testimony”.  There is no corresponding section, or certainly not one that is as prominently placed, for people who have entered Islam, nor is there a place for them to submit their testimonials.

This is neither, objective, balanced, nor fair.  WikiIslam is biased in the academic sense of the word.  This can be forgiven and over looked as a failing, a falling short of standards that all academics struggle against.  It could be forgiven and overlooked, rather, if bias, in the intentional sense of the word, did not exist.

  1. II. Misinterpreting evidence by quoting it out of context

Unfortunately, an intentional bias does in fact exist.  On its page about Islam’s (supposed) racism, there is a heading “Racism against Infidel Arab Tribes.”  Under this heading is a translation of a verse of the Qur-an.

“The Arabs of the desert are the worst in Unbelief and hypocrisy, and most fitted to be in ignorance of the command which Allah hath sent down to His Messenger: But Allah is All-knowing, All-Wise.”

This is a sound translation of the meaning of the Qur-an, chapter 9, verse 97 to be exact.

According to the above verse, the Qur-an is indeed racist (or desertist, perhaps) against the Bedouin Arabs.

Read two verses further, though, and the Qur-an paints a more balanced picture of them:

“But some of the desert Arabs believe in Allah and the Last Day, and look on their payments as pious gifts bringing them nearer to Allah and obtaining the prayers of the Messenger. Aye, indeed they bring them nearer (to Him): soon will Allah admit them to His Mercy: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur-an 9.99)

Considering the length to which the website goes in other places to review and present Islamic evidence, it is naïve to assume that this was a mistake.  This omission, which reverses both the context and meaning of the verse, is either unforgivably negligent, or intentionally misleading.  In fact, this is a textbook trick used to slander Islam.

WikiIslam’s claim to a neutral, open or unbiased presentation of Islam has been disproved.

Its true intention of slandering Islam at any cost, even that of its own integrity, has been proven.

  1. III. Faulty methodology and logic

According to WikiIslam, Muhammad was impotent.

“As per my research, Muhammad, during the last years of his life was suffering from acromegaly. One side-effect of this degenerative disease is impotence. He had erectile dysfunction.”

On the same page, he is accused of having a “scandalous love affair”.  He also apparently deprived his wives of sex that he was not able to have:

“So the prophet decides to punish all of them and not sleep with any one of his wives for one month. Depriving one’s wives sexually is the second grade of punishment recomendedn in Quran.”

In another places WikiIslam alleges that he was a pedophile, rapist and sex addict.

So, according to WikiIslam, a man is impotent, that is, unable to have sex.  While he is unable to have sex, he has a love affair.  He punishes his wives that he is unable to have sex with by depriving them of sex he is apparently not having with them.  Then, while unable to get an erection, he rapes women.  He also has an apparent addiction for this thing that he can not do.

Are they serious?

How could one person, never mind a group of people, publish such self-contradictory information?  Shouldn’t it have caught at least one person’s attention?

How could they arrive at these differing conclusions from the same sources of evidence?

These laughable blunders could only have happened under one of three scenarios:

  1. A. The WikiIslam team is confused.

At best, they are confused.  Everyone gets confused sometimes, and while we can forgive them for this, we can not take their word about the thing they are confused about.

  1. B. WikiIslamists are methodologically unsound.

If they are not confused, then they have devised a methodology which leads them to contradicting conclusions.  If that is the case, i.e. that their use of reason is faulty and/or inconsistent, then we can not consider any single conclusion found by this methodology to be reliable.

  1. C. The WikiIslamists are blinded by their own hatred.

At worst, they bear so much malice towards Islam that they will disparage it in any way they can think of, without apparently thinking.  If this is so, not only are they blinded by hatred, in a way that makes their judgment questionable, but they are deceitful about their claim to objectivity, putting them doubly in doubt.  Further and lastly, as they are not objective and in fact maliciously biased, their word can not be trusted.

The correct conclusions are both B and C.  WikiIslam is methodologically unsound.  A simple but crude way of saying that is:  they don’t know how to think.  Going back to their long accusation against Muhammad, there is a point in the discussion when they accuse Muslims of fabricating a hadith.

In making an accusation against Muhammad regarding an incident in his household, WikiLeaks narrates a long narration, whose chief narrator was a companion of the prophet named Abdullah bin ‘Abbas.  In a later discussion about the narration, they defend it in the following manner.

“Yet some Muslims still claim that the Hadiths quoted above narrated by Abdullah bin ‘Abbas are false and the correct version is the one about honey. This is a nonsense. This hadith is recorded by both Bukahri and by Muslim.”

As a part of the same argument, they quote the following narration:

“A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) narrated that Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) used to spend time with Zainab daughter of Jahsh and drank honey at her house. She (‘A’isha further) said: I and Hafsa agreed that one whom Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) would visit first should say: I notice that you have an odour of the Maghafir (gum of mimosa). He (the Holy Prophet) visited one of them and she said to him like this, whereupon he said: I have taken honey in the house of Zainab bint Jabsh and I will never do it again. It was at this (that the following verse was revealed): ‘Why do you hold to be forbidden what Allah has made lawful for you… (up to). If you both (‘A’isha and Hafsa) turn to Allah” up to:” And when the Holy Prophet confided an information to one of his wives” (lxvi. 3). This refers to his saying: But I have taken honey.”

However, they refute this narration and its support of the refutation of the argument they are trying to make, because, they claim:  “This hadith has been forged…” (Note:  ‘Hadith’ is árabic for “narration”.)

Now, let’s note that the narration of Abdullah bin ‘Abbas was defended on the grounds that it was recorded by Bukhari (mis-spelled as Bukahri) and Muslim.  In fact, it is recorded by these two famous collectors of narrations.

(The background is that authentic narrations of the prophet are the secondary source of knowledge and legislation in Islam, after the Qur-an.  These narrations, narrated first from a companion of the Prophet, and then passed down from one person to another in an oral tradition, were later collected by several famed collectors, of which Bukhari and Muslim are the most famous.  They devised various methodologies by which they graded the authenticity of these narrations, based on whether everyone in the chain of narrators had ever met each other, or whether any of them was known to be dishonest and others.)

The second narration, the one about the honey, was recorded by- you guessed it- Bukhari.  You’ll notice that not only are they from the same narration collector, but even from the same website.

WikiIslam defends one narration specifically because Bukhari narrated it, with no other reason given.  Then, in the same argument, they reject a narration, collected by the same person, with no reason given.

So is his name good or not?  WikiIslam has no way, or a very flawed one, of classifying a narration as sound or unsound.  They accept Bukhari’s narration on one occasion and reject it from another arbitrarily.  They, for example, do not make a comment on Bukhari’s particular science of narrations.  This is because they have no science.  They are (mis)guided only by the drive to prove what they are not investigating but have already decided to be true, and they disavow by any or no reason anything that contests their pre-conceived conclusions.  These simplistic and ignoble guidelines can never lead to a correct conclusion.

As for C, WikiIslam’s animosity towards Islam, discussion of that continues in the next section.

  1. IV. Open hostility towards Islam

This hostility towards Islam is not a mere accusation.  It is a documented fact.

In the middle of the aforementioned long accusation, the author’s argument breaks into the exclamation:

“What can a prophet ask more?…  Alhamdulillah! AllahuAkbar! Subhanallah. Isn’t Allah great?”

This is far removed from any intellectual or academic language.  (It isn’t even good English, but that’s not the point.)  Its sarcastic use of sacred words shows the antagonism and hatred that is the true objective behind’s WikiIslam’s thin veil of objectivity.

It is not hostility towards Islam that makes WikiIslam problematic.  Its contributors have the right to feel hostile or any other way towards Islam or any other thing, and so does everybody.  The problem arises from the fact that their hatred prevents them from being objective and neutral.  It has corrupted them, rotting away at their integrity from the inside until they have become all but open hypocrites.  They try to spread their hostility through trickery and deceit.  They present themselves as taking the moral, intellectual and academic high road while they are in fact groveling deep below it.

If WikiIslam were objective, but happened to paint a negative view of Islam in the end, I, as a Muslim, would accept it.  This is not the case.

A person who is willing to deceive about something can only be thought to be willing to deceive about anything, and, perhaps, everything.

A person who is willing to distort the truth once is willing, more than likely, to distort it again, or all the time.

We should not be convinced by the testimony of one who is himself or herself confused.

As such, this paper does not claim to have refuted WikiIslam’s every point.  It has not and will not address every one of their points.  It has exposed their willful dishonesty and malintent, which is sufficient to negate all of what they have said or will ever say from ever being acceptable.

We should throw the testimony of this biased witness and dishonest accuser out of the court of reason.  WikiIslam, for its part, should close, and its contributors and editors should inspect their morality, integrity, and ability to reason.  WikiIslam readers would do better to read only from credible, reliable and knowledgeable sources about Islam or any other subject they would like to learn about.

As a Muslim, I leave that which I doubt for that which I do not doubt.  As an intelligent human being, I do the same (which is why I became Muslim.)  It is not that I turn a blind eye to whatever refutes my ideology, it is that I leave what I find to be false (and therefore doubt) for what I find to be true (and, therefore, do not doubt).  In the case of WikiIslam and everyone who is like them, my advice to the world is to do the same.

To prove my critique of Islam is not based on my status as a Muslim, I am providing links to non-Muslims who also find it incredibly biased.  See what an atheist and the students and staff of the University of Central Florida had to say.

  1. V. What this all means

The wider application of this is that WikiIslam is not alone.  Muslim-bashing, Islamophobia, call it whatever you like, there is a growing and concerted effort to disparage Islam and Muslims, and unfortunately it’s working.  Almost no Muslims are terrorists, and almost no terrorists are Muslims, but the media is leading people to think the opposite.  WikiIslam is important only because it, in one place, compiles the various wiles and tactics of those who are out to denigrate Islam and Muslims in the name of supposedly noble causes.  In fact, because of their provable deceit and obvious biases, they are confirming what they are so vehement in guiding people away from.  They are false, which shows what they oppose to be true.  They falsify, which only clarifies the truth they are trying to hide.

Whether they accept it or rage against it, Islam is reviving and spreading all over the globe.  Muslims, despite the backwardness they are accused of, are thriving wherever they are found, which is not to deny that there are many who have yet to reach Islam’s ideals.

Islam is the rock that will not break, and it is a pity to have to find that out only after having broken one’s self against it.

Read more here.