Jalal Abualrub's errors and logical fallacies in

Holy Wars, Crusades, Jihad

Part 1

Sam Shamoun

Jalal Abualrub has written a book titled Holy Wars, Crusades, Jihad where he discusses Islamic Jihad, Biblical wars, and the military expeditions carried out by both Jews and Christians throughout the centuries. Currently this book is out of print but Abualrub is working on a revision and has plans to republish it in the near future (*). By the grace of Christ, we managed to get our hands on a copy of the first edition of volume 1, edited by Alaa Mencke, Madinah Publishers and Distributors, 2002.

As we perused this volume one point stuck out clearly; Abualrub not only has no problem distorting what God’s true Word, the Holy Bible, says he also has no qualms twisting what his own religious sources teach. Moreover, his volume is a classic textbook of logical fallacies since all throughout Abualrub commits most, if not all, of the typical fallacies which Muslims often make.

As the grace of the Lord Jesus permits we plan to write responses to specific sections of his book in order to demonstrate these fallacies and distortions for our readers.

We begin this series by discussing Abualrub’s criteria to determine when a specific command of God is not abrogated so as to show our readers how his arguments backfire against him since they essentially provide evidence that Muhammad is not God’s prophet.

In trying to prove his position that Q. 2:190 has not been abrogated Abualrub writes:

The above verse prohibits attacking those who did not commit aggression against Muslims. This is because when Allah states that He ‘dislikes’ something, it is a type of news that CANNOT be changed or abrogated. (P. 114; capital emphasis ours)

He then states in a footnote that:

[2] Fiqh as-Sunnah, Vol., 3, Pg., 79; published by Dar al-Fat’h lil-I’lam al-‘Arabi, Cairo, Egypt, 1998. The statement above, which Shaikh Sayyid Sabiq issued, is valid and stronger than the statements of several respected scholars stating that the verse about forbidding aggression [2:190] was abrogated. This is because when Allah states that He does like something, His statement here is not a part of the Law, but a matter of the Unseen reporting Allah’s Actions. The only part of Allah’s Revelation that Allah (God) abrogates are the practical aspects of the religion, meaning, the Law, so that Alah makes things easier for mankind. Accounts of what happened in the past, what will happen in the future and what Allah likes or dislikes CANNOT be abrogated. Yet, we should state that the part of this verse that the scholars said was abrogated came after Muslims gained strength and increased in number and power. Then, Muslims were permitted to take the initiative and attack the pagans who consistently attacked and killed Muslims and sought to destroy Islam. In this case, Muslims did not wait for combatant unbelievers to attack first, but took the war to their territory and preempted their treachery and aggression. What the scholars did not suggest was abrogated, is unjustified aggression … (Pp. 114-115; capital and underline emphasis ours)

To reiterate what Abualrub is saying, passages narrating past events and/or commands where Allah mentions his personal likes or dislikes cannot be abrogated according to his understanding of Islam. This claim is rather interesting since the Quran contradicts a command given by God in an account narrating past history where he mentions his personal dislike!

The Quran gives the following instructions regarding divorce and remarriage:

A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you, (men), to take back any of your gifts (from your wives), except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah. If ye (judges) do indeed fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah, there is no blame on either of them if she give something for her freedom. These are the limits ordained by Allah. So do not transgress them if any do transgress the limits ordained by Allah, such persons wrong (themselves as well as others). So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), he cannot, after that, re- marry her until after she has married another husband and he has divorced her. In that case there is no blame on either of them if they re-unite, provided they feel that they can keep the limits ordained by Allah. Such are the limits ordained by Allah, which He makes plain to those who understand. S. 2:229-230

A person who desires to remarry his divorcee cannot do so until she marries someone else and is divorced by him. The narrations attributed to Muhammad go so far as to make it mandatory for the divorcee to sleep with her new husband before she can return to her former spouse:

Narrated 'Aisha:
Rifa'a Al-Qurazi divorced his wife irrevocably (i.e. that divorce was the final). Later on 'Abdur-Rahman bin Az-Zubair married her after him. She came to the Prophet and said, "O Allah's Apostle! I was Rifa'a's wife and he divorced me thrice, and then I was married to 'Abdur-Rahman bin AzZubair, who, by Allah has nothing with him except something like this fringe, O Allah's Apostle," showing a fringe she had taken from her covering sheet. Abu Bakr was sitting with the Prophet while Khalid Ibn Said bin Al-As was sitting at the gate of the room waiting for admission. Khalid started calling Abu Bakr, "O Abu Bakr! Why don't you reprove this lady from what she is openly saying before Allah's Apostle?" Allah's Apostle did nothing except smiling, and then said (to the lady), "Perhaps you want to go back to Rifa'a? No, (it is not possible), unless and until you enjoy the sexual relation with him ('Abdur Rahman), and he enjoys the sexual relation with you." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 107)

Yahya related to me from Malik from al-Miswar ibn Rifaa al-Quradhi from az-Zubayr ibn Abd ar-Rahman ibn az-Zubayr that Rifaa ibn Simwal divorced his wife, Tamima bint Wahb, in the time of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, three times. Then she married Abd ar-Rahman ibn az-Zubayr and he turned from her and could not consummate the marriage and so he parted from her. Rifaa wanted to marry her again and it was mentioned to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he forbade him to marry her. He said, "She is not halal for you until she has tasted the sweetness of intercourse." (Malik's Muwatta, Book 28, Number 28.7.17)

These specific instructions go against Yahweh’s command to Moses:

"If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance." Deuteronomy 24:1-4 NIV

"then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the LORD. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance." Deuteronomy 24:4 ESV

Notice what Yahweh says about a person returning to a former spouse who has remarried; Yahweh emphatically calls this practice an abomination, something he utterly detests and abhors!

Thus, according to Abualrub’s criteria since this instruction from Yahweh is found in a book narrating past events and expressly mentions Yahweh’s personal hatred this means that it must be one of those very commands that cannot be abrogated and has to be observed by all true believers at all times.

But Muhammad failed to uphold Yahweh’s instruction, in fact he taught something which completely goes against and contradicts it! In light of this, will Abualrub apply his criteria fairly and consistently and conclude that Muhammad was a false prophet for breaking God’s pure Word?

Moreover, Abualrub mentioned that certain scholars believed that Q. 2:190 was abrogated after the Muslims had grown in numbers and military power. Note, once again, his comments:

… Yet, we should state that the part of this verse that the scholars said was abrogated CAME AFTER Muslims gained strength and increased in number and power….

Before commenting on the implications of Abualrub’s candid admission we first like to quote some of these scholars who taught that this injunction was abrogated:

After the Prophet (s) was prevented from [visiting] the House in the year of the battle of Hudaybiyya, he made a pact with the disbelievers that he would be allowed to return the following year, at which time they would vacate Mecca for three days. Having prepared to depart for the Visitation ['umra], [he and] the believers were concerned that Quraysh would not keep to the agreement and instigate fighting. The Muslims were averse to becoming engaged in fighting while in a state of pilgrimage inviolability in the Sacred Enclosure [al-haram] and during the sacred months, and so the following was revealed: And fight in the way of God, to elevate His religion, with those who fight against you, the disbelievers, but aggress not, against them by initiating the fighting; God loves not the aggressors, the ones that overstep the bounds which God has set for them: this stipulation was abrogated by the verse of bara'a, 'immunity' [Q. 9:1], or by His saying [below]: (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Ibn Kathir mentioned some scholars who believed the same, even though he himself didn’t accept that this verse was abrogated, and we will see why:

Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi said that Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that Abu Al-`Aliyah commented on what Allah said:

((And fight in the way of Allah those who fight you,))

Abu Al-`Aliyah said, "This was the first Ayah about fighting that was revealed in Al-Madinah. Ever since it was revealed, Allah's Messenger used to fight only those who fought him and avoid non-combatants. Later, Surat Bara'ah (chapter 9 in the Qur'an) was revealed." `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said similarly, then he said that this was later abrogated by the Ayah:

<then kill them wherever you find them> (9:5).

However, this statement is not plausible, because Allah's statement:

<…those who fight you> applies only to fighting the enemies who are engaged in fighting Islam and its people. So the Ayah means, `Fight those who fight you', just as Allah said (in another Ayah):

<… and fight against the Mushrikin collectively as they fight against you collectively.> (9:36)

This is why Allah said later in the Ayah:

<And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out.> meaning, ‘Your energy should be spent on fighting them, just as their energy is spent on fighting you, and on expelling them from the areas from which they have expelled you, as a law of equality in punishment.’ (Tafsir Ibn Kathir- Q. 2:190, taken from the English version, abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri)

Allah then commanded fighting the disbelievers when He said:

<…until there is no more Fitnah> meaning, Shirk. This is the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi`, Muqatil bin Hayyan, As-Suddi and Zayd bin Aslam.

Allah's statement:

<…and the religion (all and every kind of worship) is for Allah (Alone).> means, `So that the religion of Allah becomes dominant above all other religions.' It is reported in the Two Sahihs that Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari said: "The Prophet was asked, `O Allah's Messenger! A man fights out of bravery, and another fights to show off, which of them fights in the cause of Allah' The Prophet said:

((He who fights so that Allah's Word is superior, then he fights in Allah's cause.)) In addition, it is reported in the Two Sahihs:

((I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight the people until they proclaim, `None has the right to be worshipped but Allah'. Whoever said it, then he will save his life and property from me, except for cases of the law, and their account will be with Allah.))

Allah's statement:

<But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against the wrongdoers.> indicates that, `If they stop their Shirk and fighting the believers, then cease warfare against them. Whoever fights them afterwards will be committing an injustice. Verily aggression can only be started against the unjust.' This is the meaning of Mujahid's statement that only combatants should be fought. Or, the meaning of the Ayah indicates that, `If they abandon their injustice, which is Shirk in this case, then do not start aggression against them afterwards.' The aggression here means retaliating and fighting them, just as Allah said:

<Then whoever transgresses against you, you transgress likewise against him.> (2:194) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 2:193; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Ibn Kathir seems to be saying that the reason why Q. 2:190 hasn’t been abrogated is because Muslims are always allowed to fight those who start aggressions against them. In other words, since there will always be the possibility that groups or nations will come against the Muslims the injunction of Q. 2:190 will always be applicable. Yet this doesn’t mean Ibn Kathir believed that Muslims could only fight and conquer peoples that started aggressions against Muslims. His statements show that Muslims were permitted to fight individuals who didn’t believe in Islam, even though they had done nothing to oppress the Muslim community. Their only crime was that they were disbelievers in Muhammad’s religion! To put it simply, Muslims could initiate wars against nations who never bothered them since Allah gave Muhammad’s community the order to check unbelief by causing Islam to dominate over all other religions.

Thus, what we gather from the foregoing is that during the stage in which Muhammad’s forces were small and weak Allah permitted them to fight only in self-defense. Yet, when the Muslims were strong enough, Allah allowed them to expand Islam by initiating military expeditions against all the unbelievers, even against those who hadn’t done anything to them.

Continue with Part 2.

Further Reading


Responses to Jalal Abualrub
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page