Islam’s Next Great Hope or Dope?

An Analysis of the David Wood vs. Nadir Ahmed Debate

Sam Shamoun

Christian apologist David Wood debated Nadir Ahmed on the topic, "God: Trinity or Tauheed" (*).

It is not our purpose to offer an assessment of the debate itself.(1) Rather, we want to address five specific claims made by Nadir Ahmed in the debate since it demonstrates the type of apologist he is and the level of argumentation he is capable of producing in support of Islam.

For the convenience of our readers we have broken down our article into five sections:

  1. Is it a Blood Clot or Not?
  2. The Issue of Iram
  3. When the Walls Come Tumbling Down
  4. Did Muhammad live up to God’s Moral Values?
  5. Did Muhammad live up to his own Moral standards?
  6. Concluding Statements

1. Is it a Blood Clot or Not?

In his first rebuttal period Nadir Ahmed claimed that the Quran doesn’t say that a human embryo becomes a blood clot during a certain stage in its development. Rather, it only appears as one!

"What the Quran is saying that its, ah, in appearance its like a blood clot! And if you look at the stages of embryology there is a stage over there where it does appear like blood clot. And this is not just my opinion, but several embryologists have also confirmed that like Dr. Keith Moore. There, is in appearance, like a blood clot."

Note carefully that Nadir’s response indirectly admits that if the Quran does say that a human being becomes a clot at some stage then it is wrong, and conflicts with modern scientific facts.

Now does the Quran merely say that the embryo resembles a clot? Or does it actually say it becomes a clot? We let the Quran answer the question, along with a few Muslim exegetes

Here is the first text:

Was he not a Nutfah (mixed male and female discharge of semen) poured forth? Then he BECAME AN 'Alaqa (A CLOT); then (Allah) shaped and fashioned (him) in due proportion. And made him in two sexes, male and female. S. 75:37-39 Hilali-Khan

The above reference doesn’t say that it looks like a clot, but that it becomes one, a point which the oldest Muslim commentators agree:

(Then he became a clot) then he BECAME CLOTTED BLOOD; (then (Allah) shaped) him a living being (and fashioned) him with two hands, two feet, two eyes, two ears as well as with all the other members, and also placed in him the spirit. (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn ‘Abbs; source)

Then it, the drop of semen, BECAME A CLOT; then He, God, created, from it man, and proportioned [him], making the parts of his body upright, (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

and made of it, of the drop of semen that BECAME A BLOOD-CLOT, then an embryo, a [small] mass of flesh, the two sexes, the two kinds, the male and the female, at times coming together and at times each being on their own. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

<Then he became an `Alaqah; then shaped and fashioned in due proportion.> meaning, he BECAME A CLOT, then a lump of flesh, then he was formed and the soul was blown into him. Then he became a perfect creation with healthy limbs, as either a male or a female by the permission and decree of Allah… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The second text:

He, it is Who has created you (Adam) FROM dust, then FROM a Nutfah [mixed semen drops of male and female discharge (i.e. Adam's offspring)] then FROM A CLOT (A PIECE OF COAGULATED BLOOD), then brings you forth as children, then (makes you grow) to reach the age of full strength, and afterwards to be old (men and women), though some among you die before, and that you reach an appointed term, in order that you may understand. S. 40:67 Hilali-Khan

We assume that Nadir will have no problem admitting that, according to the Quran, the embryo develops from semen drops. By the same token he should have no problem acknowledging that humans were also made from a clot according to the Quran. Note how the mufassirin interpreted this verse:

(He it is Who created you from dust) He created you FROM Adam and Adam is FROM dust, (then from a drop (of seed)) then He created you FROM the sperm drops of your fathers (then from a clot) then FROM a CLOT OF BLOOD, (then brings you forth) FROM your mothers' wombs (as a child) as a young child, (then (ordaineth) that ye attain full strength) 18 to 30 years old (and afterward that ye become old men) after having attained your full strength (though some among you die before) before the age of puberty or before reaching old age (and that ye reach an appointed term) the end of your lifespan, (that haply ye may understand) that haply you may believe in resurrection after death. (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn ‘Abbs; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

He it is Who created you FROM dust, by having created your father Adam from it, then FROM a drop [of sperm], then FROM a blood-clot, CONGEALED BLOOD, then He brings you forth as infants, then, He sustains you, that you may come of age, [until you have attained] your full strength - [this being] from the age of thirty to forty - then that you may become aged (read shuyukhan or shiyukhan)- though there are some of you who die earlier, that is, before coming of age or becoming aged. He does this to you so that you may live [on], and that you may complete an appointed term, a defined length of time, that perhaps you might understand, the proofs of [His] Oneness and thus become believers. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

<It is He, Who has created you from dust, then from a Nutfah then FROM A CLOT (A PIECE OF COAGULATED BLOOD>, then brings you forth as an infant, then (makes you grow) to reach the age of full strength, and afterwards to be old.) meaning, He is the One Who Alone, with no partner or associate, causes you to pass through these different stages, and this happens in accordance with His command, will and decree. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The third text:

And indeed We created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay (water and earth). Thereafter We made him (the offspring of Adam) as a Nutfah (mixed drops of the male and female sexual discharge) (and lodged it) in a safe lodging (womb of the woman). Then We made the Nutfah INTO A CLOT (A PIECE OF THICK COAGULATED BLOOD), then We made THE CLOT into a little lump of flesh, then We made out of that little lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, and then We brought it forth as another creation. So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators. S. 23:12-14 Hilali-Khan

(Then fashioned We) then We TRANSFORMED (the drop) INTO (A CLOT) for another forty days, (then fashioned We) then We TRANSFORMED (THE CLOT) into (a little lump) for forty days, (then fashioned We) the We TRNASFORMED (the little lump) into (bones) without flesh, (then clothed the bones with flesh) joints, veins and other things, (and then produced it another creation) and then We placed in it the spirit. (So blessed be Allah, the Best of Creators) the Best of Transformers! (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn ‘Abbs; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Then We TRANSFORMED the drop [of semen] INTO A CLOT, CONGEALED BLOOD. Then We TRANSFORMED THE CLOT INTO A [little] LUMP OF FLESH (mudgha), a piece of flesh, about the size of what one would be able to chew (ma yumdagh). Then We TRANSFORMED the lump of flesh into bones. Then We clothed the bones with flesh (a variant reading in both instances [instead of the plurals 'izaman and al-'izama, 'the bones'] is [singular] 'azman [and 'al-'azma], 'the bone'; and in all three instances above khalaqna, means 'We made it become' [as opposed to 'We created']). Then We produced him as [yet] another creature, by breathing into him [Our] Spirit. So blessed be God, the best of creators!, that is, [the best of] determiners (the specified noun for ahsana, 'the best', has been omitted because it is obvious: khalqan, 'in terms of creation'). (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and emphasis ours)

<Then We made the Nutfah into a clot,> meaning, ‘then We made the Nutfah, which is the water gushing forth that comes from the loins of man, i.e., his back, and the ribs of woman, i.e., the bones of her chest, between the clavicle and the breast. THEN IT BECOMES A RED CLOT, LIKE AN ELONGATED CLOT.’ `Ikrimah said, "THIS IS BLOOD." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Here is the fourth and final text:

O mankind! If you are in doubt about the Resurrection, then verily! We have created you (i.e. Adam) from dust, then from a Nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge i.e. offspring of Adam), then FROM A CLOT (A PIECE OF THICK COAGULATED BLOOD) then from a little lump of flesh, some formed and some unformed (miscarriage), that We may make (it) clear to you (i.e. to show you Our Power and Ability to do what We will). And We cause whom We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed term, then We bring you out as infants, then (give you growth) that you may reach your age of full strength. And among you there is he who dies (young), and among you there is he who is brought back to the miserable old age, so that he knows nothing after having known. And you see the earth barren, but when We send down water (rain) on it, it is stirred (to life), it swells and puts forth every lovely kind (of growth). S. 22:5 Hilali-Khan

(O mankind!) i.e. O people of Mecca (if ye are in doubt concerning the Resurrection) after death, then reflect upon your initial creation, for bringing you back to life is not more difficult than your initial creation, (then lo! We have created you from dust) We have created you from Adam and Adam is from dust, (then) We created you after that (from a drop of seed, then FROM A CLOT) OF BLOOD after the drop of semen, (then from a little lump of flesh) AFTER THE CLOT OF BLOOD (shapely) in a perfect shape (and shapeless) when miscarriage takes place, (that We may make (it) clean for you) in the Qur'an after you are created… (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn ‘Abbs; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

O mankind, in other words, [O] people of Mecca, if you are in doubt about the Resurrection, then lo! [consider that] We have created you, that is, [We have created] your origin - Adam - FROM dust then, We created his progeny, FROM a drop, a sperm-drop, then FROM a clot, congealed blood, then FROM a [little] lump of flesh (mudgha), a piece of flesh, the size of what one would [be able to] chew (ma yumdagh), partly formed, shaped, complete in form, and partly unformed, that is, incomplete in form, that We may make clear to you, the perfect nature of Our power, that you might [then] infer from this initial act of creation, the [reality of its future] restoration… (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

<then from a clot then from a little lump of flesh> if the Nutfah establishes itself in the woman's womb, it stays like that for forty days, then more material is added to it and IT CHANGES INTO A RED CLOT, by the leave of Allah, and it remains like that for forty days. Then it changes and becomes a lump of flesh, like a piece of meat with no form or shape. Then it starts to take on a form and shape, developing a head, arms, chest, stomach, thighs, legs, feet and all its members. Sometimes a woman miscarries before the fetus is formed and sometimes she miscarries after it has formed… It was recorded in the Two Sahihs that Ibn Mas`ud said, "The Messenger of Allah, who is the true and truly inspired one, told us…

((Every one of you is collected in the womb of his mother for the first forty days, and then he BECOMES A CLOT for another forty days, and then a lump of flesh for another forty days. Then Allah sends an angel to write four words: He writes his provision, his deeds, his life span, and whether he will be blessed or wretched. Then he blows the soul into him.))" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The foregoing makes it abundantly clear that the Quran DOES NOT say that a human being merely resembles a clot, but that it actually becomes one! This means that David Wood was correct and the Quran contains a gross scientific blunder since it goes against modern scientific facts.

For more on the Quran’s gross scientific blunders regarding the developing embryo please consult the following articles:

2. The Issue of Iram

One of the proofs for the Quran’s inspiration proposed by Nadir is that it refers to a city named Iram (Q. 89:7), which was mentioned in the tablets of Ebla, and that were just recently discovered. Nadir asserts that this city was unheard of by historians for centuries and Muhammad couldn't have possibly known about its existence. Thus, Muslims have archaeological proof that the Qur'an is from God. 

There are several problems with this argument, one of which backfires against Nadir since it discredits the Quran.

In the first place, Nadir erroneously assumes that Iram was a lost city unknown to Muhammad and his contemporaries but provides no evidence to substantiate this claim. After all, just because a city may have been unknown to subsequent generations doesn’t mean that it was not known at the time of Muhammad. One can just as readily assume that there were records available to Muhammad, which are now lost to us, that spoke of Iram and accounts for why it is mentioned in the Quran. In fact, one of the earliest Islamic sources states that there were people even prior to Muhammad who knew of this city:

… Now God had prepared the way for Islam in that they lived side by side with the Jews who were people of the scriptures and knowledge, while they themselves were polytheists and idolators. They had often raided them in their district and whenever bad feeling arose the Jews used to say to them, ‘A prophet will be sent soon. His day is at hand. We shall follow him and kill you by his aid as Ad and Iram perished.’… (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], pp. 197-198; bold and italic emphasis ours)

The above reference demonstrates that, contrary to Nadir’s assertion, Iram was known to the people of Arabia. In fact, not only was it not unknown, its destruction had apparently become proverbial in that region of the world. Therefore, how can this information provide evidence for the Quran being God’s Word when other people knew about it?

What makes this all the more ironic is that Nadir kept ranting that no one knew about this city, and yet these Jews clearly knew of it. Thus, if this proves inspiration then this means that the Jews living in Arabia before Muhammad were the ones inspired and that Muhammad merely plagiarized this info from them, much like he plagiarized other Jewish stories and fables (*)!

But this leads us to our second point. Nadir erroneously assumes that the Iram that was mentioned in the recently discovered tablets of Ebla is the same as the one mentioned in the Quran. But this fails to take into account that it was common for more than one place to have the same name, such as Ur which was the name of a place near Ebla in Syria and one in Chaldea. Or the name Bosra or Basra, which during Muhammad’s time could refer to a place either in Syria or Iraq.

In light of this, how does Nadir know that the Iram that was mentioned in these tablets is actually the one referred to in the Quran? What evidence does he have to substantiate this claim?

For more on the issue of Iram please consult this article.

Third, if archaeology can be used to prove the authority of the Quran then it can also be used to falsify it. The fact of the matter is that the Quran contains many details which do not comport with the evidence furnished by ancient discoveries and artifacts. Here are a few examples where the Quran is clearly wrong about the past: (1) Selling Joseph for some Dirhams before coins were even invented (*), (2) Having a Samaritan lead Israel astray with a golden calf when no Samaritans existed at that time (*), (3) Crucifixion during the time of Pharaoh (*), (4) The Quran alludes to a non-existent Temple which Muhammad supposedly traveled to (1, 2).

Thus, according to Nadir’s own criterion the Quran fails the test and is therefore a false book composed by a false prophet.

Finally, since Nadir appeals to archaeology to vindicate the Quran he must be consistent and use it to see whether this same field provides any evidence for the authenticity of the Holy Bible, specifically the NT. The fact is that archaeology has uncovered cities, places, and persons mentioned in the Holy Scriptures, thereby providing corroboration that the Holy Scriptures are historically accurate and reliable.

As an example of the accuracy of the NT, during the repairing of a sewage pipe in the old city of Jerusalem some workers found the Pool of Siloam which is mentioned in John 9:7, 11. One source writes that:

"Scholars have said that there wasn’t a Pool of Siloam and that John was using a religious conceit" to illustrate a point, said New Testament scholar James H. Charlesworth of the Princeton Theological Seminary. "Now, we have found the Pool of Siloam… exactly where John said it was." A Gospel that was thought to be "pure theology is now shown TO BE GROUNDED IN HISTORY," he said. (World News, "Biblical Pool of Siloam uncovered in Jerusalem", 9 August 2005; source; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

As noted Reformed Protestant scholar and apologist James R. White sarcastically puts it:

11 August

Pool of Siloam Discovered in Jerusalem

Oddly enough, it was found right where...John said it was. How can that be, since John is not historical? Oh sorry, been reading too much Jesus Seminar stuff lately. (Source)

Luke is another Bible author who has ample archaeological evidence supporting his amazing historical accuracy. As the online Catholic Encyclopedia states:

Very few writers have ever had their accuracy put to such a severe test as St. Luke, on account of the wide field covered by his writings, and the consequent liability (humanly speaking) of making mistakes; and on account of the fierce attacks to which he has been subjected.

It was the fashion, during the nineteenth century, with German rationalists and their imitators, to ridicule the "blunders" of Luke, but that is all being rapidly changed by the recent progress of archological research. Harnack does not hesitate to say that these attacks were shameful, and calculated to bring discredit, not on the Evangelist, but upon his critics, and Ramsay is but voicing the opinion of the best modern scholars when he calls St. Luke a great and accurate historian. Very few have done so much as this latter writer, in his numerous works and in his articles in "The Expositor", to vindicate the extreme accuracy of St. Luke. Wherever archology has afforded the means of testing St. Luke's statements, they have been found to be correct; and this gives confidence that he is equally reliable where no such corroboration is as yet available. For some of the details see ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, where a very full bibliography is given.

For the sake of illustration, one or two examples may here be given:

(1) Sergius Paulus, Proconsul in Cyprus

St. Luke says, Acts, xiii, that when St. Paul visited Cyprus (in the reign of Claudius) Sergius Paulus was proconsul (anthupatos) there. Grotius asserted that this was an abuse of language, on the part of the natives, who wished to flatter the governor by calling him proconsul, instead of proprtor (antistrategos), which he really was; and that St. Luke used the popular appellation. Even Baronius (Annales, ad Ann. 46) supposed that, though Cyprus was only a prtorian province, it was honoured by being ruled by the proconsul of Cilicia, who must have been Sergius Paulus. But this is all a mistake. Cato captured Cyprus, Cicero was proconsul of Cilicia and Cyprus in 52 B.C.; Mark Antony gave the island to Cleopatra; Augustus made it a prtorian province in 27 B.C., but in 22 B.C. he transferred it to the senate, and it became again a proconsular province. This latter fact is not stated by Strabo, but it is mentioned by Dion Cassius (LIII). In Hadrian's time it was once more under a proprtor, while under Severus it was again administered by a proconsul. There can be no doubt that in the reign of Claudius, when St. Paul visited it, Cyprus was under a proconsul (anthupatos), as stated by St. Luke. Numerous coins have been discovered in Cyprus, bearing the head and name of Claudius on one side, and the names of the proconsuls of Cyprus on the other. A woodcut engraving of one is given in Conybeare and Howson's "St. Paul", at the end of chapter v. On the reverse it has: EPI KOMINOU PROKAU ANTHUPATOU: KUPRION--"Money of the Cyprians under Cominius Proclus, Proconsul." The head of Claudius (with his name) is figured on the other side. General Cesnola discovered a long inscription on a pedestal of white marble, at Solvi, in the north of the island, having the words: EPI PAULOU ANTHUPATOU--"Under Paulus Proconsul." Lightfoot, Zochler, Ramsay, Knabenbauer, Zahn, and Vigouroux hold that this was the actual (Sergius) Paulus of Acts, xiii, 7.

(2) The Politarchs in Thessalonica

An excellent example of St. Luke's accuracy is afforded by his statement that rulers of Thessalonica were called "politarchs" (politarchai—Acts 17:6, 8). The word is not found in the Greek classics; but there is a large stone in the British Museum, which was found in an arch in Thessalonica, containing an inscription which is supposed to date from the time of Vespasian. Here we find the word used by St. Luke together with the names of several such politarchs, among them being names identical with some of St. Paul's converts: Sopater, Gaius, Secundus. Burton in "American Journal of Theology" (July, 1898) has drawn attention to seventeen inscriptions proving the existence of politarchs in ancient times. Thirteen were found in Macedonia, and five were discovered in Thessalonica, dating from the middle of the first to the end of the second century.

(3) Knowledge of Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe

The geographical, municipal, and political knowledge of St. Luke, when speaking of Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe, is fully borne out by recent research (see Ramsay, "St. Paul the Traveller", and other references given in GALATIANS, EPISTLE TO THE).

(4) Knowledge of Philippian customs

He is equally sure when speaking of Philippi, a Roman colony, where the duumviri were called "prtors" (strategoi—Acts 16:20, 35), a lofty title which duumviri assumed in Capua and elsewhere, as we learn from Cicero and Horace (Sat., I, v, 34). They also had lictors (rabsouchoi), after the manner of real prtors.

(5) References to Ephesus, Athens, and Corinth

His references to Ephesus, Athens, Corinth, are altogether in keeping with everything that is now known of these cities. Take a single instance: "In Ephesus St. Paul taught in the school of Tyrannus, in the city of Socrates he discussed moral questions in the market-place. How incongruous it would seem if the methods were transposed! But the narrative never makes a false step amid all the many details as the scene changes from city to city; and that is the conclusive proof that it is a picture of real life" (Ramsay, op. cit., 238). St. Luke mentions (Acts 18:2) that when St. Paul was at Corinth the Jews had been recently expelled from Rome by Claudius, and this is confirmed by a chance statement of Suetonius. He tells us (ibid., 12) that Gallio was then proconsul in Corinth (the capital of the Roman province of Achaia). There is no direct evidence that he was proconsul in Achaia, but his brother Seneca writes that Gallio caught a fever there, and went on a voyage for his health. The description of the riot at Ephesus (Acts 19) brings together, in the space of eighteen verses, an extraordinary amount of knowledge of the city, that is fully corroborated by numerous inscriptions, and representations on coins, medals, etc., recently discovered. There are allusions to the temple of Diana (one of the seven wonders of the world), to the fact that Ephesus gloried in being her temple-sweeper her caretaker (neokoros), to the theatre as the place of assembly for the people, to the town clerk (grammateus), to the Asiarchs, to sacrilegious (ierosuloi), to proconsular sessions, artificers, etc. The ecclesia (the usual word in Ephesus for the assembly of the people) and the grammateus or town-clerk (the title of a high official frequent on Ephesian coins) completely puzzled Cornelius a Lapide, Baronius, and other commentators, who imagined the ecclesia meant a synagogue, etc. (see Vigouroux, "Le Nouveau Testament et les Dcouvertes Archologiques", Paris, 1890).

(6) The Shipwreck

The account of the voyage and shipwreck described in Acts (xxvii, xxvii) is regarded by competent authorities on nautical matters as a marvellous instance of accurate description (see Smith's classical work on the subject, "Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul" (4th ed., London, 1880). Blass (Acta Apostolorum, 186) says: "Extrema duo capita habent descriptionem clarissimam itineris maritimi quod Paulus in Italiam fecit: qu descriptio ab homine harum rerum perito judicata est monumentum omnium pretiosissimum, qu rei navalis ex tote antiquitate nobis relicta est. V. Breusing, 'Die Nautik der Alten' (Bremen, 1886)." See also Knowling " The Acts of the Apostles" in "Exp. Gr. Test." (London, 1900). (Source; bold emphasis ours)

This is where Nadir Ahmed runs into problems: since the archaeological data has confirmed many details of the Holy Bible this means that the Bible writers can be trusted in areas where they cannot be tested, i.e. Jesus’ virgin birth, his miracles etc. To put it simply, since archaeology has confirmed many of the historical events found in the Bible, and no data exists which contradicts or refutes its historicity, this means that we are to give the Bible writers the benefit of doubt in areas where there is no independent attestation for specific events reported therein.

Hence, Nadir now faces the dilemma that not only is archaeology not on the side of the Quran he must also contend with the fact that this field actually supports the historical accuracy of the Bible over against the Muslim scripture. This means that whenever the Quran contradicts the Holy Bible on key, essential points, i.e. God’s nature, the Person of Christ, his crucifixion, the plan of salvation etc., it must be rejected and set aside.

3. When the Walls Come Tumbling Down

Nadir claims that the Quran predicted in Q. 59:14 that the Jews would fight Muslims behind walls, which was just recently fulfilled when in 2002 "the terrorist state of Israel" built one of the largest walls to fight and terrorize the Palestinians.

Let us look at the immediate context of this particular text to see if Nadir is correct, or did he lie and slander Jews by his anti-Semitic statements:

Hast thou not regarded the hypocrites, saying to their brothers of the People of the Book who disbelieve, 'If you are expelled, we will go forth with you, and we will never obey anyone in regard to you. If you are fought against, we will help you.' And God bears witness that they are truly liars. If those are expelled, they will not go forth with them, and if they are fought against, they will not help them. Even if they helped them, they would surely turn their backs, then they would not be helped. Why, you arouse greater fear in their hearts than God; that is because they are a people who understand not. They will not fight against you all together except in fortified cities, or from behind walls. Their valour is great, among themselves; you think of them as a host; but their hearts are scattered; that is because they are a people who have no sense. S. 59:11-14 Arberry

The context mentions the hypocrites and the People of the Book, but doesn’t tell us whether Q. 59:14 refers to the former or to the latter, and if the latter whether this means the Jews or Christians, or even both! In order to find out the answer we must consult the hadith and Sira literature, sources which help expose Nadir as a deceiver and anti-Semite:

(They) i.e. Banu Qurayzah and Banu'l-Nadir (will not fight against you in a body save in fortified villages or from behind walls) or if there is between you and them walls. (Their adversity among themselves is very great) He says: their fighting against each other is great, for they fought against their own folk and not against the Prophet (pbuh) and his Companions. (Ye think of them as a whole) united (whereas their hearts are divers) whereas they differ a great deal. (That) differing and betrayal (is because they are a folk who have no sense) is because they do not understand Allah's command and divine Oneness. (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn ‘Abbs; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Notice that this source applies Q. 59 to the Jews of Muhammad’s time, not to a future battle between Muslims and Jews! Here is what Ibn Kathir wrote regarding Q. 59:

Which was revealed in Al-Madinah

Ibn `Abbas used to call this chapter, `Surah Bani An-Nadir.’ Sa`id bin Mansur recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "I asked Ibn `Abbas about Surat Al-Hashr and he said, `It was revealed about Bani An-Nadir.’" Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded it using another chain of narration from Ibn `Abbas. Al-Bukhari also recorded it from Abu `Awanah, from Abu Bishr from Sa`id bin Jubayr, who said, "I asked Ibn `Abbas, `Surat Al-Hashr' He said, `Surah Bani An-Nadir.’" (Source; underline emphasis ours)

The End that Bani An-Nadir suffered

Allah said….

<He it is Who drove out the disbelievers among the People of the Scripture> referring to the Jewish tribe of Bani An-Nadir, according to Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Az-Zuhri and several others. When the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, he made a peace treaty with the Jews stipulating that he would not fight them and they would not fight him. They soon betrayed the treaty that they made with Allah's Messenger. Therefore, Allah sent His torment down on them; it can never be averted, and His appointed destiny touched them; it can never be resisted. The Prophet forced them to evacuate and abandon THEIR FORTIFIED FORTS that Muslims did not think they would ever control. The Jews thought that THEIR FORTIFICATIONS will save them from Allah's torment, but they did not help them against Allah in the least. Then, that which they did not expect came to them from Allah, and Allah's Messenger forced them to leave Al-Madinah. Some of them went to Adhri`at in the area of Ash-Sham, which is the area of the grand Gathering and Resurrection, while others went to Khaybar. The Prophet allowed them to evacuate THEIR FORTS and take whatever their camels could carry. They destroyed the property that they could not carry…

After the battle of Badr, the Quraysh idolators wrote to the Jews of Al-Madinah, `You have armor AND FORTS! You should fight our citizen or we will do such and such to you, and nothing will prevent us from acquiring your women.’ The news of this letter also reached the Prophet and Bani An-Nadir intended to betray their treaty. Bani An-Nadir sent a message to the Prophet asking him to come with thirty of his Companions to meet thirty of their rabbis half way, from either side. They said that the rabbis would listen to the Prophet and if they believe in him, the rest of Bani An-Nadir would believe. They intended to kill the Messenger, and Allah informed His Messenger of this plot before they could harm him. The next day, the Prophet gathered his forces and laid siege to their area, saying to them…

<<By Allah ! You will not be safe until and unless you renew your peace treaty with me.>> They refused to do so, and the Prophet fought them the rest of that day. The next morning, the Prophet laid siege to the tribe of Bani Qurayzah and left Bani An-Nadir alone that day. The Prophet ordered Bani Qurayzah to sign a new treaty of peace, and they accepted. The Prophet left Bani Qurayzah and went back to Bani An-Nadir with his forces and fought them until they agreed to surrender in return for safe passage out of Al-Madinah. Bani An-Nadir evacuated Al-Madinah and took with them all whatever their camels could carry from their furniture, including even the wood and the doors to their houses. The date trees of Bani An-Nadir were granted to the Messenger by Allah when He said… (Source; capital an underline emphasis ours)

The False Promise of Support the Hypocrites gave to the Jews

Allah states that the hypocrites, `Abdullah bin Ubayy and his like, sent a messenger to Bani An-Nadir promising them help… Allah then said…

<They fight not against you even together, except in fortified townships, or from behind walls.> meaning, they will not fight Muslims except from behind besieged FORTIFIED FORTS, because of their cowardice and fear of Muslims. They only fight when they have to defend themselves <even though they threaten Muslims of reprisals>…

Allah said…

(They are like their immediate predecessors; they tasted the evil result of their conduct, and for them a painful torment.) referring to the Jewish tribe of Bani Qaynuqa`, according to Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah and Muhammad bin Ishaq. (Source; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Note the constant reference to fortified forts or fortification, which obviously refers to walls which surrounded the territory of Banu an-Nadir. What this shows is that Q. 59:14 is referring to the Jews of Muhammad’s day that hid behind the walls of their cities, not to the Jews of the twentieth-first century. Nadir lied to his audience and distorted what even his own so-called authentic Islamic sources say is the meaning and application of Q. 59:14. We will have more to say of Nadir’s debate tactics in our concluding section.

4. Did Muhammad live up to God’s Moral Values?

Nadir Ahmed chided David Wood for criticizing Muhammad’s marriage to a nine-year old since Wood’s argument wasn’t based on God’s ethical standards but on secular human understanding of morality. Ahmed asserted:

"And also this shows a kind of hypocritical approach; because you see when David Wood and other Christian apologists, when they debate the atheist, the atheist argue that human society, that is sufficient for moral values. And all human, moral values come from human society. We don’t need a god for that! But the God-believers, like David Wood and myself, we are you[sic] know if without a god you cannot have any meaningful morality. Moral values are nothing more than your personal opinions and nothing more than just your whims. Thus, morality, life is all useless and worthless without a god. But tonight he is taking the position of the atheist, he’s saying, he umm, he objects to the prophet Muhammad, which actually now he has to also reject his own God, because of his, because his human society is now the basis of morality. If he comes back and says, "No, God is the author of morality," then I challenge him from the Bible. I have a Bible here, show me where, where there is an age limit as far as you can marry. But if he cannot produce that then he has no basis for moral argument tonight against the prophet Muhammad, because your moral arguments must come from God. That is the basis of our moral values. We have to be consistent, when we debate the atheist we can’t switch gears, ok, and then, and argue that. Human society, and both me and David Wood would wholeheartedly agree is not sufficient for moral values. Without a god moral values are meaningless, humans are meaning, are, are just useless, and that is why this is the evidence for God. We have to be consistent David on this point, ok. So I challenge, if you, if you do have a moral argument against the prophet of Islam then please show me from the book of God; show me God’s moral values, not your own or, or white bread’s society."

In the second rebuttal period he claims that Jesus in the Old Testament (specifically Numbers 31:17-18) sanctioned relations with girls 12 or younger:

The thing about Aisha, if you still object to it then you are disobeying and you are rejecting Jesus because I quoted you what Jesus said in the Old Testament, Numbers: the young girls are for you and that’s twelve or younger. So you need to change your moral values, alright, ah David Wood, Or else you are going to have to disagree with both books.

The first problem with Nadir’s assertion is that the Holy Bible does set an age for marriage, specifically puberty or maidenhood:

"On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised. Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, ‘Live!’ I made you grow like a plant of the field. You grew up and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels. Your breasts were formed and your hair grew, you who were naked and bare. Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine. I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD." Ezekiel 16:4-14

Here, God is setting precedence for his people to follow or, more specifically, appealing to what was common knowledge at that time regarding a young girl’s marriageable age. Note how God expressly mentions that the young babe only became ready for lovemaking when she showed clear signs of maidenhood, i.e. after her breasts had formed and her pubic hairs had grown, which presupposes or takes for granted that people at that time considered or viewed puberty as the proper age for marriage. Lest Nadir accuses us of distorting the implication of the foregoing text, we cite a variety of Bible references to support our exegesis:

16:6-14 The LORD passes by twice (vv. 6-7, 8-14)... The LORD's action contrasts with that of the parents. Following ancient Near Eastern custom, the LORD enacts a legal adoption by announcing, literally, "In your blood, live." The life-giving act, however, is threatened by the nakedness of postpubescent reality… The LORD acts to protect the vulnerable young woman who is now sexually mature… (The New Interpreter's Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version With the Apocrypha (Hardcover) [Abingdon Press, May, 2003], p. 1175; underline emphasis ours)

God wills the abandoned infant to live. She lives and grows to puberty… Upon reaching puberty, she is ready for marriage… (The Jewish Study Bible: Tanakh Translation, Torah, Nevi'im, Kethuvim (Hardcover) [Oxford University Press, October 2003], p. 1069’ bold emphasis ours)

The creative command turned into fact, and the baby grew into adolescence and sexual maturity, marked by breasts and pubic hair (cf. Isa 7:20)… (Leslie C. Allen, Word Biblical Commentary: Ezekiel 1-19 [Word Book Publishers, Dallas TX 1994], p. 237; bold emphasis ours)

God then cared for the nation and caused it to increase and flourish like sprouts in a field, language reminiscent of the growth of the nation in Egypt as described in Exod 1:7, 12. So she (Israel) prospered until she reached the maturity of womanhood. As a beautiful young woman of marriageable age, she became the wife of Yahweh… (Lamar Eugene Cooper, Sr., New American Commentary: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture- NIV Text, Ezekiel [Broadman & Holman Publishers 1994], pp. 169-170; bold emphasis ours)

I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field
Or, "made thee millions"; like the spires of grass in the field. This refers to the multiplication of the children of Israel in Egypt, especially after the death of Joseph, and even while they were sorely afflicted, and likewise in later times. Jacob went down to Egypt with seventy five persons only, but when his posterity returned from thence, they were above six hundred thousand that were able to go forth to war, (Genesis 46:27) (Number 1:46); see (Exodus 1:7, 12); and thou hast increased and waxed great; and became large families, kindreds, and tribes, as the Targum interprets it; as a child grows up, and becomes adult: and thou art come to excellent ornaments; or, "ornament of ornaments" {n}; as a young woman, when she is grown up, comes to wear better and finer clothes than in infancy; perhaps there is an allusion to the jewels the Israelites brought out of Egypt with them: this may be applied to the laws, statutes, and ordinances given them, which were an "ornament of grace" unto them, (Proverbs 1:9); [thy] breasts are fashioned; swelled and stood out; were come to a proper size and shape, as in persons grown and marriageable; see (Song of Solomon 8:10); and thine hair is grown; an euphemism, expressive of puberty, which in females WAS AT TWELVE YEARS OF AGE: whereas thou [wast] naked and bare; in a state of infancy. Jarchi and Kimchi interpret this of the Israelites being without the commandments. The whole of what is here said, may be applied to quickened and converted persons, who grow in grace, and increase in spiritual knowledge; and are adorned with the ornaments of grace and good works; and attend to the word and ordinances, which are the church's breasts; who, while in their nature state, were naked and destitute of righteousness and grace.
(The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible; source; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Verse 8. Was the time of love
Thou wast marriageable.

I spread my skirt over thee
I espoused thee. This was one of their initiatory marriage ceremonies. See Ruth 3:9.

I-entered into a covenant with thee
Married thee. Espousing preceded marriage. (The Adam Clarke Commentary; source)

8. thy time of love--literally, "loves" (compare So 2:10-13). Thou wast of marriageable age, but none was willing to marry thee, naked as thou wast. I then regarded thee with a look of grace when the full time of thy deliverance was come (Ge 15:13; Ac 7:6, 7). It is not she that makes the advance to God, but God to her; she has nothing to entitle her to such notice, yet He regards her not with mere benevolence, but with love, such as one cherishes to the person of his wife (So 1:3-6; Jer 31:3; Mal 1:2). (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible; source)

What the foregoing shows is that Muhammad’s marriage with Aisha stood in stark violation of the biblical standard regarding the age of marriage since Islamic sources claim that Aisha hadn’t attained maidenhood when she consummated her marriage:

Narrated 'Aisha:
I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah's Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for 'Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, NOT YET REACHED THE AGE OF PUBERTY.) (Fateh-al-Bari page 143, Vol.13) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 151)

Moreover, the Quran actually sanctions marriages with prepubescent girls:

O Prophet, when you divorce women, divorce them when they have reached their period. Count the period, and fear God your Lord. Do not expel them from their houses, nor let them go forth, except when they commit a flagrant indecency. Those are God's bounds; whosoever trespasses the bounds of God has done wrong to himself. Thou knowest not, perchance after that God will bring something new to pass… As for your women who have despaired of further menstruating, if you are in doubt, their period shall be three months; and those who have not menstruated as yet. And those who are with child, their term is when they bring forth their burden. Whoso fears God, God will appoint for him, of His command, easiness. S. 65:1, 4 Arberry

That the Quran, in the context of divorce, is prescribing a waiting period for women who haven’t menstruated presupposes that men can marry young minors who haven’t attained maidenhood! The renowned Muslim exegete Abu-Ala’ Maududi, in his six volume commentary on the Quran, confirms that this is precisely what Q. 65:4 is saying:

They may not have menstruated as yet either because of young age, or delayed menstrual discharge as it happens in the case of some women, or because of no discharge at all throughout life which, though rare, may also be the case. In any case, the waiting-period of such a woman is the same as of the woman, who has stopped menstruation, that is three months from the time divorce was pronounced.

Here, one should bear in mind the fact that according to the explanations given in the Qur'an the question of the waiting period arises in respect of the women with whom marriage may have been consummated, for there is no waiting-period in case divorce is pronounced before the consummation of marriage. (Al-Ahzab: 49).Therefore, making mention of the waiting-period for girls who have not yet menstruated, clearly proves that it is not only permissible to give away the girl at this age but it is permissible for the husband to consummate marriage with her. Now, obviously no Muslim has the right to forbid a thing which the Qur’an has held as permissible. (Maududi, volume 5, p. 620, note 13; sources 1; 2; bold emphasis added)

Interestingly, al-Bukhari used Aisha’s example to support that Q. 65:4 makes it lawful to marry young minors who hadn’t reached puberty:

XXXIX. A man giving his young children in marriage

By the words of Allah, "that also applies to those who have not yet menstruated" (65:4) and He made the 'idda of a girl BEFORE puberty three months.

4840. It is related from 'A'isha that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, married her when she was six years old and consummated it when she was nine, and she was his wife for nine years. (Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection of Al-Bukhari, Chapter 70. Book of Marriage; source; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Thus, even by Nadir’s own criterion Muhammad stands condemned as a law-breaker who violated the moral code of the true God as defined in the Hebrew Scriptures.

This isn’t the only time that Muhammad went against God’s Law. The Hebrew Scriptures forbade a person to remarry a divorcee who goes on to marry again, and God calls such marriages detestable, an abomination:

"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

What Yahweh told Moses was an abomination Muhammad told his followers was the only permissible way for a person to remarry his former spouse!

If he divorces her finally, she shall not be lawful to him after that, until she marries another husband. If he divorces her, then it is no fault in them to return to each other, if they suppose that they will maintain God's bounds. Those are God's bounds; He makes them clear unto a people that have knowledge. S. 2:230 Arberry

The ahadith provide additional details:

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)

Not only did Muhammad command the divorcee to remarry, but insisted that she permit her current husband to have sexual intercourse with her before returning to her former husband! For further details, see the Index entry on MUHALLIL.

Thus, Nadir must reject Muhammad as a false prophet since the latter failed to live up to God’s morality as defined in the Old Testament Scriptures. After all, Nadir himself proposed this as a criterion to determine whether Muhammad was a true spokesperson of God.

For more on these subjects we recommend the following articles:

5. Did Muhammad live up to his own Moral standards?

David Wood raised the issue of Muhammad’s multiple wives and how this violated his own command. The Quran limits the number of wives a person can have to four, provided they treat all of them fairly:

If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice. S. 4:3

Muhammad broke this limit by having more than four spouses:

Narrated Qatada:
Anas bin Malik said, "The Prophet used to visit all his wives in a round, during the day and night and they were ELEVEN IN NUMBER." I asked Anas, "Had the Prophet the strength for it?" Anas replied, "We used to say that the Prophet was given the strength of thirty (men)." And Sa'id said on the authority of Qatada that Anas had told him about nine wives only (not eleven). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 5, Number 268)

Narrated Anas bin Malik:
The Prophet used to pass by (have sexual relation with) all his wives in one night, and at that time he had NINE wives. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 142)

Here is Nadir Ahmed’s attempt of defending Muhammad’s violation of his own law:

Because the Quran came in piecemeal, alright. By the time this werse[sic], verse was revealed, hypothetically the prophet could have had more than one wife. Therefore, what is he going to do, divorce all of his wives? No, it just means that from this point nobody can have more than one wife[sic]. There is no question during the time this verse was revealed a lot of people probably had more than one wife. What they were supposed to do is stop right there.(2)

Again, Nadir’s "response" introduces several problems. First, Muhammad forced persons who had more wives than permitted by Q. 4:3 to keep four and divorce the rest:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar
Ghaylan ibn Salamah ath-Thaqafi accepted Islam and that he had ten wives in the pre-Islamic period who accepted Islam along with him; so the Prophet (peace be upon him) told him to keep four and separate from the rest of them.
Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah transmitted it. (Al-Tirmidhi, Number 945 taken from the Alim CD-ROM Version)

Narrated Al-Harith ibn Qays al-Asadi
I embraced Islam while I had eight wives. So I mentioned it to the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Select four of them. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 12, Number 2233)

If Muhammad were to be fair and consistent he should have also kept only four wives and divorced the rest. Yet he did not do so.

Second, many Muslims date Q. 4 anywhere between 3-5 A.H.

Period of Revelation

This Surah comprises several discourses which were revealed on different occasions during the period ranging probably between the end of A. H. 3 and the end of A. H. 4 or the beginning of A. H. 5. Although it is difficult to determine the exact dates of their revelations, yet it is possible to assign to them a fairly correct period with the help of the Commandments and the events mentioned therein and the Traditions concerning them. A few instances are given below by way of illustration:

  1. We know that the instructions about the division of inheritance of the martyrs and for the safeguard of the rights of the orphans were sent down after the Battle of Uhd in which 70 Muslims were killed. Then naturally the question of the division of the inheritance of the martyrs and the safeguard of the rights of their orphans arose in many families at Al-Madinah. From this we conclude that vv. 1 -28 were revealed on that occasion.
  2. We learn from the Traditions that the Commandment about salat during war time was given on the occasion of Zat-ur-Riqa'a, an expedition which took place in A. H. 4. From this we conclude that the discourse containing v. 102 was revealed on that occasion.
  3. The last warning (v. 47) to the Jews was given before the Banu Nadir were exiled from Al-Madinah in Rabi'-ulAwwal, A. H. 4. From this it may safely be concluded that the discourse containing v. 47 must have been revealed some time before that date.
  4. The permission about tayammum (the performance of ablutions with pure dust, in case no water be available) was given during the Bani-al-Mustaliq expedition, which took place in A. H. 5. Therefore the probable period of the revelation of the discourse containing v. 43 was A. H. 5. (Syed Abu-Ala' Maududi's Chapter Introductions to the Qur'an, source; underline emphasis ours)

Yet several of Muhammad’s marriages were consummated after this command was given:

According to Ibn Humayd – Salamah – Ibn Ishaq, who said: When the Messenger of God returned to Medina from Khaybar, he stayed there months of Rabi‘ I, Rabi‘ II, Jumada I, Jumada II, Rajab, Sha‘ban, Ramadan, and Shawwal, sending out expeditions and raiding parties during the period. Then in Dhu al-Qa‘dah, the month in which the polytheists had turned him back [in the previous year], he set out to perform the "Lesser Pilgrimage of Fulfillment" in place of the lesser pilgrimage which they had turned him back. The Muslims who had been with him on that lesser pilgrimage of his set out with him. It was the year 7. When the people of Mecca heard of it, they made way for him. The Quraysh spoke among themselves of how Muhammad and his companions were in difficulty, distress and want…

According to Ibn Humayd – Salamah – Muhammad b. Ishaq – Aban b. Salih and ‘Abdallah b. Abi Najih – ‘Ata’ b. Abi Rabah and Mujahid – Ibn ‘Abbas: The Messenger of God married Maymunah bt. Al-Harith on this journey while he was in a state of ritual purity; al-‘Abbas b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib married her to him.

According to Ibn Ishaq: The Messenger of God stayed in Mecca three nights. On the third day, Huwaytib b. ‘Abd al-‘Uzza b. Abi Qays b. ‘Abd Wudd b. Nasr b. Malik b. Hisl came to him with a group of Quraysh: Quraysh had deputed Huwaytib to make the Messenger of God leave Mecca. They said to him, "Your allotted time is up; so depart from us!" The Messenger of God said to them: "How would it harm you if you left me and I celebrated the wedding feast among you? We would prepare food for you, and you would attend it." They said, "We do not need your food; so depart from us!" The Messenger of God departed leaving behind Abu Rafi‘ his mawla to take charge of Maymunah. Abu Rafi‘ brought her to him at Sarif, and the Messenger of God consummated his marriage with her there… (The History of al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, translated by Michael Fishbein [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1997], Volume VIII (8), pp. 133-134, 136-137; bold and underline emphasis ours)

558. Dhu al-Qa‘dah of A.H. 7 began on 2 March 629. (Ibid., p. 134)

Then the Messenger of God married Safiyyah bt. Huyayy b. Akhtab b. Sa‘yah b. Tha‘labah b. ‘Ubayd b. Ka‘b b. al-Khazraj b. Abi Habib b. al-Nadir. Previously, she was married to Sallam b. Mishkam b. al-Hakam b. Harithah b. al-Khazraj b. Ka‘b b. al-Khazraj. After his death she was married to Kinanah b. al-Rabi‘ b. Abi al-Huqayq, who was killed by Muhammad b. Maslamah at the Prophet’s order. He was struck at the neck until he died. When the Prophet scrutinized the captives on the day of Khaybar, he threw his cloak over Safiyyah. Thus she was his chosen one (safiyyah) on the day of Khaybar. Then he proposed Islam to her and she accepted, so he freed her. That was in the year 6/627-28.

Then the Messenger of God married Maymunah bt. Al-Harith b. Hazn b. Bujayr b. al-Huzam b. Ruwaybah b. ‘Abdallah b. Hilal. Previously, she was married to Umayr b. ‘Amr of the Banu ‘Uqdah b. Ghiyarah b. ‘Awf b. Qasi, who was [from] Thaqif. She did not bear any children with him, and she was the sister of Umm al-Fadl, wife of ‘Abbas b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib. The Messenger of God married her in Sarif during his Lesser Pilgrimage of Fulfillment (‘umrat al-qada). Al-‘Abbas b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib married her to him. (The History of al-Tabari: The Last Years of the Prophet, translated and annotated by Ismail K. Poonawala [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1990], Volume IX (9), pp. 134-135; bold and underline emphasis ours)


Ibn ‘Umar [al-Waqidi] – Kathir b. Zayd – al-Walid b. Rabah – Abu Hurayrah: While the Prophet was lying with Safiyyah Abu Ayyub stayed the night at his door. When he saw the Prophet in the morning he said "God is the Greatest." He had a sword with him; he said to the Prophet, "O Messenger of God, this young woman had just been married, and you killed her father, her brother and her husband, so I did not trust her (not to harm) you." The Prophet laughed and said "Good".

According to Muhammad b. Musa – ‘Umarah b. al-Muhajir – Aminah bt. Abi Qays al-Ghifariyyah: I was one of the women who led Safiyyah as a bride to the Prophet. I heard her say: I was not even seventeen, or I was just seventeen, the night I entered the Prophet’s [room].

Maymunah bt. Al-Harith b. Hazn al-Hilali.

Her mother was Hind bt. ‘Awf b. Zuhayr b. al-Harith b. Hamatah b. Jurash.

In pre-Islamic times Maymunah had been married to Mas‘ud b. ‘Amr b. ‘Umayr al-Thaqafi. He divorced her, and she was married to Abu Ruhm b. ‘Abd al-‘Uzza b. Abi Qays, of the Banu Malik b. Hisl b. ‘Amr b. Lu’ayy. He died, leaving her a widow, and the Prophet married her. It was al-‘Abbas b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib who gave her in marriage, [because] he was her guardian, as she was the full sister of his concubines (umm walad) [Lubabah al-Kubra] bt. Al-Harith al-Hilaliyyah, the mother of his son al-Fadl.

The Prophet married Maymunah in Sarif [a place] ten miles from Mecca. She was the last woman he married, in the year 7/628, during the lesser pilgrimage of the Consummation (‘umrat al-qadiyyah). (The History of al-Tabari: Biographies of the Prophet’s Companions and Their Successors, translated by Ella Landau-Tasseron [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1998], Volume XXXIX (39), pp. 185-186; bold and underline emphasis ours)

According to al-Tabari (Volume 8, p. 116) the expedition to Khaybar occurred on al-Muharram 7 AH, approximately May-June 628 AD, and Muhammad married Safiyya shortly after this time. This provides corroboration that Muhammad was marrying women long after Q. 4:3, and shows that he deliberately went against his own directive!(3)

Nadir keeps making it worse for his position by using such shallow argumentation.

6. Concluding Statements

We have stated more than once (*) that Nadir Ahmed does greater harm to the cause of Islam than good, a fact which even some Muslims agree with (*). Nadir is not beneath using shallow arguments, lies, deceptions, ad hominem, and other logically fallacies in his debates. Nadir seems to be aware of how weak his apologetic is since he often thunders and rants in his debates that his opponent hasn’t refuted him, despite the fact that Nadir has lost all his debates thus far!

As such, Nadir greatly aids Christian apologetics since he helps to serve the purpose of exposing how intellectually shallow and bankrupt the religion of Islam truly is. He demonstrates to any intelligent and open-minded person why Islam is not an option and that there are no good reasons for becoming a Muslim.

With this just said, we really do want to encourage Nadir Ahmed to keep up the great work of disgracing Islam and his prophet. We further encourage Muslims to use Nadir Ahmed in debates since we know of no better person who does such a great job of discrediting Islam than Nadir (besides Osama Abdullah and Abdullah Smith, that is).


(1) Nadir Ahmed chose not to stick to the thesis of the debate, but chose to focus on other issues which he felt were relevant to the topic. Nadir Ahmed offered archaeological and scientific evidence for the inspiration of the Quran and was operating under the false assumption that such argumentation would establish his conception of Tauhid.

The reader should see why this approach is problematic: there is no direct connection between the Quran being accurate and it’s teaching the concept of Tauhid. After all, if the Quran doesn’t teach Tauhid then it doesn’t matter how much evidence is produced since such facts could never establish such a doctrine in the first place. Nadir must first establish that the Quran teaches that Allah is a singular divine consciousness and not merely assume that it does. Clearly he did not do this in the debate. Nor can he, since a careful reading of the Quran shows that it doesn’t teach Tauhid:

(2) Interestingly, Nadir’s response agrees with our analysis that Q. 33:50 did not allow Muhammad to have more than four spouses (*) since his comments presuppose that Muhammad would have been bound to keep the limit of wives prescribed by Q. 4:3 had this been given to him prior to his multiple marriages.

(3) Nadir may wish to recant his position by asserting that Q. 33:50 allowed Muhammad more than four wives:

O Prophet (Muhammad SAW)! Verily, We have made lawful to you your wives, to whom you have paid their Mahr (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), and those (captives or slaves) whom your right hand possesses - whom Allah has given to you, and the daughters of your 'Amm (paternal uncles) and the daughters of your 'Ammah (paternal aunts) and the daughters of your Khal (maternal uncles) and the daughters of your Khalah (maternal aunts) who migrated (from Makkah) with you, and a believing woman if she offers herself to the Prophet, and the Prophet wishes to marry her; a privilege for you only, not for the (rest of) the believers. Indeed We know what We have enjoined upon them about their wives and those (captives or slaves) whom their right hands possess, - in order that there should be no difficulty on you. And Allah is Ever OftForgiving, Most Merciful. Hilali-Khan

Nadir may also claim that Q. 33:50 was composed before Q. 4:3, which implies that Muhammad receiving permission to have as many wives as he desired didn’t violate Allah’s directives on the limit of spouses a person can have.

The immediate problem with such a response is that it assumes that Q. 33:50 allowed Muhammad to have more than four wives, an assumption which we have challenged on contextual grounds. Please consult the link provided in the preceding footnote for the details.

Second, according to Muslim sources Q. 33:50 was recited and/or written after, not before, the composition of Q. 4. Recall that al-Maududi asserted that 4:1-28 was composed shortly after the battle of Uhud, an event which is dated at approximately 3 AH (*). Here is the date that he assigns for Q. 33:

Period of Revelation

The Surah discusses three important events which are: the Battle of the Trench (or Al-Ahzab: the Clans), which took place in Shawwal, A. H. 5; the raid on Bani Quraizah, which was made in Dhil-Qa'dah, A. H. 5; and the Holy Prophet's marriage with Hadrat Zainab, which also was contracted in Dhil-Qa'dah, A. H. 5. These historical events accurately determine the period of the revelation of this Surah. (Source)

If we take for granted that Al-Maududi’s dating is correct then this means that Q. 33 was composed two years after Q. 4:1-28.

Other Muslims date Q. 33 particularly later:

This surah was revealed near the end of the sixth and the beginning of the seventh year of the Hijrah… (The Majestic Qur’an: An English rendition of its Meanings [The Nawawi Foundation (Chicago) & The Ibn Khaldun Foundation (London), 2000], p. 418)

Hence, whether we accept al-Maududi’s date or this one above, we are still left with Q. 33 being composed later than Q. 4:1-28.

But in fairness to Nadir, there are certain sources that do date Q. 33 before Q. 4:

THE DESIGNATION of this surah is derived from the references in verses 9-27 to the War of the Confederates, which took place in the year 5 H. (see note on verse 9 below). The tone of these references, and especially of verse 20, shows that this part of the surah was revealed immediately after that war, i.e., towards the end of 5 H. Verses 37-40, which deal with the Prophet’s marriage to Zaynab bint Jahsh, were revealed in the same year, probably a few months earlier; the same can be said of verses 4-5, which apparently contain an indirect allusion to the Prophet’s adoptive relationship with Zaynab’s first husband, Zayd ibn Harithah (see in this connection note on verse 37 below). On the other hand, verses 28-29 and 52 cannot have been revealed earlier than the year 7 H., and may even belong to a later period (cf. note on verse 52). There is no clear evidence as to the date of the rest of this surah, although some authorities (e.g., Suyuti) maintain that much - if not most - of it was revealed after surah 3 ("The House of Imran") and before surah 4 ("Women"), which would place it towards the end of 3 H., or in the early part of 4 H. In brief, it can be stated with certainty that the surah was revealed in small segments at various times between the end of the first and the middle of the last third of the Medina period. This, together with the fact that a considerable portion of it deals with the personal history of the Prophet, the relationship between him and his contemporaries - in particular, his family - and certain rules of behaviour which applied explicitly, and specifically, to his wives alone, explains why this surah is so complex in its structure and so diversified in its modes of expression. (Asad, The Message of the Qur’an; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

However, Q. 33:50 provides clues that this reference was composed sometime after the injunction of Q. 4:3:

O Prophet, We have made lawful for thee thy wives whom thou hast given their wages and what thy right hand owns, spoils of war that God has given thee, and the daughters of thy uncles paternal and aunts paternal, thy uncles maternal and aunts maternal, who have emigrated with thee, and any woman believer, if she give herself to the Prophet and if the Prophet desire to take her in marriage, for thee exclusively, apart from the believers -- We know what We have imposed upon them touching their wives and what their right hands own -- that there may be no fault in thee; God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. Arberry

The mention of what Allah imposed upon the Muslims regarding wives and slaves presupposes the statements of Q. 4:3, otherwise to what other passage could this be referring? Thus, we have a contextual indication that Q. 33:50 came sometime after the directives found in Q. 4:3.

Thirdly, as we already stated this argument wouldn’t provide a basis for Muhammad violating Q. 4:3. It merely shows that he applied a different standard to himself and justified it on the grounds that his god permitted it.

Thus, even if we assume that Q. 33:50 did allow Muhammad to have more than four wives this only provides further substantiation for David Wood’s position that Muhammad failed to apply his own directives consistently, since he applied one standard for his community and another for himself.

Fourth, if Muhammad were indeed fair he should have kept only four wives and divorced the rest once the directives of Q. 4:3 were made. After all, did he not force others who had more than the prescribed number to divorce some of their spouses and keep only four?

Finally and more importantly, Muhammad shouldn’t have continued marrying additional women long after Q. 4:3 was composed, and yet he did just that!

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