Who Antagonized Whom?
By Sami Zaatari
Missionary Sam Shamoun has written an article where he seeks to show that it was the prophet Muhammad who started the hostilities and fighting with the pagans of Makkah, and not the other way round. His article can be found here:
In this rebuttal we shall expose Shamoun's twists and deception he applies to try and prove his points, on top of this we shall use his own words to expose him, by the end you shall see how weak and wrong his points are, and that Shamoun simply uses deceptive lying tactics to try and make a point. Before doing so I would like to ask Shamoun why can't he objectively and honestly try to argue? Why must he resort to cheap dirty tricks? Only he can answer and tell us.
The missionary writes:
Oftentimes, when Christians and other individuals mention atrocities committed by Muhammad, such as the raiding of caravans and the brutal murdering of people, Muslims seek to justify these heinous crimes by claiming that Muhammad was only attacking those who first persecuted him and his followers. For instance, Muslims attempt to justify Muhammad's raids on Meccan caravans on the basis that the Meccans were the ones who first attacked Muhammad and the Muslims, and had driven them away from their homes and properties. Thus, Muhammad's attacks on the caravans were intended to regain some of the property which had been wrongfully stolen from the Muslims by the pagans.
It was indeed the pagans who began the hostilities by persecuting and beating the Muslims, on top of this the pagans even boycotted the Muslims which almost led to starvation! The Muslims as a result were forced to leave Makkah because of the Pagan violence and hatred, leaving all their property and business behind in the hands of the violent Pagans who would not compensate or anything. Hence the prophet Muhammad had every right to raid their caravans and take their property and income as the pagans had first done this to the Muslims.
The Muslims were also justified in doing open battle with the pagans because it was also the pagans who firstly began open physical violence towards the Muslims, hence the Muslims had every right to eventually fight back when they could do so.
Since Shamoun knows this, he now tries to twist it around, he does this by saying:
It is our intention to show in this paper that the claim that the pagans were the ones who first persecuted Muhammad is not supported by the Islamic data. We will see that the Islamic evidence actually shows that it was Muhammad who first attacked and antagonized the pagan Meccans by assaulting their religion and family values, thereby igniting the anger of the Meccans and instigating their subsequent retaliation against Muhammad and his followers.
Shamoun tries to pull a fast one over the readers, to the un-suspecting reader one will not notice how Shamoun deceives them, but to one who is examining and refuting Shamoun one will not be fooled by his twist.
Here is how Shamoun tried to pull a fast one, notice he first writes:
It is our intention to show in this paper that the claim that the pagans were the ones who first persecuted Muhammad is not supported by the Islamic data
So notice he says that he wants to show that it was not the pagans who began the persecution of the Muslims, but it was the Muslims. However so notice how he then pulls a fast one and twists what he says when he writes:
We will see that the Islamic evidence actually shows that it was Muhammad who first attacked and antagonized the pagan Meccans by assaulting their religion and family values
You caught it? First Shamoun says he wants to show that the Muslims began the PERSACUTION against the pagans, then a sentence later he changes the wording instead he now says he will show that the prophet Muhammad began the problems by attacking the pagan religion and values! We all know that PERSACUTING somebody is 100% different than opposing someone through verbal speech, for instance a scholar who speaks out against a certain institution is not persecuting that institution, he is simply challenging it and speaking against it. However so when you persecute someone this means you physically harm them and hurt them in some way, either by beating them, arresting them, boycotting them etc.
So you see how Shamoun deceives his readers? Nice try Sam, but you really must do better next time.
But now Shamoun begins lying when he writes:
When Muhammad preached Islam and invited people to his god, the Meccans showed no hostility towards him, and were even listening to him. The Meccans only began showing hostility towards Muhammad after he had started attacking their gods, their religion and their traditional values. Being fed up with the insults to their religion, the pagans threatened to ridicule Muhammad's god in return. Only then does Allah intervene by "sending down" a verse telling the Muslims to refrain from insulting the idols so as to prevent the pagans from abusing him.
Before exposing his blatant lie, let me issue some challenges to Shamoun, because it seems he thinks I will let him make claims without proving it, so let us see if Shamoun can actually back up what he says. So Shamoun, bring one Islamic source that shows the prophet Muhammad insulting and mocking the gods of the pagans.
Shamoun also continues to play the deception game; he keeps saying the prophet Muhammad ?attacked' the pagan religion and life. The prophet Muhammad was doing God's duty of preaching the truth and exposing the lies, so let us ask Shamoun a question. Should we condemn all the other prophets for attacking un-godly religions and way of life?
Secondly there is a difference between attacking a doctrine than physically attacking and insulting someone! The prophet exposed the false ideology of paganism; he did not physically attack and beat the pagans in Makkah! In fact what makes this interesting is that Jesus beat people when he began his ministry! Here is the episode from the Bible where Jesus attacked people:
13When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"
Not only did Jesus physically attack people, he also insulted and cursed none-believers:
33"You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
40You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?
So Jesus physically attacked people, as well as cursing and insulting them! So using Shamoun's logic the Jews had every right to feel angry at Jesus and even going as far as wanting him dead and thinking they killed him!
Also in today's world many Christians verbally attack Islam, including Shamoun himself, so does Shamoun accept that Muslims may react violently towards him and other Christians who always criticize Islam? Because Shamoun is trying to excuse the pagans for becoming angry and hostile towards the Muslims and the prophet Muhammad because the prophet Muhammad preached against him! Now Shamoun will say no it is not right to react violently to criticism, so therefore why does he seek to justify it for the pagans?!
Why cant there be a bit of honesty?
But now let us expose Shamoun's lie, he says the pagans didn't react with hostility until the prophet began speaking against their gods and way of life, well that is a lie as well, it would have done good for Shamoun if he quoted this Islamic source:
According to Sahih Muslim, [the Prophet said:]
«æóÇáøóÐöí äóÝúÓöí ÈöíóÏöåö¡ áóÇ íóÓúãóÚõ Èöí ÃóÍóÏñ ãöäú åóÐöåö ÇáúÃõãøóÉö íóåõæÏöíøñ æóáóÇ äóÕúÑóÇäöíøñ¡ Ëõãøó áóÇ íõÄúãöäõ Èöí ÅöáøóÇ ÏóÎóáó ÇáäøóÇÑ»
(By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, no one from these nations -- Jewish or Christian -- hears of me then does not believe in me, but he will enter Hell.) Many Hadiths have been narrated concerning the revelation of this Ayah, some of which we will quote below: Imam Ahmad, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "When Allah revealed the Ayah,
[æóÃóäÐöÑú ÚóÔöíÑóÊóßó ÇáÇøñÞúÑóÈöíäó ]
(And warn your tribe of near kindred.), the Prophet went to As-Safa', climbed up and called out,
(O people!) The people gathered around him, some coming of their own accord and others sending people on their behalf to find out what was happening. The Messenger of Allah said:
«íóÇ Èóäöí ÚóÈúÏöÇáúãõØøóáöÈö¡ íóÇ Èóäöí ÝöåúÑò¡ íóÇÇóÈäöí áõÄóíó¡ ÃóÑóÃóíúÊõãú áóæú ÃóÎúÈóÑúÊõßõãú Ãóäøó ÎóíúáðÇ ÈöÓóÝúÍö åóÐóÇ ÇáúÌóÈóáö ÊõÑíÏõ Ãóäú ÊõÛöíÑó Úóáóíúßõãú ÕóÏøóÞúÊõãõæäöí¿»
(O Bani `Abd Al-Muttalib, O Bani Fihr, O Bani Lu'ayy! What do you think, if I told you that there was a cavalry at the foot of this mountain coming to attack you -- would you believe me) They said, "Yes.'' He said:
«ÝóÅöäøöí äóÐöíÑñ áóßõãú Èóíúäó íóÏóí ÚóÐóÇÈò ÔóÏöíÏ»
(Then I warn you of a great punishment that is close at hand.) Abu Lahab said, "May you perish for the rest of the day! You only called us to tell us this'' Then Allah revealed:
[ÊóÈøóÊú íóÏóÂ ÃóÈöì áóåóÈò æóÊóÈøó ]
(Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and perish he!) [111:1] This was also recorded by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i.
Shamoun claimed the pagans began being bad and hostile to the prophet Muhammad only after he began preaching against their gods, yet here we see the prophet Muhammad simply warning his people of a punishment that awaits them, he does not speak against their religion, their gods, or their culture, yet Abu Lahab a pagan with a lot of influence and support insults the prophet Muhammad and shows hostility!
Now according to Shamoun the one who started the problems and violence is the one who first speaks out against the other party, hence here we see the first ever verbal attack was from a pagan against the prophet Muhammad, not the other way!
However so this all doesn't matter, because the fact is the pagans were the first ones to become physical and hostile towards the Muslims, not the other way round. Shamoun knows this and tried to use desperation and tried to justify the pagan's behavior by saying the prophet Muhammad started the problems because he spoke against their religion!
But now let us assume Shamoun is correct, let us assume that the pagans began being hostile and violent towards the Muslims only after the prophet Muhammad began speaking against their religion, does this mean that the prophet was wrong for fighting back? Not at all, off course Shamoun is trying to prove that, but now let us quote what he himself has said concerning violence in the Bible:
The foregoing shows that the nations such as Egypt had been privy to the supernatural signs and wonders that God was performing. Yet instead of heeding these signs and repenting, many of them such as the Canaanites decided to remain obstinate in their unbelief and defy God by fighting against his covenant people. Thus, God was completely justified in demanding their complete annihilation in light of their willful disobedience and defiance. (http://www.answeringislam.net/Shamoun/q_amalekites.htm)
So according to Shamoun the God of the Bible was justified by using the prophet Moses to wipe out and kill several towns including women and children because they didn't repent to the true religion and remained unbelievers! So therefore Shamoun's logic that he has been using against the prophet Muhammad is not even believed by himself! So he is using an argument he does not follow or believe in! Shamoun believes that it is okay for prophets and God to preach to pagans and unbelievers, speaking against their belies and life, and then later killing them if they don't follow it!
So this all proves Shamoun is indeed a very dishonest man who cannot be trusted.
So therefore in conclusion the fact is is that the pagans began open verbal and violent hostility towards the Muslims and the prophet Muhammad, not the other way round. Shamoun's arguments are filled with holes and double standards as well as mistakes and willful errors.
Shamoun then goes on to quote other narrations which doesn't prove his point, all they show is fighting and battles between the pagans and Muslims as a result of the pagans beginning the war.
And Allah knows Best!