Dr. Bill Warner is the American author of several books, including "Sharia Law for non-Muslims" and "Factual Persuasion: Changing the Minds of Islam's Supporters". He currently operates the website, PoliticalIslam.com.
According to his official bio, Warner has a lifelong interest in religion and the effects that religious beliefs have on the course of history and civilization. After leaving college he began a more intensive study of the foundational texts of the the world’s major religions, and has now been studying Islam for over 30 years.
Before he began writing and publishing books about Islam, Warner was an applied physicist trained in quantum physics, and a University professor; he holds a PhD in both Physics and Mathematics.
Center for the Study of Political Islam
Warner founded the Center for the Study of Political Islam (CSPI) and is its director. His stated aim is to make Islamic doctrine, particularly the political and legal system of Islam, understandable to any member of the general public, and his training in scientific theory and mathematics has "shaped how he analyzed Islamic doctrine".
His books focus on Islamic law, and the canonical texts from which that law is derived. He uses these Islamic texts (Qur'an, Sira and Hadith) as his primary sources of evidence, draws his conclusions from them, and quotes from them copiously.
He considers the life of Prophet Muhammad as the key factor in understanding Islam and how it should be practiced, “To know Islam, you must know Mohammed. His life, called the Sira, and sayings, called Hadith, are the foundations of Islam. It is more important to know Mohammed than the Koran. Our books will show you one of history's interesting leaders”.
According to Warner, there are two key principles that underlie Islam’s political system: duality (particularly moral dualism) and submission (to the hierarchies Islam imposes).
Sharia Law for non-Muslims
- Pages: 48 Release Date: June 6, 2010 ISBN: 978-0979579486
Islam has its own separate legal system (Shari'ah), derived from its canonical texts. “Sharia is the Koran and Sunna interpreted by Islam’s ﬁnest scholars”. It is Warner’s opinion that “The easiest way to learn about Islam is through Sharia law”: he believes that by studying Shari'ah, the reader will come to understand Islam in a “practical manner”.
Warner’s main intention is to explain the consequences of this legal system when its laws are applied to non-Muslims and when its influence extends into non-Islamic societies. “Sharia holds two sets of laws—one for Muslims and one for Kaﬁrs [non-Muslims]. Kaﬁrs are not treated as equals, but as inferiors. This is legal dualism”, which results in different rights, responsibilities and penalties for Muslims and non-Muslims; also “The principle of submission comes into play. Kaﬁrs must submit to Sharia in all matters”. Regarding the imposition of Shari'ah in non-Islamic nations, the author gives a list of examples from America and Europe. Warner states “There are no common principles between American law and Sharia”.
He emphasizes that “when you understand its principles, Islam is very, very logical. It is based on different views of humanity, logic, knowledge, and ethics” and “Once you understand the principles and logic, you not only can explain what and why something is happening, but you will be able to predict the next step in the process”. All the information provided is referenced for the purposes of objective examination: “Everything you see here can be independently veriﬁed.”
On the subject of legal reform within Islam the conclusion is: “Sharia cannot be reformed. It is Allah’s law and it is perfect, universal, complete and perfect”.
There are fourteen chapters covering a wide range of topics such as Family law, Jihad, Slavery and the Freedom of ideas. The scope of the material is such that, according to the author, “When you ﬁnish reading, you will know what Sharia law is.”
Factual Persuasion: Changing the Minds of Islam's Supporters
- Pages: 62 Release Date: August 20, 2011 ISBN: 978-1936659142
In this “how-to book about persuading people about the true nature of Islam”, Warner promotes an analytic method to comprehending Islamic doctrine and towards learning how to debate: “This book presents a fact-based approach to Islam that uses critical thought in order that you can reason and persuade others.” In order to speak most accurately about a particular topic it is necessary to have a firm understanding of that topic; in this case, that means studying the texts of the Islamic canon: “The first step in being able to persuade someone is to have a solid foundation about Islamic doctrine.” Using an empirical method means that objectivity is a priority; that is achieved through scientific analysis of Islamic doctrine - conclusions can then be independently verified. “We need a fact-based approach to Islam, not opinions. We need a rational method that gives the same results, no matter who uses it.” Warner is clear that Islam’s political system, as it is derived from texts that can be subjected to empirical inquiry, can be objectively described “Once you scientifically define Islam, its political nature can be recognized and separated”.
Some topics and questions covered include: freedom of the press, the problems of reform, are there different kinds of Islam?, Old Testament violence, the Golden Age of Islam, Muslims rejecting Shari'ah, hadith reliability, “can you read Arabic?” and so on. The last chapter is a case study of a letter written by a rabbi defending Islam from criticism; Warner points out what he believes are common misconceptions about Islam that the rabbi is helping to promote.
The Political Traditions of Mohammed: the Hadith for the Unbelievers
- Pages: 191 Release Date: July 1, 2006 ISBN: 978-0978552879
The practice of Islam is formed from the Qur'an and Sunnah (the conduct of Muhammad). As Muhammad is regarded as the ideal man for all time, his political traditions are also considered to be the ideal for all time; hence their importance.
The Sunnah is found in the texts of the Sira (biography of Muhammad), and the Hadith (traditions of Muhammad). These hadiths or traditions were transmitted by a chain of narrators in the form of short stories; the topics of these traditions can range from drinking a glass of water to jihad. The collections of Muhammad’s traditions that are considered most reliable are contained in the volumes known as Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahaih Muslim. The hadiths in Warner’s book are all from these volumes.
The hadiths of Bukhari and Muslim contain many stories of a political nature that form a large part of Shari'ah. Warner, in this work, has cataloged the political traditions concerning non-Muslims: disclosing the status of non-Muslims in Islamic law is the major objective of his.
There are some hadiths describing religious rituals pertaining only to Muslims in this book, but most of the rituals described in Bukhari and Muslim have been left out as this aspect of Islam is not the author’s main interest.
Self-Study Course on Political Islam (Levels 1, 2 and 3)
- Pages: 94, 94 & 122 Release Date: June 14, 2011 ISBN: 978-1936659098, 978-1936659104 & 978-1936659111
The focus of this series is the political system of Islam; religious matters are covered in detail in so far as they justify the politics.
Warner has this to say about his methodology and the results it produces: “The scientific method is a new method to study Islam. Critical analysis shows that Islam is both a religion and a political system and that the political system is the greatest part of Islamic doctrine.” The political system affects non-Muslims, and Warner proposes to show how and why this is so. He actually quantifies the amount of text in the Islamic canon that concerns non-Muslims “The majority (64%) of the Koran is devoted to the Kafir, and nearly all of the Sira (81%) deals with Mohammed’s struggle with them. The Hadith devotes 32% of the text to Kafirs. Overall, the Trilogy [Koran, Sira and Hadith] devotes 60% of its content to the Kafir.”
Warner notes that “The Koran is the smallest part of Islam’s 'bible'”. The figures he produces for the relative sizes of the texts comprising the “trilogy” are: Qur'an 14%, Sira 26% and Hadith 60%. The political roles of the books are described as: “The Koran lays out the vision of jihad. The Sira lays out the grand strategy of jihad. The hadith give us the tactics— all the small details about what needs to be done.”
Specifically regarding the Sunna, Warner states that, “If you understand Mohammed’s life, you understand the greatest part of Islam.”
Each booklet covers mostly the same topics, but there is a consistent advancement in the degree of information provided. Level one provides the fundamentals of political Islam and assumes no prior knowledge and the other two levels build on that with more and more data. Level three contains the most biographical information from the Sira and Hadith.
Mohammed and the Unbelievers: a Political Life
- Pages: 183 Release Date: February 28, 2006 ISBN: 978-0978552893
“The Sira is so important that there could not be any Islam without it. Mohammed is the sacred pattern of all Muslims, and the only place his life is recorded is in the Sira and the Traditions.”
This book is an abridged edition of the Sira; the original English translation being 800 pages long. Warner condensed the Sira by subtracting “extraneous material”; anything that does not advance the story of Mohammed’s life or prophetic career. He has done this by removing poetry (accounting for about twenty five per cent of the original book), reports of Muhammad’s miracles (the Qur'an states that Muhammad preformed no miracles), ancestral information in the form of name lists that can last for pages, the sixty nine pages at the beginning that assert Muhammad’s noble lineage, and the one hundred and nine pages of end-notes and authors comments.
Warner has added margin notes that refer back to the page numbers of the unabridged original translation so the reader can check the accuracy of his edition. He also includes some information about pre-Islamic Arabia to help the reader understand better the background environment in which the story unfolds.
The result of this editing is a text that focuses narrowly on Muhammad’s life story, particularly the events leading to his development from religious preacher in Mecca to political leader in Medina; that development and its consequences being Warner’s main interest. “When he turned to politics and war, he became a total success. Indeed, politics is the real power of Islam. Political Islam is the concern for all non-Muslims, not the religion”.
Also included are relevant passages from the Qur'an, Hadith, and The History of Islam by al-Tabari.
“Mohammed's life is one of the great stories in history. He went from being a poor orphan to the first ruler of all of Arabia and died without a single enemy left alive”.
The Islamic Doctrine of Women
- Pages: 64 Release Date: November 5, 2010 ISBN: 978-0979579493
The principles of duality and submission that Warner believes underpin Islamic doctrine have, according to him, a specific application regarding the sexes. “The major duality inside Islam is male/female. There is one set of rules for men and another set of rules for women.” These rules governing women stipulate that they must submit to men; the degree of submission is such that “a woman must submit to the man in all things, she will be judged by how well she submitted during her life.” The disparity between male and female is both material, e.g. “The general principle in Islamic law is that it takes two women to equal one man” and spiritual, e.g. “It is the nature of females that most of those in Hell will be women”. Therefore, because of these disparities between the sexes Warner concludes that Islam rejects the equality of men and women - except on the Day of Resurrection when both men and women will be judged by Allah; however, “since a woman must submit to the man in all things, she will be judged by how well she submitted during her life.”
Most of the paragraphs directly quote passages from the Qur'an, Hadith and Sira (“the trilogy”) and other authoritative texts such as “The Reliance of the Traveller” (a book of fiqh). As these books are the foundations of Shari'ah they are, Warner believes, the most reliable guides to how females should be treated according to Islam. “…there is more than enough in the Trilogy to govern the smallest detail in the life of a woman from birth to death.”
The Doctrine of Slavery
- Pages: 76 Release Date: September 13, 2010 ISBN: 978-1936659074
Warner regards slavery as the symbol of what he considers to be two fundamental principles of Islam “Slavery is a supreme example of Islam’s dualistic ethics and submission.”
Slavery in Islam is part of the Sunnah and it is also sanctioned in the Qur'an. Warner states that this divine endorsement means that “Slavery is part of the natural order of society and pleasing to Allah.”
Muslims have practiced slavery ever since the beginnings of Islam; in that time, slaves have been taken from Asia, Africa, Europe and America. As a result of this long history, claims the author, “Islam has the most detailed slave code in the world.” The Arabic language has a large vocabulary pertaining to slaves and slavery: there are about forty words in Arabic for slave. For an example of the influence of the practice of slavery in Africa on the Arabic language and culture, take the word Abd: “abd, a slave, usually a black slave. Abd is also the word for any African or any black person.”
Warner describes the rights and status of a slave under Shari'ah law thusly, “The slave has neither means of redress, nor any basis for legal action of any sort. The slaves rights are all based upon the good will of its master.”
The Islamic Doctrine of Christians and Jews
- Pages: 74 Release Date: November 18, 2010 ISBN: 978-1936659005
Warner asserts that the principles of dualism and submission also apply to Jews and Christians; he claims an example of this is that, on the one hand, “Muslims tell Christians and Jews that they are not Kaﬁrs. They are “People of the Book” and brothers in the “Abrahamic faith” but on the other hand “Christians and Jews who do not accept Mohammed as the ﬁnal prophet are Kaﬁrs.”
Though this work explains the status of both Christians and Jews in Islamic history and law, most of the text deals primarily with the Jews. The reason for this is historical, as Warner takes his information primarily from the Qur'an, Hadith and Sira, “Since there were very few Christians in Arabia, they were not of political importance. Mohammed did not start attacking them until he had conquered the Arabs and crushed the Jews”.
By using biographical information from the Sira, and tying in the relevant passages from the Qur'an and Hadith, Warner means to provide the context and circumstances for Muhammad’s changing attitude towards the “People of the Book” throughout his prophetic career. “When you see Islam through the life of Mohammed, it is easy to understand. Facts are forgettable, but a story is always remembered”.
The last chapters focus on the dhimmis – Jews and Christians that are considered to have submitted to the political power of Islam by living under Shari'ah - and the particular laws they must live by, such as paying special taxes, and obeying a series of very specific stipulations in order to have some legal protection over their lives and property. The status of the dhimmi provides for Warner another example of the principles of duality and submission central to Islam.