Critical Analysis: Summary

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Islam: A Critical Analysis
By: S.T.
Ch.1: Burden Of Proof
Ch.2: Judaism and Islam
Ch.3: Imperfect Text
Ch.4: Qur'anic Grammar
Ch.5: What Others Say
Ch.6: Hypocrisy in Islam
Ch.7: Hell
Ch.8: Violence in Islam
Ch.9: Logical Fallacies
Ch.10: Women in Islam
Ch.11: Muhammad’s Wives
Ch.12: Inheritance Laws
Ch.13: Qur'anic Ethics
Ch.14: Existence of Allah
Ch.15: What is Prophecy?
Ch.16: Unclear Qur'an
Ch.17: The Need for Hadith?
Ch.18: Miscellaneous
Ch.19: Numerical Patterns in the Qur'an
Ch.20: Summary
Ch.20: Quotations
Ch.22: Further Reading

Throughout the text, I tried to back up my claims with supporting evidence. In the summary, I will state my points without such evidence.

  • The burden of proof is on Islam to prove that it is correct as the Quran claims to have clear proofs. If one cannot prove Islam, and is intellectually honest then they become a doubter. Alternatively, one can pretend to believe when they really doubt and would be a hypocrite trying to deceive Allah.
  • It is very hard to be a true believer as opposed to a hypocrite or doubter. It requires that one should believe with complete faith that one’s self, family members or close friends should eternally burn in hell if they are deemed as an unbeliever as defined in the Quran.
  • It is very hard to believe in Islam, as it often demands a person to support amputation of thieves, various wars, and in some Islamic sects stoning of adulterers, and in some situations wife-beating. If a Muslim rejects these counterintuitive laws, then arguably they are hypocrites.
  • Much of Islam is impossible to prove. For example, without a tape recording of what Allah recited to Gabriel, it is futile to prove that the current Quran is identical to the original. Even worse, often the basic tenets of Islam can be shown to be false or very unrealistic.
  • Given that in some circles Jewish/Biblical myths are widely accepted, it is not surprising that the Quranic authors believed in these myths. Hence, a foundation of Islam is shown to be false which undermines Islam.
  • Muslims correctly believe that the Biblical text is corrupt. This makes the Quran impossible to understand or follow as it refers to Biblical or extra-Biblical stories falsely assuming that the reader knows what happened in these stories.
  • It seems bizarre that God would expect us to believe with perfect faith in various Biblical stories that happened thousands of years before the Quran was written.
  • An argument that the Quran is perfectly preserved is based on an interpretation of some Quranic verses. This begs the question of whether the Quran is correct, and whether such an interpretation is accurate.
  • We do not have the original Quran. There exists a Kuwaiti text that lists thousands of Quranic variants. There are traditions that stoning adulterers and breastfeeding verses were part of the Quran. Rashad Khalifa published a Quran that removed two verses. The Caliphs burnt copies of the Quran, implying that there were a diversity of Quranic texts and we cannot know which ones are correct.
  • The Quran is a disorganized text, and requires unconventional grammatical rules implying that it is likely to have been corrupted.
  • Based on the above, it seems obvious that there are a diversity of Quranic texts and that current Quran differs from the original.
  • The Quran lists many accusations against Muhammad or other prophets. There is no way to prove that those accusations were false.
  • While the Quran preaches against hypocrisy, Islam is often hypocritical. Muhammad had more than 4 wives. The Quran encourages questioning other faiths but is against questioning Islam. The Quran takes the People of the Book to task for disputing about Abraham, as the Bible was written centuries after Abraham ignoring the fact that the Quran was written even later.
  • Much of the Quran, at the very least has the appearance of establishing laws for personal gain. One fifth of the booty seems to go to the Apostle to distribute, Muslims are repeatedly asked to obey the Apostle. There are laws restricting access to the Prophet’s home, and threatening the prophet’s wives for cheating on him. In a Hadith, Muhammad uses a Divine dream to convince Aisha to marry him.
  • The Quran mentions hell/fire/burn hundreds of times. In some cases, hell is eternal. It seems far-fetched that the Most-Merciful God would torture a large percentage of humanity in hell—particularly, since God could have relied on rewards to motivate behavior. Torturing the majority of humans is a greater evil than whatever benefits hell would provide.
  • Many teachings in Islam promote violence including Jihad, martyrdom, amputating thieves, killing apostates, stoning adulterers, wife-beating and animal sacrifice. How can peaceful Muslims prove that their peaceful interpretations are correct? Also, when peaceful Muslims promotes Islam, by encouraging others (including their family) to follow Islam, and to encourage society to establish Shariah, they may end up promoting violence. Some Muslims accept violence as a way to fight against evil. In practice, sometimes Muslims that do the fighting are more evil than the people they are fighting against. One also wonders why an All-Knowing and Most-Merciful God couldn’t have discovered more peaceful solutions to the world’s problems.
  • Most or all of the Quran is unverifiable. It has various Biblical stories written centuries after they allegedly happened. It discusses the unseen (angels, Satan, jinn, Allah, the last day, heaven and hell). Similarly, without knowing the ideal allocation of inheritance, it is futile to prove that the Quran’s allocation is the best one. Further, given our incomplete understanding of the text and the universe, few, if any, Quranic verses can be proven to be true.
  • The concept of Satan is a logical fallacy. Since Muslims often have opposing views on interpreting Islam, how can anyone be expected to know which of those views are based on Satan and which are based on Allah?
  • The Quran in its chapter on women addresses its male readers. There are Islamic traditions supporting wife-beating, confining women to their houses, allowing (or even encouraging) child-marriage, giving men twice the inheritance and giving less credence to women witnesses.
  • The inheritance laws seem to exclude many potential cases. These laws seem to be simplistic and imperfect. For example, the Quran advocates that a super-wealthy person with one rich relative should give all his possessions to that relative instead of distributing it to a much larger group of people who need it.
  • The Quran has laws addressing gambling, intoxicants, interest and stealing. However, these laws are unclearly defined. It is unclear what the rationale for these laws are, making it futile to correctly extrapolate these to other situations. It is futile to prove that these are the best possible laws.
  • Many people use the argument from Design to prove that an all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal God exists. But if it is proven that everything must have a cause, it begs the question, of who created God? In the automaker analogy, one does not assume that there was a single all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal automaker. Why assume that imperfect humans can only be created by a single perfect God? Why wouldn’t a Most-Merciful, All-Powerful God alleviate human suffering in this world (or the next)? Can a God create a hammer that He cannot lift?
  • Even assuming God exists, how do we know that God communicates with humans? Given all the false prophets, and opposing interpretations of alleged Divine texts, how can we be sure that our interpretation represents the view of God?
  • We do not have a list of each of Muhammad’s prophecies, but only those that were recorded and we have no way of knowing whether those prophecies were accurately recorded. This makes it difficult to know the accuracy of his prophecies.
  • Many people speak in the name of God. People will explain why God caused a particular tragedy, people will assume that their dream was a Divine communication, and people will write books explaining how God wants us to live. Muslims who believe that Muhammad was the last prophet, as well as skeptics, would not believe that the views expressed by every person speaking in God’s name accurately reflect the view of God. I do not know how Muhammad experienced his prophecies and I am unconvinced that Muhammad’s views represent the view of God.
  • Assuming that Divine writings exist, it is unclear that we can recognize them. Jews, Christians, and Muslims debate which books are Divine. Further, Muslims believe the Bible was corrupted, but it is unclear how they can determine which Biblical verses are Divine.
  • Even if Islam were true, it seems impossible to know which interpretations are correct.

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