Professor Mir tells us that the Qur'an appeals to the intellect over emotions, especially when this book points out the fallacious arguments of those people and nations who opposed the Prophets or, in the specific case of Islam, those who opposed Muhammad. His paper is well written and makes several interesting points. However, the Qur'an is guilty of committing the very same logical fallacies that it accuses others of making, as well as committing additional fallacies that it does not accuse others of committing. When we study the text of the Qur'an we will indeed [in the words of Professor Mir] "expect to reap a rich harvest".
Actually, the Argumentum Ad Baculum tells us that we will face unpleasant consequences if we do not agree with the person making the statement. Professor Mir gave us two examples in his paper (Suras 11:92 and 21:68, to name a few) where the enemies of the Prophets issued threats against them.
The Qur'an also uses this fallacy against those who would oppose Muhammad. An excellent example of this is Sura 111, in which Muhammad's uncle Abu Lahab, is the center of attention:
According to Sunni Muslims, the Qur'an is the eternal and uncreated speech of God. If this is the case, then why did God make this eternal curse against one man? What moral lesson are we supposed to learn from this? Perhaps the message is to warn, with the threat of curses and Hell, anyone who would oppose or question Muhammad?
A second problem in this Sura is the Fallacy of Untestability. After all, how do we honestly know where Abu Lahab and his wife went after death? There is absolutely no objective way of testing this.
Sura 4:115 tells us what will happen to those who disobey Muhammad:
Sura 8:16 tells us what will happen to Muhammad's soldiers if they lose their courage in battle:
Another way of looking at this argument is by using at the "carrot and stick" analogy. The aforementioned passages are examples of the "stick", or punishment for not obeying God (AND THE "PROPHET"). However, there is a "carrot" if we do obey God and, of course, his "Prophet". In fact, there are many "carrots" including:
Docile Women (Houris):
Wealth, Food, Youths, and Wine:
Allah will admit those who believe and work righteous deeds, to Gardens beneath which rivers flow: they shall be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and pearls; and their garments there will be of silk. (Sura 22:23)
(They will be) on Thrones encrusted (with gold and precious stones), Reclining on them, facing each other. Round about them will (serve) youths of perpetual (freshness), With goblets, (shining) beakers, and cups (filled) out of clear-flowing fountains: No after-ache will they receive therefrom, nor will they suffer intoxication: And with fruits, any that they may select: And the flesh of fowls, any that they may desire. (Sura 56:15-21)
Shade and Fresh Fruit
The Qur'an's description of Paradise is very different from the Biblical description. The Bible tells us that heaven is a Holy place where the Creator and His creation are reconciled, and spend eternity together, while the Qur'an describes a place which appeals to man's lowest instincts in an attempt to entice the men of Muhammad's time to follow him.
In this argument, the person, and not the argument that he, or she, presents, is attacked. Frequent readers of Dr. Saifullah's Islamic Awareness site should be very familiar with this type of argument!
There are several forms of this argument:
1. Ad Hominem (abusive): instead of attacking an argument, the person who made the argument is attacked.
In other words, if we question the claims made in this Sura, which were not supported by fact or even a decent argument, we "have no knowledge" - or in other words, we are ignorant.
2. Ad Hominem (circumstantial): instead of attacking an argument or idea, one simply points to the relationship between the person making the claim and the person's circumstances.
In other words, those who are not followers of Muhammad are the ignorant and, apparently, do not walk in humility.
3. Ad Hominem (tu quoque): this form of attack is made on a person who allegedly does not practice what he preaches.
It is important to note that Muhammad was very concerned with the hypocrisy of others while he ignored his own hypocrisy. According to Muhammad, Allah had commanded that a man could marry up to four women at any one time:
However, four women were simply not enough for Muhammad, did he fight the temptation? No way, he believed that he needed special permission from God to marry more and he (claimed) that God gave it to him:
In fact, it is uncanny how Muhammad often conveniently "received" revelations which allowed him to have his way with money (Sura 58:12), women (Sura 66:3-5), and power (Sura 5:33).
Perhaps Muhammad should have listened to the words of Jesus:
An argument or idea is considered to be true based on the fact that it is widely held to be true, or is held to be true by some (usually upper class) portion of the population. This fallacy is often called the "Appeal to Emotion" because emotional appeals are often used to affect an entire population.
So, according to this argument, Muhammad and his followers were to be followed since this verse implies that they are led by God. Also, because of the fear of "straying", one may be convinced to follow Muhammad.
The Argumentum ad Verecundiam is actually an appeal to authority in order to support a belief. However, Professor Mir tells us that it is an appeal to one's sense of modesty, so that the person who is attacked with this argument finds it difficult to respond without being improper. Using the Professor's definition, we find that the Qur'an does this in Sura 66:5 after Muhammad's wives have discovered that he has broken his "deal" concerning the order in which he sleeps with them:
The conclusion of an argument is assumed by the premises, or the conclusion is the premise restated in different words. Once again, we turn to Sura 66 where Muhammad has broken an oath to his wives, regarding the order in which he will sleep with them:
Sura 66:1-3 :
In other words, Allah agreed with this scheme all along and Muhammad did nothing wrong by breaking his vows!
The reader is told to agree to the proposition because of the pitiful state of the author.
This Sura was "revealed" to Muhammad after the death of his two sons, during a difficult period of his life in Mecca, when his own tribe had cut him off.
The author points to the disagreeable consequences of holding a particular belief in order to show that this belief is false. There are many examples of this argument in the Qur'an.
Sura 8:38-39 adds:
The definition includes the term being defined as a part of the definition. A circular definition is an excample of a Failure to Elucidate. Sura 86:13:
In other words, it says so, therefore it is so - end of discussion.
In this fallacy, there are two universal premises which have a particular conclusion. The problem with this argument is that it claims that some universal properties need not be instantiated. For example, it may be true that 'all cars without seat belts are dangerous' even though there are no cars [in the U.S. at least] which do not have seat belts - which is the very point of this fallacy.
Sura 39:62 tells us:
and Sura 40:62 agrees with this:
Sura 23:14 informs us:
And Sura 37:125 adds:
If Allah created all things, how can He be the "Best of creators"? Who were the other creators and what was created after Allah created everything?
Professor Mir gives us some good examples of passages in the Qur'an which point out some logical fallacies made by Muhammad's detractors. However, the Qur'an commits many of these logical fallacies in its arguments against those who reject Muhammad and his message. The presence of such fallacies demonstrates the Qur'an's human, rather than divine, origins.
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