A Response To "I Am a Muslim...ask Anything"

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An NPR news piece titled "Muslim Marine Answers Questions In Effort To Fight Islamophobia" features Mansoor Shams carrying a sign that says, "I'm A Muslim U.S. Marine, Ask Anything."

In response, Hugh Fitzgerald, drew up a list of 38 questions that could be asked to Mr. Shams, who of course invited any and all questions about Islam. I wonder how the readers of The Network would answer these questions and what resources they would use to answer them? 

Here are four resources I thought might be helpful: 

1. A.J. Droge's "translation" of the Qur'an The Qur'an: A New Annotated Translation

2. The Life of Muhammad translated by Alfred Guillaume

3. The Reliance of the Traveller, which is a manual of Sunni Islamic law

4. Bill Warner's Sharia Law for Non-Muslims  [this is a simplified version of the Reliance of the Traveller]

Here is the list of questions:

  1. What is the meaning of Jihad?
  2. Why are Christians and Jews required to pay the Jizyah to Muslims?
  3. Why does it say in the Qur’an that Muslims should not take Christians and Jews as friends, for they are friends only with each other?
  4. It says in the Qur’an that “there is no compulsion in religion” (Qur’an 2.256). If there is no compulsion in religion, then why are people who leave Islam threatened with death?
  5. Why did the Ayatollah Khomeini lower the marriageable age of girls to 9?
  6. What is the surest way for a Muslim to get to Heaven?
  7. Why did Muhammad attack the Jewish date farmers at the Khaybar Oasis?
  8. How many wives did Muhammad have, and why was he allowed more than anyone else?
  9. Did Muhammad own slaves?
  10. Did Muhammad approve of slavery?
  11. Why is Muhammad called the Perfect Man (“al-insan al-kamil”), and the Model of Conduct (“uswa hasana”)?
  12. Exactly how many prisoners of the Banu Qurayza tribe were killed while Muhammad watched?
  13. How many military expeditions did Muhammad take part in?
  14. When, according to the Qur’an, is killing Infidels prohibited?
  15. How did Muhammad react when he heard that Asma bint Marwan had been killed?
  16. How did Muhammad react when he heard that a 120-year-old Jewish poet, Abu ‘Afak, had been killed?
  17. How are non-Muslims described in the Qur’an? (see 98.6)
  18. How are Muslims described in the Qur’an? (see 3.110)
  19. Why do so many non-Arab Muslims take Arabic names?
  20. When does the doctrine of “abrogation” (naskh) in Qur’anic interpretation apply?
  21. Under what conditions can a Muslim man beat his wife?
  22. What is the Muslim Heaven like?
  23. When can a Muslim father punish his daughter without fear of being punished himself?
  24. According to Islamic law, what must a Muslim husband do to be divorced from his wife?
  25. Why is the testimony of a Muslim woman worth only half that of a Muslim man?
  26. In what ways does Islam tend to favor Arabs over non-Arabs?
  27. How did Islam spread all the way from the Hejaz to the Iberian peninsula?
  28. Why did Muslims blow up the Bamiyan Buddhas?
  29. Why did Muslims threaten to blow up a church in Bologna with a fresco depicting Muhammad?
  30. Why have there been more than 30,000 terrorist attacks by Muslims since 9/11/2001?
  31. Who was Kinana, and what did Muhammad order should be done with him?
  32. Does Islam have a Golden Rule?
  33. What is the doctrine of al-wala’ wal-bara’?
  34. Why are there so many people in Pakistan named “Sayid”?
  35. What kinds of music does Islam allow?
  36. What is Dar al-Harb?
  37. What is Dar al-Islam?
  38. When does Jihad come to an end?

It is no small task to research these questions, but if one wants to understand Muslims on their own terms, the homework to answer them is very important. We recall that the Apostle Paul "made a careful investigation" of the objects worship of the Athenians in Acts 17, and it would seem that respecting Muslims by utilizing their own writings is well needed today. 

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  • Ecumenical & Interfaith
  • Muslim Ministry
  • Discussion Topic

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