Robert Spencer is at it again. Yes, as you all know, manipulating texts to promote his islamophobic dogma or misinformation (if you would like to say “lies” as that may be more accurate). I have read several of his worthlessly inaccurate (as well as a waste of money) books and each time have been made to chuckle at his ignorance regarding Islamic scripture. As I was looking through sites that link Seekingilm.com, I happen to cross one of his articles that he so poorly wrote as of recent. Apparently he used a reference on Al-Khadir that Ibn Sa’ad prepared for Seekingilm.com. So I went to the ridiculously researched article that can be found here and decided to respond to two things that made me chuckle.
First: Lie Upon Ibn Taymiyya
R. Spencer, showing how intellectually lacking he is states,
“Some consider Khidr to be immortal (Ibn Taymiyya thinks so).”
The article reproduced by Ibn Sa’ad quoting Ibn Taymiyyah does not state that he is immortal at all. What does it mean to be immortal? Since R. Spencer is American, we shall quote the American Heritage dictionary:
Another American dictionary Merriam-Webster:
1 : exempt from death
2 : exempt from oblivion : imperishable
3 : connected with or relating to immortality
4 : able or tending to divide indefinitely
So what context did R. Spencer utilize “immortal” in? Read his worthless article, and I am certainly sorry that you may have to, and you will see that he means it in “exempt from death” or “imperishable”. Such was not stated by Ibn Taymiyya in the article produced by Ibn Sa’ad. In fact Ibn Taymiyya stated:
And as for [the question regarding] his life: then he is alive. And the hadith is question [my note: the hadith in the question posed to the Sheikh] has no basis, and no isnad is known for it either. On the contrary, what has been narrated in Musnad Al-Shafi’i and other books is that [Khidr] did meet the Prophet (s). And as for he who says he did not meet the Prophet (s) then he has stated what he has no knowledge of, for this is from the knowledge that he does not encompass. And he who claims he died relying on the hadith “Have you seen this night of yours? At the end of one hundred years after this none would survive on the surface of the earth” then there is no proof for him in it, for it it is possible that Khidr was not on the surface of the earth at that moment [my note: also, there were Muslims in Abyssinia and Muslim women and children back in Madinah. Hence this was not a general statement] .
Ibn Taymiyya did not argue that he is immortal – free of death. Rather, he simply stated that “he is alive”. Having extended life, as argued on our site, does not mean that he will not experience death, but that he simply is alive at the moment. I quoted in the comments to this article Shaykh Nuh Keller on this issue stating,
Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Qaddas Allahu sirrh, states in his biographical entries in the back of his translation of Umdatus-Saalik,
“…Scholars disagree as to whether he is presently alive, though most believe he is and will remain so until the Day of Judgementbecause of having drunk of the water of life – and also as to whether he is a prophet, angel or friend of Allah (wali), ther majority holding him to be a prophet. (al Futuhaat Al Ilahiyya, Siraj Al Munir)
[Page 1067 of Reliance]
Meaning he shall taste death at the time of the day of judgement. Would that make him immortal? It is interesting to note that I actually made this point clear on January 19th 2008, months before Spencer even wrote the article. I stated in response to “ninja”,
Immortality has nothing to do with the issue, as immortality refers to one who will never taste death! No one is saying that at all! We believe he is mortal and has been given an extended life. Simple!
Yet somehow the prolific author and according to some idiot westerners “Expert on Islam”, Robert Spencer lied upon Ibn Taymiyya and in reality upon Islam. Nothing new though!
Second: Claiming that the Story of Al-Khadir Justifies Killing Children
He begins by stating,
…[further down states]…
Another point emerges in Islamic tradition: don’t kill children, unless you know they’re going to grow up to be unbelievers. “The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) used not to kill the children, so thou shouldst not kill them unless you could know what Khadir had known about the child he killed, or you could distinguish between a child who would grow up to he a believer (and a child who would grow up to be a non-believer), so that you killed the (prospective) non-believer and left the (prospective) believer aside.” The assumption thus enunciated may help explain the persistence of the phenomenon of honor-killing in Islamic countries and even among Muslims in the West.
Such an explanation is not at all mentioned by the scholars of old or of late. None understood this story to mean that it is permitted to kill children if they will be an unbeliever. The hadith he has mentioned is found in the Sahih of Imam Muslim as such:
Let us first put this quote into context. There are different wordings to this narration in Sahih Muslim. The first narration of this incident reported by Imam Muslim in his Sahih does not mention these words regarding Khadir at all. In fact the narration states,
وَإِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَمْ يَكُنْ يَقْتُلُ الصِّبْيَانَ فَلَا تَقْتُلْ الصِّبْيَانَ
“And verily the Messenger of God (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not kill children, so do not kill children.” Then he continued discussing the orphan without mention of the issue of Al-Khadir. I mention this because several possibilities exist regarding this issue according to the laws of hadith:
1) The first report is being narrated by meaning, ad sensum, not word-for-word (ad litteram). This was a common practice amongst the early Muslims as Dr. G.f Haddadis discussed in length within his Sunna Notes and I need not delve into this issue deeply, however, for sake of knowledge we shall quote Imam As-Suyuti’s words from his tome “Tadrib Ar-Raawi”,
“At any rate, the vast majority of the salaf and khalaf from the various groups, among them the four Imams, permit narration in terms of meaning in all the above cases provided one adduces the meaning.” ((See Sunna Notes Vol. 1 page 136 ))
Basically, the scholars conclude that narrating the meaning is only permitted when the narrator is conveying the meaning of the hadith, undistorted and is of the highest trustworthiness. In other words, what is meant by this narration from the disciple of the Prophet Muhammad, Ibn ‘Abbas, is that children are not to be killed period. This will be made clear when we get to the explanation of this hadith by Imam An-Nawawi. Keep this point in mind as I will allude to it later in the article.
2) That the other narrations are in fact weaker and thus take the ruling of shaadh and can not be accepted. We really do not even need to discuss this point as it would take too much time and space, and quite frankly I prefer to simply deal with this issue based upon point one as it is simpler for the layman to understand. However, if this were the case the blunder of Robert Spencer would be even greater.
Now, briefly let us review the context of this hadith. A person known as Najdah is sending Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiya Allahu Anhu), a man who was a disciple of the Prophet Muhammad, a letter asking him five things about Jihad: 1) Can women fight in Jihad, 2) If so do they receive some of the spoils of war 3) Are children to be killed 4) The issue of entitlement of an orphan 5) Whom the Khums was meant for.
Ibn ‘Abbas answers accordingly and according to the first narration of this hadith, as we stated prior, he simply states that children are not to be killed period because the Prophet Muhammad did not do so.
In the second report of this narration Ibn ‘Abbas is recorded to have said:
وَإِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَمْ يَكُنْ يَقْتُلُ الصِّبْيَانَ فَلَا تَقْتُلْ الصِّبْيَانَ إِلَّا أَنْ تَكُونَ تَعْلَمُ مَا عَلِمَ الْخَضِرُ مِنْ الصَّبِيِّ الَّذِي قَتَلَ
“Verily the Messenger of God (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not kill children, so do not kill children, unless you know what Al-Khadir knew when he killed the child.”
The fact is it is impossible to know what Al-Khadir knew. Imam An-Nawawi (1234-1278 CE), recognized as one of the most brilliant Muslim jurists and judges to have lived, explained these words in his commentary upon the Sahih of Imam Muslim:
“It means: Verily it is not permitted to kill them (i.e. children), nor is it permitted for you to make a connection to the story of Al-Khadir utilizing it to kill children. For verily, Al-Khadir did not kill except by the command of God, the exalted, as this was specifically allotted to him just as was mentioned in the end of the story [of khadir], “And I did it not of my own accord.” So [Ibn ‘Abbas is saying] if you came to know of such from a child then he is to be killed. And it is known such cannot be known [by a person] and so it is not permitted to kill him.” ((Sharh Sahih Muslim: Translated by Seekingilm team ))
What is also important to mention is that Imam Nawawi himself, the great Dr. in Hadith and commentator of the Sahih, places this hadith beneath the chapter title, “Women Participants in Jihad are to be Given Reward but not Part of the Spoils, and the Prohibition of Killing Children of the People of War.” This fact stresses our point that the Muslims did not extract the meaning claimed by Robert Spencer. If Robert Spencer and crew did not get all of what we just stated, let us sum it up for the idiots out there: one of the most prominent scholars for all Muslims is clearly stating that killing children is not permitted based upon this verse, as knowledge of the child’s future is not certain save by revelation from God, as was received by Al-Khadir. Even Moses, according to the story, did not know of the plight of the child, so how is it that a layman is to know of such? Furthermore, Imam An-Nawawi known as the second Imam Ash-Shafi’i, is stating that it is totally forbidden to kill children. The fact is Spencer’s null attempt at utilizing this statement for his own fear-mongering and islamophobic agenda only shows anyone with any knowledge of Islamic law how horridly ignorant Robert Spencer is of Islam.
Now, if the liar Robert Spencer was fair in his explanation he would have at least supported his claim with a substantiated statement from an established Islamic scholar of old; mainly that this narration was utilized to justify “honor killings”. So back to Spencer’s non-sense claim:
The assumption thus enunciated may help explain the persistence of the phenomenon of honor-killing in Islamic countries and even among Muslims in the West.
Get off the crack Mr. Spencer! If Muslims do such things, it has nothing to do withIslamic law and has everything to do with pagan culture or personal issues. There is scholarly consensus that punishments by Islamic law must be carried out by an established legal scholar, Qadhi, who has the authority to issue verdicts. For example: The claim of fornication and lashing or stoning must be brought to a court of Islamic law and, hopefully, as you know, witnesses must be produced or testification against one’s self must occur. One cannot take the law into their own hands, and this was the belief of the earliest Muslims. It stems from the words of Qur’an, “Obey Allah and His Messenger, and those in authority over you!” According to Spencer’s flawed logic, if any Muslim commits a crime it is therefore Islam’s fault. So if American soldiers rape Japanese women, it is the American constitution as well as all of America’s fault? If a priest rapes a nun it is Catholicism’s fault. If a priest molests children, it is thus every catholics fault, as well as justified by Catholic law, according to Spencer’s twisted logic. I hope the point is clear. Stop your lying and fear mongering Robert Spencer.
Robert Spencer = Liar