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How to conduct a Discussion… I mean Debate… I mean Argument… ARRRGH!!! – Debating Islam

by | Oct 31, 2021

There are many ways to carry speech; monologue, dialogue, discussion… But as soon as you get two people involved… differences in points of view pop up; which is completely normal, and rightfully so; we’re not a world of homogeneous greys. Our upbringing, our surroundings, our own thoughts, and the events in our lives all influence the way we think.

Yet, there are ways to discuss that lead to better success; not in convincing, but in exchanging points of view, which lead to a healthy constructive discussion.

Say, “I only advise you of one [thing] – that you stand for Allah, [seeking truth] in pairs and individually, and then give thought.” There is not in your companion any madness. He is only a warner to you before a severe punishment.

Surah Saba (34 – 46)

Even if announcing an idea or a product can be done via mass media or in front of a packed stadium, the best results (and the most lasting) are from the word of mouth; meaning, from one person to another (as long as the product or idea is a good one). Then, if that person is left to himself to ponder, think about it a little, the wheels start turning.

Now, it is not only the environment that is important but the way the message is transmitted.

Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.

Surah An-Nahl (16 – 125)

Unfortunately, a lot of debates, even if done 1 vs. 1 or 2 vs. 2 are done in presence of an audience. And even if it is informative for the audience, the speakers often adopt an attitude of “I must win the debate”. So the whole point of the debate is not to come out with the truth, but rather stump the other. It’s normal to deconstruct someone’s argument and point out what one finds uncompelling or inadequate, but more often than not, it turns into rhetoric.

Probability, you won’t Get the Best of Me! – Scientific Proofs in the Quran

Probability, you won’t Get the Best of Me! – Scientific Proofs in the Quran

If anyone is a betting man, he knows that most of the time he will lose; it is a question of numbers. Winning every time is improbable and practically impossible. When flipping a coin, you have one chance out of two of getting it right. 50%, not bad; but repeat it four times straight; not too confident, are you?

Let’s transpose that example to the prophet Muhammad; he got every single verifiable (with our limited knowledge to date) phenomenon right. Not only he got them right, but most of them are also explained; not just enunciated or left for interpretation. Let’s say there are about 20 scientific/natural phenomenon (Actually, more have been mentioned and others left out since a multitude of authors have done a better job than me explaining them. Plus, 20 seems like a pretty round number, and we don’t want to sound boastful either) that were elucidated 1400 years ago, by an illiterate Arab that had no aspirations to science whatsoever… When you do the math: ½ at the power 20 is ½ x ½ x½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½ x ½. That gives you the possibility of 1/1 048 576 of getting it right. That is less than one in a million probability; becoming less and less a betting man…Keep in mind, considering that the questioning is in a yes or no format; true or false to a given question (without formulating the solution and adding all the explanation that comes with it in the Quran and Hadith).

The thing is, it is not because the prophet Muhammad was an expert in astronomy, geology, chemistry, nuclear physics, biology, botany, entomology, oceanology, or even historical science that he got it right all the time. It is because the only thing he got right out of all of this is that he wholeheartedly believed in Allah. All these, verses, signs, scientific phenomenon were not explained or tackled by the prophet Muhammad; they were brought forth by Allah, the All-Knowing.

And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record.

Surah Al-Anam (6 – 59)

Faith

the process of belief