A Look at NA's ‘Review’ of the Abdallah-Shamoun Debate
This is a follow-up on our detailed response to NA's ‘debate challenges’, given in the article "Hunter or Hunted?", which you may want to read before continuing with this present discussion. NA made a big fuss about the issue of the question, "Is Muhammad a true Prophet of God?", supposedly being much too broad of a topic to debate. NA accused Sam Shamoun of not being willing "to debate narrow, well defined topics", and he pleaded, "lets narrow the topic down a bit, right now the topic is too broad". All of this verbiage was merely a cover-up for NA's running away from the issue, as has been exposed in the above-mentioned article.
Shabir Ally has refused to debate on the credibility of Muhammad's claim to prophethood already since 2001, and Nadir Ahmed also has been running from this issue since June 2003. Osama Abdallah, however, agreed to debate this topic with Sam Shamoun, and the debate was held on 14 August 2004 on PalTalk. Five days later, Nadir Ahmed published his ‘review’ of this debate. I will not discuss his entire article in detail, but will simply present a few pertinent observations about his arguments. Nadir Ahmed writes:
Is Muhammad(P) a True Prophet?
Osama Abdullah vs. Sam Shamoun
The foolish, ignorant and sloppy Osama Abdullah smashes the Bible irrevocably, and exposes Sam Shamoun’s Lord and Savior as nothing more than a “rat” on the run, thus winning the debate.
Osama Abdullah, has to be one of the worst debaters I have ever seen. He had probably one of the worst performance imaginable, and because of his stupidity, he was a complete embarrassment for Islam. For the most part, he was self contradictory, delusional, and at times out right absurd, but in spite of all that, in the end, he pulled through and won the debate, proving Prophet Muhammed(P) was a true Prophet and the Bible a corrupt document. To Sam Shamoun’s credit, he did do a good job of exposing Osama Abdullah as a fool who conducts shoddy research. The over confident Shamoun clearly demonstrated that Osama’s website http://www.answering-christianity.org/ is well over rated, and is not all that meets the eye, as Osama would like people to think. But that is where it ended for Shamoun.
[ ... ]
In conclusion, Answering Islam proved to be quite ineffective as he Shamoun failed to produce one single valid argument against Islam. Although Sam Shamoun presented an amazing illusion of victory to the audience with his triumphant slogans and array of fireworks. Osama on the other hand, was dull and boring, but he when he fired away at the Bible, all his shots were a direct hit. After hearing the debate, I have to ask myself, how can Christianity be true? How can the book which contains contradiction be from God, but the book with no errors is from Satan???? How can a true All Mighty God run from King Herod? This is what the viewer is left with!!! Therefore, it is clear that Islam is the true religion, and Prophet Muhammed (P) is indeed the true Prophet. Sam Shamoun can sing the praises of his God all day, and beat the drum of victory all he wants to in the debate, but nothing can erase these cold facts from an intellectual mind.
Even to the Muslim Nadir Ahmed, it was quite obvious that when the Muslim debater Osama Abdallah talked about Muhammad, he was absolutely hopeless. To use his own words, Osama was considered "a complete embarrassment". Nevertheless, NA still claims that Osama Abdallah won the debate because he attacked the Bible! How can we understand that?
Supposedly it is very imporatant to Nadir Ahmed "to debate narrow, well defined topics", i.e. to stick closely to the topic and not introduce unrelated, or only loosely-related, issues into the debate. How should a debate be evaluated? Certainly the winning or losing of a debate is decided upon by what the people said regarding the topic of the debate. If one of the debaters introduces red herrings, and attacks the opponent on other issues instead of sticking to the topic of the debate, then to any rational person, this disqualifies the one doing so. Not so with Nadir Ahmed!
What was the topic of the debate? It was defined as "Is Muhammad a true Prophet?"
Yet, NA claims that Osama Abdallah won the debate because he attacked the Bible! With this ‘review’, NA disqualified himself further, both as a debater and somebody who is able to analyze a debate.
To put it plainly and simply, Osama Abdallah's attacks on the Bible were completely off topic.
Do we even need to spell this out? Let me quote NA again regarding what he considered a particularly strong point. In fact, he seems to view this as the one argument that decided the debate:
The foolish, ignorant and sloppy Osama Abdullah smashes the Bible irrevocably, and exposes Sam Shamoun’s Lord and Savior as nothing more than a “rat” on the run, thus winning the debate. ...
Shamoun’s God ran like a “rat” from King Herod.
Osama insulted Shamoun’s God by claiming that his God ran like a rat from King Herod to Egypt. Osama also pointed out the foolishness of believing any such man who would do this to be God. In addition to that, he also exposed the stupidity of Sam Shamoun beliefs:
“Mr. Shamoun quotes precisely, in precise manor, he does not give general quotes he analyses every letter to prove his trinity, but yet, the entire book he is quoting from is doubtful....”
Nothing. Shamoun only took exception to the fact that Osama insulted his human God, which Osama did apologized for. But Osama again smelled blood, as he kept raising this issue through out the debate proving the fallacy of such a belief. Shamoun was dead silent on the issue of his God running from King Herod.... (bold emphasis mine)
[ The following parody is not my genuine opinion regarding Muhammad, nor do I believe that it is worthy of being called a serious argument against his prophethood. However, some Muslims of utterly depraved mind and foul language (like the above quoted) can apparently not otherwise be convinced about the absurdity of their arguments. With that said, let me now return the favor and mimic this utterly silly Muslim argument: "Muhammad ran like a rat from a few people in Mecca since they may have wanted to kill him. He fled from Mecca to Medina because he feared for his life. Who can believe that this is a true prophet? If Muhammad had truly been the most important prophet of God, then God would have given him power to face his opponents, and would not have allowed his prophet to have to run away like a rat. Muhammad even asked Ali to sleep in his bed, so that potential assassins may kill Ali instead, if they should try to kill him at night. Does anyone really want to believe that this Arabian coward was a prophet of Almighty God?" ]
Apart from the fact that this is not even a rational argument, but merely ridicule and appealing to emotion, the thrust of this attack is obviously this: Since the Bible contains statements that some Muslims consider to be stupid, it cannot, therefore, (or at least no longer) be a book from God.
Let us assume, however, for the sake of argument, that the Muslim debater could prove the corruption of the Bible. What would be the implications for the debate topic?
Does the corruption of the Bible imply that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (founder of the Ahmadiyya sect), and Baha'ullah (founder of the Baha'is), and Joseph Smith (founder of the Mormons) are true prophets?
Every Muslim would immediately reject this, and see clearly how silly such a conclusion would be. Thus, we ask: If establishing the corruption of the Bible does not make these people prophets, why would Nadir Ahmed think that it would be proof positive for Muhammad to be a prophet?
The alleged corruption of the Bible does not contribute any positive evidence to the Muslim claim of Muhammad being a true prophet of God.
Therefore, since Osama utterly failed in the part of the debate where he spoke about Muhammad (as admitted by Nadir Ahmed), and attacking the Bible doesn't make Muhammad a prophet either, then how on earth could he have won the debate on the stated topic, "Is Muhammad a true Prophet?"
Here is the irony: Nadir Ahmed refused to debate the topic of Muhammad's claim to prophethood with Sam Shamoun based on the reason that the latter would cram too many subtopics into the debate, and emphasized strongly that such a debate needs to be made more narrow, and more focused, but in his evaluation of the other debate, he applauds Abdallah, and claims he won the debate based on some attacks that he made against the Bible. However, again, the alleged corruption of the Bible has nothing at all to do with the topic of Muhammad!
This further exposes NA's hypocrisy on the issue. If he thought that part was done very well, i.e. attacking the Bible is the right thing to do when debating the credibility of Muhammad, then this indicates that he might well have used a similar approach if he had been the debater, just as he used this same approach in his own debate on the topic of the Qur'an, where he tossed out a similar red herring attack on the Bible (see here).
Some further comments on attacking the Bible in the context of debating Muhammad's claim to prophethood:
Osama Abdallah's attack on the Bible not only does not prove that Muhammad was a prophet, but it also backfires against him. The Qur'an, in several places, makes reference to the fact that the Bible predicts the coming of Muhammad, as even O. Abdallah duly realized, since in the debate he appealed to alleged biblical prophecies which he felt pointed to Muhammad.
To attack the Bible is, therefore, to discredit Muhammad's own testimony regarding the Bible being a reliable source for establishing Muhammad's prophethood. So, either way, O. Abdallah fails to win the debate since attacking the Bible does not prove that Muhammad is a prophet, and yet by attacking it, he discredits Muhanmmad's own testimony regarding the Bible's reliability.
Thus, even though it was a red herring on the part of Abdallah to spend most of his time on alleged Bible corruption, it wasn't a red herring on Shamoun's part to appeal to the biblical criteria for prophethood, and apply them against Muhammad. He only did what Muhammad said to do, namely test the message received by Muhammad in light of the Bible, see S. 10:94:
But if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to you, ask those who read the Book before you; certainly the truth has come to you from your Lord, therefore you should not be of the disputers. (Shakir)
Nadir Ahmed attacks Osama Abdallah for being a very bad debater, and for embarrassing Islam in the debate, yet NA is no better, and is perhaps even worse. Those who carefully listen to or read any of NA's debates will quickly see that he is at least as bad as Abdallah, and doesn't know how to debate using sound logic and reasoning. In fact, much like Abdallah (though probably even somewhat worse in this regard), NA constantly resorts to ad hominem attacks, apparently in hopes of compensating for his inability to refute his opponents' arguments. His latest series of tirades against Sam Shamoun regarding Sura 4:157, etc. amply demonstrates this. What makes it truly ironic is that he actually thinks he has won his debates, or at least he tries to give that impression to his readers and listeners, much like he claims that Abdallah won this debate, despite the abysmal quality of the arguments that each present! NA credits Sam Shamoun for exposing Abdallah as a fool, and for doing shoddy research. We dare say that Sam Shamoun (in NA's own words) did a good job of exposing NA as a fool, whose research is every bit as bad and shoddy as Abdallah's! Thus, much like O. Abdallah, NA is one of the worst debaters we have ever seen, and does truly manage to disgrace Muslims by his dubious debating tactics, tricks, and articles.
Finally, as silly as it is, the argument that Nadir Ahmed claims to have decided the debate should not be left unchallenged. The charge that Jesus cannot be God since he was afraid of men in various instances, including the one alluded to above, has long been answered, see these two articles: Is God Afraid of us?, Jesus hid himself (on John 8:59, near the middle of the article).
Responses to Nadir Ahmed
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