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Part 1: The Gist Of The Matter

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Acknowledging 'Outwittings'

  The topic of 'outwittings' is unknown to very few in Islam, perhaps only the very young. It is widely acknowledged among those in Islam that this is the type of thing going on in 'debates' by men like Ahmad Deedat and when the issue of its use is raised, it brings knowing smiles. It is not a slur to say someone is using such, it is accepted as part of Islam. 

  One purpose of raising this topic is so that it will be understood that the present writer recognises the existence of such behaviour and has found it used on him in many conversations. 

  Another purpose is so that the reader will understand that such behaviour is not a teaching from Jesus, and thus know that, as one who seeks to follow Jesus' teachings, the present writer will not be using 'outwittings' in this work. 

Well-known In Islam's History And Sunnah

  As we examine this topic we note that a recent Sunni publication has criticised the Shi'a community for their use of, amongst other things, 'Taqiyya' (not manifesting the faith openly). It states: 

"Contrary to the universal and basic teachings of all religions, Shiaism teaches its followers to conceal their faith and hide their beliefs. Two of their basic beliefs known as 'Kithman' and 'Taqiyya' are primarily designed to achieve just such a purpose. The belief in 'Kithman' commands the Shias to conceal their religion from the non-Shias. The following two Hadith from the sixth Shia Imam clearly elaborate this point:  
Imam Jafar Sadiq (R) said: "One, who exposes something from our religion is like one who intentionally kills us." {Ft. #1 Usool al Kafi, p.88}
Imam Jafar Sadiq (R) said: "You belong to a religion that whosoever conceals it, Allah will honour him and whosoever reveals it, Allah will disgrace him." {Ft. #2, Ibid, p.522}
Furthermore the belief in 'Taqiyya' commits the Shias to put up a hypocritical show and to act in such a way that the non-Shias may never be exposed to the real Shiaism. It even allows them to tell a lie if their intention is to hide their religion from the non-Shias. The following Shia Ahadis testify clearly to this effect:
Imam Jafar Sadi (R) said: "Associate your opponents only outwardly and oppose them inwardly." {Ft. #1, Usool al Kafi, p.244}
Zararah narrates that I asked a certain question to Imam Baqar (R). He gave me its answer. Another person then asked the same question and the Imam gave him a different answer. Later a third person asked the same question, but the Imam's answer this time was different from the previous 

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two answers. I then asked him: "O, the son of the Messenger (S)! The two persons who just came here to ask you questions were from Iraq and were Shias, yet you gave them contradictory answers". The Imam then answered: "O Zararah! This is good for me as well as for you and this will help us survive and prosper". {Ft. #2 Ibid, p.37) ."
The Shia beliefs towards the Qur'an is a classical manifestation of their doctrines of 'Kithman' and 'Taqiyya'. If one asks a Shia about his beliefs towards the existing Qur'an he says that he believes in its reliability and authenticity. On the other hand, if one looks at the source books of Shia religion, they state that numerous alterations and deletions have been made in the Qur'an. It is a strange paradox that the Shia derive their basic beliefs from books that refute the authenticity of the Qur'an, yet they claim to believe in the authenticity of the Qur'an. A non-Shia is thus forced to conclude that what the Shia say about the authenticity of the Qur'an is simply a manifestation of their practice of 'Kithman' and 'Taqayya', and that they actually do not believe in the authenticity of the existing Qur'an." (The Sunni And Shia Perspectives of THE HOLY QUR'AN, by Dr. Ahmad Abdullah Salamah, p.1, 2; emphasis added)

  While this appears to be a 'Shi'ah only' affair in fact one often finds in conversations with the Sunnis the same type of tactics of 'hiding the faith'. This is considered 'part of the game', or to some, 'part of striving in the way of Allah' (jihad). 

  The following Hadith, as well as well-known examples from Islam's history show clearly the accepted teachings for the Sunnis: 

(6303) Humaid b. `Abd al-Rahman b. `Auf reported that his mother Umm Kilthum... as saying that she heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: A liar is not one who tries to bring reconciliation amongst people and speaks good (in order to avert dispute), or he conveys good. Ibn Shihab said he did not hear that exemption was granted in anything what the people speak as lie but in three cases: in battle, for bringing reconciliation amongst persons and the narration of the words of the husband to his wife, and the narration of the words of a wife to her husband (in a twisted form in order to bring reconciliation between them)." (Note: all words are as they appear in the text; Sahih Muslim, p.1374, #6303).

  Perhaps the best example is the 'outwitting' of Ali by the opposing leadership at 'the Battle of Siffien'. At 'the Battle of Siffien' those who opposed Ali began to lose and so devised a method to gain time. They held their Qur'ans (said by some to be 500) up on the tips of their spears and cried out that the Qur'an should be the decider of the dispute. It was impossible for Ali to oppose this since many of his own soldiers agreed with this proposal. 

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  Both sides chose a man to represent them at the bargaining table some months later. These two came to the agreement that they would appear before the people and each would tell how his leader had relinquished his claim to the caliphate, and that there would be another chosen. After Abu Musa, Ali's representative, had stood up and declared the resignation of Ali from the caliphate, the representative of Mu'awiya, Amr ibn As, stood up and thanked him and declared that Mu'awiya would remain as the caliph! What is more amazing is that everyone is said to have accepted it, and only small altercations ensued! Ali lost his place as ruler because he was 'outwitted'! 

  Yet, this does not surprise anyone in Islam for it is also noted in Sahih Muslim (#2328): 

"`Ali said: Whenever I narrate to you anything from the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) believe it to be absolutely true as falling from the sky is dearer to me than that of attributing anything to him (the Holy Prophet) which he never said. When I talk to you of anything which is between me and you (there might creep some error in it) for battle is an outwitting." (Vol. 2, p. 523f).

  The commentator tells us: 

"What this means is that the same standard which they observed in transmitting the words of the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) cannot be observed in worldly affairs among people. Although the Companions of the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) were extremely pious and God-fearing people and Allah was fully please with them, yet they were not completely immune from error. For the elucidation of this point Hadrat Ali said that in the battlefield one could not observe the highest standard of truth as a Muslim has been exhorted to do in matters of religion. For example in the battlefield one has to hide facts and outwit the enemy." (Vol. 2, ft. #1446)

  In fact, it is recorded that this was not a matter to be taken lightly, for when `Ali fought the Khwarij, when he made a claim that Muhammad had told him a certain individual would be found among the dead, it says he was made to swear 3 times he was telling the truth and not making an 'outwitting': 

"There stood there before him `Abida Salamani who said: Commander of the Believers, by Allah, besides Whom there is no god but He, (tell me) whether you heard this hadith from the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). He said: yes, by Allah, besides Whom there is no god but He. He asked him to take an oath thrice and he took the oath." (Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2, #2333, p. 515f; the words are as they appear in the text)

  Again the commentator says: 

"The second point about this oath is that it was taken in order to remove the misgiving which might have taken hold of the mind of the people by the 

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narration of the words of 'Ali: "Battle is an outwitting." Hadrat 'Ali took an oath in order to make it clear that this narration from the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) about the Khwarij is not a piece of outwitting but a genuine statement of fact as told by the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him)." (Vol. 2, ft. #1452)

  Another type of 'outwitting' concerns the use of 'tauriya'. 

  Introducing this, we note first the text of Sahih Muslim (#378) where words are attributed to Ibrahim: 

"Ibrahim would say to them: Verily my Lord is today angry as He has never been angry before and he would never be angry afterwards, and (Ibrahim) would mention his lies..."

  Despite the portrayal of Ibrahim saying that the Deity is angry as He will never be angry again over his lies, the commentator relates the opposite: 

"These were not the type of lies which are counted as serious sin in religion. These may be called tauriya or double-entendre which means using a word, an expression or a phrase, which has an obvious meaning and intending thereby another meaning to which it applies, but which is contrary to the obvious one." (Vol. 1, ft. 402, English version)

  The conflict is obvious. 

  An example which is often used in modern times is to say that Christians have different 'versions' of the Bible - and imply by this that Christians are always 'creating new Bibles with new messages'. This is done despite knowing that the word 'version' is merely a reference to a translation - something not in its original language. 

  But, the most distinctive example of tauriya from Islam's history is the story of the Negus who was compelled by his administrators (Christians) to give an account of what he believed in case he had forsaken their religion. He placed a statement of Islamic faith about Jesus in his breast pocket, and 'outwitted' them by pretending he was in agreement with their beliefs about Jesus! 

  We note all this in what ibn Ishaq (died 151 AH), the author of Islam's earliest biography on Muhammad wrote: 

"...the Abyssinians assembled and said to the Negus, 'You have left your religion' and they revolted against him...Then he (the Negus) took paper and wrote, 'he testifies that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and apostle; and he testifies that Jesus, Son of Mary, is His slave, His apostle...' Then he put it in his gown near his right shoulder and went out to the Abyssinians. ...He said, 'O people, have I not the best claim among you?' 'Certainly' they said. 'And what do you think of my life among you?' 'Excellent.' 'Then what is your trouble?' 'You have forsaken our religion and assent that Jesus is a slave!' 'Then what do you say about Jesus?' 'We say that he is the Son of God.' The Negus put his hand over his gown (signifying) 

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'He testifies that Jesus the Son of Mary was no more than "this".' By this he meant what he had written, but they were content and went away..." (Sira of ibn Ishaq, #223; emphasis added)!

  The followers of Islam know all these characters and events as they are part of their history and there is nothing startling in any of it to them. 

'Outwittings' on The Present Topic

  Many 'outwittings' have been encountered by the present writer with regard to the topic of examining the Arabic texts of Qur'ans. A typical example of an 'outwitting' is for someone to say that you can't really tell if there are differences in the Arabic text IF you don't know Arabic. This is an 'outwitting' since anyone can tell when words or letters are missing from one text but present in another - even if it is in Chinese. As to our response to those who maintain one must know 'Quranic Arabic', the Islamic scholars we are citing know all about this. 

  With respect to the present writing, since we are examining the comments of ancient (classical) and modern Islamic scholars on the differences in the Arabic texts, we will rely upon their expertise to convince the reader. They know well the differences between one 'Qur'anic Arabic' text and another! 

  The most recent 'outwitting' used by an Algerian man was, "That's not the true Arabic, that's one of the scripts. Show me a text from Saudi Arabia."! 

  The same afternoon a Hizb ut-Tahrir man was shown the same Arabic text and said, "That's not 'Qur'an'. Only what was contained in the early form is 'Qur'an'. The original didn't have all these things [meaning the vocalisation] on it! That's a translation." 

  The followers of Islam will laugh at these, but both men were being shown the types of things you are about to see in the Arabic texts of the Qur'ans and didn't know how else to deal with them. 

  It will also become obvious that the comments given to the present writer by the Islamic Foundation U.K., that people are simply getting 'confused by different scripts of Arabic', is simply another 'outwitting'. Of course, it is a deliberate attempt to misdirect people from the fact that the source of the observations is the top Islamic scholars! Do you think they are 'confused' because certain letters are written in slightly different ways in different regions of the Islamic world? 

  The present writer also recognises that there are slight differences in which the letters are written in the various Qur'ans in print. But, should this confuse anyone? Consider, for example that the letter 'e' in English can be 

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'printed' (e, E), or, 'written' ( e, Es ). The appearance of the written form of the letters can thus be different since there are different ways to write the letters so that they appear fancier, or decorative. No-one questions that they are still a representation of the same letters. Rather through long years of usage they have come to be recognised by everyone as 'the English language in different scripts' 

  It becomes obvious that the claims concerning the Qur'an are just other 'outwittings'. Yet people will try every means to confuse others. The real question is "Why?" What is hidden behind such actions? 

  As we proceed we acknowledge that some might not 'know' the Arabic language. However, rather than being discouraged from examining the facts as presented by the Islamic scholars, be encouraged to start learning a little bit of Arabic. 

Not For Christians

  No matter what you have encountered from those who claim to represent Jesus, for true Christians all this is completely contrary to what Jesus taught: 

"Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No' be 'No' anything else comes from the evil one" (Injil Matthew 5:37) 

  And again of the devil (Shaitan) Jesus said: 

"He is a liar and the father of lies" (Injil John 8:44);

  Even the man so despised by many in Islam, the apostle Paul, said: 

"Do not lie to each other" (Letter to the Colossians 3:9) .

  For those who accept Jesus' teachings, we are clearly taught that to lie is abhorrent in God's sight. You will find no such thing in this book. 

  As we look now at the evidence, we commend to you the words of one Shi'ah scholar: 

"The seekers after salvation have always made untiring efforts to enquire into the matter to discover the right course, the path of salvation. And indeed it is necessary for every man to take reason for his guide and try his best in this matter and never despair of attaining the truth. But this can only be possible when he has a bird's eye view of the radical differences before him and discarding all bias and prejudices, examines the points at issue with a thoughtful mind, always praying to God to lead him to the right path." (A Probe Into The History Of Hadith, Al-Askari; emphasis added)

  While what we will examine encompasses much more than the mere Hadith or Sirah, the same principle applies. 

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