The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Troubled waters

Among the more controversial scriptures of Islam is the sura of the Cave, 18th in the present canon. It features a narrative in which Dhu'l-Qarnayn, "The Two-Horned Man", traverses the cardinal directions over all the world. In the west, the Dominus Totius Mundi observes the sunset... upon a pool of murky water. Some Muslims have taken this literally, and Christian apologists present this absurdity as Islamic doctrine. But most Muslims resist this interpretation.

Among the Muslims who took this literally was, somewhat uncomfortably for the devout, the Sunni muhaddith Abu Dawud whose collection is now considered the third-best collection after those of Muhammad Bukhari and Muslim Naysaburi. Abu Dawud had found this comment in a hadith from one Sufyan bin Husayn < al-Hakam bin 'Utayba. This chain included sura 18's anecdote within a longer hadith about the sun, passed on from Ibrahim al-Taymi. In this form the hadith demands that the sura be taken as literal truth. Christian apologist David Wood has made much hay from this.

But where other muhaddithun passed on Ibrahim's hadith to their students, only the Sufyan < al-Hakam chain did so with the murky pool. Muslims like the host of Let Me Turn The Tables consider Abu Dawud to have erred in selecting this transmission. And that's just the Sunnis; the Shi'ites and the Ibadiya have no patience for any of this. I should disclose that on this one instance I agree with the Muslims.

I would normally let this go, since these posts are four or more years old, but David Wood still hasn't come to terms with the asterisk which the scholars have slapped upon Abu Dawud. And now Wood is being called on it.

Meanwhile Wood is fending off tu-quoque attacks on the Bible. ArgoX20071 yesterday let loose this squirrel: Hm... this is just as illogical as the chapter in the Bible that claims the sun stopped in the middle of the sky for one full day by Joshua's command. It's cute how a Christian ridicules verses from one holy book while completely ignoring those of his own. ;)

I would normally (that word again) commend tu-quoque only to trolls. This rhetorical tactic is too easily fended off with "so what? we're not talking about the Bible here". In this case - as Kevin van Bladel proved a decade ago - we're talking about plagiarism from late Heracleian propaganda. (Yeah, Let Me Turn The Tables has an answer to this too; but here they drool over their ugly hairy chins.) It might also be worth Wood's time to smack ArgoX20071 for being a cultural freeloader, a harmful parasite who leeches off Christian tolerance whilst distracting Christians from their enemies and, indeed, from humanists' enemies. I honestly don't think anyone would mind if Wood just banned ArgoX20071 off his comments.

Unfortunately Wood took it upon himself instead to defend Biblical inerrancy:

LOL! Hilarious when atheists say things! The sun stopping in the middle of the sky would require a miracle (i.e., the intervention of God). The sun setting in a muddy pool doesn't require a miracle; it requires that the sun be much smaller than the earth. This Qur'an passage isn't saying that Allah performed a miracle. It's saying that the sun actually sets in a muddy pool. Of course, if you spent more time developing critical thinking skills instead of trolling videos to whine about religion, this would be obvious!

Since this miracle never happened, defending it is a loser. Chasing this fuzzy rodent into the bushes whilst there's a discussion about something wholly different is even more a loser. Unnecessary, too, as Christian doctrine nowhere depends upon the inerrancy of the so-called "historical" books like Joshua and Judges, where this spurious miracle is to be found. Christian doctrine does somewhat depend on the Torah, but even in Jesus's day the Historical Books were counted as part of the Prophets, a secondary position or even tertiary behind the named Prophets and certain Psalms. (I believe the scholarly consensus holds that Joshua's author had found a verse in a poem and constructed the story around it, as Judges 4-5's author from the song of Debora.)

Wood got himself trolled: first five years ago by (other) ignorant foes of Islam who had latched onto Abu Dawud's bad hadith, and second yesterday by that smarmy creep ArgoX20071. The insecure "LOL" is a tell.

I gather that David Wood has a habit of not backing down from a fight. Sometimes this trait serves him well. But sometimes it doesn't, in which case it's not a trait so much as a character fault. He should control his temper.

posted by Zimri on 12:26 | link | 0 comments

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