Muslims must not debate, will not debate, cannot debate. Part 3

Most instructive about Muslim denials of Muhammad’s paedophilia is how they confine their denials and obfuscations to sources that can be endlessly argued over without ever reaching an irrefutable conclusion. Yet Muslims have been completely silent about Shari’a, the law of Muhammad.

Muslims must not debate, will not debate, cannot debate. Part 3
"Why make a problem out of nothing?" - Sheikh Muhammad al-Hazbi

Part 1, Part 2, Part 4

Editorial note: Part 3 draws heavily on interactions with my colleague and Arabic translator, Jalal Tagreeb. Readers might find it harsh in some areas. This is only so because Jalal insisted on it.

Muslims cannot debate:

From time to time, a Muslim emerges who genuinely wants to debate the kufaar, sincerely believing that Islam will stand up to scrutiny. A classic case is that of South African sheikh Ahmed Deedat, a tedious man even by sheikhly standards, whose Muslim audience had to cause a ruckus to prevent a priest from trouncing their learned and beloved sheikh and so also Islam. Another is the Canadian scholar Dr Shabir Ally, whose renowned decency and decorum do not make up for his religion's indefensibility, forcing him into the mystical realms of numerology. Yes, Dr Ally observes all the procedures and etiquette of debate (his opponent may approach the podium safe in the knowledge that he is not going to be spat at), but you are still required to have an argument that will withstand rational and factual scrutiny. While not understanding this, Dr Ally's intriguing thesis does imply that every sudoku puzzle is a Qur'an, and one without a single hole in it.

Another former imam who did succumb to the temptation of debating the kufaar on kafir terms is Jalal Tagreeb, from the Levant, who thought that defending Islam meant being able to quote the Islamic texts better than his debating opponent is able to. Even if this were the case, the paucity of both cohesion and coherence alone make those texts easy to debunk long before we even get to their inconsistency, contradiction and factual inaccuracy, but Tagreeb would never have known this, because it was ingrained in him from an early childhood that the Islamic texts are perfect. He merely needed to quote them, and that would be all the defence they needed. It never crossed his mind that perfectly-quoted texts could be challenged on their intrinsic merits. Had he known this, he would have had to resort to sophistry to get around their intrinsic problems, or yell his opponent into submission. Jalal Tagreeb took the high road. He undertook to debate Christians and secularists by letting the facts speak for themselves. He was defeated, and is still reeling.

Jalal Tagreeb is a clear example of the consequences of what is permitted for a Muslim to know and what is forbidden for a Muslim to know. A people’s epistemology—“the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity”—has a much greater, if not profound, impact on their psyche, as opposed to their mere laws. These are the words of Raymond Ibrahim, a kafir critic of Islam who stands out for his acute grasp of the Muslim psyche, an otherwise gaping void in contemporary Islam critique stemming from a self-imposed, counterproductive and totally unnecessary taboo on criticising Muslims.

The red flag went up for me during a casual chat about Bible literalists having to find a way of reconciling the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago with Genesis 7:2 “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.” Enter: baby dinosaurs!

Jalal Tagreeb: It is believed that dinosaurs went extinct due an asteroid impact as the main culprit. Volcanic eruptions that caused large-scale climate change may also have been involved, together with more gradual changes to Earth's climate that happened over millions of years. So, the story the ark could have happened after that.

— This wording seemed to suggest that Noah’s Ark was historical. I had to press a little.

Anjuli Pandavar: I’m not sure what point you're making here. The reason the Evangelical Christians came up with baby dinosaurs was because they could no longer deny that dinosaurs did exist. And if the earth was only 6,000 years old, (or something like that), then dinosaurs must have existed at the time of Noah. The only way they could fit into the Ark is...

JT: We must double check this scientific fact then. Check this one:

— This rather amusing website is upfront about its scientific credentials: “As God’s written Word to us, we can trust it [the Bible] to tell the truth about the past.” It then undertakes to do nothing less than to, “make a good estimate of the age of the universe by carefully studying the whole counsel of Scripture.” OK. And then in all of 118 words, establishes, to the satisfaction of Jalal Tagreeb, that “dinosaurs lived within the past few thousand years.”

AP: So where's the double-checking of the scientific fact?

JB: "The story we have all heard from movies, television, newspapers, and most magazines and textbooks is that dinosaurs “ruled the Earth” for 140 million years, died out 65 million years ago, and therefore weren’t around when Noah and company set sail on the Ark around 4,300 years ago."

— This was alarming, since the passage quoted is what the website sets out to debunk. If one were to accept from this quotation that “dinosaurs ‘ruled the Earth’ for 140 million years, died out 65 million years ago,” then the source for this “scientific fact” would be “movies, television, newspapers, and most magazines and textbooks.” This is a Yasir Qadhi-type argument, as critiqued in Part 2. Jalal Tagreeb’s conception of facts is the same as that of Sheikh Dr Yasir Qadhi, as is his standard of evidence.

AP: I'm sorry, perhaps I misunderstand you. I don't know what we're doing with this quotation.

JT: This says that dinosaurs disappeared before Noah era and thus they were not on the Ark.

— So either he read no further, or he did, but failed to understand (or chose to ignore), the article’s conclusion that “dinosaurs lived within the past few thousand years,” and “not all dinosaurs were huge like the Brachiosaurus, and even those dinosaurs on the Ark were probably ‘teenagers’ or young adults.”

— Jalal Tagreeb still reads like a Muslim. In the words of Khaled Montaser,

We read with great speed and a hopeful eye, not an eye for truth or reality. Some of us are struck with blindness when we read things that go against our hopes.


AP: Let us not get started on why Muhammad was not a paedophile. Muslims shoehorning a six-year-old girl to fit into the definition of a woman is bereft of all decency.

JT: I disagree with you on this issue. Muhammad was not like that. It was common tradition at that time to have age difference when getting married. I can tell based on our ancestors' traditions. It is more of a culture that does not conform with what the West believe. Similar to LGBTQ, which is acceptable in the Western culture but not Arabian culture. It is culture differences…

— “not like that”? This is a curious delicacy towards Muhammad for a man who has left Islam. The cultural differences claim is a simple, unjustified assertion, and the analogy with LGBTQ is downright dishonest. Tagreeb knows as well as anyone that Muslim, and especially Arab Muslim, societies are rife with homosexuality. That is indeed an ancestral tradition.[1]

AP: I appreciate this comment, and I should delete this line [about paedophilia]. A valid criticism relating to this practise [amongst Arabs] would be the insistence that the practise is valid for all time because Muhammad did it. Thank you for clarifying.

JT: It is believed, according to authentic hadith, that she [Aisha] was married around that age, but he did not have sexual intercourse with her at that age, he had it with her after she was mature enough for that, according to authentic hadith by Muslims.

— Again, this delicate circumspection: “that age” instead of “six”; “mature enough” instead of “nine”; “for that” instead of “for sex”. Not that the veracity of this claim is based on the authenticity of hadith, important enough to mention twice. This is important, as we shall see later.

AP: She [Aisha] said marriage at six-years-old and sex at nine [in the authentic hadith].

JP: No, in the authentic hadith of Muslim it says sex when she was ready for it. That is, mature enough.

AP: I'll find it.

JT: It is also believed Aisha had been through puberty by the age of 9, and in Islam a female who under-goes puberty is considered a lady and is fit for marriage. You might find this useful: ... this is also interesting:

— “It is believed” – are we still talking about authentic hadith, or is this "believe" declared in the two suggested sources? On what grounds should this "believe" be given credence? Regarding the first source, the very first problem is in the title: “Why Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) married Aisha when she was only 9?” Adding “(PBUH)” after the name of Muhammad immediately disqualifies the source as unreliable. The author subscribes to the obligation to always eulogise the Islamic prophet whenever his name is mentioned, and since the author does this, one can confidently infer that he obeys the rule that Muhammad must never be criticised, no matter what.

— I do not propose to discuss this article further, as it is an unreliable source, even though I have read it all and found it riddled with problems from start to finish. Its sole merit lies in that it is a revealing window onto the lengths that Muslims are prepared to go to to protect their prophet, and just how much of a raw nerve the age of Aisha at marriage is for Muslims. If they could criticise Muhammad, then, of course, the problem would immediately go away, but they cannot do that, as that would render the perfect man less than perfect. So rivers of ink have to flow through mountains of paper to make what has always been and always will be a terrible act, into a virtuous one. Poor Aisha!

— Most intriguing is how Tagreeb makes such great play of the reliability of “authentic hadith” when he wants to be vague about Aisha’s age, but when he has to get down to details, he goes to great lengths, quoting one source after another, to show the “authentic hadith” are not reliable, when it comes to the age of Aisha. In this case one might legitimately ask, what makes an authentic hadith authentic when Muslims can so easily reject their authenticity as soon as they say something that Muslim now find embarrassing.

— It seems that former-Muslim Jalal Tagreeb still bears the Muslim chains around his mind.

AP: "in Islam a female who under-goes puberty is considered a lady and is fit for marriage." Firstly, you do not acknowledge that this is a quotation. Secondly, you have just argued that Aisha was NOT said to be 9, but "of mature age". Now you are relying on a Muslim source that not only says that she was 9 (itself a lie), but justifies such a marriage. By your previous standard, you ought to reject this source. That aside, the source is a chaotic scramble for excuses. This is typical of Muslims, into whom it is so deeply ingrained never to criticise Muhammad that they panic and trip over their own arguments. By the way, in the opening lines of your second source: "Some 400 million people took to the streets." Do you take this source seriously? The entire population of the EU is just over 400 million.

Apart from Tagreeb sending me copious further sources and references, that was where we left it.

Most instructive about Muslim denials of Muhammad’s paedophilia is how they confine their denials and obfuscations to sources that can be endlessly argued over without ever reaching an irrefutable conclusion. Hence, cases can be made that marriage between a grown man and a pre-pubescent girl: was permitted; was not permitted; is permitted; is not permitted; did take place; did not take place; is harmful to the children; is not harmful to the children; was sexual; and was not sexual, all at the same time. Yet Muslims and their acolytes have been completely silent about Shari’a, the law of Muhammad, which in all this time has been more than explicitly clear in so many different ways that it is lawful for grown men to have sex with pre-pubescent girls. Down to what age, exactly? We shall see.

“if one of several guardians of an infant, wbo are all upon an equality, in point of guardianship, contract the infant in marriage, the marriage is valid and binding upon all the other guardians, and no one of them is at liberty to annul it.” Al-Hidayah Volume II, p155.
“A waiting period is obligatory for a woman divorced after intercourse, whether the husband and wife are prepubescent, have reached puberty. or one has and the other has not. ...Intercourse means copulation.” (Reliance of the Traveller, Book N9.1-2)
A husband who accuses his wife of adultery is disciplined by the magistrate ...when adultery is impossible, such as when the person accused is a mere infant," (Book N11.2).

In other words, it is not permitted for a Muslim husband to accuse his wife of adultery if his wife is a baby, i.e., incapable of having a sexual interest in anyone. Just to be absolutely clear, Shari'a distinguishes “infant” in the following ways: “an infant in the cradle,” (Book M13.0); “the infant is able to suffice with another [woman]’s milk,” (Book O3.6).

The point here is that Shari'a permits a man to marry and have sex with a baby, all of this while Muslims want to argue the toss over whether Aisha was six or nine or twelve or eighteen or whatever when Muhammad "consummated the marriage," a choice of words both sinister and chilling, especially if we recall the exquisite delicacy with which Tagreeb tells us that when Muhammad first had sex with his child-wife Aisha, she was, "mature enough for that". Do read on, dear reader, but be advised that you are now entering the nightmare world of the Shari'a notion of "mature enough for that"...

Muslims might have got away with denying Aisha’s age, except that Shari’a, the law of Muhammad, it is no longer a secret, and we now know that it has rather a lot to say about the ins and outs of grown men marrying and having penetrative sex with infants. Let us continue. Under “The Penalty for Fornication or Sodomy,” we read:

If the offender is someone with the capacity to remain chaste, then he or she is stoned to death. ...A person is not considered to have the capacity to remain chaste, if he or she prepubescent at the time of marital intercourse. (Book O12.2)

In other words, Shari’a recognises that children are incapable of sexual motivation and as such can only be raped, a point reinforced elsewhere:

When a woman who has been made love to[2] performs the purificatory bath [ghusl], and the male's sperm afterwards leaves her vagina, then she must repeat the ghusl if two conditions exist: (a) that she is not a child, but rather old enough to have sexual gratification; (b) and that she was fulfilling her sexual urge with the lovemaking, not ...forced. (Book E10.3)

"Forced", dear reader. Let us dwell for a moment on the word forced. Since the wives we are discussing here are children, possibly “in the cradle”, possibly still suckling, they suffer severe, crippling and fatal injuries from male penetration. Many end up with painful, life-long, debilitating fistulas, their lives ruined. Yet, Islam is not barbaric, as so many Islamophobes allege, no-no-no, because, “A full indemnity is paid ...for injuring the peritioneal (sic, peritoneal) wall between vagina and rectum so they become one aperture.” (Reliance of the Traveller, Book O4.13).

But the generosity and compassion of the Islamic state does not end there. Shari’a, being first and foremost concerned with the wellbeing of the child, goes the extra mile and stipulates that:

When a man has had sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of nine years, and has ruptured the parts, it is unlawful for him to have further connection with her, but she is not released from her ties, if connected with him by marriage or slavery. If no rupture has taken place, the prohibition is not incurred according to the most valid opinion.[3]

In other words, if the man has not physically destroyed his child-wife's or child-slave's vagina and anus, then there is no harm done. Go right ahead, brother.

When someone tells me about how wonderful Muhammad was, or about how Islam respects women, how can I not think of Daulatdia. The real inconsistency that seems to have escaped many is that Muslims are all expected to follow the example of Muhammad, the perfect man, who restrained himself from sexual intercourse with his six-year-old wife for three whole years "until she was ready for it." How ready for it is an infant in a cradle? How ready for it is a suckling baby? How ready for it were the millions of little girls down the 1400 years of Islam's revolting, stomach-churning history, that Muhammad's law hands over to the tender mercies of lust-crazed barbarians? How ready for it are the girls who end up in Daulatdia through no fault of their own? And if Shari'a is Muhammad's law — Muhammad is the law-giver — then how on earth does the claim that Muhammad married a six-year-old and did not have sex with her until she was nine bear any credibility at all? What kind of person believes a story like that?

It will surprise Jalal Tagreeb to learn that I agree with those who reject the sahih hadiths narrating that Aisha was six when Muhammad married her and nine when he first had sex with her. I reject those hadiths not because I agree that Muhammad penetrated Aisha when she was older, but because the hadiths as they stand are inconsistent with: the laws that Muhammad made; with his legendary sexual predations; and with the later drafting of Shari'a by men who emulated Muhammad's life to the letter. There is a vast credibility chasm between the supposed tenderness and consideration of Muhammad towards Aisha, and the grotesque cruelties contained in the laws drown up by those who emulated Muhammad in every detail. If Muslims could debate, they would immediately see the problem: you cannot have both a compassionate and self-restraining Muhammad and Shari'a. These are mutually exclusive. It is one or the other. And it takes a particular kind of messed-up psyche to be able to live with this and to want to spread it to all the world.

In discourse, Muslims have one priority: to only ever utter what they are permitted to utter, even misquoting their own sources to fulfil this command. The prohibition on criticising Islam, and the obligation to praise it, are so deeply ingrained in the Muslim psyche, that they will disown their own holy texts to avoid falling foul of these rules. The exchange that I had with Jalal Tagreeb on the age of Aisha, Muhammad's child-wife, took the form of a debate, in which he showed such relapses from time to time. I recognise this from my own struggles over more than two decades to recover from the damage Islam had wreaked on my psyche.

If I can convey one thing to Jalal, then it would be that it is irrelevant who won or lost a debate. If this essay serves to remind us, in the current frenzy of debunking and destroying and busting and humiliating, that debate is a civilised tradition of intellectual sparing in pursuit of truth, to expand our understanding of reality, then it will have served a good purpose. The "loser" is never humiliated, punished or expected to do penance. If this should be the outcome, then the debate has failed, for it has brought nothing to light. Both sides are left as ignorant as they were when they set out supposedly to debate. It is a terrible waste, and all the more so if punishment, taunting and mockery continue afterwards, and especially so when it involves someone who has left Islam, for that is the point at which the real hard work only begins.

Part 4/...


  1. See, for example, Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe, Islamic Homosexualities, New York University Press, New York and London, 1997.
  2. I would take advice on whether the translation "made love to" is the meaning intended in the original Arabic.
  3. Neil B. E. Baillie, A Digest of Moohummudan Law, Smith, Elder, & Co., London, 1887, p26.

Picture credits:

RAWA - (Archived at the Wayback Machine), CC BY 3.0,

Screenshot and quotation of Sheikh Muhammad al-Hazbi from "Child Marriage And Rape Is Still Legal In Yemen" (2013), Journeyman Pictures, YouTube, 1 Sept 2016


On 24 April 2024 at 5:58, Jalal Tagreeb wrote:

Dear Anjuli,


Thank you very much for publishing Part 3. I have read the essay, it is strong and great! It literally turned the tables on the Islamic argument related to the debate issue, ironically, using Islamic sources. We can reverse engineer and Islamic argument to create essays of similar style if you like. Below are some of the best moments and following to that some comments me and other secularists whom I shared the essay with:

— “not like that”? This is a curious delicacy towards Muhammad for a man who has left Islam. The cultural differences claim is a simple, unjustified assertion, and the analogy with LGBTQ is downright dishonest. Tagreeb knows as well as anyone that Muslim, and especially Arab Muslim, societies are rife with homosexuality. That is indeed an ancestral tradition.[1]

This is an excellent turn of the table where the evidence is flipped to make your counter argument stronger. Well done!

— Most intriguing is how Tagreeb makes such great play of the reliability of “authentic hadith” when he wants to be vague about Aisha’s age, but when he has to get down to details, he goes to great lengths, quoting one source after another, to show the “authentic hadith” are not reliable, when it comes to the age of Aisha. In this case one might legitimately ask, what makes an authentic hadith authentic when Muslims can so easily reject their authenticity as soon as they say something that Muslim now find embarrassing.

Perfect! Yes, this is one of tricks that Muslim apologists use and manipulate.

... they confine their denials and obfuscations to sources that can be endlessly argued over without ever reaching an irrefutable conclusion.

True, and the evidence that you provided later in the essay made this clear.

The essay is literary perfect, Anjuli. If I must have a concern about it, then it would be that, although my loss of debate on that case is evident and clear, the admission of loss can be brought forward and compared – or contrasted – with the vows that Muslim apologists (e.g. the sort of Muhammad Hijab, but my case as an example here) usually fire as part of their jihad by tongue/word. Show that they should bring their white flag with them before indulging in jihad by tongue/word or debates.

To close any chance to go in circles in future debates, you can also make a firm ending possibly at the end of the last part (Part-4) by including parts – or all – of my debate statement. What do you think of that?

I have shared the essay with my secular debaters and they "WOWed". You cannot imagine their happiness! Rest assured that it will be widely shared. I will also share it. Do you like me to provide evidence of that?

I told my secular debaters about the essay and that it will appear the day before yesterday, but it was delayed. However, it was finally published. Below is the comment of Linda (one of my secularist debaters):

... it seems that Jalal's hopes of being "saved by the bell" were dashed today. Perhaps he anxiously awaited another delay in the publication of the article, hoping to attribute it to the workings of the "heavens," or the writer was influenced by his arguments and considered converting to Islam, but that was met with a surprise for him. The article was indeed published, and Jalal found himself "defeated by the final bell!

After months of dodging the inevitable, Jalal's defeat has finally been laid bare for all to see. No longer can he hide behind excuses or delay tactics. The truth about his refuted Islamic arguments is now out in the open.

We are already making plans to ensure that this article receives the attention it deserves. We hope this will close the final door of Islam for Jalal and opens a new door for open-mind thinking.

Thank you again Anjuli, and looking forward to reading Part-4. What argument are you planning to discuss in the final part?

Kind regards,


On 25 April 2024 at 16:08, Jalal Tagreeb wrote:

Hi Anjuli,

Related to the question that you asked in the Notes of Part-3. I have checked it in the original book (both English and Arabic). Yes, it means the intended meaning in English (i.e., engaging in sexual intercourse or intimate physical activity with someone, often in a context that emphasises emotional connection, tenderness, and affection between partners. It implies a romantic and intimate relationship between the individuals involved).

I am attaching screenshots from the references if you like to check with someone else.

Kind regards,


On 26 April 2024 at 13:46, Anjuli Pandavar wrote:

Hi Jalal,

Thank you for this translation check and for your thoughts. I can accept that this is what the Arabic in Reliance of the Traveller says, but I am maintain that there is a problem here, because of how wildly inconsistent the tone of how marriage and sex are discussed here is with The Hidayah, for example, we read:

The reason is that ownership of nikah is common between the spouses so that she can demand sexual intercourse just as he has the right to demand access. (Al-Hidayah, Vol.1, Book VIII, p579)

Rights of access for sex are marketable at the time of entry into the [marriage] contract. (Vol. 2, Book VIII, p35)

The husband does not have the right to prevent her from travelling and going out from his house in order to visit her family until he pays her the entire mahr [bride price] ...for the [husband's] right of confinement [of the wife to the house] is for claiming what is due to him [viz. access to her vagina, AP] (Vol.1, Book VI, p522)

We maintain that divorce is prescribed for the removal of the restrictions of marriage. These restrictions apply to her and not to the husband. ...It is she who is prevented from marrying another husband. If moving out of nikah is for the elimination of ownership, then it works against her, because it is she who is owned, while the husband is the owner, (Vol.1, Book VIII, p579)

I have no reason to doubt that it says what you say it says. But I am saying that this inconsistency needs explaining. We are most definitely not talking about "emotional connection, tenderness, and affection between partners," or "a romantic and intimate relationship between the individuals," here. It is worth keeping in mind that the 1991 English edition of Reliance of the Traveller displays significant editorial softening and sanitising, including the complete redaction of four entire sections on slavery.

On 30 April 2024 at 3:41, Myra wrote:

It appears that even the mightiest lions of da'wah can find themselves trapped in cages of their own making. Your journey from the roar of victory to the silence of defeat is a cautionary tale for all aspiring apologists. Perhaps it's time to acknowledge that the bars of your metaphorical cage were always of your own construction, Jalal.

Thank you Anjuli Pandavar for publishing this.