Muslims must not debate, will not debate, cannot debate. Part 4

We have all seen Muslims bolt from debates at Speakers' Corner and heard them cut the call on Christian Prince's YouTube channel. When overwhelmed with evidence and unable to dominate, their centre can no longer hold, and things fall apart.

Muslims must not debate, will not debate, cannot debate. Part 4
A storm of blood and madness

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Although I have made this point amply elsewhere, it bears repeating here. Muslims do not "use the Qur'an" to "justify their actions". They do not think and behave the way they do because of verses in the Qur’an, or hadith narrations or the stipulations of Shari’a. Muslims think and behave the way they do because of how their reality is constructed and sealed in place during their early childhood, mostly in madrassas, and maintained through culture and social pressure during adulthood, constantly contradicting their natural human impulses, impulses that we as free people, have in the main learnt to give rein to without harming others.

While the Muslim reality, especially the limits of that reality, is fundamentally set by the Qur’an, the Sunnah, the stipulations of Shari’a, Friday sermons (khutbah), Muslim “scholarly” consensus, fatwas, and so forth, the Muslim thinks and behaves not in reference to these volumes of detailed legal stipulations, but rather, firstly, because he is trained in early childhood to hear and obey, and, secondly, because he has at the same time learnt that his life, thoughts and actions are prescribed down to the minutest detail, resulting in his involuntary presumption that anything new or different that he encounters is necessarily corrupting of his Islamic faith and so by default rejected from reality without their intrinsic merits having been examined.

This is where all the bizarre fatwa questions come in. An Indonesian Muslim who has been using nutmeg in his cooking all his life, for example, heard somewhere that nutmeg is haram (forbidden)—PANIC!!! The poor man threw himself on Sheikh Dr Yasir Qadhi for guidance in his unexpected earth-shattering crisis. Dr Qadhi, a man with five university degrees, dropped everything to spend over twenty-five minutes of his life assuring the panic-stricken Muslim that Shari'a makes it halal (permitted) to use nutmeg as an ingredient in his cooking, but only in the right amount. Wallahi!

This is the condition of 1.6 billion people on earth. For them, something is either in the realm of the known, the “seen world”, or in the realm of the unknown, the “unseen world”, depending on whether they had it inculcated into them during childhood, or they heard a sheikh pronounce upon it in adulthood. Nothing else is real. And if, nonetheless, a Muslim should discover that there is more in Heaven and Earth than is dreamt of in his philosophy, then Yasir Qadhi would have him dismiss it as "just a theory, a possibility", or assure them that everything is alright, as when, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, O'Brien put his arm around Winston Smith.

Not every Muslim—there, I used that ridiculous phrase—not every Muslim is ready for objectivity at variance with what he or she is permitted to know is real. If girls show any aptitude for learning, they must be driven out of school. If women show any competence in running the affairs of the world, they must be driven back into the home. If the kufaar prosper in enlightenment while Muslims languish in ignorance and squalor, then the kufaar and their societies must be attacked and destroyed. Reality must be brought back into compliance with what Allah says, because Allah is perfect and Allah knows best. If it does not and the Muslim acquiesces in non-compliant reality, then he acquiesces in a denial of Allah's perfection, which is blasphemy. In other words, the Muslim's epistemology precedes his ontology.

This is where things get really interesting, or weird, depending on how you look at it. When observed reality (or a logical deduction) is found to be inconsistent with what a Muslim holds to be true, the inconsistency is either shut out as irrelevant, or it is abolished, such as when Emirati Sheikh Al-Kabai kindly disabused us of the blasphemy that the earth rotates:

First of all, where are we now? We go to Sharjah airport to travel to China by plane. Clear? Focus with me. [holds up a cube] This is the earth. If you say that it rotates, if we leave Sharjah airport on international flight to China—the earth is rotating, right? [rotates the cube] So if the plane stops still in the air, wouldn’t China be coming towards it? True or not? If the earth rotates in the other direction, the plane will not be able to reach China, because China is also rotating as the plane rotates.

Truly, the ummah is divinely protected from error.

Yet, what matters is the Muslim’s state of mind while contemplating the clash between his own beliefs and observed reality. If the Muslim can simply shut his mind to the clash, as advised by his religious betters, then all is well. If the Muslim is driven to questioning what he holds to be true, yet is repelled by his own inclination to question, then such questioning is not yet doubt, but merely Shaitan messing with him. The remedy the sheikhs prescribe to such a Muslim is to repeat several times on the spot, “I believe in Allah.” Shaitan will eventually leave him alone, and all will be well.

Doubt arises when the Muslim, upon encountering an inconsistency between objective reality and what he holds to be true, is not repelled by his own doubt, but instead indulges it, i.e., starts seeking to resolve the inconsistency: then he is in sin and in very real danger of slipping into deviance. When the Muslim encounters a difference between observable reality and hardwired, immutable reality, observable reality must not concern him. He must be completely at peace with what he already knows as a Muslim. This is when, in encounters with the kufaar, Muslims take on that air of aloofness that is so baffling.

To the Muslim, doubt is not a state of questioning the veracity of an observation or claim, but a state of ease with such questioning. The point of a Muslim’s inner struggle is not to ascertain the objective truth one way or the other, but to restore his ease with never questioning the reality he received. This is the condition that O’Brien, seeks when he wants his victim, Winston Smith, to know that he sees five fingers, when in front of his eyes there are only four.

There is another level to this. For the Muslim to feel uncomfortable or disturbed by, say, finding out that the Qur’an says something other than he believes it to say, is still no sin, because such a realisation is still not doubt. The prudent Muslim will remove himself from such a situation as quickly as possible, not because it is illegal to doubt (which it is), but because of the extreme discomfort the incongruence raises in him. He removes himself from the situation not because it is a legal requirement that he remove himself (which it is), but to preserve the perfection of the Qur’an, so he might continue to take solace in it and restore his ease. We have all seen Muslims bolt from debates at Speakers' Corner and heard them cut the call on Christian Prince's YouTube channel. When overwhelmed with evidence and unable to dominate, their centre can no longer hold, and things fall apart.

The peril the Muslim faces once he has exposed himself to something contrary to what he is permitted to know (or is "wise" for him to know, as Sheikh Yasir Qadhi puts it), is that should he continue to expose himself to contrary evidence a moment longer, he might end up wanting to know what the Qur’an actually says, rather than simply taking his sheikh's word for it, as he is obligated to do. The Shari'a goes to great lengths to pre-empt such a development. The opening chapter of the Shari'a manual, Reliance of the Traveller, titled "Sacred Knowledge", lays out the centrality and inviolability of Shari'a, while the second chapter, "The Validity of Following Qualified Scholarship" lays out the centrality and inviolability of the "scholars".

Continued exposure to knowledge contrary to what his sheikh has told him, is when he falls prey to doubt, something that every Muslim must avoid at all cost. To be safe, the will turn to the very sheikhs who messed up his mind in the first place, and essentially turn himself in as a deviant. In this he is in an even worse condition than the character, Adzo, the novice monk in Umberto Eco’s 1980 novel, The Name of the Rose, who at the end of his life reflects:

I felt confused, afraid of my own thoughts. Perhaps they were not fitting for a novice, who should only follow the Rule scrupulously and humbly through all the years to come—which is what I subsequently did, without asking myself further questions, while around me the world was sinking deeper and deeper into a storm of blood and madness.

Those unfamiliar with the Muslim psyche can gain some insight by reading Muslims’ questions to their “scholars” on fatwa websites. The things they worry about and their complete helplessness make for depressing reading, especially when the realisation kicks in that there are well over a billion people on earth with this kind of mind, minds that produce the kinds of things one reads on fatwa websites. Fatwa websites are a window on a mediaeval world, a world of primeval fear, a world of deep ignorance and superstition, a world of profound stupidity, of unspeakable cruelty and of slavish submission.

Big Brother, Allah, watches every Muslim from inside his or her own head. Muslims find ways of salvaging bits of their humanity when they can get away with it, furtively, analogous with sordid, illicit sex. Things can unravel pretty quickly if the unspoken code of hypocrisy is breeched, such as when a young woman is suspected of impropriety, something that by its nature cannot be concealed for very long. In such a situation, everyone’s transgressions are threatened with exposure, so everyone will protest too much, to beef up their own meagre pious credentials. The young woman’s immediate family, especially, can be the most insistent that the doctrinal stipulation of killing such a child be carried out—it helps to mitigate the scandal; the stain, after all, is on them all. It will be a lucky woman indeed who escapes with her life, mostly the ones who live in the accursed West, where Muslims are haunted by the prospect of their daughters becoming “too Westernised.” Finding a husband for each of your daughters is a race against their biological clocks. “Do not let your daughters see their first blood in your house, lest it brings shame,” goes the common wisdom. In Muslim society, child marriage is both desirable and advised, unsurprisingly, in neither case by the child herself.

Many ex-Muslims continue to think like Muslims, talk like Muslims and react like Muslims, not only on account of what they say, but also on account of how they say it. They speak reverentially of "prophet" Muhammad, a man whose conduct they supposedly disavow. They are offended to witness the destruction of a Qur'an, because destroying it is offensive to Muslims, apparently more offensive than their apostasy from Islam? Clearly, their Muslim lack of any sense of irony remains very much intact. They refrain from finding fault with Muslims, the very people they found so much wrong with that it was worth risking their lives to turn their backs on. Such is the hold of Islam on the minds of its votaries.

The mind that produces the utterances and actions exemplified and dissected throughout this series, is also the mind that has no problem tearing open a baby's vagina, murdering wayward daughters, being silent about the victims of jihad mass murder and gang-rape, rejoicing at the news of Jews massacred and going to Syria to join ISIS, or helping another to do so, or pretending that no such things take place. This continuum exists in every Muslim, and every Muslim’s responses to changes in reality can fall anywhere along that continuum. They refrain from tainting Islam, let alone discrediting it, not because it is illegal in Shari’a to put Islam in a bad light, but because the very idea of doing so fills them with revulsion. They recoil from it, just as George Orwell's character, Winston Smith, in the end, recoils from the very idea that any detail of his life might be different to how he finally comes to perceives it.

Only the Muslim knows, in his or her own heart, the extent to which humanity and reason survive inside them, or have, since their childhood dismantling, penetrated that heart from outside and mitigated their rump epistemology. Where such penetration has occurred, a Muslim can spend years navigating between two distinct realities, one to get by within everyday Muslim life, the other to remain “true to himself” in some more-or-less liveable way, an irreconcilable inner struggle that is itself a penance, one that comes with being Muslim.

I would encourage those non-Muslims and ex-Muslims minded to engage Muslims in debate to think again. I hope to have shown that Muslims are not permitted to debate, will not debate (especially when they seek it), and, perhaps most importantly, cannot debate. They do not know what it means to debate, and lack the cognitive wherewithal for engaging in it. The notion of different peoples pursuing a common object, in this case the advancement of knowledge or understanding, for mutual benefit is both alien and non-sensical. When a Muslim agrees to "debate" a kafir, therefore, it is solely to establish dominance over him as quickly as possible by whatever means, and maintaining that dominance over the infidel throughout, all the while intensifying the abuse and humiliation of the infidel. The graciousness of a Shabir Ally and the humility of a Jalal Tagreeb are so rare as to be curiosities. The simple lesson here is: unless you are able and prepared to humiliate the Muslim, do not debate him, for it only feeds his supremacism and his jihad of the tongue. Either way, there will be no debate.

I would urge those celebrating their debate "victories" over Jalal Tagreeb and indulging his need for "penance", not to mention feeding their self-righteousness, to think again. Tagreeb is a shadow on the wall of Plato's cave. While we show, for the umpteenth unnecessary time, our own complacency in gloating over our victories, we destroy our power of discernment and construct illusions for ourselves with Muslim help! Our very real opponent is the pure evil "complete way of life" that reduced a perfectly healthy child to the shadow of the defeated human being we see today, while continuing to loom over him is the shadow we must now call "Islamism," held up by other shadows we must now call "Islamists". In the broad light of day outside the cave, Islam continues to loom over us all. The truly defeated is not Jalal Tagreeb, but those among us who see Islamists instead of Muslims! Those who think they defeated a man who never debated, are happy for him to remain a shadow doing penance on the wall of a cave, while around them, Muslims are sinking the world deeper and deeper into a storm of blood and madness.

Picture credits:

4edges - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,


On 26 April 2024 at 16:36, Ben Dor A. wrote:

Dear Anjuli Pandavar 

Part 4 is exceptional.

Have shared it with many friends and family.

Will use it on Quora as well.

BTW - sent you several articles on Telegram.

Shabbat Shalom 👍
Best Regards 

Ben Dor A.

On 26 April at 20:35, Linda wrote:

Dear Anjuli Pandavar,

Your insightful analysis has sparked important conversations and shed light on the complexities of engaging with Muslim apologists.

In response to your commentary on celebrating debate "victories" over Jalal Tagreeb, we want to offer a different perspective. While we understand your concerns about self-righteousness and the potential for complacency, we believe it's essential to recognize the significance of engaging in dialogue and debate with individuals like Jalal.

Your analogy of Tagreeb as a "shadow on the wall of Plato's cave" is thought-provoking, but we respectfully disagree with the notion that engaging in debate with him perpetuates illusions or destroys our power of discernment. On the contrary, engaging with individuals like Tagreeb allows us to challenge and refine our own arguments, deepen our understanding of opposing viewpoints, and foster intellectual growth.

Furthermore, while we acknowledge the broader societal challenges posed by Islamism, we believe it's crucial to address and critique specific arguments and ideologies presented by Muslim apologists like Tagreeb. By engaging in respectful and rigorous debate, we can contribute to a more informed and nuanced discourse on issues related to religion, culture, and society.

We appreciate your perspective and the important points raised in your series. While we may not always agree on every aspect, we believe that constructive dialogue and engagement are essential for fostering understanding and progress.

Thank you again for your thought-provoking contributions, and for exposing Islam.

Warm regards,


On 26 April 2024 at 21:43, Anjuli Pandavar wrote:

Dear Linda,

Thank you for your comment and for engaging with my arguments. I appreciate the care you've taken in crafting your response.

I think that I did not emphasise enough that I see two exceptions to the Muslims I swept up in my review. They are Jalal and Shabir Ally. In Jalal's case, of course, it was while he was still defending Islam. Shabir Ally is still defending Islam. They are exceptional in that both of them genuinely tried/try to debate (Shabir Ally is not interested in humiliating anybody). But now that Jalal is no longer defending Islam, I view engaging with him quite differently, as Part 3 should clearly show.

The issue I do have, though, is acquiescing in Jalal's wish for penance. My view on this is different to yours. I think Jalal is trapped in something that hangs over from having been a Muslim, perhaps compounded by having been an imam. Part 4 of the series is especially important because I am trying to convey that the whole Muslim-debate issue is not about the individual Muslim debaters, their styles or their abilities, ulterior motives, etc., but about the broader phenomenon as a combination of the Muslim upbringing and engaging in jihad of the tongue. Most people ensnared in that combination, should they ever leave Islam, are likely to find it extremely difficult to nurse their psyche's back to health. Please correct me if I'm wrong, by my perception is that by inviting punishment, Jalal is trying to hold onto a little bit of what it means to be Muslim. It is not something I want to either encourage or enable, let alone facilitate. And this is what I mean by my analogy of a shadow on the wall. We are not yet seeing the real Jalal, neither is he.

I will not take it upon myself to steer someone through the process of recovery from Islam. I am far from qualified to do that. I was never in as deep as Jalal has been, yet it took me over twenty years to finally recover from all the damage Islam had done to me (and I was never physically abused), and I was not looking for punishment. It took another decade after that before I started working against Islam. I'm not saying that I have the answer, but I am saying that someone who is still racked by Islamic demons should perhaps be approached with a combination of love and circumspection.

If I may just briefly address "Islamism", I put this in inverted commas for a reason. With all respect to you, societal challenges are posed by Islam; "Islamism" poses psychological challenges. It is a psychological trick that exploits the Western sense of fair play. It is one of the ingredients of another, and much more dangerous, psychological trick, "Islamophobia". This is the stuff totalitarianism is made of, and if I seem to be going for the jugular on this one, it's because I am. I have significant life experience of apartheid, Communism and Islam (I do not say this to claim authority—please do not misunderstand me) and Western freedom, which together give me my perspective. I immediately recognised "Islamophobia" for what it is: a key totalitarian devise for imposing arbitrariness, and if we, as a society, do not recognise that, and soon, there'll be no turning back. This is not the place to unpack it all. I've written a great deal about it on MtH. But it is far from a simple matter of exchanging opinions. It is a fight, and one that is going to have to be had. There is no escape. If you are not already familiar with it, you might be interested to read the Dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita. It deals exactly with this dilemma.

I absolutely do agree with you on the importance of engaging in dialogue and debate with individuals like Jalal. I am one of those individuals. Thank you for engaging.

On 27 April 2024 at 18:20, Linda wrote:

Dear Anjuli,

Thank you for your thoughtful response to my message. I appreciate the opportunity to further discuss this matter with you. Thanks for sharing your insightful perspective on "Islamism" and its psychological implications. I totally agree with your assessment and appreciate your candor in addressing this critical issue.

I agree with your assessment that Jalal and individuals like Shabir Ally present unique cases within the broader context of Muslim debaters. While they may have engaged in debates with differing intentions or styles, Jalal's transition away from defending Islam is indeed significant, especially after his vows to emerge victorious in his jihad by tongue crumbled, as highlighted in Part 3 of your series.

However, I share your concerns regarding Jalal's former Islamic identity, as evidenced by his desire for penance. It's clear that he may still harbor internal struggles stemming from his past involvement in Islam, particularly given his background as an imam. I still feel that he has the Islamic seed that can grow if it is instilled in the right (viewed by us as wrong) soil. Jalal may try to fly the jihad by tongue again if he regains the wings he lost in his debates with us. Part 4 of your series effectively underscores the challenges faced by individuals navigating the aftermath of leaving Islam, emphasizing the need for sensitivity and understanding in addressing their experiences.

Moving forward, I believe it's essential to support Jalal in his journey away from Islam while also actively challenging any remaining Islamic influences. To ensure that Jalal does not revert to Islam, or at least he respects his admitted and announced defeat, I and my secular friends will encourage him to critically examine the Quran and the teachings of Muhammad, without reverential treatment or undue sensitivity. We will encourage him to approach these subjects with the same skepticism and scrutiny applied to any other historical figure or religious text. I can assure you that you will see evidence of his commitment to this approach in his future work and publications. Someone who swallowed the Quran cannot fast again!

Warm regards,

On 28 April 2024 at 6:58, Anjuli Pandavar wrote:

Dear Linda,

Thank you for your kind and positive response. I appreciate it. Jalal (and others like him who read this series and the exchanges between us) depend on the efforts of people like yourself to help them complete their escape from Islam. It is a bewildering time for them, emotionally, cognitively and in their sense of self, because they are essentially abandoning all they have ever known (recall that Islam is a "complete way of life") without any idea of where they are going. The highest risk of failure to free themselves of their Islamic modes of feeling, thinking and being lies in their rapid adoption of and commitment to another package-deal position before they have consolidated themselves as free persons.

Once they become conscious of their inner struggles and are able to articulate them, then it becomes possible to engage with them differently. There will still be a great deal of work ahead, but the nature of that work changes from getting someone away from Islam, to getting that person to understand themselves differently, and to consolidate themselves as a free person, something they would have had no concept of as Muslims. It is the distinction between Martin Luther and Desiderius Erasmus.

Thank you again for everything.

On 26 April 2024 at 21:00 hours, Jala Tagreeb wrote:

Dear Anjuli,

Thank you very much for this wonderful series. It is one of the best series that exposes how Muslim apologists think and try to debate. I agree with what you have said in all parts of this series. I want to confirm my defeat in the argument posted in Part-3 and that the information that you presented in that part related to the argument was a faithful representation of the actual argument that went between us. Part-4 was an excellent epilogue and indeed we should focus on demolishing the Islamic doctrine.

Many ex-Muslims continue to think like Muslims, talk like Muslims and react like Muslims, not only on account of what they says, but also on account of how they say it. They speak reverentially of "prophet" Muhammad, a man whose conduct they supposedly disavow. They are offended to witness the destruction of a Qur'an, because destroying it is offensive to Muslims, apparently more offensive than their apostasy from Islam? Clearly, their Muslim lack of any sense of irony remains very much intact. They refrain from finding fault with Muslims, the very people they found so much wrong with that it was worth risking their lives to turn their backs on. Such is the hold of Islam on the minds of its votaries.

I hope I will not be one of those ex-Muslims that you mentioned, but a different ex-Muslim.

Many thanks and rest assured, the series will be widely shared.

Kind regards,