Know that the Muslim has contempt for reason, and sets it beneath Shari’a.
The good is not what reason considers good, nor the bad what reason considers bad. The measure of good and bad …is the Sacred Law, not reason. (Reliance of the Traveller, Book A:1.4)
Debate is a process of opposition between reasoned arguments. “Whoever seeks it [knowledge] for a worldly aim, such as… defeating opponents in debate… is blameworthy.” (Book A:3.1, this emphasis and all below, AP)
Know that …the merit of seeking Sacred Knowledge [“knowledge of the religion”] only applies to the seeker who thereby intends Allah Himself, not some end concerned with this world [such as defeating opponents in debate]. This world and what is in it are accursed, except for the remembrance of Allah, that which Allah loves, someone with Sacred Knowledge or someone learning it. (Book A:2.2.8)
In other words, a Muslim cannot debate when the question pertains to Sacred Knowledge, i.e., “knowledge of the religion”. No, let me rephrase that. It is forbidden for a Muslim to engage in a debate about Islam. The one who seeks to draw the Muslim into such debate is already “accursed.”
So why would a Muslim agree to debate a kafir, or even challenge a kafir to debate? The Muslim serves Allah not only by cursing the one who would debate Islam with him, but by refusing to debate. By misleading, insulting, deceiving, ensnaring, ambushing, and generally demeaning his “debate” opponent, the Muslim affirms his respect for the Shari’a injunction against debate, and his supremacy over the kafir. To attempt to debate a Muslim is thus futile, and there can be only one outcome: the Muslim, in one way or another, abuses his opponent. Afterwards the kafir can protest all he wants about how he actually won the debate, but Muslims will be celebrating victory, for what they were engaged in, they had won.
None of this says anything yet about the merits or demerits of Islam and its “Sacred Law”. Even if Shari’a did not forbid it, the Muslim has every reason to avoid debate because Islam has no merits. The only way to defend Islam is by killing and maiming, and if that is not possible, then by intimidation, and if that is not possible, then by lying and trickery, and if that is not possible, then by insulting and abusing. They’re proud of that.
Certainly, on the basis of reason and ethics, it is not possible to lose a debate against a Muslim. But you must understand very clearly before you allow your vanity to lure you into what looks like an easy win, that the Muslim knows this too. Muslims will often go to elaborate lengths to set you up long before any debate question has even been agreed. To still proceed, or worse, to imagine that you will demonstrate to the Muslim the error of Islam through force of reason, is to go on a fool’s errand. There is only one way to debate a Muslim: out-Muslim the Muslim.
Someone who understands this very well is the Christian online missionary “Christian Prince” (CP). Of course, I oppose inviting people to “accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.” Being a serf of Jesus might not be quite as horrendous as being a slave of Allah, but to proselytise in a world where the individual has already attained freedom is a distinctly retrograde project. Yet, one must give credit where credit is due. CP knows exactly how to debate Muslims: by not deluding himself that Muslims are going to play by the rules of debate, and by dealing appropriately with a supremacist.
The Muslim will try to control his opponent right from the word go, if not earlier. The kafir will scrupulously stick to the rules of the debate, while the Muslim flouts it with abandon. If the organisers or moderators are Muslim, they will not interfere with such behaviour, for they are party to the deceit. It baffles kafir debaters when a Muslim debater asserts that he does not have to provide proof of his claims. This is entirely consistent with an ethos established in Shari'a.
When one believes in Allah's transcendence above created things, there is no need for debate on it, or for taking risks over [it]... But if the need arises for definitive interpretations to refute someone making unlawful innovations and the like, then the learned may supply them... (Book A:4.3)
CP knows exactly the process at work in his Muslim opponent’s mind, and controls him right from the start. He immediately steers the Muslim directly into his greatest weakness, his religion’s utter lack of merit, and does not give the Muslim any chance to escape. Of course, he is greatly aided by Muslims leaving knowledge of their religion to their “scholars”, whom they believe know Islam better than anyone else in the world. Superior knowledge of Islam is something Muslims are incapable of crediting the kufaar with. Besides, even those lay Muslims who want to fully study Islam, the Shari'a describes as "deluded."
CP starts out politely enough, and waits for the Muslim to fire up his antics before letting rip, refusing to suffer any of the Muslim’s shenanigans. The Qur’an and the Hadith are the perfect trap that it is very easy to drive the Muslim into. It then becomes a simple matter of not allowing the Muslim to escape, whether that means shouting at him, insulting him, taunting him or whatever else will sabotage his supremacism, by which he is quickly reduced to a child bereft of a toy.
It is not a matter of winning or losing the debate. It is a matter of never losing control of the Muslim. So many outstanding kafir debaters, naïve to the eyeballs, end up perplexed, shocked or frustrated by how their Muslim opponents behaved in debates that they had entered into in good faith. Unbeknownst to them, the Muslim already controlled them before the debate had even begun, and their politeness simply sealed their fate. If the Muslim rebuffs your handshake before the debate has even started, then you have only two options, either walk away, or go straight for the jugular. Forget about your high principles; those have no meaning here. When dealing with rogues and scoundrels, treat them like rogues and scoundrels. Anything else and they will be all over you. But know this: even if your Muslim opponent is an inoffensive gentleman, he still has no option but to lie, because there is no truth that he can tell about Islam that will help him win a debate.
For Muslims, “debating” the kufaar serves another crucial purpose: jihad. Muslims are “the best of people raised up for mankind.” (Qur’an 3:110) In other words, Muslims are supremacists — all Muslims are, not just the overtly nasty ones. To not act, or at least think of themselves, as “the best of people” would be to snub Allah’s favour bestowed on them in 3:110. Yet, to live amongst kufaar who do not feel themselves subdued (9:29) is for everyday life to be an unrelenting debate in which the kufaar rub the ugly truth of your perfect religion (5:3) in your face day in and day out, and you can offer no rebuttal, except “Islamophobia” and the occasional mass murder. It is insufferable.
The same as Muslims rejoice (whether discreetly or overtly) at every jihad mass murder, they throng to the great gladiatorial spectacles quaintly dubbed “debates” in which Muslim bruisers put the upstart kufaar, “the worst of creatures,” (98:6) in their place. They cheer and roar because the thrashing of a kafir is exactly what they are there to enjoy, payback for the constant “insults” to Islam, something that would not be tolerated if they had already imposed their Shari’a. When a Muslim agrees to “debate” a non-Muslim, all he is doing is announcing to the ummah that it’s payback time. They can turn up with the whole family and enjoy a kafir being humiliated. It is not quite as entertaining as watching jizya being extracted, but it will do for now.
Finally, according to Shari'a:
Among them [theological polemicists] are those who busy themselves with theological polemics against heretical beliefs, and refuting the unorthodox. Scholars engaged in this are of two types, those in the wrong and those in the right, the former advocating something other than the sunna [the example of Muhammad], the latter advocating the sunna. Both are deluded.
The misguidedness of those in the wrong is obvious (since they have left the Koran and sunna which are divinely protected). As for those in the right, their delusion is in believing that arguing is the most important activity and greatest spiritual work in the religion of Allah Most High. They maintain that one's religion is not complete until one has made lengthy investigations into one's beliefs, and that someone who simply believes in Allah and His messenger without preparing a case for it is deficient in faith. Because of this mistaken presumption, they spend their lives learning how to dispute, conducting in-depth studies of statements of theological controversies until their spiritual insight eventually goes blind.
They do not pause to consider that the early Muslims, whom the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) testified were the very best of mankind, and who lived to see many a reprehensible innovation (bid'a) and deviant belief, did not expose themselves and their religion to quarrels and disputation, or busy themselves therein at the expense of their hearts and works. They did not talk about it at all, except under necessity to refute misguidance. And if they saw someone persisting in blameworthy innovation, they had nothing more to do with him, without further debate or argument. The hadith has reached us, “No people went astray after having been guided save that they were afflicted with arguing.'' (Book S:2.4)
Perhaps now you will understand what you're in for when next you are tempted to take a shot at a sitting duck. The duck in bulletproof, and it is beneath him to deflect your shots. In fact, it is not even remotely a duck.