The Modernist Muslim’s Guide for Debating Orthodox Muslims

Use this handy guide to easily dispute every normative claim Islam makes that violates modern liberal secular values. Using these rebuttals, you can justify virtually anything and make it seem like the Islamic scholarly tradition is on your side!

With this guide you can undermine those pesky traditional Muslims and champion your reform Islam all the while coming across as a nuanced, learned scholar in your own right.

Traditionalist: “There is consensus on this topic.”

Modernist Rebuttal: “Actually, consensus is a highly contested issue.”

Traditionalist: “These narrations are mutawatir.”

Modernist Rebuttal: “Actually, tawatur is a highly contested issue.”

Traditionalist: “This is the relied upon view of the four sunni schools.”

Modernist Rebuttal: “We don’t have to limit ourselves to the schools because we live in a different context today.”

Traditionalist: “This is an established position in one school.”

Modernist Rebuttal: “Well, the majority of scholars say otherwise, so we can trash the minority position.”

Traditionalist: “This is the majority position.”

Modernist Rebuttal: “Well, there is a minority position that says otherwise, so we can safely ignore the majority.”

Traditionalist: “This ayah is qat`i.”

Modernist Rebuttal: “No it’s not.”

Traditionalist: “This hadith is unequivocal.”

Modernist Rebuttal: “But it is an ahad hadith, so we can safely ignore it.”

Traditionalist: “This is the strongest position within the school.”

Modernist Rebuttal: “But there is a solitary narration relaying the statement of a Sahabi that contradicts that position, so we can safely ignore it.”

Traditionalist: “Most of the tafasir on these ayat convey the same interpretation.”

Modernist Rebuttal: “Yeah, but there is one tafsir that says something slightly different, so that proves that the other tafasir are the result of cultural bias.”

Traditionalist: “The fuqaha are agreed on this.”

Modernist Rebuttal: “The fuqaha are limited in their knowledge of hadith. We have to look at what the muhaddithun said.”

Traditionalist: “The muhaddithun are agreed on this.”

Modernist Rebuttal: “The muhaddithun are limited in their knowledge of fiqh. We have to look at what the fuqaha said.”

Traditionalist: “The fuqaha and the muhaddithun are agreed on this.”

Modernist Rebuttal: “But we live in a different context, so our own ijtihad is necessary. Islam is a living tradition, etc.”

See how easy it is to weasel your way out of anything and everything? When you aren’t beholden to standards of consistency and basic intellectual honesty, you can justify pretty much anything and look good doing it! Enjoy!

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