The Islamic Discipline of Debate and Argumentation with Dr. Safaruk Chowdhury
Channel: Hamza Tzortzis
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Sit on YT Kumara moto llahi we're better kachikwu brothers and sisters and friends and welcome to the sapience Institute, YouTube channel. Welcome to this live stream. And with me I have a very, very special guest. I'm not only saying that because he is special because he's close to my heart. I've known him for I think over 15 years now. And he's been a huge influence in my development and progression. I've mentioned in my book, he was instrumental with regards to various aspects of my book, the divine reality, especially the the theory or the chapter on goods, testimony on Twitter, particularly a kind of robust case for why the quote from a lot from a linguistic point of view, but
with the idea that the person reading, it doesn't need to know anything about the Arabic language. So we use inference of the explanation, and we use the epistemology of testimony. And there was such a headache point about 10 A, B. And I remember calling Dr. Cerf and I was like, my head was basically spinning and hamdulillah. He solved that problem. So Allah bless him. And you know, we've been around for over a decade Alhamdulillah and Mashallah to see him progress. Phenomenal. So for those who don't know, when we just introduce Dr. suffereth choudry. So he's a teacher, examiner, and educational consultant is probably a research fellow at the Center of Excellence for dynamic
research, and co instructor at white bread Institute. He studied philosophy at King's College London, and examine studies, also University in Cairo, before completing his master's, by the way, his master's, I believe, was on logic in the Quran, referring to Allah ghazali and his masters was like half her PhD, I just thought I'd let that let everyone know. And he received his PhD at the pool of Oriental and African Studies in London. He is the author, author of a Sufi apology of initial poor, the life and fools of a man and salami. She was 19. And he's got a forthcoming book coming out, which is called the problem of evil in Islamic theology. In actual fact, I was looking
at one of his videos, he was looking into the mortality school or creed. And he's trying to find a figure out on how to solve the problem animal suffering, I believe, I haven't finished it yet, but I thought was very, very, very insightful. So today, we're going to be talking about this. It's a new book Alhamdulillah. It's a treatise on disputation, and argument. And it is by the Ottoman chef, I believe 100 even must have a cache or cruzada. I think that's I pronounce his his name. Now, Dr. suffered choudry. Basically, what he's done, he translated the text. And he's also extensively annotating the text. And when he basically shared this with me all, like why I bought 10 copies. So
instead of who buy your copy, we're gonna put the link for the Amazon link
in somewhere on the YouTube or the live stream. And when he sent it to me, and when I looked at the contents and flick through, I was like, This is phenomenal. This is exactly what we need. This fills a gap in the kind of outreach, the online or the offline outreach to kind of activism, you know, we want to, you know, part of the objectives of Sapiens Institute, to share Islam intellectually, academically, and to empower and motivate others to do so to create these kind of academic intellectual activists to touch, move and inspire people want to work with all sorts of people,
Muslim organizations and individuals in order to basically fill those objectives when I saw this was like, really to talk about there. So I know I've spoken too much now, but I'm just gonna be asking the question. So when I go on my phone, my phone has notes in it. Unfortunately, the phone now is an expensive extension of what consciousness is the memories are not here anymore. They're in the phone.
that reminds me actually a funny joke. They asked, they also must ask Mike Tyson, what's the secret for a successful marriage or something? And he said, a bad memory.
So let me just ask though, my memories on my phone at the moment, but my memories are good as well. So let's go to the questions. Firstly, give Silicon Valley Dr. Santa Monica, welcome. delight everyone. How you have your I'm good. I'm just so happy to see you. I really I really could tell everyone. Everyone could see the excitement in me.
So let's go straight to the questions in sha Allah. So we have around 11 questions, inshallah we'll be able to cover them all. So, Doctor, the first question I asked you is, why did you translate and annotate the book and what gap? Do you think it fills in the kind of sector that we're in?
Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala rasulillah. While earlier he was talking to him on whether it's my delight and pleasure to be on, and thank you for inviting me on. Yeah, I mean, I can't contain my excitement. But you know,
you see in the seat properly, I'm gonna move around, you know, the handler, it's, it's, like, bless you the work that you do.
You know, in the news Institute Sapiens Institute, I pray that Allah takes it from strength to strength. I mean,
and so, you know, keep that up, keep that up, you know, how difficult is out there in the field, especially that strata of data.
Because it's upper March. And so, you know, you're better than most, it's very different from being in the sort of, not the low end of the field. But the less intellectually challenging area of the field. So Hamdulillah, each has its own place, isn't it? As you know, but
there are levels there are levels, so Well, I mean, in terms of the first question, I mean,
always try and write books I wish I had, yeah, I always try and write books I wish I had. And when I was growing up trying to study slam, there was always certain books I would wish I had, and maybe that would have helped in my own development, my own understanding.
And ever since I kind of use that, that motto and want to try and write books, not necessarily academic books, but just try and write something that I wish I had when I was trying to develop, and then Islam. And so this subject matter of Islamic argumentation, or Islamic theory of argumentation, and disputation was one area, I didn't find anything. So short, simple. Within the English language, there may be stuff in Arabic language, and there are in May very simple text for those who are Arabic speaking. But for us, who are, you know, mainly English speaking communities.
I didn't have anything it was always been on my mind. To write something on it wasn't it isn't very good, but at least something out there. So I'm always I've always been interested in writing books that have been overlooked or neglected. So one area like Bella, wrote a little lame book on that. certain areas of fit that not many people touch on, like in employment, things like that. So this is just another one of the books that I'm trying to fill, fill a gap more perceive what I see a perceived gap. And so, yeah, it's a lost discipline. Some people even said to me, they didn't know there was a theory of argumentation within the Islamic intellectual
tradition they never knew existed. They just thought modern. Yeah, they just knew the modern thing. So my aim was, was to do that, and the what made me sort of Hurry up with it a bit is, um, you know, I think last year, there were two famous moms, let's say, from the Midlands, you know, who had a pre debate
debate type thing. And
that that got quite heated, and the both obviously knowledgeable but you know, one, one of the knowledgeable interlocutors didn't want to proceed, unless they follow the rules of what we call them one other, you know, the rules of debate. And so that triggered in my mind, I got to get this book finished. My notes were just bit scattered. I thought, I've got to put it together quickly. Because obviously, it's become notorious now, you know, argumentation, this monarda, this, this subject matter is piqued everyone's interest. It's productive, I was interested. So I thought, let me get it out as soon as I can, and hopefully it can be a benefit. But the aim really is for general
students and lead their students to understand
the practical purpose of argumentation and debate.
And what the, the epistemological goal is a why are we doing it? And the goal is really, you know, it's truth seeking. So
once we find the truth, we submit to it, and the argumentation is supposed to get us there.
So we don't have to go. Just to add to that, would you say as well at the same time because of the social context that we live in? Yes, debates have an epistemic gold, meaning that we want to counter the truth. Now the famous statement of Imam Shafi may Allah have mercy on him when he would pray that the truth will come through the mouth and the words of his integral interlocutor, which shows a lot of their flaws and sincerity. But this is within the context of course within a in a intra Muslim discussion context, but also from a context of debating people outside of Islam.
Only has an epistemic
goal, but it has a social goal. It shows the kind of veracity of Islam. Even when I'm when I had a debate with Professor Lawrence Krauss, many young students, the the email was increased or they had more faith, they probably didn't understand many of the arguments, but because someone was on a platform, someone was
time for recall, you know,
as a social performance. Yeah, that's the point. So the point is, it also has social impact as well at the same time, right? Definitely.
Yeah, that's right. And if you look at anyone who knows, familiar with this history, will know that there were public debates held in the courts, or the rulers get things out. So it was a part, it was a feature of
it. So social interaction within Muslim societies, Islamic Society. So yeah, so my aim was to try and plug that gap where I felt where there was a perceived gap. But there was nothing out there, that's just sort of basic.
That just sets out the rules of debate and the etiquettes of debate. Yeah, so that was my aim to try and get something out
on a bottom footing, and then those who like it or you know, want to take it further can do a better job and, you know, maybe go on to higher electric higher works in the field.
But even skimming through this doctor, what I've noticed is that, you know, you go through, for example, logical fallacies, you go from
forms of logic. Now, I would probably argue with you now, or not argue, agree with you, if I'm assuming that you, you, you affirm this point as well, that many who engage in debate and dialogue. They don't know basic logical fallacies. They don't know, for example, how to make a valid inference. They don't know how to make a valid deductive argument, for instance, all the different modes of logic, which are very important, important in articulating an argument and putting an argument together. And sometimes we think we have won over our opponent, but in actual fact, we've missed out a key premise, or you haven't made the necessary logical link. And this is why when you
put this in your book, I found it, I thought was fantastic, was fascinating, is exactly what we need. So, move to the second question. So what does what does mother mean? Like in a kind of Islamic intellectual theological context? Oh, all right. So,
well, the the discipline is is a combination of
bath and manava. So, the word bath in Arabic generally means or comes from the root that means like to examine to investigate, required to discuss Yeah,
so that's bath and munawwara it comes from the roof and another which obviously means to see at something to gaze at something, but it also means to like, rationally rationally investigate, to explore to examine. So, put together those two words a definition given by those in the field is something like
use some v k fee to the laws and copper film another. So, the science this discipline is the principles by which you arrive at or by which you know how to avoid error in debate.
So this science is supposed or this discipline is supposed to give you the tools by which to avoid making errors in debates and when other is like what were like two people who are having an exchange having an exchange of views. So to arrive at to arrive at the truth
was that's different from
moja della. So moja is because it's it's kind of inherited from the Greeks, you could say, is to people having an exchange, but not to seek truth necessarily, that's not the epistemic goal. Rather, it's me to win the debate. So I do you over because I'm more eloquent than you or happened to have on the day.
I articulate myself in premises stronger than you, but I may not necessarily be right. I may not find the truth, but I want to over you. So that's the difference between your journal and MANOVA.
Okay, yeah, I'd say that's the basic sort of meaning. Yeah.
So would that be that meaning always, because when you refer to the crowd, for example, I think it's chapter 16.
juggle home and discuss with them and debate with them in ways that are better. So are we going to see the Quranic word here, the way that you've just explained it, or we're going to understand it through, for example, a gem, actually, he comments on this verse and he says, You argue them in ways that is better with no gruffness and no harshness. How did you miss that point? Yeah, definitely. Obviously, that judges that I mentioned that the meaning there was a technical meaning, like, so how it's done within Yeah, within St. Louis, that kind of technical, the meaning within the discipline. But a lot of definitely uses the word, as you mentioned in the air, argue with them in the best way.
So we have to have not only not only must we employ the best proofs, but we have to employ the best de korum in delivering that proof. Yeah. And that's unfortunately, something I sense I'm sure you know, you know, you know, much better than many.
I think that side is lacking, that side is lacking the decorum with which you deliver the truth or you deliver your proofs. Yeah, yeah. And, well, I've learned that I mean, I've made those mistakes on my own journey. And so I think it's very important for us to basically be the best ambassadors for sure. I mean, today because of social media. Everyone has a platform, and that's one of the unfortunate things. So Okay, moving on. Then on the third question, so.
So why do you think it's important those who engage in when other are in debates and discussions?
Why do you think it's important for them to study logic, and if you can give us some examples of the type of logic that you use in your book.
now, strictly speaking, I mean, the Quran doesn't make a condition to use logic to argue.
Maybe if we have time I'll touch on like the Quranic which I feel is probably what the Quranic method of argumentation is, but it's not a condition in order to argue or have a dialogue with someone or to have a debate with someone that one says Mark logic, that's not a condition. I think it's very clear from Apple. And I think it's very clear from the sooner. But what why logic is important, is we need to know the grammar of things. I can't remem which authors said that, but we need to know the grammar of things, when you're learning a language, you know, the grammar of the language. Similarly, when you're arguing, you need to know the grammar of the argument.
And the grammar of the argument in a manner of speaking is logic. So logic is likely to is a system that tells you what follows from what. So if you make a claim, or you make a statement, or you you put forward some proposition, what is entailed by that proposition, or what you can deduce or infer from that your logic will tell you that or the logic will tell you what you can, what you can't, what doors you can enter in through and what doors are closed for you. So I mean, so that's very important, because you might infer something that you're not allowed to infer from your own claim. And that's very important. That's why Allah talks about a lot, you might claim something, but you
have no right to make that claim from the claims you already made. So that's important. You need to know what route you can take in an argumentation or debate what you can't and your logic will tell you. The other thing is that logic allows you to formalize your arguments to put them methodically in steps.
And so by putting it methodically in steps, you can now check whether it's valid or not.
And it also allows you to sort of get clarity on what you're saying. So logic is important. Notice, because of that, lots of times we might make arguments, but we may, it may come across jumbled and may come across a bit haphazard or make may not come across with clarity. But once we put it down in steps, and see what follows from what we can get some clarity as to what's being said. And I think that's important. That's important. So in debate, our lemma emphasize putting arguments in a logical form. And that's primarily the syllogism. So that's why I think probably the largest chapter in in the notes, part of the book, The support material is on logic, where I go through some sort of
different types of logic. So we've got, for example, yeah. So we've got your example. Paid 68 onwards. Yep. Yeah, yeah. So we've got syllogistic logic. So syllogistic logic is probably the most familiar people would be maybe through your own work maybe through their study logic themselves. So syllogistic logic, looks at arguments put into three lines, two premises and a conclusion. So if I give the audience if I give the audience an example,
So let's say premise One, two, line one premise one. If God is maximally loving, then you must be maximally forgiving.
You might know that
the biblical God is not maximally forgiving. Therefore, that's the third line. The biblical God is not maximally loving. That's the syllogism. That gives you the first premise. The second premise and a conclusion. Most people when they think of logic, they think of that, like, yes, pudding. Yeah. putting into syllogism. So, so yeah, so you've got the syllogistic logic, then we got free bucket logic. predicate logic is about statements containing things. Like
how we describe things. So if I say Zaid is tall
or I'm gonna be short.
Mustard The upside is a blessing lands Mr. laksa is a subject and the predicate is blessed land because I'm qualifying the subject and oxide with the description, the predicate blessing land, Zaid is tall tall is predicted of Zaid. So that's pretty good logic, we slip statements that describe objects.
Then I think the other thing in there is quantification or logic, quantification logic is when we make statements involving all or some. So if I say all human beings have a fiddle that on
I'm saying that whatever a thing is, if it is human, it has a flip flop.
Yeah, the universal quantifier. Yeah, we call that the reverse. Yeah, I did this for my MA. And oh my god, I was like, it's another language.
For me, I prefer the philosophy of logic. Like, why do we even have this stuff in the first place? Why? Why does it necessarily follow? But in order for me to pass the exam, 100 passed it quite well. I had to trick my brain had to trick my brain, bro. And to say, right, these are just the rules of the game. I'm accepting the rules. Don't talk about the rules. Don't philosophize the rules of the game, and just do it. And I'm telling you, it was an alien language for me and one morning, I just got it out. Right now. It's got it. So is it can be quite complicated with the existential quantify the universe. Is your more deep and you have all these funny symbols? 100. Yeah, carry on?
Absolutely. No, you're right. It is can be can be an alien language, definitely for many, and this is why lots of people feel comfortable with the syllogistic logic. Because you use natural language like, you know, to put it into syllogism, you'd have to use some. So the other aspect of quantification logic is when we use words like some are few. So I know some people rejected a lot messenger. So some say that Arabic is bad. Yeah, so, so cool and bad. And then you've got something in there. I think a little short section on modal logic. And modal logic is big. modal logic is the logic that examines when we use words like necessary but must necessary and possible maybe. So when
we use words like that, we're using modal terms. So if I say it is possible that I live in Mecca, it is possible. So it's possible that I live in Mecca, but I don't, it is necessary that the the whole is greater than the parts. So it must be the case that the whole is greater than the parts. Now, why are these important? Because in debate, or dialogue, or any form of exchange, we may be making claims in these forms, but we're not realizing it. So we got to be careful what we can infer from what and so this these logic become very, very important. But just for those who perhaps, are, maybe it bought the book or logic is not their thing.
You know, if you want to skip that chapter do but I think it's worth worth investing some time in
to be familiar with basic set least reduced to syllogistic. Logic, I would say, yes, yes.
Yeah. For me, what I found very useful, was when I started to appreciate the flow of argument and how things how statements can connect what we can infer or you
could use as a crude in analyzing, for example, your opponent's argument as well. For example, many atheists sometimes come up with a hell of a lot of logical fallacies concerning religion, or they infer things that shouldn't be inferred, or they meet statements that they can't make by virtue of, you know, the logical systems that we both agree on.
It enables you to understand, right, they've made a statement, but behind that there is an assumption, what is their premise? Right, and there is an assumption behind the premise we could unpack that
until he's, I think it is very important to understand things. But this leads us to a very important question actually, which is quite controversial tradition
is what about, you know, is logic anti Quran? Yeah. And could you even find some forms of logical statements or logical arguments in the book of Allah subhanho wa Taala
anyone who looks at our history or intellectual history will know, obviously logic montek is a contested science. So meaning that some of them especially those who are also inclined, like legal read our legal theoreticians. They didn't have time for one tip, they just said this is this is not necessary for
a year deriving gamma sialorrhea is a foreign discipline, it's got no use for them. So the there was a there is a camp and the big scholars in that camp.
Looking at email, even Salah for example, the great Mohammed,
obviously, you've got as well scheffel Islam, even TV on that side, you generally push back against Greek logic, although he wasn't against logic per se. He just didn't like
the way logic was being, you know, inflated into that some big bad boy. So he just you wanted to deflate that.
So there's that camp, and then you've got the his early camp.
Sort of the more sort of rationally inclined, I think Islam is an exception, other than, you know, bizarrely generally, a lot of the calam incline scholars, the mortar kalamoon, they use logical arguments in logic in their dialectic. So they will put things in parentheses and then say, Well, if you say this, then we will reply like this. And you can't infer this from that. So that that dialectic involve logic. Now, hooked clam
takes logic, I think to it to a different level.
Now what he does, is, not only does he say logic is valuable, but he's saying that Docker
has an uncanny exhibit an underlying logical structure. In fact, the Quran anyway we're looking at and we can see logical syllogisms at work. And they're called the mes and he calls them the mme. And sort of Rama, another verse. Allah says, What came there wasn't just
one reason and we placed the visa 100 Islams last month. Yep, that's the syllogisms. Really. So
yeah, that's his gloss on it. That's his gloss on it. So he says it can't be scales to weigh barley and wheat and rice. He goes. Now there's more noble scale than that for him. So it's the scales of logic of Montet. So, for example, what I mean, my MA dissertation was on this. So if we take an example, I think it's in sorbitol bacala, where Allah subhanaw taala talks about I think, the Ibrahima Elisa Lam given the proof to
think he's nim rude about a mineral chain to be a deity. lm tele lead lead lead the Hydra Ibrahim Robbie. So do you not say Allah is asking his prophet Have you not looked at the one who argued with Ibrahim regarding his Lord nothing as nim rude and utter hola hola MOOC is Allah Ibrahim Robbie lady you're here when you meet Paula Anna or he will meet. So Ibrahim Ali Salam said to Nimrod Look, my lord is the one who gives life and so he gives life and you take this life and in return what I can give life and I can take life so he orders someone to be killed. And then he despaired someone's life sort of thing all over here, fitting the lie yet Tish shams, Masha TV him in a muffling, so he
says, My Lord is the one who can bring the sun from the east. So you bring it from the west. Then Allah says for Buddha led the cover will Lola Yeah. Do you mean then he was dumbfounded. He knew he didn't have that power. So hope to Islam says that here we can put it into a syllogism. So the syllogism goes something like this.
Whoever has the power
to bring the sun
from the west. Yeah. That That person is a deity is God
and then he says so
I remember the premise correctly, so he says, If whoever can bring the, whoever can bring the Deity, let me just bring up because I think I'm not doing off the top of my head properly. So I think you're saying here whoever can bring whoever has the power over the sunrise, so that's whoever has power of the sunrise, that thing is God,
Abraham's deity something that has power over the sunrise, therefore Abraham's deity has got so for all x, if x, for any object, if that object has the power of the sunrise, then that object is God. Abraham, Alice lands deity has power over sunrise, therefore, Ibrahim al Islam today it is God. So if P then Q, p, therefore Q. That's traditional inference from inference from
if P then Q, p. Therefore q. So he says underlying the argument is that logical structure, and then he goes on more and more and more,
where he tries away, tries to fit Quranic arguments into logistic form any of the valid forms that Aristotle had found altogether? I think it's 54 moods of the cylinder 56 mouza. syllogism.
So, yeah, that's an example there. And then, you know, he gives lots and lots of examples. And this can be found in our Chris Larson study. Now, not everyone accepts this. Yeah. Obviously, not everyone accepts it. This is this is Yeah, this is it is a controversial
that there is a common ground where everyone accepts the fact that you that if you're going to basically articulate something and trying to prove something, you have to do it in a way that is logically valid, meaning what one statement leads you to the next, this conclusion? Far, we don't have to basically have this kind of you don't have to fall in love with the Aristotelian paradigm, and, you know, make it into this monster. But I think, even because we read the works of a being Tamia mela has mentioned him, you'd see that he had an argument like he had an argument against the best of possible worlds in the problem of evil in actual fact, piece of code Alec is always
argument. So they agreed on that issue, that this is the best possible world that Allah can create.
And he had another argument concerning the problem of evil, when he was referring to was named an attribute al Hakim, that he is the wise, but there is wisdom behind these things. So he had an argument and conclusion was valid, based upon all the other justifications he made in the previous statement that he made in his writing. So
based on him the same, so the thing is, I don't think the other way rejected the need to be able to have an argument that flows properly. Yeah. I don't think they disagreed with that. I think what you're trying to say here,
inflation of logic, which even taymiyah tried to
dismantle in his
in will book
The Dark Tower that afternoon. Now, the one
on the one on
Yes. So yeah, I want to be clear for the audience. So they don't think that you know, even the the the
academy mean, they had to use certain principles or logical principles to derive rulings, especially when they did the class and other bits and pieces, right.
So yeah, so we've got Yeah, so I'm not trying to say that love, quote, sorry, slams antithetical logic, or those are the man who denied sort of logic, primarily our city and Abby's stoic absenting philosophy and logic, that they weren't intellectual, or they were they were anti rational. And I'm not saying that at all. I'm just saying the way 100 Islam has taken it to a metaphysical plane, because now he's saying, or we can infer that you've, you've said now in logic is the way the divine discourse is formed. Yeah, see, there's a big claim. Yeah.
Yeah, they didn't want to climb up that that high. metaphysically. Yeah, absolutely. So that was very controversial, for sure. But just for the audience sake you need
for the sake of the livestream. You know, having an argument that flows in a way that is valid is very important when we're engaging in one other. But obviously, there's a huge camp of the earlier man who react to the kind of metaphysical aspects of logic, which is part of mainstream Islam. So this leads now to logical fallacies. We talked about logical fallacies in the book. So what is a fallacy and maybe give us an example of some logical fallacies?
So, in logic, you know, people can reason correctly in logic, you can reason correctly. So you set out your your argument in premises, and the conclusion follows from the premises. That's great. Sometimes,
the way you reason, the conclusion doesn't quite follow from what you're saying.
So, and that could be because of the way you constructed your argument, so you think you can infer something
that but you can't give him based on what you've already claimed. So you've committed an error in reasoning, your reasoning isn't correct and sound. So fallacy just basically, is
a mistaken belief or conclude a mistaken inference you make for something you've said or claimed, you think you can claim it, infer it? You can't. So fallacies, then are those types of arguments that show a error, an incorrect
setting out of an argument. So that's very, very important to know. Because I need to know, when I'm making an argument, have I committed a fallacy? Because if I am, then I can't that argument I need to change it.
Similarly, I need to point out to my opponent that if she has used a fallacy, then she may not be aware.
I need to alert her to her fallacious reasoning. Because at the end of the day, remember, we're trying to reach truth. It's not her picture fault in your argument. Yes. And you probably my argument, and we're just going to bruise each other's egos has nothing to do with that bottom line. It's about seeking truth. So you can't reach truth, by an error in reasoning. You can reach the truth through an error in reasoning. So so that's why in Arabic, we call fallacies moral thought. You've made it you made a mistake in your reasoning. And there are tons of fallacies
in our story.
some fallacies. So there's a bit of a name for that. So I do apologize. Some fallacies
are not fallacies, if you apply them correctly. They, for example, before you give us some examples, but one that comes to mind is the argument from contingency of arguing from dependence, some
interlocutors, or atheists, or or skeptics, they say, Oh, you've committed the fallacy of composition. And the fallacy of composition is an error in reasoning where you think the hole has to have the same attributes, it's part. So they would say, that's a fallacious because give an example of the fallacy.
The Persian rug is heavy in weight, but it's individual threads or light in weight. So just because the individual trades a light in weight, you can now infer that the whole Persian rug is light in weight. So
however, you have to be careful when you apply that fallacy, because it's not always the case that it's valid. For example, a brick wall, a brick wall is hard. And it's individual parts. bricks are also hard, you can't say they individually hard make up a hard wall. So the whole that will help the attribute of an individual
and will be specific to the argument from contingency. You can't apply this fallacy to the argument continued because of the principle of dependency or the principle of contingency that contingent things always make up contingent holes from that point of view. So
you're right. There's a lot of fallacies, but they get also complicated to the point where sometimes they're applied, and sometimes they're not. So give us some of the examples. What were your example just shows the need, why we need to study fallacies series there, if we're applying for accuse my inner debate in Islam, in Islamic in bathroom and other like if I accuse my opponent or something. I can't just throw out a flimsy accusation or that that's a fallacious argument.
You know, I better bring my evidence. If I'm misunderstanding fallacies that are making a false accusation against my debate opponent, can you see we're allowed to do that? So that reaches the ethical debate? So we've got to be very, very careful how we do that. Hear me There are tons in the book. I tried to put some examples, maybe I mentioned a couple where I don't often find these fallacies being studied or mentioned. So they get off the radar. But I think they're quite important. And sometimes we may fall prey to them, or some people may use it against us. And then we're scratching your head thinking that sounded right. But you know what, you go back and you think
and you think, Oh, hang on, I get that.
So I mean, for example, there's one the
Here's one that is called the fallacy of appeal to accomplishment. So the form goes something like this.
Something is true, p is true, because the person making the claim has an impeccable, record accomplished record. Therefore p is true. So Someone may say to you, look,
I've got a PhD, I've got so many jazzers to teach. So believe me when I tell you, yeah, there's no contradiction between this and that, or believe me if you know Islam is compatible with this, or Islam is compatible with that.
Okay, but truth is not dependent on the accomplishment of someone. Otherwise, we would have to say someone more accomplished than the person making the argument will be even truer. Yes.
So it doesn't really matter. Not demeaning, jazza. I'm not for our audience. Please don't mistake when we talk about logic here to my strictly what can follow from what, you may have a bundle of E Jazz's it doesn't make your claim about something true. Yes. Because someone will come along and say I have 10 to the power of two e Jazz's Yeah. So therefore I'm truer than you in what I claim. But truth has to be independently established and verified through evidence.
So that's called the appeal to accomplishment.
And people try and you've got to remember this. And the whole point is out beautifully fallacies are used in a performance to shut out the opponent's argument. That's what fallacies are useful to shut out all the debate. So it's it has a has an adverse pragmatic function. Yes. And Allah, we call these fallacies in many, many, many places.
Another thing is this appeal, what they call it appeal to consequence. Something is
you could say,
some belief or something has negative consequences, therefore that thing is false. Or you can do the opposite and say something has positive consequences, therefore, that thing is true. So you're pegging truth and falsity on mere consequences.
So someone might say,
look at all the youth and Muslim youth out there who don't live a hedonistic lifestyle, you're robbing them of so much enjoyment and fun, and whatever it is, yeah. Therefore, you know, living by your religious rules and guidance, that must be false.
But that's clearly fallacious. You can't pick truth on the mere consequences of something.
Because we know lots of
they say, Oh, no, the crisis is it's bad, therefore, it's wrong. Right. So number one is a logical fallacy. But also, we could unpack their premise Well,
according to whose framework is that bad? How do you define bad one? or two? What normative theory? What is your meta ethics? What's your normative theory to even make that judgment? So that's why it's very important. Like you mentioned, the starting point for people to understand that when people look these emote, because remember, logical fallacies have emotional content as well.
You don't even have a PhD yet. Who are you so and so you don't even know Arabic or you so and so you don't know this? Now, it's insane context that might make sense for what you don't know Arabic. And you're claiming to be an expert in tafsir exigencies. And we have a problem. So again, it's applied. But generally speaking, if it if you're discussing about a topic that, you know, you have some expertise over someone saying, Oh, you don't have this, therefore, you're wrong. That's that's fallacious. So and that has emotional content. That's right. In a debate, you have to be very clear of your emotions, like reminds what Bruce Lee said about when you're ready to fight. He said, You
have to be egoless like a wooden dog. Just allow the limbs to work themselves. Don't get emotional, because you have too much emotional content, you won't be able to address the logical fallacy because you just been the the emotion has been imposed on you. And you don't realize that actually, there's an error in the reasoning. So yes, that's brilliant. I'll give you one more.
Question. Yeah. And this is called the fallacy of inflation of conflict. I don't want to mention a recent example. But you know, I'm sure our viewers can make the connection. The inflation of conflict fallacy says that, imagine you have authority Person A and authority Person B. They are they differ over some claim or proposition.
We and then the person infers that therefore, we cannot say anything certain or meaningful about P. So Person A and Person B differ over P. Therefore, we cannot say anything certain or meaningful about
Now the reason why that's fallacious is because we cannot make that inference, all we can say is, Person A and Person B differ over P, that's all we can say, we cannot infer that there's nothing more meaningful to say, or nothing more certain to say. So if two or gnomad differ over a particular issue,
it doesn't mean therefore the whole subject matter is in dispute, or
there's nothing certain in that subject area, all it says is that disagreed.
That's the extent of the claim that we can make. So unfortunately, a lot of a lot of Muslims, I see that they commit that inflation of conflict fallacy, just because two giant scholars disagreed about something, therefore the whole subject matter that talking about what issue is so uncertain, so clean, and you see, no issue. So Doctor, what you should do is maybe do a YouTube video on like, the top 30, logical fallacies on Muslim social media, you know, people's reactions to things. Oh, this is gonna say that, and you could we could do basically do, like, apply the logical fallacies to these reactions. But yeah, okay, good. So the next question is a very important question. Doctor. So
what are the etiquettes of debates in the Islamic tradition, but give us an overview, tickets of debating of munawwara in the Islamic tradition?
I mean, there are so many, and
whatever one, you know,
MANOVA bathroom and other has to be looked at as an act of worship.
Because you're seeking the truth.
it also falls under actually, you know, commanding right, forbidding wrong, because that all falls under that. So your argumentation should fall into your program of data, essentially. So anyway, so so bearing that in mind, we have to have that there cannot be any inappropriate behavior in a debate. We can't become angry, infuriated, agitated, lose our composure, shout,
flail, you know, gesticulate? You know, like that.
Because we're gonna lose focus on Remember, the focus is we're arguing to attain the truth.
Not to throw Barney at someone, we just want to focus on the truth. So the first etiquette debate at one ethical debate is that we shouldn't,
we shouldn't make assumptions about the person we're debating.
We mustn't assume the person has ill intentions.
We shouldn't assume that they're out with some kind of sub unless we have reasons to obviously there are always exceptions or unless we have reason to the default is you have good opinion of your intent, your your debate partner.
And you know, you have the intention to draw nearer to Allah.
And you always want to give a good opinion of them.
So that's, that's the second
etiquette debate. Another etiquette debate is
not to debate in inappropriate places. So we shouldn't conduct debates in intimidating places. Like,
maybe we invite someone to debate and then we want the audience to
pay for blood, you know, that kind of thing. Or we shouldn't be debating in areas where we may get overwhelmed.
Like overcoming fear.
Yeah, so we need to avoid places like that places that aren't safe.
And places in effect, really, for any platform or place that doesn't allow you to achieve your aim again, which is the truth.
So not in a not in a, so any place that's considered inappropriate as if it bothers you from reaching the truth. The other ethical debate is to debate your peers generally. I know you debate with Professor Krauss. And that was the first time it was done. And I think there was a milestone.
But generally, we should be cognizant of who we're debating. We shouldn't debate like, like a high school, high school kid and we're adults. Yes, generally, peers are like intellectual peers.
We should avoid debating people who are considered yonni respectful and dignified like, should you and we, you know, we come along and try and, you know,
agitate them for a debate, which we ought not to do that we ought not to want to keep within our our peer. So so there's so in order to do that we have a rightful and appropriate level of engagement. Yes, ma'am.
Patience and diligence, we have to have several, we cannot lose patience in a debate.
Because at the end of the day, what however long the debate partner takes to make the claim, you have to sit patiently, yes. Unless you set a time, and whatever it is, you know, unless you have logistical agreements, but you must have patience and bear out what your opponent is saying you cannot,
you know, lose it, basically. So we need to be respectful kind, we shouldn't interrupt, that's a big thing,
which we are not allowed to interrupt our debate partner, cut them off, they have to finish making their point or the clarification or the claim, or the premise or the proposition.
And we have to wait till they finish. Yeah. And the list goes on and on and on.
Sorry. So, in your view,
in your view, would this be applied to debate with non Muslim interlocutors? Well,
it's across the board. There's no when they're allowed to talk about it is not they don't specify that it's just a believer.
Okay. Muslim, Muslim debating, in fact, is anyone who's your debate partner, your debate opponent,
so can't insult each other. Unfortunately, I've seen some clips, even recently, respectable scholars insulting each other.
you know how it is, you know?
Yeah, I'm sure you've seen and heard it yourself?
Absolutely. Absolutely. I'm going to invite people to go to that relevant section, the etiquettes of debates in the Islamic tradition, it talks about that aspect in the book. So the next thing is you also talk about Quranic method of argumentation, the prophetic method of argumentation.
What What are you talking about? What is the Quranic method argumentation? What is this the Sunnah of argumentation the methodology and give us some examples?
The Quranic discourse in the Quranic discourse, how the Quran models argumentation, how it gives examples of argumentation is very different from a philosophical type of argumentation. But I'll come I'll mention that a bit later. But Lynn mentioned some of the features of what I think other Quranic argumentation.
We have to remember, by the way, Quranic argumentation is part of the jazz, because it's coined in the Arabic language. Interesting. So, so you know, if language is what grounds are called as inevitability, and you've written extensively on that.
And argumentation is based on the language, then it's part of the normativity of the other feature of the Quranic argumentation is it appeals to both the intellect and the emotions.
And I think sometimes you mentioned in your talk an area
is suppose is is supposed to just activate in you.
You know, your sense of all, and wonder
matters a lot. And so, arguments are aimed at hitting that as well, not just our thinking, but to awaken that all in us. So, chronic augmentations are addressing the human person holistically
is not just a rational thing. It's addressing our emotion, our fear, our hopes, our longing, our desires, and things like that.
Not an uses. Evidence is based on what is on sense perception or what is sensible.
It doesn't base premises or claims on wild guesses. speculate, far fetched, convoluted examples.
So everything is grounded in a claim that can be traced back and verified through the senses.
So that's another feature of the Quranic argumentation. There's no contrived artificial language. It's all couched in beautiful, eloquent, heart, you know,
pulling at the heart, so Allah uses that kind of language.
The other the other sort of feature of the Quranic argumentation is
always gives justifications. It gets you to think why I like when Allah makes a claim is grounding a claim.
They're not groundless.
And so things like that and then on an
uses different styles for his argument. Sometimes it's polemical and hard hitting.
So, like warnings
sometimes it's persuasive. It's trying to convince you. It's using, you know, if you want to use that artistic language of ethos, logos, pathos, and all that kind of stuff. So it's using persuasive language. Other times, it uses a legal language. Other times, it just narrates using uses narration or style. So there's so many different styles in there. And so
you mentioned an example, for example, to use an example.
If we look at for example,
let me just think, what I can think that'd be an easy one.
So lots of handle that gets us. Here's one feature funny argumentation is Allah makes us see Allah wants to make to expose the contradiction in the opponent's view. So for example, when the machico, our most important Arab times, they the faces used to go black, when they had a daughter born.
When they had a daughter born, the faces used to go dark black out of shame. And we know what the heinous practice was, bring alive, you know,
newborn daughters like that. St. Francis infanticide, that Allah says, okay, you don't like girls, you don't like females, you kill him.
So backwards, and barbaric, but yet you have, you don't see it as a problem that you attribute, daughters Allah.
Allah Islam problems in the sense of is not allowed to have any problem with females. It's not that it's based on your logic, and your own your own viewpoint. You don't like anything female, but yet you find it dignified enough to attribute it to your deity exposes
the inconsistency and a
very profound doctor because the Quran in its statements and arguments are just very multi layered. Because on one area, it's like an idea is like a diamond. And where you put the light?
Yeah. So, you know, take for example, in a lot talks about in sort of 52 verse 35, to 36. When Allah says, Did you come from nothing, recreate yourself? Did you create the him as a badly worn indeed, you have no certainty. Now that primarily can be used as a psycho emotive point to awaken what is intuitive? Some argue that's part of the fitrah. But also, there's an underlying powerful argument behind that, concerning things that are my fluke. And most of the things that come into being could they come from nothing that they create themselves? Could they be created by something else create or is an uncreated creator, so you can have a rational powerful argument on one hand, but the same
verses can also have a psycho emotive
function to bring out what is naturally within us, which is not realize the reality is worthy of extensive praise? Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. So
you also talk about the perfect methodology of argumentation. So what is that and give us some?
So that Yeah, so that perfectly argument does overlap with the planning argument. But what am I trying to say there? I think there's a similar methodology in argumentation.
So, the prophet when he's delivering the truth, he uses some of the features of how the Prophet used to argue a lay of the desert to sleep. He used to use one the most eloquent language, he was the most eloquent Eric Of course, without a doubt. So his arguments were always couched in the most beautiful, eloquent and respectful way or respectful terms.
He he would use some of the most sort of an attractive examples.
When he's using when he's in debate, you try and you'll use the strongest proof to establish the claim.
So but you've got to remember his arguments were arguments aimed at
being true transformative, not aimed at merely giving you propositional knowledge. Can you see his aim was he's got to transform because he's bringing guidance he's trying to transform human lectures are comfortable about the fitrah. Hopefully, just a bit.
Never do you find in the sooner argumentation merely for sport, or quarreling or dueling.
No, just for no purpose.
argumentation, the proper use was to, to awaken general realization in human beings. The arguments were never complicated or confounded. The Prophet never, ever sat down and made an argument to the companions or to his debate opponents like them, she called and he said, Hmm. Muhammad, why are you saying that's so convoluted? It was always simple. It was never abstract and disconnected from reality can see.
so yeah, so the Prophet would use that, obviously, his argumentations were linked with the Quran because you used to wait for revelation to come down.
So one example is the example for example of Isa alayhis salaam, where the delegation from Natalia came to the Prophet, and they were discussing and debating many issues and one of the issues that cropped up was the nature of Isa and he said,
and they will say to the prophet will Muslim before you even came?
And the Prophet said, No, that's not true based on what you said. Your claim is that you say Jesus is either
and then the argument they bring as retold in poverty and the co2 emission is hot others like that.
That you know, they claim that you know, he Salus now what makes him unique is that Yeah, he was born from single from a single from a mother only.
But if that is the case, so the Prophet waited for the response, if that is the case, then surely if you think that's weird, let me give you something even stranger, what what would you say in the case of someone who had no parentage on your logic, remember, this is not the Quran is not making this claim. The Prophet is not making this claim. This based on the claim that the
the Christian delegation from Magellan, maybe you are claiming someone's divinity based on the fact that they were born without one biological parent. What if I give you the example of someone who's born without no biological parents?
So things like that. And, you know, so. And there's many, many, many, many I know, we haven't got time to go through coffee, but the whole
Yeah, so the whole point of this to encourage people to actually get the book as well. You could get it off Amazon. And please study as well. And also for this to plant the seed in your heart and mind. See if you could bring your journey if you're gonna get involved in these things. please learn about logical fallacy. Different types of logic, learn about the Quranic methodology of argumentation, the prophetic prophetic methodology of argumentation, learn about the etiquettes of MANOVA and discussion and debate, and so on and so forth. So this leads us to our final question, ultimate question or two more questions. What the penultimate question is, what is the difference between
Quranic argument and philosophical argument?
The difference between Quranic argument
Yeah. Now, after everything I just said about logic. Yeah. I'm not dismissing logic at all. No, we've encouraged it today. For those who are working
to do to study logic for the reasons we mentioned earlier. But But there is a difference between how the plan presents arguments and how a philosopher presents arguments.
The Quran is based on natural language, whereas, whereas philosophers and logicians use an artificial language and you mentioned earlier about free Ma, you have to study the squiggly lines and the symbols and things like that. There's no artificial language in the Quran is natural language. The Quranic arguments are often informal. They're not set out formally in a in a in a logically structured way. Whereas the philosopher philosophical arguments are set out in a formal way.
The Quranic arguments are based on what you can sense and perceive what the mind can grasp. But philosophers arguments can be about the metaphysical, the meta metaphysical, you know, the high goals here, you know,
the Quranic arguments are for everyone, because it's hiddenly nurse is a guidance for all humankind. So it has to be addressed, be understood at every level, whereas philosophical arguments only known by specialists.
Those, you know, logic, philosophy, whatever theology and things like that. The Quranic arguments are very simple, non technical, they're not abstract. Whereas we know philosophical arguments can be complex and technical and abstract. We know that.
But here's one that's very unique. Not Pratik argumentation, Locke ran has come to agitate the fitrah.
The plant has come to agitate the fitrah. Now, often it does that by
Generating vulnerability in us, reminding us of our limitedness how needy are weak? How find out we are. So that formability gets us to think was something greater than me. I'm so I'm so weak and powerless, so there must be something greater than me. Yeah that Apple can play a role plays a role in telling us what is now the word object worthy of worship with the Quran has come to hit that fifth line and to ignite it a week. Because it could be dormant for most of us. It could be know for a lot of people has done nice, agitating philosophers don't do that.
philosophical arguments don't hit your finger. I mean,
you know, you study philosophy hands at you, you read philosophy books back to fun. I mean, how many of them are really when they're formal and technical? banget the other person? Yeah, they're not transformative. They don't agitate pedagogical yet. Yeah, they absolutely the and that's the power of the Quran. The arguments are simple, yet profound. In its formative.
So we're not saying logic does not mean we just mentioned the importance of logic earlier. But we're saying that the methodology of the Quran is different because it's about the data now.
But the logic is the tool that can help us in uncovering in some formal ways with clarity, what is already within the Quranic discourse, and there are other differences, but I thought I mentioned those. So anyone who feel logical they're not studying it not to feel
that they can't access the Quranic message. Of course not. Yeah, but the best arguments are fundamentally the arguments of the book of Allah subhana wa Tada. So that is a given. I think another thing which is very interesting, as always, the Quran you mentioned earlier, the Koran uses premises, that know for example, abstract and cannot be justified. Whereas the Quran uses premises that can be offensive or they can be sense and they can be easily unpacked, easily understood. Whereas in philosophical language, or in lots of arguments, you make a new set of parentheses, you need another 1000 arguments just to justify your premise.
So yeah, imagine imagine if you say to someone in some possible world p, there is some person who lives there and eats vegetables and
already you've lost them that is an abstract possible was got nothing to do anyone we don't even have that word is it's just a mere, you know,
it reminds me of the zombie argument
when they talk about the philosophy of the mind. Imagine, yeah.
So yeah, 100. So we don't I think, more than an hour now. So final question, what is your worst advice to the activists to those who engage in Islamic outreach, those who want to intellectually academically share Islam and defenders?
First of all, advices to myself, before it's to anyone, and I'm gonna say this, anyone knows me, I'm the one who need most of advice. I would say this.
In the context of what we've just been talking about, we need to check our sincerity. That's the first thing our if last, where is it? So on our airfloss meter, where are we? What's out, you know, we want we want a good tip or footprint. So we need to check our airflow.
Am I debating? Am I discussing what is it for? Is it because, you know, the audience are gonna like me, the audience is what the audience want?
Is it because it makes me feel good and gratified? You know, I like to humiliate people, whatever, whatever it is. I'm not making accusations against anyone. I'm just saying generically.
If our intentions are not right, if it's not purely to, to seek the truth, as a means of seeking treatment, it means drawing nearer to Allah, then we're probably not debating on the right grounds or discussing or arguing on the right grounds. So if last must be put in place.
The other thing I would say is
we should avoid debating
unless we have to.
We shouldn't avoid debating debating shouldn't be a habit.
It shouldn't be something we clock up like we've got debate mileage.
It it should be part of our data, our program amused when necessary. Yes, because that's how we're going to deliver the truth, obviously with the best possible decorum, but deliver it through argumentation dialogue.
discussion and so on doesn't have to just be argument but dialogue and discussion as well.
So we need to avoid it unless we need to employ it in our strategy of our to show the intellectual side of Islam, the strength of Islamic opinions on
the final piece of advice I'd say is if we are going to be debating and discussing and dialoguing not to turn it inwards in a in a in a in a detrimental way. What I seem to sense now me personally is that we're going inwards. disruptively,
disruptively. And the worst thing is, it's for everyone to see.
I know, you've made some comments about some of that before. And I think, you know,
advice from yourself is going to be important for 1000s and 1000s of people who would probably want to pick up a camera and go somewhere and debate and you record it, and show it to someone, you know, get gratified by it, whatever it is. But we seem to be turning inwards, within ourselves and without any adab. Yes, we're shooting, we're firing at each other. We're scattering bullets to each other without any other.
So that needs to that I think we need to pull the brakes on that.
Because we're installing each other. We're attacking each other. We're making it personal when salting we're breaking all the addabbo bathroom laughter.
So I would say a reminder to myself, we need to check our sincerity, are we doing it to seek the truth and draw nearer to Allah? is it part of our strategy to take Islam in intellectually to the people, but with the best decorum? And are we avoiding are we doing debating, you know, by lobbing grenades, within our each of our camps?
You know, where we're imploding internally within ourselves. And that's disruptive. That's actually, in the book, I mentioned examples of manava. That is much more malice blameworthy.
Absolutely explained by the
and this is why.
And this is why they should read it and study it, because it would solve a lot of issues online offline. And we'll be closer to the Islamic tradition and the how we should basically engage in MANOVA in debates and discussions, once we learn with sincerity and the rough mark, and really being committed to the well being of other people. So that's very, very important. As a head doctor, obviously, we could spend each of the chapters and unpack them. This was an introductory kind of live stream. Maybe in the future we could actually unpack and key concepts together. But it was a huge, it's like an eight for me today. You were able to say here with
just a huge inspiration.
In many ways in my Dharma that you've affected that there was a video that went viral, when there was this fitna from Channel Four documentary, I believe it was about the luxenberg hypothesis.
And you did this private academic PDF that no one knows that I probably only got here read it. And I use that video and he went viral. So a lot of people's doubt. Yeah. And he would think that actually was you. I just basically was like,
and that's why people should follow your work. They should follow Dr. Safford. choudry he has a blog as well check on his blog. If you get the book all the details are there as well. I think his blog is called dharani casia. Yeah, it has been quite dormant for some time but inshallah we revamped it.
And you know, just software for your time brothers and sisters.
Anything from this just panic methodology without the prophetic methodology but also know the tool of logic to be able to basically navigate this intellectual space in the contemporary world. May Allah bless him Allah bless
his family in this life on camera and mela bless you