Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Unveiling "Unveiling Islam" - References to the Hadith

One of the points I've made in discussing the Caner situation with folks is that Caner's Muslim critics have focused most of their attention on his oral presentations, rather than on his books. The Caners' book, Unveiling Islam, has a lot of great material in it. However, a question has been raised about whether the book should be considered scholarly.

In reviewing the book, I found dozens of references to the Hadith. Many of the references are (as Dr. White recently pointed out) incomplete references:
  • "hadith 9.57" (pp. 19 and 187)
  • "hadith 5.266" (p. 31)
  • "hadith 2.460" (p. 32)
  • "Hadith ... (2.375)" (p. 32)
  • "hadith 2.448" (p. 33)
  • "hadith 7.619" (p. 33)
  • "hadith 1.35" (p. 35)
  • "Hadith ... (52.42)" (p. 35)
  • "hadith 7.590" (p. 37)
  • "hadith 3.826" (p. 42)
  • "Hadith ... (8.419)" (p. 110)
  • "hadith 6.60.336" (p. 114)
  • "The Hadith illustrates ... (2.486) ... (2.498) ... (2.514)" (p. 126)
  • "hadith 3.826" (p. 134)
  • "hadith 2.541" (p. 134)
  • "hadith 1.268" (p. 135)
  • "hadith 7.62.77" (p. 139)
  • "Hadith 7.30, 33. Hadith chapter seven also includes ... (7.133)" (p. 140)
  • "Hadith 7.64" (p. 141)
  • "hadith 8.76.481" (p. 144)
  • "The Hadith expounds ... (3.57)" (p. 146)
  • "hadith 3.46.724" (p. 186)
  • "hadith 5.716" (p. 188)
  • "hadith 4.52.79" (p. 188)
  • "hadith 4.53.412" (p. 189)
  • "hadith 4.52.317" (p. 189)
  • "hadith 5.58.240; repeated in 5.59.602" (p. 190)
  • "hadith 5.59.599" (p. 191)
  • "hadith 8.73.1" (p. 192)
  • "Hadith 5.42.85" (p. 192)
  • "hadith 9.50" (p. 192)
  • "hadith 4.52.127" (p. 193)
  • "hadith 4.52.85" (p. 194)
  • "hadith 5.58.240; see also 4.42. This verse is repeated in 5.59.602" (p. 195)
  • "hadith 9.93.549" (p. 195)
  • "hadith 9.93.555" (p. 195)
  • "Hadith volume 9, book 93" (p. 195)
  • "hadith 9.93.519" (p. 196)
  • "hadith 4.73" (p. 196)
There were also a second category of odd references:

  • "Bukhari, 784" (p. 100)
  • "Bukhari, 1598" (p. 100)
  • "Muslim, 3785" (p. 100)
  • "Bukhari, 4813" (p. 100)
  • "Sahih Muslim hadith 5339" (p. 114)
  • "Sahih Muslim hadith 2214" (p. 115)
  • "Sahih Muslim hadith 6595" (p. 115)
Not every reference appeared to be incomplete. The following references were provided in a more complete form:
  • "Hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari, explains [quotation] (hadith 1.1.3)" (p. 41)
  • "Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith, 6.477" (p. 92)
  • "Hadith ... (7.590) ... (7.619) ... (4.537) ... (5.275) ... (7.636) ... (7.747)" (p. 98) (see note below about chapter 5)
  • "Sunan Abu Daawuud hadith 23.3444" (p. 112)
  • "Sunan Abu Daawuud hadith 41.4937" (p. 112)
  • "Sahih Al-Bukhari hadith 2.21.221" (p. 116)
  • "Sahih Muslim hadith 36.6631" (p. 116)
  • "Book 52 of Bukhari's Hadith ... In the volume ... (4.52.42)" (p. 186)
  • "Bukhari Hadith 9.57-58" (p. 249)
I had expected to find somewhere in the book a comment that "references to the hadith are references to [Sahih al-Bukhari ... or one of the others] except where indicated otherwise." However, while I found a comment that most of the translations from the Koran are from the translation by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall (p. 37), I did not find any such indication for the hadith.

With respect to chapter 5, however, the following indication was provided: "All the citations in this chapter come from Bukhari's version of the Hadith." (p. 96, chapter 5 extends from pp. 93-102) The chapter then goes on to state: "The translation of Sahih Muslim is a much larger collection." (p. 96) Both of these statements are imprecise. As noted elsewhere in the chapter (pp. 95-96) and even in the second statement, Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are collections, not "versions" or "translations." There are versions of individual statements within those collections, however, one usually speaks of the collections as collections. The term "versions" might be defensible on some ground, but the term "translations" does not seem to be defensible.

Speaking of "translations," Unveiling Islam refers to "the official English translation of the Holy Qur'an" at page 217, whereas at page 83, the book indicates "Muslims regard any translation of the Qur'an with suspicion, for the true words are impossible to fully understand except in their Arabic original." (p. 83) The latter sentence is largely true, from what I understand of Islam. The former sentence is strange. There is not just one official English translation of the Koran. At another place already referenced above, Unveiling Islam provides yet another angle: "Most quotations from the Qur'an used in this volume are from the well-accepted English interpretation by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall. While the text cites the Qur'an text, it is to be understood that only the Arabic text is accepted as the actual Qur'an. All other translations are regarded as interpretations of the Scripture given to Muhammad." (p. 37) This final sentence is probably just bad English, with the authors intending to say "all translations" rather than "all other translations." However, as it stands, it unfortunately conveys to the reader the same erroneous idea as "the official English translation" does.

These issues may suggest that the familiarity of the authors of Unveiling Islam was relatively low compared to scholars of Islam, while their familiarity is clearly higher than that of the typical American Evangelical. While there are many accurate statements in the book, calling Sahih Muslim a "translation" seems to reflect a basic lack of understanding of the Hadith, and saying that there is an "official translation" of the Koran is also questionable (particularly when it appears to contradict other statements in the book).

As I mentioned at the start of this article, there is a lot of good and useful information in Unveiling Islam. I also suspect that if there were many serious mistakes in the book, the Caners' Muslim critics would have brought those to light (or perhaps they have, and I am simply unaware of it). On the other hand, their popular book should be handled with caution, and it should not be assumed that because they have written this book on Islam, that makes them "experts," even though it does seem clear that we should expect them to know more about Islam than the typical "man on the street" in America.



Turretinfan said...

Let me anticipate a possible objection. Someone may suggest that since Sahih Al-Bukhari is the most highly respected collection, the reader should generally assume that a citation that does not indicate the collection is taken from Sahih Al-Bukhari.

And, of course, if someone wishes to fact-check each of the citations in the book, the best collection to start from for those incomplete citations is Sahih Al-Bukhari followed by Sahih Muslim.

My question is this: can you document the Caners' telling the reader that in the book, except for the citations specifically in chapter 5? Or, can you document that this citation format is one that was generally accepted before 2002 when the Caners' book was published.

- TurretinFan

Nora said...

I wonder if the Caners were referring to this particular translation:


I've seen it everywhere, although it is by no means an 'official' translation.

I never noticed the abysmal Hadith citations. Yikes.

Strong Tower said...

"I never noticed the abysmal Hadith citations. Yikes."

A calculated error? Did Caner expect that the general reading audience would not check? I didn't. I wouldn't know to. Most wouldn't and most wouldn't know to. What amazes me is that this kind of scholarly faux paux escaped
those who one would have thought would validate the scholarship that was claimed.

Obama... I know some will think this off topic... taught Law. But and chaired a prestigious Law review. Yet no writing accredited to him as a student can be found. His falsifications in his biography of his father are well noted and the fact that there was a ghost writer, also. One wonders. When falsifications exist, can be traced, when there is little that can be honestly accredited to him, just who was helping behind the scenes?

Now, it may not be that there is any kind of deeper conspiracy than just the Caner brothers co-concocting stories. But it makes one wonder since Ergun publically doesn't seem to know any better than what is written in his books. Now, what does that say for his classroom presentations? And just who is it that prepares them? And, why didn't any students notice until now? More than that, why didn't the administration notice? Isn't there any kind of peer review at Liberty? What might that say about their accreditation?

Nora said...

"A calculated error? Did Caner expect that the general reading audience would not check?"

Maybe I'm the eternal optimist, but I doubt it was done maliciously. More likely willful ignorance. But, yet again, if one's father is some Islamic scholar and one was devout until the age of sixteen, one would know how Hadith citations are typically rendered.

Strong Tower said...


On salient point in any of this is that it raises speculations. There are myriads of errors, not just a few mistakes, or misspeaks. As you said YaelH, he claimed to be raised Muslim by an expert, a scholar, yet Caner didn't know the right citations and apparently holds much incorrect knowledge of Islam, to boot?

Dr. White asks how it could be that mistakes were made concerning things so central to his upbringing. Why is it that he doesn't recall correctly on the one hand and yet on the other claims those faulty memories as evidences that validate those claims?

Did Caner truly believe that no one would check his history? That no one would consider his never having debated anyone? And why didn't the administration check out the facts for themselves in the first place? Were they lead by vanity and in their pride were just blind? Obviously they weren't lead as scholars should be to establish verity. Dr. White, I believe, infers correctly that it appears to be an intentional manipulation foisted upon ignorant people, playing on the emotions of the target audience, potential students and their parents, and potential donors, with the intent to defraud.

I think that is why, now it has reach the newspapers, that they are scambling to make themselves appear legitimate.

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto you.

Let me also add to that anticipated objection that Sahih Al-Bukhari is not the most highly respected collection. This is a matter of debate. Because anyone who has studied Sunni Islam and it's history in depth will tell you that with us the Malikis in North and West Africa we prefer Sahih Muslim over Bukhari because his arrangement is better.

So the argument of assumption also does not work.

The fact that his book is not well documented is proof for me that many Christians are not interested in a fair hearing of Islam or our tenets.

I would concur with the feelings of Strong Tower on this matter.

By the way I have given a hadith statement that shows that basically we believe every human being was born in fitr or from our perspective as a Muslim.

So it is only from this point that one could argue that Ergun Caner was an 'X Muslim' or Bill Clinton for that matter.

I know that saying that Ergun Caner is a fake X Muslim does not seem to help the cause, however it is a moot point either way.

The reason being is because according to Ahl Sunnah Wal Jammah ( the established opinion of the four schools of jurisprudence) anyone who abandons the prayer has left Islam.

So it would have to be established beyond doubt which would be very difficult to do that Ergun did indeed pray five times a day every day.

Even than there is debate on what age is obligatory for a person to pray. There is also the 'fear prayer' if one fears for their life.

So I would be one of those people who step forth (what good it would do I have no idea) and offer Tim Guthrie , Ergun Caner and the entire Liberty staff a huge apology.

The challenge with doing that is that I don't think Caner has all his ducks in a row. People are still asking the who what when where and why in order to tally everything together.

Another balanced blog entry TF!

Nora said...

Hey GV,

"The reason being is because according to Ahl Sunnah Wal Jammah ( the established opinion of the four schools of jurisprudence) anyone who abandons the prayer has left Islam.

So it would have to be established beyond doubt which would be very difficult to do that Ergun did indeed pray five times a day every day."

Can you give a reference for this ruling? I've only come across this definition of who and who is not considered a Muslim (or in this context, an 'ex-Muslim') one other time and I didn't much pay attention.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

As I mentioned at the start of this article, there is a lot of good and useful information in Unveiling Islam.

How am I supposed to figure out what the "good and useful" information is as opposed to the nonsense? I don't have time to research and sort out all this stuff--that's why I bought the stupid thing in the first place.

No, it's time to throw the baby out with the bathwater; I won't ever be using the book again for any reason. It's too risky, and I'm not willing to drag the Name of Christ through the mud just to give someone the benefit of the doubt that something, somewhere, is "useful" in the book.

Anonymous said...

TF, it utterly amazes me at the depth of knowledge and insights God have blessed you with!

Here is another case in point!

It truly is a joyful experience coming in here, reading your articles and learning so much by doing so as well as reading your comments to both the pejoratives and to the exclamations!

Bless you my friend!

MK said...

Good article. Well done.

I don't know if you noticed, but on one occasion the Caner brothers actually quote a Hadith, but then their reference is something like "Surah X Verse X"

Using the Surah and Verse reference is used when referencing the Qur'an, not the Hadith.

Many non-Muslims get these things mixed up and don't know how to reference Ahadith.

If you see all their interviews they did with John Ankerberg, you will notice that on one occasion the citation on the screen said "Surah X Verse X" even though they were quoting a Hadith.

It's funny that the same John Ankerberg refers to Ergun and Emir as two of the four most authoritative "scholars" on Islam in the entire world.....

Anonymous said...

Islam is on the verge of taking over America. Slowly though, but steadily. Israel seems to be the only safe refugium.

Turretinfan said...

Trust not in the sons of men.

Turretinfan said...


Ankerberg seems to be continuing to support the Caner brothers. The problem may arise from the fact that he has done 8 programs (two sets of four) with them and has written three small books on Islam (about 75 pages each) with them.

- TurretinFan

Anonymous said...

Pro 24:17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
Pro 24:18 lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.

God speaks and really what is there else to say about that?

David Waltz said...

Hello GrandVerb,

You wrote:

>>The fact that his book is not well documented is proof for me that many Christians are not interested in a fair hearing of Islam or our tenets.>>

Me: I would add that accurate documentation does not in and of itself create a spirit of fairness. Having read well over two-dozen anti-Islamic polemical works by Christian apologists, I can say with a very high degree of confidence that they have virtually no interest at all in presenting Islam in any positive light—it seems that objectivity is a non-existent concept for so many of the self-proclaimed “experts” on Islam.

Kate Zebiri’s, Muslims and Christians Face to Face, is a sober reflection on this issue, and a must read (IMO).

Grace and peace,


MK said...


Yeah, it's strange really.

John Ankerberg has informed his facebook followers that Muslims have altered his videos.

Turretinfan said...

If he can document the changes, that will be a very significant charge indeed.

Coram Deo said...


What do you believe Surah 10:54 means when it says "Every soul that has sinned, if it possessed all that is on earth, would fain give it in ransom."?

Does this mean that if a Muslim possessed all that is in the earth, and offered it to God as a ransom for his sin, it would not be enough of a ransom?

If so, how will your personal sins ever be forgiven?

Jesus Christ is the seed promised to Eve in the garden who would be born of a woman (not of the union of a man and a woman) who would bruise the head of Satan.

Jesus Christ is the prophet promised by Moses that God would raise up after him.

Jesus Christ made the claim that he was able to forgive sins (Matthew 9:2–6). No other prophet claimed to be able to forgive sin.

Jesus Christ claimed He was the only way to God saying "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

God commands sinners to repent and place their trust in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, or they will perish.

You must be born again.

In Christ,

BibleWheel said...

According to Mohammad Khan (here), John Ankerberg edited a clip to remove Ergun's error with regards to a non-existent prophet of Islam named Baruch. He shows the video before and after Ankerberg edited it. This is the only proof of any material alteration of an Ankerberg video that I have ever seen, and it was done by Ankerberg himself to cover up the error that Khan had exposed.

Pilgrimsarbour said...


You realise, of course, that this new knowledge you have given us will fire up the KJV Only folks to redouble their efforts in the infamous "Wilkins Lost Voice" incident, since that happened on the Ankerberg show some years ago.




thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto you...

YaeIH said,

"Can you give a reference for this ruling? I've only come across this definition of who and who is not considered a Muslim (or in this context, an 'ex-Muslim') one other time and I didn't much pay attention."

I want to retract the last part of my statement because upon clarification there are differences of opinion on the matter. One view states that if a person sins as long as they do not acknolwedge that sinning is permissible they are not considered a disbeliever. Although they are still liable for the sin that they did.


I am not a big fan of the psuedo-Salafi movement but here is a PDF file from one of their Sheikhs that deals with the issue:


http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/nuh/reliance.htm < This book is a classical manual on Islamic law according to the Shaf'i school of jurisprudence. The view contained there says that if someone deliberately missed the prayer they would be executed but still buried as a Muslim.

Pressed further Allah-willing I will try and get the exact quote in that regards.

Nora said...

Thanks, GV, I'll take a look at those a bit later.


I was at the bookstore the other day and pulled a few books on Islam. I grabbed the Caners' Unveiling Islam and happened across Abdul Saleeb's name in the index. There is a section in which the Caners argue agaist the use of "allah" in Arabic to describe the LORD and they quote Abdul Saleeb & Normal Geisler.

Do you know if Unveiling Islam was written before or after Ergun Caner's blunder about debating Shabir Ally, Nadir Ahmeh, & Abdul Saleeb?

Turretinfan said...

I don't know the relative timing. I have heard Dr. Caner explain what the name "Abdul Saleeb" means during at least one of his oral presentations, but again I don't know the relative timing between that and his debate claim.

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto you.

I have posted the link of a few of the videos that youtube pulled at the request of John Ankerberg and Liberty.


I have tried to be as fair and balanced as I can on the matter. As I told debbie kaufman I am thinking about burning the videos to C.D and than sending the source material to whom ever request it for thier own use for blogs and references in the future. Allah knows best.