By Ali Asadullah
Unveiling Islam is a attack on Muslims and their religion and a tool for Christian missionaries
Title: Unveiling Islam – An Insiders Look at Muslim Life and Belief
Authors: Ergun Mehmet Caner & Emir Fethi Caner
Publisher: Kregel Publications, 2002, 234 pp.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, especially in the hands of those with mercenary motives. That Ergun and Emir Caner have an ulterior motive is clear – they say so in the preface to their new book, Unveiling Islam. Write the Caners: “Since 1982, we have preached and taught about Islam, sharing our hearts’ desire for salvation among the 1.2 billion Muslim people who need Jesus.”
Need Jesus? That’s a strange proposition coming from two authors whose names suggest that they are Muslims of Turkish origin. But that’s where the surprise comes – Ergun and Emir Caner are not Muslims. They used to be. But for over two decades they have been evangelical Christians who have toured the country spreading information concerning methodologies and techniques for converting Muslims to Christianity.
Put bluntly, Unveiling Islam is a diatribe against Muslims and their faith. What is worse, is that the book masquerades as just another critical analysis of Islam. With its enticing cover photo of a Muslim woman in full Niqaab(head scarf and face veil) and its misleading subtitle, “An Insider’s Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs”, this book could easily be mistaken for something other than missionary literature.
Ergun and Emir Caner grew up in Galion, OH, the sons of Acer Caner, a Turkish immigrant. Although their mother was Swedish, the two boys along with their brother were raised as Muslims.
The Caners go to some length to explain their strong Islamic upbringing, ostensibly to establish themselves as experts on the topic. However, it quickly becomes clear that their perception of a solid founding in the faith is anything but. For instance they note in their preface: “We did our rakats (daily prayers); we celebrated Ramadan. We read the Qur’an and Hadith regularly. In every way, we were devout, serious Muslims.”
Although the slip is indistinguishable to non-Muslims, Muslims recognize that the Arabic word for “daily prayers” is not Rakats; it is Salaat. Admittedly this is nitpicking, however the warning signs concerning an author’s self-proclaimed mastery of a subject are often subtle.
Their errors become more glaring as the book goes on. As they attempt to deconstruct the Islamic religion, the Caners quote liberally from the Qur’an and from various Ahadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad). When quoting the Qur’an, they are careful to reference by chapter and verse. When it comes to quoting Ahadith, however, they continue simply citing chapter and verse, ignoring the fact that there are quite a few books ofAhadith, each of which contain rigorous material on authentication of each and every saying contained therein. Unknowing readers of this book are given the impression that there is but one, singular book ofAhadith.
The book is organized to attack various aspects of Islam. The Caners attempt to discredit the Prophet Muhammad (saaws), the underlying articles of faith, the Qur’an, Ahadith and even Allah (swt) himself. And all the way through, the Caners’ either purposely or ignorantly present half-truth after half-truth, mischaracterization after mischaracterization and falsehood after falsehood.
In the chapter entitled “Security, Politics and Jihad” the Caners write, “One can be the most faithful of all believers in Allah and still be rightly sent to hell. Paradoxically, someone can be the worst person in the world and hypothetically still go to paradise.”
This statement is an outright falsehood. The Qur’an is clear about the rewards that await the “most faithful of all believers”. The Qur’an is additionally clear concerning the punishments that await those who transgress. And while a believing Muslim may indeed spend time in the hellfire because of various acts of transgression he or she committed in this life, Muslims believe that Allah (swt), in his mercy, will eventually remove the believers from the hellfire because of their sincere faith.
In the same chapter, the Caners write, “Here is the profound weakness of a religion in which there is no genuine connection between God and human being. Allah guides people into the truth through his prophet Muhammad, but one should never anticipate speaking to Allah personally or relationally.”
Again, the Caners fail in their characterization of the religion of Islam. For if they had done their research, they would have realized that Salaat (daily prayer) and Du’aa (supplication) are indeed forms of communication with Allah (swt).
Now maybe as evangelical Christians the Caners are looking for a different kind of communication. Maybe they are looking for people to get possessed by the “Holy Ghost”. Or maybe they are looking for “Tongues of Fire” to overtake a person. But regardless of what their experiences of communication have been, there is no doubt that Salaat and Du’aa fit the definition.
The book goes on to make the typical attacks Muslims have come to expect from Christians. The Prophet Muhammad is criticized for his marriage to Aisha, jihad is condemned as nothing more than Muslim bloodlust, treatment of women is highlighted.
Unveiling Islam is simply vitriolic rhetoric. It is an attempt to trick unsuspecting buyers into purchasing a biased and inaccurate account of Islam and its history. With the vast amount of factually faulty material, Muslims might have a basis to lobby bookstores to pull the book from their shelves.
As for the Caner brothers, they are a prime example of why it is essential to teach proper IslamicAqeedah (fundamental beliefs) and other basic principles. For despite their self-proclaimed knowledge of Islam, their book is a clear testament to their profound ignorance of their former religion.