If you don't go through this process, the Imam may very well say, "Well, it was okay back then, but times have changed, so it's no longer valid".
If you go through the detailed set-up, it's impossible for him to use that escape option. Once it's been established that the Quran is God's eternal, unchangeable word and that the example of Muhammad is perfect for ALL TIMES, you're set, and you can start hammering away with questions.
So here's the best way to go about it:
EW=Everyday Westerner who has learned a little bit about Islam and has a genuine interest in learning more about Islam
Dr. Naik=The friendly, tolerant Imam who will be the leader of the proposed mosque
EW: Dr. Naik, first off, thank you for coming here and giving this presentation. I think I speak for all when I express gratitude for your inspiring words, and I now realize Islam is in fact the religion of peace.
In preparation for this conference, I have started learning about Islam, its prophet, and its history, and I have a couple questions relating to Islam and Islamic theology.
The first question I have relates to the Prophet Mohammed. According to Islamic theology, Prophet Mohammed was God’s last, true prophet. Is that correct?
Dr. Naik: Yes, that’s correct.
EW: Okay. And Muslims also believe that Mohammed was a great man. In fact, they believe he was the “standard for all humanity”. Is this also correct?
Dr. Naik: Yes, we believe he is the greatest person to ever live.
EW: Okay. And you also accept that his words and actions are to guide man for all time, right? In other words, Muslims are to look at his behavior as the standard, regardless of the time period. For example, Mohammed lived in the 7th century, yet his behavior is every bit as good and proper in the 12th century, 21st century, 50th century, correct?
Dr. Naik: Yes, Muslims do believe this to be true.
EW: And I’ve also learned that Muslims rely on both the Quran and Sunnah to properly understand Mohammed’s words and behavior, correct? According to Islamic theology, one is incomplete without the other, right?
Dr. Naik: Yes, we rely on both.
EW: From what I can gather, in order for Muslims to understand the Sunnah, they are to look to the authentic hadith collections, right?
Dr. Naik: Yes, according to mainstream Islamic theology, that is true.
EW: I’m not familiar with all of them, but I have read parts of the hadith collections by Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. These are both well-respected hadith collectors, is that true?
Dr. Naik: That is true. We have great respect for these devout believers and scholars.
*Once that's been established, you're good to go.
For today's dialogue, we'll take a look at polygamy.
EW: Thank you for confirming all that, Dr. Naik. I'd now like to take a look at a verse from the Quran:
Quran 4:3-If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.
This seems kind of strange to me. I personally believe polygamy is wrong. My view on marriage is that one man should marry one woman, and they should commit their lives to each other.
Earlier, you confirmed that the Quran is God's eternal, unchangeable word. So surely, you must believe that in the year 2010 polygamy is morally acceptable?
Dr. Naik: (He'll likely go the "It's against the laws of this country, back during the 7th century it was different, etc." route)
EW: Dr. Naik, I'm not speaking of the laws of this country, and since you earlier confirmed that the Quran is eternal and unchangeable, there's no sense talking about how times were different.
The Quran is God's eternal, unchangeable word. So surely, you must believe that in the year 2010, there are certain circumstances in which it is morally acceptable for a man to marry multiple wives, correct?
Dr. Naik: (Obviously, there's no way out. He'll likely try to switch topics, so the audience has to be sure to stay on him and force him to give a direct answer).
While we're on the topic of marriage, Quran 2:223 is a good verse to bring up.
EW: I'd also like us to take a look at another verse from the Quran.
Quran 2:223-Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allah. And know that ye are to meet Him (in the Hereafter), and give (these) good tidings to those who believe.
This verse seems a bit insensitive to me. Certainly, your god could have said something like, "Your wives are your equal partners in marriage. You should love them as you love yourselves, and you should respect their every wish and desire".
So your god could have said something like that. But instead, he said, "Your wives are a tilth unto you, so approach whenever or however you want".
That doesn't quite make sense to me. Why, in your personal opinion, did your god say what he did?
Dr. Naik: (I've personally never heard a good response to this question. It'd probably be a good one to use, especially in our emasculated culture).