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Free Course on the Bible by Ustadh Ali Ataie

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

A new course from SeekersGuidance, seeks to introduce and teach the Christian Bible’s 3 Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John to Muslims. This course will introduce students to the four gospels found in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and provide them with new insights and a more nuanced understanding of who Jesus (peace be upon him) was for the objective of calling others to the truth of Islam. Click here to register for the course. SPACES ARE LIMITED.

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Debate Audio: Bob Siegel vs Ijaz Ahmad

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Maligned apologist and radio show host, Bob Siegel and I faced off on what one can only describe as a controversial encounter. What should have been a debate about scripture and reliability, quickly turned into Bob describing Christ as a mass murderer whose return spells death and torture for non-Christians. What’s worse is, when actually questioned about the New Testament’s reliability, Bob really had no answers, leaving much of the debate to be about anything other than scriptural reliability, hear the debate here!

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Debate Video: Samuel Green vs Ijaz Ahmad

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

I faced off against Pastor Samuel Green, dubbed by most Christians internationally as being the world’s foremost apologist. With decades of experience and expertise in the debate circuit, Pastor Samuel is well respected for his views and well spoken style of discourse. As usual, I promised to use arguments that the Pastor would not have expected. While I was underwhelmed with the Pastor’s arguments, I was thrilled to engage him in a public debate, click this link to view the debate and see what went down!

Recent Articles

25
Aug

Islam: The Path of Appreciation and Thanks in Brotherhood

Human relations is perhaps one of the most difficult and treacherous roads in navigating this life of ours. Man is easy to offend, difficult to please, stubborn to forget. There is a truth which Satan the accursed has spoken, whether one chooses to believe in him or not, it is a truth that can be seen and understood by every man, he says:

ثُمَّ لَآتِيَنَّهُم مِّن بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ وَعَنْ أَيْمَانِهِمْ وَعَن شَمَائِلِهِمْ ۖ وَلَا تَجِدُ أَكْثَرَهُمْ شَاكِرِينَ

“Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].” – Qur’aan 7:17.

It is true that most men are not grateful to God, or that higher power they ascribe to, what some men today call the Universe. Some call it karma, what goes around comes around, an ironic if not cynical cycle of self debasement without realization. Whatever it is that men ascribe to, by and large they are difficult to please and are generally ungrateful to themselves, others and that which they worship or hold to be the power which holds the worlds together. One of the most successful books of the 20th century focused on this very topic, human relations and navigating them. Written in 1937, Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” focused a great deal on advising men in this regard. It is regarded as a must read, and quotes from some of history’s most famous personalities on acquiring the skills needed to establish meaningful friendships and practising empathy towards our fellow man. In reading the book, it mentions:

Lincoln once began a letter saying: ‘Everybody likes a compliment.’ William James said: ‘The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.’ He didn’t speak, mind you, of the ‘wish’ or the ‘desire’ or the ‘longing’ to be appreciated. He said the ‘craving’ to be appreciated.

The book goes on to mention:

I have among my clippings a story that I know never happened, but it illustrates a truth, so I’ll repeat it:

According to this silly story, a farm woman, at the end of a heavy day’s work, set before her menfolks a heaping pile of hay. And when they indignantly demanded whether she had gone crazy, she replied: ‘Why, how did I know that you’d notice? I’ve been cooking for you men for the last twenty years and in all that time I ain’t heard no word to let me know you wasn’t just eating hay.’

When a study was made a few years ago on runaway wives, what do you think was discovered to be the main reason wives ran away? It was ‘lack of appreciation.’ And I’d bet that a similar study made of runaway husbands would come out the same way. We often take our spouses so much for granted that we never let them know how we appreciate them.

A member of one of our classes told of a request made by his wife. She and a group of other women in her church were involved in a self-improvement programme. She asked her husband to help her by listing six things he believed she could do to help her become a better wife. He reported to the class: ‘I was surprised by such a request. Frankly, it would have been easy for me to list six things I would like to change about her – my heavens, she could have listed a thousand things she would like to change about me – but I didn’t. I said to her, “Let me think about it and give you an answer in the morning.”

“The next morning I got up very early and called the florist and had them send six red roses to my wife with a note saying: ‘I can’t think of six things I would like to change about you. I love you the way you are.’

“When I arrived at home that evening, who do you think greeted me at the door: That’s right, my wife! She was almost in tears. Needless to say, I was extremely glad I had not criticised her as she had requested.

“The following Sunday at church, after she had reported the results of her assignment, several women with whom she had been studying came up to me and said, “That was the most considerate thing I have ever heard.” It was then I realised the power of appreciation.’

Yet, in the 7th century CE, some 1200 years before Dale’s book enlightened the educated, free, modern man; Prophet Muhammad ﷺ spoke this very advise. What Dale wrote an entire book on, quoting some of the most famous men in history, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ spoke in one powerful sentence:

“Whoever is not grateful to the people, he is not grateful to Allah.”

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ مَنْ لَمْ يَشْكُرِ النَّاسَ لَمْ يَشْكُرِ اللَّهَ ‏” – at-Tirmidhi: Volume 4, Book 1, Hadith 1995. “Chapter on Righteousness and Maintaining Good Relations with Relatives”. 

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This sublime Prophet narration is graded as authentic by the scholars of hadith. It is the mark of a great mind, a great man to elucidate the masses by enunciating the wisest of teachings in the simplest of ways. What this Prophetic narration proposes, is that gratefulness, appreciation, thanks to our fellow man is needed to establish a relationship with the Creator, the Lord of the Worlds. That is the most important relationship anyone can have, and to achieve this, one must appreciate his brothers, sisters, spouse, friends, parents – everyone. This is all that anyone has to say on the matter. An entire book is not needed. We can extract more of such beautiful teachings from among the Prophetic narrations:

“O Abu Hurairah, be cautious, and you will be the most devoted of people to Allah. Be content, and you will be the most grateful of people to Allah. Love for people what you love for yourself, and you will be a (true) believer. Be a good neighbor to your neighbors, and you will be a (true) Muslim. And laugh little, for laughing a lot deadens the heart.”

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏ “‏ يَا أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ كُنْ وَرِعًا تَكُنْ أَعْبَدَ النَّاسِ وَكُنْ قَنِعًا تَكُنْ أَشْكَرَ النَّاسِ وَأَحِبَّ لِلنَّاسِ مَا تُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِكَ تَكُنْ مُؤْمِنًا وَأَحَسِنْ جِوَارَ مَنْ جَاوَرَكَ تَكُنْ مُسْلِمًا وَأَقِلَّ الضَّحِكَ فَإِنَّ كَثْرَةَ الضَّحِكِ تُمِيتُ الْقَلْبَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ – Sunan ibn Majah, Volume 1, Book 37, Hadith 4217. “The Book of Zuhd”.

Appreciation comes in many forms, not just in mere words. The Prophetic narrations mention:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “A man felt very thirsty while he was on the way, there he came across a well. He went down the well, quenched his thirst and came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself, “This dog is suffering from thirst as I did.” So, he went down the well again and filled his shoe with water and watered it. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him. The people said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He replied: “Yes, there is a reward for serving any animate (living being).”

‏”‏ بَيْنَا رَجُلٌ بِطَرِيقٍ، اشْتَدَّ عَلَيْهِ الْعَطَشُ فَوَجَدَ بِئْرًا فَنَزَلَ فِيهَا فَشَرِبَ، ثُمَّ خَرَجَ، فَإِذَا كَلْبٌ يَلْهَثُ يَأْكُلُ الثَّرَى مِنَ الْعَطَشِ، فَقَالَ الرَّجُلُ لَقَدْ بَلَغَ هَذَا الْكَلْبَ مِنَ الْعَطَشِ مِثْلُ الَّذِي كَانَ بَلَغَ مِنِّي، فَنَزَلَ الْبِئْرَ، فَمَلأَ خُفَّهُ مَاءً، فَسَقَى الْكَلْبَ، فَشَكَرَ اللَّهُ لَهُ، فَغَفَرَ لَهُ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَإِنَّ لَنَا فِي الْبَهَائِمِ لأَجْرًا فَقَالَ ‏”‏ فِي كُلِّ ذَاتِ كَبِدٍ رَطْبَةٍ أَجْرٌ ‏”‏‏.‏ – Sahih al Bukhari, Book 46, Hadith 27. Alternatively, Sahih al-Bukhari 2466.

The Prophetic example has emphasized the importance of appreciating others in words, thought and action. If we wish to adhere to the command of God, we must adhere to the Prophetic example of Muhammad ﷺ. Whether you are a Muslim, or not, this is indispensable advice as articulated by him, or as later given by men throughout history. Either way, one can only benefit from the path of appreciation and giving thanks to others.

and Allaah knows best.

23
Aug

Refutation: Comparing the Bible and the Qur’an

This article is in response to another writing of the same title by Pastor Samuel Green, “Comparing the Bible and the Qur’an“.

Reason 1. The Context of the Bible and Qur’an

Scripture is supposed to be God’s message to mankind, it does not have to be a history book or a biography. It needs to mention what is needed to be known so that the message could be understood. The Qur’aan does not revolve around the life of Muhammad ﷺ, but it does relate many relevant verses about occurrences throughout the Prophet’s ﷺ life. The Qur’aan is not of human production and thus unlike the Bible it is not ordered through human concepts of organization: chronologically, topically, by (chapter) length, by name (title) or alphabetically. It would be crass to expect the Qur’aan to be ordered like the Bible or to provide the same information as the Bible. Whereas the Bible consists of biographies, letters, revelation, doxologies, epistles, pastorials, poems; the Qur’aan specifically consists only of revelation and nothing else. Pastor Samuel goes on to state:

“Thus, to understand the Bible you only need the Bible. In fact, many of the stories which are only briefly retold in the Qur’an are told in full in the Bible. The Bible is self-sufficient, as the word of God should be.”

This would be patently false and one of the ways we can demonstrate this is by the dependence of Christians to rely upon commentaries, exegeses and lectionaries. In fact, to not rely upon any of the three previous categories of writings and to rely upon one’s own understanding of the Bible is considered to be eisegesis. Oxford Biblical Studies defines this to mean, “A comparatively modern term to describe, disapprovingly, a piece of scholarship which appears to find in a given text a significance alien to its context. This might be to provide biblical support for a doctrinal position already held. The term was coined (from the Greek eis, in, and egeisthai, to guide) as the opposite of exegesis (Greek ek), which means an elucidation of.

In regard to the claim that the Qur’aan cannot be understood without the Seerah (Biography of the Prophet ﷺ) or without the narrations of the Prophet ﷺ, we believe that the Qur’aan can be understood without them to some extent, but for a more accurate understanding and a more comprehensive understanding we must often refer to these other forms of literature. It should be noted that it is the Qur’aan which commands the believers to obey the Prophet ﷺ:

“Say, “Obey Allah and the Messenger.” But if they turn away – then indeed, Allah does not like the disbelievers.” – Qur’aan 3:32.

The only way to do this is to follow his Prophetic Sunnah, and so it can be understood that by utilizing the Prophetic Sunnah to understand the Qur’aan, we do this because it is a command in the Qur’aan to do so.This is more of a safeguard as to avoid the sin of eisegesis, as opposed to the Qur’aan being incomplete in any way, shape and or form. I would agree with the Pastor’s statement, “Therefore to compare the Bible to the Qur’an alone is misleading and inaccurate.” I agree with this because the Qur’aan is unlike the Bible in purpose and historical development. Whereas the some parts of the Bible began as authoritative writings and then became scripture (Councils of Carthage, 393 &397 CE), the Qur’aan from its very inception has been and was always scripture in its entirety.

Reason 2. Practices and Beliefs

The Qur’aan contains all of the beliefs that Muslims must know, the Pastor has not provided an instance where we believe something that is not manifested in the Qur’aan. Whereas the Qur’aan commands us to do certain actions such as to fast and pray, to understand how the Prophet ﷺ enacted these commands we refer to the Prophetic Sunnah. While in Islam we separate scripture or the Word of God (risalah) from the biography and actions of the Prophet ﷺ or the Messenger of the Word of God (rasool), the New Testament mixes both and thus the Word of God is lost among the words of men, history and biographies. The Pastor continues by stating:

“The Bible has everything a Christian needs. The Bible fully declares what God has done to save us and bring glory to himself and how we are to live. It is the basis for our wisdom and defines our liberty. “

This is largely untrue, for example the beliefs about the Trinity cannot be found in the New Testament. Nor can the beliefs about the hypostatic union, the second coming of Christ, the immaculate nature of Mary, their doctrine of salvation solely by grace (their soteriological perspective), the foregoing of the laws of God and the original sin.

Why is the Bible so complete?

The Bible is not complete for the reasons outlined above. The Pastor makes the claim that the Bible contains the teachings of the Prophets. However, as is well known, Christians forego the alleged teachings of the Prophets and follow the teachings of Paul. Therefore including the alleged writings of the Prophets in the Bible is largely useless to the Christian faith. Perhaps what is most troubling is that while Moses lived between 1600 and 1300 BCE, the oldest record of the Old Testament is from 250 BCE, the Dead Sea Scrolls. With a space of over 1300 years between the Prophets and the Old Testament, it would be very difficult to ascertain whether or not these writings were actually written by the Prophets themselves or written homonymously (by authors writing in the name of the Prophets).

A More Accurate Comparison

Whereas none of the major doctrines of the Christian faith can be found in the New Testament or the Old Testament, the major beliefs of Islam can be found with complete certainty in the Qur’aan. Our doctrine of Tawheed? Surah al Ikhlas 112 covers the entirety of that doctrine in 4 verses. The same cannot be said of the Trinity, Salvation by Grace, the Immaculate  Conception, a Divine Messiah, a Second Coming of Christ or of the hypostatic union. As stated previously, whereas the Qur’aan solely contains the words of God, the Bible contains the words of men in the form of letters, epistles, pastorials, biographies, poems mixed with the words of God to the point that it is very difficult for any Christian to ascertain which is from God and which is from man. This therefore, cannot be seen as a deficiency of the Qur’aan, but should be seen as a corruption and blatant travesty against the sanctity of scripture in the form of the Bible. Whereas Islam keeps the distinction between the commands of God and the Prophetic enactment of those commands, the same cannot be said of the New Testament.

Some Application

1. The Bible and the Qur’aan are not the same in their typology (style of presenation) and in terms of their contents. Whereas the Bible is absent of the major beliefs of Christianity (as highlighted previously), the Qur’aan contains all major beliefs of the Muslims. While the Bible contains biographical works, letters, epistles, poems and other works of men, the Qur’aan solely contains the word of God. Thus, the Muslim is able to distinguish between the Word of God and the Prophetic enactment of the Word of God. While the Bible does claim to contain the works of the Prophets, the time span between that of the Prophets and that of the oldest Old Testament is too wide for anyone to claim with certainty that they were written by the Prophets themselves and until such evidence is presented, anyone who holds to that claim has fallen prey to the fallacy of wishful thinking.

2. If Muslims and Christians were to take the Qur’aan and the Bible in order to demonstrate their most sacred beliefs, the Christian would not be able to discuss the Trinity, the Hypostatic union and other major beliefs without relying on the debates of the Patristics (Church Fathers) who articulated most of their beliefs over a 400 year period. An example would be the doctrine of Tawheed versus that of the doctrine of the Trinity. Whereas the Muslim can refer the Christian to Qur’aan Surah 112 (al-Ikhlas), the Christian cannot refer us to any passage that entirely expresses their belief in the Trinity.

3. It is true that the Prophetic Sunnah compliments the Qur’aan and that beliefs can be derived from both. However, while the Prophetic Sunnah can undergo scrutiny, literary criticism and inspection, the Qur’aan does not undergo these things. Therefore beliefs extracted from the Prophetic Sunnah can be studied to verify their authenticity as the Prophet ﷺ may have been commanded to practise an act in one particular way earlier during his life and another way at a later period during his life. In the case of female circumcision, this is a common practise that should not be confused with female genital mutilation. A cliterodectomy is legal in most Western nations and is considered a cosmetic medical practise.

4. All religions with scripture do not condone the practise of extracting one’s own understanding of the scripture by self interpretation. This practise, known as eisegesis (defined above), is actively discouraged in both the Christian and Muslim faiths respectively. To tackle the Pastor’s claim, we invite him to defend the view that the Unitarians who read the Bible and reject the Trinity based on the Bible, that they are reading it correctly. It is quite obvious that when it comes to contentious verses with which the various Christian sects dispute about, the Pastor would turn to his commentaries to explain the proper understanding of those verses. While the Qur’aan can be understood by reading it, a Muslim knows he would be understanding its passages clearly by seeing the enactment of the Qur’aan and its explanation through the Prophetic Sunnah of Muhammad ﷺ. Thus, I find the Pastor’s claim to be wholly inaccurate and a poor representation of both the beliefs of Muslims and Christians in regard to their handling of scripture.

and Allaah knows best.

23
Aug

The Science of Hadeeth in Light of Orientalism

I was pleasantly surprised to view this video, as I think it answers many of the questions Muslims would have in regard to the authenticity of ahadeeth in both the arguments of the hadeeth deniers and of the Orientalists. It tackles the questions along the lines of, “if there were 750, 000 narrations why did the Imams only narrate several thousand?“, “how can someone memorize 600, 000 or 750, 000 narrations?“, “did people make up narrations and then invent a chain of narrators?“, “what is the difference between an isnad and a matn?” and, “how do we respond to Orientalist criticism of ahadeeth?” For a fifteen minute video it answers these questions and more in a very simplified manner.

and Allaah knows best.

19
Aug

Missionary Mishap: God Created Eve

This time, I’ll just let the photos do the talking:

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and God knows best.

17
Aug

China’s Violent Christian Cult [BBC]

You won’t find this as an example of religious extremism on David Wood’s site or on Atlas Shrugs. I’d like to emphatically state that this cult is not representative of all Christians or of the Christian faith. What this video is an example of, is the end result of radical, violent, hateful figures who prey on those who don’t agree with their extremist rhetoric. Humans partake in religion, humans are violent, religious humans can be and will be violent – it’s human nature and they’ll justify their violence through whatever philosophy or ideology or religion that allows them to do so. What people like Sam Shamoun and David Wood are afraid to come forward and say is that Christians have been and can be violent too. It’s just under reported. They will celebrate and gladly announce how the Christian Church is growing in China, but they will never say that it as a result of violent, hateful Churches like these, producing cults!

Maybe someone can shoot David Wood or Pamela Geller an email and ask them why they don’t also highlight the growing trend of violent Chinese Christian cults?

and God knows best.

16
Aug

Missionary Mishap: Preach to Muslims About Jesus the Tasteless

I follow an Apologetic Christian Kindle Deals Page on Facebook, and I usually purchase the books they have on discount. Imagine my surprise when they finally posted a book about preaching to Muslims. “Facing Islam, Engaging Muslims“, by Allen Pritzlaff.

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While browsing the book information, I came across quite a surprise!

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I imagine that this person who examined Islamic doctrine, the Seerah an Nabawiyyah, the Hadeeth Corpus and the Qur’aan would know that we refer to Jesus as the Messiah, al Maseeh (مسيح). Instead, he writes that we need to know God through Isa al Masikh – مسيخ. Masikh (otherwise transliterated as Maseekh) translates to, “tasteless”. In other words, his book quite literally insults, denigrates Jesus, referring to him as Jesus the Tasteless. Took me quite by a surprise. I’d really like to see the author’s face when he realises he gets one of the most basic things about Islam and Jesus wrong, in a book titled about Islam and Jesus. A bit funny, a bit embarrassing and a bit ironic, what more could we ask for?

and God knows best.

16
Aug

Abraham Righteous Solely by Faith?

Question

Many Christians refer to Genesis 15:6 to demonstrate that Abraham was righteous only by faith and not by following the commands and laws of God. How can we respond to this?

Answer

This topic is covered extensively in EP Sanders’, “Paul, the Law and the Jewish People”, which I would strongly recommend for those trying to understand the use of this passage to justify Christian beliefs in regard to salvation, or in trying to understand their soteriological perspective.

Genesis 15:6 says as follows, “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness,” the argument from this which is normally given, is that this verse never mentions works, commandments or laws. It specifically mentions faith only, therefore it is perfectly acceptable to believe that Abraham was righteous solely by his faith and nothing else. This is the same form of argument used by Paul in Romans 3:27-29, 4:9-25. Unfortunately for those who use this verse to argue their case of righteousness only by faith, they are appealing to the argument from silence – a fallacy. Simply because it is not mentioned in this verse, does not mean that Abraham is solely righteous by faith.

In fact, God in other places directly ascribes Abraham’s blessing/ righteousness due to his obeying of God’s command/ the law. We read, “and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” – Genesis 22:18, and we also read from Genesis 26:4-5, “I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.

Therefore, while Genesis 15:6 does mention that Abraham was righteous due to his faith while mentioning the promise of his descendants being as numerous as the stars, Genesis 22:18 and Genesis 26:4-5, while speaking of the same promise, mention Abraham’s righteousness and blessing by God due to his obeying of commands and laws. It is quite probable that the Christian had not read all of the related passages or were solely taught this one proof text that related to the teachings of Paul in Romans. Either way, the related texts clearly contextualise what Genesis 15:6 was saying.

and God knows best.

16
Aug

Read: Empower Yourself

Whether you’re a Muslim, Christian, Jew or Atheist, we all listen to scholars to educate ourselves. We spend hours upon hours watching lectures, sharing them and commenting on them. There is no doubt that they can be beneficial, but they can only be beneficial insofar as they allow us to engage with the primary sources of information from which they draw from. What this means, is that while we can gain a lot from watching a 20 minute lecture about the biography of some famous religious personality, we can gain a lot more by actually reading the biography or works of that personality. Let’s take for example, the Passion of the Christ movie by Mel Gibson. The primary goal of a movie is to entertain, not educate. Entertainment is guided towards gaining the attention and interest of the most amount of viewers as is possible. By promoting focus on entertaining, rather than educating, the movie will be successful and significantly less boring. We can see this by comparing the narrative of the Passion of the Christ as opposed to that of the four Gospels. The movie presents one narrative whereas the New Testament Gospels present a number of differing narratives that often conflict with one another. Unless the movie presented four different versions of the Passion event, the narrative it gives us must then be considered limited in scope and depth, it would exclude information otherwise unknown to us unless we had read the Gospels ourselves.

For a Muslim, let us consider the Seerah or the Biography of the Prophet Muhammad salallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam. In many of the books on the subject (I prefer Martin Lings’ edition of the Seerah), most of us who’ve read it would be familiar with the personality of Umm Ayman, otherwise known as Umm Barakah. An African wet nurse, or rather adoptive mother of the Prophet salallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam. Her role, purpose and place in his life is truly one of the most beautiful historical events that we should be aware of. Yet, most of us who have only come to know the Prophet salallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam through short lectures, or the few movies on his life are completely unaware of her existence. Most are actually surprised to know that the wet nurse or adoptive mother of the Prophet salallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam was an African woman, moreso that she spent a significant amount of his blessed life with him, by his side, through his struggles. By omitting such an important piece of history from his life, many Muslims are unfortunately disregarding one of the most beautiful personalities in regard to the Prophet salallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam

The Qur’aan says, ” رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا” – which translates to: “My Lord Increase me in Knowledge (Qur’aan 20:114)”. It is one thing to experience the Prophet  salallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam through short videos of his Seerah or movies, but it is an entirely different experience to come to know him through the reading of his Seerah. Perhaps this image can put things into perspective:

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Consider a book of 100 pages. It would take someone an average of 1 minute to read a page of 300 words. If there are 100 pages, and the person reads 1 page a minute, it would take them 100 minutes to read the entire book. That’s roughly 1 hour and 40 minutes. Yet, if a person watched a movie on the Seerah of the Prophet salallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam, as opposed to reading the Seerah, they would come to know significantly less about his life, minute for minute versus to two mediums. Sure, you can see beautiful images of grand desert vistas with Arab cultural music in the background, but in that same time you could’ve read a page or two and actually learned something. The question that needs to be posed to ourselves is quite clear. From where do the people speaking in videos, or the screen writers behind movies, get their information from? They get it from the same books we neglect to read! So if it is, that we truly admired the people we spend hours watching videos of, wouldn’t we stand to learn a lot more by actually interacting with the primary sources, as opposed to having watered down third person narratives fed to us? Quite frankly there are two kinds of people, those willing to learn and those willing to have someone spoon feed them information. I’m often reminded of the young Muslims who spend hours watching videos of Shaykh Ahmad Deedat or of Dr. Shabir Ally debating. Most are amazed at their level of knowledge and understanding of complicated inter-faith topics. Yet, most young Muslims would prefer to watch those videos to gain quick knowledge, than read any of the books that either of the two great personalities above have read to get their information and recommended for Muslims to learn from.

At the end of the day, we all have a choice to make. If we truly want to learn we can go directly to the books that house the information or we can choose to have tid bits of it given to us by persons who have read the works themselves. The only true limit of gaining knowledge, is the limit we place on ourselves. With this, I say, empower yourself, read, or as the Lord of the Worlds has said: “قْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ” – Read in the name of your Lord who created (Qur’aan 96:1).

and God knows best.

 

12
Aug

Jesus as the Messiah in the Old Testament

Question

Christians often use Old Testament passages to demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Jewish writings. How would you respond to this and should a Muslim disagree with these passages?

Answer

‘Aissa al Maseeh, Jesus the Messiah. As Muslims we adhere to the belief that Jesus was the Messiah and thus we agree with our Christian brethren that he was the Messiah. Concerning the passages used by Christians which foretell the crucifixion of the Messiah for the sins of the world, it is important that we first understand what the term Messiah means. The term for Messiah in Hebrew is, “Mashiach“, Christians naturally claim that every Messianic passage is about Jesus and thus he is, “Ha Mashiach” or, “the Messiah”. To begin with, there is not a single passage in the Old Testament that refers to a person known as, “Ha Mashiach“, the Messiah. There are many Messiahs in the Old Testament, with the term Messiah merely meaning, “anointed one”. The Christian would therefore have to demonstrate for us a single occurrence of the term, “the Messiah”, referring to one specific Messiah alone. Rather there are many Messianic passages in the Old Testament because in Judaism, there were many Messianic figures.

To be anointed was a common practise in their faith:

After you put these clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons, anoint and ordain them. Consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. – Exodus 28:41.

Therefore being the Messiah does not deify Jesus, nor does it mean that every Messianic passage could be about him. This would mean that not every suffering Messiah would also be Jesus. A popular passage used to prove that Jesus was foretold of being crucified for the sins of the world is the chapter of Isaiah 53. To respond to this chapter as an evidence, we can ask the Christian concerning verse three which reads as follows:

Like one from whom people hide their faces, he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” – Isaiah 53:3.

Why did people hide their faces from him? Isaiah 52, says of the suffering servant:

“Just as there were many who were appalled at him – his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness – ” – Isaiah 52:14.

When did Jesus have a disfigured face and when did he hide this disfigured face? There is not a single passage in the New Testament which mentions that Jesus had a disfigured face. Since this is the case, we must then ask, how can this possibly refer to Jesus?

and Allaah knows best.

12
Aug

What is the Evidence that the Injeel Existed, is it the same as the Gospel?

Question:

Christians often ask where is the evidence of the Injeel. There is no physical evidence of it, so how do we respond to them. They also claim that the Injeel is the same as the Gospel and we have the Gospel therefore the New Testament is from God.

Answer:

Lack of physical evidence does not necessitate that the Injeel did not exist. This is actually fallacious reasoning and is known as the argument from silence, further information on this fallacy can be seen here. We can understand this fallacy by realising that a lack of evidence of something existing does not mean that it did not exist. An example would be your great grandfather, no one living today has seen him smile, therefore he never smiled. This would be the argument from silence. Similarly, because no one today has seen evidence of the Injeel, this does not mean that it did not exist. There are many reasons why there are no physical evidences of its existence, the Qur’aan states:

We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent? – Qur’aan 2:106.

Since it has been abrogated, Allaah can surely cause it be forgotten to us. We can also flip this argument onto the Christian. Jesus nor any of his disciples knew the New Testament to be scripture – it was canonized as scripture in 393 and 397 CE at the Councils of Carthage in what is modern day Tunisia. Would the Christian then agree that since there is no evidence that Jesus or his disciples knew of the New Testament, that it did not exist or that it is not scripture?

In regard to the claim that the Injeel is the same as the Christian Gospels, the Qur’aan describes the Injeel as follows:

And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which came before him in the Torah; and We gave him the Gospel, in which was guidance and light and confirming that which preceded it of the Torah as guidance and instruction for the righteous. – Qur’aan 5:46.

The Qur’aan describes the Injeel as a message given to Jesus. No Christian believes that the Father gave Jesus any scripture, nor did He give Jesus the New Testament. Therefore these are two distinct writings, one is not the other.

and Allaah knows best.

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