1st Century Markan Fragment?

In 2012, during a debate with Dr. Bart Ehrman, Dr. Daniel Wallace proclaimed that there had been a discovery of a 1st century fragment of the Gospel attributed to Mark. Textual critics have been waiting for over 5 years to finally see a 1st century manuscript only to receive some bad news today. As covered on the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog, if the fragment published about in the The Oxyrhynchus Papyri Vol. LXXXIII, is the one Daniel Wallace claimed was from the 1st century (and this looks increasingly likely) then it should at least be known now that it actually dates from the late second to early third centuries CE:

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The absolute silence from Wallace, Habermas, Evans and others who promoted a 1st century dating is palpable, they all seem to have gone silent with this recent news. Hopefully more information can be made available soon. Thanks to Peter Gurry for the scan of the journal’s page on the dating of the fragment.

and God knows best.

The Basmala in the Qur’an

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The Basmala as it is known in English as, “In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful” is one of the proofs of the preservation of the Qur’an. Allow me to explain.

For every Surah except one it is included at the start, it’s excluded in only one Surah. Everyone knows this. There is no Qira’ah (recitation of the Qur’an) that deviates from this and places it at the start of Surah 9. This is peculiar because in the written tradition, if a scribe is monotonously writing the Basmala for every Surah and they have no knowledge or a little knowledge of the Qur’an, it would seem abnormal to leave it out, so from this standard we should expect to see at least one Qira’ah that includes it, yet none do. We see the opposite with the New Testament as doxologies were commonly added because of their oral use in gatherings, we find no such equivalence in the Qur’an.

All the Qira’at have the Basmala as the same. A scribe with little to no knowledge of the Qur’an could have assumed that “Raheem” was mistakenly repeated and omitted it because of “Rahman” being similar. We find no such instance of this in any of the Qira’at. However, according to scribal habits and trends observed with the New Testament, this happened all the time and is known as haplography.

Or they could have assumed another word was meant beside “Raheem” and changed it to “Razaq” to make the phraseology more diverse and “more meaningful” according to their own reasoning, yet we find no instance of this is any Qira’at.

What this teaches us is that had the Qur’an been changed like the New Testament was, we should expect to see the kind of changes I mentioned above. These deviations should have occurred at some point and became their own Qira’at or found their way into one. Yet we find no instance of this and so we must ask ourselves how the untrained and unlettered Muslim world achieved this feat, when the literate and powerful Graeco-Roman peoples had not.

One verse bears with it so much greatness that I can only use the Qur’an to describe itself, “It is not possible for this Qur’an to have been produced by anyone other than God.” – Qur’an 10:37 (translation by Dr. Mustafa KhattabThe Clear Quran).

and Allah knows best.

Ramadan Mubarak 2018

As Salaamu ‘Alaykum,

The team at Calling Christians would like to extend Ramadan greetings to our vast readership. We are thankful for your continuing support, engagement and interactions with us. We sincerely pray that this Ramadan is a source of mercy and blessings for you all, ameen.

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With that said, we invite everyone to read Qur’an Made Easy, an English translation by the recently deceased, Mufti A.H. Elias of South Africa. The translation with in-line commentary is free on Amazon and can be freely downloaded using the Amazon Kindle App to your PC, Android and iOS devices.

We’ll also be reading The Clear Qur’an, which is an excellent English translation by Dr. Mustafa Khattab. It can be read on this website (go to settings, choose “translations”, then, select “Dr. Mustafa Khattab”).

Throughout this month we’ll be posting material exclusive to the Qur’an as we want to focus on the Qur’an during…the month of the Qur’an.

and Allah knows best.

Missionary Mishap: The Word of God, Jesus & Islam

I’ve been interacting on Twitter a lot more often and occasionally I come across folks who are angry with or at Islam, and through conversation they realise they are wrong. This one Maronite Lebanese Christian is a quick example of how not knowing their own scripture and not knowing about Islam can result in an awkward dialogue.

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and God knows best.

Why Do Muslims Pray for Muhammad (peace be upon him)?

Question:

Why do Muslims pray for Muhammad (peace be upon him) doesn’t that mean he needs prayers or forgiveness from God? This is a claim that often comes up in conversations with Christian missionaries.

Answer:

The primary reason we send salutations of peace and blessings upon the Prophet (peace be upon him) is due to this verse in the Qur’an:

“Indeed, Allah showers His blessings upon the Prophet, and His angels pray for him. O believers! Invoke Allah’s blessings upon him, and salute him with worthy greetings of peace.” – Qur’an 33:56 (translation by Dr. Mustafa Khattab – The Clear Qur’an).

Due to God commanding Muslims to do so, that is the most significant reason for us to convey salutations (praise) upon him. On the other hand, conveying these salutations do not necessarily imply a lack of good on his part or some moral deficiency, this can also be seen in the Lord’s Prayer in the New Testament:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…” – Matthew 6:9 (NIV).

“Father, hallowed be your name…” – Luke 11:2 (NIV).

In these passages, “hallowed” refers to respect, honour, glory and to salute (see the Cambridge English Dictionary). No one argues that God lacks respect, honour, glory or needs our salutations, rather these praises are done out of respect, love and admiration. The same in this case applies to the Prophet (peace be upon him), he does not lack these qualities, but rather we have a deep love, admiration and respect for him that is expressed when we convey prayers upon him.

and God knows best.

Bible Passages on a Quranic Manuscript?

Given the discovery of the palimpsest text that is now up for auction at Christie’s, it should be pointed out that one of the primary reasons we do not find much manuscripts like this is because Muslims aren’t allowed to desecrate the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians.

‘O believers!’ Do not insult what they invoke besides God or they will insult God spitefully out of ignorance. – Qur’an 6:108 (translation by Dr. Mustafa Khattab).

Briefly, a palimpsest text occurs when you have a written document that has been erased/ scrubbed off, for a new writing to be written on the freshly erased surface. This involves physical removal of the written text, think of it as writing something with a pencil on a piece of paper, you then physically remove that writing by using an eraser, and then you can write whatever you want on the freshly erased surface. The same principle applies here.

We also need to remember that when you write with a pencil, it imprints on the paper, so even if you did “erase” what you had written with the pencil, the “erased text” can still be read. It’s not an exactly one to one correlation, but the same principles apply to the manuscript that has made the news.

Generally speaking, Muslims can’t and are not allowed to desecrate the Bible, so new copies of the Qur’an were written on new parchment. It is beautiful that this manuscript can show the respect that Muslims can have towards other faiths where our own scribal and scriptural traditions preserve not one religious scripture but two!

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#islam #quran #peace

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