The Changes to the First Words in the New Testament

Last month I published a paper on how the very first words in the New Testament evolved over time. It was entitled, “The Inscriptio of the Gospel Attributed to Matthew.” Today we have produced a 2 minute video that simplifies and summarizes the research from that research paper:

Alternative YouTube Link: Click Here.

For more information, you can see a quick 15 minute talk on how the Old Testament was corrupted (including the Shema Yisrael!). To view or download the presentation slides from the 15 minute video, please click here.

To download or read the paper mentioned in this post, please click here.

and God knows best.

The Inscriptio of the Gospel Attributed to Matthew

For many Christians the authorial identity behind the first Gospel (as per the Augustinian order), commonly attributed to Matthew usually appears to be a matter of little or no concern. This is in part due to the inscriptio of the Gospel itself as is found in most modern translations of the New Testament. Without this inscriptio, the first mention of the name Matthew appears in Matthew 9:9. While at first this may not seem like an issue of note, a critical examination of the inscriptio with respect to its inception, and eventual adoption and evolution can give us deep insight into the perception of this document by those contemporaneous to its creation and development.

Who was authorship ascribed to, if anyone at all in the manuscript tradition? Was it considered to be scripture from inception? How has the use of the inscriptio in today’s modern translations affected the belief that an individual identified as Matthew did indeed write the first Gospel?

For those who would prefer to download the document or access it through other means, here are some alternative options:

This is the first article in a series of articles that will cover the New Testament and the Qur’an in light of textual criticism.

and Allah knows best.

 

Dialogue Video: Navigating Differences in Theology – Br. Ijaz and Mr. Alex Kerimli

I recently had a dialogue with my friend and colleague, Mr. Alex Kerimli in Toronto. Today the video of that event is being released. The event was graciously hosted by the i3 Institute, which offers courses for young Muslims in the Greater Toronto Area.

Poster

The event went extremely well and in the end I have to say that I definitely enjoyed my time with Mr. Kerimli. We met a second time following the dialogue and had a second more informal dialogue that would be released in the near future. In the meantime, this dialogue took place in the context of a discussion I have been having with Mr. Kerimli for the past two years. It mainly revolves around the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur’an’s relationship with both of those books. We explore these relationships, the existence of a possible “Madinian Torah” and other fascinating questions about textual preservation in light of historical evidences.

At the end of the dialogue, it was all smiles from both sides of the theological divide.

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In addition to releasing the video of the dialogue I am also including my PowerPoint presentation slides in PDF form. There are two versions of these slides. There is the original presentation as I used it in the dialogue. Following the event I noted that there was a miscitation of a quote from Mark, instead of Mark 4:15 I accidentally put Mark 4:20. There was also another miscitation, instead of Pslam 40:6-8, I wrote Isaiah 40:6-8. Along with that error, I also clarified my use of terms in the table comparing the contents of the Shema in the Gospels and the Septuagint editions. To be fair, I am releasing both the original version with the errors and the corrected version for clarity. I will follow up with Mr. Kerimli to see if he would be willing to do the same.

Here is the dialogue video:

and Allah knows best.

 

Spending Time with Dr. Shabir Ally

Over this summer I had the opportunity and privilege of learning from and teaching alongside Dr. Shabir Ally.

To be honest it was quite a surreal experience. Here is someone I had been learning from for a number of years and now I stood beside him with his approval to teach on subjects that he had mastered decades ago. I had not yet had the opportunity to pen my thoughts on the da’wah training, but suffice it to say that it went extremely well (alhamdulillah). During the month of November I also had the opportunity to meet him a second time for the year, where we took a few photos and did a few videos together:

What a lot of people don’t know is that I believe I’m actually tiptoeing in the video! Dr. Ally towers over me quite easily. Needless to say, I’m often asked about his persona, his mannerisms, his views on his debate opponents. Who exactly is Dr. Shabir Ally? Is he in any way different from the man we know on the debate stage?

The answer may shock you. He’s exactly as you see him. I don’t have a single bad word to say about the man. He has always been pleasant, loving, kind and respectable. Behind the scenes, he is the same man that you see on the debate stage. His persona does not change. Sometimes I’m asked if Dr. Ally holds negative thoughts or remarks about his previous debate opponents and I can honestly say that he does not. He speaks of them as if they were in our company, that is to say that while he may disagree with his debate opponents he does not manifest any hate for them, he is truly a man of good and reputable character.

While most will know him because of his interfaith events, he’s even more well known locally for the work that he does for Muslims in Canada. Everywhere I’ve gone, regardless of which Shaykh or scholar I’m sitting with, they’ve always had a good word to say about him. I believe that his Islamic Information and Da’wah Center represents who he is as a person. Permit me to explain myself. His center is very eclectic in terms of ethnicities. People from all walks of life, from all ages and all races, speaking in so many different languages, seek out and come to his center to keep up with their Islam. Attending Jumm’ah Salaah (Friday Congregational Prayers) is an experience that is difficult to forget. In essence, it’s equitable to a micro-Hajj, with so many different people around you. At first it may be overwhelming, but there is something quite special about seeing the diverse collection of Muslims at the center.

Just as people seek Dr. Ally, so do people also seek out his center. People understand that the Islam Dr. Ally practices is not something to be afraid of, but something that makes them feel safe. This is why non-Muslims and people of non-Islamic backgrounds find conversation with him and interaction with his center so beneficial. Dr. Ally treats people with kindness and respect that is based upon the Prophetic Sunnah. His simple and genuine acts of love, really do impact the people he interacts with and the community where his center is located. Even if one were to disagree with with Dr. Ally, his demeanour does not change. He’s okay with folks disagreeing with him, but he does not escalate those disagreements into antagonistic personal issues.

I have a sincere and genuine love for Dr. Shabir Ally, I have sat and learned from him so many times, but each and every time I do so, it certainly feels as if I’m meeting the man for the first time. At the end of the day, I think there’s one anecdote I can leave that sums up the man, the myth and the legend that is Dr. Ally. Some 24 years ago, one of my colleagues had come to Canada as an immigrant. They used to attend the Masjid where Dr. Ally performed the Friday Congregational Prayers. What they found was that people from all backgrounds came to listen to his Friday sermons (what we refer to as a Khutbah), in those sermons, they found comfort and love, to the point that they began to invite one and all to hear Dr. Ally speak. It’s been 24 years since then and they still hold him as someone special and monumental in their lives. It’s been almost 3 decades of hard work from Dr. Ally and I pray that Allah continues to bless him and his endeavors, ameen.

and Allah knows best.

I Forgive Jonathan McLatchie

Recently I demonstrated that Jonathan McLatchie plagiarized in his recent debate with our esteemed Br. Yusuf Ismail.

The two videos published on the issue have gathered more views than the debate itself ever will, I haven’t even factored in the views it got on Facebook when several other Muslims uploaded it either. The point being, that I just wanted to provide some context for what I’ll say in this article. A person could respond in a lot of ways to allegations of plagiarism, it’s part of fair criticism when one is in the interfaith-apologetics field. People analyse your statements, double check your references, these are expected things to happen when you debate because this isn’t a game. You’re calling people to change their entire worldview, base their salvation on what you are saying, so you expect debaters to put their best, most accurate and honest foot forward.

Jonathan responded in three ways to my pointing out his plagiarism. Firstly, he accused me of plagiarising from Rabbi Tovia Singer in a now deleted comment on Facebook. He later on removed that comment after I asked him for proof, evidently he misheard a comment from Dr. James White on Muslims in the UK (which by itself is also unproven). I’m neither from, nor have I been to the UK. To be clear, he didn’t apologize for the lie, he just deleted it as he did with his comments about Br. Mansur recently. Secondly, he then posted a status referring to me as deceptive and then allowed copious amounts of insults to be posted about me from some Paltalk friends he has who are aligned with Sam Shamoun. That’s neither unexpected or interesting, at this point it’s sort of expected behaviour from those people.

Thirdly, he lashed out and posted an unverified photo of a Facebook comment where I apparently insulted David Wood. I’m not really sure what he was expecting? I read the comment thread where his verification process basically entailed asking (and I’m paraphrasing here), “is that Ijaz’s Facebook profile from last year in the photo? By golly, that must mean he actually said it!” He’s apparently unaware that anyone could create false photos from Facebook using someone’s profile picture, it’s something fairly common. It also turns out, when questioned for evidence that I actually posted it…that the only person who claimed to have seen when I did post it…was a person who had blocked me roughly two years ago on Facebook (effectively predating the date on the alleged photo altogether), in fact…that same witness boasted in another post of Jonathan’s that he had blocked me and that his Facebook experience was peaceful for that very reason. Lying, is not their forte to say the least. That person is Robert Wells. He also happens to be the person who threatened my life when I used to interact with him on Paltalk:

robert wells

So, do I fault Jonathan for not doing proper checks before “exposing” me? Yes, I do. Do I fault him for trusting the testimony of someone who blocked me on Facebook and threatened to kill me? Yes, I do. Will I respond in like? No. See, I happen to forgive Jonathan because I understand how much my two videos about his plagiarism may have affected him. I definitely understand how embarrassing it must’ve been, and so I can understand why he lashed out. On the other hand, this isn’t a tit for tat game. I criticize him fairly when it comes to his apologetics and Islamo-political claims, I criticize him fairly when he slanders my colleagues like Br. Mansur and Br. Hamza. His reaction however, was not something related to any of those areas of interest, his lashing out was personal and I do not respond to personal attacks.

So, while I am disappointed in his behaviour, I’m sorry Jonathan, but I’m not interested. Perhaps when you can learn to meaningfully interact with my publications and videos, I’ll gladly respond, but when you go low, I’ll go high. I forgive you.

“Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant.” – Qur’an 7:199.

and God knows best.

Jonathan McLatchie’s Deceit, Run and Delete Tactic Again

This isn’t the first time he’s done this. He typically makes a false accusation, then denies it and then deletes it. He did it with the no-go zones claim and then he did it with the vicious and slanderous attack against Br. Mansur of Speaker’s Corner in London recently.

Today, he’s done it to me. He’s deleted his comment but his follow up comments are still visible at this point.

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Jonathan’s reasoning is strange here, he claims that the issue has not bothered him but at this point he’s been sharing a video about the very issue everywhere, going so far as to have his friends tag me in it and responding personally to me about it. He’s even gone and uploaded the video of him being defended with rather poor excuses, why go through all of this trouble, if it isn’t bothering him?

I’ve repeatedly asked him to provide evidence of my plagiarising from Rabbi Tovia Singer, instead he’s deleted his initial false accusation but continued to imply it in other comments. So the question stands, if he doesn’t have the time to work through this issue and it isn’t bothering him, why make a false claim about me and attack me?

Seems like very odd behaviour for someone who doesn’t believe they plagiarised, but as admitted in the screenshot provided in this blog post, Jonathan’s presentation was actually written by someone else and the extent of his involvement was to use it as his own without reference, that is plagiarism.

Edit: He’s admitted the comment with the false claim of plagiarism was deleted but is blaming his colleague Rudolph Boshoff for the deletion…

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and God knows best.

Ad Lucem Complicit in Plagiarism?

The debate between Jonathan McLatchie and Br. Yusuf Ismail that recently occured has brought to light severe and shocking plagiarism by Jonathan McLatchie. A video illustrating the plagiarism was created by Calling Christians but published by EFDawah:

Another popular Muslim YouTube channel, MuslimByChoice also took notice of Jonathan’s dishonesty and also published the video. However, this was the second video to be produced, the first video to be published (also by both EFDwah and MuslimByChoice) was purposefully published to demonstrate one instance of plagiarism in the debate. This was to assess the response that Jonathan would give, before releasing more incidents of plagiarism. As expected, Jonathan claimed that his plagiarising of Sam Shamoun in the debate was an “isolated case”. When the second video (embedded above) was published, it was then clearly demonstrated that he had lied. The videos demonstrating his plagiairism have gathered more views than the debate itself, with several prominent Muslim and non-Muslim academics, and debaters, taking notice of Jonathan’s dishonesty.

It was then at this point I reached out to Rudolph Boshoff who not only chaired the debate under fire at the moment, but whose organization Ad Lucem was party to the debate itself, as representative of the Christian side. It should then be noted that Jonathan McLatchie was representing Ad Lucem, that is Rudolph Boshoff’s ministry in that debate. Evidentially, here is the debate poster itself:

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As can clearly be seen, Ad Lucem was party to debate. Due to his involvement, we reached out to Rudolph for comment, given that he is a party to the debate, chaired the debate itself, is a student at a seminary, a teacher himself, it became necessary to solicit his comments on this matter:

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Initially, I did not want to involve Rudolph, but as Jonathan’s deception grew and questions began to be raised, it became necessary given his role and his ministry’s role in the affair. To date, three days have passed and Rudolph’s only “statement” thus far was to be complicit in the plagiarism by removing the tag of the query posted by myself.

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Plagiarism is highly impfactful when it comes to the moral standards of interfaith debates. When we have interfaith debates we put trust that the speakers will be honest and up front, that they would use sources and cite them responsibly. Such an issue discredits the hard work that debaters put into the events, as study and research is paramount to interfaith discussion.

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The questions have been asked, the plagiarism has attempted to be covered up and the silence of the responsible parties are perhaps the most damning words of all.

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