Category Archives: Muslim and Non-Muslim Dialogue

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.

‘The People vs Muhammad – Psychological Analysis’ Refuted

One of the most hateful and vile pieces written against the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is the book called ‘People Vs Muhammad – Psychological Analysis’. It is expected from venomous creatures to be like this in their private gatherings but the fact that such vile and disgusting words were formed into a book which was well received by many people is what prompted me to write a refutation.

Much of the criticism is regurgitated a lot has been copied from hateful websites. Many times, the author just makes various unfounded claims in brief and conveniently moves on. Such claims also require addressing but since this would cover a lot of space, specific dedicated links are added to direct the reader to the relevant rebuttal and explanation. Therefore, it is recommended for the reader not to ignore the links and footnotes – they are as essential as the main body, if not more so in some cases. Read more

Missionary Mishap: High Level Apologetics

It’s practically impossible for me not to be amused by the high level of apologetics that Jonathan McLatchie’s “Apologetics” “Academy” is producing. I think this image sums up the scholastic work he’s doing with his “Academy”:

If the goal of the “academy” is to produce jaw dropping arguments like these, then I applaud Jonathan for his hard work.

Well done!

The Intolerance of Tolerance – White/ Qadhi Fallout

Catch Up to Speed: What is the White/ Qadhi Issue?

Following a two-part dialogue between Dr. James White and Dr. Yasir Qadhi, an outspoken Christian missionary by the name of Sam Shamoun began a crusade against his coreligionist, Dr. White, for holding the view that not all Muslims are hateful, intolerant, bloodthirsty terrorists. The argument made by Sam was essentially that Islam in its entirety is an intolerant religion.

There’s a problem though. A big one.

If Islam is so intolerant, then why haven’t Muslims erupted in the same anger the Christian community has, for Dr. Qadhi allowing Dr. White, a Christian, to speak about the Trinity in a Masjid (mosque, Islamic center)? So far, some in the Christian community have referred to Dr. White as an apologist for Islam, an apostate, a useful idiot for Muslims. There has been a campaign to have his events cancelled, Churches have been called with the demand that he not be allowed to speak in them. There have been endless YouTube videos, social media posts, and articles damning Dr. White for his claim that not all Muslims are evil, intolerant terrorists. All this, being done by a portion of the Christian community who believe themselves to be tolerant.

Yet where is the same outcry from the Muslim community towards Dr. Qadhi? No major Muslim speaker or apologist has condemned Dr. Qadhi for his dialogue with Dr. White. He hasn’t been called an apologist for Christianity, an apostate or a useful idiot for Christians. There has been no campaign to have his events cancelled, Masjids have not been called with the demand that he be banned from speaking in them. There have been no YouTube videos, social media posts or articles by Muslims, condemning Dr. Qadhi. Remember, Muslims are supposed to be the intolerant ones, and the Christian community is supposed to be the tolerant one, if that is the case then why are the Muslims tolerating Dr. Qadhi’s events with Dr. White?

It would therefore seem that there is an intolerance on behalf of some sections of the Christian community, towards the tolerance of the Muslim community for that interfaith dialogue. The irony here is quite palpable. Surely then, if Dr. White is wrong and the Muslim community and the Islamic faith are intolerant, then where do we find the outcry from the Muslim community?

and God knows best.

Is Jesus the Passover Lamb? The Ultimate Sacrifice?

Introduction: Explaining the Jewish Significance and Christian Significance (and Teaching) of Passover. 

The most significant theme of the Passover festival as celebrated by Christians is the representation of Jesus the Christ as the Passover Sacrifice (Korban Pesach). In simple terms, his sacrifice (read as: death) is seen as the sacrifice of all sacrifices through which their salvation was earned, mirroring the salvation of the Israelites from Pharaoh by YHWH (Cf. Leviticus 17:11, 1 Corinthians 5:7). Early and contemporary Christian Churches have attempted to equate the Korban Pesach with the alleged death of Jesus the Christ to establish a theological foundation for their doctrine of salvation (Cf. soteriology). Such a doctrine is best explained in the following words:

“The early Jewish believers in Jesus considered him the fulfillment of the Passover lambs that were yearly sacrificed. Thus Paul, a Jewish Christian who had studied under Rabbi Gamaliel, wrote, “Messiah, our pesach, has been sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). John in his gospel noted that Jesus died at the same time that the Passover lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple (see John 19:14) and that like the Passover lambs, none of his bones were broken (the others being crucified had their leg bones broken by the Romans—John 19:32, 33, 36). The idea behind all this was that just as the Israelites were redeemed from Egyptian slavery by an unblemished lamb, now men could be freed from slavery to sin by the Messiah, the Lamb of God.”[1]

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