Category Archives: Muslim and Non-Muslim Dialogue

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.

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.

A Few Brief Words on N.T. Wright’s: The Resurrection of the Son of God

Blogging Theology

A Guest Article by Andrew Livingston



If there are any people out there more often and more confidently quoted by Christian apologists and their fans than N.T. Wright, there can’t be all that many of them. [1] And there is no work of his more often held in their confidence than “The Resurrection of the Son of God”. [2]

Perhaps that has misled me. Perhaps the title of that book, combined with its constant quotations or recommendations by evangelists and apologists, has given me the wrong idea about its target audience. Now that I’ve read it my take is that while converting outsiders was probably an item somewhere on Wright’s list of priorities it wasn’t very high up on that list. He mainly addresses people who already think of themselves as Christians but who have too liberal an interpretation of what that means. In other words, Wright has at most…

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Upcoming Debate: Br. Shadid Lewis and Dr. Andy Bannister


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For further information, please see the Facebook event page as created by Ratio Christi. There is no information as of yet on whether or not there will be a livestream of the debate or the duration till the recording will be made public. As soon as any pertinent details are made aware to us, we’ll update this post and share the relevant information on our social media platforms.

and God knows best.

Upcoming Debate: Br. Yusuf Ismail and Pastor Fluech

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To contact IPCI for further details, please see their Facebook page. We have requested details about a possible livestream and we have received information that there most likely will be one. As soon as we get any further information we’ll share it, and we’ll also post the link to our social media pages.

The time for the debate for those of us outside of South Africa is as follows:

  • London, UK – 4 PM.
  • New York, USA – 11 AM.
  • Port of Spain, Trinidad – 12 Noon.
  • Lahore, Pakistan – 9 PM.

and God knows best.

Upcoming Debate: Br. Adnan Rashid and Dr. James White

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Details:

  • Debaters – Br. Adnan Rashid and Dr. James White
  • Topic: Do we need the cross for salvation?
  • Date: January 17th, 2018.
  • Time: 7 pm.
  • Livestream: No.

As of yet there is no confirmed livestream of the event, however if this changes we will be sure to update the general public.

The general reception to the words of the published topic are mixed. The cross, literally, is not needed for salvation in Christianity and so it is understood that a more accurate interpretation of the topic itself would be along the lines of, “Do we need the crucifixion/ sacrifice of Jesus/ blood of Jesus for Salvation?” Nonetheless, this is a debate that boils down to soteriological differences between Islam and Christianity. Debates between Muslims and Christians on this topic or those similar to this topic have not seen much progress beyond the overused argument of, “there is no justice in Islam for sin if no one is punished”.

As was done for the debate between Br. Zakir Hussain and Dr. James White, I will publish a bingo card of key phrases/ arguments to be used by the Christian debater. It received a great reception last time around in London, and one can hope the same for this upcoming event. The intent behind a bingo card is not to mock or demean anyone but to encourage the introduction of new argumentation, to move beyond repeating old polemics, it also becomes a fun way to see if it’s possible to predict what argument a speaker would use.

and God knows best.

Dialogue: Navigating Differences in Theology

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 “Madinan Torah” and other fascinating questions about textual preservation in light of historical evidences. Click here for the 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.

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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.

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