Category Archives: Resources

Free Ebook: A Beginner’s Companion to Arabic Manuscripts

For students unaccustomed to classical handwriting, the thought of consulting Arabic manuscripts can be daunting. However, anyone in the field of Islamic studies will testify that at times research requires that a student refer to these sources; it is, therefore, inescapable. This treatise hopes to serve as a companion for students who aspire to learn the fundamentals of this field. It explores scribal terminology, sources of manuscripts, dealing with catalogs, etc. It is adapted from an intensive on Arabic manuscripts by Shaykh Salih al-Azhari, an experienced curator at the Egyptian National Library.

abeginnerscompaniontoarabicmanuscripts-muntasirzaman

See the original download link here: Qalam Foundation

Is Petra Islam’s True Birth Place?

For centuries Muslims have revered Mecca as the site of their holiest shrine, the Kaaba. However, in 1977 John Wansbrough, Patricia Crone and Michael Cook published books arguing for a radically different approach to Islam’s origins. Among other things, these revisionists contended that Mecca was not Islam’s birthplace, which they located somewhere in the Fertile Crescent. Though Crone and Cook later repudiated the theory advanced in their book, Crone at least held fast to the idea that Islam’s origins were likely in the Fertile Crescent, possibly in Nabatea.

Forty years later revisionism is still alive and well. Some scholars still promote the idea that the Kaaba was not originally in Mecca. Some say it was in or near Petra, while others refuse to speculate on the location. Their combined evidence was enough to convince popular historian and documentary filmmaker Tom Holland. Since Muslims everywhere pray facing Mecca, this view means they all naively face the wrong direction.

This short but elucidating paper by a Christian scholar, in refutation of Dan Gibson is quite informative and handy for Muslims engaging with Christians on this topic:

Click here to open or download the PDF file directly.

 

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.

 

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.

William Lane Craig Concedes That Old Testament Stories Are Problematic

In a stunning admission, William Lane Craig, in response to a question sent to him has acknowledged that he has no good answer to problematic Old Testament stories. He says:

When people ask me what unanswered questions I still have, I tell them, “I don’t know what to do with these Old Testament stories about Noah and the ark, the Tower of Babel, and so on.” So I find myself in the same boat as you, Jon. I don’t have any good answer how to resolve these problems. Yet these unanswered difficulties have not kept me from Christian faith or from abandoning Christian faith. Why not?

Well, a large part of the reason, as you note, is that the truth of what C. S. Lewis called “mere Christianity” doesn’t stand or fall with such questions.

In essence, he’s claiming that the problems with the stories in the Old Testament should not effect some beliefs of Christianity, so it’s okay not to have answers to those questions. The problem here is that they do affect core Christian beliefs, namely the reliability of scripture, the truthfulness of scripture, the preservation of scripture and even salvation as it pertains to Jesus’s ability to hold or share false beliefs:

Since I have good reason to believe in his deity, as explained above, I would sooner admit that Jesus could hold false beliefs (that ultimately don’t matter) rather than deny his divinity.

Apparently Jesus who is God, can have false beliefs that “shouldn’t matter”. In other words, it’s okay if “God as a human”, was fallible with respect to his own theology! Quite the disaster this is.

 

and God knows best!

 

Bible – The Greatest Story Book Ever!

While checking out a few book shops today, by happenstance I came across a Bible entitled, Baby’s First Bible. My curiosity got the best of me and while flipping through the pages I came across a pretty interesting page. On the last picture below, the publishers describe the Bible as the greatest story book ever! I cannot disagree, the Bible has stories that rival those of Cinderella, Game of Thrones and even Harry Potter.

It’s good to see that publishers are educating kids by being honest about the veracity and reliability of the Bible.

and God knows best.

Dividing Infinity Into Three

During a discussion on Facebook, a Christian happened to mention that God is one, infinite and indivisible. Then he mentioned God was shared by three persons. For a moment I wasn’t sure what I had read. How was it possible that God was one, infinite and indivisible, but at the same time three and divisible (shared)? I think this meme summarizes the confusion I had.

14gsga

So, any takers? How do I divide infinity into three?

and God knows best.

Jesus, the Fake Jihadis & Evangelical Christians

I’ll be publishing a review of this work this week. It is a fascinating and highly scholastic work, written in accessible language that delves deeply into Biblical scholarship and their recent attempts at maligning Islam, most specifically the claims of Craig Evans. I very strongly recommend this work and hope that many Muslims can pick it up as it provides some excellent material to help us respond to missionaries when they try to use ISIS as a means of preaching their hatred against Islam.

However the author didn’t stop there, he proceeded to discuss other prominent topics relevant to Craig Evans including the historical Jesus, the Biblical presentation of Jesus and their relation to the Qur’anic view of Jesus.

jesus jihadis

The book’s description is as follows:

This is a critical examination of a number of extravagant claims made by the New Testament scholar, Craig A. Evans, and the polemicist, Jeremiah J. Johnston, in their recently co-authored book, “Jesus and the Jihadis: Confronting the Rage of ISIS: The Theology Driving the Ideology.” Unfortunately, the authors direct their own propaganda styled rage upon the religion of Islam itself and the person of Muhammad.

In this book we will see that the authors’ rage towards Islam often compels them to misquote the Quran, even fabricate claims regarding it, unleash many untruths concerning Islamic religious texts, entirely bypass normative Islamic scholarship and distort the history of Islam. They are not the least bit shy to express their utter contempt towards Islam. Examples are provided in this book to substantiate these claims.

The authors are on the same wave length with ISIS. They “use” Islamic texts using ISIS’ non-scholarly methodology. The rich interpretative tradition of Islam simply does not matter.

This book will show that contrary to the claims of the authors, the Islamic religious texts categorically speak against wanton violence and the killing of civilians, so strongly indeed that a major terrorist organisation, much larger than al-Qaeda, the Al-Gama’ah al-Islamiyah , had to renounce violence after a detailed study of Islamic religious texts.

Also discussed are the topics of the historical Jesus research, the divinity of Jesus, source criticism and Biblical and Quranic eschatologies. It is argued that the basic Quranic outline of Jesus comports well with the results of much of historical Jesus research.

The book can be picked up on both the Amazon (US) Store and the Amazon (UK) Store.

and God knows best.

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