Tag Archives: calling christians

Was Christ Crucified? – Historiographic Study and the Aftermath

A few months ago I had a wonderful debate with Mr. Stephen Atkins of Toronto on the historicity of the crucifixion of Christ Jesus. The results of this discussion have been quite meaningful for me and I want to expand on this some more.

Typically, Muslim and Christian debates on the crucifixion have tended to focus on what the Bible or the Qur’ān say about the event itself. This almost always leads into the question of the Qur’ān denying a fact of history. Rather than repeating a debate that has been done ad nauseum, I wanted to do something a little different. It started with an innocent but yet a very foundational question. What does it mean when something is determined to be historic (this is different to an event being historical)? This question spawned other questions. What is the historical method, what counts as a fact of history, what is the role of evidence in determining something to be historic, etc? Muslim-Christian dialogues on the topic had previously presupposed to some degree that we can take the conclusions of some historians and then argue based on their conclusions. It had occurred to me that after twenty-something years of being told that there were mountains of evidence for the crucifixion that I had not actually seen these mountains at all. I surveyed Christian apologetic works against Islām to compile a list of these evidences. I then surveyed Christian apologetic works in response to mythicists (those who claim that Christ Jesus never existed) and compared the evidences they listed. The result was that the lists generally overlapped but they were quite short, in fact, this result bothered me. I assumed at that point that perhaps there was a flaw in the works I had chosen to survey and so I reached out to several Christian colleagues (many of whom were in academia or seminarians) to assist me with my lists. Most produced shorter lists than what I had produced myself.

Knowing then that my lists were more expansive, I then set out to analyse the provenance, datings, and other relevant information about each evidence listed. Most, if not all were from non-contemporaneous sources that provided less information than the Gospels collectively. Knowing already the historical problems with the Gospels (along with the New Testament in general), alongside the various preservation and textual-critical issues, I eventually concluded that our Christian colleagues had exaggerated their claim and in fact, that the emperor wore no clothes; there were no mountains of evidence. There were also no hills, no slopes, not even a slight incline, but rather a singular mole-hill. The stage was set, now I would proceed to examine the other half of the equation, the historical method itself. Reading book after book on historiography, works on historiographic criteria, and works by Christian historians, I began to feel quite underwhelmed and somewhat disappointed. I had assumed that there was some technical detail that held everything together or that there was something more elaborate and demonstrative other than assumptions that had little to no bases. One of the things which became plainly obvious was that from the secular historians I had read from, while they acknowledged the New Testament in and of itself as a complete work of literature was largely ahistorical in its claims, these same historians had viewed the individual event of the crucifixion as historic. The dichotomy was somewhat astounding. Eventually the overarching reason that this dichotomy existed was down to the view that no one else within the 1st century CE had claimed the crucifixion of Christ Jesus did not happen.

In historiography there are two terms that everyone should become familiar with.

  • Methodical credulity – where you presuppose that something is true and wait for evidence to the contrary
  • Methodical skepticism – where you presuppose that something is not true and wait for evidence to the contrary

In the case of the New Testament, academic historians generally apply methodical skepticism but in the case of the crucifixion they applied methodical credulity. What then, explained this dichotomy? It comes down to another facet of historiography known as continuities. See, continuities are generalisations which allow for assumptions of truth (credulity). For example, if I were to make the claim that President Trump owned a smartphone, no one would generally doubt this because in today’s world almost everyone has a smartphone. A historian 200, 300 years from now who examines his presidency, or even his personal life can generally assume that he did own a smartphone because it was common at our present time. It is commonly understood that the Romans regularly crucified Jews at the time of Jesus and so it can be reasonably assumed that because it was so frequent an event, that he was indeed crucified. He just happened to be one of many. Yet, this is just an assumption. For people who aren’t Christians or Muslims, accepting this as a fact bears no consequence on their worldview or their salvation. However, both Muslims and Christians have consequences to bear regarding the crucifixion or the lack of the crucifixion of Christ Jesus. It now becomes more important to have more than mere assumptions based on generalisations and arguments from silence. The stakes are quite literally raised at this point (please forgive the pun).

This is why the debate and the subsequent EFDawah livestreams on this topic became of note.

Rather than arguing based on an assumption, now we were arguing on foundational claims, principles, and evidences. The debate and the streams became somewhat of a testing ground to see just how well prominent debaters, clergymen, and apologists would do in a serious discussion on these matters. The results proved to be quite successful. I’ve had Muslims who have left Islām, return to Islām out of Christianity. Folks who had become agnostic due to this “error in the Qur’ān” returned to Islām. My friends and colleagues have reported using these very arguments successfully in their day to day interfaith conversations. Yet there is perhaps a caveat to all this which most people have yet to recognise. All of my research and all of the arguments which followed from it, have not been made public. In fact, privately with my friends and colleagues, and in a few Masjid lectures I’ve gone into a considerably greater amount of detail. What I’ve presented in the debate itself and in some of the historicity streams are generally the less technical points, summarised arguments, etc. There is so much more to unpack and I hope to do so in a comprehensive, yet brief introductory book on the crucifixion.

and Allāh knows best.

Recent Appearances

As Salaamu ‘Alaykum,

We’ve been busy as of late and have not found much time to post new articles, however, this article serves as a summary of the most recent appearances we have made on the various da’wah platforms.

recent appearances
Check out our new Live Show on the SCDawah YouTube channel, Dawah Live Chat (DLC):

Show with Br. Hijab: Topics include liberalism, secularism, how to study the Islamic faith.

Show with Br. Suboor: Topics include secularism, scientism, rational proofs for God and general da’wah advice.

Show with Br. Mansur: Topics include Hyde Park, methods of learning about Islam and general da’wah advice.

Show with Br. Hashim: Topics include Hyde Park, the methodology of da’wah and general da’wah advice.

IPCI Da’wah Training in South Africa (online) –
Topics included the preservation of the Qur’an and the preservation (or lack thereof) of the New Testament.

Part 1 – https://youtu.be/Jn7XfAzrWTw
Part 2 – https://youtu.be/rZSwZ2qSqv4
Part 3- https://youtu.be/96lIrxrxrWE
Part 4 – https://youtu.be/E85GdCao6Y4

Appearance on The Mad Mamluks –
What is the Qur’anic view of the Bible?

Episode 138: Why the Bible is Inauthentic – https://youtu.be/FJuV4A8K8_M

Response to Dr. James White’s Dividing Line Show on Jan. 9th 2018

Please note – I have quoted Martin Luther in this video and he has many anti-Semitic statements towards the Jewish people. I have only quoted him to provide context for statements made in response to Dr. White. I do not endorse or encourage use of Luther’s hateful views.

See the Presentation that Dr. White is commenting on here.

For more information on the event, see this link.

For the corruption of the OT and NT, according to Islamic beliefs, see this link.

and God 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.


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.


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.


Ijaz Responds to James White’s Video on Textual Criticism

Here is my response to Dr. White’s criticism of my video on the unreliability of the Bible. Of note are incorrect claims made on his part, conflating my statement of lacunae with his misrepresenting that statement as a ‘textual variant’ for over 40 minutes. Also his facetious and incredulous disregard for the science of higher criticism which he labeled as ‘mind reading’, along with citing or basing his arguments on misdatings of both p52 and p66.

There were a lot more errors on his end, and there was not a single rebuttal to the claims I presented and I was extremely disappointed to see negative comments about my character throughout his video despite both at the beginning and at the end of his video he said that this behaviour should not be condoned.

Quick Responses to Claims About the Eternal Word of God

I’ve been busy the past few days and had not noticed that Br. Yahya Snow published an article and created a video about me. The article can be read here and concerns debate challenges and the glib behaviour of some missionaries.Br. Yahya states:

Now I must say, it’s curious to see Jonathan angle for a debate with Yusuf Bux after he intimated Yusuf’s arguments are dated and weak. Admittedly, I do have reservations about some of the arguments that do come out of SA. Nevertheless, the point here is why would Jonathan decide to target Yusuf for a debate while Jonathan continually avoids Ijaz Ahmad’s debate challenges. Ijaz is a hardened apologist and debater who chooses to involve himself in technical discussions about Christian theology – it’s what he specialises in.

You see, Jonathan has come off really poorly in his interactions with experienced Muslim apologists. He struggled in his debate with Shabir Ally and struggled in his debate with Yusuf Ismail. Ijaz Ahmad and myself have corrected him and refuted him on many points over the last few months – at times on some very basic stuff highlighting his inability in dialogue with Muslims who are more experienced and aware apologetically.

We’ve corrected Jonathan McLatchie a number of times, here are some examples:

  1. Jonathan rejected the belief that God in the Bible literally inscribed revelation.
  2. Jonathan argued that Br. Khalid Yasin was a white man.
  3. Jonathan claimed that nowhere in the Qur’an does Allah say: I am God Worship me.
  4. Jonathan forgot how debates work.

I actually have quite a couple more screenshots of never before released mistakes by Jonathan. However, they will not be posted. There’s a difference between correcting a public figure and caricaturing someone, and I do not want to cross that line. On the other hand, Br. Yahya also produced a video with me responding to some missionary claims regarding the speech of God, the preservation of the Qur’an and of Jesus’s nature:

I’m not particularly fond of seeing my name and face mentioned this much. While I am thankful for the efforts many brothers have made, it’s still a bit unsettling to see my face and name everywhere. In this case though, it is a video debate and so there’s no choice but to show my face. I am appreciative of Br. Yahya’s comments regarding me and for the video he’s made. I pray that many can benefit from the work that our little community of Muslim apologists, bloggers and du’at do.

and Allah knows best.


Who Wrote the Gospels?

Note: The following is an article by Br. Andrew Livingston, the authorship of the Gospels. Br. Andrew’s writings can be found at taqwamagazine.com. In this article, Br. Andrew takes an honest and critical look at the traditional assertions about the identities of the Gospel authors.

by Andrew Livingston

Upon seeing brother Ijaz’s debate with Tony Costa you may have gotten a sense of déjà vu. Are you beginning to get the feeling that on every single debate topic Christian apologists have precisely one opening statement that gets perpetually repeated by any number of people? As though there’s only one set of arguments to go around and therefore they must be very carefully guarded and preserved? I certainly have.

More than anything, there is one line of argumentation and one only for Christians trying to demonstrate that The Bible is more accurate than The Qur’an. Namely, they will keep on repeating—to the point where I wouldn’t be surprised to someday see one of their faces actually, literally turn blue—that The Qur’an was written six hundred years after The New Testament. If you’re not immediately struck by the sheer surreality of their reasoning, let me show you how William Lane Craig put this argument, and that should make it clear.

“Which would you trust: a collection of documents written during the first generation after the events, while the eyewitnesses were still alive, or a book written six hundred years later by a man who had no independent source of historical information? Why, to even ask the question is to answer it.” [1]

What independent source of historical information?? What on earth is he talking about??? Evidently Craig pictures Muhammad (P) sitting down at a desk in some fancy study and poring over ancient equivalents of Strong’s Concordance and the Encyclopedia Britannica, as he painstakingly pieces together historical chronicles via extensive research. That was never the idea, and Craig and Costa and their ilk very well know it. The claim The Qur’an makes for itself is that it’s a prophetic revelation. Either this claim is true or it is false. If it’s true, it won’t matter if the book came six trillion years after any of the events it describes. God (praise Him) does not forget. And if the claim is false, that’s because the belief that it’s a prophetic revelation is itself false, not because Muhammad failed at a task he wasn’t attempting in the first place. Either way this “six hundred years” talk is total, utter nonsense.

The more fitting analogy would be to compare The Qur’an not to the Gospels but to a book like Joel or Hosea. Let me put it this way. Hosea 12:4 tells us that it was an angel who wrestled with Jacob (P) in his tent. Nowhere in the original account of Genesis 32:24-30 is that specified. If anything the Genesis text seems to contradict Hosea, depicting Jacob as encountering God Himself. One way or another it contains no reference to an angel. So how could the author of Hosea, who was writing so many generations later, presume to say that he knew what happened? What independent source of historical information was he using when he wrote this belated document? Do you see now how ridiculous that sounds?

No, they’ll never see. Not Christian apologists. And I think I know why. To get into this fully would require an entirely separate essay but it suffices to explain that the assertion you’re hearing isn’t actually the assertion they have in mind: no, you have to read between the lines to find that. You see, buried beneath all of this endless harping on “early sources” is a hidden premise which, for no reason at all, we’re expected to take for granted is true. I’m referring to the belief in the traditional authorship of the gospels. If memory serves, in the aforementioned debate Costa spent his entire opening statement repeating himself ad nauseum about the relative dates of our scriptures—and then offhandedly snuck in the phrase “from the eyewitnesses” during his rebuttals. He had not devoted a single syllable of his opening statement to arguing for the Gospels’ traditional authorship; he would not offer a syllable later on. Rather, we’re automatically expected to understand, without even being told let alone convinced, that Matthew was truly written by Matthew, John by John, et cetera.

It’s not like the Gospels’ titles come from the original authors any more than the chapter and verse divisions do. Those titles are a matter of guesswork or tradition. The idea of apostolic authorship and apostolic witness seems to be rooted largely in the words of Saint Papias:

“Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses, so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely…Then Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able.” [2]

At the very least Papias wasn’t talking about the same book we now call “The Gospel According to Matthew”. Rather, he was referring to a sayings Gospel (think the book of Proverbs, only this one is the proverbs of Jesus) written in Hebrew, whereas our book of Matthew is the opposite of that. It’s a narrative in Greek. Would you be surprised to find that that such misattribution applies to the other three Gospels as well? The fact of the matter is, nobody knows who wrote any of the four Gospels, just like nobody knows who wrote the book of Hebrews. What we do know is that the book of Mark came first, Matthew and Luke use Mark for source material, and John came last. And that whoever wrote Luke also wrote Acts. That’s about it.

Let us begin with John. The whole basis for its alleged Johannine authorship rests on a single verse:

“This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.” (Chapter 21, verse 24) [3]

Because the traditional identity of this “disciple whom Jesus loved” is John the apostle, John therefore is supposed to be the author of the Gospel. Yet you’ll notice that the above verse doesn’t read, “This is the disciple who is sitting here writing this.” Rather, it tells us, “WE know that HIS testimony is true.” What we’re actually told here is that the author of this Gospel is using the beloved disciple as a source of information. He has this other account sitting in front of him, which he takes to have been written by the beloved disciple, and he’s basing his own text on what it contains. How do we know that he was correct about the identity of his source? That he was getting material from an authentic apostolic writing?

It’s quite a mystery who this beloved disciple is even supposed to be. Harold Attridge proposed that he may be not so much an actual historical figure as a literary device. You see, when we read through John we become faced with this maddening mystery. The most important or noticeable person in the whole book (apart from Jesus) is frustratingly anonymous. And so to figure it out we’ll go back and read the Gospel again…and again…and again. Until the actual theology or message of the book starts to catch our attention through repetition. [4]

But the important thing is that John 21:24 and its claim to apostolic witness probably weren’t present in the original version of the text. They are the result of an interpolation. “Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary” tells us:

“John originally may have ended with 20:30-31. In the ‘epilogue’ (21) we are told of the restoration of Peter and the prediction of his death. The rumor that John was not to die before the second coming is also refuted.” [5]

Let me unpack this for you. Let’s look at the last two sentences of chapter 20:

“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”

Be honest with yourself: how hard is it to imagine that being the last two sentences of the book itself? Come on, you can practically hear a “THE END” (or as they would have put it back then, “Amen”). And yet the book continues right on like nothing happened. For a whole chapter, no less. And it’s in this obviously tacked-on chapter that we find the claim of apostolic witness. Just before which the text reads as follows.

“Jesus said to [Peter], ‘Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them…When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’ So the rumor spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’”

Now consider that passage along with these two:

“[Jesus] said to [the apostles], ‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.’” (Mark 9:1)

“[Jesus said to the apostles:] When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” (Matthew 10:23)

And so we can see that John 21 is partly intended to debunk previous Gospel tradition. We’re told that Jesus never actually claimed that one of his apostles would still be alive come Judgment Day: rather, what he did say was misunderstood, and the whole thing snowballed from there. Take note, reader! The Bible itself is acknowledging that parts of it—regarding Jesus, no less—are based on a distortion of the facts. [6]

But the important thing is that John 21 seems to come from somebody who lived and wrote after the apostles’ time—if only by a little bit, and as far as he himself knew. So unless that radioactive satellite from “Night of the Living Dead” was somehow involved it would seem that the book of John was not actually written by John—or any apostle.

What of the Synoptics? As it turns out, the authors of Matthew and Luke were unmistakably using Mark as their main source. Indeed, the influence of Mark can be seen even in the smallest details. If three authors all independently tell the same stories, each of their accounts being based on a different person’s eyewitness testimony, you’d expect there to be a lot of similarity in the narratives—but you would not expect to find just as much similarity in the actual writing itself. The way that everything gets described—the way that it’s worded. And yet that is often what we’ll find. Even parenthetical asides sometimes have verbatim agreement from Gospel to Gospel. That is to say, on several occasions the author of Mark will jot down a little incidental note, and should you turn to Matthew or Luke you’ll find the remark reproduced along with the rest of the story. For example compare these two passages from the Olivet Discourse:

“…When you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains…” (Matthew 24:15-16)

“…When you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.” (Mark 13:14)

Ask yourself where the author of Matthew got the words “let the reader understand”. What, did he just so happen to write precisely the same note to his readers, in precisely the same place, using precisely the same wording? No, obviously he was copying from the text of Mark. The same applies to this passage from Luke:

“Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to [Jesus] and asked him a question…” (Chapter 20, verses 27-28)

Compare it to the following verse from Mark:

“Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question…” (Chapter 12, verse 18)

Did both authors just so happen to mention the Sadducees’ beliefs, in the same place, and using the same wording?

Let me clarify that I’m not accusing anyone of academic dishonesty. As modern day westerners our concept of plagiarism is fairly different from that of a first-century Palestinian. With that said, the copying itself is undeniable. The authors of Matthew and Luke were using the text of Mark. [7]

But wait a minute! How do we know that it isn’t the other way around? How do we know that it wasn’t the author of Mark who drew on Matthew and Luke? Well, Bart Ehrman has explained that very well:

“Suppose you number the stories that are found jointly in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They occur, say, in the sequence of: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. And then you give letters to the passages found in Matthew and Luke but not in Mark: A, B, C, D, E. What is striking is that the numbered stories are usually in the same sequence of Matthew and Luke. But the lettered stories are usually NOT in the same sequence in Matthew and Luke. So (this is an illustration: it’s not a statement of what you actually find), Matthew’s Gospel is organized from the following combination of materials: 1, A, B, 2, 3, 4, C, 5, D, 6, E. But Luke’s is organized 1, 2, C, A, 3, E, 4, B, 5, 6, D. The only materials in the same sequence between Matthew and Luke are the ones found in Mark. How could this be?

The best explanation is that Matthew and Luke each used Mark as one of their sources, and also had a different source…that they ‘plugged into’ the narrative framework of Mark at different places. That is to say, not having any indication from Mark’s Gospel where traditions like the Lord’s prayer or the Beatitudes would have fit into the life of Jesus, each author put them in wherever he saw fit. Almost never, though, did these passages go in at the same places. This curiosity of sequence can scarcely be explained if Mark were not one of the sources for Matthew and Luke.” [8]

And what of the book of Mark? Now that is a quandary. Since this time we’re looking at the world’s earliest surviving narrative Gospel, it’s much harder to puzzle out who its author could have been. Because what are you going to compare Mark to? We’ve hit rock bottom. Well, as it so happens there’s already an article here on the site which you may find helpful:


Apparently people who believe in apostolic authorship also find the situation problematic, because they seem to have gotten desperate. You see, no matter what Bible commentary you consult, the main argument for Markan authorship (indeed, pretty much the only argument) will be the same every time. They’ll tell you that the passage about the naked man fleeing Jesus’s arrestors (chapter 14, verses 43-52) is Mark’s humble way of identifying himself. Yeah, I don’t buy it either.

Father Nicolas King has explained that no western writer seems to have used that argument before the year 1927. [9] I certainly do find a pattern when I search through countless Bible commentaries. Most every commentary written after the early twentieth century will claim that the naked Gethsemane man was Mark himself and that this fact somehow indicates Markan authorship. (They’ll point you to Acts 12:12.) And most every commentary written before the early twentieth century will offer little speculation, or else the speculation will be unexciting. Take, for instance, the mid-1700s exegete John Gill:

“Some think this was John, the beloved disciple, and the youngest of the disciples; others, that it was James, the brother of our Lord; but he does not seem to be any of the disciples of Christ, since he is manifestly distinguished from them, who all forsook him and fled: some have thought, that he was a young man of the house, where Christ and his disciples ate their passover; who had followed him to the garden, and still followed him, to see what would be the issue of things: but it seems most likely, that he was one that lived in an house in Gethsemane, or in or near the garden; who being awaked out of sleep with the noise of a band of soldiers, and others with them, leaped out of bed, and ran out in his shirt, and followed after them, to know what was the matter.” [10]

So in other words, he was just some guy. Why is that hard to believe?

Let me put it this way. Now I want you to stop and ponder the following question for thirty seconds at least.

Is there any good reason why a Gospel written by Matthew wouldn’t be a first-person narrative? You know, “Jesus came to me and asked me my name. I said, ‘Matthew.’” Well, why wouldn’t it be written that way? Seriously, give it a good thirty seconds.

Throughout the Gospels-and-Acts collection there are only a few passages in which stories get told in the first person—told, that is, by someone who talks like he was actually there. And not a single one of these passages is a story about Jesus. They’re all in Acts. Read chapter 20 of Acts and observe how abruptly and haphazardly the text switches back and forth between the first and third person.

The author of Luke and Acts had said:

“Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account…” (Luke 1:1-3)

So this author was getting his info partly from eyewitnesses (or people he believed were eyewitnesses) and partly from preachers or what not. Seeing as there are only a few first-person passages it would appear that the great majority of the Luke-Acts text does not fall into the “eyewitness” category.

Nor does so much as a single passage anywhere in the Gospels.

But God knows best.


[1] From his opening statement in the Bill Craig-Shabir Ally debate, “Who Is the Real Jesus?”

[2] Church History 3:39:15-16.

Obtained via newadvent.org. Accessed Tuesday, November 24th, 2015.

[3] All biblical quotations come from the New Revised Standard version (and through the use of biblegateway.com).

[4] From “The Gospel of John: Lazarus”, one of Harold Attridge’s dialogues with David Bartlett in the course videos at Yale’s Youtube page.


Accessed Tuesday, November 24th, 2015.

[5] “Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary”, page 935. General editors: Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England. 2003 Holman Bible Publishers.

[6] See also Mark 8:27-28. And compare Mark 14:55-59 to John 2:18-22.

[7] For more info watch this James McGrath lecture on the Synoptic Problem:


[8] “Did Matthew Copy Luke or Luke Matthew?” at Bart Ehrman’s blog.


Accessed Tuesday, November 24th, 2015.

I hope it’s not wrong of me to publicly quote text from behind the paywall.

[9] From “Mark: The Strangest Gospel”, a speech by Father Nicholas King to the Ecumenical Chaplaincy at the University of York on January 25th, 2012.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pOL422Ttww

Accessed Tuesday, November 24th, 2015.

[10] “Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible”, commentary on Mark 14:51. As obtained via biblehub.com.

Post-Debate Remarks: What is the True Faith of Jesus’ Disciples

My friend and EAM Associate Apologist, Luis sent these books with Steven. Thanks Louie!

My friend and EAM Associate Apologist, Luis sent these books with Steven. Thanks Louie!

I’ve taken some time to think about the debate I had on Friday past with Reverend Steven Martins. Before, I speak on the debate itself I’d like to thank Br. Asad – the event’s host, Br. Haseeb – the videographer, MYTT – the organizers, and Pastor Kris – first time debate moderator and local host of Reverend Stevens. The event was well attended, some 200 – 300 persons, although we got off to a late start ~30 minutes, by the time the opening statements began we had a sizable crowd which grew steadily throughout our presentations. Due to our late start, we also had a late conclusion to the event, close to midnight according to our host and organizers. I however, having just come out of surgery, left 30 minutes after the debate. Reverend Steven’s timing wasn’t the best, but having just come out of surgery two weeks prior to the event, I was skeptical as to how I’d be able to manage a first time stage debate in front of such a large crowd. Thankfully, I was able to hold down my own and go through with the event.

The crowd seemed very well pleased with both presentations, occasionally I’d glance at the crowd and see quite a number of smiling faces, as well as a swelling crowd of guests. I have to admit that I was completely thrown aback by both Reverend Stevens and Pastor Kris’s (on the ‘s, see William Strunk Jr. and EB White’s, “The Elements of Style”) kind words. Pastor Kris’s introduction of, “I’ve only met Ijaz a few minutes now, but I must say he is a handsome young man”, was an excellent start to the night’s proceedings. No doubt, I do agree with the Pastor (why yes, I am being cheeky). Reverend Stevens is a very good orator and I must applaud him for speaking clearly, consistently and loudly enough. Myself on the other hand, had the mic adjusted a few minutes into the debate but the audio recording was not affected (the audience may have been affected, but that was a minor issue as far as I was told). Unfortunately, the Christian videographer had issues with his recording and thus despite having two cameras present, only one actually recorded the event.

Beyond that hiccup, the event proceeded smoothly. I have been told by persons who were at the event that the one on one between myself and the Reverend during our crossfire section was extremely thrilling and quite the spectacle to have watched. The question and answer following the main debate was quite interesting. Unfortunately there was one belligerent (Christian?) man who found my comments in relation to 2 Corinthians 12:6-7 to be somewhat offensive. Although my memory could be wrong, I have conferred with several others and they have agreed that my recounting of the events is indeed accurate (if I’m wrong, shoot me an email or place a comment, I’ll gladly correct myself), it proceeded as follows:

Questioner: Why are you using your intellect in reading scripture? The message of the cross is foolish to those who think they are wise! (He then proceeds to ask me a series of loosely related questions).

Me: I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you’re asking, can you please clarify?

Questioner: (Expressing his ire with my not understanding him proceeds to ask several more questions and shout after the mic has been taken from him; both Christian and Muslim sides agreed this would be done in the event someone wanted to start their own debate.)


I do fear that my reaction may have gone over his head. I have been told that some of my comments were too witty for certain sections of the crowd (I’m not sure how to respond to that), but essentially, if I turned off my intellect as the man was demanding I do, then it’s quite clear I wouldn’t be able to understand what he was asking. I will excuse him though, his anger and emotions may have gotten the better of him. Although the irony is difficult to escape, there was a deeper level of irony that occurred to me then but alas there was no time to mention it (time limit of 2 minutes had rushed quickly by!), here is a man who reads his scripture without using intellect, while those who constructed his scripture (textual critics) are required to use their intellects in their discipline! I seem to have angered the man with my being unable to understand him, but perhaps if he used his – intellect – it may have helped. Nonetheless, that was the only odd event for the evening and we proceeded to finish line shortly thereafter.

Following the event, I’ve received great feedback from both sides on the presentations for the debate. Fortunately, the questions the audience asked were directly relevant to the next topic, “What is the True Path of Salvation: Islam or Christianity?”, which sets a great stage for the next debate. I’m concerned that the Christian side which is arranging the recording may not be able to follow through on those arrangements for the next debate. I’d be quite disappointed if that is the case, but I do hope and pray that this next event goes as smoothly if not more smoothly than the first. Reverend Stevens and myself do certainly approach these topics quite differently, and I think the audience benefits greatly from our differences. I do look forward to our second and last event for his Trinidad Mission’s Trip. Please keep us in your prayers.

Release: A Critical Analysis of Jay Smith’s Mistakes About the Qur’an [Update]

Update: I have been made aware that some persons are unable to access the paper via Scribd, you can therefore click this link and download the PDF directly: Response to Jay Smith’s Mistakes.

All Praise is due to Allah alone. The paper has undergone some minor changes, which are listed in the paper under the title of, “Structure of the Paper”. A formatting error for some headers were corrected, especially for Appendix B.

and Allah knows best.

Originally Published: 12/11/14, 6:46 a.m.

Review: Ehrman Blog

Last year, I had the fortune of being gifted by Dr. Ehrman, a free 1 year subscription to his blog. After spending 11 months on the blog, I think it’s time to give my experience and thoughts on it.



Dr. Ehrman’s blog focuses on Christianity in Antiquity, specifically New Testament Textual Criticism, early Christian doctrines, and he often comments on Christianity in pop culture, whether that be any new manuscript finds or the yearly Jesus had a wife claim. This treasure chest of content is simply spectacular. I particularly enjoyed his re-posting of his debates and his added commentary on them, the extra information provided is not only insightful, it’s added value to an already informative and extensive array of debates. Articles are posted often, very often. Some may be short, but a vast majority of his posts are expository in nature, in which he spares no expense in enlightening the reader. They’re just the right size to keep someone interested, but not long enough to be seen as tedious.

One of the greater benefits of the blog, is the ability to discuss, disagree and even argue with Dr. Ehrman! He replies to most comments and entertains disagreements, which has proven to be quite a valuable experience to have witnessed. Although his schedule is quite busy, for a person interested in New Testament Textual Criticism, he spends a lot of time explaining his yearly schedule, his research methodology, the criticisms leveled against his conclusions, and so, this allows someone new to the field or just interested in it, to develop a holistic understanding of his works. This is as opposed to merely labeling him an anti-Christ liberal as many of our evangelical inerrantist colleagues do, thus discarding his research as propaganda.

The monetary cost to access the website is very minimal, please note all costs listed below are subject to change on the website and are valid as of 16.11.14, the currency in use is USD:

  • $3.95/month for trial membership;
  • $7.95 for three months;
  • $24.95 for a year.

So, is it worth it? For the Muslim lay man, it probably is if you’re super interested in the field but if you’re just dipping your toes into da’wah, then I can’t see it being too useful. For someone who’s read most of his works and interested in his views, his research and his methodology, then I think it’s a minimal expense that would benefit you greatly. As for myself, I was very grateful for the opportunity afforded to me by Dr. Ehrman and I definitely do believe I’ll be taking a full year’s membership.

and God knows best.

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