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Review: Jesus in the Bible and Qur’an, a Discussion by Shaykh Awal and Pastor Mohammed

Introduction:

Pastor Mohammed has an MA in Theology and represents the Seventh Day Adventist Church. He’s the child of a marriage comprised of a Muslim father and a Christian mother. This explains his religion and it’s odd juxtaposition with his Islamic surname.

Sheikh Mohammed Awal, founder and director of Zaitun Dawah Institute (ZDI), a think tank research center with head quarters in Seattle Washington State USA, and branches in NY, Atlanta, Nigeria, and Ghana.

Sh. Awal is a scholar in Islamic Sciences, Comparative Religion and logic. He is an Islamic apologist, a debater, a motivational speaker and a prolific writer. He holds a diploma in Agric. Science and Irrigation Engineering from College of Irrigation and Surveying, and a degree from the prestigious Kaduna Polytechnic College of Environmental Studies both In Nigeria. He also bags a diploma in logic and philosophy from Seattle Institute of Advance Studies. Read more about him here.

Opening Discussion:

Pastor Mohammed began the discussion and was very well spoken. He did not try to prove that Jesus was a deity nor was he preaching to Muslims. The Pastor did not stray from the topic and stayed very well within its delimits. His presentation involved a number of slides displaying both the Bible and the Qur’aan in respect to our shared beliefs about Jesus the Christ. Below are photos of the Pastor while speaking and one of his slides (click to expand photos).

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He mentioned that both the Bible and Qur’aan taught that Jesus was a Prophet, the Messiah, did miracles by God’s will, raised the dead, cured the sick etc.

Shaykh Awal agreed with the presentation of the Pastor and so decided not to repeat what the Pastor had already spoken. He chose to elaborate and expand on the points previously presented. Shaykh Awal mentioned that Jesus was sent for the lost sheep of Israel, that Jesus came to confirm the Torah and practised God’s laws. His opening also focused on Jesus’ prophesying the coming of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and referenced the comforter in John 14, 15 and 16, as well as quoting Isaiah 29:12.

Cross Fire Questions and Answers (3 each):

Shaykh Awal opened this round and asked the following three questions:

  1. Does Jesus’ ability to perform miracles make him God?
  2. Why was Jesus baptised?
  3. How did the Prophets (Abraham, Moses, Jesus) pray?

The Pastor’s answers are as follows:

  1. Performing miracles does not make Jesus unique. It is one of the predicted signs of the Messiah that he would perform miracles according to Isaiah. His performing of signs and miracles does not make him unique or divine.
  2. Jesus was baptised to fulfill the prophesy of the Messiah being righteous. Matthew 3 expands on this view. The rite of baptism is symbolic and Muslims can read Qur’aan 2:138 or thereabout for more information. Jesus was baptised so that others would follow this practise and be forgiven.
  3. Muslims pray more like the Prophets of the Torah than the Christians do. He referred to how both Muslims and the Prophets like Moses pray by bowing and prostrating and he believes this is how Jesus prayed. He finished by encouraging Christians to also pray this way.

The Pastor then poised his three questions to Shaykh Awal and they are as follows:

  1. You spoke about not using the English word for God and recommended that we should use the Arabic term as it is more accurate. Before the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ came, what term did the Arab pagans, Jews and Christians use for God?
  2. You said that Jesus only came to the Jews, but I’ve read otherwise. Have you considered John 3:16-17?
  3. You mentioned the Torah, Zabur, etc. If the Torah is for the Jews and the Injeel for the Christians, are these books for all the followers of God or only these specific people?

Shaykh Awal answered these questions by stating:

  1. El, Elah, Alah, these are the Semitic words for God before the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ came. The Qur’aan mentions that some of the Arabs were Hanifah (righteous), following the example of Abraham who was Hanif. They followed his practice of referring to the Semitic word for God, Allaah. The Prophet’s ﷺ father’s name was Abdullah and so we know from this that the Arabs knew of God’s name as Allaah and so they used it before the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was born.
  2. I’m yet to see a single place in the New Testament where Jesus went outside of Israel and preached to the gentiles. Look at Matthew 15:21, a Caananite woman came to Jesus and he showed her no mercy because she was not Jewish. Why won’t he heal her? When Jesus was alive, where did he say he came for the entire world?
  3. The Torah of the Qur’aan was given to the Jewish peoples. Nowhere does the Torah state that it is for all of mankind. The Injeel is a confirmation of the Torah. Jesus obeyed the laws of Moses as well as what God revealed to him.

Question and Answer Period from the Audience:

Note: I was unable to record the questions and their answers but I did listen to them. Most of the questions were about Jesus being God, they were not in relation to the topic. This was my question posed to the Pastor but he did not choose to read it or respond to it (click to expand):

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My handwriting is not this bad, but I was in a hurry and had to borrow someone’s pen while writing on a chair. It’s absolutely not a fair example of my handwriting. The question and answer period lasted roughly 40 or so minutes and concluded with a question for both speakers, “Shaykh Awal, what is your view of Jesus and Pastor Mohammed, what is your view of Muhammad ﷺ “. One of the questions posed to the Pastor by Br. Reyaz was, “If Jesus died for the sins of the world, does that mean my sins are forgiven and taken care of?.

Location & Organizers:

The Islamic Da’wah Movement and the Muslim Youth of Trinidad and Tobago did an excellent job in setting up and advertising for the event. Br. Zaheer Ali was there and took many photos. Br. Asad Yacobali did an excellent job in facilitating parking and distributing paper for the questions from the audience. Br. Shezad Mohammed moderated the event/ was the chairman and did an excellent job in managing the events on the stage.

The location at Motorway Hall had a lot of space for parking and accommodated quite a large crowd of around 150 – 200 persons. The crowd consisted of a large number of Muslims and the Christian side was adequately represented. Two Pastors from Pastor Mohammed’s Seventh Day Adventist Church accompanied him and sat among the Muslim males. Seating was segregated for the Muslim community.

Conclusion:

The event was well organized and both speakers were on point and stayed well within the scope of the discussion’s title. The dialogue was lively and entertaining, while being informative but very casual. There were no heated exchanges, no personal attacks by the speakers. They kept it very professional and focused on delivering accurate and factual information to the audience. Shaykh Awal did a splendid job in representing the Muslim side and we definitely look forward to more of his dialogues and discussions. Pastor Mohammed was respectful and cordial, I expect him to continue dialoguing with the Muslim community.

and Allaah knows best.

ISIS’ Most Persecuted: Muslims

ISIS, or IS as it now calls itself has earned a notorious reputation for the blood letting it’s members thrive upon. Reports of threats and abuses towards Christian minorities and the Yazidi minority have captured the hearts of co-religionists worldwide. There will be many victims of IS’ wanton disregard and care for human life, but the greatest victim of all would be Islam and its adherents. This understanding has not yet manifested itself in the hearts and minds of those willing to condemn the violence. The problem therefore, is that the greatest victims of IS have been overlooked, forgotten and disregarded. If we are to truly care about the victims afflicted by the violent plague of IS, then surely we must also be concerned about the Muslims who have to live among them, live under their rule and give allegiance to a leader they were forced to accept.

We must remember, that IS’ new state is based on primarily Muslim dominated lands, towns and cities. This would lead us to cc-2014-syriawarunderstand that a vast majority of the bloodshed is occurring in Muslim lands, towns and cities. There homes are no longer safe for them, as entire towns and cities become battlefields for the foreign fighters against the governing forces. Everyone seems to understand the plight of the minorities in the conflict, but not the main victim themselves. This is troubling. If we are to care only about minorities, then can we say that we truly detest persecution? President Obama authorized bombing raids when the Yazidis were being massacred by IS, yet did nothing while IS violently rampaged through Iraqi and Syrian cities.

The problem persists in part because those in the West see the Iraqi infighting as sectarian violence and so those Muslims living in Iraq are the cause of the problem. This however, is trivializing the issue. Muslims are not the problem, Muslims are the victims of the problem – an insurgency fostered by a failed Iraqi war led by NATO forces. This though, is not merely my opinion but the opinion of US State Department Officials, US Military Strategists and the journalists who have been following the war since its inception – as documented in this PBS Frontline Report: LOSING IRAQ. Former Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton directly blames the Obama administration’s foreign policy for the devastation now raging throughout Iraq.

Saleel wa Sawarim – the IS movie depicting andvideo logging their militant endeavors to spread their state, demonstrates the violence towards fellow Muslims, regardless of religious beliefs that they are willing to undertake in order to achieve their goals. Video clip after video clip gives us just reason to state that Muslims are IS’ greatest victims. Whether their deaths come through drive by shootings, martyrdom-suicide operations, mass executions or sniper fire – the fact remains that the most amount of blood being spread is by that of Muslims. It’s not Christian armies, NATO armies or Yazidi armies that are committing soldiers in the fight against IS, rather it is the Muslim Sunni Tribes who are placing their lives at risk to protect themselves and the religious minorities being persecuted by IS. Therefore, it should not be said that Muslims are the cause of IS or that Islam is to blame, when the truth on the ground is that the only peoples to commit troops to the cause are Muslim Sunnis. We should not condemn Muslims as terrorists, rather we should praise the efforts of the Muslims who are not complicit in IS treachery but are fighting them, one battle at a time.

and God knows best.

Nabeel Qureshi Questioned…

Now, this man who goes by the name ‘Radical Moderate’ gives cash to the Christian hate preacher, David Wood, who nudged Nabeel Qureshi towards Christianity. Here’s his anti-Muslim comment that he sent to me via email in which he rejoices in the death of Muslims and hopes for more:

“But Muslim terrorists blowing up other Muslim terrorists using homicide bombers is Manna from heaven. Lets hope that trend continues.” – Radical Moderate (minion of David Wood).

 

I understand Dr Nabeel Qureshi didn’t make this comment and nor does he have any control over those who have followed/supported him in the past but it’s really worrying that Nabeel has never gone on public record to disassociate himself with his former associates who are effectively radicalised hate-preachers against Muslims.

The comment above is coming from somebody who has informed me that he has committed serious amounts of money to Nabeel Qureshi’s hate preacher friend, David Wood. As David and Nabeel worked together in the past, it’s not unreasonable to imagine some of that money went to Nabeel Qureshi. How does Nabeel feel about the possibility of having received cash from such hate-filled supporters? How does Nabeel feel about having teamed up with radicalised Christian hate preachers in the form of David Wood and Sam Shamoun. How does Nabeel Qureshi feel knowing that his former colleague Negeen Mayel denounced his best friend as self radicalised?

This is something Nabeel Qureshi needs to look into. Is it odd that he has never made a statement on his radicalised Christian hate-preacher associates? Never denounced the hate-filled lies and mockery that his associates have spewed in the direction of Muslims? Never added to his former colleague’s rejection of his radicalised Christian hate preacher friends?

10 Christian Riddles

Riddles, questions, thoughts, I wonder what the answers to these would be? These aren’t meant to be insulting, and we do apologize if they seem to be so, these are just honest inquiries into the Christian faith.

  1. If God is love (1 John 4:8), why are babies sent to burn in hell forever if they’re not baptised? How is this ‘loving’?
  2. If Mary is the Mother of God and believers are told to Brides of Christ (Revelation 19:7), is the Mother of God, also his bride?
  3. Is God a sexist for coming in the form of a man? Why not as a woman?
  4. Is God racist for coming as an Israelite, why not as an African, or Indian?
  5. If humans are literally created in the image of God, is the Christian God a hermaphrodite?
  6. Why does Christ not speak of a punishment for rape, murder or incest? Since the gentiles aren’t meant to follow the Mitzvot – they live under grace and not the law, why didn’t Christ mention that these things were sins or crimes, or even mention their punishments?
  7. Where does God speak of the hypostatic union in the Old Testament or the New Testament?
  8. Where did Christ command Christians to believe in the Trinity, Hypostatic Union or Crucifiction in order to be saved?
  9. If Christ has two wills (human and Godly), how do you determine which act was done with Godly intent and which was done with human intent?
  10. Where does Christ teach that he has two wills?

Answers are welcomed, I’m sure there are some who can give some interesting responses.

and God knows best.

Bob Siegel and the Center for Religious Debate

Bob Siegel is a Muslim hero. After his debate with Br. Shadid Lewis, there can be no doubt that Bob secretly works for Muslims. I say this because Bob seemed to offend, almost insult and argue against Christianity in last night’s debate. Not only did he not defend the reliability of the New Testament (as was the topic of focus), but he successfully argued against it, while embarrassing himself in one of the most absurd displays of immaturity I have ever been privy to witness.

Unfortunately for Bob, I have a very strong feeling that he would now be the focus of many Muslim-Christian debates, because of his self refuting nature, it’s impossible that anyone debating him could actually lose. In a debate where Bob had to defend the reliability of the Christian New Testament, Bob said, in no uncertain terms:

one scribe writes something stupid and another scribe crosses it out

According to Bob Siegel, the hero of Muslims everywhere (Calling Christians is probably going to consider forwarding him a proposal to make him our spokesperson), during the writing of his scripture, people wrote stupid things in it, or a scribe copied stupid things that God said and other scribes crossed out what they felt was stupid. Now isn’t that funny, in a book that he’s supposed to be defending as reliable – he argues that arbitrary editing on the count of something being apparently stupid – was done. If that isn’t arguing against his own point, then I don’t know what to call it.

This however, wasn’t the worse thing that Bob did, at one point Bob decided to break out into song and dance – yes, singing and dancing during an academic discourse because he felt like it. Flailing arms, animated speaking, voice impersonations and more, Bob is a man of many talents, but what he is not is a professional debater, nor an academic. To be quite honest, I’d pay money to have Bob entertain me, he’s good at it, he’s very theatrical, a great singer, amazing dancer, his voice impersonations would make you laugh – it was a blast! Yet, this was neither the place nor the occasion for Bob to showcase his dramatic talents.

This was a debate, on behalf of the Center for Religious Debate. His arguments were poor, so poor that during his opening statement I successfully only counted one argument about the reliability of the New Testament. One, just a single stand alone argument. Other than that, Bob was largely a dud, nothing intelligent came out of his mouth and with each passing moment he seemed to slowly poison the well of Christian thought and belief. Besides negating the reliability of the New Testament and declaring the Bible to contain stupid man made writings, he happened to use awful analogies and at the very worse, emotional ranting.

Emotional Bob, this should be his stage name, and this is not meant to be insulting. Bob started his defense of the reliability of the New Testament by declaring that he spoke to God, he knows God and therefore nothing can be said to change his mind about the reliability of the New Testament. Isn’t that funny? For an academic discussion, you’d like to assume that one would provide evidences, maybe discuss or mention a theory or two, perhaps reference some famous scholarly works, but not Bob, he decided to throw thousands of years of Christian scholarship into a liberal trash can and figured his best plan of defending the reliability of the Bible is to declare that God literally, told him it was reliable.

Now, Bob wasn’t all that horrible, he did have some good, hard hitting points. His discussion on the cayaf (?, cayaph, kayaf, kayaph) was very insightful. Bob, what in the heck is a kayaf and what did it have to do with your debate last night? Apparently ‘kayaf’ is something Islamic that no Muslim knows about…

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Sorry Bob, but I just had to make you into a meme, did God also tell you I was going to do that? If not, maybe you should try to figure out what that voice in your head was, I’m thinking that it wasn’t God.

Now, Bob spoke largely about the Qur’aan and Islam, perhaps for 75% of the time he was speaking. This was a debate about the reliability of the New Testament, but I don’t think Bob got the memo that this was a debate or what the topic of the debate was. At one point, he asked the moderator how much time he had left and decided to forego 2 and 1/2 minutes of speaking time during his rebuttal period. Funnily enough, he later complained that he was not given enough time to speak.

Bob, you are the hero of Muslims everywhere. I pray that one day I do get to debate you, because you’d be the easiest person to debate. I’m hoping that you do more debates with Muslims, especially focusing on the topic of Christianity, perhaps you’d bring more Christians to Islam than is possible – you’re a great spokesperson for Islam and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Quick Tip for Talking with Missionaries

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Despite having been in this arena for a few years, I’m always finding new ways to interact with anti-Islamic polemicists. While attending a conference yesterday, I came across some invaluable advice in a book I’ve enjoyed reading for sometime (“How to Read a Book”, by Mortimer J. Adler). Many Ulama have recommended this book and I’m quite happy they did, it’s been very informative and extremely enlightening, it’s worth significantly more than you’d ever pay for it.

When we dialogue with missionaries, or conservative groups (EDL, BNP etc), sometimes even atheists, we find them claiming things of Islam that we don’t necessarily believe. Case in point, “Muslims worship a moon God“. As a Muslim, I’ve never been told to worship the moon, nor has Allaah ever been described as the moon, nor was the moon taught to me as being a deity. In fact, the Qur’aan directly speaks against anyone worshipping the sun or the moon:

“And the night, and the day, and the sun, and the moon are among His signs; do not prostrate for the sun or the moon, but prostrate for Allah Who has created them, if you are His bondmen.” – Qur’aan 41:37.

So, what should we do when we’re faced with someone who is claiming that Muslims believe X, when in reality we believe in….not X (let X be any arbitrary argument about Islamic belief – moon God, Injil is Bible etc)? It’s simple, you as the Muslim must declare: This is now what Islam teaches and as a Muslim, this is not what I believe. From this, we can take Mortimer’s advice, he says:

You yourself may remember an occasion where someone said to a speaker, in one breath or at most two, “I don’t know what you mean, but I think you’re wrong.” There is actually no point in answering critics of this sort. The only polite thing to do is to ask them to state your position for you, the position they claim to be challenging. If they cannot do it satisfactorily, if they cannot repeat what you have said in their own words, you know that they do not understand, and you are entirely justified in ignoring their criticisms. They are irrelevant, as all criticism must be that is not based on understanding. – How to Read a Book, Mortimer J. Adler, Page 97.

In sum:

  1. Opponent makes claim.
  2. If this is not what we as Muslims believe, declare this to your opponent, clarify what we actually do believe.
  3. He will say you’re wrong (he will deny your declaration).
  4. Ask him to explain to you what you said you believed.
  5. If he can’t or refuses to, then his criticism is unfounded, as what he is attacking, has no basis in our deen.

It’s simple, but pure genius. How can you expect to carry on an intelligent and worthwhile discussion with someone who claims to understand your beliefs, but cannot accurately express them to you? Such a person is pretending to have knowledge that they do not have and you should inform them of their lack of knowledge and decorum.

wa Allaahu ‘Alam.

 

Umar Lee Apostates from Christianity

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Umar Lee caused quite a stir when he became Christian not too long ago. His video was posted by David Wood and Robert Spencer, even Pamela Geller! Today he’s posted a new video – he’s apostated from Christianity and is now Muslim! Here’s the video, but most of us are still left wondering if David, Spencer or Pamela will post his new video too, or will they even comment on it?

wa Allaahu ‘Alam.

Breaking News: Rapture Delayed

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

I found this to be quite funny, a Christian on Facebook seemed to be a bit too enthusiastic about the rapture and decided it was just about to happen, as if it were moments away. Sadly, it’s been posted since lunch time and it’s around night time now, I don’t have the heart to tell this guy that the rapture isn’t going to happen tonight. Would anyone like to do it?

Infernoz Flamz

 

I almost feel sort of embarrassed for the guy! Then I remembered he was a Christian and the only way he gets through life is to believe the rapture is imminently upon us. Unfortunately, most Christians who are over excessive in their excitement of the rapture fit into the mould of those who forget that no one knows when it is going to happen, not even Jesus knew. It must be depressing to wake up everyday and believe that the rapture is going to happen and going to bed knowing it hasn’t.

wa Allaahu ‘Alam.

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