Tag Archives: corruption

A Variant of One Letter

Can one letter make a difference?

Over the years I have demonstrated various textual issues with the New Testament. One of the more common questions I am frequently asked is to what extent a variant of one letter can impact the reliability or lack thereof, of the New Testament. Today I’d like to answer this question with a simple example.

The letter η (eta) is a defining article.

Consider the case of saying “the boy” and “a boy”, in the case of the letter η (eta) it means “the”, which specifies a noun. The car, the boy, the house all refer to something specific and not something general. Thus, we read from John 5:1 (NIV) –

“Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals.”

Some translations render the section in bold as “a feast”, however there is a variant in Codex Sinaiticus which renders the text as “the feast”, thus specifying this feast as not a general feast but as a specific feast. By inserting the letter η (eta) before the noun “feast” (ἑορτὴ), the context of this passages changes entirely. The NET Bible’s commentary explains:

“The textual variants ἑορτή or ἡ ἑορτή (Jeorth or Jh Jeorth, “a feast” or “the feast”) may not appear significant at first, but to read ἑορτή with the article would almost certainly demand a reference to the Jewish Passover.”

In other words, while at first it may not appear significant, by referring to the feast as “the feast”, it therefore indicates that this was the feast of Passover. This presents several problems. The initial problem is that if this feast refers to the Passover it would mean that Jesus preached for 4 years and not 2 1/2 years. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges states:

“He gives us three Passovers; to make this a fourth would be to put an extra year into our Lord’s ministry for which scarcely any events can be found, and of which there is no trace elsewhere.”

Thus, it would either mean that the timeline presented for Jesus’s ministry according to the Gospels attributed to Matthew, Mark and Luke exclude one year of Jesus’s ministry or that the Gospel attributed to John has created an additional 4th year (more than 3 years) which would stand against the testimony of the other Gospels. If the former is true it would mean that the authors of the synoptic Gospels chose to exclude and ignore an entire year’s worth of teaching by Jesus, thereby bringing into question the reliability of their collective testimony. Why would his followers want to exclude an entire year of his public ministry? Surely if he chose to preach at that time it must have been for a reason, therefore on what grounds can an author ignore or prevent other Christians from reading and learning from 25% of Jesus’s ministry?

However, if the latter is true, it would mean that the authors of the Gospel attributed to John created and attributed an additional year of preaching to Jesus’s ministry. This would then indicate that the Gospel attributed to John lies about Jesus and thus brings into question its authenticity, reliability and accuracy. The Pulpit Commentary expands on this issue a bit more:

“Now, “the feast” of the Jews could hardly be any other than the second Passover, while John 6:4 would indicate a third. “The feast” referred to in John 4:45 undoubtedly means the first Passover. “A feast” would leave the question open, though by no means excluding positively the second Passover, as the anarthrousness of the word might be chosen with a view to call special attention to it. However, the indefinite ἑορτη has been identified by commentators with every feast in the calendar, so there can be no final settlement of the problem.”

So far, commentators on this verse describe it as being “significant” and a “problem”, yet we need to keep in mind that this is the consequence of one letter being present in one manuscript. The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary explains to what extent this variant affects the harmony of the Gospels:

“1. a feast of the Jews—What feast? No question has more divided the Harmonists of the Gospels, and the duration of our Lord’s ministry may be said to hinge on it. For if, as the majority have thought (until of late years) it was a Passover, His ministry lasted three and a half years; if not, probably a year less. Those who are dissatisfied with the Passover-view all differ among themselves what other feast it was, and some of the most acute think there are no grounds for deciding. In our judgment the evidence is in favor of its being a Passover, but the reasons cannot be stated here.”

Addendum:

It should be noted that commentators have not randomly decided that the phrase “the feast” refers to the Passover, this is a conclusion drawn from the Church Father Irenaeus from the 2nd century who writes in Against Heresies (Book II, Chapter 22) the following:

But it is greatly to be wondered at, how it has come to pass that, while affirming that they have found out the mysteries of God, they have not examined the Gospels to ascertain how often after His baptism the Lord went up, at the time of the passover, to Jerusalem, in accordance with what was the practice of the Jews from every land, and every year, that they should assemble at this period in Jerusalem, and there celebrate the feast of the passover.

We can see the variant by comparing the same passage from Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus. In the image below, we see folio 249 (recto) from Codex Sinaiticus:

1

The variant can be seen here, it reads as “Η ΕΟΡΤΗ” (the letter Η is the capital letter equivalent of η) :

The image below is from Codex Alexandrinus, we see folio 69 (recto):

3

The variant can be seen here, it reads as “ΕΟΡΤΗ” (the letter Η is the capital letter equivalent of η) :

4

6

What therefore, can we conclude from this difference?

If the Gospel attributed to John (from Codex Sinaiticus) is correct, it would mean that the Gospels attributed to Matthew, Mark and Luke excluded more than 25% of Jesus’s ministry from those Gospels, and thus brings their reliability into question.

If the Gospel attributed to John (from Codex Sinaiticus) is wrong, it would mean that the authors of this Gospel invented an additional year of Jesus’s ministry, thus bringing into question the reliability, authenticity and accuracy of the Gospel itself.

If the authors of the New Testament’s Gospels cannot be reliable enough to determine whether Jesus preached for 3 years or 4 years, how could we trust them otherwise? One letter can make a very big difference and this is but one example of such a case.

and God knows best.

Is to Question, to Err?

One of the ways we learn is by asking questions. I don’t believe that someone should be condemned or shunned for asking a question, especially when it is a request for someone to clarify and expound upon what they are saying. This post will highlight the need for meaningful interactions between Muslim and Christian apologists. Forgoing my disagreements with my friend and colleague Jonathan McLatchie, he recently posted in a group of mines regarding a seminar he recently held.

Screenshot_20170612-082938_1

Given my history with Jonathan, one may think I would comment on his post in an antagonistic manner, but as will be seen, this is not and will not be the case. Though I may disagree with Jonathan’s arguments, I prefer to have meaningful interaction with him, rather than argue without reason. Thus, when he posted his link, I left the following respectful comment:

Screenshot_20170612-082943_1

The aim of my respectful comment was to ask my friend Jonathan to explain his reasoning. To break down his argument(s) and to give me an example to qualify his claim. This is the usual way we approach arguments, by firstly asking for the person to explain their argument, and secondly by giving our response as to why we either agree or disagree with what they have presented. As follows, this was my friend Jonathan’s response:

Screenshot_20170612-082955_1

I would like to thank Jonathan for his respectful reply, though I may disagree with the conclusions he had reached. In writing this article, I hope to express to Jonathan that Muslims are willing to engage with him, despite past disagreements. With respect to his comment, I am quite uncertain as to how I failed to interact with his presentation, when I asked for him to give us an example from his presentation, an argument which demonstrated his claim of “undesigned coincidences”. I can’t interact with a video seminar, but I can certainly interact by asking the person presenting the argument to illustrate and explicate their claim. Secondly, I am also uncertain as to how simply asking a question would lead one to believe that I had failed to understand the subject. I had yet to respond to an argument he had presented, therefore I’m not sure how I could fail to interact with or to misunderstand something that was not given to me.

The question for us is, is to question, to err?

I don’t believe so. In respectful and meaningful dialogue, we hope that our questions can lead to elucidation as opposed to remonstration. Should Jonathan be willing to engage with Muslims on the subject of his video, I wish him to know that Blogging Theology, Calling Christians, along with my numerous Facebook groups and pages, of which he is a member of a number of them, that they are all available for him to engage in meaningful dialogue about his arguments.

Should there be any Christian willing to take up his cause and argue on his behalf, we would most certainly be welcomed to such a proposition. I firmly do not believe in “undesigned coincidences”, primarily because of the intertextuality of the Gospels, especially in regard to their archetypes, harmonizations and literary borrowing by their authors and scribes. I have discussed this topic previously in other posts, but I am looking for new, well taught out arguments on this topic to challenge the conclusions I already hold. Thus far, I have yet to see such an argument, but then again, this is why I’m posting about it publicly. Perhaps by some undesigned coincidence, I may perhaps find someone willing to provide such an argument.

and God knows best.

The Role of Scriptural Manuscripts in Islam and Christianity – A Primer

Introduction

Given all the buzz about manuscripts regarding both the scriptures of the Muslims and Christians, I thought it’d be best to write something simple to explain the differences in approach that the Islamic and Christian faiths use when understanding their scriptures. This isn’t meant to be a highly technical article, but by the end of this post you’ll understand why manuscripts are important and to whom they are important.

The main difference in understanding manuscripts in both these faiths can be summed up in one term, “textus receptus vs textus criticus”. Textus receptus refers to the passing of scripture from generation to generation, until present day. Hence the term, “received text”. Textus criticus refers to a reconstructed version of scripture, based on the best manuscript witnesses that are extant (still surviving to our times). Hence the term, “critical text”.

Textus Receptus or Textus Criticus?

Christians today no longer depend on their textus receptus, they opt for textus criticus. In essence, they believe that their scriptural tradition internationally, that their Churches internationally, that for over 2000 years, their collective world of Christendom was unable to accurately preserve the New Testament. We can assign the shift in thinking from textus receptus to textus criticus sometime during the 16th century, when we had Erasmus’s, Cisneros’s and Stephanus’s critical Greek editions of the New Testament. This movement agreed on the principle that the Latin Vulgate, despite being the primary New Testament for centuries, did not accurately represent the “original” readings that the earlier Greek manuscripts contained. Therefore, Christians had to “recover” and “reconstruct” their scripture from the earlier Greek manuscripts, as opposed to relying on the traditional view of depending on the Latin Vulgate which was a translation of some of the Greek, the primary language of the New Testament.

There are however Christians who do disagree with this view that the entire world of Christendom failed to preserve the New Testament, and that the Church tradition did preserve their scripture. This is a minor group known as KJV-Onlyists. It has taken over 500 years for Christendom to propagate the shift from textus receptus to textus criticus. Thus, to modern Christians, manuscripts are extremely important to reconstructing the original words of the New Testament. The problem here is that we have no original manuscripts (autographs) and at best, the critical text of the New Testament today is an approximated “prototype” (vorlage) of the manuscripts, that may have been written in between 200 – 500 CE. In other words, the critical text of the New Testament does not go back to the original manuscripts (autographs) but they can be traced back to a “prototype” from which they may have been copied from at a later date, usually known as an “archetypal text”.

This view of textus criticus is not accepted in Islam. We believe that our scholastic tradition has preserved the Qur’an in its entirety. This is because in Islam, we did not translate the Qur’an from Arabic to English and then only used the English for 1400 years, while forgetting the Arabic and failing to preserve the Arabic Qur’an. We have kept the primary language of the Qur’an alive as well (fusha Arabic), and we’ve kept two separate traditions alive for over 1400 years: Hifz al Qur’an (memorization of the Qur’an) and ‘Ilm al Rasm al Mushaf (the science of the writing of the Qur’an). In essence, Muslims have kept reciting the Qur’an, memorizing it in its entirety, specializing in learning its language, specialized in learning its recital for over 1400 years, to this very day. We’ve also kept the tradition of writing the Qur’an and writing it with the most advanced Arabic styles of calligraphy. These two traditions mean that the Muslims in China are reciting the same Qur’an, in the same way, as the Muslims in the Caribbean, and that they have been doing so for centuries. The fact that Muslims have an entire month each year dedicated to the reciting of the Qur’an, and that we must recite it at a minimum 5 times a day, ensures that the Qur’an is being preserved everyday, all day. The same cannot be said for the New Testament.

This means, that while Christians have great reasons to doubt the preservation of their scripture and have to rely on reconstructing it, us Muslims do not share this problem. We have no reason to doubt our traditions of preservation as we have means to authenticating them. The Christians do not. As mentioned in other articles, we know who our reciters are and where they came from, what their characters were like and what their beliefs were. They are not unknown and we do not take knowledge from unknown persons. Today one would find many Christian scholars trying to search for a “Jesus oral tradition”. They’re trying to find some oral tradition that can link the manuscripts to credible persons who are historically viable to give their manuscripts authority, so that they could validate their reconstructed text. Muslims do not need to find an oral tradition to do so, as ours still exists to this day through our sanad of reciters (Qurra) and memorizers (Huffaz), which must authorize (provide an ijaza) students before they can teach the Qur’an to others. These mechanisms are inherent to the Islamic scriptural tradition, but they are alien to the Christian scriptural tradition.

The Need for Manuscripts

What Christians are doing today, like Jay Smith, Keith Small, Andy Bannister, Samuel Green and Spencer, is trying to get Muslims to reject textus receptus and to create a textus criticus. In essence, they need Muslims to have the same level of doubt about the Qur’an as they do, with the New Testament. Yet, as mentioned previously, our faith’s mechanisms in regard to preserving, teaching and sharing scripture are far more advanced that those of Christianity’s. Thus, when Christians point out that manuscripts have some variants or some differences, they are trying to force Muslims to reject our scriptural tradition. However, we are not in the same position as Christianity. We have no need to reject our scriptural tradition, but Christians do, since their collective world of Christianity was unable to preserve their scriptural tradition as Muslims have. The problem with using manuscripts from unknown authors, from unknown sources is quite obvious. What would happen if Christians found a manuscript of John 1 from the 1st century CE that excluded the Johannine Prologue? By their standards, they would have to give this manuscript authority and remove the prologue from their modern Bibles.

However, Christians are not consistent. They will instead claim that Church tradition has mentioned the prologue as being scripture and thus they will find some excuse to remove authority from that manuscript, despite rejecting their scriptural tradition for the critical method. In other words, Christians seriously doubt the preservation of their scripture and demand that Muslims use their critical methods on the Qur’an, when they themselves do not apply these critical methods consistently. Consider then, the example of the Shepherd of Hermas which is included in our earliest collection of the New Testament from the 4th century CE, Codex Sinaiticus. An entire book is excluded from the modern critical texts because Church tradition did not consider it scripture, yet the critical texts are not supposed to be based on tradition, but on the critical method. If Christians were consistent, they’d have to place the Shepherd of Hermas in their modern day critical edition. Yet, when missionaries see that some obscure manuscript, found in some obscure place may or may not have a different spelling of a word in the Qur’an, they demand that we accept that the Qur’an has changed.

That is strange reasoning. Who wrote this manuscript? We don’t know. What was their level of education? We don’t know. Why did they write it? We don’t know. So, on what basis do we accept an unknowable. unverifiable text, over 1400 years of verifiable, known tradition from chains of historic transmission? There are a hundred and one reasons why a manuscript can contain a variation. The person writing may have been using regional orthography (representation of letters and words) than a standardized style of writing. The scribe may have been using the manuscript to practise writing. The scribe could have been writing while someone was reciting (usually known as an amanuensis) and made an error in haste. The scribe could have been copying the shapes of the letters without knowing what the letters on the manuscript meant, thus if they made an error they would not have known that they changed a word. These are all common reasons that Christian textual critics point out for rejecting the variants found in many New Testament manuscripts.

In other words, Christians themselves reject the notion that all manuscripts are authoritative and for them manuscripts need to be authoritative because their scriptural tradition internationally was unable to preserve their scripture from its earliest days to the present day. This problem is not present in Islam and so we have no need to depend on, unverifiable manuscripts. We don’t need to authorize texts that are historically without authority. Christians have that need, it’s a necessity because their scriptural tradition was insufficient, Islam does not have this problem. So when Christians point out a variant that a scribe may or may not have made in writing the Qur’an, that means nothing to do the Muslim as it is a lone witness, versus a living tradition of witnesses in continuous verification over 1400+ years through daily, monthly and yearly memorization and recitation. However, if there is a variant in a New Testament manuscript, this is a problem for Christianity as not only do they accept that their scriptural tradition needs to be abandoned, they now need to reconstruct what their scripture may or may not have looked like and so they try to attack the Qur’an out of jealousy. While Muslims can be certain about the Qur’an, a Christian simply cannot be certain about anything in the New Testament.

Conclusion

One of the divine signs of Islam is the promise in Qur’an 15:9, which reads:

“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.”

From the very start of Islam, the Qur’an was commanded to be recited. It was memorized, taught, recited daily. If God wanted a scripture to be preserved, then the best way to preserve it among humans would have been through continuous and daily recitation. In Islam, we find this with the 5 daily prayers in which the Qur’an must be recited. God included an entire month of the year dedicated to reciting the Qur’an in mass congregation, Ramadhan. God made it compulsory for each community to have a hafiz (memorizer) who needed to know the Qur’an by memory. God made it compulsory for each Muslim to individually carry the responsibility of knowing several chapters (Surahs) of the Qur’an. The God of Islam, it would seem through divine wisdom, knew what was needed for the Qur’an to be preserved among its followers. The same cannot be said about the New Testament or the Graeco-Roman Post-Hasmonaean Jewish Syncretic deity that Christians worship. This deity did not make the New Testament central to the lives of the early Christians. There was no need to memorize what Jesus said and taught, there was no need to recite what God revealed daily, monthly or even yearly. There was no command to preserve the language in which the scripture was given.

There was no need to preserve the New Testament. One must wonder, if there is a God and He wanted us to know Him, wouldn’t He have raised a community of people devoted to the preservation of His scripture? This is what we find in the religion of Islam, but it is not something we can find in the religion of Christianity. Interestingly, this rejection of textus receptus for textus criticus raises a very disturbing problem. If the collective world of Christendom, could not preserve their scripture for over 2000 years and they needed to reconstruct their scripture, what else has their religious tradition failed to preserve? What if their traditional teachings about the Trinity are wrong and need to be recovered. What if their traditional beliefs about Jesus dying for their sins are wrong and need to be recovered? What if…? Islam does not carry with it, such uncertainty, only Christianity can and does. For me, that’s a problem.

and Allah knows best.

The Markan Gospel’s Systematic Development in Light of Miracle Sets

Traditionally speaking, Christian apologists have always appealed to the Gospel ascribed to Mark’s haphazard narrative inconsistencies (in regard to the narratives of the synoptics) as a proof of its early authorship being attested by Papias, as recorded in Eusebius’ Church History:

“This also the presbyter said: 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. These things are related by Papias concerning Mark.” – 3.39.15.

However, using narrative criticism, we are able to examine the patterns of literary development as envisaged by the Markan author. Thus, as we will see, the Markan Gospel cannot be considered disorderly, but should be considered as a work of systematic literary development. Whatever work Papias was referring to, has not remained with us (not a single papyri of the Markan Gospel exists earlier than the mid to late 3rd century), or what later Christians (such as Eusebius) identified with earlier Christians (Papias) is mistaken and as such, should be taken as mere anachronistic apologetic revisionism. As the “Church” began to develop, so did its history, especially in regard to its origins. This might seem odd to some, but we need to remember that as the various early Christian communities began to coalesce, a homogenous “universal” or Catholic history of the “true” Church began to manifest itself, what we refer to today as the proto-orthodox Church.

Jaroslav Pelikan says in the Christian Tradition Vol 1:

“There is a sense in which the very notion of tradition seems inconsistent with the idea of history as a movement and change. For tradition is thought to be ancient, hallowed by age, unchanged since it was first established once upon a time. It does not have a history, since history implies the appearance at a certain point in time, of that which had not been there before.

According to the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius, orthodox Christian doctrine did not really have a history, having been true eternally and taught primitively; only heresy had a history, having arisen at particular times and through the innovations of particular teachers Roman Catholics polemics has frequently contrasted the variations of Protestantism with the stable and unchanging doctrine of Roman Catholicism.

It seems that theologians have been willing to trace the history of doctrines and doctrinal systems which they found to be in error, but that the normative tradition had to be protected from the relativity of having a history or being, in any decisive sense, the product of a history.” – pp. 7 – 8.

Many Christian scholars on early Christian traditions, agree that Church history tends to be generative as opposed to retentive (as is often claimed):

“At the same time, such individual memories also typically come to be calibrated in relation to an emerging communal consensus— either reactively or, more often, in convergence with it. Memory of this sort is of course highly episodic, lumpy, and often somewhat formulaic— characteristics to which even eyewitnesses are hardly immune. And it can often be generative of meaning, rather than merely retentive.” – Markus Bockmuehl, Simon Peter in Scripture and Memory: The New Testament Apostle in the Early Church (pp. 11-12).

So, while the quote attributed by Eusebius to Papias may be more of a generated communal teaching which later manifested itself in Church tradition, can we truly say that the Gospel ascribed to Mark is the work of a scribe hastily writing down an orator’s recounting, as opposed to a work of systematic literary development? The answer is no. There are two sets of miracle stories in the Markan Gospel that follow a specific pattern, that bear witness to an intentional development of the Christ’s image in comparison with the Messianic archetype prevalent throughout Judaic literature.

Markan Miracle Sets 2

As we can see from this simple break down, the miracle stories are equally divided into two sets. Each set has the same pattern and form of miracles: one sea/ water – three healings – one mass feeding. Both sets of miracles, also occur within six successive chapters, with the first set ending and the second set beginning within the same chapter and within one verse of each other. These are not and cannot be coincidences, or disordered in any way. They are quite specific in pattern and form, the ordering of these miracle stories are intentional and systematic. Further analysis shows, that the author derived these miracle stories from earlier Jewish Messianic types, who were to guide their people in times of great turmoil:

Markan Miracle Sets

Thus, the intention of ordering and mentioning these specific miracles attributed to Christ, was done with the purpose of painting Christ in the same image and stature as that of Moses, Elijah and Elisha. In fact, the author who developed these miracle sets, does include specific mention of Jesus being like, or being Elijah within the same chapters:

Others said, “He is Elijah.” And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.” – Mark 6:15.

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” – Mark 8:28.

Therefore, it should be concluded from reading the Gospel ascribed to Mark, that this piece of literature has undergone intentional development, with specific goals in mind to paint Christ in light of earlier Messianic archetypal figures. The narratives are in order, for the purpose the author intended to achieve, and as such, we can understand that it is the case that either Papias’ statement refers to some other piece of literature, or that the Gospel of Mark has undergone significant systematic literary development with a Jewish audience in mind and as such, is no longer in its original form.

and God knows best.

November 2014 – A Month of Records Due to Jay Smith!

The month of November 2014 has brought Calling Christians some great new achievements that were driven by Jay Smith’s missionary behaviour! Due to Smith’s exaggerated claims during his debate with Dr. Ally, I wrote a paper in response to him, that paper led Calling Christians to new heights:

We’d like to thank Jay Smith for leading Calling Christians to new heights, to new successes and to giving us a wider audience than we’ve ever had! More to come! Look out for posts in the next few days about Jay’s planned response to the paper, his arguments, his references and his criticisms. Unknown to him, sources close to him are embarrassed by his lack of honesty and have decided to fill us in on his plans!

and God knows best.

 

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.

Jay Smith’s Story Does Not Add Up

On Sunday 16th November, two prominent UK Muslim speakers/ debaters, Br. Ayaz and Br. Zakir Hussein both went to Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park (London) to confront Jay Smith. They had decided to challenge him to a debate, the video of that challenge will be uploaded soon. The reason I’m mentioning this, is that while speaking to Smith, they told him that, “Ijaz says hi!“, to which he responded that I was a liar and that he’s preparing a response to my paper.

The problem is, and I hope he realises this soon so that he can stop embarrassing himself – he doesn’t need to prepare a response to me. Following the debate, Smith released an email in which he explains that he’s been studying the topic of Qur’anic manuscripts for sometime, with the dates of January 2014 and March 2014 being mentioned. Given that the debate happened at the end of September, it would then mean that Smith had been preparing for this debate for some 9 months or so.

With 9 months of preparation, research and study, he entered into the debate with what appeared to be a large stack of papers which contained that very research, of which he shared several of them with the audience:

cc-2014-smithlied1

cc-2014-smithlied2

cc-2014-smithlied3

cc-2014-smithlied4

cc-2014-smithlied5

At one point in the debate, he remarked that he’d share his research with the public, and that it was available for anyone to see should they request it. So what does this all mean? Since the day of his debate with Dr. Shabir, he has possessed 9 months of research, collected into that large stack of papers several inches thick on the table beside him. So, the problem is, what does he need to prepare in response to me, if he already has 9 months of research several inches thick already prepared?

Especially when he declared that the research was ready for anyone to see! So what exactly does he need to prepare? Either he did his research over a period of 9 months and had it ready on the day of the debate, or, given the countless errors and lies I found him making during the debate, he really has no research to present for us and is now scrambling to get something done. So Smith, which is it? It’s time for you to clear the air. Either you lied during the debate or you lied after the debate and on Sunday when you made those remarks. Which is it? Can’t get your story straight it seems.

Since you said the research would be shared with anyone who requests it, then I proudly declare that on this day, I request it! Send it over to callingchristians@gmail.com, I’ll be waiting! For everyone else, you can download and view the 53 page paper on Qur’anic manuscripts here.

and Allah knows best.

One of these things is not like the other….

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Acts 9:5-6 (KJV):

And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Acts 9:5-6 (NIV):

 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.  “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Is it just me, or does something happen to be missing?

Refutation: Refuting Shabir Ally on the Preservation of the Bible

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

In a recent showing of, ‘The Jesus or Muhammad Show‘ (there’s no either or, we love and follow both as Muslims), David Wood and Pastor Joseph tried very comically to demonstrate that the Qur’an validates the Bible. As a Muslim who is familiar with Christian deception and missionary work, within 1 minute and 41 seconds I had no choice but to feel embarrassed for the show’s hosts who were clearly arguing beyond their means. They quoted the Qur’an which says:

“Say, “We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [submitting] to Him.” – Qur’aan 3:84.

Here’s a quick question for the self proclaimed ‘Pastor’ and the Muslim phobic David Wood, the very verse you used states that a scripture was given to Jesus. This is what we believe, that a scripture was given to Jesus, not in a ‘scripture’ which was authored decades later which eventually through the Ecumenical Council of Carthage in 397 CE was deemed to be ‘scripture’. They progressed to mention (without evidence) that the Qur’an does the following:

  • Confirms the Inspiration of the Bible.
  • Denies the Preservation of the Bible.
  • Denies the Authority of the Bible.

The problem with this is that the Qur’an actually:

  • Confirms the Inspiration of the Injil to Jesus.
  • Confirms that God’s word is not changed but that men wrote other words and then claimed it to be God’s (2:79).
  • Confirms the Authority of the Inspired Scripture revealed to Jesus known as the Injil.

They confused themselves by thinking that what the verse speaks of is the New Testament, but no Christian in his right mind (for David and his Pastor could be differently minded) believes that the New Testament originated with Jesus and was sent to Jesus from God in a complete rendition. Therefore Muslims and Christians are referring to two distinct scriptures where one originates with Christ and where one is alluded to Christ decades after by unknown scribes with unknown authority. As for when we say we make no distinction between the scriptures, we mean that we do not distinguish between God’s revelations. Since Christians confirm that the New Testament did not originate during Christ’s time, then it is an explicit acknowledgement that it is not what Allaah revealed to Christ, thus we can distinguish it as non-canonical ‘scripture’ to Muslims and as a consequence, it cannot be considered to be inspired by Allaah.

They then went on to quote the following ayats:

“He has sent down upon you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming what was before it. And He revealed the Torah and the Gospel. Before, as guidance for the people. And He revealed the Qur’an. Indeed, those who disbelieve in the verses of Allah will have a severe punishment, and Allah is exalted in Might, the Owner of Retribution.” – Qur’an 3:3-4.

David then said that we believe in the inspiration, but not the preservation or authority of the New Testament due to the above verse. The problem with this egregious thinking as I outlined above is that we Muslims make a distinction to what was physically in Jesus’ hand as a scripture, versus something written decades after and validated only in 4th century CE. Therefore we affirm God’s inspiration of scripture, preservation of scripture and authority, we however do not affirm that God inspired the New Testament which did not exist at Jesus’ time. David then presents what he claims to be the ‘Muslim reasoning’:

  1. The Qur’aan confirms the inspiration of the Christian scriptures.
  2. Muslims open the Bible, realise it doesn’t line up with the Qur’aan and then claim corruption.

Let me correct David’s infantile simplification, rather we believe:

  1. The Qur’aan confirms the inspiration and revelation of a scripture given to Christ Jesus.
  2. The Qur’aan does not confirm the inspiration of a scripture written decades after Jesus and validated in a 4th century Catholic Council.

After all, David himself knows that he cannot validate his claims without first and foremost, significantly misrepresenting the Muslim position, how else would he make money? In further deluding himself, he references another ayah of the Qur’aan:

“Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him – it is those who will be the successful.” – Qur’aan 7:157.

David’s argument is that this verse refers to the Christians and Jews of Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) time and it implies that the current Bible is what would have existed at that time. The problem with this thinking is that not all Christians at his time, nor all Jews would follow the same Soteriology, Christology or scripture.  For David to claim that the same ‘scripture’ was used by Arabian Jews and Christians, would have to mean that he has some explicit, empirical evidence for what the Christians and Jews in Arabia would have used as scripture. Since he does not, then he is simply appealing to wishful thinking. A simple example from before Jesus’ time and sometime after, would be the scrolls of the Jerusalem Jews versus that of the Essenes in Qumran. Both are Jews, but the Essenes had a radically different corpus of scrolls such as the War Scroll, the Community Rule, the Rule of Blessing and the Pesher on Habbakuk. We also know that Christians themselves had different canons and codices, one of the easiest examples is the 7 Deutero-canonical books of the Catholics. Therefore, who is to say that all Christians and Jews had the same scripture? This is wishful thinking and not based on scholarly research or study. They then progressed to another verse which reads:

So if (فَإِن) you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters.” – Qur’aan 10:94.

David begins his rabid diatribe by claiming that Muhammad (peace be upon is having doubts), the problem with this is that David’s Church has not taught him how to read properly. The verse begins with saying “So if“, thus, it is not a declaration of doubt, rather it is a choice, an option. For example what if I said:

“If David was sexually abused by Pastor Joseph…”

Does this mean I am claiming with absolute certainty that David was sexually abused? According to David, the answer to this would be yes. Since this is the case, I personally am taking this opportunity to implore David to take up a reading and comprehension course at any vocational school, as his Church study seems to have rendered him deficient in the mind. David goes on to present a false dichotomy, he says there are only two views, either the revelation of the Christ has been corrupted or it hasn’t. Well it’s neither of those options as the Qur’aan in 10:94 is not referring to what was written by unknown Greek men decades after Jesus, but what was given to Jesus himself. Therefore David’s dichotomy is both irrelevant and nonsensical.

David then switches gears to claim once again that when the Qur’aan refers to the Torah and Injil (Gospel), that it is referring to the present Christian and Jewish writings, as a consequence the Jewish Bible and the Christian New Testament have therefore, never been altered. He used the following quote to ‘validate’ his claim:

“And recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord. There is no changer of His words, and never will you find in other than Him a refuge.” – Qur’aan 18:27.

To correct David, the verse is not referring to the Jewish Old Testament written some 3000 years after Moses as is presented in the current oldest codex known as the Qumran scrolls as written by the Essenes, nor is it referring to the earliest Christian codices as is presented in Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, some 4 centuries after Christ. Rather, as I have said before and as I would say again, this verse is speaking in relation to the books revealed directly to Moses and Jesus the Christ, not to the renditions of ‘scripture’ presented to us, yet are dated to be centuries after both personalities. He went on to mention one of Sam’s argument where the Qur’aan mentions ‘what is between his hands‘, Christians fondly misinterpret this to mean it is referring to the previous scriptures:

And We descended to you The Book with the truth, confirming to WHAT (IS) BETWEEN HIS HANDS from The Book (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi)

Initially the ayat says that Allaah sent a book to Muhammad {saw}, a revelation. This revelation is confirming what is between Muhammad’s {saw} hands [The Qur’aan] from the previous revelation [Injil]. Since David is a bit dense, I shall break this down step by step for him:

(1) Allaah says He revealed scripture to Muhammad {saw}.
(2) He says this scripture, that He has revealed which Muhammad {saw} has (presently) in his hands (possession – the Qur’aan) confirms the previous scripture.
(3) The previous scripture’s message is confirmed in what is in Muhammad’s {saw} book now, (1) – the Qur’aan.

Notice his provided translation says what is between his hands from the book. The ayat presents the case of two books being revealed, but one is presently in the hands of Muhammad {saw} and that is the one Allaah has revealed. This book presently in Muhammad’s {saw} hands confirm what was from the book, previously revealed. Let’s see what Shaykh Rafi Uthmani [db] had to say on this ayat:

In the fifth (48) and sixth (49) verse, the address is to the Holy Prophet Muhammad {saw} saying that to him Allaah has revealed the Qur’aan which confirms the Torah and Injil, Books previous to it, and is their custodian as well. This is because, after the people of the Torah altered the Torah and the people of the Injil made changes in the Injil, it was the Qur’an alone which turned out to be the overseer and protector which exposed the alterations made by them, lit up truth and reality in their proper persepctive. Even today, the true teachings of the Torah and Injil still survive through the Qur’aan, while those who inherited them and those who claim to follow them have disfigured them to the extent that it has become impossible to distinguish truth from untruth. – Tafsir Maar’iful Qur’aan, Mufti Rafi Uthman, page 181.

To make sense of David’s argument, if we take his understanding into consideration we get the following:

(1) Allaah has revealed a book to Muhammad {saw}.
(2) Forget (1) for now.
(3) The book in your hands, which is not (1) confirms…
(4) What was from another book previously revealed.

So then, the question begs itself, if it’s confirming a previous scripture (لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ – that which preceded it), then what currently is in Muhammad’s {saw} hands? What is in his hands now that’s confirming the previous revelation? David is saying the answer to this, is the previous revelation. If that makes no senseto you, as much as it does to us, then we’re on the right track. How exactly can the verse be saying that God has presently sent confirmation and that the confirmation He has sent is currently in Muhammad’s {saw} hands but the confirmation is the previous scripturenot the scripture God currently revealed to Muhammad {saw}? That leads us into a circular argument, more academically, to the fallacy of circular thinking:

David is saying the previous revelation is the book in Muhammad’s {saw} hands and it refers to itself as a previous revelation being confirmed by God.

How exactly David, is the previous revelation referring to itself as “previous”, shouldn’t it be…..current? Shouldn’t it, logically speaking, refer to itself as the current revelation to make complete sense of the ayat? Essentially, his argument is based upon a world play upon the word study fallacy and does not it into the context of the ayat (verse). The explanation which he proposes ignores rational thought, edifies non-sequitur arguments, i.e. it does not logically follow through, to be true. They then progressed to another misinterpreted verse:

And let the People of the Gospel judge by what Allah has revealed therein. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are the defiantly disobedient.” – Qur’aan 5:47.

This once again needs to be contextualised with the verse directly preceding it, which reads:

“And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which came before him in the Torah; and We gave him the Gospel, in which was guidance and light and confirming that which preceded it of the Torah as guidance and instruction for the righteous.” – Qur’aan 5:46.

The Qur’aan is telling the Christians to follow the law as given to Jesus. Not to follow a corpus of writings originating decades after the man himself. In addition to this, what did Allaah ask them to judge by? What judgement was He referring to? In the verse directly preceding the aforementioned verses we are told what exactly it is, He was commanding the people of the Gospel to judge by what Allaah revealed and not to judge by their whims and fancies, in reference to the law of Qisas:

“And We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution. But whoever gives [up his right as] charity, it is an expiation for him. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.” – Qur’aan 5:45.

If David wanted to be honest, and if he wanted to present an accurate study of what the verse was saying, then all he had to do was read the verses directly preceding the one he quoted (5:47), rather he isolated a verse and wholly misrepresented it to delude himself and the 5 people that tune in to watch his ranting and raving.  David and Pastor Joseph then stated the following:

  • We have the text that was before Muhammad (peace be upon him), during his time and the text which was after him, thus 5:47 must be referring to the Bible we as Christians have today.

The problem with this, is that the Qur’aan in 5:47 tells the Christians to judge by what God revealed and then God mentioned what He revealed in 5:46 and 5:45, which was the law of Qisas. Since this is the case, for the New Testament to be what 5:47 was referring to, then it must contain the law of Qisas as is found in 5:45, since it does not and by using the logical law methodology of proof by contradiction, the New Testament cannot be considered to be what 5:47 was referring to. A simple counter example would be to ask David and Pastor Joseph if 2 Timothy 3:16 includes in its intended scope the 7 Deutero-canonical books of the Catholics and the Community Scroll of the Essenes. If not, then David and Joseph are not being honest and fair with their interpretation and study of the Qur’aanic ayat and have thus conceded to abusing the true meaning of the verses presented.

Lastly, David runs to misinterpret another verse in a mad dash to establish some credibility in hopes of conveying his perverse message:

“Say, “O People of the Scripture, you are [standing] on nothing until you uphold [the law of] the Torah, the Gospel, and what has been revealed to you from your Lord.” And that which has been revealed to you from your Lord will surely increase many of them in transgression and disbelief. So do not grieve over the disbelieving people.” – Qur’aan 5:68.

This ayah in particular follows the same formula as the one above, we must read the preceding verse which states:

“O Messenger, announce that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message. And Allah will protect you from the people. Indeed, Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.” – Qur’aan 5:67.

Verse 68 is commanding Jews and Christians to follow the Torah and the Gospel by following what was revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him)! The verse is simply saying that if the Christians and the Jews who want to uphold the Torah and the Gospel, then they can only do so by following the Qur’aan. This verse does not validate the Bible as the Christians and Jews developed after Moses and Jesus respectively. Rather it is referring to the scriptures given to Moses and Jesus directly and since both Christians and Jews do not possess any of the above, it is therefore wishful thinking and confirmation bias to read into the Qur’aan their rendition of scripture, as opposed to what those two great and mighty Prophets of Allaah possessed.

In some parting advice for David and Joseph, in as much as you want to pervert the Qur’aan with your inane rants, know that us Muslims are far more educated in what you hope to use against us and that any arguments you can bring forth can be easily dismissed and corrected.

wa Allaahu ‘Alam.

Recent Entries »