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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.

Poster

The event went extremely well and in the end I have to say that I definitely enjoyed my time with Mr. Kerimli. We met a second time following the dialogue and had a second more informal dialogue that would be released in the near future. In the meantime, this dialogue took place in the context of a discussion I have been having with Mr. Kerimli for the past two years. It mainly revolves around the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur’an’s relationship with both of those books. We explore these relationships, the existence of a possible “Madinian Torah” and other fascinating questions about textual preservation in light of historical evidences.

At the end of the dialogue, it was all smiles from both sides of the theological divide.

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In addition to releasing the video of the dialogue I am also including my PowerPoint presentation slides in PDF form. There are two versions of these slides. There is the original presentation as I used it in the dialogue. Following the event I noted that there was a miscitation of a quote from Mark, instead of Mark 4:15 I accidentally put Mark 4:20. There was also another miscitation, instead of Pslam 40:6-8, I wrote Isaiah 40:6-8. Along with that error, I also clarified my use of terms in the table comparing the contents of the Shema in the Gospels and the Septuagint editions. To be fair, I am releasing both the original version with the errors and the corrected version for clarity. I will follow up with Mr. Kerimli to see if he would be willing to do the same.

Here is the dialogue video:

and Allah knows best.

 

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:

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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):

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

4

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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?

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