Tag Archives: dialogue

Upcoming Debate: Br. Shadid Lewis and Dr. Andy Bannister


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For further information, please see the Facebook event page as created by Ratio Christi. There is no information as of yet on whether or not there will be a livestream of the debate or the duration till the recording will be made public. As soon as any pertinent details are made aware to us, we’ll update this post and share the relevant information on our social media platforms.

and God knows best.

Upcoming Debate: Br. Yusuf Ismail and Pastor Fluech

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To contact IPCI for further details, please see their Facebook page. We have requested details about a possible livestream and we have received information that there most likely will be one. As soon as we get any further information we’ll share it, and we’ll also post the link to our social media pages.

The time for the debate for those of us outside of South Africa is as follows:

  • London, UK – 4 PM.
  • New York, USA – 11 AM.
  • Port of Spain, Trinidad – 12 Noon.
  • Lahore, Pakistan – 9 PM.

and God knows best.

Dialogue Video: Navigating Differences in Theology – Br. Ijaz and Mr. Alex Kerimli

I recently had a dialogue with my friend and colleague, Mr. Alex Kerimli in Toronto. Today the video of that event is being released. The event was graciously hosted by the i3 Institute, which offers courses for young Muslims in the Greater Toronto Area.

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.

 

The Intolerance of Tolerance – White/ Qadhi Fallout

Catch Up to Speed: What is the White/ Qadhi Issue?

Following a two-part dialogue between Dr. James White and Dr. Yasir Qadhi, an outspoken Christian missionary by the name of Sam Shamoun began a crusade against his coreligionist, Dr. White, for holding the view that not all Muslims are hateful, intolerant, bloodthirsty terrorists. The argument made by Sam was essentially that Islam in its entirety is an intolerant religion.

There’s a problem though. A big one.

If Islam is so intolerant, then why haven’t Muslims erupted in the same anger the Christian community has, for Dr. Qadhi allowing Dr. White, a Christian, to speak about the Trinity in a Masjid (mosque, Islamic center)? So far, some in the Christian community have referred to Dr. White as an apologist for Islam, an apostate, a useful idiot for Muslims. There has been a campaign to have his events cancelled, Churches have been called with the demand that he not be allowed to speak in them. There have been endless YouTube videos, social media posts, and articles damning Dr. White for his claim that not all Muslims are evil, intolerant terrorists. All this, being done by a portion of the Christian community who believe themselves to be tolerant.

Yet where is the same outcry from the Muslim community towards Dr. Qadhi? No major Muslim speaker or apologist has condemned Dr. Qadhi for his dialogue with Dr. White. He hasn’t been called an apologist for Christianity, an apostate or a useful idiot for Christians. There has been no campaign to have his events cancelled, Masjids have not been called with the demand that he be banned from speaking in them. There have been no YouTube videos, social media posts or articles by Muslims, condemning Dr. Qadhi. Remember, Muslims are supposed to be the intolerant ones, and the Christian community is supposed to be the tolerant one, if that is the case then why are the Muslims tolerating Dr. Qadhi’s events with Dr. White?

It would therefore seem that there is an intolerance on behalf of some sections of the Christian community, towards the tolerance of the Muslim community for that interfaith dialogue. The irony here is quite palpable. Surely then, if Dr. White is wrong and the Muslim community and the Islamic faith are intolerant, then where do we find the outcry from the Muslim community?

and God knows best.

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.

Evangelical Hegemony on Religious Dialogue

Christian Evangelicals in an attempt to discredit the dialogue between two scholars, namely Dr. Ally and Dr. Crossan have been enforcing some very odd, if not extreme arguments against the speakers. In their vain attempts, they have used the example of Ahmadi/ Qadiani opportunist turned Evangelical Ultra Conservative Christian speaker, Nabeel Qureishi. Their argument is presented as such:

  • Dr. Crossan has heretical beliefs according to Evangelicals.
  • Nabeel is to Islam, what Dr. Crossan is to Christianity.

However, this is an appeal to the fallacy of false equivocation. The decision to have Dr. Crossan share a stage with Dr. Ally was not due to Dr. Crossan’s beliefs, but due to his scholastic credentials – which far outweighs that of his detractors. The comparison with Nabeel is a bit simple minded, if not juvenile. Nabeel was not qualified in any Islamic science, not one. He was not a Mufti, Mawlana, Qadhi, Mufasir, Muhadith, he was qualified in not a single Islamic field of study. His authority to speak on Islam as given to him by the Evangelical community is merely due to a title of, “ex-Muslim” and not due to his lack of Islamic scholastic credentials. Whereas with Dr. Crossan, his list of well attested and erudite scholastic credentials is significant. This is possibly the first time that Dr. Ally will be on stage with a Christian scholar with such a grand background of scholarly qualification, study and research. Therefore, while the Evangelicals are running around screaming bloody murder, basing their Ministerial authority on titles and lack of study, we – the Muslim community have our arms wide open in accepting dialogue with those whose credentials stand first and beliefs after.

I was a bit appalled though, to find one Christian colleague of mine, defending the above logic, by claiming that Nabeel – despite his heretical beliefs was still more qualified to speak on Islam than Dr. Crossan is on Christianity because Nabeel affirmed the 6 articles of faith and the 5 pillars of Islam. This only goes to demonstrate the weak understanding of Islam that both the Ahmadis/ Qadianis have along with the Evangelical community. Before we even get to the articles of faith and the pillars of Islam, the first criteria of belief is Tawheed and then the Khatm Nubuwwat of Muhammad (peace be upon him). Since Ahmadis deny the latter, they therefore do not qualify to be labelled as Muslims according to orthodox beliefs. Even if we examine the articles of faith – included in it is the belief in the Prophets and the belief that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the last Prophet – something Ahmadis/ Qadianis vehemently deny. What is a bit ironic is that the young apologist who claimed such a defense originated from Nabeel’s previous correspondences with him, concerning his “orthodoxy” in Islam, demonstrated through such an argument that Nabeel was firmly ignorant on what the 6 articles of faith are, or what they entailed.

In another twist of events, it seems as if the Christian colleague of mines decided to label Dr. Crossan as a de-facto atheist. So not only has the Evangelical community decided to give authority to Nabeel because of a label he once wore with no scholarly credentials behind him (in regards to Islam), they’ve taken away authority from one educated scholar not due to his credentials but due to a title they’ve typecasted him into. To me, that is not only a double standard and self defeating – it is quite unfortunate to see that this is the level with which the Evangelical Christian movement must stoop to, in order to prevent healthy and scholastic inter-faith dialogue. As our teachers have taught us, damnant non quod intelligunt – they condemn what they do not understand.

and God knows best.

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