Tag Archives: dividing line

Stumping an Evangelist

A week ago, I gained a significant insight into the mind of James White – the Christian speaker. He had a discussion with himself on the Qur’aan and its understanding of the Jews and Christians. You can listen to the program here. How the Qur’aan approaches the beliefs of the Jews and Christians, the corruption of their scripture and several other matters were discussed, but it’s something that James mentioned that really enlightened to me to his approach towards apologetics in relations to Islam. Click here and listen for the next two minutes of James’ dialogue. James is reading aloud a response I sent to a group email in which he was involved. To summarize James’ belief:

  • The author of the Qur’aan is ignorant about Christian beliefs because the author says wrong things about Christian beliefs.

Let’s take for example the claim that the Qur’aan gets the Trinity wrong, 5:116 says:

And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah?'”

This is one of his common claims, but we must ask ourselves something that he doesn’t. Does the Qur’aan state that this is the Christian Trinity? It doesn’t. There are only two things that this verse states: (1) Christians took Jesus to be a God, (2) Christians took Mary to be a God. So how exactly does the Qur’aan misrepresent the Trinity in this verse? It’s obvious that James begins his argument by assuming what this verse says, isolating it, and then reading into it what he wants to claim, and then he “bravely” argues against this claim – his own claim. Let’s take another example, he says the Qur’aan again misrepresents the Trinitarian formula in the following verse, 5:73 which says:

They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allah is the third of three.” And there is no god except one God.

His argument is that Christians do not believe that God is one of Three, therefore the Qur’aan errs in regard to common Christian belief. However, the Qur’aan here – without dispute, gets the Trinity correct. God – the Father (Allaah), is one of three. We must then ask, how could the Qur’aan get it wrong, if it gets it right? The Qur’aan can only be “wrong“, if Christians did not believe that each person of the Godhead was a God, is James saying that he believes otherwise? He repeats this argument in a debate he had in South Africa with Br. Bux, and that concerned me because he claims to let scripture speak for itself, when his own actions demonstrate otherwise.

Now, these are minor examples of his ineptitude and dishonesty, but in reference to my email – he’s indicated something far more insidious than I could have known. See, I made the claim that the Qur’aan doesn’t only speak about one specific set of Christians. James’ position/ angle when claiming that the Qur’aan gets Christian beliefs wrong is based on the fact that he expects the Qur’aan to mention one type of Christian beliefs only – his own. So that would be Trinitarian – Calvinist – Baptist -Christian theology. That means the Qur’aan must only speak about one sect and that it can only speak about one sect of Christianity, his sect. I challenged this by saying that this was a silly claim, why does the Qur’aan have to speak about one sect’s beliefs only?

His response to that was to ask, “Hmmm……Ummm…..(that particular work well known in early Church history), are you really going to try to defend the idea that the Qur’aan accurately represents a catalogue of variant Christian beliefs?” That statement is golden, he’s essentially type casting the Qur’aan’s approach to Christianity and that it should only represent his version of Orthodox Christianity and it should not speak about the beliefs of the Christian world.

James' Face of Confusion

James’ Face of Confusion

In response to James’ question, I ask, are you really going to try and defend that idea that the Qur’aan is supposed to only speak about one type of Christianity? For academic sake, the Qur’aan mentions that some Christians took Mary to be a deity, there are two prominent sects of Christianity that did this, the Collyridians and the Roman Catholics. If James is fair and objective, honest – he should concede that the Qur’aan is referencing the beliefs of more than one Christian sect from this claim about Mary alone. From this, when I heard James’ skepticism to my claim that the Qur’aan mentions the belief of the Christian world and not the beliefs of one sect – the one he happens to belong to, I then realised just how myopic and misguided his approach was, it’s merely polemical. I call upon James to demonstrate why the Qur’aan should only speak or mention the beliefs of one sect of the hundreds of Christian sects that exist. What makes Trinitarian Calvinist Baptist Christian beliefs so special, that a book from God can only focus on one heresy and not other heresies which defile a Prophet of God and his mother?

It’s now inescapable that every time I hear James applaud his level of study, that the image above (unedited in anyway) comes to my mind. The very fact that he approaches the statements of the Qur’aan by using eisegesis and cherry picking, demonstrates for me, his great ineptitude at being a formal scholar, an erudite, a consistent man.

and God knows best.

Dividing Line After Thoughts

I’ve been asked by several persons who listened to the webcast of Dividing Line to give a few comments on my thoughts of the events which occurred during the show. Personally, I don’t have much to say about the discussion, but I’m willing to give a little background and explain a few details.

Sheikh Awal is currently in Trinidad and Tobago, my home country. He’s here to give a few workshops and lectures. I met him on Wednesday night, which was unplanned to be honest until a chance call earlier in the day. In the end, I got a chance interview with him. It’s about 7 minutes long and we didn’t have time to discuss much, so he summarized for the public consumption, the events which led up to the cancellation of his debate with James White.

I posted the interview and sometime Thursday evening, I got an email from James indicating he’d be playing the interview on his show and declaring debate challenges to the both of us. It was at that time I decided to call in. James has a very unfortunate habit of discussing persons without them being present. Case in point, he argues against Shaykh Deedat quite often. That’s an easy argument, the Shaykh is dead, he can no longer respond thus James can argue what he wants, how he wants – he won’t be getting a response from Shaykh Deedat. That’s obviously something I find quite distasteful, quite incredulous. In calling in, I decided I would speak my mind as clearly as I could on this aspect of James’ ministerial methodology.

I called the Dividing Line twice, the first time it was to indicate to Richard (of AO Min) that I would be calling in after the interview had aired to discuss with James his disagreements. I called again when I realised James was taking a bit too long to get to the crux of the interview, and waited about 7 minutes until my credit on my phone was depleted. Richard called me back and said they’d put me live when James was ready to have me on. Doubts occurred as the hour mark drew close, for if his show runs for one hour, how could they have me on it after their airing time was complete? Fortunately they called me on the hour’s mark and that’s when our chat began.

James’ speaking methodology is different to mines. I’m often laid back and non-confrontational, but James is the opposite. He’s a dominating speaker, a confident speaker. In order to match his tone, his approach and his accusations, I also had to attempt to dominate the conversation and steer it in a mutually beneficial direction, as opposed to James speaking over me. That worked brilliantly, as in the end, I got my say in and even got him to bring Shamoun on the air for a solid few minutes of heated one on one discussion and debate. What really pleased me though was their inability to get me to discredit any of my comrades, namely Br. Snow and Br. Awal. Conversely, James ensured that he distanced himself from the antics of Wood and Shamoun, even criticising them on air – hopefully Br. Snow will produce clips of this for his YouTube channel to aid in our back and forths with Shamoun and company.

What I was most content with, was being able to get Sheikh Awal’s debate published within one day of the interview. This was the goal and praise be to God, it was achieved in a timely manner, without much difficulty. In the end though, I possibly also got a free book out of it, as James agreed to send me a copy of his book, “The Forgotten Trinity”. However, he has failed to reply to my email in my request for an update in receiving this book. I’ll consider it for now that he is busy and as such, he’ll eventually reply to it and send me the book which I’ve been unable to access otherwise as I’d honestly like to read it.

I’d like to thank James for setting everything up and I look forward to our debate in London. Thanks for watching/ listening to the discussion, I hope that good comes from these inter-faith dialogues. Here’s the link to the show, I call in about the hour mark.

and God knows best.

Interaction with James White of AO Ministries

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Very recently I published an article on the Muslim Debate Initiative’s website on the Christian mandate of believing in the Graeco-Roman New Testament as a scripture. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries sought to do an informal response (and yes, I’d like to acknowledge it as such), on his ‘Dividing Line‘ program, minutes 34 to 41. It would be in our readers’ best interests to listen to the criticisms James lays out before continuing with reading my response to him.

I listened intently to what he had to say and then I respectfully replied in this post, once again published on the Muslim Debate Initiative’s website. It’s certainly a healthy, and lively theological interaction between two individuals on opposite ends of the religious spectrum. Do listen to what James has to say, and do enjoy my response to him.

Please note: I was incorrectly named as Ijaz Muhammad on AO’s website, my pen name is Ijaz Ahmad – it has not changed.

wa Allaahu ‘Alam.