Tag Archives: Ijaz Ahmad

Was Christ Crucified? – Historiographic Study and the Aftermath

A few months ago I had a wonderful debate with Mr. Stephen Atkins of Toronto on the historicity of the crucifixion of Christ Jesus. The results of this discussion have been quite meaningful for me and I want to expand on this some more.

Typically, Muslim and Christian debates on the crucifixion have tended to focus on what the Bible or the Qur’ān say about the event itself. This almost always leads into the question of the Qur’ān denying a fact of history. Rather than repeating a debate that has been done ad nauseum, I wanted to do something a little different. It started with an innocent but yet a very foundational question. What does it mean when something is determined to be historic (this is different to an event being historical)? This question spawned other questions. What is the historical method, what counts as a fact of history, what is the role of evidence in determining something to be historic, etc? Muslim-Christian dialogues on the topic had previously presupposed to some degree that we can take the conclusions of some historians and then argue based on their conclusions. It had occurred to me that after twenty-something years of being told that there were mountains of evidence for the crucifixion that I had not actually seen these mountains at all. I surveyed Christian apologetic works against Islām to compile a list of these evidences. I then surveyed Christian apologetic works in response to mythicists (those who claim that Christ Jesus never existed) and compared the evidences they listed. The result was that the lists generally overlapped but they were quite short, in fact, this result bothered me. I assumed at that point that perhaps there was a flaw in the works I had chosen to survey and so I reached out to several Christian colleagues (many of whom were in academia or seminarians) to assist me with my lists. Most produced shorter lists than what I had produced myself.

Knowing then that my lists were more expansive, I then set out to analyse the provenance, datings, and other relevant information about each evidence listed. Most, if not all were from non-contemporaneous sources that provided less information than the Gospels collectively. Knowing already the historical problems with the Gospels (along with the New Testament in general), alongside the various preservation and textual-critical issues, I eventually concluded that our Christian colleagues had exaggerated their claim and in fact, that the emperor wore no clothes; there were no mountains of evidence. There were also no hills, no slopes, not even a slight incline, but rather a singular mole-hill. The stage was set, now I would proceed to examine the other half of the equation, the historical method itself. Reading book after book on historiography, works on historiographic criteria, and works by Christian historians, I began to feel quite underwhelmed and somewhat disappointed. I had assumed that there was some technical detail that held everything together or that there was something more elaborate and demonstrative other than assumptions that had little to no bases. One of the things which became plainly obvious was that from the secular historians I had read from, while they acknowledged the New Testament in and of itself as a complete work of literature was largely ahistorical in its claims, these same historians had viewed the individual event of the crucifixion as historic. The dichotomy was somewhat astounding. Eventually the overarching reason that this dichotomy existed was down to the view that no one else within the 1st century CE had claimed the crucifixion of Christ Jesus did not happen.

In historiography there are two terms that everyone should become familiar with.

  • Methodical credulity – where you presuppose that something is true and wait for evidence to the contrary
  • Methodical skepticism – where you presuppose that something is not true and wait for evidence to the contrary

In the case of the New Testament, academic historians generally apply methodical skepticism but in the case of the crucifixion they applied methodical credulity. What then, explained this dichotomy? It comes down to another facet of historiography known as continuities. See, continuities are generalisations which allow for assumptions of truth (credulity). For example, if I were to make the claim that President Trump owned a smartphone, no one would generally doubt this because in today’s world almost everyone has a smartphone. A historian 200, 300 years from now who examines his presidency, or even his personal life can generally assume that he did own a smartphone because it was common at our present time. It is commonly understood that the Romans regularly crucified Jews at the time of Jesus and so it can be reasonably assumed that because it was so frequent an event, that he was indeed crucified. He just happened to be one of many. Yet, this is just an assumption. For people who aren’t Christians or Muslims, accepting this as a fact bears no consequence on their worldview or their salvation. However, both Muslims and Christians have consequences to bear regarding the crucifixion or the lack of the crucifixion of Christ Jesus. It now becomes more important to have more than mere assumptions based on generalisations and arguments from silence. The stakes are quite literally raised at this point (please forgive the pun).

This is why the debate and the subsequent EFDawah livestreams on this topic became of note.

Rather than arguing based on an assumption, now we were arguing on foundational claims, principles, and evidences. The debate and the streams became somewhat of a testing ground to see just how well prominent debaters, clergymen, and apologists would do in a serious discussion on these matters. The results proved to be quite successful. I’ve had Muslims who have left Islām, return to Islām out of Christianity. Folks who had become agnostic due to this “error in the Qur’ān” returned to Islām. My friends and colleagues have reported using these very arguments successfully in their day to day interfaith conversations. Yet there is perhaps a caveat to all this which most people have yet to recognise. All of my research and all of the arguments which followed from it, have not been made public. In fact, privately with my friends and colleagues, and in a few Masjid lectures I’ve gone into a considerably greater amount of detail. What I’ve presented in the debate itself and in some of the historicity streams are generally the less technical points, summarised arguments, etc. There is so much more to unpack and I hope to do so in a comprehensive, yet brief introductory book on the crucifixion.

and Allāh knows best.

Easter Livestreams (2020)

On this special Easter Sunday, please see the following two videos. The first, from SCDawah where the panel featured Ustadh Adnan Rashid, Br. Hashim, Br. Mansur, Br. Zakir Hussain and yours truly (don’t forget to like and subscribe to SCDawah). We had a splendid time answering questions and giving our various perspectives on the crucifixion and resurrection, as well as our unified understanding on Christ Jesus in Islam.

 

CallingChristians also did a livestream on Facebook on Easter as well.

Do not hesitate to reach out and ask us questions, we’re excited to share the truth of Islam with one and all.

Yours in Islam,
Br. Ijaz.

Debate: “Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?” – Dr. Shabir Ally & John Tors

The debate is at the North York Chinese Baptist Church located at #685 Sheppard Avenue East in Toronto, Canada.

Topic: Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?

Date: Saturday 11th January 2020.

Debaters: Dr. Shabir Ally and Mr. John Tors.

The livestream is available at this link (YouTube) and this link (Church Website).

You can also stream the debate below:


Yours in Islam,
Br. Ijaz.

 

Jay Smith Banned in Hong Kong, Debate Cancelled?

cc-2017-js-panderinglogo

Recently Joseph “Jay” Smith published a video claiming that I had cancelled a debate with him because I wanted a last minute change to the topic. In this brief video, I provide email evidence that not only was the topic agreed to months in advance, but that Mr. Smith himself pulled out of the debate. In addition to this, we also provide an internal Pfander document which lists myself as one of the “Principle Debaters” in the world.

View the video on EFDawah:

or, view the video on SCDawah:

Should Mr. Smith opt to reconsider his reticence to debate a Muslim he considers to be one of the best in the world, I am more than willing to provide him with the opportunity to do so.

Yours in Islam,
Br. Ijaz.

Recent Appearances

As Salaamu ‘Alaykum,

We’ve been busy as of late and have not found much time to post new articles, however, this article serves as a summary of the most recent appearances we have made on the various da’wah platforms.

recent appearances
Check out our new Live Show on the SCDawah YouTube channel, Dawah Live Chat (DLC):

Show with Br. Hijab: Topics include liberalism, secularism, how to study the Islamic faith.
https://youtu.be/qgOpOca4ZMA

Show with Br. Suboor: Topics include secularism, scientism, rational proofs for God and general da’wah advice.
https://youtu.be/R26IfHDkU9E

Show with Br. Mansur: Topics include Hyde Park, methods of learning about Islam and general da’wah advice.
https://youtu.be/WJ0pps5Fbdo

Show with Br. Hashim: Topics include Hyde Park, the methodology of da’wah and general da’wah advice.
https://youtu.be/HiXqwF3L8eg

IPCI Da’wah Training in South Africa (online) –
Topics included the preservation of the Qur’an and the preservation (or lack thereof) of the New Testament.

Part 1 – https://youtu.be/Jn7XfAzrWTw
Part 2 – https://youtu.be/rZSwZ2qSqv4
Part 3- https://youtu.be/96lIrxrxrWE
Part 4 – https://youtu.be/E85GdCao6Y4

Appearance on The Mad Mamluks –
What is the Qur’anic view of the Bible?

Episode 138: Why the Bible is Inauthentic – https://youtu.be/FJuV4A8K8_M

Response to James White on Qur’an 10:94

In a short clip, spanning roughly 20 minutes long, Dr. James White sought to address my article on Qur’an 10:94. He generally had three main points of dispute:

  1. That you have to “jump” from Qur’an 10:94 to Qur’an 46:10 to understand the verse.
  2. That Qur’an 10:94 uses plural for the People of the Book but Qur’an 46:10 is singular therefore it does not apply.
  3. Islamic scholars disagree on whether Qur’an 46:10 was revealed in Makkah (earlier) or Madina (later).

On the first point, there is not a need to respond to it. One of the first rules of exegesis is to let scripture interpret scripture. I am not aware of anyone opening John 1:1, and then complaining that they have to “jump” all the way back to Genesis 1:1 for a comparison to derive further context, I don’t believe a Christian would complain that they had to “jump” (to use Dr. White’s phrase) some 43 books to understand the relation between the two passages. Perhaps he can expand on his surprise and awe of scripture being referenced in such a fashion. As per my own understanding, it is a strawman and faux criticism.

It should be noted that one often has to jump more than a dozen books or more in some cases to reference Isaiah or the Psalms when reading the New Testament, I am not aware of this being a problem until Dr. White expressed it as such.

On the second point, yes, the Qur’an does use the term “those” as in the plural but that is because there were many witnesses at that time, including but not limited to Salman al Farsi, Abdullah ibn Salam and Zaid ibn Sanah. However verse 46:10 is generally referring to one person, while Qur’an 10:94 can refer to multiple witnesses. Therefore, there is no issue here whatsoever.

On the third point, if we argue Qur’an 46:10 is earlier and is therefore a prophecy of a Person of the Book who testifies to the truth of the Qur’an, then it is a prophecy par excellence given the witnesses I mentioned above. If it was revealed in Madinah, then it confirms a truth publicly known and acknowledged, thus verifying the verse itself and the Qur’an. There is no discrepancy here and Dr. White does not seem to follow through on his own logic, he merely states he disagrees with it but does not provide any justifiable reason for making such claims.

Throughout the 20 minutes or so in which he addresses my article, he made statements regarding whether or not there is such a thing as hermeneutics for the Qur’an, while at the same time reading from a Tafseer I quoted in my article. It’s a bit like driving in my car and then asking if I have a car. In case there is any doubt, yes Dr. White, there is and it’s called ‘Uloom al Qur’an, I am fairly certain every single Tafseer books mentions this in some capacity. Perhaps you were being facetious but it came across as being quite uninformed.

and Allah knows best.

Dialogue with Jay Smith

I recently had a polite dialogue with Joseph Jay Smith of Pfander Ministries about the preservation of the Qur’an, it can be viewed here:

Alternatively, the discussion can also be viewed on Facebook.

I also asked him a question after our discussion but via text chat and well, the results were pretty spectacular:

More to come soon, by the permission of Allah.

and Allah knows best.

Response to Dr. James White’s Dividing Line Show on Jan. 9th 2018

Please note – I have quoted Martin Luther in this video and he has many anti-Semitic statements towards the Jewish people. I have only quoted him to provide context for statements made in response to Dr. White. I do not endorse or encourage use of Luther’s hateful views.

See the Presentation that Dr. White is commenting on here.

For more information on the event, see this link.

For the corruption of the OT and NT, according to Islamic beliefs, see this link.

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.

P_20171109_220234_vHDR_Auto.jpg

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.

 

« Older Entries