Tag Archives: jay smith

Is Petra Islam’s True Birth Place?

For centuries Muslims have revered Mecca as the site of their holiest shrine, the Kaaba. However, in 1977 John Wansbrough, Patricia Crone and Michael Cook published books arguing for a radically different approach to Islam’s origins. Among other things, these revisionists contended that Mecca was not Islam’s birthplace, which they located somewhere in the Fertile Crescent. Though Crone and Cook later repudiated the theory advanced in their book, Crone at least held fast to the idea that Islam’s origins were likely in the Fertile Crescent, possibly in Nabatea.

Forty years later revisionism is still alive and well. Some scholars still promote the idea that the Kaaba was not originally in Mecca. Some say it was in or near Petra, while others refuse to speculate on the location. Their combined evidence was enough to convince popular historian and documentary filmmaker Tom Holland. Since Muslims everywhere pray facing Mecca, this view means they all naively face the wrong direction.

This short but elucidating paper by a Christian scholar, in refutation of Dan Gibson is quite informative and handy for Muslims engaging with Christians on this topic:

Click here to open or download the PDF file directly.

 

Unpacking Jay Smith: Topkapi Dating

In the past four weeks there has been a roll out of my latest video to the tune of more than 15,000 views. I recently began a series engaging with Joseph “Jay” Smith of Pfander, about his inconsistent, often erratic and usually dishonest claims. I would like to thank MuslimByChoice, SCDawah and EFDawah for uploading the video to their YouTube platforms.

Watch the video on MuslimByChoice’s channel:

 

Watch the video on SCDawah’s channel:

 

Watch the video on EFDawah’s channel:

 

The video is also viewable on our Facebook page:

 

I have been watching very closely the kind of feedback I’m receiving from specifically Christians who echo Jay’s material and the feedback has been quite surprising. There have been a lot more messages to Calling Christians over the last four weeks from Christians asking for more information. They usually come to agree that in this instance, on the dating of the Topkapi manuscript, that Jay is indeed incorrect though they would not explicitly state that he is intentionally being misleading. One common response was usually along the lines of, if he’s wrong in this case it does not mean he’s wrong in everything else he claims. To this I usually responded that this is one of his foundational and most oft-repeated claims, if a core claim is so obviously wrong, and we know he knows this information is incorrect, then how can we claim he is reliable in other areas?

and God knows best.

Missionary Mishap: Christians Cannot Lie

As the fall out from the debate I had with Joseph Jay Smith continues, a peculiar comment was made on my video that simply had to be addressed. The comment you are about to see, exemplifies the type of Christian that is following Joseph Jay Smith.

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According to this Christian fellow, Joseph Jay Smith is a Christian, and as a Christian he cannot lie. Which means that whatever Joseph Jay Smith says, will always be true. This is the kind of intellect that Jay’s rhetoric appeals to, one of deifying humans and discarding basic logic altogether. Isn’t this what cults do? You can’t question Jay, whatever he says must be right because he said it.

Amazing.

and God 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.

Early Review of QuranGateway.Org

Developed in tandem by Dr. Andy Bannister and Dr. Daniel Brubaker, QuranGateway.Org aims to be an educational and research based resource for the study of manuscripts of the Qur’an. Several months ago I was able to view the website as it developed and have since been following its updates. What makes QuranGateway unique is that it provides a searchable database based on Daniel Brubaker’s PhD thesis about variants in the Qur’anic manuscript tradition. The website is also based on Dr. Bannister’s research from a few years ago on the oral formulations of the Qur’anic narratives that correlate with Biblical narratives.  In the image below, we can take a quick preview of the interface and the information generally provided on the “Browsing Surah List” help page (click to enlarge):


Quran Gateway Browsing Surah List

Based on Dr. Bannister’s analysis of themes in the Qur’an, various charts and infographs have been generated using his primary research data (click to enlarge):

Quran Gateway Intro to ChartsOne of the main features of the website, though the functionality is erratic at times (I am not sure if it is based on incorrect data from Brubaker’s thesis or website database issues), is the ability to view some scribal changes in some early manuscripts of the Qur’an. One will note however, that the reason for such scribal changes and errors is not explicitly explained in pages that list the changes themselves. This is obviously an issue, as one has to ask, why would they list the changes without using the entirety of Brubaker’s data where it is explained that these were largely either scribal mistakes, or due to the orthographic development of the Arabic language? Hidden away on a largely obscure page, we are eventually told that the vast majority of these variants are in and of themselves, irrelevant (click to enlarge):

Quran Gateway Scribal Changes

The purpose of the website therefore seems to be confusing. On the one hand, its main emphasis seems to be twofold, themes in the Qur’an based on Dr. Bannister’s research and scribal changes based on Dr. Brubaker’s research, yet when it comes to the latter the data seems to be largely incomplete. Most of Dr. Brubaker’s analysis in his PhD thesis indicates that almost all the scribal changes cannot be found in the Qira’at literature, meaning then that they are unique issues delimited only to single manuscripts themselves, most of which were the use of the Arabic letter alif as it pertains to early Arabic orthography (see pages 29 to 30 here). This information however, seems not to have made its way to the website which is perhaps the most important information that should be included. This is because Dr. Brubaker painstakingly compared the lapsus calami and scribal idiosyncrasies with the vast array of Qira’at literature and documented his results in his thesis, which is one of the two main sources for the dataset on the website. On the one hand we are being told, here is a tool where you can search for these scribal differences, but on the other hand, here’s no contextual information based on a comparative analysis with the rest of the documented information about the varying readings in the Qur’anic tradition that we’ve already done, but we won’t give it to you.

Similarly, while the website aims to be a hub for research, it lacks on its team of scholars any Muslim scholar on the Qur’an. One of the issues here is that if the website is aiming to be a hub for objective academic research and study, and is not meant to be a polemical based Christian apologetics website, then shouldn’t there be a panel of scholars rather than merely two Christian apologists? Dr. Bannister is a Christian apologist, he leads the SOLAS CPC organization in the UK. Dr. Brubaker is also active in Christian apologetics, having used his research to help Joseph Jay Smith in a debate with Dr. Shabir Ally. This issue therefore takes credibility away from the objective based research facade that has been presented. As far as I am aware, no Muslim has been invited to preview the website itself, though the website has been previewed with various Christian groups, most recently in Toronto in December of 2017 (could’ve been November, I can’t seem to recall at this moment).

While I do look forward to using the website, the incomplete data, and lack of diverse scholarship on the panel beyond two Christian apologists presents with it serious credibility issues that need be attended to. One area of possible issue is legally, where some of the facsimiles of early manuscripts have been used without permission from their copyright holders and the rights that were allowed by atleast two organizations are now under reconsideration due to the other facsimiles being used without expressed permission and also due to the Christian apologetics inclination on the website which rather than being viewed as an objective research tool, lends credence to the website being merely a polemical tool for a specific religious group. Despite these issues, I do hope to see further development done to the website. For further information and to see the website in action, here are three videos:

and God knows best.

Jay Smith and the Keeree-Art

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In a recent Hyde Park encounter with Br. Muhammad Hijab, my friend and colleague, Joseph Jay Smith of Pfander, made some plainly absurd and false claims, among them:

  •  Claims that all the NT manuscripts are the same, which is demonstrably false.
  • Claims that Codex Sinaiticus has no differences with the NT of today (it has edits going into the 12th century CE, that’s 600 years after nascent Arabian Islam).
  • Claims Muslims have no Qur’anic manuscripts until the 8th century, Dr. Fedeli, Dr. Sadeghi, Dr. Tayyar would all disagree, they’ve published works contrary to this absurd claim.
  • Claims that Brubaker’s research is “new”, but is more than 3 years old.
  • Claims that Br. Hijab has never seen Brubaker’s thesis, false, as I’ve given it to him and his colleagues…3 years ago.

and God knows best.

Joseph (Jay) Smith Hates Free Speech

Joseph Smith, otherwise known as Jay Smith, a notorious panderer who has been known to promote fear and hate about other immigrants to the UK, primarily Muslims, has found himself in another scandal.

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Joseph (Jay) Smith – Anti-immigrant Immigrant to the UK

His religio-political anti-Muslim group, otherwise known as Pfander, has claimed in the past that they stand for free and open discussion about religion, usually those of Islam and Christianity. On the Pfander website, in their About section, it reads:

“Understanding other religions is often difficult, and can cause either intrigue or fear, and misunderstandings. Therefore, it is important to listen carefully and to learn about the beliefs of another religion, as well as research its very foundations. That is why Pfander is passionate about transparent and open debate between Christians and Muslims. Such discourse is rare, but it is a vital preparatory step to discovering truth. It is important for people to realise that Christianity and Islam each makes its own (often competing) truth-claims, this is the point where debate is necessary and right.”

It is ironic that the group claims to engage in open and transparent debate, but at the same time, the group is banning Muslims who engage with their social media pages. In the last few weeks, after spending a considerable amount of donation money on Facebook advertising (post boosts) to gain user views for a specific video about Muslims, they became quite upset when Muslims began to engage with their Facebook page, banning and removing comments en masse.

We’ve received numerous complaints from Muslims who took Pfander up on their offer for open and transparent debate being banned from commenting on the Pfander page, simply by asking questions or trying to engage in polite dialogue with the notorious group. Very recently, up and coming Muslim apologist, Br. Mustafa Ahmed was also banned for asking questions about claims made by Pfander’s Lizzie Schofield. As such, we feel that this should be the new header on their website:

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We hope that Joseph (Jay) Smith, Sarah Foster, Lizzie Schofield, Beth and Hatun can begin to engage with Muslims in an honest, open and transparent fashion, after all, this is what their group was allegedly created for.

and God knows best.

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