Bismillāh, Alḥamdulillāh, As-Ṣalātu was-Salāmu ʿAla Rasulullāh.
In April of 2021 I had the pleasure of debating Dr. Michael Brown (Line of Fire) on a new short form debate series for AWKING TV, a Christian streaming channel. The series, That’s Debatable was meant to cater for hot topics in short form debates with a focus on robust rapid fire segments. In total, my episode was the last to debut at #8 and generally holding to the same 25-30 minute format of the show. Br. Zakir Hussain (Muslim Debate Initiative) referred me to the show and after a quick round of emails everything was set up, including a contract which allowed me to distribute a recording of the episode after a sunset period. That clause kicked in to effect last month and it is with that in mind that I’ve released the debate video.
Notably, this is the only episode that was not advertised publicly. Neither Dr. Michael Brown, nor his team promoted this episode. Reviews and reactions have piled in swiftly since the video’s debut a number of days ago and the consensus (both in the comments and otherwise) seems to indicate that the Muslim side presented itself quite brilliantly. It should go without saying that everyone believes they perform better at their own debates, after all, why do this if one weren’t confident in their own ability for the sake of God? Farid Responds has done a fantastic reaction and review of the debate. Personally, I enjoyed the fiery style of this debate and while short, I did not find time to be an issue. I tried my best to respond with references and data which evidenced my claims and with the assistance of EFDawah and Br. Erfan al Farisi, we managed to have the subtitles fully transcribed and burnt-in to the video.
One of the more astounding claims to come out of this debate by Dr. Brown was that Christians possessed 5000 manuscripts of the New Testament within Christianity’s first centuries, to date, that remains to be an unqualified claim. Of peculiar interest are claims from some Christian audience members that the debate must be a deep fake video, Dr. Brown could not have possibly said the things he did, and yet he did. Other Christian audience members have asked if the video was perhaps cut in some way to make Dr. Brown claim awkward things, and yet it was not. The video is available via the streaming service here. As for why some Christian audience members have such disbelief about Dr. Brown’s claims in the debate, I leave that for you, the audience to decide. It should be noted that the video was available to watch freely, behind no paywall as of July 2022, that a paywall has gone up by the Christian streaming service at the same time I’ve freely released the debate is peculiar, but I lay no claim here, it may just be coincidental.
Overall, audiences have reacted very well to the debate, feedback has been heartwarming and all in all, I think it is fair to say that Christian academics are struggling to defend the New Testament’s reliability both textually and historically, as seen in this very debate.
Yours in Islām,
Ust. Ijaz Ahmad.