Tag Archives: muslim

Upcoming Debate: Was Jesus the Son of God or Only the Prophet of God? – Dr. Tony Costa and Br. Ijaz

Quick Information:
Topic: Was Jesus the Son of God or Only the Prophet of God?
Debaters: Br. Ijaz Ahmad of Calling Christians/ MDI and Dr. Tony Costa of the Toronto Baptist Seminary.
Date: Friday 9th of October, 2015.
Time: 7 PM EST.
Location: ABN TV, Trinity TV and YouTube.
Moderator: TBA.
cc-2015-debatewithcosta
Note: Br. Ijaz is not an Imam, the error has been made aware to the channel.
and God knows best.

Debate Review: What Was the True Faith of Jesus’s Disciples? – Br. Yahya Snow

I review a debate entitled “What Was The True Faith of Jesus’ Disciples?

The Debaters:

  • Br. Ijaz Ahmad of Calling Christians
  • Rev. Steven Martins of Nicene International Ministries Canada.

Note: I did the bulk of the review a while ago but never managed to finish it in the detail I would have liked but never got back to it through procrastination and other priorities I’ve quickly tidied up what I had and rolled it out.

“None of the Apostles could have written or sanctioned these stories about themselves” – Br. Ijaz Ahmad

Were the Gospel Accounts eye-witness reports

Steven Martins’ approach was to draw upon the New Testament in his attempt to present what he believes the disciples believed. Steven believes the Gospels are the historical eye-witness records of  the disciples. This was rejected outright by Ijaz Ahmad who pointed out the 4 Gospels were not contemporary to Jesus p and nor are the writers of these Gospels known so how can somebody take these works as eye-witness accounts? None of the authors of the documents which make up the NT were eye-witnesses. Paul himself indicates this of himself (and his writings are the earliest written amongst the NT writings). On top of this the authors of the 4 Gospels are anonymous (these names Mark, Matthew, Luke and John were later given to the anonymous authors). So weighing up all these points it’s sad to hear Steven insist these writings were eye-witness accounts. Perhaps this is what he was taught by his mentors and other Christian apologists but that does not make it true.

Also, just knowing these two basic facts would preclude one from claiming the authors were eye-witnesses – the Gospels are written by highly literate Greek speakers while the companions of Jesus were considered to be illiterate and Aramaic speakers (these people were lower class men). This suggestion they were unschooled is backed up by the writer of Acts as Ijaz cites:

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. [Acts 4:13]

This may seem odd to us folk living in the 21st Century but the vast majority of the ancient world did not know how to read and write.

Ijaz Ahmad offers an analysis that many may have never come across – the alleged chains of transmission of the Gospel accounts. 4 out of the 6 lead to what Trinitarians would call heretical beliefs and the other two are anonymous – further highlighting the range of differing beliefs amongst early Christians. Ijaz states these chains of transmission indicate Peter, Matthew and John rejected a belief in the death of Jesus (which as Ijaz says, it sounds like they had an Islamic belief!).

Do the Gospels contain myths and legends

Ijaz argues there are erroneous stories in the Gospels. One of Steven Martins’ arguments against the claim the Gospels contains myth and legend is that there was not enough time between Jesus’ life and the recording of the Gospels for myth and legend to enter. He then concludes the Gospels are historical based on this.

Has Steven considered William Lane Craig’s unease at the biggest resurrection story in all of Christian literature – that of the resurrection of the many saints in Matthew. He finds it difficult to accept as a literal event, see here:

William Lane Craig Doubts Resurrection Story is Historical (‘The Resurrection of the Saints’) Matthew 27

Now, if Steven Martins believes this story literally then why does nobody else mention it? A story of many dead people coming out of their graves, is that not something that would get people writing according to Steven? Or does he think this is a myth that was added to the account?

However, a point that it is not unrelated to Steven’s theory, Ijaz Ahmad ran through early Christian history pointing out there were multiple competing Christian traditions which all differed from each other – there were even Gospels which differed from each other. So if at the time of Paul there were different Gospels (now lost) then how can Steven be so confident to believe there are no myths and legends in the four Gospels he has ended up with?

In addition the theology amongst various Christian groups in early Christianity was radically different to the Trinitarian theology the majority of modern-day Christians subscribe to.

There were Christian groups which believed in 2 gods, 12gods and 365 gods. Ijaz Ahmad mentions the Arian controversy as a case in point to demonstrate rival factions were competing with each other. This is a good example to highlight as Arianism is Non-Trinitarian and it drew upon the same scriptures as the Trinitarian faction/s as well as it being a good demonstration of how popularity and a sympathy with the ruling elite promoted one faction over another

Arianism taught that Jesus was created by God and was distinct from God. This belief had it’s scriptural basis in John 14:28

These varying theologies within early Christianity should be something Steven should look into further.

Ijaz taught Paul did not mention or use the four Gospels which modern-day Christians use today so even Paul did not sanction these Gospels. Is it possible Paul was unaware of these Gospels? Not that Paul is a criterion of right and wrong but is it possible Paul would have considered some of the writings in the four Gospels spurious?

Another point mentioned, by Steven I think, Paul abolished circumcision. The question is, who gave him authority to do so?

These are further points for Steven to consider.

Object of worship?

Steven Martins claims throughout the Gospels Jesus is the object of worship – paradoxically he mentions this in the same breath as his mentioning of Satan tempting Jesus p. Think about it, he effectively claimed Jesus was God and Jesus was tempted by Satan. Playing games with the belief of the hypostatic union is not going to get the Bible believing Trinitarian away from this problem. Ijaz Ahmad refers to original language of the scripture to show Steven that the word he uses does not denote the type of worship God receives.

‘Son of God’ title

Steven emphasises the ‘Son of God’ attribution given to Jesus in one of the Gospel narratives after Jesus performed a miracle (walked on water) but this just simply meant somebody who was chosen by God – as taught by Prof. Bart Erhman.

The Gospel of John

 

Rather predictably, Martins in his attempt to prove Jesus was divine, leans heavily on the Gospel of John. Almost as though the Gospel of Mark (the earliest Gospel) does not exist!

The irony is, Steven Martins tells Ijaz Ahmad to give priority to the earlier sources (Gospels) when Ijaz brought up the church history. Sadly, many Christians don’t do this with the Gospels and they lean disproportionately to the last Gospel – John’s Gospel.

Another Christian apologetics argument presented is that some doubted in the story where Jesus is said to have been worshipped. Martins claims the story must be true because it mentions ‘doubt’. I guess he’s utilizing the idea of a criterion of embarrassment argument here.

Martins rattles off the ‘he who has seen me has seen the Father’ argument in his attempt to prove Jesus was divine. Similarly Martins uses the Gospel teaching of  Jesus pre-existing before his birth and the ‘I am’ statements.

Martins states Jesus was omnipotent and omniscient as well as being capable of forgiving sins in order to prove his Trinitarian case. Martins also claims Jesus was called by the name of God, ‘my Lord my God’

Steven Martins would do well to look at where these things are written. Are they written in the Gospel of Mark, the earliest Gospel, or the latest one which is the most Christologically developed whose author is effectively described as a liar by Christian apologist Mike Licona (accused of changing stories to make theological points – thus he was forging stories to get his theology across).This anonymous author (later named John) is not the person Steven wants to be going to to get important aspects of theology or proof texts!

What Every Christian Should Know About The Gospel Of John

Peter
Gleeson Archer is cited by Martins to support the claim that the authorship of 2 Peter should not be corrected. Bart Ehrman teaches us that virtually all scholars (with the exception of conservative evangelicals) are unified that 2 Peter is not from Peter. The bombshell is that Prof.Ehrman does not believes 1 and 2 Peter are not written by Peter at all as hebelieves Peter was illiterate.

And would Ijaz’s citation of Acts not support the view that disciples were illiterate?

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. [Acts 4:13]

Miracles
Martins acknowledges other Prophets performed miracles but he tries to draw a distinction between the miracles performed by Jesus and the other Prophets. Martins intimates, erroneously, that these were done by Jesus independently while the miracles of the other Prophets were done by the authority of God. Has Steven got any proof of this? Does he even have a quotation attributed to Jesus to this effect?
There is something in the Gospel of John that militates against Steven’s claim:
but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” [10:32]
Steven Martins starts talking about the Quran
I’m not sure why he did this but he just presented dated and already refuted Christian missionary material.
Martins mentions the Quran 10:94 and 5:47. Martins claims the Bible was already in existence at the time of the Quran revealed. Martins just presents the standard intellectually dishonest and shallow Christian apologist material on this.
Ijaz touches on this here:

https://callingchristians.com/2013/02/14/does-quran-validate-bible/

Bassam Zawadi here:

http://www.call-to-monotheism.com/refuting_the_argument_regarding_the_qur_an_ordering_the_jews_and_christians_to_judge_by_their_scriptures

I think Steven Martins also used one of these missionary arguments too:

http://www.call-to-monotheism.com/does_the_quran_affirm_the_teachings_of_paul_

Steven Martins and IjazAhmad on Paul of Tarsus
Ijaz Ahmad focuses on the historicity of multiple traditions within early Christianity which were competing against each other contemporaneously. To support this claim, Ijaz cites Paul twice

Galatians 1:6

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel [ESV]

Romans 2:16

on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. [ESV]

Ijaz makes a point worthy of consideration, when Paul mentions ‘gospel’ he’s not referencing the 4 we see in the New Testament as he wrote his letters prior to those 4. Ijaz supports this conclusion through the absence of references from those 4 Gospels within Paul’s letters. So here, ‘my gospel’ is referring to ‘my teachings of Christ’.
Steven Martins offers his argument for Paul being truthful, yet if Steven thinks about it, the throwing yourself into hardship from comfort argument can be used with much greater force to show Prophet Muhammad (p) was truthful. Think about it, just read his life  – the Prophet risked his life and was rejected by his tribe. The argument Steven presents is better suited for Prophet Muhammad (p). If Steven is consistent and objective he would accept Prophet Muhammad (p).
When Reverend Steven Martins wrongly claimed Paul’s writing constituted 75% of the NT it suggested to me that Reverend Steven Martins WAS just eager to deliver a response to defend his already-held world view. Is Steven at home thinking about the points presented deeply and re-evaluating his beliefs, is he searching for the truth or is he simply searching for material to offer in defence of his already-held beliefs?
Ijaz argues Paul turned towards the Gentiles in his preaching because he was weak in his arguments and thus was rejected by the Jews, hence why he turned towards the Gentiles – whom Ijaz believes Paul considered to be an easier audience. Interestingly enough, the Gentiles came from pagan backgrounds where mythology was rampant, this fits in with why the stories about Jesus (p) would have presented him as a god-man, the pagans were accustomed to such stories.
This also ties in with the discussion Ijaz and Steven have on why Paul did not quote from the Gospels. The hardest hitting point as made by Ijaz: Paul was being rejected by the Jews yet he never quoted from the Gospels, why would he not quote something that he believes to be authority to people who were rejecting him?

Disingenuous claim by Christians about Bart Ehrman
I’ve heard this before from Christian apologists. Steven Martins makes the same appeal, claiming even Ehrman believed in the death of Jesus p. However, what Christian apologists always do, they never mention that Ehrman is not accepting miracles and thus is of course going to believe a man who was born over 2000 years ago has died. Thus Ehrman, as a historian, accepts the most popular early story about Jesus p and thus he believes he died. Christians really should stop making this point, it’s not like Ehrman believes in the resurrection belief despite the story of the resurrection is in the same account as the death by crucifixion story.
Controlled or Uncontrolled Texts
Ijaz Ahmad offers a good rebuttal to the James White-style attempt in trying to take a positive out of the lack of a controlled text within early Christianity. The Quran, which was controlled in it’s copying, was scribed in a more suitable environment for accuracy. Chunks were being added to the Gospels by dishonest scribes, so clearly the environment in which the scribes were operating in did not offer restrictions against such doctoring of texts.
If I recall correctly Steven mentioned Uthman. Many Christians are fed misinformation regarding Uthman’s burning of manuscripts. Here’s an expert to explain it:

Why did the Third Caliph Uthman Burn the Copies of Quran?

A really bad argument by Steven pounced on by Ijaz
Martins appeals to the fact that Herod, Pontius Pilate, the pool of Siloam are mentioned in the Gospel accounts as being testimony to the historicity of the Gospels. This is an odd argument – it’s absurdly odd.
To be honest, Steven opened himself up to ridicule when he continued with the argument that geographical locations being mentioned in the Gospels as being evidence for their authenticity. Ijaz hit back by pointing out that the same argument could be used on Harry Potter as it includes King’s Cross station (London). What I’d like to know is, from where did Steven get this line of argumentation? Was it an argument from a Christian apologetics school which he accepted blindly?  And would Steven be consistent enough to now claim Islam is true because in Islamic sources real people and real places are mentioned?

The Christian tradition in 7th century Arabia
I feel it’s misleading when Christian apologists bang on about how their canon was formed by this time and thus assume people in Arabia had the modern-day Bible in their possession in the 7th century as though they were Trinitarian Pauline Christians exactly as we find them in a Baptist church somewhere in Texas.

Christians really need to stop making this assumption and they need to stop basing arguments on this erroneous assumption that all Christians had the same books.
Ijaz Ahmad refutes the superficial (and intellectually dishonest) argument It’s obvious this is not the case. Ijaz mentions Christians and Jews converting to Islam during the time of Prophet Muhammad. I would recommend Reverend Steven Martins looks into the story of Salmam Al Farsi, who converted to Christianity, before the coming of Prophet Muhammad, from a Zoroastrian tradition.
Salman Al-Farsi, the son of a Zoroastrian priest, met a Christian monk inPersia and converted to Christianity at the hands of the monk. Salman Al-Farsi ran away to Syria and joined the monk’s Christian sect which was dying sect. Salman Al-Farsi learned, from his Christian sect, of a Prophet to come who was predicted by Jesus (p). He was told of three signs the Prophet would meet:

He shall appear in a land full of dates.

He will have a physical mark on his back.

This man will accept gifts but never accept charity.
From Syria, Salman Al-Farsi ended up in Yathrib after being enslaved. He wound up toiling away as a slave for decades. A time came when talk spread about Prophet Muhammad (p) emigrating to Medina. Salman Al-Farsi heard of this talk and came to Prophet Muhammad (p), he soon realised Prophet Muhammad (p) fulfilled all three signs and converted to Islam.
Salman’s story indicated how few real Christians were left at the time of Prophet Muhammad (p).

Another story illustrating this was that of the Emperor Heraclius, who received a letter from Prophet Muhammad (p). In the account, Heraclius mentions that there are Scriptures in which a Prophet is predicted to come after Jesus (p) and that Prophet Muhammad (p) fits the description.

Both stories indicate that there were Scriptures that the majority of Christians at the time did not have access.

http://thefactsaboutislam.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/christianity-before-islam-in-arabia.html

City of Village?

The difference between a village of a city – the village of Bethsaida. Ijaz Ahmad picks on the author of John for making an error of anachronism. Luke also calls it a city. Perhaps it was one of those loose Gospel scribes writing after it was changed to a city. Whatever the case may well be (the Gospel authors or the scribes), it’s an interesting point raised by Ijaz Ahmad to possibly further impugn the reliability of those texts.
Ijaz accuses the author of John of an anachronistic error regarding the city of Bethsaida and Ijaz spends some time relaying discrepancies concerning the Gospel accounts. I think he could have offered more examples to the audience of discrepancies but perhaps he wanted to focus on stories involving companions of Jesus rather than the standard show of contradictions between the Gospels such as what Barth Ehrman presents here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuvEmajcaiQ
If clear evidence is shown of discrepancies and changes within the Gospels then the question the truth-seeker may ask is, how can these texts be trusted to think they weren’t changed in other ways to the extent that the texts do not even represent the theology of Jesus?

Conclusion

What’s established from the debate, the Trinitarian narrative is not sound. The Gospels are not reliable. There were competing Gospels and traditions. Basing one’s beliefs entirely on the New Testament is effectively accepting conjecture.

Ijaz Ahmad

Clearly he, for such a young man, has a burgeoning apologetics CV. He and Zakir Hussain could well be the mainstay of Muslim debates with Christians for the next few decades.
It’s also nice to hear an accent other than a North American or British accent.
I think Ijaz rushed his positive case for the disciples being Muslims. Ijaz shows links between Jewish Christianity and Islam. His focus was heavily leaning on refuting Reverend Steven Martins and the Trinitarian narrative – this he achieved easily in clearly demonstrating the Trinitarian narrative is not sound.
Another point I would pick on here, Ijaz went for the more complex points which for an audience tuned in to apologetics may well have been suitable but I’d imagine the majority of the live audience and those viewers of the recorded debate are not too familiar with the bread and butter points regarding Gospel contradictions and textual criticism.

Ijaz possesses faith shattering information for the Christian, it would be wise to always ensure the audience is invited to Islam at the end of the debate. Most apologists and debaters don’t do this but surely we want them to come to the truth of Islam rather than not invite them to the truth after effectively destroying their faith.

Where does Ijaz go from here? Well, I’d imagine on his island the scope for engaging with seasoned apologists is quite limited so I’d personally like him to debate local pastors. People want to see apologists debate but let’s see Muslims go to churches to dialogue with pastors (who have flocks of people following them). I would also hope the pastors aren’t marred by some of the dishonest arguments Christian apologists are plagued with today so the discussion is easier – less rubbish to wade through before engaging the Christians productively.
Ijaz has charisma and seems like a nice guy too so these qualities could well endear him to Christians which can only be a good thing in witnessing the truth of Islamic monotheism to Christians

Steven Martins of Nicene International Ministries

For me, Steven was visibly struggling in this debate. This should be a sign to Steven that he’s not on the right side of the fence.

I think he’s a victim of bad information from those who has learned from. The person who gave him the argument he was making based on the mention of geographical locations should be banned from apologetics!

I really think Steven should not debate again. He’s better off just remove himself from Christian apologetics and begin a search for the truth. Think about some of the questions raised. Think about why Jesus p never mentioned a man called Paul or 4 books that he wanted people to believe were ‘Gospels’.

Research Islam with an open heart and mind.

From my experience with Christians, it appears many have been hooked by emotional preaching. It’s not that they have been convinced intellectually to accept the idea of the Trinity or the god-man concept.

Think deeper.

Reverend Steven Martins on the History of Mecca

Rebuking Rev. Steven Martins of Evangelium & Apologia Ministries – ‘Western Values’

Christian apologetics to Muslims, more women in Hell Hadith

Tackling Christian Apologetics on Polygamy (Polygyny) in the Bible and the Quran

More about the Paraclete

Prophecies of the Messiah – Reza Aslan

Christians having dreams and converting to Islam

Learn about Islam

Email: yahyasnow@yahoo.co.uk

Christian to Samuel Green: “You clearly don’t know anything about Islam”

Well this is embarrassing. Pastor Samuel Green who specializes in “ministering to Muslims” ran into quite an awkward argument recently with a fellow but prominent London based Christian missionary. The argument revolves around Green’s lack of education when it comes to Islam, which has upset and embarrassed fellow Christians as Green prides himself on his “engaging with Islam”. Someone had to burst his bubble and it was not pretty:

wpid-2015-03-23-13.52.17.png.png

 

We’d like to thank the Christian community for finally bringing to light what we all know about Samuel – he doesn’t know anything about Islam.

and God knows best.

Debate Special: Introducing Reverend Steven Martins

As the debate events reach ever closer, both Reverend Stevens and myself have authored introductory pieces on our mission, our works and our backgrounds. You can read my introduction at the E&AM website, below you’d find Reverend Steven’s introduction. As he has mentioned on the E&AM website, we’re expecting and catering for ~400+ for each of the two debates. We’re both excited, thrilled and most definitely humbled to be at the service of our religious communities.


 

Rev. Steven Martins

Rev. Steven Martins

I would firstly like to thank Bro. Ijaz Ahmad of Calling Christians for this opportunity to introduce myself to the Muslim community and to the people of Trinidad & Tobago. I also would like to express my thankfulness to his team who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to put together our first debate on “What is the True Faith of Jesus’ Disciples?” along with Pstr. Kris Maharaj of the Jesus Worship Centre for receiving us and co-ordinating our itinerary.

My name is Rev. Steven Martins and I am the founder and lead-apologist for Evangelium & Apologia Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization stationed in Toronto, Canada. I am a York University graduate and am working towards a Masters of Arts in Christian Apologetics at Veritas Evangelical Seminary.

 

I have studied and developed my ministry under the tutelage of RZIM Canada’s Dr. Andy Bannister, Dr. Tony Costa and Dr. Joseph Boot. I have also served as the chief-organizer of 2014’s Classical Debate between Jay Smith and Dr. Shabir Ally.

I am traveling down to Trinidad with my beloved wife Cindy from February 18 to March 1 to speak at schools, churches, colleges and Universities on apologetic topics such as The Problem of Evil, The Question of Suffering, Biblical Creation, Biblical Archaeology and other topics that we are requested to cover. Amongst our bookings, we have two debates with Bro. Ijaz, one of which takes place on Friday February 20 (topic mentioned above) and the second on Saturday February 28 on “Islam or Christianity: Which is the True Path of Faith?” In truth, although our ministry currently had its sights on Latin-America for this year, God opened the door for us to arrive in Trinidad & Tobago for His divine will and purposes.

As a Christian, I have often been asked why I have endorsed or participated in debates with different faith communities. My response has always been consistent with my faith and worldview, that I am concerned for the salvation of other people and would like to communicate the truth of the Gospel to all nations and cultures. However, I can certainly do that through other mediums, why then choose a debate? Because I also believe that multi-faith communities should engage each other in great positive discussions on theology and spirituality. Instead of embracing misconceptions derived from other people’s opinions, why not ask a Muslim why he believes what he believes on certain topics and issues? Why not hear what other people have to say? Why not present our arguments and cases on the table, and have a civilized discussion where disagreements and arguments can be explored, tested, and refined? Debates and dialogues are a great way to instill peace through respectful and honorable communication, while also getting to know our respective neighbors and friends. We can either isolate our communities from each other, or we can promote engaging discussions which will only better improve society and its internal relations through respect and honor for one another.

Thank you for receiving my wife and I into your beloved country; it will be an honor to meet with you and to engage in fruitful discussion on the dates of our debates.

May God Bless you,

Steven Martins
Executive Director
Evangelium & Apologia Ministries
www.eamcanada.org

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).

wpid-img_20140919_214316.jpg

wpid-img_20140919_214246.jpg

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):

wpid-20140919_200313.jpg

 

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.

Christian Love for Br. Ijaz

I’m not sure what ticked off this individual, but he does seem quite upset at Muslims and particularly at me. I don’t know who he is or why he’s messaging me, but he sure is angry. Based on his other messages, he does seem to be under the impression that I’m an immigrant to the UK though, which isn’t true, as we Trinidadians often say “I’m Trini to de bone“. I do often get hate mail in this form, nasty insults, threats, etc, this is just a sample of the messages sent:

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On the other hand, this bloke might just be completely crazy and his faith of choice is completely coincidental. Experience though, and the many other messages strongly suggest that may not be the case. I pray that God guides this person and that they can live their lives being at peace with those who disagree with them. Ameen.

and God knows best.

Samuel Green Admits to Polytheism, Believes in 2 YHWHs

In orthodox Trinitarian belief, Christians state that there is one God but three Persons. One Elohiym but three Persons. One YHWH but three Persons.However, Pastor Samuel Green agreed with and promoted a post by a fellow Christian polemic which clearly stated that Jesus the Christ was a second YaHWeH.

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I honestly ask, do Christians believe in more than one YHWH? Or isn’t the orthodox belief, that YHWH is one but many persons?

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As you can see from the above photo. Pastor Green has since seen my message to him, inquiring about his change of doctrine and has decided not to respond. This clearly indicates he either screwed up badly or did not realise what he was supporting. I pray that he responds on the matter in a timely fashion.

and God knows best.

Samuel Green’s Appeal to Pseudo-Scholarship

Pastor Samuel Green loves talking and writing about the history of the Qur’aan. He often quotes many persons and deems them to be ‘scholars of the Qur’aan’. In this discussion, I had posted a quote from a book I was reading at the time about the pseudopigraphical texts of the New Testament. The goodly Pastor then sought to question my use of Prof. Dale C. Allison as an authority, in like, I asked him to prove his use of a blind Egyptian secularist as a scholar of the Qur’aan, an authority on the Qur’aan. As the photo demonstrates, it’s been 5 months, we’re into a new year and the Pastor still can’t justify his claims:

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Hey Pastor, when will you remember to reply?

and God knows best.

Christian Viciously Abuses, Insults and Attacks Br. Ijaz and Innocent Muslim Female on Paltalk

Today, I bring you approximately 10 minutes of a Bible believing, Christ loving, Church going, Muslim hating Christian named Larsen. He doesn’t like Muslims, actually, he hates us. To quote him, he says, “We are your enemies, we hate you and we hate you with a passion“. As you’d notice I reacted to his abuse in the way I react to all Christian abuse. I remained calm and collected, answered his questions, questioned his methodology and behaviour, this however, led to him stopping me from speaking and increasing in his anger, which caused him to verbally abuse me more.

At first he confused me with someone else, I for myself, do not own any rooms on Paltalk, then he confused me with someone else who he’s afraid to debate, therefore I asked him if he’d debate me, to which he gave a very strange and laughable reply. Feel free to listen to the audio. Once more, please remember that the ‘clicking’ sound in the background is me typing text responses to him.

Notice, he begins to call a Muslim sister:

  • Stupid
  • Scumbag
  • Disgrace
  • He even says, “I spit on you”.
  • Shame on you.
  • Nasty
  • Disgusting Filthy

Imagine, this is how a Bible believing Christian speaks to Muslim women, simply because they are not Christian!

and Allaah knows best.

Quick Tip for Talking with Missionaries

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Despite having been in this arena for a few years, I’m always finding new ways to interact with anti-Islamic polemicists. While attending a conference yesterday, I came across some invaluable advice in a book I’ve enjoyed reading for sometime (“How to Read a Book”, by Mortimer J. Adler). Many Ulama have recommended this book and I’m quite happy they did, it’s been very informative and extremely enlightening, it’s worth significantly more than you’d ever pay for it.

When we dialogue with missionaries, or conservative groups (EDL, BNP etc), sometimes even atheists, we find them claiming things of Islam that we don’t necessarily believe. Case in point, “Muslims worship a moon God“. As a Muslim, I’ve never been told to worship the moon, nor has Allaah ever been described as the moon, nor was the moon taught to me as being a deity. In fact, the Qur’aan directly speaks against anyone worshipping the sun or the moon:

“And the night, and the day, and the sun, and the moon are among His signs; do not prostrate for the sun or the moon, but prostrate for Allah Who has created them, if you are His bondmen.” – Qur’aan 41:37.

So, what should we do when we’re faced with someone who is claiming that Muslims believe X, when in reality we believe in….not X (let X be any arbitrary argument about Islamic belief – moon God, Injil is Bible etc)? It’s simple, you as the Muslim must declare: This is now what Islam teaches and as a Muslim, this is not what I believe. From this, we can take Mortimer’s advice, he says:

You yourself may remember an occasion where someone said to a speaker, in one breath or at most two, “I don’t know what you mean, but I think you’re wrong.” There is actually no point in answering critics of this sort. The only polite thing to do is to ask them to state your position for you, the position they claim to be challenging. If they cannot do it satisfactorily, if they cannot repeat what you have said in their own words, you know that they do not understand, and you are entirely justified in ignoring their criticisms. They are irrelevant, as all criticism must be that is not based on understanding. – How to Read a Book, Mortimer J. Adler, Page 97.

In sum:

  1. Opponent makes claim.
  2. If this is not what we as Muslims believe, declare this to your opponent, clarify what we actually do believe.
  3. He will say you’re wrong (he will deny your declaration).
  4. Ask him to explain to you what you said you believed.
  5. If he can’t or refuses to, then his criticism is unfounded, as what he is attacking, has no basis in our deen.

It’s simple, but pure genius. How can you expect to carry on an intelligent and worthwhile discussion with someone who claims to understand your beliefs, but cannot accurately express them to you? Such a person is pretending to have knowledge that they do not have and you should inform them of their lack of knowledge and decorum.

wa Allaahu ‘Alam.

 

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