Tag Archives: muslim

Umar Lee Apostates from Christianity

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Umar Lee caused quite a stir when he became Christian not too long ago. His video was posted by David Wood and Robert Spencer, even Pamela Geller! Today he’s posted a new video – he’s apostated from Christianity and is now Muslim! Here’s the video, but most of us are still left wondering if David, Spencer or Pamela will post his new video too, or will they even comment on it?

wa Allaahu ‘Alam.

Fox News Contributor Calls for Death of all Muslims

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

cc-2013-erikrush

In expected news today, a well known right-wing Fox News anti-Muslim zealot has called for the death of all Muslims in light of a bomb explosion in Boston during the Boston Marathon late Monday afternoon. So far, 2 deaths have been reported with no confirmed reports of what the cause was behind the blast. Sadly, seeing the opportunity to promote fear and disharmony, Erik Rush (pictured above) had this to say:

cc-2013-boston

 

Apparently, the deaths of two, calls for the deaths of all. Sadly, this is the world we live in, and we are not expecting to see any condemnation of such a hateful message by any right-wing Christian group, media outlet or organization.

wa Allaahu ‘Alam.

Further reading:

Muslims are the Guardians to Christianity’s Two Holiest Sites

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

This may sound strange to most, but Muslims, yes, non-Christians are the custodians to Christianity’s holiest of sites and it has been this way for more than 12 centuries. The International Business Times says:

JERUSALEM — Every Christian knows the holiest places in Christendom are in Jerusalem. The holiest of all, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, was erected in 325, over the site where it is believed Jesus was crucified, buried and rose from the dead.

Yet, few know that it is a Muslim who opens and closes the only door to this holiest of Christian sites.

In fact, it’s two Muslims: one man from the Joudeh family and another man from the Nuseibeh family, two Jerusalem Palestinian clans who have been the custodians of the entrance to the Holy Sepulchre since the 12th century.

Every morning, at 4:30, Adeeb Joudeh travels from his apartment outside the walls of the Old City to bring the cast-iron key to the church, just as his father and his forebears did before him.

Once there, he entrusts the key — looking like a 12-inch (30-centimeter) long iron wedge — to Wajeeh Nuseibeh, who knocks at the gate to call the priests and the pilgrims who spend the night praying inside. From inside the church, a wooden ladder is passed through a porthole to help him unlock the upper part of the enormous door.

Then, he unlocks the lower one before handing the precious key back to Joudeh. The ritual is reversed every evening at 7:30, after hundreds of tourists and pilgrims have left the church.

During holidays, such as Holy Week, which culminates Sunday with the Christian Easter, the elaborate opening and closing ceremonies take place several times a day.

Why the elaborate ritual? As often happens in Jerusalem, a city holy to several peoples and religions, there are different versions to explain why two Muslim families hold the key to the holiest site in Christendom.

“After the Muslim conquest in 637, the Caliph Omar guaranteed the Archbishop Sophronius that the Christian places of worship would be protected and so entrusted the custodianship to the Nuseibehs, a family who originated in Medina and had had relations with the Prophet Muhammad,” said Nuseibeh, a retired 63-year old electrician, while waiting in a nearby cafe to carry out his duties at the Holy Sepulchre.

“It happened again in 1187, after Saladin ended the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. He chose our family again to look after the peace between the different Eastern and Western Christian confessions, which were at odds over control of the Sepulchre,” he said with a gentle smile, sitting next to his son, Obadah.

To this day, coexistence among the several Christian churches sharing the Holy Sepulchre is a delicate one. Catholic, Greek, Armenian, Coptic, Syriac, and Ethiopian Orthodox monks have resorted to fists more than once to defend their respective denomination’s rights and privileges in the church, as defined in an decree by the Ottoman Empire, known as the Status Quo of 1853.

Such impious brawls between clergy proved Saladin’s prescience 1,000 years ago, when the sultan sealed the second front gate of the church and entrusted control of the remaining entrance to neutral custodians.

The Nuseibehs claim that the Joudehs entered this story only in the 16th century, after the Ottoman Turks gained control of Palestine and decided to charge a second family with the responsibility of guarding the key.

“Yes, we share the responsibility with the Joudehs, and sometimes we argue, as happens in a family,” Nuseibeh said.

Each Maundy Thursday since the end of the 19th century, the two Muslim families give the key to the Holy Sepulchre to the local Franciscan friars, for as long as it takes to walk to the church in a procession and to open the door after the morning liturgies. When those are completed, the friars return the key to the families.

This ceremony, which confirms in practice the validity of the Muslim families’ custodianship, is repeated with the Greek and Armenian communities, on Orthodox Good Friday and Holy Saturday, respectively.

“Right now, I have in my hands the keys to Christendom’s heart. This is a very important moment for us,” said the Rev. Artemio Vitores, the Spanish Franciscan who is the vicar Custodian of the Holy Land, during the Maundy Thursday procession.

“For centuries, Christian pilgrims were denied entry to the church, or had to pay huge sums to pray on the Sepulchre,” he said, all while holding the key.

At the head of the procession, Vitores was flanked on one side by Wajeeh Nusseibeh, his son Obadah and two cousins, all of whom were equally compensated by the friars for their services with the symbolic sum of $60.

On Vitores’ other side were Adeeb Joudeh, wearing an impeccable dark gray suit, and his 19-year-old son Jawad.

For about 20 minutes, Joudeh ceded control of the only existing key to the Holy Sepulchre. While there is another key, it is broken and no longer used. The functioning key is normally kept in a small office attached to the church and is guarded by an employee of the Joudeh family.

“This key has seen Saladin and every generation of my family since 1187. To me, it’s an honor to be in charge of the holiest of Christian places,” Joudeh said, while walking the cobblestoned alley leading to the Holy Sepulchre.

He insisted on showing on his smartphone what he claimed are 165 official decrees confirming the Joudeh family’s role as custodian of the church over the centuries.

“My ancestor who was given the keys was a sheik, a highly respected person, who was not supposed to perform physical labor, such as climbing the ladder to open the gate,” Joudeh explained. “That’s why the Nuseibehs were called in to perform this duty. Unfortunately, they feel still ashamed of being just the doorkeepers.”

At the end of the procession, the key was welcomed by cheerful pilgrims waiting in front of the church.

For a few minutes, everybody stared at the solemn opening of the gate before rushing in.

Moments later, Adeeb Joudeh walked home with his son, as did Wajeeh Nuseibeh. They will come back here, time and again, at the gate of the Holy Sepulchre: two Muslims, coming in peace to bear the key to the heart of Christianity.

What a truly beautiful show of inter-faith harmony that has lasted beyond the borders of time.

wa Allaahu ‘Alam.

A Case Study of Peter’s Denial

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Note: This article by sister Elisabeth Strout, a female revert from the depths of Christianity to the heights of Islam, read her story here.

While getting ready to teach a Sunday School class on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, my mother asked me what Islam teaches about these issues. Honestly, I responded that the Qur’an simply states categorically that Jesus didn’t die, the Jews only thought they killed him. While that leaves room for countless theories, from the switching of bodies with a look-alike, to the swoon theory, the basic teaching is that Jesus did not die and come back to life, but rather ascended to heaven without dying. I concluded with the assertion that Christians themselves cannot trust their own Bible’s teaching, as it’s riddled with contradictions. My parents confidently disavowed any possibility of discrepancy between the Bible’s four accounts of the event, and as a result, I’ve spent the last few days studying the four Biblical crucifixion and resurrection narratives closely, to analyze the contradictions between them.

There are quite a few, and while some may be written off with the “inclusive” explanation (i.e. Matthew and Mark recount Jesus’ last words as being “my God, my God why have you forsaken me”, Luke claims they were “into thy hands I commit my spirit”, while John says they were “it is finished”, and Christians generally claim that Jesus said all three in succession, “my God, my God why have you forsaken me, into your hands I commit my spirit, it is finished”.), there are some narratives that cannot be reconciled, no matter how you superimpose them.

Rather than posting them all here at once and leave readers floundering in all the references, I decided to start with a case study of one particular event in the story, namely Peter’s denial of Christ. While the wording differs insignificantly between the three questioners who point Peter out, that is not primarily of interest. Take a look at Matthew and Luke’s accounts, which are almost identical, and then compare them with John, and then Mark, and notice the incompatible details:

Matthew 26:69-75

  • All disciples flee upon Jesus’ arrest, Peter follows at a distance.

  • A servant girl in the courtyard says, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean,” Peter responds, “I do not  know what you mean”.

  • different servant girl at the gate says, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth,” Peter responds with an oath, “I do not know the man”.

  • The bystanders say, “Certainly you are one of them, your accent betrays you,” Peter responds again with an oath, “I do not know the man.”

  • The rooster crows, Peter remembers Jesus’ prediction, and weeps bitterly.

Luke 22:55-62

  • Jesus is arrested (no mention made of disciples fleeing), Peter follows at a distance.

  • A servant girl in the courtyard says, “This man also was with him,” Peter responds, “Woman, I do not know him.”

  • Another person says, “You also are one of them,” Peter responds, “Man, I am not.”

  • Another person says, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean,” Peter responds, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.”

  • The rooster crows, Peter remembers Jesus’ prediction, and weeps bitterly.

So far, so good. Again, there is a slight difference of wording, but that can be overlooked. Take note of the emphasized words in Matthew, and now watch how in John, the story takes on a lot more detail (though John was written decades later), and the contradictions begin.

John 18:15-27

  • Jesus is arrested (no mention made of disciples fleeing), Peter and another disciple follow. The other disciple gets into the courtyard because he knows an official. Peter doesn’t get into the courtyard, so the disciple sends a servant girl to open the gate for him.

  • The servant girl at the gate says, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” and Peter responds, “I am not.”

  • The officers and servants around the fire in the courtyard say, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” and Peter responds again, “I am not.”

  • A relative of the man whose ear Peter cut off asks, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” and Peter denies it.

  • The rooster crows (no mention is made of his weeping).

So now, apart from the general wording and the location of the questioners (he goes from courtyard to gate in Matt., and from gate to courtyard in John), we have several distinct differences. First, the identity of the following disciples. Matt. claims all the disciples fled except Peter, and Peter alone followed from a distance. John makes no mention of the disciples fleeing, and claims both Peter and another disciple followed. Typical of John, the other disciple remains anonymous leaving Christians to speculate that it was probably John himself. Either way, either they all fled except Peter, or they all fled except Peter and John. It can’t be both.

Secondly, the identity of the questioners. Other than the first, the servant girl, Luke leaves the second two questioners anonymous, so his version is fairly compatible with the others. Matthew on the other hand, states that the questioners were (1) a servant girl in the courtyard, (2) a different servant girl at the gate, and (3) the bystanders (identified in John as officials and servants). John claims they were (1) a servant girl at the gate, (2) the by-standing officers and servants, and (3) a relative of the man whose ear Peter cut off.

While some may be tempted to generalize “bystanders” to mean anyone, including servant girls and relatives of earless men, the gospels purposely distinguish between the two, and the relative’s words in John set him apart even further from the bystanders of Matt., Mark, and Luke. While the three synoptics list, with slightly different wording, the third questioner as having recognizing Peter as a Galilean (because of his accent in Matt.), John’s third questioner (the relative of the man whose ear Peter cut) recognizes Peter because he saw him in the garden, during the arrest. It can’t be both.

Finally, we come to Mark’s account, which has yet another notable difference. While agreeing with Matthew about all the disciples fleeing except Peter, and the third question from the bystanders about Peter being Galilean, there are a few details that don’t match up.

Mark 14:66-72

  • All disciples flee upon Jesus’ arrest, Peter follows at a distance.

  • A servant girl at the fire in the courtyard says, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus,” Peter responds, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.”

  • Peter goes out to the gate and the rooster crows.

  • The same servant girl sees him there and says, “This man is one of them,” and Peter denies it.

  • The bystanders say, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean,” Peter responds with an oath, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.”

  • The rooster crows a second time, Peter remembers Jesus’ prediction, and weeps bitterly.

While Matthew specifies that the first two accusations were leveled by two different servant girls, Mark goes to the trouble of telling us they were spoken by the same servant girl. It can’t be both. The second, and more noticeable aberration, is that Mark’s account of the story, as well as his account of Jesus’ prediction, differ in the number of times the rooster crows. While Peter is told he will deny three times, and does deny three times, in all accounts, Jesus predicts it will be “before the rooster crows”, in Matt., Luke, and John, and “before the rooster crows twice”, in Mark. And sure enough, in Matt., Luke and John, Peter denies thrice before the rooster crows, while in Mark, he denies, the rooster crows (the sound of it doesn’t bring him to his senses yet), he denies twice more, and the rooster crows again. So which was it, before the rooster crows, or before it crows twice? It can’t be both.

It seems like a silly, insignificant story. Same servant girl or different one, courtyard or gate, bystanders or relative, all but one disciple or all but two disciples, Galilean accent or previous encounter in the garden, one crow or two; does it really matter? For the Christians who claim there’s not a single contradiction in the entire Bible, it does matter. You can’t get around these, and you can’t get around the dozens, if not hundreds more in the Bible, no matter how insignificant. For the more reasonable Christians who openly admit that sure, they’re ancient documents, there’s the occasional slip-up, but nothing major that affects doctrine, their intellectual honesty is refreshing, but it begs the question, can God’s divine revelation be anything less than perfect? When God sends a final text for all of mankind, shouldn’t it be held to the same standards of holiness and perfection as He himself? Others maintain that as God’s Word incarnate, Jesus himself was the final revelation, and it’s his person that matters, not the text. Yet the text is all we have of him today, and if it contradicts itself, if it can’t be trusted to deliver the truth about the small events, how can we trust its claims about matters as weighty as death and resurrection?

Calling Christians Now Live!

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

I would love to announce the launch of CALLINGCHRISTIANS.COM . For sometime now this former blog on theology has grown from a few hits per day to nearing 10,000 10,000+ unique views. With the success of the numerous articles, debates and dialogues that have occurred through our da’wah, it was decided that we should dutifully expand our operations (that means more articles, debates, contradictions, rebuttals!). We will continue with our modus operandi of debating, dialoguing and discussing theology in light of Islam. We ask that you support us and share our articles, videos and debates insha Allaah (God Willing).

To see a list of recent changes made from blog to full blown website, click here.

What’s to Come:

  • Testimonials page (both Muslim and Non-Muslim interviews!)
    [Update: Testimonials being written by respective authors, soon to be posted!]
  • Rebuttals page.
    [Update: Already rebutted a few ignorant anti-Islamists, will place into a single page soon.]
  • Articles Section.
    [Update: Quite a number of articles written, will place into a single page soon.]

Please feel free to contact us on our progress, articles, debates by clicking here.
and Allaah [God] knows best.

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