Tag Archives: Salvation

Is the Bible a Requirement for Salvation?

Five years ago, I wrote a quick article on questions that Christians do not like to answer. Recently, there’s been some controversy/ buzz about the first question I posed in that article. Here’s the question:

If the earliest Christians within the first two centuries after Jesus did not need a New Testament to qualify their faith, why do modern Christians have such a need? If they did not sanction or consider any other writing beside the Old Testament to be scripture, then isn’t it a digression from the ‘true faith‘ of the earliest believers to incorporate something new as scripture? The first New Testament was codified and canonized by the heretic Marcion who believed that the Jewish YHWH was not the true God, the first time the largest Christian Church sanctioned a New Testament was during the 2nd Ecumenical Council of Carthage in 397 CE, some 360+ years after Jesus.

One of the more telling issues with the questioned posed above is that those who have responded to it believe that the question was tricky to answer. I agree it is tricky to answer, that’s the very reason I asked it in the first place! I therefore, don’t find that description of the question to be a problem, it’s more an affirmation that I framed the question properly in the first place. I’m essentially asking one question:

Is the New Testament required to be believed in for salvation in Christianity?

In other words, can someone be a believing Christian without having need for, or being dependent on the New Testament? Can someone reject it and yet, still be saved? This is effectively how the earliest Christians lived, without a New Testament. Some have tried to respond with the following passages:

  • “Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15)
  • “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31)

These verses do not answer my question. What these verses teach is that you should believe in the good news, but it does not require belief in this or that or any other Gospel. The authors of Mark, over its centuries of development, never emended the text to say, “repent and believe in this gospel,” there’s a reason for that, the verse is conveying the point that it’s good to believe in what Jesus brought, i.e. his message, not the documents written by people decades later who never knew him. Rather, what is emphasized for belief is in him, Jesus, not any written work by any man. That’s the point I’m trying to make here. There is no requirement to believe in the New Testament as God’s inspired revelation to be saved in Christianity. Consider for a moment, this very important passage:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV).

It’s useful for lots of things, except for salvation. This passage does not state that belief in scripture is a requirement to be saved. Scripture is useful for many things, but it’s not a requirement. It’s like the difference between having an umbrella in the rain and not having one. Sure, the umbrella is useful and it is good for many things when it’s raining, but it’s not a necessity or requirement for when you’re going into the outside world. This is the distinction between something’s usefulness and it’s necessity, one is clearly not the other.

So then, the question begs itself, doesn’t it? Do you require the canonized and codified New Testament, to be believed in, as a requirement for your salvation in Christianity? The earliest Christians did not seem to think so, so why do you?

and God knows best.

The Problem of the Thief and the Crucifixion

Introduction

In perhaps what is one of the most perplexing passages of the New Testament, we find a story during the alleged crucifixion of Jesus the Christ that challenges the very core of commonly held Christian beliefs about Christ and salvation. We read from Luke 23:39-43 (NIV) the following:

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The Problem

If we were to ask a confessional Christian today (one that knows of and adheres to the doctrinal confessions of the faith) what one needed to believe in for salvation, we would perhaps have a very long list. It would likely include belief that Jesus died for the sins of all, that Jesus was God, that Jesus was both man and God (belief in the hypostatic union), belief that the New Testament is the word of God, belief in the Godhead, in the Personhood of each member of the Godhead who were all co-equal and co-substantial to each other.

Yet the 5 verses from the Gospel eventually attributed to Luke present a severe theological problem that strikes at the very core of Christian theology. The question before us is, what did the thief say, believe and do to be granted salvation? When we examine the verses we can identify only two things:

  1. That Jesus was an innocent man.
  2. That Jesus was a King (or would become one at some point).

All the thief had to do to be granted salvation was to accept that Jesus was innocent and thus did not deserve to be crucified, and that Jesus would survive in some form such that he would become a king or have a kingdom. By this standard, all Muslims will be granted entry into the kingdom of God. The thief did not have to believe in the New Testament, did not have to accept the Old Testament, did not have to express belief in the Trinity, did not have to believe in the Godhead, did not have to believe in the two natures of Christ, did not have to even accept Jesus as the Messiah! He did not have to believe Jesus was the incarnate word of God, he did not have to believe that Jesus was the 2nd person in the Godhead…in other words, the thief did not have to believe in anything that Christians today hold to be true.

There is perhaps an even greater issue here. The thief claims that Jesus was innocent and thus did not deserve to be punished. See, Christians necessarily believe that while Jesus was innocent, he deserved to suffer and be punished, because he came to suffer for our sins as an act of grace:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 (NIV).

“And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” – Luke 9:22 (NIV).

According to the above passages, Christ must suffer and must be killed. However, the thief on the cross, seemingly disagrees with these teachings. The thief explicitly says that not only is Jesus innocent, but that he did not deserve to die. In other words, the thief is expressing an Islamic position that Muslims would agree with. Jesus did not deserve to die, he did not deserve to suffer and he was an innocent man. In other words, Jesus rewards a thief and claims the thief would be in the Kingdom of God with him because he denied the core tenets of Christianity while affirming core beliefs of Islam.

The thief in no uncertain words explains that his crucifixion on the cross is justified, but Jesus’s isn’t, however, confessional Christians would argue that in order for sin to be paid, it had to be justified through the death of Jesus the Christ. This presents a problem for Christianity. Jesus rewards a man and accepts him into the Kingdom of God for expressively, clearly and absolutely, rejecting core Christian beliefs about salvation!

Comments by Scholars

These 5 verses deliver a devastating blow to the consistency of the doctrine of salvation in Christianity. These verses essentially approve of Islamic beliefs and indicate that Muslims according to Jesus…would be in the Kingdom of God, since we believe that he was innocent and that the alleged crucifixion was not justified in any way. These are things a Christian today cannot deny, these are things a Christian today has to believe in, yet a thief with Islamic beliefs only accepted two tenets, both of which agree with core Islamic beliefs, and was rewarded and praised by Jesus! The scholars have had difficulty in understanding these passages. It must first be noted that only one Gospel records this incident and this is the Gospel of Luke:

“Luke’s account is noticeably independent of the other three. The three sayings of Christ’s, round which his narrative is grouped, are preserved by him alone. We shall best grasp the dominant impression which the Evangelist unconsciously had himself received, and sought to convey, by gathering the whole round these three words from the Cross.” – MacLaren’s Expositions.

The other three Gospels are noticeably silent on the thieves, except for the case of demonizing them:

“In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.” – Matthew 27:44 (NIV).

“Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.” – Mark 15:32 (NIV).

The final Gospel, later attributed to John (which John, we don’t know), does not mention any of the words of the thieves, it does not even identify them as thieves or rebels. Instead, this is all the Gospel as to say:

“The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.” – John 19:32 (NIV).

Resolving the Problem

Some Christian commentators (exegetes) have attempted to navigate around this narrative disaster by implying that the thief/ rebel had other beliefs, that he believed Jesus was a God or that Jesus was meant to die for his sins and thus was saved because of this. The problem with such an argument is that the only Gospel to mention this incident does not indicate any of these things. The Gospel does not indicate that the thief/ rebel believed in anything other than what was recorded. In other words, this is a poor attempt at reading between the lines and should therefore be rejected. If scripture is sufficient for understanding salvation, then the plain reading of these 5 passages should be accepted without having a need to insert anything into scripture, to force it to say something it does not.

Conclusion

These five passages are a disaster for any Christian who takes their faith seriously. Every core tenet that one needs to believe in to be considered a confessional Christian is necessarily discarded by the thief and approved of by Jesus himself. In fact, the very beliefs that Jesus was an innocent man and did not deserve to die, that his death is unjustifiable is an Islamic belief. Thus, there are two arguments to be claimed here:

  1. According to Jesus, all one has to do to be granted entry into the Kingdom of God is to accept that Jesus is innocent and that his death was unjustified (which affirms Islam’s beliefs about Jesus). Therefore the beliefs of most Christians have been deemed unnecessary and useless by Jesus himself.
  2.  That belief in Jesus dying for the sins of the world is unjustified and that Jesus affirms this, thereby establishing that him dying does not acquit us of our sins (essentially refuting core Christian beliefs about the purpose behind Jesus’s death in the first place).

May God guide our Christian brothers and sisters to the truth of Jesus the Christ, which is to the Oneness of God.

and Allah knows best.

A Brief Insight into the New Testament’s Prototyping

The New Testament of today is described as follows regarding the NA28 GNT:

“The intention of this edition lies not in reproducing the “oldest text” presented in the oldest manuscript but in reconstructing the text of the hypothetical master copy from which all manuscripts derive, a text the editors refer to as the initial text.”1

We should therefore understand the New Testament not to be the word of God, but the hypothetical reconstruction of the “word of God”, a prototype, a possibility of what the reconstruction of the initial text may have looked like. When one examines the earliest manuscripts, we quickly find a trend that cannot be sidelined or ignored, the earliest witnesses place us in the late 2nd to 4th centuries CE:

New Testament Diagram Final (1)

The graph above concisely breaks down what books of the New Testament have as their earliest surviving (extant) witnesses. It also conveniently breaks down the New Testament into its genres and text types. The vast majority of manuscripts are from the 3rd century CE, meaning that the reconstructed prototypes give us a picture of what these completed texts may have looked like during or beyond the 3rd century CE. What is most notable, is that one of the earliest surviving sources attests to 9 books. That does not bode well for multiple attestation. Other books find their earliest witnesses in the 4th century including 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, 2 John and 3 John. These all indicate an intermediate or initial text projected into the 3rd century, some may say the 2nd century. Scholars have long noticed this trend of a later developed text, with one notable scholar explicitly stating:

Our critical editions do not present us with the text that was current in 150, 120 or 100—much less in 80 CE.2

Regarding new methods and changes in the NA28, a 2016 publication by the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society confirms the following:

The application of the CBGM resulted in 34 changes to the main text of
the Catholic Epistles and a slight increase in the number of passages marked as
uncertain. In most cases the changes are of minor significance for interpretation
or translation, but in several cases the changes should not be ignored. At the
difficult variation in Jude 5, for example, the text now reads that it was “Jesus”
(Ἰησοῦς) who once saved a people from Egypt instead of “the Lord” (ὁ κύριος). In
another important change, 2 Pet 3:10 now prints a reading that is not found in any
known Greek witness. Where the previous edition read that the last days would
mean that the earth and all that is in it “will be found” or perhaps “exposed” (εὑρεθήσεται), the text now reads the opposite: the earth and all that is in it “will not
be found” (οὑχ εὑρεθήσεται). The latter reading sits much easier with the surrounding context, but is only attested in a few Coptic and Syriac manuscripts.3

What the data, methods and current status of New Testament Textual Criticism indicates is that we have a text that is much later than is traditionally espoused. The stemmata indicate we currently have reconstructions of a textual form between the late 2nd to 4th centuries CE. There is now an increase in uncertainty regarding the variant units, in other words confidence has been lost in several cases. In other cases we find texts that affect theology or which textual critics indicate are important changes which are labelled as “difficult”, the consequences of which cannot and “should not be ignored”.

We also see in the aforementioned quote that texts now essentially teach the opposite of what they once said! All exegeses commentating on the previous reading have now been rendered invalid by a text reading in the opposite direction altogether. In one other notable case, we also now find a reading in the text that has no manuscript support whatsoever among any known Greek witnesses. All of these trends do not paint a good picture for the state of the New Testament’s reliability. The text of the New Testament today, is not the text known to those at any other time in the past, which brings into doubt their salvation. If  believing in scripture is a criterion for salvation, and the text believed then is not the text now, can we say those in the past truly believed in and embraced the “living word of God”? If the text that penetrated them for guidance is not the text of today, then does it matter at all what the New Testament says?4

Sources:

1 – Trobisch, David. A User’s Guide to the Nestle-Aland 28 Greek New Testament. 9th ed. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013), 10.

2 – Petersen, William Lawrence., and Jan Krans. Patristic and Text-Critical Studies: The Collected Essays of William L. Petersen. (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 410.

3 – Gurry, Peter J. How Your Greek NT Is Changing: A Simple Introduction to the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM). Vol. 59. Series 4. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 2016, 684-685.

The title of this journal’s essay should not be ignored. The text of the New Testament is indeed changing, to say otherwise is to ignore the very existence of the critical editions.

4 – Hebrews 4:12.

Many commentators have said that the Bible is the living word of God, a scripture that penetrates us spiritually and guides us. If that is the case, then if the text changes, we have to ask, what form of the text is actually the living word of God? If an edition previously caused spiritual changes but is now changed, does that invalidate its spiritual guidance or does it indicate that the changes are wrong and the edition is correct? It’s a dilemma either way, which definitely brings into severe doubt the ideas of scripture, salvation and the work of a living word of God among Christian believers.

Reproaching One’s Brother – Jonathan McLatchie

After spending sometime among Christian activists and preachers, a prominent theme I found amongst them was having the ability to discern between right and wrong, and the act of reproaching fellow Christians if they fell out of line. Many verses were given to me, some of them are as follows: Proverbs 27:17, Galatians 6:1-2, James 5:16, Ephesians 4:25, Hebrews 10:25, etc. This act of reproaching fellow Christians is seen as a mandatory spiritual duty, failing to do so indicates that one isn’t devoted to Christ as much as he should be. A Christian, as I was told, that lacks the ability of spiritual discernment, lacked Christ.

In light of these beliefs, it was brought to my attention sometime ago that most Christian polemicists actively don’t care about Christianity, see my article: Do Christian Apologists Care About Theology? One of the polemicists I didn’t comment on in that article was Johnny (Jonathan McLatchie). I gave him the benefit of the doubt and waited to see what he’d do with his entrance into polemics. Sadly, I waited in vain as he repeated articles from Rogers, Wood and Shamoun. Nothing new was coming from him, nor was he attempting to reach out to heretical Christians. Take for example, his relationship with David Wood.

cc-2015-jonathanmclatchie

David expressly declares his agnosticism on core Christian beliefs and has made those views public. Jonathan as a fellow Christian, who now posts on David’s blog has had the opportunity to reproach David and preach the Gospel to him. However, Jonathan has failed to do so, and according to the aforementioned verses, this would mean he lacks devotion to Christ. Consider the case of David’s agnosticism over God’s ontology. The very nature of God is something that David is agnostic about. How can one be so hypocritical as to preach a religion about a God that they are doubtful about? If Jonathan was a devoted Christian, shouldn’t preaching to, and reproaching a popular Christian speaker be his most important goal? It needs to be asked, does Jonathan simply not care about Christ and is he merely speaking about Islam (an area he is demonstrably uneducated in), for private and personal gain?

Regarding God’s ontology, David is undecided about the power and knowledge of God. He does not know, and he does not care to accept one of the two mainstream beliefs in Christianity: Calvinism and Arminianism. In Calvinism, the Person of Christ – whom Christians consider to be God – did not die in the same way for everyone. This is known as limited atonement. It teaches that Christ/ God did not die in the same way for all men, otherwise everyone would be born-again. On the opposite end, Arminianism teaches universal atonement, that Christ/ God died for everyone in the same way. These are two fundamentally differing views of God. Christians trying to preach to David had to endure verbal threats and abuse from him, one Christian stated:

cc-2015-dw-calvinism2

David himself said:

cc-2015-dw-calvinism4

David in this post admits to flip-flopping between his beliefs. This is problematic because it involves his own salvation. According to Calvinist beliefs, the elect cannot become apostates or lose their faith. By this definition, since David is undecided and flip-flopping, then he is not of the elect, which would mean he is not saved according to Calvinist theology. On the other hand, Arminians believe a Christian can fall from grace and lose their salvation. Which view does Jonathan take regarding David? If he takes the Calvinist view, then David is an apostate. Since David flip-flops between the two mainstream views, he’s an agnostic and is not certain about his own salvation. In that case, it must then be asked, why isn’t Jonathan worried about David’s salvation when readers on the blog he posts too are?

cc-2015-dw-calvinism

Being undecided about God’s nature regarding God’s attribute of love is a serious issue. It would then mean that Jonathan and David fundamentally believe in two different Gods, with two different attributes of love. It would mean that they believe in two different plans of salvation, two different plans of soteriology. This isn’t something minor and to be ignored, it deals with a person’s salvation. This is the most important discussion that should be happening. Yet, it isn’t. There are many other things we can ask about. Has Jonathan ever condemned and reproached David for cross-dressing?

cc-davidwood

David Wood the Voyeur Wearing Women’s Lingerie – Self Admitted Cross Dresser

The question needs to be asked: is Jonathan interested in Christian theology, or does he just want to gain popularity? Let’s take for instance, Jonathan’s appearing on ABN TV. David in an e-mail dated September 15, 2015 says of ABN’s audience:

“The more complicated the set-up, the more problems are going to slip in to derail the debates. Second, the vast majority of viewers would rather listen to us address a topic than a questioner asking us questions. It would be nice if all callers asked relevant, probing questions, but they won’t. Good questions will be only a fraction of the actual questions we get. People will call in with insults, they will start yelling and we’ll have to cut them, and most of the questions will be completely irrelevant to the topics. That’s just what happens when phone lines are opened for anyone to call in.”

David recognizes that ABN’s audience are Christians who insult, yell, and who ask irrelevant questions. David went so far as to cut ABN off, in an e-mail of the same date he says:

“As for ABN, I’ve been working with them for years, but I’m at the end of my rope. I simply want to get these debates out of the way so that I don’t have to deal with this network ever again.”

While David condemns and reproaches ABN, Jonathan runs to them and attempts to get on as many programs as he can. Does this mean that David is lying about ABN and its poor quality of viewership, or does it mean that he is telling the truth and Jonathan just wants to serve his ego? If David is wrong, then Jonathan should condemn him and reproach him for lying about a Christian network. On the other hand, if David is correct, then Jonathan needs to reproach ABN and condemn them. If he does neither, which is most likely, then he is failing to uphold his spiritual Christian duty of reproaching fellow Christians when they fall into evil, whether that be having heretical beliefs, cross-dressing, and lying about fellow Christians.

It remains to be seen whether Jonathan cares about David’s salvation, or of his own.

and God knows best.

Punishing the Female Rape Victim in Islam

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

It is unfortunate that for people who profess objectivity and sincerity in their study, research and pursuit of knowledge that there continues to be a great perversion of the understanding of Islamic Shari’ah laws and its applications. Proponents of the modern secular system, or of varying theological political systems, seemingly cannot produce a consistent stance on judging the use or misuse of the Islamic Shari’ah, while wholly regarding it to be unfair, unjust and backwards. Demonstrably, it can be noted that their own justice systems produce often, curious if not peculiar judgements. In one case, a mother can be sentenced to jail for a period of 5 years, for stealing clothing from a store for her children at a value of  $102 dollars. While at the same time a Wall Street tycoon who has defrauded enough persons to make himself a billionaire, was sentence to a period of only, 11 years. What then, can we say is logical about this? Based on this one example of a judgement that is neither proportional to the crimes when compared and contrasted nor morally justifiable, can I then generalize the American justice system as being inhumane, profiteering and socially inept?

To further this discussion with more evidences relevant to the topic at hand, let’s examine sexual assault cases, in particular rape. This child rapist was sentenced to only 5 to 7 years in prison, the same amount of time as the woman who stole $102 dollars worth of goods. This rapist was sentenced to only 9 years in prison, while defrauding persons of hundreds of millions of dollars and sending families into distress, bankruptcy and insolvency will earn you the same amount of jail time. Continuing with this trend, we can deduce that according to the modern secular system, stealing and rape are upon the same field of justice. Considering these tragic acts, let’s examine the Islamic position on rape in the modern world. To rape in Islamic law is to have committed “ightisaab”, which means to forcefully transgress and take a woman’s honour from her (rape). The crime is punishable by death but doesn’t have to be punished by death, the punishment however has to be severe as to deter anyone else from attempting this crime. Therefore, there can be no equivalence between stealing and rape, a woman’s honour is not the same as stealing an apple, or clothing as it is seen in the secular justice system.

Islamic Shari’ah rule, is intended to govern a state by Islamic law, where the ulema (religious leaders) who are fuqaha (jurists), establish courts where a qadhi (judge) can make binding rulings (fatawa) on behalf of the state against a criminal and establish justice in the society. This understanding is based upon the Qur’anic statements:

“And so judge (you O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) among them by what Allaah has revealed” – [al-Maa’idah 5:49].

“And whosoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed, such are the Kaafiroon (i.e. disbelievers — of a lesser degree as they do not act on Allaah’s Laws)” – [al-Maa’idah 5:44].

“And whosoever does not judge by that which Allaah has revealed, such are the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers — of a lesser degree)” – [al-Maa’idah 5:45].

“And whosoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed (then) such (people) are the Fâsiqûn [the rebellious i.e. disobedient (of a lesser degree)] to Allaah” – [al-Maa’idah 5:47].

“But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission” – [al-Nisa’ 4:65].

“Do they then seek the judgement of (the days of) Ignorance? And who is better in judgement than Allaah for a people who have firm Faith” – [al-Maa’idah 5:50].

To make this succinct and easy to grasp, the discussion will be broken up into several questions:

  • What do the Islamic scholars (Ulema) say on the punishment of rape?
  • Are four witnesses needed to prove rape?
  • Are women who do not wear hijab responsible for their rape?
  • Is the woman to be punished for rape?
  • Forced marriage to rapist?
  • Further reading.

What do the Islamic scholars (Ulema) say on the punishment of rape?

Yûsuf ibn `Abd Allâh ibn Muhammad Ibn `Abd al-Barr  Abû `Umar al-Namarî al-Andalusî al-Qurtubî al-Mâlikî (may Allaah be pleased with him), a prominent Islamic jurist, of whom Imam al Qurtubi cites/ references about 500 times in his tafsir has stated in Al-Istidhkâr li Madhhab `Ulamâ’ al-Amsâr fîmâ Tadammanahu al-Muwatta’ min Ma`ânî al-Ra’î wal-Athâr (“The Memorization of the Doctrine of the Scholars of the World Concerning the Juridical Opinions and the Narrations Found in Mâlik’s Muwatta'”),  7/146:

The scholars are unanimously agreed that the rapist is to be subjected to the hadd punishment if there is clear evidence against him that he deserves the hadd punishment, or if he admits to that. Otherwise, he is to be punished (i.e., if there is no proof that the hadd punishment for zina may be carried out against him because he does not confess, and there are not four witnesses, then the judge may punish him and stipulate a punishment that will deter him and others like him). There is no punishment for the woman if it is true that he forced her and overpowered her, which may be proven by her screaming and shouting for help.

Are four witnesses needed to prove rape?

Mufti Taqi Uthmani [db] in his discussion during an interview on Pakistan’s implementation of the Protection of Women Bill 2006, expounded upon his rulings and the rulings of other Islamic judges:

‎”I myself had been directly hearing cases registered under Hudood Ordinance, first as a Judge of Federal Shariah Court and then for seventeen years as a member of Shariah Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court. In this long tenure, not once did I come across a case in which a rape victim was awarded punishment simply because she was unable to present four witnesses.

In fact it was not possible to do so. First, according to the Hudood Ordinance, the condition of four witnesses only applied to enforcing the hadd for rape. Clause 10(3), which awarded the ta’zeer punishment, did not have this requirement; the crime could be proven through one witness, medical reports, and chemical analysis report. Consequently most rape criminals were awarded punishment as per this clause.

Further, a woman claiming rape could not be punished under Qazf (false accusation of zina) since Exemption 2 in Qazf Ordinance Clause 3 clearly stated that if someone approaches the legal authorities with a rape complaint, she could not be punished in case she was unable to present four witnesses.”

To compound this statement, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani (may Allaah be pleased with him) has stated:

“This is a common myth about Islamic criminal law. Rather, the four witness requirement applies only to the prescribed hadd punishment (which in the case of a married person could be death and for the non-married, 100 lashes). [Marghinani, Hidaya] This punishment is only applied in very rare cases, as is clear, and is meant to be a social deterrent, above all.

As the classical and contemporary jurists (such as Mufti Taqi Usmani) have made clear, a rapist can be convicted on lesser evidence (including scientific evidence, such as DNA tests and medical reports) for discretionary punishments. These discretionary punishments are left up to the legal system to determine.

However, it is a myth to say that Islam would in any way condone rape, or allow a rapist to go free for this terrible crime against an innocent human being and against society.”

This therefore rests the case, of the issue with 4 witnesses being needed to prove rape, indeed rape can be proven using modern scientific methods and other evidences, as seen above, as being agreed upon by Islamic fuqaha (jurists).

Are women who do not wear hijab responsible for their rape?

Mufti Muhammad Kadwa and Mufti Ebrahim Desai (may Allaah be pleased with them both) have stated:

These are two separate issues; rape and the lack of Hijaab. The rapist will be punished for his heinous crime whilst the woman will be sinful not for rape, but for failure to observe the rules of Hijaab. Failure to wear Hijaab in no way justifies the heinous crime of rape.

Is the woman to be punished for rape?

Imam Maalik (may Allaah have mercy on him) has said in Al-Muwatta’, 2/734:

In our view the man who rapes a woman, whether she is a virgin or not, if she is a free woman he must pay a “dowry” like that of her peers, …. The punishment is to be carried out on the rapist and there is no punishment for the woman who has been raped, whatever the case.

Prophet Muhammad (may Allaah’s peace and blessings be upon him) has also decreed punishments for persons who have committed rape, while freeing the woman of any punishment:

“Narrated Wa’il ibn Hujr (may Allaah be pleased with him):
When a woman went out in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) for prayer, a man attacked her and overpowered (raped) her. She shouted and he went off, and when a man came by, she said: That (man) did such and such to me.

And when a company of the Emigrants came by, she said: That man did such and such to me. They went and seized the man whom they thought had had intercourse with her and brought him to her. She said: Yes, this is he. Then they brought him to the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him).

When he (the Prophet) was about to pass sentence, the man who (actually) had assaulted her stood up and said: Apostle of Allah, I am the man who did it to her.

He (the Prophet) said to her: Go away, for Allah has forgiven you. But he told the man some good words (AbuDawud said: meaning the man who was seized), and of the man who had had intercourse with her, he said: Stone him to death.”  – (Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith #4366, Kitab al Hudud [38]).

Forced Marriage to Rapist?

While Islam punishes the rapist, we do hear of some really peculiar instances where the woman is married to the man. This has no basis in Islamic law, nor does it comply with Islamic reasoning, according to this fatwa by Mufti Ebrahim Desai [db]:

“Knowing the importance and sacredness of a marriage commitment, the boy and girl having consulted with their seniors and making Istikhaara, should make their own independent choice.

They should not be compelled to marry against their wishes as the consequences (non-compatibility, divorce, disputes, custody of children, etc.) are too ghastly to bear. Parents should not compel their children to marry against their wishes due to economic status reasons.”

As well as this fatwa by the same Mufti (Islamic Jurist):

“As an adult, you have an independent right to choose your marriage partner. You should not be forced into marrying someone against your choice. Those forcing you are guilty of depriving you of your Shar’ee right and committing a major sin,

You should simply say no if you are not confident of marrying against your choice. The consequences of forced marriages are too ghastly. There are great possibilities of a marital breakdown. That will lead to disunity among many families. The matter will be clouded even more if there is a child born through the marriage. Considering the many negative consequences of a forced marriage, you should never give in to being forced to marry against your wish. It will be you and no one else who will have to bear the burdens in future. You may forward this email to those forcing you to marry against your wishes.”

However, to contrast the Islamic position, let’s look at this excerpt from the Jewish and Christian religious text, Old Testament (Torah), Deuteronomy (Devarim), Chapter 22, Verses 28 – 29:

“If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.”

Further Reading:
http://www.loonwatch.com/2009/12/testimony-of-rape-victim/
http://www.bismikaallahuma.org/archives/2006/does-islam-require-four-witnesses-for-rape/
http://thedebateinitiative.com/2012/03/12/is-the-shariah-inhumane-you-decide/ 

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best.]

James White’s Futility and Inconsistency

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,
This video analyses James White’s evidences, his pivots during his opening statement with Br. Shabir Ally during their debate, “Did Jesus Claim Deity?”. An indepth write up to be published on Monday/ Tuesday 26th/ 27th of March fully explaining, and refuting his arguments. I was planning to write up a full response, but I’m terribly busy, please see our video response to James White instead, thanks.
wa Allaahu ‘Alam.
[and God knows best.]

Refutation: Muslim Dawagandist Shabir Ally’s War With Himself

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Missionary Sam Shamoun is making strides again in deceiving himself and his waning fellowship.  In this insulting article, Sam Shamoun sought to solely attack the character and person of Br. Shabir Ally, all the while having to stoop into cheap academics and wanton fraud by misusing the Brother’s words and the Bible’s words. It’s one thing to twist the Qur’an for your own profit, but to twist your own scripture, this has to be a new low for Sam. Let’s take a look at what Br. Shabir has said. These are the Brother’s insights into Deuteronomy 18:18 and Acts 3:

“Now many Christians think, well that, Jesus was that prophet, but obviously he was not. Isa left the scene, and according to Acts of the Apostles in chapter 3 we read that Peter, one of the disciples of Jesus, is saying that Isa will remain in heaven until that time of restoration comes–and he is describing that time of restoration as meaning the time when God will send that prophet! So that means Peter, the disciple of Jesus, the chief disciple, is still expecting that that prophet will come, and then eventually Isa will come back again. So we see clearly that the prophet Muhammad is mentioned in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. And if they really truly believe in the Scriptures, we Muslims should be asking them to please recognize also the prophet Muhammad, because the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 18, verse 19 says that if you do not recognize that prophet, God will require it of you. In other words, he will bring you to judgment.” (Is Muhammad Prophesied in the Bible? Shabir Ally answers, posted on Sept. 20, 2010)

Now in the Old Testament, it is mentioned that Moses was told by God that God will send either a series of prophets, or another prophet. It’s often translated that God will send another prophet in Deuteronomy chapter 18, verse 18, a prophet like Moses. But some say that what is meant here is not just one prophet but a series of prophets, but is spoken about as though it is singular. We say, okay, suppose it’s a series of prophets? Well then it goes up until Jesus, and many have said, okay Jesus is that prophet. Then we can say why not Muhammad, because Muhammad is very similar to Moses? In fact, Musa came with a law, Muhammad came with a law. They were both prophets and statesmen at the same time; they were governing, and so they have a lot of similarity. If we come to Jesus and say Jesus is like Moses, and Jesus is the prophet like Moses, well then we just need to go one step further and recognize the prophet Muhammad as well.” (Muhammad Prophesied in the Bible?, posted on Dec. 22, 2011)

To expound upon Brother Ally’s argument, we have to turn to the verses which he cites and the explanations for them:

” I will set up a prophet for them from among their brothers like you, and I will put My words into his mouth, and he will speak to them all that I command him.” – Bible : Deuteronomy/ Devarim 18:18

This verse is extremely pertinent to the Islamic and Christian narrative of Prophethood. While in itself, requires an entire discussion, I will try my best to lay the foundation of understanding quite succinctly. The verse in question makes the statement, “…from among their brothers likes you…”. Around this one phrase, many various interpretations can be derived. However we’ll work with the Hebrew words used. What exactly does this phrase mean? You see, had the verse read, “from among you”, there would be no question that it refers to one of the Hebrew tribes of Israel, however it uses the term, “…from among their brothers like you…”, which in hebrew would read, “כּמו כּמו  אח (‘ach kemo – kamo)”. The brothers of the Hebrew people are the Arabs, they are both Semitic and as far as history dictates we know of no Prophet after Moses which came from any other Semitic background besides Muhammad {saw}. What is interesting is that if you are an Arab, the word, “akhi”, further solidifies this case, as the word also means, “brother” or “brethren”. From Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon we read:

 “a brother (used in the widest sense of literal relationship and metaphorical affinity or resemblance (like H1)): – another, brother (-ly), kindred, like, other.”

Even the phrase “kemo/ kamo (likeness) adds to this discussion, it stirs the fire or so to speak. The verse is literally saying, “a kin who is like you”. In fact, Martin Buber, a Jewish philosopher, sent a letter to Ghandi speaking on the willingness of his Arab brothers to work with the Jewish people:

“The Jewish farmers have begun to teach their brothers, the Arab farmers, to cultivate the land more intensively.” – Jewish Virtual Library.

If anyone even had a doubt that they were ever brothers, as I am sure Sam would try his best to show, he would not only have to refute historical data as provided above, but also scientific data as well. The case therefore, for a Semitic Prophet who is from the people who are “like” the Hebrew peoples, clearly establishes the basis from Judaic principles for an Arab prophet. We now turn to Acts, Chapter 3, Verses 19- 20 which raises further questions:

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,  and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.”

To the untrained mind, the first response would be that this simply predicts Jesus’ coming. However this verse is from Acts of the Apostles, literally, the time of the Apostles after Jesus’ earthly ministry. The problem however, arises when we take a look at other versions of this rendition. The Syriac, Arabic and Ethiopian manuscripts mention Jesus instead of Messiah, whereas the Greek manuscripts differ and simply mention, “Messiah”. Another plausible argument is that Muhammad {saw} isn’t a Messiah, therefore it can’t refer to him, this is incorrect as a Messiah is simply one who is anointed (chosen) and if taken in a divine sense, “anointed by God to do God’s bidding (will)”. With this in mind, we understand that this can mean a Rabbi, a teacher, an Imam, a leader (Romans 13:1-7) and in this case, a Prophet. As a prophet is one who is anointed by God to deliver God’s message to the people. The phrase which stirs our interest is:

“that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.”

There is a duality here, a Messiah, who could be Jesus, but then, it doesn’t have to be Jesus. Therefore we must ask, who then could God send? When we looked at the various exegeses on this verse, besides pointing out the manuscript troubles, they did indicate the reference to Deuteronomy 18:18. Therefore if Sam Shamoun is claiming that Br. Shabir Ally has in anyway perverted the true understanding of these verses, then he is simply ignorant of what his own religion teaches. This however is common for Sam and thus, I must say I did not expect any better from a missionary, they are after all not highly educated. This is simply a consequence of “Google learning”. Br. Shabir then continues:

“Now it is true that Muslims and Christians claim two very different things about Jesus. Muslims and Christians do believe, and agree, that he was a prophet. Many Christians do not actually realize that this is a necessary part of the Christian proclamation. Regardless of whatever else a Christians may say about Jesus, the New Testament is very clear that Jesus was a prophet. Now Jesus came and he did what he had to do, and said what he had to say, and then he left the scene. Acts of the Apostles in the Bible, in the New Testament that Christians read, tells us something about what the disciples of Jesus said and did after Jesus was gone. This is a very important document, and though scholars believe today that not everything in the Acts of the Apostles is accurate, it nevertheless gives a glimpse into the lives of the Apostles of Jesus after Jesus had left. Now we see in the Acts of the Apostles that the disciples proclaimed Jesus as the prophet like Moses. In Deuteronomy, chapter 18, verse 18 in the Old Testament, a prophet like Moses was spoken about. The disciples here are saying that Jesus was that prophet. That means that Jesus was a prophet! And in that case, Muslims and Christians agree at least that he was a prophet.” (The Jesus Debate: Metaphor, Prophet, Or Son of God?, posted on Feb. 16, 2012)

Br. Shabir is using the oft repeated Christian contention that Deuteronomy 18:18 refers to Jesus’ coming, a Messianic prophecy of sorts, he agrees that we Muslims also have no problem with the Christian understanding of the verse, as we too confirm that Jesus (may Allaah’s peace be upon him) was also a Prophet. However, Sam Shamoun has a problem with Br. Shabir’s confirmation that we do accept the Christian interpretation of the verse if applied to Jesus:

With the foregoing in perspective, doesn’t this show that Ally will conveniently adopt whatever interpretation helps his purpose of duping people into becoming Muslims? After all, these clips seem to indicate that when Ally wants to convince people that Muhammad is mentioned in the Holy Bible he will adopt the interpretation that Acts depicts the disciples as believing that the prophet like Moses was someone different than Christ. Yet when he wants to show that the disciples did not believe that Jesus is God he will then argue that Acts presents the disciples as proclaiming that Jesus is that prophet like Moses!

What Sam has willingly perverted in his understanding, is that Br. Shabir is using the Christian comprehension of the verse, which the quote that Sam himself provided has stated:

“Now it is true that Muslims and Christians claim two very different things about Jesus. Muslims and Christians do believe, and agree, that he was a prophet. Many Christians do not actually realize that this is a necessary part of the Christian proclamation.”

Sam is simply grasping for straws to attack Br. Shabir since he was humiliated a few years ago, by the Brother in a debate:

Sam then goes on what I can only determine to be an emotional tirade, mocking Brother Shabir with insults, while insulting the Qur’an and even to the extent, he was trying to quote the Bible to insult us, but in reality only provided an argument against himself:

““For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity. You destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.” Psalm 5:4-6″

This is definitely interesting, as Sam is using deceit in this article. Br. Shabir was referencing the Christian position and Sam’s intentional misread to be used to attack the Brother, is initself deceit. He has based his entire article, which contains atleast 10 insults and abuses, based on his own error:

  • “Muslim Dawagandist”
  • “inconsistent and deceptive”
  • “document his lies, deceptions and gross inconsistencies.”
  • “Ally will just about say and do anything in order to win an argument or deceive people into believing his false religion”
  • “exposes Ally as dishonest and deceitful, it is simply silly to think manipulation and deceit will remain undetected”
  • “Your lies will not only be exposed and punished”
  • “they will come back to haunt you in this life and destroy your credibility”

He even became so desperate to attack the brother, that he misused Jesus’ words in the Bible:

“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44

I could not contain my laughter after having read this verse, knowing the true context, I really must contest Sam’s ability to be literate. Did he simply do a word search for the words, “deceit” and “lie” and then copy paste them into his article, while wiping the foam from around his mouth after his petulant digression? To put the verse into context, this is one of Jesus’ alleged anti-Jewish remarks:

44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” 48 The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” – Bible : John (8) : 44 – 48.

Hopefully, Sam the missionary, will learn his lesson and change his tactics since his lies are coming back to expose and discredit him.

There’s nothing like using Sam’s own words against him.

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best].

 

« Older Entries