Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Freedom to Preach Death Watch Continued
02/28/2009 - James WhiteWhen CNN makes note of this well-known movement on the part of the UN to suppress criticism of Islam, you know it is gaining steam. Ironically, the guest they have on to talk about this is...Christopher Hitchens. Irony of ironies. But check this out:
Personally, I think the bulldozer idea is a good one.
In any case, how does the logically thinking supporter of the UN's resolution answer the following question? The Qur'an, coming after Christianity, denies Christian beliefs. It offends Christians by denying our central confession that Jesus is the Son of God, the divine Savior, who gave His life as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of God's people. Let's remember the plain statement of the Qur'an:
And behold! Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah'?" He will say: "Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, though I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden. "Never said I to them aught except what Thou didst command me to say, to wit, 'worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord'; and I was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them; when Thou didst take me up Thou wast the Watcher over them, and Thou art a witness to all things. (Surah 5:116-117)
The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One Allah: there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him). (Surah 9:30-31)
Ibn Kathir comments on these ayahs, “Allah the Exalted encourages the believers to fight the polytheists, disbelieving Jews and Christians, who uttered this terrible statement and utter lies against Allah, the Exalted....As for the misguidance of Christians over Isa, it is obvious. This is why Allah declared both groups to be liars” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 4:408). This is the reason given for fighting against Christians to ensure their “continued humiliation, degradation and disgrace” (4:406).
So let's look at the list: the Qur'an refers to us as "unbelievers," who are "cursed." We are "deluded away from the Truth." Elsewhere the Qur'an calls our faith "blasphemy." Ibn Kathir said that our beliefs involved attributing lies to Allah. So, here is the question: will those pushing this ban on "religious blasphemy" silence the preaching of the Qur'an? Of course not. Hence, what is the ultimate goal of these Islamic states in pushing this agenda? Dhimmitude of non-Muslims, pure and simple.
Two Important Hadith
02/23/2009 - James WhiteDavid Wood and Nabeel Qureshi work together in promoting the gospel over at the Answering Muslims blog. Both men are to be commended for their dedication to a difficult task. They are also to be commended because they have put up with me more than once in various situations! They are good brothers.
Recently David Wood noted two important hadith on their blog that I wanted to mention. I waited for a while to note them for only one reason: I wanted to verify my sources! Well, I have now added Jami At-Tirmidhi to my Islamic resources collection, so I can now note these hadith, drawn from that source.
The first is another reference substantiating the early conflict over the Musahif of the Qur'an, specifically, the conflict between Ibn Mas'ud and Zaid Bin Thabit (whose recension of the Qur'an formed the basis of the current standardized "Uthmanic" text). We need to realize that according to Muslim sources, Ibn Mas'ud was the top of the four reciters of the Qur'an, and that according to Muhammad himself. We read in Sahih Al-Bukhari 3758:
Narrated Masruq: Abdullah (bin Mas'ud) was mentioned before Abdullah bin Amr. The latter said, "That is a man I continue to love because I heard Allah's Messenger () saying, 'Learn the recitation of the Qur'an from four: from Abdullah bin Mas'ud - he started with him - Salim, the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa, Mu'adh bin Jabal and Ubai bin Ka'b".This hadith does not seem to be saying Ibn Mas'ud is just one amongst four equals, but the first in the list. Yet, Ibn Mas'ud's rejection of the Uthmanic revision is well known. Hence the background to this interesting hadith:
Az-Zuhri said: "Ubaidullah bin Abdullah bin Utbah informed me that Abdullah bin Mas'ud disliked Zaid bin Thabit copying the Musahif, and he said: 'O you Muslim people! Avoid copying the Mushaf and recitation of this man. By Allah! When I accepted Islam he was but in the loins of a disbelieving man'--meaning Zaid bin Thabit--and it was regarding this that Abdullah bin Mas'ud said: 'O people of Al-Iraq! Keep the Musahif that are with you, and conceal them. For indeed Allah said: And whoever conceals something, he shall come with what he concealed on the Day of Judgement. So meet Allah with the Musahif.'" (Jami At-Tirmidhi 3104)Now one item that I find fascinating is that in this particular collection of hadith (Jami At-Tirmidhi), this story is appended to the same story found in Al-Bukhari (6:509-510), the classic story of the Uthmanic Revision. [I note with some level of humor in passing, this is the same story dismissed as "inauthentic" by Osama Abdullah in our debates last year, to the chagrin of any and all well-read Muslims in the audience]. In any case, it is, I believe, very important to note this key conflict regarding the early transmission of the text of the Qur'an.
Another interesting hadith from the same collection is likewise relevant to the issue of the transmission of the Qur'an:
Abu Yunus, the freed slave of Aishah, said: "Aisha ordered me to write a Mushaf for her, and she said: 'When you get to this Ayah then tell me: Guard strictly (the five obligatory) prayers, and the middle Salat.' So when I reached it, I told her and she dictated to me: 'Guard strictly (the five obligatory) prayers, and the middle Salat, and Salat Al-Asr. And stand before Allah with obedience.' She said: 'I heard that from the Messenger of Allah.'" (Jami At-Tirmidhi 2982)This is in reference to Surah 2:238, where Aisha's narration indicates that the current version is missing key phrases and commands.
Both of these quotes once again force us to consider the fundamental contrast between the NT and the Qur'an: controlled, edited redaction. Once Uthman struck the match to the materials he used to created his redacted copy of the Qur'an, he set it on a completely different path of transmission than that of the New Testament, and that, I argue, to its detriment.
An Excellent Discussion to Watch
02/14/2009 - James White
David Wood linked to this discussion of the banning of Geert Wilders from the UK. I really have to wonder what Wilders said in Fitna that was any "worse" than what I said in my debates regarding Muhammad and the Qur'an? I wonder when I will be banned as well? Given the "my head is blissfully in the sand, I have no idea" attitude of the MP in the discussion, I could be banned at any time, and that without the slightest review of anything I've actually said! I enjoyed the Muslim participant's engaging personality and insightful points. He's right: the government has banned debate on the topic, despite the MP's pitiful "you can always fly to Holland." Dhimmitude is a horrible thing, especially when it is being promoted by spineless Westerners who no longer believe anything is really true, anything is really important.
A word to my Muslim friends: you may well think that the collapse of the West into a secular socialism, combined with economic anarchy, is somehow relevant to the truth claims of Islam. Given the kind of wishy-washy churchianity that you have probably encountered, I can understand why you might think that way. But let me tell it to you straight: from the Christian perspective, God would be holy and just to flush Western culture right down the Tube-O-History given the rampant sin and rebellion that marks that culture. The light of God's truth has shown brightly in Western countries, and yet they have turned their backs upon Him and His ways. God will not be mocked. What we see today in the hatred of the culture for holiness and righteousness is part and parcel of God's wrath, as He is removing His hand of restraint. Bringing judgment upon sinful cultures is perfectly in line with Christian teaching, even if most of those who call themselves Christians today have been infected by post-modernism so that they refuse to speak clearly about God's wrath. Don't confuse those forms of churchianity that are ashamed of the hard truths of the Bible with true, biblical Christianity.
More On Your Vanishing Right to Speak the Truth
02/13/2009 - James White
Rick Santorum with some...needed sanity.