Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Help Us Produce "40 Arabic Words," a Gospel Presentation for Muslims Around the World
01/31/2012 - James WhiteI have provided to Ivey Conerly my thoughts on how to present the gospel while dealing with one of the biggest hurdles Islam places before faith in Jesus, that being Surah 4:157:
That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-
These 40 Arabic words stand in the way of forgiveness and eternal life for millions of people. We want to produce a high quality video like our recently released Why I Love Jesus But Reject Islam, featuring Ivey and the great video work of Marcus Pittman. These guys aren't trying to get rich and famous, they are in ministry, but high quality video still requires monetary outlay. We actually needed to cover a bit extra last time, so I am looking to raise $750.00 for this video. I know, in comparison to what most videos cost, that's a pittance, but for most of our listeners, I know that still involves sacrifice. Our sincere thanks to all who donated and gave us the funds to produce this video. Now please pray for guidance and insight as we do this work!
Why I Love Jesus But Reject Islam
01/31/2012 - James White
My sincere thanks to Ivey Conerly and Marcus Pittman and to all who made this project possible. Soli Deo Gloria!
Please send this video far and wide!
My Personal Response to the Islamic "I Love Jesus" Video
01/30/2012 - James WhiteOur professional response will appear shortly!
The "He Submitted Freely" t-shirt is available here.
A Gold Mine of Islamic Citations
01/25/2012 - James WhiteDavid Wood just posted these over at Answering Muslims. It is great to hear someone whose origins are from "the other side" of the divide confirming what we have been saying repeatedly in reference to this vital issue (i.e., he knows the Islamic sources from the inside though he is a convert). A full and complimentary study would be found in Gordon Nickel's vital work from 2011, Narratives of Tampering in the Earliest Commentaries on the Qur'an (Brill). The brightest and best of our opponents in the Islamic world need to start realizing that walking the path charted by Ibn Khazem which leads you to walk next to agnostics and skeptics like Bart Ehrman leads inevitably to the destruction of your own faith and text. It is grossly inconsistent with not only your world-view, but with the Qur'an as well!
Do Muslims Have the Whole Koran?
01/24/2012 - Tur8infanThe punchline is this - "a goat ate it." In discussions regarding Qur'anic preservation, the following hadith is sure to come up:
Reported ‘Aisha (RA): ‘the verse of stoning and of suckling an adult ten times was revealed, and they were (written) on a paper and kept under my pillow. When the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) expired and we were occupied by his death, a goat entered and ate away the paper.’ (Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith 1944)
(See also, Musnad Ahmad 6/269 Hadith 26359, if you don't like the chain of narration in Sunan Ibn Majah)
Notice the following about that hadith.
1) Shortly after Mohamed's death, a goat came into Aisha's sleeping area and ate the paper that she had placed under her pillow.
2) The paper had "the verse" on it.
3) This verse was about (a) stoning and (b) suckling an adult ten times.
While the Koran that the Muslims have today mentions stoning, there is no verse regarding suckling an adult ten times, much less any verse about both together (both suckling and stoning).
Sometimes the authenticity of the above hadith is challenged. Perhaps more needs to be said about that, but it is not the only relevant hadith.
Here is another hadith that has more attestation (these three ahadith are related, as you will see):
'A'isha (Allah be pleased with, her) reported that it had been revealed in the Holy Qur'an that ten clear sucklings make the marriage unlawful, then it was abrogated (and substituted) by five sucklings and Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) died and it was before that time (found) in the Holy Qur'an (and recited by the Muslims). (Sahih Muslim, Book #008, Hadith #3421)
'Amra reported that she heard 'A'isha (Allah he pleased with her) discussing fosterage which (makes marriage) unlawful; and she ('A'isha) said: There was revealed in the Holy Qur'an ten clear sucklings, and then five clear (sucklings). (Sahih Muslim, Book #008, Hadith #3422)
Yahya related to me from Malik from Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr ibn Hazm from Amra bint Abd ar-Rahman that A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Amongst what was sent down of the Qur'an was 'ten known sucklings make haram' - then it was abrogated by 'five known sucklings'. When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, died, it was what is now recited of the Qur'an." Yahya said that Malik said, "One does not act on this." (Malik's Muwatta, Book #30, Hadith #30.3.17)
Notice that in these accounts, it is again stated that the "ten sucklings" were in the Qur'an. There is a claim that this was then abrogated in favor of five sucklings.
But there is more!
Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Salim ibn Abdullah ibn Umar informed him that A'isha umm al-muminin sent him away while he was being nursed to her sister Umm Kulthum bint Abi Bakr as-Siddiq and said, "suckle him ten times so that he can come in to see me." Salim said, "Umm Kulthum nursed me three times and then fell ill, so that she only nursed me three times. I could not go in to see A'isha because Umm Kulthum did not finish for me the ten times." (Malik's Muwatta, Book #30, Hadith #30.1.7)
Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Safiyya bint Abi Ubayd told him that Hafsa, umm al-muminin, sent Asim ibn Abdullah ibn Sad to her sister Fatima bint Umar ibn al-Khattab for her to suckle him ten times so that he could come in to see her. She did it, so he used to come in to see her. (Malik's Muwatta, Book #30, Hadith #30.1.8)
This seems to be an example of the application of the "ten sucklings" principle. Why would Aisha suggest that an adult go be suckled ten times? Doing so would, in her mind, make the person a foster relative. And a foster relative (while prohibited from marriage) would be permitted to see her unveiled.
It seems clear that all this testimony provided above regarding the missing verse of the Qur'an is linked back to Aisha. Was she lying or mistaken? Perhaps she was. If Muslims want to insist she was lying or mistaken, how can I prove she was telling the truth?
On the other hand, why assume Aisha was lying? From a historical standpoint, is there any record of anyone challenging Aisha's claim during her lifetime? She was one of Muhammad's wives. If she was lying, wouldn't one of Muhammad's companions be able to say so and have that testimony preserved amongst the ahadith?
In short, why isn't the above historical evidence - as such - credible? Do you accept that your Koran is short at least one verse, or do you reject that idea based on presuppositions that have nothing to do with history?
P.S. Incidentally, there is at least one attempted Muslim response to the issues above (example). That response relies on questioning the authenticity of the narration. However, the response is honest enough to admit that there is an alternate chain of narration that does not have the flaw above. Moreover, the response highlights the existence of other narrations with different words (presumably referring to some of the second category I identified above). These other narrations, however, just highlight the problem.
Secondly, the response suggests that Mohammed said that the verse about stoning couldn't be written. It's not clear what this is supposed to prove. It seems to further support the idea that the written Qur'an is not complete.
Thirdly, the response points out that in some of the narrations, the verse is described as abrogated. However, why should the abrogated verse be omitted from the Koran?
The response's conclusion is even more puzzlingly odd:
Moreover ‘Aisha (RA) lived through the whole period of Qur’an compilation during the time of Abu Bakr (RA) and Usman (RA) while she was unanimously considered an authority for herself so if she had any thought about some verses missing she would have brought it to attention of other Companions of the Prophet (PBUH). Infact we have evidence of Usman (RA) making special endeavor of consulting ‘Aisha (RA) and her records for verifying the official compilation. See Ibn Shabba’s Tarikh Al-Madina p.997. Despite all this she never raised the issue supporting our conclusion that no part of the Qur’an was lost even if the narration is considered reliable.
What is odd is that the respondent thinks this helps his case. Aisha is deemed by Usman as a reliable authority on the Qur'an during the period of compilation, yet her uncontested testimony is that part of the Qur'an was lost. To say she "never raised the issue" begs the question at best - more to the point there is a record of her raising the issue, and supporting evidence that she really believed it to have been revealed, or at least really claimed to believe it to have been revealed. Her testimony also explains why she couldn't hand over the verse to Usman during the period of compilation.
Why I Love Jesus and Keep His Commandments
01/21/2012 - Tur8infanI understand that my friend, Dr. James White, may be preparing a better response to "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus || Muslim Version," but I want to chime in now, while it is fresh on my mind (rather than waiting 24 years - just sayin'). I'll respond in chunks to the lyrics. The production quality was pretty good - though (in my opinion) not as impressive as the production quality of the original video. I've taken the liberty of spelling out words that are abbreviated in the rap, especially words ending in "ing."
Look, what if I told you there was something you were missing
What if I told you that Jesus doesn't really fit into your description
What if I told you that "follower of Christ" doesn't automatically mean "Christian"
And just because you believe in Faith doesn't mean Jesus didn't believe in submission and conviction
The brief answer is that a Christian does mean a follower of Christ. The term "Christian" was coined in the first century in Antioch to describe the disciples (followers) of Christ.
Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
And this name caught on, so that even King Agrippa knew and used the term.
Acts 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
Regarding submission and conviction, James (Jesus' brother) teaches us explicitly to "Submit yourselves therefore to God" (James 4:7). But submission doesn't mean Islam, even if Islam means submission (as some have suggested).
[Click Here to Continue Reading]
Bart Ehrman on Writing on the Qur'an
01/21/2012 - James White
We have noted this before, and when the guys at Acts 17 reposted it just now, I thought I would comment again. There is something deeply disrespectful in Ehrman's comments here. Oh, I'm sure he was just trying to be funny, in a way. But remember when I asked him serious questions about his methodology and his conclusions as they would bear upon the Qur'an? He took serious offense! So isn't it odd that in this context he responds in such a light-hearted manner?
There is no question, of course, that if Ehrman were to be consistent, he would reject the Qur'an as a divine revelation. Its a-historical assertions (esp. regarding the crucifixion) and the presence of textual variation (which he indicates precludes the possibility of inspiration) would require him, if he is consistent, to reject the authority of the Qur'an just as he has the New Testament. And despite his claim to ignorance regarding the Qur'an, I somehow think Ehrman well knows that he would have to criticize the Muslim holy book.
And, clearly, he is unwilling to follow his own principles to their logical conclusion. But in the process it seems like he really shows disrespect for the Muslim community at large. Evidently he seems to know that the Christians are not going to bomb him or attack him for all he has said in opposition to the Bible and Christianity. But his comments show a fear of Islam. While there are surely Muslims who would condemn him if he ever spoke openly about his views of the Qur'an, they would represent a small minority of the entire Muslim population of the world. Doesn't he think the matter worth the danger for the sake of the millions of other Muslims who would be helped by coming to realize the Qur'an isn't what they thought it was? He surely seems to think it is worth all the time and effort to write popular level books like MisQuoting Jesus and Forged that, he assures us, are not attacks on Christianity as a whole, but only upon a particular type of Christianity (the type that actually believes the Bible to be a divine revelation). I wonder why he won't make the same kind of distinction amongst Muslims?
Remember, all Muslims who think Bart Ehrman is your friend and hero: his historical and scriptural hyper-skepticism is not only unwarranted, it would, of necessity, require you to abandon your belief in the Qur'an as well. Every time you flaunt his great scholarship and quote some anti-Christian conclusion, you are proving once again that you care nothing for the consistency of your arguments or sources. Think about it!
An Evangelistic/Apologetic Video Project. Can You Help?
01/20/2012 - James WhiteYou would have to be living under a rock somewhere not to have heard about the viral video produced by Jefferson Bethke called "Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus," found here. 15.5 million views so far. Others have commented on this video, so I will not. In any case, it has spawned many responses on YouTube. I saw a Roman Catholic one that is well worth responding to, as it is filled with canards and simple historical errors. But the main one I am focused upon is one from a young Muslim:
I have contacted Ivey Conerly, who is excited about working with me to produce a response to this video. I am writing the material, Ivey will take my less than poetical prose and apply his gifts and talents and produce the lyrical version and record a high quality video response. I will try to follow up with a full video discussion of each of the points raised (linked from the version Ivey will record), and, I've been told, TurretinFan is writing a point-by-point response as well. Ivey Conerly is a Christian artist who just released a new album featuring yours truly on a few tracks...don't panic! I'm just reading some scripture, mainly. You can check it out here.
So here's where you, our supporters and friends, come in. For Ivey to be able to produce the video there will need to be some travel involved. We need to put together around $500 to be safe to make sure everything is covered. Not a lot, but I would like to ask folks to partner with us so we can get this done right. I think Ivey has the skill to really bring the gospel to the young Muslims who would view this response. If you can be of assistance, please consider giving with a note "for video production." Here is the PayPal link where you can donate any amount you want toward this project.
Update: We have met the fundraising goal for this project. Thanks to all who donated. Now, to get things moving forward.