Responses to the assertions of Yasser Ali
In the debate transcript, I have inserted my opponent’s answers, as I said I would. This post is intended to answer his assertions made therein, and to address the various problems I found with them. As of this posting, he has yet to offer his final questions, so I’m going to go ahead and offer comments on the debate in it’s entirety, and consider the debate closed. My questions will be italicized bold, his answers in italics, both will be in quote, and my responses in plain text. I will be offering more comments in the future, and I will merely note that these comments have been sitting in draft format for over a month now, in anticipation of additional questions forthcoming.
1. You have stated in the past that there are “over 200 errors in the several-times revised Bible” – can you document this assertion of revision, please?
I have read many critical points against Quran but have resolved them and refuted the claims. Although, Bible has many confirmed contradictions and Errors that are Not refutable. Lets check some…
I would note my opponent’s recurrent triumphalism in this prelude. His constant references are to his own studies, his own refutation, his own in-depth abilities. I would ask that if I ever become as self-referential, that you confront me for my pride.
Contradiction in the Bible about number of stalls of horses Solomon had:
Bible 1Kings 4 And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.
Bible 2 Chronicles 9 And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.
As I’m sure our readers are aware, this is an error in the copying of the Masoretic text. The LXX reads “4,000”, and as an early witness, comparable to the parallel, the NET, NAB, NIV, NCV, and NLT translations go with this translation, due to the obvious copyist error.
Contradiction about number of Horsemen David took:
Bible 2 Samuel 8  David smote also Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates.
 And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for an hundred chariots.
Bible 1 chronicle 18  And David smote Hadarezer king of Zobah unto Hamath, as he went to stablish his dominion by the river Euphrates.
 And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: David also houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them an hundred chariots.
Likewise, the LXX renders this in accordance with 1 Chronicles 18, followed by the NIV and the NET translations.
Irrefutable Factual Errors also in the Bible:
Lev 11  All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.
My opponent doesn’t actually state what his objection is – he makes another common mistake, of simply quoting the verse, and allowing his opponent to guess what the objection actually is. It is fairly obvious what his objection should be, so he may be excused in some respects, but he doesn’t actually offer the majority of his objections, or why they are objectionable. My opponent, likewise, makes a fundamental error here and uses the King James’ rendering only. We are left wondering whether he has studied this issue in any fashion. The phrase in question, I can only assume, is עוֹף שֶׁרֶץ sherets (teeming or swarming things) `owph (which can be either “fowl, birds” or “winged insec.”) The King James is the only major translation which renders it this way. NKJV: All flying insects that creep on all fours shall be an abomination to you. NAS: All the winged insects that walk on all fours are detestable to you. NIV: All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be detestable to you. ESV: All winged insects that go on all fours are detestable to you. Thus, his objection seems to be to a particular translation – which I agree is faulty.
Pornography and Incest fantasy in Bible:
I don’t want to Quote those verses even because I believe reading them is sin! I can present many more errors but even these won’t be answered.
Convenient, that he refuses to present the supposed objections. Also, I’d just point out that the site he references later has no such objections. In fact, it goes into great and lurid detail in pointing out these so-called “problems”. See here. In response, I’d merely point out that there are a wealth of responses to these sorts of claims to be found elsewhere.
I will end the answer by Quoting a verse of Quran:
The Quran 2:79 “Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands and then say, “This is from Allah,” to purchase with it a little price! Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for that they earn thereby.”
This is God warning Those who corrupt the Scripture by editing God’s words for their own political motives.
I’d love to know what “political” motives there would be (for people whom he doesn’t know – stated earlier in the debate – he doesn’t know by whom, or when the Bible was “corrupted” – changing what, he doesn’t know, from what, he doesn’t know) to be gained here, that he makes this assertion. Your guess is as good as mine, folks.
Earth Round and Flat like a coin according to Bible:
Bible Isa 40  It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.
Jeremiah 16  O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ENDS OF THE EARTH, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.
Job 38  That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?
This was a Myth of people at that time that the earth is flat and so reflects Bible. Yet God even at that time should have known that earth is spherical like a ball and Not flat like a coin.
I’ll merely cite a few verses of the Qur’an that likewise seem to point to this same conclusion, read without context or in-depth study. I honestly don’t care about whether it does or not – I have bigger fish to fry – but I’d like to point out that those in glass houses should not throw stones.
Surah 15:19 And the earth We have spread out (like a carpet); set thereon mountains firm and immovable; and produced therein all kinds of things in due balance.
Surah 50:7 And the earth-We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and produced therein every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs)-
Surah 78:6 Have We not made the earth as a wide expanse, and the mountains as pegs?
Surah 88:20 And at the Earth, how it is spread out?
Just in case the case is attempted that this doesn’t mean “flat”, let us examine a few commentators and ahadith. “In his phrase, `how it is spread’, he denotes that the earth is flat. All the scholars of Islamic law agree upon this. It is not round as physicists claim.” Tafsir, p. 509, Al-Jalalan
Al-Badaiwi – “‘Stretched out the earth’ means it was flattened in width and length so that feet may be steady on it and animals may roll on it.” (`Abdallah `Abd al-Fadi, Is the Quran Infallible?, p.19)
… who has made the earth AS FLAT and comfortable as a bed and placed upon it mountains standing firm… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Part 1), Surah Al-Fatihah Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 1 to 141, abr. Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafa’i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London, 1998 second edition], pp. 79-80)
Now, I’d like to invite my opponent to contemplate – would he apply the same standard to the Qur’an, and his defense of it, in responding to these allegations, as he would offer the Bible, in his allegations? Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument.
Many other verses can be quoted to prove Bible is Not completely God’s word, yet I think this much is enough.
I think my opponent cites things in a very surface level fashion, because that’s all he knows of them. I’d like to point him once again to his Qur’an, which tells him to study the Books given to the two peoples before, lest he be “unacquainted with all that they learned by assiduous study.”
2. You have stated that Uthman burned variant Qur’an copies due to “variing [sic] fonts” – can you document this assertion, please?
3. Is it not true that the “other Qur’anic materials” were burnt due to the “differences in recitation”? (Al-Bukhari 6:507-510)
4. How does this artificially “unified” textual tradition provide assurance of the Qur’an’s freedom from error, and not just raise more questions?
At the time of 4th Caliphate of Uthman r.a. there were many tribes of Muslims in and around Arabia and they all had variations in their pronunciations of Arabic language. So they recited the Quran in their own accent and also written it as such. Written Arabic was also Not as developed at that time as it is now, Therefore, Uthman r.a. standardized the written copies of Quran by discarding the variations in dialects / fonts act. This should Not make any difference as Quran was in the hearts of hundreds of people (word to word) at that time and there was NO chance of error. Written Quran was Not even needed. Today we can find 12 year old kids who have memorized Complete Quran word-to-word without error. They are called Hafiz.
Notice he didn’t document his assertion, just restated it. He didn’t address the Bukhari citation, either. He also didn’t address the issue of the artificial textual “unification”. So, as we can see, he didn’t address *any* of the questions I asked! There is no attempt to address what is clearly *textual* variations – because the *reciters* were not burned, manuscripts with different *recitations* were burned. It was not a matter of accents, or of fonts. It is clearly a matter of textual variations. Otherwise, and keep this clearly in mind – Ibn Masud, who was listed first among the reciters of the Qur’an , specifically said that he “disliked Zaid bin Thabit copying the Musahif” – the same Zaid bin Thabit who was tasked to collect the Qur’an for Uthman ! Further, he says this: “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.'”  Thus we see, our friend did NOT document his assertion – while it can be plainly seen that I have done so.
5. What can you tell me about the transmission of the Scripture’s New Testament text?
6. Given the fact that the New Testament was never under the control of one group, at any time in history, how could it have been corrupted without obvious evidence of this corruption?
7. How do you account for the centuries of early church writers who cited from both New and Old Testaments (as we see them today) prior to Mohammed in your corruption theory?
Transmission of NT matters very little while we have confirmed errors and contradictions in the present book. It’s the job of historians to find the date, location and person who corrupted the scripture. My area of research is Salvation and Logic. And the present errors are a clear evidence of Corruption.
Then, logically, it would have to follow that our friend here has not a leg to stand upon. Pay close attention here. He asserts that the Bible is corrupted, yes? He does not know when. He does not know how – and he doesn’t care. Contrast this to my response above – where I lay out the case for a specific incident, well-documented, where the Qur’an’s textual history is damaged irreparably. Further – by what standard are these supposedly contradictions?
It matters very little. Did you catch that? As we can see, my opponent is brushing this question off, because he either does not know what I’m referring to, or does not know how to answer it. Folks, we have the text far before Mohammed. It’s the most well-attested document in ancient history- including the Qur’an. But, his response is, “it matters very little”. Can my opponent tell us what the book in Muhammad’s time said differently? No, he can’t. Do I have manuscripts to refer to from the second century? Yes, I do – and from every century after that up until Muhammad! Where, I ask once again, is even an attempt to argue his point? This isn’t a matter for historians. This is a matter for anyone with eyes. Perhaps he’d care to examine Codex Sinaiticus, online? Very soon, he’ll have the Dead Sea Scrolls, (which I happen to have seen in person, when they visited Mobile AL) online as well. Further, it’s far from the case that there was a single stream of document transmission, of that it was localized. The Scriptures were transmitted in multiple streams, in widely dispersed areas, and were never under the control of any one person or organization. My opponent is fundamentally ignorant of the issues in question, and demonstrably so. There was no wholesale textual corruption; and his Qur’an even attests to the truth of what I say, whatever his assertion to the contrary have been thus far.
His sole response to my next question is a link, to a page on a website. I’ll let the reader decide who is making a case here, and who is simply making undocumentable assertions. Once again: To believe what he believes, he must take a nose dive down the rabbit hole, and frolic with Alice and her White Rabbit. Logic becomes silly putty, salvation is reduced to whim, while history and textual precision becomes absolute nothingness. I invite you to compare his approach with Robert Price, and his “maybes”, “possibles” and “coulds” in his debate with James White. Robert Price actually said that in order to know any fact of history, there must be multiple video camera attestation. Similarly, we have a case of historical myopia – where only the history related in the Qur’an and Hadith – and only the history we *like* – is valid for discussion. I simply note that he appealed to history in attempting to demonstrate Muhammad was a prophet – yet now it’s all just up for grabs in the case of New Testament textual transmission. Convenient, is it not?
8. Can you give me a list of corrupted verses in the Old and New Testaments, please?
He can’t even be bothered to answer the question. By all means, visit that website, and the absolute butchery it makes of the Biblical text. The modus operandi should be abundantly familiar to those of you who managed to wade through my opponent’s attempts thus far to deal with the Biblical text.
9. Can you document the preceding assertions, please, by providing manuscript evidence of the supposed “corruption” present in these texts?
Once again, he has made a naked assertion, with no documentation. He has no apparent interest in actually arguing his point. Merely in tossing assertions out at a high rate of speed to see what sticks. He did not provide an answer to this question.
10. Who “made it appear to them” that Jesus was crucified and killed in Surah 4:157?
Obviously, God “made it appear to them”. Name of God is Allah (s.w..t) and it is He who has all the might and capability. He it is who provides miracles to His prophets and He is able to perform all things.
Note the amazing assertions made in his followup, and his willingness to argue from only a couple attributes of Allah to make his positive claim here and to follow.
11. Why, do you think, does the Qur’an say that Allah made it appear to them?
Allah (s.w.t) wanted to save Jesus Christ (His Rasool on earth). It’s a general law that a Christ / Rasool of God can never be killed although prophet (who is Not a Rasool) can be killed and many have been in history. Jesus Christ didn’t have any Army to support him at the time; So God just raised him up to heavens alive in order to save him from the Jews who wanted to crucify him as they feared loss of their own kingdom. By this act God accomplished 2 tasks: Firstly, Those Jews got what they were looking for (apparently) so they stopped searching further. Secondly, Judas got punished for betraying his master as he should have. Crucifixion was at that time the worst humiliating punishment that befitted Judas and Not Jesus Christ.
Some absolute humdingers to be found in this section, to be sure! Where is this general rule stated in the Qur’an, is my first question I’d have for him. Did the Jews have a kingdom to lose? This utterly ignores the early Christian witness to the resurrection. Completely, absolutely, and unequivocally ignores it, like the plague. If it was unattested, why, then, did Luke report concerning the over 500 who saw him at once? Why do all the apostles who speak of it unanimously report that they saw the risen Lord? We are thrown “evidence” as if it’s some sort of “obvious” thing – but as I have pointed oout time and time again, he reads everything through his presupposed Qur’anic lens. Not only that, but that lens is ground badly. It affirms, then denies Scripture. It affirms it’s truthfulness, but then the Muslim has to turn around and deny it elsewhere – while nebulously claiming it happened “somewhere”. Why? Well, because otherwise the Qur’an would be contradictory! Thus we see the Qur’an’s glaring problem, yet again. The monkey wrench, as the followups will show, is that the Christians believe that Christ rose again. They saw Him! They preached this as a central tenet of their message, and it is to this day, as it should be. To say otherwise, as the Qur’an then does, shows only that the author, and those who followed him, had no idea what it was these Christians they interacted with actually believed. If they claim the author of the Qur’an was Allah – then Allah has no idea what Christians believe! We’ll deal with the Judas assertion later.
12. Does not the Qur’an say that the disciples of Jesus were Muslims, in Surahs 3:52 and 5:111? In fact, in Surah 3, doesn’t Allah immediately afterwards (in Surah 3:55) say that he will make those who follow Jesus superior to those who reject faith?
It’s a general rule of God that He makes superior over others those who follow His prophet / Christ / Rasool and destroys those who reject them (their warning against sin). At the time of Adam (mpbuh), those (of his children) who followed him became successful. At the time of Noa, Those who believed him were made successful, At the time of Moses; those who attested him were made prevalent over the rejecters like Pharaoh. At the time of Jesus Christ, those who affirm faith in God obeying him were made successful. So, today those who will follow Muhamamd (s.a.w.) will be made prevalent over those who reject faith (Quran-based) because today the prophecy is that of Muhammad (s.a.w.) till the end. (mpbuta)
While this is an interesting assertion, I’d just like to point out that he has it entirely backwards. Men are not “superior” or “successful” because they follow a man. They are “blessed” because God chose them to display His glory through His work in them. God grants belief to His chosen servants – it is not a matter of “superiority”. Thus we see Islam in it’s true guise, and why it is yet another of man’s religions. In the long run, it’s about you, and what you do. It’s not about God and His glory. It’s about one set of men being superior to another set of men.
In the Bible, those who were chosen, set apart by God, were granted belief in Him, eyes to see, and ears to hear. Not due to their works, but that so they might do His works and thereby glorify Him. In their schema, men believe, therefore they are made successful. I don’t have to draw the parallels between health and wealth theology and this conception for you. It should be readily apparent. If you follow the magic formula, you get the ticket punched, and off you go to paradise! In Scripture, however, men are not capable of believing, apart from the sovereign, regenerative, active and quickening power of God, changing the hearts and minds of men. They are set apart, like Samuel, for the Lord’s service. He appoints works for them, that they may carry them out for the perfect and transcendent glory of God. He truly just does not get the problem Islam faces here.
13. If, according to the Qur’an, Allah deceived men into believing Jesus was crucified; did he not also deceive those he himself claims are Muslims; did they not spread a religion centered specifically on the death, burial, and resurrection of this same Jesus, and die for that belief at the hands of the Jews, the Romans, and others?
Those who attested to the faith in God taught by Jesus Christ already knew that Only God is to be worshiped and Not human. They already knew that Salvation will be achieved only by keeping the commandments of God (following Christ) and NOT by worshiping Christ or merely accepting the blood. Faith of those followers of Christ had remained unchanged after crucifixion. This incident only provided a chance to corruptors to get rid of commandments and guarantee salvation just upon accepting blood. Many were deceived due to this.
This paragraph is excruciatingly sad to me. This man has no idea what the Old Testament taught. The very covenants of the OT were in blood. Does he really think the new covenant would not be? The law, as is pointed out in excruciating detail in Galatians, Romans, and Hebrews, is impossible to keep. It is the schoolmaster to point us to Christ. He utterly ignores his own Qur’an which says we each have our appointed way – and instead tries to mash both Judaism and Christianity into Islam. It just doesn’t work. Islam has no idea what God accepts. Allah has no price for sin. There is no atonement. There is no justice. There is only caprice and whim. I’m at a loss to see how he would explain Genesis 9:6! There is no rhyme here, no reason. Blood, friends, is the life of men. The wages of sin is death – yet we are being told that sin has no wage! It has a wage in the hereafter, but not for those who are saved! Saved from what! Saved how? There is only saved from Hell – but for no price. Allah just lets men off because they were “good enough”. Yet, from Scripture we know that there is no good enough. There are only sinners, justly condemned. The mercy of God only has meaning in the context of His justice. His justice must be satisfied – and He must be the satisfier of it – for none of us are able!
14. According to the Qur’an, is not Allah, then, the author and sustainer of Christianity, in accordance with Surah 61:14 and Sur 3:55 – or did Allah create and sustain Christianity by accident?
Allah’s (s.w.t) only way is Islam i.e. submission to His will. God has No other religion. Christianity is NO religion even according to the Bible. The word “Christianity” is Not there in any Bible, any Gospel. The word “Trinity” is Not there. So this all fabricated later and was Not taught by Jesus Christ. Today we have Gospel according to Luke, John and Paul act.. What we Muslims believe is the original Injeel taught by Jesus Christ, a Gospel of Jesus in Hebrew language that he spoke. We can Not find it today.
Likewise, Christ says that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except by Him. The English word “Christianity” is not in the Bible, no – but “Christians” – Christianos (Χριστιανός) is, incidentally, in Acts 11:26. It is truly a laughable argument that my opponent offers next – that “Trinity” is not in the Bible. Of course it isn’t. Just as “Omnipotence” isn’t in the Qur’an or the Bible. Yet, the doctrine of the Trinity is taught in the Bible, and omnipotence is taught in the Qur’an and the Bible. This is utterly simplistic argumentation. Once again – fabricated when? Where? Document your assertions, objector! I also note that i dealt with this in my rebuttal, and here it is, simply presented again without any regard to my response. Where is this “original Injeel”? Where is the manuscript evidence of it? Where is the historical evidence of it? Where are the quotes from it?
15. However, if as you claim, Christianity was corrupted – you seem to be left with a dilemma – did Allah fail to keep his promise to make Jesus’ followers superior, or did he fail at preserving who he claims were Muslims? By the standard you seem to set, they were those who rejected faith – yet the same persons as those who were Muslims. How do you resolve this contradiction?
Christianity was Not corrupted, torah and Injeel-based Islam was corrupted into Christianity rather. Christians are Not the followers of Jesus Christ as Christ never told them to worship Him or Trinity. We Muslims follow Jesus Christ more than “Christians”. We Worship God alone, we dress modestly, we grow beards, we avoid adultery, we abstain from taking intoxicants and swine. We are circumcised, we try to keep the commandments as Christ instructed. Compare “Christians” with it and you will get the answer. Please refer to my answer of Q 12.
Once again, naked assertions. He cannot tell us, where, when, or what was the original. All he can say is “I don’t know, but it doesn’t agree with the Qur’an, so it’s false.” Once again, here is his problem. It agrees and does not agree with the Qur’an. The Qur’an wants to claim the mantle of authority from Abraham and Christ, but it does not accord with either. As seen in Acts 11:26, “Christianos” are indeed those who follow Christ. Christ accepted worship of Himself, and claimed equality with the Father, and promised the Spirit to His people. Compare the list of “dos and don’ts” he gives you above, and then compare them to Biblical Judaism. They don’t match that either. Where is the sacrificial system? Where are the priests? Where is the fulfillment of the law? Where is the new covenant? In the case of Christianity, where is the affirmation of the new covenant – in His blood? My opponent refutes himself coming and going. There is not a shred of history that agrees with his theorizing – and he doesn’t care. As far as back as you go, His followers worship Him as God. They baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and they link them all together seamlessly as the one God in three persons that they worship. This is not controvertible. Many, many groups have tried; and have failed.
So, today following Torah / Injeel- based Islam (that you refer to as Christianity) is invalid. Like today if a Hindu claims to be following his Vedas calling it a Scripture given to Abraham (mpbuh) 4000 years ago, also mentioned by the Quran and then telling us that we should prevail according to Quran as we are following Abrahamic Scriptures will be invalid. Today is the Prophecy of Muhammad (s.a.w.) and law is the Quran, so anyone who wants to follow God’s commands should follow them. Even Jesus Christ in his second coming himself will have to follow Quran and Muhammad (s.a.w.) as a prophet of time. He will come as a follower of Muhammad (s.a.w.) this time and Not as a prophet.
Interesting how he inserts as many concepts into his conception of my beliefs as Yusuf Ali and his Quran Explorer friend insert words into their translations! Once again – he presupposes that anything disagreeing with the Qur’an is invalid. That the Qur’an is internally incoherent must be ignored, at all costs. Just keep in mind all of the interesting contortions he went through to try to escape the plain meaning of the text, when we went through his Qur’an. Even now he’s trying to spin “prevail.” It’s a very, very simple set here. Allah promised Christ, in the the Qur’an’s text, that his followers would prosper. The only men who followed Christ, friends, were the Christians. They were the ones who were persecuted, killed, and scattered to the four winds for His sake. In a few short centuries, Christianity had spread across the Roman Empire, and far beyond! yet, those were not the ones who prevailed? Once again, I invite my opponent to show me the men in history who prevailed, according to Allah’s promise, if it wasn’t the followers of Christ, called Christians?
What I found incredibly interesting was his comparison of Christianity to Hinduism. What he truly seems not to understand is the fact that his Qur’an bears only the most superficial resemblance to the Scriptures. Yet, while affirming that the Qur’an is the work of the same author as the others, he bends over backwards to undercut what those others actually teach, and the Scripture they get it from. It amazes me how folks like Mormons or Muslims claim the God of Scripture, yet turn what the Scripture says on its ear, and see no contradiction to be found in doing so! It is a sad thing to witness, because I have no doubt he is sincere in his belief. What I doubt it his understanding of what he is trying to object to. Over and over we see him say the most outlandish things about what Scripture teaches, and an utter lack of knowledge when challenged on his assertions. I’ll suggest to him what I suggest to many others. Read that which you claim to object. Utilize the many, many resources, such as systematic theologies, that concisely and accurately explain what we teach – so that you do not look so foolish!
16. Is it your assertion that “Judas” was substituted for Jesus on the cross?
Just watch what transpires next.
17. Can you point me to where in the Qur’an that it asserts this?
18. What is your source for this assertion, then?
Quran 4:157 And because of their saying (in boast), “We killed Messiah ‘Îsa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah,” – but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but it appeared so to them [the resemblance of ‘Îsa (Jesus) was put over another man (Judas) (and they killed that man)], and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e. ‘Îsa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary).
As I alluded to earlier – note the parenthetical insertions into the text. The word “Judas” is not in the Arabic. That he considers that these parenthetical insertions will go unnoticed, or actually purport to show what the text actually says, is unbelievable to me.
Here are multiple English translations to demonstrate what I’m talking about.
Khalifa: “And for claiming that they killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of GOD. In fact, they never killed him, they never crucified him – they were made to think that they did. All factions who are disputing in this matter are full of doubt concerning this issue. They possess no knowledge; they only conjecture. For certain, they never killed him.”
Pickthall: “And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain.”
Shakir: “And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure.”
Sher Ali: “And for their saying, `We did slay the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of ALLAH;’ whereas they slew him not, nor did they bring about his death upon the cross, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified; and those who differ therein are certainly in a state of doubt about it; they have no certain knowledge thereof, but only pursue a conjecture; and they did not arrive at a certainty concerning it.”
Yusuf Ali: “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:- ”
Transliterated: Waqawlihim inna qatalna almaseeha AAeesa ibna maryama rasoola Allahi wama qataloohu wama salaboohu walakin shubbiha lahum wa-inna allatheena ikhtalafoo feehi lafee shakkin minhu ma lahum bihi min AAilmin illa ittibaAAa alththanni wama qataloohu yaqeenan
The Arabic: وَقَوْلِهِمْ إِنَّا قَتَلْنَا الْمَسِيحَ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلَكِنْ شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ لَفِي شَكٍّ مِنْهُ مَا لَهُمْ بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِلَّا اتِّبَاعَ الظَّنِّ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًا
“Judas” is not in the text. I’d like the readers to note the VAST hypocrisy being shown by my opponent. His oft-repeated refrain is “Trinity is not in the Bible”. Thus, he offers (for obvious reasons) a highly paraphrased translation *with inline commentary* to supposedly “demonstrate” his point – which is found in the commentary, not the text itself. His assertion is not in the text, and the question was “where in the Qur’an” can this be found. Since it is not present, the burden is on him to demonstrate where it may be found implicitly, since it is not found explicitly. I would also point out that such an answer is highly dishonest.
19. Are you aware of the provenance of this “Gospel of Barnabas? It was written no more than 600 years ago – but it claims to be the work of Barnabas, the contemporary of Jesus, Peter, John, and Paul? How do you resolve this?
That’s another major difference of Quran and Bible. In case of Bible men decide which books should be part of it while Quran is 100% God’s word. Even the Arabic words of the Quran are chosen by God Himself along with its sequence.
There are enormous problems with this answer. “That’s” – what is he referring to? The major difference between the Qur’an and Bible, are we to gather, is that you need a text, written over eight centuries after the Qur’an, over fifteen centuries after the events of the Biblical record, to “testify” to what the Qur’an does not say, and somehow this explains this fundamental contradiction between what he says, and the Qur’an says? The self-same text which claims to be the work of the same Barnabas who was Paul’s partner, contemporary to Christ Himself – was written in the 16th century, (attested to by massive amounts of internal evidence) but is somehow considered a “gospel”? The next section is even more problematic. “Men decide which books should be part of it” is the assertion given to us. First, this is not even remotely what Christianity teaches. Secondly, readers, recall that my opponent has said, publicly, that the Gospel of Barnabas is his source for this assertion. Notice, however, that he classifies this as “not pure” in the question to follow. On what grounds does he trust this assertion, but reject others? There is nothing in the Qur’an to say this was Judas. So it’s not the Qur’an’s testimony he’s using to base this assertion on. He is, my friends, “editing” the Qur’an on the basis of a 16th century Muslim-influenced text!
20. Have you examined the historical claims in the “Gospel of Barnabas”; such as it’s assertion that there were three armies totaling 600,000 soldiers, at a time when the entire Roman army totaled 300,000 – or that Nazareth and Jerusalem were on the shores of the sea of Galilee (Chp 20, 151)? Or that it both confirms and denies Christ’s status as Messiah (Chp 42, 82), as well as his death and resurrection? (Chp 193 vs 216-217)
I just referred to Gospel of Barnabas as a writing of another disciple of Jesus Christ that God could have been referring to in the Quran as being successful. Although, I don’t consider this as a pure word of God.
Once again, note the utter disregard for history in his examination of his own position. History doesn’t matter when his position is questioned. It matters only when he considers history to be in his favor, and he is questioning others, you see. He completely ignores
the historical and factual errors and anachronisms – but on the subject he wants to utilize, these other errors are irrelevant. The arbitrary nature of his argumentation is truly stunning. Note also the hypothetical used – where in reality he states as a fact that Judas was who was substituted. Where does he get this from? Why is he not stating that hypothetically? Many offer conjectures as “fact” – but any fool can assert that a conjecture is a “fact”. Demonstrating 1) That such is actually the case and 2) That the meaning you are assigning to that “fact” is actually justified, and 3) That it accords with your worldview in the first place, is an entirely different proposition.
21. Sir, the Qur’an seems to affirm the status of the Torah and Injeel as Scripture – yet the Qur’an also denies practically every central tenet of this Scripture. Since you can provide me no documentary evidence of your claims to corruption, yet continue to assert this claim, is it not fair to say that this insistence is due to the fact that your Qur’an contradicts itself, but that since you cannot agree with this, you are looking for any explanation but that one?
Please refer to the answer of Qeustion 1.
I did. It was a non-answer to my question. It’s burden shifting, doesn’t answer the question, and simply makes a naked assertion; instead of giving a positive case, he then shotguns a whole bunch of “facts” back to cover for the lack of an answer. What is missing is 1) The answer I asked for 2) The justification for the Qur’an’s denial of what it affirms. He just flat-out does not answer the question – and this is my critique of his position. The reality is, he cannot defend the Qur’an’s contradictions on this point. So, in order to try to shift the audience’s eyes away from his own lack of intelligibility in answering this question, he just hand-waves it, and tries the debate equivalent of the “old Jedi mind-trick”. Well, folks, these are the droids we’re looking for.
Let me lay this out very clearly, for everyone to see what is being detailed out, and avoided here by my opponent.
His position, as stated, is that the Scripture is corrupted. His position, as stated, is that he doesn’t know when or how it was corrupted – but he still knows it was – because it contradicts the Qur’an. However, the Qur’an itself – much like in the case of Sur 4:157 – says something different from what my opponent’s position is. It says the following;
Presence and Provenance:
a) The Qur’an, Torah and the Injeel are the books given by Allah.
b) They were present at the time of Muhammad.
c) They were to be referred to by Muslims, Christians, and Jews.
Obedience and Observation
d) In fact, all 3 groups are commanded to obey the Torah;
e) Christians are commanded to obey the Injeel
f) Muslims are commanded to obey both, and the Qur’an.
g) They are commanded to “judge by” their respective scripture, in the respective ways appointed by Allah.
Now, seeing that I’m supposed to judge by the Bible, I examine the Qur’an by the standard of the Bible – the Qur’an, after all, claims to teach nothing different, and to be a continuation of Allah’s revelation, right? What I find (when I do what both Scripture and the Qur’an tell me to do) leaves me in doubt as to whether the Qur’an is the revelation of the God who reveals Himself in the Bible.
What does the Qur’an tell those who are in doubt (and specifically Muhammad)? Well, unfortunately for the Qur’an, and those who defend it, it tells those who are in doubt… to ask those who believed in and examined the Bible before me. So, I consult my confession, the orthodox creeds of Christendom, and the masters of Biblical exposition – and I am left… in even more doubt about the claims of the Qur’an.
Why is this, you ask? Part of my central argument – my internal critique of his position – is that the Qur’an affirms that the Scripture was present, and able to be referenced. I know (and I suspect my opponent knows, but I can’t be sure of that) that the textual history of the NT and OT is unbroken – from far prior to Muhammad’s day until the present. Therefore, the Bible I hold today, which is a translation from the original languages, and verifiable *with* those original languages, is the same Bible that the Qur’an tells us to refer to. The Qur’an, however, while claiming to confirm the Scripture, denies practically every tenet of Scripture. My opponent, going even further, denies what the Qur’an expressly says to affirm the Scripture, in an attempt to salvage that contradiction. In fact, he also imports from utterly unreliable sources such as the “Gospel of Barnabas” to try to explain the denials of what Scripture teaches! On both sides of the Qur’an’s contradictory claims, he resorts to contradiction, and thus falls into irrationality. Yet, when pressed, he refuses to answer the questions posed to him. When pressed about the historical problems with his position regarding so-called “corruption”, he throws history completely under the bus in his unwillingness to make an argument, and in his insistence that he doesn’t have to prove his assertions. Such a position is wholly, and entirely irrational. It is once again seen in his usage of what he himself claims is an unreliable text – but in this case, he is willing to take a stand on historical reliability, because claiming it entirely would, in his eyes, reflect badly on his position. He is entirely right in that regard, but at the same time he is willing to claim one aspect of it’s writing as confirmation of the Qur’an!
I’ve detailed where the Qur’an differs, in multiple respects, from anything even resembling the Biblical revelation. Apparently my opponent agrees, because he’s doing everything but tearing pages out of the Qur’an to ensure this is made plain. However, he has no basis in the Qur’an to do so. So, as I presented in my opening statement, he has, in practice, denied both the Qur’an, and the Scripture in order to hold to his own position. His own arguments betray that this is his position. What, judging by his arguments in favor of the Qur’an, is his final authority? Is it the Qur’an? No! We are to judge the Qur’an by whether it accords with the facts of science, the facts of history, and doesn’t confuse people, like doctrines such as the Trinity do. So, his argument boils down to “the Qur’an accords with the decisions of humans, therefore it is the Word of God”.
Contrary to this, I have pointed out that his position, either way he could have taken his argumentation – whether in accordance with the Qur’an, or contrary to the Qur’an, results in incoherence, and the destruction of intelligibility. It results in the destruction of logic itself, as logic is, by his argumentation, not grounded in revelation, but in the mind of man. It destroys morality, in that justice is not served in the forgiveness of sin, but is based on your own more or less imperfect adherence to law. In short, his position destroys everything. If you refer to my closing statement notes, it was my intention to wrap this up there.
The leadup to that closing statement is precisely in this section, where he offers no answer whatsoever to my central argument. My suspicion is that this is because he doesn’t understand it, (and I’d be happy to explain it for him, if he is still interested) but I’d invite the readers to note that I’m asking the very questions I defined in my opening statement as my central argument – and he has no substantive answer to these, whatsoever! None!
22. I see your hesitance to agree there, but let me do this. Look at my position, for the sake of argument. I affirm Scripture, which affirms the deity of Christ, His frequent claims to equality with the Father, as well as the need for atonement, in blood, for the *infinite* wrath and justice of God. Is it not faithful to my position that only the Incarnate God could be the sacrifice to satisfy that infinite wrath?
Human sacrifice may have been a part of Red-Indian Jungle culture in history but has NEVER been approved by any prophet of God. The concept of sacrifice is Charity. The Bulls and goats are sacrificed to be distributed among the poor who can Not afford to buy it so that they can also feed themselves and their families with it while pleasing God and thus possibly remitting sins from the person dispensing it. “Christians” due to corruption of Scripture and due to lies of the Church lack fundamental understanding of concepts of Islam taught by Christ.
Notice the well-poisoning in the first statement. Did my opponent forget Abraham and his son Isaac? Did he forget “greater love has no man than he lay down his life for a friend?” Did he forget that the penalty for murder is death? Has he not read Isaiah 53? Pay special attention to verses 8-12. Second – in history? The inconsistency here is glaring.
The second statement… oh my. I have honestly never heard this assertion before. Perhaps I’m just ignorant of some of the more… uninformed claims made concerning this subject, but I’ve never heard anyone honestly attempt this. There are 5 sorts of sacrifices in the OT. NONE of them are about charity. In fact, 3 of the types of sacrifices were given directly to the priests after the “memorial portion” was burned! In the “whole burnt offering”, the entire sacrifice is burnt, and only in a voluntary offering, which is not expiatory in any fashion, is anyone but the priests allowed to eat it at all! The sacrifices, except for the case of 1) first fruits 2) purification and 3) voluntary offerings, are entirely for the expiation of sin. His allegation is that sacrifices are for… charity, but that is not the case at all. Please refer to Leviticus 1-7. Second, he introduces remission as a “possibly”. In Heb 9:22, we hear this: “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Notice, his claim is that he is getting this from the Qur’an – and it seems that Scripture must be interpreted through the Qur’an – but remember what he does with the Qur’an in other places – and that by his standard, which he presented to us in his argumentation, the Qur’an itself is founded in human reasoning and autonomy! Since this is so, he completely destroys the foundation for that selfsame reasoning and autonomy, by accepting the autonomous presuppositions that provide no foundation for the intelligibility of anything whatsoever.
23. Let me stand on your position, in a similar way, for the sake of argument. From your position, the Qur’an’s statements concerning Scripture’s truth seem only explainable by dismissing them as being about something else entirely. Where that seems to fail, however, is in the fact that the Torah and Injeel prior are wholly unintelligible with those many sections removed. How do you resolve this?
??? ……….I have answered all your questions and I am sure you will Not be able to refute even a single error I have mentioned. Quran is 100% truth perfectly agreeing with logic and modern scientific facts.
This is an answer? Putting two question marks in front does not a burden of proof negate. Notice what my question asks: Whenever the Qur’an speaks of Scripture’s truth and reliability, my opponent says that these passages are not speaking of that, but something else. I would note that he disagrees with the earlier commentators and the ahadith on that point. I would invite him to explain Ibn Abbas’ comments on Sur. 85:22, if this is not the case.
Note, I asked him a question. His response is that “I have answered all your questions.” If this is so, where is the answer to this question? I don’t see any answer to it, do you? As you see above, I both can, and have answered his objections. Note also that I don’t treat his objections the way he has treated mine. Also note that his assertion is that the Qur’an is true because it agrees with logic, and scientific fact. If this is so, what is his foundation for logic, or scientific fact? It doesn’t seem to be the Qur’an, does it?
24. My friend, I can only say that this position seems unresolvable, as you are standing. As I said in my opener, it seems you must either affirm the Scripture, but not the Qur’an, or affirm neither, and fall to unbelief. By the impossibility of your position, I believe mine is true. Since you cannot prove that the Bible is corrupted, and my position is very much intact, does it not follow that you are left with nowhere to stand?
Please try refuting any of the mentioned errors in Bible.
Please try answering the question. Please try giving something even resembling an answer, instead of what seems to be much like an “I know you are, but what am I” response. The debate isn’t about the Bible, is it? It’s about whether the Qur’an is the Word of God. He has a very serious difficulty, it seems, in distinguishing between “proof” and “opinion”. While it does very much seem to be an opinion of his that the Scripture is corrupted, and that the Qur’an is the Word of God – I fail to see how the unrelated, meaningless, and disparate “facts” presented to us as “proof” that the Qur’an is the Word of God have any relation to the thesis he’s attempting to prove. Further, I find it rather interesting that his response to having his epistemological rug pulled out from under him is to resort to just ignoring the question, and yet another last-ditch attempt to cast aspersions on the Scripture.
He cannot prove the Bible was corrupted. He has no knowledge of any sort concerning this assertion, and says so in the course of the debate. In fact, he dismisses history as irrelevant to try to salvage his assertion, thus undercutting the very claims from history he makes for his own positive case!
25. I’m afraid that I cannot agree with you that the Scripture is corrupted, and you’ve shown me nothing thus far that is convincing about your own book. Building a case on unrelated “evidences”, but lacking a foundation can’t make you case, can it? In return, I’ve given you an argument that takes your position apart, from it’s own standard. Scripture has no such issues. Can you answer this problem?
It is very easy to reject truth. My Job as a Da’ee is to present it with convincing evidence. People even reject the existence of God. We Muslims are Not commanded to convert others onto Islam by hook or by crook. If a person accepts truth, it will be of his own benefit and if a person rejects truth after evidence then he will be held responsible for the decision on the day of Judgment before God.
I agree, it’s very easy to reject truth. You can plagiarize other’s work without attribution, (including the reference to a slide show, if you look carefully at the transcript) make naked assertions with no substance, gut your own Qur’an in order to try to evade it’s own testimony, destroy history by your attempts to escape the testimony found there, undercut your own worldview in order to attempt to prove your opponent’s false, as well as demonstrate how easy it is to object to a faith you have no meaningful knowledge of. Yes, I think my opponent has demonstrated how easy it is to reject truth. If his job is to present convincing evidence, he has failed at his object. I would simply note that he may not be commanded to convert people by hook or by crook – and I won’t get into the matter of whether there is Qur’anic testimony to conversion at swordpoint, as it’s not relevant.
However, I cannot help but point out that it is apparently quite okay to deny the commands of your own holy book in order to grant you plausible deniability. He is told to study our Scriptures and our beliefs, lest he be found ignorant – as, I would posit, he has been found to be here. Throughout this exchange, he has demonstrated an absolutely woeful understanding of the religion he claims to have an answer to. For his own part, he has proceeded to systematically destroy his own case by his utter disregard for what I have been saying to him, and his amazingly self-contradictory statements throughout. I directly told my opponent that this section was the central argument for my position. Of course, he either did not read that, did not understand it, or chose to ignore it. His answers to this section have been abysmally lacking in any sort of understanding or preparation. For the information of the readers, both my opponent and I had almost a month to prepare for this debate. I provided him with the websites I contribute to, so he had every opportunity to prepare. He chose not to do so, and his responses suffered badly as a result.
He has not provided any answer whatsoever for the transcendental argument I have presented; therefore he not only lost the debate, but has demonstrated the utter inability of his position to provide him with any intelligible predication whatsoever.
This post deals with his answers to the second 25 questions I gave him – I may do other posts in the future, dealing with his specific assertions here and elsewhere. I thank you for your patience, and willingness to bear with me. Once again, thank you for reading, and feel free to interact in the comments.
- NET Bible translators notes↩
- NET Bible translators notes↩
- Surah 6:156↩
- Sahih Al-Bukhari 5.103↩
- Sahih Al-Bukhari, 6.507, 509-510↩
- Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi, Volume 5, From Hadith No. 2606 to 3290, 3104, p. 414↩
- Origins and Sources of the Gospel of Barnabas, by John Gilchrist↩
- Surah 10:94↩
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