Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Ali Ataie Reinvigorates the "Muhammad in the Bible" Discussion

Fascinating and Entertaining

A fascinating lecture by Ali Ataie – entertaining to boot. It does help transcend a surface level (or erroneous) understanding on the part of those who are unaware of Islam as well as those who are its detractors. For the Muslim the lecture will be beneficial in contextualising Islam in the Abrahamic tradition.

Lecture entitled: Moses, Jesus, Muhammad: One Message

Useful Notes

Moses, Jesus and Muhammad as Muslims

Moses would not have described himself as a Jew. The term “Jew” was initially a tribal distinction and came in use as a spiritual distinction after Moses. The term Christian was first introduced as a derogatory term. Moses, Jesus and Muhammad are indeed Muslims; those whom submit their wills to God. Islam transcends tribal distinctions.

The Quran

The Quran carries out 3 purposes with respect to previous Scripture (Bible):

*Corrects aspects of previous scripture

*Abrogates certain aspects as well as superseding as authority

*Confirms parts/theologies of the Bible

MUSLIMS in the Bible

Muslims in Mark 3:35

Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother. [NIV, Mark 3:35]

We have previously discussed this amazing verse here.

Muslims in Matthew 5:9 – Using the Peshitta and Hebrew translations
This is could be from (the hypothetical) Q source thus earlier than the epistles of Paul. With it also being a direct quote from Jesus we should give it greater consideration than narrative or material from Paul.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. [NIV Mt 5:9]

Ali Ataie suggests Matthew 5:9 to be a reference to Muslims by appealing to the Peshitta (Syriac translation). The Peshitta indicates the quote in the language of Jesus would have been “blessed are those who make Shalom (peace)”

Ali Ataie also appeals to the Hebrew translation as this would have used the plural word for MUSLIMS!
The “sons of God” reference is metaphorical NOT literal. Also the word for God is thought to be “Allah”.

[Muslims are peacemakers in the sense of greeting each other with “assalamualaikum” (peace be on you). I do want to add; this verse has no similar in the Sermon of the Plain found in Luke 6:17-49 so it cannot be said for certain the verse would have been from Q – if Q existed]

Interesting ISLAMIC Prophecy

Mr Ataie points to a fulfilled prophecy; Muslim eschatology teaches people, in the future, will greet each other with insults. He gives some colourful examples of this occurring today!

Muhammad in the Bible – Continuing the Discussion

Isaiah 42

Ali Ataie firstly appeals to Deutero-Isaiah (the second portion of Isaiah 40-55). Once you read Isaiah 42 it is clear parts of it could be considered a typology of the Prophet Muhammad. The servant of the Lord in Isaiah 42 is suggested, by Ataie, to be Prophet Muhammad. A title of Prophet Muhammad is Abd (slave/servant) of Allah.

Ali Ataie mentions a Jew who recognised Muhammad as a Prophet. Without checking it up I think he was referring to Abdullah bin Salam.

[For the Christian detractor: Rather than an explicit reference to Muhammad, the relevant verses in Isaiah could have been an esoteric foreshadowing of the Prophet Muhammad - don't just dismiss it]

Song of Solomon – Renewing the Discussion

My beloved is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand.[NIV Song of Songs, 5:10]

*Habibullah – is a name of Prophet Muhammad (the BELOVED of God)

*Radiant and ruddy - Ali Ataie (who uses the Hebrew text) also appeals to the physical description of the Prophet (Muhammad); his complexion was white mixed with redness.

*Outstanding amongst ten thousands - Ali Ataie suggests the “chief amongst ten thousand” refers to the companions of the Prophet Muhammad who were with him at the time of the Mecca conquest.

His head is purest gold; his hair is wavy and black as a raven.

Ali Ataie informs us Prophet’s hair was indeed black and wavy (his hair was neither straight nor curly)

Going further than the standard Muslim appeal

Ali Ataie gets to verse 16 and goes further than the standard Muslim address on Song of Solomon:

His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem.

Muhammadim/Machmudim (im is plural). Without the plural the name Muhammad is left.

Origen (early CHRISTIAN scholar 185-254) is brought up as he believed Scripture had multiple levels of meaning. Apparent and esoteric meanings – foreshadowings, typologies. Ataie also appeals to Matthew who also believed Scripture had multiple esoteric meanings to Scripture.

Christian apologists will raise objection but Muslims can retort with an esoteric meaning referencing the final Messenger of God. This response keeps the discussion alive. This portion is found in the ‘Q an A.

Q and A Section

Amongst other points he debunks the Christian polemic of salvation which they level at Muslims as a straw man argument. The issues of terrorism and Jizya came up – unsurprisingly. A question on violence in religion produced interesting discussion – Ataie cites a Jewish Rabbi who claimed MUSLIM Spain was the golden age for Jews!

“360 CE the vast majority of Christian bishops preached Ebionite theology” - quote of the lecture, PLEASE think about it.

Monotheism: Shema and Surah Ikhlas

Christians and Jews who are familiar with the pure monotheism of the Shema (mentioned in Deuteronomy 6:4 and Mark) should look into Sura Ikhlas (chapter 112 of the Quran) and ponder further

NOTE: Ali Ataie’s reference to Norman Geisler’s "co-author" (Abdul Saleeb) would make more sense if you read:

Invitation to the Truth

Would you like to learn more about Islam and Jesus? Would you like to worship the God of Jesus? Would you like a relationship with God? If yes, please come to Islam today. Learn about your new faith here, God willing:



Yahya Snow said...

For those who contacted me via YT and/or regular email - I will respond shortly, inshaAllah
This is the video description:

May 27th, 2010

The Muslim Students Association at UCLA presents

Moses, Jesus, Muhammad: One Message

In a world where religious intolerance is proliferating, come listen to a discussion focusing on the Islamic perspective of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad and the parallels of the message they preached.

The guest speaker, Ali Ataie, is President and Founder of the first United States Muslim Interfaith Council. He has been both a guest lecturer and guest instructor at Cal Poly State, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, and Cal State East Bay. He is currently working towards a Masters' degree at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, majoring in Biblical Studies (the first Muslim seminarian in the 143 year history of the school to do so).

Anonymous said...


This guy is certainly one to watch

Thanks Yahya