Sunday, 22 May 2016

Jonathan McLatchie's Apologetics Academy, Yusuf Bux, Ijaz Ahmad and Debates!

For the last couple of days at least it's become a regular theme on Facebook where Jonathan McLatchie has been challenging Yusuf Bux to debate while refusing to debate Ijaz Ahmad of Calling Christians.

Jonathan had an opportunity to debate Yusuf Bux in South Africa. The organisers messed Yusuf around - Yusuf was up for a debate back then. If Jonathan really wanted to debate him he and his organisers they would have made it happen.

From what I recall from Yusuf, the organisers made it very difficult for Yusuf. He eventually walked away as he felt he was being messed about. I and he suspect they made it difficult for Yusuf because Jonathan's organisers felt Yusuf Bux would connect with the live audience much better than Jonathan and Jonathan's eventual opponents. Were folk like Brian Marrian and Rehan Khan lacking confidence in Jonathan hence why Yusuf Bux (an experienced public speaker) was not selected? It's all speculation now.

I have a great deal of respect for Yusuf Bux, he is passionate in reaching out to Christians in South Africa. He and his family have been working tremendously hard and resourcefully in propagating Islam and helping Muslims.

Yusuf is a public speaker. I don't think he styles himself as a debater. He delivers talks in churches and mosques concerning Islam - primarily on pure Abrahamic monotheism. He tries to communicate to the average Christian - the lay Christian - so he simplifies his argumentation. He chooses not to get involved in overly technical and philosophical discussions. That's his prerogative.

From my understanding, he was able to effectively communicate with the audience in his debates with Rudolph Boshoff and his debate with James White while his respective opponents were not connecting with the audience.

At times we, in this internet apologetics niche community, miss the point that most people out there aren't apologetically aware so some of the arguments and points we discuss in our niche community are totally foreign to the wider audience. Yusuf Bux tries to communicate with the wider audience.

Now I must say, it's curious to see Jonathan angle for a debate with Yusuf Bux after he intimated Yusuf's arguments are dated and weak. Admittedly, I do have reservations about some of the arguments that do come out of SA. Nevertheless, the point here is why would Jonathan decide to target Yusuf for a debate while Jonathan continually avoids Ijaz Ahmad's debate challenges. Ijaz is a hardened apologist and debater who chooses to involve himself in technical discussions about Christian theology - it's what he specialises in.

You see, Jonathan has come off really poorly in his interactions with experienced Muslim apologists. He struggled in his debate with Shabir Ally and struggled in his debate with Yusuf Ismail. Ijaz Ahmad and myself have corrected him and refuted him on many points over the last few months - at times on some very basic stuff highlighting his inability in dialogue with Muslims who are more experienced and aware apologetically. [NOTE: Just so pride does not kick in, Jonathan hasn't struggled because he is not smart or somehow deficient - it's because he is supporting obviously flawed ideas such as the Trinity and Bibilcal inerrancy.]

Debating people who struggle with English and who aren't involved in apologetics deeply is one thing but it's a totally different proposition to debate somebody who is hardened and aware apologetically. Something Jonathan has learned the hard way.

Jonathan, Ijaz Ahmad is waiting for you to agree to debate him. Whilst he is waiting, how about you stop asking Yusuf Bux to debate you. I understand you have been under the mentorship of Sam Shamoun - he has been avoiding YT debates for years now. He knows he will struggle in such a debate arena hence his avoidance.

How Sam Shamoun Clowns Apologists Like Tony Costa and Jonathan McLatchie (ft Iaz Ahmad!)

South African Christian-Muslim Apologetics Review Yusuf Bux and Rudoplh Boshoff (Ad Lucem)

Some past responses to Jonathan McLatchie

Ijaz's responses to Jonathan McLatchie on Calling Christians

Did Ravi Zacharias Spread a False Story About Ahmed Deedat?

An Invitation for Tony Gurule of Ratio Christi To Investigate Doubts About Trinitarian Christian Theology

James White's Bigoted Comments About Middle Easterners, Africans and Asians

A Response to Trinitarian Claims on John 17:5, John 17:3 and 1 John 5:20

James White, Trinitarian Scholar, Squirms

More Poor Scholarship from Dr James White: More Women in Hell Hadith

James White: Show Me Where Prophet Muhammad Said He was the Last Prophet p

Prophecies of the Messiah - Reza Aslan

British Muslims Protested to Defend Jesus p

Sharia Law against terrorism

Christians having dreams and converting to Islam

Conversions to Islam

Learn about Islam


An Invitation for Tony Gurule of Ratio Christi To Investigate Doubts About Trinitarian Christian Theology

A few colleagues and I have recently been engaging Tony Gurule of Ratio Christi on matters pertaining to Christian theology.

I want to bring up 3 points that have stood out in some of the conversation I've been involved in and/or seen.

Distinction between Being and Person, in the Bible?

Firstly, I did ask Tony Gurule for a BIBLICAL distinction between being and personhood as Trinitarians believe God is One Being and 3 Persons.

Tony could not furnish such a distinction. In that case, I would say to Tony and other Trinitarians that you are getting this distinction between being and personhood form Church Tradition - thus not being true to the concept of Sola Scriptura (drawing from Scripture alone). Tony would argue it's was philosophy and not church tradition. However, this is where the semantics come in.

The distinction is not taught by the Bible - even experienced Trinitarian apologists like James White cannot come up with a Biblical distinction.

Where did the distinction come from? And what is it?

Tony is right, it's philosophy. I'm right too, it's church tradition. It can be both. It is both :)

Christians from the 4th century onwards began to develop their philosophy about God in argument with those they deemed to be heretics and in interaction with material in the Bible - the NT especially. So the philosophy of 3 persona came about through the Church. It's Church tradition.

Now Trinitarian Christians have a framework (a philosophy aka Church/Creedal tradition) with which they view the Old Testament and New Testament.

The Catholics are upfront in admitting to Church tradition, evangelicals such as Tony Gurule are reticent to do so as they openly profess to be Sola Scriptura.

However, it's obvious Church tradition has influenced Evangelicals. Not only with regards to the philosophy of the Trinity but also with regards to the Books in the NT. The Church decided which books were to be included in the NT canon - that's to say later Church tradition tells evangelicals and other Christians which books are "inspired" - the original authors did not claim inspiration. In some cases there was controversy. For instance, the Book of Revelation was mired in controversy as the Church could not decide whether to include it in canon initially.

My point here, although Church tradition seems like a dirty concept in certain evangelical communities, there's no escaping evangelicals are prone to Church Tradition when it comes to the canon and the Trinity belief.

Trinitarians may be told the Trinity is clearly deduced from the Bible but if it was so clearly taught in the Bible and so easily to come to through exegesis (rather than eisegesis) then why were there centuries of squabbling - sometimes vicious squabbling over these matters?

Can Jesus sin according to Christianity?

Tony Gurule said he believed Jesus could not sin:

I personally do not believe that He was able to sin (from the human nature of course).

Side note: There are differing opinions on this topic though. The two terms are impeccability and peccability. Some people believe that Jesus was not able to sin, and He did not, but other people believe that He was able to sin, but He did not. So, although the two groups differ on the "could," both groups believe that He did not.

Hold on, Tony and other Christians are in opposition to Matthew. Matthew does not appear to have the same belief - he seemingly believes Jesus could be tempted (thus inferring he believed Jesus could sin):

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Mat 4:1

The same applies to Mark, he too seemingly believed Jesus could be tempted and thus presumably could sin:

and He was there for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels ministered to Him. Mark 1:13

How can one who cannot sin be tempted? It seems authors of Mark and Matthew had different views to Tony and other evangelicals.

Heresy: separating the two natures

Lastly, I'd like to raise Tony Gurule's awareness to his flirtation with Nestorianism.

Tony seemingly separated the idea of Jesus' dual natures. He stated "the human nature is completely distinct and separate".

Perhaps Tony was unaware, in separating the two natures one falls into the ancient "heresy" of Nestorianism. Admittedly, Nestorius took it to the level of believing Jesus was two persons but Tony's "separating" of the two natures is akin to how Nestorius came to the view Jesus was two persons. Christian theologians believe the two natures are actually unified. Here's RC Sproul warning against separating the two natures:

We can distinguish the two without separating them. But when the human nature perspires, it is still united to a divine nature that does not perspire. [What is the Trinity, RC Sproul, Loc397]

The teaching do not mix nor separate the natures of Jesus is one which Trinitarian theologians use to keep their flock away from Eutyches' monophysite understanding and Nestorius' Nestorianism.

A message to Trinitaian Christians from a Muslim

If you'rea Trinitarian, I suspect you will have a few doubts about Trinitarian theology. Explore those doubts.

Ponder upon the Trinity dilemma in this video. This is a powerful point to get people asking questions about the Trinity belief.

The Trinity Dilemma

Historically, the early Church Fathers did not believe in the Trinity concept.

Speaking of the pre-Nicenes, New Testament scholar Robert M. Grant perspicaciously explains that "Christology of [early Christian essentially subordinationist. The Son is always subordinate to the Father who is the one God of the Old Testament." [Dr Edgar G. Foster]

Just to show how late the Trinitarians formed the final formulation of the Trinity doctrine, as late as 380 AD the Church still had not unanimously agreed to include the Holy Spirit as a divine being. Through Gregory of Nazianzen, as late as 380, we see there was a running debate as to what to believe about the Holy Spirit. How can there have been a Trinity teaching passed down through apostles concerning the Holy Spirt if Christians were undecided on what to believe about the Holy Spirit?

"Gregory of Nazianzum could still say in 380, Some of our theologians consider the Holy Spirit to be a certain mode of the Divine energy, others a creature of God, others God Himself. Others say they do not know which opinion they ought to accept, out of reverence for the Scriptures which have not clearly explained this point."
[Sourced from Patrick Navas]

It's well known Jesus' statements were not of a Trinitarian but what you may be unaware of, Paul and Peter made statements which seemingly refute the idea of the Trinity:

In 1 Cor 8:6 Paul spells out the identity of God and identifies Him as the Father:

yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

In Acts 2:36 Peter is purported to have said:

"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah."

Notes from Sean Finnegan's interview with Patrick Navas: Is the Trinity Biblical

Tovia Singer: Does the New Testament Teach Jesus is God?

Why Islam

Monday, 16 May 2016

Did Abu Bakr and Umar Slap Their Daughters?

A comment on a Hadith which may be confusing some people. This Hadith has Abu Bakr "slap" Aisha and Umar "slap" Hafsa. However, I did a brief search of the Arabic word used in the hadith - the word used for slapped - on an Arabic website. The website said the word وجاء is like طعن.  I checked this word which the site gave as a synonym and it doesn't mean slap - it seems more like poke.

There's also a forum discussion saying it doesn't mean slap but poke here. Here's the relevant bit from the comment explaining it:

The translation of the Hadith is wrong because the word which was used in the Hadith, in Arabic is " فوجأت " which means I poked or hit. This is a form of teaching or alerting about an incident you do not approve besides this is an act that does not cause harm at all.

Example: If your brother does something wrong or you knew he is doing something wrong, you may come to him and poke him with your hand on his waist or shoulder as a way to show your frustration and disapproval for what he does. The same applies here..

Notice the word slapped is used in this translation:

Jabir b. 'Abdullah (Allah be pleased with them) reported:
Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) came and sought permission to see Allah's Messenger (ﷺ). He found people sitting at his door and none amongst them had been granted permission, but it was granted to Abu Bakr and he went in. Then came 'Umar and he sought permission and it was granted to him, and he found Allah's Apostle (ﷺ) sitting sad and silent with his wives around him. He (Hadrat 'Umar) said: I would say something which would make the Prophet (ﷺ) laugh, so he said: Messenger of Allah, I wish you had seen (the treatment meted out to) the daughter ofKhadija when you asked me some money, and I got up and slapped her on her neck. Allah's Messenger (mav peace be upon him) laughed and said: They are around me as you see, asking for extra money. Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) then got up went to 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) and slapped her on the neck, and 'Umar stood up before Hafsa and slapped her saying: You ask Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) which he does not possess. They said: By Allah, we do not ask Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) for anything he does not possess. Then he withdrew from them for a month or for twenty-nine days. Then this verse was revealed to him:" Prophet: Say to thy wives... for a mighty reward" (xxxiii. 28). He then went first to 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) and said: I want to propound something to you, 'A'isha, but wish no hasty reply before you consult your parents. She said: Messenger of Allah, what is that? He (the Holy Prophet) recited to her the verse, whereupon she said: Is it about you that I should consult my parents, Messenger of Allah? Nay, I choose Allah, His Messenger, and the Last Abode; but I ask you not to tell any of your wives what I have said He replied: Not one of them will ask me without my informing her. God did not send me to be harsh, or cause harm, but He has sent me to teach and make things easy.

However, in this translation (from the site where I looked into the Arabic word) in their English translation they do not use the word slap but rather poke:

Abu Bakr once came and sought permission to see the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He found people sitting at his door and none amongst them had been granted permission, but it was granted to Abu Bakr and he went in. Then came ‘Umar and he sought permission, and it was granted to him, and he found the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, sitting, sad and silent, with his wives around him. He [‘Umar] said,  “I wanted to say something which would make the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, laugh, so he said, “Messenger of Allaah, I wish you had seen [the treatment meted out to] the daughter of Khaarijah [i.e., his wife] when she asked me for some money;  I got up and poked her on her neck.” The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, laughed and said:“They are around me, as you see, asking for provision.” Abu Bakr then got up, went to ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, and poked her on the neck, and ‘Umar stood up in front of Hafsah and poked her saying, “You ask the Messenger of Allaah for that which he does not possess?” They said, “By Allaah, we do not ask the Messenger of Allaah for anything that he does not possess.” Then he withdrew from them for a month or for twenty-nine days after which this verse was revealed to him

I think it would be extremely unwise and unfair to say they slapped their daughters (to hurt them) in the light of this information.

A comment on a Hadith in Sunan Abu Dawud

What is Isnad in Hadith Studies

Islamophobes: Think Before you Quote from Tareekh al Tabari

Explanation: Sun Sets in Murky Water Hadith (Sunan Abu Dawud, Musnad Ahmad)

False Stories About Prophet Muhammad - By Ehteshaam Gulam

Did Prophet Muhammad Say "Love of the homeland is part of faith"

Why Islam

A comment on a Hadith in Sunan Abu Dawud

Note: this is a weak Hadith. It's been classified as weak by Al-Albani see here. If you come across an Islamophobe asking you to explain it, tell them it is weak.

A man from the Ansar called Basrah said:
I married a virgin woman in her veil. When I entered upon her, I found her pregnant. (I mentioned this to the Prophet). The Prophet (ﷺ) said: She will get the dower, for you made her vagina lawful for you. The child will be your slave. When she has begotten (a child), flog her (according to the version of al-Hasan). The version of Ibn AbusSari has: You people, flog her, or said: inflict hard punishment on him.
Abu Dawud said: This tradition has been transmitted by Qatadah from Sa'd b. Yazid on the authority of Ibn al-Musayyab in a similar way. This tradition has been narrated by Yahya b. Abi Kathir from Yazid b. Nu'aim from Sa'id b. al-Musayyab, and 'Ata al-Khurasani narrated it from Sa'id b. al-Musayyab ; they all narrated this tradition from the Prophet (ﷺ) omitting the link of the Companion (i.e. a mursal tradition). The version of Yahya b. Abi Kathir has: Basrah b. Aktham married a woman. The agreed version has: He made the child his servant.

Although it's weak, there some explanation of the statement "the child will be your slave":

The meaning of " take the born child as your slave" has been explained by al-khattabi who said, " I know no scholar who disgaree with the freedom of the child who came through adultery when the mother is free woman. Thus, the meaning of this statement , if this narration is proven authentic, that the prophet wanted him to look after the child and raise him well so and in return the child will serve hi like a slave due to his goodness and kindness towards him".

See here for more discussion and explanation of this weak hadith here:

What is Isnad in Hadith Studies

Islamophobes: Think Before you Quote from Tareekh al Tabari

Explanation: Sun Sets in Murky Water Hadith (Sunan Abu Dawud, Musnad Ahmad)

False Stories About Prophet Muhammad - By Ehteshaam Gulam

Did Prophet Muhammad Say "Love of the homeland is part of faith"

Why Islam

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Quran’ic Exegesis of al-Ikhlas as a Corrective of Trinitarian Theo-Christology by Ali Ataie

(v. 1) As stated earlier, the word Allah is the proper Name of God that shares an etymology with the Hebrew (in pluralis majestatis) Elohim (אֱלֹהִים), probably from the root a-li-ha (ألِهَ) meaning “to go to and fro in fear and perplexity” or from aleph-waw-lamed (אול), meaning “strength and power” and related to the Arabic Form II awwala (أول), “to interpret” or “find the origin of.” Ash’arite theologians offer the following brief definition of Allah: “A proper name denoting the Essence (which is) the Necessary Existent; the one deserving of all perfection and transcendent above all deficiencies” (علم على ذات الواجب الوجود، المستحق لجميع الكمالات المتنزه عن جميع النقاءص).

The Qur’an is confirming in principle that the God of Muhammad is the same God of the biblical prophets, including Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. The word Ahad (أحد) is taken by Suyuti as either a permutative (بدل) or a second predicate (خبر ثان), with Huwa as subject and the Exalted Expression (لفظ الجلالة), i.e. Allah, as first predicate.

Tantawi says that the Exalted Expression as predicate indicates the occasion of the surah’s Revelation (سبب النزول) in which a group of Jews approached the Prophet asking about the identity of his God - “Who is He (Huwa)?” This is described in detail by al-Wahidi. As discussed in chapter two, the pronoun Huwa, spelled ha-waw and meaning “He (is),” is close to the meaning of the enigmatic tetragrammaton (Shem HaMeforash) spelled yod-he-waw-he (יהוה), if we consider this to be the imperfect tense of the verb hawah (הוה), meaning to “to be,” thus “He is” (yihweh), and translated as ὁ ὤν ([“I am] He who is”) in the LXX (from the 1p sing. Ehyeh [Exo. 3:14]). According to the Mishnah, the Shem HaMeforash was only articulated in the Temple by the High Priest (HaCohen HaGadol) and was believed to be the most exalted Name of God, the actual Name of His Essence in distinction to “Allah/Elohim” which indicated His Essence. Thus Huwa, or Hahut (هاهوت) according to Ibn al-’Arabi, is believed to be al-Ism al-’Azam (الإسم الأعظم), the very Name of God’s Essence according to al-Razi.

 To put it in Philonic terms, Allah (الله)/Elohim (אֱלֹהִים) = Ho Theos (ο θεος) while Huwa (هو)/Yihweh (יהוה) = Ho On (ὁ ὤν).

The usage of Ahad as opposed to Wahid (واحد) is intended to confirm the fundamental creedal statement of the Children of Israel (بني إسرائيل), i.e. the Shema of Deut. 6:4: “Hear O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One (Echad)” (שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָֽד); and confirmed by Christ in Mark 12:29 (ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι πρώτη ἐστίν ἄκουε Ἰσραήλ κύριος ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν κύριος εἷς ἐστιν).
 Also, while wahid denotes one numerically and thus does not negate the existence of other “ones,” ahad, being also anarthrous, denotes utter uniqueness, one of a genus. In addition, Ahad negates the henotheism of the pre-Islamic Arabs who certainly affirmed that Allah was Wahid, but also acknowledged the existence of lesser deities.

With respect to Christianity, the Qur’an repudiates the belief that God has a “Son” (ولد) in the Trinitarian sense by stating that “Allah is only One (واحد) God” (Q 4:171.5). Thus while Allah is numerically one (واحد), the term wahid also denotes His “internal oneness,” i.e. He is only one person (hypostasis; Arab. nafs; Heb. nefesh); there is no multiplicity in the godhead and He shares His Essence with no one and nothing else.

 This is the heart of the Qur’an’s critique of Trinitarianism. There are not multiple hypostatic (personal) pre-eternals; the attributes (sifat) of God are not separate and distinct hypostatic entities. The usage of Ahad in this ayah (112:1), however, denotes God’s “external oneness” thus not allowing any creature to be the incarnation of that indivisible Essence (ousia) since He is transcendent of space, time, and materiality, contra both Incarnational Modalism (Monarchism) and Trinitarianism. In this vein, Hosea (11:9) says: “Indeed I am God and not man” (כִּי אֵל אָֽנֹכִי וְלֹא־אִישׁ).

Taken from Ali Ataie's FB