On Revising Bigotry 1

On Revis­ing Bigotry

The Con­fer­ence unfolds to the bal­anced mind. Its soul is the hon­or of the search, the equa­nim­i­ty of judg­ment and the breath of beau­ty. Beau­ty is an intri­cate state of bal­ance weighed by the scales of the Lord. The essence of beau­ty is bal­ance, like the equipoise of sight, the resti­tu­tions of love and the har­mo­ny in the Divine word.

I sit unfold­ing on the pages of the Con­fer­ence uncov­er­ing the pow­er of beau­ty to restore the imbal­ance of the mind. It is love, which I nur­ture in myself for it guards the scales. But if love has the pow­er to guard the scales, big­otry is the ugli­ness col­o­niz­ing the fee­ble soul. Big­otry is an infec­tion of fear or hate, pil­lag­ing through the immu­ni­ties of the heart. Big­otry is the quin­tes­sen­tial dis­rup­tion of the mag­na­nim­i­ty of the mind. It was the big­otry of colo­nial­ism that once intrud­ed upon our exis­tence and rav­ished our lives. It sev­ered us from our Con­fer­ence, and per­suad­ed us that our her­itage is but a lie. The dis­ease of colo­nial­ism had infect­ed our hearts, our minds, our limbs and our sight. We saw our his­to­ry as a cor­rup­tion and aber­ra­tion to be apolo­get­i­cal­ly denied. Infect­ed with big­otry, in our imbal­ance, we ide­al­ized the begin­ning of our his­to­ry, and the rest — we demonized.

>Whether it is the big­otry of fear or hate, the big­otry of the col­o­niz­er or col­o­nized, the big­otry of friend or foe, the same ugli­ness cor­rupts the scales of the Lord.

A new piece of big­otry by Daniel Pipes, and the intru­sion dis­rupts you. It is not that the big­otry is nov­el or orig­i­nal, but the very fact that you take time to respond is an annoy­ing chore. What can one say to big­otry that could pos­si­bly help it restore the imbal­ance in its soul ? What can one say to those who project their ugli­ness unto exis­tence, and come to believe that his­to­ry is like a paint­ed whore – it exists for their plea­sure, for their whims, and exists to ser­vice their polit­i­cal goals.

Pipes’ new rev­e­la­tion about Islam and Mus­lims is that their his­to­ry is quite pos­si­bly a lie. Mis­ery loves mis­ery, and so Pipes teams up with Ibn War­raq, a piti­ful fig­ure invit­ing Mus­lims to lib­er­ate them­selves from their reli­gion and their Lord. Ear­li­er on, Ibn War­raq fas­ci­nat­ed us with his rant­i­ng about why he is not a Mus­lim. Of course, his title came from Bertrand Russell’s Why I am Not a Chris­t­ian, but while Rus­sell wrote phi­los­o­phy, what Ibn War­raq wrote is an inani­ty, and an utter intel­lec­tu­al bore. This time the man with the fun­ny name col­lect­ed a bunch of arti­cles and pub­lished them under the title The Quest for the His­tor­i­cal Muham­mad. One of the two intro­duc­tions to the book is writ­ten by a fel­low with the pathet­ic pseu­do-name Ibn Rawan­di. Per­haps, our con­tem­po­rary authors are allud­ing to friend­ship between the his­tor­i­cal Ibn Rawan­di and al-War­raq, both from the third Islam­ic cen­tu­ry. The Manicheism and heresy of the his­tor­i­cal fig­ures is debat­ed, but com­pared to the orig­i­nals, our mod­ern authors are unfor­tu­nate muta­tions and intel­lec­tu­al trolls. Per­haps, our two authors could not imag­ine that a Mus­lim writer could be named any­thing except the Ibn” or Abu” of some­thing, and thought the pseu­do-names sound­ed real­ly cool. Per­haps, our authors sim­ply sought to hide behind their big­otry, and sought to cre­ate with their pseu­do-names their own mys­te­ri­ous lore.

Pseu­do-names betray the lack of con­vic­tion and cow­ard­li­ness of their adopters. At any case, the issue is not the face­tious name hold­ers ; the issue is our osten­ta­tious long-time friend Daniel Pipes. Pipes, like his jovial friends, con­tends that Ara­bic sources on Islam are inher­ent­ly unre­li­able, and so what we think we know about Islam is not what we should know. Pipes claims that Ara­bic sources were writ­ten a cen­tu­ry and a half after the Prophet’s death. Fur­ther­more, non-Mus­lim sources dra­mat­i­cal­ly con­tra­dict the stan­dard Mus­lim biog­ra­phy of the Prophet Muham­mad, and when a Mus­lim and a non-Mus­lim speak, of course, we all know who we should believe. Pipes applauds the efforts of revi­sion­ist his­to­ri­ans such as John Wans­brough, Yehu­da Nevo, Judith Koren and Patri­cia Crone. Accord­ing to Pipes, his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism chal­lenges the idea that Muham­mad preached in Mec­ca, that Ara­bic was the lan­guage of ear­ly Ara­bia, that Ara­bic was the lan­guage of ear­ly Mus­lims, that there was ever such a thing as ear­ly Mus­lims, that the Prophet was born in 570 or, for that mat­ter, Muham­mad exist­ed at all. The Quran was not the prod­uct of the Prophet or even Ara­bia, but is noth­ing more than litur­gi­cal mate­r­i­al stolen from the Judeo-Chris­t­ian tra­di­tion, stitched togeth­er at a late point. Islam­ic his­to­ry, as found in Mus­lim sources, is no more than a pious lie, a sal­va­tion his­to­ry, by a root­less peo­ple, a soul-less peo­ple try­ing to invent a unique iden­ti­ty of their own.

Dis­charg­ing the White Man’s Bur­den, Pipes, may God bless his mer­ci­ful soul, advis­es Mus­lims that revi­sion­ism is a school that they can no longer afford to ignore. Accord­ing to Pipes, revi­sion­ism is a toothache, and those poor pious Mus­lims, immersed in their delu­sions and super­sti­tion, think that the toothache will dis­ap­pear on its own. But Pipes, like my kind moth­er who taught me oral hygiene and the impor­tance of a dai­ly show­er, teach­es Mus­lims that toothaches don’t just go away. Toothaches, you sil­ly willy-nil­ly Mus­lims need doc­tors, need ratio­nal­ists, need Pipes because, darn it, they just don’t go away on their own ! Thank God for Pipes, who like his colo­nial pre­de­ces­sors, guides us to the truth of his­to­ry, the fal­si­ty of our piety and the fact that the objec­tivism of sci­ence is the cure for our super­sti­tious souls. With­out the cant of our mas­ters how could we have ever fig­ured out what to do with toothaches, headaches or any oth­er ache or sore ?

Revi­sion­ism, like all forms of incip­i­ent or estab­lished big­otry, rests on sev­er­al pecu­liar assump­tions. Assump­tion num­ber one is that Mus­lims invari­ably lie. Per­haps the genet­ic pool of Mus­lims is the cul­prit or per­haps it is that Mus­lims are prone to con­spir­a­to­r­i­al delu­sions, and can hard­ly dis­tin­guish fic­tion from fact. Accord­ing to Pipes and his revi­sion­ists, Mus­lims have no qualms about invent­ing, lying or cheat­ing as long as it serves their sal­va­tion goals. The sec­ond assump­tion fol­lows from the first. A non-Mus­lim source is inher­ent­ly more reli­able because non-Mus­lims have a notion of his­tor­i­cal objec­tivism. There­fore, if, for instance, a hun­dred Mus­lim sources say one thing and one Syr­i­ac source says anoth­er, it is an open and shut case. The Syr­i­ac source is inher­ent­ly more reli­able because those pesky Mus­lims can­not help but lie. The third assump­tion is no less inter­est­ing. Mus­lim his­to­ry is sal­va­tion his­to­ry” writ­ten by the self-serv­ing unre­li­able faith­ful. Mus­lims are biased who are per­sis­tent in their search for their ever-allu­sive iden­ti­ty. Non-Mus­lims, on the oth­er hand, are fair-mind­ed even if non-Mus­lims have their own set of inter­ests because, after all, non-Mus­lims have no need for sal­va­tion ; their Lord has already sal­vaged their blessed souls. So the method­ol­o­gy of revi­sion­ism is sim­ple : ignore what Mus­lims say about them­selves or oth­ers, and believe what non-Mus­lims say about them­selves or Mus­lims. The fourth assump­tion of revi­sion­ism is the one least con­fessed, but is unmis­tak­able in method­ol­o­gy and con­clu­sion. Mus­lims are a bar­bar­ic peo­ple ; what­ev­er good they might have pro­duced, they must have con­ve­nient­ly bor­rowed from Judaism, Chris­tian­i­ty or some oth­er more civ­i­lized source. What­ev­er bar­barism Mus­lims might have pro­duced, that, nat­u­ral­ly, comes from the depth of their hearts and souls, but what­ev­er beau­ty they may have pos­sessed they sim­ply stole.

But revi­sion­ists will say, No, you mis­guid­ed emo­tion­al Mus­lim friend. You sim­ply don’t real­ize that Islam­ic his­to­ry was com­posed in the con­text of intense par­ti­san quar­rels. Know­ing how emo­tion­al Mus­lims can be, Mus­lims sim­ply wrote their his­to­ry to affirm their beliefs.”

But if there was no Prophet or Quran or even his­to­ry, what was the cause of the par­ti­san quar­rels ? Well, per­haps noth­ing more than the well-known Arab hunger for mon­ey and wealth, or the Arab inabil­i­ty to tran­scend their eth­nic divi­sions and pedan­tic trib­al lusts. The fact that Syr­i­ac or Jew­ish sources had their own par­ti­san inter­ests and bias­es is imma­te­r­i­al, of course, because non-Mus­lims invari­ably speak the truth. Fur­ther­more, the fact that a Greek source might be report­ing on rumors or on cor­rupt­ed trans­mis­sions received from Mus­lims them­selves does not at all impeach their reli­a­bil­i­ty. We can nev­er for­get ; Mus­lims lie and non-Mus­lims speak the truth.

Of course, Pipes, and his fun­ny named friends, con­ve­nient­ly ignore that accounts of the Prophet’s life were writ­ten in the first cen­tu­ry after his death. While they love to claim the author­i­ta­tive­ness of papyri and coinage to their side, they nev­er explain what coinage or papyri they are talk­ing about. Are papyri or coinage reli­able sources regard­less of the source ? Even more, they ignore papyri writ­ten in the first cen­tu­ry doc­u­ment­ing tra­di­tions about the Prophet, and Umayyad and Abbasid coinage sup­port­ing Mus­lim his­tor­i­cal accounts. They also ignore papyri doc­u­ment­ed by Sez­gin and oth­ers demon­strat­ing the exis­tence of the Quran in the first cen­tu­ry of Islam in its cur­rent form. Fur­ther­more, they ignore that the Quran does not reflect the his­tor­i­cal con­text of the sec­ond or third Islam­ic cen­turies, but shows an over­whelm­ing pre-occu­pa­tion with the affairs of Quraysh, Mec­ca, Med­i­na, the hyp­ocrites and the Prophet. Accord­ing to the revi­sion­ists, in the time of the Abbasids, Mus­lims fab­ri­cat­ed the Quran in the sec­ond and third cen­turies. But appar­ent­ly they did not find a bet­ter way to reflect their his­tor­i­cal con­text than to talk about Quraysh or Mec­ca, con­cepts which the revi­sion­ists believe were invent­ed and which, if one accepts the revi­sion­ist log­ic, no one under­stood or cared about. Not only that, but even more, those lying cheat­ing Mus­lims instead of rely­ing on their own poet­ry or mythol­o­gy, they could not find some­thing bet­ter than the Judeo-Chris­t­ian litur­gy. In short, such are the sad affairs of Mus­lims, they lie and even­tu­al­ly believe their own lies.

But Pipes, and his friends, will sure­ly say, Mus­lims don’t have a his­to­ry, and so his­to­ry Mus­lims can­not under­stand. You poor ahis­tor­i­cal Mus­lim here you go again with your emo­tions get­ting out of hand. Don’t you real­ize that his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism assault­ed Chris­tian­i­ty and Judaism as well ? Don’t you real­ize that both reli­gions sur­vived, but pro­found­ly changed, as Islam sure­ly will?”

Well, of course I thank you for assur­ing me that Islam will sur­vive. But revi­sion­ism in the case of non-Mus­lim his­to­ry is a crit­i­cal skep­ti­cism as to insti­tu­tion­al and offi­cial his­to­ries, but in the case of Islam it is out­right big­otry. What school of his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism has ever claimed that all Jew­ish, Chris­t­ian, British or French sources can­not be believed ? What school of revi­sion­ism has brand­ed an entire peo­ple as com­pul­sive liars?”

The truth is that revi­sion­ists deal­ing with Islam­ic his­to­ry are ide­o­logues with­out the crit­i­cal integri­ty of schol­ars. We can take one exam­ple of Pipes method­ol­o­gy and pon­der his style. Pipes claims that an unspec­i­fied inscrip­tion and a Greek account leads Lawrence Con­rad to fix the Prophet’s birth at 522 not 570. Appar­ent­ly, Pipes did not both­er read­ing Conrad’s study. Con­rad heav­i­ly relies on debates in Mus­lim sources con­cern­ing the dat­ing of the Year of the Ele­phant. He also relies on debates in Mus­lim sources regard­ing whether the Prophet was born in the Year of the Ele­phant or on an ear­li­er date. Con­rad ana­lyzes the claim that the Prophet received rev­e­la­tion at the age forty, and sim­ply points out that the age forty was con­sid­ered a lit­er­ary topoi for matu­ri­ty in Ara­bic and non-Ara­bic lit­er­a­ture. There­fore, the argu­ment that the Prophet was forty when he start­ed his mis­sion could pos­si­bly be a sym­bol­ic usage sig­ni­fy­ing that the Prophet had reached an age of matu­ri­ty. Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, Con­rad does not reach a con­clu­sion about the date of the Prophet’s birth. Rather, he argues that Beeston’s and Kister’s con­clu­sion that the Year of the Ele­phant was in 522, is sup­port­ed by strong evi­dence. He then, appro­pri­ate­ly, empha­sizes the com­plex­i­ty of estab­lish­ing the Prophet’s date of birth. This is a far cry from Pipes’ mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Con­rad. But Con­rad is a schol­ar, and Pipes is an ideologue.

Many of Pipes’ delu­sions are fed by the infa­mous book Hagarism. Yet, very few peo­ple in the schol­ar­ly com­mu­ni­ty take that book seri­ous­ly. Even lat­er works by the authors of Hagarism demon­strate a greater degree of fair mind­ed­ness and schol­ar­ly integri­ty. If Hagarism was writ­ten in a fit of indul­gent fan­ta­sy, the same can­not be said about works that fol­lowed in its foot­steps. Much of the work of revi­sion­ism was spear­head­ed by schol­ars with a regret­table polit­i­cal agen­da. Like vul­gar forms of Ori­en­tal­ism, revi­sion­ists sought to de-legit­i­mate and decon­struct the tra­di­tion of their per­ceived ene­mies. The big­otry of the Israeli schol­ars Koren and Nevo is evi­dent. They con­tend that any Ara­bic source must be cor­rob­o­rat­ed by a non-Ara­bic source, and if the two sources con­flict, as a mat­ter of course, the non-Arab is to be believed. Well­hausen and Wans­brough were bib­li­cal schol­ars, and their cir­cum­spect method­ol­o­gy with Jew­ish and bib­li­cal stud­ies con­trasts sharply with their spec­u­la­tive fan­cies with Islam­ic history.

The truth is that the fanati­cism of revi­sion­ism in doubt­ing Islam­ic his­to­ry is the oppo­site side of the coin of the fanati­cism of pietis­tic sanc­ti­fi­ca­tions of Islam­ic his­to­ry. Each is an imbal­ance, each is extreme and each is ugly. But the dis­tin­guish­ing fea­ture of revi­sion­ism is its big­otry. Imag­ine if Euro­pean his­to­ry was writ­ten only by reliance on Mus­lim sources. Imag­ine if the Jew­ish his­to­ry of the Sec­ond Tem­ple was writ­ten only by reliance on Roman sources. Imag­ine if Chris­t­ian his­to­ry was writ­ten only by reliance on Jew­ish sources. Imag­ine if the his­to­ry of the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion was writ­ten only by reliance on British sources. Imag­ine if Israeli his­to­ry was writ­ten only through the eyes of Pales­tini­ans. But it is impos­si­ble to write these his­to­ries in this fash­ion because no respectable his­to­ri­an would claim the inher­ent inac­cu­ra­cy of all Euro­pean, Amer­i­can, Jew­ish, Chris­t­ian and Israeli sources. What would Pipes think of revi­sion­ist his­to­ri­ans who claim that the Exo­dus of Jews from Egypt is a myth, and that the First or Sec­ond Tem­ple nev­er exist­ed because Jews nev­er lived in Pales­tine at any point in their his­to­ry ? The truth is that the big­otry of revi­sion­ists is like the anti-Semi­tism of Holo­caust-deniers who write the his­to­ry of Jews by rely­ing on the sources of their Ger­man enemies.

No, revi­sion­ism is not a toothache ; it is an inso­lent attempt to deny a peo­ple their very iden­ti­ty, it is the ugli­ness of Colo­nial­ism, and the imbal­ance of fear and inse­cu­ri­ty. Revi­sion­ism is the heartache of sim­ple bigotry. On Revising Bigotry 2Endmark

26 Comments

  1. aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“You can call it revi­sion­ism if you want. What I object to is the impli­ca­tion that we Mus­lims some­how twist the his­tor­i­cal evi­dence to come in line with our claims, or that we are deny­ing the obvi­ous impli­ca­tions of con­clu­sive evi­dence, or that we say that Chris­tians and Jews always lie, and hence reject their scrip­ture as evi­dence entirely.”

    If you are going to get upset at impli­ca­tions that do not exist I think you will not have a hap­py like. Giv­en I have clear­ly and repeat­ed­ly said that I don’t think there is any his­tor­i­cal evi­dence for many Mus­lim claims, I don’t see how you could think I have said oth­er­wise. Nor do I see that I have said any of the oth­er claims. What I have said is that Mus­lims claim Jews and Chris­tians lie (not all the time) and hence reject any part of the scrip­ture that does not agree with what Mus­lims believe.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“I don’t see any Mus­lim claim­ing that archae­ol­o­gy or first-hand, eye­wit­ness, pri­ma­ry doc­u­ments sup­port the Mus­lim claim of Abra­ham sac­ri­fic­ing Ish­mael in Mec­ca. It is a the­o­log­i­cal view, one that hinges on the verac­i­ty of the Prophet Muhammad’s prophethood.”

    Who said there was ? We seem in total agree­ment here.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“It would be a dif­fer­ent mat­ter of course, if con­clu­sive evi­dence turns out which runs counter to Islam­ic claims. That’s why I’m ask­ing you for con­clu­sive evi­dence sup­port­ing the claims of Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty. You haven’t shown any con­clu­sive evi­dence in sup­port of their claims, and which runs counter to specif­i­cal­ly Mus­lim claims. As such, there is no point in say­ing that Islam is a revi­sion­ism of Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty in the con­text the arti­cle is object­ing to. And it real­ly smacks of antag­o­nism to Islam to imply that it is revi­sion­ism of the two reli­gions while the same could be said of the two using exact­ly the same line of reasoning.”

    Why would I want or need to pro­duce con­clu­sive” evi­dence ? Revi­sion­ism of Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty is exact­ly what Islam is. I do not see your objec­tion and per­haps you do not mean what I mean by Revi­sion­ism”? It is a sim­ple state­ment of fact, not antag­o­nism to Islam. How could Judaism be revis­ing any­thing as it pre-date the oth­er two ? You have made a case that Chris­tian­i­ty is with respect ot Judaism and I am hap­py enough to go along with that a lit­tle way.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“Well it doesn’t need to be a mas­sive con­spir­a­cy if it can begin with one per­son. Let’s take a look : a text was trans­mit­ted through one man. He trans­mits it to anoth­er. The man he trans­mit­ted it to mis­han­dles the text. After­wards, thou­sands of copies of the mis­han­dled text were made. And those wrong copies were trans­mit­ted for 4 thou­sand years.”

    One per­son with one text, per­haps. If only one copy of it exists. But for those Mus­lim-spe­cif­ic prac­tis­es, thou­sands of man­u­scripts would have to have been edit­ed and manip­u­lat­ed over the last 2000 years or more. They are con­stant­ly dig­ging up new qua­si-Bib­li­cal or Bib­li­cal texts. Look at the Dead Sea Scrolls. So the con­spir­a­cy has to be on-going and involve, for the DSS alone, the peo­ple who first bought them and recog­nised what they were which would include the lead­er­ship of the Syr­i­an Ortho­dox Church and the Amer­i­can School of Ori­en­tal Research, the entire project staff, all the archae­ol­o­gists and Bib­li­cal schol­ars who have ever worked on the project, the states of Israel and Jor­dan, the Rock­e­feller Muse­um, the French École Biblique, the Pales­tine Archae­o­log­i­cal Muse­um, and the Amer­i­can Library of Con­gress. And the Vat­i­can of course. To sup­press the Truth, as Mus­lims see it, requires such a mas­sive effort it is, in my opin­ion, beyond the bounds of reason.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“It is good that you want a fair stan­dard for all. I also don’t think that revi­sion­ists have proven their claim. At least, not accord­ing to the evi­dence that we have.”

    Well the real prob­lem remains we don’t have any evi­dence, or not much, and so any sto­ry could be true. But then any sto­ry might be false. The revi­sion­ists can nev­er prove their claim in a strong sense with­out real evidence.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“But if you’re real­ly inter­est­ed in a fair stan­dard for all, why not say that Chris­tian­i­ty is a revi­sion­ism of Judaism, and Judaism a revi­sion­ism of poly­the­is­tic Mesopotami­an reli­gion ? Why attack only Islam ? Why resort to the claims of revi­sion­ists (for exam­ple, regard­ing Mus­lim mass­es at the time of Caliph Uth­man), and then sud­den­ly switch argu­ments when you can’t dis­prove the Mus­lim claims regard­ing Abra­ham, by cit­ing Occam’s Razor?”

    There is a the­o­log­i­cal argu­ment about what the Chris­tians are doing. I am not con­vinced that their rein­ter­pre­ta­tion is revi­sion­ism, but if it will make you hap­pi­er let’s agree it is. So what ? I don’t think a sen­si­ble case can be made that Judaism is revi­sion of any­thing. It looks rad­i­cal­ly new and prob­a­bly was. What resort to the claims of revi­sion­ists ? I do not see that I am switch­ing argu­ments at all.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“Now here is where the cir­cu­lar­i­ty comes in. If Christ made a promise to the church, then the ques­tion has to be asked as to the specifics of the promise he alleged­ly made. We assume that this is made in the Chris­t­ian scrip­tures. Appar­ent­ly, it is not. Any­way, if a Chris­t­ian says that yes, it is in the scrip­tures, well this is where the isnads (or any method to ver­i­fy how trans­mis­sion was made) comes in. Which refutes your point that it is irrel­e­vant to Christianity.”

    Well no because a Chris­t­ian will still claim that the pre­sense of Christ in the world and in the Church is what counts. I do not see the cir­cu­lar­i­ty. Again the Bible is clear­ly like the Quran in that believ­ing it does not require an isnad but Faith. How­ev­er even if it did not, Chris­tian­i­ty would be more like vis­it­ing a Sufi pir who can demon­strate his Faith by the per­for­mance of mag­ic. The Church re-enacts the cen­tral mir­a­cle of Christ’s life every week. Chris­tians can see, feel and expe­ri­ence the mir­a­cle. Islam only has the text. Chris­tian­i­ty is a dif­fer­ent reli­gion and as I keep point­ing out, it needs a dif­fer­ent approach.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“However, it should be con­ced­ed by Chris­tians that what they believe in is what the Church says, and not nec­es­sar­i­ly what Jesus said, while a Mus­lim would accept noth­ing less than some­thing ground­ed in some way on what the Prophet taught.”

    Chris­tians would flat­ly deny there is a dif­fer­ence between what the Church says and what Jesus said. The stronger Chris­tians would point to the Holy Ghost work­ing with­in the Church every day.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“This is why I made a com­ment that you also use revi­sion­ism. Any­way, most schol­ars (not just Mus­lim schol­ars, who are equal­ly capa­ble, by the way) are in agree­ment that, at least in basic out­line, the tra­di­tion­al Mus­lim account of the Qur’an’s preser­va­tion is correct.”

    I do not deny read­ing and being impressed by the revi­sion­ists. And actu­al­ly no, the Mus­lim schol­ars I have seen are cer­tain­ly tal­ent­ed in their own way and in doing their own thing, but when it comes to tex­tu­al crit­i­cism or schol­ar­ship, they are weak. They are, after all, by and large, believ­ers. What they do is the­ol­o­gy. I am uncon­vinced most non-Mus­lim schol­ars accept that the tra­di­tion­al Mus­lim accounts are cor­rect. There are obvi­ous prob­lems with it. What most seem to do is admit the prob­lems but say in the absence of proof it is sen­si­ble to keep it for now.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“Only a few schol­ars reject it, reject­ing all of the hadith, or accept­ing parts which could poten­tial­ly under­mine Mus­lim claims.”

    I don’t think any­one rejects all the aHa­dith except of course for some Muslims.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“Well, you’re wrong about the text of the NT. Why do schol­ars such as Bruce Met­zger and Kurt Aland have to vote to decide on which par­tic­u­lar word to include in their crit­i­cal text of the NT ? Pre­cise­ly because dif­fer­ent man­u­scripts say dif­fer­ent things, and it is up to the text crit­ic to decide which read­ing best rep­re­sents the auto­graph. Of course, they have to take new man­u­scripts and frag­ments into con­sid­er­a­tion if new ones come in. That’s why the text is flu­id. It’s not just a mat­ter of telling us more about the time in which it was com­piled. It’s a mat­ter of what the text real­ly says. Most of the times the vari­a­tions are minor, no prob­lem with that. But some­times, some sig­nif­i­cant vari­a­tions emerge. Jesus could become God, just a man, (or maybe even a woman!) just by the dif­fer­ence of a word.”

    You are con­fus­ing trans­lat­ing with edit­ing. Met­zger is a Bib­li­cal schol­ar who works on trans­la­tions and admit­ted­ly there are prob­lems in that the Bible was not writ­ten with punc­tu­a­tion for instance. As he says :

    You have to under­stand that the canon was not the result of a series of con­tests involv­ing church pol­i­tics. … . You see, the canon is a list of author­i­ta­tive books more than it is an author­i­ta­tive list of books. These doc­u­ments did­n’t derive their author­i­ty from being select­ed ; each one was author­i­ta­tive before any­one gath­ered them together.’

    Why do you think they have to take a new text into account from any oth­er point except schol­ar­ship ? Can you show where in any new­er Bible a frag­ment has been incor­po­rat­ed and changed the text ? In the end most argu­ments come down to trans­la­tions, not the texts.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“The dif­fer­ence is this : there are a few con­tro­ver­sial schol­ars who attempt a revi­sion­ism of Islam, and reject the broad out­line of the tra­di­tion­al Mus­lim account regard­ing the Qur’an’s stan­dard­iza­tion and com­pi­la­tion. On the oth­er hand, there is no mas­sive con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry regard­ing the Bible, as the text crit­ics them­selves (some of which are devout Chris­tians) will can­did­ly point out that some changes took place on the text of the NT. If you dis­agree with this, kind­ly present the text of the Bible, of which you believe each and every word to accu­rate­ly rep­re­sent the auto­graph. I will do this glad­ly with the text of the Qur’an we have today (the Uth­man­ic text). Well, a text claim­ing that the Prophet nev­er went near Mec­ca will not mat­ter, because it is not tawwatur. So, what­ev­er objec­tions you have regard­ing the tawwatur of the Qur’an, the oth­er texts wouldn’t be tawwatur, and hence irrel­e­vant to Mus­lim claims.”

    As I keep point­ing out, the Bible is not cen­tral to Chris­tian­i­ty in the same way the Quran is to Mus­lims. I do not know of many peo­ple who would claim it was inerrant although no doubt there are some. That is not the issue — to return to my ear­li­er point, you can­not judge Chris­t­ian texts by Mus­lim stan­dards. As for the Revi­sion­ists, of course they are not try­ing to revise Islam. They are try­ing to study the ori­gins of Islam and the rel­e­vant texts. You can­not con­fuse the­ol­o­gy with his­tor­i­cal schol­ar­ship. The fields are dis­tinct although of course Chris­t­ian the­ol­o­gy has been enriched by tex­tu­al schol­ar­ship. At some point most Faiths, when faced with a con­flict between evi­dence and the­ol­o­gy, opt for the evi­dence. I do not agree with you on the like­ly con­se­quences of any sub­stan­tial and proven recast­ing of Mus­lim his­to­ry. The truth is that the West shapes Islam all the time in part through schol­ar­ship. Mus­lims are wel­come to deny what they like, but they have to con­vince each oth­er as well.

    Me:“There is sim­ply no evi­dence of that and on the con­trary we know that at least part of the Quran was trans­mit­ted through *two* peo­ple. Pre­sum­ably if it was only trans­mit­ted through one that text would not have been includ­ed. We also know, with the verse on rajam, that it used to have parts it does not any more. Mus­lims can come up with reli­gious rea­sons for that, but schol­ars are unlike­ly to accept them. ”

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“Then again, Mus­lim tra­di­tion is some sort of evi­dence. You have to reject it com­plete­ly for you to say that there is no evi­dence for that. And the arti­cle we’re com­ment­ing to did a pret­ty good job of respond­ing to some of their claims. Again, the parts which the Qur’an used to have are men­tioned in the aha­dith. While you appar­ent­ly accept the hadith regard­ing the verse of rajam, you reject the rest of the aha­dith, and even claim that there is no evi­dence for the Qur’an’s tawwatur status.”

    Except it is the Mus­lim tra­di­tion that pro­vides the proof of the change. I do not reject it com­plete­ly. I do not believe the the­o­log­i­cal claims Mus­lim makes about many of their texts but no more. To claim that the Quran has nev­er been changed is not a schol­ar­ly claim, it is a the­o­log­i­cal one. I still don’t reject aHa­dith completely.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“Renegades are able to kill the head of the state for pet­ty rea­sons, and you find it easy for them to accept brazen dis­re­spect for ver­sions of the Qur’an, which may sup­port (or be made to sup­port) any claim of theirs ? The peo­ple clam­ored against the Caliph Uth­man when a cer­tain ascetic died, and you expect them to stand idly while some­thing they are will­ing to die and kill for is being tampered?”

    But how would they know it was tam­pered ? There was no copy until Uth­man — apart from claims that Abu Bakr and Umar had worked to com­pile one. It was not a pub­lic doc­u­ment. It was a pri­vate pos­ses­sion. Where would they find an orig­i­nal to com­pare it to ? You are also assert­ing a love of Islam which is some­what lack­ing in the evi­dence. They did not so love the text they put it on their tomb­stones, for instance, or at least none that have been found, for about 75 years. This sug­gests igno­rance of the text and hence ease with which it could be cor­rect­ed”. How do you know they were will­ing to die for the Quran ? Did anyone ?

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“And though Arab soci­ety is admit­ted­ly not very lit­er­ate (which also explains the lack of writ­ten doc­u­ments from the era), they have the capac­i­ty for oral trans­mis­sion. Claim­ing that pre­serv­ing the Qur’an is not high pri­or­i­ty is revi­sion­ism, and again implies a rejec­tion of the entire cor­pus of hadith mate­r­i­al and Mus­lim tradition.”

    It is actu­al­ly pret­ty much what the Mus­lim tra­di­tion says. Muhammed did not both­er to col­lect it. Abu Bakr and Umar did not both­er much. Uth­man did but by then it may have been impor­tant to do so for polit­i­cal rea­sons. Even when it was sup­pos­ed­ly col­lect­ed, it was a low pri­or­i­ty because they gave the job to such a minor per­son — there were many schol­ars, alleged­ly, by then, but they were not giv­en the task. And I have to cor­rect myself — part of the Quran was only found in one person :

    Sahih Bukhari Vol­ume 6, Book 60, Num­ber 201 :

    Nar­rat­ed Zaid bin Thabit Al-Ansari :

    … I found with Khuza­ima two Vers­es of Surat-at-Tau­ba which I had not found with any­body else, (and they were):–

    Ver­i­ly there has come to you an Apos­tle (Muham­mad) from amongst your­selves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or dif­fi­cul­ty He (Muham­mad) is ardent­ly anx­ious over you (to be right­ly guid­ed)” (9.128)

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“Admittedly, I am not an expert in the con­cept of naksh. But some Islam­ic schol­ars have clas­si­fied pre­cise­ly this kind of abro­ga­tion, where the words are abro­gat­ed, and the rul­ing remains. I nev­er said that this was an exception.”

    Well I know of no oth­er but that is not say­ing much. But what is their basis for mak­ing that claim ? Per­haps Bukhari is just wrong ? Which is the true Revi­sion­ism I won­der, those that say what the aHa­dith say, or those that say that the aHa­dith must say what they say it says. The aHa­dith for instance clear­ly show Muhammed could read and write. The Quran does not con­tra­dict this — it calls him Ummi which might mean any­thing but Mus­lims have inter­pret­ed as illit­er­ate. Islam claims it is based on the text but the role of the schol­ars in say­ing what the text says is enor­mous. Even when the text does not say what they say it should.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“Odd, but not impos­si­ble. It is found in the Bible. You’re say­ing that no evi­dence of the mas­sacres remain, but appar­ent­ly you want us to accept it on author­i­ty of the Bible. That they did not do it on the Pales­tini­ans (Sabra, Shat­ti­la and Jenin seem to indi­cate oth­er­wise) is not rel­e­vant. What if they want­ed to do it once ? It is not odd at all, but exact­ly what you would expect if some­one wants to put some­thing in the mouth of an author­i­ty. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the entire Jew­ish peo­ple who want­ed to put it on Prophet Moses’ mouth.”

    Sure­ly if I want­ed you to accept it on the author­i­ty of the Bible I would argue you should accept it on the author­i­ty of the Bible. What I did say was that this is some­thing that makes Judaism look so bad it is hard to believe any­one made it up. No more than that. Arabs mur­dered peo­ple in S&Sh and the num­ber killed in fight­ing, not mas­sacres, in Jenin was and is small despite attempts to make pro­pa­gan­da about it. If they want­ed to do it once, why did­n’t they ? It would sure­ly be sim­pler to assume that they did it as opposed to claim­ing a baroque sto­ry they want­ed to but prob­a­bly did­n’t and haven’t ever since but haven’t both­ered to re-edit the Bible or enforce the pro­vi­sion they invent­ed”? Of course you come to this with Faith and so we are unlike­ly to agree.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“Merely oppos­ing ? More like attempt­ing to kill the Prophet.”

    Muhammed ordered two slave girls killed for singing mock­ing songs about him. How did they attempt to kill him ? As far as I can see Abu Rafi only mocked Muhammed too.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“No. God did not order Khalid to kill them. Despised Jews ? Some of them are despised for treach­ery, but not all of them, as treaties con­tin­ue with oth­er Jews except for the treach­er­ous tribes. If the Prophet was not respon­si­ble for it, as he clear­ly says, then no prob­lem for me.”

    And yet he was not pun­ished for what he did. When Muhammed was dying with his last breath more or less he ordered those treaties bro­ken and the Jews dri­ven out of Ara­bia. Muhammed may not have been respon­si­ble for it, and I agree he claims he was not, but he did not pun­ish the killer from what I can see or reject the ben­e­fits that accrued to the Mus­lims. Can you see why that might look like a ret­ro­spec­tive endorse­ment even if he did not order it ?

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“They could hard­ly expect to be left alone since they betrayed the Mus­lims and they are ful­ly aware of it. You are mak­ing it sound as if the Mus­lims besieged them for no rea­son at all. They were not just mind­ing their own busi­ness- they left their Mus­lim allies to be exposed to dan­ger even though there is a treaty between them.”

    You assert that they betrayed the Mus­lims and I have seen no evi­dence of it. One of their lead­ers per­haps talked about it but no more. They cer­tain­ly did not lift a fin­ger against the Mus­lims dur­ing the Bat­tle or let the Quraysh into Med­i­na — why not if they were betray­ing the Mus­lims ? Nor do I see any evi­dence that they were ful­ly aware of it — not the slight­est attempt to flee for instance. Sure­ly if they were going to do some­thing bad they would have fought and then fled ? I do not say there was no rea­son at all. I say the rea­son was only appar­ent to God who told Gabriel who told Muhammed. Muhammed was utter­ly unaware of any wrong-doing. How did they leave any Mus­lims exposed to dan­ger and how would that amount to a crime anyway ?

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“What oth­er con­texts ? This is just con­jec­ture. Why did the Jews choose him, then ? Did the Prophet some­how influ­enced their choice ? I don’t think so, and nei­ther would they have lis­tened to him.”

    In the con­text of the alle­ga­tions made about Aisha for instance. Accord­ing to the Sahih Bukhari that so enraged Sad he agreed to kill any of his tribes­men for spread­ing the rumor :

    Sad bin Mu’adh got up and said, O Allah’s Apos­tle ! by Allah, I will relieve you from him. If that man is from the tribe of the Aus, then we will chop his head off, and if he is from our broth­ers, the Khazraj, then order us, and we will ful­fill your order.’ ”

    He was such a devot­ed Mus­lim that he snuck into Mec­ca to go to the Kaba and loud­ly threat­ened Abu Jahl (Sahih Bukhari Vol­ume 4, Book 56, Num­ber 826). Even more telling of the nature of his real char­ac­ter is that he was stay­ing with a friend whom he knew Muhammed was going to kill and it was only when he argued with him and lost his tem­per that he told the friend that lit­tle fact. Clear­ly Sad was extreme­ly loy­al to Muhammed and prone to out­bursts of anger.

    Did Muhammed influ­ence their choice ? How do you know they made the choice ? Againm, this looks like inter­pre­ta­tion to me. Per­haps they nego­ti­at­ed it. Notice what the Sahih Bukhari says :

    Vol­ume 5, Book 59, Num­ber 447 :

    Nar­rat­ed Abu Said Al-Khudri :

    The peo­ple of (Banu) Quraiza agreed to accept the ver­dict of Sad bin Mu’adh. So the Prophet sent for Sad, and the lat­ter came (rid­ing) a don­key and when he approached the Mosque, the Prophet said to the Ansar, Get up for your chief or for the best among you.” Then the Prophet said (to Sad).” These (i.e. Banu Quraiza) have agreed to accept your ver­dict.” Sad said, Kill their (men) war­riors and take their off­spring as cap­tives, On that the Prophet said, You have judged accord­ing to Allah’s Judg­ment,” or said, accord­ing to the King’s judgment.”

    Not they asked for” Sad, or they want­ed” Sad, but the more pas­sive they agreed to accept” Sad. Which sug­gests that Muhammed pro­posed him and they agreed. And after all, their options were lim­it­ed. Only by nego­ti­at­ing could they get terms. That requires com­pro­mise. Notice Muhammed’s endorse­ment of the ver­dict by the way.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“Again mak­ing saints of the poor, inno­cent Banu Qurayzah. They betrayed the Mus­lims, and they knew it, that’s why they imme­di­ate­ly sought refuge in their fortress.”

    I don’t think that sar­casm helps your argu­ment. I am doing no such thing. How do you know they betrayed the Mus­lims and in what form did that betray­al come ? Not in the form of let­ting the Quraysh into Med­i­na at any rate. They sought refuge when they saw a lot of armed men com­ing to kill them. You call that guilt ? Why ? If they betrayed and knew it, why did­n’t they flee with the Quraysh ?

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“Well, why did they’ agree with their leader then ? No, they didn’t help the Quraysh, but they aban­doned the Mus­lims in the battlefield.”

    The bat­tle field was Med­i­na. In what sense did they aban­don them ? Where did it say they had to fight — where did it say any­one had to fight ? How do you know they agreed with their leader ? What is the evi­dence they did ?

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“There are indi­ca­tions that you want to accept that the Prophet ordered the exe­cu­tion of boys who have grown a few pubic hairs (while the tra­di­tions say it was Sa’d, and not the Prophet who made the order), but do not accept that the Banu Qurayzah act­ed treach­er­ous­ly, or that it was Sa’d who made the order, not the Prophet. The Prophet was able to make sure because the Jews chose Sa’d ! He didn’t choose for them. And now you’re look­ing for a Jew­ish view when you find out that it was real­ly the Jews who chose Sa’d, thus seal­ing their own fates with their own hands.”

    If it will make you hap­pi­er I’ll agree that Muhammed’s ordered Sad’s judge­ment be car­ried out — and that he thor­ough­ly approved of it. Not only call­ing it God’s judge­ment” but laud­ing Sad after his death in dozens of Hadith stat­ing open­ly that he was in Heav­en for instance :

    Vol­ume 7, Book 72, Num­ber 727 :

    Nar­rat­ed Al-Bara :

    The Prophet was giv­en a silk gar­ment as a gift and we start­ed touch­ing it with our hands and admir­ing it. On that the Prophet said, Do you won­der at this?” We said, Yes.” He said, The hand­ker­chiefs of Sad bin Mu’adh in Par­adise are bet­ter than this ”

    I won­der how he knew. Or :

    Vol­ume 5, Book 58, Num­ber 147 :

    Nar­rat­ed Jabir :

    I heard the Prophet say­ing, The Throne (of Allah) shook at the death of Sad bin Muadh.” Through anoth­er group of nar­ra­tors, Jabir added, I heard the Prophet : say­ing, The Throne of the Benef­i­cent shook because of the death of Sad bin Muadh.”

    I have seen no evi­dence that the Jews com­mit­ed a crime. I have seen no evi­dence they picked Sad. That is not to say I reject the pos­si­bil­i­ty of either, but the strength of your claims is inter­est­ing giv­en the weak­ness of the evidence.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“If the Bible will be used to judge, then yes, those Mus­lims deserve it.”

    And if the Sun­na is used ? If the British apply God’s judge­ment” to their own Mus­lims for 7 – 7 ? Would they deserve it then ?

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“That’s the point ! Only Jews have the author­i­ty to kill men and enslave women. Yet you don’t seem out­raged at all by this. If Sa’d mis­in­ter­pret­ed the Bible, that’s his problem.”

    Well it is not his prob­lem because God obvi­ous­ly liked his judge­ment and he is sit­ting on His right hand — or at least Muhammed liked his judge­ment and said he was. Jews have orders to kill those men and enslave those women. I am not sure God for­bids every­one else from it all the time. No one is threat­en­ing me with the fate of the Amelekites. That is ancient and dead his­to­ry. I stand a fair chance of being the vic­tim of peo­ple who do not think the Jews of Med­i­na are dead history.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“Mind if I ask which man­u­al ? Besides, are you sure it rep­re­sents the total­i­ty of Islam­ic jurispru­dence ? The hadith is clear : the Prophet explic­it­ly for­bade the killing of women and chil­dren in a war, unless they are doing the fight­ing them­selves. I don’t see any such pro­hi­bi­tion from the OT.”

    Abu’l-Hasan al-Mawardi’s Al-Ahkam as-Sul­taniyyah. Does it mat­ter if it rep­re­sents the total­i­ty of Islam­ic jurispru­dence ? If I want to do some­thing is it wrong to look for a mufti who will give me the opin­ion I want ?

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“It is okay if Jews do it, but not if is to be done to Jews, right?”

    Jews seem to think so. Both Judaism and Islam are biased reli­gions in that sense with dif­fer­ent laws for non-believers.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“And mind if I ask you what will hap­pen when they accept the terms ? Will there be peace and coex­is­tence between the Jews and the Goy­im ? I don’t think so. The verse is clear : if they accept, they will be forced to labor as slaves. If non-Mus­lims accept the jizyah, of course they must rec­og­nize Mus­lim author­i­ty, but what’s clear is that they will not be treat­ed as forced labor­ers. The Jews in Spain would hard­ly reach their Gold­en Age if they were treat­ed as slaves and forced labor­ers by the cru­el Mus­lims. You are attempt­ing to use an Islam­ic term to make a harsh bib­li­cal sen­tence look soft.”

    Where does it say slaves ? If the Peo­ple of the Book accept the jizyah they have to spend some con­sid­er­able por­tion of their lives work­ing for the Mus­lims. The Jews of Khay­bar had to give the Mus­lims half their date crop. Clear­ly they labored in the fields for the Mus­lims. Mai­monides writes on what the text means and he was prob­a­bly influ­enced by the Mus­lims of his time, but his rules are very sim­i­lar to Mus­lim ones for the Jew­ish equiv­a­lents of dhimmis.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“In any case, I think it is a case of selec­tive amne­sia on your part, since appar­ent­ly you for­got that you wrote this : Muhammed’s prac­tice was more bru­tal than the Bible”. Even if you were refer­ring to the spe­cif­ic instance of the Banu Qurayzah, you’re still wrong.”

    Well I was refer­ing to this spe­cif­ic case and I am not. There was no chance for them to accept a truce.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“The worst that you could take from the Qur’an and the Sun­nah would not amount to an explic­it order to mas­sacre infants, and rape vir­gin women.”

    I agree about the mas­sacre of infants but I don’t about the vir­gins. Where does the Bible say to do that ? It allows it, as the Sun­na does, but does it com­mand it ?

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“Is Res­ur­rec­tion a rit­u­al ? I find more of it in the Qur’an than I do in the OT. Are the Attrib­ut­es of God rituals?”

    No but they are not philo­soph­i­cal state­ments. Or even moral ones. They are state­ments of facts, I assume.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“I’m not an expert in Islam­ic law. But the point is that you said that in Islam­ic law, human life is just worth 50 camels. Clear­ly, it is not. You’re sar­cas­tic com­ment was not even worth respond­ing to, but some peo­ple might be led into think­ing that that’s how it is in Islam.”

    How can you say clear­ly it is not ? Let us assume that Islam­ic law does not dis­tin­guish very clear­ly between inten­tion­al and unin­ten­tion­al killings. And so the diya applies to all killings. What is the rate that Mus­lims apply to the val­ue of a Mus­lim life if the fam­i­ly is inclined to be mer­ci­ful ? Jew­ish law explic­it­ly for­bids blood mon­ey by say­ing every human life is price­less and so no amount of mon­ey can remove the guilt or make up for the sin. Islam­ic law does not.

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“It is applic­a­ble to those who know­ing­ly wor­ship idols and are giv­en a chance to come to the true teach­ing of islam’.”

    Is that more schol­ar­ship or what the Quran actu­al­ly says ?

    aian jaa­far said on 21 Octo­ber 2006:“Then their reli­gion is clear­ly not for me, since I’m not a Jew. It’s not for a sub­stan­tial por­tion of human­i­ty either.”

    You only have to obey the Sev­en Noachide laws giv­en to Noah.

  2. HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    Well we are clear­ly on some com­mon ground — enough to prove the orig­i­nal claim that it is Revi­sion. But when Mus­lims say that Abra­ham went to sac­ri­fice Ish­mael in Mec­ca, that is more than reintepretation.”

    You can call it revi­sion­ism if you want. What I object to is the impli­ca­tion that we Mus­lims some­how twist the his­tor­i­cal evi­dence to come in line with our claims, or that we are deny­ing the obvi­ous impli­ca­tions of con­clu­sive evi­dence, or that we say that Chris­tians and Jews always lie, and hence reject their scrip­ture as evi­dence entire­ly. I don’t see any Mus­lim claim­ing that archae­ol­o­gy or first-hand, eye­wit­ness, pri­ma­ry doc­u­ments sup­port the Mus­lim claim of Abra­ham sac­ri­fic­ing Ish­mael in Mec­ca. It is a the­o­log­i­cal view, one that hinges on the verac­i­ty of the Prophet Muham­mad’s prophet­hood. It would be a dif­fer­ent mat­ter of course, if con­clu­sive evi­dence turns out which runs counter to Islam­ic claims. That’s why I’m ask­ing you for con­clu­sive evi­dence sup­port­ing the claims of Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty. You haven’t shown any con­clu­sive evi­dence in sup­port of their claims, and which runs counter to specif­i­cal­ly Mus­lim claims. As such, there is no point in say­ing that Islam is a revi­sion­ism of Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty in the con­text the arti­cle is object­ing to. And it real­ly smacks of antag­o­nism to Islam to imply that it is revi­sion­ism of the two reli­gions while the same could be said of the two using exact­ly the same line of rea­son­ing. So, let me ask you, is it just a mat­ter of I am not real­ly a Jew or Chris­t­ian. I just hate Islam’? then ?

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    So either a vast con­spir­a­cy is at work or Islam is wrong. You have pre­judged that based on your reli­gious beliefs. I have not. It is true that reli­gions start with one man, but the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry you are talk­ing about requires the thou­sands. To come up with a new sto­ry, to sup­press the truth, to burn doc­u­ments. All over the last 4000 years. That requires a lot more than one man. Occam’s Razor is often applied to the the­o­ries of the revi­sion­ists and I think it is high­ly cred­i­ble and con­vinc­ing when it does. I don’t think the revi­sion­ists have proved their case and some of them are clear­ly wrong. I have no prob­lems with equal stan­dards being applied to all.”

    Well it does­n’t need to be a mas­sive con­spir­a­cy if it can begin with one per­son. Let’s take a look : a text was trans­mit­ted through one man. He trans­mits it to anoth­er. The man he trans­mit­ted it to mis­han­dles the text. After­wards, thou­sands of copies of the mis­han­dled text were made. And those wrong copies were trans­mit­ted for 4 thou­sand years.

    It is good that you want a fair stan­dard for all. I also don’t think that revi­sion­ists have proven their claim. At least, not accord­ing to the evi­dence that we have. But then again, I orig­i­nal­ly object­ed to your post say­ing that Islam is also a revi­sion­ism of Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty. I object that it is, from a his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive. If you’re say­ing it from a the­o­log­i­cal per­spec­tive, fine, feel free to call Islam revi­sion­ism. But if you’re real­ly inter­est­ed in a fair stan­dard for all, why not say that Chris­tian­i­ty is a revi­sion­ism of Judaism, and Judaism a revi­sion­ism of poly­the­is­tic Mesopotami­an reli­gion ? Why attack only Islam ? Why resort to the claims of revi­sion­ists (for exam­ple, regard­ing Mus­lim mass­es at the time of Caliph Uth­man), and then sud­den­ly switch argu­ments when you can’t dis­prove the Mus­lim claims regard­ing Abra­ham, by cit­ing Occam’s Razor ?

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    You would have to ask a Chris­t­ian to be sure but I assume from the promise that Jesus would nev­er aban­don His Church and would come again. If rev­e­la­tion has pri­ma­cy over reli­gion that means that ratio­nal thought is not impor­tant for Mus­lims as it is for Chris­tians. The Pope’s point.”

    This rais­es the ques­tion of why you had to raise an appar­ent defense of Chris­tian­i­ty with your pre­vi­ous posts. Is this just to annoy Mus­lims ? I hope not.

    Now here is where the cir­cu­lar­i­ty comes in. If Christ made a promise to the church, then the ques­tion has to be asked as to the specifics of the promise he alleged­ly made. We assume that this is made in the Chris­t­ian scrip­tures. Appar­ent­ly, it is not. Any­way, if a Chris­t­ian says that yes, it is in the scrip­tures, well this is where the isnads (or any method to ver­i­fy how trans­mis­sion was made) comes in. Which refutes your point that it is irrel­e­vant to Christianity.

    We don’t have any guar­an­tee except for what the sup­pos­ed­ly infal­li­ble church claims. So, the reduc­tio ad Deum of tra­di­tion­al, ortho­dox Chris­tian­i­ty would be that the teach­ing came from God through the church, and not nec­es­sar­i­ly from Christ, in con­trast to the Mus­lim reduc­tio ad Deum which claims that the teach­ing came from God through the Prophet, whom we believe to be a mes­sen­ger and divine­ly-inspired. Now, I under­stand that if this is the case, both Chris­tians and Mus­lims still have very sim­i­lar claims, that what they belive in is divine­ly-inspired. How­ev­er, it should be con­ced­ed by Chris­tians that what they believe in is what the Church says, and not nec­es­sar­i­ly what Jesus said, while a Mus­lim would accept noth­ing less than some­thing ground­ed in some way on what the Prophet taught.

    Now, I don’t think many Chris­tians will be will­ing to accept that what they believe in does­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly come from Jesus. Of course, Mus­lims have been telling them this for quite some time.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    Except you would have to prove that the Uth­man­ic version’s tawwatur is cor­rect — not just that it is cor­rect accord­ing to the stan­dards of Mus­lims because we know the answer to that. And as the old­est copy of the Quran is not that old, it is also true that no prob­lem qua­si-isnad can be giv­en for it. It is not a fal­la­cy to apply the meth­ods of Tex­tu­al Crit­i­cism to the Quran. So far West­ern schol­ars have not been inter­est­ed in doing so but the same tech­niques can be applied. I don’t see that the text of the NT is flu­id. It looks pret­ty fixed to me. New find­ings sim­ply tell us more about the time in which it was com­piled. It is absurd to say that if a text turned up show­ing that Muhammed lived and died in south­ern Syr­ia and nev­er went near Mec­ca this would not have an impact. Not on those who believe per­haps, but on the schol­ar­ship in general.”

    This is why I made a com­ment that you also use revi­sion­ism. Any­way, most schol­ars (not just Mus­lim schol­ars, who are equal­ly capa­ble, by the way) are in agree­ment that, at least in basic out­line, the tra­di­tion­al Mus­lim account of the Qur’an’s preser­va­tion is cor­rect. Only a few schol­ars reject it, reject­ing all of the hadith, or accept­ing parts which could poten­tial­ly under­mine Mus­lim claims. Strange­ly enough, some reject aha­dith but come to the con­clu­sion that what we have today is the mushaf of the Prophet. Hence, there is no need in apply­ing the tech­nique you were men­tion­ing. Well, you’re wrong about the text of the NT. Why do schol­ars such as Bruce Met­zger and Kurt Aland have to vote to decide on which par­tic­u­lar word to include in their crit­i­cal text of the NT ? Pre­cise­ly because dif­fer­ent man­u­scripts say dif­fer­ent things, and it is up to the text crit­ic to decide which read­ing best rep­re­sents the auto­graph. Of course, they have to take new man­u­scripts and frag­ments into con­sid­er­a­tion if new ones come in. That’s why the text is flu­id. It’s not just a mat­ter of telling us more about the time in which it was com­piled. It’s a mat­ter of what the text real­ly says. Most of the times the vari­a­tions are minor, no prob­lem with that. But some­times, some sig­nif­i­cant vari­a­tions emerge. Jesus could become God, just a man, (or maybe even a woman!) just by the dif­fer­ence of a word.

    The dif­fer­ence is this : there are a few con­tro­ver­sial schol­ars who attempt a revi­sion­ism of Islam, and reject the broad out­line of the tra­di­tion­al Mus­lim account regard­ing the Qur’an’s stan­dard­iza­tion and com­pi­la­tion. On the oth­er hand, there is no mas­sive con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry regard­ing the Bible, as the text crit­ics them­selves (some of which are devout Chris­tians) will can­did­ly point out that some changes took place on the text of the NT. If you dis­agree with this, kind­ly present the text of the Bible, of which you believe each and every word to accu­rate­ly rep­re­sent the auto­graph. I will do this glad­ly with the text of the Qur’an we have today (the Uth­man­ic text). Well, a text claim­ing that the Prophet nev­er went near Mec­ca will not mat­ter, because it is not tawwatur. So, what­ev­er objec­tions you have regard­ing the tawwatur of the Qur’an, the oth­er texts would­n’t be tawwatur, and hence irrel­e­vant to Mus­lim claims.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    How so?”

    Because by claim­ing it, you are reject­ing all of the aha­dith (which, you have to agree, is def­i­nite­ly evi­dence of a sort), imply that every­thing the Mus­lims doc­u­ment about them­selves are lies, and adopt the very line of the revisionists.

    There is sim­ply no evi­dence of that and on the con­trary we know that at least part of the Quran was trans­mit­ted through *two* peo­ple. Pre­sum­ably if it was only trans­mit­ted through one that text would not have been includ­ed. We also know, with the verse on rajam, that it used to have parts it does not any more. Mus­lims can come up with reli­gious rea­sons for that, but schol­ars are unlike­ly to accept them. ”

    Then again, Mus­lim tra­di­tion is some sort of evi­dence. You have to reject it com­plete­ly for you to say that there is no evi­dence for that. And the arti­cle we’re com­ment­ing to did a pret­ty good job of respond­ing to some of their claims. Again, the parts which the Qur’an used to have are men­tioned in the aha­dith. While you appar­ent­ly accept the hadith regard­ing the verse of rajam, you reject the rest of the aha­dith, and even claim that there is no evi­dence for the Qur’an’s tawwatur sta­tus. So, you accept aha­dith if it appar­ent­ly shows a change in the Qur’an and reject it if it shows that the Uth­man­ic text is tawwatur (‘pre­served in the breasts of Mus­lims’)? This is why the arti­cle was titled On Revis­ing Bigotry’.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    There is no rea­son to even sus­pect that it would have been dif­fi­cult. Mus­lims had a promise from God that He would not allow any part of the Quran to be for­got­ten with­out a new part to replace it. There­fore Mus­lims had to believe they could not supress any part of the Quran even if they want­ed to. There­fore any­one could because no Mus­lim could accept that it was even pos­si­ble with­out blas­phem­ing. I make no claim as to what Ali had and it might have been too late by then any­way. Arab soci­ety was not very lit­er­ate and the process of com­pil­ing the Quran was not a high pri­or­i­ty so who knows what might have been done.”

    Rene­gades are able to kill the head of the state for pet­ty rea­sons, and you find it easy for them to accept brazen dis­re­spect for ver­sions of the Qur’an, which may sup­port (or be made to sup­port) any claim of theirs ? The peo­ple clam­ored against the Caliph Uth­man when a cer­tain ascetic died, and you expect them to stand idly while some­thing they are will­ing to die and kill for is being tam­pered ? And though Arab soci­ety is admit­ted­ly not very lit­er­ate (which also explains the lack of writ­ten doc­u­ments from the era), they have the capac­i­ty for oral trans­mis­sion. Claim­ing that pre­serv­ing the Qur’an is not high pri­or­i­ty is revi­sion­ism, and again implies a rejec­tion of the entire cor­pus of hadith mate­r­i­al and Mus­lim tradition.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    That is a reli­gious point of view. I am not a Mus­lim and I do not accept that God ordered it. It cer­tain­ly looks like it was not prop­er­ly kept track of and bits went missing.”

    If you accept the aha­dith as some sort of evi­dence, then you will find some­thing sim­i­lar. Even the Qur’an refers to abro­ga­tion. So there’s no pos­si­bil­i­ty that it was not prop­er­ly kept track of as regards to the abro­gat­ed vers­es, since even the text itself rec­og­nizes the prin­ci­ple of abrogation.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    I think it mat­ters to a lot of peo­ple. Oth­er vers­es were abro­gat­ed with­out their rul­ing remain­ing. How do you know this one is the exception?”

    Admit­ted­ly, I am not an expert in the con­cept of naksh. But some Islam­ic schol­ars have clas­si­fied pre­cise­ly this kind of abro­ga­tion, where the words are abro­gat­ed, and the rul­ing remains. I nev­er said that this was an exception.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    Arche­o­log­i­cal remains often remain. None have been found.”

    It may but there is no evi­dence that they are. You would, for instance, expect the Jews to say it about oth­ers who per­se­cute them. Euro­peans for instance. But they do not. You might even expect them to say it about, and do it to, Pales­tini­ans. But they have not. Where you would expect them to leap on a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for what they do, they don’t. This sug­gests they are not will­ing to do so. So if they don’t want to do it, and did not do it as far as any­one can tell, why would they claim to have done it ? It is odd.”

    Odd, but not impos­si­ble. It is found in the Bible. You’re say­ing that no evi­dence of the mas­sacres remain, but appar­ent­ly you want us to accept it on author­i­ty of the Bible. That they did not do it on the Pales­tini­ans (Sabra, Shat­ti­la and Jenin seem to indi­cate oth­er­wise) is not rel­e­vant. What if they want­ed to do it once ? It is not odd at all, but exact­ly what you would expect if some­one wants to put some­thing in the mouth of an author­i­ty. Of course, it does­n’t have to be the entire Jew­ish peo­ple who want­ed to put it on Prophet Moses’ mouth.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    Yes but that is not what they actu­al­ly did as we know they exe­cut­ed peo­ple secret­ly for mere­ly oppos­ing Muhammed”

    Mere­ly oppos­ing ? More like attempt­ing to kill the Prophet.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    Yes but that sto­ry is some­what prob­lem­at­ic isn’t it ? Did Muhammed exe­cute Khalid for what he did ? Of course not. What does that imply ? Did he even deny jus­tice to the sur­vivors ? Did that apply to Arabs and not the despised Jews ? Did God tell Khalid to kill these Arabs?”

    No. God did not order Khalid to kill them. Despised Jews ? Some of them are despised for treach­ery, but not all of them, as treaties con­tin­ue with oth­er Jews except for the treach­er­ous tribes. If the Prophet was not respon­si­ble for it, as he clear­ly says, then no prob­lem for me.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    Actu­al­ly I expect they desired to be left alone, but arbi­tra­tion was the best offer on hand. As for the offer of asy­lum, clear­ly there was none. They were mind­ing their own busi­ness — once the state of war that was the Bat­tle of the Trench was over — when a new seige began.”

    They could hard­ly expect to be left alone since they betrayed the Mus­lims and they are ful­ly aware of it. You are mak­ing it sound as if the Mus­lims besieged them for no rea­son at all. They were not just mind­ing their own busi­ness- they left their Mus­lim allies to be exposed to dan­ger even though there is a treaty between them.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    Well he always did in oth­er con­texts and Muhammed appears to have known, as the Jews did not, that he was dying from his wounds. And had express a desire to get even. ”

    What oth­er con­texts ? This is just con­jec­ture. Why did the Jews choose him, then ? Did the Prophet some­how influ­enced their choice ? I don’t think so, and nei­ther would they have lis­tened to him.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    They are attacked and you claim that lock­ing them­selves in their hous­es is a sign of guilt ? Why?”

    Again mak­ing saints of the poor, inno­cent Banu Qurayzah. They betrayed the Mus­lims, and they knew it, that’s why they imme­di­ate­ly sought refuge in their fortress.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    I think by the time they were being beseiged com­mon sense would tell them they had to pro­tect them­selves. How many Mus­lims died in the seige?”

    don’t know what this they” is doing there. At most one of their lead­ers had talks that might have lead to trea­son. They did not actu­al­ly lift a fin­ger to help the Quraysh.”

    Well, why did they’ agree with their leader then ? No, they did­n’t help the Quraysh, but they aban­doned the Mus­lims in the battlefield.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    Accord­ing to the Mus­lim tra­di­tion. A pity no Jew­ish account has sur­vived. How did Muhammed make sure of that?”

    Well, I’ll leave you with your revi­sion­ism. There are indi­ca­tions that you want to accept that the Prophet ordered the exe­cu­tion of boys who have grown a few pubic hairs (while the tra­di­tions say it was Sa’d, and not the Prophet who made the order), but do not accept that the Banu Qurayzah act­ed treach­er­ous­ly, or that it was Sa’d who made the order, not the Prophet. The Prophet was able to make sure because the Jews chose Sa’d ! He did­n’t choose for them. And now you’re look­ing for a Jew­ish view when you find out that it was real­ly the Jews who chose Sa’d, thus seal­ing their own fates with their own hands.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    Evi­dent high trea­son ? British and French Mus­lims have not only con­spired with for­eign pow­ers, they have killed British and French cit­i­zens. It is self-evi­dent that all their men deserve to die and their women become slaves?”

    If the Bible will be used to judge, then yes, those Mus­lims deserve it.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    As I have point­ed out, no he did not. That does not apply here or to Jews at all.”

    That’s the point ! Only Jews have the author­i­ty to kill men and enslave women. Yet you don’t seem out­raged at all by this. If Sa’d mis­in­ter­pret­ed the Bible, that’s his problem.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    I don’t think that is what Islam­ic law says as it hap­pens. My man­u­al of Islam­ic law says that if a Har­bi sol­dier shel­ters among civil­ians you must kill the sol­diers even if it means killing all the civilians.”

    Mind if I ask which man­u­al ? Besides, are you sure it rep­re­sents the total­i­ty of Islam­ic jurispru­dence ? The hadith is clear : the Prophet explic­it­ly for­bade the killing of women and chil­dren in a war, unless they are doing the fight­ing them­selves. I don’t see any such pro­hi­bi­tion from the OT.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    It says what it says and I think it says what I said it says. What is clear is that either way it was not applied in Medina”

    No, it does­n’t. A dhim­mi, or one who pays the jizyah is not a slave. You may have lots of objec­tions about how they were treat­ed, but they def­i­nite­ly were not slaves. And they were not forced labor­ers. Hmm, you seem to like to soft­en up vers­es of the Bible, and high­light only the poten­tial­ly bad parts of the hadiths for Muslims.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    But not the Jew­ish men and only after cer­tain con­di­tions have been met — such as offer­ing them terms.”

    It is okay if Jews do it, but not if is to be done to Jews, right ? And mind if I ask you what will hap­pen when they accept the terms ? Will there be peace and coex­is­tence between the Jews and the Goy­im ? I don’t think so. The verse is clear : if they accept, they will be forced to labor as slaves. If non-Mus­lims accept the jizyah, of course they must rec­og­nize Mus­lim author­i­ty, but what’s clear is that they will not be treat­ed as forced labor­ers. The Jews in Spain would hard­ly reach their Gold­en Age if they were treat­ed as slaves and forced labor­ers by the cru­el Mus­lims. You are attempt­ing to use an Islam­ic term to make a harsh bib­li­cal sen­tence look soft.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    I do not see how this helps you myself. This does not apply to Jews nor to the sit­u­a­tion in Medina.”

    The gall of us kafirs is amaz­ing isn’t it ? How­ev­er to come to this con­clu­sion you have to pret­ty much ignore every­thing I have said and so unless you have a rel­e­vant point that refers to some­thing I said, I don’t see the point of reply­ing to it. Where did I say that the wider ques­tion of the gen­er­al prac­tise of one, as opposed to the spe­cif­ic instance, was more bru­tal than the other?”

    I don’t know if it holds true for all kafirun, but it holds true for you in this par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion. Even if I believe what you’re say­ing about the Banu Qurayzah, this is the worst that I can paint of the pic­ture : The leader of the Banu Qurayzah act­ed treach­er­ous­ly. The Mus­lims besieged them. The Banu Qurayzah agreed to arbi­trate, and chose some­one whom they taught would be lenient to them. That per­son, whether right­ly or wrong­ly, used the Bible as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for his sen­tence (at least he thought he did): Kill all the adult males (those who have reached puber­ty), and enslave the women and chil­dren. 400, or 700 Jews were exe­cut­ed, some who have just reached puber­ty. It’s an entire­ly dif­fer­ent lev­el from what I find in the Bible. In any case, I think it is a case of selec­tive amne­sia on your part, since appar­ent­ly you for­got that you wrote this : Muhammed’s prac­tice was more bru­tal than the Bible”. Even if you were refer­ring to the spe­cif­ic instance of the Banu Qurayzah, you’re still wrong. The worst that you could take from the Qur’an and the Sun­nah would not amount to an explic­it order to mas­sacre infants, and rape vir­gin women.Your state­ment that Muhammed’s prac­tice was more bru­tal than the Bible” is com­plete­ly wrong. I see that you’re very eager to call the Prophet’s prac­tice (whether spe­cif­ic or not does­n’t mat­ter) bru­tal, but very, very soft when it comes to the Bible. Yet you deny you’re a Chris­t­ian, and clear­ly you are not a Jew. Are you just a Mus­lim-hater then ? I hope not.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    I think we would have to have very dif­fer­ent views about what teach­ings” are in that case. Jesus makes His views very clear and I don’t see how any­one can miss them.”

    What­ev­er you’re view of teach­ings” is, the fact is that we have very lit­tle of what Jesus him­self sup­pos­ed­ly said, and hence very lit­tle of his teach­ings. This has proven to be a prob­lem for Chris­tians, what with all the excom­mu­ni­ca­tions, anath­e­ma, and even per­se­cu­tion of each other.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    No. It says a lot about rit­u­als but not a great deal else. Some things about being good to orphans I admit.”

    Is Res­ur­rec­tion a rit­u­al ? I find more of it in the Qur’an than I do in the OT. Are the Attrib­ut­es of God rit­u­als ? Haven’t you read about the val­ue of human life in the Qur’an ? Of patience in adver­si­ty ? How about belief in Angels, descrip­tions of them, as well as Jinn ? Descrip­tions of pre­vi­ous nations ? Teach­ing that blood is not need­ed for for­give­ness, is that a rit­u­al ? Teach­ing that God excels in par­don, that God has pre­scribed Mer­cy for Him­self ? You know I could go on and on, and find many things aside from being good to orphans. If you have such a myopic view of Islam, then it’s not my problem.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    No you have not shown it above. You have sim­ply cut and paste from a Mus­lim apol­o­gist site with­out read­ing the pas­sages or their con­text. You don’t sup­port it ? You think Muhammed was wrong?”

    I have read those pas­sages many times. I don’t sup­port the Bible in that. The Prophet was not wrong, he was not the one who made the judg­ment. I don’t sup­port the judg­ment because of what the Bible says, but I do believe that Sa’d judged by God’s judg­ment (as the Prophet said) in that he judged accord­ing to the reli­gious law of the Jews, whether such laws are wrong or not.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    I am not sure that was my posi­tion but it is good to see you are tak­ing such a Chris­t­ian posi­tion. I have no desire to shift you from it.”

    I don’t see how it is just a Chris­t­ian posi­tion. I don’t deny that it is a Chris­t­ian posi­tion, but then again, I used a Mus­lim stan­dard of using my rea­son regard­ing what He has revealed about Him­self. I can­not explain them all, but some con­tra­dic­tions are obvi­ous if you ask me. By the way, why were you cit­ing the exam­ple of the tsuna­mi if you don’t agree with the utter destruc­tion of pop­u­la­tions through the hands of oth­er people ?

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    I do not see the words unin­ten­tion­al homi­cide” in the Quran or in books of Islam­ic law. Are you say­ing that the fam­i­ly of the deceased can­not offer mer­cy in cas­es of out­right mur­der ? Are you claim­ing that there are still con­se­quences, per­haps in the next life, for peo­ple to pay a diya ? If so, what?”

    I’m not an expert in Islam­ic law. But the point is that you said that in Islam­ic law, human life is just worth 50 camels. Clear­ly, it is not. You’re sar­cas­tic com­ment was not even worth respond­ing to, but some peo­ple might be led into think­ing that that’s how it is in Islam.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    The mere fact you call them prophets is revi­sion­ism. No one can ver­i­fy what they said. It is ulti­mate­ly a mat­ter of faith. I don’t see how that helps your argument.”

    But I don’t claim to deduce the term Prophets’ from first-hand, pri­ma­ry source doc­u­ments. So, I could hard­ly call it revi­sion­ism. Yes, it is ulti­mate­ly a mat­ter of faith.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    But then of course you are a Mus­lim and so you would believe that anyway”

    But then again, I could also say that since you are a kafir’ (that’s what you called your­self) you’d reject every­thing and any­thing in favor of Islam, but that is besides the point.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    I would be inter­est­ed in an opin­ion on this sub­ject. Espe­cial­ly giv­en the Quran specif­i­cal­ly says those that wor­ship idols will burn in Hell which must apply to a lot of those who nev­er got the mes­sage. Or if they had, they had for­got­ten it.”

    It is applic­a­ble to those who know­ing­ly wor­ship idols and are giv­en a chance to come to the true teach­ing of islam’.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    But that has nev­er been a prob­lem for Jews because most Jew­ish law only applies to Jews. Non-Jews only have to avoid cer­tain obvi­ous things which vir­tu­al­ly no one dis­agrees about. Not com­mit­ting mur­der for instance.”

    Then their reli­gion is clear­ly not for me, since I’m not a Jew. It’s not for a sub­stan­tial por­tion of human­i­ty either.

    HeiGou said on 19 Octo­ber 2006 :
    No Chris­tian­i­ty has a the­ol­o­gy for them as well. A lim­it­ed one but no Chris­t­ian the­olo­gian I can think of off­hand has ever denied that those born before Christ would not nec­es­sar­i­ly burn in Hell. ”

    Yes, they have a har­row­ing of Hell’ the­ol­o­gy for that. But it fur­ther proves that Chris­tian­i­ty is not a neces­si­ty for those per­sons who pre­date the Res­ur­rec­tion, since they would be saved with­out accept­ing Chris­tian­i­ty. But sub­mis­sion to the Will of God’ is, was, and for­ev­er will be a neces­si­ty in the pres­ence of Mes­sen­gers, Books, and ade­quate rea­son, for those endowed with them, among human beings.

  3. aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“I would agree if you say that Islam rein­ter­prets the his­to­ry. But rewrite it ? We’re real­ly not very con­cerned with Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian scrip­tures right now. We’re more con­cerned about what the Qur’an says.”

    Well we are clear­ly on some com­mon ground — enough to prove the orig­i­nal claim that it is Revi­sion. But when Mus­lims say that Abra­ham went to sac­ri­fice Ish­mael in Mec­ca, that is more than reintepretation.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“I would dis­agree that the sup­pres­sion is a 100 per­cent suc­cess­ful, as there are traces of tam­per­ing over this issue in Gen­e­sis, such as Hagar car­ry­ing Ish­mael on her shoul­der, putting him under a bush, watch­ing him cry, and him grow­ing up lat­er even though he’s sup­posed to be at least 16 yrs old dur­ing the time. Then again, even if such dif­fi­cul­ties do not exist, it would mean just that- the sup­pres­sion is suc­cess­ful. Well, you for­got that the beliefs of the hun­dreds or thou­sands also prob­a­bly began with one man. If the sto­ry, as it is relat­ed, can be traced back to the Prophet Abra­ham, then no prob­lem. But it can­not be. Also, Occam’s Razor is also applic­a­ble to the revi­sion­ism of Islam(such as when you claimed that the cen­sor­ship of Uth­man was very suc­cess­ful)- which you some­times resort to.”

    So either a vast con­spir­a­cy is at work or Islam is wrong. You have pre­judged that based on your reli­gious beliefs. I have not. It is true that reli­gions start with one man, but the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry you are talk­ing about requires the thou­sands. To come up with a new sto­ry, to sup­press the truth, to burn doc­u­ments. All over the last 4000 years. That requires a lot more than one man. Occam’s Razor is often applied to the the­o­ries of the revi­sion­ists and I think it is high­ly cred­i­ble and con­vinc­ing when it does. I don’t think the revi­sion­ists have proved their case and some of them are clear­ly wrong. I have no prob­lems with equal stan­dards being applied to all.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“Well you still avoid my ques­tion as to where the church derives its claim of infal­li­bil­i­ty. And ratio­nal think­ing has a place in Islam, though rev­e­la­tion always has pri­ma­cy over reason.”

    You would have to ask a Chris­t­ian to be sure but I assume from the promise that Jesus would nev­er aban­don His Church and would come again. If rev­e­la­tion has pri­ma­cy over reli­gion that means that ratio­nal thought is not impor­tant for Mus­lims as it is for Chris­tians. The Pope’s point.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“I am not refer­ring to the text. I was refer­ring to copies, pre­sum­ably man­u­scripts. You were say­ing that we can­not make rea­son­able com­ments about the Qur’an’s uni­for­mi­ty because mate­r­i­al is lack­ing, and also since we don’t have the destroyed ver­sions any­more. What I’m say­ing is we have no need of what those copies say. Even if you could show a codex pur­port­ing to be a dif­fer­ent ver­sion of the Qur’an dat­ing from the Prophet’s time, or a hadith say­ing that the Qur’an was changed, it still doesn’t change the Uth­man­ic recension’s tawwatur sta­tus. It would not be enough to turn the process on it’s head, as you were say­ing. It is a fal­la­cy because you’re try­ing to apply the method­ol­o­gy being applied to the New Tes­ta­ment to the Qur’an. The Qur’ an was stan­dard­ized ear­ly. The New Tes­ta­ment was not. Hence the need for a crit­i­cal text of the NT. Hence the flu­id­i­ty of the text of the NT, espe­cial­ly since new man­u­scripts and man­u­script frag­ments are being dis­cov­ered, which dif­fer vast­ly from the received text. And as to the seri­ous ques­tions regard­ing the Qur’an’s ori­gins, the arti­cle we’re com­ment­ing to has already respond­ed to many of them.”

    Except you would have to prove that the Uth­man­ic ver­sion’s tawwatur is cor­rect — not just that it is cor­rect accord­ing to the stan­dards of Mus­lims because we know the answer to that. And as the old­est copy of the Quran is not that old, it is also true that no prob­lem qua­si-isnad can be giv­en for it. It is not a fal­la­cy to apply the meth­ods of Tex­tu­al Crit­i­cism to the Quran. So far West­ern schol­ars have not been inter­est­ed in doing so but the same tech­niques can be applied. I don’t see that the text of the NT is flu­id. It looks pret­ty fixed to me. New find­ings sim­ply tell us more about the time in which it was com­piled. It is absurd to say that if a text turned up show­ing that Muhammed lived and died in south­ern Syr­ia and nev­er went near Mec­ca this would not have an impact. Not on those who believe per­haps, but on the schol­ar­ship in general.

    HeiGou said:“There is lit­tle evi­dence there was a text to tam­per with.”

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“This is revisionism.”

    How so ?

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“Again it wouldn’t mat­ter what any ver­sion would say, because the cur­rent ver­sion is mass-transmitted.”

    There is sim­ply no evi­dence of that and on the con­trary we know that at least part of the Quran was trans­mit­ted through *two* peo­ple. Pre­sum­ably if it was only trans­mit­ted through one that text would not have been includ­ed. We also know, with the verse on rajam, that it used to have parts it does not any more. Mus­lims can come up with reli­gious rea­sons for that, but schol­ars are unlike­ly to accept them.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“The avail­able evi­dence shows that it would be very dif­fi­cult to sup­press any­thing in Islam- the one doing the cen­sor­ship could get killed, same as Caliph Uth­man, the most pow­er­ful per­son back then. Besides, Imam Ali man­aged to rise to pow­er, and could have pro­mul­gat­ed his own copy then, if he real­ly had some­thing different.”

    There is no rea­son to even sus­pect that it would have been dif­fi­cult. Mus­lims had a promise from God that He would not allow any part of the Quran to be for­got­ten with­out a new part to replace it. There­fore Mus­lims had to believe they could not supress any part of the Quran even if they want­ed to. There­fore any­one could because no Mus­lim could accept that it was even pos­si­ble with­out blas­phem­ing. I make no claim as to what Ali had and it might have been too late by then any­way. Arab soci­ety was not very lit­er­ate and the process of com­pil­ing the Quran was not a high pri­or­i­ty so who knows what might have been done.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“Yes, it changed, by the order of God, by the fore­or­dained knowl­edge of God, not through the hand of man, unlike the Johan­nine com­ma in the NT, tam­pered by the infal­li­ble church.”

    That is a reli­gious point of view. I am not a Mus­lim and I do not accept that God ordered it. It cer­tain­ly looks like it was not prop­er­ly kept track of and bits went missing.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“Whether the rul­ing remains or not is not the point. In fact I have already said pre­cise­ly what you’re ask­ing, that the verse (words) was abro­gat­ed ! Mean­ing to say, God, for what­ev­er rea­son, does not want the verse to remain, but wants the rul­ing to remain. I can­not answer why though.”

    I think it mat­ters to a lot of peo­ple. Oth­er vers­es were abro­gat­ed with­out their rul­ing remain­ing. How do you know this one is the exception ?

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:Well no sign of killing will remain if no sign of them at all remains.”

    Arche­o­log­i­cal remains often remain. None have been found.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“I’m say­ing this because you were say­ing that it’s hard for you to see how they could have claimed some­thing like that if they real­ly did not do it. Well, if they nev­er did it, and they claimed it, it may mean that their will­ing to do it. I mean, why claim such a thing?”

    It may but there is no evi­dence that they are. You would, for instance, expect the Jews to say it about oth­ers who per­se­cute them. Euro­peans for instance. But they do not. You might even expect them to say it about, and do it to, Pales­tini­ans. But they have not. Where you would expect them to leap on a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for what they do, they don’t. This sug­gests they are not will­ing to do so. So if they don’t want to do it, and did not do it as far as any­one can tell, why would they claim to have done it ? It is odd.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“Verses in the Holy Qur’an order Mus­lims to not trans­gress lim­its, and slay only those who were engaged in combat.”

    Yes but that is not what they actu­al­ly did as we know they exe­cut­ed peo­ple secret­ly for mere­ly oppos­ing Muhammed.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“When we reached the Prophet, we men­tioned to him the whole
    sto­ry. On that, the Prophet raised both his hands and said twice, O Allah ! I am free (or inno­cent or not respon­si­ble for) from what Khalid has done.” (Trans­la­tion of Sahih Bukhari, Vol­ume 5, Book 59, Num­ber 628)””

    Yes but that sto­ry is some­what prob­lem­at­ic isn’t it ? Did Muhammed exe­cute Khalid for what he did ? Of course not. What does that imply ? Did he even deny jus­tice to the sur­vivors ? Did that apply to Arabs and not the despised Jews ? Did God tell Khalid to kill these Arabs ?

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“Lest it be asked why there is no offer of asy­lum for the Banu Qurayzah, well, there is the arbi­tra­tion already. The siege (and hence the state of war, in which case the usu­al rules of war in Islam applies, which allows asy­lum for non-hos­tile unbe­liev­ers) was ongo­ing when the Jews expressed a desire for arbitration.”

    Actu­al­ly I expect they desired to be left alone, but arbi­tra­tion was the best offer on hand. As for the offer of asy­lum, clear­ly there was none. They were mind­ing their own busi­ness — once the state of war that was the Bat­tle of the Trench was over — when a new seige began.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:Besides, the deci­sion was out of the Prophet’s hand the moment the Jews chose their judge. Say­ing that that man did what the Prophet want­ed is noth­ing but con­jec­ture on your part.”

    Well he always did in oth­er con­texts and Muhammed appears to have known, as the Jews did not, that he was dying from his wounds. And had express a desire to get even.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“They them­selves know of their guilt when they imme­di­ate­ly sought the pro­tec­tion of their fortresses.”

    They are attacked and you claim that lock­ing them­selves in their hous­es is a sign of guilt ? Why ?

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“Sa’d, the arbi­tra­tor cho­sen by the al-Aws and the Banu Qurayzah ordered to take their armors off. If they were not fight­ing, why would they wear their armor ? The nar­ra­tions also state that a few javelins and stones were also thrown by each side.”

    I think by the time they were being beseiged com­mon sense would tell them they had to pro­tect them­selves. How many Mus­lims died in the seige ?

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“They may have not par­tic­i­pat­ed in the bat­tle of the Trench, but they act­ed treach­er­ous­ly, and broke a treaty with the Mus­lims, thus expos­ing their allies’ lives to danger.”

    I don’t know what this they” is doing there. At most one of their lead­ers had talks that might have lead to trea­son. They did not actu­al­ly lift a fin­ger to help the Quraysh.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“Secondly, they were the ones who chose the judge, and the Prophet made sure that the arbiter cho­sen is accept­able to both sides.”

    Accord­ing to the Mus­lim tra­di­tion. A pity no Jew­ish account has sur­vived. How did Muhammed make sure of that ?

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“The Prophet was very mer­ci­ful indeed to agree to arbi­trate regard­ing a case of evi­dent high treason.”

    Evi­dent high trea­son ? British and French Mus­lims have not only con­spired with for­eign pow­ers, they have killed British and French cit­i­zens. It is self-evi­dent that all their men deserve to die and their women become slaves ?

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“And that man (Sa’d bin Muadh, who was mor­tal­ly wound­ed) whom they chose judged accord­ing to the Bible (Deuteron­o­my 20:12 – 14.)”

    As I have point­ed out, no he did not. That does not apply here or to Jews at all.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“I find it odd that you find the Prophet’s prac­tice more bru­tal than the Bible.”

    I nev­er made that claim.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“What con­di­tions ? So then you admit that in some con­di­tions it would be per­mis­si­ble to kill babies then. Well, we say that it is nev­er per­mis­si­ble to kill a baby in war.”

    I don’t think that is what Islam­ic law says as it hap­pens. My man­u­al of Islam­ic law says that if a Har­bi sol­dier shel­ters among civil­ians you must kill the sol­diers even if it means killing all the civilians.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“And you attempt to dis­tort the bib­li­cal verse by say­ing that there is an offer for a truce on pay­ment of jizyah”. The bib­li­cal pas­sage clear­ly says that there would be no truce, but forced labor for ene­my captives.”

    It says what it says and I think it says what I said it says. What is clear is that either way it was not applied in Medina.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“And Sa’d bin Muadh’s (not the Prophet’s) judg­ment is tak­en from verse 13, specif­i­cal­ly com­mand­ing to put to the sword all the men.”

    But not the Jew­ish men and only after cer­tain con­di­tions have been met — such as offer­ing them terms.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“Numbers 31:7, 17 – 18 They fought against Mid­i­an, as the LORD com­mand­ed Moses, and killed every man…….Now kill all the boys [inno­cent kids]. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for your­selves every girl who has nev­er slept with a man.””

    I do not see how this helps you myself. This does not apply to Jews nor to the sit­u­a­tion in Medina.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“I have giv­en you ref­er­ences where the Prophet for­bade the killing of the women and chil­dren of the ene­my, and I have pro­vid­ed you ref­er­ences where the Bible orders the mas­sacre of infants and suck­lings, and the rape of vir­gin women, but you still have the gall to say that the Prophet’s prac­tice is more bru­tal than the Bible.”

    The gall of us kafirs is amaz­ing isn’t it ? How­ev­er to come to this con­clu­sion you have to pret­ty much ignore every­thing I have said and so unless you have a rel­e­vant point that refers to some­thing I said, I don’t see the point of reply­ing to it. Where did I say that the wider ques­tion of the gen­er­al prac­tise of one, as opposed to the spe­cif­ic instance, was more bru­tal than the other ?

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“I should say that Chris­tian­i­ty is not a reli­gion based upon Christ’s teach­ings then, since I find so lit­tle of his teach­ings in the NT.”

    I think we would have to have very dif­fer­ent views about what teach­ings” are in that case. Jesus makes His views very clear and I don’t see how any­one can miss them.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“I have read about monothe­ism, the attrib­ut­es of God, how we should behave, how we should act, speak and think, how we should pray, the con­se­quences of thoughts and actions, the after­life, sin­cer­i­ty, puri­ty of heart, and many oth­ers, in fact, about all the aspects of my life I could think of, from the Qur’an and the Sun­nah of the Prophet, and yet you insist that Islam says so lit­tle about the Prophet’s teachings.”

    No. It says a lot about rit­u­als but not a great deal else. Some things about being good to orphans I admit.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“If you accept the author­i­ty of the Bible and the rel­e­vant pas­sages I quot­ed, then I should say you sup­port those acts then.”

    If.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“And no, I don’t sup­port the exe­cu­tion of the men of the Banu Qurayzah, the Bible does, as shown above.”

    No you have not shown it above. You have sim­ply cut and paste from a Mus­lim apol­o­gist site with­out read­ing the pas­sages or their con­text. You don’t sup­port it ? You think Muhammed was wrong ?

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“It is iron­ic because of the claims that Chris­tian­i­ty is more ratio­nal than Islam, and yet basi­cal­ly you are argu­ing that we can­not ques­tion God about any­thing He orders, while I, a Mus­lim, am argu­ing that though God is entire­ly above rea­son, we could use our rea­son for what He has already revealed regard­ing Him­self. Since He revealed that He is Mer­ci­ful, and com­mands that no one may take a human life with­out jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, how can He con­tra­dict Him­self by order­ing the slay­ing of infants?”

    I am not sure that was my posi­tion but it is good to see you are tak­ing such a Chris­t­ian posi­tion. I have no desire to shift you from it.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“A mis­un­der­stand­ing of the con­cept of blood mon­ey for an unin­ten­tion­al homi­cide, which is a recog­ni­tion of the finan­cial and mate­r­i­al dam­age incurred. It is not a pay­ment for a life.”

    I do not see the words unin­ten­tion­al homi­cide” in the Quran or in books of Islam­ic law. Are you say­ing that the fam­i­ly of the deceased can­not offer mer­cy in cas­es of out­right mur­der ? Are you claim­ing that there are still con­se­quences, per­haps in the next life, for peo­ple to pay a diya ? If so, what ?

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“And now it is revi­sion­ism to ask for what the Prophets real­ly said ? This just reflects your inabil­i­ty to ver­i­fy what they real­ly said.”

    The mere fact you call them prophets is revi­sion­ism. No one can ver­i­fy what they said. It is ulti­mate­ly a mat­ter of faith. I don’t see how that helps your argument.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“This is where you are real­ly wrong. In fact, this is one of the rea­sons why I believe that Islam is more log­i­cal than Chris­tian­i­ty and Judaism.”

    But then of course you are a Mus­lim and so you would believe that anyway.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“Islam doesn’t just claim to be for all peo­ple. It claims it has always been for all peo­ple. The Qur’an explic­it­ly states that God doesn’t pun­ish unless an admo­ni­tion has been sent to the peo­ple con­cerned. You for­got that Islam believes that nev­er has there been a time or nation where no Prophet was sent. If that hap­pens, then God would not hold those peo­ple with­out a Prophet or Book account­able for their actions. They are con­sid­ered Ahl al-Fitrah.”

    I would be inter­est­ed in an opin­ion on this sub­ject. Espe­cial­ly giv­en the Quran specif­i­cal­ly says those that wor­ship idols will burn in Hell which must apply to a lot of those who nev­er got the mes­sage. Or if they had, they had for­got­ten it.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“The dif­fi­cul­ty you are point­ing to exists not in Islam, but in Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty. Why ? You for­got the fact that Judaism doesn’t say any­thing about Holy Books oth­er than the Bible. Since only Israelites were graced with the Prophets, and hence the Books (the excep­tion is appar­ent­ly Prophet Jon­ah, an Assyr­i­an. There was some con­tact with oth­er nations, but that was very min­i­mal. What about the Aus­tralian Abo­rig­ines ? Would Yah­weh throw them to Sheol?).”

    But that has nev­er been a prob­lem for Jews because most Jew­ish law only applies to Jews. Non-Jews only have to avoid cer­tain obvi­ous things which vir­tu­al­ly no one dis­agrees about. Not com­mit­ting mur­der for instance.

    aian jaa­far said on 16 Octo­ber 2006:“The prob­lem is just as bad in Chris­tian­i­ty, as bil­lions of souls who had the mis­for­tune of being born before the Res­ur­rec­tion will be doomed to Hell. I have nev­er claimed that I could explain every­thing in Islam, hence the absur­di­ties, due to my lim­it­ed capac­i­ty of expla­na­tion. But I believe that Islam claims it has always been for all, in con­trast to Judaism for Israelites, and Chris­tian­i­ty for those who post-date the Resurrection.”

    No Chris­tian­i­ty has a the­ol­o­gy for them as well. A lim­it­ed one but no Chris­t­ian the­olo­gian I can think of off­hand has ever denied that those born before Christ would not nec­es­sar­i­ly burn in Hell.

  4. HeiGou said : So, as I said, you have to accept the Quran with­out argu­ing because God said so.”

    HeiGou said : Yes but that is my argu­ment, not yours. You are demand­ing isnads for the Bible. Why not for the Quran?”

    I have already pro­vid­ed you with the isnads for the Qur’an. And I am not look­ing exclu­sive­ly for an isnad for the Bible. I am look­ing for a method of ver­i­fi­ca­tion for what the Prophets real­ly said, aside from the claims of the infal­li­ble church. And I have already pro­vid­ed you with the rea­son why I can­not just accept every­thing the infal­li­ble church says. It is a Mus­lim assump­tion that since Chris­tians claim to be fol­low­ers of Jesus Christ, then every­thing they teach should be ground­ed on some teach­ing of Jesus Christ him­self. This includes the infal­li­ble church. Where would the church’s infal­li­bil­i­ty come from, if not from Jesus Christ ? So then, the infal­li­ble church should show us just where Jesus taught that this par­tic­u­lar church is infallible.

    HeiGou said :
    Well no it is not. I can triv­ial­ly point out that the Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian tra­di­tions are a lot old­er than the Mus­lim one. I can triv­ial­ly point out that from the begin­ning of His­to­ry to the birth of Muhammed there is pre­cise­ly no evi­dence of any of the specif­i­cal­ly Islam­ic claims Mus­lims now claim. So it fol­lows that Islam is Revi­sion­ism. It is re-writ­ing an old­er tra­di­tion. That is not to argue over who is right or wrong, but to sim­ply state the obvi­ous. It does not even imply that Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian his­to­ry is cor­rect — just that Islam takes that his­to­ry at a lat­er point in time and re-writes it.”

    No, I would agree if you say that Islam rein­ter­prets the his­to­ry. But rewrite it ? We’re real­ly not very con­cerned with Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian scrip­tures right now. We’re more con­cerned about what the Qur’an says.

    HeiGou said :
    Or any evi­dence out­side the Quran at all in fact. No archae­ol­o­gy. No men­tion of it in any oth­er texts. But I agreee I can­not claim it is impos­si­ble. How­ev­er Occam’s Razor does sug­gest that we should keep com­plex­i­ty to a min­i­mum and so if the choice is a vast con­spir­a­cy over the last 3000 years to sup­press the Truth — with 100 per­cent suc­cess at that — or one man was wrong, then I think log­ic would sug­gest the one man, not the hun­dreds or thou­sands, was wrong.”

    I would dis­agree that the sup­pres­sion is a 100 per­cent suc­cess­ful, as there are traces of tam­per­ing over this issue in Gen­e­sis, such as Hagar car­ry­ing Ish­mael on her shoul­der, putting him under a bush, watch­ing him cry, and him grow­ing up lat­er even though he’s sup­posed to be at least 16 yrs old dur­ing the time. Then again, even if such dif­fi­cul­ties do not exist, it would mean just that- the sup­pres­sion is suc­cess­ful. Well, you for­got that the beliefs of the hun­dreds or thou­sands also prob­a­bly began with one man. If the sto­ry, as it is relat­ed, can be traced back to the Prophet Abra­ham, then no prob­lem. But it can­not be. Also, Occam’s Razor is also applic­a­ble to the revi­sion­ism of Islam(such as when you claimed that the cen­sor­ship of Uth­man was very suc­cess­ful)- which you some­times resort to.
    HeiGou said :
    It is not that Jesus is Liv­ing, but that He lives and works in the Church today. Accord­ing to the more tra­di­tion­al Chris­t­ian, the Church can­not be wrong because it is the embod­i­ment of Christ on Earth. I don’t think that Mus­lims can make the same claim although Muhammed did say that his com­mu­ni­ty would nev­er agree on an error. I don’t see how my stan­dard would lead you to do that. I don’t think that there is much in the way of dis­tin­guish­ing prophets from one anoth­er so that much is true, but that would lead me to sug­gest you are very care­ful before you fol­low any. What else do Mus­lims have apart from the text ? Muhammed is dead. God’s ways are mys­te­ri­ous and not open to intepre­ta­tion. God is not actu­al­ly present in the mosque on Fri­day. I don’t think I have claimed that Chris­tian­i­ty is ratio­nal. I think I have said that the Pope said ratio­nal think­ing has a place in the Church it does not in Islam. Fun­da­men­tal­ly they all come down to Faith.”

    Well you still avoid my ques­tion as to where the church derives its claim of infal­li­bil­i­ty. And ratio­nal think­ing has a place in Islam, though rev­e­la­tion always has pri­ma­cy over reason.

    HeiGou said :
    I fail to see how that is a fal­la­cy. For a text-based reli­gion like Islam, the text is impor­tant. Refute what ? There is no deny­ing that for the first few gen­er­a­tions Mus­lims seem unin­ter­est­ed in Islam or in Muhammed — they do not leave any evi­dence to the con­trary any­way apart from much old­er his­tor­i­cal tra­di­tions. I am not so sure the Quran is on firmer ground in gen­er­al. I agree there is only one copy but that sim­ply points to the suc­cess­ful cen­sor­ship. There are seri­ous ques­tions about the Quran’s ori­gins includ­ing whether it was writ­ten down under the Rashid­dun or not until the mid-Umayyad peri­od or even the Abbasids. Whether it referred to Ara­bia or some­where else. There must have been a longer gap between Rev­e­la­tion and cod­i­fi­ca­tion because there is a prob­lem with the lan­guage — even Mus­lims do not real­ly know what it all means and the aHa­dith say there was dis­pute over the dialect at the time Umar ordered it writ­ten. That sug­gests a big change in Ara­bic and too big to have hap­pened in three rulers.”

    I am not refer­ring to the text. I was refer­ring to copies, pre­sum­ably man­u­scripts. You were say­ing that we can­not make rea­son­able com­ments about the Qur’an’s uni­for­mi­ty because mate­r­i­al is lack­ing, and also since we don’t have the destroyed ver­sions any­more. What I’m say­ing is we have no need of what those copies say. Even if you could show a codex pur­port­ing to be a dif­fer­ent ver­sion of the Qur’an dat­ing from the Prophet’s time, or a hadith say­ing that the Qur’an was changed, it still does­n’t change the Uth­man­ic recen­sion’s tawwatur sta­tus. It would not be enough to turn the process on it’s head, as you were say­ing. It is a fal­la­cy because you’re try­ing to apply the method­ol­o­gy being applied to the New Tes­ta­ment to the Qur’an. The Qur’ an was stan­dard­ized ear­ly. The New Tes­ta­ment was not. Hence the need for a crit­i­cal text of the NT. Hence the flu­id­i­ty of the text of the NT, espe­cial­ly since new man­u­scripts and man­u­script frag­ments are being dis­cov­ered, which dif­fer vast­ly from the received text. And as to the seri­ous ques­tions regard­ing the Qur’an’s ori­gins, the arti­cle we’re com­ment­ing to has already respond­ed to many of them.

    HeiGou said :
    There is lit­tle evi­dence there was a text to tam­per with.”

    This is revisionism.

    HeiGou said :
    Except from the ear­ly days the Shia claimed that Ali had anoth­er, dif­fer­ent, Quran — and so there are Sun­ni aHa­dith that specif­i­cal­ly claim oth­er­wise. The tra­di­tion of more than one Quran was present in the ear­ly days. Besides, you are argu­ing the wrong way around — if the pro­to-Sun­nis man­aged to sup­press all oth­er copies of the Quran, not hard to do at the time, the Shia would not have any oth­er Quran. But if they had doubts about what it said, because they thought they used to have a dif­fer­ent copy which has been destroyed, they would be forced to rely on the opin­ion of Imams who are still in touch with God in some way who could tell them what the Quran real­ly” meant before the Sun­nis tam­pered with it. They would become Bati­nis. Sur­viv­ing Shia are not always like that, but the ear­ly ones often were.”

    Again it would­n’t mat­ter what any ver­sion would say, because the cur­rent ver­sion is mass-trans­mit­ted. The avail­able evi­dence shows that it would be very dif­fi­cult to sup­press any­thing in Islam- the one doing the cen­sor­ship could get killed, same as Caliph Uth­man, the most pow­er­ful per­son back then. Besides, Imam Ali man­aged to rise to pow­er, and could have pro­mul­gat­ed his own copy then, if he real­ly had some­thing different.

    HeiGou said :
    The mass trans­mit­ted reports only indi­cate what the schol­ars of a lat­er peri­od thought. They do not nec­es­sar­i­ly tell any­one what peo­ple at the time thought. It is the small excep­tions that prove the rule. A sci­entig­ic the­o­ry may have a mass of sup­port­ing evi­dence, but it is the lit­tle things it can­not explain that proves whether it is true or not. There is no assump­tion that Mus­lims always lie. Just that his­to­ry is not the­ol­o­gy and his­to­ri­ans have to approach his­tor­i­cal texts from that point of view. The aHa­dith claim that there used to be a pas­sage on ston­ing in the Quran. When Umar came to pow­er it was no longer there :
    Sahih Vol­ume 8, Book 82, Num­ber 816 :
    Nar­rat­ed Ibn Abbas :
    Umar said, I am afraid that after a long time has passed, peo­ple may say, We do not find the Vers­es of the Rajam (ston­ing to death) in the Holy Book,” and con­se­quent­ly they may go astray by leav­ing an oblig­a­tion that Allah has revealed. Lo ! I con­firm that the penal­ty of Rajam be inflict­ed on him who com­mits ille­gal sex­u­al inter­course, if he is already mar­ried and the crime is proved by wit­ness­es or preg­nan­cy or con­fes­sion.” Sufyan added, I have mem­o­rized this nar­ra­tion in this way.” Umar added, Sure­ly Allah’s Apos­tle car­ried out the penal­ty of Rajam, and so did we after him.”
    Vol­ume 8, Book 82, Num­ber 817 :
    Nar­rat­ed Ibn Abbas :
    ….
    In the mean­time, Umar sat on the pul­pit and when the call­mak­ers for the prayer had fin­ished their call, Umar stood up, and hav­ing glo­ri­fied and praised Allah as He deserved, he said, Now then, I am going to tell you some­thing which (Allah) has writ­ten for me to say. I do not know ; per­haps it por­tends my death, so who­ev­er under­stands and remem­bers it, must nar­rate it to the oth­ers wher­ev­er his mount takes him, but if some­body is afraid that he does not under­stand it, then it is unlaw­ful for him to tell lies about me. Allah sent Muham­mad with the Truth and revealed the Holy Book to him, and among what Allah revealed, was the Verse of the Rajam (the ston­ing of mar­ried per­son (male & female) who com­mits ille­gal sex­u­al inter­course, and we did recite this Verse and under­stood and mem­o­rized it. Allah’s Apos­tle did car­ry out the pun­ish­ment of ston­ing and so did we after him.
    I am afraid that after a long time has passed, some­body will say, By Allah, we do not find the Verse of the Rajam in Allah’s Book,’ and thus they will go astray by leav­ing an oblig­a­tion which Allah has revealed.”
    ….
    So at one point the Quran con­tained the Rajam verse. Now it does not.”
    So the Quran has changed.”
    Yes, it changed, by the order of God, by the fore­or­dained knowl­edge of God, not through the hand of man, unlike the Johan­nine com­ma in the NT, tam­pered by the infal­li­ble church.

    HeiGou said :
    How do you know that God ordered the rul­ing to remain ? That does not apply to abro­gat­ed vers­es, so how do you know the verse on ston­ing has not been abrogated?”

    Whether the rul­ing remains or not is not the point. In fact I have already said pre­cise­ly what you’re ask­ing, that the verse (words) was abro­gat­ed ! Mean­ing to say, God, for what­ev­er rea­son, does not want the verse to remain, but wants the rul­ing to remain. I can­not answer why though.

    HeiGou said :
    Except there is no sign they ever did kill them, or that they want­ed to, or that when the OT came to be writ­ten down there were even any left. It is a mystery.”

    Well no sign of killing will remain if no sign of them at all remains. Whether they exist­ed or not is not the point. What I’m say­ing is that any­thing could be made up, for any rea­son, by any peo­ple. If what you’re say­ing is true, it could even be said that per­haps they made the Amalekites up so that they could poten­tial­ly jus­ti­fy geno­cide then. I’m say­ing this because you were say­ing that it’s hard for you to see how they could have claimed some­thing like that if they real­ly did not do it. Well, if they nev­er did it, and they claimed it, it may mean that their will­ing to do it. I mean, why claim such a thing ?

    HeiGou said :
    Where is the evi­dence that they would have been grant­ed that if they asked for it ? What they asked for was medi­a­tion but picked the wrong man who did what Muhammed want­ed. There is no sign in the text I can see there was an offer of asy­lum. One con­vert­ed and was spared. The rest remained loy­al and were mar­tyred. None of them par­tic­i­pat­ed in the bat­tle. Not one. Their guilt was not in the realm of deeds — after all the Mus­lims, includ­ing Muhammed did not think they did any­thing wrong because they went home after the bat­tle and took their armor off. It was only then that an angel told Muhammed they were guilty that the Mus­lims attacked them.”

    Vers­es in the Holy Qur’an order Mus­lims to not trans­gress lim­its, and slay only those who were engaged in com­bat. O Prophet ! say to those who are cap­tives in your hands : If Allah find­eth any good in your hearts, He will Give you some­thing bet­ter than what has been tak­en from you, and He will For­give you : for Allah is Oft-For­giv­ing, Most Mer­ci­ful. But if they have treach­er­ous designs against thee, (O Mes­sen­ger!), they have already been in trea­son against Allah, and so hath He giv­en (thee) pow­er over them. And Allah is He who hath (Full) knowl­edge and wis­dom. (The Noble Quran, 8:70 – 71)”
    Nar­rat­ed Sal­im’s father : The Prophet sent Khalid bin Al-Walid to the tribe of Jad­hi­ma and Khalid invit­ed them to Islam but they could not express them­selves by say­ing, Aslam­na (i.e. we have embraced Islam),” but they start­ed say­ing Saba’­na ! Saba’­na (i.e. we have come out of one reli­gion to anoth­er).” Khalid kept on killing (some of) them and tak­ing (some of) them as cap­tives and gave every one of us his Cap­tive. When there came the day then Khalid ordered that each man (i.e. Mus­lim sol­dier) should kill his cap­tive, I said, By Allah, I will not kill my cap­tive, and none of my com­pan­ions will kill his cap­tive.” When we reached the Prophet, we men­tioned to him the whole sto­ry. On that, the Prophet raised both his hands and said twice, O Allah ! I am free (or inno­cent or not respon­si­ble for) from what Khalid has done.” (Trans­la­tion of Sahih Bukhari, Vol­ume 5, Book 59, Num­ber 628)”
    They per­form (their) vows, and they fear a Day Whose evil flies far and wide. And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indi­gent, the orphan, and the cap­tive — (Say­ing), We feed you For the sake of Allah alone : No reward do we desire from you, nor thanks.’ (The Noble Quran, 76:7 – 9)”

    Lest it be asked why there is no offer of asy­lum for the Banu Qurayzah, well, there is the arbi­tra­tion already. The siege (and hence the state of war, in which case the usu­al rules of war in Islam applies, which allows asy­lum for non-hos­tile unbe­liev­ers) was ongo­ing when the Jews expressed a desire for arbi­tra­tion. Besides, the deci­sion was out of the Prophet’s hand the moment the Jews chose their judge. Say­ing that that man did what the Prophet want­ed is noth­ing but con­jec­ture on your part. They them­selves know of their guilt when they imme­di­ate­ly sought the pro­tec­tion of their fortress­es. Sa’d, the arbi­tra­tor cho­sen by the al-Aws and the Banu Qurayzah ordered to take their armors off. If they were not fight­ing, why would they wear their armor ? The nar­ra­tions also state that a few javelins and stones were also thrown by each side.

    In fact, four con­vert­ed and were spared, and three more were spared, due to the inter­ven­tion of the Com­pan­ions, though they did not con­vert. Only one woman was killed, who killed a Mus­lim with a mill­stone. They may have not par­tic­i­pat­ed in the bat­tle of the Trench, but they act­ed treach­er­ous­ly, and broke a treaty with the Mus­lims, thus expos­ing their allies’ lives to dan­ger. Sec­ond­ly, they were the ones who chose the judge, and the Prophet made sure that the arbiter cho­sen is accept­able to both sides. The Prophet was very mer­ci­ful indeed to agree to arbi­trate regard­ing a case of evi­dent high trea­son. And that man (Sa’d bin Muadh, who was mor­tal­ly wound­ed) whom they chose judged accord­ing to the Bible (Deuteron­o­my 20:12 – 14.)

    HeiGou said :
    Well no because that is not what the Bible says. Even if you take the worst pas­sage you can, that only applies to non-Jews, it includes an offer of a truce on pay­ment of jizyah, and it only refers to spe­cif­ic con­di­tions which did not occur in this case. Muhammed’s prac­tice was more bru­tal than the Bible.”
    I find it odd that you find the Prophet’s prac­tice more bru­tal than the Bible. What con­di­tions ? So then you admit that in some con­di­tions it would be per­mis­si­ble to kill babies then. Well, we say that it is nev­er per­mis­si­ble to kill a baby in war. And you attempt to dis­tort the bib­li­cal verse by say­ing that there is an offer for a truce on pay­ment of jizyah”. The bib­li­cal pas­sage clear­ly says that there would be no truce, but forced labor for ene­my cap­tives. And Sa’d bin Muad­h’s (not the Prophet’s) judg­ment is tak­en from verse 13, specif­i­cal­ly com­mand­ing to put to the sword all the men. Now I can read oth­er pas­sages where Yah­weh ORDERS (not just per­mits) his prophets and kings to slay every­thing that breathes, even infants and suck­lings, and to take any woman that has not slept with a man”. On the oth­er hand, the Prophet Muham­mad explic­it­ly for­bade the killing and tar­get­ting of women and chil­dren in a war :
    Deuteron­o­my 20:11 – 14 : 11″ If they accept and open their gates, all the peo­ple in it shall be sub­ject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in bat­tle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the LORD your God deliv­ers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the chil­dren, the live­stock and every­thing else in the city, you may take these as plun­der for your­selves. And you may use the plun­der the LORD your God gives you from your ene­mies”. This is tak­en from the New Inter­na­tion­al Version.

    Num­bers 31:7, 17 – 18 They fought against Mid­i­an, as the LORD com­mand­ed Moses, and killed every man.……Now kill all the boys [inno­cent kids]. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for your­selves every girl who has nev­er slept with a man.”

    And let’s see what the Bible has to say regard­ing babies in wartime :

    Samuel 15:2 – 3 (New Inter­na­tion­al Version)
    2 This is what the LORD Almighty says : I will pun­ish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they way­laid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and total­ly destroy [a] every­thing that belongs to them. Do not spare them ; put to death men and women, chil­dren and infants, cat­tle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ”
    Footnotes :
    1 Samuel 15:3 The Hebrew term refers to the irrev­o­ca­ble giv­ing over of things or per­sons to the LORD, often by total­ly destroy­ing them ; also in vers­es 8, 9, 15, 18, 20 and 21.

    Nar­rat­ed Ibn Umar : ” The Mes­sen­ger of God (peace be upon him) saw the corpse of a woman who had been slain in one of the raids, and he dis­ap­proved of it and for­bade the killing of women and children”.
    When the Mes­sen­ger of God (peace be upon him) sent out a raid­ing par­ty, he would say to them, Make your raids in the name of God, in the way of God. Fight who­ev­er denies God. Do not steal from the booty, and do not act treach­er­ous­ly. Do not muti­late and do not kill chil­dren” (Sahih-ul-Bukhari, Vol­ume 4, Book 52, Num­ber 257 and 258. Also, Mut­ta Malik, Book 21, Sec­tion 3, Num­ber 9.)

    I have giv­en you ref­er­ences where the Prophet for­bade the killing of the women and chil­dren of the ene­my, and I have pro­vid­ed you ref­er­ences where the Bible orders the mas­sacre of infants and suck­lings, and the rape of vir­gin women, but you still have the gall to say that the Prophet’s prac­tice is more bru­tal than the Bible.

    HeiGou said :
    God decid­ed to kill those peo­ple in the Tsuna­mi. He knew what it would do and He ordered it done. God kills inno­cent peo­ple. God in the Chris­t­ian tra­di­tion is slight­ly more ratio­nal — which was, after all, the Pope’s point.”

    I should say that death is sure­ly from God, though mur­der is from man. Yes, God is the One Who Takes Away Life, but He nev­er ordered his ser­vants to take away inno­cent life on purpose.

    HeiGou said :
    But you can’t dis­cov­er much about what Muhammed thought. Islam is not a reli­gion in that manner.”

    I should say that Chris­tian­i­ty is not a reli­gion based upon Christ’s teach­ings then, since I find so lit­tle of his teach­ings in the NT. I have read about monothe­ism, the attrib­ut­es of God, how we should behave, how we should act, speak and think, how we should pray, the con­se­quences of thoughts and actions, the after­life, sin­cer­i­ty, puri­ty of heart, and many oth­ers, in fact, about all the aspects of my life I could think of, from the Qur’an and the Sun­nah of the Prophet, and yet you insist that Islam says so lit­tle about the Prophet’s teach­ings. In fact, I can read more of Chris­tol­ogy (a sub­ject of vital impor­tance to Chris­tians of any denom­i­na­tion) in the Qur’an and aha­dith than in the words of Jesus him­self ! And I find more ref­er­ences to the sub­ject of the after­life and res­ur­rec­tion in the Qur’an and aha­dith than in the OT, a sub­ject of piv­otal impor­tance for Chris­tians in sup­port of their claims.

    HeiGou said :
    I fail to see how you can con­clude I sup­port the mas­sacre of any­one. Although you pre­sum­ably sup­port the mas­sacre of those Jews. How is it ironic?”

    If you accept the author­i­ty of the Bible and the rel­e­vant pas­sages I quot­ed, then I should say you sup­port those acts then. And no, I don’t sup­port the exe­cu­tion of the men of the Banu Qurayzah, the Bible does, as shown above. It is iron­ic because of the claims that Chris­tian­i­ty is more ratio­nal than Islam, and yet basi­cal­ly you are argu­ing that we can­not ques­tion God about any­thing He orders, while I, a Mus­lim, am argu­ing that though God is entire­ly above rea­son, we could use our rea­son for what He has already revealed regard­ing Him­self. Since He revealed that He is Mer­ci­ful, and com­mands that no one may take a human life with­out jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, how can He con­tra­dict Him­self by order­ing the slay­ing of infants ?

    HeiGou said :
    And yet He kills inno­cent peo­ple à la the Tsuna­mi. Babies die dur­ing birth all the time. God is respon­si­ble for that. And His mes­sen­ger killed quite a few peo­ple who look pret­ty inno­cent to me. His fol­low­ers even more so. No doubt you have been taught to rec­on­cile that con­tra­dic­tion, but I, of course, have not.”

    I have already said, death is from God, but mur­der is from man. There is no con­tra­dic­tion to rec­on­cile at all. The judg­ment was not the Prophet’s, but Sa’d’s. Of course you’re free to assume that that’s what the Prophet want­ed any­way. But it would only remain a conjecture.

    HeiGou said :
    Besides, we know what Islam­ic law real­ly thinks of human life. It is worth, what?, 50 camels?”

    A mis­un­der­stand­ing of the con­cept of blood mon­ey for an unin­ten­tion­al homi­cide, which is a recog­ni­tion of the finan­cial and mate­r­i­al dam­age incurred. It is not a pay­ment for a life. On the oth­er hand, I’ve already men­tioned that the Qur’an con­sid­ers human life (not just Mus­lim life) to be of para­mount impor­tance and sacred­ness. Of course, the Bible con­sid­ers human life sacred as well. But it seems that the Bible in the OT does not con­sid­er non-Jews human.…

    HeiGou said :
    Well no it is not. There is no dis­pute with­in Church­es but there were hun­dreds of small Church­es back then.”

    And one of those church­es is the infal­li­ble church. Each of those church­es may well have an equal claim of authen­tic­i­ty with the oth­er. Who’s telling the truth, then ?

    HeiGou said :
    Well Moses could hard­ly believe in some­thing that had not hap­pened yet. I have nev­er claimed to be a Chris­t­ian. Is it revi­sion­ism ? I would deny it as it is an attempt to rad­i­cal­ly rethink, but not re-write, the mes­sage. But the dis­tinc­tion is minor. If you want to think of it as Revi­sion­ism please feel free to do so. Does that change what Islam is ? I have no prob­lems under­stand­ing, I just do not accept there is a log­i­cal rea­son to believe the Mus­lim claims.”

    I am refer­ring, not to Christ’s alleged Res­ur­rec­tion, but to the res­ur­rec­tion after Dooms­day. Prophet Moses does­n’t seem to teach about the after­life in the OT. Yes, I call it revi­sion­ism. The Chris­t­ian claim is very sim­i­lar to the Mus­lim claim, in that Chris­tian­i­ty attempts to deny the Jew­ish expla­na­tion of the Torah, and seeks to find the Pas­sion of Christ in every verse of the OT they could pos­si­bly bend and re-inter­pret. The Jew­ish claim is not much dif­fer­ent, as some old­er, Mesopotami­an sto­ries seem to have been recast in a specif­i­cal­ly Jew­ish and monothe­is­tic light (Ut-Napish­tim and the Flood, the Tow­er of Babel, the Gar­den of Eden, etc). Islam avoids these dif­fi­cul­ties by say­ing that the covenant between God and mankind is as old as mankind itself, hence the sim­i­lar­i­ties between Islam and the pre­vi­ous reli­gions. It did not begin on Mount Sinai.

    HeiGou said :
    I did not make that claim of course.”

    But you implied it when you said that ver­i­fy­ing what the Prophets real­ly said is specif­i­cal­ly a Mus­lim stan­dard, and it is irrel­e­vant to Judaism and Christianity.

    HeiGou said :
    It may but it wouldn’t. There is clear­ly a peo­ple” before Sinai. They are not Jews in the sense they are bound to God by the con­venant, but they are cer­tain­ly not muslims.”

    Nei­ther are they Jews. But you admit­ted that they were“muslims” in the sense of being sub­mis­sive to the will of God. While you per­mit them being Jews though not in the sense of being bound to the covenant, you don’t per­mit that they are mus­lims, though not in the sense we under­stand today.

    HeiGou said :
    The prob­lem is under­stand­ing what is being said. Abra­ham lied when he said she was his sis­ter. By daugh­ter of his father” he means a pater­nal rel­a­tive in the way many cul­tures use broth­er” and cousin” in a broad­er sense. You may not, in Jew­ish law, mar­ry your half sis­ter. There is no rea­son to think she was or it would not have been a lie on Abraham’s part.”

    In a hadith, I read that the Prophet Abra­ham real­ly lied to save his life this instance, so I don’t see that as a prob­lem. But that’s not the point. The point is that Abra­ham did not do every­thing specif­i­cal­ly Jew­ish”, as there is no bib­li­cal evi­dence he did any­thing specif­i­cal­ly Mus­lim”. Mus­lims, Chris­tians. and Jews are of course more or less agreed that he believed in God, His Angels, Mes­sen­gers (he was one), Books (if there were mes­sen­gers, then there’s the pos­si­bil­i­ty of writ­ten or oral­ly-trans­mit­ted teach­ings) and the Day of Judg­ment. This makes him a mus­lim”. Of course you could claim that this is not just specif­i­cal­ly mus­lim” but also jew­ish”, but that’s the point. You’re mak­ing a big fuss about the labels. Is this just a hatred of Islam ? I hope not.

    HeiGou said :
    In the sense the term mus­lim” does not seem to have exist­ed before Muhammed and the hanif heard the term hanif some­where them­selves. So I would argue that Muhammed did make the dis­tinc­tion because the hanif had nev­er heard of the term mus­lim” until later.”

    Quib­bling about labels again. Mind if I ask you if the term Jew” exist­ed dur­ing Abra­ham’s time ?

    HeiGou said :
    Revi­sion­ism at work.”

    And now it is revi­sion­ism to ask for what the Prophets real­ly said ? This just reflects your inabil­i­ty to ver­i­fy what they real­ly said.

    HeiGou said :
    Their exis­tance is not the point. The fact that God would know­ing­ly sen­tence mil­lions of peo­ple to low and slow tor­tures in Hell because He would not pre­serve or spread His mes­sage is. Why is it odd to think that God should have decid­ed that the course of his­to­ry had to be fun­da­men­tal­ly changed ? As com­pared to a God who abro­gates His text piece­meal and only remem­bers to include women in His Quran when prompt­ed by some Arab women ? No tra­di­tion can claim to be absurdity-free. ”

    This is where you are real­ly wrong. In fact, this is one of the rea­sons why I believe that Islam is more log­i­cal than Chris­tian­i­ty and Judaism. Islam does­n’t just claim to be for all peo­ple. It claims it has always been for all peo­ple. The Qur’an explic­it­ly states that God does­n’t pun­ish unless an admo­ni­tion has been sent to the peo­ple con­cerned. You for­got that Islam believes that nev­er has there been a time or nation where no Prophet was sent. If that hap­pens, then God would not hold those peo­ple with­out a Prophet or Book account­able for their actions. They are con­sid­ered Ahl al-Fitrah. The dif­fi­cul­ty you are point­ing to exists not in Islam, but in Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty. Why ? You for­got the fact that Judaism does­n’t say any­thing about Holy Books oth­er than the Bible. Since only Israelites were graced with the Prophets, and hence the Books (the excep­tion is appar­ent­ly Prophet Jon­ah, an Assyr­i­an. There was some con­tact with oth­er nations, but that was very min­i­mal. What about the Aus­tralian Abo­rig­ines ? Would Yah­weh throw them to She­ol?). The prob­lem is just as bad in Chris­tian­i­ty, as bil­lions of souls who had the mis­for­tune of being born before the Res­ur­rec­tion will be doomed to Hell. I have nev­er claimed that I could explain every­thing in Islam, hence the absur­di­ties, due to my lim­it­ed capac­i­ty of expla­na­tion. But I believe that Islam claims it has always been for all, in con­trast to Judaism for Israelites, and Chris­tian­i­ty for those who post-date the Resurrection.

  5. aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“We have to accept the Qur’an is divine because the Prophet said so. And the Prophet, we believe, does not speak on his own, but speaks the Word of God. IF a Hadith is proven to have been spo­ken by the Prophet, then what is spo­ken by the Prophet specif­i­cal­ly con­cern­ing reli­gious mat­ters is divine as well.”

    So, as I said, you have to accept the Quran with­out argu­ing because God said so.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“There is no dou­ble stan­dard here. The reduc­tio ad Deum you were men­tion­ing applies here as well.”

    Yes but that is my argu­ment, not yours. You are demand­ing isnads for the Bible. Why not for the Quran ?

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“Which means if you are claim­ing that we are revis­ing’ (while I am say­ing we are not, you’re just mis­in­ter­pret­ing the­o­log­i­cal doc­trines here) Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian his­to­ry, then it is your bur­den to fur­nish the proof that Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian his­to­ry is defin­i­tive and conclusive.”

    Well no it is not. I can triv­ial­ly point out that the Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian tra­di­tions are a lot old­er than the Mus­lim one. I can triv­ial­ly point out that from the begin­ning of His­to­ry to the birth of Muhammed there is pre­cise­ly no evi­dence of any of the specif­i­cal­ly Islam­ic claims Mus­lims now claim. So it fol­lows that Islam is Revi­sion­ism. It is re-writ­ing an old­er tra­di­tion. That is not to argue over who is right or wrong, but to sim­ply state the obvi­ous. It does not even imply that Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian his­to­ry is cor­rect — just that Islam takes that his­to­ry at a lat­er point in time and re-writes it.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“If the Qur’an or aha­dith claim that Prophet Abra­ham went to Mec­ca and sac­ri­ficed Ish­mael, you could say that we can­not prove it by way of the con­clu­sive” evi­dence I was men­tion­ing above. But nei­ther can you prove that it is an impos­si­bil­i­ty. Hence the demand for such a con­clu­sive evi­dence which runs counter to our claims.”

    Or any evi­dence out­side the Quran at all in fact. No archae­ol­o­gy. No men­tion of it in any oth­er texts. But I agreee I can­not claim it is impos­si­ble. How­ev­er Occam’s Razor does sug­gest that we should keep com­plex­i­ty to a min­i­mum and so if the choice is a vast con­spir­a­cy over the last 3000 years to sup­press the Truth — with 100 per­cent suc­cess at that — or one man was wrong, then I think log­ic would sug­gest the one man, not the hun­dreds or thou­sands, was wrong.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“No. We believe that every­thing is for the Liv­ing God as well. I wouldn’t care if I find the truth in the Bha­gavad Gita or the present-day Gospels, as long as the Truth about the Beloved, God Almighty, is there. But the prob­lem is, I could just believe any char­la­tan claim­ing to be a Prophet of God or the Pope of the infal­li­ble church if I blind­ly fol­low your stan­dard. What you’re say­ing is a clear dis­tor­tion of Islam­ic beliefs. I could just eas­i­ly claim what you’re claim­ing, that you need the text as well. Which takes me back to a point you did not respond to : what is the source of the claims of the sup­pos­ed­ly infal­li­ble church ? Is it also a reduc­tio ad Deum as well ? If it is, could you still claim that the Chris­t­ian reli­gion is rational?”

    It is not that Jesus is Liv­ing, but that He lives and works in the Church today. Accord­ing to the more tra­di­tion­al Chris­t­ian, the Church can­not be wrong because it is the embod­i­ment of Christ on Earth. I don’t think that Mus­lims can make the same claim although Muhammed did say that his com­mu­ni­ty would nev­er agree on an error. I don’t see how my stan­dard would lead you to do that. I don’t think that there is much in the way of dis­tin­guish­ing prophets from one anoth­er so that much is true, but that would lead me to sug­gest you are very care­ful before you fol­low any. What else do Mus­lims have apart from the text ? Muhammed is dead. God’s ways are mys­te­ri­ous and not open to intepre­ta­tion. God is not actu­al­ly present in the mosque on Fri­day. I don’t think I have claimed that Chris­tian­i­ty is ratio­nal. I think I have said that the Pope said ratio­nal think­ing has a place in the Church it does not in Islam. Fun­da­men­tal­ly they all come down to Faith.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“Again, the fal­la­cy of sur­viv­ing copies. Well, it would be unfair for me to ask you to refute those links, as appar­ent­ly you are not an expert on this field, same as me. But regard­ing man­u­scripts, then what do those ear­ly man­u­scripts say ? Com­pare them to what you’re New Tes­ta­ment man­u­scripts and man­u­script frag­ments say, and you’ll find that the Qur’an , as the Ency­clo­pe­dia Bri­tan­ni­ca says, has a text which is remark­ably much firmer than the New Tes­ta­ment. Keep in mind that the Ency­clo­pe­dia Bri­tan­ni­ca did not approach this from a Mus­lim standard.”

    I fail to see how that is a fal­la­cy. For a text-based reli­gion like Islam, the text is impor­tant. Refute what ? There is no deny­ing that for the first few gen­er­a­tions Mus­lims seem unin­ter­est­ed in Islam or in Muhammed — they do not leave any evi­dence to the con­trary any­way apart from much old­er his­tor­i­cal tra­di­tions. I am not so sure the Quran is on firmer ground in gen­er­al. I agree there is only one copy but that sim­ply points to the suc­cess­ful cen­sor­ship. There are seri­ous ques­tions about the Quran’s ori­gins includ­ing whether it was writ­ten down under the Rashid­dun or not until the mid-Umayyad peri­od or even the Abbasids. Whether it referred to Ara­bia or some­where else. There must have been a longer gap between Rev­e­la­tion and cod­i­fi­ca­tion because there is a prob­lem with the lan­guage — even Mus­lims do not real­ly know what it all means and the aHa­dith say there was dis­pute over the dialect at the time Umar ordered it writ­ten. That sug­gests a big change in Ara­bic and too big to have hap­pened in three rulers.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“He was killed over moral issues but not over the issue of the Qur’an. None of the Uth­man­ic regi­cides were able to prove that he did some­thing to tam­per the text.”

    There is lit­tle evi­dence there was a text to tam­per with.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“And we also have the Bat­tle of Sif­fin, the most oppor­tune time to raise the issue of tex­tu­al tam­per­ing, espe­cial­ly by those who claim to be the Shia of Ali. But the Sun­ni win­ners” were not able to exter­mi­nate the Shia, who, quite inter­est­ing­ly, have the same Qur’an as the Sun­nis. Most of their schol­ars reject the tam­per­ing’ tra­di­tions you men­tioned (oth­er­wise, they should reject the Qur’an they have right now, which is the same as the Sun­ni Qur’ans).”

    Except from the ear­ly days the Shia claimed that Ali had anoth­er, dif­fer­ent, Quran — and so there are Sun­ni aHa­dith that specif­i­cal­ly claim oth­er­wise. The tra­di­tion of more than one Quran was present in the ear­ly days. Besides, you are argu­ing the wrong way around — if the pro­to-Sun­nis man­aged to sup­press all oth­er copies of the Quran, not hard to do at the time, the Shia would not have any oth­er Quran. But if they had doubts about what it said, because they thought they used to have a dif­fer­ent copy which has been destroyed, they would be forced to rely on the opin­ion of Imams who are still in touch with God in some way who could tell them what the Quran real­ly” meant before the Sun­nis tam­pered with it. They would become Bati­nis. Sur­viv­ing Shia are not always like that, but the ear­ly ones often were.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“Why rely on a small amount of con­tro­ver­sial mate­r­i­al and ignore mass-trans­mit­ted reports ? Pre­cise­ly because of the assump­tion that Mus­lims always lie, there­fore, any­thing they say needs to be ver­i­fied by some out­side source. Same goes for aha­dith. But where do the aha­dith claim that the Qur’an has been changed?”

    The mass trans­mit­ted reports only indi­cate what the schol­ars of a lat­er peri­od thought. They do not nec­es­sar­i­ly tell any­one what peo­ple at the time thought. It is the small excep­tions that prove the rule. A sci­entig­ic the­o­ry may have a mass of sup­port­ing evi­dence, but it is the lit­tle things it can­not explain that proves whether it is true or not. There is no assump­tion that Mus­lims always lie. Just that his­to­ry is not the­ol­o­gy and his­to­ri­ans have to approach his­tor­i­cal texts from that point of view. The aHa­dith claim that there used to be a pas­sage on ston­ing in the Quran. When Umar came to pow­er it was no longer there :

    Sahih Vol­ume 8, Book 82, Num­ber 816 :

    Nar­rat­ed Ibn Abbas :

    Umar said, I am afraid that after a long time has passed, peo­ple may say, We do not find the Vers­es of the Rajam (ston­ing to death) in the Holy Book,” and con­se­quent­ly they may go astray by leav­ing an oblig­a­tion that Allah has revealed. Lo ! I con­firm that the penal­ty of Rajam be inflict­ed on him who com­mits ille­gal sex­u­al inter­course, if he is already mar­ried and the crime is proved by wit­ness­es or preg­nan­cy or con­fes­sion.” Sufyan added, I have mem­o­rized this nar­ra­tion in this way.” Umar added, Sure­ly Allah’s Apos­tle car­ried out the penal­ty of Rajam, and so did we after him.”

    Vol­ume 8, Book 82, Num­ber 817 :

    Nar­rat­ed Ibn Abbas :
    .…
    In the mean­time, Umar sat on the pul­pit and when the call­mak­ers for the prayer had fin­ished their call, Umar stood up, and hav­ing glo­ri­fied and praised Allah as He deserved, he said, Now then, I am going to tell you some­thing which (Allah) has writ­ten for me to say. I do not know ; per­haps it por­tends my death, so who­ev­er under­stands and remem­bers it, must nar­rate it to the oth­ers wher­ev­er his mount takes him, but if some­body is afraid that he does not under­stand it, then it is unlaw­ful for him to tell lies about me. Allah sent Muham­mad with the Truth and revealed the Holy Book to him, and among what Allah revealed, was the Verse of the Rajam (the ston­ing of mar­ried per­son (male & female) who com­mits ille­gal sex­u­al inter­course, and we did recite this Verse and under­stood and mem­o­rized it. Allah’s Apos­tle did car­ry out the pun­ish­ment of ston­ing and so did we after him.

    I am afraid that after a long time has passed, some­body will say, By Allah, we do not find the Verse of the Rajam in Allah’s Book,’ and thus they will go astray by leav­ing an oblig­a­tion which Allah has revealed.
    .…

    So at one point the Quran con­tained the Rajam verse. Now it does not.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“God will allow the verse to be in the text of the Qur’an for the time He wish­es it to be in His Book (I can­not answer why), and then order it to be removed once the fore­or­dained time of its abro­ga­tion comes. Same applies for the past Holy Books.”

    So the Quran has changed.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“It remains if God orders for the rul­ing to remain, even if the words itself do not remain.”

    How do you know that God ordered the rul­ing to remain ? That does not apply to abro­gat­ed vers­es, so how do you know the verse on ston­ing has not been abrogated ?

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“Of course I am a bit being sar­cas­tic here, just to point out that they could have any rea­son as to why they would make up some­thing like that, if those orders by Prophet Moses were real­ly made up by them. Islam­ic extrem­ists think on sim­i­lar lines, by the way, tar­get­ting Jews, Chris­tians, and even Muslims.”

    Except there is no sign they ever did kill them, or that they want­ed to, or that when the OT came to be writ­ten down there were even any left. It is a mystery.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“But none of those Jews exe­cut­ed asked for asy­lum, which they would have been grant­ed if they did, or plead­ed that they did not par­tic­i­pate in the battle.”

    Where is the evi­dence that they would have been grant­ed that if they asked for it ? What they asked for was medi­a­tion but picked the wrong man who did what Muhammed want­ed. There is no sign in the text I can see there was an offer of asy­lum. One con­vert­ed and was spared. The rest remained loy­al and were mar­tyred. None of them par­tic­i­pat­ed in the bat­tle. Not one. Their guilt was not in the realm of deeds — after all the Mus­lims, includ­ing Muhammed did not think they did any­thing wrong because they went home after the bat­tle and took their armor off. It was only then that an angel told Muhammed they were guilty that the Mus­lims attacked them.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“Also, the pun­ish­ment fits very well with what the Jews them­selves have on their Bibles. In fact, if the Bibles they have are to be fol­lowed, then all of them, includ­ing the women and the chil­dren, should be massacred.”

    Well no because that is not what the Bible says. Even if you take the worst pas­sage you can, that only applies to non-Jews, it includes an offer of a truce on pay­ment of jizyah, and it only refers to spe­cif­ic con­di­tions which did not occur in this case. Muhammed’s prac­tice was more bru­tal than the Bible.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“Yes, God is not bound by any­thing. But it is an impos­si­bil­i­ty that He con­tra­dict Him­self, because He is the Truth. A tsuna­mi is a force of nature, not a human being who was ordered nev­er to take inno­cent life by the very same God. Any­way, this would take us to anoth­er top­ic, one of which I am also will­ing to dis­cuss, though I don’t believe this is the prop­er place to do so.”

    God decid­ed to kill those peo­ple in the Tsuna­mi. He knew what it would do and He ordered it done. God kills inno­cent peo­ple. God in the Chris­t­ian tra­di­tion is slight­ly more ratio­nal — which was, after all, the Pope’s point.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“Well, I can read more of what the Prophet taught in any Hadith book than what Jesus him­self is pre­sumed to have taught. I can read many of what oth­er peo­ple say about Jesus in the Gospels, though. But not much of what he him­self said. Not much.”

    But you can’t dis­cov­er much about what Muhammed thought. Islam is not a reli­gion in that manner.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“We Mus­lims believe that God is above rea­son, laws, log­ic, and nat­ur­al law because he is the Souce and Cause of every­thing. He is entire­ly above them. Quite iron­ic. You are try­ing to say (as I under­stand it) that there is noth­ing wrong with entire pop­u­la­tions mas­sa­cred in the hands of a cho­sen race if God ordered it because God is pre­sum­ably not bound by what He says even in the Holy Writ, all the while claim­ing that He obeys the laws of log­ic, rea­son and nat­ur­al law.”

    I fail to see how you can con­clude I sup­port the mas­sacre of any­one. Although you pre­sum­ably sup­port the mas­sacre of those Jews. How is it ironic ?

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“Now He revealed in the Qur’an the sanc­ti­ty of human life, order­ing that human life can­not be tak­en except for a just cause, and that who­ev­er saves a human life, it is as if he saved the entire human pop­u­la­tion. He stat­ed it not just an order, but as a mat­ter of fact that human life is sacred. It is sacred now, it was sacred back then, and will con­tin­ue to be sacred until the end of time, God will­ing. Thus, though it will not be tyran­ny for Him to order any­thing He wants, He is not a liar that He will go against what He revealed about Himself.”

    And yet He kills inno­cent peo­ple à la the Tsuna­mi. Babies die dur­ing birth all the time. God is respon­si­ble for that. And His mes­sen­ger killed quite a few peo­ple who look pret­ty inno­cent to me. His fol­low­ers even more so. No doubt you have been taught to rec­on­cile that con­tra­dic­tion, but I, of course, have not.

    Besides, we know what Islam­ic law real­ly thinks of human life. It is worth, what?, 50 camels ?

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“You say that there is no dis­pute with­in the church­es, but you also say it is hard to know what the Chris­tians have accept­ed as canon­i­cal… this is a contradiction.”

    Well no it is not. There is no dis­pute with­in Church­es but there were hun­dreds of small Church­es back then.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“Any teach­ing or book which can­not be traced back to Prophet Jesus may well be a joke, at least from a Mus­lim stan­dard regard­ing his teach­ings, unless it came from some­one else who is divine­ly-inspired. Again, the Gospel of Thomas is not the point (it just hap­pened to be the first one I thought of), but there are many oth­er works, which could have been includ­ed, but was exclud­ed by the infal­li­ble church.”

    Sure but the Mus­lim stan­dard is still irrel­e­vant to Chris­tians. The claim would be that the Text is divine­ly pro­tect­ed. There was a debate over the canon in the ear­ly days of the Church. As I assume there was among the Mus­lims who com­piled the Quran. The Chris­tians have just nev­er both­ered to destroy all the extra texts as the Mus­lims did.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“And Chris­tians know bet­ter about Jew­ish scrip­ture than the Jews them­selves, right ? Oth­er­wise, they shouldn’t be Chris­tians. They should be Jews.”

    Well no they argue that they under­stand the inner mean­ing in a dif­fer­ent way and have made a new con­venant with God. Chris­tians tend not to claim to know what the OT means bet­ter than Jews. They have claimed they have a spe­cial rela­tion­ship with God.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“Is there any­thing con­clu­sive which could prove that he couldn’t have done those?”

    Is there any­thing con­clu­sive to prove that the Invis­i­ble Pink Uni­corn did not cre­ate the entire Uni­verse last Tuesday ?

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“But as it is, I have no one to trust that he real­ly said that but the infal­li­ble church, right ? I’d rather believe a Prophet from God.”

    I don’t see that you are bet­ter off either way. Either you accept one set of Divine­ly pro­tect­ed books or anoth­er set. On the whole I would tend to find the Chris­t­ian mes­sage more con­vinc­ing, more plau­si­ble and above all moral­ly supe­ri­or (as well as far more suc­cess­ful). But then I was not raised a Muslim.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“Well, actu­al­ly, the claim is more of : this (the Qur’an) is an authen­tic text from God, so there­fore it must be true (basi­cal­ly a reduc­tio ad Deum)”. Then we could pro­ceed to ver­i­fy the claim (which would estab­lish if it is authen­tic, or unau­then­tic as you say), if that is possible.”

    But I am point­ing to the absense of any sup­port­ing evi­dence what­so­ev­er. Mus­lims can­not ver­i­fy a thing the Quran says because there is no evi­dence for it out­side the Quran­ic tra­di­tion. At least we can be rea­son­ably sure that Jesus was a Jew and so part of that cul­tur­al and reli­gious tra­di­tion. We have no such assur­ances for Muhammed.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“And we nev­er claimed any­thing specif­i­cal­ly Mus­lim” regard­ing the pre­vi­ous Ummahs, unless it is the doc­trines I men­tioned, quite the con­trary, we believe the Jews were enjoined to com­mem­morate the sab­bath, but this present Ummah is not .”

    Well when Mus­lims claim that Abra­ham went to sac­ri­fice Ish­mael, not Isaac, in Mec­ca, not Jerusalem, they are claim­ing quite a lot. And that is just to start with. When they specif­i­cal­ly claim that the Trin­i­ty is shirk they are claim­ing a lot. When they claim Chris­tians wor­ship Mary or the Jews think that Ezra is the Son of God, they are also claim­ing a lot. All these things are specif­i­cal­ly Muslim.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“You could just eas­i­ly say, well, no, Moses did not believe in the res­ur­rec­tion, so he does not fit the descrip­tion of what you call a gener­ic mus­lim”. It is quite inter­est­ing that you (appar­ent­ly a Chris­t­ian) believe in the con­cept of an Old Covenant and New Covenant, which is also revi­sion­ism accord­ing to your terms, but can­not under­stand the Mus­lim claim regard­ing this present Ummah being the Final Covenant.”

    Well Moses could hard­ly believe in some­thing that had not hap­pened yet. I have nev­er claimed to be a Chris­t­ian. Is it revi­sion­ism ? I would deny it as it is an attempt to rad­i­cal­ly rethink, but not re-write, the mes­sage. But the dis­tinc­tion is minor. If you want to think of it as Revi­sion­ism please feel free to do so. Does that change what Islam is ? I have no prob­lems under­stand­ing, I just do not accept there is a log­i­cal rea­son to believe the Mus­lim claims.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“Thank you for admit­ting that the words of the Prophets and saints are not rel­e­vant to your reli­gions, which just proves that Islam is real­ly much need­ed to guide peo­ple about what they said and taught.”

    I did not make that claim of course.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“But then again, the term Jew” has some bag­gage. It does not sim­ply mean Son of Isaac”. We have already defined this : it could either mean a descen­dant of Judah, some­one from the tribe of Judah, or from a the­o­log­i­cal per­spec­tive, some­one who par­tic­i­pates in the covenant made between the Israelites and God at Mount Sinai. The first def­i­n­i­tion needs lit­tle com­ment. But the sec­ond def­i­n­i­tion is time­bound and his­tor­i­cal, as well as reli­gious. Any attempt to stretch it before the event at Mount Sinai would be a revi­sion­ism too. It may even car­ry the same def­i­n­i­tion as mus­lim”!”

    It may but it would­n’t. There is clear­ly a peo­ple” before Sinai. They are not Jews in the sense they are bound to God by the con­venant, but they are cer­tain­ly not muslims.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“Quite inter­est­ing. You’ve heard what the rab­bini­cal tra­di­tion says, but haven’t read these vers­es yet.”

    The prob­lem is under­stand­ing what is being said. Abra­ham lied when he said she was his sis­ter. By daugh­ter of his father” he means a pater­nal rel­a­tive in the way many cul­tures use broth­er” and cousin” in a broad­er sense. You may not, in Jew­ish law, mar­ry your half sis­ter. There is no rea­son to think she was or it would not have been a lie on Abra­ham’s part.

    HeiGou said : And yet of the four han­i­fs of Muhammed’s time men­tioned in the lit­er­a­ture they all seem to have become Chris­tians or at least not Mus­lims. Waraqa did talk to Muhammed after his first visions so his death did not come after. He was a Chris­t­ian. How is that gener­ic islam”?’

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“But the han­i­fs made the dis­tinc­tion, not the Prophet Muham­mad, between the terms.”

    In the sense the term mus­lim” does not seem to have exist­ed before Muhammed and the hanif heard the term hanif some­where them­selves. So I would argue that Muhammed did make the dis­tinc­tion because the hanif had nev­er heard of the term mus­lim” until later.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“If you mean that we agree with what the Prophets real­ly said, then that is true.”

    Revi­sion­ism at work.

    aian jaa­far said on 14 Octo­ber 2006:“The pre­vi­ous books still exist, in Heav­en. But then, if the mes­sage has already been announced to the par­tic­u­lar time, place and peo­ple it was intend­ed for, then there is no point in point­ing out what those scrip­tures said in par­tic­u­lar. It is also odd that God makes an ever­last­ing covenant of cir­cum­ci­sion in Abraham’s flesh, only lat­er to abro­gate it with a new, bet­ter, but still ever­last­ing covenant through the Cru­ci­fix­ion… But then again, I am not the one to point out what is odd or not regard­ing his commandments.”

    Their exis­tance is not the point. The fact that God would know­ing­ly sen­tence mil­lions of peo­ple to low and slow tor­tures in Hell because He would not pre­serve or spread His mes­sage is. Why is it odd to think that God should have decid­ed that the course of his­to­ry had to be fun­da­men­tal­ly changed ? As com­pared to a God who abro­gates His text piece­meal and only remem­bers to include women in His Quran when prompt­ed by some Arab women ? No tra­di­tion can claim to be absurdity-free.

  6. HeiGou said (regard­ing Luke): Of course it would and Chris­tians tend not to argue that Luke was not writ­ten by Luke. It is not a cir­cu­lar argu­ment but a sort of reduc­tio ad Deum. It is true because God says so. You must accept it with­out ask­ing why. Which is why the Bible is like the Quran not the aHa­dith. Mus­lims have to accept that the Quran is divine, Chris­tians have to accept that the Bible is.’
    We have to accept the Qur’an is divine because the Prophet said so. And the Prophet, we believe, does not speak on his own, but speaks the Word of God. IF a Hadith is proven to have been spo­ken by the Prophet, then what is spo­ken by the Prophet specif­i­cal­ly con­cern­ing reli­gious mat­ters is divine as well.
    HeiGou said : OK I think I have mis­un­der­stood what you mean by con­clu­sive evi­dence”. In which case I would sim­ply claim you are apply­ing a dou­ble stan­dard. You demand a lev­el of proof from the Bible that you do not from the Quran.’
    There is no dou­ble stan­dard here. The reduc­tio ad Deum you were men­tion­ing applies here as well. If the Bible claims some­thing which can­not be ver­i­fied by con­clu­sive evi­dence, the claim is not nec­es­sar­i­ly false. But the same goes for the Qur’ an. Which means if you are claim­ing that we are revis­ing’ (while I am say­ing we are not, you’re just mis­in­ter­pret­ing the­o­log­i­cal doc­trines here) Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian his­to­ry, then it is your bur­den to fur­nish the proof that Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian his­to­ry is defin­i­tive and con­clu­sive. If the Qur’an or aha­dith claim that Prophet Abra­ham went to Mec­ca and sac­ri­ficed Ish­mael, you could say that we can­not prove it by way of the con­clu­sive” evi­dence I was men­tion­ing above. But nei­ther can you prove that it is an impos­si­bil­i­ty. Hence the demand for such a con­clu­sive evi­dence which runs counter to our claims.
    HeiGou said : How is claim­ing that Jesus lives and works in the world today outrageous?’
    It isn’t out­ra­geous nec­es­sar­i­ly. I apol­o­gize if I offend­ed you, as that was not my inten­tion. What I meant by out­ra­geous’ is in con­sid­er­a­tion of the beliefs com­mon between Mus­lim and Chris­t­ian ortho­doxy. And I was refer­ring to claims made by a cer­tain per­son here in my coun­try that he is God the Father.
    HeiGou said : I would if I thought I was mak­ing that argu­ment and I don’t think I am.’
    Well that per­son could hard­ly claim to have risen from the dead unless He rose from the dead.”. I think you did make a sim­i­lar argu­ment as to the one I was mentioning.
    HeiGou said : Absolute­ly. As I have said all along, there is a fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence here : Mus­lims only have the text and so the text is impor­tant to them. Chris­tians have the liv­ing God which is more impor­tant. Mind you, I don’t see how Mus­lims can claim to have a reli­able record but that’s anoth­er argument.’
    No. We believe that every­thing is for the Liv­ing God as well. I would­n’t care if I find the truth in the Bha­gavad Gita or the present-day Gospels, as long as the Truth about the Beloved, God Almighty, is there. But the prob­lem is, I could just believe any char­la­tan claim­ing to be a Prophet of God or the Pope of the infal­li­ble church if I blind­ly fol­low your stan­dard. What you’re say­ing is a clear dis­tor­tion of Islam­ic beliefs. I could just eas­i­ly claim what you’re claim­ing, that you need the text as well. Which takes me back to a point you did not respond to : what is the source of the claims of the sup­pos­ed­ly infal­li­ble church ? Is it also a reduc­tio ad Deum as well ? If it is, could you still claim that the Chris­t­ian reli­gion is rational ?
    HeiGou said:’ I don’t think it does. A few of those links did not work for me but I think I have read them before. There is no sur­viv­ing copy of the Uth­man­ic text. The Samarkand Quran is ear­ly but not Uth­man­ic. The Ottoman one is prob­a­bly even lat­er but still not Uth­man­ic. Egypt used to have a few very ear­ly texts but most of them appear to have been destroyed when the Mus­lim author­i­ties realised what the Chris­tians were say­ing about them. It is actu­al­ly odd that until about the reign of Abd al-Malik ibn Mar­wan there is vir­tu­al­ly no men­tion of any­thing Islam­ic at all. Tomb­stones do not men­tion the Mus­lim Muhammed. There are no sur­viv­ing texts. Muhammed seems to be utter­ly ignored in fact with no effort to pre­serve his tomb or his effects. I do not think that you can reli­able trace any­thing back to Muhammed.’
    Again, the fal­la­cy of sur­viv­ing copies. Well, it would be unfair for me to ask you to refute those links, as appar­ent­ly you are not an expert on this field, same as me. But regard­ing man­u­scripts, then what do those ear­ly man­u­scripts say ? Com­pare them to what you’re New Tes­ta­ment man­u­scripts and man­u­script frag­ments say, and you’ll find that the Qur’an , as the Ency­clo­pe­dia Bri­tan­ni­ca says, has a text which is remark­ably much firmer than the New Tes­ta­ment. Keep in mind that the Ency­clo­pe­dia Bri­tan­ni­ca did not approach this from a Mus­lim standard.
    HeiGou said : Well I don’t see that. He did, as it hap­pens, have prob­lems get­ting the mass (not that there were mass­es at that point) of Mus­lims to accept his own ver­sion and indeed he was killed over moral issues. The ear­ly Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty is marked by divi­sion and the win­ners”, not sur­pris­ing­ly, are the Sun­nis who are basi­cal­ly the par­ty of peo­ple who accept who­ev­er holds pow­er. So for them the fact that he won the bat­tle to be Caliph is proof in itself he was right.’
    He was killed over moral issues but not over the issue of the Qur’an. None of the Uth­man­ic regi­cides were able to prove that he did some­thing to tam­per the text. And we also have the Bat­tle of Sif­fin, the most oppor­tune time to raise the issue of tex­tu­al tam­per­ing, espe­cial­ly by those who claim to be the Shia of Ali. But the Sun­ni win­ners” were not able to exter­mi­nate the Shia, who, quite inter­est­ing­ly, have the same Qur’an as the Sun­nis. Most of their schol­ars reject the tam­per­ing’ tra­di­tions you men­tioned (oth­er­wise, they should reject the Qur’an they have right now, which is the same as the Sun­ni Qur’ans).
    HeiGou said : Except it would mat­ter enor­mous­ly because the whole process of study would be turned on its head by the extra mate­r­i­al unless, of course, Mus­lims accept what they should be try­ing to prove — that the Quran is per­fect­ly and unchanged. A claim that the aHa­dith seem to dispute.’
    I have already men­tioned that it would­n’t mat­ter what the extra mate­r­i­al would say, because it would­n’t be mass-trans­mit­ted. And this is what the arti­cle we’re com­ment­ing to has already respond­ed to. Why rely on a small amount of con­tro­ver­sial mate­r­i­al and ignore mass-trans­mit­ted reports ? Pre­cise­ly because of the assump­tion that Mus­lims always lie, there­fore, any­thing they say needs to be ver­i­fied by some out­side source. Same goes for aha­dith. But where do the aha­dith claim that the Qur’an has been changed ?
    HeiGou said : There is no need for Mus­lims. In fact it would utter­ly destroy Islam as Islam has noth­ing but the text. If the text is not infal­li­ble and linked back to Muhammed, Islam has noth­ing. So for the pur­pos­es of your reli­gion, the one copy is fine. But to com­ment on what those oth­er texts may have said is anoth­er mat­ter. We can­not make sen­si­ble com­ments because we have a silence. The burnt pages may have said any­thing, or noth­ing, or any­thing in between. No one can say.’
    At least you got the fact that we don’t need those oth­er texts, what­ev­er they said. But even if they exist right now, I don’t agree that it would destroy Islam, since we have the Uth­man­ic recension.
    HeiGou said : I don’t think that is true.’
    You just need to read the pref­ace of your Bibles and you’ll see that. What I am refer­ring to as prob­lems is that on many places Chris­t­ian Bible schol­ars have a prob­lem decid­ing what the text real­ly said. If what I’m not say­ing is true, could you show us a man­u­script, or a copy of the Bible, of which you believe each and every word to be orig­i­nal, true, and inspired by the Holy Spir­it ? I would glad­ly do it with the Ara­bic text of the Uth­man­ic recen­sion. Could you claim the same with your Bible, say for exam­ple, for the ear­li­est extant man­u­script of the entire New Tes­ta­ment, which is Codex Sinaiticus ?
    HeiGou said : When did he order it removed ? It is odd that the hole remains, but the text is gone. Let me ask you, most Mus­lims argue that the Quran was writ­ten by God before Muhammed was born, so did the verse on rajam exist in the text before Muhammed was born or not ? It looks like quite a bit got for­got­ten and lost — but luck­i­ly God promised that He would replace every­thing with some­thing better.’
    Well what you’re ask­ing is far from the point we’re talk­ing about. But yes, all the vers­es of the Qur’an exist­ed before the Prophet was born, includ­ing what was to be abro­gat­ed. But God has also deemed that those vers­es will be abro­gat­ed on cer­tain times even before the Prophet was born also. Let’s say that a cer­tain verse has been abro­gat­ed. Now, that verse has exist­ed before the Prophet was born. God will allow the verse to be in the text of the Qur’an for the time He wish­es it to be in His Book (I can­not answer why), and then order it to be removed once the fore­or­dained time of its abro­ga­tion comes. Same applies for the past Holy Books.
    HeiGou said : But would the rul­ing remain?’
    It remains if God orders for the rul­ing to remain, even if the words itself do not remain.
    HeiGou said : Prayers ? Mus­lims can­not even work out which pas­sages are abro­gat­ed by oth­er pas­sages with­out extra-Quran­ic texts. It con­tains vir­tu­al­ly no place names. Vir­tu­al­ly no prop­er names. Lit­tle legal instruc­tion. It may con­tain the fun­da­men­tals” but with­out the aHa­dith and schol­ars how would you know what those are?’
    And nei­ther is it that way with Islam. You agreed that the fun­da­men­tals are there. About prayers, well you are cor­rect, we need the Sun­nah. Again, it is remark­ably con­sis­tent that the Qur’an refers to the Sun­nah (not just ahadith).’
    HeiGou said : Except there is no evi­dence that the Amalekites exist­ed and the Canaan­ites appear to have spo­ken Hebrew and been close rel­a­tives of the ear­ly Jews. There is no extra-Bib­li­cal evi­dence of them being exter­mi­nat­ed at any rate. At least that I know of. So if you’re not going to com­mit mur­der and it does not appear you did, why would you claim to have done so?’
    Maybe for future use ? Your ques­tion as to why they would claim they have done so pre­sup­pos­es that they think the same way we do (‘we’, in view of the agree­ment, at least between Ortho­dox Chris­tians and Ortho­dox Mus­lims, that killing non-com­bat­ants is not good). Well, why would they be ashamed of killing those Canaan­ite dogs any­way ? They are scum. They deserve only the crumbs falling from the mas­ter’s table. Who are these uncir­cum­sised Philis­tine dogs to Yah­weh, any­way ? To kill these dogs is not mur­der. It’s doing God’s work.
    Of course I am a bit being sar­cas­tic here, just to point out that they could have any rea­son as to why they would make up some­thing like that, if those orders by Prophet Moses were real­ly made up by them. Islam­ic extrem­ists think on sim­i­lar lines, by the way, tar­get­ting Jews, Chris­tians, and even Muslims.
    HeiGou said : How can you say that when there is ample evi­dence that God does it and orders oth­er peo­ple to do it ? Muhammed killed all the Jew­ish men left in Med­i­na after the Bat­tle of the Trench down to chil­dren with a few pubic hairs. There is no evi­dence I know of that they all, or even most­ly, did a thing. God reg­u­lar­ly pun­ish­es entire peo­ples. So did Muhammed. God sent a Tsuna­mi recent­ly after all. Besides, sure­ly Mus­lim belief is that God can do what­ev­er He likes and is unbound by even what He said in the Quran.’
    But none of those Jews exe­cut­ed asked for asy­lum, which they would have been grant­ed if they did, or plead­ed that they did not par­tic­i­pate in the bat­tle. Also, the pun­ish­ment fits very well with what the Jews them­selves have on their Bibles. In fact, if the Bibles they have are to be fol­lowed, then all of them, includ­ing the women and the chil­dren, should be mas­sa­cred. Any­way, even if I take your descrip­tion of it, men who have grown pubic hair do not con­sti­tute an entire pop­u­la­tion. Yes, God is not bound by any­thing. But it is an impos­si­bil­i­ty that He con­tra­dict Him­self, because He is the Truth. A tsuna­mi is a force of nature, not a human being who was ordered nev­er to take inno­cent life by the very same God. Any­way, this would take us to anoth­er top­ic, one of which I am also will­ing to dis­cuss, though I don’t believe this is the prop­er place to do so.
    HeiGou said : Actu­al­ly he would. Because Moses and Abra­ham are part of the same cul­ture and the same peo­ple. There is a blood link there. Oral sto­ries were, pre­sum­ably, passed down. Muhammed, on the oth­er hand, was not part of the same cul­ture or the same peo­ple, or even the same coun­try. He did not speak the same lan­guages, there is no blood tie at all. You can trace a fam­i­ly tree from Abra­ham to Isaac to Jacob to Levi to Kohath to Amram to Moses. There’s 700 years between Muhammed and Jesus.’
    But he still would­n’t be an eye­wit­ness. And now you’re will­ing to trust oral trans­mis­sions, though you’re com­plain­ing about the Qur’an (which was trans­mit­ted, in large part, oral­ly, but also with mutawwatir chains for each and every verse, accord­ing to the Mus­lim stan­dard) and the aha­dith (with the isnads, which shows how the oral trans­mis­sion was made).
    HeiGou said : Which is my point — Jesus rejects Ortho­praxy and hence so does Chris­tian­i­ty. Mus­lims do not so the aHa­dith are so much more impor­tant when it comes to details of acts. They are less clear on what Muhammed thought. Which is handy for Mus­lims today because they can argue Muhammed meant some­thing entire­ly dif­fer­ent to what peo­ple tra­di­tion­al­ly have said.’
    Well, I can read more of what the Prophet taught in any Hadith book than what Jesus him­self is pre­sumed to have taught. I can read many of what oth­er peo­ple say about Jesus in the Gospels, though. But not much of what he him­self said. Not much.
    HeiGou said : From the Mus­lim per­spec­tive most of it would have to be super­flu­ous or they would have to stop being Mus­lims. The nature of Christ is not a moral prob­lem and hence is more or less irrel­e­vant. It is impor­tant enough for Chris­tians to die and kill for, but it hard­ly says much about how to be a good Christian.’
    No point for you point­ing out that we have a prob­lem since the Qur’an pre­sum­ably says too lit­tle of this or that. I could poke holes in the Bible as well. I could say that Jesus in the NT says too lit­tle or is too vague about Chris­tol­ogy (which, as I under­stand, is of cen­tral impor­tance to a per­son­’s sal­va­tion, at least for most Chris­t­ian denom­i­na­tions) and the OT says too lit­tle or too vague about the Res­ur­rec­tion and the afterlife.
    HeiGou said : Well not real­ly. Again this is the point that the Pope was try­ing to raise. Chris­tians believe that God obeys the laws of log­ic, rea­son and nat­ur­al law. Nat­ur­al law is an espe­cial­ly impor­tant con­cept because Chris­t­ian philoso­phers and the­olo­gians have to pro­duce a detailed sys­tem of right and wrong that is right and wrong even if you are not a Chris­t­ian. Mus­lims seem to have a more dis­joint, piece­meal approach because it depends on what Muhammed did not on the larg­er picture.’
    We Mus­lims believe that God is above rea­son, laws, log­ic, and nat­ur­al law because he is the Souce and Cause of every­thing. He is entire­ly above them. Quite iron­ic. You are try­ing to say (as I under­stand it) that there is noth­ing wrong with entire pop­u­la­tions mas­sa­cred in the hands of a cho­sen race if God ordered it because God is pre­sum­ably not bound by what He says even in the Holy Writ, all the while claim­ing that He obeys the laws of log­ic, rea­son and nat­ur­al law. While I am say­ing that yes, He is not in the­o­ry bound to what He said, but in order for His attribute of Truth to be man­i­fest, He can­not con­tra­dict what He said, not through being bound, but through being the Truth. Now He revealed in the Qur’an the sanc­ti­ty of human life, order­ing that human life can­not be tak­en except for a just cause, and that who­ev­er saves a human life, it is as if he saved the entire human pop­u­la­tion. He stat­ed it not just an order, but as a mat­ter of fact that human life is sacred. It is sacred now, it was sacred back then, and will con­tin­ue to be sacred until the end of time, God will­ing. Thus, though it will not be tyran­ny for Him to order any­thing He wants, He is not a liar that He will go against what He revealed about Him­self. Here is where our rea­son comes in, but it should still be gauged in the mea­sure of rev­e­la­tion. Thus the pri­ma­cy, but even­tu­al com­pat­i­bil­i­ty, of rev­e­la­tion over rea­son. The sanc­ti­ty of human life is of course men­tioned in the Bible in a lot of places. That’s why I find it hard to believe that a great Prophet like Moses would order any­thing which con­tra­venes the sanc­ti­ty of inno­cent human life. Unless of course those Amalekites, Canaan­ites, and oth­ers are not con­sid­ered human.… or those vers­es were added or edit­ed by par­ties with vest­ed inter­ests, put in the mouth of a great prophet like Moses, to advo­cate geno­cide of a despised enemy.
    HeiGou said : With­in the Church­es there are no dif­fer­ences of opin­ion. There is still no agree­ment between Church­es. I don’t see the prob­lem here at all. What that means in prac­tice is that in the 15th or 16th cen­turies the Protes­tants edit­ed their Bible. The main­stream of Chris­tian­i­ty, the Catholics, do not and nev­er have had any dis­pute over their canon. It is hard to know what Chris­tians have accept­ed at canon­i­cal and the fact that the CS con­tains some excess mate­r­i­al does not mean that they thought they were canon­i­cal. They may just have been bound togeth­er as was com­mon in the medieval period.’
    You say that there is no dis­pute with­in the church­es, but you also say it is hard to know what the Chris­tians have accept­ed as canon­i­cal… this is a contradiction.
    HeiGou said : But they do not need any oth­er claim so the point is irrel­e­vant. Not that the Gospel of St Thomas illus­trates that giv­en it was nev­er ever con­sid­ered for inclu­sion. There is no evi­dence that it was the work of St Thomas. The time of its dis­cov­ery is impor­tant because it dis­ap­peared from human knowl­edge from the time it was writ­ten until 1945. Which sug­gests it may have been a joke rather than a seri­ous text.’
    Any teach­ing or book which can­not be traced back to Prophet Jesus may well be a joke, at least from a Mus­lim stan­dard regard­ing his teach­ings, unless it came from some­one else who is divine­ly-inspired. Again, the Gospel of Thomas is not the point (it just hap­pened to be the first one I thought of), but there are many oth­er works, which could have been includ­ed, but was exclud­ed by the infal­li­ble church.
    HeiGou said : Inter­est­ing. It still does not change the fact that Islam is revi­sion­ism in the sense it claims it know bet­ter what the Jew­ish texts mean than the Jews do.’
    And Chris­tians know bet­ter about Jew­ish scrip­ture than the Jews them­selves, right ? Oth­er­wise, they should­n’t be Chris­tians. They should be Jews. And to top that, the Chris­tians call the Jew­ish scrip­tures old covenant’ or old tes­ta­ment’, mean­ing it is not suf­fi­cient, hence the need for a new one. Would any Jew accept this ? Isn’t Chris­tian­i­ty a revi­sion­ism too, an attempt to deny the Jew­ish mean­ing behind the Jew­ish rites and Jew­ish scrip­tures, as the Jews see it ?
    HeiGou said : Well claim­ing that Abra­ham built the Kaba or that Ish­mael was sac­ri­ficed im Mec­ca is vast­ly more than a new con­venant. The Quran sure­ly does refer to these doesn’t it?’
    Is there any­thing con­clu­sive which could prove that he could­n’t have done those ?
    HeiGou said : I did hear you. And I con­tin­ue to point out that is revi­sion­ism. What can be com­mon between Mus­lims and Jews ? Well noth­ing much as it hap­pens. What can be com­mon between Mus­lims and Chris­tians ? Vir­tu­al­ly noth­ing at all. If you insist that Jesus did not claim to be the Son of God, you are try­ing to negate Chris­tian­i­ty. At best it is blas­phe­my. And the Quran specif­i­cal­ly claims that Jesus said He was not the Son of God. When you say He was a mus­lim you mean He was not a Chris­t­ian. There is no com­mon ground there.’
    Well, the Qur’an could be wrong if Jesus him­self real­ly said that he is the Son of God in the sense you intend. But as it is, I have no one to trust that he real­ly said that but the infal­li­ble church, right ? I’d rather believe a Prophet from God.
    HeiGou said : Well Jesus does in the Bible. I am pret­ty sure I could find others.’
    Mind if I ask which verses ?
    HeiGou said : So we are agreed that Islam is an attempt to claim the Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian nar­ra­tives as Islam­ic it seems — and so the prop­er heirs” of those ear­li­er prophets” are, accord­ing to you, the Mus­lims. There is no schol­ar­ly jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for that because there is no non-the­o­log­i­cal evi­dence what­so­ev­er that Muhammed didn’t just make it all up. What­ev­er is specif­i­cal­ly Mus­lim” in his teach­ing has no proven exis­tence before his time and what is known to exist before his time has no Arab or Mus­lim con­tent at all. You can­not claim that those semi-authenic texts have prob­lems so there­fore this utter­ly unau­then­tic text must be true.’
    Well, actu­al­ly, the claim is more of : this (the Qur’an) is an authen­tic text from God, so there­fore it must be true (basi­cal­ly a reduc­tio ad Deum)”. Then we could pro­ceed to ver­i­fy the claim (which would estab­lish if it is authen­tic, or unau­then­tic as you say), if that is pos­si­ble. But that is a dif­fer­ent mat­ter already, and it is not the point here. Why does that claim strike a chord in you ? I assume because you think that such a claim has impli­ca­tions which would run counter to estab­lished facts. And we nev­er claimed any­thing specif­i­cal­ly Mus­lim” regard­ing the pre­vi­ous Ummahs, unless it is the doc­trines I men­tioned, quite the con­trary, we believe the Jews were enjoined to com­mem­morate the sab­bath, but this present Ummah is not . You could just eas­i­ly say, well, no, Moses did not believe in the res­ur­rec­tion, so he does not fit the descrip­tion of what you call a gener­ic mus­lim”. It is quite inter­est­ing that you (appar­ent­ly a Chris­t­ian) believe in the con­cept of an Old Covenant and New Covenant, which is also revi­sion­ism accord­ing to your terms, but can­not under­stand the Mus­lim claim regard­ing this present Ummah being the Final Covenant.
    HeiGou said : Which is inter­est­ing but still irrel­e­vant from the Chris­t­ian or Jew­ish per­spec­tive. You are demand­ing they meet an entire­ly Mus­lim stan­dard of proof which is irrel­e­vant to their claims. On top of which, of course, you can­not even show the same is true for the Quran or the aHa­dith. Which mod­ern schol­ar has shown that any changes took place under the infal­li­ble Church?’
    Thank you for admit­ting that the words of the Prophets and saints are not rel­e­vant to your reli­gions, which just proves that Islam is real­ly much need­ed to guide peo­ple about what they said and taught. You have just admit­ted that it is entire­ly a Mus­lim stan­dard to sep­a­rate what forg­ers have said in the name of the Prophets from what they real­ly said. Regard­ing changes under the infal­li­ble church : ever heard about the Johan­nine comma ?
    HeiGou said : Well it is unlike­ly to be a pre­dic­tion of Islam as lat­er texts make it clear that Ish­mael sold his birthrate and so the con­venant was only made with the sons of Isaac. There is no spe­cif­ic men­tion of Jews, but the con­venant is men­tioned. I would argue that Jew­ish claims are not irra­tional and are well thought out so if you had an argu­ment here there would be a Jew­ish rea­son for why it was wrong.’
    Gen­e­sis xxi. 13 And also of the son of the bond­woman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.
    Well I was just stretch­ing your line of rea­son­ing to a break­ing point. Besides, it was not Ish­mael who sold his birthright, it was Esau, you’re wrong there. The Jew­ish objec­tion to Prophet Ish­mael is that he was the son of a slave, and hence should not inher­it. This is very inter­est­ing, and we Mus­lims have objec­tions to the Jew­ish claims as well, but that is already a dif­fer­ent top­ic. Now you’re adopt­ing the very same line of rea­son­ing that I’m apply­ing. The claim is not irra­tional, and there is no con­clu­sive evi­dence to prove oth­er­wise. But it does­n’t prove that Abra­ham saw him­self as a Jew. A Hebrew, maybe, but a Jew, no.
    But then again, the term Jew” has some bag­gage. It does not sim­ply mean Son of Isaac”. We have already defined this : it could either mean a descen­dant of Judah, some­one from the tribe of Judah, or from a the­o­log­i­cal per­spec­tive, some­one who par­tic­i­pates in the covenant made between the Israelites and God at Mount Sinai. The first def­i­n­i­tion needs lit­tle com­ment. But the sec­ond def­i­n­i­tion is time­bound and his­tor­i­cal, as well as reli­gious. Any attempt to stretch it before the event at Mount Sinai would be a revi­sion­ism too. It may even car­ry the same def­i­n­i­tion as mus­lim”!
    HeiGou said : I am uncon­vinced that Sarah was his half-sis­ter. Where in the Bible does it claim that ? Rab­bini­cal schol­ar­ship claims she was his neice but I am uncon­vinced by that as well. So I don’t see the prob­lem. Besides, you have just accept­ed that before Muhammed, mus­lims could do things allowed before but for­bid­den by Muhammed. Why would Abra­ham be any different?’
    In Gen­e­sis 20:2, we are told, And Abra­ham said of Sarah his wife, she is my sis­ter : and Abim­elech king of Ger­ar sent, and took Sarah.” God came to Abim­elech in a dream and told him that Sarah was Abra­ham’s wife. Then Abim­elech called Abra­ham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us ? and what have I offend­ed thee, that thou hast brought on me and my king­dom a great sin ? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done” (Gen. 20 : 9), and then again, Sure­ly the fear of God is not in this place ; and they will slay me for my wife’s sake. And yet indeed she is my sis­ter ; she is the daugh­ter of my father, but not the daugh­ter of my moth­er ; and she became my wife” (Gen. 20:11 – 12). Quite inter­est­ing. You’ve heard what the rab­bini­cal tra­di­tion says, but haven’t read these vers­es yet.
    Well, I have no prob­lem with this, at least you got the point that the mus­lims’ back then may have dif­fer­ent rules than Mus­lims now.
    HeiGou said (regard­ing Abra­ham being a Chris­t­ian): But no one does.’
    Because he wasn’t.
    HeiGou said : And yet of the four han­i­fs of Muhammed’s time men­tioned in the lit­er­a­ture they all seem to have become Chris­tians or at least not Mus­lims. Waraqa did talk to Muhammed after his first visions so his death did not come after. He was a Chris­t­ian. How is that gener­ic islam”?’
    But the han­i­fs made the dis­tinc­tion, not the Prophet Muham­mad, between the terms.
    HeiGou said : Which is my point. Mus­lims do not accept any of the Bible except what they agree with already.’
    If you mean that we agree with what the Prophets real­ly said, then that is true.
    HeiGou said : It is odd that God was so lax on pre­serv­ing His mes­sage before Muhammed and so good at it after.’
    The pre­vi­ous books still exist, in Heav­en. But then, if the mes­sage has already been announced to the par­tic­u­lar time, place and peo­ple it was intend­ed for, then there is no point in point­ing out what those scrip­tures said in par­tic­u­lar. It is also odd that God makes an ever­last­ing covenant of cir­cum­ci­sion in Abra­ham’s flesh, only lat­er to abro­gate it with a new, bet­ter, but still ever­last­ing covenant through the Cru­ci­fix­ion… But then again, I am not the one to point out what is odd or not regard­ing his commandments.

  7. HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Chris­tian­i­ty and Judaism are lit­er­ate reli­gions in a way that Islam is not.”

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“I assume that your state­ment that it is not as if there is a 200 year gap of oral trans­mis­sion” is a ref­er­ence to the aha­dith. If it is, then i believe that you have a wrong anal­o­gy. If Luke was an eye­wit­ness, then he is not com­pa­ra­ble to Imam Bukhari (if you are refer­ring to Imam Bukhari’s col­lec­tion by your state­ment). He would be com­pa­ra­ble to the first link in a hadith, say for exam­ple Hadhrat Abu Hurayrah. So then this rais­es anoth­er rel­e­vant ques­tion : how did Luke’s (or any of the books in the bible) reach us in its form today ? You already know that we have our isnad. What is your method to ver­i­fy then?”

    Well I would argue it applies to the Quran as well. In fact it is at least fifty years after the death of Muhammed before there is much in the way of specif­i­cal­ly Islam­ic ref­er­ences to much at all. But the case is stronger for Bukhari. I think I have said all along that Luke is in no way com­pa­ra­ble to Bukkari. He would be com­pa­ra­ble to Aisha, per­haps, or at worst some­one like Abu Hur­raira who did not hear or see every­thing but was divine­ly pro­tect­ed. There is a lon­mg tra­di­tion of Bib­li­cal schol­ar­ship. The Chris­t­ian Bible was set by the Church Coun­cils — and for Chris­tians the key part is the on-going pres­ence of Jesus with­in the Church so that those Coun­cils were, by def­i­n­i­tion, infal­li­ble and Divine­ly pro­tect­ed. Jesus lives and works in the world today, if you are a Chris­t­ian, through His Church.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“Here in the Philip­pines some per­sons have claimed such a thing, (oth­er claims more out­ra­geous than ris­ing from the dead, such as claim­ing that he is God the Father) and it is safe to assume that oth­ers have claimed it,and will claim it on oth­er places as well.”

    How is claim­ing that Jesus lives and works in the world today outrageous ?

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“Of course you have to admit that the rea­son­ing if some­one claims to have done some­thing, then that per­son real­ly did it” is circular.”

    I would if I thought I was mak­ing that argu­ment and I don’t think I am.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“If Luke is unknown, that would great­ly affect the nature of his tes­ti­mo­ny. If he is unknown, how could we estab­lish if he real­ly was an eye­wit­ness or not ? here is anoth­er cir­cu­lar­i­ty- that the Text is pro­tect­ed by God, and the Church can­not go wrong. Again, it is not nec­es­sar­i­ly false, but that remains to be seen.”

    Of course it would and Chris­tians tend not to argue that Luke was not writ­ten by Luke. It is not a cir­cu­lar argu­ment but a sort of reduc­tio ad Deum. It is true because God says so. You must accept it with­out ask­ing why. Which is why the Bible is like the Quran not the aHa­dith. Mus­lims have to accept that the Quran is divine, Chris­tians have to accept that the Bible is.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“That’s why in the absence of con­clu­sive evi­dence on the part of the scrip­tures rec­og­nized by the Peo­ple of the Book”, we believe from a the­o­log­i­cal per­spec­tive things that he, praise and peace be upon him, said which might run counter to jew­ish and chris­t­ian orthodoxy.”

    OK I think I have mis­un­der­stood what you mean by con­clu­sive evi­dence”. In which case I would sim­ply claim you are apply­ing a dou­ble stan­dard. You demand a lev­el of proof from the Bible that you do not from the Quran.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“the Mus­lim expec­ta­tion is that every­thing you believe in must have a basis, explic­it or implic­it, on some teach­ing of Jesus Christ. In order for this to hap­pen, you must have a reli­able record of what he real­ly said. so, your expla­na­tion regard­ing the infal­li­bil­i­ty of the Chris­t­ian Church will hard­ly sat­is­fy a Mus­lim, or any­one who wish­es to know what Jesus actu­al­ly said. Your expla­na­tion pre­sup­pos­es that the Chris­t­ian Church is infallible.”

    Absolute­ly. As I have said all along, there is a fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence here : Mus­lims only have the text and so the text is impor­tant to them. Chris­tians have the liv­ing God which is more impor­tant. Mind you, I don’t see how Mus­lims can claim to have a reli­able record but that’s anoth­er argument.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“Yes, it all comes down to that act. So all we have to do is to exam­ine if the Uth­man­ic ver­sion can be traced back to the Prophet then. And the link I post­ed shows that it can be traced back to him.”

    I don’t think it does. A few of those links did not work for me but I think I have read them before. There is no sur­viv­ing copy of the Uth­man­ic text. The Samarkand Quran is ear­ly but not Uth­man­ic. The Ottoman one is prob­a­bly even lat­er but still not Uth­man­ic. Egypt used to have a few very ear­ly texts but most of them appear to have been destroyed when the Mus­lim author­i­ties realised what the Chris­tians were say­ing about them. It is actu­al­ly odd that until about the reign of Abd al-Malik ibn Mar­wan there is vir­tu­al­ly no men­tion of any­thing Islam­ic at all. Tomb­stones do not men­tion the Mus­lim Muhammed. There are no sur­viv­ing texts. Muhammed seems to be utter­ly ignored in fact with no effort to pre­serve his tomb or his effects. I do not think that you can reli­able trace any­thing back to Muhammed.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“It wouldn’t mat­ter if Hadhrat Uth­man was able to destroy all oth­er oppos­ing ver­sions, because he still has the prob­lem of prov­ing his own ver­sion to the mass­es of the Mus­lims, some of which were very crit­i­cal of him. So, it does­nt mat­ter what the destroyed ver­sions say.”

    Well I don’t see that. He did, as it hap­pens, have prob­lems get­ting the mass (not that there were mass­es at that point) of Mus­lims to accept his own ver­sion and indeed he was killed over moral issues. The ear­ly Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty is marked by divi­sion and the win­ners”, not sur­pris­ing­ly, are the Sun­nis who are basi­cal­ly the par­ty of peo­ple who accept who­ev­er holds pow­er. So for them the fact that he won the bat­tle to be Caliph is proof in itself he was right.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“Even if you will be able to bring up an alter­nate ver­sion of the Qur’an sup­pos­ed­ly from, say, Hadhrat Abu Bakr, it wouldn’t mat­ter, because the lev­el of tawwatur is nec­es­sary for each and every verse.”

    Except it would mat­ter enor­mous­ly because the whole process of study would be turned on its head by the extra mate­r­i­al unless, of course, Mus­lims accept what they should be try­ing to prove — that the Quran is per­fect­ly and unchanged. A claim that the aHa­dith seem to dispute.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“To say that we need the alter­na­tive copies to make sen­si­ble com­ments about the Qur’an’s uni­for­mi­ty is fal­la­cious. the Qur’an is not the New Tes­ta­ment. The dif­fer­ence is that there is no need for a crit­i­cal text of the Qur’an, pre­cise­ly because of the Uth­man­ic cen­sor­ship’ and stan­dard­iza­tion of the Qur’anic texts.”

    There is no need for Mus­lims. In fact it would utter­ly destroy Islam as Islam has noth­ing but the text. If the text is not infal­li­ble and linked back to Muhammed, Islam has noth­ing. So for the pur­pos­es of your reli­gion, the one copy is fine. But to com­ment on what those oth­er texts may have said is anoth­er mat­ter. We can­not make sen­si­ble com­ments because we have a silence. The burnt pages may have said any­thing, or noth­ing, or any­thing in between. No one can say.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“In fact, the crit­i­cal schol­ars of the NT are hav­ing a prob­lem because of the sheer num­ber of vari­ants of the NT text.”

    I don’t think that is true.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“Well, we have the con­cept of abro­ga­tion in the Qur’an. The Qur’an does not con­tain the verse any­more, because the Prophet Muham­mad ordered for it to be removed from the Qur’an, since God abro­gat­ed the verse (but not the ruling).”

    When did he order it removed ? It is odd that the hole remains, but the text is gone. Let me ask you, most Mus­lims argue that the Quran was writ­ten by God before Muhammed was born, so did the verse on rajam exist in the text before Muhammed was born or not ? It looks like quite a bit got for­got­ten and lost — but luck­i­ly God promised that He would replace every­thing with some­thing better.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“And even if it wasn’t then the miss­ing verse is not mutawwatir, so it would still have to be removed from the Qur’an.”

    But would the rul­ing remain ?

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“As for the Qur’an not say­ing much, well i find all the fun­da­men­tal beliefs of my faith there. it is suf­fi­cient for me.”

    Prayers ? Mus­lims can­not even work out which pas­sages are abro­gat­ed by oth­er pas­sages with­out extra-Quran­ic texts. It con­tains vir­tu­al­ly no place names. Vir­tu­al­ly no prop­er names. Lit­tle legal instruc­tion. It may con­tain the fun­da­men­tals” but with­out the aHa­dith and schol­ars how would you know what those are ?

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : But what need ? Very few reli­gions order or jus­ti­fy geno­cide. The exis­tence of Moses is unsup­port­ed by the evi­dence, apart from the Bible, and so if there nev­er was any geno­cide, the Jews have not tried to com­mit one since, and are not intend­ing to com­mit one in the future, why would they claim one occurred ? It does not make sense to me.”

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“Perhaps the need to jus­ti­fy exter­mi­na­tion of the canaan­ites, amalekites and others?”

    Except there is no evi­dence that the Amalekites exist­ed and the Canaan­ites appear to have spo­ken Hebrew and been close rel­a­tives of the ear­ly Jews. There is no extra-Bib­li­cal evi­dence of them being exter­mi­nat­ed at any rate. At least that I know of. So if you’re not going to com­mit mur­der and it does not appear you did, why would you claim to have done so ?

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“Well what I am sim­ply say­ing is that in Islam­ic belief that God would nev­er order a human being to pur­pose­ful­ly kill inno­cent per­sons with­out jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, since He will con­tra­dict Him­self regard­ing what He said in the Noble Qur’an.”

    How can you say that when there is ample evi­dence that God does it and orders oth­er peo­ple to do it ? Muhammed killed all the Jew­ish men left in Med­i­na after the Bat­tle of the Trench down to chil­dren with a few pubic hairs. There is no evi­dence I know of that they all, or even most­ly, did a thing. God reg­u­lar­ly pun­ish­es entire peo­ples. So did Muhammed. God sent a Tsuna­mi recent­ly after all. Besides, sure­ly Mus­lim belief is that God can do what­ev­er He likes and is unbound by even what He said in the Quran.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“Take the exam­ple you cit­ed, that of Abra­ham and Isaac. Even if we are to assume that Moses is the author of the Torah we have today, he still wouldn’t be an eye­wit­ness, right ? His posi­tion would not be much dif­fer­ent from the Prophet Muhammad’s, vis-a-vis Jesus Christ.”

    Actu­al­ly he would. Because Moses and Abra­ham are part of the same cul­ture and the same peo­ple. There is a blood link there. Oral sto­ries were, pre­sum­ably, passed down. Muhammed, on the oth­er hand, was not part of the same cul­ture or the same peo­ple, or even the same coun­try. He did not speak the same lan­guages, there is no blood tie at all. You can trace a fam­i­ly tree from Abra­ham to Isaac to Jacob to Levi to Kohath to Amram to Moses. There’s 700 years between Muhammed and Jesus.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“yes, it is more detailed. just com­pare how much of the Gospel pur­port­ed­ly reports what Jesus said, and com­pare it with the vol­umes of hadith, regard­less of your objec­tions to the hadith method­ol­o­gy. the hadith even says how the Prophet tied his tur­ban. And a sub­stan­tial por­tion of the Prophet’s teach­ings are embod­ied in his acts, as he is the mod­el for every Mus­lim to follow.”

    Which is my point — Jesus rejects Ortho­praxy and hence so does Chris­tian­i­ty. Mus­lims do not so the aHa­dith are so much more impor­tant when it comes to details of acts. They are less clear on what Muhammed thought. Which is handy for Mus­lims today because they can argue Muhammed meant some­thing entire­ly dif­fer­ent to what peo­ple tra­di­tion­al­ly have said.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“I would have to agree with the OT being a much more thor­ough book of law. How­ev­er, from the Qur’anic and Mus­lim per­spec­tive, a por­tion of this thor­ough book maybe super­flu­ous. But I dis­agree with the NT being a more detailed moral and the­o­log­i­cal guide. The divi­sions in chris­tian­i­ty about the nature of Christ stem pre­cise­ly because of the ambi­gu­i­ty of the NT vers­es. but that is a minor point.”

    From the Mus­lim per­spec­tive most of it would have to be super­flu­ous or they would have to stop being Mus­lims. The nature of Christ is not a moral prob­lem and hence is more or less irrel­e­vant. It is impor­tant enough for Chris­tians to die and kill for, but it hard­ly says much about how to be a good Christian.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“But that is the point. the Church has already endeav­ored to deci­pher the mean­ing behind Jesus’ words with­out being sure what those words real­ly were. We’re back to square one.”

    Well not real­ly. Again this is the point that the Pope was try­ing to raise. Chris­tians believe that God obeys the laws of log­ic, rea­son and nat­ur­al law. Nat­ur­al law is an espe­cial­ly impor­tant con­cept because Chris­t­ian philoso­phers and the­olo­gians have to pro­duce a detailed sys­tem of right and wrong that is right and wrong even if you are not a Chris­t­ian. Mus­lims seem to have a more dis­joint, piece­meal approach because it depends on what Muhammed did not on the larg­er picture.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“And they were nev­er agreed, until quite recent­ly. Dif­fer­ent church­es have dif­fer­ent canons, with almost the same lev­el of authen­tic­i­ty to sup­port their respec­tive texts. Not to men­tion that there were some books that were pre­vi­ous­ly accept­ed as canon­i­cal by some Chris­t­ian com­mu­ni­ties, which are not accept­ed today. Just check the Codex Sinaiti­cus, and you’ll be able to find some extra books there.”

    With­in the Church­es there are no dif­fer­ences of opin­ion. There is still no agree­ment between Church­es. I don’t see the prob­lem here at all. What that means in prac­tice is that in the 15th or 16th cen­turies the Protes­tants edit­ed their Bible. The main­stream of Chris­tian­i­ty, the Catholics, do not and nev­er have had any dis­pute over their canon. It is hard to know what Chris­tians have accept­ed at canon­i­cal and the fact that the CS con­tains some excess mate­r­i­al does not mean that they thought they were canon­i­cal. They may just have been bound togeth­er as was com­mon in the medieval period.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“The Gospel of Thomas is just an exam­ple to illus­trate that besides claim­ing that the Church is Divine­ly-inspired to pro­tect the text, the Chris­tians have no oth­er means to ver­fiy what’s in the Bible. Besides, if the Gospel was real­ly Saint Thomas’- why not include it ? The time of its dis­cov­ery is not rel­e­vant. And why was it lost in the very first place?”

    But they do not need any oth­er claim so the point is irrel­e­vant. Not that the Gospel of St Thomas illus­trates that giv­en it was nev­er ever con­sid­ered for inclu­sion. There is no evi­dence that it was the work of St Thomas. The time of its dis­cov­ery is impor­tant because it dis­ap­peared from human knowl­edge from the time it was writ­ten until 1945. Which sug­gests it may have been a joke rather than a seri­ous text.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“Well, ros­es, if called by any oth­er name, would smell just as sweet. The con­cept is not new, and that is what I think the Qur’an means when it says that Abra­ham is not a jew nor a chris­t­ian, but a devout mus­lim. If some mus­lims claim that the prophets before Prophet Muham­mad prac­ticed all the Mus­lim prac­tices that we have right now, then they’re wrong.”

    Inter­est­ing. It still does not change the fact that Islam is revi­sion­ism in the sense it claims it know bet­ter what the Jew­ish texts mean than the Jews do.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“Sure. But I would like to point out that what­ev­er you might come up with, the Qur’an did not refer to that. Our con­cept is some­what sim­i­lar to what you said about a new covenant. Some old rules are abro­gat­ed, some new ones brought up.”

    Well claim­ing that Abra­ham built the Kaba or that Ish­mael was sac­ri­ficed im Mec­ca is vast­ly more than a new con­venant. The Quran sure­ly does refer to these does­n’t it ?

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“Not real­ly. as I have point­ed out repeat­ed­ly, the term mus­lim as regards to the pre­vi­ous Prophets is a Qur’anic call to jews and chris­tians to what is pre­sum­ably com­mon between us and them. That is, the Qur’an enu­mer­ates some basic beliefs, adher­ence to which qual­i­fies one as a mus­lim accord­ing to its terms. it mat­ters not to us if you accept the term or not.”

    I did hear you. And I con­tin­ue to point out that is revi­sion­ism. What can be com­mon between Mus­lims and Jews ? Well noth­ing much as it hap­pens. What can be com­mon between Mus­lims and Chris­tians ? Vir­tu­al­ly noth­ing at all. If you insist that Jesus did not claim to be the Son of God, you are try­ing to negate Chris­tian­i­ty. At best it is blas­phe­my. And the Quran specif­i­cal­ly claims that Jesus said He was not the Son of God. When you say He was a mus­lim you mean He was not a Chris­t­ian. There is no com­mon ground there.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“and there is no record that any prophet called him­self jew or christian”

    Well Jesus does in the Bible. I am pret­ty sure I could find others.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“and even if they did, then that’s no prob­lem on our part. as long as you believe in the beliefs i have enu­mer­at­ed in my pre­vi­ous posts, then you qual­i­fy as a mus­lim, at least before the advent of the Prophet Muham­mad, in which case you would have to fol­low all the teach­ings he brought, includ­ing his abro­ga­tion of some of the old rules, and mod­i­fy­ing, chang­ing, or bring­ing up new ones. And the schol­ar­ly jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of this essen­tial­ly the­o­log­i­cal revi­sion­ism’ (as you call it) is pre­cise­ly the weak­ness of cer­tain por­tions of the jew­ish and chris­t­ian scrip­tures, as point­ed out by the mod­ern scholars.”

    So we are agreed that Islam is an attempt to claim the Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian nar­ra­tives as Islam­ic it seems — and so the prop­er heirs” of those ear­li­er prophets” are, accord­ing to you, the Mus­lims. There is no schol­ar­ly jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for that because there is no non-the­o­log­i­cal evi­dence what­so­ev­er that Muhammed did­n’t just make it all up. What­ev­er is specif­i­cal­ly Mus­lim” in his teach­ing has no proven exis­tence before his time and what is known to exist before his time has no Arab or Mus­lim con­tent at all. You can­not claim that those semi-authenic texts have prob­lems so there­fore this utter­ly unau­then­tic text must be true.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“That is why I men­tioned mod­ern schol­ar­ship. Basi­cal­ly the demand on our part is for each and every word of the Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian scrip­tures as hav­ing come from the Prophets and holy men it was ascribed to, or a means to deter­mine which words are real­ly their words in the case of vari­ants. What mod­ern schol­ar­ship shows is that some changes occurred to the text (some of which occured under the infal­li­ble church!), and hence, not meet­ing the Mus­lim demand.”

    Which is inter­est­ing but still irrel­e­vant from the Chris­t­ian or Jew­ish per­spec­tive. You are demand­ing they meet an entire­ly Mus­lim stan­dard of proof which is irrel­e­vant to their claims. On top of which, of course, you can­not even show the same is true for the Quran or the aHa­dith. Which mod­ern schol­ar has shown that any changes took place under the infal­li­ble Church ?

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“I could say that this is a kind of revi­sion­ism too, and say that the claim is mere­ly eiseget­i­cal in nature. There was no men­tion of jew” in the vers­es you cit­ed. On clos­er exam­i­na­tion, one may even point out that these vers­es could well be a refu­ta­tion of the jew­ish claim regard­ing an exclu­sive covenant between them and God, as Abram was to be the father of many nations”. It could even be tak­en as a prophe­cy for Islam, as Arabs are a nation from Abram”, and there is sup­posed to be more than one nation, and prob­a­bly more than two ! but then again, you might rea­son out that this is jew­ish scrip­ture so they aught to know bet­ter about it.”

    Well it is unlike­ly to be a pre­dic­tion of Islam as lat­er texts make it clear that Ish­mael sold his birthrate and so the con­venant was only made with the sons of Isaac. There is no spe­cif­ic men­tion of Jews, but the con­venant is men­tioned. I would argue that Jew­ish claims are not irra­tional and are well thought out so if you had an argu­ment here there would be a Jew­ish rea­son for why it was wrong.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:” but you’re revis­ing” the bible your­self when try­ing to fit Abram” into the con­text of being a Jew, which he clear­ly isn’t.”

    I don’t accept that clear­ly”. Moses has not been up to Sinai yet, but God still has a con­venant with Abra­ham and his descendents.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“For exam­ple, he mar­ried his half-sis­ter Sarah, an act cursed in the Torah by Moses. An inter­est­ing para­dox aris­es then : who­ev­er curs­es Abra­ham shall him­self be cursed. Moses cursed an act com­mit­ted by Abra­ham, in effect, curs­ing Abra­ham him­self. In effect, Moses is him­self accursed by curs­ing Abra­ham. The dif­fi­cul­ty could be solved by claim­ing that mar­ry­ing half-sis­ters were allowed back in Abraham’s time, but not in the Juda­ic Covenant (which I don’t agree to. I believe that it could be deduced from the OT that mar­ry­ing half-sis­ters was also for­bid­den, or at least frowned upon, even back in Abraham’s time, but that is not the point here) Well, of course, this is irrel­e­vant, but the point is Abra­ham did not prac­tice all Jew­ish-spe­cif­ic prac­tices, but you still insist on call­ing him a jew in some sense, while imply­ing revi­sion­ism when Mus­lims call him mus­lim’ in some sense.”

    I am uncon­vinced that Sarah was his half-sis­ter. Where in the Bible does it claim that ? Rab­bini­cal schol­ar­ship claims she was his neice but I am uncon­vinced by that as well. So I don’t see the prob­lem. Besides, you have just accept­ed that before Muhammed, mus­lims could do things allowed before but for­bid­den by Muhammed. Why would Abra­ham be any different ?

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“Agreed. So, can we call Abra­ham a Chris­t­ian, then, accord­ing to the def­i­n­i­tion you agreed to ? I don’t think so.”

    But no one does.

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“Probably because Islam has not been expound­ed in that way back in Waraqa ibn Nawfal’s day. In a sense, hanif is equiv­a­lent to mus­lim, as Abra­ham was called a hanif and a mus­lim. besides, it was Waraqa who made the dis­tinc­tion, not the Prophet Muham­mad. Also, the Prophet’s call came after Waraqa’s death, which would ren­der him inca­pable of fol­low­ing the Prophet, and Islam” prop­er. But he was def­i­nite­ly a fol­low­er of the gener­ic islam” though.”

    And yet of the four han­i­fs of Muhammed’s time men­tioned in the lit­er­a­ture they all seem to have become Chris­tians or at least not Mus­lims. Waraqa did talk to Muhammed after his first visions so his death did not come after. He was a Chris­t­ian. How is that gener­ic islam”?

    aian jaa­far said on 8 Octo­ber 2006:“Well, Jews lying or not has lit­tle rel­e­vance here, except when some of them lie about the scriptures.”

    Which is my point. Mus­lims do not accept any of the Bible except what they agree with already.

    It is odd that God was so lax on pre­serv­ing His mes­sage before Muhammed and so good at it after.

  8. to the bis­mi­ka allahu­ma admin : as sala­mu alaykum wa rah­matu Allah wa barakatuhu, please dis­card the first ver­sion of my new post, as i was unable to edit the para­graph spac­ing. please show the sec­ond one i sub­mit­ted, should you deem it wor­thy for my post to be shown on your excel­lent site. many thanks in advance.

  9. HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Where did Luke say he didn’t ? It seems to me that he did not claim he did, but that is not to say that he didn’t. But there are also accounts in Mark, Matthew and John as well. Luke also clear­ly saw part of the events he described. You have to say that you can attack many things about the Gospels, but as eye­wit­ness tes­ti­mo­ny goes they look good. You’re safer claim­ing Luke did not write them. Luke was there so how could you have an isnad any­way ? If not right at Gol­go­tha then not far away — it is not as if there is a 200 year gap of oral trans­mis­sion. Chris­tian­i­ty and Judaism are lit­er­ate reli­gions in a way that Islam is not. We are hav­ing a lot of agree­ment ! I do not think that the apri­ori rejec­tion of the super­nat­ur­al is unsci­en­tif­ic — on the con­trary a good sci­en­tist should nev­er look for or accept such expla­na­tions. If there is some­thing he does not under­stand he needs to work hard­er to understand.”

    I assume that your state­ment that it is not as if there is a 200 year gap of oral trans­mis­sion” is a ref­er­ence to the aha­dith. If it is, then i believe that you have a wrong anal­o­gy. If Luke was an eye­wit­ness, then he is not com­pa­ra­ble to Imam Bukhari (if you are refer­ring to Imam Bukhar­i’s col­lec­tion by your state­ment). He would be com­pa­ra­ble to the first link in a hadith, say for exam­ple Hadhrat Abu Hurayrah. So then this rais­es anoth­er rel­e­vant ques­tion : how did Luke’s (or any of the books in the bible) reach us in its form today ? You already know that we have our isnad. What is your method to ver­i­fy then ?

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Well that per­son could hard­ly claim to have risen from the dead unless He rose from the dead. But OK let’s leave that. What evi­dence indi­cates that they were not eye­wit­ness­es ? Even if they were unknown, as Luke is more or less, how would that affect the nature of their tes­ti­mo­ny ? You ask a good ques­tion but the Chris­t­ian answer would be that the text is pro­tect­ed by God — and also that the accounts were writ­ten down in the very ear­ly peri­od by peo­ple who were there. The nature of Christ for Chris­tians is that He is alive and work­ing with­in His com­mu­ni­ty. The text is not as impor­tant as that fact. How­ev­er Chris­tians also have some­thing like an isnad but a short one — Luke is sup­posed to have writ­ten his Gospel because Paul told him to — or even that Paul dic­tat­ed it. Mark, Peter’s inter­preter, is sup­posed to have writ­ten it after hear­ing from Peter. Matthew and John were pre­sum­ably both there. If you are not a Chris­t­ian I doubt there is any cer­tain­ty but a Chris­t­ian would point to the promise of Christ remain­ing with­in His Church. The Church can­not go wrong.”

    Here in the Philip­pines some per­sons have claimed such a thing, (oth­er claims more out­ra­geous than ris­ing from the dead, such as claim­ing that he is God the Father) and it is safe to assume that oth­ers have claimed it,and will claim it on oth­er places as well. Of course you have to admit that the rea­son­ing if some­one claims to have done some­thing, then that per­son real­ly did it” is cir­cu­lar. If Luke is unknown, that would great­ly affect the nature of his tes­ti­mo­ny. If he is unknown, how could we estab­lish if he real­ly was an eye­wit­ness or not ? here is anoth­er cir­cu­lar­i­ty- that the Text is pro­tect­ed by God, and the Church can­not go wrong. Again, it is not nec­es­sar­i­ly false, but that remains to be seen. You admit, as we shall see lat­er, that this is a cir­cu­lar­i­ty. I must admit that there is a cir­cu­lar­i­ty with­in our claims as well. I men­tioned that we believe what­ev­er the Prophet Muham­mad said, since we believe that he says only what God com­mand­ed him to say. That’s why in the absence of con­clu­sive evi­dence on the part of the scrip­tures rec­og­nized by the Peo­ple of the Book”, we believe from a the­o­log­i­cal per­spec­tive things that he, praise and peace be upon him, said which might run counter to jew­ish and chris­t­ian ortho­doxy. but here is the mus­lim prob­lem with your cir­cu­lar­i­ty regard­ing the Church : the Mus­lim expec­ta­tion is that every­thing you believe in must have a basis, explic­it or implic­it, on some teach­ing of Jesus Christ. In order for this to hap­pen, you must have a reli­able record of what he real­ly said. so, your expla­na­tion regard­ing the infal­li­bil­i­ty of the Chris­t­ian Church will hard­ly sat­is­fy a Mus­lim, or any­one who wish­es to know what Jesus actu­al­ly said. Your expla­na­tion pre­sup­pos­es that the Chris­t­ian Church is infal­li­ble. Trust in the chris­t­ian scrip­tures. why ? because the church says so. so what ? because the scrip­tures say so”. So, what do I have to ver­i­fy then ? aside from numer­ous ques­tions which this rais­es (which, i assume, are not rel­e­vant here), it begs the ques­tion as to what basis does the Church claim such an infal­li­bil­i­ty ? if not Jesus Christ, then it does not mat­ter to a Mus­lim then.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Except that it all comes down to one act — the com­pil­ing of the Utham­ic ver­sion, the recall and destruc­tion of all oth­er ver­sions. All you have proven is that the Caliphate was very thor­ough in destroy­ing all oth­er copies of the Quran. Even so the aHa­dith show that it used to con­tain a verse on ston­ing but it does not any longer and there is a per­sis­tent Shia tra­di­tion that Ali had his own Quran which, not sur­pris­ing­ly, Sun­ni hadith specif­i­cal­ly reject. The one sur­viv­ing copy proves the effi­cien­cy of the cen­sor­ship but noth­ing much else. If those alter­na­tive copies had sur­vived and we could judge that they said that was dif­fer­ent, we could make sen­si­ble com­ments on the uni­for­mi­ty of the Quran but because none have, the dif­fer­ent ver­sions could have said anything.”

    Yes, it all comes down to that act. So all we have to do is to exam­ine if the Uth­man­ic ver­sion can be traced back to the Prophet then. And the link I post­ed shows that it can be traced back to him. The Uth­man­ic recen­sion’s strength is not the fact that it is the only ver­sion avail­able, but the fact that it can be traced back to the Prophet. It would­n’t mat­ter if Hadhrat Uth­man was able to destroy all oth­er oppos­ing ver­sions, because he still has the prob­lem of prov­ing his own ver­sion to the mass­es of the Mus­lims, some of which were very crit­i­cal of him. So, it does­nt mat­ter what the destroyed ver­sions say. Even if you will be able to bring up an alter­nate ver­sion of the Qur’an sup­pos­ed­ly from, say, Hadhrat Abu Bakr, it would­n’t mat­ter, because the lev­el of tawwatur is nec­es­sary for each and every verse. Quite the con­trary. the cen­sor­ship’ achieved what it pur­ports to do : that is to pre­vent Mus­lims from dif­fer­ing over their scrip­tures, as the chris­tians and jews are dif­fer­ing over theirs” to quote a Com­pan­ion of the Prophet Muham­mad. To say that we need the alter­na­tive copies to make sen­si­ble com­ments about the Qur’an’s uni­for­mi­ty is fal­la­cious. the Qur’an is not the New Tes­ta­ment. The dif­fer­ence is that there is no need for a crit­i­cal text of the Qur’an, pre­cise­ly because of the Uth­man­ic cen­sor­ship’ and stan­dard­iza­tion of the Qur’an­ic texts. I would like to empha­size that the Uth­man­ic ver­sion is a mutawwatir ver­sion, which, as the link post­ed above shows, can be traced back to the Prophet. Quite unlike the New Tes­ta­ment. In fact, the crit­i­cal schol­ars of the NT are hav­ing a prob­lem because of the sheer num­ber of vari­ants of the NT text.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Well no, whether he made it up or not is the key issue. You have not explained to me how Umar could stand up and say that the Quran used to con­tain the verse on rajam but does not any more. The oth­er prob­lem being that the Quran just does not say much. For Mus­lims to know what Islam is, they need the Hadith which does not have a guar­an­tee. Chris­tians have the author­i­ty of the Church so they do not need it.”

    Well, we have the con­cept of abro­ga­tion in the Qur’an. The Qur’an does not con­tain the verse any­more, because the Prophet Muham­mad ordered for it to be removed from the Qur’an, since God abro­gat­ed the verse (but not the rul­ing). As to why, I don’t know, and nei­ther is that the point here. The point is even the abro­ga­tion was done upon orders of the Prophet. And even if it was­n’t then the miss­ing verse is not mutawwatir, so it would still have to be removed from the Qur’an. As for the Qur’an not say­ing much, well i find all the fun­da­men­tal beliefs of my faith there. it is suf­fi­cient for me. And i find a remark­able con­sis­ten­cy when it says that we should look to the exam­ple of the Prophet. I am in no posi­tion to dic­tate to God what He should include or not include in His Book. But you already said that the Hadith gives us some assur­ance about what the Prophet said, and now you’re say­ing that the Hadith does not have a guarantee.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : It would depend on how they deter­mined their Truth. There are any num­ber of sto­ries of peo­ple con­vert­ing in Africa and South-East Asia because Mus­lim Sufis per­formed mir­a­cles. If you see a mir­a­cle you are like­ly to con­vert no mat­ter what the log­ic of the reli­gion is. The­ol­o­gy is, after all, just a way of ratio­nal­is­ing remain­ing with­in a reli­gion. Not for join­ing it. All reli­gions need a way to dis­tin­guish between real and fake rev­e­la­tion. Usu­al­ly with sol­diers. In the real world this prob­lem is unsolveable.”

    Agreed. And per­haps my ances­tors were among those con­vert­ed by those Mus­lim Sufis you were men­tion­ing. Mus­lims also believe that con­ver­sion is a grace of God. How­ev­er, a minor point, and one not entire­ly rel­e­vant. Mir­a­cles are not a reli­able stan­dard, unless it is what we Mus­lims call a mujizah, that is an inim­itable mir­a­cle made through the hands of a Prophet of God. Any­thing else can be imi­tat­ed by demons. so, just as there is fake rev­e­la­tion, there are also false mir­a­cles, made in the Name of God (or some­one else), done through the hands of Satan.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : But what need ? Very few reli­gions order or jus­ti­fy geno­cide. The exis­tence of Moses is unsup­port­ed by the evi­dence, apart from the Bible, and so if there nev­er was any geno­cide, the Jews have not tried to com­mit one since, and are not intend­ing to com­mit one in the future, why would they claim one occurred ? It does not make sense to me.”

    Per­haps the need to jus­ti­fy exter­mi­na­tion of the canaan­ites, amalekites and others ?

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Well that just means you are in a dif­fer­ent bind because you have to believe Muhammed did things that were, by most stan­dards, bad. I assume you just do what many Jews do and ratio­nalise them. You have the lux­u­ry of deny­ing the bad ele­ments of oth­er Faiths, but not your own.”

    Well what I am sim­ply say­ing is that in Islam­ic belief that God would nev­er order a human being to pur­pose­ful­ly kill inno­cent per­sons with­out jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, since He will con­tra­dict Him­self regard­ing what He said in the Noble Qur’an. It is a Mus­lim stan­dard. If you’re say­ing that that’s not a Jew­ish stan­dard, that’s fine. As I men­tioned, and as you have point­ed out, I am approach­ing this from a the­o­log­i­cal per­spec­tive, not a his­tor­i­cal one. What I’m say­ing is that you could tell us Mus­lims that hey, you have a fan­ta­sy ver­sion of Moses’ if there is con­clu­sive evi­dence that he did order those acts.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Those mod­ern schol­ars that reject the Bible are one thing, but most peo­ple would accept that the Bible con­tains his­tor­i­cal mate­r­i­al of a sort. The dis­tinc­tion here is that the Quran was writ­ten by Arabs and for Arabs cen­turies after the events it claims to describe. The OT and the NT are in the same cul­tur­al tra­di­tion — they claim to be the records of their own his­to­ries, not some­one else’s. That is a fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence in cred­i­bil­i­ty. The Bible is real­ly sure about Abra­ham and Isaac.”

    Again it is a the­o­log­i­cal per­spec­tive. I would­n’t tell a chris­t­ian to believe the mus­lim ver­sion of Joseph or oth­er prophets unless I have proven to him that the Qur’an is a Book sent by God. But we have the lee­way to make our claims from a the­o­log­i­cal per­spec­tive pre­cise­ly because the his­tor­i­cal evi­dence is not strong enough to fly in the face of the Qur’an­ic claim. Take the exam­ple you cit­ed, that of Abra­ham and Isaac. Even if we are to assume that Moses is the author of the Torah we have today, he still would­n’t be an eye­wit­ness, right ? His posi­tion would not be much dif­fer­ent from the Prophet Muham­mad’s, vis-a-vis Jesus Christ. But if some­one believes in the OT’s reli­a­bil­i­ty in report­ing what Prophet Moses said as it is today, then he would have no prob­lem believ­ing what the Prophet Moses sup­pos­ed­ly said about the Prophet Abra­ham, even though they are hun­dreds of years apart.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Except the aHa­dith are not divine Texts in that sense. I am not con­vinced they tell you in more detail — they are con­cerned more with Ortho­praxy not Ortho­doxy and so con­cen­trate on what Muhammed did, not nec­es­sar­i­ly what he thought. Anoth­er impor­tant dif­fer­ence with Chris­t­ian thought.”

    yes, it is more detailed. just com­pare how much of the Gospel pur­port­ed­ly reports what Jesus said, and com­pare it with the vol­umes of hadith, regard­less of your objec­tions to the hadith method­ol­o­gy. the hadith even says how the Prophet tied his tur­ban. And a sub­stan­tial por­tion of the Prophet’s teach­ings are embod­ied in his acts, as he is the mod­el for every Mus­lim to follow.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : The prob­lem for Mus­lims is that the Quran says so lit­tle. The OT is a much more thor­ough book of law and the NT a much more detailed moral and the­o­log­i­cal guide. Mus­lims need the aHa­dith or they would be stuck.”

    I would have to agree with the OT being a much more thor­ough book of law. How­ev­er, from the Qur’an­ic and Mus­lim per­spec­tive, a por­tion of this thor­ough book maybe super­flu­ous. But I dis­agree with the NT being a more detailed moral and the­o­log­i­cal guide. The divi­sions in chris­tian­i­ty about the nature of Christ stem pre­cise­ly because of the ambi­gu­i­ty of the NT vers­es. but that is a minor point.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : I am not sure that canon law and Sharia are com­pa­ra­ble. Jew­ish and Islam­ic law are, but canon law owes more to Greece and Rome if you ask me.”

    thank you for point­ing out to me a new and appar­ent­ly fruit­ful line of research regard­ing canon law.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : No but they are vital to under­stand­ing what they meant. If you do not know why Jesus did some­thing it is hard to under­stand the pur­pose behind it. Again the dif­fer­ence between Ortho­doxy and Orthopraxy.”

    But that is the point. the Church has already endeav­ored to deci­pher the mean­ing behind Jesus’ words with­out being sure what those words real­ly were. We’re back to square one.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : As long as they post-date Uth­man. This is just a reflec­tion of the poor doc­u­men­tary record and the thor­ough­ness of the Uth­man­ic cen­sor­ship. Besides, the extrem­ists have such vio­lent­ly dif­fer­ing inter­pre­ta­tions of the Quran, and sup­ple­ment it with things like the opin­ion of the Aga Khans, that it is hard to make that claim. The words may be the same, but the Qurans are very different.”

    Why is it nec­es­sary to pre­date Khal­i­fa Uth­man, may Allah be pleased with him ? If it pre­dates him, then we have the Prophet Muham­mad already, which is much bet­ter. Well it is up to the Aga Kha­nis and oth­er extrem­ists to trace their claims back to the Prophet Muham­mad, the same way we trace back the Uth­man­ic recen­sion back to him.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : It is hard­ly beg­ging the ques­tion. The process is well known — Chris­tians claim the Church agreed in a series of Syn­ods and their work is Divine­ly Inspired. Jesus works with­in the Church to this day. As the Gospel of Saint Thomas was not dis­cov­ered until 1945, I don’t think there was ever any ques­tion of why it was not includ­ed. No one seems to have known about it, it does not appear in any com­men­taries for instance, and so it was not con­sid­ered. Chris­tians have a sim­ple cir­cu­lar argu­ment here — if it was gen­uine, God would have includ­ed it. As the text is Divine­ly protected.”

    I have dealt with this above. And they were nev­er agreed, until quite recent­ly. Dif­fer­ent church­es have dif­fer­ent canons, with almost the same lev­el of authen­tic­i­ty to sup­port their respec­tive texts. Not to men­tion that there were some books that were pre­vi­ous­ly accept­ed as canon­i­cal by some Chris­t­ian com­mu­ni­ties, which are not accept­ed today. Just check the Codex Sinaiti­cus, and you’ll be able to find some extra books there.

    The Gospel of Thomas is just an exam­ple to illus­trate that besides claim­ing that the Church is Divine­ly-inspired to pro­tect the text, the Chris­tians have no oth­er means to ver­fiy what’s in the Bible. Besides, if the Gospel was real­ly Saint Thomas’- why not include it ? The time of its dis­cov­ery is not rel­e­vant. And why was it lost in the very first place ?

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Sor­ry but what term would that be ? The term Mus­lim”? That term is as far as I can see entire­ly new with Muhammed even if the con­cept is not — as you would not expect it to be. The term, as I have point­ed out before, is irrel­e­vant because it comes with bag­gage. Chris­tians and Jews may under­stand the con­cept of being a mus­lim” but there is no evi­dence of any­one being Mus­lim” before Muhammed.”

    Well, ros­es, if called by any oth­er name, would smell just as sweet. The con­cept is not new, and that is what I think the Qur’an means when it says that Abra­ham is not a jew nor a chris­t­ian, but a devout mus­lim. If some mus­lims claim that the prophets before Prophet Muham­mad prac­ticed all the Mus­lim prac­tices that we have right now, then they’re wrong.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : I am sure if I thought about it I could think of oth­er options — pray­ing towards Mec­ca, the Kaba, non-infant cir­cum­ci­sion, the rejec­tion of Judaism. Any num­ber of things really.”

    Sure. But I would like to point out that what­ev­er you might come up with, the Qur’an did not refer to that. Our con­cept is some­what sim­i­lar to what you said about a new covenant. Some old rules are abro­gat­ed, some new ones brought up.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Well no because that less” implies a val­ue judge­ment. It cer­tain­ly means that there is no evi­dence that they were Mus­lims apart from claims made by Mus­lims. As I said the true Revi­sion­ists are Mus­lims who insist that they own the Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian nar­ra­tives and they know bet­ter what they are about than Jews and Chris­tians. It is the exact equiv­a­lent of West­ern schol­ars who claim that they know what the Quran real­ly says and which aHa­dith are true, except with­out the schol­ar­ly justification.”

    Not real­ly. as I have point­ed out repeat­ed­ly, the term mus­lim as regards to the pre­vi­ous Prophets is a Qur’an­ic call to jews and chris­tians to what is pre­sum­ably com­mon between us and them. That is, the Qur’an enu­mer­ates some basic beliefs, adher­ence to which qual­i­fies one as a mus­lim accord­ing to its terms. it mat­ters not to us if you accept the term or not. the argu­ment of the qur’an is regard­ing the beliefs of the prophets, not nec­es­sar­i­ly what they called them­selves. and there is no record that any prophet called him­self jew or chris­t­ian, and even if they did, then that’s no prob­lem on our part. as long as you believe in the beliefs i have enu­mer­at­ed in my pre­vi­ous posts, then you qual­i­fy as a mus­lim, at least before the advent of the Prophet Muham­mad, in which case you would have to fol­low all the teach­ings he brought, includ­ing his abro­ga­tion of some of the old rules, and mod­i­fy­ing, chang­ing, or bring­ing up new ones. And the schol­ar­ly jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of this essen­tial­ly the­o­log­i­cal revi­sion­ism’ (as you call it) is pre­cise­ly the weak­ness of cer­tain por­tions of the jew­ish and chris­t­ian scrip­tures, as point­ed out by the mod­ern schol­ars. That is why I men­tioned mod­ern schol­ar­ship. Basi­cal­ly the demand on our part is for each and every word of the Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian scrip­tures as hav­ing come from the Prophets and holy men it was ascribed to, or a means to deter­mine which words are real­ly their words in the case of vari­ants. What mod­ern schol­ar­ship shows is that some changes occurred to the text (some of which occured under the infal­li­ble church!), and hence, not meet­ing the Mus­lim demand.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : In the strictest sense of the word Jew — and it is the sub­tle dif­fer­ence I referred to above — you have a point. But that con­venant was implied before Sinai,
    Gen.17
    [1] And when Abram was nine­ty years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God ; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
    [2] And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will mul­ti­ply thee exceedingly.
    [3] And Abram fell on his face : and God talked with him, saying,
    [4] As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
    So the Jew­ish peo­ple exist­ed as such, more or less, before Sinai. Hence the two mean­ings of Jew­ish for Abraham.”

    I could say that this is a kind of revi­sion­ism too, and say that the claim is mere­ly eiseget­i­cal in nature. There was no men­tion of jew” in the vers­es you cit­ed. On clos­er exam­i­na­tion, one may even point out that these vers­es could well be a refu­ta­tion of the jew­ish claim regard­ing an exclu­sive covenant between them and God, as Abram was to be the father of many nations”. It could even be tak­en as a prophe­cy for Islam, as Arabs are a nation from Abram”, and there is sup­posed to be more than one nation, and prob­a­bly more than two ! but then again, you might rea­son out that this is jew­ish scrip­ture so they aught to know bet­ter about it.

    So then, it would have to be con­ced­ed that Abram” nev­er called him­self jew, chris­t­ian or mus­lim, at least accord­ing to the bible. But you are also will­ing to accept the term mus­lim” (in terms of one being sub­mis­sive to the will of God, which he, peace be upon him, def­i­nite­ly is) for him, albeit com­plain­ing about the bag­gage- and also say­ing that it is too gen­er­al and irrel­e­vant. but you’re revis­ing” the bible your­self when try­ing to fit Abram” into the con­text of being a Jew, which he clear­ly isn’t. Using the same line of rea­son­ing, it could be claimed that Abram” was an Arab as well (regard­ing the sec­ond def­i­n­i­tion of Jew”, which is racial). You see, the term Jew also has some bag­gage” in it, which, even if accept­ed, will not fit Abra­ham. For exam­ple, he mar­ried his half-sis­ter Sarah, an act cursed in the Torah by Moses. An inter­est­ing para­dox aris­es then : who­ev­er curs­es Abra­ham shall him­self be cursed. Moses cursed an act com­mit­ted by Abra­ham, in effect, curs­ing Abra­ham him­self. In effect, Moses is him­self accursed by curs­ing Abra­ham. The dif­fi­cul­ty could be solved by claim­ing that mar­ry­ing half-sis­ters were allowed back in Abra­ham’s time, but not in the Juda­ic Covenant (which I don’t agree to. I believe that it could be deduced from the OT that mar­ry­ing half-sis­ters was also for­bid­den, or at least frowned upon, even back in Abra­ham’s time, but that is not the point here) Well, of course, this is irrel­e­vant, but the point is Abra­ham did not prac­tice all Jew­ish-spe­cif­ic prac­tices, but you still insist on call­ing him a jew in some sense, while imply­ing revi­sion­ism when Mus­lims call him mus­lim’ in some sense.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Total­ly. No Res­ur­rec­tion, no Christianity.”

    Agreed. So, can we call Abra­ham a Chris­t­ian, then, accord­ing to the def­i­n­i­tion you agreed to ? I don’t think so.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Well there is still more to it than that because Khadija’s hanif cousin was a Chris­t­ian who sup­pos­ed­ly said he would become a Mus­lim if only he was not so old. No he prob­a­bly did sub­mit to the Will of God, but he also specif­i­cal­ly did not become a Mus­lim. There is a dif­fer­ence between a Jew and a Chris­t­ian and a Mus­lim in which Muhammed plays a very large role.”

    Prob­a­bly because Islam has not been expound­ed in that way back in Waraqa ibn Naw­fal’s day. In a sense, hanif is equiv­a­lent to mus­lim, as Abra­ham was called a hanif and a mus­lim. besides, it was Waraqa who made the dis­tinc­tion, not the Prophet Muham­mad. Also, the Prophet’s call came after Waraqa’s death, which would ren­der him inca­pable of fol­low­ing the Prophet, and Islam” prop­er. But he was def­i­nite­ly a fol­low­er of the gener­ic islam” though.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : In effect it is lim­it­ed to Muhammed because Mus­lims have no oth­er sources except the Quran. What do Mus­lims know about Joseph apart from what the Quran (and aHa­dith etc) tells them ? Well they can’t trust Jews because they lie. So it is pret­ty much lim­it­ed to what Muhammed brought or did.”

    Well, Jews lying or not has lit­tle rel­e­vance here, except when some of them lie about the scrip­tures. But there is no claim on my part that they nev­er tell the truth, or that ALL of the bible can­not be trust­ed. Islam in its final form is def­i­nite­ly lim­it­ed to the Prophet Muham­mad, agreed on that. But what he expound­ed is that there were prophets known, or unknown to us. And these Prophets taught the things nec­es­sary to become a mus­lim”- belief in God, His Angels, Books, Prophets, and the Day of Judg­ment. any­thing extra could either be a cor­rup­tion, inten­tion­al or unin­ten­tion­al, or some­thing of lit­tle sig­nif­i­cance in com­par­i­son to these core doc­trines, or a spe­cial com­mand­ment or pro­vi­sion for that nation. Any omis­sion may be an omis­sion com­mit­ted by the per­sons who claimed to be the fol­low­ers of these Prophets, or maybe the result of his­tor­i­cal process­es. And this is one of the rea­sons why, we Mus­lims believe, that the Last Prophet Muham­mad was sent to the worlds.

  10. HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Where did Luke say he didn’t ? It seems to me that he did not claim he did, but that is not to say that he didn’t. But there are also accounts in Mark, Matthew and John as well. Luke also clear­ly saw part of the events he described. You have to say that you can attack many things about the Gospels, but as eye­wit­ness tes­ti­mo­ny goes they look good. You’re safer claim­ing Luke did not write them. Luke was there so how could you have an isnad any­way ? If not right at Gol­go­tha then not far away — it is not as if there is a 200 year gap of oral trans­mis­sion. Chris­tian­i­ty and Judaism are lit­er­ate reli­gions in a way that Islam is not. We are hav­ing a lot of agree­ment ! I do not think that the apri­ori rejec­tion of the super­nat­ur­al is unsci­en­tif­ic — on the con­trary a good sci­en­tist should nev­er look for or accept such expla­na­tions. If there is some­thing he does not under­stand he needs to work hard­er to understand.”

    I assume that your state­ment that it is not as if there is a 200 year gap of oral trans­mis­sion” is a ref­er­ence to the aha­dith. If it is, then i believe that you have a wrong anal­o­gy. If Luke was an eye­wit­ness, then he is not com­pa­ra­ble to Imam Bukhari (if you are refer­ring to Imam Bukhar­i’s col­lec­tion by your state­ment). He would be com­pa­ra­ble to the first link in a hadith, say for exam­ple Hadhrat Abu Hurayrah. So then this rais­es anoth­er rel­e­vant ques­tion : how did Luke’s (or any of the books in the bible) reach us in its form today ? You already know that we have our isnad. What is your method to ver­i­fy then ?

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Well that per­son could hard­ly claim to have risen from the dead unless He rose from the dead. But OK let’s leave that. What evi­dence indi­cates that they were not eye­wit­ness­es ? Even if they were unknown, as Luke is more or less, how would that affect the nature of their tes­ti­mo­ny ? You ask a good ques­tion but the Chris­t­ian answer would be that the text is pro­tect­ed by God — and also that the accounts were writ­ten down in the very ear­ly peri­od by peo­ple who were there. The nature of Christ for Chris­tians is that He is alive and work­ing with­in His com­mu­ni­ty. The text is not as impor­tant as that fact. How­ev­er Chris­tians also have some­thing like an isnad but a short one — Luke is sup­posed to have writ­ten his Gospel because Paul told him to — or even that Paul dic­tat­ed it. Mark, Peter’s inter­preter, is sup­posed to have writ­ten it after hear­ing from Peter. Matthew and John were pre­sum­ably both there. If you are not a Chris­t­ian I doubt there is any cer­tain­ty but a Chris­t­ian would point to the promise of Christ remain­ing with­in His Church. The Church can­not go wrong.”

    Here in the Philip­pines some per­sons have claimed such a thing, (oth­er claims more out­ra­geous than ris­ing from the dead, such as claim­ing that he is God the Father) and it is safe to assume that oth­ers have claimed it,and will claim it on oth­er places as well. Of course you have to admit that the rea­son­ing if some­one claims to have done some­thing, then that per­son real­ly did it” is cir­cu­lar. If Luke is unknown, that would great­ly affect the nature of his tes­ti­mo­ny. If he is unknown, how could we estab­lish if he real­ly was an eye­wit­ness or not ? here is anoth­er cir­cu­lar­i­ty- that the Text is pro­tect­ed by God, and the Church can­not go wrong. Again, it is not nec­es­sar­i­ly false, but that remains to be seen. You admit, as we shall see lat­er, that this is a cir­cu­lar­i­ty. I must admit that there is a cir­cu­lar­i­ty with­in our claims as well. I men­tioned that we believe what­ev­er the Prophet Muham­mad said, since we believe that he says only what God com­mand­ed him to say. That’s why in the absence of con­clu­sive evi­dence on the part of the scrip­tures rec­og­nized by the Peo­ple of the Book”, we believe from a the­o­log­i­cal per­spec­tive things that he, praise and peace be upon him, said which might run counter to jew­ish and chris­t­ian ortho­doxy. but here is the mus­lim prob­lem with your cir­cu­lar­i­ty regard­ing the Church : the Mus­lim expec­ta­tion is that every­thing you believe in must have a basis, explic­it or implic­it, on some teach­ing of Jesus Christ. In order for this to hap­pen, you must have a reli­able record of what he real­ly said. so, your expla­na­tion regard­ing the infal­li­bil­i­ty of the Chris­t­ian Church will hard­ly sat­is­fy a Mus­lim, or any­one who wish­es to know what Jesus actu­al­ly said. Your expla­na­tion pre­sup­pos­es that the Chris­t­ian Church is infal­li­ble. Trust in the chris­t­ian scrip­tures. why ? because the church says so. so what ? because the scrip­tures say so”. So, what do I have to ver­i­fy then ? aside from numer­ous ques­tions which this rais­es (which, i assume, are not rel­e­vant here), it begs the ques­tion as to what basis does the Church claim such an infal­li­bil­i­ty ? if not Jesus Christ, then it does not mat­ter to a Mus­lim then.

    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Except that it all comes down to one act — the com­pil­ing of the Utham­ic ver­sion, the recall and destruc­tion of all oth­er ver­sions. All you have proven is that the Caliphate was very thor­ough in destroy­ing all oth­er copies of the Quran. Even so the aHa­dith show that it used to con­tain a verse on ston­ing but it does not any longer and there is a per­sis­tent Shia tra­di­tion that Ali had his own Quran which, not sur­pris­ing­ly, Sun­ni hadith specif­i­cal­ly reject. The one sur­viv­ing copy proves the effi­cien­cy of the cen­sor­ship but noth­ing much else. If those alter­na­tive copies had sur­vived and we could judge that they said that was dif­fer­ent, we could make sen­si­ble com­ments on the uni­for­mi­ty of the Quran but because none have, the dif­fer­ent ver­sions could have said anything.”
    Yes, it all comes down to that act. So all we have to do is to exam­ine if the Uth­man­ic ver­sion can be traced back to the Prophet then. And the link I post­ed shows that it can be traced back to him. The Uth­man­ic recen­sion’s strength is not the fact that it is the only ver­sion avail­able, but the fact that it can be traced back to the Prophet. It would­n’t mat­ter if Hadhrat Uth­man was able to destroy all oth­er oppos­ing ver­sions, because he still has the prob­lem of prov­ing his own ver­sion to the mass­es of the Mus­lims, some of which were very crit­i­cal of him. So, it does­nt mat­ter what the destroyed ver­sions say. Even if you will be able to bring up an alter­nate ver­sion of the Qur’an sup­pos­ed­ly from, say, Hadhrat Abu Bakr, it would­n’t mat­ter, because the lev­el of tawwatur is nec­es­sary for each and every verse. Quite the con­trary. the cen­sor­ship’ achieved what it pur­ports to do : that is to pre­vent Mus­lims from dif­fer­ing over their scrip­tures, as the chris­tians and jews are dif­fer­ing over theirs” to quote a Com­pan­ion of the Prophet Muham­mad. To say that we need the alter­na­tive copies to make sen­si­ble com­ments about the Qur’an’s uni­for­mi­ty is fal­la­cious. the Qur’an is not the New Tes­ta­ment. The dif­fer­ence is that there is no need for a crit­i­cal text of the Qur’an, pre­cise­ly because of the Uth­man­ic cen­sor­ship’ and stan­dard­iza­tion of the Qur’an­ic texts. I would like to empha­size that the Uth­man­ic ver­sion is a mutawwatir ver­sion, which, as the link post­ed above shows, can be traced back to the Prophet. Quite unlike the New Tes­ta­ment. In fact, the crit­i­cal schol­ars of the NT are hav­ing a prob­lem because of the sheer num­ber of vari­ants of the NT text.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Well no, whether he made it up or not is the key issue. You have not explained to me how Umar could stand up and say that the Quran used to con­tain the verse on rajam but does not any more. The oth­er prob­lem being that the Quran just does not say much. For Mus­lims to know what Islam is, they need the Hadith which does not have a guar­an­tee. Chris­tians have the author­i­ty of the Church so they do not need it.”
    Well, we have the con­cept of abro­ga­tion in the Qur’an. The Qur’an does not con­tain the verse any­more, because the Prophet Muham­mad ordered for it to be removed from the Qur’an, since God abro­gat­ed the verse (but not the rul­ing). As to why, I don’t know, and nei­ther is that the point here. The point is even the abro­ga­tion was done upon orders of the Prophet. And even if it was­n’t then the miss­ing verse is not mutawwatir, so it would still have to be removed from the Qur’an. As for the Qur’an not say­ing much, well i find all the fun­da­men­tal beliefs of my faith there. it is suf­fi­cient for me. And i find a remark­able con­sis­ten­cy when it says that we should look to the exam­ple of the Prophet. I am in no posi­tion to dic­tate to God what He should include or not include in His Book. But you already said that the Hadith gives us some assur­ance about what the Prophet said, and now you’re say­ing that the Hadith does not have a guarantee.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : It would depend on how they deter­mined their Truth. There are any num­ber of sto­ries of peo­ple con­vert­ing in Africa and South-East Asia because Mus­lim Sufis per­formed mir­a­cles. If you see a mir­a­cle you are like­ly to con­vert no mat­ter what the log­ic of the reli­gion is. The­ol­o­gy is, after all, just a way of ratio­nal­is­ing remain­ing with­in a reli­gion. Not for join­ing it. All reli­gions need a way to dis­tin­guish between real and fake rev­e­la­tion. Usu­al­ly with sol­diers. In the real world this prob­lem is unsolveable.”
    Agreed. And per­haps my ances­tors were among those con­vert­ed by those Mus­lim Sufis you were men­tion­ing. Mus­lims also believe that con­ver­sion is a grace of God. How­ev­er, a minor point, and one not entire­ly rel­e­vant. Mir­a­cles are not a reli­able stan­dard, unless it is what we Mus­lims call a mujizah, that is an inim­itable mir­a­cle made through the hands of a Prophet of God. Any­thing else can be imi­tat­ed by demons. so, just as there is fake rev­e­la­tion, there are also false mir­a­cles, made in the Name of God (or some­one else), done through the hands of Satan.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : But what need ? Very few reli­gions order or jus­ti­fy geno­cide. The exis­tence of Moses is unsup­port­ed by the evi­dence, apart from the Bible, and so if there nev­er was any geno­cide, the Jews have not tried to com­mit one since, and are not intend­ing to com­mit one in the future, why would they claim one occurred ? It does not make sense to me.”
    Per­haps the need to jus­ti­fy exter­mi­na­tion of the canaan­ites, amalekites and others ?
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Well that just means you are in a dif­fer­ent bind because you have to believe Muhammed did things that were, by most stan­dards, bad. I assume you just do what many Jews do and ratio­nalise them. You have the lux­u­ry of deny­ing the bad ele­ments of oth­er Faiths, but not your own.”
    Well what I am sim­ply say­ing is that in Islam­ic belief that God would nev­er order a human being to pur­pose­ful­ly kill inno­cent per­sons with­out jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, since He will con­tra­dict Him­self regard­ing what He said in the Noble Qur’an. It is a Mus­lim stan­dard. If you’re say­ing that that’s not a Jew­ish stan­dard, that’s fine. As I men­tioned, and as you have point­ed out, I am approach­ing this from a the­o­log­i­cal per­spec­tive, not a his­tor­i­cal one. What I’m say­ing is that you could tell us Mus­lims that hey, you have a fan­ta­sy ver­sion of Moses’ if there is con­clu­sive evi­dence that he did order those acts.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Those mod­ern schol­ars that reject the Bible are one thing, but most peo­ple would accept that the Bible con­tains his­tor­i­cal mate­r­i­al of a sort. The dis­tinc­tion here is that the Quran was writ­ten by Arabs and for Arabs cen­turies after the events it claims to describe. The OT and the NT are in the same cul­tur­al tra­di­tion — they claim to be the records of their own his­to­ries, not some­one else’s. That is a fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence in cred­i­bil­i­ty. The Bible is real­ly sure about Abra­ham and Isaac.”
    Again it is a the­o­log­i­cal per­spec­tive. I would­n’t tell a chris­t­ian to believe the mus­lim ver­sion of Joseph or oth­er prophets unless I have proven to him that the Qur’an is a Book sent by God. But we have the lee­way to make our claims from a the­o­log­i­cal per­spec­tive pre­cise­ly because the his­tor­i­cal evi­dence is not strong enough to fly in the face of the Qur’an­ic claim. Take the exam­ple you cit­ed, that of Abra­ham and Isaac. Even if we are to assume that Moses is the author of the Torah we have today, he still would­n’t be an eye­wit­ness, right ? His posi­tion would not be much dif­fer­ent from the Prophet Muham­mad’s, vis-a-vis Jesus Christ. But if some­one believes in the OT’s reli­a­bil­i­ty in report­ing what Prophet Moses said as it is today, then he would have no prob­lem believ­ing what the Prophet Moses sup­pos­ed­ly said about the Prophet Abra­ham, even though they are hun­dreds of years apart.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Except the aHa­dith are not divine Texts in that sense. I am not con­vinced they tell you in more detail — they are con­cerned more with Ortho­praxy not Ortho­doxy and so con­cen­trate on what Muhammed did, not nec­es­sar­i­ly what he thought. Anoth­er impor­tant dif­fer­ence with Chris­t­ian thought.”
    yes, it is more detailed. just com­pare how much of the Gospel pur­port­ed­ly reports what Jesus said, and com­pare it with the vol­umes of hadith, regard­less of your objec­tions to the hadith method­ol­o­gy. the hadith even says how the Prophet tied his tur­ban. And a sub­stan­tial por­tion of the Prophet’s teach­ings are embod­ied in his acts, as he is the mod­el for every Mus­lim to follow.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : The prob­lem for Mus­lims is that the Quran says so lit­tle. The OT is a much more thor­ough book of law and the NT a much more detailed moral and the­o­log­i­cal guide. Mus­lims need the aHa­dith or they would be stuck.”
    I would have to agree with the OT being a much more thor­ough book of law. How­ev­er, from the Qur’an­ic and Mus­lim per­spec­tive, a por­tion of this thor­ough book maybe super­flu­ous. But I dis­agree with the NT being a more detailed moral and the­o­log­i­cal guide. The divi­sions in chris­tian­i­ty about the nature of Christ stem pre­cise­ly because of the ambi­gu­i­ty of the NT vers­es. but that is a minor point.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : I am not sure that canon law and Sharia are com­pa­ra­ble. Jew­ish and Islam­ic law are, but canon law owes more to Greece and Rome if you ask me.”
    thank you for point­ing out to me a new and appar­ent­ly fruit­ful line of research regard­ing canon law.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : No but they are vital to under­stand­ing what they meant. If you do not know why Jesus did some­thing it is hard to under­stand the pur­pose behind it. Again the dif­fer­ence between Ortho­doxy and Orthopraxy.”
    But that is the point. the Church has already endeav­ored to deci­pher the mean­ing behind Jesus’ words with­out being sure what those words real­ly were. We’re back to square one.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : As long as they post-date Uth­man. This is just a reflec­tion of the poor doc­u­men­tary record and the thor­ough­ness of the Uth­man­ic cen­sor­ship. Besides, the extrem­ists have such vio­lent­ly dif­fer­ing inter­pre­ta­tions of the Quran, and sup­ple­ment it with things like the opin­ion of the Aga Khans, that it is hard to make that claim. The words may be the same, but the Qurans are very different.”
    Why is it nec­es­sary to pre­date Khal­i­fa Uth­man, may Allah be pleased with him ? If it pre­dates him, then we have the Prophet Muham­mad already, which is much bet­ter. Well it is up to the Aga Kha­nis and oth­er extrem­ists to trace their claims back to the Prophet Muham­mad, the same way we trace back the Uth­man­ic recen­sion back to him.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : It is hard­ly beg­ging the ques­tion. The process is well known — Chris­tians claim the Church agreed in a series of Syn­ods and their work is Divine­ly Inspired. Jesus works with­in the Church to this day. As the Gospel of Saint Thomas was not dis­cov­ered until 1945, I don’t think there was ever any ques­tion of why it was not includ­ed. No one seems to have known about it, it does not appear in any com­men­taries for instance, and so it was not con­sid­ered. Chris­tians have a sim­ple cir­cu­lar argu­ment here — if it was gen­uine, God would have includ­ed it. As the text is Divine­ly protected.”
    I have dealt with this above. And they were nev­er agreed, until quite recent­ly. Dif­fer­ent church­es have dif­fer­ent canons, with almost the same lev­el of authen­tic­i­ty to sup­port their respec­tive texts. Not to men­tion that there were some books that were pre­vi­ous­ly accept­ed as canon­i­cal by some Chris­t­ian com­mu­ni­ties, which are not accept­ed today. Just check the Codex Sinaiti­cus, and you’ll be able to find some extra books there.
    The Gospel of Thomas is just an exam­ple to illus­trate that besides claim­ing that the Church is Divine­ly-inspired to pro­tect the text, the Chris­tians have no oth­er means to ver­fiy what’s in the Bible. Besides, if the Gospel was real­ly Saint Thomas’- why not include it ? The time of its dis­cov­ery is not rel­e­vant. And why was it lost in the very first place ?
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Sor­ry but what term would that be ? The term Mus­lim”? That term is as far as I can see entire­ly new with Muhammed even if the con­cept is not — as you would not expect it to be. The term, as I have point­ed out before, is irrel­e­vant because it comes with bag­gage. Chris­tians and Jews may under­stand the con­cept of being a mus­lim” but there is no evi­dence of any­one being Mus­lim” before Muhammed.”
    Well, ros­es, if called by any oth­er name, would smell just as sweet. The con­cept is not new, and that is what I think the Qur’an means when it says that Abra­ham is not a jew nor a chris­t­ian, but a devout mus­lim. If some mus­lims claim that the prophets before Prophet Muham­mad prac­ticed all the Mus­lim prac­tices that we have right now, then they’re wrong.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : I am sure if I thought about it I could think of oth­er options — pray­ing towards Mec­ca, the Kaba, non-infant cir­cum­ci­sion, the rejec­tion of Judaism. Any num­ber of things really.”
    Sure. But I would like to point out that what­ev­er you might come up with, the Qur’an did not refer to that. Our con­cept is some­what sim­i­lar to what you said about a new covenant. Some old rules are abro­gat­ed, some new ones brought up.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Well no because that less” implies a val­ue judge­ment. It cer­tain­ly means that there is no evi­dence that they were Mus­lims apart from claims made by Mus­lims. As I said the true Revi­sion­ists are Mus­lims who insist that they own the Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian nar­ra­tives and they know bet­ter what they are about than Jews and Chris­tians. It is the exact equiv­a­lent of West­ern schol­ars who claim that they know what the Quran real­ly says and which aHa­dith are true, except with­out the schol­ar­ly justification.”
    Not real­ly. as I have point­ed out repeat­ed­ly, the term mus­lim as regards to the pre­vi­ous Prophets is a Qur’an­ic call to jews and chris­tians to what is pre­sum­ably com­mon between us and them. That is, the Qur’an enu­mer­ates some basic beliefs, adher­ence to which qual­i­fies one as a mus­lim accord­ing to its terms. it mat­ters not to us if you accept the term or not. the argu­ment of the qur’an is regard­ing the beliefs of the prophets, not nec­es­sar­i­ly what they called them­selves. and there is no record that any prophet called him­self jew or chris­t­ian, and even if they did, then that’s no prob­lem on our part. as long as you believe in the beliefs i have enu­mer­at­ed in my pre­vi­ous posts, then you qual­i­fy as a mus­lim, at least before the advent of the Prophet Muham­mad, in which case you would have to fol­low all the teach­ings he brought, includ­ing his abro­ga­tion of some of the old rules, and mod­i­fy­ing, chang­ing, or bring­ing up new ones. And the schol­ar­ly jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of this essen­tial­ly the­o­log­i­cal revi­sion­ism’ (as you call it) is pre­cise­ly the weak­ness of cer­tain por­tions of the jew­ish and chris­t­ian scrip­tures, as point­ed out by the mod­ern schol­ars. That is why I men­tioned mod­ern schol­ar­ship. Basi­cal­ly the demand on our part is for each and every word of the Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian scrip­tures as hav­ing come from the Prophets and holy men it was ascribed to, or a means to deter­mine which words are real­ly their words in the case of vari­ants. What mod­ern schol­ar­ship shows is that some changes occurred to the text (some of which occured under the infal­li­ble church!), and hence, not meet­ing the Mus­lim demand.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : In the strictest sense of the word Jew — and it is the sub­tle dif­fer­ence I referred to above — you have a point. But that con­venant was implied before Sinai,
    Gen.17
    [1] And when Abram was nine­ty years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God ; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
    [2] And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will mul­ti­ply thee exceedingly.
    [3] And Abram fell on his face : and God talked with him, saying,
    [4] As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
    So the Jew­ish peo­ple exist­ed as such, more or less, before Sinai. Hence the two mean­ings of Jew­ish for Abraham.”
    I could say that this is a kind of revi­sion­ism too, and say that the claim is mere­ly eiseget­i­cal in nature. There was no men­tion of jew” in the vers­es you cit­ed. On clos­er exam­i­na­tion, one may even point out that these vers­es could well be a refu­ta­tion of the jew­ish claim regard­ing an exclu­sive covenant between them and God, as Abram was to be the father of many nations”. It could even be tak­en as a prophe­cy for Islam, as Arabs are a nation from Abram”, and there is sup­posed to be more than one nation, and prob­a­bly more than two ! but then again, you might rea­son out that this is jew­ish scrip­ture so they aught to know bet­ter about it.
    So then, it would have to be con­ced­ed that Abram” nev­er called him­self jew, chris­t­ian or mus­lim, at least accord­ing to the bible. But you are also will­ing to accept the term mus­lim” (in terms of one being sub­mis­sive to the will of God, which he, peace be upon him, def­i­nite­ly is) for him, albeit com­plain­ing about the bag­gage- and also say­ing that it is too gen­er­al and irrel­e­vant. but you’re revis­ing” the bible your­self when try­ing to fit Abram” into the con­text of being a Jew, which he clear­ly isn’t. Using the same line of rea­son­ing, it could be claimed that Abram” was an Arab as well (regard­ing the sec­ond def­i­n­i­tion of Jew”, which is racial). You see, the term Jew also has some bag­gage” in it, which, even if accept­ed, will not fit Abra­ham. For exam­ple, he mar­ried his half-sis­ter Sarah, an act cursed in the Torah by Moses. An inter­est­ing para­dox aris­es then : who­ev­er curs­es Abra­ham shall him­self be cursed. Moses cursed an act com­mit­ted by Abra­ham, in effect, curs­ing Abra­ham him­self. In effect, Moses is him­self accursed by curs­ing Abra­ham. The dif­fi­cul­ty could be solved by claim­ing that mar­ry­ing half-sis­ters were allowed back in Abra­ham’s time, but not in the Juda­ic Covenant (which I don’t agree to. I believe that it could be deduced from the OT that mar­ry­ing half-sis­ters was also for­bid­den, or at least frowned upon, even back in Abra­ham’s time, but that is not the point here) Well, of course, this is irrel­e­vant, but the point is Abra­ham did not prac­tice all Jew­ish-spe­cif­ic prac­tices, but you still insist on call­ing him a jew in some sense, while imply­ing revi­sion­ism when Mus­lims call him mus­lim’ in some sense.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Total­ly. No Res­ur­rec­tion, no Christianity.”
    Agreed. So, can we call Abra­ham a Chris­t­ian, then, accord­ing to the def­i­n­i­tion you agreed to ? I don’t think so.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : Well there is still more to it than that because Khadija’s hanif cousin was a Chris­t­ian who sup­pos­ed­ly said he would become a Mus­lim if only he was not so old. No he prob­a­bly did sub­mit to the Will of God, but he also specif­i­cal­ly did not become a Mus­lim. There is a dif­fer­ence between a Jew and a Chris­t­ian and a Mus­lim in which Muhammed plays a very large role.”
    Prob­a­bly because Islam has not been expound­ed in that way back in Waraqa ibn Naw­fal’s day. In a sense, hanif is equiv­a­lent to mus­lim, as Abra­ham was called a hanif and a mus­lim. besides, it was Waraqa who made the dis­tinc­tion, not the Prophet Muham­mad. Also, the Prophet’s call came after Waraqa’s death, which would ren­der him inca­pable of fol­low­ing the Prophet, and Islam” prop­er. But he was def­i­nite­ly a fol­low­er of the gener­ic islam” though.
    HeiGou said on 7 Octo­ber 2006 : In effect it is lim­it­ed to Muhammed because Mus­lims have no oth­er sources except the Quran. What do Mus­lims know about Joseph apart from what the Quran (and aHa­dith etc) tells them ? Well they can’t trust Jews because they lie. So it is pret­ty much lim­it­ed to what Muhammed brought or did.”
    Well, Jews lying or not has lit­tle rel­e­vance here, except when some of them lie about the scrip­tures. But there is no claim on my part that they nev­er tell the truth, or that ALL of the bible can­not be trust­ed. Islam in its final form is def­i­nite­ly lim­it­ed to the Prophet Muham­mad, agreed on that. But what he expound­ed is that there were prophets known, or unknown to us. And these Prophets taught the things nec­es­sary to become a mus­lim”- belief in God, His Angels, Books, Prophets, and the Day of Judg­ment. any­thing extra could either be a cor­rup­tion, inten­tion­al or unin­ten­tion­al, or some­thing of lit­tle sig­nif­i­cance in com­par­i­son to these core doc­trines, or a spe­cial com­mand­ment or pro­vi­sion for that nation. Any omis­sion may be an omis­sion com­mit­ted by the per­sons who claimed to be the fol­low­ers of these Prophets, or maybe the result of his­tor­i­cal process­es. And this is one of the rea­sons why, we Mus­lims believe, that the Last Prophet Muham­mad was sent to the worlds.

  11. aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“Luke him­self admit­ted that he was not an eye­wit­ness. So, he got his infor­ma­tion from some­one else. And this is where the con­cept of isnad” comes in (which you say is not need­ed by Chris­tians). What is the source of his infor­ma­tion ? Yes, the Gospels are evi­dence of a sort, but a por­tion of it is doubt­ful (which does­nt nec­es­sar­i­ly trans­late into false”). How­ev­er, I would have to agree with you that some mod­ern” crit­i­cism of the Bible (and Islam­ic texts as well) are based on an a pri­ori denial of any­thing divine or super­nat­ur­al, which of course, is unsci­en­tif­ic. On that, I agree with you.”

    Where did Luke say he did­n’t ? It seems to me that he did not claim he did, but that is not to say that he did­n’t. But there are also accounts in Mark, Matthew and John as well. Luke also clear­ly saw part of the events he described. You have to say that you can attack many things about the Gospels, but as eye­wit­ness tes­ti­mo­ny goes they look good. You’re safer claim­ing Luke did not write them. Luke was there so how could you have an isnad any­way ? If not right at Gol­go­tha then not far away — it is not as if there is a 200 year gap of oral trans­mis­sion. Chris­tian­i­ty and Judaism are lit­er­ate reli­gions in a way that Islam is not. We are hav­ing a lot of agree­ment ! I do not think that the apri­ori rejec­tion of the super­nat­ur­al is unsci­en­tif­ic — on the con­trary a good sci­en­tist should nev­er look for or accept such expla­na­tions. If there is some­thing he does not under­stand he needs to work hard­er to understand.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“However, my point is quite dif­fer­ent. It is not a ques­tion of do peo­ple real­ly rise again from the dead (I believe that they do, by the will of God), it is a ques­tion of did that par­tic­u­lar per­son claim that he rose from the dead (if he claims such a thing, of course it still remains to be proven if his claim reflects real­i­ty). which takes me to the sec­ond part, the evi­dence says that…”. but the evi­dence indi­cates that the authors were not eye­wit­ness­es (luke) or, at best, unknown (the beloved dis­ci­ple”, com­mon­ly thought of as john). which leads to the nat­ur­al ques­tion : how can i be sure that the infor­ma­tion came from jesus him­self, peace be upon him ? that is why i am ask­ing you for a chain of trans­mis­sion, or any­thing com­pa­ra­ble to that, so i can ver­i­fy. but i have no prob­lem even if the evan­ge­lists were not eye­wit­ness­es. i just want to know where they got their infor­ma­tion about jesus, so as to be sure that i get what he real­ly taught. the same applies for every prophet or holy man.”

    Well that per­son could hard­ly claim to have risen from the dead unless He rose from the dead. But OK let’s leave that. What evi­dence indi­cates that they were not eye­wit­ness­es ? Even if they were unknown, as Luke is more or less, how would that affect the nature of their tes­ti­mo­ny ? You ask a good ques­tion but the Chris­t­ian answer would be that the text is pro­tect­ed by God — and also that the accounts were writ­ten down in the very ear­ly peri­od by peo­ple who were there. The nature of Christ for Chris­tians is that He is alive and work­ing with­in His com­mu­ni­ty. The text is not as impor­tant as that fact. How­ev­er Chris­tians also have some­thing like an isnad but a short one — Luke is sup­posed to have writ­ten his Gospel because Paul told him to — or even that Paul dic­tat­ed it. Mark, Peter’s inter­preter, is sup­posed to have writ­ten it after hear­ing from Peter. Matthew and John were pre­sum­ably both there. If you are not a Chris­t­ian I doubt there is any cer­tain­ty but a Chris­t­ian would point to the promise of Christ remain­ing with­in His Church. The Church can­not go wrong.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“Each and every verse of the Qur’an is deemed to have reached the lev­el of tawwatur, that is, so many peo­ple has nar­rat­ed every verse that it is impos­si­ble for them to have con­trived a lie. that is, the very same prin­ci­ple for hadith applies to the Qur’an. in fact, it’s more rig­or­ous. chains of trans­mis­sion are not nec­es­sary any­more, due to the sheer num­ber of per­sons tes­ti­fy­ing for each and every verse. no faith­ful mus­lim, since the ear­li­est of times, would accept any­thing less. hence, even mus­lims slay­ing each oth­er on the bat­tle of sif­fin agree on one qur’an. how­ev­er, there are chains of trans­mis­sion for the qur’an. here they are : http://www.islamic-awareness.o.….fs.html#4.”

    Except that it all comes down to one act — the com­pil­ing of the Utham­ic ver­sion, the recall and destruc­tion of all oth­er ver­sions. All you have proven is that the Caliphate was very thor­ough in destroy­ing all oth­er copies of the Quran. Even so the aHa­dith show that it used to con­tain a verse on ston­ing but it does not any longer and there is a per­sis­tent Shia tra­di­tion that Ali had his own Quran which, not sur­pris­ing­ly, Sun­ni hadith specif­i­cal­ly reject. The one sur­viv­ing copy proves the effi­cien­cy of the cen­sor­ship but noth­ing much else. If those alter­na­tive copies had sur­vived and we could judge that they said that was dif­fer­ent, we could make sen­si­ble com­ments on the uni­for­mi­ty of the Quran but because none have, the dif­fer­ent ver­sions could have said anything.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“so, we have an assur­ance that what we are recit­ing today is the qur’an of Muham­mad, praise and peace be upon him. whether he is mak­ing up what’s in the Qur’an is besides the point. the point is we know what he actu­al­ly taught. quite unlike a por­tion of the bible, where we can’t tell if the words are actu­al­ly from a prophet or not.”

    Well no, whether he made it up or not is the key issue. You have not explained to me how Umar could stand up and say that the Quran used to con­tain the verse on rajam but does not any more. The oth­er prob­lem being that the Quran just does not say much. For Mus­lims to know what Islam is, they need the Hadith which does not have a guar­an­tee. Chris­tians have the author­i­ty of the Church so they do not need it.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“Yes, we all need one. any reli­gion just claim­ing that some­thing came from God with­out ver­i­fi­ca­tion is sim­ply beg­ging the ques­tion. What if it is not true that God pro­tects a cer­tain text ? any liar could then claim that he brought some­thing from God (a com­mon accu­sa­tion against the Beloved Prophet), then some­one sim­ply believes in him, since God pro­tects what he says.”

    It would depend on how they deter­mined their Truth. There are any num­ber of sto­ries of peo­ple con­vert­ing in Africa and South-East Asia because Mus­lim Sufis per­formed mir­a­cles. If you see a mir­a­cle you are like­ly to con­vert no mat­ter what the log­ic of the reli­gion is. The­ol­o­gy is, after all, just a way of ratio­nal­is­ing remain­ing with­in a reli­gion. Not for join­ing it. All reli­gions need a way to dis­tin­guish between real and fake rev­e­la­tion. Usu­al­ly with sol­diers. In the real world this prob­lem is unsolveable.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“why is it so hard to believe that some­one would invent it ? a big­ot and racist would have been hap­py to read a text which advo­cates and jus­ti­fies geno­cide. well, there’s a need… per­haps some­one ven­tured to sup­ply the need?”

    But what need ? Very few reli­gions order or jus­ti­fy geno­cide. The exis­tence of Moses is unsup­port­ed by the evi­dence, apart from the Bible, and so if there nev­er was any geno­cide, the Jews have not tried to com­mit one since, and are not intend­ing to com­mit one in the future, why would they claim one occurred ? It does not make sense to me.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“I’m not sure how and why it was invent­ed. and i must con­fess that i am approach­ing it from a the­o­log­i­cal per­spec­tive, which is why i am unable to believe that any prophet could have ordered such acts. but in the absence of con­clu­sive evi­dence from Moses him­self, i have the lux­u­ry to deny it, and believe what the Prophet Muham­mad said, whom I believe to be a prophet.”

    Well that just means you are in a dif­fer­ent bind because you have to believe Muhammed did things that were, by most stan­dards, bad. I assume you just do what many Jews do and ratio­nalise them. You have the lux­u­ry of deny­ing the bad ele­ments of oth­er Faiths, but not your own.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“we’re not say­ing that you should use the Qur’an or the aha­dith as pri­ma­ry source mate­r­i­al, say for exam­ple for the sto­ry of Prophet Joseph. no, that’s not how mod­ern” his­tor­i­cal research works. but what we’re say­ing is that some of the sto­ries in the bible in which the qur’an slight­ly dif­fers are not con­clu­sive and coher­ent enough to war­rant a rejec­tion of what the islam­ic texts are say­ing as a pos­si­bil­i­ty. if the bible is REALLY sure about what it says, and the qur’an con­tra­dicts the bible, then i should reject the qur’an.”

    Those mod­ern schol­ars that reject the Bible are one thing, but most peo­ple would accept that the Bible con­tains his­tor­i­cal mate­r­i­al of a sort. The dis­tinc­tion here is that the Quran was writ­ten by Arabs and for Arabs cen­turies after the events it claims to describe. The OT and the NT are in the same cul­tur­al tra­di­tion — they claim to be the records of their own his­to­ries, not some­one else’s. That is a fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence in cred­i­bil­i­ty. The Bible is real­ly sure about Abra­ham and Isaac.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“Well, Mus­lims do not nec­es­sar­i­ly reject rea­son. but we give pri­ma­cy to nar­ra­tion over rea­son, at least when it comes to our texts.”

    A minor point and I will accept it.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“And i dis­agree that the aha­dith is equiv­a­lent to the midrash, mishrah and gemar­ra. the aha­dith is more akin to the Gospels, since it tells us about what the Prophet did, said, or taught, albeit in a more detailed man­ner than the Gospels. the equiv­a­lent to the midrash would be the tafsirs. both are writ­ten by learned schol­ars of the respec­tive faiths as com­men­taries to the sacred text.”

    Except the aHa­dith are not divine Texts in that sense. I am not con­vinced they tell you in more detail — they are con­cerned more with Ortho­praxy not Ortho­doxy and so con­cen­trate on what Muhammed did, not nec­es­sar­i­ly what he thought. Anoth­er impor­tant dif­fer­ence with Chris­t­ian thought.

    The prob­lem for Mus­lims is that the Quran says so lit­tle. The OT is a much more thor­ough book of law and the NT a much more detailed moral and the­o­log­i­cal guide. Mus­lims need the aHa­dith or they would be stuck.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“shariah would be the equiv­a­lent of the chris­t­ian canon law, and kalam would be the equiv­a­lent of philosophy.”

    I am not sure that canon law and Sharia are com­pa­ra­ble. Jew­ish and Islam­ic law are, but canon law owes more to Greece and Rome if you ask me.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“do these sci­ences you men­tioned help you con­firm what was actu­al­ly said by the Prophets Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them?”

    No but they are vital to under­stand­ing what they meant. If you do not know why Jesus did some­thing it is hard to under­stand the pur­pose behind it. Again the dif­fer­ence between Ortho­doxy and Orthopraxy.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“Within their own groups. but not with each oth­er, while all who claim to be mus­lim, regard­less of sect, agree on one text of the Qur’an.”

    As long as they post-date Uth­man. This is just a reflec­tion of the poor doc­u­men­tary record and the thor­ough­ness of the Uth­man­ic cen­sor­ship. Besides, the extrem­ists have such vio­lent­ly dif­fer­ing inter­pre­ta­tions of the Quran, and sup­ple­ment it with things like the opin­ion of the Aga Khans, that it is hard to make that claim. The words may be the same, but the Qurans are very different.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“besides, this is again beg­ging the ques­tion : what were the stan­dards used to arrive on such an agree­ment ? it doesn’t mat­ter whether the jews, catholics and protes­tants agree on the very same books. the ques­tion is how do they know which books to include, which books to believe in to be pro­tect­ed by God and inspired by Him ? this is what i was orig­i­nal­ly ask­ing you for. for exam­ple, why not include the Gospel of Thomas in the canon, since it was pur­port­ed­ly writ­ten by a dis­ci­ple of Jesus him­self ? what are the con­sid­er­a­tions for not includ­ing such works as this, and includ­ing oth­ers ? why not apply those con­sid­er­a­tions to the books you have now in your bibles?”

    It is hard­ly beg­ging the ques­tion. The process is well known — Chris­tians claim the Church agreed in a series of Syn­ods and their work is Divine­ly Inspired. Jesus works with­in the Church to this day. As the Gospel of Saint Thomas was not dis­cov­ered until 1945, I don’t think there was ever any ques­tion of why it was not includ­ed. No one seems to have known about it, it does not appear in any com­men­taries for instance, and so it was not con­sid­ered. Chris­tians have a sim­ple cir­cu­lar argu­ment here — if it was gen­uine, God would have includ­ed it. As the text is Divine­ly protected.

    Me:“You mean there are Jews who believe in God, His angels, their books, their prophets and lots of peo­ple who believe the Day of Judge­ment. Any­thing specif­i­cal­ly Mus­lim about any of this ? For instance, camal is hal­lal but not kosher. Any Jews who ate camel before Muhammed ? The slight­est evi­dence that any Jews or Chris­tians ever prac­ticed the hajj or thought that Abra­ham went near Mecca?”

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“This is how we deter­mine those who are mus­lims from what we claim are old­er ummahs, and it is not our prob­lem if jews and chris­tians object to a term they them­selves believe in.”

    Sor­ry but what term would that be ? The term Mus­lim”? That term is as far as I can see entire­ly new with Muhammed even if the con­cept is not — as you would not expect it to be. The term, as I have point­ed out before, is irrel­e­vant because it comes with bag­gage. Chris­tians and Jews may under­stand the con­cept of being a mus­lim” but there is no evi­dence of any­one being Mus­lim” before Muhammed.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“and jews not eat­ing camels are besides the point. why ? because the Qur’an explic­it­ly stat­ed that some things are for­bid­den to the pre­vi­ous nations that are now per­mis­si­ble to the Mus­lims, and vice versa.”

    I am sure if I thought about it I could think of oth­er options — pray­ing towards Mec­ca, the Kaba, non-infant cir­cum­ci­sion, the rejec­tion of Judaism. Any num­ber of things really.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“That does not make the pre­vi­ous nations any less Mus­lim than us.”

    Well no because that less” implies a val­ue judge­ment. It cer­tain­ly means that there is no evi­dence that they were Mus­lims apart from claims made by Mus­lims. As I said the true Revi­sion­ists are Mus­lims who insist that they own the Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian nar­ra­tives and they know bet­ter what they are about than Jews and Chris­tians. It is the exact equiv­a­lent of West­ern schol­ars who claim that they know what the Quran real­ly says and which aHa­dith are true, except with­out the schol­ar­ly justification.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“well, as i under­stand it, you were appar­ent­ly reject­ing the term, claim­ing that islam is a revi­sion­ism too by claim­ing that the holy per­son­ages we have men­tioned here are all mus­lims. you your­self has admit­ted that the term is too gen­er­al. but a gen­er­al claim need not be false.”

    Actu­al­ly I am object­ing to the claim they were Mus­lims. As above.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“this can­not be com­pared to the terms jew, chris­t­ian, or bahai. why ? let’s start with judaism. judaism, if defined in terms of a sys­tem of beliefs cen­tered around a covenant between God and the Chil­dren of Israel on mount sinai would of course be lim­it­ed to a con­nec­tion with the event. hence, no covenant on mount sinai, no jew. to explain judaism oth­er­wise would make judaism too gen­er­al and a revi­sion­ism’ too. what is the evi­dence that Prophet Abra­ham was a jew?”

    In the strictest sense of the word Jew — and it is the sub­tle dif­fer­ence I referred to above — you have a point. But that con­venant was implied before Sinai,

    Gen.17
    [1] And when Abram was nine­ty years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God ; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
    [2] And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will mul­ti­ply thee exceedingly.
    [3] And Abram fell on his face : and God talked with him, saying,
    [4] As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

    So the Jew­ish peo­ple exist­ed as such, more or less, before Sinai. Hence the two mean­ings of Jew­ish for Abraham.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“same goes for chris­tian­i­ty, which hinges on the sac­ri­fice of Jesus on the cross. no jesus (or cru­ci­fix­ion), no christianity.”

    Total­ly. No Res­ur­rec­tion, no Christianity.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“but islam does not just hinge on the Prophet Muham­mad alone, at least not before his time. accord­ing to islam­ic beliefs, (which you call revi­sion­ism) islam is sub­mis­sion to the will of God, plain and sim­ple. it was already like that before the Prophet, and after it.”

    Well there is still more to it than that because Khadi­ja’s hanif cousin was a Chris­t­ian who sup­pos­ed­ly said he would become a Mus­lim if only he was not so old. No he prob­a­bly did sub­mit to the Will of God, but he also specif­i­cal­ly did not become a Mus­lim. There is a dif­fer­ence between a Jew and a Chris­t­ian and a Mus­lim in which Muhammed plays a very large role.

    aian jaa­far said on 7 Octo­ber 2006:“of course, belief in the prophet who brought the rev­e­la­tion is incum­bent as well, but it is not lim­it­ed to the Prophet Muhammad.”

    In effect it is lim­it­ed to Muhammed because Mus­lims have no oth­er sources except the Quran. What do Mus­lims know about Joseph apart from what the Quran (and aHa­dith etc) tells them ? Well they can’t trust Jews because they lie. So it is pret­ty much lim­it­ed to what Muhammed brought or did.

  12. HeiGou said on 5 Octo­ber 2006 :
    I do not make any com­ment on whether they were sub­mis­sive to God. I con­tin­ue to point out that only Mus­lims think they were Mus­lims. Which is not a denial of what Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty teach­es but in fact stan­dard ortho­doxy for those two reli­gions. Most peo­ple think Moses was a Jew. The Quran insists that he was a Mus­lim and hence not a Jew. Actu­al­ly there is no evi­dence of any­one engag­ing in Mus­lim-spe­cif­ic prac­tices before Muhammed. None. I expect that Jew­ish-spe­cif­ic prac­tices have a much longer and bet­ter doc­u­ment­ed his­to­ry than Islam­ic ones. Your view is a the­o­log­i­cal one, not a his­tor­i­cal one.”

    How do you know that they were not eye­wit­ness­es ? And the Gospels are evi­dence of a sort. There is pre­cise­ly no evi­dence for the Quran­ic view before Muhammed. Find me any­one else who thought that before Muhammed was born. The Bible also claims that He did die and rose again. You are selec­tive in which parts of the Bible you choose to believe. Why ? There is mod­ern crit­i­cism of a lot of the Bible, but from an evi­dence-based point of view it tends to derive from peo­ple don’t die and rise again” rather than the evi­dence says that…”.”

    Luke him­self admit­ted that he was not an eye­wit­ness. So, he got his infor­ma­tion from some­one else. And this is where the con­cept of isnad” comes in (which you say is not need­ed by Chris­tians). What is the source of his infor­ma­tion ? Yes, the Gospels are evi­dence of a sort, but a por­tion of it is doubt­ful (which does­nt nec­es­sar­i­ly trans­late into false”). How­ev­er, I would have to agree with you that some mod­ern” crit­i­cism of the Bible (and Islam­ic texts as well) are based on an a pri­ori denial of any­thing divine or super­nat­ur­al, which of course, is unsci­en­tif­ic. On that, I agree with you.

    How­ev­er, my point is quite dif­fer­ent. It is not a ques­tion of do peo­ple real­ly rise again from the dead (I believe that they do, by the will of God), it is a ques­tion of did that par­tic­u­lar per­son claim that he rose from the dead (if he claims such a thing, of course it still remains to be proven if his claim reflects real­i­ty). which takes me to the sec­ond part, the evi­dence says that…”. but the evi­dence indi­cates that the authors were not eye­wit­ness­es (luke) or, at best, unknown (the beloved dis­ci­ple”, com­mon­ly thought of as john). which leads to the nat­ur­al ques­tion : how can i be sure that the infor­ma­tion came from jesus him­self, peace be upon him ? that is why i am ask­ing you for a chain of trans­mis­sion, or any­thing com­pa­ra­ble to that, so i can ver­i­fy. but i have no prob­lem even if the evan­ge­lists were not eye­wit­ness­es. i just want to know where they got their infor­ma­tion about jesus, so as to be sure that i get what he real­ly taught. the same applies for every prophet or holy man.

    The Hadith. Not the Quran. I am quite impressed with the method­ol­o­gy of peo­ple like Bukhari so it is a sur­prise to me that he seems to get so much wrong.”

    Each and every verse of the Qur’an is deemed to have reached the lev­el of tawwatur, that is, so many peo­ple has nar­rat­ed every verse that it is impos­si­ble for them to have con­trived a lie. that is, the very same prin­ci­ple for hadith applies to the Qur’an. in fact, it’s more rig­or­ous. chains of trans­mis­sion are not nec­es­sary any­more, due to the sheer num­ber of per­sons tes­ti­fy­ing for each and every verse. no faith­ful mus­lim, since the ear­li­est of times, would accept any­thing less. hence, even mus­lims slay­ing each oth­er on the bat­tle of sif­fin agree on one qur’an. how­ev­er, there are chains of trans­mis­sion for the qur’an. here they are : http://​www​.islam​ic​-aware​ness​.org/​Q​u​r​a​n​/​T​e​x​t​/​Q​i​r​a​a​t​/​h​a​f​s​.​h​t​m​l#4.

    so, we have an assur­ance that what we are recit­ing today is the qur’an of Muham­mad, praise and peace be upon him. whether he is mak­ing up what’s in the Qur’an is besides the point. the point is we know what he actu­al­ly taught. quite unlike a por­tion of the bible, where we can’t tell if the words are actu­al­ly from a prophet or not.

    Do they need one ? Chris­tians, Jews and Mus­lims are all agreed that their texts are pro­tect­ed by God and need noth­ing else. Well Mus­lims have a prob­lem because the Quran tells them so lit­tle about their reli­gion, but more or less, all three are on the same page. I am not sure what the Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian stan­dard is but as God pro­tects the text it hard­ly mat­ter does it?”

    Yes, we all need one. any reli­gion just claim­ing that some­thing came from God with­out ver­i­fi­ca­tion is sim­ply beg­ging the ques­tion. What if it is not true that God pro­tects a cer­tain text ? any liar could then claim that he brought some­thing from God (a com­mon accu­sa­tion against the Beloved Prophet), then some­one sim­ply believes in him, since God pro­tects what he says.

    besides, if it is just the­o­log­i­cal sub­jects, then that is cer­tain­ly beyond the scope of his­to­ry. And much of what is writ­ten in the jew­ish, chris­t­ian and mus­lim texts is about such top­ics. no prob­lem with that. but our texts are also con­cerned with his­to­ry, about what hap­pened in the past.
    I find it hard to believe any­one would invent them if they were not true. The same approach as a lot of things said about Muhammed. But evi­dence for them does not appear strong to me. The choice though comes down to whether a very old qua­si-his­tor­i­cal Jew­ish text is to be believed or a more mod­ern text writ­ten by some­one uncon­nect­ed to the orig­i­nal peo­ple involved is. That, to me, is no contest.”

    why is it so hard to believe that some­one would invent it ? a big­ot and racist would have been hap­py to read a text which advo­cates and jus­ti­fies geno­cide. well, there’s a need… per­haps some­one ven­tured to sup­ply the need ? I’m not sure how and why it was invent­ed. and i must con­fess that i am approach­ing it from a the­o­log­i­cal per­spec­tive, which is why i am unable to believe that any prophet could have ordered such acts. but in the absence of con­clu­sive evi­dence from Moses him­self, i have the lux­u­ry to deny it, and believe what the Prophet Muham­mad said, whom I believe to be a prophet. if such con­clu­sive evi­dence shows up, then my the­o­log­i­cal per­spec­tive, and per­haps even a state­ment of the Prophet, would be con­tra­dict­ed by cold, his­tor­i­cal fact. but there is no such con­clu­sive evi­dence as of the moment, besides the old tes­ta­ment which you label qua­si-his­tor­i­cal”. we’re not say­ing that you should use the Qur’an or the aha­dith as pri­ma­ry source mate­r­i­al, say for exam­ple for the sto­ry of Prophet Joseph. no, that’s not how mod­ern” his­tor­i­cal research works. but what we’re say­ing is that some of the sto­ries in the bible in which the qur’an slight­ly dif­fers are not con­clu­sive and coher­ent enough to war­rant a rejec­tion of what the islam­ic texts are say­ing as a pos­si­bil­i­ty. if the bible is REALLY sure about what it says, and the qur’an con­tra­dicts the bible, then i should reject the qur’an.

    Actu­al­ly I have point­ed out that they have — they think, like Mus­lims, that God pro­tects their texts. They do not need the isnads. Mus­lims do — the more so because Mus­lims reject rea­son. The equiv­a­lent of the aHa­dith in Jew­ish law would be Midrash, the Mishrah and Gemar­ra (that is, com­ment on the Bible, the oral law, and com­men­taries on the oral law). These are not pro­tect­ed in any way but are to be dis­cussed and thought about. They are not sacred. The Chris­t­ian equiv­a­lent would be canon law and phi­los­o­phy. Again nei­ther of these are sacred or pro­tect­ed. They are all the prod­uct of rea­son and argu­ment. If you reject rea­son you need some­thing else like an isnad.”

    Ang maybe God pro­tects Simon Magus as well. Again, this is beg­ging the ques­tion. Well, Mus­lims do not nec­es­sar­i­ly reject rea­son. but we give pri­ma­cy to nar­ra­tion over rea­son, at least when it comes to our texts. And i dis­agree that the aha­dith is equiv­a­lent to the midrash, mishrah and gemar­ra. the aha­dith is more akin to the Gospels, since it tells us about what the Prophet did, said, or taught, albeit in a more detailed man­ner than the Gospels. the equiv­a­lent to the midrash would be the tafsirs. both are writ­ten by learned schol­ars of the respec­tive faiths as com­men­taries to the sacred text. shari­ah would be the equiv­a­lent of the chris­t­ian canon law, and kalam would be the equiv­a­lent of phi­los­o­phy. do these sci­ences you men­tioned help you con­firm what was actu­al­ly said by the Prophets Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them ? of course much of the aha­dith can be called a com­men­tary or an inter­pre­ta­tion of the Qur’an by the Prophet him­self. but the sci­ences you men­tioned were deviced by rab­bis and chris­t­ian schol­ars, not by Prophets Moses and Jesus.

    I think you may find that Jews and Chris­tians are fair­ly agreed, with­in their own groups, on the Bible. The Jews only have one. The Roman Catholics only have one. The Protes­tants tend to fol­low the Jew­ish books.”

    With­in their own groups. but not with each oth­er, while all who claim to be mus­lim, regard­less of sect, agree on one text of the Qur’an. besides, this is again beg­ging the ques­tion : what were the stan­dards used to arrive on such an agree­ment ? it does­n’t mat­ter whether the jews, catholics and protes­tants agree on the very same books. the ques­tion is how do they know which books to include, which books to believe in to be pro­tect­ed by God and inspired by Him ? this is what i was orig­i­nal­ly ask­ing you for. for exam­ple, why not include the Gospel of Thomas in the canon, since it was pur­port­ed­ly writ­ten by a dis­ci­ple of Jesus him­self ? what are the con­sid­er­a­tions for not includ­ing such works as this, and includ­ing oth­ers ? why not apply those con­sid­er­a­tions to the books you have now in your bibles ?

    As far as I know there has nev­er been an argu­ment about Esther among Jews and Christians”
    Yes, there were argu­ments : http://​www​.bible​cen​tre​.net/​r​e​f​e​r​e​n​c​e​/​o​t​_​i​n​t​r​o​/​i​n​t​r​o​233​.​h​tml. and even if there was not, that is besides the point. my point is how did that book, or any book for that mat­ter, made it’s way in the bible ?

    But you can’t con­firm that Muhammed said what he real­ly said either — at least when it comes to the Quran. Isnads only give you some assur­ance about the aHa­dith but you can­not com­pare the Bible to those, but to the Quran. It is not a defi­cien­cy because they are not need­ed. I think it is bet­ter for Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty that they have adopt­ed a sys­tem of phi­los­o­phy and log­ic and ratio­nal thought to approach those texts that sup­ple­ment their reli­gion. Bet­ter than the more or less total rejec­tion of ratio­nal thought by Muslims.”

    in fact, we can : http://​www​.islam​ic​-aware​ness​.org/​Q​u​r​a​n​/​T​e​x​t​/​Q​i​r​a​a​t​/​h​a​f​s​.​h​t​m​l#4. i have to repeat, each and every verse of the Qur’an has reached the lev­el of tawwatur, by Mus­lim stan­dards. also, many aha­dith refer to the Qur’an. as for the objec­tions of the revi­sion­ists, i think the arti­cle we are com­ment­ing about has respond­ed to them quite well. again, a por­tion of the bible (specif­i­cal­ly, the four Gospels) can be com­pared to ahadith.

    Well no. There wouldn’t be would there as Jesus brings in the New Con­venant. The ques­tion you have to ask is whether Jesus died and remains at work in the world, espe­cial­ly the Chris­t­ian Church, today.”

    And we believe that the Prophet Muham­mad brought the Last Covenant, the affir­ma­tion of the First Covenant between the prog­e­ny of Adam and their Benef­i­cent Lord. and yes, i have asked the ques­tion whether Jesus died or not.

    You mean there are Jews who believe in God, His angels, their books, their prophets and lots of peo­ple who believe the Day of Judge­ment. Any­thing specif­i­cal­ly Mus­lim about any of this ? For instance, camal is hal­lal but not kosher. Any Jews who ate camel before Muhammed ? The slight­est evi­dence that any Jews or Chris­tians ever prac­ticed the hajj or thought that Abra­ham went near Mecca?”

    This is how we deter­mine those who are mus­lims from what we claim are old­er ummahs, and it is not our prob­lem if jews and chris­tians object to a term they them­selves believe in. and jews not eat­ing camels are besides the point. why ? because the Qur’an explic­it­ly stat­ed that some things are for­bid­den to the pre­vi­ous nations that are now per­mis­si­ble to the Mus­lims, and vice ver­sa. That does not make the pre­vi­ous nations any less Mus­lim than us. And nei­ther is it claimed in the Qur’an that the pre­vi­ous mus­lim” nations have the same, exact prac­tices that we have right now. Quite the con­trary. the Qur’an states that the sab­bath was incum­bent upon the pre­vi­ous mus­lim (sub­mis­sive to God) com­mu­ni­ty of israel, but not to the Mus­lim fol­low­ers of Prophet Muhammad.

    Only the aHa­dith. Isnads obvi­ous­ly do not apply to the Quran.”

    not true. http://​www​.islam​ic​-aware​ness​.org/​Q​u​r​a​n​/​T​e​x​t​/​Q​i​r​a​a​t​/​h​a​f​s​.​h​t​m​l#4

    Let me draw a dis­tinc­tion between two uses of the word mus­lim”. He may have been sub­mis­sive of God (mus­lim) but Jews don’t think he was a Mus­lim — the term Mus­lim car­ries more with it than the idea of being sub­mis­sive to God. The usage of mus­lim is irrel­e­vant as far as I am con­cerned because it is too gen­er­al. Jews and Chris­tians would not take the claim he was a Mus­lim as ratio­nal so it is not a ques­tion of reject­ing it. You would not even both­er with a claim that Muhammed was a Bahai would you ? I assume that Jews think he was a Jew and Chris­tians too by and large — but in the sense of a Hebrew before the Con­venant rather than a Jew (there is a sub­tle the­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ence in the term Jew” which is impor­tant to Jews but I sus­pect irrel­e­vant here).

    well, as i under­stand it, you were appar­ent­ly reject­ing the term, claim­ing that islam is a revi­sion­ism too by claim­ing that the holy per­son­ages we have men­tioned here are all mus­lims. you your­self has admit­ted that the term is too gen­er­al. but a gen­er­al claim need not be false. this can­not be com­pared to the terms jew, chris­t­ian, or bahai. why ? let’s start with judaism. judaism, if defined in terms of a sys­tem of beliefs cen­tered around a covenant between God and the Chil­dren of Israel on mount sinai would of course be lim­it­ed to a con­nec­tion with the event. hence, no covenant on mount sinai, no jew. to explain judaism oth­er­wise would make judaism too gen­er­al and a revi­sion­ism’ too. what is the evi­dence that Prophet Abra­ham was a jew ? same goes for chris­tian­i­ty, which hinges on the sac­ri­fice of Jesus on the cross. no jesus (or cru­ci­fix­ion), no chris­tian­i­ty. but islam does not just hinge on the Prophet Muham­mad alone, at least not before his time. accord­ing to islam­ic beliefs, (which you call revi­sion­ism) islam is sub­mis­sion to the will of God, plain and sim­ple. it was already like that before the Prophet, and after it. of course, belief in the prophet who brought the rev­e­la­tion is incum­bent as well, but it is not lim­it­ed to the Prophet Muham­mad. So, it can­not be said that there could be no islam (in the sense that the Qur’an intend­ed) before the Prophet Muham­mad, since he was alleged­ly the founder of the reli­gion. as for the Bahais, i know very lit­tle about their claims. But what­ev­er claims they have regard­ing the Prophet, i would have to exam­ine it in the light of the Qur’an and ahadith.
    peace.

  13. here’s a good link regard­ing ear­ly hadiths : http://​www​.islam​ic​-aware​ness​.org/​H​a​d​i​t​h​/​h​a​d​i​t​h​.​h​tml.

    take note that the sahi­fa is a work by Ham­mam bin Munab­bih, a dis­ci­ple of Hadhrat Abu Hurayrah, who is of course a com­pan­ion of the Prophet Muham­mad, praise and peace be upon him. here is anoth­er one, also from the same site : http://​www​.islam​ic​-aware​ness​.org/​H​a​d​i​t​h​/​b​u​k​h​a​r​i​.​h​tml.

    you can check out the rest of their great site for refu­ta­tions of revi­sion­ists regard­ing the qur’an and ahadith.

  14. aian jaa­far said on 5 Octo­ber 2006:“Well, if they deny that these prophets are sub­mis­sive to God, then they deny what their reli­gion preach­es. So now you’re say­ing that Moses is a Jew- even though he does not belong to the tribe of judah. of course the word jew” has many con­no­ta­tions and many beliefs corol­lary to the appli­ca­tion of the word. if what you mean by jew is some­one from the chil­dren of israel who took a spe­cial covenant with God on mount sinai- how does the Qur’an deny that ? we are sim­ply deny­ing prac­tices, beliefs,or even scrip­tures which can­not be traced back to Moses, to Jesus, or to any prophet,for that matter.”

    I do not make any com­ment on whether they were sub­mis­sive to God. I con­tin­ue to point out that only Mus­lims think they were Mus­lims. Which is not a denial of what Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty teach­es but in fact stan­dard ortho­doxy for those two reli­gions. Most peo­ple think Moses was a Jew. The Quran insists that he was a Mus­lim and hence not a Jew. Actu­al­ly there is no evi­dence of any­one engag­ing in Mus­lim-spe­cif­ic prac­tices before Muhammed. None. I expect that Jew­ish-spe­cif­ic prac­tices have a much longer and bet­ter doc­u­ment­ed his­to­ry than Islam­ic ones. Your view is a the­o­log­i­cal one, not a his­tor­i­cal one.

    aian jaa­far said on 5 Octo­ber 2006:“well, where is the evi­dence you were talk­ing about ? this is con­nect­ed to a point i was mak­ing about the evan­ge­lists not being eye­wit­ness­es. again, the qur’an claims that they thought that jesus died. and that is pre­cise­ly what i read in the bible, some­one claim­ing to wit­ness the cru­ci­fix­ion from afar, and think­ing that jesus died ! of course, john” claimed to be near the cross, but this is where mod­ern crit­i­cism of the authen­tic­i­ty of his gospel comes in.”

    How do you know that they were not eye­wit­ness­es ? And the Gospels are evi­dence of a sort. There is pre­cise­ly no evi­dence for the Quran­ic view before Muhammed. Find me any­one else who thought that before Muhammed was born. The Bible also claims that He did die and rose again. You are selec­tive in which parts of the Bible you choose to believe. Why ? There is mod­ern crit­i­cism of a lot of the Bible, but from an evi­dence-based point of view it tends to derive from peo­ple don’t die and rise again” rather than the evi­dence says that…”.

    aian jaa­far said on 5 Octo­ber 2006:“i am not con­fus­ing the two. i just men­tioned that some of the find­ings of mod­ern schol­ar­ship tend to con­firm the ear­ly crit­i­cisms of mus­lims regard­ing the bible. but it def­i­nite­ly dis­proves the beliefs of bible inerrantists.”

    Actu­al­ly it does­n’t. If you pick and choose care­ful­ly among the mod­ern schol­ar­ship you can find things you like. But the mod­ern view that says mir­a­cles are unsci­en­tif­ic and so don’t hap­pen what­ev­er the Bible says about the Res­ur­rec­tion” also applies to the Vir­gin Birth (which I assume you accept) and so on — to the mir­a­cles of Muhammed even. So your approach is inher­ent­ly flawed in that you are not deal­ing with the entire argu­ment but only those bits that agree with what you, I assume, have decid­ed is true anyway.

    aian jaa­far said on 5 Octo­ber 2006:“this web­site, and also islam­ic aware​ness​.org has already tack­led this. i con­fess that i am not an expert regard­ing this. but you have admit­ted that a high­ly-flawed” method was devel­oped 200 yrs after the Prophet’s death. so, some­thing was devel­oped to gauge the authen­tic­i­ty of texts then.”

    The Hadith. Not the Quran. I am quite impressed with the method­ol­o­gy of peo­ple like Bukhari so it is a sur­prise to me that he seems to get so much wrong.

    aian jaa­far said on 5 Octo­ber 2006:“could you tell me what the jews and chris­tians devel­oped regard­ing the authen­tic­i­ty of their sources, besides claim­ing that God pro­tects the text ? we mus­lims also claim that regard­ing the Qur’an. you could start by telling us what stan­dards the chris­tians and jews used to deter­mine the books of the bib­li­cal canon(s).”

    Do they need one ? Chris­tians, Jews and Mus­lims are all agreed that their texts are pro­tect­ed by God and need noth­ing else. Well Mus­lims have a prob­lem because the Quran tells them so lit­tle about their reli­gion, but more or less, all three are on the same page. I am not sure what the Jew­ish and Chris­t­ian stan­dard is but as God pro­tects the text it hard­ly mat­ter does it ?

    aian jaa­far said on 5 Octo­ber 2006:“no, i don’t believe the prophet moses,peace be upon him, ordered those acts, there is no evi­dence that he real­ly did, except for the old tes­ta­ment, which is unre­li­able on some parts. i am not just inclined to believe that is in the bible just because it makes jews look bad. are you a mind-read­er now ? by the way, since you admit that this makes jews look bad, then it also makes chris­tians look bad, to think that Yah­weh ordered such acts, even if they are alleged­ly already abro­gat­ed by the blood of Christ. the real ques­tion is, do you believe that he real­ly ordered those acts?”

    I find it hard to believe any­one would invent them if they were not true. The same approach as a lot of things said about Muhammed. But evi­dence for them does not appear strong to me. The choice though comes down to whether a very old qua­si-his­tor­i­cal Jew­ish text is to be believed or a more mod­ern text writ­ten by some­one uncon­nect­ed to the orig­i­nal peo­ple involved is. That, to me, is no contest.

    aian jaa­far said on 5 Octo­ber 2006:“isnads are irrel­e­vant because judaism and chris­tian­i­ty sim­ply does not have a method to dis­close the source of the infor­ma­tion they believe in. it’s not a ques­tion of whether they need to or not. the truth is they won’t and they can’t. this is pre­cise­ly what i am try­ing to tell you.”

    Actu­al­ly I have point­ed out that they have — they think, like Mus­lims, that God pro­tects their texts. They do not need the isnads. Mus­lims do — the more so because Mus­lims reject rea­son. The equiv­a­lent of the aHa­dith in Jew­ish law would be Midrash, the Mishrah and Gemar­ra (that is, com­ment on the Bible, the oral law, and com­men­taries on the oral law). These are not pro­tect­ed in any way but are to be dis­cussed and thought about. They are not sacred. The Chris­t­ian equiv­a­lent would be canon law and phi­los­o­phy. Again nei­ther of these are sacred or pro­tect­ed. They are all the prod­uct of rea­son and argu­ment. If you reject rea­son you need some­thing else like an isnad.

    aian jaa­far said on 5 Octo­ber 2006:“whatever flaws the sci­ence of isnad alleged­ly has, we mus­lims have devel­oped some­thing to deter­mine what the Prophet said, or did not say. Chris­tians and jews, on the oth­er hand, aren’t even agreed on which bible to read, what to say of what the prophets moses and jesus real­ly said!”

    I think you may find that Jews and Chris­tians are fair­ly agreed, with­in their own groups, on the Bible. The Jews only have one. The Roman Catholics only have one. The Protes­tants tend to fol­low the Jew­ish books.

    aian jaa­far said on 5 Octo­ber 2006:“care to tell us about jew­ish and chris­t­ian stan­dards ? for exam­ple, could you tell us why the book of esther was includ­ed in the canon(s)?”

    As far as I know there has nev­er been an argu­ment about Esther among Jews and Christians.

    aian jaa­far said on 5 Octo­ber 2006:“it is actu­al­ly very easy to shut mus­lims up when we talk about the bible. just prove that moses or jesus REALLY said what you’re claim­ing they said. but we can’t con­firm, can we ? it’s because you don’t have an isnad, and that is a defi­cien­cy on the part of judaism and chris­tian­i­ty, not islam. but you’re talk­ing as if you’re proud that your reli­gion does not have the means to ver­i­fy what these holy men real­ly said, did, or taught.”

    But you can’t con­firm that Muhammed said what he real­ly said either — at least when it comes to the Quran. Isnads only give you some assur­ance about the aHa­dith but you can­not com­pare the Bible to those, but to the Quran. It is not a defi­cien­cy because they are not need­ed. I think it is bet­ter for Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty that they have adopt­ed a sys­tem of phi­los­o­phy and log­ic and ratio­nal thought to approach those texts that sup­ple­ment their reli­gion. Bet­ter than the more or less total rejec­tion of ratio­nal thought by Muslims.

    aian jaa­far said on 5 Octo­ber 2006:“is there any evi­dence of Chris­t­ian” prac­tices before Prophet Jesus?”

    Well no. There would­n’t be would there as Jesus brings in the New Con­venant. The ques­tion you have to ask is whether Jesus died and remains at work in the world, espe­cial­ly the Chris­t­ian Church, today.

    aian jaa­far said on 5 Octo­ber 2006:“but there is evi­dence of islam­ic” (gener­ic islam) beliefs before Islam” with the cap­i­tal I”. belief in God, His angels, books, prophets, and the day of Judg­ment. there is the hajj, which is, con­trary to being a pagan rite, is a con­tin­u­a­tion of a much ear­li­er abra­ham­ic rite.”

    You mean there are Jews who believe in God, His angels, their books, their prophets and lots of peo­ple who believe the Day of Judge­ment. Any­thing specif­i­cal­ly Mus­lim about any of this ? For instance, camal is hal­lal but not kosher. Any Jews who ate camel before Muhammed ? The slight­est evi­dence that any Jews or Chris­tians ever prac­ticed the hajj or thought that Abra­ham went near Mecca ?

    aian jaa­far said on 5 Octo­ber 2006:“but we have shown you a clear stan­dard of how we judge what to believe in.”

    Only the aHa­dith. Isnads obvi­ous­ly do not apply to the Quran.

    aian jaa­far said on 5 Octo­ber 2006:“just a minor point,which i for­got to include in my post. you’re say­ing that jews and chris­tians flat out deny that abra­ham was a mus­lim. so, what was he ? was he a jew, or a chris­t­ian then ? or was he sub­mis­sive to God (mus­lim)?”

    Let me draw a dis­tinc­tion between two uses of the word mus­lim”. He may have been sub­mis­sive of God (mus­lim) but Jews don’t think he was a Mus­lim — the term Mus­lim car­ries more with it than the idea of being sub­mis­sive to God. The usage of mus­lim is irrel­e­vant as far as I am con­cerned because it is too gen­er­al. Jews and Chris­tians would not take the claim he was a Mus­lim as ratio­nal so it is not a ques­tion of reject­ing it. You would not even both­er with a claim that Muhammed was a Bahai would you ? I assume that Jews think he was a Jew and Chris­tians too by and large — but in the sense of a Hebrew before the Con­venant rather than a Jew (there is a sub­tle the­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ence in the term Jew” which is impor­tant to Jews but I sus­pect irrel­e­vant here).

  15. HeiGou, it seems that you have not under­stood the claim I made about Hanafiyya.

    As for the Chris­tians, Hans Kung believes in Muham­mad’s prophet­hood. A chris­t­ian lady I com­mu­ni­cat­ed with sev­er­al days ago believes in him as well ; although she said that the scribes changed the Quran and dis­tort­ed the image of Jesus.

  16. just a minor point,which i for­got to include in my post. you’re say­ing that jews and chris­tians flat out deny that abra­ham was a mus­lim. so, what was he ? was he a jew, or a chris­t­ian then ? or was he sub­mis­sive to God (mus­lim)?

  17. HeiGou said on 2 Octo­ber 2006 : Yes. So Islam is not a total rejec­tion of the truth of Judaism or Chris­tian­i­ty, it sim­ply claims that all the impor­tant Jews and Chris­tians were Mus­lims. It is Revi­sion­ism by def­i­n­i­tion. Jews and Chris­tians flat­ly deny that Moses, Abra­ham, Jesus et al were Mus­lims. It is what the word means but it is not sim­ply what the word means — when Mus­lims claim these peo­ple were Mus­lims, they are deny­ing that they were Jews or Christians.”

    Well, if they deny that these prophets are sub­mis­sive to God, then they deny what their reli­gion preach­es. So now you’re say­ing that Moses is a Jew- even though he does not belong
    to the tribe of judah. of course the word jew” has many con­no­ta­tions and many beliefs corol­lary to the appli­ca­tion of the word. if what you mean by jew is some­one from the chil­dren of israel who took a spe­cial covenant with God on mount sinai- how does the Qur’an deny that ? we are sim­ply deny­ing prac­tices, beliefs,or even scrip­tures which can­not be traced back to Moses, to Jesus, or to any prophet,for that matter.

    hei gou said regard­ing the cru­ci­fix­ion : Well you do deny what they have to say even if they have evi­dence for it because, after all, the Bible also goes on to say that Jesus died but was res­ur­rect­ed. I assume you deny that.”

    well, where is the evi­dence you were talk­ing about ? this is con­nect­ed to a point i was mak­ing about the evan­ge­lists not being eye­wit­ness­es. again, the qur’an claims that they thought that jesus died. and that is pre­cise­ly what i read in the bible, some­one claim­ing to wit­ness the cru­ci­fix­ion from afar, and think­ing that jesus died ! of course, john” claimed to be near the cross, but this is where mod­ern crit­i­cism of the authen­tic­i­ty of his gospel comes in.

    hei gou said : ” As opposed to Muhammed who nev­er went to Egypt or Pales­tine much less met Moses or Lot or any of the oth­er peo­ple men­tioned in the Quran ? Nor is there any evi­dence that the peo­ple who wrote the Bible were not eyewitnesses.”

    more on the Beloved Prophet lat­er. but then, hei gou is argu­ing from silence. since there isn’t any evi­dence that they were not eye­wit­ness­es, then they were eye­wit­ness­es ! luke him­self admit­ted that he is not an eye­wit­ness. how about the oth­ers ? here is where the doubt regard­ing the bible comes in.
    hei gou said : Find a Chris­t­ian schol­ar who believes any­thing Mus­lims do. Just one. You should not con­fuse mod­ern schol­ar­ship with a defence of Islam.”

    i am not con­fus­ing the two. i just men­tioned that some of the find­ings of mod­ern schol­ar­ship tend to con­firm the ear­ly crit­i­cisms of mus­lims regard­ing the bible. but it def­i­nite­ly dis­proves the beliefs of bible inerrantists.

    hei gou said (regard­ing the method of ver­i­fy­ing authen­tic­i­ty of islam­ic sources): Well no it does not. You are wrong on both counts. The method to ver­i­fy the authen­tic­i­ty of the aHa­dith is restrict­ed to the aHa­dith. Not the Quran. It was not devel­oped ear­ly, but some 200 years after the death of Muhammed. It is also high­ly flawed as West­ern schol­ars have proven. Sec­ond, of course Jews and Chris­tians have devel­oped meth­ods to do so. They tend to believe God pro­tects the Text.”

    this web­site, and also islam­ic aware​ness​.org has already tack­led this. i con­fess that i am not an expert regard­ing this. but you have admit­ted that a high­ly-flawed” method was devel­oped 200 yrs after the Prophet’s death. so, some­thing was devel­oped to gauge the authen­tic­i­ty of texts then. could you tell me what the jews and chris­tians devel­oped regard­ing the authen­tic­i­ty of their sources, besides claim­ing that God pro­tects the text ? we mus­lims also claim that regard­ing the Qur’an. you could start by telling us what stan­dards the chris­tians and jews used to deter­mine the books of the bib­li­cal canon(s).

    hei gou said (regard­ing prophet moses’ alleged orders to slay infants and sucklings,and rape vir­gin women): I sus­pect you would be inclined to believe that any­way because it makes Jews look bad. Tell me if you believe that Moses did such a thing.”

    no, i don’t believe the prophet moses,peace be upon him, ordered those acts, there is no evi­dence that he real­ly did, except for the old tes­ta­ment, which is unre­li­able on some parts. i am not just inclined to believe that is in the bible just because it makes jews look bad. are you a mind-read­er now ? by the way, since you admit that this makes jews look bad, then it also makes chris­tians look bad, to think that Yah­weh ordered such acts, even if they are alleged­ly already abro­gat­ed by the blood of Christ. the real ques­tion is, do you believe that he real­ly ordered those acts ?

    hei gou said (regard­ing isnads’): They don’t need to. Don’t judge Chris­t­ian teach­ings by Mus­lim stan­dards. Isnads are irrel­e­vant to Judaism or Christianity.”

    isnads are irrel­e­vant because judaism and chris­tian­i­ty sim­ply does not have a method to dis­close the source of the infor­ma­tion they believe in. it’s not a ques­tion of whether they need to or not. the truth is they won’t and they can’t. this is pre­cise­ly what i am try­ing to tell you. what­ev­er flaws the sci­ence of isnad alleged­ly has, we mus­lims have devel­oped some­thing to deter­mine what the Prophet said, or did not say. Chris­tians and jews, on the oth­er hand, aren’t even agreed on which bible to read, what to say of what the prophets moses and jesus real­ly said ! well, at least mus­lims have mus­lim stan­dards”. that is, we believe what­ev­er the Prophet Muham­mad says, and that is what we are try­ing to deter­mine using the mus­lim stan­dard” of isnad. if the Prophet tells us that some­thing is part of the Qur’an, then we include it in the Qur’an. then we deter­mine an unbro­ken chain of trans­mis­sion through reli­able nar­ra­tors if he real­ly said some­thing or did smoething like that. care to tell us about jew­ish and chris­t­ian stan­dards ? for exam­ple, could you tell us why the book of esther was includ­ed in the canon(s)?

    it is actu­al­ly very easy to shut mus­lims up when we talk about the bible. just prove that moses or jesus REALLY said what you’re claim­ing they said. but we can’t con­firm, can we ? it’s because you don’t have an isnad, and that is a defi­cien­cy on the part of judaism and chris­tian­i­ty, not islam. but you’re talk­ing as if you’re proud that your reli­gion does not have the means to ver­i­fy what these holy men real­ly said, did, or taught.

    hei gou said (regard­ing my state­ment that much of the islam­ic rites can be traced back to the prophet muham­mad through mass-trans­mit­ted reports): Back to Muhammed. But no fur­ther. There is pre­cise­ly no evi­dence what­so­ev­er of any Islam­ic prac­tice before Muhammed. It is exact­ly what you would expect if, for exam­ple, Muhammed made it all up and then claimed it was real­ly” what the Jews were talk­ing about. Mus­lims are not because they are so depen­dent on the Quran and the aHa­dith. The aHa­dith fall before any objec­tive and sen­si­ble analy­sis. Mate­r­i­al is lack­ing for the study of the Quran, but West­ern schol­ars, as the arti­cle points out, have prob­lem with that too. With­out either or both, Islam is noth­ing. Chris­tian­i­ty depends on a dif­fer­ent source — the Res­ur­rec­tion of Christ and His pres­ence in the world today. Noth­ing you say about the Bible can change that and so Chris­tians will remain unbothered

    is there any evi­dence of Chris­t­ian” prac­tices before Prophet Jesus ? but there is evi­dence of islam­ic” (gener­ic islam) beliefs before Islam” with the cap­i­tal I”. belief in God, His angels, books, prophets, and the day of Judg­ment. there is the hajj, which is, con­trary to being a pagan rite, is a con­tin­u­a­tion of a much ear­li­er abra­ham­ic rite. regard­ing the state­ment that the Beloved Prophet could have invent­ed his teach­ings, well that’s a dif­fer­ent top­ic. but we have shown you a clear stan­dard of how we judge what to believe in. you haven’t pro­vid­ed an exam­ple of how even one book of the New Tes­ta­ment got in the canon, and how such a stan­dard could have been com­pat­i­ble with the stan­dard regard­ing the oth­er books of the bible. thus, the Res­ur­rec­tion of Christ and His pres­ence in the world today” would be irrel­e­vant, and there is rea­son for chris­tians to be both­ered. how did you arrive on such a state­ment ? isn’t it because of what the bible sup­pos­ed­ly says ?

  18. Doc­tor­Maybe said on 4 Octo­ber 2006:“Not real­ly. I’ve met and heard of quite a few chris­tians who believe in Muhammad(pbuh). There is also a Jew who believes in Muhammad(pbuh) but prefers fol­low­ing Moses(pbuh) since he was stronger accord­ing to him.”

    I have nev­er met one. By def­i­n­i­tion they are Mus­lims. Sure they are not just being polite ? No doubt there are some Jews who are Mus­lims. They have a web­site. But they are, of course, Muslims.

    Doc­tor­Maybe said on 4 Octo­ber 2006:“How about the hanafiyyah ? Karen Arm­strong writes in her book The His­to­ry of God” that a fifth cen­tu­ry Pales­tin­ian his­to­ri­an Sozomenos record­ed an instance where some Jews and Chris­tians left their faiths to puruse the reli­gion of Abra­ham. In my opin­ion, Allah sent Muhammad(pbuh) with the reli­gion of Abra­ham. Muhammad(pbuh) did­nt make any­thing up, no mat­ter how much you hate it.”

    No doubt there have always been Jews and Chris­tians who have become Mus­lims just as there are Mus­lims who have become Chris­tians and per­haps even Jews. I am not con­cerned with your opin­ion as such. You are enti­tled to believe what­ev­er you want to believe.

    Doc­tor­Maybe said on 4 Octo­ber 2006:“As for the Quran, tell me do all West­ern schol­ars agree that it ws writ­ten 200 years after Muhammad(pbuh)? You make it sound as though only your OPINIONS hold ground, no one elses. Get a life you moron!”

    I made no com­ment on when the Quran was writ­ten, but no, there is no con­sen­sus as yet. That 200 years referred to the aHa­dith but I can see how that might have been confusing.

  19. There is pre­cise­ly no evi­dence what­so­ev­er of any Islam­ic prac­tice before Muhammed.”

    Going a lit­tle far­ther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed.…(Matthew 16:39)”
    how do u fell to ur face and pray with­out the islam­ic way of sijdah ?

  20. As for a Chris­t­ian schol­ar, how about hans kung ?

  21. Not real­ly. I’ve met and heard of quite a few chris­tians who believe in Muhammad(pbuh). There is also a Jew who believes in Muhammad(pbuh) but prefers fol­low­ing Moses(pbuh) since he was stronger accord­ing to him.

    How about the hanafiyyah ? Karen Arm­strong writes in her book The His­to­ry of God” that a fifth cen­tu­ry Pales­tin­ian his­to­ri­an Sozomenos record­ed an instance where some Jews and Chris­tians left their faiths to puruse the reli­gion of Abra­ham. In my opin­ion, Allah sent Muhammad(pbuh) with the reli­gion of Abra­ham. Muhammad(pbuh) did­nt make any­thing up, no mat­ter how much you hate it.

    As for the Quran, tell me do all West­ern schol­ars agree that it ws writ­ten 200 years after Muhammad(pbuh)? You make it sound as though only your OPINIONS hold ground, no one elses. Get a life you moron !

  22. aian jaa­far said on 2 Octo­ber 2006:“islam is revi­sion­ism??? quite strange. the holy qur’an does not deny the terms chris­t­ian’ (nas­rani) or jews’ (yahu­di) to the respec­tive nations’ (ummah) of prophets moses and jesus, peace be upon them both and to all the mes­sen­gers of Allah. but it also says that these two were total­ly sub­mis­sive to the will of God. do the chris­tians and jews deny this them­selves ? of course they have com­plaints regard­ing the term mus­lim’, but that is what the term sim­ply means.”

    Yes. So Islam is not a total rejec­tion of the truth of Judaism or Chris­tian­i­ty, it sim­ply claims that all the impor­tant Jews and Chris­tians were Mus­lims. It is Revi­sion­ism by def­i­n­i­tion. Jews and Chris­tians flat­ly deny that Moses, Abra­ham, Jesus et al were Mus­lims. It is what the word means but it is not sim­ply what the word means — when Mus­lims claim these peo­ple were Mus­lims, they are deny­ing that they were Jews or Christians.

    aian jaa­far said on 2 Octo­ber 2006:“well, we don’t deny what chris­tians or jews say… as long as they have the evi­dence to back it up. take for exam­ple the cru­ci­fix­ion… the Qur’an says that it would seem that prophet jesus would die… and, voila ! we read in the bible that the evan­ge­lists thought that jesus died ! where is the con­tra­dic­tion, or denial?”

    Well you do deny what they have to say even if they have evi­dence for it because, after all, the Bible also goes on to say that Jesus died but was res­ur­rect­ed. I assume you deny that.

    aian jaa­far said on 2 Octo­ber 2006:the point here is that none of the claimed eye­wit­ness’ evan­ge­lists were nev­er real­ly eye­wit­ness­es at all, and nei­ther will that be proven.”

    As opposed to Muhammed who nev­er went to Egypt or Pales­tine much less met Moses or Lot or any of the oth­er peo­ple men­tioned in the Quran ? Nor is there any evi­dence that the peo­ple who wrote the Bible were not eyewitnesses.

    aian jaa­far said on 2 Octo­ber 2006:“this is not just accord­ing to the mus­lims (though mus­lims have been insist­ing about it even before the advent of mod­ern bib­li­cal crit­i­cism), but accord­ing to chris­t­ian schol­ars themselves.”

    Find a Chris­t­ian schol­ar who believes any­thing Mus­lims do. Just one. You should not con­fuse mod­ern schol­ar­ship with a defence of Islam.

    aian jaa­far said on 2 Octo­ber 2006:now, regard­ing islam­ic sources, what­ev­er objec­tions you may or revi­sion­ists may have, the fact is that islam devel­oped a method to ver­i­fy the authen­tic­i­ty of sources ear­ly in its his­to­ry. quite unlike judaism and christianity.”

    Well no it does not. You are wrong on both counts. The method to ver­i­fy the authen­tic­i­ty of the aHa­dith is restrict­ed to the aHa­dith. Not the Quran. It was not devel­oped ear­ly, but some 200 years after the death of Muhammed. It is also high­ly flawed as West­ern schol­ars have proven. Sec­ond, of course Jews and Chris­tians have devel­oped meth­ods to do so. They tend to believe God pro­tects the Text.

    aian jaa­far said on 2 Octo­ber 2006:“so, if 1 jew says that the prophet moses ordered the mas­sacre of pop­u­la­tions, the mur­der of babies, and the rape of vir­gin women, i would believe that jew, as long as he has the evi­dence to back it up.”

    I sus­pect you would be inclined to believe that any­way because it makes Jews look bad. Tell me if you believe that Moses did such a thing.

    aian jaa­far said on 2 Octo­ber 2006:i would believe even just 1 chris­t­ian that jesus taught that he was God or Son of God, if he could pro­duce an unbro­ken chain of trans­mis­sion through reli­able eye­wit­ness­es that jesus said some­thing to that effect. but no, they can’t.”

    They don’t need to. Don’t judge Chris­t­ian teach­ings by Mus­lim stan­dards. Isnads are irrel­e­vant to Judaism or Christianity.

    aian jaa­far said on 2 Octo­ber 2006:however, much of the prac­tices and rites of islam could be traced back to the prophet through mass-trans­mit­ted (mutawatir) reports. in the final analy­sis, even from a hos­tile per­spec­tive, mus­lims are on much firmer ground regard­ing their reli­gion than chris­tians and jews are. ”

    Back to Muhammed. But no fur­ther. There is pre­cise­ly no evi­dence what­so­ev­er of any Islam­ic prac­tice before Muhammed. It is exact­ly what you would expect if, for exam­ple, Muhammed made it all up and then claimed it was real­ly” what the Jews were talk­ing about. Mus­lims are not because they are so depen­dent on the Quran and the aHa­dith. The aHa­dith fall before any objec­tive and sen­si­ble analy­sis. Mate­r­i­al is lack­ing for the study of the Quran, but West­ern schol­ars, as the arti­cle points out, have prob­lem with that too. With­out either or both, Islam is noth­ing. Chris­tian­i­ty depends on a dif­fer­ent source — the Res­ur­rec­tion of Christ and His pres­ence in the world today. Noth­ing you say about the Bible can change that and so Chris­tians will remain unbothered.

  23. islam is revisionism???

    quite strange. the holy qur’an does not deny the terms chris­t­ian’ (nas­rani) or jews’ (yahu­di) to the respec­tive nations’ (ummah) of prophets moses and jesus, peace be upon them both and to all the mes­sen­gers of Allah. but it also says that these two were total­ly sub­mis­sive to the will of God. do the chris­tians and jews deny this them­selves ? of course they have com­plaints regard­ing the term mus­lim’, but that is what the term sim­ply means.

    well, we don’t deny what chris­tians or jews say… as long as they have the evi­dence to back it up. take for exam­ple the cru­ci­fix­ion… the Qur’an says that it would seem that prophet jesus would die… and, voila ! we read in the bible that the evan­ge­lists thought that jesus died ! where is the con­tra­dic­tion, or denial ?

    the point here is that none of the claimed eye­wit­ness’ evan­ge­lists were nev­er real­ly eye­wit­ness­es at all, and nei­ther will that be proven. this is not just accord­ing to the mus­lims (though mus­lims have been insist­ing about it even before the advent of mod­ern bib­li­cal crit­i­cism), but accord­ing to chris­t­ian schol­ars them­selves. now, regard­ing islam­ic sources, what­ev­er objec­tions you may or revi­sion­ists may have, the fact is that islam devel­oped a method to ver­i­fy the authen­tic­i­ty of sources ear­ly in its his­to­ry. quite unlike judaism and christianity.

    so, if 1 jew says that the prophet moses ordered the mas­sacre of pop­u­la­tions, the mur­der of babies, and the rape of vir­gin women, i would believe that jew, as long as he has the evi­dence to back it up. i would believe even just 1 chris­t­ian that jesus taught that he was God or Son of God, if he could pro­duce an unbro­ken chain of trans­mis­sion through reli­able eye­wit­ness­es that jesus said some­thing to that effect. but no, they can’t. how­ev­er, much of the prac­tices and rites of islam could be traced back to the prophet through mass-trans­mit­ted (mutawatir) reports. in the final analy­sis, even from a hos­tile per­spec­tive, mus­lims are on much firmer ground regard­ing their reli­gion than chris­tians and jews are.

  24. excel­lent arti­cle. i have read this arti­cle some­where before, cant remem­ber where

    this arti­cle is the first im see­ing on bis­mi­ka Allahu­ma that does not have a sin­gle source citation !

  25. HeiGou,

    How not nice to see you here. Had enough of spread­ing your hate else­where ? not able to actu­al­ly deal with any of the sub­stan­tive points in the article ?

    This is that the same big­ot, who sug­gest­ed on the Guardian Com­ment is Free’ forums :

    (par­don his lan­guage) “…a new pol­i­cy of f****ing mus­lims over”

    so much for set­tling dis­putes in a civilised manner”!

    Him and his ilk have let hate of oth­ers con­sume their entire being, in order to divert rather than con­front their own inher­ent malfeasance.

    As Khaled put so well.. What can one say to those who project their ugli­ness unto existence..”

    Nafees

  26. Khaled Abou El-Fadl:“No, revi­sion­ism is not a toothache ; it is an inso­lent attempt to deny a peo­ple their very iden­ti­ty, it is the ugli­ness of Colo­nial­ism, and the imbal­ance of fear and inse­cu­ri­ty. Revi­sion­ism is the heartache of sim­ple bigotry.”

    Of course the irony is that Islam is revi­sion­ism too. It too is an attempt to deny Jews and Chris­tians their iden­ti­ty. It is an attempt to deny that Moses was a Jew, Jesus a Chris­t­ian, and claim those peo­ples’ his­to­ry as Mus­lim his­to­ry. It is a vaster and more offen­sive appro­pri­a­tion of oth­er peo­ples’ his­to­ry than the Revi­sion­ists. And even more iron­ic is the accu­sa­tion that Revi­sion­ists claim Mus­lim always lie, because that is what Mus­lims claim about Jews and Chris­tians. If 100 Chris­tians and/​or Jews say one thing and 1 Mus­lim says anoth­er, it is the Mus­lim that is right of course. Take, for instance, the Cru­ci­fix­tion. I sug­gest we all stop using words like inso­lent” and agree to set­tle aca­d­e­m­ic dis­putes in a civilised man­ner — through debate with­out insults and threats. But the big­ots who are fear­ful and inse­cure are unlike­ly to agree are they ?

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