Answering Islam Email Dialogs
[A Muslim who says that he converted from Christianity to Islam responded to an article I had written. The below following text is our last correspondence. If you want to read the previous conversations as well, please click here.]
Subject: Here are the answers to all your questions please read it all with understanding
Received: 12 May 2005
You stated that you are an Arab and you the know the Quran by heart. This is wonderful. Amazing isn't it? The Quran can be memorized even by those who don't believe in it (like you).
By the way, the book you do believe in, is it the Bible? Have you memorized the book you believe in by heart too?
No? - Hmmm. Wonder why someone would memorize a book that they don't believe in, but not the one they do believe in?
Maybe you are suffering from some sort of memory disorder? You might like to seek some professional counseling to help you discover why it is you would memorize things you don't believe in at the same time you don't memorize what you do claim to believe in.
You also claimed you are an Arab and you had been a Muslim. That might be true. However, I did travel all the way to Cairo, Egypt to verify the story of another man who made the same claim. Can you guess what I found out? I think you already know. He lied. Well, to be fair, he did not tell all the truth. But in my book a person who leaves out important information with the intention of deceiving others is "suspect and should not be accepted as authentic testimony" - to quote your own words.
The man from Egypt took my microphone in a crowed auditorium in a famous university and made some very horrible statements against Islam and the Quran and Muslims. Before it was over, even the other Arab Christians in the crowd denounced this man and said he did not represent them or Christianity with his behavior. His statement was that he had memorized the Quran and was a Muslim scholar from Al Azhar in Cairo, Egypt and had left Islam to be a Christian and that he had to run to America for safety because his own country would "cut off his head."
I traveled to Cairo, Egypt to pay a visit to Al Azhar University and learned it has been in business for over one thousands years and they do have accurate records dating back over ten centuries. But no mention of a scholar ever going to Christianity (or any other religion for that matter). However, there is a document recorded on file with witnesses and the official seal stating that a Christian man did enter Islam there at the university, changed his name to "Mustafa" and then later on returned back to Christianity after being paid by the church to denounce Islam.
Oh yes, by the way, the Arab Christians of Egypt have a custom of tattooing their babies with a cross on the right forearm (wrist) area. This is to identify them in case they are ever lost or separated from their parents. Interestingly enough, "Mr. Mustafa" has such a tattoo.
So, according to your own statements and what I have come to personally know about people who claim to have been Arab Muslims, memorizing the Quran and then becoming Christians - I think you will appreciate the fact that we must now consider you as - "suspect of corruption and a testimony of a suspect should not be accepted as an authentic testimony until all charges against it is dismissed."
Since all these different versions of Bibles on the earth today do not agree with each other - does this mean, that they are accusing each other of being "suspect of corruption"?
The preface to one of the most accurately translated Bibles (Revised Standard Version) says on the second page, "Yet, the King James Version has grave defects." - That is definitely accusation of being "suspect of corruption."
The Catholic Bible (based on the Latin Vulgate of the fourth century) has 73 books, while the Protestant Bible (one thousand years later) only has 66 books. One of them (or both?) is obviously corrupt. Which one? The new one (66 books)? Or the old one (73 books)?
The scholars of the Old Testament state very clear in all of their works, they no longer have the original documents penned by any prophet, (peace be upon them all). So the scholars of Old Testament claim they do not have the exact texts and they also state clearly there many are different versions. Does this mean they are accusing the Old Testament of being "suspect and it should not be accepted as authentic testimony"?
Scholars of New Testament state without doubt, they do not possess the actual texts of any of Jesus' (peace be upon him) companions - and no one has ever claimed to have anything written by Jesus or even anything recited by him. Does this not indicate "suspect and it should not be accepted as authentic testimony"?
What do you say about the Bible? Do you claim it is suspect and should not be accepted as authentic testimony? Or do you claim you have the original? Or do you even know what language the Bible came in originally? Have you memorized the Bible and can you recite it from cover to cover? Do you have nine million (9,000,000) people who can stand up in public and recite the entire Bible, chapter by chapter, line by line, word for word, jot for dot and title for iota?
According to your own words, by your own standards, the Bible has been accused and is suspect by experts and therefore, you have nothing to offer at all.
You asked me not to quote from the Quran as you have accused the Quran of being suspect. I have not quoted anything from Quran, only from people who have accused the Bible of being suspect and therefore, according to your home made rules, not acceptable because of it being accused by someone.
By the way, wait until the Day of Judgment as see what the Quran will accuse people of on that Day.
The prophet Muhammad, peace is upon him, told us; "This material world is a prison to the true believer, but it is a paradise to the disbeliever."
Enjoy your life here as much as you can.
Peace be to all who seek true guidance, Amen
Answering Islam’s Answer by Khaled:
I find your arguments to be unreasonable. Let us examine them one by one. I will take the liberty of stating the concepts or premises behind your arguments.
1. First Premise: Anything memorized is valuable.
"Wonder why someone would memorize a book that they don't believe in, but not the one they do believe in?"
Major Premise: Anything memorized is valuable.
Minor Premise: Devout Muslims memorize the Quran.
Conclusion: The Quran must be valuable.
I wonder how you came to such a conclusion. Your deductive reasoning is faulty. I will show that to you in a logical way.
I also memorized quotes and sayings of the ex-President of Iraq, Saddam Hussien whom I consider my own enemy because he oppressed my countrymen and me for decades.
According to your logic, we could make the following assertion:
Major Premise: Anything memorized is valuable.
Minor Premise: I memorized Saddam’s sayings.
Conclusion: Saddam’s sayings are valuable.
We could play it the other way around and say:
Major Premise: Things which are not memorized are not valuable.
Minor Premise: Many Christians don’t memorize the whole Bible
Conclusion: The Bible must not be valuable.
Do you want me to give you another example?
Major Premise: Things which are not memorized are not
Minor Premise: I did not memorize the 99 names of Allah.
Conclusion: The 99 names of Allah must not be valuable.
Please think carefully about this. Do you not know our Arabic Islamic culture? Young Muslims are obliged to memorize large parts of the Quran if their families are conservative Muslims. Did I choose to memorize the Quran? Even if I did, I later renounced it.
In Islam love songs are considered a sin. A lot of non-practicing Muslims do memorize a lot of these songs. Let us say they repent and become good Muslims, could we erase these songs from their minds? If we could not, would that mean that these sinful songs are valuable? Of course not.
My mind is not like a hard disk, sir; I cannot erase things I memorized when I was young and replace it with others. I’m counting on the fact that in time the Quran will fade away from my memory. I do memorize verses from the Bible, but as I get older, I’m losing my ability to memorize big chunks. Also, the important thing is to understand and practice what you believe in, not to memorize it.
Do you know what the problem with education in the Muslim world is? We are made to memorize things without understanding them.
2. Second Premise: Converts who claim to be Arab Muslims who memorized the Quran are frauds.
"So, according to your own statements and what I have come to personally know about people who claim to have been Arab Muslims, memorizing the Quran and then becoming Christians - I think you will appreciate the fact that we must now consider you as - "suspect of corruption and a testimony of a suspect should not be accepted as an authentic testimony until all charges against it is dismissed."
Again, you overgeneralized and jumped to conclusions based on a few incidents that you’ve observed.
Major Premise: Converts who claim to be Arab Muslims who
memorized the Quran are frauds.
Minor Premise: Khaled the former Muslim claims that he was an Arab Muslim who memorized the Quran.
Conclusion: Khaled is a fraud.
How about if I do what you’ve done here? In one of your previous emails, you just copied and pasted testimonies of former Christians for me. I’m going to use one of them in the same manner you used this story about the man from Al-Azhar.
I will use the story of Ibrahim Khalil the former Egyptian Coptic priest.
Ibrahim is a Coptic priest. Does that mean that he is a Coptic Orthodox priest? Or is he a Coptic Catholic Priest? We know that Protestant and Evangelical clergy men are not generally called priests. And if he was a Lutheran or Anglican priest then he would not be called Coptic!
What we know about the Catholic is that their priests do not get married. In this story Ibrahim is married, because he says:
"My wife inquired from me about the reason of my sitting up all night and I pleaded from her to leave me alone".
So that must mean that Ibrahim is a Coptic Orthodox priest, because Orthodox priests could get married.
Ibrahim says: "Then I got a third recommendation from Snodus Church Assembly which included priests from Sudan and Egypt. The Snodus sanctioned my entrance into the Faculty of Theology in 1944 as a boarding student. There I studied at the hands of American and Egyptian teachers until my graduation in 1948." emphasis mine
Now, the Snodus Church Assembly is an assembly of Protestant and Evangelical churches. This is also proven by his statement that he studied at the hands of Americans! The Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt did not have theology professors from the USA teaching in its seminary in the 40’s, and they do not have (as far as I know) any American professors in their seminaries now. The reason for that is simple: Americans in general are not Coptic Orthodox so they cannot teach in a Coptic Orthodox seminary.
So, I could conclude that Mr. Ibrahim Khalil is a liar. He never was a Coptic priest. Since he lied about that, then I could conclude that he was never a Christian before and he is just scamming us. Therefore, any convert to Islam who claims to have been a Coptic priest is a fraud.
Like you, I contacted the Coptic Orthodox church in Egypt. They affirmed to me that none of their priests ever converted to Islam. Therefore, I cannot trust any story you bring me about a Coptic priest who converted to Islam.
You might argue that the Coptic Orthodox church in Egypt is lying and they are trying to hide this information from me because they feel ashamed that one of them converted to Islam. I guess I could say the same thing about Al-Azhar in your situation. They also were ashamed and did not want to publicly admit to the stories of scholars who left Islam.
3. Third Premise: Contradictions between translated versions of a sacred scripture are evidence of its corruption.
"Since all these different versions of Bibles on the earth today do not agree with each other - does this mean, that they are accusing each other of being "suspect of corruption"?"
Major Premise: Contradictions between translated versions of a
sacred scripture are evidence of its corruption.
Minor Premise: The Bible seems to have contradicting translations.
Conclusion: The Bible is corrupted.
You have dug yourself into a hole with that idea.
How many Quran translations are available in English? Let me point you to a web site which has 9 translations (there are more Quran translations in English than these nine), http://www.quranbrowser.com/
I want you to examine this example of the corruption in the Quran translation carefully.
Translation by M. Shakir:
O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who fled with you; and a believing woman if she gave herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desired to marry her -- specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers; We know what We have ordained for them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess in order that no blame may attach to you; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Q. 33:50) emphasis mine
Translation by Rashad Khalifa:
O prophet, we made lawful for you your wives to whom you have paid their due dowry, or what you already have, as granted to you by GOD. Also lawful for you in marriage are the daughters of your father's brothers, the daughters of your father's sisters, the daughters of your mother's brothers, the daughters of your mother's sisters, who have emigrated with you. Also, if a believing woman gave herself to the prophet - by forfeiting the dowry - the prophet may marry her without a dowry, if he so wishes. However, her forfeiting of the dowry applies only to the prophet, and not to the other believers. We have already decreed their rights in regard to their spouses or what they already have. This is to spare you any embarrassment. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful. (Q. 33:50) emphasis mine
What is wrong here? Khalifa just cut out the part where the Quran says:
"And those whom your right hand possesses out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war".
Why is that? Is not the Khalifa version of the Quran corrupted? Do you not believe that all these different versions of the Quran in English do differ from each other? If you do not know that please go to this page.
You are going to argue and say: "but these differences are between translations, we still have one Quran in Arabic." Well, so it is with the Bible, all these versions you are talking about are translations of the Bible into English from Hebrew and Greek. Also I could show you textual variants of the Arabic Quranic text that you think is one.
It seems that your strategy was to prove that the Bible is not the word of God because you couldn’t prove that the Quran is the word of God.
"According to your own words, by your own standards, the Bible has been accused and is suspect by experts and therefore, you have nothing to offer at all."
I asked you a clear and direct question, and you failed again to give me a clear and direct answer. Let me repeat the questions again, maybe you will get it this time.
In previous message I said,
The Quran testifies that the Torah, Zabur, and Injeel are all the word of God like the Quran. But then the Quran accuses these scriptures of being corrupted and changed by human beings while the Quran has been preserved by Allah.
There is something wrong with this logic. Since all these four books (according to Islam) are the words of God why is one of them (the Quran) preserved while the other three are corrupted? Our conclusion would have to be that only some of Allah’s messages could be preserved. Or better: some of Allah’s messages can be corrupted.
If Allah could not maintain and preserve all of his messages from corruption then he must be a weak god, or perhaps he does not care about people messing with his message, so he is unjust.
If Allah allowed his preceding three messages to be corrupted, how could I be sure that his final message (the Quran) is not corrupted too? Is it because the Quran says so? How can I accept the testimony of an accused one (I’m accusing the Quran to be corrupted like the rest of Allah’s revelations) to be true?
Why is Allah now able to protect the Quran and preserve it, while he was not able to protect the preceding revelations?
What happened to Allah? Did he gain more power and might over time in order to be able to preserve the Quran? Was he not yet powerful enough to protect his previous revelations?
Is my question that difficult? Forget that I’m a Christian, and forget that I believe in the Bible. If the Bible is the word of God and yet corrupted, how on earth do I know that the Quran, "the final word of God" is preserved? Why is it not corrupted like the rest of Allah’s previous messages? (Click here for further readings about Quran preservation).
There is something wrong with this logic. Because it means that some of Allah’s words can be corrupted.
Major premise: Some of Allah’s words can be corrupted.
Minor premise: The Quran is Allah’s word.
Conclusion: The Quran might be corrupted.
Instead of showing me how it is possible that the Quran is preserved while the Bible is corrupted, you tried to prove that the Bible is corrupted by quoting this scholar or that preface or bringing up this or that problem. I’m not debating the Bible’s "corruption" with you here, but the Quran’s preservation.
So you proved (to yourself not to me) that the Bible is corrupted. Good job, now prove that the Quran is not corrupted like the Bible. According to Islam, is not the author of all these revelations one and the same? If your author was not able to preserve his previous messages, how can I trust that he preserved the Quran? Is it because he said so? Sorry, I do not trust a weak god (Allah) who is not able to protect the other messages he sent. He already failed three times to protect his messages before the Quran.
Also how do I know that the Quran is his final message? Maybe Allah was not able to preserve it and he needed a fifth revelation to fix the Quran’s corruption. How about Kitab-i-Aqdas of the Bahá'i? Baha'ullah claims that he is a prophet and he approved all revelations before him including Islam but he came with a new revelation from Allah. Why should you not believe him?
Proving that the Bible is corrupted does not automatically mean that the Quran is preserved; on the contrary it proves that Allah does not deserve worship because he is not mighty enough to preserve all of his revelations.
You seem to think that there are only three options: Judaism, Christianity and Islam and that if you eliminated Judaism and Christianity and proved them wrong then Islam would be the correct answer.
You cannot be certain of something just because you eliminated the other options you had. There are plenty of options besides those three. If you added Bahá’i faith you would have at least four, or five if you added the Mormon. There would be even more options if you believed that there is no God and even more if you believed in more than one god. Why do you think there are only three religions? Who told you that?
Now I’m not really expecting answers to the questions above. I’m more interested in you answering the one question that I asked before about the preservation of the Quran. You did not answer my question at all. I would still like an answer.
Please provide good intellectual reasons only (no scientific miracles since I could prove them to be a fake).
The question again is: Why is Allah now able to protect the Quran and preserve it, when he was not able to protect the preceding revelations?
If you want to have a discussion then I ask that you respect my intellect. I also ask that you engage the questions at hand rather than going off on tangents. Please remember that you contacted me first and not the other way round. Since that is the case, I assume that you are also interested in what I have to say.
Articles by Khaled
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