Osama Abdallah & the Hebrew Alphabet

Just when you think that it cannot possibly get worse ...
Osama Abdallah comes along again to show the whole world that he can certainly do worse.

A couple of days ago, I found this entry on the "what's new" page of Osama Abdallah's "Answering Christianity" site:

10/18/2004- I added a new article Obvious mistranslations of the Hebrew Manuscripts.  See proofs of alterations and deceptions done by the Jews and Christians to disprove Islam in the Bible.

What does the title of this article claim? Biblical manuscripts written in Hebrew will be examined (whether this has been done by the author himself, or by quoting the research of scholars who have done so), and proof will be provided that they have been mistranslated. Even more, the author can show that these mistranslations were deliberate and that the meaning of the texts was altered in order to hide the fact that the Bible speaks of Islam as the true religion of God.

Note also that Abdallah speaks of manuscripts (plural!), alterations (plural!), deceptions (plural!), and proofs (plural!), i.e. he will provide not only one example, but many. Actually, the formulation with the definite article, i.e. "Obvious mistranslations of THE Hebrew Manuscripts" (not just one or some manuscripts), implies that all of them are mistranslated. Being very curious at what kind of faith-shattering evidence Osama Abdallah had amassed in his newest article, I clicked on this link and read the article.

To give you my conclusion up front: After Abdallah's article, Islam's claim about the 360 joints in the human body was proven to be true!, has earned the "Worst Muslim Argument" Award 2003 way ahead of the competition, with his newest article, he has certainly reached the semi-finals for the year 2004.

It must be one of those articles that promise the most and deliver the least. One sentence in his first paragraph sums it up best. He states: "I have 100% faith that today's Hebrew Manuscripts had been deliberately mistranslated to suit the purpose of the Jews and Christians, and to disprove Islam's existence in the Bible." That's it. He has faith in his claim. In the whole article, one searches in vain for any evidence, let alone proof of what is claimed in the title. O. Abdallah does not even look at any Hebrew manuscript. He does not discuss even one Biblical text; not even one verse; not even one phrase; not even one word of the Hebrew Bible. He does not look at any translation, let alone translations in the plural, of any part of a Hebrew manuscript. But he titles the article: "Obvious mistranslations of the Hebrew Manuscripts.  See proofs of alterations and deceptions done by the Jews and Christians to disprove Islam in the Bible" (bold emphasis his, underline emphasis mine).

Then, what on earth does he do?

Abdallah is struggling to learn the Hebrew alphabet and because, after a couple of days, he is still confused by the letters (many of them still look so similar to him), ... therefore all others certainly are also confused, ... and thus he concludes that this proves that the Bible is deliberately mistranslated. Wow!

Give us a break, Abdallah! You have not even mastered the alphabet and claim to be able to make statements about ancient Hebrew manuscripts, none of which you ever had a look at? You can't even translate one sentence of Hebrew, but you claim that all the scholars in the world have mistranslated the Hebrew manuscripts? Has the wahy come over you, or how did you come to that ‘conclusion’?

Besides learning several European languages using Latin characters in their alphabet, I have studied Greek, Russian, Hebrew (all using different scripts for the characters of their alphabet) and Chinese (which has thousands of characters; if Hebrew is already too much for Abdallah, I would certainly not recommend him to take up Chinese). I can assure you it is normal that it takes several weeks until one gets used to a foreign script. It is confusing to everyone at the beginning. It takes patience and practice to get familiar with a new set of characters. There is nothing special or deficient about the Hebrew script. That initial feeling of being overwhelmed is the same in every language written in a different script. However, after that initial stage is over, there is absolutely no problem.

My challenge to Abdallah: 1. Post the Arabic alphabet beside the Hebrew alphabet and let us know how many letters in the Arabic alphabet look similar and could be confused with each other by beginners. 2. Make a list of Arabic words that change meaning when you change one letter of it. 3. Suggest to your readers that this proves that the Arabic manuscripts of the Qur'an have been mistranslated, and that this constitutes proofs of alterations and deceptions done by the Muslims to make it look as if Islam were actually from God.

I'll give you one month to do so, and to deliver a fair comparison. If not, I will do it for you.

In conclusion, it only remains to say:

We anxiously await further revelations about Hebrew manuscripts as Abdallah enters Lesson 2 of his Hebrew language course and learns to spell the first couple of words.

Jochen Katz

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