Debate Review Zakir Hussain (Muslim Debate Initiative) and Samuel Green (Answering Islam)

Debate Review: Muhammad in the Bible (Zakir Hussain and Samuel Green)

 
This is a debate recommended to anybody who wants to see a clear line drawn between whom has the stronger argument when it comes to whether Prophet Muhammad (p) is in the Bible – a real landslide victory for the Muslim argumentation!

Muhammad in the Bible? – Debate Zakir Hussain and Samuel Green

Zakir Hussain highlighted Samuel Green’s inconsistency

To enable the Christian audience to understand and empathise with his style of argumentation Zakir cited the Christian use of Hosea 11:1-2 to build a case for consistency during the debate

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more they were called, the more they went away from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. [NIV]

Christians as per Matthew 2:14 claim Hosea 11:1 is about Jesus – it’s discernably about the nation of Israel yet Christians use an approach for Hosea 11 that they would not permit for a Muslim to use when showing examples of what he/she feels to be prophecies of Prophet Muhammad in the Bible.

This appeal to consistency was a real feature of the debate and one which the truth-seeker welcomes.

Samuel Green struggled, in fact repeatedly failed, to live up to this appeal to consistency and thus was shown to be operating a double standard – a standard of acceptance for what he believed to be prophecies of Prophet Jesus (p) while adopting a standard of rejection for those which Muslims argue for in  relation to Prophet Muhammad (p).

This actually worked wonders in highlighting Samuel Green’s inconsistency and his rejection of the Muslim argumentation simply because of his faith conviction (i.e. pre-existing bias).

Inconsistency is a sign of a failed argument. However, the inconsistency of Samuel was not the major characteristic of the debate which proved to be the undoing of his argumentation but rather the much more convincing Muslim argument that Zakir Hussain presented coupled with Samuel’s outrageously weak and even desperate ‘rebuttals’.

As said in the debate if Christians applied the same methodology to the verses which Muslims argue refer to Prophet Muhammad (p) as they do for those which they believe foretell Prophet Jesus (p) they would accept that Prophet Muhammad (p) is in the Bible.

A New Prophet Like Moses

Deuteronomy 18:15-18

15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, 16 according to all you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’

17 “And the Lord said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. 18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. [KJV]

Samuel offers desperate nonsense to argue against Muhammad being like Moses (pbut) whilst Zakir shows non-Muslims agree that Muhammad and Moses (pbut) are alike!

This is where it gets really interesting for the truth-seeker. Here we see Zakir point to a reverend who believes Prophet Muhmmad (p) is like Prophet Moses (p), a Time magazine article and an Encyclopaedia (of Religion) citation likening Prophet Moses (p) to Prophet Muhammad (p)

Samuel argues, to be like Moses one must agree with all the teachings in the Torah.

Erm, since when did Samuel and the Christians agree to not eating pork?

In their Gospels (Mark 17:18-19), they have a statement which they take as Jesus (p) allowing the consumption (eating) of pork yet in the Torah the consumption of pork is strictly forbidden (Deut 14:3-8)!

So, Samuel in setting up this false criteria actually ends up offering an argument against Jesus (p) being the Prophet in Deut 18:18.

I will dismiss this argument for what it is; nonsense made up by Samuel simply because he had no sound argument to offer against Muhammad (p) being like Moses (p)

Summary: Samuel scores an own goal, not only has he inadvertently argued against Jesus (p) being the prophet in Deut 18:18 but he has further highlighted the strength of the Muslim argument here. Think about it, if the Muslim argument was easy to refute he would not be presenting nonsensical arguments such as these

Verily, We have sent to you (O men) a Messenger (Muhammad SAW) to be a witness over you, as We did send a Messenger [Musa (Moses)] to Fir’aun (Pharaoh). [73:15 Muhsin Khan translation of the meanings of the Quran]

‘Brethren’ – Zakir Convinces Me

Ach – Zakir with his dictionary reference confirms the possible meaning of ‘relative’ and ‘kinship’ so is not simply restricted to blood brother (fellow Israelite)

Zakir gives us a reference in the Bible which uses the word ‘brothers’ to refer to kinsmen.

He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” [Genesis 16:12 NIV]

He also gives us the reference of Deut 2:4 to support his argument that brethren does not always refer to blood brothers (and thus can refer to Ishmaelites in the case of Deut 18:18

Contextual approach – Samuel bases a claim that the Prophet has to be an Israelite as leading up to this verse the occurrences of the word always refer to Israelites and does not carry the broader meaning of kinsmen/relative.

However, Zakir already refuted this in his opening statement by making mention of rabbis in the Chumas commentary who believed Deut 18:18 could have referred to a non-Israelite. Thus we see experts who did not follow the approach or thinking of Samuel Green in this regard. So we can see Samuel’s argument to limit the word’s meaning fails as rabbis did not agree on such limitation.

Israelite Prophet or Non-Israelite?

Zakir offered something of great interest for the truth-seeker in regards to whether the Prophet (p) was meant to be an Israelite or not.

Zakir cites the Samaritan version of the Torah; ‘and there shall never arise in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord has spoken to’

He combines this with the rabbis of the Chumas commentary who believed there was a possibility a Non-Jewish Prophet would arise (thus indicating that these experts did not believe the Prophet in Deut 18:18 has to be an Israelite (i.e. he can be an Ishmaelite like Prophet Muhammad p)

Not only this, when we cross-check Samuel’s argument for consistency with regards to Zakir’s mention of Hosea 11:1 we see he fails on the front of consistency as he uses a completely different standard to judge between prophecies Muslims argue for about Muhammad (p) (one of rejection) than that used for what he believes are prophecies of Jesus (p) (one of acceptance)

This exchange between Samuel and Zakir actually further convinced me with regards to the argumentation related to ‘brethren’. I, in my debate review ofAbdallah v Rogers on the same topic considered the argument from context (which Rogers offered) as a strong argument. I now see it as clearly the weaker argument and that the word ach here is not necessarily limited to blood-brother (fellow Israelites). Thanks Zakir for offering convincing information to counter such an objection

‘words in his mouth’ – Samuel’s debate tricks backfire 

Samuel appears to be really disingenuous here. He highlights verse 20 from Deut 18 and combines this with one of the  versions of the satanic verses in his attempt to argue against Prophet Muhammad (p) being the prophet in Deut 18:18

But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death [NIV]

Samuel’s thought pattern here is that Deut 18:20 teaches that the Prophet in Deut 18:18 will not speak false words and attribute them to God and then he uses a selective satanic verse narration to attempt to convince folk that Prophet Muhammad (p) spoke ‘presumptuously’

Samuel seems to be unaware that the satanic verses narrations are unreliable (more on this later).The question here to be asked is why did Samuel Green decide to use something such as this as part of his argumentation? Desperation? Did he have no other argument?

Furthermore and very worryingly, Samuel Green appears to be disingenuous here as the AUTHENTIC narration does not contain anything about satanic verses AND there are other versions of the same story which have Satan speaking those words (NOT Prophet Muhammad p) AND there are other versions which have a polytheist/s speaking those words (NOT Prophet Muhammad, p).

Thus we see, not only did Samuel appeal to an unreliable narration but seems to have been extremely selective in deciding which unreliable version to use. He seems to have gone with a version which he feels could aid his argument. Is this sincere? Is this fair on the audience? No!

Either Samuel was being disingenuous or he was simply unaware of the other versions. This is something Samuel Green needs to clarify as it does not show him in a positive light at all.

Not only this, Zakir offered some fine research which uprooted Samuel’s premise as Zakir appeals to scholarly authority which states the verse in Deut 18:20 refers to one who speaks intentional falsehoods – even the satanic verses version Samuel picked out did not have Prophet Muhammad (p) speaking intentional falsehood thus we see Samuel’s big hoo-ha over a story which is unreliable turned to nothing in this debate.

Samuel Green must have been wondering what’s just hit him once Zakir showed that Samuel Green’s use of Deut 18:20 actually argues against the Christian version of Jesus as Matthew 24:29-34 is a failed prophecy –  thus Deut 18:20 would argue stronger against the Christian idea of Jesus

Summary

Samuel Green offered a failed argument here. The narration he appealed to is not something which is reliable. Samuel also picked the version which had Prophet Muhammad (p) saying those words whilst ignoring the authentic narration which has no mention of satanic verses whilst also ignoring other weak versions which did not have Prophet Muhammad (p) speaking those words – this is something that appears to be disingenuous on the part of Samuel. It’s unacceptable and shameful.

In effect, Samuel’s desperation to argue against Prophet Muhammad (p) being the Prophet in Deut 18:18 only wound up in bringing his (Samuel’s) sincerity into question as well as his argument applying with greater force against the Christian view of Jesus!

Good response from Zakir on the fact that Samuel’s argument backfires but it would have been nice to see Samuel questioned concerning what appears to be his shameful and intellectually dishonest actions in this segment of the debate. This is one reason why debates can be seen as unedifying, people simply presenting intellectual dishonesty and not being called out on it due to the time limit or an oversight. Is this not a huge annoyance to the truth-seeker?

Samuel, an apology and retraction of such an argument would be welcomed!

For more on the satanic verses narrations see here:
http://thefactsaboutislam.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/explanation-of-satanic-verses-story.html

The Messiah cannot be the Prophet in Deut 18:18
 
This debate would have (for sincere Christians) led to questioning with regards to the church’s stance on Jesus (p) being the Prophet in Deut 18:18

John 1:19-25 is a strong  indication for a Christian that the Messiah and ‘the Prophet’ are two distinct individuals, thus Prophet Jesus (p) cannot be both the Messiah and ‘the Prophet’

This belief that the Messiah and ‘the Prophet’ are two distinct individuals is further highlighted through John 7:40-41

40On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”

41Others said, “He is the Messiah.” [NIV]

I would strongly encourage Zakir to debate any Christian (of repute) who holds to the view that Jesus (p) is the Prophet in Deut 18:18. This view is clearly the weaker view and needs to be broadcast to Christians who have just blindly accepted such. It actually reinforces the Muslim position as it shows there is none other than Muhammad (p) who the prophecy of Deut 18:18 refers to!

Nothing but inconsistency offered to counter Zakir’s arguments concerning the Song of Solomon

Zakir injects something of extreme relevance to the debate which is often missed out when Muslims and Christians discuss topics of this nature.
Abdullah bin Salam was a Rabbi of great repute in Medina who was waiting for a Prophet to come (from the narration we see Abdullah bin Salam was not the only one at that time who was waiting for the coming of a Prophet) – Abdullah bin Salam recognised Prophet Muhammad (p) to be that Prophet and converted to Islam
Zakir links the recognition of ‘the Prophet’ as being Prophet Muhammad (p) by Abdullah bin Salam to Song of Solomon 5:10-16. A passage which he goes on to show connections to the appearance of Prophet Muhammad (p), the reference to the 10,000 being linked to the conquest of Mecca (Prophet Muhammad (p) with 10,000 soldiers opened up Mecca) as well as the name ‘Muhammad’ being mentioned in the Hebrew.

Zakir also links the balsam trees mentioned in Song of Solomon 6:2 as a reference to Mecca. He goes on to show some evidence of Mecca being known for balsam trees. It’s a fascinating end to his points pertaining to Song of Solomon

Samuel Geen is grossly inconsistent again. He claims this is a wedding song and not a prophecy for the future. Yet he forgets that he believes that Hosea 11:1 refers to Jesus despite that clearly being about a past event regarding Israel

The point of note here is, Samuel will take an approach of foreshadowing (layered meanings) for Hosea 11:1 and reject it for Song of Solomon. This is inconsistent.

Inconsistency is a sign of a failed argument

‘Machmadim’

Samuel claims Zakir is committing the phonic fallacy by appealing to the word Muhammad mentioned in the Song of Solomon. This dismissal is unfair as the supportive Zakir is not just taking the word in isolation – he is showing the surrounding text in Song of Solomon is referring to Prophet Muhammad (p). Thus his argument here is that it’s a layered prophecy of Prophet Muhammad which culminates in the mention of that Prophet by name.

Summary: Samuel did not offer anything in response to the story of Abdullah bin Salam (a then reputed Jewish rabbi) nor did he offer a real objection which would dissuade a truth-seeker from allowing such a reading. In fact he simply highlighted his own inconsistent approach.

Shameful – A penny for Samuel’s thoughts

Samuel brings some little-known book by a Muslim in which he claims the Muslim author re-wrote the ‘Gospel’. I had a quick look at that book and I don’t believe the author genuinely intended that book to be something to be believed to be from God. It seemed it as written for argument sake.

Rightly or wrongly Samuel makes a big hoo-ha over this. However, it appears this was feigned offence as Samuel if he really wanted to point fingers at shameful re-writings of the Gospels he wouldn’t be beginning with a book that most if not all the audience members had never heard of before Samuel began his denunciation of such. He would have actually been talking about the known forgeries which are still in the New Testament today. We don’t get a peep out of Samuel. What about the NT books which have been forged under false names? Again, not a word from Samuel.

In fact, Samuel must have been thinking what in the world has just hit him when Zakir pointed out two Gospel verses which purport something to be in the OT which we cannot find!

Here is one of such examples that Zakir offered whilst asking Samuel to admit the Gospel writer was ‘shameful’:

38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[a] [John 7:38]

What do we get from Samuel? Silence. Silence which is deafening.

 Samuel Green speaks of things he has no knowledge of

Samuel for some reason changed tack and started talking about the compilation of the Quran in the debate. Yes he went off topic. Perhaps the pressure Zakir was putting on him was too much.

Samuel claimed the 1st surah of the Quran is disputed. No it’s not. This is Christian missionary nonsense – the first surah just like every other surah is mutawatir. Samuel should stop getting such material from missionary tracts and actually start reading what Muslim SCHOLARS have said about such. If I recall correctly he (in the QA) made similar nonsensical claims for the last two surahs of the Quran.

If Samuel wants to show himself to be sincere he needs to drop Christian missionary propaganda pieces regarding Ibn Masud – these pieces are simply designed to detract Muslim attention from the forgeries and the lack of preservation and authority (Jesus, p, never saw the NT) concerning the NT. Here is a link to an article which refutes the errors of the Christian missionary argumentation around Ibn Masud:

http://www.letmeturnthetables.com/2011/10/ibn-masud-mushaf-last-surahs-fatiha.html

Another issue which Samuel seems to be sketchy on/duped on is the burning of the masahif by Uthman. Here is an expert, Dr Yasir Qadhi to explain:

http://thefactsaboutislam.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/why-did-third-caliph-uthman-burn-copies.html

Did Prophet Muhammad (p) do miracles? Yes

In the QA there was some confusion over such. Here is a link to show prophet Muhammad (p) did do miracles:

http://thefactsaboutislam.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/did-prophet-muhammad-p-perform-miracles.html

Samuel OS Confusion

Samuel Green in his opening statement made a claim about Christianity which is untrue. He claimed Christians make no distinction between the Prophets. This is incorrect on 2 accounts

Firstly they reject the last Prophet of God

Secondly, they do make a distinction between the Prophets they believe in. They believe Jesus (p) is a prophet and God. Thus they do draw a distinction between the Prophets they believe in as they worship one whilst not worshipping the others.

Samuel would do well to ponder upon this sincerely.

Zakir Hussain’s performance

Zakir was well prepared and well researched – his mention of the Christian use of Hosea 11:1 was a great crux for consistency which constantly prodded Samuel throughout the debate. He offered fine rebuttals that overwhelmed Samuel. Zakir’s opening statement was the most educational part of the debate but his rebuttals were the highlight for anybody who likes to see a concise and effective breakdown of the opposition’s arguments.

Criticisms – Zakir spoke whilst walking away from the audience. This is not endearing to the objective observer and I’d imagine this was due to inexperience.

 Zakir missed out on a few opportunities to turn the heat up even more on Samuel. Namely Samuel’s explanation of Hosea 11:1 (did not make sense), his explanation of the failed prophecy attributed to Jesus in Matthew 24 (appeared to be incoherent rambling) and his insincere use of a selected version of the inauthentic satanic verses

In the QA the question of Prophet Muhammad (p) doing miracles could have been handled better.

Having said that, Zakir won the debate hands down. His arguments were much stronger, his rebuttals were potent and he remained coherent throughout the debate. I liked his earnest passion and sincerity. I hope to see more of the same from this chap in the future.

Samuel Green’s performance

Samuel was disappointing. It’s always sad to see somebody’s sincerity and integrity come into question but for me questions must be asked of Samuel. His rebuttals were marred with weakness, inconsistency and insincerity. He upon post-debate reflection must be able to see this. Samuel Green rightly got abjured and scolded by Zakir Hussain in this debate.

Aside from taking on a debate in which he was arguing the weaker position my criticisms of him would be his repeated inconsistency, insincere argumentations, lack of knowledge on matters he spoke about and his incoherency when put under pressure of tough objections by Zakir.

It’s clear that the subtext Samuel was operating from was that of his presupposition as a Trinitarian Christian – thus a Prophet (Muhammad P) who supported total and pure monotheism would not be considered by Samuel to be the Prophet in Deut 18:18. This is unfortunate as Samuel is not looking for the truth but simply looking to defend his pre-existing beliefs.

I feel compelled to mention this as Samuel’s colleague claims Samuel hates Prophet Muhammad (p). I am not sure if this is true however we do ask Samuel to put aside any bias he has.

My appeal to Samuel Green would be to rethink this one. Put aside your bias and think about this. Really. Look at Deut 18:18 and decide for yourself if that is a prophecy of a man-god or a human Prophet who is going to be like Moses (p).

This is not a game. Your stubbornness (and/or hatred) should not hinder others from the truth.

Think about it.

Email: yahyasnow@yahoo.co.uk

Further reading: Prophet Jesus mentioned Prophet Muhammad (pbut):
http://thefactsaboutislam.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/prophet-jesus-mentioned-prophet.html

Jesus taught people to do the Will of God (according to Mark 3:35) in order to become his brothers, mothers or sisters. A Muslim means one who submits to the Will of God. Do you want to become a brother of Jesus? If yes, become a Muslim. Now is the time.

Learn about Islam:
http://www.thedeenshow.com

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