I don’t recommend this debate – it’s a hard watch and is characterised by many annoyances and the viewer would not gain anything from it that he/she could not gain from a Dr Shabir Ally debate on this topic or Zakir Hussain’s debate v Samuel Green. Dr Shabir Ally’s debate with Anis Shorosh or Zakir Hussain’s debate with Samuel Green are more beneficial for learning a particular Muslim argumentation in a clear and concise fashion.
Upon reflection and scrutiny Osama Abdallah won this debate due to the strength of his points regarding Deuteronomy 18:18 despite Osama Abdallah inexplicably confining himself predominantly to the Old Testament and offering a poor verbal presentation which was characterised by a lack of fluidity, coherence (at times) and continuation.
Osama Abdallah could have (and should have) presented more mainstream Muslim argumentation (such as that from the Song of Solomon and that pertaining to the paraclete in John 14:6) and presented the material with more structure so the audience could follow along better. The interesting story here is that for those who focus on argumentation solely (which should be all of us) Osama won the debate despite his presentation style being quite poor and lacking structure plus fluidity (at times). I personally believe Osama was not well prepared for the debate (he had a number of debates in a short period of time and accepted the debates at very short notice – which is not the wisest move) which actually makes it even more interesting that the Muslim position came out dominant.
However, it must be noted, Osama’s position only comes out on top after post-debate scrutiny and an appeal for consistency – things which Osama offered little in the actual debate though there are a few notes added into the debate video released by Osama which aid the viewer in following along.
The Christian (Anthony Rogers) was much more fluent and generally was clear in his presentation. He seemed to be playing up to the fundamentalist Christians in the audience which did not make for comfortable viewing. He did offer a sound insight into the Christian argumentation and made some interesting argumentations when discussing the Biblical passages. His style was overly abrasive and he seemed to be characterised by his unfair bias and thus losing all sense of objectivity.
In the middle of the debate he starts to interpolate his own bits into the Bible though his eisegesis was interesting it did actually aid Osama’s argumentation! Did anybody in the audience notice or were they all asleep? Aside from this he seemed to be simply borrowing from dodgy sites off the internet – as evidenced by his espousal of the dishonest citing of Al-Tabari and other shoddy internet hate-site material. Anthony Rogers is one who has a history of interpolating his own bits and meanings into Biblical texts as shown by his belief that an angel in the Old Testament is God (last I checked on this guy he believed an angel in the Old Testament was God). He did not depart from his bad habit of adding his own bits to the Bible – this meant he was tough to listen to and was presenting material which was not exactly Biblical.
I think to the unbiased lay audience member, or the one-off lay viewer who does not review nor analyse the points the speakers brought up, the Christian position would have seemed stronger concerning whether Prophet Muhammad was mentioned in the modern day Bible.
However the review brings up some reflections which actually show Osama’s position was much stronger than Anthony’s.
Upon analysis Osama Abdallah made some very good points and convincing argumentation too. He let’s the audiene know Islam (submission to the Will of God) is the original religion. Abdallah cited Rabbi Ben Abrahamson to support his assertion that Muslim is the title of the believers (perhaps he could have used the reference to those who do the Will of God in Mark 3:35 as well). More on Rabbi Ben Abrahamson:
Osama gives similarities between Prophet Moses and Prophet Muhammad whilst presenting a case for Deut 18 referring to Prophet Muhammad. In fact this fits nobody better than Prophet Muhammad as his similarity with Prophet Moses is noticeable. Thinking about it, hearing the Trinitarian Christian espousing the belief this prophecy is about Jesus is surreal. I mean, didn’t Rogers and the Christian audience members stop to think that he is equating the person who he believes to be God with Prophet Moses? Did alarm bells not ring? They should have!
Anthony Rogers was floundering here and his desperation to counter the Muslim claims concerning Deut 18:18 not only led him to the presentation of unscholarly and inaccurate materials but also inconsistent argumentations.
Anthony’s poor researching was further highlighting by a blunder where he attempted to impugn his opponent for writing Isaiah 7:14 was about Prophet Muhammad – it turned out Osama Abdallah had no knowledge of this alleged claim!
Osama generally adopts an esoteric approach to the Bible
Osama adopts this approach but does not tell nor explain this to the audience thus making him difficult to follow for the Christian audience throughout the debate. Bad communication. All he had to do was at the on-set of his presentation state his methodology much in the way Zakir Hussain did on this topic in his debate with Samuel Green and thus use it as a crux to appeal for consistency throughout the debate
Note: Origen (early CHRISTIAN scholar 185-254) believed Scripture had multiple levels of meaning. Apparent and esoteric meanings – foreshadowings, typologies.
To enable the Christian audience to understand and empathise with his style of argumentation Osama is advised to cite 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.
Here the Christian is using an approach similar to Origen’s and similar to the approach Osama Abdallah displayed in this debate.
Osama missed an important appeal to consistency here and thus allowed his opponent to be inconsistent when dismissing his (Osama’s) claims. This was a crucial mistake by Osama setting an inconsistent and unfair tone for the debate (this oversight by Osama may have been due to his lack of preparation time)
In general, Osama offers a lot of references without expanding on them much; it would have been more appealing to a Christian if he had stated his esoteric approach and to elaborate on each verse he was appealing to in order to stimulate the listener to further thought and research.
Of course not all Biblical references Osama appealed to would fall under the esoteric approach – the main one being Deut 18:18 which is a clear prophesy about one to come who will be like Prophet Moses.
In this debate, as Osama did not present argumentation from the Song of Solomon or argumentation related to the Paraclete in John 16, the debate was going to be centred around Deuteronomy 18:18 and thus won/lost on this argumentation.
Mini Debate Concernng Deuteronomy 18:18
A prophet to come who will be like Moses; Abdallah states the big similarity is that both Muhammad and Moses came with a Law. To be frank, there are numerous similarities between Prophet Muhammad and Prophet Moses. Even the Christians would not dispute such. Here are the points of similarity Osama highlighted:
Normal birth, married, had children, came with a new law, passed away, Moses was accepted by his (Jewish) people as a whole but Jesus was not (according to is own did not receive him, they all forsook him and fled at the) most Jews do not accept him (though Jesus was a Jew) whilst most Arabs accept Muhammad as a Prophet, both Muhammad and Moses were rulers of their respective people, Jesus was not.
So Osama highlights a number of good similarities between Moses and Muhammad whilst also showing they cannot apply to Jesus
For Osama to underline his point to the Christian audience it would have been advised to cite a non-Muslim who believes in Prophets Muhammad and Moses being similar, Reverent James Dow:
“As a statesman and a lawgiver Moses is the creator of the Jewish people. He found a loose conglomeration of Semitic people, none of whom had been anything but a slave, and whose ideas of religion were a complete confusion. He led them out and he hammered them into a nation. with a law and a national pride, and a compelling sense of being chosen by a particular God who was supreme. The only man in history who can be compared even remotely to him is Mohamet
From among thy brethren
Arabs and Jews are cousins. Abdallah misses an opportunity, despite mentioning it, to link this with:
I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. [Matthew 21:43 NLT].
This goes back to Abdallah’s lack of structure to his presentation – much of the core material was there but he left the audience to join the dots when he as the presenter should have been making it easier for them to follow his points. Here Abdallah is arguing that Jesus in 21:43 is informing the Jews a new nation [the Arabs] will take up the message next so it will leave the Children of Israel.
Osama also mentioned the word ‘ach’ was used to signify the brotherhood of Jews and Arabs. This word can mean relative and kinship so is not simply restricted to blood brother
All in all, Abdallah made the case that Arabs are indeed the brethren of Jews so strengthened the affirmative position and left Rogers with no room to manoeuvre. Or did he?
Rogers actually showed his staunch bias in this regard as he did not even grant the meaning which was offered by Abdallah. Erm, Strongs Accordance at Blueletterbible.com confirms the possible meaning of ‘relative’ and ‘kinship’ so is not simply restricted to blood brother. Rogers looked silly here due to his extreme bias which was a feature throughout the debate.
Anthony Rogers then presents a case based on context as the word brethren earlier on in this chapter refers to Israelites. This is a good point Rogers raises – one that must be given further thought. Having said that this point does not mean the meaning in Deut 18:18 cannot be the broader meaning rather than the restricted meaning. Coupled with Matthew 21:43 and the legitimate definition of ‘relative’ Osama had a strong case for this prophecy to be related to an Arab. However, Anthony did bring an interesting argument forward concerning context.
Another problem Rogers faces here is that of inconsistency as he would argue Hosea 11:1 refers to Jesus thus if Rogers is willing to employ such a broad mode of interpretation when considering what he believes to be prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament he would look more than a little inconsistent when preventing Muslims from using a legitimate definition of the word ‘ach’ in their argumentations regarding Deut 18:18.
In all reality, Anthony despite raising an interesting objection he as a Bible-believing Christian was being inconsistent
Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument.
Arguing for the other side without knowing it?!
Anthony Rogers gets confusing in his attempt to argue against the similarities between Moses and Muhammad which highlights his lack of knowledge. He inadvertently shows Prophet Muhammad is like Prophet Moses!
~35 min. He argues the one like Prophet Moses is somebody who spoke dierectly with God. Erm, Prophet Muhammad did speak directly with God in the night Journey.
Anthony scores an own goal here!
He scores another own goal…
Anthony Rogers also sets a criteria that the prophet like Moses is expected to perform miracles. He then claims that Prophet Muhammad did not perform any miracles. This is a falsehood on the part of Anthony Rogers due to his poor understanding and research into Islam. Prophet Muhammad performed a number of miracles (by the Will of God) see here:
So this reflected badly on Anthony as he had not done his research and was arguing against the Muslim claim but unknowingly was confirming it as two of the criterions he put forward in his attempts to exclude Prophet Mhammad from Deut 18 (namely performance of miracles and direct communication with God) re-inforce the Muslim position!
However, Rogers in the same opening statement changes the goal-posts again and makes the claim that the Prophet should see God. Here we see Anthony adding his own bits to the proceedings out of a desperation to argue against Osama’s stance on Deut 18:18
The Trinitarian problem for the claim Deut 18 refers to Prophet Jesus is that this is problematic for Trinitarian beliefs. I mean, here you have Anthony believing Moses is like the god according to Trinitarianism (Christian Trinitarian belief is Prophet Jesus was a ‘god-man’ -100% human and 100% God). Also it flies in the face of the Trinitarian belief that Prophet Jesus is God as it implies that ‘the Prophet’ will be raised up by God and thus have a God. Notice, Deut 18 is not teaching about God coming down but rather about sending a Prophet like a man (Prophet Moses)
If you as a Trinitarian Christian believe Prophet Jesus is God then it’s inconsistent and problematic for you (based on your theological presuppositions) to say your God has more similarities to Prophet Moses than Prophet Muhammad does with Prophet Moses. Think about it!
This is an issue the Trinitarian Christians need to ponder upon. Their beliefs in the incarnation nor their beliefs in three persons of God do not solve this problem.
And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. [NIV]
Even the Christian apologist Anis Shorosh claims this Biblical verse refers to the Muslims.
Thus the question we are left with, if the Ishmaelites (Arabs) are to be a great nation then are they not going to have a Prophet and a religion from God? Food for thought, there’s a double-serving when one combines this with Deuteronomy 18.
Firstly, Anthony is inconsistent as Hosea 11:1 is in the past tense about Israel whilst he and other Christians would claim that it’s about Jesus. So Anthony was operating a double-standard. One standard for the verses he believes to be prophecies about Jesus (a standard of acceptance) whilst he had a standard of rejection for this verse simply because it’s argued to be about Muhammad. Anthony’s bias evidently led him to inconsistency – inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument
Secondly, Anthony claims this is about the Lord. However, the Muslims who argue this verse refers to Muhammad do not believe Muhammad is God. They simply look at the verse in an esoteric fashion whilst also understanding the concept of agency in the OT. Thus the verse (if the concept of agency is applies) is speaking about the agent/s of God
Again, notice Anthony’s approach of accommodation regarding Hosea 11:1 yet utter rejection with regards to Abdallah’s appeal to Deut 33:2.
If Anthony and other Christians are willing to use an esoteric approach to what they believe to be prophecies of Prophet Jesus in the OT then why disallow Abdallah and other Muslims who use the same approach for verses they believe could refer to Prophet Muhammad?
Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument
Note: this is the section where Anthony was found to be presenting a fudged narration from Al-Tabari. It appears his colleague Sam Shamoun had tricked him regarding this narration. Amateurish and misleading, see here for more information:
Osama and Isaiah 29:12
In fact this fits Prophet Muhammad like a glove fits a hand. Prophet Muhammad repeated verbatim the words of God (the Quran)
Isaiah 29:12 Then the book will be given to the one who is illiterate, saying, “Please read this.” And he will say, “I cannot read.” [NASB]
This again fits Muhammad like a glove fits a hand. Prophet Muhammad’s experience in the cave when he first received Revelation passed on by the Archangel Gabriel from God seems a remarkable fulfilment of this Prophecy in Isaiah. There is no arguing against this – the verse and the facts speak for themselves. The Muslim speaker need not have said anything else and the Christian speaker would have been foolish to argue against it.
Silly argument from John 1
Anthony presented a silly argument: because the people asked Prophet John the Baptist whether he was ‘the Prophet’ and that he was not an Arab then this means the Jews were expecting a Jew not an Arab. Anthony was simply relying on a mistake on the part of these people. In any case their mere asking John the Baptist does not necessarily mean they believed the Prophet could not have been an Ishmaelite (Arab)
In fact Anthony was being inconsistent as the same passage shows the Messiah will be distinct from ‘the Prophet’ thus Jesus could not have been ‘the Prophet’ mentioned in Deut 18.
Would Anthony accept that or would he say the people questioning Prophet John were mistaken?
Think about it. Anthony offers an inconsistent and superficial argument which may well have been found to be satisfactory to some of the fundamentalist Christians in the audience but for those who review these matters this was simply highlighting the lack of solid argumentation coming forth from the Trinitarian camp.
Quran and science
The debate veered off to the topic of science and the Quran. Anthony just ran with a couple of shoddy internet hate-site claims. The first one being the age-old ‘sperm produced between the back bone and ribs’. This just further highlights Anthony’s shoddy researching – internet hate sites are not edifying. This claim has been explained and debunked here:
Rogers showcases his reliance on internet hate-sites and his lack of research as well as lack of consistency again. He claims the Quran teaches the stars stop ‘angels’ from ‘secretly sneaking’ into God’s presence. This is incorrect.
However Muslims do believe the stars do drive away shayatin (devils which are not angels but rather jinn). An interesting point here is that stars move at great speeds due to gravity (though they appear quite static to us casual viewers on earth). So quite how Anthony can criticise the belief of shayatin being driven away by stars (in light of their speed and emittance of heat and fire) is beyond me. It gets even more inconsistent and desperate as Anthony (as a Bible believing Christian) believes Angels came down from Heaven and had sex with human women resulting in offspring which were giants.
Now if Anthony has enough faith to believe that then he is simply being ludicrously inconsistent in criticising Muslims for believing stars drive away shayatin (devils) whom are not angels but jinn
Rogers goes down similar argumentation lines his colleague David Wood did previously regarding pagans in pre-islamic Arabia – further showing Anthony’s bias and lack of research as well as original argumentation. Here is Dave Wood receiving a sharp rebuke for this line of argumentation:
The Debate in full – Anthony Rogers v Osama Abdallah on ‘Is Prophet Muhammad in the Bible?’
May Allah send his peace and blessings upon Prophets Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (and all the others). Ameen
Prophet Muhammad mentioned by Prophet Jesus: