Dear Dr Tony Costa
You asked me a question – I have many demands on my time but I humbly ask you to read this response and reflect on some of the rhetorical questions and points therein. Please do this – only good things will happen if you do so.
I am not looking for a back and forth – I cannot commit to this – I am already lagging behind with responding to emails I receive from my blog and vids.
I’d like to from the outset urge Muslims to caution when using Ian Mevorach as he is seemingly motivated by bringing Christians and Muslims together – in my opinion that cannot be a framework to do serious theology and NT hermeneutics. In fact, his approach seems to be a gateway to liberalism and universalism. Both religions are exclusivist in terms of claims to the truth – anything that encroaches on that is not true to either faith.
Dr Costa before touching on your question addressed to me, with grace, I ask you to rethink your stance on the crowd who claim the Prophet p wore women’s clothing. This is actually a claim which originates from a crowd which claim Islam allows bestiality and is Satanic. When you have folk who want to present Islam as something from Satan they aren’t going to be overly concerned with accurately representing us and even showing any reverence and respect.
I can absolutely understand Ijaz’s disppaointment in you Dr Costa. I truly hope you can see this.
To add to what Ijaz has said about it I will tell you Cyril Glasse’s Encyclopedia of Islam has it translated as “coverlet”
There are two words germane to the topic. I am currently using a keyboard which does not have Arabic so I will tansliterate – I suspect it will be helpful for you and others. The first one is thawb. And yes it mentions in the thawb – which can mean material or cloth. The Hadith using this word would be translated as blanket. The Hadith doesn’t even use the word for wear (labasa) it uses in (fee)
The second one is MirT which means unsewn cloth.
At this juncture, it’s painfully obvious nobody should be thinking about a female dress.
However, crucially, what is often missed is that there are two other narrations of the same saying which use the word HOUSE (bayt) rather than cloth – these can be found in Musnad Ahmed and Sahih Ibn Haban.
So in reality it seems it was just a metaphor for house.
Sadly, David, who I assume got it from Sam Shamoun was just a victim of somebody else’s inability in the language and lack of desire to accurately represent the Muslim sources.
Dr Costa, I gracefully urge you to look into this issue – here’s a blog post I did in response a few years ago containing a couple of direct response vids. It will take you all of ten minutes to get up to speed on this issue:
You have now been informed on this issue by Ijaz and I. Please do correct any of your co-religionists you may come across who are promulgating this offensive claim.
I recently rebuked other Muslims for claiming Paul of Tarsus performed a homosexual act on Timothy while performing his circumcision. Obviously this is absurdly offensive to devout Christians. I did this at a cost to myself. In fact the response was; we only repeat these claims because they (evangelical Christians) do it to us (i.e. they make ludicrous and offensive claims about Prophet Muhammad p).
If you sincerely want Muslims to stop making those claims about Paul, you will educate your community on these issues and have a word with the toxic elements within your ranks who propagate such – there are many who promulgate suchlike.
How else can we get beyond malicious polemics against each others faith?
I’m shocked you, too, fell for such an outlandish polemic. I get a number of hostile Christians messaging/commenting at me with this polemic. I just send them a link to my refutation and there’s a deafening silence from them which screams they have been the victims of misleading evangelical polemics. It actually winds up to be a great avenue for me to gracefully talk to them about serious matters such as the ideas of the Trinity and Biblical inerrancy as well as discuss any other polemics their “leaders/apologists” have passed on to them.
Trust me, once they find out they aren’t being fed accurate information they will be less inclined to go back to that source – the evangelical camp. As the adage goes; fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
I highly suspect polemics of this nature are backfiring spectacularly. But hey, as long as certain people are getting donations and a few internet views out of such, is there a real concern here?
Tony, again, I understand Ijaz’s disappointment and utter shock. When you start making the claim about Lat which you did it becomes painfully obvious that you’re not drawing on Arabic proficiency. Please do accept his correction on this point.
Just to add, in one of Ijaz’s screenshots of dictionary refs there’s an allusion to a character in pre-Islamic history. Just to expanD on this – this is quite common knowledge amongst those who have studied Seerah (part of studying it is to look at Pre-Islamic Arabia). There was a man who used to be known for his hospitality to the pilgrims – each year he would set up camp and feed people a sort of soup. This is where the name Lat originates from.
Thus from a historical point of view your claim does not add up either. Think about this humbly.
We are human beings and we all make mistakes – the true character of a man is illuminated when he accepts correction gracefully and does what he can to ensure others don’t fall into the same misunderstandings.
You asked me about killing apostates. I am British and have never lived in any other country. Even if a load of Muslims in the M.E set up a Caliphate stipulating apostates should be killed it’s irrelevant to us. Quite why a Canadian is asking a British Muslim this question is beyond me. Sharia does not apply here nor in any other Non-Muslim country (which we all seem to be from).
I get it you want to throw in a bit of emotionalism – but emotionalism is not necessarily consistent nor Biblical (looking at Jay Smith’s recent video on slavery one can find ample examples of this)
I’d request you consider this train of thought humbly. I think the way you’re doing apologetics is setting people up to stumble – to stumble into Atheism in some cases too.
Let me elaborate, Dr Costa. When you make emotional arguments about killing apostates you must recognise there has to be a standard of consistency. If one was to read the Bible with a Trinitarian lens they will see Jesus (as a person in a Triune Godhead idea) allowed the killing of apostates in Deut 13:6-9. In fact one’s own family members. There’s also Deut 17:3-5 which teaches killing apostates. Would you, Dr Costa, if living in the OT age, have used such an emotional argument about killing apostates? I think if you had, a few stones would have been flung in your direction!
If you aren’t willing to condemn this teaching which presumably as a Trinitarian you believe to be according to Jesus’ will too, where’s the consistency?
The same applies to the bulk of Christian evangelicals who use the emotionalism behind this issue in attempts to sway emotional folk – not based on critical thought but purely emotional and inconsistent rhetoric.
To his credit, Dr White does not use this type of argumentation. I think this is one of the reasons why he is looked upon with more respect than other folk who shall remain nameless.
Dr Costa, do you not think this type of emotional argumentation directed at Muslims will simply set Christians up to leave Biblical Christianity?
What happens when they come across a Muslim who knows a bit about apologetics and the Muslim tells them the Bible teaches Jesus allowed the killing of apostates.
And what if they meet a graceless Atheist? You’ve sent the naive Christian out into the real world conditioned to thinking killing apostates is wrong, evil etc.. What happens if an Atheist goes to town on them with those refs from Deut?
Perhaps they will stumble into Atheism? At the very least, if they are consistent they will stop being Bible believing Christians.
I will furnish you with a couple of other examples really quickly from Jay Smith’s recent video on slavery and Islam as I’m responding to that right now in a piecemeal fashion via vids.
Smith and other evangelicals over-exaggerate the role of Wilberforce has in the abolition of slavery. I’m from near where Wilerforce was from – trust me NOBODY up in the North of England is claiming Wilberforce abolished slavery. people know about the industrial revolution and whathaveyou!
In fact, in my view Wilberforce was anti-slavery prior to his conversion to Christianity in 1784. Being sympathetic to slaves was not synonymous with Christianity – William Pitt put his career as Prime Minister on the line to help pass through a bill to improve the conditions on slaveships – he wasn’t a Christian as far as historians can make out. Thomas Paine wasn’t a Christian either and he was a pioneeer in the abolition movement in America. What about the 200 odd MPs who voted in favour of the bill in 1807, were they all Christians?
And what happens when the naive Christian comes across a semi-smart but graceless Atheist who shows them pamphlets from the pro-slavery lobby using the Bible to SUPPORT slavery? Oh yeah, such exist.
They don’t exist in the minds of those who want to do history with evangelical tinted shades on but for those who want to do serious-minded history; they do exist.
Last example, Smith spoke about slavery and claimed Jesus banned it. Not true – Paul allows it in Col 3:22 and 1 Timothy 2:6
And what of the Christian who is swayed by Smith and goes out into the real world with the belief slavery was evil? What happens when they meet a graceless Atheist who knows a bit about the Bible plus the Trinitarian framework and points out the Bible from a Trinitarian framework teaches Jesus, not only allowed slavery (Lev 25) but allowed the severe beating of female slaves in Ex 21:20-21. See here for a video on this:
Dr Costa, the question should not be whether I believe a group of Muslims have the right to self-determination and set up laws against apostates; the question should be whether you and others are setting your fellow Christians to stumble?
The arguments one uses, if not consistent and based on one’s Scripture, are ultimately going to be counterintuitive. Sure you may get a few emails from Iran (I highly suspect they are more likely folk angling for a stay here in the West rather than people sincerely interested in Christianity) but rest assured, you’ll lose far more than you will ever gain.
I also highly suspect Ijaz, Yusuf and I get more emails from people softening towards Islam from a Christian stance than you get vice-versa.
I suspect you have seen this shift away from Christianity in your country – we certainly have in Britain. It used to be a Christian country but most people here have zero interest in Christianity. In fact, the more vocal Christians over here nowadays seem to be a small band of racist bigots marching in certain areas of the UK – a group called Britain First. They yell “this is a Christian country” while trying to antagonise and intimidate poor Muslim immigrants. We all know they yell falsehood. Most people are not Christians here. Why did they leave Christianity and why do they continue to leave even within our lifetime?
Did some abandon ship after they were set up to stumble by emotional rhetoric and bad argumentation? The Dallas Theological Seminary is eager to get these folk back and is looking at these things in a more scientific manner – one thing I’ve noticed listening to Dr Bock’s podcast – they aren’t really employing the emotional and Biblically inconsistent rhetoric we are seeing from the likes of Smith. Is it because Dr Bock and co. suspect their predecessors set the previous generation up to stumble into Atheism by conditioning them with emotional rhetoric?
Food for thought, Dr Costa. Ask yourself, whether you and/or some of those ABN characters are part of this phenomena too..
Let’s talk about behaviour for a moment. You touched on the chap who was wearing his wife’s underwear on camera (yikes!), let me show you a comment I got from Negeen Mayel (a lady who left David’s Acts 17 group) reacting to David’s decision to wear his wife’s undies, just to show how brainless attention-seeking can push people away:
I honestly to this day have never viewed that video that David posted. I don’t need to, he is wearing a womans spaghetti strap and posted it on his website that is associated with his ministry that seeks to win Muslims to Christ. This degree of outlandishness displays a lack of sheer respect towards the muslim community and that video should not have been posted. Over time I have come to seriously doubt the wisdom behind certain things that David does. Self radicalization can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, I think David has self radicalized himself into having a perspective of Islam that is heavily influenced by evil actions committed by bad people. If I wanted to spend all day reading articles about evil actions committed by Afghanis I would begin to hate all Afghans, but because I have a broader understanding of the Afghan community, because I have been around Afghans who love, laugh, and give generously I understand that not all Afghans are terrorists who hate women. I really wish David would spend less time self radicalizing himself and spend more time amongst the homes of normal muslims who love the good things in this world
Wood has spread deranged sexual polemics such as “the Prophet had sex with a dead woman” and “he thighed (inter-crural sex) Aisha at the age of six because she was too small for sex” (I responded to that stuff via vids years ago) while Shamoun has propagated a ton of vile propaganda such as “Muslims are allowed to have sex with animals” (Bassam Zawadi rebuked him on that years ago).
Their behaviour is absurdly offensive to say the least. Shamoun and some of the other wild-eyed ABN types have histories of abuse spanning years. In Shamoun’s case it spans decades. Shamoun, just a matter of days ago called some bloke’s mother a “slut” (yes he was insulted first so there was some provocation – but his mother wasn’t insulted). Not exactly in accordance with 2 Timothy 2:24-26 or 1 Peter 3:15.
I do try to document some of this wild-eyed behaviour on my blog. It serves a few purposes. One of which; it shows sincere and serious-minded Christians that Muslims find this behaviour repulsive and it also serves as an apologetics tool for Muslims. Think about it, many Christians claim they have the Holy Spirit guiding them and for those who don’t follow the Westminster Confession of Faith they claim Jesus/God talks to them. In highlighting their mistakes in argumentation and mannerism it is effectively a practical demonstration these folk aren’t guided by the Holy Spirit or being spoken to by Jesus or God.
How can one say, somebody who calls somebody’s mother a “slut” or a bloke who ignorantly wears his wife’s undies on camera in defiance of Deut 22:5 is guided by the Holy Spirit? Not to mention the flaws in their actual polemics?
I know these issues in behaviour have been troubling other Muslims like Yusuf and Ijaz as well. They aren’t helpful for anybody who is serious-minded. Sure, pride is an obstacle and it gets in the way of self-rectification and apology.
Dr Costa, I grew up near a vicarage. I went to a Christian school. I grew up with a positive impression of Christians as humble, kind and loving people. From witnessing some of their nasty comments and behaviour on the internet over a prolonged period I am literally left with going to church periodically and sitting in on the service to rekindle this view. I genuinely believe there are humble and sincere Christians out there – I struggle to see this in many of your colleagues.
If I notice this problem, I think you will suspect observant and sincere Christians will see this too – is this not yet again another example of setting Christians up to stumble. In fact, I’ve seen comments from Christians who are appalled by such – perhaps some have left the church, I don’t know. My concern is more for Muslims – rest assured Muslims aren’t impressed.
Dr Costa, please reflect on this and follow my heart here – my heart is grieved not only by some of the things you seemingly championed as reasonable argumentation in this email chain but by many of the antics and claims from your colleagues at ABN and beyond. Look at it from our point of view, we are seeing claims that are obviously untrue being regurgitated year after year. How are our communities going to get beyond nasty polemics against each others faiths?
Not to palm you off, Dr Costa, I would like to reiterate I cannot get into a back and forth – if you want to send me a personal response you are more than welcome. I feel the avenue of email discussions like these which serve effectively as forum discussions are not the best avenue for helping people to accept correction, responsibility and adopt a more humble outlook.
Let’s not do our work as an in-house project looking for pats on the back from our colleagues and those who already agree with us.
We must do the Will of God as per Mark 3:35 in order to be the brothers/sisters/mothers of Jesus. May Allah give us the strength and inclination to strive for this. Ameen.