Channel: Yasir Qadhi
Shaykh Yasir Qadhi discuss the differences between Islam and Christianity regarding theology and beliefs and the things that makes us wonderful as religions of Islam and Christianity. Also, how our communities will get along amicably is also the foundation of this discussion.
Firstly, the misconceptions regarding Interfaith families is addressed suitably. There are many other things beside theology that form the crux of one’s faith. The key is fruitful dialogue with passionate disagreement that can resolve long standing issues.We can remove the fear, distrust, hatred and suspicion in our hearts to begin building bridges between the two religions.
The speaker addresses a big issue amongst Christians – the biggest knowlege of Islam comes from channels for the Christians and it is important to understand what Islam is and what is its foundation. Shaykh Yasir makes us understand that it is important to bond with a Muslim and visit mosques to fully fathom the true basis of Islam.
The originality of the Qur’an and the scriptures of the Christians are the next topic on which light is shed. The element of human nature is completely absent in the Qur’an as it is the Words of Allah to us. But that is not the case of the scriptures of Christians. Only the sayings of the Prophet ﷺ has been preserved in various books called Hadiths. Also, Islamic history has also been recorded by humans. But the Qur’an is only the Words of Allah sent down via Angel Jibreel AS to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to be communicated to mankind.
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I have been looking forward to this evening for a very, very long time. It has been my desire to engage in a dialogue like this. And when the opportunity came that I'd be coming into this area, I contacted Dr. Cuddy and I put out the call. And the church here was, was so kind to respond and to join with us and providing a place for us to have our conversation this evening. I want you to understand what our motivations are this evening in coming together. This is not a debate, some of you have seen debates that I have done around the world. This is not intended to be a debate, we are going to have necessity, discuss differences that we have.
The thing that makes this wonderful, and the reason that I sought out Dr. kotti, aside from the fact that I've learned so much from him, over the years, that he's been a primary influence in my study of Islam, I am a student of Islam, and I've learned much from him. But the reason I specifically sought him out, is because I sent in him such a kindred spirit on the other side of the chasm that divides us in regards to our theology and our beliefs. He is a consistent Muslim, he believes what he says he wants to seek for consistency amongst his people and his own practice. And so when you have to believing people, one Christian, one Muslim, come together and say, we need to discuss not
only what divides us, but also where do we have similarities? How can we live in the same community. And the most important thing is this. If we do what we, if we do what I hope happens this evening, we're going to do something absolutely unique. It hardly ever happens. And that is to communities where Unfortunately, there is a lot of fear on both sides. There is a lot of misunderstanding on both sides. And as a Christian, I want to see doors opened. As a Christian, I want you as if you are a Christian here this evening, to not have fear of the Muslim people, but to have love for the Muslim people. I want the Muslim people to understand that we care, and that we want to have
dialogue. And that we're not seeking this evening to sweep our differences under the rug and say they don't matter. Dr. kotti cannot present an Islam. That is just simply one view amongst many. I believe in divine revelation, he believes in divine revelation. So how do we get along? How do our communities talk to one another? The sad fact of the matter is that conversation isn't happening. And I want to start tonight, and I want to start here. So if you're a praying person pray that we will have understanding that as if you're a Christian, I want you to hear what this man has to say I want you to understand why he believes the things he does what his life is like here in the United
States as a Muslim. And I want you to hear especially when he talks about what Islam is and what it is not and who speaks for Islam and all these types of things. I want you to hear so that we can have better communication with one another. That's why we're here this evening. I hope that's why you've come here this evening. Please
know audience reactions or participation. Let us do the conversation. We're going to have the audience questions later on. But I very much appreciate you coming here. Dr. kotti, is a Muslim scholar, he has written books I for example, was very, very happy to receive from him a 16 cd series called light and guidance. And it tremendously helped me to get a basic understanding of, you know, sort of get the lay of the land. He has He is an expert in Hades. I think I've sort of scared him a little bit by telling him that sometimes in August, in Phoenix where I live, I have to ride it literally 233 o'clock in the morning if you can even survive. And I have distinct memories. At that
time in the morning of riding my bike in the desert, listening to him lecture on Hadeeth sciences. I think even the Muslims will go that is really weird, because I don't even I don't even think they do that. Can you get no they don't know. They don't do that. I don't think
that's really weird. But he is an expert in in those areas. We're gonna be talking about a lot of these things. We're gonna be explaining what we're talking about. We want to bring everyone along. And hopefully at the end of this evening, when we go over there to have refreshments.
The Christians and the Muslims together will be able to have conversation. And many of the misunderstandings that separate us right now will be laid aside.
There won't be any compromise, because we both believe very firmly in what we believe in what we profess. So how in light of that, do we get along? That's why we're here this evening, Dr. kotti. Sir, you honor us with your presence. Thank you very, very much for being with us. Thank you for inviting me. It's an honor and a pleasure to be here.
I hope this is the first of many future dialogues. One of the main motivations for us to come here really was that and I was expressing this to
James, should I call you Mr. James, Reverend James, James is just fine. Okay, James, and you can call me out. Let's be formal, the doctor kadhi here. So I was expressing to James that in the interfaith dialogues that Muslims typically end up having, it's with people that I would consider to be a different type of Christians than then the predominant strand here in Tennessee, if you get what I'm saying. In other words, most of the people that are engaged in interfaith
are really not minding the fact that we have differences in theology, they don't really express any type of discomfort with us, they're very nice to us. The fact of the matter is that there is a segment of this population that has a lot of misconceptions that a lot of fears, and when we try to dialogue with them, we find that they're not really that interested to come to the dialogue table to the interfaith events, they, they they have these notions that translate into misunderstandings translate into misconceptions. And you know, it takes two hands to shake, you know, you can't just shake a hand that's not extended to you. So it's very important that people understand we are
committed to both of us to our faith traditions, our commitments are not going to be watered down. But that doesn't mean that we can't get along and have genuine genuine love and care and concern for one another right here. And now, that doesn't mean that we can't live together as peaceful neighbors. That doesn't mean that our children or it gets, in my case, my children and his grandchildren, because you're talking about his grandchildren, that they can't get along and play together. Because you see, theology is one element, yes. But there are other elements as well to being a human and for me, and for James theology is the most important. That's what I like, we're
not going to water that down. We are very committed to our faith traditions. I passionately believe in my religion. And so does James and I do not doubt his sincerity. I do not doubt his intentions. I do not doubt his commitment to his faith. And I know that he feels the same about me. So if we can get along and have a fruitful dialogue and conversation, and show that, you know, it's okay to disagree, even if we disagree passionately, I don't have to hate him. I don't have to feel fear against him. I can wish for guidance for him. And he can wish for guidance. For me. One side of me can feel a sadness or remorse that he's not fully there yet. But I can still break bread with him.
Like we did today for lunch, we had a great lunch together. He likes really spicy Mexican.
ethnically, I'm Indian, I can't help liking spices. So it's like,
we can break bread together, we can crack jokes together, we can watch Monty Python together. So it's okay.
Always look on the bright side of life. But
it's it's there is also quite a lot that conservative Muslims and conservative Christians have in common. So even as we understand and appreciate the differences, we don't water them down. Let us also look at the similarities so that at least at least, we can remove the fear and distrust and hatred and suspicion of the other because it does no one any good. If my heart is full of anger, and fear and hatred of anyone else, it doesn't help me. It doesn't help him. It doesn't help our kids. It doesn't help our society. So really, that's the purpose of this dialogue is just to begin the building of bridges. And I hope that this is the first of many future dialogues to take place. So
let's tackle one of the first things that causes the problem. When I speak, in many places, I say, you know, one of the biggest problems I see amongst my fellow Christians when it comes to Islam, is that most of their knowledge of Islam comes from Fox News, or even worse, MSNBC, but you put the two of them together. It's really bad. Yeah.
And so they see pictures, they're bombarded with images every single day. There's been the truck in the Christmas thing and Germany I think it was and all the rest of this type of stuff.
Got to understand what is Islam and why is it that this evening? You
right here in this area are one of the primary leaders of Islam. But there would be people would say, well, you don't really speak for Islam. ISIS is more consistent etc, etc.
Help us to start understanding. Because you you remember, you called me once? I think you emailed me once, and you're going to be at an event. And you said, Could you help me out? what's what's the difference between a Lutheran and a Presbyterian or something along those lines? from your side of things, things like sort of confusing over here? Well, from our side of things, things look confusing as well. Help us to understand what is Islam for you. So the way that I feel a lot of times when addressing when I'm addressing audiences.
The example that I give is imagine somebody who's never been to America, never stepped foot in America, never met an American. And their only source of information about America is years and years of watching the Jerry Springer show.
Let that sink in. Yeah, now, this person has never met or visited or seen, but they're consistently bombarded with a certain type of America and the Jerry Springer show is American in the end of the day, if you understand what I'm saying. And that's the only image they have. Now, if they mean an actual American, this uneducated foreigner will think that he knows everything about America, because he's seen over and over and over and over again, years and years of episodes, right, of a show that portrays things that are atypical in America, but they are a part of the land known as America. That's the way I feel when I approach congregations or audiences, our electoral college,
I'm a professor, that I we have to begin with this with this notion that
obviously, the primary source of information about a religion should be the broad, mainstream people who follow that religion. So if you haven't visited a mosque, if you haven't socialized with a Muslim, then you really need to understand what you see on television is, but the Jerry Springer equivalent, it is but one, you know, miniscule strand. And I don't even know how to say this other than the the Islam of ISIS, or the Islam of terrorism, is not an Islam that any one of us in this audience has grown up with. Honestly, we have the we are just as shocked as you. That's not the Islam of my parents. That's not the Islam of my mosque. This is as alien to us as it is to you.
Unfortunately, the problem comes that the perception is that this is the normative or this is the mainstream. And we're going to come eventually, the question is that gets to some of the causes of why this is happening. But what exactly is Islam within a nutshell, very simply, very simply, Islam is the admittance and recognition that there is one supreme god and being who is almighty, all powerful, all loving, all knowledgeable, there is only one God, that is the God of Abraham, of Moses of Jesus of Mohammed, that that God is almighty, all powerful and worthy of being worshipped and venerated. No other beam is worthy of being worshipped. Islam tells us that God continued to send
profits to mankind with the same message. So for the Muslim, the Muslim is one who is following the religion of Islam, for the Muslim Islam is not new. It's not an Arabian religion. It didn't begin with the Prophet Mohammed, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Adam, they're all teaching the same essential message with some fine tunings. But the message is the same. There's one God, love Him with all your heart, worship him to the best of your ability, and praise God, and follow the law. And if you do so you shall live peacefully, at least heart, your heart will be at peace in this world, and you shall attain God's kingdom and God's grace in the next world. This in a nutshell is Islam, that there is
but one God, the this God is worthy of veneration and worship, and to be a good person, you have to believe in Him, worship Him, follow the law, obey the commandments, and if you do, so, there will be a life after that, and there is heaven or hell, where there is accountability. In a nutshell, Islam is the same religion that Abraham and Moses and from our perspective, I guess we'll come to this as well, Jesus and the Prophet Muhammad taught, it's not something that began 1500 years ago in Arabia.
I guess I want to talk a little bit about as being a Muslim, there are certain things you have to do. There's rituals that are mandatory. I'll just mention three of them. And there's actually five or I can actually move very quickly the five the first the testimony of faith, and the testimony of faith is two sentences. I testified that there is no god worthy of worship other than the one true God. We call him an Arabic Allah. Allah is not a foreign God. Allah is the Semitic term for God. Christian Arabs use the term Allah Jewish Arabs and yes, there are Jewish Arabs used the term a law, a law is a Semitic term, and in Aramaic and Hebrew, it's there are similar cognates that mentioned
the name of God. Elohim Elohim is essentially a law
So there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger. That's the first of the five pillars. The second pillar, a Muslim is required to pray five times a day, every single day. There are no exceptions. In fact, holy days, you do more prayers five times a day, at particular time intervals, you have to pray. The third pillar is charity, a Muslim is required to give charity to the poor, annually. So once a year, Muslims have to calculate there's a calculation depending on what you own and whatnot, and you have to give to the poor. The fourth pillar is too fast the month of Ramadan. So the one of the months of the Islamic calendar from sunrise to sunset, you abstain from food and
drink, and from intimacy with one spouse if you're married. And that is done to appreciate God's blessings and also with the food and drink aspect to sympathize with the poor, to to force yourself to recognize that food and drink is of the greatest blessings that God has given you. So that's done once a month, and then the fifth and final for those who are financially and physically capable. They have to undertake a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca once in their lifetimes. And from the Muslim perspective, Mecca is the city of Abraham and Ishmael. maccha is the city where Abraham left Ishmael the Bible mentions leaving Ishmael in the valley of Paragon. Well, for Muslims, the Valley
of Paragon is the Valley of Mecca. And the Islamic faith basically takes its its its heritage from the Ishmael excite of the progeny of Abraham, the five pillars that you just mentioned. The first one is the Shahada.
And so for for people to understand, I normally show a video of people saying the Shahada so they can see this is how a person becomes a Muslim. So anyone who has an A, there are seven, I think, seven requirements for a true Shahada. Would you still hold? Because I heard you Yeah, so. So the point is that the Shahada or the testimony of faith, it must be uttered with sincerity with belief with understanding. So these are those so the fact that I've said it in Arabic doesn't mean anything, because it's not joined with a professor of Arabic or Islamic Studies utters the Shahada to teach his students what it is. Obviously, that's not it's not a magical thing. Exactly. Other
things go was exactly. But that is what makes you there's there's nothing else beyond that there is what makes our Muslim, even though Islamic law strongly encourages, but it's not mandatory to take a bath and cleanse yourself before embracing Islam, but there is no baptism. There's no other ritual for a non Muslim to become a Muslim. All they have to do is to verbalize the Shahada, I testify there's no god but a lot and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Okay. Now,
where does this derive from? So the primary sources of Islam now, the five pillars, by the way, would would the Shiites recognize the same fight? Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Yes. The five pillars are universal in all strands of Islam. Shiites have the Shahada, the prayer everything is exactly the same. So it is it is universal in all strands of Islam, that's non negotiable. Someone denies any of the five, would you say that fundamentally, would would place them clearly from a position of clearly
there are no classical mainstream groups that deny the five pillars. I mean, Now, obviously, there are people that are not committed to the five pillars, right. I mean, Muslims aren't allowed to drink Well, unfortunately, some Muslims do drink. But if you were to see them and say, oh, aren't Aren't you not supposed to drink? Hopefully they'd say, you know, this is a sin May god forgive me so they'd recognize that it's a sin there, they're falling short. Obviously, not all Muslims pray five times a day, right. By the way, FYI, interesting point on Pew you know, the the polling thing Pew, pew did a survey two years ago about rituals as practiced by all the mainstream faith
traditions of the world. And according to their statistics, the number one observed ritual across all religions and civilizations by far was the fast of Ramadan, over 70% of the Muslim world was faithful and observing the fast of Ramadan. The next statistic was like in the 30s or something, you know, so so the faster Ramadan for some reason, I honestly don't know why myself, the faster Ramadan seems to have a very powerful effect on the Muslim world and anybody who's visited any Muslim land in Ramadan, you will see the social customs and the mores change, Office Hours changed street traffic changes mean you cannot But no, notice that it is the month of Ramadan in any Muslim
society. And it's hard for us to keep up with it because it keeps moving 10 to 11 days up in our calendar, because you use a calendar, Islamic calendar is lunar. And so what that means is that it's based on the sighting of the moon. And so the Islamic calendar consists of around 355 days, so every single year, the month of Ramadan is pushed back by 10 or 11 days. So this means, you know, 15 years ago
So right now we're by the Ramadan is in July, try fasting from sunrise to sunset in July in Saudi Arabia of water, not a drop of water from in Memphis that's around 4:30am to 8:20pm. Okay, so we wake up at around 330 or so or something and have a somewhat too heavy of a breakfast but cut us some slack and, and we observe complete fast up until 820 or 830, where we have somewhat of a lavish dinner cut us another slack over there, but yeah, during the daytime, absolutely. I've heard studies that say that. On average, you take in more calories during Ramadan, you don't need studies you can ask me and the Muslim on average, I gained like three to five pounds
I'll be honest here why because I mean, it's human nature it's not good and I'm ashamed to say this but you kind of overcompensate you know when when when you're hungry all day. So and another thing is, in the month of Ramadan, the best dishes, for some reason are always prepared, right? So every day is a festival. So in our mosque, it's free food every single day for anybody who walks in, we have on average, two, three on weekends, five 600 people coming and it's free. I mean, anybody can go we all sponsor everybody's sponsors in different days. It's a very festive occasion, right? You barely you rarely break the fast alone, inevitably you're invited to people's houses, you go to the
mosque, so there is an environment of and the point is, nobody is supposed to go hungry. Now, once upon a time, the spirit of that was that the poor should partake along with the rich. Our wealth in this land is so much that everybody has surplus to food, you know, so unfortunately, that spirit is kind of lost. But when I was in Saudi Arabia, that was the point that you go to the mosque and everybody I mean, I remember clearly even the street cleaner would come and break fast with us. You know, we're all sitting together and eating the same food that's the spirit I would say there's a commercialize that you guys completed the commercialization of Christmas right right. Well, we
complain that the commercialization Ramadan especially in America so you see there are there's quite a lot of in common between Christians and Muslims here that we can actually agree agree upon. Unfortunately, I'd love to talk about Layla Cotter and all sorts of other stuff. We just don't have time.
The sources Oh, yes, the sources that's where we were right that yes, the sources of obviously first and primary is the cut off how what very briefly, what is the cut on to a Muslim? The Quran is the primary source of Islam for all Muslims, it is considered to be the divinely inspired Word of God it is in the Arabic language, it is always in the Arabic language any translation of the Quran is not considered to be the Quran is simply a translation of the Quran and the Quran, there is only one Koran there are no various versions or whatnot is one standard copy of the Koran across the Muslim world. And the Quran is a document a book that is that is literally considered to be the Word of
God. Now, Western academics and of course, there's always pros and cons with this Western academic say that the way Christians view Jesus is somewhat analogous to the way Muslims view the Quran. Now that's a very simplistic and you and I both know this, but it's very common to find this, this comparison. Now the Quran is eternal. The Quran is considered to be the speech of God. And so the speech of God is eternal. So it's uncreated. So the Quran as the speech of God is created, but the book that I have in my hands right, is simply a recording of that eternal speech. So there's a it's recorded in heaven and I believe it was sent down on the night of power to the angel jabril Muslims
believe that yes, the Quran was revealed in the month of Ramadan, the beginning of the Quran was revealed and it was then revealed piecemeal bit by bit for the next 23 years. So passages were revealed here and there and then put together in the lifetime of the Prophet and really there's not been any variant versions of the Quran. The Quran is the Quran for all sects and isms and groups of Islam. And it is as you also know, a memorize document Muslims memorize the entire book cover to cover in the Arabic language which you've done.
Thank God that hum did it I have also memorized the Quran. But it is not just me here in Memphis, I would estimate at least at least what 2030 people have also done it. And so wherever you are in the world, you always find people that have memorized the entire book cover to cover. Now if I could just throw in some information here for people's I'd be really interested in our Muslim guests. How many of you have read the Quran
that's what I always get. I just wait for something to go parts. Because that's that's that's very normal.
for everyone's information, the Quran is, I believe, 54% the length of the New Testament and 14% the length of the entire book wouldn't know the percentages but I guess well, I broke down the number of words sounds about right and
And so it's it's smaller in length than what we have in in the Bible.
And I hope you don't mind if I tell the story because I, you found it to be interesting, I think educational. But I was listening to Dr. kotti lecturing. Once I could tell it was in the morning, he had made some comment about being in the morning. And he was, you know, quoting the text as he normally does very quickly, both in Arabic and in English. And he came to one and just, it happens, you know, it just just it just wouldn't, wouldn't come out. He couldn't remember where that he couldn't get that get it started. And so and sort of in frustration, he said, Well, it's in Surah, it was one of the shorter service toward the end. Because in the Quran, the servers are arranged,
basically, by size, I mean, that the first surah is only seven verses. But then the second Surah is hundreds of verses and they get a little bit shorter. Basically, as you go through until you get there. 114 of them get toward the end, they're only like four verses long, or something along those lines. But he said, Well, it's in such a such a sharp, right hand page at the top.
Right hand page, the top. Now think about that for a moment. That was a valid reference for Muslims, because they all have the same Arabic code on. And so if you find the right surah, if it's the right hand page at the top, there it is. We could never do that. Because of the nature. And it really goes back to our view of what inspiration is because what I wanted to ask was from the Islamic perspective, there is nothing of the human touch to the words of the Quran. This is this is not Muhammad's reflections. Exactly this is this is there's nothing of him in it exactly the words but on linguistically means recitation. And it's viewed as being the reputation of God to Mohammed or
via the Archangel Gabriel, because Gabriel plays a very prominent role in our religion as well. Because it is Abrahamic religion. So Gabriel came with the reputation of God to the Prophet, the prophet recited it to the people. So essentially, we believe there's an unbroken chain of transmission to God Himself, directly. And the Quran is viewed as being the recitation of God. So, when we look at our scriptures,
Peter said that men spoke from God, as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. So we have, we have Paul saying, bring, bring me the cloaks and the parchments, we have that kind of personal statement that is coming from him. And yet from our perspective, that's exactly what God intended to do. But that element of the human nature is there nowhere to come out of God in the Quran. That's a guide in the Koran is the actual word of God in Arabic only and that's why we Muslims firmly believe that you have to recite the Quran in Arabic And we also all Muslims take pride in the fact there is but one Koran there's no variants of the Quran. So so it does quote other people you know lot and
and and things like that, but it is yes, but it is like God reciting Yeah, okay. So you have the Quran. But that's not the only not the only source for the majority of Muslims and who we have to begin a little bit of sectarianism. As with other groups and religions, Muslims are divided into various chasms and sects. And perhaps most of you have heard of the two most common sects of Islam, Shiites and Sudanese, Sudanese represent around 85% of the Muslim world, and therefore they are the majority I myself, I'm also from the Sunni background. And for Sudanese, there is a second source after the Quran, and that's where they get the name Sunni from and that is the Sunnah or so. So now
is the concept Sudanese, the one who follows it. In Arabic, the E sound is the equivalent of the American English Apostrophe S. So you ascribe to so Sunni is somebody who follows the Sunnah. What is the sooner the sooner are the sayings and teachings and actions of the Prophet Mohammed. So the second source of Islam are the sayings and teachings of the Prophet Mohammed as recorded by his disciples, we call them in Arabic or in English companions, as recorded by his companions, and later scholars after that, now the head the other So now, let's not mention had the three guests because same thing, well, what do you think, are synonymous for our purposes? So the sooner we believe, has
been preserved by humans, not by directly by God. So the sayings of the Prophet are found in different collections, and they are multiple attempts and multiple collections, the equivalent of the Gospel According to Right, so the prophets life and teachings according to and we have a number of classical books that have attempted to record the sayings of the Prophet and we sift through them we have certain criticism like some people have biblical criticism, we have certain criticism, we don't have Koran critics
Because we believe the Word of God is separate, the word of the Prophet has been recorded by humans and is separate as a human attempt. And human history and early Islamic history is yet a third genre. So the Word of God, the words of the Prophet, and what happened to the early Muslims are three separate genres, from the perspective of Muslims. And again, I know this is from our perspective, the Bible is a mixture of all three,
you have bits of the Word of God bits of the words of the prophets, and bits of human history, from the Islamic perspective. And again, this has obviously bias perspective, we have these genres in separate books, there's one book of God. There are many, many books of Suna, because these are human attempts. And there's even more books of history because these are what people recorded of the early times. So we respect the Koran like no other book, because that is the one preserve book of God. And the Hadith. If we, if our scholars have viewed it as authentic, the sooner the sooner this viewed as authentic, we respect it as well. But we don't sanctified the Arabic text, we don't recite the
Arabic text as we recite the Quran. So the words of the Prophet our theology and law, but they're not recited, they're not set in prayer, they're not liturgy. Whereas the Quran is liturgy the Koran is recited the Quran is, is it's a live document, every Muslim opens up the Quran almost daily, the committed Muslims and recites from it. You don't do that with the sayings of the Prophet. The sayings of the Prophet are sources of theology and law of etiquettes and morals of manners. They're not read for blessings, they're not read for, for just, you know, daily stuff. These are read by scholars. And of course, history is history. So but but wouldn't it be true, though, that the
interpretation of the cut on is deeply influenced by the schools of jurisprudence, and that those depend on
the interpretation of the the sooner that in different different different groups will emphasize different elements, and that actually does end up impacting the interpretation of what true when it comes to interpretation. Humans are humans, and there's a spectrum of interpretation. And historically speaking, there's been a spectrum of acceptable interpretation. And these are the the main schools of Islamic law. And they have, you know, there's never been any type of sectarian warfare between these schools of Islamic law. These are the minutiae of the law, the finer details of the law, I would dare say that the main gist of Islamic law is pretty much agreed upon by by the
majority of schools within Sunni Islam, of course, Shiites have a different theology and a different source and a different law. And that's a different topic altogether. But within Sundays, and by and large, most of Islamic law is within a spectrum of interpretation. You've mentioned the Muslim view of the prophets that they were Muslims. And in fact, my understanding is that, from the Muslim perspective, God has always sent a prophet to each people group and that they're all united by monotheism, exactly. Law, there is one God, right, exactly the way I phrase it, a bit of a theological joke. For God so loved the world, he continued to send profits, this is the way I phrase
it. So we believe that God continues to send prophets to mankind with the exact same message, because from our perspective, theology does not change, God does not change. What might change are the finer details of the law, perhaps one prophet prohibited one food item, and the other prophet allowed it, these types of things are negotiable. But theology does not change from Prophet to Prophet, Moses and Adam and Noah and Solomon and David, the same God is the same God. And the same attributes are the same attributes, theology does not change. And so from our perspective, and again, this is important to note. And I say this with utmost respect, but we have to know our
differences as well. The fundamental difference between Muslims and Christians is obviously over the persona of Jesus Christ. That is where obviously we have very different understandings. We kind of sort of agree on Abraham and Moses and Solomon and David, both of us view them as mighty messengers and prophets and people who came to, you know, spread monotheism to teach the law. And these are my names mentioned in the Quran, people are surprised to discover that the most common prophet mentioned in the Quran is the Prophet Abraham and the Prophet Moses. These two are mentioned more than any other prophet. Jesus is mentioned almost 25 times by name Jesus, the son of Mary, the only
woman ever mentioned in the Quran, an entire chapter named after her is Mary, the mother of Jesus and the Koran is very explicit that God says to Mary, through the angel Gabriel, that Oh Mary, God has chosen you and sanctified you and blessed you over all the women of the entire world meaning of the entire creation. This is a verse in the Quran I just quoted you the English translation. So
We sanctify we're not scientific as an ambiguous term we respect as a better term, we respect all the profits, and we consider them to be role models. And for our perspective, Jesus is a prophet of God, whom God sent in the same with the same message that he sent all the previous prophets with. And he was sent to the children of Israel. And he was born of a virgin called Mary. And he was to be the final prophet to the children of Israel, because this is something I think the New Testament and the Koran agree upon. The children of Israel were veering away from the law, and they were disobeying the commandments, and they were finding loopholes or whatnot. And from the Islamic
perspective, and I think the New Testament also mentions Jesus a bit irritated with some of the children of Israel, that you could put it that way. Yeah, yeah. Just to be to be to be nice about this. But yeah, Matthew chapter 23. Yeah, that irritation might be a proper term. Yeah, you get my point here that there seems to be a frustration that they're not following what they're supposed to follow. So from our perspective, Jesus was sent as their final hope of salvation. Jesus is called in the Koran two things either Jesus, the son of Mary, or Jesus the Messiah, because for us Muslims, Jesus is the Promised Messiah, he is the Messiah sent to the children of Israel, and he was born of
the Virgin Mary. And he came with the exact same message and teachings as the previous prophets, monotheism, worship and love God with all your heart, and obey and follow the law. This is the fundamental difference that Christians and Muslims app that it is important to recognize. And I'm not here to convert, even though Honestly speaking, we would be happy if you know conversion takes place. Because we have to be honest here, we're not going to mince our words. I'm not here to convert. But it is important we understand these differences. From our perspective, Jesus is a monotheist. He is a Jewish Messiah, who followed the law, observed kosher, was circumcised did not
come to abolish the law, but to fulfill and affirm the law. And Jesus never ever taught any doctrine that gave him a sense of divinity. alongside with or with or however you want to phrase it. Jesus taught that he was a mortal and a human. Now, when I mentioned this in churches, people get very surprised because never never heard this. But to be a Muslim, you have to believe in Jesus, you can't be a Muslim, the way we believe, obviously, meaning, if somebody says, I don't believe Jesus was born of a virgin, he's not a Muslim. If somebody says, I don't believe God sent Jesus, he's not a Muslim. If somebody says, I don't believe Jesus is a mighty messenger, he's not a Muslim. You have
to love Jesus and and respect Jesus as a prophet of God. And we assume are we understand excuse me, we understand. And obviously, this is where we disagree. We understand that notions such as redemption, and abolishment of the law and the Trinity. And and all of these crucifix the crusades, well, the crucifixion we'll come to in a while, okay. We understand all of these concepts as having been introduced by other people. Muslim historians mentioned Paul, they mentioned Constantine dimension, the Council of Nicea dimension, this and that, that's besides the point. The Quran is very explicit that Jesus did not preach the Trinity. And he did not preach his own any type of
divinity. And he came to fulfill the law and preach to the children of Israel, he wasn't really meant for the non children of Israel. So the Quran a number of times, primarily in Surah is four and five, specifically says do not say three. And it uses this specific Arabic word for three doesn't use word for Trinity, it says three, would you interpret that word three, as as an attempt to specifically refer to the Trinity, the way you were just explaining it? Well, that is how it has been understood historically by exegesis of the Quran, okay. And one of the main differences as well is that the Quran and this is really bizarre from a secular perspective, like, I mean, I I have
trained in a seminary and my PhD is from Yale. So I have the religious side, and I have the secular side. And it's interesting to compare and contrast to, to which I'm sure we've had discussions about this as well. From a secular perspective, people who don't believe in any religion, they're perturbed and intrigued by the Islamic stance on the crucifixion, because it seems very bizarre and atypical. Like why would an Arabian men 500 years after Jesus hold these views about crucifixion? And they don't really have a solid answer for that. The Quran we didn't explain this
before 157 Okay, all right. Okay, all right. Yeah. The Quran says that. Do not say he was crucified. They
Neither killed him. They meaning the children of Israel, they neither killed him, nor crucified him. But rather, and this was really ambiguous even if
it was made to appear to them. So I just translated the Hierophant. What does that mean? It was made to appear to them. So now that's what the Quran says, Muslim exit genes and this is not from the Koran, this is their interpretation. So I don't consider their activities to be divine. But yes, we are sympathetic to it. I am sympathetic to Muslim eggs digits have interpreted that Jesus was not crucified, nor even placed on the cross, but rather that God saved him. Now, this is an interpretation that is mainstream, and they claim this is not from the Quran. As I said, this was from later Muslim historians and theologians. They claim that Judas, the trader, was punished by
God, to resemble Jesus so that when the Roman soldiers entered the garden, they saw Judas the trader, and they assumed him to be Jesus, and they killed and crucified Him. And that's a befitting end to a trader. And so people assumed that Jesus had been crucified. And that's what the Quran says it was made to appear to them. So Muslims believe that this is the shocker that every time I say this, Christians like what you guys believe this, Muslims believe. Not only did Jesus not was not killed or was crucified, he's still alive right now. Muslims believe Jesus is alive. And he shall come back towards the end of times. And his return is going to signal one of the last great signs
and the great Armageddon, and judgment day will come after is coming back. Muslims are looking forward to Jesus's return. Because when Jesus comes back, we believe his soldiers and his army will be us Muslims, we believe we will follow Jesus Christ. And we also believe and this isn't the Hadith or the Sunnah of the Prophet, that every true Christian will then recognize that they were incorrect in the Trinity and then follow Jesus as well. So we actually believe Muslims and Christians will not fight against one another into Armageddon, contrary to what some strands of Christianity are preaching, we believe that there's going to be a pagan or Jews a little bit advanced to mean
a foreign or a paganistic. You know, groups of people with the Antichrist behind them, and Muslims and Christians will be monotheists, fighting behind Jesus Christ. So this is the respect and honor we give Jesus, Jesus is of the mightiest prophets and messengers, but from the Islamic perspective, he's not in any shape, fashion or form, divine. Now, really briefly, cuz I told you 90 minutes, let's go really fast. We haven't even gotten close to where we're supposed to be. I told I told you exactly how it happened. I told him how are we going to talk for 90 minutes on stage? I guess I said, it's gonna go so fast. And I could believe it. But
and we want to get to some of the the social issues and things like that. But you're right. But
I do want to
just interact with you for a moment, obviously, from our perspective, with the cut on coming, or at least appearing historically 600 years after the time of Christ.
Denial, the crucifixion, and especially in regards to its view of Jesus, the specific thing that the Quran finds to be extremely offensive, literally, I mean, if you say the mountains fall down, the earth trembles when someone describes the sun to God. I'm not sure what the surah on that is, I'm sure you do the last page on the left hand side. So there you go.
And I don't know if any of the rest of you've been watching this. But you've been avoiding using the Arabic but it's harder for you to to quote the English without doing the Arabic first I've been watching this over here going, he's going to the Arabic first Okay, there comes the English it's, it's fascinating to watch. But the specific issue is ascribing a son to God. And from by the time the Quran was written all the christological controversies historically, were already in the past through the nature of sonship. Would you agree that's one of the key issues and in the cut on?
That because of the idolatry in the Kaaba, against which Muhammad was preaching as a minority prophet in those first years in Mecca.
There were gods who had children and so on and so forth. Isn't isn't the nature of what that sonship is one of the key issues between us, and especially when it comes to, Could you briefly for us define the word shirk and because
That's one of your areas. You've got a book on the subject. Could you define what shirk is? And let's talk just briefly about whether what we as Christians do, qualifies as shirk from your perspective. Sure.
The Arabic word shirk is spelt the same as the English word shirk as an shirker responsibilities, but obviously there's no correlation. ship
is defined as the cardinal sin in Islam, there's no sin greater than should. And it essentially, well to be very simplistic, it's polytheism, or to worship false gods. But the precise definition is to give the rights of God to other than God. Okay, so that is the one unforgivable sin, to give the rights of God to other than God, only God has certain rights, the right of creation, the right to be worshipped, etc, etc. If anybody says that, oh, that entity created us, or that being is worthy of being worshipped, then these are manifestations of shidduch or associating partners with God. And this is the one unforgivable sin in Islam. Now unforgiveable in the sense that you can good point
very good point. unforgivable in the sense that if you die without having repented right from it, repentance and Islam forgives all sins. Repentance means you feel penitent, you turn to God, you ask for forgiveness, God forgives anybody who turns to him without exception. But if you don't turn to God, and you live your life of inequity, and especially in shirk, and you know, that, that, you know, God is one of you've heard the message that God is one, and you refuse to accept that message, and you continue to worship false gods or other than God, or give the powers of God to other than God, then in the Islamic perspective, that is unforgivable. Now, the the difficulty comes, and this
is politically incorrect, but But James wants us to talk about this. And I agree that we do need to be frank here from the Islamic perspective, the mainstream Christian understanding of the Trinity constitutes a type of [???]. Not the worst type. It's not carving an idol and, and prostrating because, obviously Christians actually say Protestants don't do that. Let's just leave it at that. Yeah, but we don't, you know, we, you know, there's no like actual images that you bow down to, or something. So it's not like the worst type of shirt because the worst type of shirt which I think Christians and Muslims and Jews would all agree to, is to take an idol and sacrifice something to
the idol. That is the worst. And that was the type of shirt that was prevalent in Arabia, when the Prophet came. And the Quran obviously, completely abolished and eliminated that, but there are other types of shirk, as well. And from the Islamic perspective, to believe in any type of shared divinity amongst entities, you know, more than one. So again, here's where we get technical, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God the Father, and I understand we're going to areas that are beginning the debate, which we are going to hold back on, but from the Islamic perspective, that is against monotheism, that's let's just leave it at that. Well, could I just share Sure, you need to give your perfect Yeah, let
me let me let me see, I, I learned, my initial training in what shirk was, and the categories of it, Ruby, so and so forth, comes from you. Okay, so you're, you're my mentor here. And I remember the first time listening to lecturing on that I was going, Oh, how I would like to be able to say, what asked you the question. See, from a biblical perspective, we believe that Jesus has eternally existed as a divine person, and yet the Father, the Son, the spirit, share, the one being that we identify as Yaqui. We believe that Jesus has eternally been identified as your way the New Testament identifies him in that way, the spirits of spirit of God. And so we don't believe that we are giving
worship to a created being who has not eternally been God. We are not trying to divide worship. And in fact, one of the early church fathers said my mind cannot contemplate the three without automatically being drawn back to the one because we distinguish between being in person in light of that. I understand that there are some modern Islamic scholars here in the United States
that don't believe that we commit shirk, they accept our profession of monotheism. One of the arguments they use is that the Quran would not allow Muslim men to marry Christian women. If we were that just if we were despicable and God's in God's sight as idolaters emotionally qun generally are considered to be, but just from a Christian theological perspective, I fully understand
We believe idolatry is a horrible thing. But in the strictest definition of shirk, don't you have to assume as part of that, not only one being of God, but only one person of God. In other words, a Unitarian monotheism is assumed from the Islamic perspective. And from our perspective, we believe in one being of God, but we believe that there are three persons that share that one being this is where, again, you know, Christians and Muslims are gonna have to agree to disagree. Obviously, Christians as well view themselves as being one a theistic, and that's what you're referring to here. And it's, we understand that is the assumption that that Christians have, from the Islamic
perspective, how many Muslims really understand because I'll be perfectly honest with you. If and I've said this many times, and those of you who've listened my program, no, I do this. If I were to give a quiz, after the Sunday morning service at most Protestant churches, United States and the doctrine of the Trinity, I don't have much of a confidence more than 25% of the pass it.
And so the probabilities, that someone such as yourself has had in depth dialogue with someone who would give you a truly accurate and historical and biblical understanding what the doctrine the Trinity is, and say, we The first thing we are afraid of is a division of God's glory and division of God's being, and so on. So we share with you that's why when I'm hearing you just pounding away on shirk, I'm going, I understand that
this is where this is where we acknowledge the differences. I'm not trying to debate them this evening. But I also want to make sure that we understand really what their notions are fair enough, these are our positions, they are definitely mutually exclusive. They're not both valid and correct. And they can't both be correct at the same time that we're going to have to agree to disagree. At this point, we're running. My goodness, I cannot believe the time here. But I want to tell you a story and get your reaction to it.
When I travel around, and give presentations on Islam, and you know what I know you don't have time for this, but if you ever and I don't want I'm not wishing this on you, but if you ever get laid up for a while and you have to sit around watch YouTube videos,
I would I would love to have you watch because it's on YouTube all over the place my presentation on Islam and critique it and and also hopefully recognize there's someone who's really trying to accurately represent where we're coming from that many Muslims attend. And go Thank you for trying to accurately represent us. But one of the things I like to do is I like to show people, the Arabic Quran, very one you referring to with the blue pages.
And I pass it around the audience and stuff like that. And so I, I normally put it for obvious reasons, in my check luggage. Because as you know, I made an incredible mistake. About six months ago, as I took on the plane to read an Islamic book on the discussion of Sure. That was not a good idea. I'm sitting there hiding it down here like this, you know, and it needed to have a cover for it. So you're going Why ask Dr. Kati why that would that would be but two times, I got to my hotel, and I opened my check luggage. And here's that little piece of paper that says we've checked your luggage. And guess where it was right who time the copy of the Quran right in the middle of the
Now what happened the first time I was just sort of like,
but when it happened a second time, obviously, someone is sending me a message very clearly sending me a message. Now I want every Christian in the room to imagine if you are in a minority position, religiously, in a country, and you got to your hotel, and that inspection thing was inside your Bible.
What would you interpret that to me? How would you understand that? So with that,
what's it like to be a Muslim in America? Post 911? Where does one begin?
Let me just tell you something that's still troubling me and my wife just told me about it and she's in the audience.
Now, it's been troubling me immensely. And I don't even know what to do about it. I just heard about it because it happened yesterday.
My daughter's basketball tournament. So she she plays basketball for our school, the Islamic school pleasantview school, and they play with other, you know, schools and there's also a church that they play with as well. You know, the tournaments, you know, the girls she's 11 years old, she goes and plays around, just just happen. I just found out about it that the church that they're playing with, so this is the Islamic school and they're playing with the church or they're, they're playing a basketball game with the church. And so the referee is a part of the church and he says let's all come together and pray which I don't mind very good. Okay, let's pray. So the Muslim girls and their
on their hijab and the Christian girls, they all come together and these are 1110 year old girls and he
says that, you know, he thanks God and praise God, that's fine. And then he goes, the God of Christianity, that's the only true God and anybody who doesn't believe in the God of Christianity is going to go to hell. Now, I understand theology is a passionate thing, I understand that this person wants to somehow convey to people that they should embrace Christianity, I don't have a problem with that. What I do have a problem is to do it on a basketball court with 11 year old girls. I mean, that's just not right. You're intimidating. My, the The girls were like, to teach us say that, like, there's a time and a place to preach and teach. And, you know, I love Jesus Christ. And I know all
of you, I am sure that's not the way he would have taught whatever version of theology he had. There's so what we notice is that there is this there is this fear this paranoia this, this. This this sense of We Are the other the assumptions are made about us as being a fifth column, we're out here to destroy the country, every Muslim is a potential terrorist, and there's no desire on the part of many of these people to come and visit our mosques or interact with us. They're their presumptions are coming straight out of fox news or the equivalent of the Jerry Springer show. I don't even know where to begin the amount of of hate crimes that are taking place. I myself, have an
experience have experienced a number of things, security measures, you are made to feel
not even a dignified human being forget an American, you are stripped of your dignity, when people view you as somehow always being a potential threat or somebody who's full of evil or hatred. And ironically, in attempting to fight bigotry and hatred, I feel the people that are doing that are expressing bigotry and hatred, and their fear of Muslims being terrorist, they end up terrorizing Muslims. And let's let's lay out something that I think is important for people to understand about you. Because many people are told
that well see Muslim Muslim representatives are supposed to say these things. They're engaging in tequila. They're giving you a story. That's not really true. And I cannot tell you how many people look at me and say, you just can't believe what these people are saying. Folks, what you need to understand is that a number of years ago, Dr. Cuddy was threatened, his life was threatened by ultra right wing groups, not Muslim groups. But that one of the reasons that I especially wanted to have him here this evening is when ISIS began to become a tremendous
news item. I watched a presentation that he made in Norway, where he gave a theological maybe we'll be able to summarize just a few of the things about the carriage rights and things like that. But he gave a, a an Islamic theological argument against ISIS. And what was the name of the of the document that was that was a letter to the K lift the K lift, elbow that the letter to the leader of ISIS. So a number how many 100 and 125 theologians from across the world drafted and signed, and these are all very prominent, very mainstream theologians across the world, drafted and signed a document which essentially critiqued ISIS in a exhaustive Islamic manner. It was a legal document where we
deconstructed their arguments and showed and showed them that they're just being very, very shallow and not faithful to the teachings of our religion. There were there were like four or five, four, I think American clerics on that. And I was one of the American clerics that signed the documents. And as a result, twice now
ISIS in their magazine, if you haven't seen it, it's this slick online. I imagine there's print versions of it too. But there's there's a slick online version of it and things like that. twice, have printed a doctor caddies picture and called for his assassination. And so, there are obviously many places in the world where
you probably would not want a vacation right now.
And when you when you put yourself on the line like that, to say this is not what I believe, folks, this is what you need to understand I have taken heat from people on my side. Because those of you who know me know I have a I have a mantra consistency, consistency for example, when when I interact with with Muslims in debate,
I do not use many of the arguments that are popular out there, because I believe we have to have even scales. And so for example, there orientalist who questioned even the existence of the historical Mohammed or things like that.
I will not utilize that time.
I have radical deconstructionist type argumentation, even though sometimes it's used against me,
I have to use the same standards in defending my faith that I use in disagreeing with someone else's position. I think that's necessary for a Christian for the simple reason that we follow Him who is the way the truth and the life therefore my arguments have to be what truthful, they have to be representative of what the other side is saying. And so, in light of that,
when we look at an how many billion Muslims are there in the 1.6 billion, okay, 1.6 billion people, we do not like it, when we are all thrown into one big basket. And people, for example, most of you know that I have dealt with the issue of homosexuality, I've done debates on the subject of homosexuality, for for many, many years, all the way back to 2001. And yet, people will hold me accountable for the Westboro Baptist Church people and things like that. I'm like, wait a minute, that's not my life. That's not how I've approached people. That's not my perspective, I do not want to be painted with that brush. I demand the right of self definition of what my faith is. We all
demand that right. And yet, for many Christians, we refuse that right to Muslims. And because there are Muslims who do bad things and give theological arguments from it, and quote from the same Suna that you quote from, because of that, then there are many Christians that will say, they are the consistent Islam. This is the aberration, and we need to treat them all in the same way. And I consider that to be hypocrisy, we can't do that. I recognize the fact that there are different perspectives amongst the Muslim people. And if and folks from a Christian perspective, if we want to express the love of Christ, other people, then we have to listen to where they are, and address them
where they are, and accept what they say is their faith and meet them where that where they are, we can't demand demand that they hold the views that are not there is in the first place. And so when someone is willing to risk their lives, to stand against what ISIS is doing the way the doctor kotti does, I have such a tremendous respect for that. That's why I want you to hear what he's saying now as to what it's like to experience life. And I want us to be people who recognize that and can therefore come alongside and can pray for individuals and can extend the hand of friendship.
Because folks, in case you haven't noticed, our culture is becoming much more secular. And I know we're down south. And you might say, well, Massachusetts, yeah, okay. Northern California. Okay, no, it's coming everywhere. And the fact of the matter is,
we all may be facing being a religious minority.
How are we going to get along in that situation? Are we going to want someone to come alongside us, then we need to extend the hand now. And so I appreciate the fact that not Now I do want to say this.
What you need to do,
is there needs to be, here's what I would, I would invite you to do if you have if you ever have the time to do it. My community needs to have someone with your ability to clearly present things. Take what you've written about the carriage writes about these things, who speaks for Islam, and produce a youth an hour long YouTube video that we can understand? That would say, this is how you know what the true Islam is. These are our sources. And these are where these people have gone. Not a lot of people can do that. And I'll be honest with you, some of the stuff that's out there is stultifying Lee boring. And I mean, honestly, I saw a cleric sitting there and a one camera shoot. And I fell
asleep after five minutes. And I know at least I knew what he was saying.
Someone with your ability to communicate with your passion. We need something like that. We really, really do. Would you agree? Go ahead. It's all right. Thank you.
Thank you. Well, let me just let me just add here. All you need to do to get an idea of what Islam is and who speaks for Islam is to look at the mainstream normative tradition, visit a mosque interact with local Muslims. So you look at ISIS and you think that is Islamic. ISIS at max at max has 15 to 20,000 people in that cult in that movement. If you do the math out of 1.6 billion people this this crazy, Caleb has called the entire Muslim world to come and said join us I am the truth.
Live, if out of 1.6 billion barely 15,000 have taken up that call do the math. That's and I did 0.0003% you're gonna consider 0.00003% to be the normative. I mean, I calculated at night in 1925, when the KKK was at its Pinnacle, the KKK represented around 5% of America. Now, the KKK is therefore 3000 times more American than ISIS is Islamic. Think about that. Let me play the devil's advocate on the basis of a YouTube video that's very popular out there. I say okay. Yes, the specific numbers, the people, they're very small, but when they do polls of Muslims, do you support what ISIS is doing? Do you support the establishment of Sharia law, etc, etc, the numbers are much,
much higher, and they say, See, that's that shows you that there are literally millions and millions and millions of people who would if they won't act on it, at least feel that these things are those two questions are totally they are I agree, support ISIS know, the Gallup poll. And ISP, which is a think tank in Washington has done a very exhaustive survey some of the most exhaustive surveys done in 20 Muslim countries. And they have shown demonstrated, this is a three year long survey done, that the positions that the Muslim world has on almost all issues of violence and whatnot, is similar, if not less than in the Western world. Now, the question, do you support Sharia? That is a
very Anza theological question, that interpretations of what Sharia is between Muslims and non Muslims is so varied, Sharia has become a bogeyman. Muslims, by definition, support Sharia. But what is Sharia? It's like asking a Christian, do you believe in Jesus itself? Do you believe in it's like, it's like asking a Christian, do you believe that God's law is good? Do you believe that God's law is good? For me? Sure. He is so good to my parents is giving to the poor in check. So what do you mean by Sheree? It's become a bogeyman. It's become this this vicious, you know, understanding that is alien to the mainstream Muslim world, they see it as the establishment of what the Taliban
does, when they take over an area. That's what they say that the Taliban is a typical is demand strippers, demonstrative of the fact that it's not the normative tradition of Islam, the very fact that we have never seen in our 14 and a half centuries, a cult like ISIS, we've never seen anything like this is demonstrative of the fact that this is not typical. And again, I encourage all of you to listen to my lectures that I've given, and others, but I mean, I know my lectures online about the rise of ISIS and I spoke here in Memphis, two years ago, about the rise of ISIS. And what I do, and I teach a class at Rhodes College, it's a semester long class. It's called modern Muslim
fundamentalist movements. By the way, I joke when somebody says, what do you do? So I teach this class at rose? What do you do? I say, I teach jihad in Tennessee.
In reality, I do teach jihad in Tennessee, but at Rhodes College. So
I have explained in a lot of detail in it, and my university class, they can go into a lot more detail. These movements are coming out of a particular social and political context. It is simply unfair, and unjust to ignore the context of those regions, and to ignore the political, the systematic and endemic violence that has been sustained by those people. I mean, Iraq and Syria have been at war, you know, internally and externally. You know, we invaded iraq twice. And the Syrian regime right now, you know, for the last 30 years and massacres upon massacres, from those, you know, mini Armageddon, from those, you know, bloodshed, bats that are continuing over and over
again, it's not surprising that you get this bizarre, apocalyptic messianic End of Times movement that is responding in kind to what they've seen, the very fact that the Muslim world has not seen anything like this. And a simple example, and it's simple reality. Iraq, and Syria, had no radical and jihadist tendencies, you know, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, seven years ago, 100 years ago, if there was any radicalism, it was in some pockets of Egypt in some places in the 60s and 70s. Iraq had never seen a suicide bombing. And it's 2000 or 1500 plus years of Islamic history until the 2004 American invasion. Now you cannot, you cannot ignore the political circumstances from within which
this anger is coming. I'm not justifying. I am contextualizing. So it's so easy to blame the religion. It's so easy to say Oh, those Muslims
Go read a few books, listen to some lectures, ask an Iraqi, ask somebody who's been in seemed there, and you will realize it's much more complicated than that. And religion is using as a post facto justification, they do the deed. Now they need to figure out how are we going to justify it, they turn to religion and the language of religion. Speaking of complicated, we only have 15 minutes before we take audience questions. If you have questions, please utilize the URL up there. We'll try to look at our phones here and figure out what we're going to do. And I'm not sure how it's going to work with the cards either. So But speaking of complicated,
our worldviews you mentioned to me that that one of your frustrations is that
our worldviews share much more in common in regards to how they impact social issues, governmental issues, things like that, than many of the Christians who are willing to talk with you, and yet they have a very liberal, almost secular worldview when it comes to those things. And the very people that you should have the most in common with there tends to be the greatest amount of distrust. Where do our worldviews intersect? I mean, for example, one of the things I mentioned to you and I just mentioned moments ago is, I've done a fair amount of written a book called the same sex controversy, I've done a number of debates on the subject of homosexuality, I understand that
homosexuality is considered to be a grave sin, within Islamic theology. And from a Christian perspective, it is particularly grave because it is based upon
a rebellion against Gods right to define what is appropriate sexual behavior, what is a male, what is a female, the whole transgender movement is a rejection of Gods right to say, this is male, this is female, this is what is good for male and female, etc, etc. So we have, you know, where are the areas of intersection? And does that mean that there's grounds for cooperation when people are trying to shove a particular worldview down our children's throats? Basically? Very good question. And this is really one of my main reasons for wanting to dialogue with
Christians who are committed to the values of classical mainstream Christianity, because the fact of the matter is that yes, we have a lot of disagreements, but we have a lot in common with one another, in terms of morality, in terms of decency in terms of family values, committed Muslims and committed Christians really are seeing eye to eye we both decry the the the liberalism, the secularization, the sexualization of our societies, we both mourn over the loss of the family structure, we both want the man to be the man, the woman to be the woman and one of the verses of the Quran, Allah, God says, The man is not like the woman. And yet another verse, it mentions that,
you know, you know, praise God who created you from a man and a woman. And from the two of them, he created multitudes of men and women, there is no third gender or cisgender, or transgender for us, as Muslims, and as many committed Christians, a man is a man and a woman is a woman. And there is no competition between the two genders. It's not as if there's any any type of wrestling match going on, and one has to prove the identity of the other God honored men and God honored women. And for a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman is their honor, there is no competition in against each other. A family unit is the building block of society. And when family is preserved, society is
preserved. So in Islam, yes, marriages are supposed to flourish, and you're supposed to have a man and a woman, you know, have children together, we don't espouse or agree with these alternative ideologies. And we do feel that they are simply not the norm that God created mankind upon. We also were very, you know, sad that these changes that have taken place, the Supreme Court ruling of whatnot, and I gave a sermon and lecture about this online interview, I don't know if you listen to or not. And in it, we've clearly said that, even if it's politically incorrect to say, as a Muslim, I have to say this, that I don't view this as being healthy for society, that these types of changes
are going on. And they're becoming normative and legal. And, you know, if committed Christians and Muslims had come together, if we had joined hands and forces, maybe we could have effected a stronger change. I've never asked this question of a Muslim before, so I've never even thought of it. So here we go. This could be dangerous, but from my perspective, I believe that God's wrath abides upon a nation that flouts his law, that literally knowing what his law is, rejects that law, and in essence, spits in his face. From a Christian perspective, I think there's plenty of evidence in the Old Testament that God's
wrath will come upon a people who consistently reject his way. What's the Muslim perspective? I A, your your your understanding, James, you will get away with saying things that I can't get away saying, of course you're right. You're right. You're right. Like I hadn't even thought about let me just leave it at that I hadn't even thought about that. I did not I was not having to think of my safety. I know and my career. That's why I hope you all understand what he's saying. Actually, actually, I'm just semi kidding with you in the sense that I see God's refuge from ever being a coward to speak the truth. I'm just half joking with you. Half joking, because there's no there is
an element of truth there. But I see you're right. I have more freedom to say that yes, you do. There are certain privileges. That
would not come in my case, but it's because I have a goatee and not a full beard. Exactly, exactly. Yes.
We also have a similar sentiment in our faith tradition. And we do believe that licentiousness and immorality, damage society at large. And it's just not healthy for people to, you know, in our tradition, in our tradition, our profits, that there's a saying of the Prophet, God, she'll forgive all sinners, except one category of them.
I mean, sinners, meaning those who repent, because you have to repented Islam, God will forgive all sinners, except one category. They said, Who's that category? So he said, Those who flout their skin, their sins, the ones who committed a sin at night, and nobody saw them. And the next day they go, and they tell people Oh, you know, last night, I did this last night, I did that. So you see, we as Muslims believe, you know, we're all sinners in the end of the day, we are all sinners. But if I commit a sin, I should have a sense of shame. In front of God and yes, in front of my fellow man, to not flout it to not put it on Facebook to not normalize the sin. Facebook. Yeah. Yeah. So that
Psalm, Psalm 12, eight says, The wicked stret, about when that should not, which is vile is honored amongst men, exactly. We don't want to publicize evil. If evil does take place, keep it under wraps, because when you publicize evil, you encourage other people to to commit those same offenses. So we do believe that public decency and morality is a virtue. And when that virtue is flouted, everybody suffers. There are two other questions we have on the list. I notice you never even looked at the list, but I had it up. So there are two questions I want to make sure we got to and we have just enough enough time to do it toward the end.
You and I spoke on the phone a number of years ago, you hadn't finished your doctorate yet. And I was trying to talk you into writing a book with me.
And so you were sort of going through the ideas and you said, okay, James, let's say we get to the end of the book.
And our theology says, Okay, I think you're going to hell and you think I'm going to hell, what do we do now?
So in other words, we need to have a chapter on the fact that theologically, Christians believe that one way of salvation is in and through Jesus Christ. Muslims believe that we're committing shirk, and that the one way of salvation is submission to Allah. And there, you allow for some possibilities. I'll let you expand upon that in a moment. But the reality is,
for most people, this is where the conversation ends.
And you and I both are continuing the conversation. That's what makes us weird, evidently.
Excellent. Um, so firstly, I need to rephrase that statement to reflect mainstream Islamic theology.
Muslims do not ever assign anybody to heaven in hell, any individual to heaven and help Muslims speak in generalities and in descriptions, not in individual people. And no Muslim can ever say, I'm going to heaven and you Oh, non Muslim or Christian or Jew or Buddhist is going to help. No Muslim can ever say that if they do, they're, they're not the old ages. They're not reflecting Islamic theology. They're just laypeople. This isn't Islamic theology according to any mainstream Sunni even Shiite interpretation here. How Muslims speak is in descriptions in Terminal and adjectives Muslim will say, and this is what I believe that the path to heaven, the path to God is one path. And that
path is in submitting to God which is Islam. Islam means submission to him. So monotheism, faithfulness, being good and kind, loving, caring rituals, that is the one path. There is no other path to God. And anybody who rejects that path
is not going to end up in the kingdom of heaven. However, we are
also acknowledge that on judgment day, there will be people who are not on that path, but have legitimate excuses in front of God, I do not have a right to consign them to help. Only God is the one who judges Heaven and Hell, nobody judges Heaven and Hell other than God, I have no right to say, I'm going to go to heaven, because I don't know what if there's something in my heart that God knows that is not righteousness? What if there's arrogance, what if there's something that shouldn't be there? So I, I'm hopeful, I pray to God that I'm going to go to heaven, but I cannot guarantee as well, a person outside of my faith tradition, maybe he'll come on judgment day and say, Oh, God, and
this is an Islamic excuse, which is explicit in the Hadith. And the sooner, Oh, God, I never heard of your message. I lived a righteous life. I tried to be good. But I never heard of your Prophet Mohammed, I never heard of Islam. We actually believe that this person has a hope of salvation. We believe that this person has a hope of salvation, because God does not punish the one who was not exposed to the message. What if somebody says that God, I never heard of the real religion of Islam, let's say semi facetiously, I watched Fox use my entire life. That was my image of Islam. You know, I mean, honestly, as a jokes aside, maybe this person might be forgiven, because if his image of
Islam was ISIS, that's all he thought of Islam. Well, nobody wants to convert ISIS. So maybe he's excused. Maybe he is, who am I? To assign Heaven and Hell, that's, that's only God's right to do. So Muslims do not speak in terms of specifics. Therefore, I do not believe you're going to help. But it's not my prerogative to say what I will say. I believe that anybody who knowingly rejects knowingly, that's the key term, who knowingly rejects God's message, through all the prophets, including the Prophet Mohammed has decided his own face, but I cannot take that generic description and apply it to James or Thomas, or Harry or Richard, I can't do that. Because on Judgement Day,
every one of us has to answer to God directly. And you have the opportunity to defend yourself. And God, we believe is not just all just, he's also All Merciful. So perhaps, and we Muslims believe this, there will be people who are saved, who are not Muslim. But we firmly say, and I will not mince my words, you're just like, you didn't mince your words, there is one path to God. And if you're on that path, the chances to get to heaven, are infinitely more. And all other paths don't lead to heaven, you might end up there. But those are the exceptions and not the normative rule. That's how we would phrase and so from your perspective, wouldn't be wise to to make the take the
risk exam, in any way. And of course, from our perspective, one of the things I think is probably ringing in many people's ears right now is the term chances. Because see, from from the Christian perspective, the only reason that I can ever have peace with God or any confidence of entering into His presence, is because I'm in possession of the righteousness of Jesus Christ given to me. And that's why I've talked to some Muslims, and they sort of have the idea that, and I think there's a
an ayah in the in the Quran that sort of like just thinking about that the Christians say that only we are going to get there say, do you have a treaty with God that He has given? And I think, and I think there's, you know, that would be that would be one of my problems is that, you see that the Christian understanding of why only Christians go to heaven is because it's not we don't view ourselves as a group that is some somehow better than anybody else. We believe that a Christian is a person who has fled to God for His mercy, and that they recognize He is the only the only one that God has given to where his righteousness is perfect in God's sight. That's why it's not just a
chance, I'm not taking a chance. I have a righteousness that is perfect in God's sight. And that's why I can have peace with So again, this is one of the fundamental disagreement is to agree to disagree from our perspective, from our perspective. It's an element of arrogance to say, I am going to enter heaven and I'm certain about it. Rather, I am very hopeful. I'm very optimistic. I know God is loving. I know God loves me. I know God will forgive me if I turned to him. But there is a small element of fear. What if I'm not sincere enough? What if something I did was displeasing to God? So I'm battling between an ear and home and you see where we're not trying to say that we're being
we're not being arrogant because what we're saying is, my hope is completely in the ability of another to save me, I understand that. We're gonna have to agree to disagree. But when we agree to disagree, can we still exactly talk about those things that amongst everybody else, the way that I phrased This is very straightforward.
Suppose you think
I'm going to hell, that's your prerogative and your legal right to think, by the way, I don't think you're going to hell unconditionally. I like I said, That's not the way we talk. But suppose I say, the path that you have chosen is a path that is not leading to heaven. Let's put it that way. Okay? Or Okay, let's this path is leading to help. The question is very simple. Do we have to make this world a living hell because of that? That's the question. Let God judge on Judgement date, I, I honestly, am not insulted when you say this to me, I'm not. Because I'm so confident in my faith in God, that your confidence doesn't negate my confidence. I am not insulted. Quite the contrary, a
part of me admires you for your faithfulness to your tradition. And I hope you feel the same about me. So the question is, then if you feel this way about me, and I feel that you're not correctly on guidance, but I still hope for forgiveness for you. And I hope that God guides you in this world or forgives you in the next I don't have a problem saying that theologically. But suppose even that, you know, I believe your path is incorrect. Can't we be good neighbors together? Can't we? Can't we work together for better schools to minimize crime, to fight against pornography and drugs to to to affirm family values? Why must we hate one another in a civil society we're coming together will
bring about so much potential good, why can't we look at what we have in common, even as we understand and appreciate and are honest about our differences. That is my goal for conversations with you. And obviously, from the Christian perspective, any Christian in the room recognizes that when you have a relationship with someone based upon respect, recognizing in them, we use the term image of God, I realized that's not a Muslim concept, but it's that we are created by God. When you recognize and someone else a fellow image bear. Obviously, it is it is far easier to model the love of Jesus Christ and to have the opportunity of modeling the gospel in front of someone, when you
have a relationship with them. That's based upon respect and kindness and, and and everything else, rather than I think the greatest barrier for Christians, and reaching out to the Muslim people is fear. We have fear in our hearts. It's based upon ignorance, it's based upon other things. That's one of the reasons I wanted to do this. And so the final question before we we go to questions if I've actually gone three minutes over, but
the last question we had in our in our in our little list, is what we want for each other. And we started just talked about that just a little bit. But we'll, we'll conclude with this.
From a Christian perspective, obviously, and this is this is why we can have these conversations I would be very uncomfortable.
Just talking about our similarities, if we weren't honest about where we are what we really believe that's that's the kind of dialogue that that I think a lot of people think we're doing, and it's not obviously the greatest thing that I can hope for any person, if the greatest thing I can hope for my children
is that they have is that they bow the knee in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and they receive a new heart, and they have eternal life. They have his righteousness, and they're going to have eternal life because of what Christ has done. If that's the greatest thing I can hope for my children. That's a great thing and hope for anybody else, for it for anyone else. And so I can have friendships with Muslim people. As long as we've had that conversation. They know where I stand. They know what I'm praying for. But I know what I'm going to be doing and have been doing for years. And that is I pray for yasir Qadhi.
If I pray for yasir Qadhi, I'm not changing God's heart, God's changing my heart. He is making me to be the type of person that is going to be concerned about your welfare, concerned about your health, concerned about your safety concerned about your family. He's changing me, that's, you know, we're not trying to convince God to be better. God's already good. He's changing us. And so what would it mean? If the Muslim people in your neighborhood knew that you love them, cared for them prayed for them and were willing to do anything for him? It would change everything. But unfortunately, that's not generally how they view us.
And so my desire what I wanted, the final question was what is our greatest desire for the other? And I know that that obviously I want your health and your your happiness and all these things. But the greatest thing a Christian wants for anyone is that they come to know Jesus Christ personally and about the needy him and from, I would imagine, from your perspective, you would love to see nothing more than for me to embrace Islam and say the Shahada and that would make me very happy nine yards, so
So we will not deny that okay, and and and I'm glad that you wouldn't, because there are some who would be afraid to say that, thinking that as long as that's in the back of the mind, then we can never truly, but have a good relationship. And that's what we've got to get past. See, let me just say this as well from an Islamic perspective, my desire to see you guided, doesn't at all infringe on my genuine, my genuine love and care and concern for you, regardless of whether you're guided or not. I am commanded with my Sharia with my faith tradition, to treat you with the utmost dignity and kindness and compassion and care. And I would say that faithful Christians should view me in the
same way, what I found, unfortunately, is that one segment of them don't do that they have nothing but mistrust and fear and hatred. And to me, that's not the image of Jesus Christ that I have amongst what it should be, you know what should be happening. So let's be honest with one another, and let's say, you know what, we have some serious theological disagreements, that's fine. In the meantime, until we meet our Lord, and our Lord will decide between us one of the verses of the Quran literally says, you do your deeds, we will do our deeds. And on judgment day, God will judge between the both of us, that is the attitude of the Muslim, it doesn't perturbed me that much that, you
know, you've you've chosen a different way, because I'm not the judge. I'm not gonna, it's not my responsibility to judge you. My job is to convey what I believe is the truth, which I think I've done. And after that, we are commanded to treat everybody with love and kindness and compassion and mercy. I genuinely want to help you in any way possible. If you weren't a neighbor, hopefully, you would see, you know, a site of compassion and love and care and helping and whatnot. And I would expect the same from you. So can we agree to disagree even with passion, and in the meantime, until we meet our Lord, let's make this world as close to a lot of heaven. That's a big too big of a deal,
but as close to an ideal, you know, place and city as we can, but we Christians will drive you nuts by bringing the subject up over and over again, if you don't mind. No, I actually don't like Personally, I don't mind. But as long as you as well understand that we in converting so.
Well, that does bring up the first question, which is rather interesting. What are the differences between the Christian view of predestination destination and the Islamic?
It's no, it's on the audience gets one question here. Oh, yeah, it's one of the audience questions gonna see. That's one of the very deep questions. Okay. Anonymous at 706 asked that question. So it's right off the bat. So okay, that that is interesting. Because I am a reformed theologian, we were talking about this today.
And this, this is, you know, I was just thinking about the fact that I think a reformed Christian has a little bit of a different foundation for being able to have this type of relationship than a non reformed and here's why. If you do believe that God has a decree that he's working out in this world, and he has intellect people, then see we have confidence that God is going to draw his people to himself in his own way, that the gospel is going to go forth with power, it has the power to change hearts and minds.
If I was if I thought it was up to me, to debate you into the kingdom, it's not going to happen. But I don't believe that salvation is a matter of debating anyone into the kingdom, the description of salvation is a radical, taking out of a heart of stone and giving a heart of flesh of giving spiritual life. It's a, it's something that God can do. And we believe that when he chooses to do so there's no power in heaven, earth that can stop them. And so I can have confidence in that and therefore, leave that to the Lord, be a faithful witness, and just simply be a servant to others, in the hopes that that living out the gospel to others is a constant witness. I would essentially agree
with that 100% we as well believe that
God is the one in control, God decrees, God decides, perhaps maybe some caveats should be added though. Certainly Muslims do believe in predestination, Shiites don't By the way, that's one of the differences between us. So we affirm God's power and God's will. And we do believe that nothing happens except with his power and will. And so at some level, everything is pre determined at the same time to hold on is also clear that that doesn't mean we're robots. That doesn't mean that we're just like leaves blowing in the wind. We do have human efficacy. There is an element that is still subordinate to God because humans can never outdo or you know, outwit God. But at some level, there
is a free will. That is
subordinate to God's will. So within that spectrum of freewill, we are held accountable for our deeds and the sun that tells us not this not in the Quran, the sun that tells us that thinking too deeply about predestination will cause your mind to go in circles. And I think every one of us agrees it's like predestination is one of those things that the finite human mind can simply not comprehend the infinite power of God and the infinite knowledge of God. But I think, essentially, we are on the same wavelength here, with maybe some finer details, I don't control your heart. But my job is to be as good of a role model to you and preach to you as politely and as clearly as I can.
And I've done my job, and if God has decreed for you to be guided, then you will be guided, I there is an element of your own will in there as well. And that's kind of we'll leave it at that as well. Yeah, we would call that compatibilism. And I do I do need to add that the, as I understand it, one of the primary differences in the term that you all use is cutter, right.
And one of the primary differences between us as to the mechanism of predestination is that in the Christian perspective, that includes the very thing that is the fundamental difference between us and as the incarnation, that that is a part of God's decree. And so God becomes enters into his own creation and the person of his son, and that that would be something that would not be contemplated whatsoever in the assignment. Yes. And I think that's important to understand. So did you see any of the Any questions? So we wanted to grab the standard genre of questions that comes always deals with violence and de capacitation and Sharia law? And again, I will answer some of these I don't mind.
But I really want you to understand that's speak to the Muslims in the audience. We did not grow up at all being exposed to these types of Islam. And the image that many of you have, so our acts of terrorism in any form consistent with the Quran, you know, how do you interpret the verses of ISIS kill the infidels? Where do you find them? Have you noticed that time on all them there within the first 10 minutes? Oh, that's true, actually. Okay, we didn't even get we. We I didn't see that. Okay. Yeah. So I mean,
go visit a mosque or visit your Muslim neighbor. It's literally like, imagine if a person incessantly asked you about, I don't know, the Westboro church or the KKK. It just gets a little bit frustrating, like, that's not who I am, or the faith that I grew up with, or, you know, we have never seen anything like this. ISIS never seen anything like this in our history. And I'm a theologian and historian of my tradition. This is the first time something as crazy, I mean, burning people alive in cages, you know, killing so a simple example I gave you know, the Yazidi is that they're killing and enslaving. Right? They You see, these are a minority, a sect that goes back to
the Gnostics and they have been living in Iraq for 900 years, the actual Caliphate, the bona fide Caliphate of the buses and the Ottomans in the 1415 1617 centuries was a world there are buses were based in that the Z, these are a stone's throw away. The actual medieval Caliphate did not harm these ETS. That's why they're still there. So here's the guy coming claiming to be a Caleb, we're talking about ISIS, and doing things that the actual Caliphate did not do for 1000 years. The very fact that there are you see these living in Iraq, and they've been there for 1000 years, is demonstrative proof that what ISIS is doing is a typical, so the whole genre of questions of
violence and Islam. It's not coming from the faith tradition. There are social political realities that are beyond the scope of our dialogue. But I've spoken about them in a lot of detail, Google my name, online, and ISIS. And you'll come across a lot of lectures that I've given about the reality of ISIS, listen to them, and you will understand that the reason why this is taking place is not because Muslims are reading the Quran for the first time and going crazy. The same Quran that ISIS is using has been around for, you know, at least in our world, at least for 14 centuries, we, we believe is eternal, but at least it was revealed 14 centuries ago, yet Muslims have never
interpreted the verse you know, kill them wherever you find them as meaning go and kill infidels wherever you are. This was a specific verse to the Muslims of Medina and Mecca. Okay, here's, here's the question I was gonna ask. Okay. It seems to be exactly that, that this is Sir 929.
And that obviously is one of the key texts Do you have a video a lecture, where you contextualize surah nine and you and you work through it because I did a debate in Durban, South Africa, where we discussed violence in the Bible and in the Quran.
And one of the reasons I did it is I wanted people to understand
That, just as we have texts concerning the destruction of the Amorites or something like that, we have to look at the Bible and go well, there was a specific context here exactly. This is the this is the children of Israel going into exact Promised Land.
Obviously, we have the new covenant today, there is a different situation that etcetera, etcetera, we demand the right to be able to contextualize the kind of the, our text. What is the context of surah nine, that contextualize is that l d legitimizes the utilization of our Qaeda and ISIS, okay, so a kind of ISIS are not primarily using this one verse actually, they have a whole series of justifications, most of which are political, go listen to bin Laden's videos on YouTube, listen to them, directly see what he's saying. You'll find that 90% of it is political 510 percent religious languages used there. Go listen to the wire, you go listen to, you know, the people that have joined
ISIS in English, some of these are English, go listen to the seven seven bombers in England speaking with their British accents before they did their their deeds. And again, there is no justification. Please don't misunderstand me. But there is a contextualize ation, listen to what they're saying. And you will see that 95% are political issues that they have now asked for this verse. It's a very easy, clear verse. And that's why it's never been misunderstood this way. And ISIS and Al Qaeda does not use this first, primarily, this is actually a misunderstanding. They barely use this verse at all. And that is because not a single person has ever been killed because of this verse and Islamic
history, even when it came down, the verses one of the final verses ever revealed. And the Surah Surah. Nine is essentially the proclamation that the holy city of Mecca, the city of Abraham and Ishmael, can no longer house idolatry. So the surah begins, the chapter begins that announced to the pagans, they have to leave the holy lands of Mecca, they have to go to further regions, they're not allowed to be here, announced that they have, you know, four months to decide what they want to do, either convert to the faith or leave and go somewhere else, right. And if anybody wants safe passage and protection, make sure that you give them safe passage and protection till they get out of the
holy sanctuary. mcca is a holy place that Abraham built according to the Islamic tradition, and Ishmael built and it's a holy place, there can be no idolatry. Once the four months go by, then tell them that they shall be killed wherever they are found.
This is a meaning in the city of Mecca. Right? Which unbelievers can go into, which I believe is still cannot go into. Yeah, so the city of Mecca is a holy city. Nobody's ever been killed for going into Mecca. I mean, people have gone to Mecca, they have been travelers have described themselves, they wrote travelogues about it. Google them, there's like a whole genre of Western travelers throughout the 16th 17th 18th centuries that pretended to be Muslims disguises themselves in what, and some but people were discovered nobody was killed, because it's not meant to be effective in the future. It is essentially a threat to the local pagans that you have four months after that, no
holds barred, and it is a very harsh threat, no denying that. But it was never affected and that nothing actually happened. Nobody was actually killed as a result of this first. So this verse does not in any sense, or fashion or form, provide a carte blanche ruling to kill all infidels. It is nonsensical that somebody even believes this because Islamic law has very detailed, you know, tomes dedicated to the rights of non Muslims and the status of non Muslims. Look at Egypt classic example. The Muslims conquered Egypt in the first Islamic century, Egypt was essentially 100%, Christian, competent Christian. 100%, Coptic Christian, and a lot of research has been done on Egypt. Currently
2016 2017. Egypt is 90%. Muslim 10%. Coptic Christian. Okay, so in 1450 years, from 100%, Christian to 10%. Christian, okay. A lot of research has been done on Egypt, in the entire history of Egypt. There was never one generation where there was a spike of converts. Rather, it's a steady, but slowly, surely, you're just going up until you get to a tapered off at around 90 around 7080 years ago. After that, not much conversion has taken place. There was never any massive amount of conversion. It was slow. It was organic, and people converted. The very fact that one out of 10 Egyptians is still a copped. And Egypt has been under Muslim rule for 1450 years. You know, it
dispels this myth or this notion that you know Islam is going to kill the infidel wherever they find them. Now does Islamic law have different treatment of
non Muslims, I'm not going to sugarcoat Yes, it does. But one needs to understand that Islamic politics was very different than modern secularism. Just like American law has different statuses for people that are not American. If you're on an H, one, a J, one k one a T one visa, you don't have the same rights and privileges as somebody. I mean, let's get let's get practical here to be the president, your mother has to give birth to in America, the controversy over Barack Obama sorry to get political here, but the controversy where he was born? Why? I mean, somebody can ask, what's the big deal, because from the perspective of American law, where you were born gives you certain
privileges. So the nation state views itself with a particular hierarchy. And that's fine. Well, Islamic law viewed itself with a particular hierarchy. And there was a hierarchy, nobody's going to deny that at the same time, does that hierarchy have to be imported and updated? That's the question for debate now, and Muslim theologians are talking about that. Now, obviously,
that can be abused. There, there are times when
Christian minorities have, you know, there have been bad Muslim rulers and things like that you're talking about in a general sense here in regards to what that particular surah was talking about. And that's the context of it. So you would limit it primarily to that, that only that time period, right after this census of the exit gtes that I mean, go read it, you don't even have to have a background knowledge. Read the beginning of chapter nine, it is so explicit, announced to the pagans, they have to depart from the holy lands, give them four months, if anybody requests safe passage, guaranteed them safe passage, once the four months have gone by once the holy months have
gone by then announced that, you know, no holds barred, you know, they will be slayed wherever they are found. It's very clear, there's no there's no ambiguity in it. There's a question to me that you might find as you I'm not sure if you scroll down too far enough to see this one. Question to James solidarity with Muslims regarding Muslim registry.
In the advent of latest administration, there might be draconic laws geared against Muslims to register them. If these laws come into effect. Can we expect any solidarity with our fellow Christians?
thought about that now? I I cannot possibly see that happening. To be perfectly honest with you.
I don't care who President Trump thinks that he is. There are limits to presidential power, we wouldn't hope. And I can't I can't possibly see the courts allowing anything like that to happen. But I will answer it along these lines. I have been very concerned
by the fact that a lot of my fellow Christians have bought into the idea that we should buy into religious restrictions of sorry, restrictions of religious liberty.
Don't you realize that if you give the government power to limit the religious rights of one group, look at this government, look what they're doing, how long is it going to be before they turn that on us? And apply these things to us. So even just on a selfish basis, even if it was even an argument concerned about somebody else, you should realize, oh, my goodness, this is this is a foolish path to go down, to give the government the power to engage in this kind of thing. And I do not want, I do not want this government to be applying religious tests to us. Do you want an official government translation of the Bible? For example? I mean, can you imagine that? Do you want
them examining our theology to see if you're a real Christian, or you're not a real Christian?
Haven't we seen this before in other lands? This is dangerous. And so I would hope that there would be a major outcry against any such thing. Because it is just such a complete overthrow of the the vision of religious liberty in this land, then it's if it's going to, you know, remember what happened with the Jews in Nazi Germany, you know, they started small and expanded from there. And it would be a horrific thing. So certainly, from my perspective, you would, I can't even begin to predict what kind of percentage of people but there would be an outcry. So religious and conservative Christians need to realize and you all know this, you and us are both minorities in
If you're going to give the government powers to go after one minority, you're going to give them powers to go after every minority. And that's not what this country was founded on. That's not the vision of our founding fathers, our founding fathers, whatever you want to believe about their personal lives and their versions of Christianity. It's very clear they understood the danger.
years of giving any one sect power over others these days, it's not even Christian sect, it is people that don't believe in any religion, you're going to give them powers. I do have to mention one question. By the way, I'm going back here. And this question is very troubling to me. And that's why I want to say it very explicitly as the one asked at 7:32pm. He's saying he's a devout Muslim. That means he's taught to hate the infidels. The Quran is the word of God, that means he's lying to us all. We believe our Bible and our faithful Muslims believe there's so he is lying. See this sentiment?
It's not even insulting. It's frustrating.
Why would you not believe me when I've just said that I think that a person who believes in a trinity has the potential to go to hell? Where am I lying here? I've been as honest as I possibly can.
Why would you doubt me when I say that? I believe in Islam, I believe, you know that the God of Abraham is the God of Mohammed, I don't believe Jesus priests to Trinity. Where do you see any ambiguity? When I tell you that my religion does not teach me to hate the infidel? Why then do you doubt this? You're willing to believe a stranger over everybody here, that's a Muslim? How can I get across to you? That that's dangerous, you're building these walls and barriers that don't need to exist? I do not hate you. I genuinely wish good for you. And I believe theologically, you are not on the same wavelength as I am. So you're incorrect. And I don't have a problem. You feel the same
about me. But for you to assume that I am lying, because the Quran preaches hatred. Do you think you know the Quran better than all of us Muslims? Do you think that all Muslims 1.6 billion of them have this secret code that they communicate to one another, that they're all going to come together and lie to Kiev? That's the point. You know, please, please, I hope I hope you'll know there are 11 thumbs down on that one, just so just so you know.
There's been a lot of other people going No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
But the fact that somebody in this audience after you've heard us and after you, I mean, it's still it was it was at 730. So we have covered a lot of that sense, then.
One would hope. I really hope I would really hope there's just one really quickly, there's one more addressed to me. And I just wanted to cover quickly. And we're out of time. There was a quick question up here. And I'm really sorry, folks. This is a really cool thing I have to admit. Yeah. And I wish there was some, if the tech guys can let us know, I'd like to know if there's some way to save these. Because I'd like to be able to see them. If there's some way to save them to a text file or something. Let me know. Because that'd be neat. But there was a there was a question here it is at 714. Why did Jesus and we know which side this came from because nobody from this church, but pbu
Ah, after Jesus, so we know where that's coming. Peace be upon him. Not mentioned salvation through death on the cross and Matthew 1619 through 22. If Jesus is sitting here amongst us with his answer change.
And what's interesting is in Matthew, chapter 16, you do have his saying to Peter, when he announces that he's going to Jerusalem and he's going to be crucified. And Peter says, May it never be because that was not what the what the Jews were expecting of the Messiah. Jesus's response was to get behind me your mind and things of man, not of not of God, Satan, get away from me. So it is there. And then it was very, it was very central to his his message, even beginning at that time, that he was going to do so many what it was necessary that he'd be crucified. So I wasn't sure. Maybe it was just a different throng reference or something like that. But that's exactly what Matthew 16 is
talking about. So I'm not sure if Jesus is sitting here amongst us, what is answered, changed? Well, obviously, we don't believe that his answer would change because we believe that the New Testament accurate represents what he said. So it's exactly nine o'clock. Let me just I need to make two two quick things before we conclude. Firstly, tomorrow.
James and I will be having a discussion in our Mosque, the Memphis Islamic center. So that's in Cordova, so just google at the Memphis Islamic Center, MIT. So if you want to come, there'll be like, that's not necessarily a round two. But I mean, just to further discussion, I may end up talking more. Okay. Yes.
That's going to be at 7:30pm. Tomorrow at the Memphis Islamic Center, which is in Cordova. And secondly, on is it March 4, the march 4, on March 4, all mosques in Memphis will be having an open day. Okay, so just any mosque that's closest to you. There's like five mosques in Memphis that are purpose built constructed mosques, and one of the largest one is the one I'm with Memphis Islamic Center, but there's a mesh to the Roman Masjid. No, there's other mosques here as well. Just called
You know, mosque and then see the closest one to you. And if you want to come to the Memphis Islamic center where I'll be, there'll be that on March 4, it'll be open mosque day across the city of Memphis and March is actually Muslims in Memphis month declared by the mayor. So we have a lot of activities going on in the month of March. Let me just make those two announcements. Okay. Before we close, I would like, I just started a tradition when I had my first debate with Shabbir Ali at Biola University, to
give my dialogue partner a gift. And so I have, you can understand what the first gift I would give to someone would be, I've actually have a number of my books already, I think, but I got you know, some of you know what this is, this is, this is a New American Standard Bible, which I was a critical consultant on. So there's I've got somewhat of an attachment there. But this is made by Cambridge, and it's called a pit minion. And some of you know, the pit minion is a very nicely made very nicely made Bible. And so I wanted you to to have this and thanks for your being here this evening. I think it's been a very useful time together. And once again, very honored to have the
opportunity to speak. Thank you very much. It's a pleasure. Thank you.