From Abdul Saleeb <>
Newsgroups: soc.religion.islam
Subject: Re: Geisler-Saleeb Anti-Muslim Book Part 2 (2/2)
Date: Thu Sep 19 11:53:44 EDT 1996
Message-Id: <51rqa8$>

Dear Readers and Mr. McAuliffe,

This is a response to the last section of Jeremiah's critique of our book,
"Answering Islam."

Before I get into Jeremiah's treatment of our chapter on prophet Muhammad,
let me just briefly address the few paragraphs that he writes concerning
Geisler's discussion of the Islamic view of determinism and free-will.  
First, for those interested in further research on the complexities of this
issue even in Christian tradition and Geisler's position see "Predestination
and Free Will" by InterVarsity Press. (BTW Jeremiah, I don't get any
commision out of these.  I am just interested in further learning for every
one involved).
Second, this is one of those issues that I do not get too involved in for
personal discussions.  And this is the reason.  From my perspective, the
view that we critique in our book is THE major historical view within Islam
(and with good Qur'anic support for it).  W. Montgomery Watt, the great
British Islamicist treats the Islamic development of this doctrine very well
(I don't remeber the particular book).  It is also the view of the masses of
Muslims (educated or not) in the Muslim world (decades before our book, the
"liberal" Muslim scholar, Ali Dashti also criticized the Qur'an for its
divine determinism in his book "Twenty Three Years").  The word "Kismet" has
even come into English and is defined in one dictionary as "fate as a
predetermining power [Turkish for Arabic]".    However, in recent decades,
due to the contact with Western influences, Islam has to a great extent
"softened" its image of determinism.  Thus many contemporary Muslims,
specially those in contact with the West, no longer think in traditional
ways about this issue.  That is the extent I would like to comment on this

>Surely, by God's grace, I have displayed the glaring problems with
>this section.
Obvioulsy, I beg to differ on your accomplishment. (By the way, if some
thoughtful Muslims could let me know what they think about my debate with
Jeremiah, I would be most appreciative).

>We are now at p. 146 and Chapter 8 "An Evaluation of
>Believe it or not, there are going to be sections here where I will
>not even argue with Geisler! Why? For the same reason I did not
>accept his arguments against our rejection of trinitarian monotheism,
>as written in Part 1.

Jeremiah has accused me of evading the main points of his critique.  I would
BEG our readers to read this chapter in our book and see if Jeremiah is not
the one most guilty of evading serious points of the opponent's argument.
Let me say for those sensitive Muslim readers who want to commend prophet
Muhammad to the Western world, there are two major issues that they need to
address (issues conviniently left aside by Jeremiah).  One is the issue of
Muhammad  and violence (for me, most importantly the assasination of his
political opponents) and the other is the issue of  Muhammad and his wives.
Now I know and acknowledge that the prophet of Islam had many great
qualities and also that Muslims are sick of the critics of Islam for
bringing up these two "negative" issues about the prophet.  But these
issues, in my humble opinion, will not go away by wishing them away.  

>Beginning on 147 is a section "Evaluation of Muslim Claim for
>Biblical Support"
>I'm not going to argue against this because I firmly believe that
>Muslim attempts to find "predictions" of Muhammad in the Bible are
>misplaced and forced. So does Geisler. However, I feel the same way
>about Christian attempts to find "predictions" of Jesus in the Old
>Testament! It is so funny that Geisler doesn't click in that
>Christians do the same thing he here condemns in Muslims. He has no
>intellectual consistency. Especially since later, when propounding
>Christianity, he refers to these "predictions". .... I really
>find such efforts to be very cheap.)

Jeremiah has a major dilemma on his hands at this point and I am sure all
Orthodox Muslims are aware of it.  At least twice in the Qur'an the prophet
mentions that previous prophets in the Torah and the Gospel have predicted
his coming.  In fact in Sura 61:6, Jesus has specifically said that after
him another apostle will come whose name shall be Ahmad.  So Muslims have to
come up with some prophecies in the Bible and yes I agree, they are all
misplaced and forced.  But if Jeremiah finds these efforts cheap, then what
does he do with the two Qur'anic passages?
Now, Jesus in the Gospels also tells us that all the previous Scriptures
pointed to him (please see Luke 24:44-49) and in John 5:39-40, Jesus tells
the Jewish religious leaders, "You diligently study the Scriptures because
you think that by them you possess eternal life.  These are the Scriptures
that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have eternal life."
So when I look in the Old Testament, I see the picture of the coming Messiah
fit into the picture much more "smoothly" than as Jeremiah said, the
"forced" interpretation of Muslims trying to get Muhammad out of the text.
For example, I would ask all our Muslim readers to look at Isaiah 53 and see
what Isaiah said about a coming suffering servant. (a great new book on this
topic is by Walter Kaiser, called I believe "The Messiah in the Old Testament").

>Check this on 153: "So it is clear without question that Jesus, not
>Muhammad, is the Messiah predicted by both the Old Testament and John
>the Baptist." Um, er, ah, I'm speechless. Please, Mr. Geisler, cite
>one Muslim who claims that Muhammad was Messiah. Indeed, try to get
>around the Qur'anic verses that call Jesus Messiah. I mean, a quick
>glance at the Qur'an's index.......

You are going to cry "foul" and "uneducated" Muslim but let me give you a
fresh personal example.  Just a few weeks ago I came back from overseas.  I
was in a city which had a very strong and old Muslim population.  I was
speaking in front of a university crowd (the "Harvard" of the country)of a
packed auditorium with many Muslims present.  One of the questions from a
Muslim leaders after my talk was this very thing, denying that Jesus was the
Messiah (and implying that Muhammd was).  Even though this assertion is
AGAINST the Qur'an (and we acknowledge that throughout our book Jeremiah,
see esp. pg. 298), many Muslims entertain this hypothesis because it is
based on the gospel of Barnabas! in which Jesus allegedly denies that he is
the Messiah but says that after him shall come the Messiah.  Now Jeremiah, I
don't think you want to go the route of the gos. of Barnabas but there are
many many many Muslims who believe in that bogus work.  Sorry. 

>Ok, one last thing for now. On p. 154 he begins a new subsection of
>this chapter "Evaluation of Muslim Claim for Muhammad's Divine Call".
>Here is how he presents the onset of the Qur'anic revelation, quoting
>the story from someone named "Andrae". Geisler does not have the
>citation in this chapter, as he should have done. Anyway, the author
>is Tor Andrae-- it seems he wrote a biography of Muhammad which was
>revised in 1955. Wait! Let me guess! An Orientalist, perchance? So,
>check this: "They [Muslims] point out that during his [Muhammad's]
>call he was choked by the angel. Muhammad himself said of the angel,
>'He choked me...'"
>Has anyone EVER seen the word "choke"? No? Neither have I. Frankly,
>using this mistranslation is just sick.

[Before my answer, let me just say that I have realized that a great many
Muslims totally dismiss something if it is written by an Orientalist. (I am
not saying this is you Jeremiah).  This is a logical fallacy.  One has to
deal with the substance of the argument and not who wrote it and for what
purpose.  I met an Iranian Muslim who totally dismissed Ali Dashti's "Twenty
Three Years" because according to this fellow Dashti was a British spy.
That is irrelevant to the nature of Dashti's arguments.  Let's not become
intellectually lazy by resorting to bashing the author].

Jeremiah, I am too tired and too bored with this discussion to look up
references and see if I can come up with a translation that uses the word
"choke" or whatever else.  Frankly, I am amazed that someone who quotes
approvingly of Karen Armstrong describing this encounter as 
> a sort of divine rape....doing violence to his natural self...     would
get upset about the mild term "choke." I am not much of a mystic but I am
sympathetic at times.  However, I find any spiritual experience described in
terms of "DIVINE RAPE" extremely repulsive. I hope the readers agree!!! 

>And so, that is it for now. It is also all I'll do on this till
>"Saleeb" responds to the first two parts I have already written, or
>has the decency to acknowledge that his book is deeply flawed.

I apologize for not having come to the same conclusions.

>But then, you guys are *dogmatists*, aren't you?

I don't think I need to answer this.  But what are you Jeremiah?

>Allahu Akbar!
>Allahu Akbar!
>Allahu Akbar!

Abdul Saleeb

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