The Real Jesus!

By Saaib Ahmed
This is the written transcript of whatever Saaib Ahmed said during his discussion with Jerriton Brewin on the Historical Jesus. The booklet contains questions asked by the moderator and the answers given by Saaib Ahmed. +918800882908 +919906517287

1. Brother Saaib you write on various issues ranging from religion to politics, history and all other stuff. What exactly is your field of interest and how this interest in Christianity. Answer: Hello Everyone. I would always like any discussion which I am in to start with this question about who I am, what work do I do and what my field of study is and once I answer these questions another question that emerges is that of my comments on religion and all. On the onset I would like to clear it to my audience, whosoever is listening to this discussion and whosoever will listen to it in future that I am not a Muslim apologist or a daee. I am like any other Muslim who you see walking down the road with jeans and t-shirts on. The only difference is that I know my religion, I know my faith and I am a Muslim not by the accident of birth but because of choice. Many people undergo the crisis of faith during a particular stage of life and I too underwent one. Call the Saaib Ahmed of that phase an agnostic, may be a reluctant one. This was the phase when I had a choice to make. One, go deeper into atheism or two, study religion other than Islam. Normally what people do in such a situation is going deeper into atheism, some study their own religion, and some study all religions. I had already studied the basics of Islam and I chose studying other religions.

In the beginning I studied Hinduism. The very beginning of my study of Hinduism showed me the strength of Islamic Theology and simplicity of its tenets. This didn’t however turn me towards Islam, it turned me away from both. Buddha did appeal to me as I kept on going through his biography. It was during this time that I came across Ahmed Deedat and Zakir Naik and yeah it seemed interesting. I got the book “Choice” on my bookshelf and finally after a year after having purchased it, I started turning its pages. The book revolutionized my mind and a new Saaib Ahmed was born. I started studying Islam and Christianity and the more I studied about Islam and Christianity the more I got satisfied about the truth of Islam.

Sheikh Ahmed Deedat and Dr. Zakir Naik are two amazing personalities BUT everyone has the right to differ with anyone as long as he stays rational and logic. Both these personalities deserve respect for what they did and are doing.

I have always been a rational person and a critique by nature. That helped me a lot in my studies. That was the religion part. I come from the South Kashmir town of Islamabad. The state has been in turmoil for decades now. I always felt a need to change the mindset of Kashmiris and later this passion turned me to Muslims as a whole and I began studying, writing and talking about politics and history. The Real Jesus! Page 2

The love for Muslims and the Muslim ummah is what has dragged me into all this. Such is the glorious past of ours that it really hurts to see the current backwardness of the ummah. And to talk to Muslims and to people of other faith you have to know what their faith is, and that’s why I study religion.

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2. From your posts on facebook, it seems that you’ve listened to the debate between Jerriton and Sheikh Inamullah Mumtaz. Few comments from you on the same! Answer: Yes I did go through the debate. Brother Inamullah had contacted me prior to his engagement with Jerriton and I had given him a couple of suggestions. That made me follow the debate and once it was published on YouTube I downloaded it to go through it. To be frank enough, clear and straight forward, it is clear from the debate that Brother Inamullah, with due respect, had not come prepared while Jerriton was even quoting Inamullah’s books during his entire session. We must appreciate Jerry’s preparations. Most of the time in his debate, Jerry used the wrong approach but a correct methodology. The method of a Historian was correct but was that what was needed from him? No. We’ll discuss that later what he should actually have talked about. In contrast to this Brother Inamullah used typical Ahmed Deedat and Zakir Naik kind of polemics. My personal taste makes me dislike polemics and that’s why I found no reason to appreciate Brother Inammullah’s presentation while I did find Jerry’s to be good. For a student of historical Jesus, Jerry’s presentation is worth going through. Moreover such arguments are outdated. Inamullah did nothing or less to improve upon them so as to look stronger while Jerriton was already anticipating such methodology. And what makes a good debater is his skills of anticipating beforehand what his opponent is going to say and what his responses can be. On the onset, the topic is not worth debating. And there are two reasons for that. One: To check the certainty of an event, historians will use their own methods which will lead to a conclusion that Jesus was indeed crucified. Hence debating the issue is futile. Second: The Quranic position is such that it also cannot be refuted. Quran acknowledges that some kind of crucifixion might have happened but it was not Jesus who was crucified. It is like all evidence points to a crucified Jesus and God comes with the clarification that it wasn’t Jesus. It is like the story of Aisha when she lost her necklace; certain stories began to make rounds across Medina. Evidence was pointing towards something unacceptable, and here came the clarification from God himself and the matter was settled. For a Muslim denying crucifixion is only on the basis of Quran’s divine origin. God says it, I believe it and that settles it. If he is going to debate it as a Historian he is bound to fail. Yes, theological arguments can be made. And there are some interesting theological arguments against crucifixion which we might discuss as we move on. Brother Inamullah did make a few in his debate. You can go through the debate to check his arguments.

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3. Before we dive deeper into the topic can I have some inputs from you Saaib. It seems that Muslims have not accepted or they are not ready to accept the way of modern critical scholarship works. What do you say about the role of Modern Scholarship in the studies of religion for a layman? How does Textual Criticism of Quran and Bible help, or the Quest for a Historical Jesus and Muhammad. What about history and religion, conflict or conciliation? Answer: You are correct to some extend that Muslims are yet to accept Modern critical scholarship. It seems like Muslims see all non-Muslim work with suspicion. The reason for the same is the way orientalists worked on Islam. The jaundiced orientalists always had an axe to grind. Their hostile literature has created this gap. But then this should not be the reason that we keep ourselves away from recent developments into the study of religion. There seems to be one more reason for the same. Muslims tend to rest their thesis more on earlier scholars that the later and the modern ones. Earlier the Muslim scholar more is the respect he earns amongst the Muslims. May be this is the reason that they are not that much open to recent developments. I would also like to mention here that Muslims have acquired that part of the recent scholarship which they feel is attractive. These include Prof. Keith Moore’s thesis or Dr. Maurice Bucaille and others like Bart Ehrman. Sometimes what seems favorable to them is taken and the hostile part is rejected. Some quotations and books and persons have become household names amongst the Muslim apologists. I also feel that Muslims do tend to go to Modern Critical Scholars when it comes to study of Christianity. Prof. Bart Ehrman, who happens to be my favorite, is almost a celebrity among Muslims. Quotations from his books can be seen in almost every apologetic Muslim literature. The idea that modern scholarship and religion are in conflict is wrong. In my study I have mostly read modern scholars and that has what has bought me back into faith. As a Muslim let me be clear that there is nothing in Modern Scholarship which can cause any serious damage to any of the established part of Islam while many of the Christian beliefs do get compromised. Be it history, science or any other field.

Dr. Keith Moore has written “The Developing Human” Dr. Maurice Bucaille has written “The Bible and The Quran and Science”. Dr. Bart Ehrman has written several worth mentioning books, some of which are, 1. 2. 3. Misquoting Jesus Jesus Interrupted Forged

Take the example of “Texual Critcisim”. The belief of a perfectly preserved inerrant bible believed to be written by Prophets and Apostles is at best laughable. Textual Criticism of Bible has unveiled many hidden truths about the Bible. Meanwhile the Textual Criticism of Quran leads to a result which is acceptable to Muslims. But Textual Criticism of Quran is again that something which Muslims seem to The Real Jesus! Page 5

be viewing with suspicion. But the reality is that Al-Itqan or Kitab al-Mashahif are examples of classical literature on the subject written by Muslims. We have always been open to research. What I find is that Modern Scholarship in general is only attesting what Islam claims. Or in History, the details in which Bible and Quran differ we see facts supporting Quranic version of stories. The example of Haman or the titles of Pharoses and Kings in Egypt are noteworthy. Yes, for a layman these things might not matter but at a bigger stage they do. In a discussion like this, there can be bought into discussion things which a lay man can’t even understand. At the end of the day such things only matter to scholars and to those who research.

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What is the Islamic point of view on the crucifixion of Jesus and do you hold this view to be correct?

Answer: Islam takes Jesus to be one of the messengers of God. Quran does talk about Jesus at quite a few places in a very favorable tone. Quran is not like Bible which records biographies and history in the way humans do; Quran narrates stories to emphasize certain things. In case of Jesus Quran tries to remove doubts related to Jesus, thus talking about those aspects of Jesus which need clarifications. One such thing related to Jesus is his crucifixion. The Quran denies that Jesus was crucified – This happens to be the mainstream Islamic View or that it denies Jesus’ death by crucifixion, which happens to be the Ahmediya view. Quran says in Sura Nisa “The Jews boast, "We have slain the Christ Jesus, son of Mary, an apostle of God!" However, they did not slay him, and neither did they crucify him, but it only seemed to them so; those who hold conflicting views thereon are indeed confused, having no [real] knowledge thereof, and following mere conjecture. For, of a certainty, they did not slay him: God exalted him unto Himself - and God is indeed almighty, wise.” So you see here Quran accepts that such a claim does exist. Quran however doesn’t give any reasons for the same, at the same time it acknowledges that it did appear that Jesus had been crucified or that he had been killed. As a student of religion I see what reasons does Quran give for what it claims and there you see that it doesn’t give one. What reason is then there for it to make such a claim? The reason is “authority”. Quran speaks from authority and the authority here is the all-knowing God. What seemed to be certain is cleared by God to have been conjecture. The Quran says it! I believe it! That settles it! So what it rests upon is whether you accept the authority of the Quran or not. A Muslim does accept its authority while non-Muslims don’t. So then how are we supposed to struggle with non-Muslims? Quran replies the questions and tells us that jihad with God’s book is the best form of Jihad and that’s what we are supposed to do. Quran is a standing miracle which is there for everyone to go through. Let us argue with non-believers in the ways which are best and most beautiful with this standing miracle. What happens then is that we don’t need to find such complex theology to fit in the crucifixion of the Mesaiah. No Original Sins are required, no resurrections and no trinities at all. Let Muslims bring others on to the same rope of God and make them hold on to it firmly, such that they don’t get divided into groups once again.

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5. What merit does Quran hold to a historian when it comments on Jesus ? Answer: Quranic claims about Jesus are irrelevant to historians. For a Historian the Quran was written almost 600 years after the crucifixion, in a language alien to Jesus, at a place where Jesus never walked. For them, Quran was authored by a person who had limited knowledge of the subject, living with people who hardly knew Jesus. For a historian Quran would have been beneficial if it would have presented a historical argument against the crucifixion, which it doesn’t. Here it becomes irrelevant. The more important question is whether Quran is totally out of a historian’s desk. Here we see that Quran is one of the most important documents when it comes to the study of beliefs of Arabs during the 6th and 7th century. And hints from it can be taken about what Christians of the same time used to believe. And there you see some interesting things. Let me give you an example. We have seen a long lasting polemic against the Quran that it gets the trinity wrong. For historians Quran criticizing the trinity of God, Mary and Jesus means that the belief of Christians surrounding Muhammad (saw) was like that. I would like to stress that Quran is not a compelling evidence for believing in such a thing. But then we can take surrounding hits as well. Take for example Ibn Hisham’s Al-Sirah Al-Nabawiyyah. He mentions some of the beliefs of the Christians who talked to Prophet Muhammad (saw): (And I quote) “[Those who talked to Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, were Abu Haritha Ibn `Alqama, Al-`Aqib `Abdul-Masih and Al-Ayham al-Sa`id.] They were Christians according to the faith of the king with differences between them; they say: He is Allah, and say: He is Son of Allah, and say: He is the third of three[i.e., part of Trinity] and these are the claims of Christianity. [They use as evidence for their claim that He is Allah the argument that] he used to raise the dead, cure the sick, create from clay bird-like structure then breathe into it to make it a [living] bird. All this was by the leave of Allah, the Praiseworthy the Exalted {to appoint him as a sign for men} (Maryam:21). They also argue for saying that he is Son of Allah by saying he had no known father and spoke in infancy which is something never done by any human being. They use as evidence for their claim that He is the third of three [i.e., part of Trinity] the argument that Allah says: We did, We commanded, We created and We judged [i.e., by using the plural for Himself], and whereas if He was one, He would say: I did, I judged, I commanded and I created; but it is He, Jesus and Maryam. The Qur’an was revealed addressing all these arguments.” (Al-Sirah Al-Nabawiyyah, 1998, Volume II, Dar al-Hadith: Cairo (Egypt), pp. 181-182.) The miracles of Jesus speaking in infancy and giving life to birds made out of clay are usually dismissed by the Christians as “apocryphal” but these were perfectly acceptable to Christians in Arabia during the advent of Islam. And the Trinity they had was of God, Jesus and Mary. The Real Jesus! Page 9

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6. Having commented on Quran, can you tell us Saaib how much merit does Bible hold? Answer: Bible can be taken into consideration to some extend but it can’t be relied upon. Let me tell you a few things about Bible. Do we know who the actual authors of the Bible were? For majority of the books, we don’t know who the authors were. Is it possible that some of the authors of some of the biblical books were not in fact who they claimed, or were claimed, to be? Yes, it is very much possible. Most of the books of the Bible are anonymous and many are Forged. When did these authors live? We don’t know for most of the authors. What were the circumstances under which they wrote? We don’t know. What issues were they trying to address in their own day? We don’t know except for some of Paul’s letters. How were they affected by the cultural and historical assumptions of their time? We know that they are affected by both. What sources did these authors use? Most of the authors were not eyewitnesses. We can only guess about what their sources were. When were these sources produced? We don’t know. Is it possible that the perspectives of these sources differed from one another? Yes it is very much possible. Is it possible that the authors who used these sources had different perspectives, both from their sources and from one another? Yes it is possible. Is it possible that the books of the Bible, based on a variety of sources, have internal contradictions? Not just that it is possible, the scholarly consensus is that the various books in general and Gospels in particular contradict each other every now and then. Are these contradictions irreconcilable? Yes there are many large and small but irreconcilable contradictions in the Bible. Scholars have for long known and accepted this. Is it possible that what the books originally meant in their original context is not what they are taken to mean today? This is very much the case with certain Biblical passages. What historical critics have established on the basis of centuries of research is that the Bible is filled with discrepancies, many of them irreconcilable contradictions. Moses did not write the Pentateuch (the first The Real Jesus! Page 11

five books of the Old Testament) and Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not write the Gospels. There are other books that did not make it into the Bible that at one time or another were considered canonical—other Gospels, for example, allegedly written by Jesus’ followers Peter, Thomas, and Mary. The Exodus probably did not happen as described in the Old Testament. The conquest of the Promised Land is probably based on legend. The Gospels are at odds on numerous points and contain nonhistorical material. It is hard to know whether Moses ever existed and what, exactly, the historical Jesus taught. The historical narratives of the Old Testament are filled with legendary fabrications and the book of Acts in the New Testament contains historically unreliable information about the life and teachings of Paul. Many of the books of the New Testament are pseudonymous—written not by the apostles but by later writers claiming to be apostles. The list goes on. The Bible is not reliable as a Historical Document.

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7. Crucifixion is a certain event. Most secular historians agree on this. How do you as a Muslim respond to this? Isn’t Quran going against something which according to Jerriton is an established fact? Answer: As Historians what we try to do is building probabilities around what happened in the past. More the probability of an event more will it be acceptable. As long as these are probabilities instead of certainties the Muslim position isn’t compromised. What is mean is, even if the crucifixion was 99.99% certain, the 0.01% that remains is enough for the Muslim position to escape through. Moreover, as I said already, Quran doesn’t deny that there appeared to be some kind of crucifixion. So then if it appeared that Jesus was being crucified, naturally the historical data will suggest the same and historians will definitely reach the conclusion that Jesus had indeed been crucified. There is nothing special here, nor do we Muslims worry about it. Does this however mean that we can’t build a case against crucifixion? Certainly not. Let us examine the image of Jesus as a crucified Messiah. The problem here is that “crucified messiah” is a clear cut contradiction of terms. By definition the Messiah has to be victorious over his enemies, if he is killed by the enemies, he is not the Messiah. Even the conservative evangelical scholars like Jay Smith accept this. (You can refer to his, “Evidence of the resurrection”). So then what we see is that if Jesus was killed then obviously he was not the true Messiah. If he is the true Messiah, he couldn’t be crucified. The only escape for the Christians is if they argue that Jesus rose from the dead and like they want us to prove historically the crucifixion did not happen, what I would tell them is to prove historically Jesus rose from the dead. Until such a proof is given (which surely can’t be given) we can keep believing that the idea of a crucified Messiah is as self-refuting as a square-circle or a four sided triangle or a married-bachelor. This is what Jerriton should have concentrated more on in his debate against Inamullah. But what he does is building altogether a different case and then presenting crucifixion as an undisputed fact. But the one indisputable fact that we need to find is that he resurrected from the dead and this is what Jerriton should have provided evidence for. Let us briefly have a look at the evidence for the resurrection to see if there is any hope that Jerriton can persuade us that Jesus actually rose from the dead. The Gospel evidence is marked by contradiction and doubt. If we look at the earliest Gospel, what evidence do we have for resurrection? Mark does not describe any actual reappearance of Jesus. Here is the actual lack of evidence. Not being satisfied with Mark, others wrote new and improved Gospels, for example Mathew supplies guards to the tomb to ensure that no one could have stolen the body. Raymond Brown says about this narrative of Mathew that if there were guards actually at the tomb other gospels will make no sense. Each gospel written comes us with his improved version of the story and these versions but naturally contradict each other.

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About Jesus’ reappearance Raymond Brown tells us, and I quote “It is quite obvious that the gospels do not agree as to where and to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection.” End of the quote. This is in his Bible commentary. If the disciples wrote the gospels or supplied information for them, the gospels should have agreed with one another, which they don’t and virtually every scholar agrees on this. In short, we can’t trust these reports of who saw Jesus and where. Even when the gospels try to show that Jesus did reappear, yet they show that he could not be positively identified. Mathew’s Gospel says that disciples did see him and worshipped him, but some doubted. NASB says that they all doubted while the living Bible says that some of them were not sure that it really was Jesus. Jerriton can bring many arguments and my responses will follow, but since we have proved now that the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection is seriously flawed every other argument fails. Hence Old Testament prophecies fail, New Testament prophecies fail, and the empty Tomb proves nothing.

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8. What about the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus? Answer: One of the basic premises upon which Christianity rests is that Jesus was the Messiah predicted in the Jewish Bible. It is necessary to examine the Jewish understanding of the Messiah to understand why such claims are simply not true. The literal and proper translation of this word “Messiah” is “anointed,” which refers to a ritual of anointing and consecrating someone or something with oil. (I Samuel 10:1-2) It is used throughout the Jewish Bible in reference to a wide variety of individuals and objects; for example, a Jewish king (I Kings 1:39), Jewish priests (Leviticus 4:3), prophets (Isaiah 61:1), the Jewish Temple and its utensils (Exodus 40:9-11), unleavened bread (Numbers 6:15), and a non- Jewish king (Cyrus king of Persia, Isaiah 45:1). Judaism has always maintained a fundamental belief in a Messianic figure. Since the concept of a Messiah is one that was given by G-d to the Jews, Jewish tradition is best qualified to describe and recognize the expected Messiah. This tradition has its foundation in the Bible. Judaism understands the Messiah to be a human being (with no connotation of deity or divinity) who will bring about certain changes in the world and who must fulfill certain specific criteria before being acknowledged as the Messiah. According to Torah, the Messiah will: 1. Be Jewish. (Deuteronomy 17:15, Numbers 24:17) 2. Be a member of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10) and a direct male descendent of both King David (I Chronicles 17:11, Psalm 89:29-38, Jeremiah 33:17, II Samuel 7:12-16) and King Solomon. (I Chronicles 22:10, II Chronicles 7:18) 3. Build the Third Temple - Ezekiel 37:26-28. 4. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel - Isaiah 43:5-6 5. Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore." - Isaiah 2:4 6. Spread universal knowledge of the G-d of Israel - uniting the entire human race as one: "G-d will be King over all the world—on that day, G-d will be One and His Name will be One" - Zechariah 14:9 In Christianity, the role of the messiah was redefined. As Jesus had not been successful at the very first place, the sudden death was explained by making him resurrect, the Bible was examined with the purpose of finding evidence that the messiah would be killed without bringing peace to the world or redemption to Israel. There was therefore the expectation of a second coming, at which Jesus would carry out the task expected of the messiah (because he obviously didn't do it the first time). This also required creation of an explanation for the first coming and its catastrophic end. The net result of all of The Real Jesus! Page 15

this was to shift the function of the messiah from a visible level where it could be tested (as in Tanach, what Christians call the "Old Testament") to an invisible level where it could not. As a result of this reworking, the messiah’s goal the first time around was changed from the redemption of Israel to the atonement for "original sin". A reworking of Biblical themes. Under such reworking of theme, Old Testament has been misinterpreted and wrongly used by Christians to support their views. A beautiful example is that of Psalms 22:17, "Like a lion, they are at my hands and feet." The Hebrew word for “like a lion” is grammatically similar to the word that would be used by Christians to mean something else. Thus Christians read the verse as a reference to crucifixion: "They pierced my hands and feet." Christians also claim that Isaiah 53 refers to Jesus. Actually, Isaiah 53 directly follows the theme of chapter 52, describing the exile and redemption of the Jewish people. Many a times a prophecy is fabricated and then Jesus is made to fulfill it. For example: Mathew 2:23 says “He [Jesus] came and resided in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled. ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’” Since a Nazarene is a resident of the city of Nazareth and this city did not exist during the time period of the Jewish Bible, it is impossible to find this quotation in the Hebrew Scriptures. At times wrong translations are utilized and then Jesus is made to fulfill that wrong interpretation. For example In Romans 11:26, the Christian Bible quotes Isaiah 59:20 as saying, “The deliverer will come from Zion, he will remove ungodliness from Jacob,” thus attempting to establish scriptural support for the Christian belief that the Messiah will take away our sins. However, a careful examination of the Hebrew original reveals a powerful dilemma. Isaiah 59:20 actually says the opposite: “A redeemer will come to Zion and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, declares the Lord.” The Messiah’s role is not to take away our sins; rather, when we turn away from our sins, the Messiah will then come! I can continue on and on and on with such example. I would just say that Gospels are not history memorized, but prophecy historicized.

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21. Saaib, your thoughts on why the resurrection has to be proven historically? Answer: Resurrection is that one thing which sets almost everything on track for Christianity. Notice what I had said earlier. “The only escape for the Christians is if they argue that Jesus rose from the dead and like they want us to prove historically the crucifixion did not happen, what I would tell them is to prove historically Jesus rose from the dead. Until such a proof is given (which surely can’t be given) we can keep believing that the idea of a crucified Messiah is as self-refuting as a square-circle or a four sided triangle or a married-bachelor.” So you see there that the proof for resurrection is very important. From the Christian perspective it will serve other purposes as well. Christians believe that Jesus made some sweeping claims for himself. They believe that he echoed Yahweh's own statements with several "I am" declarations that also identify him with symbols of major significance. "the bread of life"[John 6:35] "the light of the world"[John 8:12] "the gate of the sheep"[John 10:7] "the good shepherd"[John 10:11] "the resurrection and the life" [John 11:25] "the way, the truth, and the life"[John 14:6] and "the real vine"[John 15:1] When we accept Jesus made such claims, we have two choices, either he was right or he lied. Jesus is put on cross for his blasphemy and if he rose again, it means God had accepted his claims to be correct. In this particular sense the proof for resurrection is very important for Christians. However, we should note that Christians have been accepting resurrection since ages and it is only a recent phenomenon among them to find a historical proof for it and the proofs they provide are at best laughable and worth ignoring.

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23. Saaib, why do you think that the resurrection is irrelevant to you? Answer: Jesus’ resurrection is irrelevant to us. It proves nothing to a Muslim. If Jesus indeed resurrected, that would prove God’s greatness not Jesus’. God is all powerful and can do whatever he wants. If he wanted to raise Jesus from the dead, he could. There you see that it doesn’t affect a Muslims faith. Moreover I would like to mention a few things here. Islam is the religion of human instincts, “deenal fitr” and that’s what puts it distinct as compared to other faiths. If you are sincere you are a Muslim. Now you can be sincerely wrong or sincerely right, in anycase you are Muslim. A Muslims belief is on God. God is still uniquely singular even if the world changes. It doesn’t depend on what Quran says or what Bible says. It doesn’t depend on Muhammad’s prophet hood or Jesus’ resurrection.

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25. What about you Saaib? What did you make out of that exchange of papers? Answer: Jerriton Brewin is no doubt a knowledgeable person, but that knowledge seems to be coming from a few particular sources which are biased to the subject. May be William Craig Lane, Mike Licona or Craig Evans or Wallace or Norman Geisler, they are no doubt good scholars but evangelical scholars having very much conservative views. Jerry also has a habit of arguing from authority. Moreover he only argues from authority when the authority seems to be agreeing with him. The moment the authorities disagree with him, he parts ways and makes a separate argument. This was visible from his exchange of papers with me, where he continued to cherry pick scholars who agree with him. Jerry makes long write-ups without responding to a single argument. In our exchange he did the same. After my exchange of papers with him my belief got stronger than ever that the proof of resurrection is no possible to be produced. Let us see now what he has to say in our upcoming debate.

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27. Closing Remarks by you Saaib Ahmed Answer: On the onset we Muslims should remember that the Quran doesn’t make a Historical argument against the crucifixion of Jesus. It only makes a theological argument from God’s authority. We should also remember that the Quranic position is not debatable, because it does except that it appeared as if Jesus had been crucified. Since it had appeared that Jesus had been crucified, all historical data suggests the same. Since the historical data suggests that Jesus had indeed been crucified, a historian will naturally reach a conclusion that Jesus had been crucified. Thus for a Muslim to argue against crucifixion on historical basis is futile and will lead to nowhere.

At the same time the image of Jesus as a crucified Messiah is incorrect as long as his resurrection is not proved and such a proof can’t be obtained. Let me summarize: 1. Messiah can’t be killed 2. Jesus is the Messiah From these two facts, the conclusions that can be drawn are: 1. Jesus was not the Messiah 2. Jesus was not crucified Both Muslims and Christians accept that Jesus was the true Messiah, hence conclusion 1 is ruled out. We are left with the conclusion that Jesus was not crucified. This is what I conclude from today’s discussion. As for us Muslims we should welcome western critical scholarship and get indulged in it, master it and use it to bring Christians out of the false hope of what Paul has given them. For this whole of the western scholarship backs us. You can go through what recent scholarship had unveiled about the colourful history of the Bible and how the core of Christianity is damaged. You can go into early Christianity and see how modern scholarship helps to show you how Jesus was transformed from a prophet to God. At every step you will see the claims which Islam makes getting verified.

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As a critique I can assure you that religion of Islam can pass any criticism. So much strong is its foundation that you need not worry about any challenge facing it. In the modern scenario what Muslims need to do it go back to education. Remember that Islam had an amazing, glorious and successful past which no other religion on the face of earth has enjoyed. We are the genesis of the Modern Civilization. The Islamic Golden age can come back once again. The simplicity which Islam carries is enough for it to supersede all other isms. All you need is to be rational and logical. I hope this discussion opens the eyes of the listeners and increases their curiosity. Go home and work on it of your own. Be sincere in your approach. Reach a conclusion. Accept the conclusion even if it goes against what your beliefs are. I thank Jerriton Brewin for discussing this issue with me. I thank Habeeb Thaika for being an awesome host. I thank you all dear fellow brothers and sisters for being a nice audience. May God bless you all.

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