Answering Missionaries

June 11, 2006

Comments from a Muslim who attended the debate: the use of sources

Filed under: Addressing James White polemics,Debate reviews,James White — answeringmissionaries @ 12:47 am

As some of you might have noticed, a few days ago I received some comments regarding the Shabir Ally Vs James White debate by a Muslim who attended this debate. I have decided to post his interesting comments on the main blog:


I just wanted to elaborate on this point since I had attended the debate. As the rest of the Muslim attendees how were there, I was amazed at Dr. White’s assertions of the death of Ibn Masud because of his refusal to burn his copy of the Quran. Hence, as soon as the opining presentation was concluded by both speakers, and during the break time, I went to Dr. White and asked him:

    – Dr., would you please give me a reliable source that cites this story about the death of Ibn Masud?

    – I don’t have my references now but e-mail me and I’ll send it to you

    – Dr., you come to a public debate making such claim in your presentation twice, yet you don’t have your references!

    – It was on the answering-islam website

    – But is this website considered a reliable reference for the authentic Islamic narrations, is this considered academic?

    – What about Shabir, he did not quote any references in his presentation

    – You can defiantly ask him about his references that support his claims, and if he did not bring it forward then that would not be scholarly in his part.

By that time Dr. White turned to his tablet PC trying to browse some of his material, maybe locating the reference for his claimon that website. During the Q&A session Shabir did point out this erroneous point and Dr. White, probably after finding his claimed reference on the answering-islam website, mentioned that it was from AlQadhi’s book which we now know that this even was not true.

The debate in general was good. I liked the friendly attitude of both speakers. When it comes to the result, I think Shabir had the upper hand in this debate. His arguments were well presented and organized. I just whished if he used more examples that show the progression of stories from Mark to Mathew and Luke. On the other hand, after listening to Dr. White I still don’t know why he believes that the New Testament as it exists today is the pure word of God?, this is because he did not address the topic at all. The only two arguments he raised that are related to the topic were “every Gospel writer was addressing a different audience” and “Mathew was telescoping what Mark had written”. To me this is a very desperate defense since it opens a wide gate to justify any change within the text, so now instead of saying “text alteration” let’s put a newly invented title that is “text telescoping”, yet they are still the same thing.


For details on White’s misuse of Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi, see:


See also:

What Yasir Qadhi’s Book Actually Says On The Initial Hesitation of Ibn Masud

I just wanted to point out that it is Dr White who is constantly making use of double standards in the use of sources. Anyone who has seen this debate would know that Shabir Ally, only once, referred to Bart Ehrman, a competent, authoritative and recognized scholar, and later referred to conservative scholars such as F.F. Bruce, William Lane Craig and Bruce Metzger. Moreover, Shabir Ally’s major argument, that Matthew and Luke made heavy use of Mark and altered its accounts at times, thereby giving us a different presentation and image of Jesus (P), is something that is readily accepted by most conservative scholars themselves. So Shabir Ally did not present a “radical” argument against the New Testament writings. In sharp contrast, James White is largely dependent upon polemical Christian websites and literature to mount his case against the Quran. Note that White also relies upon a shoddy piece of polemic authored by the polemicist Rev. Sell over a century ago! That shows that White has already made up his mind – he has decided that whatever Christian polemicists say about Islam and the Quran “must” be “true” no matter what. In a previous paper, I wrote:

“White argues that these Muslims were not interested in the truth since they appeared to believe that everything on this polemical website was wrong. But I do not find this to be a convincing argument since it is reasonable to be sceptical regarding the quality and accuracy of information within such a website. For instance, should we expect to find accurate statements about Jesus (P) in the Talmud? Or, do we research a religion, or an individual, by referring to those who openly oppose them and are quite hostile towards them? Moreover, White’s double standard and hypocrisy is also exposed. If White himself was truly interested in the truth then I wonder what he was doing scavenging for sources in a well-known and highly polemical website? Did White really expect it to contain “fair and balanced” information on the Quran? Could it be that White had already made up his mind before making any investigations and so decided to go to this polemical website hoping to find material that would agree with his presupposition and a priori agenda?”

I will get back to composing my detailed debate review. Hopefully, I should manage to complete it in around 2-3 days!

[Update: The debate review is complete and is to be found here.]



  1. assalamu alaykum

    Your review about the debate that took place between brother Shabbir Ally and James white is well written and easy to understand. It shows the hypocrisy and deceptive tactics used by the christian missionaries. I understand that you have not completed this review but it already looks good. Your review also shows how desperate christians can be when defending the textual integrity of their bible, even when there is so much evidence saying otherwise.

    Comment by Gajibur Rahman — August 16, 2006 @ 2:21 pm | Reply

  2. Walaikum Assalam Br. Rahman.

    The complete debate review is available here.

    Do let me know what you think. I summarised the talks delivered by both Shabir Ally and James White and then offered my critical comments. There are plenty of grammatical errors in this review, but I am sure readers would have little problems following the discussion.

    Comment by answeringmissionaries — August 16, 2006 @ 9:02 pm | Reply

  3. I thought somebody might be interested in another formal debate I recorded. This one is about what happened to Jesus. Feel free to link to it.

    Comment by Calvin — May 18, 2007 @ 8:32 am | Reply

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