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"The Muslim Biblicist" - Dr. Ali Ataie

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  • "The Muslim Biblicist" - Dr. Ali Ataie

    Dr. Ali Ataie clarifies some of his views on the New Testament Gospels:

    https://youtu.be/F0C1k-YAwVQ


  • #2
    Shaykh Ali Ataie's polemical work against Christianity from 2004:

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...X5A_AXaoeVBsmW

    Comment


    • #3
      Ali Ataie vs. David Wood on who was Muhammad(saws)?

      https://youtu.be/GYyXGcZrMQc

      Comment


      • #4
        Dr. Ali Ataie on prophecies about Muhammad(saws) in the Bible:

        https://youtu.be/hfLJmJSrppY

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by AmantuBillahi View Post
          Dr. Ali Ataie on prophecies about Muhammad(saws) in the Bible:

          https://youtu.be/hfLJmJSrppY
          Just wanted to say

          I was actually thinking about you the other day. Don't know why, but your username appeared in my mind. I hope all is well with you.

          Sorry for going off topic, too lazy to pm you.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Abisali View Post

            Just wanted to say

            I was actually thinking about you the other day. Don't know why, but your username appeared in my mind. I hope all is well with you.

            Sorry for going off topic, too lazy to pm you.


            BarakAllah Feekum

            Everything is well, Alhamdulillah. Hope things are fine on your end as well.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by AmantuBillahi View Post



              BarakAllah Feekum

              Everything is well, Alhamdulillah. Hope things are fine on your end as well.
              Al Hamdulillah, things are okay. Just need to practice more patience and everything will eventually work out, inshallah.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by AmantuBillahi View Post
                Shaykh Ali Ataie's polemical work against Christianity from 2004:

                https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...X5A_AXaoeVBsmW
                Do you have his commentary on the Gospel of John? I am curious about that.
                My Blog ---> Reflections of the Traveler http://baraka.wordpress.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AmantuBillahi View Post
                  Dr. Ali Ataie clarifies some of his views on the New Testament Gospels:

                  https://youtu.be/F0C1k-YAwVQ
                  For many years I believed the Four Gospels to be generally authentic, in that, I didn't find anything in them that contradicted the Quran. Ali Ataie brings up some interesting points, things I never thought of before. I spent some time studying Christianity, nowhere as in-depth as Ali Ataie. The question I have is, what is meant by Injil in the Quran? Because it doesn't appear that Jesus (AS) left a book in the same way that Moses (AS) left the Torah or the Messenger of Allah (saw) left the Quran. The Gospels are more like hadith of the Messenger of Allah (saw) as oppose to a revealed scripture like the Quran, so I question whether the Gospel should be considered the Injil. Your thoughts?
                  Last edited by aMuslimForLife; 29-12-20, 11:03 AM.
                  My Blog ---> Reflections of the Traveler http://baraka.wordpress.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by aMuslimForLife View Post

                    Do you have his commentary on the Gospel of John? I am curious about that.
                    I was searching for it as well but it seems to be unavailable for the public. Perhaps you would have to contact Shaykh Ali or Mahin (the host) and request for it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by aMuslimForLife View Post

                      For many years I believed the Four Gospels to be generally authentic, in that, I didn't find anything in them that contradicted the Quran. Ali Ataie brings up some interesting points, things I never thought of before. I spent some time studying Christianity, nowhere as in-depth as Ali Ataie. The question I have is, what is meant by Injil in the Quran? Because it doesn't appear that Jesus (AS) left a book in the same way that Moses (AS) left the Torah or the Messenger of Allah (saw) left the Quran. The Gospels are more like hadith of the Messenger of Allah (saw) as oppose to a revealed scripture like the Quran, so I question whether the Gospel should be considered the Injil. Your thoughts?
                      I don't believe that the 4 Gospels represent the original Injeel because they are variant biographical accounts that were written decades after Nabi Isa(as) ascended. From what I remember Ali Ataie suggested that it was possible for the Disciples to have received Ilham during their sleep and restored the Injeel, but he doesn't seem to hold this view any longer himself.

                      The problem with the New Testament Gospels is that although they might not portray Jesus as fully God (equally God with the Father), they still depict him in a light that I feel is irreconcilable with the Islamic narrative. I would love to have a private discussion with Shaykh Ali and really press him on certain issues particularly regarding Jesus' pre-existence in the writings of John and even Paul. The question is why do those ambiguous statements even exist if the Gospel of John is a revelation from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala? It's almost as if the "revelation" itself is misleading them to Bid'ah and potentially Shirk.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        aMuslimForLife

                        Check out this book by Kegan Chandler inshaAllah:

                        https://youtu.be/ue0Ip_ZkdmQ

                        Edited:

                        The book is apparently available only on Kindle.
                        Last edited by AmantuBillahi; 14-07-21, 04:20 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AmantuBillahi View Post

                          I don't believe that the 4 Gospels represent the original Injeel because they are variant biographical accounts that were written decades after Nabi Isa(as) ascended. From what I remember Ali Ataie suggested that it was possible for the Disciples to have received Ilham during their sleep and restored the Injeel, but he doesn't seem to hold this view any longer himself.

                          The problem with the New Testament Gospels is that although they might not portray Jesus as fully God (equally God with the Father), they still depict him in a light that I feel is irreconcilable with the Islamic narrative. I would love to have a private discussion with Shaykh Ali and really press him on certain issues particularly regarding Jesus' pre-existence in the writings of John and even Paul. The question is why do those ambiguous statements even exist if the Gospel of John is a revelation from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala? It's almost as if the "revelation" itself is misleading them to Bid'ah and potentially Shirk.
                          A while ago I think I said I would explain my own perspective on this. I think I have much less experience in this sort of thing than AmantuBillahi and certainly no where near the knowledge of Shaykh Ali Ataei, but whilst I respect Shaykh Ataie's view and view it as a valid approach, I nevertheless find myself disagreeing.

                          Four Canonical Gospels as works of Seerah (but of ar-Rasul Isa Alayhis Salam)

                          The way I've always seen the gospels we have, which I believe are referred to in the Qur'an, are like works of Seerah. If you think about it some of the earliest Seerah works of Imam Ibn Ishaq etc. correlate to the gospels. In fact there are a lot of similarities. If you view in particular the four canonical gospels that way then that would basically explain what they are.

                          Do Seerah works contain Divine Revelation? Sure, in the sense that in the narrative verses are recited by the Prophet Alayhis Salatu Was-Salam. Moreover the prophetic life is living revelation in a sense. But Seerah works are there to recount to you the entire story of the Prophet Alayhis Salam, it isn't their express purpose to A) Accurately depict information from RasulAllah Salallahu Alayhi Wa Salam and B) Accurately convey revelation.

                          There is of course some controversy around the transmission of Ibn Ishaq's Seerah, but unlike the gospels we know who wrote his Seerah down and transmitted it. But you will find Hadith in that which are weak or even fabricated, and Ibn Ishaq also includes chainless narrative. This is what occurs, as Ibn Ishaq's purpose was not to convey accurate information, but to convey a narrative with as much details as possible. Works of Seerah and Tarikh should always be viewed with this in mind - authenticity does not come first, rather conveying the narrative and as much detail as possible does.

                          It should be remembered however that unlike the Seerah of Ibn Ishaq, the entire text of the gospels is chainless. Also we know who Muhammad Ibn Ishaq Rahimullah Alay is, we know lots about him and have extensive biographical information on him and who he met etc. We do not even know however who the authors of at least the four canonical gospels are...

                          Nevertheless, I still think that gospels should be regarded like early Seerah works we have, and that will give people a general idea as to the material contained within, the level of authenticity and the intent of the authors. This extends to all these authored gospels, canonical or not. (And some like the so-called gospel of Barnabas are clear fabrications).

                          So what happened to the Injil itself?

                          Isa Alayhis Salatu Was-Salam came and conveyed revelation, in particular two we would single out: The Taurat and the Injil.

                          And He will teach him scribing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel.

                          (Fadil Solimani's Interpretation of al-Qur'an, Surah Ali 'Imran, Ayah 48)
                          (Interpretation above mentions four things that he would be taught - al-Kitab, al-Hikmah, al-Taurat and al-Injil. Of these we know the latter two to be book/scriptural revelation. When referring to the original books we should use the Arabic terms to avoid confusion with the books currently associated with these revelations.)

                          Note that we do not know the extent of these two holy books, the Taurat and Injil, as in how many verses came down that would be considered part of them. The Taurat itself was given before Isa Alayhis Salam to Musa Alayhis Salam.

                          The Injil is mentioned only for Isa Alayhis Salam, so we generally assume it is a revelation that came to him especially - and this would make sense as we know that all the Ulul Azm have their scriptural/holy book revelations mentioned apart from Nuh Alayhis Salam (an interesting question occurs whether scripture/ holy book revelation starts later as opposed to revelation that even our father Adam Alayhis Salam received - the final verses of Surah al-Ala' maybe allude to this Allahu Alam).

                          So our understanding is that Isa Alayhis Salam received the Injil. We know some of the content that is in it, as it is mentioned in the Qur'an, such as:

                          Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah ; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah.

                          And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers - so that Allah may enrage by them the disbelievers. Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward.


                          (Sahih International's Interpretation of al-Qur'an, Surah al-Fath, Ayah 29, division for clarity)
                          This is not found in the Gospels in our possessions to my knowledge, although something very similar is found in the parable of the sower, which is recorded in the gospels apart from John and also in the non-canonical gospel of Thomas. It is my understanding that the gospels as Seerah works essentially go some way in preserving the message of the Injil - and this would be an example of how that looks (compare with Matthew 13: 1-23, Mark 4: 1-20, Luke 8: 4-15 and Thomas Saying 9). However they do not preserve the message completely, and I feel I can make an attempt at explaining why.

                          Compare with another instance where Allah references an Ayah of His prior scripture:

                          وَلَقَدْ كَتَبْنَا فِي الزَّبُورِ مِنْ بَعْدِ الذِّكْرِ أَنَّالْأَرْضَ يَرِثُهَا عِبَادِيَ الصَّالِحُونَ




                          And most surely We have written in the Book, after the Reminder, that the land will be inherited by My righteous servants.

                          (Qur'an, Surah al-Anbiyah, Ayah 105 Qira'ah Hafs, with Fadil Solimani's Interpretation, highlighting in red for emphasis)
                          The word interpreted from the arabic as the "Book" above is the "Zabur", which refers to the revelation given to Dawud Alayhis Salam.

                          Compare this with a verse from the Psalms, attributed to Dawud Alayhis Salam:

                          צַדִּיקִ֥ים יִֽירְשׁוּ־אָ֑רֶץ וְיִשְׁכְּנ֖וּ לָעַ֣ד עָלֶֽיהָ׃



                          ṣad-dî-qîm yî-rə-šū- ’ā-reṣ; wə-yiš-kə-nū lā-‘aḏ ‘ā-le-hā.

                          The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.

                          - Psalms 37:29, with Transliteration from Here and English from KJV
                          The meanings of the verses are essentially identical to the first clause of the verse in Psalms, with only a few different words being used and one word extra in the Arabic, although some words are essentially identical (Yarithu vs yî-rə-šū-, Ardh vs ’ā-reṣ). The above is thus arguably an example of a verse from the Hebrew Bible which we can confirm is divine speech.

                          (Note: The Hebrew word Saddiqim is a false friend to the Arabic of the same sounding word.)

                          If we compare the above with the example of Allah Azza Wa Jal referring to what he revealed of the Injil, we notice a marked difference - in one example we cannot claim (that the parable of the sower) is exactly what is being referred to by Rab al-Alamin Azza Wa Jal in the Qur'an, but in another we can easily make this claim.

                          This for me reinforces the nature of the gospels we have - they are Seerah works which go some way to preseving the meanings of the Injil even if they do not preserve them well (unlike the example given of the verse from the Psalms).

                          So what exactly happened to the Injil revealed to Isa Alayhis Salam? It is clear he taught it, and I would even quote from the Gospels the following as evidence for this:

                          And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

                          - Matthew 4:23 KJV
                          And note that in the greek, the word used for Gospel here is Evangelion - which corresponds to the Arabic Injil.

                          What was this "Evangelion" (Injil) of the Kingdom that Isa Alayhis Salam is reported to be teaching according to the above? Note that this "Gospel" of Mathew is reporting Isa Alayhis Salam teaching the Gospel. Clearly even from what they have of Isa Alayhis Salam's teachings, we can conclude there was some message/teaching or revelation known as the Injil (good news i.e. the good news of Jannah for the believers as well as worldly dominion ref. to the second coming) which Isa Alayhis Salam taught to the Hawariyyin (disciples) and others.

                          Some of this was loosely preserved in the Gospels (inc. the four canonical ones) that we possess today. I think the persecution of the Early (true) Christians, as documented also in the Qur'an, helped to destroy the transmission of this scripture. Then, similar to the Buddhist councils, there were organised efforts to canonise scripture and destroy other writings and teachings as heresy (e.g. refer to Ireneus etc.)


                          In my view, the now extinct Ebionites are essentially the correct Christian sect, although some of them reportedly denied the virgin birth (others didn't). The Ebionites were known for their opposition to Paul, accusing him of Apostasy. They hold the same beliefs with regards to Isa Alayhis Salam that we do - that he was a Prophet, not denying him like the Jews nor going to the other extreme of the Pauline Christians. From our literature it seems they died out during the lifetime of Salman al-Farisi Radiyallahu An, and I don't doubt this was the sect of Waraqah Ibn Nawfal Radiayallahu An.

                          One thing that confirms that the Ebionites are likely the true believers in Isa Alayhis Salam is that their name derives from the fact that they were mostly composed of the poor - and we know that the poor and dejected are the significant followers of any Prophet (refer to the Hadith of Abu Sufyan where he relates his meeting with Heraclius).


                          Not all Christian liturgical literature can be included in this scenario however. The writings of Paul - which predate the canonical gospels and form the earliest references of canonical teachings of Isa Alayhis Salam according to the majority of Christians - cannot be considered in the same vein. They are more the theological works of Paul which most of Christianity relies upon, they do not seek to document Isa Alayhis Salam's preaching.

                          The original Injil would have been in Aramaic, as whilst Isa Alayhis Salam certainly could have known other languages, to actually teach to the common jews around him he would need to speak in Aramaic. One can infer that only the priestly class would know Hebrew and only the secularly educated Jews would know Greek or Latin. Divine revelation is first and foremost a teaching and needs to be understood by the immediate target audience easily (and we can see this in the concession of the other Ahruf of the Qur'an).

                          In commentary of the Parable of the Sower according to the non-Canonical gospel of Thomas, a Christian academic writes the following:

                          The statement that the first lot of seed fell 'on' (not 'by') the road probably reflects the sense of the Aramaic preposition used by Jesus in telling the parable (the preposition may be rendered 'on' or 'by' according to the context)

                          - Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament by Frederick Bruce, p. 116
                          I knew a Syrian Christian Arab once who recounted to me with pride that they carry out much of their rituals in Aramaic which she understood to be language of Isa Alayhis Salam.

                          This makes sense for why even as a sort of Seerah work, the four Gospels fail to accurately recount divine speech - it is due in part to the problem of translating from Aramaic to Greek (as well changes in transmission which are natural and seen regularly in weak narrators of Hadith and divergences are even seen in reliable, strong memoried narrators - we have to remember many are narrating from meaning).

                          But what about the verses in the Qur'an when Allah asks the Christians to look at their own Book?

                          This is the reason why Shaykh Ali Ataie adopts his Madhab on this issue - he finds it strange that Allah Azza Wa Jal would call them to look at their own books if they haven't been preserved. I for one do not find this strange at all - it makes sense to me.

                          The scriptures are not so corrupted that they have no truth in them, rather the correct teachings and the prophecy of RasulAllah Alayhis Salam to come can be found in them. Rather other things have been added in, mistranslated, distorted etc.

                          Sometimes these are unintentional, other times they may be intentional. Most/all of the intentional distortions we can root out e.g. the well accepted addition of probably the only clear reference to a certain doctrine of Shirk in one of the gospels (i.e. even Christian academics and their denominations accept it is a later addition). Once we've rooted these out we are left with a text which mainly suffers from unintentional historical mistransmission due to the nature of the text rather than deliberate distortion.

                          Of course the theological ideas of the writers of these works (who would have read/been influenced by Paul) do fall into their narrating, but I do not suspect that they themselves intentionally fabricated lies against what Isa Alayhis Salam himself said - they merely took this from their sources. When reading the Canonical Gospels one needs to pay attention therefore to what Isa Alayhis Salam is himself reported as saying, not what the authors or others are reported as saying.

                          Yes I'd agree with AmantuBillahi that the addition at the beginning of John is not revelation, and contains multiple instances of Kufr and Shirk. It is merely the author writing down his theological disbelief of doctrine to start his work as a type of supplication. In most works of Islamic literature, and even works of the Muslim scientists and mathematicians such as the work of al-Kharizmi, we see similar forms of supplication at the start, albeit without Kufr and Shirk, with pure Tawhid instead.

                          We have clear evidence for the fact that the gospel they have is not the same Injil as Isa Alayhis Salam, yet can still be used to arrive at the truth in the following verse of Allah's Kalam:

                          الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الرَّسُولَ النَّبِيَّ الْأُمِّيَّ الَّذِي يَجِدُونَهُ مَكْتُوبًا عِنْدَهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالْإِنْجِيلِ يَأْمُرُهُمْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَاهُمْ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَالْأَغْلَالَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ فَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِهِ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَاتَّبَعُوا النُّورَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ مَعَهُ ۙ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

                          Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written [i.e., described] in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and prohibits them from what is wrong and makes lawful for them what is good and forbids them from what is evil and relieves them of their burden1 and the shackles which were upon them.2 So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him - it is those who will be the successful.

                          (Qur'an, Surah al-A'raf Ayah 157 Qira'ah Hafs, with Sahih International's Interpretation, highlighting in red for emphasis)
                          This clearly indicates that Allah is making a distinction between the Taurat and Injil that they possess, which he says the believers amongst them will find the Prophecy in, verses the Taurat and Injil as revealed to Musa and Isa Alayhim Salam. The Taurat and Injil that is "with them" is suitable for them to refer to for such prophecies (and if they disbelieve and remain as Jews and Christians then they should judge by what remains of the laws of those) but are not the pure uncorrupted divine speech.

                          So I respectfully disagree with Shaykh Ali Ataei's approach, even if I think it is in its Asl a valid Madhab, and have given an alternate view of what the Injil may be and how it relates to the gospels with us today. Insha'Allah Allah who alone is al-Alim will increase us in knowledge of these matters and endow us wisdom and incite.

                          In summary, Allah knows best regarding the nature of his revelation to Isa Alayhis Salam. What we say with certainty is mentioned in the Qur'an and that is that Isa Alayhis Salam was taught the Injil, he taught pure monotheism and submission and was a devout and obedient slave of Allah, and one of the noblest of the messengers. He performed many miracles to show evidence to Bani Isra'il of his prophecy, but ultimately he was rejected by a contingent of them, another contingent made a mockery of his teachings by corrupting them into idolatry and only a few kept to the pure Tawhid he Alayhis Salam taught.

                          May Allah bless Isa Alayhis Salatu Was-Salam, his noble slave and messenger and his word who will prove true against the disbelievers soon.
                          Last edited by Muhammad Hasan; 30-12-20, 04:19 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'd like to make a few comments as a follower of Jesus the Messiah. I do not want to engage in polemics, but will share briefly my understanding.
                            The 4 canonical Gospels were all written in the first century and by the end of the first century and early second century were being quoted and referred to widely by the leaders of the Christian community. There is no account of the documents being chosen and others thrown away or rejected. It was a natural process of acceptance, first by contemporaries of Jesus (eye witnesses) and then by their followers and disciples.
                            The number of original parchments and documents is vast, and although we do not have the originals, the science of form, literary and historical criticism is so advanced that we can be almost certain that what we have is extremely close to the originals. Any possible question is always clearly marked and in no way affects fundamental Christian belief or practice.
                            The Qur'an seems to hold the Injil in high regard and, as far as I understand, the book that was called the Injil in the Qur'an is the book we now have as the New Testament (it could just be the 4 gospels) By the time of the 7th Century the content and authenticity of the New Testament and the Gospels had been accepted for at least 4 centuries. It is what we have in translations today.
                            I would also comment that the life and teaching of Jesus the Messiah which the Qur'an refers to as revelation from God cannot be changed or corrupted. God protects his word, as the Qur'an and the Bible are careful to declare. So, any suggestion that God's word has been corrupted or changed is not so much a criticism of Christians or Jews but of God himself, suggesting he is unable or unwilling to protect the truth of his word.
                            I want to suggest that as an account of Jesus the Messiah, who is seen as an important person in the Qur'an, the 4 gospels are worthy of being read with a prayer that God will guide us to the truth.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Dr Ali Ataei's lecture series on the Gospels:

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DobuKP9Tu1k&list=PLLN02x1UwIfKuOd1659c 9gliQJtz2NBZt

                              (In 12 parts, each part between 40 - 60 minutes)

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