I was surprised at how quick Brannon Howse, Usama Dakdok, and Shahram Hadian were to judge Dr. James White for his sincerely trying to reach out to Muslims by the 2-part Dialogue with Yasir Qadhi. (Howse, Dakdok, and Hadian on their Worldview Weekend podcasts. Although Matthew 7:1 (Do not judge, lest you be judged”) has been greatly abused in our modern culture, and mis-quoted in an unbalanced way, those 3 need to take Matthew 7:1-6 and I Corinthians 4:5 (don’t judge motives of the heart, only God can do that) to heart in a deeper way, on this issue.
see June 7, 2017 I was also surprised that Usama Dakdok (since he is from Egypt and speaks fluent Arabic) did not recognize Yasir Qadhi’s name as an Arabic word, from Qadhi قاضی , which means “a judge” and we have this word in Farsi (I learned Farsi, I am an American, but never been to Iran. I make no claim to being an expert.), and I assume that this word is in Urdu also. (Urdu is the main language of Pakistan, where Dr. Qadhi’s parents are from)
They kept using buzz words and phrases like Dr. White is a “useful idiot” to Muslims and saying that Dr. Qadhi is Dr. White’s “mentor” in Islam, etc., [addendum: June 10, I did notice that Dr. White did say that Dr. Qadhi was his mentor in teaching him what Shirk means and the different aspects of it; which I had not noticed before. – but it seems to me that Dr. White meant that in a specific teaching, not a “mentor” in every way, the way it is spun by the Worldview Weekend bias.] which seems very similar to the way Sam Shamoun unjustly criticizes Dr. White. (see my other article on Sam’s sinful anger, and bad behavior with Muslims, which he needs to repent of.)
Below is Dr. White’s response, and ironically, those 3 men were quick to judge him in a very similar way that Senator Bernie Sander did recently. (see the clip at the beginning of the program)
They (B. Howse, Usama Dakdok, and Shahram Hadian) did not seem to even listen to Dr. White’s material or the 2 part Dialogue with Yasir Qadhi, or many other debates against Muslims (I have linked to many of them here at “apologetics and agape”), nor read his book on the Qur’an. (What every Christian Should Know about the Qur’an)
Even if some Muslims are secret Jihadi types, we don’t know that about all Muslims; and is it not better to engage him and other Muslims in evangelism and dialogue first? (if they give no evidence of being a Jihadist or doing Taqiyye (passive lying, dissimulation; passive deception, only telling part of the story).
[Addendum: June 10- I am listening to Part 3 of the Worldview Weekend analysis of Dr. White and Yasir Qadhi: We need to witness to Muslims, but also let US law enforcement do its job in actually finding out if there is a real crime committed. Hey, for a long time, since 9-11-2001, I have been suspicious of Muslim Brotherhood front groups who hide here in the USA, and Hamas linked things also. I have heard about the Muslim groups like CAIR who were “un-indicted co-conspirators” and the writings they found of “stealth Jihad” and “civilizational Jihad” – using our gracious laws to take down our great country, the USA, etc. What the World View Weekend did, was find more out about others that were at that conference that Yasir Qadhi spoke at than about Qadhi himself. But now I am listening to Brannon Howse and I will admit that I am concerned about Dr. Qadhi has said in praise of Siraj Wahhaj. see here for wikipedia article on him. This guy was born in the USA, is African-American, and first converted to the Black theology of the “Nation of Islam” of Elijah Muhammad & Louis Farakan, who it seems obvious created this religion out of the pain of the history of slavery and segregation, etc. and a lot of ignorance. Sunnis and Shiites don’t view the Nation of Islam as orthodox Islam at all. Siraj Wahhaj’s past and statements – indeed that is disturbing that Yasir Qadhi spoke well of him.
There is no doubt in my mind that original Islam is political and militaristic, etc. – but in this case (of Dr. White’s dialogue with Yasir Qadhi) we are talking about the ability in our free society to actually get to talk to Muslims and a Muslim cleric in a way that they usually don’t let you do. With all the reactions of the Worldview Weekend folks and Sam Shamoun and his followers, Muslims who live here are going to go more underground and not talk to us much anymore. I wonder why our US government could not indict those other front groups, like CAIR, and why so many reports call them an “un-indicted co-conspirator front group” ? CAIR is very suspicious to me also; I totally understand the concern. A lot of these issues seem to eventually come back to the whole Israel – 1948 / Palestinian issues. Hamas, in my opinion is very evil and quotes from the Sahih (correct, genuine) Hadith in their constitution a passage about “fighting and killing Jews until the day of resurrection/end of time; and that trees and rocks cry out: There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” see here. and here for two of those Sahih Hadith references.]
Otherwise, if we Christians have that constant attitude (always suspecting all Muslims of doing Taqiyye – deception), how will any effective evangelism take place? I understand that emotions are high with all the danger and murder and terror from Islamic Jihadi types and ISIS types, but we Christians need to see the need for engaging Muslims in such a way that they are not on the defensive- most of the time, most Muslims don’t give you a chance for evangelism, or even discussion, because of the toxic atmosphere of prejudice and fear that exists now. Many will not even debate or engage if they feel that Christians are thinking that they are automatically terrorists or Jihadi’s or practicing Taqiyye.
Usama Dakdok (from Egypt) and Shahram (from Iran) have an understandable passion and probably pain from what they experienced in their own countries, and it is evident in their responses. I understand their passion and anger, somewhat (from having many friends from Iran especially, and learning their language and culture and spending time with them; outside of Iran.) because they, their families, and ancestors have either suffered under Islamic regimes, or have felt lied to by Islam’s doctrines and oppression in their counties for centuries. (see here for “Understanding Dhimmi in Islam”) If you come at Muslims immediately with “you are a secret Jihadist and practicing Taqiyye”, then they will judge us and not give us a chance to even evangelize or talk to them. Just because Dr. Qadhi spoke at a conference where other Muslims spoke and some may have some connection to another Muslim who was somehow connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, etc., (they offered this as proof of their position) does not mean that Dr. Qadhi is like them. We still should treat Muslims with respect, and not judge them all as the same, until there is evidence to prove they are guilty. But because of all the murder and Islamic terrorism going on in our world, and some Muslims do indeed practice deception and Taqiyye, most people see the urgency to do more about stopping the Islamic terrorism, rather than sincerely wanting to reach Muslims with the gospel. I can understand that sense of urgency in light of recent events.
Many Muslims already judge us westerners and Christians, and many times, do not give us much of a chance to even evangelize or talk to them. (or if they seem open at the beginning, once we get into some details, politics comes up, and judging quickly happens.) I know this from experience in about 34 years of evangelism with Muslims, that even without saying that, most Muslims have already judged us American Christians (and other western Christians, without the American political stuff) as prejudiced, biased, bigots, Zionists who support Israel unquestioningly, Evangelicals who vote for Trump / Reagan/ Bush, etc. – conservatives who want to make war on Muslim countries, etc. (no matter which one of those recent Presidents), in the typical Muslim mindset, they have usually already put us in that category.) Dr. White’s attempt to overcome that spirit of judging by having a dialogue with Yasir Qadhi was a good thing, IMO. It was a good step in breaking down walls and barriers, but unfortunately, Sam Shamoun, Brannon Howse, Usama Dakdok, and Shahram Hadian have added more poison in an already toxic atmosphere between 2 sides of Christians and, the Muslims are watching their attitudes and judging the fruit of Christian’s words, attitudes, and deeds.
It is depressing to see the animosity and judging that these 3 Christian men did against Dr. James White, before trying to understand him. It is very grievous to see, because both sides are Bible believing Evangelical Christians who believe God’s word.
One of Dr. White’s points that they criticized – that ISIS does not represent “all of Islam” without qualification was very nuanced and requires people to think some more before judging. See here for a full 31 minute video where Dr. White explains, in context, what he means. The worldview weekend guys took his comment out of context.
There is no doubt that ISIS / ISIS / Daesh داعش is a form of Islam at its core (see the excellent article by Graeme Wood). See the Wikipedia article for explanation of those names. D = د = “Dowlat” = government or state; A ا = for Islam, E ع = Iraq, and “sh” ش = Sham = the Levant areas of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan and some of the surrounding areas) See also David Wood’s web-site “Answering Muslims” – google it – for more evidence from the Qur’an and Hadith and Islamic sources that Muslim Jihadi types are basing their actions on those sacred texts. However, every modern Muslim can claim that ISIS is not true Islam, because they don’t have a legitimate Caliph (successor to Muhammad in leading all of the Muslim world in unity) or unity (from the time of Muhammad’s death, there has been great disunity and violence – the whole Sunni vs. Shiite thing) in the Muslim world. (since the office of Caliph was abolished in 1924, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.) Most Salafis / Wahabis don’t even accept the Ottoman Caliphate as a good Caliphate. ISIS/ ISIL / IS/ داعش Daesh, from its own point of view, is seeking to call all of the Muslim world to their doctrine. ISIS is Islamic in that it uses texts from the Qur’an and Hadith and Sira and Tafsirs to justify their actions. ISIS / ISIL / Daesh داعش (they call themselves I.S. now, just “Islamic State”) thinks that it is true Islam and getting back to original Islam before all the development of jurisprudence and the 4 schools of law in Sunni Islam (and one main one in Shiite) (consolidated in the 800s and 900s AD) Those schools of jurisprudence developed after the initial conquering of the Byzantine Empire and North Africa (634-722 AD) and conquering and converting the Persian Empire to Islam (634-900s AD). But most Muslims in the world don’t believe that ISIS had a legitimate right to claim that they are a true Caliphate and that Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi is the true Caliph. Even most Salafis (also known as Wahabis) (they also want to get to back to the Islamic era of the first 4 rightly guided Caliphs, and their students) don’t believe one has the right to take the law into their own hands and do violence and war, etc. – what Al Qaeda and ISIS has been doing in recent years. Al Qaeda has been around for almost 20 years, a few years before 9-11-2001.
Background for those who don’t know:
Dr. James White took a lot of heat for inviting Dr. Yasir Qadhi to a church and having a dialogue with him, back in January of this year. (Mainly from Sam Shamoun; anyone can google and find a lot of material on that.)
see part 1 here and please see my comments and questions that I sincerely have for Dr. Qadhi.
I reprinted my comments below also.
(part 2 was at a Mosque; where Dr. White got to explain what Christians believe about the Deity of Christ, the cross and resurrection, the Trinity, original sin, & salvation by grace alone and justification by faith alone) The meeting at the church was not a worship service (on a Tuesday evening), and the people of the church knew a head of time what kind of meeting it was – it was not a debate, but a chance to let a Muslim scholar explain himself and his beliefs to American Christians. As long as the elders and members of the church understand that, I don’t see a problem with that. I don’t think that is a violation of 2 John verses 10-11, as Howse, Dakdok, and Shahram Hadrian charged ( I forget which one brought that up). I don’t think having unbelievers into one’s home for hospitality and evangelism is a violation of those verses either. Evangelism and outreach to unbelievers is different than someone who was already in a church and claimed to be a Christian, and then teaches false doctrine in the church, and has been exposed as a false teacher trying to deceive the flock. Verse 9 and the context seems to be talking about people who were part of the church, claimed to be believers, and then later started teaching false doctrine and no longer continued in the doctrine of Christ. To take verses 10-11 too woodenly to apply to all unbelievers would destroy almost all kinds of friendly evangelism and hospitality that is needed in order to break down prejudice and stereotypes and walls that communities have built up over the years. See 2 John verses 4-11 for the larger context.
4 I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. 5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.
7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
2 John 4-11
verse 7 and 1 John chapter 2 show us that any philosophy or religion that does not acknowledge that the eternal Word/Son of God came to earth and became flesh/ human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8) is an anti-Christ religion. Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, liberal theologians, etc. also fall into this category, not just Muslims. We are talking about the right methods of approaching people in order to share the gospel with them. Muslims have been in ignorance for centuries; they need to first hear the gospel in a way that can grasp and understand, from a genuine Christian who desires to see them saved.
(see also the discussion I had with Sam Shamoun in the combox; I had to edit out all his name calling and bombast and inappropriate ad hominem against me and Dr. White.)
Since this was a dialogue, and not a debate, and they were under time restraints, and given the emotional tension/fear/prejudice on each side of our communities, I think Dr. White did a good job of establishing a peaceful beginning relationship with Muslims and Dr. Qadhi, a beginning conversation and showing that Muslims and Christians can and should have a talk together and not hate one another and strive for peace, and not compromise on our own convictions and theology.
Some of my comments and questions for Dr. Qadhi, for Part 1 of the Dialogue: (see Part 1 for the links)
There was not enough time for this at this dialogue, but, in my humble opinion, I hope that maybe Dr. White can have another opportunity to ask Dr. Qadhi more on Surah 9:5 and Surah 9:29 (and Surah 8:39 and similar Hadith). But Dr. White did have a discussion/debate on these issues of “war and peace” with Yusuf Ismail in South Africa and Abdullah Al Andalousi in England.
I would want to ask Dr. Qadhi questions about the fact that some Hadith and Islamic scholars believe Surah 9 was the last Surah revealed . Surah 9 has two names, one is “al-Bara’ah” براءه (The Immunity) and the other name for it is “Al Touba” التوبه (Repentance). Other Hadith say Surah 110 is the last, and Islamic scholars say that at least parts of Surah 5 was the last one revealed. I would ask about whether some Muslim scholars believe that Surah 9 abrogates the earlier peaceful Surahs. Also, I would ask about the Hadith that Omar Ibn Al Khattab (the 2nd Sunni Caliph, 634-644 AD) said he heard the prophet Muhammad say that “no two religions will be allowed in Arabia” and “I will expel the Christians and Jews from the Arabian peninsula” See 6 Hadith narrations here. The Arabic phrase I am seeing is “the Arabian peninsula” or “Arabian island” ( جزیره العرب ) in those Hadith – an area much larger than only the city of Mecca. Sometimes I have seen that translated as the Hijaz, which is usually understood as covering the areas of Mecca and Median and in between, or most of what is known today as Saudi Arabia, but not including Yemen and Oman and areas on the coast.
Yasir Qadhi said, in regard to pagans coming close to the Kaaba and the city of Mecca, that Surah 9:5 only applied to the city of Mecca, and seems to say it was only for that time; so that is a different issue than the Christians and Jews being expelled. But Muhammad and Abu Bakr unified Arabia and had done away with all paganism and polytheism by the end of Muhammad’s life (632 AD) and after Abu Bakr’s “Wars of Apostasy” (634 AD). The pagans were either killed or they converted to Islam. And I would have asked about the attacks and conquering of the Persian and Byzantine Empires and the Jiziye Submission Tax (Surah 9:29) and the Dhimmi System. (by Omar Ibn Al Khattab, 634-644 AD, the 2nd Caliph, and many subsequent Caliphs continued their wars and Jihads.) I would want to ask if any pagans were allowed to live in the Byzantine and Persian Empires. (It seems that only Christians and Jews, and much later, some Zoroastrians were allowed to live.)
Dr. Qadhi made a good point about the Yazidis and that they were allowed to live in the Muslim world. When did they begin? Were they there before Islam came? They are ethnic Kurds and in the Mountains, so, maybe they survived for a long time, because they were isolated and hard to even get to; and it seems that they have some development in their religion. Dr. Qadhi said they are “Gnostic”.
When the Muslims conquered the Byzantine empire, Christians were allowed to keep their churches and keep their religion private, but they were not allowed to do evangelism or convert Muslims, or criticize Islam, or build new churches; and they had other restrictions on them that was developed as “The Pact of Omar” from the time of Omar Ibn Al Khattab (634 AD-644 AD) to Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz (717-720 AD), a later Caliph. I would ask about the details of the Pact of Omar and how it applies to today. I would have asked about Abu Bakr’s (the first Sunni Caliph after Muhammad died) Wars of Apostasy (632 – 634 AD), that were against all the Muslims who left Islam and refused to pay the Zakat (Islamic required giving of 2.5 % of income.) If I had time, I would try to ask about:
The Hadith (more than one says this) that says, “War is deceit” (this is one of them, which also says that Khosroe, the Emperor of Persia will be defeated; and “Caesar”, meaning Heraclius, the Emperor of Byzantine will be defeated.
2. the Hadiths that quote the Qur’an from Surah 3:64 (“come to a common agreement together”) but were warnings to other peoples, empires – “Accept Islam and you will be safe” (famous letters sent to the Byzantine and Persian Emperors) This section is toward the end of this very large Hadith.
I repeat the relevant section:
Abu Sufyan added, “Caesar then asked for the letter of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and it was read. Its contents were: “In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful (This letter is) from Muhammad, the slave of Allah, and His Apostle, to Heraculius, the Ruler of the Byzantine. Peace be upon the followers of guidance. Now then, I invite you to Islam (i.e. surrender to Allah), embrace Islam and you will be safe; embrace Islam and Allah will bestow on you a double reward. But if you reject this invitation of Islam, you shall be responsible for misguiding the peasants (i.e. your nation). O people of the Scriptures! Come to a word common to you and us and you, that we worship. None but Allah, and that we associate nothing in worship with Him; and that none of us shall take others as Lords besides Allah. Then if they turn away, say: Bear witness that we are (they who have surrendered (unto Him)..(Surah 3.64)
This is an interesting Hadith, as it gives the “Asbab ol Nozul” (“Reasons for the revelation”; or historical background, to Surah 3:64, whereas many Muslims are using this verse to establish friendly relations with Christians. (The whole “Common Word” movement of Muslims, and the “Yale Christian Response” are some examples of this. Which I disagree with both of them.) Yet the context is not too friendly! This Hadith seems to imply that if they don’t embrace Islam, that the Muslims will attack in War and Jihad. Indeed, history shows they did indeed attack both the Persian and Byzantine Empires. Muslims say that they attacked the Byzantine Empire because the Muslim who carried the letter was killed when he was sent to give the same letter to the Ghassanid Emperor, who was a client state of Byzantine. (that was earlier at the battle of Mu’ta, in 629 AD, earlier than the expedition to Tabuk (630 AD), which is usually given as the historical background of Surah 9:29). Why did Omar Ibn Al Khattab (634-644 AD) seem to take those 2 battles of Muhammad as examples to keep on doing after Muhammad died?
For more on this, see here, “The concept of Dhimmi in Islam”.
I sincerely hope that Muslims like Dr. Qadhi would be willing to answer honest and open questions in these areas and explain why the early Caliphs seemed to have taken Surah 9:5 and 9:29 as ongoing and applicable for them to carry out after Muhammad died, and beyond the areas of the Arabian Peninsula. How are we to understand all these facts about Islamic history and how to understand them in relation to the modern Jihad movements and Islamic terrorism, is important.
Addendum 2 – more questions I would want to ask Yasir Qadhi
How are we to understand the Islamic principle of abrogation, based on Surah 2:106 and 16:101 ?
June 9, 2017 – does Surah 9:5 and 9:29 abrogate Surah 2:256 ? If not, please explain in light of Islamic history.
Is there consensus on that principle of abrogation, and if not, how can anyone know how the Muslims sources and texts and authorities are to figure it all out?