Response to James White on Qur’an 10:94

In a short clip, spanning roughly 20 minutes long, Dr. James White sought to address my article on Qur’an 10:94. He generally had three main points of dispute:

  1. That you have to “jump” from Qur’an 10:94 to Qur’an 46:10 to understand the verse.
  2. That Qur’an 10:94 uses plural for the People of the Book but Qur’an 46:10 is singular therefore it does not apply.
  3. Islamic scholars disagree on whether Qur’an 46:10 was revealed in Makkah (earlier) or Madina (later).

On the first point, there is not a need to respond to it. One of the first rules of exegesis is to let scripture interpret scripture. I am not aware of anyone opening John 1:1, and then complaining that they have to “jump” all the way back to Genesis 1:1 for a comparison to derive further context, I don’t believe a Christian would complain that they had to “jump” (to use Dr. White’s phrase) some 43 books to understand the relation between the two passages. Perhaps he can expand on his surprise and awe of scripture being referenced in such a fashion. As per my own understanding, it is a strawman and faux criticism.

It should be noted that one often has to jump more than a dozen books or more in some cases to reference Isaiah or the Psalms when reading the New Testament, I am not aware of this being a problem until Dr. White expressed it as such.

On the second point, yes, the Qur’an does use the term “those” as in the plural but that is because there were many witnesses at that time, including but not limited to Salman al Farsi, Abdullah ibn Salam and Zaid ibn Sanah. However verse 46:10 is generally referring to one person, while Qur’an 10:94 can refer to multiple witnesses. Therefore, there is no issue here whatsoever.

On the third point, if we argue Qur’an 46:10 is earlier and is therefore a prophecy of a Person of the Book who testifies to the truth of the Qur’an, then it is a prophecy par excellence given the witnesses I mentioned above. If it was revealed in Madinah, then it confirms a truth publicly known and acknowledged, thus verifying the verse itself and the Qur’an. There is no discrepancy here and Dr. White does not seem to follow through on his own logic, he merely states he disagrees with it but does not provide any justifiable reason for making such claims.

Throughout the 20 minutes or so in which he addresses my article, he made statements regarding whether or not there is such a thing as hermeneutics for the Qur’an, while at the same time reading from a Tafseer I quoted in my article. It’s a bit like driving in my car and then asking if I have a car. In case there is any doubt, yes Dr. White, there is and it’s called ‘Uloom al Qur’an, I am fairly certain very single Tafseer books mentions this in some capacity. Perhaps you were being facetious but it came across as being quite uninformed.

and Allah knows best.

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Categories: Bible, Biblical scholarship, Islam, Quran, Scholarship

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14 replies

  1. May Allah reward you, br Ijaz.

    Let me make just few points about James and the subject;

    The arrogant James White are accusing us of “Jump”?
    Qur’an is (((one))) book ! It’s very reasonable to interpret some verses of Quran by other verses.
    Moreover, the prophetﷺ himself has done that!
    Narrated `Abdullah:
    When the Verse:– ‘Those who believe and mix not their belief with wrong.’ was revealed, the Muslims felt it very hard on them and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Who amongst us does not do wrong to himself?” He replied, “The Verse does not mean this. But that (wrong) means to associate others in worship to Allah: Don’t you listen to what Luqman said to his son when he was advising him,” O my son! Join not others in worship with Allah. Verily joining others in worship with Allah is a great wrong indeed.” (31.13) Sahih Al Bukhahri.

    Ibn Kathir(ra) wrote in the Introduction of his Tafisr about this very important methodology of interpretation. He said this is the best way to interpret Qur’an for Qur’an may speak about something in a general sense, yet it detail it in another account, for example. Let’s not forget that Qur’an is a linguistic miracle. Qur’an uses majestic rhymes and variant of eloquent styles to deliver its message.

    However, the real “jump” is what br Ijaz already said. It’s when you interpret book by another book each of which was written by a different author and a different time. And even historically, we know that the books within the NT have been distributed independently, so that why the NT scholars such as dr Ehrman object on using this method of “jump” because you will end up creating your own gospel not what the author wanted to deliver.

    Moreover, I notice that dr. White likes to talk about everything and to write about everything! Islam is not Mormonism for God sake. Islam is the religion of our father Abraham and all the prophets, yet American christians cannot stand for the fact that there’s a religion which destroys their religion easily. James wrote a whole book about Qur’an while has no clue about Arabic language!

    However, he has been caught with this devastating mistake 😂👇

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  2. There is nothing wrong to going to another passage (as Ijaz points out about going to Genesis 1:1 as parallel with John 1:1, or when a NT writer quotes an OT text, of course we should go there as help in hermeneutics and interpretation, but also not avoid the immediate context of the passage),
    as long as one FIRST concentrates on the immediate context first. Ijaz seems to ignore the immediate context of Surah 10:94 and jumps too fast to 46:10 in order to read that back into it.

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    • How pathetic!

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    • Thanks for your comment Ken, but the immediate context is also not ignored. If you focus on the verse itself, the first question that comes to mind is, which People of the Book? It’s certainly not any Tom, Dick and Harry, if that were the case then the you’ve removed the very meaning of the verse by not acknowledging it’s delimitation of the Ahl al Kitab as referenced in 10:95, as those who believe and do not doubt the Qur’an or the other revelations of God (signs as it says).

      Regards,
      Br. Ijaz.

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  3. فَإِن كُنتَ فِي شَكٍّ مِّمَّا أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ فَاسْأَلِ الَّذِينَ يَقْرَءُونَ الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكَ ۚ لَقَدْ جَاءَكَ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُمْتَرِينَ – 10:94

    SAHIH INTERNATIONAL
    So if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters.

    Surah 10:94 says “If you [O Muhammad] are in doubt about what we are revealing to you, go and ask the people of the book . . . ”

    It does not say “those who have converted to Islam from the people of the book”- then they are no longer those people (Jews and Christians), but Muslims.

    You have not refuted that excellent point.

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    • Let me just make a shortcut for you and your ignorant teachers.
      This verse is a [conditional] one, which means the prophet ﷺ didn’t have to do that. In fact, It’s a rhetoric style used often in Qur’an such as [Surah 6:35] & [Surah 21:22]
      In Arabic, you can use this style to emphasis something. However, the prophet pbuh has never been in doubt to begin with.
      This verse, also, is about the concept of the prophethood that pagan Arabs were unable to accept. They thought that God should have sent an angel not a (human being), which you can read in the first verses in same chapter [Surah 10 :2]. Also, the same thing has been said in [Surah 16:43-44], which often christians use in out of its context.

      Moreover and as br Ijaz said, to interpret that verse in the light of 46:10 is very valid, and it’s been said by many scholars that those who are meant are those who converted to Islam such as Abdullah ibn Salaam and Salman the Persian.

      Finally, your almighty God said this about himself
      “If I ALONE bear witness about myself, my testimony is NOT true”.

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    • Muhammad did doubt at the beginning and almost threw himself over the cliff and took his doubts to Khadijeh, who then introduced Warqa Ibn Naufal to Muhammad. Only when Warqa encouraged him did he find some confidence to begin his mission; but it seems he doubted after that also sometimes.

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    • Not true! The prophetﷺ was just shocked form this unusual experience. After all, it’s the most important moment in the human history
      “During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever.”

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    • Hi Ken,

      You said, “It does not say “those who have converted to Islam from the people of the book”- then they are no longer those people (Jews and Christians), but Muslims.”

      The People of the Book can be Muslims, it’s not an exclusive or statement, hence Qur’an 10:93 discussing those of the Ahl al Kitab who believed. You’ve therefore misunderstood the Qur’an and its position on who the Ahl al Kitab are.

      As for this statement, “You have not refuted that excellent point.” I believe I just did, thanks for the effort though.

      Regards,
      Br. Ijaz.

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    • Where does Surah 10:93 say some of the Ahl Al Kitab “believed” ( in Islam) ?

      Usually the Qur’an distinguishes between Muslims vs. Jews and Christians. Like in Surah 9:29-30 – fight the people of the book
      and many others:
      Qur’an 3:64-71 Surah Ale-‘Imran (The Family of ‘Imran)
      Say: “O people of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not from among ourselves Lords and patrons other than Allah.” If then they turn back say: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah’s will).”
      Ye people of the Book! why dispute ye about Abraham when the Law and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Have ye no understanding?
      Ah! ye are those who fell to disputing (even) in matters of which ye had some knowledge! but why dispute ye in matters of which ye have no knowledge? It is Allah Who knows and ye who know not!
      Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian but he was true in faith and bowed his will to Allah’s (which is Islam) and he joined not gods with Allah.
      Without doubt among men the nearest of kin to Abraham are those who follow him as are also this Apostle and those who believe; and Allah is the Protector of those who have faith.
      It is the wish of a section of the People of the Book to lead you astray. But they shall lead astray (not you) but themselves and they do not perceive!
      Ye People of the Book! Why reject ye the Signs of Allah of which ye are (yourselves) witnesses?
      Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe truth with falsehood and conceal the truth while ye have knowledge?

      There Is No God but He the Exalted in Power the Wise

      Qur’an 3:18-20 Surah Ale-‘Imran (The Family of ‘Imran)
      There is no god but He: that is the witness of Allah His angels and those endued with knowledge standing firm on justice. There is no god but He the Exalted in Power the Wise.
      The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His will): nor did the people of the Book dissent therefrom except through envy of each other after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of Allah Allah is swift in calling to account.
      So if they dispute with thee say: “I have submitted my whole self to Allah and so have those who follow me.” And say to the people of the Book and to those who are unlearned: “Do ye (also) submit yourselves?” If they do they are in right guidance but if they turn back thy duty is to convey the Message; and in Allah’s sight are (all) His servants.

      Exceed Not in Your Religion the Bounds

      Qur’an 5:77-80 Surah Al-Ma’idah (The Table Spread)
      Say: “O people of the Book! exceed not in your religion the bounds (of what is proper) trespassing beyond the truth nor follow the vain desires of people who went wrong in times gone by who misled many and strayed (themselves) from the even way.
      Curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel who rejected faith by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary: because they disobeyed and persisted in excesses.
      Nor did they (usually) forbid one another the iniquities which they committed: evil indeed were the deeds which they did.
      Thou seest many of them turning in friendship to the unbelievers. Evil indeed are (the works) which their souls have sent forward before them (with the result) that Allah’s wrath is on them and in torment will they abide.

      Commit No Excesses in Your Religion

      Qur’an 4:171 Surah An-Nisaa (The Women)
      O people of the Book! commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah aught but truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an Apostle of Allah and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His Apostles. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is One Allah: glory be to him: (for Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.

      Revealing Much That You Used to Hide in the Book

      Qur’an 5:15-19 Surah Al-Ma’idah (The Table Spread)
      O People of the Book! there hath come to you Our Apostle revealing to you much that ye used to hide in the Book and passing over much (that is now unnecessary): There hath come to you from Allah a (new) Light and a perspicuous Book.
      Wherewith Allah guideth all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety and leadeth them out of darkness by His Will unto the light guideth them to a Path that is Straight.
      In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: “Who then hath the least power against Allah if His Will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary his mother and all everyone that is on the earth? For to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For Allah hath power over all things.”
      (Both) the Jews and the Christians say: “We are sons of Allah and His beloved.” Say: “Why then doth He punish you for your sins? Nay ye are but men of the men He hath created: He forgiveth whom He pleaseth and He punisheth whom He pleaseth: and to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between: and unto Him is the final goal (of all).”
      O people of the Book! now hath come unto you making (things) clear unto you Our Apostle after the break in (the series of) Our apostles lest ye should say: there came unto us no bringer of glad tidings and no warner (from evil): but now hath come unto you a bringer of glad tidings and a warner (from evil): and Allah hath power over all things.

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    • Surah 5:68
      SAHIH INTERNATIONAL
      Say, “O People of the Scripture, you are [standing] on nothing until you uphold [the law of] the Torah, the Gospel, and what has been revealed to you from your Lord.” And that which has been revealed to you from your Lord will surely increase many of them in transgression and disbelief. So do not grieve over the disbelieving people.

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    • Hi Ken,

      Please see Qur’an 10:85.

      Thanks.

      PS: The Qur’an distinguishes between Ahl al Kitab and al Yahud and al Nasara.

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    • Ken,
      I believe we have refuted your teacher even if we say the label of( people of the scriptures) is given just for jews and christians who do not believe in the prophetﷺ & Qur’an. However, Qur’an is more than clear that this label (people of the scripture/ the book) can be given for those who are converts such as [Surah 3:199].

      =================
      Just a question,
      How can I edit the comment with bold and italic features for the font?

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  4. Matthew 11:27 “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”

    I would like to see Christians prove that Holy Spirit also knows the Father, without a “jump” from 11:27

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