Hello everyone. It’s my first time posting here. While I am not a Catholic myself (was raised an Anglican), I have been having doubts about my faith lately (as my username suggests) after being confronted with Islamic apologetic arguments and I suppose I am in need of guidance, and perhaps some knowledgeable skeptics who know their scripture and history.
I was sent the following link not too long ago (clean, no download required). It’s the first 100 pages of a book written by an American convert to Islam. He has a blatant anti-Christian agenda and doesn’t bother trying to hide it, but he does raise a few interesting points. I’m aware of the deceptive tactics used by most Islamic apologists such as Harun Yahya and Zakir Naik, but I’m not sure what to make of this one.
Skip to page 59, or page 82 (start of chapters dealing with ‘historical miracles’ and ‘fulfilled prophecies’, respectively), and read those chapters. To save you some time, I’ll summarise his argument (from the ‘historical miracles’ chapter) below, and put an * next to the ones I find significant.
*Muhammad couldn’t have copied from the Bible and Torah since no Arabic translations of either existed at the time. He couldn’t have copied from the oral accounts of Arabian Jews and Christians either, since the teachings they believed in at the time were unorthodox and inconsistent with the actual teachings of their consistent faiths (they were Docetists, Monophysites and Nestorians) owing to them being somewhat isolated geographically (page 61). He argues that this is significant because the Quran addresses the orthodox tenets of Judaism and Christianity, and not the beliefs of these unorthodox tribes.
Jesus never referred to himself as the son of God in the Bible, and the Quran asserts this. [Wrong, as we all know]
The Quran described Jesus as being ‘between 30 and 50 years old’ (kahlan) when he began his ministry in surah 5:110. Brown tries to demonstrate that Jesus would have been in his late 40’s around the time he was crucified (or ‘raised’, according to the Quran), and not ‘around thirty’ as the book of Luke of the Bible claims. *
*At the time of the son of Jacob, Joseph (who allegedly lived in 16th century BCE), the ruler of Egypt was referred to as ‘king’, not ‘pharaoh’. The latter title wasn’t used until shortly after the death of Jacob and was in effect around the time of Moses, who came later (around 13th century BCE). Now, while the historicity of those two figures is of course questionable and probably beyond the scope of this discussion, the Quran got the titles of the rulers of Egypt according to their respective time periods right.
Wikipedia mentions this too (although only one historical source is cited, along with the relevant Quran verses): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_in_Islam#Use_of_.22king.22_vs._.22pharaoh.22
He claims that it was not known that these two separate titles existed until the discovery of the Rosetta stone which allowed for the translation of hieroglyphs, and that the Torah and the Bible got these both wrong as they refer to the Egyptian king as ‘pharaoh’ before this title even existed.
Rehash of the Egyptian ‘Haman’ miracle (a hoax circulated by Maurice Bucaille)
*The Quran calls Christians by their early name, ‘Nazarenes’ (‘Nasara’ in Arabic). The term ‘Christian’ (‘Masihiyyun’ in Arabic) was allegedly derogatory when it first came into being, but was soon adopted by the followers. Brown asserts that the Christians Muhammad came into contact with would have called themselves ‘Masihiyyun’, and not ‘Nasara’, the latter of which Brown claims would have been unknown to Muhammad at the time, and yet is the term which appears in the Quran.
Quran’s reference to the ‘unknown’ cities of Ad, Thamud, and Iram (which were in fact known in Arabia before Muhammad arrived on the scene)
*Quran allegedly makes no reference to Nazareth, and historical records show that the city never existed. Brown claims that the Christians would have undoubtedly told Muhammad about Nazareth, and asserts that he would have name-dropped it if he was merely trying to win them over. [This does again seem to kind of contradict his assertion that the Christians Muhammad interacted with wouldn’t have known their own scripture, and thus couldn’t have plagiarised from them).
From what I’ve read so far, he contradicts himself a bunch of times, reiterates some well-known hoaxes, makes a lot of peculiar assumptions, but he does make some interesting arguments.
I don’t have the time to summarise the alleged fulfilled ‘prophecies’ as it’s getting late where I am, but I’ll try go through them tomorrow. In the meantime, I’d like to hear your thoughts, and maybe help me see past my doubts
(mods, please let me know if this isn’t the right sub-section)