After Orientalism: Critical Perspectives on Western Agency and Eastern Re-Appropriations (Leiden Studies in Islam and Society)
The debate on Orientalism began some fifty years ago in the wake of decolonization. While initially considered a turning point, Edward Said s Orientalism (1978) was in fact part of a larger academic endeavor the political critique of colonial science that had already significantly impacted the humanities and social sciences. In a recent attempt to broaden the debate, the papers collected in this volume, offered at various seminars and an international symposium held in Paris in 2010-2011, cri…
As we say goodbye to the month of Ramadhan, a great sense of longing begins to fill our hearts. Perhaps it didn’t go as well as you’d hoped and didn’t get as much as you wanted done. But, if it increased you in good, even by a little, or decreased in you bad, even by a little, then consider yourself amongst the successful. Though the day of Eid marks the end of a blessed month, it also symbolises the beginning of a year of renewed intentions and goals to a better you. Instead of simply being disheartened by the departure of Ramadhan, we should use this to push us and set goals to a better version of ourselves.
Set yourself goals that you want to achieve over the next year. Maybe it is to memorise a surah and to do tafseer on it, or to set up a direct debit for regular giving of charity, to implement more actions of the sunnah, to be more active in the community or more helpful around the house. Whatever you wish it to be, making sure they are reasonable and ensuring not to set too many. Don’t forget to also use the next couple of months praying that your efforts and fasting in Ramadhan are accepted. After that, then begin praying that you are able to witness the following Ramadhan.
May Allah make you amongst His most beloved servants.
Meski pun rakyat Kelantan yang majoritinya Melayu Islam mengakui bahawa kepimpinan negeri tersebut gagal menyediakan peluang-peluang pekerjaan terhadap rakyatnya sendiri, mereka tidak mengambil risiko menukar tampuk kerajaan negeri dari kepimpinan yang berteraskan Melayu Islam kepada selainnya.
Sambil mengakui bahawa jati diri dan kelansungan hidup Melayu Islam rakyat Kelantan lebih kental berbanding Selangor dan Pulau Pinang, Presiden Gagasan Aku Melayu Islam Tanahair (GAMIT), Azuddin Jud Ismail mengemukakan data dan statistik menarik hasil pengamatan beliau terhadap jumlah kenderaan yang pulang ke Kelantan menjelang cuti musim perayaan.
“Apabila saya mengamati data dari PLUS mengenai jumlah peningkatan kenderaan yang balik ke Kelantan di musim perayaan, terdapat peningkatan sebanyak 380 peratus.”
“Ini bermakna setiap sebuah kenderaan (milik rakyat Kelantan) di Kelantan, terdapat 3.8 kali ganda kenderaan milik rakyat Kelantan di luar Kelantan”, tambah Azuddin lagi.
Data tersebut tidak termasuk bilangan rakyat Kelantan yang menaiki bas, keretapi dan kapalterbang yang pulang ke Kelantan di musim perayaan.
Azuddin juga menyatakan bahawa 80 peratus dari rakyat Kelantan berhijrah ke luar dengan melakukan transformasi demi kelansungan sosio-ekonomi mereka akibat kegagalan kerajaan negeri menyediakan pelbagai peluang pekerjaan kepada rakyatnya.
Mereka melakukan transformasi dengan menceburi bidang perniagaan dan berhijrah ke negeri lain, tanpa menukar kepimpinan negeri yang diketahui umum gagal menyediakan pelbagai fasiliti dan infrastruktur asas kepada rakyat, peluang pekerjaan, peningkatan kemahiran dan sebagainya sejak 27 tahun lampau.
Azuddin berpendapat bahawa transfigurasi dari transformasi ini memberi impak kepada pemikiran, sikap, perlakuan dan DNA rakyat Kelantan itu sendiri.
Azuddin juga mencetuskan suatu persoalan kepada rakyat Malaysia mengapa kerajaan yang gagal berkhidmat kepada rakyat selama 27 tahun ini (sejak 1990) tidak dihukum sewaktu pilihanraya umum, sebaliknya terus mendapat dokongan dan sokongan rakyatnya.
“Meski pun Kelantan tidak ditadbir oleh umat Islam UMNO, ia masih lagi dalam kerangka didominasi oleh umat Islam (PAS), berbanding Selangor dan Pulau Pinang. Ini bermakna, jika kita melakukan satu kajian sikap terhadap rakyat Kelantan, hasil kajian kita pasti menunjukkan indeks kepuashatian rakyat Kelantan terhadap kerajaan negeri adalah tinggi”, jelas Azuddin.
Mengakhiri perutusan Eidul Fitri 1438H selaku Presiden GAMIT, Azuddin juga menyeru umat Islam bermuhasabah diri supaya tidak menang sorak tapi kampung tergadai dan menyeru umat Islam agar mengekalkan budaya serta tradisi Islam dalam setiap transformasi demi transfigurasi jati diri Melayu Islam dan ibu pertiwi (tanahair).
Eid Mubarak! It’s finally the first day of Syawal, alhamdulillah. I hope your day has been wonderful with the company of your loved ones. I am currently writing this post, after a scrumptious family breakfast, prepared by my mom and I.
We bid farewell to Ramadhan last evening and the feeling was bittersweet. Bitter, because something good has definitely gone by and we won’t know if we would be able to welcome it again next year. Sweet, because of the victory that we have set upon ourselves for this special holy month, be it personal or together as an ummah. Ramadhan, personally for me, has been tiring yet wonderful and i would definitely want to go through everything again, in a heartbeat. Looking back, I have listed down a couple of take-aways from the holy month, in which i hope will help me improve as an individual….
Family time is important. With my younger sister gone during most part of Ramadhan and Eid, i thought that it would good if i make effort to maximise time with the family especially being home for iftar and attending terawih sessions. During my volunteering session at an old folks home mid this month, the wonderful ladies there would share the many distinct memories that they have during the younger days, which include the times they spent with their family during Eid. Everything they did together, from the prayers to the petty quarrels they have around the dining table. After our short yet meaningful encounter that evening, i self-reflected and made a point to myself to always put in effort to be with family.
Never be afraid to try something new. This year’s Ramadhan has given me the opportunity to spend an evening at an old folks home. I, for one, am a shy lady, so to speak and mingle to new people (especially when they are old), is a bit difficult for me. However, the ladies over at the home are wonderful, so positive, so inspiring! During our short time that evening, they shared with us their fondest memories especially with their families as mentioned above. In addition to their stories, they slipped in pearls of wisdoms, reminding us youths to cherish what we have and to always be grateful no matter how dark our days can be. I pray that today, they are with their loved ones, having a happy Eid, in shaa Allah.
Goals are easy to crush, if you are determined! Before Ramadhan, i set a goal to get at least 20 terawihs done for the month, be it in the mosque or at home. Alhamdulillah, with constant self cheering and with the company of ibu, i did it! The feeling of accomplishment especially once Ramadhan was really awesome, it made me feel like i made use of the time pretty well *self pat in the back*. So maybe, 25 nights next year? Qiyam? Ermmmmm, i think about it later ok? Let’s just enjoy Eid for now, hee.
Hello and Salam alaikum everyone,
I know it’s been a long time since my last post. Ramadan became so topsy-turvy I haven’t had time to keep to my weekly blog schedule, and I apologize for that.
As many of you know, Eid is tomorrow, so I wish every single Muslim out there a happy Eid and a good day filled with the blessings of Almighty Allah.
On to the updates…
I will be submitting photography to my blog in the coming weeks, along with working vigorously on my My Little Pony fanfics and my big novel project. (Too many projects, so little time tbh)
I also watched the most recent MLP episode, “A Perfect Pear”. Wow. So many feels and a mind-blowing backstory I have yet to fully comprehend! A couple points of the episode I will be using for inspiration for some parts of my novel project, so stay tuned on that later.
I also have a Twitch account under my same alias @Shabb3r, so check me out there if you haven’t yet. I will be livestreaming gameplay of Scrabble, a My Little Pony game, and Need For Speed: No Limits on it every weekend soon. Link will be added to my social media menu soon too.
Also coming up will be an in-depth commentary on the trailer for the My Little Pony Movie. If you’re going to see Despicable Me 3 in theatres, look out! The trailer will premiere before it.
Talk again soon,
Praise be to the Lord of all Creation. This is an amazing time. We have fasted, we have made mistakes while fasting and also in our wealth. We have given Zakat ul-Fitr in the hope that the Lord finds this acceptable as a compensation for our mistakes. We only know this as He told us this is pleasing to Him.
The moon was not seen in the UK, Morocco or any of the Muslim heartlands, thus we will have a Ramadan that is 30 days. This will mean that Eid ul-Fitr is this coming Monday. I would like to congratulate everyone that sacrificed so much in this month, my two older children for fasting the whole month and the smaller two for doing half days and a few fulls.
They showed patience. Thank you to the Ummah in Upper Egypt, the very origin of the Arabs and the Land of Kinanah.
Until next time,
Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali
Came across this article on Buzzfeed which adds some insights into the Islamic perspective on Pride and LGBT experiences.
Just before sunset one Friday this month, a few dozen guests walked downstairs and into a church basement where lanterns flickered on banquet tables piled with food from Afghanistan, Morocco, and Sudan.
The descent was fitting because this iftar — the meal when Muslims break their daily fast in Ramadan — was underground in every sense of the word.
Organized by and for LGBT Muslims and their allies in Minneapolis, the dinner required extraordinary planning to ensure the privacy and safety of people who often feel shunned in both Muslim and LGBT circles. The hosts were from Minnesota Caravan of Love, which began as an informal group of friends and now holds regular events to amplify LGBT Muslim voices in the Twin Cities. Still, the fact that nearly all of them spoke on condition of anonymity is a small illustration of the risks that come with their activism.
Just a year ago, the main organizer, a 32-year-old gay Afghan PhD student, gave his real name in news interviews and was filmed dancing down a Minneapolis street during the 2016 Pride parade. But a few months ago his family back in Afghanistan caught wind of his activism, forcing him to start writing and speaking publicly under an alias, Nur Jibran.
“At first I stopped, but then I thought, ‘There needs to be a voice, even if it’s under a borrowed name,’” he said.
The idea behind the iftar was to bridge two main fissures LGBT Muslims face as they try to join a national activist movement that’s been reinvigorated by the election of President Donald Trump. LGBT Muslims say their sexual identities make them anathema to most mainstream Muslim groups; the reception isn’t much better in LGBT crowds now that views about Islam have soured since the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando. The strained relations are an obstacle to getting marginalized groups to form a united front to fight Trump administration policies they see as harmful to their interests.“Right now, given the political climate, we have to unite.”
When organizers of the Minneapolis iftar hit up clubs and cafés to pass out flyers for the event, they met resistance from both Muslim and LGBT invitees. One volunteer tried to give a flyer to a Pakistani man who was a regular at his favorite café; he said the man rejected the event and warned that no one would come. Other volunteers said they’d been similarly rebuffed at gay bars.
A Mexican-American activist from Caravan of Love, who asked that his name not be included, said he realized what Muslims were up against when he was passing out iftar flyers at a club, telling LGBT patrons that “right now, given the political climate, we have to unite.” A non-Muslim guy snapped at him.
“He’s like, ‘They just want to kill us all. Why would you ever want to volunteer for Muslim people when they want you dead?’” the activist said.
Earlier this month, seven protesters were arrested at the Minnesota State Capitol during so-called anti-Sharia marches. Gay critics of Islam were among the top organizers of the nationwide marches, which largely fizzled due to poor attendance.
Pax Hart, an organizer of the marches, has said in interviews that he’s been called an Uncle Tom for breaking with others in the LGBT community and supporting Trump. He was quoted as saying his only friends are conservatives and libertarians because LGBT leftists are in denial that “everywhere on the planet that Islam has a significant presence, there’s bloodshed, savagery, oppression, and intimidation.”
Another gay organizer of the anti-Sharia marches, Atlanta-based Arch Kennedy, has been quoted as saying he’s recently begun working with ACT for America, which extremism trackers at the Southern Poverty Law Center call “far and away the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America.”Matt Sayles / AP
A Tribe Called Quest perform “We the People” at the 59th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 12.
Others are growing more vocal in rejecting what they consider right-wing attempts to drive a wedge between LGBT and Muslim communities; their focus is raising awareness about how Trump associates disparage both groups. A Tribe Called Quest’s 2016 activist anthem, “We the People,” makes that point in a hook: “Muslims and gays / Boy, we hate your ways.”
A few Muslim leaders with national profiles have called for greater support of LGBT rights, but an internal Muslim debate rages on whether such overtures are religiously permissible.
“It will take brave souls, people who are from both communities, living courageously, to make change,” said Salma Hussein, 29, a Somali-American social worker who said she’s sometimes forced to be a “closeted ally” because of cultural and religious taboos when it comes to LGBT issues. “It takes a lot of courage, but people should see that there are Muslims who are also part of the LGBT community. So they can see the human side.”
The groups have seen results when activists are on the same page. In May, for example, Trump’s pick for Army secretary, a Republican state senator from Tennessee named Mark Green, withdrew from consideration amid criticism of his anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT comments. News reports said that Green opposes same-sex marriage and has described being transgender as a disease. Green also has urged public schools to fight “the indoctrination of Islam” and has made reference to a “Muslim horde.”“Now is not the time for highlighting divisions. I’m trying to find the unifying points.”
This month, writer and filmmaker Dylan Marron launched a web series called “Extreme(ly Queer) Muslims” to show the links between anti-gay and anti-Muslim hostility. In the series, timed to the overlap of Ramadan and Pride this month, Marron chats with Muslim guests about the tensions and says he will no longer be “used as a pawn in the hatred of one community in the same way that I know other communities have been used as pawns in the hatred of my community.”
That idea was echoed by some non-Muslim LGBT guests at the iftar. They might not know much about Islam, they said, but they knew plenty about being discriminated against and finding few allies to speak up on their behalf.
“For so much of my life, who I am has been demonized by so many people, and there hasn’t been anyone willing to just stand up and say, ‘What’s wrong with being gay?’” said Erin Bryan, a guest at the dinner. “I want to be one of those people that can stand up.”
But organizers said the ugly political backdrop affected their ability to recruit people for the iftar. And Caravan of Love volunteers wondered how many of those who ate with them in private would be bold enough to join them in public the following week to walk alongside the first Muslim LGBT float in the local Pride parade Sunday.
The iftar was a sort of trial balloon. News of it spread through a private Facebook group and word of mouth, making it hard to get a head count. Each host was in charge of a table for eight. Some cooked all day, using family recipes for yogurt chicken or samosas; others ordered from restaurants or arrived with a huge bag of the city’s best tacos. Volunteers came early to transform the drab church basement into a cozy hall with Middle Eastern flourishes. Ivory tablecloths were set with jewel-colored cups reminiscent of the rainbow flag.Hannah Allam for BuzzFeed News
The first clue that this was a rather unorthodox iftar was the program guests received upon arrival. At 9:03 p.m. there would be the call to prayer and the breaking of the fast with dates and milk. At 10:00 p.m.: “Pride dance party.” Many other features of the evening would’ve drawn disapproval — if not anger — from more conservative Muslims. For example, a woman gave the call to prayer and another woman led the prayer, roles usually reserved for men.
“Now is not the time for highlighting divisions. I’m trying to find the unifying points,” said a 37-year-old Egyptian-American artist and activist who asked to use only his first name, Ali. “If I’m going to sit here and preach allyship, I need to do the work, too.”
The hosts and their guests tucked into plates of couscous and chatted frankly about the strain in relations since the Orlando attack. The conversations were helped by icebreaker questions on slips of paper at each table. One was about the meaning of Ramadan, a time often spent between quiet spiritual reflection and raucous family gatherings.
“We have Christmas for a full month and we’re not missing out on anything — especially the family drama,” Jibran, the lead organizer of the iftar, cracked in opening remarks to his guests.
Jibran said he came up with the name “Caravan of Love” out of his heartbreak over learning that the Pulse nightclub shooter, Omar Mateen, also was of Afghan descent. The caravan reference comes from Rumi, the 13th-century Muslim mystic whose poetry has fans around the world.
Jibran grew up in the midst of war from ages 8 to 14, working on the street to help support his family. He endured so much grief about his “femininity,” he said, that he spent long stretches in isolation, writing in genderless Persian so that it sounded like his love poems were meant for women.
Coming to the United States from Afghanistan as a college student, Jibran said, had given him an opportunity to express his full identity without fear or shame. He resents the forces that are trying to mute him once again, and said it’s time for both Muslim and LGBT groups to work harder to overcome barriers to partnership. He pointed to the dozen or so Muslim allies who attended the iftar in support of LGBT friends as evidence that times are changing, slowly.
“It was overwhelming,” Jibran said the next afternoon. “I’m still processing it. Of course, there were moments that I was fearful that anybody could walk in and start shooting, but at the same time, I just wanted to enjoy every single moment.”
It was narrated from Jarir bin Abdullah Al-Bajali that the Messenger of Allah(ﷺ) said:
“Whoever is deprived of gentleness, he is deprived of goodness.”
: Sahih (Darussalam)
: Sunan Ibn Majah 3687
: Book 33, Hadith 31
: Vol. 5, Book 33, Hadith 3687
YAB Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak dalam Perutusan Aidilfitri 1438H menyeru umat Islam Malaysia agar bersiap siaga dengan sepenuh kekuatan dalam setiap perkara.
Sambil memetik petikan ayat Quran surah al-Anfal ayat 60, beliau mahu kesiapsiagaan tersebut melalui pedoman cendekiawan di mana tidak berjaya sesuatu kebenaran, jika tidak diatur dengan baik.
Menurut Najib lagi, ia selaras dengan ajaran Islam yang senantiasa menekankan tentang peri-pentingnya perencanaan dan ketertiban sama ada urusan duniawi mahupun soal ukhrawi, terutama bagi berdepan dengan realiti dunia kontemporari.
Menyentuh mengenai realiti kontemporari, Najib menyatakan di dalam blog beliau terdapat lima risiko dan cabaran baharu yang perlu dihadapi.
PERTAMA risiko dan cabaran geo-politik yang melibatkan krisis negara-negara Islam Timur Tengah, program nuklear Korea Utara dan implikasi Brexit. Najib berpendapat bahawa risiko dan cabaran geo-politik perlu diteliti dengan sebaik-baiknya, kerana jika ia tidak dapat diselesaikan dengan segera, ia boleh menjejaskan kemakmuran negara serantau dan antarabangsa.
KEDUA risiko dan cabaran keselamatan dan keamanan. Sambil menyeru semua rakyat di negara ini agar mengelakkan diri dari terpengaruh dengan fahaman atau ideologi ektremisme dan terorisme yang telah menyalahtafsirkan konsep jihad, Najib juga memberikan beberapa contoh siri-siri letupan bom di tempat awam sebagaimana yang berlaku di Manchester, London, Jakarta, Kabul dan pertempuran di Marawi, Filipina.
Selain menegaskan bahawa Islam merupakan agama damai, Najib mahu umat Islam berpegang teguh dengan The Authentic Islam, iaitu ajaran Islam Sejati dalam pengertian yang sebenar-benarnya.
KETIGA, Bidang iktisad atau Ekonomi. Menurut Najib, “Meskipun berdepan dengan ketidaktentuan ekonomi global, Alhamdulillah, mutakhir ini, ekonomi kita telah berkembang pada kadar yang di luar jangka iaitu pada 5.6 peratus untuk suku pertama tahun 2017, berbanding pertumbuhan 4.5 peratus pada suku keempat 2016.’
Selain mengambil contoh nilai eksport yang meningkat sebanyak 24 peratus kepada 82.63 bilion ringgit pada Mac 2017 lalu, Najib juga melahirkan kesyukurannya bahawa pencapaian eksport ini telah mencatatkan double digit growth empat bulan berturut-turut sejak Disember 2016.
Malaysia juga telah diiktiraf oleh firma antarabangsa BAV Consulting & Wharton School sebagai negara yang terbaik untuk para pelabur bagi tahun 2017 manakala majalah Forbes meletakkan Malaysia kedudukan paling atas di kalangan semua negara Asia untuk pelaburan asing.
KEEMPAT, Mendahulukan Kepentingan Rakyat.Menurut Najib, Kerajaan telah berusaha gigih menyalurkan pelbagai bantuan dan inisiatif bagi membantu meringankan kos sara hidup rakyat seperti BR1M, Projek-projek Perumahan Rakyat, Rumah Mampu Milik, PPA1M, PR1MA, Klinik 1Malaysia, Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia, pengangkutan awam dan bermacam lagi subsidi, sama ada secara langsung mahupun tidak langsung.
Malah, dalam memberi keselesaan dan connectivity yang lebih bersepadu, projek-projek Infra Rakyat seperti My Rapid Transit (MRT), Lebuhraya Pan Borneo, High Speed Rail, LRT Extension, East Coast Rail Link atau ECRL, turut dilaksanakan.
Kerajaan juga telah membayar peringkat kedua BR1M, yang memberi manfaat kepada 7 juta penerima (2017) selain dari bantuan khas Aidilfitri bernilai RM 500 kepada 1.6 juta penjawat awam dan RM250 untuk pesara.
Najib juga menyatakan Bantuan Lebaran sebanyak RM 500 ringgit dan 280 ringgit dividen yang diterima peneroka FELDA dari FGV.
Selain berharap agar semua bantuan tersebut dapat meringankan serba sedikit beban dan menambahkan keceriaan menyambut ketibaan Syawal, Najib juga memberitahu bahawa permulaan 2017 telah diserikan dengan pengumuman pelaburan oleh Saudi Aramco yang bernilai 31 bilion ringgit, di mana ia merupakan, pelaburan asing tunggal terbesar yang pernah berlaku, dalam sejarah Malaysia (setakat ini).
Peningkatan kadar kuota rasmi Haji Malaysia dari 27,900 orang kepada 30,200 orang jemaah, pertimbangan Raja Arab Saudi, Raja Salman terhadap permohonan Malaysia untuk menyewa tanah bagi tujuan kompleks penginapan untuk kemudahan jemaah haji Malaysia pada masa hadapan adalah antara berita gembira yang dinyatakan Najib dalam perutusan kali ini.
“Namun demikian, kita tidak akan cepat berpuas hati dan mudah berasa selesa dengan kejayaan-kejayaan itu, sebaliknya, Kerajaan akan terus membawa Malaysia menjalankan aktiviti-aktiviti ekonomi yang mempunyai nilai tambah bagi mempastikan negara kekal berdaya saing dalam ekonomi global”, tambah Najib.
KELIMA, Masa Depan dan TN50. Ianya berkaitan dengan menjengah masa depan, di mana dunia kontemporari berada di ambang Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Demi mewajah masa depan negara menuju TN50, Najib menyatakan bahawa beliau mahu melihat kelahiran generasi Khayra Ummah yang Par Excellence lagi berwibawa, kukuh jatidiri individu, jatidiri bangsa dan jatidiri negara, selaras dengan gerakan Ekspresi Negaraku Malaysia.
Mengakhiri perutusannya, Najib menyeru umat Islam dan rakyat Malaysia supaya mengeratkan perpaduan, mengukuhkan ukhuwah serta persaudaraan, mengenepikan segala perbezaan, nikmatilah keharmonian sedia ada di bawah lembayung silaturrahim 1Malaysia.
Takbir berkumandang mengagungkan kebesaran nama Allah SWT. Rasa sedih menghimpit dalam hati. Berat rasa hati berpisah dengan bulan Ramadhan, bulan pernuh berkah dimana semua amal ibadah kita dilipat gandakan dan dimana dosa-dosa kita diampuni. Bulan untuk mendidik dan mencapai ketaqwaan, bulan dimana Al-Qur’an diturunkan, dan Ramadhan juga merupakan bulan penuh berkah. Sungguh rugi rasanya harus berpisah dengan Ramadhan. Karena belum tentu kita masih akan bertemu lagi dengan Ramadhan yang akan datang.
Dan hari ini mentari pagi di bulan Syawal telah terbit di ufuk timur. Semua muslim bertakbir mengagungkan nama Allah. Oleh karena itu, dengan penuh kerendahan hati, Bang Jek, Mpok Maya dan seluruh keluarga besar Aksaramaya mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya Idul Fitri 1 Syawal 1438 H. Taqabbalallahu minna wa minkum. Mohon maaf lahir dan batin…
When I originally started this blog I had no plans of venturing into the muddy waters of Christian apologetics. Though I’ve been reading on and studying the topic for about seventeen years, my obsession as of late has been the biblical texts themselves and how to understand them properly. But lately my Twitter feed has been clogged up with would-be Christian apologists making outlandish claims like this:
They differ from those martyrs who believed what they READ. Early disciples risked death under Nero for what they SAW: the RISEN JESUS!
— Christian Apologist (@Lead1225) June 14, 2017
This is an oft-repeated argument, namely that one of the evidences for the resurrection of Jesus is that the disciples were ready and willing to die for their belief. For example, in his 1977 book More Than a Carpenter, apologist Josh McDowell made a similar claim:
But a few weeks after the crucifixion, in spite of their former doubts, the disciples were in Jerusalem proclaiming Jesus as Savior and Lord, the Messiah of the Jews. The only reasonable explanation that I can see of this change is 1 Corinthians 15:5 – “He appeared…then to the twelve.” What else could have caused the despondent disciples to go out and suffer and die for a crucified Messiah? He certainly must have “presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days” (Acts 1:3).
Yes, a lot of people have died for a good cause, but the good cause of the apostles died on the cross. Only the resurrection and resultant contact with Christ convinced his followers that he was the Messiah. To this they testified not only with their lips and lives, but with their deaths. (McDowell, 1977, 76)
The argument seems reasonable enough; after all, why would anyone die for a lie? For some Christian apologists, the fact of the willingness to die for their belief in Jesus constitutes powerful circumstantial evidence in favor of the historicity of the Resurrection accounts in the canonical Gospels. J. P. Moreland told Lee Strobel in the latter’s interview with him in The Case for Christ,
When Jesus was crucified…his followers were discouraged and depressed. They no longer had confidence that Jesus had been sent by God because they believed anyone crucified was accursed by God. They also had been taught that God would not let his Messiah suffer death. So they dispersed. The Jesus movement was all but stopped in its tracks.
Then, after a short period of time, we see them abandoning their occupations, regathering, and committing themselves to spreading a very specific message – that Jesus Christ was the Messiah of God who died on a cross, returned to life, and was seen alive by them.
And they were willing to spend the rest of their lives proclaiming this, without any payoff from a human point of view. It’s not as though there were a mansion awaiting them on the Mediterranean. They faced a life of hardship. They often went without food, slept exposed to the elements, were ridiculed, beaten, imprisoned. And finally, most of them were executed in torturous ways.
For what? For good intentions? No, because they were convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that they had seen Jesus Christ alive from the dead. What you can’t explain is how this particular group of men came up with this particular belief without have had an experience of the resurrected Christ. There’s no other adequate explanation. (Strobel,1998, 244-245)
No other adequate explanation? Are skeptics in a corner here, frantically wringing their hands trying to come up with an alternate explanation? Perhaps, or perhaps not.
The Death of the Disciples
Before we attempt to dissect the argument, we should consider who the apostles were and what we know or do not know about their ultimate demise. I can remember all of their names because of a catchy song I learned in New Testament 101 my freshman year of college:
There were twelve disciples / Jesus called to help him: / Simon Peter, Andrew, James, his brother John, / Phillip, Thomas, Matthew, / James the son of Alphaeus, / Thaddaeus, Simon, Judas, / and Bartholomew!
We, of course, do not need the song as we have a list of all the disciples written down for us in the earliest of the four Gospels, Mark.
And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder; Andrew and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. (Mark 3:14-19; cf. Matthew 10:1-4, Luke 6:14-16, Acts 1:13)*
The deeds of many of the apostles are laid out for us in various stories in the four Gospels as well as in the book of Acts. But we only know about the death of two of the disciples from the pages of the New Testament. The first, of course, is Judas Iscariot who according to Matthew’s Gospel, felt so guilty for betraying Jesus to the Jewish authorities that he hung himself (27:3-10). This is contradicted by the author of the book of Acts who claimed that Judas bought a field with the silver he was given for betraying Jesus and then apparently fell headfirst causing his insides to become outsides (1:18).
The only other disciple of Jesus whose death is recorded for us in the New Testament is that of James, the brother of John. We read in Acts that “about that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also” (12:1-2). So who was James?
As Acts 12:1 tells us, he was “the brother John” and if we look at Mark’s list of disciples, he and his brother were the “Sons of Thunder.” Along with Peter and Andrew, James and John were among the first to follow Jesus (Mark 1:19-20). Their fates, according to Mark’s Gospel, were foretold to them.
And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized.” (Mark 10:35-39)
The “cup” and “baptism” Jesus speaks of are metaphors for his impending death at the hands of the Romans and under the jeers of the Jews. James and John, Jesus says, will face similar ends. (Evans, 2001, 117)
So the New Testament records for us how James, a Son of Thunder, died at the hands of Herod. But what about the other disciples? If the New Testament doesn’t tell us how they died, what can be known? For virtually all of them we must rely on tradition and hearsay. Let’s briefly detail some of what has been said about their deaths.
Much of what we know about most of the disciples’ activities are based on later sources and are often quite unreliable. Christian historian Igor Davidson writes,
Apart from our evidence regarding Paul, Peter, John, and James the Lord’s brother, and some glimpses of the vitally important work undertaken by other relatives of Jesus in Palestine and perhaps beyond, we know relatively little about the ways in which the apostles and their associates spread their message to their diverse constituencies, or even about the places they eventually reached….For the most part…we cannot be sure where the apostles and their co-workers finally traveled.
The apocryphal Acts of the apostles, produced in the late second and third centuries, claim that various remarkable missionary feats were accomplished by others among the Twelve. Thomas is said to have taken the gospel to Persia and to India, where he was eventually martyred for his faith. Andrew is reported to have engaged in evangelism in northern Asia Minor and Greece, especially in some of the territories evangelized by Paul, including Philippi and Corinth, and to have been martyred in Patras.
It is impossible to gauge the reliability of these claims….Many of these traditions are…simply pious fictions, designed to embellish the spiritual sanctity of particular localities. (Davidson, 154)
In other words, we simply do not know what most of the disciples did following their time with Jesus let alone how they met their end. Is martyrdom a possibility? Of course. But is it a certainty? In short, no.
Dissecting the Argument
Nevertheless, the likelihood that some of the disciples gave their life believing in a risen Jesus is very high (mythicists notwithstanding). If we are to believe the book of Acts then James was beheaded for his faith in Jesus. And there is a good chance that both Peter and Paul, two pillars of the early Christian movement, were executed by Rome. Do their deaths, and the deaths of numerous martyrs throughout time, constitute evidence that the Resurrection narratives are true? Is this proof Jesus threw off Death’s shackles and appeared to the disciples alive three days after a brutal form of execution? Let’s begin with one version of the argument laid out by S. J. Thompson, a pop-apologist, in a blog post entitled “An Extra-Biblical Case for Christianity.”
Critics often note that Muslims and Buddhists have also willingly been martyred for their beliefs, yet unlike Muslims and Buddhists, James, Peter, and Paul had personally seen the risen Jesus.
It is easy to see the problem with Thompson’s argument: it is a tautology. She begins with the unproven assertion that the disciples “saw the risen Jesus” and effectively concludes with it. We could frame a similar argument.
Item number 3 is in no way an indicator of whether item number 1 is true. And therein lies the problem with McDowell’s, Moreland’s, and Thompson’s view on this issue. To assert that the disciples’ willingness to die for the cause of Christianity is evidence that the claims of Christianity are true is an exercise in non sequitur. In other words, the sincerity with which one believes a proposition is in no way an indicator of whether that proposition is true.
Islam and Sincerely Held Beliefs
Consider for a moment the early followers of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Most of what we know about him comes from collections of his sayings and deeds known as hadiths. The Qur’an, the central holy text of Islam, is Allah’s revelation to mankind through Muhammad.
According to his wife Aisha, Muhammad would go into the caves near Mecca where he would worship Allah. But one day in the year 610 C.E. Muhammad entered the caves and something miraculous happened.
He used to take with him the journey food for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food likewise again till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet (ﷺ) replied, “I do not know how to read.” The Prophet (ﷺ) added, “The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, ‘I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?’ Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said, ‘Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists), created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 1.1.3)
The angel orders Muhammad to read (also translated as “recite” – see above) but Muhammad cannot – he didn’t know how! And yet we read in the Qur’an his own recitation of the words the angel ordered him to reproduce.
Recite in the Name of thy Lord who created, created man from a blood clot. Recite! Thy Lord is most noble, Who taught by the Pen, taught man that which he knew not. (Surah 96:1-5)**
For devout Muslims, this is miraculous! The greatest miracle of Muhammad is the Qur’an itself. One author writes,
…I have come to believe that the real reason the Quran reiterates and reaffirms these foundations [i.e. the miraculous foundations of Judaism and Christianity] is because the Quran wants to challenge this questioning itself. In this respect, the Quran can be perceived as saying, “If you want to challenge these foundations, discredit my miraculous nature first, and if you cannot, then accept these foundations as truth.” (Hassan, 2012, 21-22)
But not everyone in Mecca was comfortable with the new religion being promoted by Muhammad. And as his following grew, so did his opposition. Yet when challenged by scoffers to produce a miracle like ancient prophets, Muhammad didn’t throw a staff on the ground or turn water into wine. Instead, a challenge was issued.
This Quran could not have been fabricated [by anyone] apart from God; rather, it is a confirmation of that which came before it, and an elaboration of the Book in which there is no doubt, from the Lord of the worlds. Or do they say, “He has fabricated it”? Say, “Then produce a surah like it, and call upon whomsoever you can apart from God, if you are truthful.” (Surah 10:37-38)
In other words, if the Qur’an is the product of human invention, then it can be replicated quite easily by human means. The apparent fact that no one could produce a single surah was an indicator that Muhammad was indeed the prophet of Allah.
But this line of reasoning failed to convince his opponents and the persecution against these early Muslims only continued and escalated. By 613 C.E. Muhammad had expanded his preaching which created severe backlash against he and his followers. Some fled to Ethiopia while others remained with Muhammad. (Haleem, 2016, xi) For some of those who remained, the decision to stay proved fatal. In 615 C.E. Sumayyah bint Khayyat, a slave and one of the first followers of Muhammad, became the first martyr for Islam. The ruling tribe of Mecca – the Quraysh – deliberately targeted Muslims of lower social status and pressured them to recant their belief in Islam. Sumayyah, her husband, and her son were all tied up and beaten for their and when she refused to recant, Sumayyah was stabbed to death.
Why did she die? After all, her life may have been spared if only she had recanted. But she didn’t. So what does that say?
And, of course, she was not the only one to die on behalf of Islam in the seventh century. Others died in battle defending themselves against those who would wipe Islam off the face of the earth. They had seen various miracles performed by Muhammad ranging from the splitting of the moon (Surah 54:1-2) to invoking rain and willingly gave their lives so that their faith would not be destroyed.
We must now ask the question, Is Islam true because the Qur’an is a “miracle” and some gave their lives because of their belief in that miracle? According to the logic of Thompson, yes it is.
Clearly, there is a problem. Islam and Christianity are mutually exclusive ideologies. Christianity declares that only belief in the crucified and risen Jesus provides salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 10:9). Islam, on the other hand, explicitly denies that Jesus was killed on the cross and instead someone made to look like Jesus was on there instead, confusing onlookers (Surah 4:157-158). What are we to make of this? They cannot both be right.
But they can certainly both be wrong.
Why the Argument Fails
If we are willing to concede that dying for a cause is evidence of that cause’s veracity, then we must concede that Islam is as valid as Christianity. According to each religion’s adherents, we have examples of men and women who were witnesses of extraordinary events and miracles who gave their lives for their belief in those events. So, if we can ask the question, “Why would the disciples die for something that wasn’t true?” then we can also ask the same question of the first followers of Muhammad.
“But,” comes the objection, “none of the followers of Muhammad saw the risen Jesus.” This does nothing more than beg the question as the supposed evidence for the Resurrection is that the disciples were willing to die for their belief. That, unfortunately, doesn’t get the job done.
Furthermore, in the case of both the disciples and the early followers of Muhammad, we need not assume that they were lying about what they saw. As far as we know, the moon has never split in half before coming back together as the Qur’an reports. But people can be tricked or duped or hallucinate or not see things properly. They can be convinced by powerful leaders or extremely stressful situations that something that isn’t the case is. No, the disciples didn’t die for a lie. They died because of their sincerely held belief that Jesus was alive. Christian apologist Sean McDowell, author of The Fate of the Apostles (2016), wrote in a blog post,
Here is the bottom line: the willingness of the apostles to die for their faith does not prove Christianity is true; it merely shows the apostles sincerely believed Jesus had risen to them. They did not invent the story. They believed Jesus rose from the grave and appeared to them personally. Their willingness to pay the ultimate price for this conviction shows the depth of their sincerity.
And he is right.
The sincerity with which we hold a belief is no indicator of whether that belief is true. As my old pastor was fond of saying, “People may be sincere, but they can be sincerely wrong.” Therefore, we should be cautious of any argument put forward that depends on notions of sincerity.
* All Scripture verses are taken from the English Standard Version (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Bibles, 2008).
** All Quranic verses are taken from The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, editor (New York, NY: HarperOne, 2015).
Printed Works Cited
Yahiya Emerick. The Life and Work of Muhammad. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha Books, 2002.
Igor J. Davidson. The Baker History of the Church: The Birth of the Church, From Jesus to Constantine, AD 30-312, volume 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004.
Craig A. Evans. Word Biblical Commentary: Mark 8:27 – 16:20. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2001.
William Byron Forbush, editor. Fox’s Book of Martyrs. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1967.
Ahmad Hassan. The Science of the Quran: Proving God’s Existence through Established Modern Science. Arlington, VA: Lido Horizons Publishing, 2012.
M.A.S. Abdel Haleem. The Qur’an. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Josh McDowell. More Than a Carpenter. Wheaton, Illinois: Living Books, 1977.
Philip Schaff, History of the Apostolic Church with a General Introduction to Church History. New York, NY: Scribner, Armstrong, and Co. 1874.
Lee Strobel. The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998.
ich verbrachte meine nächte schon mit vielen.
elf um genau zu sein.
doch du bist der erhabene unter ihnen,
die nächte mit dir von anderem wert
– auch, wenn du mich oft am längsten warten ließt,
wissend dass mein herz sich schmerzend nach dir sehnt.
ich verbrachte wochen, tage, stunden
vor deiner ankunft in gedanken an dich;
was würde ich tragen, wenn ich dich antraf?
was sagen, wie meine zeit mit dir planen?
du warst wichtig, mir wichtig, wichtig für mich.
aber ganz besonders: richtig für mich.
entgegen der überzeugung anderer von deiner schädlichkeit für mich,
und ihrer unverständnis für meinen freiwilligen verzicht
dir zuliebe, eigentlich mir zuliebe,
für all das was du mir dafür bringst.
und ich nehme es ihnen nicht übel,
denn wer weiß schon wie wahre liebe
in all ihren wegen schmeckt,
lässt man sich doch schnell von ihren, uns
unbekannten, wegen verschrecken.
besonders dann, wenn sie uns auf zeit nimmt,
was wir so ehren und eigentlich auch nur,
um uns über unsere stärken zu belehren.
und wer glaubt heute noch an die liebe,
die für immer hält.
ein immer, das weit über das immer dieser welt hinausgeht,
ein immer, das weit über unserem vorstellungsvermögen liegt,
ein immer, das nicht mal der tod scheiden kann – im gegenteil.
hier trägt sie ihre früchte – auf dass ich sie kosten kann,
auch mit solchen, die in dir auch liebe haben erkannt.
nun, ich weiß, du musst schon wieder fort
und ich lass dich nur schweren herzens gehen.
aber ich wünsche mir, dass wir uns
bei deiner rückkehr in einem jahr wiedersehen.
– salaam we shukran, shukran ya allah, shukran 3ala shahr ramadan.|
The new mosque, Masjid H Andi Muhammad Ghalib, is a beautiful one, with touch of Arabic ornament inside. And look at that dome!
Dasal para sa Eid Il Fitr…
Taimtim na Dasal
…bukod-tanging natira nating pag-asa
Ni Apolinario Villalobos
Sa pabago-bagong panahong dulot ay pinsala
sa halip na biyaya…
Sa harap ng kagutumang ating nararanasan –
At, sa harap ng mga kinatatakutang krimen –
‘wag munang tapusin ang dasal ng “amen”.
Magdasal pa tayo ng marubdob at taimtim
‘wag maging sakim…
Sa panahong ang patayan ay kalat sa mundo
piliting ‘wag masiphayo…
basta’t namumutawi ang dasal sa ating bibig –
sa pag-asa, tayo’y nakahilig!
In this one Pfander’s Lizzie Schofield talks about there being a lot of violence and some horrible violence in the Old Testament (Trinitarians believe the God of the OT is the 2nd person of the Trinity doctrine who later became Jesus). Jonathan McLatchie brings some focus onto an idea some Trinitarians hold, namely that of the Angel of the Lord being a pre-incarnate Jesus. 2 Kings 19:
35 And that night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.
In this one Lzzie Schofield tells Muslims they should be scared of Jesus coming back with a sword. Her eschatological beliefs are similar to pastor Steven Anderson’s concerning Jesus’ second coming. It also features 1 Samuel 15:3 which is an order Trinitarians believe was given by Jesus:
3 Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction[a] all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”