C  H  R  I  S  T  I  A  N  I  T  Y 
through the lens of 
Part Two

Mohd Amin Yaacob

















The subject of ‘comparative religion’ is considered interesting by some and a road to enlightenment by others through which one can consciously determine his position with regard to the world’s various religion and doctrines. They had, of course, been sporadic encounters between spokesman for Islam and Christianity in various parts of the Islamic world throughout that long hour of co-existence and conflict.


Conflict, even if intermittent, was inevitable because the two religions, though sharing the same roots, were nevertheless irreconcilable. In Christian eyes, Islam was a heresy, because it had denied the divinity of Jesus Christ, and it affirms a final era of Prophecy in the person of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Reciprocally, Muslims too regarded Christianity as a heresy, from a common monotheistic root. For the doctrine of the Trinity (taslis) and Incarnation (al-Hulul wa al-Ittihad), broke with the essential principle of Tauhid, the absolute ‘Oneness’ of Allah, God the Almighty. In rejecting the prophetic role of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) Christians further are guilty of disobeying the instruction of Jesus Christ who ordered his followers to follow after his departure, the “Comforter” or the “Holy Spirit” which is none other than the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). [1]


 The earliest known ‘munazorah’ or debate between these two great religion was at the time of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdi (ruled 775-85 C.E). It is described in Christian sources as having occurred between Patriarch Timothy I, the head of the Nestorian Church in the East, and al-Mahdi, the Caliph. [2] Since then, numerous debates were conducted from time to time to increase the religious awareness of the followers of both religions. Nevertheless, the greatest of them all occurred in the 19th century between the head of the Christian Mission in India, Reverend Father Carl Gottlieb Fonder (1803-68 C.E) and al-Allamah Maulana Rahmatullah Ibn Khalil al-Rahman al-Kairanawi (1818-91 C.E), a renown Muslim theologian from Delhi. [3] The great debate was attended by diplomats and important dignitaries from all walks of life. Some of them are as follows:


On the Christian side:


1.     Sir William Muir, Secretary to the Indian Government and also a great 19th century Orientalist

2.     Mosley Smith, a judge at the Sadr Court

3.     George Christian, Secretary to the Sadr Board of Revenue

4.     H. S Reid, The Inspector of Government School

5.     Local missions such as T. G Clark of the Free Church of Scotland Missionary Society


On the Muslim side:


1.     Mufti Riyaz al-Din, the chief Mufti of Agra

2.     Maulana Muhammad Asadullah, the chief Qadhi

3.     Maulana Qamar al-Islam, the Chief Imam of the Jami’ Mosque, Agra

4.     Maulana Siraj al-Haq and his father, Maulana Ahmad Bada’uni

5.     Munshi Khadim Ali and Muhammad Qamar al-Din, editors of two local Urdu Newspapers.


The debate took place in January 1854, in Akrabarad in the city of Agra. It had been agreed that five subjects should be discussed in the following order: Naskh and Tahrif (abrogation and corruption) of the Holy Bible, Taslis (the Trinity), Risalat-I-la Muhammad (The Prophethood of Muhammad–peace be upon him) and finally, the Holy Qur’an. [4] Maulana Rahmatullah al-Kairanawi asserted that he would convert to Christianity if he failed to answer the questions of the missionary who also made the commitment to accept Islam if he was defeated. The result was the admission that the Bible had been altered. Maulana Rahmatullah al-Kairanawi managed to prove that the Bible used at that time and still in use now was not the one given to Jesus Christ. The Reverend Fonder admitted that there were alterations in the Bible in seven or eight places. [5] Maulana Qamar al-Islam, the chief Imam of the Jami’ mosque Agra asked a journalist Munshi Khadim Ali to publish the missionary‘s admission that there were seven or eight alterations in the Bible, upon which the Rev. Fonder replied:


“Yes, I do admit to this, but this small alterations does not affect the Holy Book of the Heavens!”


Hearing this Maulana Rahmatullah al-Kairanawi commented:


“If any alterations is proved to have been perpetrated in a particular text, it is considered null and void and invalidated. Since you admit that the Bible has been altered in seven or eight places, how can you claim that it is true and how can you believe in it?” [6]


What was the outcome of the debate?


Syed Hassan Mohammad Kutbi, the former Minister of Hajj Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in his introduction to “Izharul Haq” of Maulana Rahmatullah Ibn Khalil al-Rahman al-Kairanawi said that:


“The victory, proving Islam to be the true religion caused the brutal aggression on the part of the British government against the Muslims in India in 1857, in which thousands of renowned Muslim scholars were killed. Shaikh Rahmatullah was on top of the list, but Allah Subhanahu Wa Taala saved him. He escaped to Makkah al Mukarramah, and there he established the Madrasah Saulatia. Sultan Abdul Aziz Khan invited Shaikh Rahmatullah to Constantinople, where he held a great celebration for him, and requested him to write a book on the debate. He wrote the book, The Great Debate, which later became known as The Truth Revealed (Izharul Haq)” [7]


The earliest known treatise or writing meanwhile was probably written in 860 C.E. by Ali Ibn Rabban at-Tabari, a physician who had converted to Islam from Christianity entitled “al-Din wa al-Daula Fi Ithbat Nubuwwat al-Nabi Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam”. [8] Since then numerous writings were written by Muslim scholars such as the following:


1.     al-Jawab al-Sahih Li-Man Baddala Din al-Masih (The Correct Answer to those who changed the Religion of Christ). This 1000 pages treatise was composed by the grand Sheikh of Islam, Imam Taqi al-Din Ahmad Ibn Taimiyyah as a response to a 24 pages treatise  “Risalah ila Ahad al-Muslimin” (A Letter to a Muslim) written by Paul of Antioch, the Bishop of Saida.


In addition to al-Jawab al-Sahih, Ibn Taimiyyah also wrote five other treatises in response to Christianity as mentioned by Imam Ibn ‘Abd-Hadi who was a student of Ibn Taimiyyah: [9]


Al-Salim al-Maslul ‘ala Shatim al-Rasul. Ibn Taimiyyah wrote this in response to a Christian cleric named ‘Assaf al-Nasrani who was accused of insulting the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).


Iqtida’ al-Sirat al-Mustaqim Mukhalafat Ashab al-Jahim


Jawab fi Ihtijaj al-Jahmiyya wa al-Nasara bil-Kalima


Al-Risalah al-Quhrusiyyah: Khitab li-Sirjwas Malik Quhrus


Qawa’id al-Kanais also known as Mas’alat al-Kanais


Fi Dhaha’ib Ahl-Kitab (this treatise appear to be lost)


Takhjil Ahl al-Injil wal-Nahj al-Sahih fi al-Radd ‘ala Man Baddala Din ‘Isa Ibn Maryam al-Masih [10]


2.     Hidayatul Hayara fi Ajwibatul Yahud wa al-Nasara by Imam Ibn Qayyim al Jauziyyah, a student of Imam Ibn Taimiyyah.


3.     Al-Fisal fi al-Milal wa al-Ahwa wa al-Nihal by Imam Ibn Hazm al-Zahiri of Spain.


4.     Maqami Hamat al-Sulban wa Marati Rawdat al-Iman by Imam al-Qurthubi.


5.     Al-Radd al-Jamil ila ilahiyat Isa bi Sarih al-Injil by Hujjatul Islam Imam Abu Hamid bin Muhammad al-Ghazali al-Tusi.


6.     Al-Munthakab al-Jalil Min Takhjil Man Harrafal Injil by Imam al-Mas’udi al-Maliki.


7.     Izharul Haq by al-Allamah Maulana Rahmatullah Khalil al-Rahman al-Kairanawi. This book, internationally recognized as one of the most authoritative and objective studies of the Bible. The Maulana wrote it to counter the subversive attack made by the Rev. Fonder who had written a book entitled Meezanul Haq, the open intention of which was to cast doubts into the minds of the Muslims about the authenticity of the Holy Qur’an. Other than Izharul Haq, the Maulana had also wrote four other treatises in refutation of Christianity which are as follows:


Asah al-ahadis fi-ibtal al-Taslis (Urdu)


Ijaz-I Isawi al mulaqqab bih misqalab-I-tahrif (Urdu)


Izalatul auwham (Persian)


Izalatul al-Shakuk (Urdu)


8.     Lisan al-Sidq Jawaban li Kitab Mizan al-Haq fi ar Radd ‘ala al-Nasara, by al-Sheikh al-Bahrani.


9.     Kitab-i-Istifsar (Urdu), by Maulana Ali-I-Hassan


10.Tuhfat al-Arib fi al-Radd ‘ala Ahl al-Salib by Abdullah Ibn Abdullah al-Tarjuman, a former Arab Christian who had embraced Islam.


11.Muhammad fi al-Taurah wa al-Injil wa al-Qur’an, by Dr Ibrahim Khalil Ahmad Philip, a former renown Protestant priest who had embraced Islam.


12.Islam And Christianity by Al-Sheikh Ahmeed Deedat


13.Islam Versus Ahl Kitab by Ustazah Maryam Jameelah, a former Jew who had embraced Islam.


14.What is Christianity by Maulana Muhammad Taqi Usmani


15.The New Testament in Question by Robert W. Mond


16.The Truth About Jesus Christ by Dr. Muhammad Ali al-Khuli


17.Muhammad and Christ by Maulana Muhammad Ali


18.The Qur’an and the Gospels by Dr Muhammad Abu Layla, a lecturer at the Al-Azhar University


19.Muslim Answers To Inquiring Christians, Abu Abd Rahman Robert Squires, a former Christian who had embraced Islam


    It is the writer intention of writing this book to disclose the content of some of the above mentioned treatises and also other treatises whether they were put out by Muslim or from Christian own writings for comparative purposes. The writer hopes that we all can find in them the true guidance to the truth.  God, the Almighty order us to explore, to research, to think and to find out the truth. As the Holy Qur’an states:


“We will show them Our Signs in the universe and in their ownselves, until it become manifest to them, that this (the Qur’an) is the Truth. Is it not enough that your Lord is a Witness over all things?” (Surah al-Fussilat 41:53)  


    Jesus Christ himself stated:


    “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32, NLT)


    I am grateful to all the people who went through the manuscript and offered me very useful suggestions and those friends who have kindly helped me in the preparation of my second book. I am particularly grateful to Emilia Zarina and Hafiz Firdaus for their comments, suggestions and advice on reading the manuscript. Really I would not have presented this book without his personal attention and interest.


May it please Allah, God Almighty to accept this humble service.

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[1]           Al-Sheikh Ahmeed Deedat, The Choice: Islam And Christianity Volume One (IPCI, Durban South Africa), 1993, 51-62

[2]           A. Powell, Avril, Muslims and Missionaries in Pre-Mutiny India (Curzon Press, UK), 13-14. According to the Christian sources, the initiative was deemed to have come from the Patriarch, Timothy who seized the opportunity provided by official audiences with the Caliph, to discuss questions of religion with him. The key source for these audiences is the collection of letters written by Timothy to his subordinate, Sergius, who was probably then serving as Metropolitan in the province of Elan. (Muslims and Missionaries in Pre-Mutiny India, 13-14)   

[3]            Muslims and Missionaries in Pre-Mutiny India, 226-262

[4]           Muslims and Missionaries in Pre-Mutiny India, 226-262

[5]           Maulana Rahmatullah Kairanvi, Izharul Haq, Part 2 (Taha Publishers Ltd., UK), 1990, v

[6]           Izharul Haq, Part 2, iv-v

[7]           Izharul Haq, Part 2, v

[8]           Muslims and Missionaries in Pre-Mutiny India, 15

[9]           F. Michel S.J, Thomas, A Muslim Theologian’s Response To Christianity (Caravan Books Delmar, New York), 1984, 371

[10]         This treatise of Ibn Taimiyyah was not in the list cited by Imam Ibn Abd Hadi but in the list cited by 17th century writer Haji Khalifa in his Kashf al-Zunun ‘an Asami al-Kutub wal Funun, volume one, 379.