James White and Academic Honesty/Scholarship


Bassam Zawadi

Acknowledgement: This article was written after I watched this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLxfIXIvI1s made by brothers Muslimbychoice and Nazam

James White, in his debate with Shaykh Jalal Abu Al Rub, "Does the Bible Teach That Jesus is God," said after condemning Shaykh Jalal for his utilization of Encyclopedia Britannica:

When I study Islam, I have spent I don't know how much money to obtain their best materials.

First, the best materials for Islamic knowledge are all written in Arabic, and most have not even been translated from Arabic to English. So, we don't know how James White has obtained our "best materials."

Secondly, even if James White has obtained the best materials that Muslims have in the English language, that doesn't mean that he reads them carefully and cites them accurately, for instance, in his first debate with Shabir Ally on the inspiration of the New Testament, James White asserted that Abdullah ibn Mas'ud was killed for not handing over the Qur'an to Uthman. Shabir Ally replied, saying that this, of course, was not true. Then James White replies, saying:

Just in reference to the Ibn Mas'ud situation, I was referring to Abu Ammar Yasir Qadhi's work "An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'an" where he says "The most serious opponent of Uthman's text was ibn Mas'ud, a companion of the Prophet and a great theologian. Ibn Mas'ud refused to give up his copy of the Qur'an to the President of the Revision Committee and thus incurred the anger of the Khalifa, by whom he was publicly chastised. He died a few days after from the effects of the beating he had received."

Notice how James White said this specific quotation is found in Abu Ammar Yasir Qadhi's book. However, anyone who reads Shaykh Qadhi's book won't find this statement anywhere. Rather, the statement is taken from Rev. Edward Sell's (an Indian missionary) book The Rescensions of the Qur'an¸ page 15.

Of course, James White is only human and probably made a mistake. He is not infallible. However, what we don't appreciate is his double standards. Why would he object to Shaykh Jalal Abu Al Rub's citation from Encyclopedia Britannica, which at least has a better reputation and a little more credibility to Christians than Rev. Edward Sell (this is the first time I hear of him) to Muslims?

Our advice to James White is to practice his preaches and read more scholarly works on Islam.

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