Christian and Islamic studies, books, lectures, articles, and debates for learning more about Islam and apologetics.
I’m putting together a list for Islamic Studies with a focus on apologetics. Some of the below resources are by Christians, Muslims, and academics. Please comment below with your recommendations.
Classical Works Influencing Modern Christian and Muslim Apologetics
John of Damascus (c.675-c.749), “Concerning Heresy“; “The Discussion of a Christian and a Saracen” – one of the first Christian responses to Islam. Argued that Islam is a Christian heresy arising from Muhammad’s contact with an Arian monk. Says Islam is forerunner of the Antichrist. According to Reinhold Glei, “it formed the image of Islam in the Greek world and exerted wider influence among Christian readers, at least until the mid-14th century.” 1Glei, Reinhold F., “Peri haireseōn”, in: Christian-Muslim Relations 600 – 1500, General Editor David Thomas.
Theodore Abū Qurra (born around the middle of the 8th century) – 30 of his works deal with Islam to some degree. 16 are in Arabic and the rest in Greek. For a translation of his works see Theodore Abu Qurrah (Eastern Christian Texts) translated by John C. Lamoreaux.
Hunayn ibn Ishaq (809-873), On How to Discern the Truth of Religion. This is a short work arguing from the observation that Christianity is a “mystery” (i.e. revelation that can be explained as only coming from God). The Muslim response to this argument comes from Abd al-Jabbar ibn Ahmad (935-1025), The Establishment of Proofs for the Prophethood of Our Master Mohammed.
Al-Ghazali (c.1058-1111), “The Beautiful Refutation of the Divinity of Jesus from the Plain Sense of the Gospel.” The authenticity of this work is doubtful although it may have been written around the same time period. The author bases his arguments against the divinity of Jesus from the Gospel of John. He argues that texts like John 10:30 are metaphorical and emphasizes verses teaching Jesus’ humanity. Al-Ghazali interprets the Gospel of John by the Quranic doctrine of unitarian monotheism (Tawhid), which is foreign to the Scriptures.
Ali ibn Rabban al Tabari (c. 783-858), “The Book of Religion and Empire.” Convert from Christianity. Argues that the Bible gives prophecies about Muhammad (cf. Quran 61:6).
Liber Denudationis — written sometime in the 11th or 12th century. One of the two or three works that most influenced the Latin-Christian approach to Islam in the high and later Middle Ages.2Burman, Thomas E., “Liber denudationis siue ostensionis aut patefaciens”, in: Christian-Muslim Relations 600 – 1500, General Editor David Thomas.
Peter the Venerable (a.k.a. Peter of Cluny) (c. 1092 – 1156) – “The Summary of the Entire Heresy of the Saracens;” “The Refutation of the Sect or Heresy of the Saracens.” Believed that one should study Islam from its own sources. Took a long journey to Spain to study with Islamic scholars. Commissioned Robert of Ketton to translate the Qur’an, which was the first published Latin edition of the Qur’an; indeed, it was the first translation of the Qur’an into a western European language.3Burman, Thomas E., “Lex Mahumet pseudo-prophete que arabice Alchoran, id est collectio preceptorum, vocatur”, in: Christian-Muslim Relations 600 – 1500, General Editor David Thomas.
Ibn Hazm (994-1064), – the first Muslim to systematize the argument that the Bible was intentionally changed. His impact has been significant.
Riccoldo da monte di Croce (c.1243-1320) – Contra Legem Sarracenorum.
This became the leading work against Islam for a few centuries.4Riccoldo was influenced by an 11th-12th century Arabic work, Liber Denudationis. Martin Luther translated a version of this treatise into German.5An English translation of Luther’s work was done by T.C. Pfotenhauer “Islam in the Crucible: Can it pass the test?” . Another English translation was done by Londini Ensis, “Refutation of the Koran” .
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), “On the Reasons for Faith in Response to the Muslims“. In this work Aquinas is answering the questions of a Christian in Antioch about a discussion he had with a Muslim:
- How can Christians say that Christ is the Son of God when God has no wife?
- How can God be triune?
- How can the Son of God die for the salvation of humanity?
- What is the meaning of “God became man”?
- Christians claim to eat the flesh of Jesus, but even if Christ’s body were as big as a mountain, it would have long been eaten up.
- Divine Predestination
Ibn Taymiyyah (1263-1328) – Al-Jawab as Sahih li man Baddala Din al-Masih (Literally, “The Correct Response to those who have Corrupted the Deen (Religion) of the Messiah”; A Muslim theologian’s response to Christianity)—seven volumes, over a thousand pages.
Abdallah Tarjuman (Fray Anselmo Turmeda) (c.1352-c.1430) – convert to Islam who wrote, “The cultured man’s gift, in refutation of the people of the Cross.”
Modern Muslim arguments against Christianity (I’m referring to the last 200 years) tend to rely on Enlightenment thinking and higher criticism. This is misguided for the following two reasons:
First, it is self-defeating. Modernism is fundamentally anti-supernatural. Modernism rejects Jesus’ virgin birth (which Islam affirms) and affirms Jesus’ death on the cross (which Islam denies). Modern scholarship dates the gospels many decades after Jesus because the gospels contain accounts of Jesus prophesying God’s judgment of Jerusalem, which happened in AD 70. Modernism has no room for prophecy or God’s work in history and must therefore date the gospels during or after the Jewish War.6See Christine Schirrmacher, “The Influence of European Higher Criticism on Muslim Apologetics in the Nineteenth Century.“
Second, many Muslims disingenuously avoid the real issue, which is the Qur’anic teaching that a book (al-injīl) from heaven was given to Jesus (cf. Qur’an 5:46-47; 57:27). No amount of textual criticism or gospel harmonization will ever get back to the Qur’anic Injīl because Jesus was never given a book (al-injīl) from heaven. The Qur’anic Injīl does not exist and has never existed. The burden of proof is on Muslims to show otherwise.
Izhar ul-Haqq (The Truth Revealed) – written in 1853 by the Indian Muslim Rahmat Allah Kayranawi (Al-hindi). This six volume work has influenced Muslim apologetics to this day. Ahmad Deedat (see below) said his discovery of this book was the turning point in his life. It was updated in 1964. Here is an English version.
Mizan ul-Haqq (“The Balance of Truth”) – written by the Christian Karl Pfander (1803–1865) who has been called “the greatest of all missionaries to Mohammedans.” Pfander debated Kayranawi in 1854. The Balance of Truth was updated by W. St. Clair Tisdall in 1910.
For a modern response to Izhar ul-Haqq see Gordon Nickel, “A Gentle Answer to to the Muslim Accusation of Biblical Falsification.”
Muḥammad Abū Zahra (1898-1994) — Muḥāḍarāt fī l-naṣrāniyya. I haven’t found this in English.
W.St. Clair Tisdall, A Manual of the Leading Muhammadan Objections to Christianity, (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1904).
Academic Reference Works
Christian-Muslim Relations, a Bibliographical History Online. General Editor David Thomas.
Christian-Muslim Relations 600 – 1500, General Editor David Thomas.
Christian-Muslim Relations 1500 – 1900, General Editor David Thomas.
Books Written by Muslims (for learning about Islam from a Muslim perspective)
M.M. al-Azami, The History of the Quranic Text from Revelation to Compilation.
_______. Studies in Early Hadith Literature; American Trust Publications, Indiana, 1978.
Books Written by non-Muslims (for learning about Islam from a Western/non-Muslim)
James White, What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an.
Muslim Publications — Booklets and Tracts
Deedat, Ahmed, H. Resurrection or Resuscitation? Durban: Islamic Propagation Centre, 1978.
____. Was Jesus Crucified? Durban: Islamic Propagation Centre, n.d.
____. What Was the Sign of Jonah? Durban: Islamic Propagation Centre, 1976.
____. Who Moved the Stone? Durban: Islamic Propagation Centre, 1977.
____. Is the Bible Gods Word?
Christian Publications: Pamphlets and Booklets
Gilchrist, John. The Crucifixion in the Qur’an and the Bible.
Lectures by Muslims
Abdal Hakim Murad (Timothy Winter), Crash Course in Islamic History – the most succinct and yet comprehensive Islamic History available in English from a leading Muslim.
Lectures by Christians
Timothy Tennent, Introduction to Islam. 24 lectures available at: http://www.biblicaltraining.org/introduction-islam/timothy-tennent.
James White, Islam A to Z. Two lectures that can be watched at: http://bible-quran.com/islam-a-to-z-by-james-white/
782: Al-Mahdi,Caliph of Baghdad, diaglogue with the Nestorian Patriarch Timothy 1. The report of the dialogue was written by Patriarch Timothy.
James White debates.
References [ + ]
|1.||↥||Glei, Reinhold F., “Peri haireseōn”, in: Christian-Muslim Relations 600 – 1500, General Editor David Thomas.|
|2.||↥||Burman, Thomas E., “Liber denudationis siue ostensionis aut patefaciens”, in: Christian-Muslim Relations 600 – 1500, General Editor David Thomas.|
|3.||↥||Burman, Thomas E., “Lex Mahumet pseudo-prophete que arabice Alchoran, id est collectio preceptorum, vocatur”, in: Christian-Muslim Relations 600 – 1500, General Editor David Thomas.|
|4.||↥||Riccoldo was influenced by an 11th-12th century Arabic work, Liber Denudationis.|
|5.||↥||An English translation of Luther’s work was done by T.C. Pfotenhauer “Islam in the Crucible: Can it pass the test?” . Another English translation was done by Londini Ensis, “Refutation of the Koran” .|
|6.||↥||See Christine Schirrmacher, “The Influence of European Higher Criticism on Muslim Apologetics in the Nineteenth Century.“|