IZHARUL HAQ READING CONTINUED
THE LETTERS OF IGNATIUS
Let us now find out the truth regarding the letters written by lgnatius, the
Bishop of Antioch. Lardner said in vol. 2 of his commentary;
Eusebius and Jerome both mentioned certain of his letters. Apart from
these some other letters are also attributed to him, which are generally
considered by most of the scholars to be false and concocted. My opinion is
no different. There are two copies of his seven letters, the large and small.
Except for Mr. Weston and a few of his followers, all the scholars have
decided that additions have been made in the larger one, the smaller version,
however, can possibly be ascribed to him.
I have carefully made a comparative study of both the texts and my study
revealed that the smaller version was turned into a larger one by the
inclusion of many additions and insertions. It is not the case that the larger
was turned into the smaller through the exclusion of some of the contents.
The ancient writings, also, are more in accordance with the smaller version.
The question whether Ignatius really did write these letters remains to be
settled. There is great dispute and disagreement on this point. The great
scholars have made free use of their pens in expressing their opinions. The
study of the writing of both the camps has made the question all the more
complicated. However, in my opinion, this much is settled and decided; that
these are the same letter which were present in the time of Origen and were
read by Eusebius. Some of the sentences are not appropriate to the time of
Ignatius. It is therefore better if we accept that these sentences are later
additions instead of rejecting all the letters on the ground of these sentences,
especially keeping in view the crisis of shortage of copies which we are
It is also possible that some of the followers of Arius 36 might have made
additions to the smaller version just as they did to the larger Additions may also
have been made by others.
Paley writes in his footnotes:
“In the past, the translation of three letters of lgnatius were present in the
Syrian language and were printed by William Cureton. It is almost certain that the smaller letters, which were revised by Ussher, contained many
The above writings of the Christian scholars bring out the following facts:
1. All the letters except these seven letters are definitely fabricated and
forged according to the Christian scholars and are therefore unacceptable.
2. The larger version of the letters is similarly not genuine in the opinion of
all the scholars except Mr. Weston and a few of his followers.
3. As far as the smaller collection is concerned, there is great dispute and
difference of opinion among great scholars with regards to its
authenticity. Both the groups of scholars have their own arguments
against or in favour of its authenticity. The group of scholars who have
favored it also admit its having been subjected to later modifications their
by Arius or by others, with the result that this collection also appears to
be equally of doubtful authenticity.
It seems most probable that this collection of letters was also put together in
the third century AD similarly to the other letters. This should not present too
much of a surprise, in view of the general practice of the theologians of early
centuries who frequently prepared false writings and attributed to other writers
to suit their whims. Historical records bear witness to the fact that there were
not less than seventy-five gospels which were falsely attributed to Christ, to
Mary and to the Disciples of Christ. It does, therefore, not seem particularly far-
fetched to assert that these seven letters, too, were prepared and attributed to
Ignatius, similar to other such letters and similar to the gospel of Tatian 37
which was falsely attributed to him. Adam Clarke said in the introduction of his
The book which was genuinely ascribed to Tatian has disappeared and
the one which is now attributed to him is doubtful in the eyes of most of the
scholars, and they are right in their suspicion.
Let us ignore all the above points for a moment and take it that the 1etters in
question really were originally written by lgnatius. Even these does not help
much because, after the additions and modifications inserted by later people,
they have lost their originality and are no longer acceptable.
According to the scholars some sentences of these letters were certainly
added later on and so there is nothing to remove suspicion from other sentences
which are supposed by them to be original. They, likewise, might have been
added to or modified in subsequent times.
Eusebius said in chapter 23 of the fourth volume of his history:
Dionysius, the Bishop of Corinth, admitted that he had written several
letters on the request of some of his friends, but those deputies of Satan filled
them with profanities and altered some parts and added others. This made
me all the more, aggrieved. Therefore, there is no wonder if someone made
intentional additions in the holy books of our Lord, because they had no
qualms in respect of the books of other authorities.
Adam Clarke has said in his introduction to his commentary:
The great works of Origen have been lost and several of his
Commentaries which are available contain an abundance of unfactual and
imaginary comments which in itself is a powerful argument in favour of the
fact that they have been interpolated.”
Michael Musaka, a Protestant scholar, has said in his Arabic work,
Ajwibatu’l-Engeleer Ala Abateel-At-Taqleedeen, section one, chapter 10:
As far as their habit of distorting the statements of the ancients, we should
first produce our arguments so that our position may not be similar to these
of our opponents, that is to say, so that our claims may not be considered as
baseless as theirs. We proceed to say that the book Afshin which is attributed
to John Chrysostom, the Golden Mouth 38 and which is recited in the
churches during the services of consecration, presents different texts. That is,
the text recited by one group is different from the text recited by others. For,
in the copy of the Orthodox, the Father God is besought to make descend his
Holy Spirit on the bread and wine and turn them into flesh and blood, while
in the text of the Catholics it is said that he should send the Holy Ghost on
the bread and wine so that they may be transformed. But in the time of
Maximus, it was changed by the people and they started to say that both the
transformable things have fled away for the reason that the Orthodox had
claimed against it. But the Catholics of Syria say it with these words, ’Send
thy Holy Spirit upon this bread that is the secret of the body of Christ.’ There
is no word denoting transformation present in this text. It is possible that this
statement might have been of Chrysostom (the Golden Mouth) as the
preaching of transformation was not introduced in his time. And Major Bobi Tompter, who had converted to Catholicism said in his speech to the
Orthodox in 1722: ”I have compared these books with the Orthodox version
possessed by the Basilians, 39 and we did not find a single word in these
books denoting transformation. This story of transformation of the bread and
wine was invented by Nicephorus, the patriarch of Constantinople, and is
ridiculous. Now, when they could have made a play of such a pious text as
Afshin and altered its contents to suit their unholy intentions and when they
did not hesitate to attribute their distortions to such a pious man, how can
they be trusted and how can they be free from the suspicion of changing and
distorting the texts of their ancestors.
We have had our own experience in recent years that Deacon Ghariel of
Egypt, who was a Catholic, took great pains and spent a lot of money in
correcting the translation of the commentary of Chrysostom from the
original Greek copy. The Orthodox scholars, who were expert in the Greek
and Arabic languages, compared it in Damascus and testified to its accuracy,
and then a certified version was prepared. But Maximus did not allow its
publication in Tyre 40
This copy was given to Bishop Alexis of Spain who made a thorough
examination of the book. Both of them were totally ignorant of the original
Greek version. In order to make it correspond with the teachings of the Pope
they made many changes through additions and omissions using their own
discretion. Having so spoilt the whole book they attested to it with their
stamps and then it was allowed to be published. It was not until the
publication of its first volume, when it was compared with the original
manuscript which was in safe custody with the Orthodox, that their unholy
act of manipulation was uncovered, with the result that they became the
subject of common reproach. Ghariel was so appalled at this incident that he
never recovered and died of shock.
Musaka further said:
We produce the unanimous witness of their elders from one of the Arabic
books generally available there. This is a report which was unanimously
passed in a meeting, along with all its various parts, by the priests of the
Maronites, their patriarchs and scholars, with the permission of Monsignor
Samani. This report bears the seal of the Church of Rome. It was printed in
Tyre with the permission of the chiefs of the Catholics. Discussing the ritual
of the offerings this report said that the old liturgies were still present in the
churches, free from errors and faults, but they have been attributed to some saints and the pious men who were not the authors of these books, nor could
they possibly have written them. Some of them were included by the copiers
only to suit their unholy needs. It is more than enough for you to admit that
your churches are full of fabricated and forged writings.
He further said:
We are fully aware that our enlightened generation would not dare to
make alterations in the holy books, as they are fully wise to the fact that they
are watched by the eyes of the protectors of the gospels. However we are not
sure of the circumstances which prevailed from the fifth century to the
seventh century AD, known as the dark ages, when the Popes and the priests
enjoyed a barbarous kingdom of their own. Some of them did not even know
how to write and read and the helpless Christians of the East were living a
very distressed life, always anxious to save their souls. What happened in
that period is best known to them alone. Whenever we come to know the
history of that terrible age, and think of the conditions ruling over the
Christian church, which had become a symbol of corruption, our grief and
sorrow knows no limits.
Keeping in view the facts reproduced above, we leave the judgment to our
readers to see the truth of our claim themselves.
THE CANONS OF NICAEA
The number of the canons passed by the council of Nicaea 41 was twenty.
Subsequently many additions were made to them. The Catholics derive their
arguments for the Popes authority from Canons No. 37 and 44. It is written on
Page 68 and 69 of ’Les Treize Epitres’ of the second letter printed in 1849 AD:
The aforementioned council prescribed only twenty canons according to
the witness of the history of Theodorus and the writings of Gelasius. The
Fourth Ecumenical 42 council also affirmed that there were only twenty
Canons prescribed by the Council of Nice.
Similarly many other false books were written which were attributed to
several Popes like Calixtus, Sircius, Nectarius, Alexander and Marcellus. The
above book contains this statement on page 80:
Pope Leo and the majority of the Roman scholars have admitted that the
books of these Popes are false and fictitious.
ANSWER TO THE SECOND CLAIM OF THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE GOSPEL
The second false claim made by the Christian scholars in order to support the
authenticity of the gospels is their contention that the gospel of Mark was
written with the help of Peter. This is another clever contrivance to misguide the
general populace. Let us first have the wittiness of Irenaeus. He said:
Mark, the follower and the translator of Peter, wrote the teachings of
Peter after the death of Paul and Peter.
Lardner said in his commentary;
In my opinion Mark did not write his gospel before 63 or 64 AD. This
period is also in accordance with the description of the ancient writer
Irenacus, who said that Mark wrote his gospel after the death of Peter and
Paul. Basnage agreed with Irenaeus and said that Mark wrote his gospel in
66 AD after the death of Peter and Paul,
The witnesses of Basnage and Irenaeus are sufficient to prove that this
gospel was written after the death of Peter and Paul, and that Peter certainly did
not see the gospel of Mark 43 and the statement, often cited to prove that Peter
saw it, is weak and unacceptable. It is why Se author of Murshid ut-Talibeen, in
spite of all his religious preoccupations said on page 170 of his book printed in
He has falsely answered that the gospel of Mark was written under the
guidance of Peter.
This claim of its being written in the life of Peter has therefore no grounds
and hence, is rejected.
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