Categories
Internal Contradictions Of The Bible The Bible

Was Sarah The Sister of Abraham?

Ibn Hazm (994CE-1064CE) was a Muslim scholar of great repute in Cordoba during the Muslim Spain era and is widely regarded as the “Father of Comparative Religion”. In his celebrated magnum opus entitled Kitab al-Fasl fi al- Milal wa al-Ahwa’ wa al-Nihal, he predated modern Biblical textual criticism by several centuries and as Krentz admits, Ibn Hazm’s criticisms generally represents the first, albeit rudimentary, systematic historic criticism of the Bible1. He had demonstrated his prowess in Biblical textual criticism by giving many examples of internal contradictions of the Bible. The following Bible contradiction on the sister of Abraham is extracted from Muslim Understanding Of Other Religions: A Study of Ibn Hazm’s Kitab al-Fasl fi al-Milal wa al-Ahwa’ wa al-Nihal2 and insha’allah this will be part of an ongoing series to reproduce extracts of Ibn Hazm’s criticisms of the Bible and Christianity and we will make further elaboration on our part to refine his arguments and further strengthen our case against the Bible.

Was Sarah really the sister of Abraham? Ibn Hazm questions the status of Sarah as being Abraham’s sister as well as his wife, as accepting that viz., from the Biblical perspective, would result in various disagreements with other passages in the Old Testament concerning moral and theological issues that would contradict each other.

This is in reference to the stories of Sarah’s seizure by Pharaoh and Abime’elech which was narrated in Genesis 12:10-18 and Genesis 20, Genesis 17:17 and Genesis 20:1-18.

We cite the related passages on the story of the seizure of Sarah as follows.

Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sar’ai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful to behold; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared on your account.” When Abram entered Egypt the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, he-asses, menservants, maidservants, she-asses, and camels. But the LORD afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sar’ai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh called Abram, and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?3

From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abim’elech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abim’elech in a dream by night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man, because of the woman whom you have taken; for she is a man’s wife.” Now Abim’elech had not approached her; so he said, “Lord, wilt thou slay an innocent people? Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me; therefore I did not let you touch her. Now then restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you, and all that are yours.” So Abim’elech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told them all these things; and the men were very much afraid. Then Abim’elech called Abraham, and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” And Abim’elech said to Abraham, “What were you thinking of, that you did this thing?” Abraham said, “I did it because I thought, There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife. Besides she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. And when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come, say of me, He is my brother.'” Then Abim’elech took sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves, and gave them to Abraham, and restored Sarah his wife to him. And Abim’elech said, “Behold, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.” To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; it is your vindication in the eyes of all who are with you; and before every one you are righted.” Then Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abim’elech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. For the LORD had closed all the wombs of the house of Abim’elech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.4

From the passages that we have cited briefly above, Ibn Hazm raises the following objections which we note as follows:

    (a) it is inconceivable that a woman of more than 90 years5 was fair and attractive enough to have lured Abime’elech;
    (b) they told a lie to both the kings, i.e., that Sarah was Abraham’s sister, which is not acceptable for a Prophet of God to have told a lie;
    (c) if Sarah was really Abraham’s sister as the passages suggest, then either Abraham had violated the Mosaic Law which forbids one to marry one’s sister or that the Torah had abrogated Abraham’s Shari’ah, hence implying that there is abrogation which Jews and Christians vigorously deny6

Thus, based on the objections above pointed out by Ibn Hazm, we thus say that this story of Sarah being Abraham’s sister is not without inconsistency when conferred with the other passages in the Bible and thus this is an internal contradiction of the Bible with no clear answer.

It should also be mentioned in passing that Ibn Hazm had discussed the issue with a contemporary Jewish scholar of his era named Samuel Ben Joseph, or Ibn al-Naghrilah. The question of the sister/wife motif still remains a puzzing and disturbing question to modern Biblical scholars who consider it to be different strands of traditions which were woven together in confusion. Ibn al-Naghrilah had told Ibn Hazm that the word ukht (sister) as used in the passage means just a relative and not neccessarily a sister as understood by him. Ibn Hazm replied to this by citing Genesis 20:12 which reads as:

“Besides she is indeed my [Abraham’s] sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife.”

Needless to mention, this answer left Ibn al-Naghrilah confused and silent.7 Perhaps the today’s Christian missionaries should take a leaf from the example of Ibn al-Naghrilah and remain silent as well.

And only God knows best!

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Was Sarah The Sister of Abraham?," in Bismika Allahuma, March 14, 2007, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/bible/sister-of-abraham/
  1. Edgar Krentz, The Historical Critical Method (Fortress Press, 1975), p. 41 []
  2. See Ghulam Haider Aasi, Muslim Understanding Of Other Religions: A Study of Ibn Hazm’s Kitab al-Fasl fi al-Milal wa al-Ahwa’ wa al-Nihal (Adam Publishers, 2004), pp. 92-114 for extracts of Ibn Hazm’s major criticisms of the Pentateuch. []
  3. Genesis 12:10-18 []
  4. Genesis 20:1-18 []
  5. See Genesis 17:17 which indicated Sarah’s age: “Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” []
  6. Kitab al-Fasl, pt. 1, p. 135 []
  7. ibid. []
Categories
Bible Contradictions Internal Contradictions Of The Bible The Bible

Did Jesus, Mary and Joseph go to Egypt or to Nazareth?

In Matthew 2:14, we are told that Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Egypt:


    “When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt.”

Yet in Luke 2:39, they went to Nazareth after Jesus’ birth:


    “And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.”

It does not need a rocket scientist to inform us that these verses are contradictory and hence irreconcilable.

In their alleged reply to this irreconcilable error, the missionaries made the claim that:

    Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem to present the new born infant in the temple. From there, they went back to their home in Nazareth. A short time later, the holy family decided to return to Joseph’s ancestral hometown and Jesus’ birthplace, namely Bethlehem in Judea. This is where Matthew picks up. When the Magi found the child Jesus, he was already up to two years old. Being told in a dream about Herod’s desire to kill the child, Joseph left his home and took his family to Egypt until the death of Herod. Fearing that Herod’s son Archelaus would search them out if they returned to Bethlehem, the holy family once again returned to Nazareth and settled there.

We do not accept this explanation, simply because the two narratives in Matthew and Luke are vastly different in a number of details. As Brown himself notes:

…the two narratives are not only different – they are contrary to each other in a number of details. According to Luke 1:26 and 2:39 Mary lives in Nazareth , and so the census of Augustus is invoked to explain how the child was born in Bethlehelm, away from home. In Matthew there is no hint of a coming to Bethlehem, for Joseph and Mary are in a house at Bethlehem were seemingly Jesus was born (2:11). The only journey that Matthew has to explain is why the family went to Nazareth when they came from Egypt instead of returning to their native Bethlehem (2:22-39); this is irreconcilable with Matthew’s implication (2:16) that the child was almost two years old when the family fled from Bethlehem to Egypt and even older when the family came back from Egypt and moved to Nazareth…one must be ruled out, i.e., that both accounts are completely historical.1

In other words, only one of these narratives can be accepted as factual, and not both at the same time. Do note that Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem (2:6), the family’s flight to Egypt (2:14), Herod’s slaughter of the innocent children of Bethlehem (2:18), and the family’s decision to relocate in Nazareth (2:23) occur only in Matthew. Therefore, the more important question is if the missionary is bothered to know the fact that Luke, Mark and John do not mention these significant events. How could they miss mentioning these if they really did happen? Since the gospels circulated independently for quite some time, that means that many of the earliest Christians never got the oppurtunity to know of these stories. Those reading Luke, Mark and John, while they were independently circulating, certainly would not know of them.

Also, commenting upon the story in Matthew, Brown noted the following:

[t]here is no remembrance in the accounts of the ministry of Jesus of such an extraordinary event in this background [the flight to Egypt and massacre at Bethlehem – ed.], and a journey to Egypt is quite irreconcilable with Luke’s account of an orderly and uneventful return from Bethehem to Nazareth shortly after the birth of the child. An attempt has been made to detect independent support for an Egyptian sojourn in the Jewish stories of the second century which have Jesus going to Egypt…However, these stories introduce Egypt as a place where Jesus or his mother sought refuge because of the scandalous (adulterous) character of his birth and as a place where he became adept in black magic which he then used to decieve people. Most likely this is a Jewish polemic against the Gospel picture of Jesus (including the Matthean infancy narrative) and can scarcely be invoked as independent support for the historicity of that picture.2

It also needs to be noted that concerning Raymond Brown, his work on the infancy is the single most authoritative book on the subject, and he himself is a believing Christian scholar of immense repute. Now, if believing Christians cannot agree among themselves if certain passages are contradictory or not, then the missionary should first attempt to convince his own Christian scholars before worrying too much about the Muslims. The fact that Christians scholars themself hotly disagree on this matter indicates the problematic nature of the two accounts.

McDonald and Porter, two believing Christian scholars, also noted the differences in the narratives:

When we compare the birth stories in Matthew and Luke, we see that Matthew focuses on royalty (birth in a house, not a stable: the special gifts of the Magi from the east), while Luke focuses on the lowliness of the birth (the poor shepherds coming to the manger scene to witness the new birth: no room for Jesus in the inn). According to Matthew, evidently Joseph and Mary lived in Bethlehem after Jesus’ birth, and only after the threat to the life of the newborn child did they consider leaving Bethlehem, going first of all to Egypt and then to Nazareth. Luke tells nothing of the threat to Jesus’ life and indicates that Joseph and Mary originally came from Nazareth and returned there only after all that was necessary regarding purification and dedication of the child in the temple had taken place. Why does Matthew have Jesus taken down to Egypt while Luke simply says that Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth with their child? In Matt 2:22. Joseph was warned in a dream to go to Nazareth to avoid dealing with Herod Archelaus. Nothing of this kind of threat is found in Luke, Luke says nothing of the massacre of children in Matt 2. Why are these birth and infancy narratives so different? These questions are not easily answered, but it is probable that the construction of each of these accounts was based on a different theological agenda. Meier says that the point of these widely differing stories is that the church, not Mary or Jesus, wished to make the major theological point that “what Jesus Christ was fully revealed to be at the resurrection (Son of David, Son of God by the Power of the Holy Spirit) he really was from his conception onward.” Because of the considerable differences in these narratives and because they appear to serve early church apologetics. Many, if not most, critical scholars do not see much historical evidence for the life of Jesus in the birth stories of Matthew and Luke. But if the criterion of multiple attestation is taken seriously in light of the fact that the birth stories of Matthew and Luke appear to represent independent traditions, much more credibility should be given to various dimensions of the account. There are basic facts, such as the agreement that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and that Jesus’ birth took place during the reign of Herod the Great (Matt 2:1; Luke 1:50), who died ca. 5/4 B.C. There are also more significant factors-angelic visitations, the special circumstances of conception and visitors attesting to the special qualities of this child that should not be neglected. These point to the significance of Jesus for both Matthew and Luke.3

Again we note that Christians scholars have admitted the fact that there are significant and considerable differences in the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke. McDonald and Porter argue that the points where Matthew and Luke agree are historical, yet they do not deny that their stories nonetheless have many differences. If Matthew and Luke were using independent traditions, and if the reports and stories were true and historical, then how do we explain the presence of significant differences in their story of the birth of Jesus? As Raymond Brown mentions, Matthew and Luke had their theological agenda and views to sell, and so they coloured/tainted the reports and traditions to “prove” their theology. Obviously both reports cannot be true, one of them is fiction, or both are fictitious containing an element of historical truth in them.

In light of these evidence, we thus conclude that the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke are undoubtedly contradictory to one another, and this is hence a irreconcilable error. And only God knows best.

Addendum: Responding To A Missionary Obfuscation

Naturally, the missionaries, as per their tradition of welling hatred towards the noble Qur’an, attempt to erect this straw-man in order to avoid the embarrassment of the irreconcilable error in the birth narratives of Jesus. Our answer to the provocative Christian missionary questioning follows.

    How do you explain that in the Quran the person of Mary’s husband Joseph as well as the towns of Nazareth, Bethlehem and the journey to Egypt all disappeared?

According to the various scholars of the Bible, the above are fiction invented by the anonymous author of the Gospel according to Matthew. Therefore there is no point blaming the Qur’an for rightfully excluding these fiction. Therefore, what the Qur’an is “lacking” is fictitious stories concocted by the authors of the Gospels.

So the question that should be asked now is that did the journey ever take place or was it an invention of the anonymous gospel author to “prove” and make his theological point? It is important to note how the author of Matthew made use of the Jewish Bible and molded some of its contents to “prove” his theology. A male child is born to Jewish parents, a tyrant ruler (Herod) learns of this and sets out to destroy him. The child is supernaturally protected from harm and is taken to Egypt. He then leaves Egypt to pass through the waters (of baptism) and goes into wilderness to be tested for a long time. Later he goes up on a mountain and delivers God’s law to those who have been following him. We see that Matthew shaped the stories pertaining to Jesus(P) to “show” that Jesus'(P) life was a fulfillment of the stories of Moses(P) (cf. Exodus 1-20). Matthew’s target market were the Jewish readers. No one can ignore these parellels. Herod is made into a Pharoah-like ruler, Jesus’ baptism is like Moses crossing the Red Sea, the forty days of temptation are like the forty years the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, and the sermon on the mount is like the law of Moses delievered on Mount Sinai. Jesus(P) is therefore portrayed by Matthew as the “new” Moses, come to set his people free from their bondage and give them new law and teachings. In order to present this picture of Jesus(P), the author of Matthew had to colour the traditions he used. Therefore not everything within his gospel is historical.

    but has it ever bothered him that the Quran is lacking so much information?

No, it has never bothered us to know that the Qur’an lacks the fictitious information of the gospels. We hope that this answer satisfies the missionary.

A more important question is if it has ever bothered the missionary that Herod’s slaughter of the children of Bethlehem is not mentioned in Luke? How could something so significant escaped the notice of Luke, who is supposed to be a “reliable” historian, and even Mark? What about the visit of the Magi, why is that only mentioned in Matthew and not in the other gospels? Why did the other gospels fail to mention such an important story in their writings if it did take place? Matthew even states that the King and all Jerusalem was upset over the birth of the Messiah in Jerusalem! If this is historical, then why has it not left any traces in Jewish records and elsewhere in the New Testament?

    This is all the more striking in this case, since the vast majority of all verses in the Quran speaking about Jesus deal with his miraculous birth.

The verses of the Qur’an dealing with the birth of the Messiah, Jesus(P) are collected here. The Qur’an mentions the miraculous birth of Jesus(P), that he was born to a virgin, and mentions that he was not the divine son of God or God, that he asked people to worship God whom he worshipped and accept him as His messenger. The Qur’an stays to the point, does not mention the fictions within the gospels, states who Jesus(P) was and rejects the lies attributed to him by the Christians, unlike the gospels whose anonymous authors had to distort traditions to “prove” and “support” their theology.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Did Jesus, Mary and Joseph go to Egypt or to Nazareth?," in Bismika Allahuma, October 15, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/bible/egypt-or-nazareth/
  1. Raymond E. Brown, The Birth Of The Messiah (Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1997), p. 36 []
  2. ibid., pp. 225-226 []
  3. Lee Martin Mc Donald & Stanley E. Porter, Early Christianity and Its Sacred Literature (Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 2000), p. 122 []
Categories
Op-Ed

What I Did Not Say And The Missionary Myopia

Introduction

There are those who say that lying and deceiving is at the soul of all crime and that Christianity epitomizes these traits more than any other faith.1 As proof of their assertion they often quote Paul of Tarsus, arguably the true founder of Christianity, who is recorded to have said, “But if through my falsehood God’s truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? Any why not do evil that good may come? – as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.” (Romans 3:7-8)

While I want to exclude myself as one who would condemn an entire religious tradition based on such statements, I must admit that the temptation is too great when I see how the fanatics of evangelical Christianity, the bigots with their highly bloated ‘holier than thou’ notion of moral superiority, often try to set hallmarks of lying and deceptions. To these xenophobic bigots, there is nothing good in Islam, Qur’an and Muhammad (S) – the religion, the Scripture and the Prophet of Muslims; dialogue with Islam is out of question. The mere acceptance of Islam as a “go-between” Judaism and Christianity would be “disastrous”, especially now that “relations between Jews and Evangelical Christians in America are flowing smoothly.” To them, “if Muslims were to join the dialogue, then they must leave their holy book far behind them in public, especially in areas of legislation. Islamic law must never be considered in deliberations, for it is too harsh and barbaric.”

By the way, none of the above quoted statements are mine, but comes from a die-hard Christian missionary. Soon after my speech at Vanderbilt University on the subject of “Islam and Coexistence” got posted in the Internet, this activist reacted vehemently with his 13-page polemical writing and silly propaganda objecting to what he calls my ‘errors and omissions’ — what “I should have said at Vanderbilt” -– obviously asserting my speech as a “non-speech”. I must admit that I was unaware of the existence of this propagandist before some of my readers pleaded that I should respond. I told them that I try to avoid participating in debates on comparative religion for the mere fact that they often burn more bridges than I can ever afford to build. After realizing that the Christian polemist’s writing display a penchant for anti-Muslim bigotry, I relented.

Some background information on my speech. A few weeks before the event, when the organizers of the Interfaith Coalition of Nashville contacted me to represent Islam, I politely suggested that they should instead contact Dr. Robert D. Crane.2 Apparently, he turned them down, and I ended up speaking on the subject of “Islam and Co-existence”.

Like other speakers, I was allotted only 15 minutes to cover such an important and vast subject, especially in the aftermath of 9/11 when interests are high to learn about Islam. Oddly, none of the other speakers said anything from their own scriptures, talking only on generalities.

During the question and answer session, when I tried to respond to a question from the audience, some bigots from the rabidly anti-Muslim Jihad Watch group tried to disturb me. They were arrogant and rude. They won’t allow me to respond to the question and instead insisted that I answered their question first. When I provided the answer from the Qur’an, they won’t yield because it did not agree with their poisonous and confused “learning” about Islam, thanks to Spencer and his ilk. When I challenged them to prove me wrong from the Qur’an, they didn’t have anything to say other than rambling that they did not “believe” me. I told them that they were entitled to their erroneous opinion and that I must answer the question posed to me first. They stared angrily at me before leaving the conference room.

This incident once again demonstrates what kind of malicious and bigoted sermons and hate literature many Christians are now fed about Islam. Naturally, the merchants of Christian religion have found that selling the poisonous pills of bigotry and Armageddon is much more lucrative to their coffers than communion breads!

In what follows, I shall discuss some major themes raised by the Christian missionary. Other issues have long been answered by me and others.

A. Violence:

The evangelical Christian missionary was not gay about the selection of verses from the Qur’an that exemplified coexistence with people of other faiths.3 He would rather have me quote the verses from the Surah at-Tawbah, which were revealed about the anti-Muslim mushriqs of Arabia so as to prove how intolerant Islam is or its prophet Muhammad (S) was. As I have explained many times, all the scriptures have their share of violent passages. The Qur’an does not have a monopoly there. As a matter of fact its share of violent passages is insignificant compared to those in the Bible.4 If such passages in the Qur’an make the Prophet of Islam a violent man, then most of the great personalities in the Bible, from Jacob to Moses to David to Jesus were no less violent individuals.

When Christian zealots shield those Biblical violent verses from a comparable critique, and yet demand a different set of rules for Muslims, it is intellectual dishonesty. Such a norm is exemplary of the ancient Latin phrase: Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi –- which means “what is allowed to Jupiter is not allowed to the cattle”. Therefore, I am not too surprised to see how these Judeo-Christian fanatics always relegate the role of cattle to others. It is in this pompous vein that the propagandist complains:

    But Siddiqui makes some errors and omissions. He assumes, for example, that Jim Jones of the Guyana mass suicide and David Koresh of the Waco incineration were Christians, but they were not. They deviated far from the New Testament and its teaching of love demonstrated by Jesus Christ.

How wonderful! Zarqawi and OBL are Muslims, but Jim Jones and David Koresh are not Christians! They might as well be Muslims (for the sake of deceiving missionaries)! So must be Hitler!

How about King Richard, the so-called “Lion-Heart”? Wasn’t he a Christian when he killed 3000 Muslim prisoners of war in Accre?5 How about all those mass-murderers in history who professed Christianity? To those fanatics: genocide, murder, mayhem, rape and plunder were no predicament but God’s vengeance brought about by faithful upholders of Christianity who were inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit!

I shall have no problem discussing the Qur’anic verses that are violent in nature when my counterparts are willing to wash their dirty laundry in the open. In the meantime, let them reflect on the instruction enunciated in the gospel according to Matthew (7:1): Judge not that ye not be judged.

The Jesuit asks: when did Jesus and his first generation of Christians take up arms to kill people or to impose a dhimmi tax on those who refused to submit? My question is: did Jesus run the affairs of his people? If not, how can he be compared with someone who did? The actions of Muhammad (S) should, in all fairness, be compared with prophets of the Bible who held similar responsibilities –- the likes of Moses.6 When we do that we’ll find Muhammad’s (S) and his ashab’s (Companions) treatment of the conquered people was far superior. In contrast to the Biblical prophets who killed all people, including infant males and unarmed women who had known (sex with) men (see, e.g., Numbers 31:17-18), except virgins, Muhammad (S) instructed his army not to kill any old man, unarmed civilian, child and woman.7 They were also instructed not to demolish homes, nor to destroy cattle and trees. So, if death is better than life, then the so-called dhimmi tax would be construed as being worse than murder.8910

The Biblical prophets also burned down the cities of the conquered people (see, e.g., Numbers 31:10).

In spite of many leadership shortcomings (e.g., being rejected by his own people), the portrayal of Jesus in the so-called New Testament is not the “love-all” and “forgive-all” kind of personality that the Church would have us believe. He appears rude (John 2:4, Matt. 12:48, Mark 3:33-4), mean-spirited (Matt. 15:26, 17:17, 23:33-5), offensive (John 8:44, Matt. 23:13-29), abusive (Matt. 12:39, 23:23-9, Luke 11:44), disrespectful (Matt. 11:21-3, 16:4, 23:13-9), divisive (Matt. 10:35, Luke 14:26), racist (Matt. 15:26) and prone to violence (Matt. 10:34; Mark 11:15; Luke 12:49-53, 19:27, 22:36). He is even tempted by the devil (Mark 1:13, Luke 4:2). He commands stealing (Matt. 21:1-3, Luke 19:29-34), and may even be a homosexual (Mark 14:49-52, John 13:23). [Na ‘oozu billah!]

The apocryphal Gospel of Thomas puts the following words in Jesus’s mouth: “I shall destroy this house and no one will be able to (re)build it.” The depiction of Jesus during his second coming is anything but flattering or peaceful.11

The early history of Christianity in the pre-Constantine era (324-337 CE) is not immune from violence either. It is a history of heresy, riots, torture, torment, extortion, competition/rivalry, excommunications, banishments and assassination.12 It is therefore not difficult to understand the statement of James in the NT: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not; ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. … Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? .., Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” (James 4:1-8)13

The situation did not improve much even after Christianity was adopted as the state religion. The Roman emperor Justinian (332-63 CE) described the “love” of Christians for each other in this way: “I experienced that even beasts of prey are not that hostile minded to human beings than Christian sinners to each other.”14 With state backing, Christianity soon revealed its “my way or highway” type mentality annihilating all competing faiths from vast territories it came to control. There was to be no rivalry, no qualification to the rigid unity of the Church.

During his reign Catholic emperor Flavius Theodosius (346-395 CE) took severe measures against Arianism and the surviving remnants of paganism. In 388 a prefect was sent around Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor for the purpose of destroying temples and breaking up pagan associations; it was then that the Serapeum at Alexandria was destroyed. He prohibited pagan religion and introduced heavy financial penalties.15 The imperial decree stated: “We command that those persons who follow this rule shall embrace the name of Catholic Christians. The rest, however, whom We adjudge demented and insane, shall sustain the infamy of heretical dogmas, their meeting places shall not receive the name of churches, and they shall be smitten first by divine vengeance and secondly by the retributions of Our own initiative, which We shall assume in accordance with the divine judgment.” And later, with regards to pagan houses of worships, he decreed: “We command that all their fanes, temples, and shrines, if even now any remain entire, shall be destroyed by the command of the magistrates, and shall be purified by the erection of the sign of the venerable Christian religion.”

These codes resulted in further legislation, culminating in the death penalty for non-Christians in 435 CE. All citizens had to belong to the authorized “Catholic” Christianity, except Jews who were permitted to practice in places isolated from the rest of the population. Between 429 and 439 CE some 150 different laws were enacted defining and defending the “Catholic faith.” Church lands were made exempt from taxation and bishops immune to chastisement.

Theological support for repression of religious plurality was formally indoctrinated by St. Augustine (354-430 CE), Bishop of Hippo.16 As part of his hostility to the Donatist heresies, he formulated his doctrine of Cognite intrare (Italian: costringali ad entrare, meaning: “compel them to enter”), which was used throughout the Middle Ages to justify the suppression of differences and tyranny against the dissenters. Augustine stated: “The wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy. To love with sternness is better than to deceive with gentleness… In Luke 14:23 it is written: ‘Compel people to come in!’ By threats of the wrath of God, the Father draws souls to the Son.”17

The interested reader may like to read the book: The Dark Side of Christian History by Helen Ellerbe for an account. Excerpt from chapter 8 reads: “The Reformation did not convert the people of Europe to orthodox Christianity through preaching and catechisms alone. It was the 300 year period of witch-hunting from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, what R.H. Robbins called “the shocking nightmare, the foulest crime and deepest shame of western civilization,”…that ensured the European abandonment of the belief in magic. The Church created the elaborate concept of devil worship and then, used the persecution of it to wipe out dissent, subordinate the individual to authoritarian control, and openly denigrate women.”

So my suggestion to these myopic missionaries who seem to suffer from chronic mental ailment of “cognitive dissonance” is: before you nitpick the Qur’an by cherry-picking violent passages you ought to study your own scripture first and make an objective evaluation. Truly, if you are looking for violence, you don’t have to go beyond your own Bible. It is arguably the most violent book in the annals of human history.

B. Slavery:

Writing on slavery, the Jesuit alleges, “Moreover, the Quran endorses slavery—not merely permits it because it was too deeply entrenched in society. Muhammad himself traded in slaves.” He continues, “The slave trade was lucrative for Muhammad and his original Islam. It traded in slaves throughout its history…”

There is not an iota of truth in his assertions. Instead if the Jesuit had studied his own Bible well, he should have seen how it endorsed and encouraged slavery: “You may possess slaves, but make sure they are foreigners. You may also make slaves of the natives who dwell among you and from their children who are born and reared in your land. You may own them as chattels and leave them to your sons as their hereditary property, making them slaves forever. But you should not lord it over your own countryman, your own kinsmen.” [Lev. 25:44-46] (See also: Deut. 21:10) Even in the NT, not a single statement can be found in Jesus’s mouth that comes close to uprooting slavery. (See also: 1 Timothy 6:1, 1 Peter 2:18, Col. 3:22 for endorsement of slavery.)

The ancient world was deeply entrenched into slavery, and the Arab society in Muhammad’s (S) time was no exception. The pagan aristocracy in Makkah, Jewish landowners and merchants in Madinah and many wealthy Christian Arabs were slave owners.18 Most of the early believers in Muhammad’s (S) message of pure monotheism, on the other hand, were slaves, who were brutally tortured for their faith by their non-Muslim slavers. It became, thus, incumbent upon the Prophet (S) and his Companions (notably Abu Bakr and Uthman – may Allah be pleased with them) to free those slaves. Muhammad (S) bought freedom of 63 former slaves, A’isha (RA) 67, Abbas (RA) 70, Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) 1000 and Abdur Rahman ibn Awf 30,000.19 It was no wonder that some of the best-known Muslims and soldiers in the defense of Islam were these former slaves and their children.20

The Qur’an unequivocally makes it clear that no man, irrespective of his status (including a prophet), can enslave any other human being: “It is not (possible) for any human being unto whom Allah had given him the Scripture and wisdom and ‘Nabuwah’ (Prophethood) that he should afterwards have said unto mankind: Be slaves of me instead of Allah …” [3:79]

Thus, Islam’s credit lies in being the only major religion to curtailing slavery and encouraging emancipation of slaves.21 Following the dictates of the Qur’an, personal and public wealth from zakat fund and the Baitul-Mal was used for manumitting slaves.22 Here are some relevant Traditions (ahadith) encouraging emancipation of slaves, Muslims and non-Muslims alike:

  • “A person who frees a Muslim slave, Allah will deliver every one of his limbs from the fire of Hell in return for each of the limbs of the slave, even his private organs for the sake of the freed slave’s organs.” – Muhammad (S) [Bukhari and Muslim: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]
  • “The atonement for beating or slapping a slave (Muslim or non-Muslim) on the face, for no fault of his, is that he should be set free.” – Muhammad (S) [Muslim: Ibn Umar (RA)]
  • “Give food to the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and release (set free) the one in captivity (by paying his ransom).” – Muhammad (S) [Bukhari: Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (RA)]
  • “Allah the Most High said, I will be the opponent of three persons on the Day of Resurrection. They are the one who makes a covenant in My name and then prove treacherous. Or the one who sells a free person (Muslim or non-Muslim) as a slave and appropriates his price for himself. And the one who hires a laborer and having taken full work from him, fails to pay him his wages.” – Muhammad (S) [Hadith Qudsi, Bukhari: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]
  • “There are three people whose prayers are not accepted. And one of these three is a man who enslaves a free person (Rajulun iitabada muharraran).” – Muhammad (S) [Abu Dawud]
  • “No son can repay his father unless he finds him as a slave and purchases him and sets him free.” – Muhammad (S) [Muslim: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]

As hinted earlier, many of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (S) were freed slaves who went on to become great leaders of the Islamic community. Bilal the Abyssinian became the first caller to Islam [note: the position of mu’addhin is next to the imam]. Ammar ibn Yathir was from Yemen, Salman al-Farsi was from Persia, Suhayb al-Rumi was from Byzantium. Many of the rulers in Muslim territories were freed slaves and their descendants.

On the other hand, throughout our known history, many of the notorious slave traders (including those involved in the Atlantic slave trade) were Christians and Jews.23 To them, the fate of dark-skinned (African) race was sealed with Genesis 9:25: “And he [Noah] said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” (See also Joshua 16:10.) The Church did not believe that Africans possessed human souls.24 Not surprisingly, when the British Crown asked the Christian clergy for supporting documents to justify the slave trade, they readily found them within the Bible.

Dr. George Best, a non-Muslim historian, says, “Christianity did not object to slavery. Politically or economically, it did not encourage the believers to oppose the traditions of their generations as regards slavery. Christianity did not even discuss the problem and said nothing against the rights of slave owners. It did not urge slaves to demand their freedom and did not basically ask to free the slaves.”

Nor should we forget that the movement to abolish slavery in Europe and America is rather a new phenomenon and dates back only to the 19th century,25 nearly 1200 years after Islam forbade taking any free man as a slave (see Imam Bukhari’s chapter: Baab Ithm man ba’a hurr wa akala thamanahu). Even with the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 in the British Parliament, the practice of owning slaves continued for another century in the West. The Grand Larousse of the 19th century reads: “Man does not wonder at the presence of slavery and its being common among the Christians till now. The religious representatives approve it and believe that it is legal. In brief Christianity approves it completely till our time and it is very hard to prove that Christianity tried to abolish slavery.”

Unfortunately, modern-day slavery still exists today in one form or another, e.g., sex labors in many parts of the world, captives or prisoners of war held in many parts of the world, forced labor in Burma and China, and slave camps run by the SPLA and Lord’s Army.

Diversion has always been a favorite ploy utilized by shrewd strategists to divert attention. Imperialists and their agents have successfully used it to colonize and mislead others.26 This tactic still has tremendous appeal among the modern-day empire dreamers. So, as it was during the pre-colonial days of Africa, we were bombarded not too long ago with allegations that the northern Sudanese were enslaving the southern animists and Christians. Thanks to the CBS program which unearthed the hoax of slave emancipation by the Christian Solidarity, now we know that there is no truth to these allegations. The program established that the Christian SPLA and Lord’s Army routinely practice this crime by enslaving free people (against their own kind in Sudan and Uganda) and trading thereafter for money and arms. It is a lucrative business for these savages and their western/Christian patrons to slicing Sudan and establishing their zone of influence. For years, these criminals used every means at their disposal, including heinous propaganda campaigns and arms shipment, to encourage secession movement in the southern Sudan. [See the link in http://www.sudanembassy.org/ for a CBS interview with Dan Rather on the hoax of The Sudan Slave Trade.27

C. Treatment of Jews:

To prove Islam’s alleged mistreatment of Jews, the Jesuit provides a link to Spencer’s hate literature. As have been repeatedly demonstrated by many scholars he simply cannot be relied upon to provide the truth on anything pertaining to Islam and Muslims.28 He is a merchant of hatred – an Islamophobic maniac. Period! Scores of Jewish scholars and historians can be cited, including Ben-Sasson29 and Abba Eban30 to prove him unreliable, hostile and lying.

Let me quote from the scholarly work, A History of the Jewish People, edited by Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson (Harvard University Press, 1976), an Israeli historian:

“The height of magnificence and luxury was reached by the wealthy Jews in the lands of Islam, particularly in Moslem Spain. We know that the court bankers of Baghdad in the tenth century kept open house for numerous guests and for the poor. Similarly, the ceremonies of the Jewish leaders in Babylonia [Iraq] and the patronage of the leading Jews in Moslem Spain, indicate conditions of ease and plenty.

“The attitude toward these non-Moslems in the Islamic territories was shaped in principle in accordance with the concept of dhimma, meaning protection granted to them by agreement or treaty… In return, their lives and property were protected and, in accordance with the general attitude of Islam to infidels, they were assured liberty of faith and worship. They were also permitted to organize themselves as they wished, and the Jews fully availed themselves of that permission.

“From the Jewish viewpoint, this conglomerate of Moslem attitudes to infidels was easier to live with than the one that had been established by Christianity, particularly in the Byzantine Empire. As we have noted above, for hundreds of years the overwhelming majority of Jews lived in the Islamic territories. Although it is possible to perceive some Christian impact on the Moslem attitude towards non-believers and even towards the Christians themselves, the moderation with which the Moslems applied this influence proved to be of great importance to the majority of Jewry over a long period. Unlike the masses of Christians and pagans who joined the Moslems over the first half century or so, the overwhelming majority of the Jews under Moslem rule held firmly to their own faith.”31

As to the settlement and economic activity in the 16th and 17th centuries and the establishment of the Sephardic Diaspora in the Ottoman Empire, the above book states:

“A considerable stream of exiles from Spain overflowed into the Ottoman Empire. Once the latter had annexed Erez Yisrael, it became a lodestone for Marranos who wished to repent and return to their former faith…. The sultan at the time of the expulsion, Bayezid, welcomed the refugees fleeing from the fanatical Christians. As recorded by a Jewish contemporary ‘the Sultan sent men ahead, and spread the word through his kingdom in writing as well, declaring that none of his officers in any of his cities dare to drive the Jews out or expel them, but all of them were to welcome the Jews cordially.’ It can be assumed that this imperial protection and the order granting right of domicile were issued through the influence of the leaders of the long-established Jewish community in the Ottoman Empire… Success was not restricted exclusively to medical and court circles. It seems that in the Ottoman Empire it was felt that the absorption of the exiles from the West provided social, cultural and even military advantages… The exiles gradually dispersed throughout the main cities of the Empire. Many synagogues were to be found in Constantinople during the sixteenth century. In this city they settled in quarters where Jews had not formerly resided. Salonika also became one of their main centres, and similarly Adrianople and Smyrna (Izmir). The exiles also established themselves in smaller cities. Expulsions from southern Italy helped to diversify the Jewish community and increase the various congregations in the Empire.”32

What is clear is that historically the relationship between Jews and Muslims living under Muslim Sultans was rather amicable and, that even in places like Palestine, Muslim people did not have any problem with Jews living there. The relationship soured only after the Balfour Declaration (1917) when the British allowed European Jews to colonize Palestine.33

As to the matter of jizya imposed on Jews, one simply has to read European history about what had happened to the European Jewry who sought protection from the Christian royalty in the medieval times. In return for royal protection during the first two Crusades, German Jews were made ‘serfs of the Imperial Chamber’ and were required to pay vast sums of ‘protection money’ for this privilege. Those Jews eventually became a very real source of royal revenue. As the king’s property, they could be – and were – bought, loaned and sold, to pay off creditors. The custom spread to other European countries. Church leaders justified this status theologically on the basis of earlier Church teaching that the Jews were doomed to eternal servitude for having crucified their lord – Jesus Christ.34

Unfortunately, the protection for which the Jews paid such a hefty price in Europe did not always materialize. For instance, before setting out for the 3rd Crusade the Crusaders plundered the possessions of the Jews, who had fled into the royal castle where they were besieged by the warriors – many of whom were deeply in debt to their quarry. In York, England, the climax was reached when a stone, thrown from the castle, killed a Christian monk. A battle cry was raised urging the people to “destroy the enemies of Christ.” When the Jews saw the fury of the besiegers and felt their fate to be sealed, they took their own lives, cutting one another’s throats. When the mobs gained access to the tower, the few Jews left, who begged for baptism and deliverance, were slaughtered. The total casualties have been estimated variously from 500 to 1500. From this scene of carnage, the attackers converged on the cathedral and burned all the records of financial obligations to the Jews kept in its archives.35

Writing in 1135, the French scholar Pierre Abelard has a European Jew in “Dialogue between a Philosopher, a Jew, and a Christian” spoke these words:

“No nation has ever suffered so much for God. Dispersed among all nations, without king or secular ruler, the Jews are oppressed with heavy taxes as if they had to repurchase their very lives every day. To mistreat the Jews is considered a deed pleasing to God. Such imprisonment as is endured by the Jews can be conceived by the Christians only as a sign of God’s utter wrath. The life of the Jews is in the hands of their worst enemies. Even in their sleep they are plagued by nightmares. Heaven is their only place of refuge. If they want to travel to the nearest town, they have to buy protection with the high sums of money from the Christian rulers who actually wish for their death so that they can confiscate their possessions. The Jews cannot own land or vineyards because there is nobody to vouch for their safekeeping. Thus, all that is left them as a means of livelihood is the business of money-lending, and this in turn brings the hatred of Christians upon them”36

Bottom line: the status of a dhimmi in a Muslim-run state was much better compared to that of a Jew living in Christian-run Europe.

There is no denying that the Jewish tribe of Bani Quraiza was punished by the Prophet of Islam. But can Muhammad (S) be blamed for their treason? They were punished not for rejecting Muhammad (S) as the last Prophet (nabi) of Allah, but for their confessed crime against the nascent Islamic state, and judged by their own laws, by their appointed judge. My question is: was Musa [Moses] (AS) more merciful to the Jews when he and his faithful disciples killed 3000 misguided Children of Israel (Exodus 32:28)? [See Md. Saidul Islam’s “Were the Jews maltreated by Prophet Muhammad, or vice-versa?” for a good analysis.]

A closer scrutiny will show that the verses in the Qur’an that castigated Jews of Madinah for their nefarious activities were comparatively milder than those found in the Bible (see, e.g., the Books of Isaiah, Micah, Hosea and Ezekiel, and especially those of Jesus in the so-called NT).37

D. Israel and cost of progress:

As any evangelical Christian-Zionist would be expected these days, the Jesuit missionary is very gay to report about the “progress” of the colonizing enterprise – Israel. He does not tell us that the land was stolen in a landmark Christian-Zionist conspiracy from its native people and given to outsiders from Europe (mostly Kharazites) who had no claim. He also does not tell us that the so-called progress of Israel has been costing America billions of dollars. The latter’s naked support of the rogue state has given us the cliché: the tail that wags the dog! [Interested readers may like to read John Mearsheimer and Stephan Walt’s recently published work “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,” London Review of Books, March 2006, to understand Israel’s harmful effect.]

E. Status and Worship:

Commenting on the Qur’anic verse 98:4-6, the Jesuit says, “This implies that the Bible is inferior. Verse five says that Jews and Christians must do salat (prayer five times a day) and give zakat (required charity).” Such comments once again show that he needs to study the Bible before getting jumpy with the Qur’an. Don’t Jews and Christians pray and pay alms?38 Didn’t Jesus pray also (Mark 1:35, 14:35-39; Matt. 26:39-44)? So why complain? Interestingly, he is very upset about the Qur’an having put the idolaters in the same sentence as the people of the Book, as can be seen in the last phrase of the next statement where he says, “Verse six categorizes unbelievers among the People of the Scripture (= the Bible) with idolaters, the most impure of all humans.” It is no coincidence that the Biblical prophets killed the idolaters en masse whereas, after the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet of Islam announced a general amnesty against the idolaters. (See, e.g., Exodus 22:20 – “Anyone who sacrificed to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed.”)

F. Law of Retaliation:

The Jesuit makes a fool of himself when he alleges, “Siddiqui omits Sura 5:45, which imposes retaliation, literal eye for an eye. Would radical Muslims want to impose this around the world?” The Qur’anic verse in question talks about the retaliatory laws of the Books of the Children of Israel, e.g., Exodus (21:23-5), Leviticus (24:20) and Deut. 19:21. If the Christian missionary had an open mind, and not the kind of obsessed mind he had demonstrated, he could have noticed the clear preference enunciated in the Qur’an in the very next sentence within the same verse 5:45, which states, “But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself.” As has been noted by Karen Armstrong every harsh verse in the Qur’an is followed by those that seek compassion and not retaliation. The Qur’anic message is of moderation, and not extremes. Muslims are, thus, called upon to be a “middle” nation (ummatan wasatan).

G. Morality:

Let me now touch upon the matter of the Judeo-Christian morality in the Bible of which the Jesuit is convinced that Islam cannot contribute anything. Let us look at this haughty assertion from the Bible itself.

  • A prophet is reported to have committed sex with his own daughters.
  • A prophet is reckoned to have committed adultery with another man’s wife.
  • A prophet indulges in calf-worship.
  • A prophet’s son impregnates his own son’s wife and becomes the father of twin sons who are to become father of great prophets to come later (e.g., David, Solomon and Jesus). Yet this son is blessed by the prophet. Another son commits fornications with the prophet’s consort.
  • A prophet abandons his faith in one True God and take to idolatry and builds idol temples.
  • One of the prophets wrongly attributes his own false statements to God.

Need I continue any further to show how hollow such assertions about superiority of Judeo-Christian morality sound?39

Jesuit Christians give the impression that celibacy is preferred over marriage for the clergy. Yet a reading of the so-called New Testament gives the impression that the disciples of Jesus may not have abstained from sex (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:6, 1 Cor. 9:5). There are now claims that Jesus himself may not have been celibate either.

As hinted earlier, according to early Christian fathers, truth is called falsification and vice-versa. In a Gnostic Gospel, an early Christian Theodore asks Clement of Alexandria (150-215 CE) – an early Church father – the veracity of the recorded message that Jesus was a homosexual (na ‘oozu billah). In reply, Clements writes, “To them, therefore, as I said above, one must never give way; nor, when they put forward their falsifications, should one concede that the secret Gospel is by Mark, but should even deny it on oath.”40

There are Christian churches in the USA that ordain gay and lesbian priests and draw their legitimacy from such claims. One simply wonders if sodomy and other forms of sexual abuse of children by Christian priests draw their moral justification from such records of Jesus’s life (na ‘oozu billah)! Evidence suggests that many instances of child abuse by clergy were not one-time, isolated incidents. Shielded by a church culture of secrecy, some priests preyed upon numerous victims during multiple parish assignments. Church records have revealed stories of many other repeat abusers, including priests who traded drugs for sex with minors, fathered children, and physically assaulted their victims. In the case of almost every predator priest, church officials had reports of abusive behavior, but allowed the priests to remain in ministry. In many cases, accused priests were sent for brief periods of psychological evaluation and then returned to parishes — where they abused again.41

According to Catholic moral theology42 (for ordained priests), priests can have sex three times a year (for details consult: St. Alphonsus Liguori’s work.43). In a 1983 doctoral thesis by Richard Blackmon, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner and 38% admitted to other sexualized contact with a parishioner.44 In separate denominational surveys, 48% of United Church of Christ female ministers and 77% of United Methodist female ministers reported having been sexually harassed in church.45 17 percent of laywomen said that their own pastor had sexually harassed them. Ten percent of Protestant pastors had been sexually active with an adult parishioner.

According to the dictates of the NT, the Church does not allow divorce (Matt. 5:32). This ruling has contributed to illicit sexual relationship. Surveys by Baltimore psychologist and marital researcher Shirley Glass showed that 25% of wives and 44% of husbands in the USA at one time or another have had sexual relationship outside of marriage (USA Today, Jan. 9, 2003).46 It does not take a psychologist to understand the effect of unhappy marriage on crimes that is glued by Church edicts! [The leading cause of death of pregnant women in the USA is murder (CNN, Dec. 14, 2004).]

One-third of all U.S. children are born out of wedlock. One-half of all U.S. children will live in a one-parent house (CNN, Dec. 10, 2004). A recent survey in UK showed that the proportion of children born outside marriage has leapt from 12% in 1980 to 42% in 2004, according to the Office for National Statistics. In contrast, 15 other EU countries had an estimated average of 33%, the annual ONS’ Social Trends report said.47 In the USA, 70% of all black children are born out of wedlock. Sixty-five percent of never-married black women have children, double that for white women.48

As to violence, rape, murder, the less said the better. The crime statistics in any major city in the USA is sure to dwarf crime rates in many eastern countries.49

One simply wonders how much of all these immoral and criminal activities in the Christian society draw their inspiration from the Christian teaching of vicarious atonement, so tersely articulated by our Jesuit propagandist: “I do not believe that my good works get me into heaven. Only Christ’s good work on the cross does this – a bodily and literal crucifixion that the Qur’an denies in Sura 4:157!”

Succinctly speaking, Christianity has no moral high ground and has failed abysmally.50

Conclusions

In closing, let me say that unlike Christianity, which is responsible for breeding a society devoid of any moral obligation through its notion of original sin and the accompanying theology of vicarious atonement, Islam preaches individual accountability for oneself. Its practicality, notions of peace, justice and pluralism put it on a serious level to have a genuine dialogue of civilizations.51 Bigotry and racism should not stand in the way of the West to open that dialogue. They need it more than they are willing to admit it.

Islam, more than any other religion, embodies the concept of coexistence.52 Denying it will only reflect on one’s inherent xenophobia and bigotry. Let the Christian xenophobe reflect on Muhammad’s (S) statement:

“This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.

No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.

No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.

No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.

Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”

Such were the memorable words of Muhammad (S), the Prophet of Islam, in the year 628 CE, when he granted this historic document, also known as the Charter of Privileges, to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai.53

Is there anything remotely similar to this document that an Islamophobe can produce from his/her founder(s) of the faith? Not a chance!

Peace, Salam, Shalom, Shanti.

The author, Dr. Habib Siddiqui may be contacted directly at saeva@aol.com
Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "What I Did Not Say And The Missionary Myopia," in Bismika Allahuma, May 22, 2006, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/op-ed/missionary-myopia/
  1. See e.g., http://www.bare-jesus.net for a detailed analysis, which are unflattering to Christianity. []
  2. For a short biography see here. []
  3. See this author’s article, Islam and Co-existence. []
  4. See this author’s article, Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi: Why a different yardstick for Muslims? for a sample of violent and demeaning verses in Christian and Jewish religious books. []
  5. We should not, therefore, be surprised with the killings of POWs in Iraq and Afghanistan by Jesus-loving, faithful Christian warlords. []
  6. Deut. 18:18 offers a close resemblance. []
  7. In a celebrated hadith Muhammad (S) instructed his army: “Depart in the name of Allah, and be His helper. And kill not any old man, nor young boy, nor child, nor woman. But be good-doers, for Allah loves those who do good.” []
  8. It is worth mentioning here that this tax was collected to guarantee protection of lives and properties of the ‘protected’ people, who needed not to participate in Jihad. The dhimmis were also exempt from payment of other forms of taxes that were mandatory on Muslims. []
  9. See the article: Non- Muslims and the Law of Social Security in Islam By Shaykh Shawkat Husayn – for an excellent analysis. See also: Anecdotes from the life of the Prophet Muhammad by Mumtaz Ahmed Faruqui; “A True Word – Here’s to You, Dr. Robertson” by Amir Butler. []
  10. See also this author’s article “Real Islam and Jihad – a rejoinder” for an understanding on the subject of Jihad. []
  11. See the Book of Revelations []
  12. The Outline of History by H.G. Wells; The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbon. []
  13. See also Acts 5:1-11. []
  14. Quoted from Kurt Eggers []
  15. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14577d.htm []
  16. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02084a.htm []
  17. Edward Peters, Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe; R. Dean Peterson, A Concise History of Christianity; James A. Haught, Holy Horrors; J.N. Hillgarth, Christianity and Paganism; Malcolm Lambert, Medieval Heresy. []
  18. A study of the lives of many former slaves who became the Companions of the Prophet (S) is sufficient to prove this. For instance, Salman al-Farisi’s (RA) slave master was a wealthy Jew from Banu Qurayza. (See also Maulana Rumi’s masterpiece – Mathnabi.) []
  19. Human Rights in Islam by Abul ‘Ala Mawdudi. []
  20. Read this author’s The Book of Devotional Stories (in print) for stories of some of these early Muslims. []
  21. See the Qur’an for many such references, e.g., 4:92, 5:89, 58:3, 90:13, 24:33, 9:60, 2:177, 2:221, 4:25, 4:36. []
  22. See Fethullah Gulen’s article: How is it that Islam, a religion inspired by God for the good of humanity, allows slavery? []
  23. According to some historians, eighteen million Africans are estimated to have died during the Atlantic slave trade. In American Holocaust (1992), David Stannard estimates that some 30 to 60 million Africans died being enslaved. Howard Zinn puts the number at 40 million. []
  24. See, this author’s “An anatomy of racism” and “White Man’s Burden: the never-ending saga.” []
  25. The only real exception is Portugal (1761), however, the practice continued for decades in its colonies. []
  26. For a full treatment, interested readers may consult Prof. Ali Mazrui’s books, including The Africans, a PBS Documentary, USA. []
  27. http://www.sudanembassy.org/ (and click the link to The Sudan Slave Trade). []
  28. See, e.g., Choose: Islam Scary, Lite or Dry?by David Need for a review on Spencer’s book. []
  29. A History of the Jewish People, edited by Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson. []
  30. Heritage: Civilization and the Jews by Abba Eban. []
  31. For a brief review of the book, see: http://www.muhajabah.com/jewsofislam.htm []
  32. op. cit., pp. 631-3 []
  33. See this author’s article: The Case of Jerusalem — for a detailed treatment of the holy city. []
  34. Edward H. Flannery, The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism, Paulist Press, New York/Mahwah, 1985; Michael L. Brown, Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the “Church” and the Jewish People, Destiny Image Publishers, Shippensburg, 1992. []
  35. Flannery, op. cit. []
  36. ibid. []
  37. See this author’s article, Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi: Why a different yardstick for Muslims? for detailed analysis. []
  38. See the book: “To pray as a Jew: a guide to the prayer book and the synagogue service” by Hayim Halevy Donin, New York: Basic Books, c1980. []
  39. The interested reader may like the read Mowlana Rahmatullah Kairanvi’s “Izhar-ul-Haq” for a detailed analysis of the Bible. []
  40. For details, see: The Gnostic Society Library, Gnostic Scriptures and Fragments, The Secret Gospel of Mark; see also Acts of John, from “The Apocryphal New Testament,” M.R. James – translation and notes, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924 []
  41. http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/nation/12707654.htm; http://www.bishop-accountability.org/; http://www.telegram.com/static/crisisinthechurch/092205.html; http://www.ffrf.org/timely/pedo1992.php; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/extras/coverups_archive.htm; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories5/040704_vermont.htm; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories5/022804_victims.htm; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/scandal/; http://www.ffrf.org/timely/1990study.php; http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0MKY/is_16_29/ai_n15779345; http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0412/09/asb.01.html. []
  42. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14611a.htm []
  43. http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_author/129/St._Alphonsus_Liguori.html []
  44. Richard A. Blackmon, unpublished Ph. D. dissertation (1984). The Hazards of Ministry. Fuller Theological Seminary: Pasadena, CA. Note: The author noted that 16 ministers did not answer the question concerning sexual intercourse with parishioners, indicating that the percentage is probably higher. []
  45. Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence (1992). Clergy Sexual Misconduct: Sexual Abuse in the Ministerial Relationship. Seattle, WA []
  46. http://www.dearpeggy.com/announce20.html; Conservative estimates in the West suggest that 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an extramarital affair (http://www.dearpeggy.com/affairs.html#3). []
  47. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4733330.stm []
  48. http://www.saveus.org/docs/factsheets/portrait_black_family7-12-05.pdf; http://www.citypages.com/databank/26/1264/article12985.asp. []
  49. http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/; http://www.singstat.gov.sg/ssn/feat/4Q94/feat.html; http://www.crimestatistics.org.uk/tool/; http://www.police999.com/stats/index.html []
  50. See, e.g., the book: Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality and the Catholic Church by Uta Ranke-Heinemann, Penguin, 1990 []
  51. See this author’s 1994 article: Islam and the West: The Need For a Bilateral Talk []
  52. See this author’s “Islam and Coexistence” for supporting evidences. []
  53. ‘Muslim History: 570 – 1950 C.E.’ by Dr. A. Zahoor and Dr. Z. Haq, ZMD Corporation. P.O. Box 8231 – Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8231. []
Categories
Qur'anic Commentary The Qur'an

Of The Sun Setting In Murky Water: Qur’anic Commentary on Sura’ Al-Kahf (18):86

Dhul-Qarnayn (Arabic: ذو القرنين‎ ḏū’l-qarnayn), “he of the two horns” (or “he of the two ages”), appears in the Quran as a figure empowered by God to erect a wall between mankind and Gog and Magog, the representation of chaos. Dhul-Qarnayn is generally described as a righteous ruler who travelled to spread the message of God. Of interest is this verse from Qur’an, 18:86 which has recently raised much ruckus among the enemies of Islam.

The following English translation was taken from A. Yusuf Ali:

“Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it, he found a People: We said: “O Dhul-Qarnayn! (thou hast authority) either to punish them, or to treat them with kindness.” (Qur’an, 18:86)

A common Christian missionary “objection” to the verse above is by claiming it to be a “scientific contradiction”.

    If the presence of scientific facts can prove the Qur’an’s divine origins, the presence of scientific falsehood can disprove divine origins. For example, Sura’ 18:86:

    “Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it he found a People: We said: “O Dhul-Qarnayn! (thou hast authority,) either to punish them or to treat them with kindness.”

    Since we all know that the sun does not set in a spring of murky water and, therefore, this is a big error. However, Muslim apologists are quick to tell us that this is only poetic and not a “scientific miracle”! This type of apologetic is intellectually dishonest as well as a bit silly.

So who is the one that is actually “intellectually dishonest as well as a bit silly”? Let us analyse the verse part by part.

Analysis Of The Verse

“Until, when he reached the setting of the sun…”: The translation of this part of the verse does not say that Dhul-Qarnayn reached the place where the sun sets literally, rather it means here that Dhul-Qarnayn was facing the direction in which the sun is setting. The “setting of the sun,” is an Arabic idiom meaning ‘the western-most point’ of his expedition. However, in general, idioms should not be literally translated.

“…he found it set in a spring of murky water”: The Qur’an is obviously describing what Dhul-Qarnayn saw. What Dhul-Qarnayn saw was the image of the sun setting in a dark body of water. Since the Qur’an is clearly describing this from Dhul-Qarnain’s direct point of view (the Qur’an is quite explicit here in doing that), there is, in fact, no problem with the description of what Dhul-Qarnain saw. Of course, one is correct in saying that “the sun does not set in a spring of murky water”, but try standing at a beach during the time when the sun is about to set and anyone would be able to see the sun “entering” the sea far in the horizon. This, therefore, gives us the conclusion that Dhul-Qarnayn was somewhere west and by a large body of water, possibly the sea.

Critics of this verse should be aware that the Qur’an is not descriptive prose, and the words of the Qur’an is of high poetical eloquence, something which the Bible is not able to claim. Since the beauty of the Qur’an is in its poetical nature, it is therefore only natural that the Qur’an uses emphatic expressions to describe something like a “sunset”.

Keep in mind that the Qur’an is in poetical prose and is meant to be a challenge to the pagan Arabs in Mecca who prided themselves as writers of good poetry. Those neophytes who like to use this verse as a stick to beat Islam with should attempt to study Arabic literature and the history of that period before coming up with silly conclusions.

Therefore, it is clear the verse says that Dhul-Qarnain went west and saw the sun setting over the horizon so that it looked to him as though it was setting into the sea, which is murky-looking. Probably the critic has never stood by on the beach and observe the sunset.

For further clarification of our explanation, we reproduce two other translations of the same verse by M. M. Pickthall and Shakir.

    Translation by M. M. Pickthall

    Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhu’l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness. (Qur’an 18:86)

    Translation by Shakir

    Until when he reached the place where the sun set, he found it going down into a black sea, and found by it a people. We said: ‘O Zulqarnain! either give them a chastisement or do them a benefit.’ (Qur’an 18:86)

We can see that the general agreement of the translations of this verse is that Dhul-Qarnain saw the sun setting into the horizon that it looks like it is set into a body of water (sea) that looks murky-looking. That this verse was never taken literally was not alien in the understanding of the early commentators.

How The Early Commentators Understood The Verse

In his famous commentary known as Al-Game’ le Ahkam-el-Qur’an, Imam Al-Qurtubi (died 671 AH/1273 CE) wrote about this verse:

It is not meant by reaching the rising or setting of the sun that he reached its body and touched it because it runs in the sky around the earth without touching it and it is too great to enter any spring on earth. It is so much larger than earth. But it is meant that he reached the end of populated land east and west, so he found it – according to his vision – setting in a spring of murky water as we watch it in smooth land as if it enters inside the land. That is why He said, “he found it rising on a people for whom we had provided no covering protection against the sun.” (Holy Qur’an 18:90) and did not mean that it touches or adheres to them, but they are the first to rise on. Probably this spring is a part of the sea and the sun sets behind, with or at it, so the proposition takes the place of an adjective and God knows best.1

Fakhr-ud-Deen Ar-Razi wrote in his commentary on the same verse that:

When Zul-Qarnain reached the furthest west and no populated land was left, he found the sun as if it sets in a dark spring, but it is not in reality. The same when sea traveller sees the sun as if it sets in the sea if he cannot see the shore while in reality, it sets behind the sea. 2

Ibn Kathir (701-774 AH/1302-1373 CE) wrote in his commentary about this verse that:

“Until, when he reached the setting of the sun” means he followed a certain way until he reached the furthest land he could go from the west. As for reaching the setting of the sun in the sky, it is impossible. What narrators and storytellers say that he walked for a period of time in earth while the sun was setting behind him is unreal, and most of it is from myths of People of the Book and inventions of their liars. “he found it set in a spring of murky water” means he saw the sun according to his vision set in the ocean and this is the same with everyone ending to the shore seeing as if the sun sets inside it (i.e. the ocean).3

According to Al-Mawardi (d. 450 A.H) in his tafsir, the verse can be understood as:

That He (Dhul Qarnayn) wajadaha (found it, saw it) setting behind the spring (‘ayn) as if it was setting in the very spring.”4

And finally, to strengthen our observation that the part of the verse above is indeed poetical in nature and that the Qur’an had never meant the statement to be understood literally or from a “scientific” perspective, let us now see a picture of the sun setting in the horizon.

Conclusions

The allegation put forth against the Qur’an is utterly baseless and is refuted by the Arabic language itself. The verse contains no reference at all to the sun literally setting, or entering, or going down, into a muddy pool of water. It is clear to us that the above-mentioned verse is only considered “unscientific” if we would also consider that similar emphatically-used phrases such as “Japan, the land of the rising sun” or “Sabah, the land below the wind” to be “unscientific” as well.

Our advice to those neophytes is that before they try to find any more “discrepancies” in the Qur’an they should consider the following discrepancy of the Bible to clarify which Book actually has a severe defect:

And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. (Leviticus 11:6)

Now we all know that the hare (or anything related to rabbits) do not chew cud. Is this a “poetical” expression of the Bible? And only God knows best.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Of The Sun Setting In Murky Water: Qur’anic Commentary on Sura’ Al-Kahf (18):86," in Bismika Allahuma, October 14, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/quran/setting-in-murky-water/
  1. Al-Qurtubi, Al-Game’ le Ahkam-el-Qur’an, Vol. 16 (Dar-ul-Hadith, Cairo, Egypt), p. 47 []
  2. Fakhr-ud-Deen Ar-Razi, At-Tafsir-ul-Kabeer, Vol. 21, p. 166 []
  3. Tafsir-ul-Qur’an Al-‘Azeem by Ibn Kathir, Vol. 5, p. 120 []
  4. Al-Mawardi, ‘Ali bin Muhammad bin Habib, Al-Nukat wa al-‘Uyun, Vol. 3 (Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyya), p. 450 []
Categories
Christianity History

“Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi”: Why A Different Yardstick For Muslims?

In the post-9/11 era the Western media are at the forefront of a highly orchestrated assault against Islam and its people. So, I am not too surprised with the Times Online piece trying to raise storm over some 13th century text that are taught at a Shi’ite religious school in London.1 The subject in question is najasa or impurity: what makes something impure according to Muhaqqiq al-Hilli, a 13th century Shi’ite scholar. The text says, “The water left over in the container after any type of animal has drunk from it is considered clean and pure apart from the left over of a dog, a pig, and a disbeliever.” So, the Times reporter Sean O’Connell draws the conclusion that Muslim students are “being taught to despise unbelievers as filth”, which becomes the news heading, sure to draw much publicity in UK before the election in May.

What is, however, lost in the currently hyped message is the context under which such rules were recommended by a medieval scholar. Nor should we be oblivious of the fact that such rules don’t necessarily get followed by every individual who follows the Shi’ite branch of Islam. The Shi’ite jurisprudence being quite dynamic, I doubt if al-Hilli’s rulings of the 13th century have any appeal today other than that of mere academic curiosity.

If one were to go back into history of the 13th century, one finds Muslims living in Iran and vast territories of land that is now called the Middle East enjoying a much higher standard of living compared to their Christian counterparts in Europe. Amin Maalouf’s highly scholarly work “The Crusades through Arab Eyes”2 provides historical sources to explain us how the West appeared to people already resident in those lands. There we find from the chronicles that the Crusaders were truly leading a savage life. They were a rough, uncultured and filthy bunch with no sense of cleanliness. When looked through the prism of the past, it is not difficult to understand the ruling of al-Hilli on matters of cleanliness.

A more important point is to ponder about what would happen if we are to pull every single book that is conceived to be derogatory to some people. Will there be many books left on our shelves? Even Shakespeare’s great works have signs of racism and bigotry. The same is true in the writings of many great literary icons. But people study those books to understand the time and people of those centuries, and the mindset of the author.

In the post-9/11 era, no religious book has been as much demonized as the Qur’an, thanks to cultural coolies and their patrons. There is not a single copy of the Qur’an to be found in the Los Angeles public libraries, because it is considered offensive to Jews and Christians. My question is why don’t these cultural bulldogs apply the same set of rules against their own books, the Bible, and the Talmud for scores of violent and demeaning passages?3 Is not the so-called anti-Semitism (actually anti-Jewish) a direct result of millennia-old teachings of the New Testament that portrays Jews as the bad guys who committed deicide (i.e., “killed” Jesus)? The fate of millions of Jews was sealed as the guilty ones and punishment came into vogue. 4

The Gospel account in Matthew 27:24-25 reads:

“When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.”

This passage, probably more than any other text in the Christian scriptures, fueled anti-Judaism. In the above account, Matthew records that a crowd of Jews said that they and their children were responsible for Jesus’s crucifixion. This inspired the church father Origen (circa 185-254 CE) to write:

“Therefore the blood of Jesus came not only upon those who lived formerly but also upon all subsequent generations of Jews…”

Paul of Tarsus, the real founder of Christianity, similarly blamed Jews as can be seen from his statement:

“…ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men.” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-15)

The Christian church taught until recently that all Jews — past, present and future — are equally responsible for the death of Christ.5

Writing about the Jews, Justin, a second century (c.100-165 CE) Christian father, wrote, “The tribulations were justly imposed upon you, for you have murdered the Just One.”6 The 3rd century Christian theologians, including Hippolytus and Origen, elaborated on this theory of Jewish guilt.7

In what follows, let me provide some samples of hatred as preached in the religious books of the Jews and Christians.

The so-called New Testament (NT) compares the Gentiles to dogs. Speaking about the gentiles, Jesus is reported as saying:

“It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” [Matt. 15:26]

Similarly, Paul writes that the Gentiles worship demons (Satan) and that they are equivalent to darkness:

“But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” [1 Corinthians 10:20-21]

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” [2 Corinthians 6:14]

Here below are some samples from the Gospels about what Jesus said against the Jews:

“But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. [Matt.12:39]

“A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.” [Matt.16:4]

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” [Matt.3:7]

“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” [Matt.12:34]

“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” [Matt.23:33]

“Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” [Luke.3:7]

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” [John 8:44]

Here below are samples of verses against the Jews from the Book of Revelation (NT):

“… I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” [Rev. 2:9]

“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” [Rev. 3:9]

Here below are some samples from the Jewish Bible against the Jews:

“Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers.” [Isaiah 1:4]

“Listen to the word of the Lord, O sons of Israel, for the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness or kindness Or knowledge of God in the land. There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing, and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed. [Hosea 4:1-2]

Let’s next look at what the founder of Protestant movement, Martin Luther (1483-1546), wrote in 1543 (something that was used as a pretext by Adolf Hitler for implementing the earlier phase of his “final solution” against the Jews):

“What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing and blasphemy. Thus we cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of divine wrath, of which the prophets speak, nor can we convert the Jews. With prayer and the fear of God we must practice a sharp mercy to see whether we might save at least a few from the glowing flames.”8

Concerning Jews, Luther also said:

“Therefore the blind Jews are truly stupid fools… Now just behold these miserable, blind, and senseless people. …their blindness and arrogance are as solid as an iron mountain. … Therefore be on your guard against the Jews, knowing that wherever they have their synagogues, nothing is found but a den of devils in which sheer self-glory, conceit, lies, blasphemy, and defaming of God and men are practiced most maliciously … Moreover, they are nothing but thieves and robbers who daily eat no morsel and wear no thread of clothing which they have not stolen and pilfered from us by means of their accursed usury. Thus they live from day to day, together with wife and child, by theft and robbery, as arch-thieves and robbers, in the most impenitent security. … Over and above that we let them get rich on our sweat and blood, while we remain poor and they such the marrow from our bones. … I shall give you my sincere advice: First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them… Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed… Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them… Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb… Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let they stay at home… Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping… Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, as was imposed on the children of Adam (Gen 3[:19]}. For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.”9

Here below are some samples against the gentiles (non-Jews) from the Talmud (Jewish oral traditions):

“A Jew must not associate himself with gentiles because they are given to the shedding of blood.” [Abhodah Zarah (22a)]

“An Israelite must not associate himself with the Akum [Christians] because they are given to the shedding of blood.” [Iore Dea (153, 2)]

“Animals must not be allowed to go near the Goyim (Gentiles), because they are suspected of having intercourse with them.” [Abhodah Zarah (22a)]

“Why are the Goyim unclean? Because they were not present at Mount Sinai. For when the serpent entered into Eve he infused her with uncleanness. But the Jews were cleansed from this when they stood on Mount Sinai; the Goyim, however, who were not on Mount Sinai were not cleansed.” [Abhodah Zarah, 22b]

“A woman must wash herself again if she sees any unclean things, such as a dog, an ass, or People of the Earth; a Christian (Akum), a camel, a pig, a horse, and a leper.” [Biur Hetib, a commentary on the Schulchan Arukh]

How about incitement for stealing10 other’s land (a rationale for annexation, colonization and plunder) and associated violence (including demolition of homes and places of worship)? We can find the supporting verses in the Bible:

“Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.” [Deuteronomy 12:2-3]

“Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit. But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.” [Num. 33:52-55]

“The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness. Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.” [Ezra 9:11-12]

“Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be a heap for ever; it shall not be built again.” [Deut. 13:15-16]

How about instructions against idolaters? The Bible says:

“If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” [Deut. 13:6-10]

“He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.” [Exodus 22:20]

How about instruction against religious minorities? The Bible says:

“If there arise among you a prophet, … saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them…And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death…So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee….” [Deuteronomy 13:1-5]

“Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name.” [Psalms 79:6]

How about instruction against witches? The Bible says:

“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” [Exodus 22:18]

How about open call to enslave other individuals? The Bible says:

“Slaves you may possess, but make sure they are foreigners. You may also make slaves of the natives who dwell among you and from their children who are born and reared in your land. You may own them as chattels and leave them to your sons as their heriditary property, making them slaves forever. But you should not lord it over your own countryman, your own kinsmen.” [Lev. 25:44-46]11

How about open call to rape women when one is in war? The Bible instructs:

“Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.” [Num. 31:17-18]

“Suppose you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God hands them over to you and you take captives, And you see a beautiful woman, and you are attracted to her, you may take her. … If she ceases to please you send her away. You may not sell her or treat her as a slave, for you have humiliated her.” [Deut. 21:10-14]

How about encouragement against foreigners? The Bible says:

“In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab (strangers): And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people. And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?” [Neh. 13:23-27]

“Thus cleansed I them from all strangers …” [Nehemiah 13:30]

Need I continue further? While the idea that such problematic verses have very limited appeal or relevance to a majority of practitioners or preachers of the Judeo-Christian faiths prevails in the western media, it cannot be dismissed completely that a significant segment of the fundamentalist preachers or their believers have often acted otherwise, and often quite publicly.

One need not be a rocket scientist to understand or explain the offensive graffiti or markings on the casing of the rockets and bombs that were used in the first stages of the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The evidence is easily available for all to see. The seeming indifference of the Western media to such behavior, which most likely has biblical roots, is markedly different to its response when it comes to the behavior of extremely small groups among the peoples of the Islamic faith. The blanket condemnation that follows encompasses not only the entire Muslim world but also the Islamic faith. It appears that the logic of the 3Ps (place, period and people) while relevant to the religious texts and traditions of the two earlier faiths is inexplicably denied to the later Abrahamic faith, i.e., Islam. Such selective reasoning is exemplary of the ancient phrase Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi12!

It is more than relevant to ask why such a double standard when it comes to Islam? What belies such an apparent knee-jerk reaction? Where does such idiosyncrasy lead us to other than breeding further hatred?

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "“Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi”: Why A Different Yardstick For Muslims?," in Bismika Allahuma, May 9, 2006, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/christianity/quod-licet-iovi-non-licet-bovi/
  1. Sean O’ Neill, Muslim students “being taught to despise unbelievers as filth”, The Times, April 20th 2006 []
  2. Amin Maalouf, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes []
  3. See e.g., the book: The Talmud – Judaism’s holiest book Unmasked: The Secret Jewish Rabbinical Teachings Concerning Christians by Rev. I. B. Pranaitis; http://www.religioustolerance.org/bibl_hate2.htm []
  4. Tertullian, Apol. 17:6 (PL, 1:433), as cited ibid., p.39 []
  5. Gerd Ludemann, “The unholy in Holy Scripture: The dark side of the Bible” , pp. 98-99 []
  6. Dialogue, ch.16; FCCH, St. Justin Martyr, p.172, as cited ibid., p.40. []
  7. Ibid., p.46 []
  8. Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543 []
  9. From Luther’s Works, Volume 47: The Christian in Society IV, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971). pp 268-293 []
  10. See also Luke 19:29 for incitement for stealing []
  11. See also Deut. 21:10 []
  12. A Latin phrase, meaning what is allowed to Jupiter (the supreme Roman god) is not allowed to the cattle, i.e. the general public []
Categories
Islam Muhammad Polemical Rebuttals

Response To “Muhammad as Al-Amin (the Trustworthy): How His Enemies Really Viewed Him” And The Christian Missionaries

It has become a habit for some to publish responses to any paper dealing with the issue of Islam, its truthfulness and the falsehood of other religions. This is particularly true of the Christian missionaries as such people do not care whether they provide an efficient responses or not; all they care about is to respond, regardless of the outcome. Is this reaction an idiotic one? Well, we cannot claim that it is a stupid strategy; because it is always useful to show your followers that you are able to respond and speak loudly, drowning other voices. The psychological factor is after all always important here. But what is glaring indeed are the content of such “responses” because the writer tries to show that he is competent in the field when in actual fact he is totally unqualified.

This lack of qualification was especially glaring when it appeared in a recent Christian missionary article, allegedly “responding” to the article titled A Rational Approach To The Prophethood of Muhammad, the writer of this “response” made grave errors that does not suit a writer who respects himself and his readers. So since he has made such errors, he should know that he is not just a stupid person, he is a disrespected individual as well.

The first of these errors is the failure to comprehend the argument of his opponent. Any answer to a paper is based upon the arguments of the former. If you answer arguments which are not present in a paper, you have not “answered” the paper.

Are the above words easy to understand?

I want to make my words as simple as I can in order not to make my opponent misunderstand me again. We are commanded to convey the Message of Allah to all people in a clear and concise manner without any confusion or misunderstanding whatsoever.

The writer quoted some Qur’anic verses showing that the disbelievers belied the Prophet(P) and denied his Message, and used them to prove that the disbelievers viewed him as a liar. Then he advances in his response to say that “if their testimony is reliable enough to support Muhammad’s integrity then the unbelievers are also a good enough source to call his character into question”, and “the issue here is not whether what the unbelievers said was correct, but whether the Muslim assertion that even the disbelievers praised Muhammad’s honesty is true”, and “After all, they are the ones appealing to the statements of the disbelievers to prove that Muhammad was a trustworthy person.”

This clearly indicates that he has failed to comprehend my argument, for I argued that the disbelievers regarded Muhammad(P) as a truthful person who does not lie and from whom they never experienced any lie from. However, they belied him in the matter of Prophethood and revelation.

“This contradictory attitude of the disbelievers was the reason why they deserved God’s punishment in the end; they knew that Muhammad(P) was a truthful person and that he never told a lie. However, they disbelieved in him and vigorously rejected his Message”, I said.

The position of the disbelievers was inconsistent; that was what was mentioned. You cannot belie any person without proof, let alone of someone who never told a lie in his life.

This is the argument that the writer failed to understand, and our scholars say:

Do not answer anyone till you understand his words; for this distracts you from answering him to answering others and confirm your ignorance, but understand him. If you understand him, answer him, and do not rush to answer before you ask (for clarification) and do not be ashamed of asking before you answer; for answering before understanding is idiocy.1

Also, the writer of the response in question fell in a major logical fallacy which is generalization; he isolated the texts showing that the disbelievers belied the Prophet(P) in the matter of Message, as if I denied them and their significance, and generalized them to claim that the disbelievers viewed him(P) as a liar in addition to rejection of texts showing that his truthfulness and honesty were something agreed upon among his(P) contemporaries.

Anyway it was not expected from Christians to evade logical fallacies, for they are known for their incoherent faith and illogical beliefs. But it is ironic indeed that the people who do not even know how to transmit a report attack the authentic reports transmitted by Muslim scholars from generation to generation with utmost care and accuracy.

The Scriptures of People of the Book were transmitted by unknown individuals on the authority of unknown people on authority of unknown people, etc., until we are told that these are God’s Words! They do not know how to transmit a report, let alone how to evaluate it. However, they still have the audacity to criticize authentic Muslim reports.

Truthful indeed is the saying of Ahmad ibn Salam al-Faqeeh:

“Nothing is heavier and more hated to people of disbelief than hearing the Hadith and its narration with isnad i.e., chain of transmission.”2

Again, ponder upon the following report which was quoted in the previous article:

It is reported on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas that when this verse was revealed:” And warn thy nearest kindred” (and thy group of selected people among them) the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) set off till he climbed Safa’ and called loudly: Be on your guard! They said: Who is it calling aloud? They said: Muhammad. They gathered round him, and he said: O sons of so and so, O sons of so and so, O sons of ‘Abd Manaf, O sons of ‘Abd al-Muttalib, and they gathered around him. He (the Apostle) said: If I were to inform you that there were horsemen emerging out of the foot of this mountain, would you believe me? They said: We have not experienced any lie from you. He said: Well, I am a warner to you before a severe torment. He (the narrator) said that Abu Lahab then said: Destruction to you! Is it for this you have gathered us? He (the Holy Prophet) then stood up, and this verse was revealed:” Perish the hands of Abu Lahab, and he indeed perished” (cxi. 1). A’mash recited this to the end of the Sura.3

In the above report, it is noted that the Prophet Muhammad(P) had gathered all people of Mecca before him, then he asked them about his credibility before them; he said: “If I were to inform you that there were horsemen emerging out of the foot of this mountain, would you believe me?” This question is a test of his credibility and reliability in the eyes of his people, he asked them about a very illogical event, if he told them that it is true, would they believe him in such an illogical claim, that “there were horsemen emerging out of the foot of this mountain”?

The answer was: “We have not experienced any lie from you” indicating that his truthfulness and credibility among his people were at the highest levels.

However, when he informed them about his Message, they did not retract their testimony, instead they abused him saying:

“Destruction to you! Is it for this you have gathered us?”

This shows that his truthfulness was something agreed upon among his people and contemporaries.

Yes, they belied him in the Message and disbelieved in him, but this shows none but their incoherence. This is the reason why they were humiliated and defeated by Allah’s Aid in their lives and in the Hereafter.

Even after many years of his Mission, they did not retract their testimony to him with truthfulness as the conversation between Heraclius and Abu Sufyan shows.

Presence of those who disbelieve in Prophets does not discredit them; in fact it indicates that worldly desires, bias and greed can make some people reject presence of shining sun in the sky!

In a report related by Ibn Ishaq in his Sira, al-Akhnas ibn Shurayq asked Abu Jahl:

“O Abu Al-Hakam! What is your opinion about what you heard from Muhammad”. Abu Jahl said: “We competed with Bani `Abd Manaf (the Prophet’s subtribe) and so we fed as they fed and gave away as they gave away. So, when we were neck and neck with them, just as two horses in a race, they said: There is a Prophet from among us, to whom revelation from the heaven comes.’ So how can we ever beat them at that? By Allah we will never believe in him or accept what he says.4

This indicates that worldly desires and tribal bias were the reasons as to why the disbelievers rejected the Message of Muhammad(P). This is indicated in another report related by Al-Hakim, that Abu Jahl met the Prophet(P) and said:

“We do not belie you, but we disbelieve in what you came with”. Then, Allah revealed: {It is not you that they belie, but it is the verses of Allah that the wrongdoers deny} Sura Al-An’am, verse 33.5

Ibn Kathir says:

{It is not you that they belie, but it is the verses of Allah that the wrongdoers deny} means, they do not accuse you of being a liar,{but it is the Verses of Allah that the wrongdoers deny} It is only the truth that they reject and refuse.6

Many people know the truthfulness of any person with no need to miracles, this is due to the fact that they know this person’s habits and manners, so they can recognize his truthfulness or falsehood. For example, when Moses came to Egypt and said to Aaron and others that God sent him, they knew he was truthful before he did any miracles, and when he asked Aaron to support him, Aaron believed him because he knew him and his manners very well.

Also, when the Prophet(P) told his wife Khadijah about the revelation, she knew that he is truthful and believed in him. The same took place with Abu Bakr, Zaid ibn Harithah and others, for they knew his truthfulness in revelation due to what they knew about his truthfulness and honesty.

This is a case of a truthful honest person who said something peculiar to either a highly truthful man or a wicked liar, and he is known to be the first, not the second.

Those who disbelieved in the Prophet(P) are either ignorant people who did not know his truthfulness and honesty or arrogant people who followed their worldly desires. The elite of Quraish disbelieved the Prophet (peace be upon him) to keep their leadership and their followers disbelieved him in obedience of their leaders as God tells us in many verses of the Qur’an.

Their disbelief was not due to a proof of falsehood, for such a proof never existed. Actually, there are evidences that they knew his truthfulness and disbelieved in him out of worldly desires as we mentioned before in the conversation of Abu Jahl and Al-Akhnas ibn Shurayq.

In brief, it is well known that someone who is famous for truthfulness and honesty and known for not lying at all, is not expected to change his personality suddenly and become a liar against God without any cause.

Even if he did, this would appear in his habits and personality.

The writer of the response had no answer to this argument but[!], but I realized that the Christian missionaries and their ilkare not accustomed to see or meet truthful or honest people, they are surrounded by lying, cheating and dishonesty; ‘Abdullah Sa’d, a former Arab Christian tells us in his book Kont Nasranyan, i.e., “I Was Christian”, how Christian missionaries will lie, cheat and deceive others in order to convince them to accept Christianity and how they employ the most belligerent methods in order to do so.7

Therefore it is too much to ask such people to imagine presence of a truthful honest religious person, the same way it is too much to ask a layman of the 13th century to believe that we can save entire books on CDs.

For such people, truthfulness, honesty and high moral standards are not qualifications for Prophethood and Messengership; it is acceptable for them that the messenger of God is an enemy to God and his followers and an outward disbeliever, then he becomes messenger or apostle all of a sudden!

The other argument is that “how could a person who never told a lie about others ever tell a lie about Allah?”

As Allah says:

“Who can be more wicked than one who inventeth a lie against Allah, or saith, I have received inspiration, when he hath received none, or (again) who saith, I can reveal the like of what Allah hath revealed?”8

And says:

And if the messenger were to invent any sayings in Our name, We should certainly seize him by his right hand, And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart.9

And says:

What! Do they say, He has forged a falsehood against Allah? But if Allah willed, He could seal up thy heart, and Allah blots out Vanity, and proves the Truth by His Words. For He knows well the secrets of all hearts.10

Predictably, no answer to this argument was available.

In fact, the writer of the response failed to show us any sound responses to these arguments. Instead, he denied the undeniable fact of truthfulness of the Prophet(P) and showed me the incoherence of enemies of Islam when they are confronted with what they call “typical argument often made by Muslim polemicists”.

Subhanallah!

Another error made by the writer of the response was his claim that “God provided supernatural verification that these prophets and messengers were speaking on his behalf, showing that the claims of the disbelievers were false. Muhammad, on the other hand, failed to provide any supernatural confirmation that he was speaking on behalf of God.”

These are two errors here, in fact: the first is his claim that the Prophet(P) had no miracles, and the second is his claim that the proof of Prophethood are miracles only.

As to the miracles of the Prophet(P) they are so many like splitting of the moon, multiplication of food and water, crying of the tree stump, etc. They are as undeniable as shining sun.

But if the writer runs to the same argument of “All the records that we do have were written by Muslims, and even these were produced long after Muhammad’s death” and “these Islamic reports are suspect since Muslims have/had the tendency of fabricating stories and statements in order to make Islam’s prophet look much better”, then we will ask him to produce his proof of prophethood of Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist or any prophet he believes in, and it will be shown to him that whatever the method he proves their prophethood with, I’ll prove the prophethood of Muhammad(P) by the same method, but in a stronger and clearer way.

This is our open challenge to the writer of this response who wanted to answer me on this specific topic.

The other error is that supernatural events are a definite proof of truthfulness; for we see that devils, sorcerers and pagan priests do miracles. How can you distinguish them from miracles done in name of God?

This is actually a fatal question to Christians because they have no distinction. They pay no attention to the Message carried by the Messenger or his teachings whether they are identical to teachings of other Prophets of God or not. Suppose that a man claimed he is a prophet and preached polytheism, worship of idols, lewdness, lying, injustice, etc. Would such a person be asked for a miracle or doubted to be a liar? Even if he produced supernatural events, they would be considered works of the devil.

Teachings of the Prophets and Messengers are very well-known, so when Muhammad(P) came with preaching God’s worship, destruction of idols, belief in the Hereafter, chastity, ruthfulness, honesty and kindness to relations, it was accepted that he was preached what all the Prophets and Messengers before him preached.

But Christians have a different story, it is acceptable for them that a disbeliever suddenly claims revelation and preaches association of partners to God, abolishment of all God’s Laws and faith-only doctrine. Then, they follow this disbeliever in violation of all teachings of Prophets. This proves that Christians are stupid, ignorant people who knew neither the Prophets nor their teachings.

Moving on to other allegations, we find that the writer of the response quoted reports mentioning the permission of the Prophet(P) to some Sahaba (i.e., Companions of the Prophet) to tell a lie in certain circumstances as a proof that truthfulness was not a character of his. This indicates to me that the writer is a biased and dishonest person (in addition to him being an obtuse and stupid individual!), for he ignored the overwhelming evidences that show that Islam preaches truthfulness and honesty and forbids lying and dishonesty, and quoted reports without explanation of their meanings or asking Muslims to explain them for him.

When he failed to capture a single proof that the Prophet(P) ever told a lie, he tried to run away by quoting these reports about Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf and Al-Hajjaj ibn ‘Ilat which we will discuss shortly, insha’Allah.

It is well known about the religion of Islam that it preaches truthfulness and prohibits lying as all Prophets of God did before him, as God says in the Holy Qur’an:

“O ye who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are true (in word and deed)”11

The Prophet(P) said:

“Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehood leads to Al-Fujur (i.e. wickedness, evil-doing), and Al-Fujur (wickedness) leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before Allah, a liar.”12

The Prophet(P) said:

“The signs of a hypocrite are three:

1. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.
2. Whenever he promises, he always breaks it (his promise ).
3. If you trust him, he proves to be dishonest. (If you keep something as a trust with him, he will not return it.)”13

The Prophet(P) said:

“Whoever has the following four (characteristics) will be a pure hypocrite and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy unless and until he gives it up.

1. Whenever he is entrusted, he betrays.
2. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.
3. Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous.
4. Whenever he quarrels, he behaves in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner.”14

Moreover, Arabs considered lying as an ugly character even before Islam, despite their practice of idol worship, adultery and alcohol drinking, they refrained from lying. The proof is the report of Abu Sufyan and Heraclius and the saying of Abu Sufyan:

“By Allah! Had I not been afraid of my companions labelling me a liar, I would not have spoken the truth about the Prophet.”15

Ibn Hajar commented:

“This is a proof that lying was ugly before them. His saying (labelling) instead of (belying) indicates that he was sure they would never belie him if he lied because of their animosity of the Prophet, but he refrained from this because he was ashamed that they would report his words when they returned back, so those who would hear this would label him as a liar. This is even clear in the report of Ibn Ishaq, its wording is “By Allah! If I lied, they would never belie me, but I was a notable man refraining from lying, I knew that the least of it – if I lied – is that it would be reported about me and transmitted to all people, so I did not tell a lie”.

Imam An-Nawawi commented:

“It means that if I had not been afraid of my companions reporting my lies to my people and talking about it in my homeland, I would have lied to him due to my hatred and animosity (against the Prophet). This indicated that lying is as ugly in Jahillyyah as in Islam”.16

As for the report of Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf in which Muhammad ibn Maslama took permission of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to tell a lie, this is specific to this occasion because it is related to the state of war and deceiving the enemy during war. This is the reason why Imam Al-Bukhari titled this hadith with (Chapter of Deceit in War), as the Prophet(P) said: “War is deceit”.17

It is agreed that no sane person would want to be truthful to his enemy who works to destroy him and plots to eliminate him. Deceit of the enemy is not only permissible, but also favourable. This ruling is confined only to war state. Objection to such principle is not just unwise but is plain stupidity as well!

Imam An-Nawawi said:

“Scholars agree on permissibility of deceiving the disbelievers in war in any possible way, unless this leads to break of a treaty. In this case it is unlawful.”18

The same applies to Al-Hajjaj ibn ‘Ilat, in addition to the fact that he feared the disbelievers would kill him while he was going to collect his money from them. This is because human life is very precious in our religion and Islam preaches its preservation and protection. So, whenever one encounters a life-threatening condition, it is permissible for him to save his life in any possible way unless he threatens others’ lives. This is a huge topic discussed in textbooks of Islamic Law and we may briefly talk about it in another occasion.

In addition, it must be noted that each of Muhammad ibn Maslama and Al-Hajjaj ibn ‘Ilat was keen to take permission of the Prophet(P) before they told a a lie to the disbelievers. This act has great significance; for if lying was permissible and the usual case in the Prophet’s(P) teachings, they would not have asked for his permission in the first place and they would go and commit lies directly. Asking the Prophet(P) before lying against the enemy indicates that lying and deception is primarily prohibited in Islam.

May Allah (T) save us from those who practice guile and deception!

Before we go on to deal with the obtuse Christian missionary who wrote a “response” to our article on the truthfulness of the Holy Prophet(P) including all sorts of incoherent arguments and dim reasoning in addition to his scandalous lack of understanding of his opponent’s argument, thinking that I was appealing to the disbelievers’ opinion in Muhammad’s prophethood, we are going to show how perfidy and breach of faith are utterly prohibited in Islam and how the Prophet(P) was a living example of this prohibition.

Sahih Muslim, Book 19: Jihad and Expedition, Chapter 4: Prohibition (Denunciation) of Breach of Faith

Number 4301:

It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When Allah will gather together, on the Day of Judgment, all the earlier and later generations of mankind, a flag will be raised (to mark off) every person guilty of breach of faith, and it will be announced that this is the perfidy of so and so, son of so and so (to attract the attention of people to his guilt).

Number 4302:
This hadith has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar through some other Chains of transmitters.

Number 4303:
This hadith has been narrated by another chain of transmitters on the authority of the same narrator, with the wording: Allah will set up a flag for every person guilty of breach of faith on the Day of Judgment, and it will be announced: Look, this is the perfidy of so and so.

Number 4304:
Ibn Umar reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) saying: There will be a flag for every perfidious person on the Day of Judgment.

Number 4305:
‘Abdullah reported Allah’s Prophet (may peace be upon him) as saying: There will be a flag for every perfidious person on the Day of Judgment, and it would be said: Here is the perfidy of so and so.

Number 4306:
This hadith has been narrated on the authority of Shu’ba with a slight variation of wording.

Number 4307:
It has been narrated on the authority of Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: There will be for every perfidious person on the Day of Judgment a flag by which he will be recognised. It will be announced: Here is the breach of faith of so and so.

Number 4308:
Anas reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) having said this: There would be a flag for every perfidious person on the Day of Judgment by which he will be recognised.

Number 4309:
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Sa’id that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: On the Day of Judgment there will be a flag fixed behind the buttocks of every person guilty of the breach of faith.

Number 4310:
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Sa’id that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: On the Day of Judgment there will be a flag for every person guilty of the breach of faith. It will be raised in proportion to the extent of his guilt; and there is no guilt of treachery more serious than the one committed by the ruler of men.

Imam An-Nawawi comments: “These Hadiths display the severity of prohibition of perfidy”19

Under the topic of Keeping the Covenant, Imam Muslim relates the following tradition:

It has been reported on the authority of Hudbaifa b. al-Yaman who said: Nothing prevented me from being present at! he Battle of Badr except this incident. I came out with my father Husail (to participate in the Battle), but we were caught by the disbelievers of Quraish. They said: (Do) you intend to go to Muhammad? We said: We do not intend to go to him, but we wish to go (back) to Medina. So they took from us a covenant in the name of God that we would turn back to Medina and would not fight on the side of Muhammad (peace be upon him). So, we came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and related the incident to him. He said: Both, of you proceed (to Medina) ; we will fulfil the covenant made with them and seek God’s help against them.20

This hadith shows how the Prophet(P) was keen to keep the covenant of the disbelievers although he was going to war and needed every soldier. We have previously quoted Imam An-Nawawi saying: “Scholars agree on permissibility of deceiving the disbelievers in war in any possible way, unless this leads to break of a treaty. In this case it is unlawful”.21 This means that keeping the covenant is prior to any other ruling even during war.

Another glaring example of keeping the covenant is the story of Abu Jandal during stipulation of treaty of Hudaibyyah with Suhail ibn ‘Amru:

…Suhail said, “We also stipulate that you should return to us whoever comes to you from us, even if he embraced your religion.” The Muslims said, “Glorified be Allah! How will such a person be returned to the pagans after he has become a Muslim? While they were in this state Abu- Jandal bin Suhail bin `Amr came from the valley of Mecca staggering with his fetters and fell down amongst the Muslims. Suhail said, “O Muhammad! This is the very first term with which we make peace with you, i.e. you shall return Abu Jandal to me.” The Prophet said, “The peace treaty has not been written yet.” Suhail said, “I will never allow you to keep him.” The Prophet said, “Yes, do.” He said, “I won’t do.: Mikraz said, “We allow you (to keep him).” Abu Jandal said, “O Muslims! Will I be returned to the pagans though I have come as a Muslim? Don’t you see how much I have suffered?”

Abu Jandal had been tortured severely for the Cause of Allah. `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “I went to the Prophet and said, ‘Aren’t you truly the Apostle of Allah?’ The Prophet said, ‘Yes, indeed.’ I said, ‘Isn’t our Cause just and the cause of the enemy unjust?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Then why should we be humble in our religion?’ He said, ‘I am Allah’s Apostle and I do not disobey Him, and He will make me victorious.’22

Here we see that the Prophet(P) made a peace treaty with Quraish in which it was stipulated that if anyone came to him from them as a Muslim, he would return him, but if anyone came to them from him, they would not return him. This is the reason why he returned Abu Jandal to his people although he embraced Islam.

The same situation took place with Abu Rafi’ who was an emissary from Quraish to the Prophet(P) and embraced Islam. Abu Rafi’ said: “Quraish sent me to him and Islam entered my heart and I said: “Oh, Messenger of Allah! I will not return.” But he(P) said: “I will not break an agreement and I will not detain an emissary; go back to them, then if there is still in your heart that which is there now, you may return.”23

This is the attitude and guidance of the Prophet(P) regarding treaties and covenants with others, it is authentically reported that he said: “When one has a covenant with people he must not loosen or strengthen it till its terms comes to an end or he brings it to an end in agreement with them.”24

And said: “Whoever guaranteed the safety of a man and then killed him, I disavow the killer.” And it is reported that he said: “Whenever a people violate an agreement, the enemy will triumph over them.”25

We have the entire biography of the Prophet(P), where is it mentioned that he ever broke an agreement or violated a treaty?

However, the inane Christian writer of the response brings the issue of expiation of oath as a proof that the Prophet(P) broke his word!

For me, the foolishness of this writer is a well-established fact. But we want to show this to the readers; he brought some reports from Sahih Bukhari talking about expiation of oath thinking that they mean that the Prophet(P) broke his words, ignoring the fact that the expiation of oath was actually revealed in the Holy Qur’an, as Allah says:

“Allah has already ordained for you, the dissolution of your oaths (in some cases)”26

Al-Karmani said: “His saying {the dissolution of your oaths} means dissolving them by expiation.”27

And says:

“Allah will not call you to account for what is futile in your oaths, but he will call you to account for you deliberate oaths: for expiation, feed ten indigent persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families; or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom. If that is beyond your means, fast for three days. That is the expiation for the oaths ye have sworn. But keep to your oaths. Thus doth Allah make clear to you his sign, that ye may be grateful.”28

So, if one makes an oath and then he regrets for it and wants to dissolve it, he expiates it. One example of cases in which one may regret for his oath is displayed by the Prophet(P) in the report of Al-Ash’aryyin quoted by the Christian writer in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) made an oath not to provide them with camels to mount on because he had none, then when he got camels, he gave them to the Ash’aryyin dissolving his previous oath and saying, “By Allah, and Allah willing, if I take an oath and later find something else better than that, then I do what is better and expiate my oath.”29

Another example is told in the report narrated by Abu Huraira that the Prophet(P) said: “By Allah, if anyone of you insists on fulfilling an oath by which he may harm his family, he commits a greater sin in Allah’s sight than that of dissolving his oath and making expiation for it.”30

And said: “”Anyone who takes an oath through which his family may be harmed, and insists on keeping it, he surely commits a sin greater (than that of dissolving his oath). He should rather compensate for that oath by making expiation.”31

Imam An-Nawawi, when commenting on the above reports, said as follows:

“These reports indicate that if someone makes an oath to do something or not to do it, and dissolving is better than fulfilling this oath, then dissolving is preferred and expiation is obligatory upon him. This is agreed upon.”32

Do we need to explain more that expiation of oath is quite far from lying or a breach of faith?

Anyway, if we excuse this writer for his slow understanding when bringing up the issue of expiation of oath, how can we do this in a totally irrelevant issue like taqiyyah? Have you ever seen such stupidity in involving anything relevant and irrelevant in the response?

He answers my basic fundamental argument by dragging in whatever comes to his mind and limited understanding — regardless whether relevant or irrelevant — in the response.

This is really pathetic!

As for taqiyyah, it is avoidance of harm of disbelievers by showing friendship to them. Imam Al-Baghawi says: “Taqiyyah is permissible only if one fears getting killed with his good intention, Allah says: {except under compulsion while his heart remains firm in Faith}. Moreover, it is merely permissible, if one stays firm till he is killed, he gains great reward (from Allah).”33

So, it is confined only for life-threatening conditions, contrary to others who teach it as a regular policy for preaching.

“And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law. To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake.”34

This is the reason why Christian missionaries deceive and cheat people during the process of preaching in order to bring them to Christianity, using very belligerent method as ‘Abdullah Sa’d, the former Christian, says.35

In the end, the Christian writer does not forget to praise his god, “the spotless Lamb of the Father”! It is amazing indeed to have a lamb as a god; so instead of eating it, they can worship it!

“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings.”36

“… stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes”37

Seven horns and seven eyes! Is this the god they want us to worship?

No, it is not THE god, it is only one of gods they want us to worship; for their Scripture says:

“Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb”38

The poor writer wants us to disbelieve in Prophet Muhammad(P) and worship three gods: the Father, the Lamb and the Holy Spirit. It is something very different from Monotheism preached by all true Prophets and Messengers of God; for there is only One God with no lamb, no son and no partner.

‘Abdullah Sa’d, the former Christian writer, says:

“After long resistance and conflicts between my emotions and thoughts ,I decided to respect my mind and accept its convictions, so I said: God Whom I am looking for in the Scriptures is not present in the Gospel. Consequently, I quit or stopped searching for God in Christianity believing it is not a heavenly religion, and it is unimaginable to come from Great God due to much disorder and confusion in its creed and unacceptable parables which indicate limited thinking of its inventors.”39

Thus it is clear that:

“Say: O People of the Book do ye disapprove of us for no other reason than that we believe in Allah, and the revelation that hath come to us and that which came before (us), and that most of you are rebellious and disobedient?”40

In the end, we — the Muslims — bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God whom Allah sent to us to convey the Message before the Day of Judgement. We bear witness to this because he was a truthful person who had never told a lie neither during the period of Jahillyyah nor during the time of Islam. This leads us to primarily believe in him, especially since he preached the same which all true prophets and messengers of God had preached; God significantly made him victorious over his enemies.

We require whoever disbelieves in the Prophet(P) to bring a proof that he ever told a lie; for it is known that any claim must be founded upon proof.

The mere claim that Muhammad is not a prophet cannot stand on its own; you are required to bring evidence that he was not a prophet against what he said about himself.

If you ask us about proof, we will tell you that he was truthful and never told a lie either before or after revelation.

If you ask us about proof that he never told a lie, we answer that no person related that he ever told a lie despite the fact that his opponents had the motive to relate any lie from him. However, they did not.

If you argue that those who believed in him would never relate a lie from him out of religious bias and those who sympathized with him without belief would not do this out of sympathy, then how come those who opposed and fought him never related a single lie from him? On the contrary, they did directly bear witness that he does not lie and that they never experienced any lie from him.

Why did not they relate even a single lie from the Prophet(P)? The answer is obvious! This is because he actually never lied. If this is the case, why do not we believe in him and follow his Message especially he preached the same that all other prophets and messengers had preached. This is another proof of his Prophethood; for we know the Prophets and their teachings. So, if a person known for truthfulness and honesty claims Prophethood and preaches the same teachings of prophets, we know that he is one of them, i.e., the Prophets.

A third proof is the way God made him and his followers victorious over the disbelievers despite their small number the same way He (i.e., God) made other prophets victorious over their enemies like drowning of Pharaoh and his army when he followed Moses(P) and his people in the sea.

We will discuss these in a separate paper, insha’Allah. However, if you have any proof that Muhammad(P) is not a true prophet, bring forth your evidence if you are truthful. Otherwise, accept Islam to be saved from God’s punishment and the Hellfire.

We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah, and we bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Response To “Muhammad as Al-Amin (the Trustworthy): How His Enemies Really Viewed Him” And The Christian Missionaries," in Bismika Allahuma, November 21, 2007, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/islam/response-to-muhammad-as-the-trustworthy/
  1. Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr, Jami’ Bayan Al-‘Ilm wa Fadluh, 1\148 []
  2. Ma’refah ‘Uloum al-Hadith, p. 4 []
  3. Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Chapter 87, Number 406 []
  4. Sira of Ibn Ishaq,1/389 []
  5. Al-Hakim, Al-Mustadrak, 2\315 []
  6. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 3/155 []
  7. Confer ‘Abdullah Sa’d, Kont Nasranyan (I Was Christian), published by Dar al-Yaqin, p. 53 []
  8. Sura Al-An’am, verse 93 []
  9. Sura Al-Haqqah, verses 44-46 []
  10. Sura Al-Shura, verse 24 []
  11. Sura Al-Tawbah, verse 119 []
  12. Sahih Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 73, Number 116 []
  13. Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 32 []
  14. Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 33 []
  15. Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 6 []
  16. Sharh An-Nawawi of Sahih Muslim, 12/104 []
  17. Sahih Bukhari, Book 52, Number 68 on authority of Abu Hurairah and Number 69 on authority of Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah. []
  18. Sharh An-Nawawi of Sahih Muslim, 12/45 []
  19. Sharh An-Nawawi of Sahih Muslim, 12\44 []
  20. Sahih Muslim, Volume 6, Book 19, Chapter 34, Number 4411 []
  21. Sharh An-Nawawi of Sahih Muslim, 12/45 []
  22. Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 50, Number 891 []
  23. Narrated by Abu Dawud and Ahmad, Abu Dawud said: “This took place during the time when it was a condition (of the treaty between the Muslims and the polytheists that if any of them came to him, he would return him to them”. []
  24. Narrated by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and Ahmad. []
  25. Narrated by Al-Hakim. []
  26. Sura Al-Tahrim, verse 2 []
  27. Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalani, Fath Al-Bari, 19/85 []
  28. Sura Al-Ma’ida, verse 89 []
  29. Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 78, Number 620 []
  30. Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 78, Number 621 []
  31. Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 78, Number 621 []
  32. Sharh An-Nawawi of Sahih Muslim, 6\39 []
  33. Tafsir Al-Baghawi, 1/336 []
  34. 1 Corinthians 9:20-23 []
  35. ‘Abdullah Sa’d, ibid., p. 53 []
  36. Revelation 17:14 []
  37. Revelation 5:6 []
  38. Revelation 7:10 []
  39. ‘Abdullah Sa’d, ibid. []
  40. Sura Al-Ma’ida, verse 59 []