Eye-witness testimony in the Bible and Hadith

 

Lizzie and Paul Williams discuss eyewitness testimony in the Bible and Hadith. Paul brings up Matthew 27:52 which he says Christian scholars claim is legendarised; Lizzie brings up the fact no-one witnessed Muhammad’s revelations at all.

Matthew 27:51-52

“51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.”

The Hadith of Gabriel:

Umar ibn al-Khattab said: One day when we were with God’s messenger, a man with very white clothing and very black hair came up to us. No mark of travel was visible on him, and none of us recognized him. Sitting down before the Prophet, leaning his knees against his, and placing his hands on his thighs, he said, “Tell me, Muhammad, about submission.” He replied, ‘Submission means that you should bear witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is God’s messenger, that you should perform the ritual prayer, pay the alms tax, fast during Ramadan, and make the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to go there.” The man said, “You have spoken the truth.” We were surprised at his questioning him and then declaring that he had spoken the truth. He said “Now tell me about faith.” He replied, “Faith means that you have faith in God, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and that you have faith in the measuring out, both its good and its evil.” Remarking that he had spoken the truth, he then said, “Now tell me about doing what is beautiful.” He replied, “Doing what is beautiful means that you should worship God as if you see Him, for even if you do not see Him, He sees you.” Then the man said, “Tell me about the Hour” The Prophet replied, “About that he who is questioned knows no more than the questioner.” The man said, “Then tell me about its marks.” He said, “The slave girl will give birth to her mistress, and you will see the barefoot, the naked, the destitute, and the shepherds vying with each other in building.” Then the man went away. After I had waited for a long time, the Prophet said to me, “Do you know who the questioner was, ‘Umar?” I replied, “God and His messenger know best. “He said, “He was Gabriel. He came to teach you your religion. ”

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Should Christians bless Ramadan?

Should Christians bless Ramadan?

The Archbishop of Canterbury wished Muslims a blessed time of prayer and fasting this Ramadan. But Ramadan is also a time of remembering and preparing for jihad! Daniel and Lizzie discuss.

Bukhari 4276:

The Prophet left Medina (for Mecca) in the company of ten-thousand (Muslim warriors) in (the month of) Ramadan, and that was eight and a half years after his migration to Medina. He and the Muslims who were with him, proceeded on their way to Mecca. He was fasting and they were fasting, but when they reached a place called Al-Kadid which was a place of water between ‘Usfan and Kudaid, he broke his fast and so did they. (Az-Zuhri said, “One should take the last action of Allah’s Messenger and leave his early action (while taking a verdict.”)

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Ramadan: month of feasting, killing and cursing

Ramadan: month of feasting, killing and cursing.

The purpose of Biblical fasting is seeking God. Fasting in Islam is actually about feasting, killing and cursing – as Islamic tradition and statistics show.

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Polygamy in the Qur’an

Man with four wives
Photo courtesy of lifeinsaudiarabia.net

In our last post, we discussed polygamy in the Bible. In summary, polygamy was permitted under God’s sovereignty during Old Testament times, but even then it contravened His blueprint for marriage given in Genesis 2:24. Jesus re-instates monogamous, heterosexual marriage in Matthew 19:4-6, even using the analogy of the Bridegroom (Christ) being united with his Bride (the church) in an exclusive, faithful, lasting covenant in the new creation. Nor was polygamy taught or practised by the early church, although there was debate about divorce and re-marriage (1 Corinthians7.)

Jesus summarises the Christian view of marriage in Matthew 19:4-6:

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

One man and one woman are joined together spiritually by God, just as they become one through sexual intimacy. It’s a holy union, which is why dissolving it is such a serious matter. Compare this with Sura 4:1

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.” (Sahih International)

Adam and Eve come from one (genderless?) soul for the purpose of procreation rather than relationship. Allah is distant, to be feared. Always watching, he creates them, but doesn’t celebrate their gender distinction or their coming together as ‘one flesh.’ The ‘wombs’ in this verse, according to the tafsirs, aren’t referring to the wife’s unique reproductive function, but more loosely to ‘ties of kinship’, meaning something like ‘remember your family ties’. Verses 2 and 3 continue:

“And give to the orphans their properties and do not substitute the defective [of your own] for the good [of theirs]. And do not consume their properties into your own. Indeed, that is ever a great sin.” (Sahih International)

“And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice].” (Sahih International)

It’s not clear from the text who the man is to marry in verse 3 – whether the orphans themselves or more wives to act as additional guardians for the orphans. Influential twentieth century scholar Maududi takes the latter view, that these verses were sent down as a corrective to the pre-Islamic practices of marrying orphans and plundering their inheritance (verse 2) to support an unlimited number of wives – hence Allah limits the number of wives to four. And if you can’t do justice to four, then better stick to one wife. But this doesn’t include “those your right hand possesses” i.e. your slave girls. So even if you decide to stick with one official wife, you can have an unlimited number of sex slaves. A far cry from the exclusive sexual intimacy between man and wife Jesus teaches about. Notice also the lack of mutuality – it’s all about the man’s requirements, not what’s best for the man and the woman.

Not only that, the Qur’an actually contradicts itself on this issue within the same Sura. Sura 4:3 tells believers to only marry one wife if they are afraid they won’t be able to treat their wives equally. But Sura 4:129 tells men they will never be able to treat their wives equally!

“Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire: But turn not away (from a woman) altogether, so as to leave her (as it were) hanging (in the air). If ye come to a friendly understanding, and practise self- restraint, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. – 4:129″(Yusuf Ali)

Maududi summarises the classical tafsir writers’ interpretation of this verse, that while the husband is bound to provide equally for his wives, he will never hold them in equal affection:

“Allah made it clear that the husband cannot literally keep equality between two or more wives because they themselves cannot be equal in all respects. It is too much to demand from a husband that he should mete out equal treatment to a beautiful wife and to an ugly wife, to a young wife and to an old wife, to a healthy wife and to an invalid wife, and to a good natured wife and to an ill-natured wife. These and like things naturally make a husband more inclined towards one wife than towards the other….

In such cases, the Islamic law does not demand equal treatment between them in affection and love. What it does demand is that a wife should not be neglected as to be practically reduced to the position of the woman who has no husband at all. If the husband does not divorce her for any reason or at her own request, she should at least be treated as a wife. It is true that under such circumstances the husband is naturally inclined towards a favorite wife, but he should not, so to say, keep the other in such a state of suspense as if she were not his wife.”

Allah is clearly not that bothered by the wives’ emotional needs. Not only that, but Muhammad, the best example to mankind (Sura 33:21) flagrantly disregarded Allah’s injunction to show “self-restraint” and come to “a friendly understanding” with his wives, for example in this hadith. (More on Muhammad’s special privileges in another post.)

Are we just taking these verses out of their historical context? Don’t they only apply to 7th century Arabia? Have they been abrogated? No. Polygamy is acceptable in both Sunni and Shi’a schools of Islamic law. Polygamy matchmaking service Second Wife , quotes Sura 4:3 on its website. “We believed this is a Sunnah we needed to revive,” it says. Apparently it has 100,000 users.

The reason polygamy persists in Islam, apart from the fact that it is sanctioned forever by Allah’s eternal speech, the Qur’an, is because Allah is not a personal, covenantal god. Allah doesn’t make men and women in his image or interact with them personally, let alone make or keep his promises to them. The Qur’an’s teaching on marriage is confused, over-sexualising men and diminishing women. And there is no great wedding feast to look forward to in a new creation. Just as Allah prioritises men’s sexual needs on earth, Islamic paradise is more of the same – lots of sex for men (Sura 55:70-6). How different to the God who kept His covenant with us, died to rescue us and waits as a faithful Bridegroom for all who love Him.

“Hallelujah!
    For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
    and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
    and his bride has made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:7)

With grateful thanks to James M. Arlandson for his article, from which all the Maududi quotes come.

How much was Muhammad influenced by Satan?

How much was Muhammad influenced by Satan?

Hatun and Abbas discuss how much Muhammad was influenced by Satan? The Hadith states we he was the victim of black magic. They also discuss the satanic verses.

Narrated Aisha: Once the Prophet was bewitched so that he began to imagine that he had done a thing which in fact he had not done. (Bukhari 3175)

Narrated Aisha: Magic was worked on Allah’s Messenger so that he used to think that he had sexual relations with his wives while he actually had not (Sufyan said: That is the hardest kind of magic as it has such an effect). Bukhari 5675

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Was Muhammad bewitched?

Was Muhammad bewitched?

Hatun and Godwin show from Islamic sources how Satan was able to influence Muhammad and ask Muslims why they consider him a prophet?

Sura 16:98-9 “So when you recite the Qur’an, [first] seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the expelled [from His mercy]. Indeed, there is for him no authority over those who have believed and rely upon their Lord.

Narrated Aisha: Once the Prophet was bewitched so that he began to imagine that he had done a thing which in fact he had not done. (Bukhari 3175)

Narrated Aisha: Magic was worked on Allah’s Messenger so that he used to think that he had sexual relations with his wives while he actually had not (Sufyan said: That is the hardest kind of magic as it has such an effect). Bukhari 5675

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Oneness of God in Islam?

Oneness of God in Islam?

Godwin speaks to a Muslim on tawhid and questions how the Qur’an manages to intercede for mankind? Allah’s Eternal Speech is a separate conscious entity to Allah? So much for tawhid!

Abu Umama said he heard Allah’s Messenger say: Recite the Qur’an, for on the Day of Resurrection it will come as an intercessor for those who recite It. Recite the two bright ones, al-Baqara and Surah Al ‘Imran, for on the Day of Resurrection they will come as two clouds or two shades, or two flocks of birds in ranks, pleading for those who recite them. Recite Surah al-Baqara, for to take recourse to it is a blessing and to give it up is a cause of grief, and the magicians cannot confront it. (Mu’awiya said: It has been conveyed to me that here Batala means magicians.) (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1757; *)

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Is Allah Muhammad’s cuddly teddy bear?

Hatun and Daniel discuss the context of revelation for Sura 66:1-5, the story of Mary the Copt – and how Allah uses Umar to bring the revelation instead of Muhammad.

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Muhammad is not a prophet – 10 reasons (1)

Temptation of Christ

This is the start of our series on why Muhammad is not a prophet of God, comparing him with the Lord Jesus Christ, to help Muslims see Him as God Incarnate, LORD, True Prophet, Priest and King – the only One truly worthy of their worship and allegiance.

Reason 1: Muhammad’s revelations did not come from Allah directly, but through an angel whom he mistook for Satan.

Muslims don’t question that it was Allah speaking to Muhammad through Jibril (Gabriel.) But why doesn’t Muhammad speak with Allah directly? Why does Allah choose to communicate through an angel, a created being? Is he unwilling or unable to talk to Muhammad this way? But more importantly – why did Allah leave room for ambiguity, for the possibility that another angelic being might pretend to be Jibril, and pass on pretend messages from Allah? Except this is precisely what happened.

Islamic Tradition (in numerous, authoritative sources) records Muhammad’s anxiety about offending the pagan Meccans with his message of pure monotheism. Tempted and in weakness, he needed a revelation that would win them over. As he was reciting Sura An Najm, Satan gave him words to say (in bold):

Have ye seen Lat and ‘Uzza, And another, the third (goddess), Manat? [These are the high-flying ones, whose intercession is to be hoped for!] Sura 53:19.

When the Meccans heard these affirmations of their gods, they were delighted and prostrated in prayer alongside the Muslims. Jibril pointed out Muhammad’s mistake; Muhammad was grieved, but comforted by Allah. He then received these verses by way of replacement, condemning the Meccan deities as worthless:

What! for you the male sex, and for Him, the female? Behold, such would be indeed a division most unfair! these are nothing but names which ye have devised,- ye and your fathers,- for which Allah has sent down no authority (whatever). They follow nothing but conjecture and what their own souls desire!- Even though there has already come to them Guidance from their Lord! [Sura 53:21-23]

Note the Biblical punishment for so-called prophets who lead people away from worshipping the true God into idolatry – they are to be put to death.

“If prophets or those who divine by dreams appear among you and promise you omens or portents, and the omens or the portents declared by them take place, and they say, “Let us follow other gods” (whom you have not known) “and let us serve them,” you must not heed the words of those prophets or those who divine by dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you indeed love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. … But those prophets or those who divine by dreams shall be put to death for having spoken treason against the Lord you God … So you shall purge the evil from your midst.” Deut 13:1-5

As the Qur’an claims to confirm the Bible (Sura 3:3, 4:136, 5:46-7, 68, 29:46), then by its own logic, Muhammad should have been put to death as a false prophet. Instead, Allah sends Muhammad another verse by way of comfort:

“Never did we send an apostle or a prophet before you but when he wished Satan cast a suggestion into his wish” as far as the words “Knowing, Wise” (Sura 22:51)

In other words, don’t worry about it Muhammad, every prophet before you has had this hearing-from-Satan problem. But this contradicts Islamic tradition, which states that there was one man who Satan had not touched – Jesus!

Narrated Said bin Al-Musaiyab:
Abu Huraira said, “I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, ‘There is none born among the off-spring of Adam, but Satan touches it. A child therefore, cries loudly at the time of birth because of the touch of Satan, except Mary and her Child.” Then Abu Huraira recited: “And I seek refuge with You for her and for her offspring from the outcast Satan” (3.36) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 641; see also Volume 4, Book 54, Number 506)

Did Jesus’ speak God’s words and only God’s words?

Now let’s consider Jesus’ interactions with Satan and whether He in fact spoke God’s words and only God’s words.

Jesus’ first interaction with Satan is during His temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-14.) On each occasion, Jesus opposes him, not falling for any of his tricks, before dismissing him – “away from me Satan! For it is written: worship the Lord your God and serve him only” (Matthew 4:9)

When Peter tries to dissuade him from the Cross, Jesus immediately recognises the voice of the enemy – “Get behind me Satan! he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God but the things of men.” (Mark 8:33)

As the incarnate Son of God, in one sense, all Jesus’ words are God’s words – He never required an angelic mediator. The Old Testament prophets didn’t either; note the frequency of the expression “the LORD spoke”, “and God said” etc. David, for example, “enquired of the LORD.” But are Jesus’ words always in perfect harmony with the Father’s? Yes.

“When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own, but speak just what the Father has taught me.” John 8:27

“Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word.” John 8:55

Jesus even tells his hearers that his claim to speak from the Father is testable:

“Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” John 7:17

Muslims, are you willing to test Jesus claim? But it gets better. Jesus not only spoke God’s words and only God’s words – he destroyed Satan’s power as well! Colossians 2:15:

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you[a] alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the [demonic] powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Conclusion

Muhammad needed an angelic mediator to communicate with Allah -Jesus was God Incarnate, with no need for a mediator to communicate with His Father. Muhammad gave into Satan’s temptation, who was able to use him as his mouthpiece- Jesus never gave into temptation. For speaking lies, the Bible condemns Muhammad as a false prophet -the Qur’an and Islamic tradition confirm Jesus was sinless. Muhammad is powerless to resist Satan – Jesus defeated the power of Satan at the Cross.

Who are you following and why? Change your mind? Let us know in the comments section.

Thank you to Answering Islam, Sam Shamoun, Silas.

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