Seal of Prophets in the Hadith

Seal of Prophets in the Hadith

Lizzie talks to Muslims about about ‘Seal of prophets’ in the hadith. Apologies for the poor audio in the first half of the video.

Narrated As Saib bin Yazid:My aunt took me to the Prophet and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! This son of my sister has got a disease in his legs.” So he passed his hands on my head and prayed for Allah’s blessings for me; then he performed ablution and I drank from the remaining water. I stood behind him and saw the seal of Prophethood between his shoulders, and it was like the “Zir-al-Hijla” (means the button of a small tent, but some said ‘egg of a partridge.’ etc.)

Bukhari 1:4:189 Narrated As Saib; My aunt took me to Allah’s Apostle and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! My nephew is ill.” The Prophet touched my head with his hand and invoked Allah to bless me. He then performed ablution and I drank of the remaining water of his ablution and then stood behind his back and saw “Khatam An- Nubuwwa” (The Seal of Prophethood) between his shoulders like a button of a tent. Bukhari 7:70:574

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Bizarre signs of prophethood!

Bizarre signs of prophethood!

Some bizarre signs of Muhammad’s prophethood found in Islamic tradition. Signs that are not consistent with the criteria of prophethood in Deuteronomy 13 (which the Qur’an claims to confirm.)

Narrated As Saib bin Yazid:My aunt took me to the Prophet and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! This son of my sister has got a disease in his legs.” So he passed his hands on my head and prayed for Allah’s blessings for me; then he performed ablution and I drank from the remaining water. I stood behind him and saw the seal of Prophethood between his shoulders, and it was like the “Zir-al-Hijla” (means the button of a small tent, but some said ‘egg of a partridge.’ etc.) Bukhari 1:4:189

Narrated Anas: When ‘Abdullah bin Salam heard the arrival of the Prophet at Medina, he came to him and said, “I am going to ask you about three things which nobody knows except a prophet: What is the first portent of the Hour? What will be the first meal taken by the people of Paradise? Why does a child resemble its father, and why does it resemble its maternal uncle” Allah’s Apostle said, “Gabriel has just now told me of their answers.” ‘Abdullah said, “He (i.e. Gabriel), from amongst all the angels, is the enemy of the Jews.” Allah’s Apostle said, “The first portent of the Hour will be a fire that will bring together the people from the east to the west; the first meal of the people of Paradise will be Extra-lobe (caudate lobe) of fish-liver. As for the resemblance of the child to its parents: If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife and gets discharge first, the child will resemble the father, and if the woman gets discharge first, the child will resemble her.” On that ‘Abdullah bin Salam said, “I testify that you are the Apostle of Allah.” Bukhari 4:55:546

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Muhammad’s bad memory

Muhammad’s bad memory.

Godwin questions a Muslim on the reliability of the Qur’an given Islamic tradition teaches Muhammad had a bad memory.

“A’isha reported that the Apostle of Allah heard a person reciting the Qur’an at night. Upon this he said: May Allah show mercy to him; he has reminded me of such and such a verse which I had missed in such and such a surah.” (Sahih Bukhari 6:61:556; Sahih Muslim 4:1720)

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Why the burqa and the crucifix are not equivalent

Byzantine crucifix

In the feverish reaction to Boris Johnson’s burqa/letterbox comments- and they were jokes that both the BBC and the Guardian have made in the past – this statement from Ruth Davidson caught my eye:

“If you use the analogy of Christianity, would you ever write in The Telegraph that you should have a debate about banning Christians from wearing crucifixes?…It’s the same argument but it’s in a different faith so why are the parameters different for one faith and not the other?”

Good question. There are two issues at stake: first, the libertarian principle that women should be allowed to wear what they want without interference from the State. This is Boris’ perfectly reasonable position which got lost in all the hissy-fitting from the political establishment. (I also argued against a ban some time ago in this debate.)  Then there’s the second issue, which is what religious attire represents in the first place and what that says about our values. Are there intellectual and theological reasons to be more concerned about a woman in a burqa more than a woman (or a man – important) with a crucifix? What do these objects say about our society?

Boris said in his article that he “finds no scriptural authority for the practice in the Koran.” I wish politicians would take time to study the Qur’an before they make claims about it. Here’s what it says.

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things) and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, head cover, apron) and to draw their veils all over juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, FACES, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers, or their brother’s sons or their sister’s sons or their women (i.e. their sisters in Islam) or the (female) slaves who their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of the feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment.” (Sura 24:31, Hilali Khan)

The hadith behind  this verse reads:

Narrated Aisha: “May Allah bestow His Mercy on the early emigrant women. When Allah revealed: ‘And draw their veils all over their juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, FACES, necks and bosoms)‘ – they tore their muruts (a woollen dress) and covered their heads and FACES with those torn muruts.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 4758)

Sura 33:59 “O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely  except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free, respectable women) so as not to be annoyed.” [Hilali Khan; Yusuf Ali translation has ‘molested’ here.]

“Bodies, faces, necks and bosoms” is not in the arabic in the Qur’anic verses, but the Hadith clarifies that face covering is intended.  Allah wants the believing women to cover their faces. And the motivation is sexual: that’s why servant men who have “lost vigour” and small children with “no sense of the feminine sex” are permitted to see their women unveiled. The burqa is Allah’s way of controlling men’s sexual urges.

All of this is very disturbing. Why is Allah telling only women to cover up to such an extreme and not men? Why does Allah think that the sight of a woman’s face or hair or ankles will lead a man into uncontrollable lust? Even a woman stamping her feet is suggestive. Where is his command to men not to molest women? Doesn’t this all contribute to a culture that sees uncovered women as fair game? Isn’t that what the #metoo movement has been campaigning against?

There is no Biblical injunction to wear a crucifix. Men and women can wear them, they are unisex. But you are not less of a Christian if you don’t wear one: being a Christian is all about being in relationship with Christ, through repentance and faith in his death on the Cross for your sins. What’s in your heart is what counts. I wear one because I like to be reminded of Jesus and his extraordinary sacrifice, and because it reminds me to try and represent Him well to whoever I’m dealing with, as they will have noted it too. And it might spark an evangelistic conversation. Nor does my crucifix affect my  peripheral vision or my body’s ability to absorb vitamin D from sunlight. Do politicians really not see the difference?

Some people might get offended by why I put the equivalent of the electric chair round my neck; but then I can go to the Bible and show them how this torturous death was not the end for Jesus, and how it’s the only death that brings life for us. There is a happy ending.

But wearing a cross can still land you in hot water. In 2006  Nadia Eweida was disciplined  for refusing to cover hers up at work, yet didn’t make for days of outraged headlines. (She went to court in 2013 and won.)

Some women will choose to wear a burqa – though undoubtedly some will be pressured by peers or husbands – and free choice is good. But otherwise there is stifling heat, increased risk of accidents, loss of public identity and the inability to simply feel the wind on your skin. What kind of god does that to women? No happy ending here.

Muhammad; the best husband?

Muhammad; the best husband?

Hatun and Godwin ask if Muhammad was the best husband to his wives as the ahadith state : “It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that: the Prophet said: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.” Ibn majah 3:9:1977

Muhammad b. Qais said : … ‘A’isha said: When it was my turn for Allah’s Messenger to spend the night with me, he turned his side, put on his mantle and took off his shoes and placed them near his feet, and spread the corner of his shawl on his bed and then lay down till he thought that I had gone to sleep. He took hold of his mantle slowly and put on the shoes slowly, and opened the door and went out and then closed it lightly. I covered my head, put on my veil and tightened my waist wrapper, and then went out following his steps till he reached Baqi’. He stood there and he stood for a long time. He then lifted his hands three times, and then returned and I also returned. He hastened his steps and I also hastened my steps. He ran and I too ran. He came (to the house) and I also came (to the house). I, however, preceded him and I entered (the house), and as I lay down in the bed, he entered the (house), and said: Why is it, O ‘A’isha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you? … (Sahih Muslim 4: 2127)

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Islamic grooming gangs – Oxford

Islamic grooming gangs – Oxford.

Daniel and Hatun discuss the sentencing of the Oxford rape gang members and ask what it has to do with Islam?

O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful. – Sura 33:59

Allah doth wish to lighten your (difficulties): For man was created Weak (in flesh). – 4:28 (Y. Ali)

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Did Muhammad have good moral standards?

Did Muhammad have good moral standards?

Godwin questions Islamic Dawah Team about whether Muhammad had good moral standards. Fondling virgins? Tongue sucking during fasting? Looking at a baby girl and promising to marry her when she grows up? Marrying pre-pubescent girls?

It was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked me, ‘Have you got married?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘A virgin or a previously-married woman?’ I said, ‘A previously-married woman.’ He said, ‘Why not a young girl, whom you could play with and she could play with you?’ I said, ‘I have sisters and I wanted to marry a woman who could gather them together and comb their hair and take care of them.’ He said: ‘You will reach, so when you have arrived (at home), I advise you to associate with your wife (that you may have an intelligent son).’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1991; Muslim, 715)

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to kiss her and suck her tongue when he was fasting. Sunan Abu Dawud 13:2380

(Suhayli, ii.79: In the riwaya of Yunus I.I recorded that the apostle saw her (Ummu’l-Fadl) when she was baby crawling before him and said, ‘If she grows up and I am still alive I will marry her.’ But he died before she grew up and Sufyan b. al-Aswad b. Abdu’l-Asad al-Makhzumi married her and she bore him Rizq and Lubaba….(ref.10, p. 311)

And those who no longer expect menstruation among your women – if you doubt, then their period is three months, and [also for] those who have not menstruated. And for those who are pregnant, their term is until they give birth. And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him of his matter ease. (Sura 65:4)

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Muhammad is not a prophet – 10 reasons (4)

4. Muhammad was not an Israelite

Muslims often go to  Deuteronomy 18: 18-19 as one of the Biblical ‘proof’ texts which prophesy about Muhammad, according to Sura 7:157.  In this passage the LORD tells Moses:

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among you, from their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the Prophet speaks in my name.” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19)

Muhammad was not an Israelite, he was an Arab, so he can’t be the prophet the passage refers to. Objection quashed: or so you’d think. But no, the counter-argument goes, Muhammad is a descendant of Ishmael and therefore an Israelite by default. But is this true? Was Muhammad really a descendant of Ishmael? And are descendants of Ishmael really Israelites?

What does Muhammad’s genealogy tell us? According to some websites, Kedar is next in the list of forebears after Ishmael in Muhammad’s lineage:

“Prophet Muhammad- Abdullah- Abd Al Muttalib- Hashim- Abd Manaf- Qusaiy- Kilab (Ancestor of the Holy Prophet’s mother)- Murrah- Ka’b. Lu’ayy- Ghalib- Fihr- Malik- Al Nadr- Kinanah- Khuzaiymah- Mudrikah- Ilyas- Mudar- Nizar- Madd- `Adnan- Adad- Zayd- Yaqdud- Al Muqawwam- Al Yasa’- Nabt- Qaidar (Kedar)- Prophet Ismail”

But according to Muhammad’s earliest biographer, Ibn Ishaq, the genealogy has Nabit instead of Kedar:

“Muhammad was the son of “Abdullah, b. “Abdu’l-Muttalib (whose name was Shayba), b. Hashim (whose name was Amr), b. “Abdu Manaf (whose name was al-Mughira), b. Qusayy (whose name was Zayd). B. Kilab, b. Murra, b. Ka’b, b. Lu’ayy, b. Ghalib, b. Fihr, b. Malik, b. al-Nadr, b. Kinana, b. Khuzayma, b. Mudrika (whose name was “Amir), b. Ilyas, b. Mudar, b. Nizar, b. Ma’ add, b. “Adnan, b. Udd (or Udad), b. Muqawwam, b. Nahur, b.’Tayrah, b. Ya’rub, b. Yashjub, b. Nabit, b. Isma’il” (The Life of Muhammad, trans. Alfred Guillaume  pp. 3-4)

Why the discrepancies in genealogies which purport to follow the same patriarchal line?  Genealogies aside, is there a convincing historical case for Muhammad’s ancestry from Ishmael? According to Islamic sources, Muhammad was from Mecca. Where was Ishmael from? From Israel. Genesis 21 tells us that Hagar and Ishmael were sent away in the Desert of Beersheba (v14), that he married an Egyptian woman and settled in the Desert of Paran (v21.) Bukhari Volume 4, Book 55, Number 583 says that  Ishmael was present in Mecca from infancy:

Abraham brought her and her son Ishmael while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka’ba under a tree on the spot of Zam-zam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Mecca, nor was there any water.”

Map of Middle East
Image courtesy of Brother Pete

Mecca is over 800 miles from the desert of Paran (either site). According to the Bible, Ishmael’s descendants settled in the area from “Havilah to Shur, near the Eastern border of Egypt as you go towards Ashur” (Genesis 25:18) Where’s this? Nowhere near Mecca:

Map of Middle East
Image courtesy of Brother Pete

Should we trust the Old Testament account with extant manuscripts from c.800 years before the life of Muhammad, or Bukhari, compiled 200 years after Muhammad’s death, earliest manuscript fragment 1000AD – 4 centuries after Muhammad and 29 centuries after the time of Abraham?There is no documentary evidence to suggest that Ishmael embarked on an epic journey south, and without any epigraphical or archeological evidence to support this, it becomes highly unlikely that Ishmael was ever in Mecca or that he was one of Muhammad’s forbears. (The existence of Mecca itself is highly questionable before the 9th century, but that’s for another post.)

But ultimately, genealogies don’t count, geography doesn’t count, and the previous Scripture doesn’t count – because Muhammad’s lineage is a matter of revelation, not of independently verifiable fact. Islamic tradition says Gabriel told Muhammad he can identify as a descendant of Ishmael, whatever the local tribespeople think:

“Ma’n Ibn ‘Isa al-Ashja’i al-Qazzaz (silk-merchant) informed us; he said: Mu’awiyah Ibn Salih informed us on the authority of Yahya Ibn Jabir who had seen some Companions of the Prophet and said: The people of Banu Fuhayrah came to the Prophet and said to him: You belong to us. He replied: Verily, (the archangel) Gabriel has informed me that I belong to Mudar.” (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Volume I, p. 4)

Let’s move on to the second question: does the Bible conflate Ishmaelites with Israelites? Do they both have equal rights as God’s chosen people?  In Genesis 17, Abraham pleads for this very thing when God announces His covenant with him:

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!

19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.[d] I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.

God considers Isaac the only legitimate son. We see this in Genesis 22:2:

“Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” 

As such, Ishmael does not inherit the same covenant promises as Isaac; Paul even uses the divergent lineages of Ishmael and Isaac analogously with the new covenant (through Christ) and the old covenant (though the Law):

These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written:

“Be glad, barren woman,
    you who never bore a child;
shout for joy and cry aloud,
    you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
    than of her who has a husband.

28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.”

But there is an even more straightforward answer to the question of who the Israelites are. Who was first given the name Israel? Jacob. Genesis 32:28:

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

Israelites are descendants of Jacob, the son of Isaac – not Ishmael.  This alone disqualifies Muhammad as the prophet of Deuteronomy 18, before we’ve even got on to whether Muhammad really spoke the words of God or not, whether what he said came true etc etc.

More to the point, the Bible already answers the question when it comes to who the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18:18 might be. In Acts 3:22, Peter says this is referring to Jesus:

Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets,saying that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you.

Not that Jesus is only a prophet (before you start, Muslims): but it is one of His titles, alongside His other divine titles – Messiah, Son of God, Word of God, Saviour, Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Holy and Righteous One. Our Saviour, Priest and King.

Muslims need to stop asking questions which the Bible has already answered and instead humbly admit they have the wrong man. Not only that, they need to be attentive to what the Scripture goes on to say:

“Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.” (Acts 3:23) 

Listen to Jesus and find rest for your souls.

With thanks to Sam Shamoun, who has a lengthier article on this topic  here.