Homework for Muslim: who does Allah pray to?

Homework for Muslim: who does Allah pray to?

More discussion on who Allah is praying to in Sura 33:56 and 33:43.

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Christmas carol singing at Speaker’s Corner

Christmas carol singing at Speaker’s Corner

Details of each piece can be found at the following links: Joy to the World https://hymnary.org/text/joy_to_the_w… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joy_to_… Angels from the Realms of Glory https://hymnary.org/text/angels_from_… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angels_… O Come All Ye Faithful https://hymnary.org/text/angels_from_… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Come,… O Little Town of Bethlehem https://hymnary.org/text/o_little_tow… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Littl… Hark! The Herald Angels Sing https://hymnary.org/text/hark_the_her… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hark!_T…

All of the songs we sang are pre-twentieth century and are out of copyright.

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Is Christmas fake news?

 

Star decoration

This advent has been filled with evangelistic events, carol services, pub carolling etc, all trying to wrench Christmas back from the fat red man and bring our attention back to the baby in the manger. Because only the baby in the manger lived the perfect life, died and rose again and promises eternal life to all who believe in Him (John 3:16, John 5:24.) What hope! All while the fat red man – the one invented by Coca Cola I mean-only gets us fatter and sadder and lonelier after we have eaten or played with or passed on his offerings to the charity shop.

Each year I try and invite my Muslim friends to Carol services (or whatever), and every year I get a response like this one, this time from a good friend:

WhatsApp message

This was followed, as has happened before, with a link to a dawah video about Jesus Was Never Born on 25th December and  How Christmas Is Actually a Pagan Festival. In the video I watched, I learnt that gingerbread men are haram, because they are symbolic of pagan massacres. And yet the same dawah people, who warn of the evils of children’s biscuits, are very shy when it comes to making videos on why some Muslims literally massacre people at Christmas markets. (This guy has no videos on violence in Islamic teaching at all.)

The evidence for whether Jesus was actually born on 25th December is a bit sketchy.  It has some patristic support: according to this article, Hyppolytus (ca. 170-236) claimed that Jesus was born on December 25, as did John Chrystostom (ca.349-407) and  Cyril of Jerusalem (ca. 348-386). Other Church Fathers, such as Iraeneus, (c140-202) said Jesus was born in the 41st year of the reign of Augustus, who began his reign autumn 43 BC, making Jesus’ birth ‘the autumn’ of 2BC. Eusebius’ dating is similar. Others argue the dating is based on Rabbinic tradition, which held that you die on the day of conception; and nine months on from April 25th, the date given  for Jesus’ crucifixion, is December 25th. Either way, there are no Scripture references nor enough historical evidence, to be exactly sure.

But exact dating is a side issue. The main point of course is not the date of his birth but the significance of it. Jesus Christ was not just a human baby, but God in the flesh (John 1:1, Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6.)  Christian doctrines – incarnation, atonement, resurrection – are inextricably bound up with the belief that God was born, not the date of his birth.

And if Muslims are going to continue to make this objection, they need to be consistent. Last week a Muslim brought the “25th December” objection to me on his way to Mawlid – Muhammad’s birthday party. Only no-one knows exactly when Muhammad was born either. In fact the historical Muhammad is far more obscure than the historical Jesus. But celebrating  the birthday of an influential figure seems perfectly reasonable, whether it’s on the exact day or not. Quibbling over Muhammad’s birthday doesn’t prove Islam true or false, same with Jesus.  (Interestingly, celebrating Mawlid was condemned in a fatwa by Ibn Taimiyya (d.1328) – one of the forefathers of Wahabbism – as an innovation.)

And was Christmas derived from a pagan festival?  The celebration of the nativity may have been concurrent with pagan festivals, but there is not much evidence to suggest it was pagan in origin.  The Romans used to celebrate the feast of Saturnalia, which involved feasting , gifts and candles until 23rd December. But it was disapproved of by the early church. Gregory Nazianzen, Bishop of Constantinople c. 379 compared it unfavourably with celebrations of the Nativity.

‘…let us not strive to outdo each other in intemperance… Let us leave all these to … the …festivals of the Greeks… But we, the Object of whose adoration is the Word… seek it [‘luxury’]…in the Divine Law …’

The early church celebrated Jesus’ birth with fasting, perhaps as a reaction to the dissipation around them. It’s a challenging thought.

The other contention, according to this article, is that Christmas was initiated by Roman Emperor Aurelian. Aurelian did initiate games to the Sun deity,  Sol, held in October, but also celebrated the Winter Solstice as the ‘birthday’ of the sun, around December 25th. However this was a celebration of the sun the astronomical body, not the deity – an important distinction.  Christians didn’t mind the celebration of the Nativity co-inciding with a naturally -occuring event like the Solstice, and even drew parallels with Christ  the ‘Sun of Righteousness’ (Malachi 4:2). In fact what we know about early Christians is how they actively shunned any association with other gods and refused to sacrifice to them, even if it led to their violent deaths. How likely is it really that saints like Perpetua, who chose Christ and the lions rather than offer a pinch of incense to a foreign god, would have indulged in a remotely pagan festival? If anything, the evidence points to early Christians consciously setting themselves apart from pagan traditions.

As Christmas developed down the centuries, it undoubtedly picked up traditions from other origins – some of them probably pagan, like the ringing of bells (to warn off evil spirits.)  Instead of being shunned – though some Christians do still – these were infused with new meaning, in this case, making a joyful noise to the Lord. The same is true of candles, a borrowing from Hannukah, symbolising Christ the light or the world, evergreen trees Jesus’ indestructible life etc. But why not take something bad and make it something new and beautiful? Isn’t that what Jesus does with us when we are born again?

It’s worrying that the Christian symbolism behind our traditions is getting  lost as Christmas became more secular and commercial. I know of more Christians now who don’t celebrate Christmas because it  seems so far-removed from the Nativity story. But whether you do Christmas stockings or plum pudding or not, the point is to keep the main thing, the main thing: Christ the Saviour is born! And when Muslims – or Christians – attack Christmas for being pagan, it’s not attacking the main thing, but a straw man.

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is [g]conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name [h]Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:2-23)

Happy Christmas everyone!

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Miracles of Muhammad at Speaker’s Corner

Miracles of Muhammad at Speaker’s Corner

Hatun and a Christian brother ask Muslims what miracles Muhammad performed?

“And We refrain from sending the signs, only because the men of former generations treated them as false: We sent the she-camel to the Thamud to open their eyes, but they treated her wrongfully: We only send the Signs by way of terror (and warning from evil).” Sura 17:59

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Dawah team gives Christmas presents at Speaker’s Corner!

Dawah team gives Christmas presents at Speaker’s Corner!

Can Muslim celebrate Christmas? Should they be giving presents to Christians?

“O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One Allah. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender.” Sura 4:171

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‘Kill non-believers’ or ‘kill time with non-believers’? Speaker’s Corner

‘Kill non-believers’ or ‘kill time with non-believers’? Speaker’s Corner

Hatun talks with a Muslim about whether Islam gives people freedom of belief.

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.” Sura 9:29

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Mohammed Hijab’s defence of Tawheed

David Wood Mohammed Hijab debate

If any of our readers would like to join us for an online apologetics class to discuss these topics in more depth, please do get in touch with us at [email protected]

Mohammed Hijab (MH) didn’t defend Tawheed, he destroyed it, but better than that, he let the Qur’an and Islamic tradition do it for him. As a result of which more Muslims all over the world will leave this false cult and, we pray, repent and find salvation in Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. Glory to YHWH, the Triune God, who is forever praised, amen! Praise God too, for David Wood for his faithful service to the LORD and to Muslims by speaking truth to them, and for keeping his cool in the face of all that bombast and bravado.

Let’s pick up on three points MH made (or failed to respond to) by which he destroyed his own religion, all of which he has already been repeatedly trounced for on the Internet, by Arabic speakers. This is important as all MH’s objections against David Wood were based on the fact he didn’t know Arabic. We look forward to MH’s debate with Arabic-speaker Christian Prince, which MH is on record as agreeing to. Four weeks later it still hasn’t happened, but we understand MH is still on holiday.

  1. “Allah prays…. I knew this was gonna happen! It doesn’t say “pray TO”, it says “pray FOR!”

Thank you for your honesty Mohammed Hijab. At last, an honest Muslim who admits what Sura 33:56 actually says i.e. pray, not bless or show mercy:

Verily, God and His angels PRAY (yusalloona) for the prophet. O ye who believe! PRAY for him (salloo) and salute him with a salutation! S. 33:56 Palmer.

Who cares if it’s pray to or pray for? The point is, according to Allah’s eternal speech, the Qur’an, Allah is praying. What is prayer? “To address a prayer to God or another deity” according to the Oxford Dictionary. So who is Allah is praying to? Himself? Or another deity? We’ve been asking this question for four weeks now at Speaker’s Corner. The only response has been “it doesn’t really mean pray” from non-Arabic speakers, although the Arabic speakers disagree! Perhaps Mohammed Hijab can give the Dawah team some free Arabic lessons when he gets back. A god that prays to himself or another deity is not pure montheism.

2. “Your recitation of the Qur’an, not the Qur’an, comes to life and intercedes for you on the Day of Judgement”

MH was referring to this Hadith:

Abu Umamah reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah saying, “Read the Qur’an, for it will come as an intercessor for its reciters on the Day of Resurrection” (Sahih Muslim 1757)

This contradicts how the Islamic commentaries interpret it, which is that the Qur’an itself, not the recitation,  will be ‘endowed with the power of speech’; but there are other hadith (not mentioned by MH) which make this clear. For example:

Narrated by Abdullah ibn Amr:

Allah’s Messenger said, “Fasting and the Qur’an intercede for a man. Fasting says, ‘O my Lord, I have kept him away from his food and his passions by day, so accept my intercession for him.’ The Qur’an SAYS, ‘I HAVE KEPT HIM AWAY from sleep by night, so accept my intercession for him.’ Then their intercession is accepted.” Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi, Hadith Number 1963

Note, the Qur’an, not the reciter’s recitation of it, is talking and interceding. So according to this hadith the Qur’an, Allah’s eternal speech is a separate conscious agent from Allah, but must be morally and ontologically superior to human beings in order to plead the case of believers before Allah himself. Allah’s separate, conscious, eternal speech is interceding before Allah. How is that pure monotheism?

But even if MH’s interpretation were correct (and Islamic tradition confirms it’s not)- your recitation intercedes for you? That makes recitation a separate conscious agent,  again morally and ontologically superior to the reciter in order to qualify as intercessor. Really? That sounds more like pantheism than monotheism.

3. Muslims worship a black stone?

MH failed to respond to DW’s objection that the black stone, which Muslims touch and kiss as part of the hajj,  is deified alongside Allah. In the Qur’an, Allah rebukes the Meccans for their idolatry, which included worship of stones:

“And they worship besides Allah things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say: “These are our intercessors with Allah.” Say: “Do you inform Allah of that which He knows not in the heavens and on the earth?” Glorified and Exalted be He above all that which they associate as partners with Him!” S. 10:18

And yet there is a stone that does apparently profit Muslims, according to Muhammad:

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said concerning the Stone: “By Allah, Allah will bring it forth on the Day of Resurrection, and it will have two eyes with which it will see and a tongue with which it will speak, and it will testify in favour of those who touched it in sincerity.” (Tirmidhi, 961; Ibn Maajah, 2944, hasan by al-Tirmidhi, and as qawiy by al-Haafiz ibn Hajar in Fath al-Baari, 3/462)

A black stone comes to life, with eyes and a tongue, to testify to Allah on behalf of the believers on the Day of Judgment! So a once-inanimate object is morally and ontologically superior to the believers in order to testify for them? The stone is involved in judging believers. But isn’t Allah supposed to be the only judge (Sura 6:114)? Why does he need help from a stone? Even Muhammad’s companions had doubts about all this.

Narrated ‘Abis bin Rabia:
‘Umar came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said “No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen Allah’s Apostle kissing you I would not have kissed you.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 667; *)

We could discuss more about the deification of Muhammad, Allah’s perishable parts, whether his attributes are part of Allah or not, if Tahwheed means ‘unification’ what exactly is being unified etc, but we’ll leave those for another day. For now we hope Mohammed Hijab is enjoying his break from Speaker’s Corner; we have a few things to chat to him about when he comes back, and our prayer is – as always – that he and the other SC missionaries stop trying to defend the indefensible, repent and believe in the LORD Jesus Christ for salvation. Praise His Name forever more.

With thanks to Sam Shamoun

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Does Allah pray?

Does Allah pray?

Hatun speaks to a Muslim student about who Allah is praying to in Sura 33:56.

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Comparing Muhammad to priests

Comparing Muhammad to priests.

Hatun has a conversation with a thoughtful Muslim about paedophile priests and Aisha.

The Bible says paedophile priests need to repent; the Qur’an says Muhammad is the best example for Muslims to follow (Sura 33:21).

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