Addressing the Muslim Attempt of Defending Muhammad
Article by Sam Shamoun
It is evident that ever since I wrote a series of articles documenting how the Muslim sources themselves emphatically teach that Jesus is greater than all creation, vastly superior to even Muhammad and his family (1, 2, 3), Muslims have become quite irate.
Some of them have even attempted to "reply" to my points with some of the worst arguments imaginable. For instance, one dawagandist writes:
So Shamoun is trying to claim that Jesus is superior to Prophet Muhammad because Jesus descends from the family of Imran, a family whom Allah has blessed and has chosen above all other families.
It is amazing how the missionary couldn't even read what he was quoting! I will quote the passage for you again, and this time I will highlight the parts that Shamoun conveniently and intentionally left out, as I said it is all distortion. So here is the passage again:
Lo! Allah preferred Adam and Noah AND THE FAMILLY OF ABRAHAM and the Family of 'Imran above (all His) creatures
Did the missionary's eyes just go blind to this part? Or did he INTENTIONALLY ignore it to paint a false picture? I will let you the reader decide.
So as you can see Allah has chosen TWO families above all other families and creatures, and that is the family of Ibrahim, as well as the family of Imran. (Sami Zaatari, Is Jesus the Greatest according to Islam?; source)
Zaatari further provides a quote linking Muhammad’s family tree to Abraham, one which is highly questionable (*).
Be that as it may, another neophyte basically repeats Zaatari’s point:
Another thing important to mention is that Allah SWT praises in whole the Family of Ibrahim also (Sura 3:33). The Holy Prophet (S) is a descendant of Prophet Ibrahim (A), from his son Ishmael (A) …
Clearly O Reader, Allah SWT speaks highly of all his Prophets, as they are the ones who preached the message of Tawheed, and who were rightly guided on the Straight Path. Our Respect is due to all of these Messengers, and mainly to Allah SWT, as He is the one who has favoured them, and allowed them to preach His call. (Umar; source)
As does this "apologist":
Sam quotes Surah 3:33 to show that Allah preferred the family of Imran above all His creatures. However, he forgets to point out that the same verse says the same thing about Abraham... So here we see that since Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him comes from the lineage of Ishmael (thus making him the family of Abaraham [sic]), he is included in the category of 'Family of Abaraham [sic]". (Bassam Zawadi, Does Islam Teach That Prophet Jesus Is Superior To Prophet Muhammad? A Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun; source)
This same writer sources Muslim expositors such as Ibn Kathir and al-Qurtubi to prove that since Muhammad is from Abraham’s lineage he is therefore included within that very family that Allah has blessed and exalted.
It is truly amazing that one of these dawagandists accused me of not reading the quote carefully in light of their gross distortion and misreading of the text in question. Here, once again, is the passage:
God chose Adam AND Noah AND the House of Abraham AND the House of Imran above all beings, the seed of one another; God hears, and knows. S. 3:33-34 Arberry
As anyone reading the citation can see, the author is informing his readers that Allah chose to exalt specific persons from the family line of these individuals, e.g. from all of Adam’s offspring Allah chose Noah, and from Noah he singled out the family of Abraham, as well as his descendants the Israelites:
Children of Israel, remember My blessing wherewith I blessed you, and that I have preferred you above all beings; S. 2:47 Arberry; cf. 2:122
We did aforetime grant to the Children of Israel THE BOOK, the Power of Command, AND PROPHETHOOD; We gave them, for Sustenance, things good and pure; and We favored them above the nations. And We granted them Clear Signs in affairs (of Religion): it was only after knowledge had been granted to them that they fell into schisms, through insolent envy among themselves. Verily thy Lord will judge between them on the Day of Judgment as to those matters in which they set up differences. S. 45:16-17
AND THEN, from this line of Abraham, Allah exalted and preferred the family of Imran, specifically Mary and her glorious Son the Lord Jesus. This is further supported by the immediate context:
And when the angels said, 'Mary, God has chosen thee, and purified thee; He has chosen thee above all women. S. 3:42 Arberry
Besides, if we were to take the logic of these dawagandists seriously then Allah really didn’t prefer any prophet or messenger since all of them belonged to the family of Adam, Noah and Abraham and therefore all of them were equal in his sight. But this clearly contradicts the following Quranic statements:
And those Messengers, SOME We have preferred above others; some there are to whom God spoke, and SOME He raised in rank. And We gave Jesus son of Mary the clear signs, and confirmed him with the Holy Spirit. And had God willed, those who came after him would not have fought one against the other after the clear signs had come to them; but they fell into variance, and some of them believed, and some disbelieved; and had God willed they would not have fought one against the other; but God does whatsoever He desires. S. 2:253 Arberry
And your Lord knows best all who are in the heavens and the earth. And indeed, We have preferred some of the Prophets above others, and to Dawud (David) We gave the Zabur (Psalms). S. 17:55 Hilali-Khan
The foregoing makes it obvious that the author, in Q. 3:33, was singling out the specific persons whom Allah chose above the rest of the members of these respective families. This, therefore, establishes the fact that by singling out the family of Imran Allah was indicating that he had chosen Jesus and his blessed mother above all the rest of Abraham’s descendants.
Zaatari’s desperation is more clearly seen by what he says next:
In fact Shamoun does something nice, he proves the Quran IS the word of God. If the Quran was the word of Muhammad as Shamoun often argues then why would Muhammad praise an Israelite women? Why would Muhammad say Mary an Israelite women has been chosen above all? Why not an Arab lady?
If Zaatari is consistent then he must accept that Baha’ullah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Elijah Muhammad, and even Joseph Smith were all God’s emissaries since they too praised Jesus and his mother. In fact, the first three even confirmed the Quran as the word of Allah and believed that Muhammad was his messenger/prophet. If these men were lying or false prophets/messengers etc. then why would they praise not only Jesus and Mary, but also Muhammad and even go so far as to claim that his Quran was the word of Allah? Doesn’t this prove that the same God who spoke to Muhammad sent them as well?
If Zaatari’s logic were true then the answer would have to be yes; thus, not only is Islam true but so is Bahaism, Ahmadiyyism as well as the Nation of Islam, sects which orthodox Muslims condemn as heretical. Mormonism must also be true if Zaatari is correct in his reasoning.
The reason why Muhammad would praise Jesus and his mother is because he wanted to deceive and dupe Christians into embracing him as a messenger sent by the same God. After all, which Christian would even take Muhammad’s claims seriously if he even dared to denigrate Jesus’ mother or denied everything miraculous concerning Christ?
In fact, Muhammad’s teachings concerning Mary substantiates this point since during his time the vast majority of Christians held to the perpetual virginity of Mary, i.e. the Lord’s mother remained a virgin even after giving birth to her blessed and glorious Son. This accounts for why the Quran fails to mention Mary’s fiancée/husband Joseph or that Jesus had siblings (cf. Matthew 1:18-25; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 1:27; 2; John 2:12, 7:1-10; Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5; Galatians 1:19) since Muhammad was trying to appeal to and win over the Christians of his day who held to Mary’s perpetual virginity.
Zaatari thinks he has an argument to refute my claims concerning the Quran ascribing to Jesus unique qualities and abilities which even Muhammad did not have:
I could play this game as well. The prophet Muhammad is the prophet to receive the FINAL AND LAST PERMAMENENT revelation; no other prophet had such a thing. The prophet Muhammad will be the only prophet who can intercede on behalf of the believers in the hereafter, even Jesus will not be given this honor. The prophet Muhammad has a surah in the Quran titled after him, Jesus does not.
Unfortunately for Zaatari this argument ACTUALLY refutes him and establishes that Jesus is greater than his false prophet. According to the Muslim sources Muhammad IS NOT the only intercessor nor is his message the last and permanent one. Others will also intercede, including Jesus:
Mention, when the angels, namely, Gabriel, said, 'O Mary, God gives you good tidings of a Word from Him, that is, a boy, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, He addresses her attributing him to her in order to point out that she will give birth to him without a father, for, the custom is to attribute the child to its father, honoured shall he be in this world, through prophethood, and the Hereafter, through [his] intercession and the high stations [al-darajat al-'ula, cf. Q. 20:75], and of those brought close, to God. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)
… The Prophet added, "Then the prophets and Angels and the believers will intercede, and (last of all) the Almighty (Allah) will say, ‘Now remains My Intercession.’ He will then hold a handful of the Fire from which He will take out some people whose bodies have been burnt, and they will be thrown into a river at the entrance of Paradise, called the water of life… (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93,Number 532s)
Moreover, the very same surah which Zaatari boasts is named after Muhammad rebukes his prophet for being a sinner:
So know (O Muhammad) that La ilaha ill-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah) and ask forgiveness for your sin, and also for (the sin of) believing men and believing women. And Allah knows well your moving about, and your place of rest (in your homes). S. 47:19 Hilali-Khan
Which is unlike Jesus who is glorified in the Quran as the sinless and holy one, the blessed of God:
He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son… And hath made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and hath enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I remain alive, S. 19:19, 31 Pickthall
… the gift of a holy son. S. 19:19 Y. Ali
… That I will give you a pure boy. Shakir
Interestingly, not only does Jesus not have a surah named after him neither does Allah, which means that Muhammad is far more exalted than his own god!
In fact, we want to thank Zaatari for informing us that the naming of a surah after certain individuals or actions means that they are honored and cherished in Islam. Just a few examples to see where such a theory leads: Q. 63 is named Al-Munafiqun (The Hypocrites) because Muslims wanted to honor all those who are hypocrites; Q. 64 bears the name At-Taghabun (The Cheating) in honor of the Islamic doctrine of lying and deceiving; Q. 65 is called At-Talaq (The Divorce) because divorce is highly esteemed by Allah; Q. 83 has the name of At-Tatfif (The Defrauders) because defrauders are greatly admired in Islam; Q. 104 is Al-Humazah (The Slanderer) because Allah and Muhammad value slandering; Q. 109 is named Al-Kafirun in honor of the Unbelievers, etc. etc. Just one more example, Q. 80 is called `Abasa because in it Allah praises Muhammad for his frowning!
With that said we want to reiterate that our point wasn’t merely that Mary is honored in Islam because she has a surah named after her, but because of the CONTENT of that surah, as well as others. Having a surah named after something may mean honor, but does not necessarily mean so. It could also be scorn or contempt, or simply be "an abstract" or a summary of the content, i.e. a keyword of a topic that is dealt with in that surah, without any indication whether it is positive or not. One can't make a principle of this one way or another.
Bassam Zawadi thinks that he has another way of explaining Q. 3:33 in order to avoid having to admit that Jesus is greater and better than his prophet:
For sake of argument, lets say that the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him is excluded from the family of Abraham. Why is it that Abraham or Jesus' family is superior to Prophet Muhammad's family?
After citing al-Suyuti he says:
So the reason why the family of Jesus and Abraham (peace be upon them both) is superior to Prophet Muhammad's family is because Prophets come from their progeny.
This agrees with what we mentioned earlier regarding Allah choosing Israel as that specific line from Abraham to place the prophethood, the commandment, and the Book. Here, the Quran is bearing implicit witness to the fact that God preferred Isaac over Ishmael, even though they both had the same father, and Jacob over Esau, despite the fact that Isaac was the father of both, in order to establish his covenant blessings with the Israelites:
"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?’ And Abraham said to God, ‘If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!’ Then God said, ‘Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 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. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.’" Genesis 17:17-21
"This is the account of Abraham's son Isaac. Abraham became the father of Isaac, and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean. Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ So she went to inquire of the LORD. The LORD said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger. When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them." Genesis 25:19-26
"I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring. For this was how the promise was stated: ‘At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.’ Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’" Romans 9:1-13
Zawadi is doing very little to help his case at this point. He further says that:
The only thing that this shows is that the FAMILIES of Jesus and Abraham (peace be upon them both) are superior to the FAMILY of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Not that, they themselves are actually superior to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Maybe an analogy will help...
The French soccer team is better than the Brazilian soccer team. However, Ronaldo is a better soccer player than any individual player on the French team.
Thus, Shamoun has failed to show how any Prophet is superior to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by using Surah 3:33.
The problem with Zawadi’s position and analogy is that they clearly go against what Muhammad himself is reported to have said concerning Abraham:
Anas b. Malik reported that a person came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: O the best of creation; thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: He is Ibrahim (peace be upon him). (Sahih Muslim, Book 030, Number 5841)
The above narrative corroborates my position that it is not just a matter of the families of Abraham and Jesus being superior to the family of Muhammad, but they themselves are greater and better than Zawadi’s prophet. This explains why their families are better than Muhammad’s family, and why the patriarch and Christ were given privileges and honors which Muhammad never received.
Thus, Zawadi hasn’t even come close to addressing my exegesis of Q. 3:33, a passage which in the context expressly shows that the Lord Jesus and his blessed mother are vastly superior to Muhammad and his family, including his own parents who both died and went to hell according to the so-called sound reports:
Abu Huraira reported: The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) visited the grave of his mother and he wept, and moved others around him to tears, and said: I sought permission from my Lord to beg forgiveness for her but it was not granted to me, and I sought permission to visit her grave and it was granted to me. So visit the graves, for that makes you mindful of death. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004,Number 2130)
Anas reported: Verily, a person said: Messenger of Allah, where is my father? He said: (He) is in the Fire. When he turned away, he (the Holy Prophet) called him and said: Verily my father and your father are in the Fire. (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0398)
So therefore in conclusion we must say that the dawagandist Zaatari and his fellow cohorts have completely FAILED to refute my arguments concerning Jesus being the greatest prophet according to their own religious texts, being far greater and more exalted than their own false prophet.
The fact is that Jesus is God’s beloved and unique Son, superior to every created thing, whose sandals Muhammad was not worthy to stoop down and untie. And the day shall come when Zaatari will see his false prophet bow before the feet of Jesus and worship him as the exalted and risen Lord to the glory of God the Father:
"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11
And the Triune God Knows Best!
Lord Jesus willing, we will refute the rest of the points raised by these "polemicists" shortly.