Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Prophet of Shirk Strikes Once Again

How Muhammad Turned Allah and Jesus into two Lords
By Sam Shamoun

Muhammad didn’t simply elevate Jesus and his blessed mother to divine status, thereby turning them into two separate gods besides Allah. He also associated Christ with Allah in Q. 9:31:  

They have taken their rabbis and their monks (as) Lords besides Allah AND the Messiah, son (of) Maryam. And not they were commanded except that they worship One God. (There) is no god except Him. Glory be to Him from what they associate (with Him). Literal (Word for Word)

Here is the transliteration of the underlying Arabic text:

Ittakhathoo ahbarahum waruhbanahum arbaban min dooni Allahi WAalmaseeha ibna maryama wama omiroo illa liyaAAbudoo ilahan wahidan la ilaha illa huwa subhanahu Aaamma mushrikoona

Because of the grammatical structure of the Arabic, the above passage is actually claiming that Jews and Christians (including Muslims) were commanded to only take Jesus as their Lord along with Allah. Basically, the verse is saying that the believers are to only serve Allah and Jesus as their Lord, not their rabbis or monks.

Putting it another way, the Quran is essentially stating that it is wrong for people to take Jewish rabbis and Christian priests as lords when their Lord is supposed to be Allah and Jesus. This means that the Quran’s author(s) ended up confessing that both Allah and Jesus are the one Lord whom all believers are to serve!

Check out how the following versions of the Quran translate the verse:

“They take their doctors and their monks for lords rather than God, AND the Messiah the son of Mary…” Palmer

“They take their priests and their monks for [their] lords, besides God, AND Christ the son of Mary…” Sale

“They took their scholars and priests to be lords besides God, AND the Messiah son of Mary…” Quran: A Reformist Translation

Notice how the above translators inserted a comma after God, even though it is clear from the original Arabic text that there is no justification for doing so. The Arabic makes it evident that both God/Allah and the Messiah are being joined together as the one Lord whom Muslims are to believe in and serve.

This leads us into a discussion of the Arabic conjunction wa (“and”), and the significance it has on how we are to understand this specific text.

While commenting on the importance that this particular conjunction has on the Muslim confession of faith (i.e., “there is no god but Allah AND Muhammad is his messenger”), renowned Muslim scholar Qadi 'Iyad Ibn Musa al-Yahsubi noted that:

The fact that mention of the Prophet is directly connected to mention of Allah also shows that obedience to the Prophet is connected to obedience to Allah and his name to Allah's name. Allah says, "Obey Allah and His Messenger" (2:32) and "Believe in Allah and His Messenger." (4:136) Allah joins them together using the conjunction WA WHICH IS THE CONJUNCTION OF PARTNERSHIP. IT IS NOT PERMITTED TO USE THIS CONJUNCTION IN CONNECTION WITH ALLAH IN THE CASE OF ANYONE EXCEPT THE PROPHET.

Hudhayfa said that the Prophet said, "None of you should say, ‘What Allah wills and (wa) so-and-so wills.’ Rather say, ‘What Allah wills.’ Then stop and say, 'So-and-so wills.’"

Al-Khattabi said, "The Prophet has guided you to correct behaviour in putting the will of Allah before the will of others. He chose ‘then’ (thumma) which implies sequence and deference as opposed to ‘and’ (wa) WHICH IMPLIES PARTNERSHIP."

Something similar is mentioned in another hadith. Someone was speaking in the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, "Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has been rightly guided, and whoever rebels against them both (joining them together by using the dual form)…" The Prophet said to him, "What a bad speaker you are! Get up! [Or he said: Get out!]"

Abu Sulayman said, "He disliked the two names being joined together in that way BECAUSE IT IMPLIES EQUALITY."… (Qadi ‘Iyad, Kitab Ash-shifa bi ta'rif huquq al-Mustafa (Healing by the recognition of the Rights of the Chosen One), translation by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K.; third reprint 1991, paperback], p. 8; capital emphasis ours)

Therefore, since the Quranic author(s) linked Jesus with Allah by using the very same conjunction which implies partnership, this further confirms that they ended up making Christ and Allah co-equal partners, a fact that is brought out more clearly in this next passage:

When God said, 'Jesus Son of Mary, remember My blessing upon thee and upon thy mother, when I confirmed thee with the Holy Spirit, to speak to men in the cradle, and of age; and when I taught thee the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel; and when thou createst out of clay, by My leave, as the likeness of a bird, and thou breathest into it, and it is a bird, by My leave; and thou healest the blind and the leper by My leave, and thou bringest the dead forth by My leave; and when restrained from thee the Children of Israel when thou camest unto them with the clear signs, and the unbelievers among them said, "This is nothing but sorcery manifest." And when I inspired the Apostles: "Believe in Me AND My Messenger (an aminoo bee WAbirasoolee)"; they said, "We believe; witness Thou our submission."' S. 5:110-111 Palmer – cf. Q. 2:87, 253; 3:49-52

Here we have Allah making Christ a partner and sharer in his exclusive divine attributes and functions, e.g., Allah permitted Jesus to create birds from clay and breathe life into them, raise the dead back to life, and give sight to the blind.

What makes this rather astonishing is that Christ creates and gives life in the exact same way that Allah does,

Your Lord said to the angels: "I am creating a human from hardened clay of aged mud. So when I perfect him, and blow of My Spirit in him, you shall fall prostrate to him." S. 15:28-29 Quran: A Reformist Translation (QRT)

For your Lord said to the angels: "I am creating a human being from clay. So when I have evolved him, and breathed into him from My Spirit, then you shall submit to him.” S. 38:71-72 QRT

Jesus even performs the very functions which Muhammad himself could not do, and was not allowed to do according to the Quran:

You cannot make the dead hear, nor can you make the deaf hear the call when they turn their backs and flee. Nor can you guide the blind from their misguidance. You can only make those who acknowledge Our signs hear you, for they have peacefully surrendered. S. 27:80-81 QRT

You cannot make the dead listen, nor can you make the deaf hear the call when they have turned their backs. Nor can you enlighten the blind from their straying; but you can only make those who acknowledge Our signs listen, for they have peacefully surrendered. S. 30:52-53 QRT

The authors and/or editors also utilized the conjunction wa to enjoin belief in both Allah and Christ, thereby showing that a person cannot believe in one without also believing in the other.

The Quran therefore depicts Jesus as a divine being made flesh who is capable of doing whatever Allah does, and who also shares in the sole, unique Lordship or sovereignty of the Islamic deity.

Now some may take exception with our exegesis of Q. 9:31 and assert that the Arabic text clearly places Jesus alongside the rabbis and monks who were wrongly taken as Lords besides Allah. They may argue that the conjunction (wa) before Al-Maseeha, and the short vowel fatha (a), at the end of the word indicate that Al-Maseeha is in the accusative, so it is another object (together with the first two, ahbarahum waruhbanahum, e.g., "their rabbis and their monks") of the verb "have taken." The sentence should therefore actually read this way:

They have taken their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah Mary's son as lords apart from God, and they were commanded to serve but One God; there is no god but He; glory be to Him, above that they associate.

If the wa was a conjunction conjoining Al-Maseeh to Allah, i.e., binding Allah and the Messiah together, then it would need to be in the genitive just like Allahi, e.g., Al-Maseehi.

In response, we must highlight two important considerations when assessing the soundness or weakness of this assertion. To begin with, this argument presupposes that the markings distinguishing the different cases in Arabic, i.e. nominative, accusative etc., were always there, were always part of the original text. The reality, however, is quite different since the original Arabic Quran had no markings to help differentiate between the different nuances of a word.

Here is how the text would look like in transliteration minus the critical points:

min doon allah w almaseeh bn maryam

As one can see, there is no short fatha at the end of the words almaseeh, bn or maryam, which means that the original Arabic text did indeed conjoin Jesus along with Allah.

This leads us to our second point. The conjunction wa, as we saw earlier, is viewed by Muslims to be the conjunction of partnership. Since the Arabic text had no markings this would mean that someone reading it would have clearly seen that Jesus was being joined alongside Allah as the one Lord whom others had to believe in, as opposed to their rabbis and priests.

In light of the foregoing, it is rather obvious that the scribes who came later and added these markings realized the difficulty this text posed and decided to add the very specific points which made the word an accusative in order to avoid associating Jesus with God. This means that the scribes actually improved on the grammar of the Quran in order to avoid these theological “mistakes” and “slips”!

Now the author(s) and/or editor(s) of the Quran could have simply avoided all these problems by writing the verse in the following manner:

Ittakhathoo ahbarahum waruhbanahum waalmaseeha ibna maryama arbaban min dooni Allahi

Or, if we omit the vowel markings, s/he/they could have formulated it this way:

Ittakhatho ahbarahum w ruhbanahum w almaseeh bn maryam arbab min doon Allah

Which would give us:

They have taken their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah son of Mary as Lords besides Allah.

Thirdly, as we already demonstrated above, the Quran ascribes titles and characteristics to Jesus that clearly prove he is a fully divine Being, as opposed to a mere human. As the following authors note:  

“It is no easy task, however, to describe the Qur'an's evaluation of Christianity, for the precise historical context of the Qur'an's origins is far from clear, despite the elaborate biographies of the Prophet Muhammad written during the 'Abaasid period (132/750-656/1258). Meanwhile, Qur'anic language, essentially homiletic and referential, is often sparing with details. It can therefore be elusive to readers removed from its original context.

“The problem might be presented in regard to terminology. The Qur'an repeatedly (eleven times in all) refers to Jesus as the Christ (al-masih). However, it seems to use the term simply as a proper name (much as Christians began to use the term in the patristic period). Yet the Qur'an also refers to Jesus as the Word of God (Q 3:45; 4:171; cf. 3:59) and the Spirit of God (4:171), who was created from a divine breath (21:91; 66:12). These are typical formulae used by Christians to express the divinity of Christ, as is the Qur’an reference to Christ creating a bird from clay and bringing it to life with his breath (3:49; 5:110; cf. God's creation of Adam: 15:29; 32:9; 38:72) and the Qur'an's close association of Jesus and the Holy Spirit (2:87, 253; 5:110).

“However, the Qur'an also repeatedly has Jesus announce that he was sent by God to confirm the law (Tawrat) to the Israelites (3:50; 5:46; 61:6), to insist on God's transcendence (3:51; 5:72), to reject worship of him (and his mother) as gods (5:116-117), and, in one place, to announce a Messenger to come after him (61:6). Hence it seems that the Qur'an is rejecting Christian claims about Jesus, and indeed the Qur'an implies that the "People of the Book" (here presumably Christians are intended) belittle God with their statements about Christ (4:171). Elsewhere (9:30) Christians are reprimanded for calling Christ the Son of God. And yet in the very next verse (9:31) the Qur'an seems to imply that Christians and Jews err in considering monks and rabbis as Lords instead of God and Christ.2” (‘Abd al-Jabbar – Critique of Christian Origins: A Parallel English-Arabic Text, edited, translated, and annotated by Gabriel Said Reynolds & Samir Khalil Samir [Brigham Young University Press, Provo, Utah 2010], pp. xxi-xxii; bold emphasis ours)

2. Note, however, that the text is vocalized today with Christ in the accusative so that Christ is grouped with monks and rabbis in this verse. (Ibid., p. xxii)

Finally, the Quran provides further confirmation for the fact of Jesus sharing in the unique exalted status of Allah as the sovereign Lord of creation. According to the following verses,

Lo! God said: "O Jesus! Verily, I shall cause thee to die, and shall exalt thee unto Me, and cleanse thee of [the presence of] those who are bent on denying the truth; and I shall place those who follow thee [far] above those who are bent on denying the truth, unto the Day of Resurrection. In the end, unto Me you all must return, and I shall judge between you with regard to all on which you were wont to differ. S. 3:55 Muhammad Asad

and their boast, "Behold, we have slain the Christ Jesus, son of Mary, [who claimed to be] an apostle of God!" However, they did not slay him, and neither did they crucify him, but it only seemed to them [as if it had been] so; and, verily, those who hold conflicting views thereon are indeed confused, having no [real] knowledge thereof, and following mere conjecture. For, of a certainty, they did not slay him: nay, God exalted him unto Himself – and God is indeed almighty, wise. S. 4:157-158 Asad

Allah raised Jesus to himself, to dwell in his very own presence.

Since Islamic theology claims that Allah governs all creatures from his throne, which is supposed to be above the seven heavens and therefore above the entire creation, this means that Jesus is residing over all creation alongside Allah! 

It is apparent that this is simply another occasion where Muhammad decided to incorporate certain Christian beliefs as part of his scripture without realizing the great embarrassment that this would cause him due to his express denial that Jesus is the eternal, divine Son of God who became flesh for our salvation.

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