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Rebuttal to "Muhammad and Poetry Revisited Again and Again"

By
Bassam Zawadi

 

 

 

He's done it again folks. Stubborn Sam Shamoun does not know when to let things go. This is continuing our debate regarding poetry in Islam. He responded back to my last article.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

This verse and the argument raised by Zawadi have nothing at all to do with Muhammad’s dealings with poetry. The topic is worth to be discussed but in this article it only serves to distract from the topic of discussion.

Only these comments for now: I do let the text say what it says. Yet I also seek to understand this text in light of what the overall context of that particular Gospel says about Jesus, as well as what the entire Bible teaches in reference to the Person of Christ. Once I do that then I am forced to conclude that Jesus is both God and man simultaneously, which means that he is both all-knowing in relation to his Deity but limited in reference to his humanity. For more on these points please consult the following:

http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Shabir-Ally/omnipotent.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/christology_evolution2.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_jesus_changing.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_kenosis.htm

However, if Zawadi wants to venture into these issues then here are some verses regarding Allah being ignorant and needing to learn and discover things:

If a wound has afflicted you (at Ohud), a wound like it has also afflicted the (unbelieving) people; and We bring these days to men by turns, and that Allah MAY KNOW those who believe and take witnesses from among you; and Allah does not love the unjust. And that He may purge those who believe and deprive the unbelievers of blessings. Do you think that you will enter the garden while Allah has NOT YET KNOWN those who strive hard from among you, and (He has not) known the patient. S. 3:140-142 Shakir

That which befell you, on the day when the two armies met, was by permission of Allah; that He MIGHT KNOW the true believers; And that He MIGHT KNOW the hypocrites, unto whom it was said: Come, fight in the way of Allah, or defend yourselves. They answered: If we knew aught of fighting we would follow you. On that day they were nearer disbelief than faith. They utter with their mouths a thing which is not in their hearts. Allah is Best Aware of what they hide. S. 3:166-167 Pickthall

Say: "I know not whether the (Punishment) which ye are promised is near, or whether my Lord will appoint for it a distant term. He (alone) knows the Unseen, nor does He make any one acquainted with His Secrets.- Except an messenger whom He has chosen: and then He makes a band of watchers march before him and behind him, That He MAY KNOW that they have (truly) brought and delivered the Messages of their Lord: and He encompasses all that is with them, and takes account of every single thing." S. 72:25-28

There have even been specific Muslims who used some of these very passages to prove that Allah doesn't know the future, necessitating certain Muslims to find convenient explanations and reinterpretations to refute them. For instance, Muslim scholar Mahmoud M. Ayoub lists Ar-Razi's response to those who used S. 3:143 as proof that Allah does not know the future:

"Razi is interested in the theological problems raised by the phrase ‘in order that God may know.’ He argues that ‘the literal sense of God's saying, "in order that God may know" would suggest that God alternated [the days] IN ORDER TO ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE. Obviously, this is impossible of God.’ Razi cites verse 143, and a number of other verses where this phrase, or one like it, occurs. He alleges that Hisham b. al-Hakkam, a well-known disciple of the Sixth Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, used such verses to argue that God does not know incidents until they occur. ‘The answer of the theologians to this argument,’ Razi says, ‘is that rational proofs have conclusively established that no change ever occurs in God's knowledge. The linguistic usage of calling something that is known with the metaphor "knowledge," or something that is subject to power with the metaphor "power" is well known. Thus any Qur'anic verse the literal sense of which indicates acqusition of knowledge [by God] actually means the occurrence of a known.’

Razi then presents several possible interpretations of this phrase. ‘First that sincerity may be distinguished from hypocrisy and the person of faith from the rejecter of faith. Secondly, that the friends (awliya’) of God may know, though He attributes this knowledge to Himself by way of exalting them. Thirdly, that God may judge in accordance with this distinction, but such judgment cannot happen except with knowledge. Finally, that God may know this [i.e., faith and patience] to have actually occurred from them, although He knew that it would occur. This is because recompense must be accorded for something which actually is, and not for something which is known to occur in the future.’ Razi seems to prefer the first of these interpretations (Razi, IX, pp. 14-18)" (Ayoub, The Qur'an and Its Interpreters, Volume II, The House of Imran [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1992], p. 330; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Notice the warped logic of ar-Razi. May know doesn't really mean that, it really means the occurrence of something known! Another commentator troubled by these passages was Tabarsi. Ayoub writes:

"Tabarsi is specially concerned with the theological implications of the phrase ‘in order that God know’ ..

Tabarsi offers a number of explanations of God's knowledge as described in this verse, all aimed at affirming God's absolute and eternal omniscience. ‘In order that God may know those who truly have faith’ means ‘in order that He may know them as being distinguished by their faith from all others.’ Hence, the words ‘in order that He may know’ do not mean being informed, for the meaning is not that He does not know them as objects of knowledge in themselves, but that He may know them as distinguished by faith. They MAY also mean ‘in order that God may know those who have faith’ by the manifestation of their steadfastness in striving against their enemies. ‘This is to say, God would treat them as one who knows them to be in this condition, even though He knows them before the manifestation of their faith as He does after it. It is that he knows before they had manifested their faith that they will do so. When they ad in fact manifested their faith, He knew them as such; hence change occurs, not in the knower, but in the known.’ The words MAY also mean ‘in order that the friends of God may know,’ though God attributed this knowledge to Himself by way of honoring them. It is also possible that they mean ‘in order that the patience of those who shall be patient, the fright of those who are cowardly, and the faith of the faithful may appear and be known.’ They MAY also mean ‘in order that sincerity and hypocrisy of the people may be manifested’ (Tabarsi, IV, pp. 208-210)." (Ibid., pp. 331, 332; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

Note how many explanations Tabarsi had to come with to avoid the plain meaning of the Quran. And yet some of his explanations are even more incoherent, as in his claim that "may know" doesn't mean that Allah doesn't already know but that he may know believers by their being distinguished by their faith. His other explanation is even more amazing, i.e. that Allah is not saying that he may know but that the believers may know, and yet he attributed their ignorance to himself in order to honor them! How wonderful, Allah honors his servants by ascribing ignorance to himself! For more on Allah's imperfect knowledge please read read this article.

So now Bassam, why don't you simply allow these texts prove to you that your god Allah isn't omniscient, that he really is an ignoramus?

 

My Response:

First of all the issue of Mark 13:32 has not been properly addressed by anyone until now. I refuted all possible explanations for it here http://www.answering-christianity.com/bassam_zawadi/mark13_32.htm 

This is incomparable to the verses that Shamoun put forth from the glorious Quran. 

The verses do not say that God could ONLY know once a particular situation occurs.

When God says 'that he might know' the believers and hypocrites, Tabari, Suyuti and Qurtubi agree that God means that he would distinguish them. 

"To know" means to make his knowledge open and public since he is already omniscient and already knows all. However, God will make it known. (Tafsir of Jalalayn)

 

No way do the verses put any condition on God's knowledge. The verses do not state that only God could know so and so unless so and so happens. It means something else. Even when I read it plainly I could understand that God is using some kind of figure of speech. 

Unlike Mark 13:32 which makes it absolutely clear that only the Father knows when the hour is. Therefore, the Son and Holy Spirit don't. See http://www.answering-christianity.com/bassam_zawadi/mark13_32.htm  

Sam Shamoun said:

Here is how I explain what Jesus did by looking carefully at the context:

"You have heard that it was said to the men of old, `You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults HIS BROTHER shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, `You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that YOUR BROTHER has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to YOUR BROTHER, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny." Matthew 5:21-27

As Zawadi himself noted, Jesus was referring to a brother. He wasn't referring to just anyone. And who exactly is a brother according to Christ? Those who do God's will:

"But he replied to the man who told him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.’" Matthew 12:48-50

"Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’" Matthew 7:21-23

And what exactly is the will of God? To believe in his Son Jesus Christ whom he sent:

"Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ ... ‘For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.’" John 6:29, 38-40

Now did the Pharisees and scribes whom Jesus rebuked believe that he was God's Son and the Messiah? Not at all:

"And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, 'Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?' But he was silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, 'Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?' And Jesus said, 'I am; and you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.' And the high priest tore his garments, and said, 'Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?' And they all condemned him as deserving death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to strike him, saying to him, 'Prophesy!' And the guards received him with blows." Mark 14:60-65

Were they, therefore, Jesus' brothers? Far from it.

Moreover, Zawadi is attacking a straw man at this point since I didn't say it was wrong for Muhammad to criticize his opponents. I said it was wrong for Muhammad to use poetry to criticize his opponents when elsewhere he condemned poetry altogether. In other words, Muhammad allowed poetry if it served his purpose but condemned when it didn't.

Regarding Zawadi’s verdict that "calling the disbelievers fools is not behavior of a Prophet as he is supposed to have more patience and better approach than that" one may certainly wonder whether he really considers murdering Muhammad’s critics and commanding the slaughter of disbelievers a better approach and a great example of exhibiting that extra share of patience?

Finally, even if Muhammad did not personally lampoon and insult the disbelievers but used a poet to do so on his behalf, is that any better?

 

My Response:

Oh so in Christianity you are allowed to call non believers fools? Are these the teachings of Jesus? Is this how you 'love' your enemies? Obviously only Christians are brothers (spiritually). So it is absolutely okay for you to call me a fool then since I am not Christian? It is not a sin? I'm assuming that you will say yes judging by your manners and the way you have talked to me and brother Sami Zaatri in the past...

http://www.answering-christianity.com/sam_shamoun_rebuttals.htm

 

Prophet Muhammad did not attack anyone unless they attacked him first or if he believed that they were going to attack him. The attack could either be militarily or non militarily. People would use their insults of the Prophet to incite people to go and attack the Prophet. They were a conspiracy for initiation of wars. They were criminals. 

The Prophet did not retaliate with poetry to the disbelievers himself because he did not know any poetry. 

Sam Shamoun said:

RESPONSE:

Let us see who has understood what and who it is that is left speechless:

Yes indeed poetry IN GENERAL was prohibited because the poetry back then was only poetry about worldly affairs and about luxury.

So Zawadi ADMITS that the Quran does prohibit poetry in general, not just certain types of poetry! Talk about someone not realizing what he has written. Zawadi tries to pull a fast one on his readers since he distorts even what his own Muslim sources say regarding the content of pre-Islamic poetry. Note what these following narrations claim:

867. Shurayh said, "I ask 'A'isha, may Allah be pleased her with, 'Did the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, recite any poetry?' She said, 'He used to recite some of the poetry of 'Abdullah ibn Rawaha:

'Someone to whom you have not given provision brings you news.'"

869. Ash-Sharid said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked me to recite the poetry of Umayya ibn Abi's-Salt and I recited it. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, began to say, 'Go on, go on!' until I had recited a hundred lines.' The Prophet said, 'If only he had become Muslim.'" (Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari, XXXV. Poetry; online source)

Note carefully what Zawadi stated, since he says that poetry in general was prohibited because "back then" such poems were worldly in nature. Yet here we have both Muhammad and Ash-Sharid reciting pre-Islamic poetry, poetry composed by non-Muslims. Hence, if Zawadi is correct then this means that Muhammad was guilty of reciting poetry which had been prohibited since these poems were not beneficial due to their focus on worldly affairs and luxury!

Zawadi even dared to say that Allah had Muslims forget all the poetry that they had learned before Islam because it was useless. Is this why Muslims were still reciting pre-Islamic poetry after embracing Islam on the request of Muhammad himself? Is this also why Muhammad recited the poems of non-Muslims? Zawadi has managed to incriminate his own prophet by his statements

My Response:

 Abdulla ibn Rawaha is the same Muslim who died as a martyr (see Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 23, Number 338 and Volume 2, Book 23, Number 392)

The commentary of Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani is long and explains this in detail. However, what he suggests is that the statement of Ibn Ruwaha is a general statement and not meant as poetry. Even if it was meant to be poetry then the Prophet saying it was not intended as being poetic but as a statement of fact and truth. Ibn Hajar shows this by explaining the Arabic grammar and giving several other examples where so many other statements that may seem to be poetic really are not. 

Such a short statement such as "Someone to whom you have not given provision brings you news." is not a poem and we do not know the rest of the statements or sentences after it. Maybe the narrator of the hadith forgot the rest of it. Perhaps if we continued further we would have found the poem mentioning many beneficial things (about the majesty of God and so on)

 

 

As for the second hadith and the Prophet reciting pre-Islamic poetry. Well not all pre Islamic poetry was forbidden...

Saheeh Muslim


Book 028, Hadith Number 5604.
------------------------------
Chapter : Not known.

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The truest word spoken by an Arab (pre-Islamic) in poetry is this verse of Labid: "Behold! apart from Allah everything is vain."

So there was pre Islamic poetry that was good and permissible.

As for the Prophet reciting Umayya's poetry...

Saheeh Muslim

Book 028, Hadith Number 5603.
------------------------------
Chapter : Not known.

'Amr b. Sharid reported on the authority of his father that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) asked him to recite poetry, the rest of the hadith is the same, out with this addition: "He (that is Umayya b. Abu Sharid was about to become a Muslim and in the hadith transmitted on the authority, of Ibn Mahdi (the words are) "He was almost a Muslim in his poetry."

This shows that Umayya's poetry was about God and religious matters. How else could he almost be a Muslim in his poetry?
Therefore, his poetry is permissible. The content that is. Forget the person saying it. The poetry it self is permissible. 

Note:

There is a mistake by the English translators of Saheeh Muslim. This hadith is referring to Umayya b. Abi Salt. The translator got mixed up and put Ummaya b. Abu Sharid. Because I checked the hadith in Arabic  and it says that it is referring to Umayya b. Abi Salt. 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

My Response:

I said that for a specific time it was condemned generally but then the revelation came down abrogating it. 

When you read the verse in context you clearly see that poetry that leads people astray is condemned.

Those hadith need to be read in context with the other hadith that show permissibility of certain kinds of poetry. I already explained that the hadith that says 'filling your body with puss is better than with poetry" means that people should not take poetry to extreme levels. That's all. 

Yes read the context...

And the Poets, - It is those straying in Evil, who follow them: Seest thou not that they wander distracted in every valley? - And that they say what they practise not? - Except those who believe, work righteousness, engage much in the remembrance of God, and defend themselves only after they are unjustly attacked. And soon will the unjust assailants know what vicissitudes their affairs will take!

You are not safe to assume anything. 

Sam Shamoun said:

And what is actually getting worse is Zawadi's inability to address the issues raised. He admits that the people assumed that Muhammad's words were nothing more than poetry. How did Muhammad respond? By saying that it was beneath him to recite poetry. The problem that Zawadi doesn't want to see is that the response from Muhammad demonstrates that the Quran isn't merely condemning the contents of poetry, but the form itself.

Putting it simply, Zawadi obviously believes that the teachings of the Quran are pure and good, so there is nothing wrong with its content as far as he or even Muhammad are concerned. And yet when the people labeled Muhammad's Quran as poetry he was quick to condemn that statement by saying that poetry is not for him. What this implies is that the Quran is condemning the form of poetry itself, not merely its contents.

My Response:

I already explained this in my previous article. They accused the Prophet of just reciting poetry, however the verse came down stating that the Prophet was not even able to compose poetry. It was not in his ability. It was not the sayings of a poet but the words of God. (Surah 69:41-42). That is all it means. Why are you complicating things?

Sam Shamoun said:

 

My Response:

They accused the Prophet of composing the poetry. The Prophet was not able to compose poems. Just merely reciting them because he heard them from some one else is another thing. However, the Prophet was unable to COMPOSE poetry. 

Sam Shamoun said:

s Ibn Kathir stated in reference to Sura 36:69:

Allah does not teach His Messenger Poetry

<And We have not taught him poetry, nor is it suitable for him.> Allah tells us that He has not taught His Prophet Muhammad poetry...

<nor is it suitable for him.> MEANS, he did not know how to compose it, HE DID NOT LIKE IT and he had no natural inclination towards it. It was narrated that he never memorized a stanza of poetry with the correct meter or rhyme -- he would transpose words or memorize it incompletely. In Ad-Dala'il, Al-Bayhaqi recorded that the Messenger of Allah said to Al-`Abbas bin Mirdas As-Sulami, may Allah be pleased with him...

<You are the one who said: "Do you distribute my booty and the booty of the servants between Al-Aqra` and `Uyainah."> He said, "It is `Uyainah and Al-Aqra`." He said...

<It is all the same.> i.e., it means the same thing. And Allah knows best. This is because Allah taught him the Qur'an, which...

<Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it; sent down by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise.) (41:42). This is not poetry, as some of the ignorant disbelievers of the Quraysh claimed; neither is it sorcery, a fabrication or a magic spell, as the misguided and ignorant people variously suggested. The Prophet was naturally disinclined to compose verse, and was forbidden to do so by Divine Law. (online source; underline an capital emphasis ours)

Not only does Ibn Kathir say that Muhammad was forbidden from composing poetry, he even claims that Muhammad hadn't memorized any nor did he like it. Now either Ibn Kathir was lying that Muhammad hadn't memorized or liked poetry or Aisha was. Both of them cannot be correct.

 

My Response:

The word 'lying' is too harsh. Ibn Kathir could have been mistaken. Or maybe the Prophet first disliked poetry then later on when he heard poetry praising Allah he liked it. Isn't that possible? 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

The answer should rather be obvious, but it seems that it wasn't to Zawadi. In the first place, Muhammad wasn't sent to explain the Quran by providing explanations other than those given to him as part of the Quran. The Quran says that it is Allah who explains the Quran for the people:

And obey God and obey the Messenger, and beware; but if you turn your backs, then know that it is ONLY for Our Messenger to deliver the Message Manifest. S. 5:92 Arberry

The duty of the messenger IS ONLY TO CONVEY (the message). Allah knoweth what ye proclaim and what ye hide. Say: The evil and the good are not alike even though the plenty of the evil attract thee. So be mindful of your duty to Allah, O men of understanding, that ye may succeed. O ye who believe! Ask not of things which, if they were made known unto you, would trouble you; but if ye ask of them when the Qur'an is being revealed, they will be made known unto you. Allah pardoneth this, for Allah is Forgiving, Clement. A folk before you asked (for such disclosures) and then disbelieved therein. S. 5:99-101 Pickthall

And the idolaters say, `If ALLAH had so willed, we should not have worshiped anything beside HIM, neither we nor our fathers, nor should we have forbidden anything without command from HIM.' So did those who opposed the truth before them. Are the Messengers responsible for anything EXCEPT the plain delivery of the Message? S. 16:35 Sher Ali

But if they turn away, thy duty is ONLY to preach the clear Message. S. 16:82 Y. Ali

Say: Obey Allah and obey the messenger. But if ye turn away, then (it is) for him (to do) only that wherewith he hath been charged, and for you (to do) only that wherewith ye have been charged. If ye obey him, ye will go aright. But the messenger hath NO OTHER CHARGE than to convey (the message) plainly. S. 24:54 Pickthall

'But if you cry me lies, nations cried lies before you; and it is ONLY for the Messenger to deliver the Manifest Message.' S. 29:18 Arberry

But if they turn aside, We have not sent you as a watcher over them; on you IS ONLY TO DELIVER (the message); and surely when We make man taste mercy from Us, he rejoices thereat; and if an evil afflicts them on account of what their hands have already done, then - surely man is ungrateful. S. 42:48 Shakir

The All-merciful has taught the Koran. S. 55:1-2 Arberry

Obey Allah and obey His messenger; but if ye turn away, then the duty of Our messenger is ONLY to convey (the message) plainly. S. 64:12 Pickthall

 

My Response:

Notice that the verses say that the Prophet should convey the message plainly. The word in Arabic is mobeen, which means clear. So Yusuf Ali's translation would be better...

Surah 64:12

So obey God, and obey His Apostle: but if ye turn back, the duty of Our Apostle is but to proclaim (the Message) clearly and openly.

 

So obviously to deliver the message clearly the Prophet was also sent to explain it. 

Sam is using typical "Quran Only" arguments. However, there are many verses that state that the Prophet came to teach us the Quran. Just read this... http://www.answering-christianity.com/bassam_zawadi/combat_kit_for_muslims.htm 

 

When the other verses say that Allah taught the Quran, well obviously through Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet would not say anything from his own. (Surah 53:3-4)

Sam Shamoun said:

Yet the exegesis of these scholars does prove one thing: It shows that Sura 16:43 establishes the principle of turning to the Jews and Christians for verification of the Quran on any given matter, not just for matters regarding the mode of revelation. After all, to interpret the text to mean that a person should turn to the scholars, as Ibn Kathir and the others so understood it, shows that one can draw inferences from a specific passage that go beyond the immediate purpose for which the verse was initially given.

My Response:

Scholars say that asking the people of the thikr could refer to asking scholars. However, what do Muslim scholars rule by? They rule by the Quran and Sunnah. If we ever want to know anything we refer it to Allah and His Messenger. (Surah 4:59) 

If the Christians and Jews rule by Allah and His Messenger (prophet Muhammad) then I have no problem asking them my self. But they don't.

Sam Shamoun said:

But since this text wasn't good enough for Zawadi we will gladly provide another:

And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers. S. 10:94 Muhammad

The above reference is not limiting the seeking of verification from Jews and Christians to peripheral issues such as whether Allah sends humans as messengers or not. Rather, it expressly says that if there is any doubt about what is being revealed, i.e. the entire Quran, then one should ask the Jews and Christians.

In fact, this passage troubled Muslims since the one who was initially being addressed was Muhammad, meaning that he was the one doubting and of those that wavered! Not being happy with the passage accusing Muhammad of having doubts these commentators came up with a convenient explanation to protect his integrity and faithfulness. Some stated that Muhammad responded by saying that he doesn't doubt and will not ask, and that the text was actually addressing others who were doubting through him. In other words, the passage was not directed towards Muhammad but to the others, whether unbelievers or weak Muslims. How convenient!

 

My Response:

The meaning is that the Prophet should ask the true believers from the people of the book such as Abdullah bin Salam who says that the Prophet has been described by Jesus to later come. (Tafsir of Tabari) and (Tafsir of Qurtubi). Well the Prophet then replied back saying that he does not doubt and therefore would not ask. (Tafsir of Ibn Kathir), (Tafsir of Suyuti),  (Tafsir of Tabari) and  (Tafsir of Qurtubi)

The verse is addressing the Prophet Muhammad. When you read the Arabic it says...

Arabic Fa-in kunta fee shakkin mimma anzalnna ilayka fais-ali allatheena yaqraoona alkitaba min qablika laqad jaaka alhaqqu min rabbika fala takoonanna mina almumtareena

The word kunta is singular. Therefore, addressing one person. That being Prophet Muhammad. If it said kuntum then it would be a general command for everyone.

God asked the Prophet if he had doubts and then Prophet replied back saying no. God did not accuse the Prophet of having doubts.

Sam Shamoun said:

In fact, this particular hadith also exposes Muhammad for not following his own advice since he is reported to have said in another so-called authentic narration:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr:
The Prophet said, "Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence, and tell others the stories of Bani Israel (which have been taught to you), for it is not sinful to do so. And whoever tells a lie on me intentionally, will surely take his place in the (Hell) Fire." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 667)

 

My Response:

The stories of Bani Israel are of those stories which the Muslims have been taught through Quran and authentic hadith. They are referring specifically to the progeny of Jacob. The Muslims could tell the stories of how they treated their Prophets and so on and so forth. The Prophet did not recommend it or condemn it. (Source)

The Israeiliyat is different. They are stories from Jewish origins. The Prophet meant the stories that he taught the companions (either through Quran or authentic hadith)

Sam Shamoun said:

Say you: 'WE BELIEVE IN God, and in that which has been sent down on us and sent down on Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob, and the Tribes, and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and the Prophets, of their Lord; we make no division between any of them, and to Him we surrender.' S. 2:136 Arberry

The apostle believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers; THEY ALL BELIEVE IN Allah and His angels AND HIS BOOKS and His apostles; We make no difference between any of His apostles; and they say: We hear and obey, our Lord! Thy forgiveness (do we crave), and to Thee is the eventual course. S. 2:285 Shakir

And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, "We believe in the revelation which has come down to us AND IN THAT WHICH HAS COME DOWN TO YOU; Our God and your God is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam)." S. 29:46 Y. Ali

Notice that, according to these references, Zawadi's position regarding the Holy Bible and the previous revelations has to be one of complete affirmation and belief, not one of doubt. He is commanded to profess complete faith in the books of the Holy Bible since this is the revelation which came down to the Jews and Christians through their prophets and messengers.

In light of the foregoing, we must say that it is Zawadi's ignorance of what even his own religious texts actually teach that is becoming clearer and clearer.

 

My Response:

Okay what is the problem these verses pose? They say that I should believe in the books that Allah has sent. Well of course I do. I believe in the Torah that was sent to Moses and in the Gospel sent to Jesus. I just don't believe that the ones in the Christian possession today are those ones.

 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

RESPONSE:

First, Zawadi commits a genetic fallacy as well as ad hominem when he claims that I am using "typical 'Quran Only' arguments". The validity or truthfulness of a proposition has little to do with the one making it, whether Atheist, Hindu, Quran only, Salafis etc. After all, even the most vile person can speak the truth and make rational statements. To therefore call into question my points just because they are similar to those used by the Quran only camp does absolutely nothing to refute their validity.

My Response:

I never in any way attempted to undermine the argument by claiming that it is from Quran Only Muslims. The reason why I mentioned it is because in the very same sentence I link to an article in which I refute Quran Only Muslims. 

In Sam Shamoun's debate with Shabir Ally, which can be downloaded here. Download Part 2, Sam says in the 10th minute, 44th second...

 

he's (Shabir Ally) quoting a Jehovah witness argument, its like me quoting nation of Islam against him

 

Sam also says in the 12th minute, 36th second...

The people that he (Shabir Ally) is quoting most often are anti supernaturalists.

 

So either Sam has to admit that he committed the genetic fallacy at least twice in his debate with Shabir Ally or obviously he will reply back saying that that was not his intention and that he actually refuted the Jehovah's witness argument and the anti super naturalist's argument just like how it was my intention that I refuted the Quran only arguments and that I did not mean anything by saying that it was their arguments. 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Moreover, Zawadi's claim that Muhammad was to convey the message clearly serves to refute his assertion that the hadith literature is necessary. His point actually establishes that it is the Quran alone which someone must turn to since it pronounces itself to be that very clear message which Muhammad was to proclaim:

O followers of the Book! indeed Our Apostle has come to you making clear to you much of what you concealed of the Book and passing over much; indeed, there has come to you light and a clear Book (noorun wakitabun mubeenun) from Allah; S. 5:15 Shakir

And indeed We know that they (polytheists and pagans) say: "It is only a human being who teaches him (Muhammad SAW)." The tongue of the man they refer to is foreign, while this (the Qur'an) is a clear Arabic tongue (Arabiyyun mubeenun). S. 16:103 Hilali-Khan

We have not instructed the (Prophet) in Poetry, nor is it meet for him: this is no less than a Message and a Qur'an making things clear (waquranun mubeenun): S. 36:39 Y. Ali

And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember, then is there any that will remember (or receive admonition)? S. 54:17, 22, 32, 40 Hilali-Khan

Ibn Kathir wrote regarding Sura 54:17 that:

<So We have made this (the Qur'an) easy in your own tongue, only that you may give glad tidings to those who have Taqwa and warn with it the most quarrelsome people.>(19:97) Allah said, ...

<then is there any that will remember>, meaning, `is there anyone who will remember through this Qur'an, which We made easy to memorize and easy to understand.' Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi commented on this Ayah, "Is there anyone who will avoid evil." (Source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

The Quran is clear Arabic speech which means that it doesn't need Muhammad to explain it. All that was required of Muhammad was to simply recite its message. This means that if Muhammad was needed to explain the Quran then it could not proclaim itself to be clear and easy to understand.

My Response:

The Quran is clear that the Prophet Muhammad is here to explain to us the glorious Quran (Surah 16:44) so does that mean that the Quran is wrong when it says that it is clear and explains all things?

There is a fallacy in reasoning and thinking here. Let me give an example.

 

Professor X says to his students that in order to know everything for the exam then they must read textbook A. The Professor says that textbook A is clear, fully detailed and enough to pass the test. When students read textbook A they find out that textbook A says that textbook B clarifies and explains in better detail textbook A. So what should the students do? They should read textbook B of course because text book A is CLEARLY stating that textbook B should be referred to. Textbook A clearly explains to the students that textbook B should be referred to.

Similarly the Quran which is fully detailed and clear, clearly states that we should refer to the Prophet. How do we refer to the Prophet? Through the authentic hadith of course!

Surah 3:164

Certainly Allah conferred a benefit upon the believers when He raised among them an Apostle from among themselves, reciting to them His communications and purifying them, and teaching them the Book and the wisdom, although before that they were surely in manifest error.

God is clearly telling us that he sent Messengers to teach us the Book. Because if Allah just sent down the Quran then everyone would just go ahead and interpret it the way he pleases. However, he sent the Messenger in order for us to understand it the correct way. 

Surah 4:59

O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those of you who are in authority; and if ye have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to Allah and the messenger if ye are (in truth) believers in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more seemly in the end.

To obey Allah is to obey the Quran and to obey the Messenger implies a different order being given by the Prophet in order for us to obey it. So it is definitely not the Quran. 

 

Yes the Arabic of the Quran is clear. But it could still be misinterpreted. Let me give an example...

David kept walking until the end of the road. 

Now this is clear English but what is to stop some knucklehead (we have a lot of those today) to interpret it to mean "David kept struggling to survive until the day of this death"

So Allah did not want this to occur with the Quran and this why he sent the Messenger to explain it. If people reject the Prophet's explanation then we clearly see that they are in the wrong. 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Hence, the inspiration which Sura 53:3-4 refers to is the recitation of the Quran. After all, to say that this refers to everything that Muhammad said leads to problems such as the following:

Rafi' b. Khadij reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) came to Medina and the people had been grafting the trees. He said: What are you doing? They said: We are grafting them, whereupon he said: It may perhaps be good for you if you do not do that, so they abandoned this practice (and the date-palms) began to yield less fruit. They made a mention of it (to the Holy Prophet), whereupon he said: I am a human being, so when I command you about a thing pertaining to religion, do accept it, and when I command you about a thing out of my personal opinion, keep it in mind that I am a human being. 'Ikrima reported that he said something like this. (Sahih Muslim, Book 030, Number 5831)

If Muhammad always spoke by inspiration, never on his own initiative, then this mistaken advice which caused Muhammad major embarrassment must be attributed to Allah!

My Response:

I never said that Muhammad (PBUH) always spoke by inspiration. However, Muslims do not believe that the Quran was the only inspiration given to the Muhammad (PBUH) by God. We believe that everything the Prophet said regarding religious matters was by divine inspiration. 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

My Response:

Scholars say that asking the people of the thikr could refer to asking scholars. However, what do Muslim scholars rule by? They rule by the Quran and Sunnah. If we ever want to know anything we refer it to Allah and His Messenger. (Surah 4:59)

If the Christians and Jews rule by Allah and His Messenger (prophet Muhammad) then I have no problem asking them my self. But they don't.

RESPONSE:

Zawadi's inconsistency is truly amazing. He first claimed that Sura 16:43 doesn't mean that Muslims were to consult Jews and Christians for verification of the Quran, but only to confirm that Allah sent men as messengers. But now he accepts the fact that this verse establishes the precedence for consulting scholars of Islam, which implies that the text has a wider application than simply asking if Allah sent human messengers! In other words, Zawadi has basically conceded that I was correct in saying that this passage establishes turning to the Jews and Christians to verify whether the Quran is true or not!

My Response:

First of all I said that in the immediate context of Surah 16:43 it clearly showed that we consult the Jews and Christians to confirm that Allah sent men as angels, but that Surah 10:94 could show that we go to scholars. Secondly, this is only the opinion of scholars and I never stated that I agree with it 100%. 

However, notice what I said and I will repeat it because Sam did not address it...

However, what do Muslim scholars rule by? They rule by the Quran and Sunnah. If we ever want to know anything we refer it to Allah and His Messenger. (Surah 4:59)

If the Christians and Jews rule by Allah and His Messenger (prophet Muhammad) then I have no problem asking them my self. But they don't.

We are not to consult the Jews and Christians because they don't abide by the Quran and Sunnah. PERIOD.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

My Response:

The stories of Bani Israel are of those stories which the Muslims have been taught through Quran and authentic hadith. They are referring specifically to the progeny of Jacob. The Muslims could tell the stories of how they treated their Prophets and so on and so forth. The Prophet did not recommend it or condemn it. (Source)

The Israeiliyat is different. They are stories from Jewish origins. The Prophet meant the stories that he taught the companions (either through Quran or authentic hadith)

RESPONSE:

It seems that we need to once again cite the narration, this time with added emphasis so as to prevent Zawadi from distorting it:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr:
The Prophet said, "Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence, and tell others the stories of Bani Israel (which have been taught to you), FOR IT IS NOT SINFUL TO DO SO. And whoever tells a lie on me intentionally, will surely take his place in the (Hell) Fire." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 667)

Zawadi would have his readers believe that Muhammad was referring to the Jewish stories found in the Quran and hadith, even though the narration says that there would be no sin on the part of Muslims for reciting such anecdotes. This statement makes absolutely no sense if Muhammad was referring to the stories of the Quran or those which he himself narrated, since it would be obvious that there is absolutely nothing sinful about retelling such narratives. In fact, narrating such material would actually be obligatory upon Muslims. This statement only makes sense if Muhammad were referring to narrations not found in the Quran or hadith literature.

My Response:

Sam is right, because it is possible that the meaning is referring to those stories of Bani Israel coming from the Jews or from what is found in the Old Testament today. However, the Prophet said that it is no sin to just talk about it. He did not say that we should go around believing in it and preaching it. Its only okay to just talk about it. 

Imam Shaafi says in the commentary of this hadith that the Prophet would never tell people to convey lies as being truth. The Prophet told the Muslims 'Do not believe the people of the Book, nor disbelieve them" (Saheeh Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 92, Number 460) So there is no harm in just talking about it, but NEVER to convey it as necessarily being truth if you are not sure. 

 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

RESPONSE:

Zawadi's attempt of evading the point only demonstrates that he, like many other Muslims, are hypocrites who pay lip service to the Quran. The passages I cited commanded Muslims to affirm their faith IN THE BOOKS THAT WERE IN THE POSSESSION OF THE JEWS AND CHRISTIANS AT THE TIME OF MUHAMMAD. Note, once again, what the following texts say and command:

O believers, believe in God and His Messenger and the Book He has sent down on His Messenger and the Book which He sent down before. Whoso disbelieves in God and His angels and His Books, and His Messengers, and the Last Day, has surely gone astray into far error. S. 4:136 Arberry

 

My Response:

Okay what is the problem. The verse says that I should believe in the Book that God sent down BEFORE. I do believe in all His books and that the Gospel, which he revealed to Jesus is a book that I believe in. 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

And what is the book or books which Allah sent down before the Quran? That which the Jews and Christians have always possessed:

O children of Israel! call to mind My favor which I bestowed on you and be faithful to (your) covenant with Me, I will fulfill (My) covenant with you; and of Me, Me alone, should you be afraid. And believe in what I have revealed, VERIFYING that which is with you, and be not the first to deny it, neither take a mean price in exchange for My communications; and Me, Me alone should you fear. And do not mix up the truth with the falsehood, nor hide the truth while you know (it). And keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and bow down with those who bow down. What! do you enjoin men to be good and neglect your own souls while you read the Book; have you then no sense? S. 2:40-44 Shakir

The Jews say: "The Christians have naught (to stand) upon;" and the Christians say: "The Jews have naught (To stand) upon." Yet they (Profess to) study the (same) Book. Like unto their word is what those say who know not; but God will judge between them in their quarrel on the Day of Judgment. S. 2:113 Y. Ali

My Response:

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Therefore, the Quran comes to confirm the truth of the Torah., which is the red dot as shown above in the diagram.

When Surah 2:42 is addressed to the Children of Israel not to hide the truth, this is referring to the truth of the Prophethood of Muhammad peace be upon him whom they can find prophesized in their Torah. (Tafsir of Tabari, Source)

As for Surah 2:113, the Christians reprimanded the Jews because they were denying Jesus even though their own Torah mentioned him (possibly OT prophecy of virgin birth) and the Jews reprimanded the Christians because they were not following the Law set by Moses (which was attested by Jesus in the Gospel).

It is said that the first Christians and Jews had 'something to stand upon' but the later ones began innovating and went astray. (Tafsir of Tabari, Source)

 

 

 

 

Back to My Rebuttals, and exposing the lies of the Answering Islam team section.

Rebuttals by Bassam Zawadi.

Islam and the Noble Quran - Questions and Answers.

Answering Trinity.

Contradictions and History of Corruption in the Bible.

Questions about Jesus that trinitarian Christians don't have logical answers for.

What parts of the Bible do Muslims believe are closest to the Truth? and Why?

"Allah" was GOD Almighty's original Name in the Bible according to the Hebrew and Aramaic sources.

Scientific Miracles in Islam and the Noble Quran.

Most of the Bible's books and gospels were written by mysterious people!

Jesus mentioned Muhammad by the name in the Bible.

Did Isaiah 53 really prophesies about the crucifixion of Jesus? It supports Islam's claims about Jesus peace be upon him never died on the cross.  I also addressed John 19:36-37 from the Bible and proved that Jesus never got crucified, since GOD Almighty promised that he will protect Jesus' body and not let even a single bone be broken.    My question to all Christians is: How in the world is it possible for the feet to get nailed on the cross without any penetration to the bones by the nails, hence breaking part of the feet's bones?! I also added refutations to Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12, Zechariah 12:10 and Psalm 34:20, which supposedly prove the Christians' belief about Jesus crucifixion.  I proved that this dogma has no truth what so ever and exposed the wrong Trinitarian English translation of Zechariah 12:10.


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