If Jesus is God, then who was he praying to on the cross?

Search and find articles and topics quickly and accurately!  See different advanced ways to search for articles on this site.

Further Topic Research:
Syntax help

Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun’s article

A Series of Answers to Common Questions


Sami Zaatri




If Jesus is God, then who was he praying to on the cross when he said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me"? (cf. Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46) Was he praying to himself? If so, was he complaining to himself about why he had forsaken himself?


In this rebuttal I will be directly responding to Sam Shamoun’s supposed answer to the common question often put forward by Muslims which is ‘ if Jesus is God then to whom was he praying to on the cross, was he praying to himself?’ That is the common question posed by Muslims, which includes why did Jesus even pray in general, not just on the cross. Other than only responding to the question posed, Shamoun also launches his own attack on Islam, by making the claim that Allah also prayed, and then asks the question to whom was Allah praying to. So not only will I be refuting his answer to the question posed by Muslims, I will also refute his own argument against Muslims and answer his question.


He wrote:


The Holy Bible teaches that there are three distinct, yet inseparable Persons who exist as the one true God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The three Persons of God, because they are personally distinct, have loving communion and dialog amongst themselves. Therefore, the Lord Jesus wasn't praying to himself on the Cross, but was actually praying to the Person of the Father.

furthermore, the Holy Bible also teaches that Jesus became, and forever will remain, a true human being. It is, therefore, not surprising that Christ did what every God-fearing person is supposed to do, namely pray and worship God. Jesus is man as God intends all men to be, namely a perfect servant who perfectly submits and worships the true God.

Now, as to why the Lord cried out to the Father that he had been forsaken by him, this was due to Christ being our sin-bearer. According to the Scriptures, the Lord Jesus came to die as our substitute in order to take upon himself the judgment and wrath of God which came as a result of sins:

"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'" John 1:29

"God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." Romans 3:25-26

"that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:19-21

"All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue TO DO everything written in the Book of the Law.' Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, 'The righteous will live by faith.' The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, 'The man who DOES THESE THINGS will live by them.' Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse FOR US, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.' He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." Galatians 3:10-14

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:24

"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit," 1 Peter 3:18

As we saw in response to the first question, sin resulted in the loss of intimate communion with God and also brought on physical death, where the soul departs from the body and the body returns to the dust from which it originally came. God's wrath is poured out on sinners as a result of their rebellion and wickedness, because of their failure to do what God's Law requires (cf. Genesis 2:17, 3:19; Isaiah 59:1-2; Psalm 66:18; Habakkuk 1:13; Romans 1:18-32).


My response:

Let us first start with his opening statements, which basically is the dogma of trinity. I hope Shamoun didn’t confuse the reader with what he said, that there are three distinct yet inseparable persons who exist as the one true God. Now these three persons are the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit, and all these 3 beings make up the one and true God. That is the concept of the trinity, three in one, no wonder why many are leaving Christianity and saying they left because it made no sense!

Let us just take a close look at it, just imagine it, up there in heaven, you have the father, then you have the son Jesus, and then you have the holy spirit. All these three beings up there in heaven together, all these three persons are separate from each other. The father sits on his throne, the son Jesus sits on his throne, and the holy spirit is hovering around, and all these three beings discuss issues with each other, they talk with each other, create things with each other, but as Trinitarians such as Shamoun state that at the end of the day, all these three beings equal one God, nice.

Lets look at it again, a meeting table, in an office, the father and the son Jesus and the holy spirit all there sitting together, having a meeting discussing world affairs and what’s going to be next for mankind, now there are THREE beings there all together, but no wait a minute at the end of the day Trinitarians still maintain they worship one God, nice. Just from those examples we can see how illogical the concept of trinity is, no matter how people like Shamoun try to make sense of it, it will always fail because common sense always prevails. That’s not the end of it though, it gets even worse, as Shamoun himself stated they have discussions with each other, which I gave an illustration for, such as them all together up there in heaven or in an office meeting, but not only that, they also pray to each other! It doesn’t end there either; they even have higher ranks than each other! The father is higher in rank than the son, the son also prays to the father! Yet all these beings still equal one being and the one true eternal living God, nice.

 I bet your confused, well my friends that’s the trinity for you, that’s trinity without the arguments that Christians feed you by using verses from their Bible to make sense of it. That’s basically what Shamoun said in his opening statements.

Now lets take a look at the verses he used, basically Shamoun claims Jesus cried out to the father because he was to be our sin-bearer, that he would be the one who take God’s wrath in our place. Let us look at the verses he used to show Jesus was the one who came to die for our sins.

John 1:29-

29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world

Lets also read the next following passage john 1:30-30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

It cant be made more clear than it can now, we clearly see here Jesus the man, it is very possible that John and everyone took Jesus as the messiah, a savior, but in no way God. It is quite clear the Bible makes it clear that Jesus was a prophet, and he was a MAN.

Mat 21:11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

So the Bible makes it clear Jesus is a prophet, and he is a man. Any man who is a prophet defiantly takes away the sin of men, because the prophet comes to save people, help people, and guide them with guidance given to them from God. Just like Jesus who was given the gospel and was given guidance and help from God, and was taught by God, and was given a lot of things from God, such as the power to perform miracles and being able to make prophecies.

Jhn 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

That verse sums up one of the main characteristics of a prophet; basically Jesus is doing everything that his father has commanded him to do, not what he wills. Let’s look at more passages that confirm Jesus is nothing more than a prophet.

Jhn 14:24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

Once again we see Jesus in those verses as nothing more than a prophet, he basically himself states that everything he says, which is everything you hear are not his words, but the words of the father (God) who sent him. Just like all prophets, what they taught and said was not from themselves but from what God told and taught them to say, and the scriptures he gave them. So once again we see those passages affirm that Jesus is a prophet, let us look at some more.

Mat 7:28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine

Mar 1:22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

This seems like a wonderful doctrine doesn’t it, lets see what Jesus had to say about its origin.

Jhn 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me

So now once again it is crystal clear that Jesus is a prophet, the doctrine he is teaching which is basically the gospel, is not his, but it belongs to the one who sent him who is God. Mark 1:22 even further proves he is a prophet, because Jesus knew this doctrine well and was teaching it well, meaning God taught it to him, and he sure did have some type of authority for he was a prophet. The same with Jesus and his miracles, in the Bible Jesus also makes it clear the miracles he has shown and have done are all from God.  All these accounts of Jesus in the Bible perfectly agree with what the Koran has to say.

YUSUFALI: Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah;

YUSUFALI: "He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous

YUSUFALI: She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, 'Be,' and it is!


YUSUFALI: "And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel,


YUSUFALI: "And (appoint him) a messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this message): "'I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah's leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by Allah's leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe;


These verses from the Koran make it clear that Allah taught Jesus the gospel, and that he appointed him as a prophet for the children of Israel, and that Allah gave him the power to perform miracles. It perfectly agrees with the Bible on the true account of Jesus, that he was a prophet, and that the doctrine he had was not his, but he knew it well, meaning he was taught by someone and that the miracles he performed were all due to the fact that God allowed him to, giving him the power.


So to sum it up we have seen from the Bible that:


A- Jesus was a man, and he was a prophet

B- Everything he said and did was for God, not his own will, everything he said was from God.

C- His doctrine the Gospel was from God, and God taught him the doctrine.

So Jesus without a doubt is a prophet, and a man. That is exactly why he prayed to God, and is exactly why he would scream for God if he indeed were being crucified on the cross. Let us look at the other verses Shamoun posted.


God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." Romans 3:25-26


Once again Shamoun using verses to show that Jesus was presented by God as a sacrifice, to die for our sins. Interesting to see that the verse also says that God did this to demonstrate his justice, where is the justice? Christians claim Jesus was sinless, so where is the justice of putting an innocent man to death for the sins of others, logically that is not justice! Furthermore this leaves to further injustice, since Jesus died for your sins, he took all your sins away and you will be guaranteed heaven, as long as you believe, so since your sins are paid for you can go do whatever you want such as kill, steal and do whatever you feel like.


If Christians argue otherwise then the entire crucifixion saga is not necessary, and then there is a huge fundamental problem. If Jesus died for your sins and you still get in trouble for committing adultery and killing even though you believe that Jesus died for your sins, then that would make no sense for Jesus dying for your sins. However so option B is that you will not get in trouble for killing and committing adultery, I’ll let the Christians choose which one they want.


The rest of what Shamoun posted is basically the same thing, Jesus came to die for our sins, however no answer in specific as to why Jesus even prayed, not just on the cross.


I provided the answer, the Bible makes it clear Jesus was a prophet, a man, you cant have it both ways. Jesus can’t be a prophet and then at the same time God. Shamoun’s supposed small answer in his opening statement doesn’t cut it, this is what he exactly said: furthermore, the Holy Bible also teaches that Jesus became, and forever will remain, a true human being. It is, therefore, not surprising that Christ did what every God-fearing person is supposed to do, namely pray and worship God


That doesn’t answer the question, God does not pray, God is not a man (Numbers 23:19), God doesn’t die, which you did not even address in your last article.


He wrote:

Jesus' cry and the darkness which came upon the land at noon was an indication that God was punishing Christ in our place, that Jesus suffered the loss of God's intimate, loving fellowship in place of sinners:

"From the sixth hour (noon) until the ninth hour (three o'clock) darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour (three o'clock) Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ – which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’" Matthew 27:45-46

Contrast this with the following OT citations:

"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.' So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived.'" Exodus 10:21-23

"'And on that day,' declares the Lord GOD, 'I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for AN ONLY SON and the end of it like a bitter day.'" Amos 8:9-10

Thus, Christ, because he is the sinners' substitute who came to die in the place of God's people, suffered the just punishment that all sinners deserve.

Fourthly, the Scriptures say that Jesus is also the believers' High Priest who presents his sacrifice on our behalf before the Father, making intercession for us:

"Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;" Hebrews 3:1

"For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. For it is attested of Him, 'YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.'" Hebrews 7:14-17

"but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever." Hebrews 7:24-28

Related to this point, the Holy Bible states that Jesus was crucified at the third hour where he then offered a prayer on behalf of those who were crucifying him and dividing his garments amongst themselves:

"It was the third hour (nine o'clock) when they crucified him." Mark 15:25

"When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' And they divided up his clothes by casting lots." Luke 23:33-34

What is more, Christ's cry to the Father occurred at the ninth hour:

"And at the ninth hour (three o'clock) Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?' – which means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'" Mark 15:34

The Lord Jesus' words just so happen to be the opening words of Psalm 22, part of a collection of Psalms which were sung at the Temple by worshipers:

"My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning." Psalm 22:1

This indicates that Jesus was actually praying to God in the very words of this particular Psalm. What makes this so astonishing is that both the third and ninth hours were the times for Temple prayers and the daily sacrifices!

"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem Godfearing Jews from every nation under heaven... Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: 'Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning!'" Acts 2:1-5, 14-15


My response:

I must say that this is quite funny to read, because Shamoun has brushed aside the most important aspect of the question, WHY WOULD JESUS EVEN PRAY? Shamoun’s pathetic attempt of an answer in his opening statement doesn’t cut it, it just makes us Muslim believe that Jesus was no more than a prophet even more. Shamoun gave a few OT passages and tries to link it with Jesus, which is his own interpretation, so no point there.

Shamoun then makes the argument that Christ is the high priest, the priest for sacrifice, that’s all nice but once again it doesn’t address the importance of why would Jesus pray if he was God.

Let us even take a look at it, Jesus is God, the father is also God, so we have Gods praying to each other now? No sorry you have one person in the trinity praying to another person but both these persons make the one God. Nice.

Shamoun then starts talking about the timing, mentioning that all this took place during the prayer hours, that’s all fine, but then again why is Jesus praying? God does not pray, that is what many Trinitarians can’t get through their heads, as much as they try to make sense of it. As I proved earlier, Jesus was no more than a prophet, the Bible confirms it, and you can’t have it both ways, that’s why Jesus was praying! The verses Shamoun keeps posting are not even relevant, because we as Muslims and Unitarian Christians do not believe that a person who prays is God.

However lets turn to Hebrews 5:7-8:  7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered

We see very clearly in those passages that Jesus cried and prayed to be saved, and eventually he was. It’s very interesting to see not only was Jesus saved, but the fact that he was crying and praying and wanting to be saved shows such a side of Jesus that completely shows an exact opposite characteristic of God. So Jesus according to the Bible was saved, and since its obvious throughout the Bible and especially in Hebrews 5:7 that Jesus could not even save himself, then this also ultimately proves that Jesus is not God. Now Christians have to double check if Jesus did actually die, and if he was willing to actually lay down his life, because we saw contradictory stories, Hebrews shows that he lives, what Shamoun is showing is that he dies.



He wrote:

Peter's statement about it being nine in the morning is significant as we will see shortly.

"One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer – at three in the afternoon." Acts 3:1

"One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, 'Cornelius!' ... Cornelius answered: 'Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me.'" Acts 10:3, 30

Bible expositor, John Gill, comments on Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:25 and Acts 2:14-15:

And about the ninth hour ...
three o'clock in the afternoon, which was about the time of the slaying and offering of the daily sacrifice, which was an eminent type of Christ. The Jews say F9, that

"every day the daily sacrifice was slain at eight and a half, and was offered up at nine and a half:"

about which time also the passover was killed, which was another type of Christ; and as they say F11, "was offered first, and then the daily sacrifice." Though the account they elsewhere F12 give of these things, is this;

"the daily sacrifice was slain at eight and a half, and was offered up at nine and a half; (that is, on all the common days of the year;) on the evenings of the passover, it was slain at seven and a half, and offered at eight and a half, whether on a common day, or on a sabbath day: the passover eve, that happened to be on the sabbath eve, it was slain at six and a half, and offered at seven and a half, and the passover after it." ...

F9 T. Hieros. Pesachim, fol. 31. 3, 4.
F11 lb.
F12 Misn. Pesachim, c. 5. sect. 1.       (Source
; underline emphasis ours)

And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.
The time of the daily sacrifice of the morning, at which the priests ought to have been; and the time when the sanhedrim usually began to sit
F24; for

"the grand sanhedrim sat from the daily sacrifice of the morning, to the daily sacrifice of the evening:" ...

F24 Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 3, sect. 1.
Source; underline emphasis ours)

seeing it is but the third hour of the day;
or nine of the clock in the morning: for till this time it was not usual with the Jews, if men of any sobriety or religion, so much as to taste anything: the rules are these

"it is forbidden a man to taste anything, or do any work after break of day, until he has prayed the morning prayer."


"the morning prayer, the precept concerning it is, that a man should begin to pray as soon as the sun shines out; and its time is until the end of the fourth hour, which is the third part of the day F9."

So that a man might not taste anything, either of eatables or drinkables, until the fourth hour, or ten o'clock in the morning: hence it is said F11, that

"after they offered the daily sacrifice they ate bread, (Nyev ebra Nmzb), 'at the time of four hours':"

or on the fourth hour, and sooner than this it was not lawful to eat, even ever so little; and whoever did, was not reckoned fit to be conversed with.

"Says R. Isaac F12, whoever eats a green or herb before the fourth hour, it is forbidden to converse with him; and the same says, it is unlawful to eat a raw herb before the fourth hour. Amemar, and Mar Zutra, and Rab Ashe were sitting, and they brought before them a raw herb before the fourth hour. Amemar and Rab Ashe ate, and Mar Zutra did not eat: they said to him, what is thy meaning? (he replied) that R. Isaac said, whoever eats a herb before the fourth hour, it is forbidden to converse with him."

The time for taking food by persons of different characters, is thus expressed by them:

"the first hour is the time of eating for the Lydians, the second for thieves, the third for heirs, the fourth for labourers, the fifth for every man; is it not so? Saith R. Papa, the fourth is the time of repast for every man; but (the truth is) the fourth is the time of eating for every man, the fifth for labourers, and the sixth for the disciples of the wise men F13."

Hence that advice F14,

"‘at the fourth hour’, go into a cook's shop, (or tavern,) if thou seest a man drinking wine, and holding the cup in his hands, and slumbering, inquire about him, if he is one of the wise doctors..."

The "gloss" upon it is,

"at the fourth hour, for that is the time of eating, when all go into the shops (or taverns) to eat."

Now whereas they that are drunken are drunken in the night, and not in the day, and much less so soon in the day, when it was not usual, at least with religious men, to have tasted anything by this time; and whereas the apostles, and their company, were sober and religious men, and had never done thing to forfeit their character, it was unreasonable to suppose anything of this kind in them.

F8 Maimon. Hilch, Tophilla, c. 6. sect. 4. T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 28. 2.
lb. c. 3. sect. 1. Vid. T. Beracot, fol. 26. 2.
Targum in Eccl. x. 17.
T. Bab. Betacot, fol. 44. 2.
F13 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 10. 1.
F14 T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 83. 2.
      (Source; underline emphasis ours)

Thus, it is not a coincidence that the Lord Jesus, who as our High Priest, prayed during the very hours that the Jews prayed in the Temple, right at the time when the sacrifices were offered!


My response:

Basically nothing important posted by Shamoun, not a real issue if his prayers were made during the prayer times and the time of sacrifices. At the end of the day Jesus prayed, God does not pray. Think carefully about it, would you worship the one Jesus prayed to, or the one who is praying?  I have proven from the Bible that Jesus was a prophet, a man, and that Hebrews 5:7-8 proves that Jesus was scared and prayed to God to be saved. Why would he be scared if it was his will to die? Why did he want to back out and be saved? Was he saying one thing, which his heart did not want?


   Case closed, Shamoun had no answer once again, if Jesus was God why    would he pray? Muslims and most probably Unitarian Christians will still be asking that question. Now lets refute and ANSWER him on whom does Allah pray to?


He wrote:

Question for Muslims:

The Quran says that Allah prays:

Upon them shall be prayers (salawatun) from their Lord and mercy, and they are the rightly directed. S. 2:157

He it is who sends PRAYERS on you (Arabic- yusallii alaykum), as do His angels ... S. 33:43

Allah and His angels PRAY for the Prophet (Arabic- yasalluuna alan-Nabiyy): O ye that believe PRAY for him (salluu `alayhi), and salute him with all respect. S. 33:56

Allah prays for believers and Muhammad, as Muhammad prays for believers:

Take alms of their wealth, wherewith thou mayst purify them and mayst make them grow, and pray for them (wa salli alayhim). Lo! thy prayer (salataka) is an assuagement for them. Allah is Hearer, Knower. S. 9:103 Pickthall

Since these verses all clearly say that Allah literally prays, and since prayer requires an object, we must therefore ask to whom does Allah pray? Muslims claim that Allah is a singular entity, there being no plurality of persons within his Being, which means that Allah cannot be praying to himself. Or is he? Maybe Allah does in fact pray to himself.

Some Muslims try to redefine words by saying that prayer here doesn't literally mean prayer, but actually means blessings, that Allah is sending down his blessings. The problem with this explanation is that there is an Arabic word for blessing, baraka, which does not appear in the above citations. Rather, the passages use the words salawatun, yusallii, yasalluuna and salluu, all of which are derivatives of the word salah.

Muslim writer Moiz Amjad of "Understanding Islam" provides the lexical meaning of salah in response to a reader's question:

Ibn Al-Atheer in his highly acknowledged dictionary of the Arabic language, 'Al-Nihaayah fi Ghareeb al-Athar' has explained "Sala'h" as follows:

'Al-Sala'h' and 'Al-Salawaat': used for a particular kind of worship. Its literal origin is supplication (prayer). Sometimes, 'Sala'h' is referred to by mentioning any one or more of its parts. It is also said that the literal origin of the word is 'to glorify' and the particular worship is called 'Sala'h', because it entails the glorification of the Lord. (Source; bold emphasis ours)

On this same site, a question was asked regarding the literal meaning of the word salah to which the writer responded:

The Meaning of the Word "Salah"


What is the English word that we can use for the word "Salah" ? Is it true that the word "Prayer" is not even close to the meaning of the word "Salah"?

Please explain.....


Salah (????) literally means one's calling upon one's God (in a respectful and humble way). It is very much the same as the word Du'a (???).

In the Oxford dictionary we read:

"Prayer: a request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or another deity".

I think the above can be seen as a reasonable and literal translation of the word Salah. One might argue that the content of Salah is not excluded to requesting for help or expression of thanks and that other things like uttering God's attributes, glorifying God, etc...can also be included in the meaning of the word Salah. I am, however, sure that this is also true in the case of the word "prayer." (Source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Noted Muslim commentator, Ibn Kathir, defines the word as:

The Meaning of Salah

In the Arabic language, the basic meaning of Salah is supplication. In religious terminology, Salah is used to refer to the acts of bowing and prostration, the remaining specified acts associated with it, specified at certain times, with those known conditions, and the characteristics, and requirements that are well-known about it. (Source; underline emphasis ours)

Muhammad's own first cousin, and renowned Muslim scholar, Ibn 'Abbas admitted that Allah prays:

"The tribe of Israel said to Moses: ‘Does your God pray?’ God called upon him and said: ‘Yes, I do pray, and my angels [pray] upon my prophets’, and Allah then sent down this verse: ‘Allah and His angels pray ...’" [quoted by Ibn Katheer on Surat Al-Ahzaab 33:56; translated from the online Arabic edition]

Another Muslim scholar made the following comments about surah 33:56 and Allah praying:

Allah makes the merit of His Prophet clear by first praying blessing on Himself, and then by the prayer of the angels, and then by commanding His slaves to pray blessing and peace on him as well. Abu Bakr ibn Furak related that one of the 'ulama interpreted the words of the Prophet, "The coolness of my eye is in the prayer," as meaning Allah's prayer, that of the angels and that of his community in response to Allah's command until the Day of Rising. The prayer of angels and men is supplication for him and that of Allah is mercy.

It is said that "they pray" means they invoke blessing (baraka). However, when the Prophet taught people the prayer on himself, he made a distinction between the word salat (prayer) and baraka (blessing). We will return to the meaning of the prayer on him later. (Muhammad Messenger of Allah (Ash-Shifa of Qadi 'Iyad), Qadi 'Iyad Musa al-Yahsubi, translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K. 1991; third reprint, paperback], p. 25; bold emphasis ours)


The Prophet made a distinction between salat (prayer) and baraka (blessing) in the hadith in which he taught about making the prayer on him. This indicates that they have two separate meanings. (Ibid., p. 250; bold emphasis ours)

Perhaps there is a Muslim out there who can explain to us how can Allah pray if he is a singularity-within-unity Deity?

My response:

There are several Muslims who could respond to that, it is just Shamoun’s misunderstanding of what is meant, and I would like to thank him for teaching us Arabic.


First let us make it clear, almost every Muslim and I say almost because I don’t want to be arrogant, but almost every Muslim would know that those verses actually mean Allah is sending blessings and his mercy, contrary to the Arabic meanings for each, which Shamoun presented in order to show a distinction between sending blessings and prayers.


Do you want proof? Sure, before I show the proof I must say Shamoun is indeed a deceiver, he quotes what Ibn Katheer had to say about Salah, and used what Ibn Abbas said about verse 33:56 quoted by Ibn Katheer. I must ask Shamoun why did he not post the tafsir of Ibn Katheer on Surah 33 Al-Azhab. The reason he did no post it is because it basically crushes his argument on Allah praying, it is common sense when you quote someone, you also quote what they have to say on the same issue you are talking about, why didn’t Shamoun do so? I’ll leave that for him to answer. Anyway lets see what Ibn Katheer said

The Meaning of Salah

Allah's Salah means that He praises His servant before the angels, as Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Al-`Aliyah. This was recorded by Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi from Ar-Rabi` bin Anas from Anas. Others said: "Allah's Salah means mercy.'' It may be said that there is no contradiction between these two views. And Allah knows best. Salah from the angels means their supplication and seeking forgiveness for people, as Allah says:

rebuttal_2.jpg (20000 bytes)

(Those who bear the Throne and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord, and believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who believe (saying): "Our Lord! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who repent and follow Your way, and save them from the torment of the blazing Fire! Our Lord! And make them enter the `Adn Garden which you have promised them -- and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their offspring! Verily, You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. And save them from the sins.'') (40:7-9) t



So as we see it is crystal clear what is meant by the salah of Allah, Ibn Katheer makes it crystal clear, Allah's Salah means that He praises His servant before the angels

So now we know exactly why missionary Sam Shamoun did not post that, because it would have ruined his whole argument and he did not expect anyone to go and do research and discover the truth. He expected everyone to just simply take his word for it.  So lets look at what Ibn Abbas said again about Allah praying:

The tribe of Israel said to Moses: ‘Does your God pray?’ God called upon him and said: ‘Yes, I do pray, and my angels [pray] upon my prophets’, and Allah then sent down this verse: ‘Allah and His angels pray ...’" [quoted by Ibn Katheer on Surat Al-Ahzaab 33:56; translated from the online Arabic edition]

Shamoun posted that, sure Ibn Abbas said that Allah prays, but we have established what is meant by Allah ‘praying’, it is him simply praising his servant before the angels, sending his mercy and blessing, as Ibn Katheer stated. So when it is said Allah prays, it does not mean the same praying or salah as us humans do, or the same way Jesus prayed to God, which is in the sense to worship, to prostrate, and glorify and ask for forgiveness and help. SO THERE IS THE ANSWER TO SAM SHAMOUN, how about Sam answering us for once. The question remains ‘ IF JESUS IS GOD, THEN TO WHOM WAS HE PRAYING, WAS HE PRAYING TO HIMSELF?’








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

Rebuttals to Sam Shamoun's Articles section.

Sami Zaatari's Rebuttals section.

Send your comments.

Back to Main Page.