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Rebuttal to Quennel Gale
Challenge to Christians
By Abdullah Smith
[Part I] [Part II]
Many Christians would be shocked to hear this allegation and would immediately say, Where does this guy get his information? Well to put it mildly for the reader, Muslims will believe just about anything that one of their own conspirators may say. Hence, because most Muslims who live in Muslim countries dont have Churches whatsoever, they have no way of knowing whether Mr. Smiths charge are false or not. However, in the western world, Churches are plentiful and I havent seen a Church that doesnt use oil for prayers or very important practices such as fasting! Mr. Smith also commits a major fallacy with his claim, namely that he hasnt validated his assertion with any evidence. If he claims that Christians dont fast by putting oil over their heads, he needs to present some type of credible survey showing the percentage of Churches who neglect this practice etc. Unless he is omnipresent, like God, and has the ability to see inside of every Church on earth, Mr. Smith has no way of validating his claim as being true.
I havent met a single Christian who practices fasting, simply because they do not fast, they are saved by faith only.
In the first century, Jews fasted on Mondays and Thursdays. The original Christians were all Jewish and were used to the fasting as a spiritual discipline. They moved the fast days to Wednesdays and Fridays, because Judas engineered Jesus' arrest on a Wednesday and Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Most often that fast took the form of avoiding meat in the diet. In those days, meat was a luxury food. You either had to buy it in a market or you had to own enough land to keep cattle. On the other hand, anyone could grow vegetables or forage for them, and anyone could catch a fish in a lake or a stream. You could buy better fish and vegetables, but the point is that you could eat without money if you were poor. So meat was rich people's food and fish was poor people's food. That is why the most common form of fasting was to omit meat and eat fish.
The fasts have died out in the west for several reasons. First, we are becoming very narcissistic. We don't care if our bodily appetites have the upper hand, and many people count recreation and luxury as necessities. In the Roman Catholic Church, the fasts were relaxed because they were not being observed and also because they realized that Lobster Thermidor or even a modest dinner at a seafood restaurant hardly lives up to the spirit of a fast. I say the fasts were "relaxed" because in the Roman Catholic Church, the regulations for fasting are set by the bishops and can vary from place to place. http://www.happinessonline.org/BeTemperate/p18.htm
Fasting, in our days, has become one of the most neglected spiritual values. Because of misunderstanding regarding the nature of fasting, because of confused and reversed priorities in its use, many of today's Orthodox Christians fast very little, or disregard fasting altogether. (http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8124.asp)
Many Christians have changed the Law of fasting; they merely give up something materialistic and call that fasting, which is not true fasting.
Jesus only ate kosher meat, he was forbidden to eat pigs flesh (Leviticus 11:7)
Jesus said that he had come to uphold the
law and not to destroy it one jot or one tithe. Jesus was educated in the synagogue in
Again, Christians have changed the Law of fasting, they never wake up before sunrise to start the fast; they simply wake up in the morning and start their fast.
Jesus Christ and his 12 disciples were Early Risers (the pagans used to sleep late) they used to wake up early and pray to God. Similarly, Muslims wake up before sunrise and pray to God. Today, Christians DO NOT wake up early in the manner of Jewish Christians of the 1st century who followed Jesus, they used to start the day Worshipping God.
Therefore, Muslims follow the perfected Code of Fasting through Islam by waking up before sunrise and fasting to sunset. Jesus is recorded to have said I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now (John 16:12) Jesus was giving the implication that God would perfect the Law of Fasting (and many other Laws) after his departure, and these Laws were perfected by the Spirit of Truth whose name was Muhammad, the Last Prophet (peace be upon him)!
Furthermore, Mr. Smith needs to be careful because Christians arent commanded to always fast 40 days like Jesus.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' Matthew 4:1-4
From reading the context of this passage, the Spirit led Jesus to be tempted by the devil and challenge his claim of being THE SON OF GOD, and whether he would remain an obedient Son. It is obvious that this practice is specific only to Jesus because the tempter, or Satan came to him after the 40 days of his fasting so as to goad him to do this or that in order to prove that he is the Son of God. Yet nowhere in this passage is it commanded upon Jesus followers to adhere to this type of fasting which entails:
1. Go to a desert.
2. Fast 40 days.
3. Allow Satan to come.
4. Test the claim whether we are the sons of God, etc.
Taking Mr. Smiths argument at face value would not only bring problems to his credibility as a Bible exegete but it would expose Islam since the Quran explicitly denies that Jesus is the Son of God in the first place. Therefore, if Mr. Smith has a problem with Christians not following Jesus, then would he have a problem with his denial of the fact that Jesus is called THE SON OF GOD? According to Islam he would have to deny this truth, and therefore would be in direct conflict with the teachings of the Bible! This makes it is obvious that this is a non-argument.
Even more problematic for Mr. Smiths position is that Muslims also dont fast like Jesus as he erroneously claims:
According to the Gospel texts, Christians are implicatively commanded to follow Jesus in what he does, since the meaning of the word Christian is imitator of Christ:
Muslims believe that Jesus, on whom be peace, was indeed the way. This means that he showed the way by which people should approach God. He expected that people should follow him and imitate him. His early followers were called followers of the way because, obviously, they followed Jesus, and Jesus was the way (see Acts 9:2; 18:25; 19:9; 19:23; 22:4; 24:14; 24:22). They were also called Christians, which means 'imitators of Christ' (see Acts 11:26). This shows that the early followers of Jesus copied and imitated him. (Shabir Ally, Common Questions People Ask About Islam, p28)
This practice is not specific to Jesus only, Christians are commanded to follow Jesus by fasting forty days and forty nights, or else they wouldnt be Christians, or imitators of Christ. The Temptation of Jesus is merely an episode in his life, but the Forty Days Fasting is obligatory upon all Christians to follow this Prophetic custom. Jesus himself commanded fasting:
Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17:21)
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:29)
I quote Shabir Allys publication What Jesus Said about Fasting
The Gospel of Matthew shows that Jesus
fasted forty days and forty nights (Matthew 4:21). The Gospel of Luke adds the
detail that in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward
hungered (Luke 4:2). Since Jesus fasted, his
true followers will also fast, if they indeed follow his teachings. He said, If
ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed (John 8:31).
People had complained to Jesus saying, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink? (Luke 5:33). But Jesus replied that as long as he is with them his disciples should not fast, but after he is taken away then they will fast in those days (Luke 5:35). This is why Jesus also gave them instructions on how to fast for the sake of God (Matthew 6:16-18). If they were never to fast, such instructions would be pointless.
The Bible shows that the disciples were fasting afterwards: they had fasted and prayed (Acts 13:3), and again they had prayed with fasting (Acts 14:23). The Bible mentions fasting as one of the observances of a minister of God (2 Corinthians 6:5), and fasting often as a proof of the worth of a disciple of Jesus.
Luke 5:33 quoted above reveals that (a) fasting means abstinence from eating and drinking, and, (b) that although the disciples were not to fast until after Jesus was taken away, Jesus himself continued to fast, otherwise the complaint would have been against him also. It is clear that the Jewish Rabbis were fasting (Matthew 9:14, and Mark 2:18). And Jesus too was called a Rabbi (see John 1:38; 3:2; 6:25 and Matthew 23:8).
So he too must have been fasting.
The disciples were unable to drive out a demon from a boy, but Jesus drove it out. When the disciples asked how he did it, he said that this kind can be driven out only by prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29).
This shows that because the disciples were not fasting they could not drive out the demon, and, that Jesus could drive it out because he was fasting. Some copyists attempted to change this verse by leaving out the words and fasting. This is how, for example, the Revised Standard Version reads. But this reading gives the passage an impossible meaning that Jesus disciples were not praying either. This is perhaps why
the Catholic Edition of the Revised Standard Version restores the words and fasting. The New Testament From the Ancient Eastern Text also includes the words and fasting (Mark 9:29).
God rescued us from this uncertainty by revealing his final incorruptible message in which He instructs all able believers to fast for a month each year. Today Jesus' true followers are still fasting according to God's pure instructions. Muslims are the true followers of Jesus and all of God's Messengers. (What Jesus said about Fasting)
Furthermore, the Temptation of Christ is not unhistorical because the parallels are irrefutable in other Religions. For example, the Buddha was tempted by the devil hundreds of years before Christ was born:
In addition, while Buddha fasts and prays in solitude in the desert, he is tempted by the Prince of Darkness, Mara, whose overtures of wealth and glory the sage resists. This story, of course, parallels that of Jesus being tempted by Satan. Concerning the temptation motif, Christian apologist Weigall acknowledges that "there is a pagan legend which relates how the young Jupiter was led by Pan to the top of a mountain, from which he could see the countries of the world."
Subsequent to the temptation, Buddha takes a purifying bath
in the river Neranjara, upon which "the devas open the gates of Heaven, and cover him
with a shower of fragrant flowers," to Jesus baptism in the
When Buddha was about to go forth "to adopt a religious life," Mara' appeared before him, to tempt him, Mara said unto Buddha: Go not forth to adopt a religious life, and in seven days thou shalt become an emperor of the world."' Buddha would not heed the words of the Evil One, and said to him: Get thee away from me. After Mara had left Buddha, "the skies rained flowers, and delicious odors pervaded the air."" Buddha fasted for a long period." Buddha, the Saviour, was baptized, and at this recorded water, baptism the Spirit of God was present; that is, not only the highest God, but also the "Holy Ghost," through whom the incarnation of Gautama Buddha is recorded to have been brought about by the descent of that Divine power. (T.W. Doane, Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions, p. 292)
According to this passage, notice how Buddha says Get thee away from me which parallels what Jesus said in the Gospels Get thee behind me, Satan (Luke 4:8, Matthew 4:10)
The Forty Days Fasting may not be significant because the Gospel texts are unhistorical, but Fasting was nevertheless practiced by Jesus and his True followers. The Prophets of the Old Testament voluntarily fasted, and the Prophet Muhammad used to fast excessively, which proves that he was not a false prophet.
The Church Father Origen doubted the Temptation of Jesus:
The truth of these matters must lie in that
which is seen by the mind. If the discrepancy between the Gospels is not solved, we must give up our trust in the Gospels, as being
true and written by a divine spirit, or as records worthy of credence, for both these
characters are held to belong to these works. Those who accept the four Gospels, and who
do not consider that their apparent discrepancy is to be solved anagogically (by mystical
interpretation), will have to clear up the difficulty, raised above, about the forty days
of the temptation, a period for which no room can
be found in any way in John's narrative; and they will also have to tell us when it
was that the Lord came to Capernaum. If it was after the six days of the period of His
baptism, the sixth being that of the marriage at Cans of Galilee, then it is clear that the temptation never took place,
and that He never was at
The Online Wikipedi Encyclopedia states:
There are many similarities between stories about Jesus and contemporary myths of Pagan godmen such as Mithras, Apollo, Attis, Horus and Osiris-Dionysus, leading to conjectures that the Pagan myths were adopted by some authors of early accounts of Jesus to form a syncretism with Christianity. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus, cache)
A minority of scholars believe that the gospel accounts of Jesus have little or no historical basis. At least in part, this is because there are many similarities between stories about Jesus and contemporary myths of pagan godmen such as Mithras, Apollo, Attis, Horus and Osiris-Dionysus, leading to conjectures that the pagan myths were adopted by some authors of early accounts of Jesus to form a syncretism with Christianity. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Christ)
Jesus is not the Son of God because the title is pagan, he rejected the Son of God title (Luke 4:41)
The various deific titles applied to Jesus Christ in the New Testament are regarded by some Christian writers as presumptive evidence of his divinity. But the argument proves too much for the case; as we find the proof in history that many other beings, whom Christians regard as men, were honored and addressed by the same titles, such as God, Lord, Savior, Redeemer, Mediator, Messiah, etc.
The Hindoo Chrishna, more than two thousand years ago, was prayerfully worshiped as "God the Most High." His disciple Amarca once addressed him thus: "Thou art the Lord of all things, the God of the universe, the emblem of mercy, the bestower of salvation. Be propitious O most High God," etc. Here he is addressed both as Lord and God. He is also styled "God of Gods."
Adonis of Greece was addressed as "God Supreme,"
and Osiris of Egypt as "the Lord of Life." In
The title "Son of God" was so common in nearly all religious countries as to excite but little awe or attention.
St. Basil says, "Every uncommonly good man was called ,the Son of God.'" The "Asiatic Research" says, "The Tamulese adored a divine Son of God," and Thor of the Scandinavians was denominated "the first-born Son of God;" and so was Chrishna of India, and other demigods.
It requires, therefore, a wide stretch of faith to believe that Jesus Christ was in any peculiar sense "the Son of God," because so denominated, or "the only begotten Son of God," when so many others are reported in history bearing that title. (http://www../library/historical/kersey_graves/16/chap9.html)
Even more problematic for Mr. Smiths position is that Muslims also dont fast like Jesus as he erroneously claims:
As muslims prepare for the age-old annual compulsory one-month fast, this article looks closely at some of the reasons why muslims do Ramadan fast. It also traces the history of fasting in Islam.
History of Ramadan Fast
What turns out now to be
a compulsory annual event (i.e fasting during the month of
Ramadan by all able-bodied muslims) started in the early years
of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) in
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas(r.a): When Allah's Apostle(s.a.w) arrived at
The Prophet(s.a.w) also sent a companion to go round Medina to announce to all the muslims that whoever has eaten should fast for the remaining hours of the day and whoever has not eaten should fast for the day (see Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 3, hadeeth 181, p. 103). It is evident that 'Ashura fast was the first communal fast made obligatory for the muslims by the Prophet(s.a.w) whereas his own habit of 3-day-fast-per-month remained optional.
The All-knowing Allah formally revealed two verses regarding fasting in the second year of Hijra: the verses spelt out the reasons for fasting; when to do so; who should be exempted? etc. Let's see the verses:
"O ye who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for people before you so that you will (learn how to attain) piety" (Q2:183)
"(fasting is) for a fixed number of days: but if any one of you is sick, or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from (other) days later. For those who can do it (with hardship) is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But whoever can give more (than this) of his own free will--(then) it is better for him, and it is better for you that ye fast, if ye but knew." Q(2:184) When these two verses were revealed, 'Aisha(r.a) reported that the Prophet(s.a.w) then said to the muslims: "Ramadan fast is a divine obligation but whoever likes to fast 'Ashura day (as well) may do so voluntarily or leave it". Undoubtedly, Ramadan fast is a blessing to the muslims in the sense that from one-day 'Ashura fast, Allah gave them a whole month of Ramadan instead. Ramadan may be 29 or 30 days depending on when the moon was sighted.
A cursory look at the qur'anic verses above reveals that the All-wise intend ease for the muslims and not difficulty: for instance, ransom was allowed for those who choose not to fast due to hardship or difficulty. This freedom or leniency was shortlived when the All-wise and the All-knowing Allah tightened His injunction with another revelation that nullified giving ransom, by able-bodied muslims, in exchange for missed Ramadan fast thus:
"Ramadan is the (month) in which Qur'an was sent down, as a guide to mankind, and a clear guidance and judgement (so that mankind will distinguish right from wrong). Whoever among you witnesses the month of Ramadan should fast through it. But whoever is sick or on a journey, the prescribed period (missed should be made up) by days later. Allah wants ease for you and He does not want to put you into difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful" Q(2:185).
This verse shows that Allah wants every able-bodied muslim to "complete the prescribed period" (30 or 29 days depending on when the moon was sighted). It infact re-emphasises the importance of Ramadan fast which Allah made clear in the last part of Q(2:184) where He said: "...it is better for you that ye fast if ye but knew". Unambiguously, feeding of the poor person as a ransom for not fasting (by those who can fast) is not allowed by Q(2:185). This is the genesis of Ramadan fast in Islam.
Remarkably, it is clear that 'Ashura fast was replaced by Ramadan fast, but the habit of fasting 3-day-per-month which the Prophet(s.a.w) used to do was a blessing in someway because his 36 days a year fasting can be interpreted thus: Allah approved 30 days as FARD (i.e obligatory) for the month of Ramadan, and the Prophet(s.a.w) recommended six days fasting in the month of Shawwal for all muslims (though this is voluntary). If these two fastings are adopted, one would have done 36 days (which is the same as fasting round the year). (Source)
As you can see from the quotation above, MUSLIMS AT THE VERY MOST ONLY FAST 36 DAYS NOT 40 LIKE JESUS! Secondly, the original purpose for fasting in Islam doesnt come from Jesus fasting but from Moses in his dealing with Pharoah! The Ramadan fast isnt 40 days, it is 29-30 days depending on the time of the appearance of the crescent moon. Allah, in his alleged wisdom, prescribed Ramadan not as a continuance of Jesus fasting but as Muhammads self-proclaimed prophetic calling and his being given the Quran. Hence, Mr. Smith is dead wrong when he asserts that Muslims adhere to Jesus way of fasting, since nothing could be more farther from the truth.
The Prophet Muhammad fasted more than 30 days a year, but its not obligatory upon Muslims to fast more than 30 days, as directed in the Quran, except by their own volition. The Prophet Muhammad fasted excessively beyond the capacity of his followers. He fasted more, but did not force his Companions to do so.
Narrated A Companion of the Prophet:
AbuBakr ibn AbdurRahman reported on the authority of a
Companion of the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him): I saw the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him)
commanding the people while he was travelling on the occasion of the conquest of
You are confusing the day of Ashura with Ramadan. This sacred month was ordained as the Fasting Month because the Quran was sent down. Prophet Muhammad was not competing with the Jews; the Muslim Fasting Month was decreed by God Himself.
Ramadan fast is a blessing to the muslims in the sense that from one-day 'Ashura fast, Allah gave them a whole month of Ramadan instead. Ramadan may be 29 or 30 days depending on when the moon was sighted.
This statement is erroneous!
(1) Fasting was prescribed in the sacred month of Ramadan for purification purposes, to help us abstain from sinful desires and to pray constantly.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Fasting is a shield (or a screen or a shelter). So, the person observing fasting should avoid sexual relation with his wife and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, 'I am fasting." The Prophet added, "By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. (Allah says about the fasting person), 'He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times." (Sahih Bukhari)
(2) Fasting was prescribed because the Holy Quran was
revealed in this Sacred Month; it was not the result of Moses dealing with the
Pharaoh as you claim. The first Revelation was revealed at the
Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful. (Al-Quran 2:185)
There is nothing wrong with the fact that Prophet Muhammad and his Companions fasted on the Day of Ashura.
(3) Also, the fasting on the Day of Ashura was not mandatory!
The people used to fast on 'Ashura (the tenth day of the month of Muharram) before the fasting of Ramadan was made obligatory. And on that day the Ka'ba used to be covered with a cover. When Allah made the fasting of the month of Ramadan compulsory, Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever wishes to fast (on the day of 'Ashura') may do so; and whoever wishes to leave it can do so." (Sahih Bukhari)
As you can see from the quotation above, MUSLIMS AT THE VERY MOST ONLY FAST 36 DAYS NOT 40 LIKE JESUS!
The Bible commands Christians to fast forty days and forty nights, but they abandoned this code, thus denying the word Christian which means imitator of Christ.
Muslims continue the Fasting of Jesus through the perfected Religion of Islam; they are not commanded to fast forty days and forty nights because this exceeds the number of days in Ramadhan. The Holy Quran only commands Muslims to fast in Ramadhan, which is an official Month of the Islamic calendar consisting of 30 days, not 40!
The guidance imparted through the Prophets of the past was not complete. Every Prophet was followed by another who effected alterations and additions in the teachings and injunctions of his predecessors and, in this way, the chain of reform and progress continued. That is why the teachings of the earlier Prophets, after the lapse of time, were lost in oblivion. Obviously there was no need to preserve the earlier teachings when amended and improved guidance had taken their place. At last the most perfect code of guidance was imparted to mankind through Muhammad (blessings of Allah and peace be upon him) and all previous codes were automatically abrogated, for it is futile and imprudent to follow an incomplete code when the complete code exists. He who follows Muhammad (blessings of Allah and peace be upon him) follows all the Prophets, for whatever was good and eternally workable in their teachings has been embodied in his teachings. Whoever, therefore, rejects and refuses to follow Muhammads (blessings of Allah and peace be upon him) teachings, and chooses to follow some other Prophet, only deprives himself of that vast amount of useful and valuable instruction and guidance which is embodied in Muhammads (blessings of Allah and peace be upon him) teachings, which never existed in the books of the earlier Prophets and which was revealed only through the Last of the Prophets
(Towards Understanding Islam, Mawdudi, p. 79)
God rescued us from this uncertainty by revealing his final incorruptible message in which He instructs all able believers to fast for a month each year. Today Jesus' true followers are still fasting according to God's pure instructions. Muslims are the true followers of Jesus and all of God's Messengers.
(Shabir Ally, What Jesus Said about Fasting)
Also, the number 40 (forty) is a religious number used frequently in the Bible:
Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made." (Genesis 7:4)
The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was
settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of
Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert. (Numbers 14:33)
For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, "They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways." (Psalms 95:10)
" 'Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the nations where they were scattered. (Ezekiel 29:13)
Why are you taking the context so literally? Christians dont need to wait for Satan to come; they need to fast forty days and forty nights if they are really true Christians. There is no need to climb a mountain.
Muslims stand on a transcendently different scale because we are followers of the Last Prophet who perfected the Teachings of Jesus, especially in regard to Fasting.
Jesus never taught his followers to fast before sunrise to sunset; this Law was revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad 600 years later, the Spirit of Truth who guides mankind into all truth as prophesied by Jesus (John 16:13).
Muslims are the true Christians in every sense of the word.
Jesus was a Muslim, his religion was Islam. In other words, Jesus was a Slave Servant of God, and he preached Submission to God.
Questions for Gale
(1) Why dont you fast forty days and forty nights if youre Christian?
(2) Can you explain why the Gospel of John omits the Temptation of Jesus?
(3) Can you explain the parallels between Jesus life and other god-men?
Lloyd Graham in Deceptions and Myths of the Bible states:
We are followers of Christ by name only
Rebuttals, and exposing the lies of the Answering Islam team section.
Rebuttals to Quennel Gale's Articles section.
Back to Contradictions and Errors in the Bible.
Articles by Abdullah Smith.
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