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An Analysis of the Bassam Zawadi Versus Thabiti Anyabwile Dialogue - By Sam Shamoun

An Analysis of the Bassam Zawadi Versus Thabiti Anyabwile Dialogue - By Sam Shamoun

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Published by Gilbert Hanz
Thus, Islam is the religion of submitting to both Allah and Muhammad equally, which means that Muhammad is Allah’s co-equal partner.
Thus, Islam is the religion of submitting to both Allah and Muhammad equally, which means that Muhammad is Allah’s co-equal partner.

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An Analysis of the Bassam Zawadi versus Thabiti Anyabwile Dialogue pt.

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Sam Shamoun Just recently Muslim propagandist Bassam Zawadi posted a link to the discussion he had with Christian Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile concerning the topic, ³Who is God and How Are We Saved?,´ which took place on March 2, 2009. In his opening statements Zawadi tried to convince his audience that his salafi (per)version of the conception of Allah¶s unity and salvation were based on the actual teachings of his very own religious sources. He gave the misleading impression that he was presenting the actual historic and orthodox position of the earliest Muslims such as Muhammad and his companions. In these series of rebuttals we are going to challenge that assertion and demonstrate that Islam does not support the views that Zawadi maintains as a salafi anthropomorphist. Zawadi began his talk by elaborating on the three sub-categories of tauhid or Islamic monotheism. He started with with tauhid al-rububiyyah: 1. Allah is one in lordship. Muslims must believe that Allah is the sole lord who is in control of all things. He is the ultimate being who sustains and nourishes all things, and there is no one else who shares that kind of authority alongside with him. Despite the emphasis of the Quran concerning Allah having sole rule and authority: It is He who created the heavens and the earth in truth; and the day He says 'Be', and it is; His saying is true, and His is the Kingdom the day the Trumpet is blown; He is Knower of the Unseen and the visible; He is the All-wise, the All-aware. S. 6:73 Say: ³Allah knows best how long they stayed. With Him is (the knowledge of) the unseen of the heavens and the earth. How clearly He sees, and hears (everything)! They have no Wali (Helper, Disposer of affairs, Protector, etc.) other than Him, and He makes NONE to share in His Decision and His Rule.´ S. 18:26 Hilali-Khan Blessed be He who has sent down the Salvation upon His servant, that he may be a warner to all beings; to whom belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth; and He has not taken to Him a son, and He has no associate in the Kingdom; and He created every thing, then He ordained it very exactly. S. 25:2 The Muslim scripture is equally clear that Muhammad shares in Allah¶s unique rule and authority. For instance, Muslims are required to fully submit to Muhammad and completely accept his decrees: But no! by your Lord! they do not believe (in reality) until they make you a judge of that which has become a matter of disagreement among them, and then do not find any straitness

in their hearts as to what YOU have decided and submit with entire submission. S. 4:65 Shakir Here is how the following Sufi Muslim scholar interprets this injunction: When the best generation of humankind ever to walk the earth realized that the Lord of the Heaven was addressing them directly with His timeless Speech in the language which they had mastered better than any human nation ever mastered a language, they realized that not only had Allah Almighty deputized the worthiest of them as the carrier of the final Message to humanity, but He had also made belief in that most honorable, most distinguished, and most accomplished Messenger - our liege-lord Muhammad - an integral condition of belief in Allah Himself by saying repeatedly "Believe in Allah AND the Messenger." They also heard Allah again and again command them to "Obey Allah AND the Messenger." They also realized that Allah Almighty stressed to them that this Messenger was their paramount model of behavior and of belief in Allah and the Last Day. They also heard and understood it meant they had to follow him and love him before they could claim to follow and love Allah. They further understood the required levels of following the Prophet properly and truly on which one's actual belief in Allah Most High depended: {But nay, by your Lord! they will not believe (in truth) until they make you judge of what is in dispute between them}. But to make the Prophet judge is not enough, this must be done without any mental reservation toward the Prophet and his decision: {and find within themselves no dislike of that which you decide}. Even this unalloyed acceptance of the Prophet's judgment is not enough, there must be full embrace of the heart, mind and soul for the Prophet: {and submit with full submission} (4:65)! (Gibril Fouad Haddad, The Story of Hadith - On Obeying, Following, Imitating, And Loving Prophet Muhammad; bold and underline emphasis ours) Moreover, according to some of the Islamic expositors Allah will actually have Muhammad sit on his very own throne! One Muslim scholar named Ibn Batta stated in his book al-Sharh wa al-Ibana µala Usul al-Sunna wa al-Diyana (³Elaboration of the Principles of Sunni Doctrine´), p. 61, that: The Prophet shall be seated on the Throne with his Lord (yujlas maµa rabbihi µalâ al-µarsh), and this privilege belongs to no one else. Thus did Nafiµ narrate it from Ibn µUmar from the Prophet concerning the verse: ³It may be that thy Lord will raise you to an Exalted Station´ ± he said that He shall seat him with Him on the Throne. Thus also did Mujahid explain it, as narrated by Muhammad ibn Fudayl, from al-Layth, from Mujahid. (Underline emphasis ours) The noted Muslim scholar and historian al-Tabari accepts this as a plausible explanation of Q. 17:79 which says, And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salat (prayer) with it (i.e. recite the Qur'an in the prayer), as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer Nawafil) for you (O Muhammad). It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqaman Mahmuda (a station of praise and glory, i.e. the highest degree in Paradise!). Hilali-Khan Al-Tabari writes that,

³Even though the traditions we have mentioned on the authority of the Prophet and his Companions and the Followers indicate the correct interpretation of maqaman mahmudan in Qur. 17:79 (as referring to Muhammad¶s role as intercessor on the Day of Resurrection), Mujahid¶s statement that God will seat Muhammad on His Throne remains one whose soundness CANNOT BE REJECTED either on the basis of traditions (khabar) or on the basis of speculation (nazar). This is so because there is no tradition from the Messenger of God or anyone of his Companions or the Followers that declares it to be impossible« From what we have said, it has become clear that, it is not impossible for an adherent of Islam to say what Mujahid had said, namely, that God will seat Muhammad on His Throne. If someone says: We do not disapprove of God¶s seating Muhammad on His Throne (in view of the following tradition transmitted by) µAbbas b. µAbd al-µAzim ± Yahya b. Kathir ± al-Jurayri ± Sayf alSadusi ± µAbdallah b. Salam: µOn the Day of Resurrection, Muhammad will be on the Lord¶s footstool (kursi),¶ but we disapprove of God¶s seating him together with Him, it should be said: Is it then permissible in your opinion that He seat him on it but not together with him? If he permits this, he is led to affirming that either he is together with Him, or God seats him (on the Throne) while being Himself either separate from it or neither contiguous with nor separate from it. Whatever alternative he chooses, he thereby enters into something that he disapproves. If he says that it is not permissible, he deviates from the statements of all the groups we have reported. This means diverging from the views of all adherents of Islam, since there is no other possible statement than those three, according to each of which Mujahid¶s statement in this sense is not impossible.´ (The History of Al-Tabari ± General Introduction and From Creation to the Flood, translated by Franz Rosenthal [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1989], Volume I, Appendix A. A Partial Translation of Tafsir on Qur. 17:79 (Above, pp. 75 f.), pp. 149. 151; capital and underline emphasis ours) Since the throne represents Allah¶s sovereignty over all creation: God! There is no god but He, - the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory). S. 2:255 Y. Ali Lo! your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, then He established Himself upon the Throne, directing all things. There is no intercessor (with Him) save after His permission. That is Allah, your Lord, so worship Him. Oh, will ye not remind? S. 10:3 Pickthall This means that Muhammad shares in the authority and rule over creation, and is therefore another lord besides Allah. Thus, Islam is the religion of submitting to both Allah and Muhammad equally, which means that Muhammad is Allah¶s co-equal partner. This is precisely why Muslims are required to mention Muhammad¶s name alongside that of Allah¶s every time they testify of their faith:

(And exalted thy fame) and raised your voice with the call to prayer, supplication and testification of faith, such that you are mentioned just as I am? And the Prophet said: ³Yes, indeed!´ (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn µAbbas; underline emphasis ours) And: Did We not exalt your mention? For you are mentioned where I [God] am mentioned in the call announcing [the time for] prayer (adh n), in the [second] call to perform the prayer (iq ma), in the witnessing ['there is no god but God, Muhammad is His Messenger'] (tashahhud), in the Friday sermon and in other instances. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; underline emphasis ours) Allah also made sure to conjoin Muhammad to himself by using the Arabic conjunction wa which is only used in respect to partnership: Qatada said, ³Allah exalted his fame in this world and the Next. There is no speaker, witness nor anyone doing the prayer who fails to say, µThere is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.¶´ Abu Sa'id al-Khudri related that the Prophet said, "Jibril came to me and said, µMy Lord and your Lord says, ³Do you know how I have exalted your fame?´¶ I said, µAllah and His Messenger know best.¶ He said, µWhen I am mentioned you are mentioned with Me.¶´ Ibn µAta quoted a hadith qudsi saying, ³I completed belief with your being mentioned with Me.´ And another one which says, ³I have made your mention part of My mention so whoever mentions Me, mentions you.´ Ja'far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq, ³No one mentions you as the Messenger but that he mentions Me as the Lord.´ The fact that mention of the Prophet is directly connected to mention of Allah also shows that obedience to the Prophet is connected to obedience to Allah and his name to Allah's name. Allah says, "Obey Allah and His Messenger" (2:32) and "Believe in Allah and His Messenger." (4:136) Allah joins them together using the conjunction wa WHICH IS THE CONJUNCTION OF PARTNERSHIP. IT IS NOT PERMITTED TO USE THIS CONJUNCTION IN CONNECTION WITH ALLAH IN THE CASE OF ANYONE EXCEPT THE PROPHET« Al-Khattabi said, ³The Prophet has guided you to correct behaviour in putting the will of Allah before the will of others. He chose µthen¶ (thumma) which implies sequence and deference as opposed to µand¶ (wa) WHICH IMPLIES PARTNERSHIP.´ « Abu Sulayman said, ³He disliked the two names being joined together in that way BECAUSE IT IMPLIES EQUALITY.´ « (Qadi µIyad Ibn Musa al-Yahsubi, Muhammad Messenger of Allah ± Ash-Shifa of Qadi µIyad (Kitab Ash-shifa bi ta'rif huquq al-Mustafa [Healing by the recognition of the Rights of the Chosen One]), translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K., third reprint 1991, paperback], Part One. Allah¶s great estimation of the worth of his Prophet expressed in both word and action, Chapter One. Allah¶s praise of him and his great esteem for him, Section 1.

Concerning praise of him and his numerous excellent qualities, pp. 7-8; capital and underline emphasis ours) And: ³« He coupled his name with His own name, and his pleasure with His pleasure. He made him ONE OF THE TWO PILLARS of tawhid.´ (Ibid., Section 9. Concerning the marks of honour given to the Prophet in Sura al-Fath, p. 27; capital and underline emphasis ours) Finally: Ibn µAbbas said, ³Written on the door of the Garden is: I am Allah. There is no god but Me. Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. I will not punish anyone who says that.´ (Ibid., Chapter Three. On the sound and well-known traditions related about the immense value placed on him by his lord, his exalted position and his nobility in this world and the next, Section 1. What has come concerning his place with his lord, the mighty and majestic, his being chosen, his high renown, his being preferred, his mastery over the children of Adam, the prerogative of the ranks he was given in this world and the blessing of his excellent name, p. 90; underline emphasis ours) Here is what happened to a person who refused to fully submit to the decisions of Islam¶s other lord: One Does not Become a Believer Unless He Refers to the Messenger for Judgment AND SUBMITS TO HIS DECISIONS Allah said« <But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them,> Allah swears by His Glorious, Most Honorable Self, that no one shall attain faith until he refers to the Messenger for judgment IN ALL MATTERS. Thereafter, whatever the Messenger commands, is the plain truth that must be submitted to inwardly and outwardly. Allah said« <and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.> meaning: they adhere to your judgment, and thus do not feel any hesitation over your decision, and they submit to it inwardly and outwardly. They submit to t he Prophet's decision with total submission without any rejection, denial or dispute. Al-Bukhari recorded that `Urwah said, "Az-Zubayr quarreled with a man about a stream which both of them used for irrigation. Allah's Messenger said to Az-Zubayr« <<O Zubayr! Irrigate (your garden) first, and then let the water flow to your neighbor.>> The Ansari became angry and said, `O Allah's Messenger! Is it because he is your cousin?' On that, the face of Allah's Messenger changed color (because of anger) and said« <<Irrigate (your garden), O Zubayr, and then withhold the water until it reaches the walls (surrounding the palms). Then, release the water to your neighbor.>> So, Allah's Messenger gave Az-Zubayr his full right when the Ansari made him angry. Before that, Allah's Messenger had given a generous judgment, beneficial for Az-Zubayr and the Ansari. AzZubayr said, `I think the following verse was revealed concerning that case«

<But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them.>¶´ Another reason in his Tafsir, Al-Hafiz Abu Ishaq Ibrahim bin `Abdur-Rahman bin Ibrahim bin Duhaym recorded that Damrah narrated that two men took their dispute to the Prophet, and he gave a judgment to the benefit of whoever among them had the right. The person who lost the dispute said, ³I do not agree.´ The other person asked him, "What do you want then?´ He said, ³Let us go to Abu Bakr As-Siddiq.´ They went to Abu Bakr and the person who won the dispute said, ³We went to the Prophet with our dispute and he issued a decision in my favor.´ Abu Bakr said, ³Then the decision is that which the Messenger of Allah issued.´ The person who lost the dispute still rejected the decision and said, ³Let us go to `Umar bin Al-Khattab.´ When they went to `Umar, the person who won the dispute said, ³We took our dispute to the Prophet and he decided in my favor, but this man refused to submit to the decision.´ `Umar bin Al-Khattab asked the second man and he concurred. `Umar went to his house and emerged from it holding aloft his sword. He struck the head of the man who rejected the Prophet's decision with the sword and killed him . Consequently, Allah revealed« <But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith>. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; capital and underline emphasis ours) The other problem with tauhid al-rububiyyah is that it asserts that Allah is absolutely free of all wants and has no need of creation. However, the Quran and the so-called authentic teachings of Muhammad teach that Allah does in fact depend on creation. For example, even though the Muslim scripture attests that Allah is rich and free of all needs: Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than Sadaqah (charity) followed by injury. And Allah is Rich (Free of all wants) and He is Most-Forbearing. S. 2:263 Hilali-Khan And whosoever strives, he strives only for himself. Verily, Allah is free of all wants from the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns, and all that exists). S. 29:60 Hilali-Khan And indeed We bestowed upon Luqman Al-Hikmah (wisdom and religious understanding, etc.) saying: "Give thanks to Allah," and whoever gives thanks, he gives thanks for (the good of) his ownself. And whoever is unthankful, then verily, Allah is All-Rich (Free of all wants), Worthy of all praise. S. 31:12 Hilali-Khan It goes on to contradict its own assertion by repeatedly exhorting Muslims to lend to Allah a loan which he will gladly repay in double if not more! Who is he who will lend to Allah a goodly loan? So he will increase it manifold for him, and he will have a noble reward« Surely, the men who give alms and the women who give alms, and those who lend to Allah a goodly loan - it will be increased manifold for them, and theirs will also be a honourable reward - S. 57:11, 18 If you lend to Allah a goodly loan (i.e. spend in Allah's Cause) He will double it for you, and will forgive you. And Allah is Most Ready to appreciate and to reward, Most Forbearing, S. 64:17 Hilali-Khan ± cf. 2:245; 73:20

Why would Allah need to exhort anyone to give him a loan when he is supposed to be the cherisher and sustainer who provides man with all his needs? Moreover, Muhammad claimed that Allah deliberately created mankind sinful and in need of repentance since the Islamic deity wanted to show forgiveness! Chapter 2: THE OBLITERATION OF SINS WITH THE HELP OF SEEKING FORGIVENESS PROM ALLAH Abu Sirma reported that when the time of the death of Abu Ayyub Ansari drew near, he said: I used to conceal from you a thing which I heard from Allah's Messenger and I heard Allah's Messenger as saying: Had you not committed sins, Allah would have brought into existence a creation that would have committed sin (and Allah) would have forgiven them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037, Number 6620) Abu Ayyub Ansari reported that Allah's Messenger said: If you were not to commit sins, Allah would have swept you out of existence and would have replaced you by another people who have committed sin, and then asked forgiveness from Allah, and He would have granted them pardon. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037, Number 6621) Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger having said: By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if you were not to commit sin, Allah would sweep you out of existence and He would replace (you by) those people who would commit sin and seek forgiveness from Allah, and He would have pardoned them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037, Number 6622) Muhammad¶s statements assume that Allah needed to create sinful human beings in order to have a way of expressing his love, mercy, grace, compassion etc. (since forgiveness is an extension of these specific traits). Muhammad seemed to be aware that unless his god could express these attributes towards another object then he couldn¶t truly be all-loving, allmerciful, full of compassion etc. And yet in order to resolve this dilemma Muhammad made his god dependent upon his creation, specifically on the existe nce of imperfect, fallible human beings! Therefore, since the Muslim sources emphatically teach that Allah depends on his creation the Islamic deity cannot be self-sufficient. This provides further evidence that the authentic teachings of Islam do not uphold or affirm tauhid al-rububiyyah. So much for the assertion that Islam teaches that Allah is all-sufficient and the sole Lord of creation. Zawadi then discussed tauhid al-ibaadah/uluhiyyah: 2. Allah is one in being worthy of worship. Now it¶s possible that one may believe that Allah is the only true creator; but the same time he might believe that there is a being, whether natural or supernatural, who is also worthy of worship. Islam completely forbids this [sic] for this is considered shirk, or setting up partners alongside with Allah. It is not enough for a Muslim to simply believe that Allah is the only lord who is control of all things. Rather, he must also believe and acknowledge that worship must only be directed to God alone.

The Quran does say that acts of worship, such as prayers, bowing, invocations etc., should be offered only to Allah: Say (O Muhammad): ³Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for God, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).´ S. 6:162 And invoke not besides God, any that will neither profit you, nor hurt you, but if (in case) you did so, you shall certainly be one of the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers). S. 10:106 And of His signs are the night and the day, the sun and the moon. Bow/prostrate not yourselves to the sun and moon, but bow yourselves to God (waosjudoo lillahi) who created them, if Him you serve. S. 41:37 And who is more astray than one who calls (invokes) besides God, such as will not answer him till the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware of their calls (invocations) to them? « Say: µI am not an innovation among the Messengers, and I know not what shall be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me; I am only a clear warner.¶ S. 46:5, 9 Rather prostrate yourselves before Allah (Faosjudoo lillahi) and serve Him. S. 53:62 And the mosques are for Allah (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allah. S. 72:18 The allegedly sound ahadith agree: Narrated Hisham's father: It was mentioned before 'Aisha that Ibn 'Umar attributed the following statement to the Prophet ³The dead person is punished in the grave because of the crying and lamentation Of his family.´ On that, 'Aisha said, ³But Allah's Apostle said, 'The dead person is punished for his crimes and sins while his family cry over him then.´ She added, ³And this is similar to the statement of Allah's Apostle when he stood by the (edge of the) well which contained the corpses of the pagans killed at Badr, 'They hear what I say.' She added, ³But he said now they know very well what I used to tell them was the truth.´ 'Aisha then recited: µYou cannot make the dead hear.¶ (30.52) and µYou cannot make those who are in their Graves, hear you.¶ (35.22) that is, when they had taken their places in the (Hell) Fire. (Sahih alBukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 316) And: Narrated An-Nu'man ibn Bashir: The Prophet said: Supplication (du'a') is itself the worship. (He then recited:) ³And your Lord said: Call on Me, I will answer you´ (xI.60). (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 8, Number 1474) Again: 6- 931 - On the authority of Abu Tameemah al-Hajmeemee, on the authority a man from Blahjeem who said, µI asked: µO Messenger of Allaah! Who should I make Dua¶ to?¶

He said: µCall to Allaah Alone. If you were afflicted with harm and you supplicated to Him, He would relieve you of it. If you became lost in a desolate land and you supplicated to Him, He would return you to your place. If you were afflicted with drought and you supplicated to Him, He would produce vegetation.¶ No. 420 (Ahadeeth Pertaining to Eemaan, Tawheed, Deen and Qadr, taken from Silsilah Ahadeeth As-Saheehah of Shaykh Al-Albaani, translated by Abbas Abu Yahya; bold and underline emphasis ours) It further commands the faithful to fear Allah: And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is with you, and be not the first to reject Faith therein, nor sell My Signs for a small price; and fear Me (fa ittaqooni). S. 2:41 However, the Quran also commands Muslims to fear others besides Allah: Mankind, fear your Lord (ittaqoo rabbakumu), who created you of a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them scattered abroad many men and women; and fear Allah (wa ittaqoo Allaha) by whom you demand one of another, AND the wombs (WA alarhama); surely Allah ever watches over you. S. 4:1 It further cites cases where certain individuals prostrated themselves or bowed down to created beings: And when We said to the angels, 'Prostrate/bow yourselves to Adam'; so they prostrated/bowed themselves (osjudoo li-adama fasajadoo), save Iblis; he was one of the jinn, and committed ungodliness against his Lord's command. What, and do you take him and his seed to be your friends, apart from Me, and they an enemy to you? How evil is that exchange for the evildoers! S. 18:50 Behold! Joseph said to his father: "O my father! I did see eleven stars and the sun and the moon: I saw them prostrate (sajideena) themselves to me!" S. 12:4 And he raised his parents upon the throne and they fell down in prostration (sujjadan) before him, and he said: O my father! this is the significance of my vision of old; my Lord has indeed made it to be true; and He was indeed kind to me when He brought me forth from the prison and brought you from the desert after the Shaitan had sown dissensions between me and my brothers, surely my Lord is benignant to whom He pleases; surely He is the Knowing, the Wise. S. 12:100 To make matters worse Muhammad himself taught his followers to address him directly in their daily prayers: Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Urwa ibn az-Zubayr from Abd arRahman ibn Abd al-Qari that he heard Umar ibn al-Khattab say, while he was teaching people the tashahhud from the mimbar, ³Say, Greetings belong to Allah. Pure actions belong to Allah. Good words and prayers belong to Allah. Peace on YOU, Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be upon us and on the slaves of Allah who are salihun. I testify that there is no god except Allah. And I testify that Muhammad is His slave and His messenger.´

'At-tahiyatu lillah, az-zakiyatu lillah, at-tayibatu wa's-salawatu lillah. As-salamu ALAYKA ayyuha'nnabiyyu wa rahmatu'llahi wa barakatuhu. As-salamu alayna wa ala ibadi'llahi ssalihin. Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa 'llah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluh." (Malik¶s Muwatta, Book 3, Number 3.14.56) He also taught people that they could direct their prayer requests to both him and Allah: Tirmidhi relates, through his chain of narrators from 'Uthman ibn Hunayf, that a blind man came to the Prophet and said, ³I've been afflicted in my eyesight, so please pray to Allah for me.´ The Prophet said: ³Go make ablution (wudu), perform two rak'as of prayer, and then say: Oh Allah, I ask You and turn to You through my Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy; O MUHAMMAD (YA MUHAMMAD), I SEEK YOUR INTERCESSION with my Lord for the return of my eyesight [and in another version: for my need, that it may be fulfilled. O Allah, grant him intercession for me"].´ The Prophet added, ³And if there is some need, do the same.´ (Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law (Umdat Al-Salik) in Arabic with facing English text, Commentary and Appendices, edited and translated by Nuh Hah Mim Keller [Amana Corporation; Revised edition, July 1, 1997], w40.3, p. 935; bold and capital emphasis ours) A practice which Muslims continued to observe long after he was dead: Moreover, Tabarani, in his ³al-Mu'jam al saghir, reports a hadith from 'Uthman ibn Hunayf that a man repeatedly visited Uthman ibn Affan concerning something he needed, but Uthman paid no attention to him or his need. The man met Ibn Hunayf and complained to him about the matter - this being after the death (wisal) of the Prophet and after the caliphates of Abu Bakr and Umar - so Uthman ibn Hunayf, who was one of the Companions who collected hadiths and was learned in the religion of Allah, said: ³Go to the place of ablution and perform ablution (wudu), then come to the mosque, perform two rak'as of prayer therein, and say: µO Allah, I ask You and turn to You through our Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy; O MUHAMMAD (YA MUHAMMAD), I TURN THROUGH YOU to my Lord, that He may fulfill my need,¶ and mention your need. Then come so that I can go with you [to the caliph Uthman].´ So the man left and did as he had been told, then went to the door of Uthman ibn Affan, and the doorman came, took him by the hand, brought him to Uthman ibn Affan, and seated him next to him on a cushion. 'Uthman asked, ³What do you need?´ and the man mentioned what he wanted, and Uthman accomplished it for him, then he said, ³I hadn't remembered your need until just now,´ adding, ³Whenever you need something, just mention it.´ Then, the man departed, met Uthman ibn Hunayf, and said to him, ³May Allah reward you! He didn't see to my need or pay any attention to me until you spoke with him.´ Uthman ibn Hunayf replied, "By Allah, I didn't speak to him, but I have seen a blind man come to the Messenger of Allah and complain to him of the loss of his eyesight. The Prophet said, ³Can you not bear it?' and the man replied, µO Messenger of Allah, I do not have anyone to lead me around, and it is a great hardship for me.¶ The Prophet told him, 'Go to the place of ablution and perform ablution (wudu), then pray two rak'as of prayer and make the

supplications.¶´ Ibn Hunayf went on, ³By Allah, we didn't part company or speak long before the man returned to us as if nothing had ever been wrong with him.´ This is an explicit, unequivocal text from a prophetic Companion proving the legal validity of tawassul through the dead. The account has been classified AS RIGOROUSLY AUTHENTICATED (SAHIH) by Baihaqi, Mundhiri, and Haythami. (Ibid., w40.4, pp. 936-937; bold and capital emphasis ours)] Here we have a rigorously authenticated or sahih report which claims that Muslims were praying to Muhammad before and after his death! There were other Muslim scholars that classified this tradition as sound: It is related by Ahmad (4:138 #17246-17247), Tirmidhi (hasan sahih gharib -- Da`awat Ch. 119), Ibn Majah (Book of Iqamat al-salat wa al-sunnat, Ch. on Salat al-hajat #1385), Nasa'i (`Amal al-yawm wa al-laylat p. 417-418 #658-660), al-Hakim (1:313, 1:526), Tabarani in alKabir, and rigorously authenticated as sound (sahih) by nearly fifteen hadith masters including Ibn Hajar, Dhahabi, Shawkani, and Ibn Taymiyya« "Here now is the proof from the noble hadith. The following hadith was extracted by the following masters of hadith among the Imams: Ibn Khuzayma in his Sahih (the rank of which approximates that of Sahih Muslim), al-Nasa'i in his book `Amal al-yawm wa al-layla, alTirmidhi in his Jami` and he said of it hasan sahih gharib, that is, with respect to the fact that only Abu Ja`far `Umayr ibn Yazid al-Khutami al-Madani al-Basri narrates it, and he is thiqa (trustworthy) according to Nasa'i and Ibn Ma`in, therefore the fact that it is gharib does not jeopardize its rank of sahih. Ibn Majah also narrated it and confirmed Abu Ishaq [Ibn Rahawayh] who declared it sahih, and so did al-Hakim in his Mustadrak who said: "It is sound according to the criterion of Bukhari and Muslim," and Dhahabi confirmed him. "From `Uthman ibn Hunayf: He was with the Prophet at the time a blind man came to him complaining of his lack of eyesight, etc. This is a sound hadith in which the Prophet explicitly orders those who have a certain need to make tawassul and call him in his absence -- both in his life and after his death. This is precisely what the Companions understood from him, as his order to any given person in the Community is directed to all the Community in every time as long as there is no proof that it is specific to an individual. What then if there is proof to the contrary -- i.e. that it is not specific to an individual? Tabarani related in his Mu`jam alkabir and Mu`jam al-saghir that a man in need used to try to visit `Uthman ibn `Affan frequently, etc. Tabarani said the hadith was sound and Bayhaqi narrated it in Dala'il alnubuwwa with a good chain." Abu Sulayman Suhayl al-Zabibi Imam of Masjid al-Najjarin (Damascus, Syria) (Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, Encyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine, [As-Sunna Foundation of America (ASFA), January 1998], III. QUESTIONS ON TAWASSUL; underline emphasis ours) Even the noted Muslim theologian and expositor Ibn Kathir quoted this same narrative in his book on the alleged miracles of Muhammad:

The story of the blind man who regained his sight with the Duµa¶ of the Prophet: Imam al-Baihaqi related on the authority of µUthman bin Hunaif who said: ³I heard the Prophet when a blind man came to him and complained to him that he had lost his sight. The man said to the Prophet: µO Messenger of Allah! I do not have anyone to lead me (as I am a blind man) and it has become difficult for me to keep going.¶ The Messenger of Allah then said: µGo and make Wudu¶ (ablution) and pray two Rakµas and say: ³O Allah! I ask You and turn to you by the dignity of your Prophet Muhammad, the Messenger of Mercy. O Muhammad! I turn to my Lord, by your dignity (and honor), t o return back my sight to me. O Allah! I ask You for his intercession (for me).´¶´ Uthman said: ³By Allah, we did not leave our place, and we did not remain there for long, except that the man came in as if he had never suffered from any disease.´ (Ibn Kathir, The Miracles of the Prophet, translated by Dr. Nancy Eweiss, edited by Selma Cook (Dar Al-Manarah for Translation, Publishing & Distribution, 1422 AH/ 2002 AC), D. The blind man was cured when he said Duµa¶ that was taught to him by the Prophet, p. 93 ± see also pp. 199-200) Therefore, Zawadi cannot simply dismiss this report on the grounds that it is a weak or inauthentic narration since some of his very own scholars have classified it as sahih and defended its veracity. Besides, even if this hadith were unreliable Zawadi would still have to explain why Muslims were forging prayers to Muhammad when they (supposedly) knew that all such prayers must be offered only to Allah? Certain Muslims tried to justify their worship of and prayers to Muhammad by claiming that he continues to deserve the same respect that he received when he was physically alive: It is just as necessary to have esteem and respect for the Prophet after his death as it were when he was alive. This means to show it whenever the Prophet, his hadith or sunna are mentioned, when anyone hears his name or anything about his life or how his family and relatives behaved. It includes respect for the People of his House (ahl al-bayt) and his Companions« Abu Humayd said, ³Abu Ja'far, the Amir al-Mu'minin, had a dispute with Malik in the Prophet's mosque. Malik said to him, 'Amir al-Mu'minin, do not raise your voice in this mosque. Allah taught the people how to behave by saying, ³Do not raise your voices above the Prophet´ (49:2) He praises people with the words, ³Those who lower their voices in the presence of the Messenger of Allah.´ (49:3) He censures people, saying, ³Those who call you...´ Respect for him when he is dead is the same as respect for him when he was alive.´ ³Abu Ja'far was humbled by this. He asked Malik, 'Abu Abdullah, do you face qibla when you supplicate or do you face the Messenger of Allah?' He replied, 'Why would you turn your face from him when he is YOUR MEANS and the means of your father, Adam, to Allah on the Day of Rising? I face him AND ASK HIM to intercede and Allah will grant his intercession. Allah says, ³If, when you wronged yourselves, they had come to you.´¶´ (4:64) (Qadi Iyad, Kitab Ash-shifa bi ta'rif huquq al-Mustafa (Healing by the recognition of the Rights of the Chosen One), translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K., third reprint 1991, paperback], Part Two. Concerning the rights which the people owe the Prophet, Chapter Three: Exalting him and the necessity to respect

and honour him, Section 3. Respect and esteem for the Prophet after his death, pp. 237-238; capital and underline emphasis ours) The problem with such explanations is that Muhammad is dead and the Quran says that those who are in the graves cannot hear: Neither are the living and the dead alike. Surely Allah makes whom He pleases hear, and you cannot make those hear WHO ARE IN THE GRAVES. S. 35:22 Shakir As Muhammad¶s child bride Aisha stated: Narrated Hisham's father: It was mentioned before 'Aisha that Ibn 'Umar attributed the following statement to the Prophet ³The dead person is punished in the grave because of the crying and lamentation Of his family.´ On that, 'Aisha said, ³But Allah's Apostle said, 'The dead person is punished for his crimes and sins while his family cry over him then.´ She added, ³And this is similar to the statement of Allah's Apostle when he stood by the (edge of the) well which contained the corpses of the pagans killed at Badr, 'They hear what I say.' She added, ³But he said now they know very well what I used to tell them was the truth.´ 'Aisha then recited: µYou cannot make the dead hear.¶ (30.52) and µYou cannot make those who are in their Graves, hear you.¶ (35.22) that is, when they had taken their places in the (Hell) Fire. (Sahih alBukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 316) It gets worse. The Quran condemned the Meccan pagans for worshiping idols that could neither harm nor benefit them, even though they thought that these objects would act as their intercessors before Allah: And they worship besides Allah things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say: ³These are our intercessors with Allah.´ Say: ³Do you inform Allah of that which He knows not in the heavens and on the earth?´ Glorified and Exalted be He above all that which they associate as partners with Him! S. 10:18 The Muslim scripture also narrates a story where Abraham rebukes his people for serving that which could neither benefit nor harm anyone: And certainly We gave to Ibrahim his rectitude before, and We knew him fully well. When he said to his father and his people: What are these images to whose worship you cleave? They said: We found our fathers worshiping them. He said: Certainly you have been, (both) you and your fathers, in manifest error. They said: Have you brought to us the truth, or are you one of the triflers? He said: Nay! your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who brought them into existence, and I am of those who bear witness to this: And, by Allah! I will certainly do something against your idols after you go away, turning back. So he broke them into pieces, except the chief of them, that haply they may return to it. They said: Who has done this to our gods? Most surely he is one of the unjust. They said: We heard a youth called Ibrahim speak of them. Said they: Then bring him before the eyes of the peop le, perhaps they may bear witness. They said: Have you done this to our gods, O Ibrahim? He said: Surely (some doer) has done it; the chief of them is this, therefore ask them, if they can speak. Then they turned to themselves and said: Surely you yourselves are the unjust; Then they were made to hang down their heads: Certainly you know that they do not speak. He said: What! do you then serve besides Allah what brings you not any benefit at all, nor

does it harm you? Fie on you and on what you serve besides Allah; what! do you not then understand? They said: Burn him and help your gods, if you are going to do (anything). S. 21:51-66 Shakir However, Muhammad venerated and kissed a black stone which baffled and confused some of his companions: Narrated 'Abis bin Rabia: 'Umar came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said "No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen Allah's Apostle kissing you I would not have kissed you." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 667) Narrated Zaid bin Aslam from his father who said: "Umar bin Al-Khattab addressed the Corner (Black Stone) saying, 'By Allah! I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit nor harm. Had I not seen the Prophet touching (and kissing) you, I would never have touched (and kissed) you.' Then he kissed it and said, 'There is no reason for us to do Ramal (in Tawaf) except that we wanted to show off before the pagans, and now Allah has destroyed them.' 'Umar added, '(Nevertheless), the Prophet did that and we do not want to leave it (i.e. Ramal).' (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 675) Umar¶s statements are significant since they echo the words of the Quran, which censures the kissing of idols or stones that can neither harm nor benefit anyone. What makes this all the more amazing, as well as troubling, is that Muhammad taught that the black stone would intercede for Muslims: 2944. Sa'd b. Jubair (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said, "I heard Ibn 'Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) saying that Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings Allah be upon him) said, "This Stone must come on the Day of Resurrection and it will have two eyes to see with and a tongue to talk with bearing witness for him who caressed it with Truth (Islam)." (Sunan Ibn-I-Majah (Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad b. Yazid Ibn-I-Maja AlQazwini), English version by Muhammad Tufail Ansari [Kazi Publications, Lahore (Pakistan), 1st edition 1995], Volume IV, Chapter NO. XVII: Caressing The (Black) Stone (Fixed in a Wall of Ka¶ba), pp. 244-245; bold and underline emphasis ours) This is exactly what the pagans said concerning their stones and idols! Thus, Muhammad was guilty of doing the very same thing and using the same exact excuse that the disbelieving idolators did and said to justify their idolatry! Zawadi went on to refer to tauhid al-asma wa-sifaat: 3. Allah is one in his attributes ± Allah is all-merciful, Allah is all-just, Allah is all-knowing, Allah is all-exalted etc. The Muslims must believe that only Allah alone could be ascribed with such titles and no one else. What Zawadi meant to say is that these specific names and attributes cannot be ascribed to any creature in their definite forms, i.e. a person can be called merciful but not THE Merciful with the definite article preceding or attached to the specific characteristic or quality.

The problem which Zawadi faces here is that the Quran ascribes some of the names of Allah to his creatures. For example, the Muslim scripture mentions that Allah¶s names include alaziz and al-qawi: In Allah's help to victory. He helpeth to victory whom He will. He is the Mighty (al-azizu), the Merciful. S. 30:5 Say: Show me those whom ye have joined unto Him as partners. Nay (ye dare not)! For He is Allah, the Mighty (al-azizu), the Wise. S. 34:27 Allah is gracious unto His slaves. He provideth for whom He will. And He is the Strong (alqawiyyu), the Mighty (al-azizu). S. 42:19 ± cf. 22:40 However, the Quran says that the name of the man to whom Joseph was sold was al-aziz: And women in the city said: ³The wife of Al-'Aziz is seeking to seduce her (slave) young man, indeed she loves him violently; verily we see her in plain error.´ S. 12:30 (The King) said (to the women): ³What was your affair when you did seek to seduce Yusuf (Joseph)?´ The women said: ³Allah forbid! No evil know we against him!´ The wife of Al'Aziz said: ³Now the truth is manifest (to all), it was I who sought to seduce him, and he is surely of the truthful.´ S. 12:51 It even says that the prophet Moses was called al-qawi! And said one of them (the two women): ³O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong (al-qawiyyu), the trustworthy.´ He said [to Moses]: ³I intend to wed one of these two daughters of mine to you, on condition that you serve me for eight years, but if you complete ten years, it will be (a favour) from you. But I intend not to place you under a difficulty. If Allah will, you will find me one of the righteous.´ S. 28:26-27 Now Zawadi may interject here and say that Allah isn¶t giving these names to these specific individuals, but is merely narrating what others called them. The Qur¶an is simply reporting that the people of former times used these names for these individuals. There are at least a couple of problems with this argument. First, al-aziz is called Potiphar in the Holy Bible, so it is indeed the author of the Qur¶an who introduced this ³forbidden name´ for this person. Where else was he ever called this? The Muslim has no evidence that this was his actual name. Second, the people in these stories didn¶t speak Quraish Arabic, the language of the Quran, so there was no need to use the definite forms of these specific words in quoting what they said. In fact the author(s) could have simply used qawi or aziz without the definite article, much like s/he/they did for Allah himself! And if ye slide back after the clear proofs have come unto you, then know that Allah is Mighty (azizun), Wise. S. 2:209

(Their way is) as the way of Pharaoh's folk and those before them; they disbelieved the revelations of Allah, and Allah took them in their sins. Lo! Allah is Strong (qawiyyun), severe in punishment. S. 8:52 And (as for the believers) hath attuned their hearts. If thou hadst spent all that is in the earth thou couldst not have attuned their hearts, but Allah hath attuned them. Lo! He is Mighty (azizun), Wise. S. 8:63 That was because their messengers kept bringing them clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty) but they disbelieved; so Allah seized them. Lo! He is Strong (qawiyyun), severe in punishment. S. 40:22 Allah hath decreed: Lo! I verily shall conquer, I and My messengers. Lo! Allah is Strong (qawiyyun), Almighty (azizun). S. 58:21 ± cf. 57:25 Had s/he/they done so he/she/they would have avoided this entire problem. What the foregoing shows is that Zawadi must either accept that the author(s) of the Quran was(were) guilty of shirk for ascribing Allah¶s names to persons other than Allah, thereby associating partners with the one true God. Or, he must come to terms with the fact that this concept of tauhid is not a Quranic teaching, but a man-made tradition of certain Muslim scholars which goes against what their very own religious scripture actually says concerning Allah¶s names. This concludes part one. We now move on to part two.

An Analysis of the Bassam Zawadi versus Thabiti Anyabwile Dialogue pt. 2
Sam Shamoun We continue our analysis of Zawadi¶s debate points. The use of the singular pronouns ± Evidence of Islamic Unitarianism? Zawadi went on to make the following assertions in his opening statement, Now the Christian at this point would say to oneself that he or she agrees with all of the points that I just stated. So where is the point of disagreement between the two faiths? The point of disagreement is this, Islam insists [sic] that Allah is only one person and can only be one person« Islam states that Allah is one person. The prophet Muhammad is reported to have said in an authentic narration attributed to him, ³There is no person (singular pronoun) more jealous than Allah, and there is no person (singular pronoun again) more fond of accepting an excuse than Allah on account of which

he has sent messengers, announcers of glad tidings, and warners, and no person (singular again) is more fond of praise than Allah on account of which Allah has promised paradise.´ The following narration makes this point clearer. It comes in a very long narration discussing the afterlife. After the prophet Muhammad tells his companion that Allah will gather all the Muslims and they will look at him on the day of judgement, the companion says, ³O Messenger of Allah! How will that happen when he´ ± ³he´ referring to Allah ± ³is only one person while we fill the earth?´ Notice that the companion of the prophet said that Allah is one person; and when you continue reading the narration you would see that the prophet didn¶t object to that statement, which implies his approval of it. Furthermore, one just by reading the Quran alone can see that it is obvious [sic] that Allah is only one person. The Quran says in surah 112, ayah 1 ± ayah is the equivalent of verse, and surah is the equivalent of chapter ± ³Say, He (singular pronoun) is the one and only.´ Allah is constantly [sic] referred to himself in the singular pronouns throughout the Quran. You won¶t refer to someone in the singular pronoun constantly [sic] unless that someone is a single person [sic]. After mentioning that the Holy Bible, God¶s true Word, uses the singular pronoun over 20,000 times, Zawadi admits that there are cases where the plural is used such as in Genesis 1:26, and says that this phenomenon also occurs in the Quran ³sometimes´! He then says that, However, Jews have traditionally understood that this is referring to the plural of majesty, not quantity [sic].

Zawadi¶s inconsistent apologetic methodology Zawadi further claimed that the Biblical passages that use the plural for God are fewer than those that employ the singular. He then claims that a rule of Biblical hermeneutics is to interpret these few examples in light of the majority. The problem here is that Zawadi is badly misrepresenting the Christian position concerning the method of Biblical exegesis. One doesn¶t simply interpret a small set of passages in light of the majority of Biblical verses. The proper method is to first interpret such verses in their immediate, respective contexts in order to understand what these passages mean. Only after this is done should a person proceed to examine how these citations relate and fit in with the rest of the inspired Scriptures. Moreover, this is truly an ironic statement coming from Zawadi seeing that his assertion presupposes the internal consistency of the Holy Bible, i.e. the individual books of the Holy Scriptures do not contradict or conflict but actually explain and clarify one another. The reason I say this is ironic is because in many of his own writings and articles which he links to Zawadi and the authors which he endorses go out of their way to invest much time and effort attempting to prove that the Holy Bible has contradictions and that the teachings of the

various Biblical writers are inconsistent with one another (*; *). And yet here he is seeking to undermine the use of the plural for God on the basis of the Bible¶s consistent and repeated usage of the singular! This shows that Zawadi is willing to adopt an inconsistent polemic against Christianity. When it is convenient to refute Christianity he will single out alleged Bible discrepancies, and yet he will abandon this approach and appeal to the consistency of the Holy Bible to refute specific Christian beliefs such as the Trinity.

Does the use of the singular conflict with the view of God being multi -personal? With that said, the reason why the Biblical writers, and even Trinitarians, use singular nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, participles etc. when speaking of God is to denote the fact that Yahweh is a singular Being, not that he is a singular Person. This also applies to the Quran and ahadith, i.e. just because Muhammad and his followers used singular pronouns to refer to their deity doesn¶t mean that they believed that Allah is only one person. It only shows that they believed that Allah was a singular Being, without this precluding him from existing as a plurality of some kind. After all, even Zawadi agrees that Muhammad and his followers believed that Allah has a host of names and attributes. Moreover, the Bible writers themselves use the singular in contexts where they have more than one Divine Person in view: ³And he blessed Joseph and said, µThe God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, THE ANGEL who has redeemed me from all evil, BLESS the boys; and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.¶´ Genesis 48:15-16 The verb for bless that Jacob used here is singular even though he is praying to two subjects, specifically God and the Angel! The Apostles of the risen Lord Jesus do something similar: ³Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear (kateuthunai) the way for us to come to you.´ 1 Thessalonians 3:11 ³May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved (ho agapesas) us and by HIS grace gave (dous) us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage (parakalesai) your hearts and strengthen (sterixai) you in every good deed and word.´ 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 Although Paul refers to both the Father and the Son as loving, gracing, encouraging etc., he uses singular verbs all throughout here which is simply his way of describing their actions as essentially being one. And: ³There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.´ Revelation 22:5

Compare this with the following: ³I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty AND THE LAMB are its TEMPLE. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb IS ITS LAMP. The nations will walk by ITS LIGHT, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.´ Revelation 21:22-24 John shows here that both the Father and the Son are the one Temple and glorious Light of the new creation. Thus, the Lord God who gives light to the new heavens and earth is actually the Father and the Son together! John further writes: "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the THRONE of God AND OF the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The THRONE of God AND OF the Lamb will be in the city, and HIS servants will serve HIM. They will see HIS face, and HIS name will be on their foreheads." Revelation 22:1-4 John states that believers will see ³HIS´ face, have ³HIS´ name on their foreheads, and will serve ³HIM.´ Yet John says elsewhere that the faithful will receive the name of both the Father and the Son, ³To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze« By her teaching she misleads MY servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.´ Revelation 2:18, 20b ³Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him MY new name.´ Revelation 3:12 ³Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had HIS name and HIS FATHER'S name written on their foreheads« These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God AND the Lamb.´ Revelation 14:1, 4 John also writes that both the Father and the Son have priests and servants who serve them: "I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first

resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be PRIESTS of God AND OF Christ and will reign with HIM for a thousand years." Revelation 20:4-6 "The angel said to me, µThese words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent HIS angel to show HIS servants the things that must soon take place.¶ «" Revelation 22:6, 16 Finally, John claims that the river of the water of life flows from the one throne that is shared by both God and the Lamb, which is a symbolic way of saying that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son to sustain the new creation. That the river of the water of life denotes the Holy Spirit is easily demonstrated by consulting John¶s Gospel: ³On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, µIf anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.¶ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.´ John 7:37-39 Here, then, is a depiction of the Triune God together as they manifest their glory in the new heavens and earth!

The evidence for a plural Creator and Maker ± Reexamining the context of Genesis 1:26 As we noted earlier, a sound rule of Biblical interpretation is to exegete a verse within its immediate context in order to arrive at a correct understanding and application of a specific text. It becomes clear that by employing this method of exegesis to the use of the plural in Genesis 1:26 that God was actually addressing another Divine Person who assisted him in creating man: ³In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God (we-ruha elohim) was moving over the face of the waters« Then God said, µLet US make (na'aseh) man in OUR image, after OUR likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.¶ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.´ Genesis 1:1-2, 26-27 According to the immediate context the Spirit of God was present at creation, and therefore shows that he was the One whom God was speaking with in creating mankind. The very next chapter provides further corroboration that the Spirit was involved in making man: ³Then Yahweh God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (neshamat chayyim); and man became a living being.´ Genesis 2:7 This text helps us understand how the Spirit assisted God in creating the first human, namely, God sent forth his Spirit to animate the body of Adam. In fact, the following verse helps us to see the connection between Yahweh¶s Spirit and his Breath in Genesis 1:26 and 2:7 more clearly,

³The Spirit of God has made me (ruha-¶el µ Almighty gives me life.´ Job 33:4

t nî), and the Breath (neshamat) of the

Here, the author equates God¶s Spirit with his Breath, e.g. the Spirit is the Breath of God, and is therefore simply two ways of speaking of the same Divine entity through whom God gives life to his creatures. This brings out the point of Genesis 2:7 clearly. It shows that the inspired writer of Genesis (i.e., Moses) was using a metaphor to describe Yahweh¶s act of sending forth his Spirit to animate the body of the first man and to give him a rational spirit or soul of his own. After all, Yahweh is not a physical being and therefore doesn¶t physically breathe. There is a further echo of the Genesis creation story in Job, ³By his Spirit (ruho) the heavens were made fair; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.´ Job 26:13 The Psalms also attribute the work of creation to the Spirit of God: ³When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath/spirit (ruham), they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your Spirit (ruhaka), they are created (yibare'un); and you renew the face of the ground.´ Psalm 104:29-30 These verses are obviously allusions to what the Genesis account of creation says concerning Yahweh creating by his Spirit. What the evidence furnished by all of these Biblical books establishes is that Yahweh was indeed speaking to the Spirit who was present at creation, inviting the Holy Spirit to assist him in creating man in their own image and likeness. This shouldn¶t come as a surprise since Yahweh often involved his Spirit in carrying out his purpose and/or in accomplishing a specific task, such as the construction of the tabernacle or tent of meeting along with all of its related items: ³See, I have called by name Bez'alel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with the Spirit of God (ruha elohim), with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oho'liab, the son of Ahis'amach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereon, and all the furnishings of the tent, the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base, and the finely worked garments, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, for their service as priests, and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the holy place. According to all that I have commanded you they shall do.´ Exodus 31:111 ³And Moses said to the people of Israel, µSee, Yahweh has called by name Bez'alel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and he has filled him with the Spirit of God (ruha

elohim), with ability, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft.¶´ Exodus 35:30-33 This also explains why the Bible writers could speak of God as a plural Creator and Maker since they knew that God created by his Spirit: ³But none says, µWhere is God my Makers (µosaay), who gives songs in the night,¶´ Job 35:10 The word µosaay is the plural participle of asa¶ (i.e., to make, fashion, produce, work etc.). And: "Remember also thy Creators (b r ¶eyk ) in days of thy youth, While that the evil days come not, Nor the years have arrived, that thou sayest, µI have no pleasure in them.¶´ Ecclesiastes 12:1 Young¶s Literal Translation (YLT) Here the author employs the plural of bara (e.g., to create, fashion, form, shape etc.). Finally: ³For your Husbands are your Makers (b µ layik µ ayik ) ² Yahweh of hosts is his name ² the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the Gods of all the earth (El hêy k l-h ¶ rets).´ Isaiah 54:5 The prophet Isaiah uses the plural for ba¶al (to marry, rule over, own, possess etc.) and asah. These examples demonstrate that the inspired writers of the Hebrew Scriptures were aware that the God who created all things is a multi-personal Being. Therefore, they were not Unitarians who believed that their God was a uni-personal monad. Nor was(were) the author(s) of the Quran! This leads us to our next section.

The Plural of Majesty and the problems this poses for the unity of Allah. The other problem which Zawadi faces is that there is no evidence whatsoever to support that the use of plural pronouns in either the Hebrew Bible and Quran are cases of the plural of majesty (*; *). Zawadi cannot produce any evidence that such a linguistic feature was known or in use during the OT period or that this is how the author of the Quran intended to use the plural. As one late Christian scholar and evangelist to the Muslims St. Clair W. Tisdall wrote in the following argument which he put in dialogue form between a Muslim (M) and a Christian (C): 139. M. There is nothing in the Qur'an to support the doctrine of the Trinity. C. We accept it on the authority of the Bible alone. Yet there are two facts in the Qur'an which cannot be properly explained or understood except by accepting the doctrine. The first is, that God is spoken of as One, He is called God ( Allah), Lord ( Ar Rabb) in the singular, and addressed as Thou. The other is, that He is represented as speaking of Himself in the plural as We, Us. Examples are found in almost every Surah: for example, in Surah

XCVI., Al 'Alaq, supposed to be the first Surah revealed to Muhammad, God is called ³the Lord" (v. 8), and "God" (v. 13) in the singular, and yet in v. 17, He says, ³We too will summon the guards of hell,´ using the plural. Does not this imply the existence of some kind of plurality, other than that of attributes, in the Divine Unity? 140. M. Certainly not. The "We" is used, as kings use the word, to imply majesty. C. On what authority do you say this so positively? If the Qur'an is from God, nothing in it can be unmeaning. Whatever God says is true: and this expression, so often repeated in the Qur'an, may contain deep teaching. We observe that, in the use of the plural, the Qur'an agrees with the Bible, since we find, for instance, in Gen. i. 26; iii. 22; xi. 7, the very same expression used. Those parts of the Bible which teach the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity may possibly explain the reason of this, as far as the Bible is concerned. If the Qur'an was revealed to confirm the Torah and the Injil, perhaps this is one of the points in which it does so. 141. M. The Jews explain these passages by saying that God was addressing the angels. C. That is because the Jews reject the Gospel, which the Qur'an ³confirms.´ But whether their explanation be right or wrong, will it explain the use of the plural in the Qur'an? 142. M. No, it will not: but the doctrine of the Trinity is contrary to the Qur'an. (Tisdall, A Manual of the Leading Muhammadan Objections to Christianity [Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1904], Chapter V, "Objections Against Certain Leading Christian Doctrines (continued)", pp. 153-154) And even if these were cases of the royal plural it is obvious that Zawadi hasn¶t taken the time to reflect on the significance that such usage has on his Unitarian beliefs. If he had bothered to take the time to do some research concerning this linguistic feature then he would have seen that the royal plural doesn¶t help his case at all. He would have discovered that the plural of majesty would mean that Allah was actually addressing his royal court or his heavenly council. Notice, for example, what the online encyclopedia Wikipedia writes in regards to the purpose and function of the royal plural: Pluralis majestatis ("majestic plural") is the plural pronoun where it is used to refer to one person alone. This is also known as the "royal we" or the "Victorian we" because it has usually been restricted to august personages such as monarchs, bishops, Popes, and university rectors. The reason behind the pluralis majestatis is the idea that a monarch or other high official ALWAYS SPEAKS FOR HIS OR HER PEOPLE. Examples of purported instances: We are not amused. Queen Victoria (in at least one account of this quotation, though, she was not speaking for herself alone, BUT FOR THE LADIES OF THE COURT.) We are a grandmother. Margaret Thatcher announcing the birth of Mark Thatcher¶s son Michael in 1990.

It is to be distinguished from pluralis modestiae, also pluralis auctoris (inclusion of readers or listeners). For instance: Let's calculate! Leibniz We are thus led also to a definition of "time" in physics. Albert Einstein It was said that United States Navy Admiral Hyman G. Rickover told a subordinate that used the royal we: "Three groups are permitted that usage: pregnant women, royalty, and schizophrenics. Which one are you?" There is no such thing as the "Papal we". The pope may use the "Royal we". (*; capital and underline emphasis ours) And here is what this same source says concerning the use of "we": The royal we (Pluralis Majestatis) is the first-person plural pronoun when used by an important personage to refer to himself or herself. Its best known usage is by a monarch such as a king, queen, or pope. It is also used in certain formal contexts by bishops and university rectors. In the public situations in which it is used, the monarch or other dignitary is typically speaking, NOT IN HIS OWN PROPER PERSON, BUT AS LEADER OF A NATION OR INSTITUTION. Nevertheless, the habit of referring to leaders in the plural has influenced the grammar of several languages, in which plural forms tend to be perceived as deferential and more polite than singular forms. This grammatical feature is called a T-V distinction. Popes used the we as part of their formal speech up until recent times. John Paul I was the first to dispense with this practice, instead using the singular I. John Paul II continued to use the singular. The editorial we is a similar phenomenon, in which editorial columnists in newspapers and similar commentators in other media refer to themselves as we when giving their opinions. Here, the writer has once more cast himself or herself in the role of spokesman: either FOR THE MEDIA INSTITUTION who employs him, or more generally ON BEHALF OF THE PARTY OR BODY OF CITIZENS who agree with the commentary. (*; capital and underline emphasis ours) Thus, by appealing to the royal plural in order to account for the Quran¶s use of plural pronouns Zawadi has only proven that Allah is speaking on behalf of other divine or heavenly beings. Interestingly, there are Muslim sources which readily admit this fact. For instance, this Islamic website actually thinks it is refuting Trinitarians when it makes the following assertion: Some Christians ± because of their ignorance ± think that the plural pronoun which is used to show respect in verses such as "Verily, We have given you (O Muhammad) a manifest victory" [al-Fath 48:1] and "Verily, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur¶aan«" [Yoosuf 12:2] is proof of their false belief in trinity.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: The view of the salaf (early generations) of this ummah and of its imams and later generations is that the Prophet heard the Qur¶aan from Jibreel, and Jibreel heard it from Allaah. The use of plural forms in such phrases is the style of Arabic speech used to refer to one who is of high standing AND HAS HELPERS WHO OBEY HIM. So if his helpers do something by his command, he says, "we did it". This is like when a king says, "We conquered this land, we defeated this army" and so on. Because he did that through the actions of his helpers. Allaah is the Lord of the angels and they speak not until He has spoken, and they act in accordance with His commands; they do not disobey the commands of Allaah, rather they do what He commands. Moreover He is their Creator and the creator of their deeds and their power. But He has no need of them; He is not like a king whose helpers do things by their own strength. So what He says when He does something through His angels is, "We did it", this is more appropriate and He is more entitled to say it than some king. This plural form is ambiguous and the Christians try to use it as evidence against the Prophet, when they find such phrases in the Qur¶aan as "Verily, We have given you (O Muhammad) a manifest victory" [al-Fath 48:1], etc. But Allaah condemned them for ignoring the clear verses in the Qur¶aan which state that God is One, but they cling to the ambiguous verses which may be interpreted as referring to one who has a peer with him, or to one who has helpers who are his slaves and creation. They follow the ambiguous verses, seeking to stir up confusion in this manner. This is confusion in the heart, by thinking that there are many gods, and seeking to twist the meaning. No one knows the true interpretation except Allaah and those who are well versed in knowledge. (Question No. 12713, Is the trinity that the Christians believe in mentioned in Islam?; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours) Hence, in seeking to refute Christians this Islamic reference actually ends up proving that the plural does indeed refer to more than one entity, i.e. the use of the plural in reference to deity found throughout the Quran refers to a group working together collectively! What makes this particular article all the more interesting is that it acknowledges that there are so-called ambiguous Quranic verses which can be understood and even interpreted to mean that Allah does indeed have peers and helpers! The Muslim response doesn¶t deny that there are verses which intimate a plurality within the Godhead, but simply try to explain them away as nothing more than ambiguous and vague texts! This is a rather damaging admission to Zawadi¶s argument. Another Muslim reference makes the same point: These words, innaa (³Verily We´) and nahnu (³We´), and other forms of the plural, may be used by one person speaking on behalf of a group, or they may be used by one person for the purposes of respect or glorification, as is done by monarchs when they issue statements or decrees in which they say ³We have decided´ etc. ... If an aayah of this type is causing confusion, it is essential to refer to the clear, unambiguous aayaat for clarification[sic], and if a Christian, for example, insists on taking ayaat such as ... [al-Hijr 15:9 - interpretation of the meaning] as proof of divine plurality, we may refute this claim by quoting such clear and unambiguous aayaat as ... [al-Baqarah 2:163] ... and other aayaat which can only be interpreted in one way... Every time Allah uses the plural to refer to Himself, it is based on

the respect and honour He deserves, and on the great number of His names and attributes, and on the great number of His troops and angels. (Yahya Adel Ibrahim, The Meaning of the Pronoun ³We´ As used in The Qur¶aan; underline emphasis ours) We also have data to show that this is how some of the Arab speakers of Muhammad¶s time understood the use of the plural in the Quran. Muslim biographer Ibn Ishaq recorded an encounter that allegedly took place between Arabic speaking Christians and Muhammad where the former appealed to the Quran¶s use of plurals as proof for Allah being a plurality: The names of the fourteen principal men among the sixty riders were: µAbdu¶l-Masih the µAqib, al-Ayham the Sayyid; Abu Haritha b. µAlqama brother of B. Bakr b. Wa¶il; Aus; alHarith; Zayd; Qays; Yazid; Nubayh; Khuwaylid; µAmr; Khalid; µAmr; Khalid; µAbdullah; Johannes; of these the first three named above spoke to the apostle. They were Christians according to the Byzantine rite, though they differed among themselves in some points, saying He is God; and He is the son of God; and He is the third person of the Trinity, which is the doctrine of Christianity. They argue that he is God because he used to raise the dead, and heal the sick, and declare the unseen; and make clay birds and then breathe into them, so that they flew away; and all this was by the command of God Almighty, µWe will make him a sign to men.¶ They argue that he is son of God in that they say he had no known father; and he spoke in the cradle and this is something that no child of Adam has ever done. They argue that he is the third of three in that God says: We have done, We have commanded, We have created and We have decreed, and they say, If He were one he would have said I have done, I have created, and so on, but He is He and Jesus and Mary. Concerning all these assertions the Quran came down. (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq¶s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], pp. 271-272; bold and underline emphasis ours) Ignoring for a moment the blatant distortion of Christian beliefs, in an obvious attempt of justifying the Quran¶s errors regarding essential Christian doctrines (*; *; *; *; *), it is interesting that neither the Christians nor the Muslim chronicler understood these plural pronouns as examples of the plural of majesty as defined by Zawadi. The Christians viewed such plurals as evidence for an actual numerical plurality within Allah, arguing that these verses demonstrated that the Islamic scripture acknowledges that there are multiple divine persons. This is strong evidence that even native speakers of the language at the time of Muhammad did not know of a ³royal we´ where the plural refers to only one person. More on this point in part three.

An Analysis of the Bassam Zawadi versus Thabiti Anyabwile Dialogue pt. 3
Sam Shamoun We now come to the final part of our discussion. Evidence that the Islamic sources acknowledge the existence of multiple divine persons Contrary to Zawadi¶s assertion, the Quran does not teach that Allah is uni-personal. The evidence indicates that the Islamic deity is a multi-personal entity and that a plurality of gods exist. For example, here is a reference where there is clearly more than one god in view: Surely We shall inherit the earth and all that are upon it, and unto Us they shall be returned. And mention in the Book Abraham; surely he was a true man, a Prophet. And mention in the Book Abraham; surely he was a true man, a Prophet« So, when he went apart from them and that they were serving, apart from God, We gave him Isaac and Jacob, and each We made a Prophet; and We gave them of Our mercy, and We appointed unto them a tongue of truthfulness, sublime. And mention in the Book Moses; he was devoted, and he was a Messenger, a Prophet. We called to him from the right side Of the Mount, and We brought him near in communion. And We gave him his brother Aaron, of Our mercy, a Prophet« And mention in the Book Idris; he was a true man, a Prophet. We raised him up to a high place. These are they whom God has blessed among the Prophets of the seed of Adam, and of those We bore with Noah, and of the seed of Abraham and Israel, and of those We guided and chose. When the signs of the All-merciful were recited to them, they fell down prostrate, weeping. Then there succeeded after them a succession who wasted the prayer, and followed lusts; so they shall encounter error save him who repents, and believes, and does a righteous deed; those -- they shall enter Paradise, and they shall not be wronged anything; Gardens of Eden that the All-merciful promised His servants in the Unseen; His promise is ever performed. There they shall hear no idle talk, but only 'Peace.' There they shall have their provision at dawn and evening. That is Paradise which We shall give as an inheritance to those of Our servants who are godfearing. We come not down, save at the commandment of thy Lord. To Him belongs all that is before US, and all that is behind US, and all between that. Not one of you there is, but he shall go down to it; that for thy Lord is a thing decreed, determined. Then We shall deliver those that were godfearing; and the evildoers We shall leave there, hobbling on their knees. When Our signs are recited to them as clear signs, the unbelievers say to the believers, 'Which of the two parties is better in station, fairer in assembly?' And how many a generation We destroyed before them, who were fairer in furnishing and outward show! S. 19:40-42, 50-53, 56-74 Arberry In this passage the entity addressed as "God", "the All-merciful", "thy Lord" is distinguished from those speaking of themselves as "We," "Our," "Us." What makes this citation interesting is that the individuals who are speaking say that they only come down by command of Muhammad¶s lord, which obviously differentiates them from Allah the lord of Muhammad. Here, again, is that particular section:

And we do not descend but by the command of your Lord; to Him belongs whatever is before us and whatever is behind us and whatever is between these, and your Lord is not forgetful. Shakir However, these same persons who were sent down by the lord claim to be the ones that commissioned the prophets, grant believers Paradise, and punish evildoers. In other words, these individuals speak as if they are Allah since they use language that only Allah uses! This shows that Zawadi¶s appeal to the royal plural is not an adequate explanation and cannot deal with the problem raised by this specific reference since it is clear from the context of this passage that there are several divine beings, e.g. the gods who are speaking with Muhammad and the lord who sent them! The Quran also attests that there are multiple creators! Is it ye who create it, or are We the Creators? S. 56:59 And even though we are told that Allah created mankind from a single person: It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her (in love). When they are united, she bears a light burden and carries it about (unnoticed). When she grows heavy, they both pray to Allah their Lord, (saying): µIf Thou givest us a goodly child, we vow we shall (ever) be grateful.¶ But when He giveth them a goodly child, they ascribe to others a share in the gift they have received: but Allah is exalted high above the partners they ascribe to Him. Do they indeed ascribe to Him as partners things that can create nothing, but are themselves created? S. 7:189-191 He created you (all) from a single person: then created, of like nature, his mate; and He sent down for you eight head of cattle in pairs: He creates you, in the wombs of your mothers, in stages, one after another, in three veils of darkness. Such is Allah, your Lord and Cherisher: to Him belongs (all) dominion. There is no god but He: then how are ye turned away (from your true Lord)? S. 39:6 The Quran at the same time testifies that Allah used his Spirit to create the first man: And (remember) when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am creating a m ortal out of potter's clay of black mud altered, So, when I have made him and have breathed into him of My Spirit (min roohi), do ye fall down, prostrating yourselves unto him. S. 15:28-29 Then He fashioned him and breathed into him of His Spirit (min roohihi); and appointed for you hearing and sight and hearts. Small thanks give ye! S. 32:9 The late Ahmadiyya scholar and Quranic translator Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote the following concerning Q. 15:29: 29a. This shows that man is made complete when the Divine spirit is breathed into him. It should be noted that the Divine spirit (Ar. ruh) does not mean here the animal soul in man, but the Spirit of Allah, that gives him perfection. (*; bold and underline emphasis ours) He says something similar in regards to Q. 32:9:

9a. This verse shows that the spirit of God is breathed into every man. This points to a mystical relation between human nature and Divine nature. The word ruh does not here mean the animal soul, because the animal soul is common to man and the animal kingdom. It is something that distinguishes man from the animal world. It is due to the spirit Divine that he rules creation and its due to the same Divine spirit in him that he receives a new life after death ± a life which he lives in God and with God ± the meeting with God or liqa Allah, as it is called in v. 10. (*; bold and underline emphasis ours) Allah even sent his Spirit to Mary in the appearance of a man with the purpose of impregnating her with Jesus: And mention in the Book Mary when she withdrew from her people to an eastern place, and she took a veil apart from them; then We sent unto her Our Spirit (Ruhana) that presented himself to her a man without fault. She said, 'I take refuge in the All-merciful from thee If thou fearest Allah! He said, 'I am but a messenger come from thy Lord, to give thee a boy most pure. She said, 'How shall I have a son whom no mortal has touched, neither have I been unchaste?' He said, 'Even so thy Lord has said: ³Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us; it is a thing decreed.¶´ S. 19:16-21 And Mary, Imran's daughter, who guarded her private part, so We breathed into it of Our Spirit, and she confirmed the Words of her Lord and His Books, and became one of the obedient. S. 66:12 Jesus is also another person who creates and gives life exactly like Allah does: and he shall be a prophet to the people of Israel (saying), that I have come to you, with a sign from God, namely, that I will CREATE for you out of clay (annee AKHLUQU lakum mina ALTTEENI) as though it were the form of a bird, and I will blow thereon and it shall become a bird by God's permission; and I will heal the blind from birth, and lepers; and I will bring the dead to life by God's permission; and I will tell you what you eat and what ye store up in your houses. Verily, in that is a sign for you if ye be believers. S. 3:49 Palmer When God shall say, O Jesus son of Mary, remember my favour towards thee, and towards thy mother; when I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, that thou shouldest speak unto men in the cradle, and when thou wast grown up; and when I taught thee the scripture, and wisdom, and the law, and the gospel; and when thou didst create of clay (wa-ith TAKHLUQU mina ALTTEENI) as it were the figure of a bird, by my permission, and didst breathe thereon, and it became a bird by my permission; and thou didst heal one blind from his birth, and the leper, by my permission; and when thou didst bring forth the dead [from their graves], by my permission; and when I with-held the children of Israel from [killing] thee, when thou hadst come unto them with evident [miracles], and such of them as believed not, said, this is nothing but manifest sorcery. S. 5:110 Sale Contrast this with how Allah created the first man: HE it is Who created you from clay (Huwa allathee KHALAQAKUM min TEENIN) and then HE decreed a term. And there is another term fixed with HIM. Yet you doubt. S. 6:2 Y. Ali

Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: ³I am about to create man from clay (innee KHALIQUN basharan min TEENIN): When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him.´ S. 38:71-72 Y. Ali And yet the Quran says that Allah is the best of creators: Then We made the Nutfah into a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood), then We made the clot into a little lump of flesh, then We made out of that little lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, and then We brought it forth as another creation. So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators. S. 23:14 Will ye call upon Baal and forsake the Best of Creators, - S. 37:125 Therefore, Zawadi is either faced with a contradiction since Allah cannot be the best of creators if both the Spirit and Jesus create exactly like he does, or he is forced to embrace the position that both the Spirit and Jesus are part of the very nature of Allah himself! We are further told that Allah strengthens prophets, messengers and believers by his Holy Spirit: We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of apostles; We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit (wa-ayyadnahu biroohi al-qudusi)« S. 2:87 Those apostles We endowed with gifts, some above others: To one of them God spoke; others He raised to degrees (of honour); to Jesus the son of Mary We gave clear (Signs), and strengthened him with the holy spirit (wa-ayyadnahu bi-roohi al-qudusi)« S. 2:253 Thou shalt not find any people who believe in God and the Last Day who are loving to anyone who opposes. God and His Messenger, not though they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their clan. Those -- He has written faith upon their hearts, and He has strengthened them with a Spirit from Himself (wa-ayyadahum bi-roohin minhu); and He shall admit them into gardens underneath which rivers flow, therein to dwell forever, God being well-pleased with them, and they well-pleased with Him. Those are God's party; why, surely God's party -- they are the prosperers. S. 58:22 In order for this Spirit to be able to strengthen all the faithful no matter where they are he must be omnipotent and omnipresent, attributes which belong only to Deity. This, perhaps, explains why the late Abdullah Yusuf Ali could say that this Spirit is divine and cannot be defined adequately in human language anymore than the nature of God can be defined! Cf. ii 87 and 253, where it is said that God strengthened the Prophet Jesus with the holy spirit. Here we learn that all good and righteous men are strengthened by God with the holy spirit. If anything, the phrase used here is stronger, µa spirit from Himself'. Whenever any one offers his heart in faith and purity to God, God accepts it, engraves that faith on the seeker's heart, and further fortifies him with the Divine Spirit, which we can no more define adequately than we can define in human language the nature of God. (Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Quran, p. 1518, f. 5365; bold emphasis ours)

Is the Spirit Gabriel? Zawadi may argue that the Holy Spirit is Gabriel, even though his own Islamic scripture nowhere says that he is. What the Quran actually says is that the Spirit is a mysterious entity and that only a little knowledge has been revealed concerning him: They will question thee concerning the Spirit (al-roohi). Say: 'The Spirit is of the bidding of my Lord (al-roohu min amri rabbee). You have been given of knowledge nothing except a little.' S. 17:85 According to the Muslim sources this verse was ³revealed´ in response to the challenges that the Jews posed to Muhammad: God said concerning what they asked him about the Spirit, µThey will ask you about the Spirit, say, the Spirit is a matter for my Lord, and you have only a little knowledge about it.¶ I was told on the authority of Ibn µAbbas that he said, When the apostle came to Medina, the Jewish rabbis said, µWhen you said, ³And you have only a little knowledge about it´, did you mean us or your own people?¶ He said, µBoth of you.¶ They said, µYet you will read in what you brought that we were given the Taurat in which is an exposition of everything.¶ He replied that in reference to God¶s knowledge that was little, but in it there was enough for them if they carried it out« (Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, p. 139) Here was an excellent opportunity for Muhammad to have said that the Spirit was Gabriel but didn¶t do so, obviously because he didn¶t believe that he was. The Muslim scripture further distinguishes the Spirit from the angels that come down with him: He sendeth down the angels with the Spirit of His command (bi al-roohi min amrihi) unto whom He will of His bondmen, (saying): Warn mankind that there is no God save Me, so keep your duty unto Me. S. 16:2 Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by God's permission, on every errand: S. 97:4 And since Gabriel is one of the angels that comes down, Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel - for he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by God's will, a confirmation of what went before, and guidance and glad tidings for those who believe, - S. 2:97 This proves that he is not the Spirit but one of those angels who accompany him.

Is Gabriel divine and a creator besides Allah? Besides, to argue that Gabriel is the Spirit would actually mean that he is divine. It would also indicate that Gabriel is one of those speaking directly in the Quran, thereby proving that

the plural pronouns should be seen as evidence for a numerical plurality within the being of Allah and/or for the existence of multiple gods. For example, the Quran says that Allah breathed his Spirit into Mary: And Mary the daughter of 'Imran, who guarded her private part; and WE breathed into it of OUR spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of the devout (servants). S. 66:12; cf. 21:91 The Muslim interpreters, however, claim that Allah sent Gabriel to breathe into Mary: <And Maryam, the daughter of `Imran who guarded her chastity (private part).> meaning, who protected and purified her honor, by being chaste and free of immorality« <And We breathed into it (private part) through Our Ruh,> meaning, through the angel Jibril. Allah sent the angel Jibril to Maryam, and he came to her in the shape of a man in every respect. Allah commanded HIM TO BLOW into a gap of her garment and that breath went into her womb through her private part; this is how `Isa was conceived. This is why Allah said here« <And We breathed into it through Our Ruh, and she testified to the truth of her Lords Kalimat, and His Kutub,> meaning His decree and His legislation. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 66:12; capital and underline emphasis ours) And: And, mention Mary, the one who guarded her virginity, [the one who] preserved it from being taken, so We breathed into her of Our spirit, namely, Gabriel, when he breathed into the opening of her garment and she conceived Jesus. And We made her and her son a sign for all the worlds, that is, [for] mankind, jinn and angels, because she bore him without [having] a male [partner]. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Q. 21:91; underline emphasis ours) Finally, (And Mary, daughter of Imran, whose body was chaste, therefore We breathed therein something of Our Spirit) and so Gabriel breathed inside her garment and she became pregnant with Jesus. (And she put faith in the words of her Lord) she believed in what Gabriel told her that he was the Messenger of Allah entrusted with giving her a holy son (and His Scriptures) and she also believed in His Scriptures: the Torah, the Gospel and all other Scriptures; it is also said this means: she believed in the words of her Lord that Jesus the son of Mary will come into being by Allah saying ³Be!´ and he became a human being, and she also believed in His Scripture: the Gospel, (and was of the obedient) in times of hardship and comfort; and it is also said that this means: and she was obedient to He Who is far transcendent and majestic'. (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn µAbbas, Q. 66:12; underline emphasis ours) This means that Gabriel must be God since he can do what Allah does such as create and can even give life because he possesses the breath of life!

Notice the following, A. According to Q. 66:12 and 21:91 Allah breathed his Spirit into Mary, obviously because this is how he intended to impregnate her, since the plural pronouns ³We´ and ³Our´ refer to Allah. B. The Muslim expositors believe that it was Gabriel who actually breathed into Mary. C. Therefore, Gabriel is God and a co-creator with Allah. D. This also shows that the Quran¶s use of plural nouns, pronouns etc. must refer to both Allah and Gabriel together. E. However, Muslims deny that Gabriel is God. F. Therefore, both the Quran and the Muslim expositors are guilty of attributing divinity to a creature, thereby making him a co-equal partner with Allah, which is the sin of shirk.

How many gods did Muhammad believe in anyway? To top it off some of the earliest Islamic sources claim that Muhammad actually believed in the existence of certain goddesses such as the daughters of Allah which are mentioned in the Quran: Have you then considered Al-Lat, and Al-'Uzza (two idols of the pagan Arabs) And Manat (another idol of the pagan Arabs), the other third? Is it for you the males and for Him the females? That indeed is a division most unfair! They are but names which you have named, you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. They follow but a guess and that which they themselves desire, whereas there has surely come to them the Guidance from their Lord! S. 53:19-23 Hilali-Khan Muhammad thought that al-Uzza was a black Ethiopian woman and actually sent Khalid ibn al-Walid to kill her: In this year, five nights before the end of Ramadan, Khalid b. al-Walid destroyed al-µUzza in the lowland of Nakhlah. Al-µUzza was an idol of the Banu Shayban, a subdivision of Sulaym, allies of the Banu Hashim. The Banu Asad b. µAbd al-µUzza used to say it was their idol. Khalid set out for it, and then he said, "I have destroyed it." [The Messenger of God] said, "Did you see anything?" "No," said Khalid. "Then," he said, "go back and destroy it." So Khalid returned to the idol, destroyed its temple, and broke the idol. The keeper began saying, ³Rage, O µUzza, with one of thy fits of rage!´± whereupon a naked, wailing Ethiopian woman came out before him. Khalid killed her and took her jewels that were on her. Then he went to the Messenger of God and gave him a report of what happened. ³That was al-µUzza,´ he said, "and al-µUzza will never be worshiped [again].´ According to Ibn Humayd ± Salamah ± Ibn Ishaq, who said: The Messenger of God sent Khalid b. al-Walid to [deal with] al-µUzza, who was at Nakhlah. She was a temple venerated by the tribes of Quraysh, Kinanah, and all Mudar. Her keepers were of the Banu Shayban, a division of the Banu Sulaym, allies of the Banu Hashim. When the master of the temple heard that Khalid was coming to deal with al-µUzza, he hung his sword on her and climbed the mountain near which al-µUzza was located. As he went up he said:

O µUzza, attack with an attack that hits no vital place, against Khalid! Throw down thy veil, and gird up thy train! O µUzza, if today thou wilt not slay Khalid, bear a swift punishment, or become a Christian! Having reached al-µUzza, Khalid destroyed her and returned to the Messenger of God. (The History of al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, translated by Michael Fishbein [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1997], Volume 8, pp. 187-188; bold emphasis ours) The foregoing lends credence to the story of the satanic verses (*; *; *; *; *) since it shows that Muhammad believed that these goddesses were real and weren¶t simply names of nonexistent entities which the pagans made up. And since he thought that these goddesses did exist it is not hard to imagine that he also believed at first that they interceded before Allah much like the prophets and angels do and will. He may have initially felt that they too were servants of Allah like the angels and that the problem wasn¶t with their existence, but with the pagans worshiping them. In light of such traditions how, then, can Zawadi maintain his position that Islam teaches absolute monotheism?

Concluding Remarks Most of what I have presented here is not new. The bulk of it is found in earlier articles and responses to Zawadi himself, the links of which can be found below. Zawadi is clearly aware of all of these articles and replies since he has often tried (but has miserably failed) to refute what we have written. In light of this, it has become clear that Zawadi is not interested in presenting the truth. He would rather go around spreading his salafi version of Islam as opposed to honestly dealing with and addressing what his sources actually teach concerning the nature of Allah, the existence of multiple gods and/or divine persons etc. Zawadi has convinced himself that his religious texts actually teach and promote Unitarianism, when they do nothing of the kind. A fair and accurate reading of the Islamic corpus conclusively proves that the earliest Muslim sources do not teach that Allah is a unipersonal being, nor do they depict Islam as a religion that is free of idolatry. Islam's very earliest sources actually depict Allah as a complex multi-personal entity, affirm that other divine beings exist, portray Muhammad and his companions as idolators who were guilty of venerating a black stone and of worshiping their prophet by praying to him even after his death. Since it seems that Zawadi really believes his own propaganda and is convinced that he is speaking the truth we invite him to a public debate where we can challenge him on all of these issues. I personally would be more than willing to debate the topic of Islamic monotheism with Zawadi since this will give him the opportunity to refute my assertions against his claim that Islam teaches Unitarianism. I am also willing to debate him on whether the Holy Bible teaches the doctrine of the holy and blessed Trinity.

We will inform the readers whether Zawadi accepts these challenges. Lord willing, there will be more replies to Zawadi¶s debate statements to follow shortly.

Further Reading http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/allah_swearing_by_idols.htm http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/monotheism.htm http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/allah_plurality.htm http://answering-islam.org//Quran/Incoherence/many_gods.htm http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/eternal_quran.htm http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/omnipotence_incarnation. htm http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/allah_high_god.html http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/idolatry.htm http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/gabriel_spirit.html http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/gabriel.htm http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/only_judge.html http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/jesus_creator.htm http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/sura3_7.htm http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/death_angels.html http://answer-islam.org/AllahMoObedience.html http://answer-islam.org/MoDeification1.html http://answer-islam.org/MoDeification2.html http://answer-islam.org/MoDeification3.html http://answer-islam.org/MoDeification4.html http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/serve_besides_allah1.htm http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/serve_besides_allah2.htm http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/plurality1.htm http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/plurality2.htm http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/israels_gods.html http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/isaiah6_trinity.htm http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/proverbs30_4_1.html http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/proverbs30_4_2.html http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/christ_daniel.html http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/aaronic_blessing_trinity.htm http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/tabernacle_trinity.htm

Rebuttals http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zawadi_tawhid.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zawadi_allah_judge.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zawadi_mhd_authority.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zawadi_incarnation.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zawadi_allah_needs_sinners.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zawadi_trinity1_john17_3.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zawadi_trinity2.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zawadi_trinity_r2_1.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zawadi_trinity_r2_2.htm

http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zaatari_serve_mhd.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zaatari_intercession.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zaatri_angels.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zaatari_isaiah6.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/umar_spirit.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/umar_spirit2.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/umar_spirit3.htm http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/abualrub/jalal_wood1.html http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/abualrub/jalal_wood2.html http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Abualrub/spirit.htm

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