Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "Jesus' Superiority Revisited"
Shamoun attempts to respond to my article over here.
Shamoun begins by quoting hadith to try and show that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a sinner. Even though there are responses to the arguments that Shamoun has put forth, I will not delve into the matter in this article since it is not relevant to the argument that I am trying to put forth in this article and that is that even if Shamoun is correct, he still doesn't prove his point.
I am going to be lenient on Shamoun in this article and assume for sake of argument that the Prophet peace be upon him used to commit sins before his Prophethood. I am not going to try and argue that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was not put under trial from God due to being affected temporarily from a magic spell. (Even though it had no affect on his duties as a messenger, see here and the very same narration actually serves as a proof that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received revelations from Gabriel, otherwise he wouldn't have known Lubaid the magician hid the magic object in the well.)
Shamoun quotes the 'Satanic Verses' story and still stubbornly refuses to accept the fact that this story is fabricated. He still isn't able to provide one single fully connected and authentic narration regarding this incident. See here for more information.
It is interesting that Shamoun damages his argument by quoting Surah 22:52, which basically shows that every Messenger (no exception was made for Jesus) faced problems with Satan, which contradicts Shamoun's statement...
Jesus and the blessed Mary are the only human beings who were absolutely free from any satanic influence. The Lord Jesus and his holy mother were the only ones whom Satan could not control, could not touch, could not influence.
Shamoun fails to realize that he is imposing his own personal interpretation onto the text of the hadith. The hadith only states that Satan has not touched Jesus or Mary during the time of their birth. This could have several meanings such as...
1) The fact that Jesus and Mary (peace be upon them both) were saved from Satan's prick is not enough alone to tell us that they were saved from Satan's influence and temptation later on. (See Abu 'Abdullah Al-Qurtubi's Tasfir al Jami' li-ahkam al-Qur'an, Commentary on Surah 3:36, Source)
2) That it is the prick of Satan that makes babies cry once they are born, but for Jesus and Mary they did not feel the prick, thus they didn't cry when they were born. (See Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani's Fathul Bari, Kitab: Ahaadeeth Al Anbiyaa', Bab: Qawl Allah Ta'aala wazhkur fil Kitaabey Maryam ezh enthabazhat min ahliha, Commentary on Hadith no. 3177, Source)
3) That Satan could have pricked other people, yet they remained unaffected. e.g. someone punches me but I feel no pain. Satan's prick does not necessarily imply that Satan is successful in misleading the person into committing sins. (See Abu 'Abdullah Al-Qurtubi's Tasfir al Jami' li-ahkam al-Qur'an, Commentary on Surah 3:36, Source)
4) That only Jesus and Mary were the only two exceptions before the time of Muhammad (peace be upon him), but now others could possibly be protected from Satan...
Volume 1, Book 4, Number 143:
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:
The Prophet said, "If anyone of you on having sexual relations with his wife said (and he must say it before starting) 'In the name of Allah. O Allah! Protect us from Satan and also protect what you bestow upon us (i.e. the coming offspring) from Satan, and if it is destined that they should have a child then, Satan will never be able to harm that offspring."
5) Taking points 3 and 4 into consideration, these people will continue to be the ones who will not be affected by Satan's misguidance (Surah 15:40) and all of those who fit under this category will be like Jesus and Mary. (See Imam Az-Zamakhshari's Al-Kashshaf, Commentary on Surah 33:6, Source)
Imagine, Shamoun didn't even bother to address and refute all possible interpretations of this hadith. He takes it at face value that his intepretation is correct. However, since I have decided to be lenient on Shamoun in this article, we will assume that his interpretation is the correct one for sake of argument.
Shamoun then quotes a narration from Qatadah. However, this narration is mursal, thus weakening its authenticity (See Shakir's commentary on Tafsir Tabari) and we need evidence from Qur'an and Sunnah that Qatadah's understanding is correct. However, I am willing to allow for sake of argument that the narration is authentic to Qatadah and that he was correct in his understanding of the hadith. I still contend that it does not prove Jesus' superiority over Muhammad (peace be upon him) in an absolute sense.
Shamoun then blabs a lot of useless things to try and show that Prophet John (peace be upon him) could not be superior to Jesus and THAT ISN'T EVEN SOMETHING THAT I ALLEGED, thus Shamoun is attacking strawman.
My main contention for appealing to Prophet John (peace be upon him) was that we even have evidence that Prophet John (peace be upon him) was born pure and this is something that isn't unique to Jesus (peace be upon him).
Then Shamoun tries to argue back that the hadith is clear and that Jesus and Mary are the only exceptions to the general principle, thus Prophet John (peace be upon him) can't be included. However, as I have shown above, Shamoun can't confidently claim that he has the correct understanding of the hadith without disproving all other possible meanings. There is no contradiction between saying that Prophet John (peace be upon him) was born pure, yet Satan pricked him when he was a baby. For there is no evidence (except for Shamoun's personal opinions) to suggest that Satan's prick on a baby makes that baby impure.
Then Shamoun repeats his absurd argument from an article that he wrote (here) that Allah has a "need" for sinners. He claims that Allah "needs" sinners to be created in order to display His forgiveness.
First of all, Shamoun doesn't realize that this argument can also be used against him since obviously his God could also not display forgiveness if there exists no sinners to forgive.
Secondly, no where does the hadith state that Allah "needs" to create in order to forgive. This is Shamoun's personal assumption being inserted into the meaning of the hadith. It didn't cross Shamoun's mind that its possible that the hadith is simply trying to communicate to us that God loves repentance. That the narration is basically stating that humans committing sins is something that is bound to happen, yet we should never despair of God's mercy since we know God is always willing to forgive us.
Shamoun will never interpret a passage in such a way if it were to come in his scriptures. People usually don't even have these thoughts coming to them unless they already have an agenda from the first place to find faults and mistakes.
Shamoun then quotes Surah 3:162, 9:19 and 39:9, yet I have no idea what he is trying to show here.
Surah 3:162 states one whom God is pleased with is not like that whom God is angry with. (obviously)
Surah 9:19 basically states that belief in Allah is superior to those who don't and only do good deeds. (this shows that good works without faith is useless)
Surah 39:9 shows the superiority of those who have more knowledge than others. (shows significance of seeking knowledge)
What is Shamoun trying to prove here?
The repentant sinner is one whom God is pleased with (3:162), one who believes in Allah (9:19) and one who would know that repentance is a good thing to do because of the knowledge that he has (39:9). So how did Shamoun prove from these passages that sinless people are superior to repentant sinners?
So much for Shamoun trying to teach us Qur'an. As we will see shortly, he can't even teach the Bible either.
Shamoun tries to refute my argument when I appealed to Luke 15:7 to show that sinless people are not superior over repentant sinners.
His response is so weak. He replies back by saying that Jesus was using this parable against the hypocrite Pharisees for thinking that they were better than the 'sinners'. Shamoun then claims these parables don't' show that Jesus believed that there were human beings who don't sin (something that I didn't claim so that's strawman) but was using these parables to show that one must seek repentance because every human being sins, except for Jesus (according to Shamoun).
Despite all this explanation, Shamoun still doesn't realize that he hasn't gotten himself out of the hole I had already buried him in. This time I will put in bolds caps lock...
ACCORDING TO YOU SAM SHAMOUN, JESUS IS AND WAS THE ONLY HUMAN BEING WHO WAS SINLESS AND DID NOT NEED TO REPENT. EVERYONE ELSE NEEDS TO REPENT. HOWEVER, LUKE 15:7, 29-32 MAKES IT CLEAR THAT EVEN IF YOU NEVER SINNED, THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT YOU ARE BETTER THAN ONE WHO HAS SINNED AND REPENTED. YES, I KNOW THAT THERE AREN'T ANY SINLESS PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, HOWEVER THE PARABLES WERE SAID WITH THE ASSUMPTION THAT THERE WERE SINLESS PEOPLE (LUKE 15:29), THUS THE PARABLE IS COMMUNICATING THAT EVEN IF THERE WERE SINLESS PEOPLE, THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT THEY ARE BETTER THAN THOSE WHO HAVE SINNED AND REPENTED
Hopefully, Shamoun will have it drilled into his head this time.
Secondly, let's assume (because I am so lenient and kind to Shamoun) that sinlessness does denote superiority over the repentant sinner. This would only show that Jesus was superior than Muhammad (peace be upon him) in this regard, however not necessarily in the absolute sense.
For example, Jesus (peace be upon him) was able to do miracles that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) didn't. So yes, that was an advantage for him. Similarly maybe his sinlessness was another advantage, but that doesn't mean that we can necessarily conclude that he was better than him in an overall sense.
Thus, even if I were to grant Shamoun everything he said in his pathetic article, he still wouldn't have succeeded in proving his point "Jesus is Superior to Muhammad".
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