Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "Jesus as the Mercy of Allah: More Quranic Evidence for the Divinity of Christ"

by

 

Bassam Zawadi

 

 

Please note: I am aware that Shamoun has structured his argument in a way that portrays that he doesn't really believe in the argument that he has put forth. He only argued these points by pointing out the weakness of the logic of certain Muslims. However, the reason why I have spent time refuting the arguments that Shamoun put forth anyways is because there actually are Christians that use arguments such as Jesus being Allah's Word and Spirit shows that the Qur'an affirms the deity of Jesus.

 

http://www.answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/titles.html#8

http://www.answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/titles.html#15

 

Thus, it was useful to address Shamoun's point even though he might not have really been in favor of them.

 

 

 

Shamoun's article could be located here. The reader should read Shamoun's article first before proceeding.

 

I believe this simple explanation by a Muslim brother is enough to refute Shamoun's argument...

 

How do we understand the issue of saying Allah's mercy is infinite when the authentic hadeeth related by Abu Hurayrah in al-Bukhari and Muslim describes dividing mercy into one hundred parts. Would 'mercy' in this hadeeth be an attribute of His, the Most High? Is there anything in the authentic Sunnah describing Allah, the Most High, with those Arabic terms mentioned as its English equivalent is frequently used?

 

There are two versions of this hadeth [sic]:

 

1) Allah made His Mercy in 100 parts, and;
2) Allah created His Mercy in 100 parts.

 

The Mercy being referred to here is not Allah's Attribute, rather it is referring to the object).

 

Such as Allah's statement about Jesus that He is His Word (Kalima), i.e. the object of His Word: Be!

 

Such is also the case when Allah refers to the Paradise and says: You are My Mercy, i.e. the object of mercy, not that Paradise is Mercy itself.

 

Take for example, the rain being referred to as Allah's Mercy, i.e. the object of Allah's Mercy.

 

Similar is the case with this Hadeeth; that Allah has divided His mercy (the object of His Mercy) from His creation, into 100 parts. A part of this mercy has been bestowed upon this world, and the rest of the 99 parts have been reserved for the Day of Judgement.

 

As far as infinity of Allah's Mercy is concerned, then it depends what one exactly means. If he means that Allah has been eternally, and forever will be Merciful, and will never run out of Mercy, then that is no doubt true.

 

If one claims that Allah's Mercy is unlimited, and therefore, there is no such thing as Allah's punishment based on His perfect justice, then such meaning is surely rejected. (Source)

 

 

Also...

 

 

al-Mudaf (construct state) is of two main types:

 

1.      al-Mudaf depicting possession

2.      al-Mudaf not depicting possession

 

The first type, includes examples such as: Kalam Allah, 'Ilm Allah, Qudrat Allah (Allah's Speech, Allah's knowledge and Allah's power)

 

The second type, includes examples such as: Ka'bat Allah, Naaqat Allah (Allah's Ka'bah, or Allah's she-camel)

 

This shows that not everything that is attributed to Allah in Idafa is necessarily His Attribute, for we all know that Ka'ba and the she-camel is NOT Allah's Attributes.

 

So how do we know whether the Mudaf such as Kalam, Ka'ba, 'Ilm, Naaqah, etc, is actually Allah's Attribute or not?

 

We only know this by knowing the meaning of the Mudaf.

 

Hence, because we know the meaning of Kalam, and know also that it does not exist independently, the fact that it is an Attribute to Allah makes Kalam Allah's Attribute.

 

On the other hand, because we know the meaning of Ka'bah, and therefore we know that it exists independently, we know that Ka'bah is NOT Allah's Attribute. (Source)

 

 

Thus, we can see that when we know the meaning of the construct state we would then be able to know whether the constructe state is referring to Allah's attribute or not.

 

Since we know that Muhammad and Jesus (peace be upon them) are created according to Islamic sources, we can't then go ahead and say that they are eternal.

 

We also know that there is mercy that Allah has created (e.g. rain), thus Muhammad and Jesus (peace be upon them) fall under the category of Allah's created mercy and not under His eternally existing attribute of Mercy.

 

Shamoun then goes on to state that there are those (particularly the Sufis) who believe that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was created before his human birth.

 

I am not going to waste my time dealing with this issue here, since at the end of it all it still doesn't prove Shamoun's point. Even if Muhammad (peace be upon him) was created before his human/bodily existence, it still means that he was created and isn't eternal. Thus, he can't be divine.

 

I like the way how Shamoun then goes on to quote the refutation to his own accussation of a grammatical error in the Qu'ran and does not even bother to refute it!

 

Shamoun then goes on to say...

 

Hence, the Muslim logic goes something like this:

A.     Allah's mercy existed with him before creation.

B.     Muhammad is Allah's mercy.

C.     Therefore, Muhammad existed with Allah before creation.

 

I don't know how Shamoun has reached this conclusion. Even though I personally am against many Sufi beliefs, I don't see how Shamoun's quotation of GF Haddad shows how GF Haddad used this as an argument for the Prophet's preexistence before the creation of his body.

 

If it were true that Sufis like GF Haddad did use this as an argument, then I would agree with Shamoun when he said...

 

First, anyone that reads Q. 21:107 and 28:46 can plainly see that neither citation is saying that Muhammad existed with Allah as his mercy, but that the sending of Muhammad is a sign of Allah's mercy to mankind. In other words, the advent of Muhammad was a manifestation, a physical or visible proof of Allah being merciful to his creatures since he sent a prophet to recite to them his revelations.

Shamoun continues...

Moreover, unlike the arguments used to prove Muhammad's prehuman existence, the Quran provides corroborating evidence that Jesus did in fact personally exist before his birth from the virgin Mary. The Quran ascribes two specific titles to Jesus which prove that he didn't come into being but was always there with Allah even before creation, those titles being the Word of/from Allah and a Spirit from him:

When the angels said, 'Mary, God gives thee good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary (bi-kalimatin minhu ismuhu al-Maseehu Isa ibnu Maryam); high honoured shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God. S. 3:45

People of the Book, go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to God but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word (wa kalimatuhu) that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him (roohun minhu). So believe in God and His Messengers, and say not, 'Three.' Refrain; better is it for you. God is only One God. Glory be to Him -- That He should have a son! To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth; God suffices for a guardian. S. 4:171

Islamic tradition even calls Jesus the Word and Spirit of Allah:

". 'Go to Moses, the slave to whom Allah spoke (directly) and gave him the Torah.' So they will go to him and he will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking.' And he will mention (his) killing a person who was not a killer, and so he will feel ashamed thereof before his Lord, and he will say, 'Go to Jesus, Allah's Slave, His Apostle and Allah's Word and a Spirit coming from Him. Jesus will say, 'I am not fit for this undertaking, go to Muhammad the Slave of Allah whose past and future sins were forgiven by Allah.' ." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 3)

Allah says: "Confirming a word from Allah." (3:39)

Yahya confirmed 'Isa when he was three years old. He testified that he was the word of Allah and His Spirit. It is said that he confirmed him when he was in his mother's womb. Yahya's mother said to Maryam, "I feel what is in my womb bowing to what is in your womb to greet him." (Qadi Iyad, p. 51; underline emphasis ours)

The above references present a conclusive case for Jesus existing with Allah before creation. After all, for Jesus to be identified as God's Word which was committed to Mary indicates that he was with God even before he was given to his blessed mother. Furthermore, both Christians and Muslims agree that God's Word is uncreated since he has never lacked his communicative ability. Thus, for Jesus to be God's Word he must by necessity be uncreated, must be eternal. Notice, again, the logic behind this:

A.     God's Word is eternal.

B.     Jesus is God's Word.

C.     Therefore, Jesus is eternal.

The expression, "a Spirit from Him", further supports this position. The phrase is used only one other time in the Quran:

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 confirmed them with a Spirit from Himself (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

Here, the Spirit from Allah is present with all true believers in order to strengthen them in faith. This presupposes that this Spirit is both omnipresent and omnipotent, qualities which belong only to God. This may account for the late Muslim commentator Abdullah Yusuf Ali describing this Spirit as a Divine Being:

. 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, 'a 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, fn. 5365; bold emphasis ours)

Since the Quran uses the same expression to describe Jesus as a Spirit from Allah this therefore means that Christ is one who "we can no more define adequately than we can define in human language the nature of God." The Quran, at this point, is confirming the Deity and prehuman existence of the Lord Jesus in unambiguous language.(1)

 

First of all, the Qur'an makes it clear that Jesus just like Adam was a creation...

 

 

Surah 3:59

 

Truly, the likeness of Jesus, in God's sight, is as Adam's likeness; He created him of dust, then said He unto him, 'Be,' and he was

 

 

Recommended Reading: http://www.call-to-monotheism.com/rebuttal_to_sam_shamoun_s_article__is_jesus_like_adam___

 

 

So now even if Shamoun could manage to show that Jesus was created before his bodily/human existence it still won't prove that he is divine since the Qur'an has made it clear that Jesus is a CREATION, while Allah is the CREATOR.

 

The majority of Qur'anic commentators are of the opinion that 'word' is referring to Jesus (peace be upon him), while Imam Tabari understood it to be referring to Allah's message and glad tidings to Maryam about the birth of Jesus.

 

However, let us assume that Surah 3:45 does say that Jesus is 'a word'. The verse says that Jesus is A WORD, not THE WORD of Allah. Jesus is not the speech of Allah (which is eternal), he is a created human being.

 

One might ask why Jesus is referred to as 'a word'. Imam Qurtubi answers this by saying...

 

 

" "

 

And Jesus was named 'word' because it was with the word of Allah Almighty that was 'Be' (see Surah 3:59) that he was created, for he was without a Father. (Abu 'Abdullah Al-Qurtubi, Tasfir al Jami' li-ahkam al-Qur'an, Commentary on Surah 3:45, Source)

 

 

Ibn Abbass also took this position...

 

((And remember) when the angels) i.e. Gabriel (said: O Mary! Allah giveth you glad tidings of a Word from Him) of a son who shall come into being by means of a Word from Allah, (whose name is the Messiah) because he travels from one country to another; it is also said: the Messiah means the king, (Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world) he has standing and position amidst people in the life of this world (and the Hereafter) he has standing and position with Allah, (and one of those brought near) unto Allah in the Garden of Eden. (Ibn Abbaas, Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn 'Abbs, Commentary on Surah 3:45, Source)

 

 

And:

 

The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary) and through His word he became a created being, (Ibn Abbaas, Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn 'Abbs, Commentary on Surah 4:171, Source)

 

 

Some may argue that even Adam and other creatures were created by Allah saying 'Be', yet no where do we see Allah giving them this title.

 

However, the fact that this title was not given to anyone else does not mean that they don't fall under this category.

 

For instance, Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) has the title "Khalil Allah" ("Allah's Friend"), for he was known as Allah's Khalil ...

 

 

Malik's Muwatta

 

Book 45, Number 45.1.2:

 

Yahya related to me from Malik from Suhayl ibn Abi Salih from his father that Abu Hurayra said, "When people saw the first fruits of the season, they brought them to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, took them and said, 'O Allah! Bless us in our fruits. Bless us in our city. Bless us in our sa and bless us in our mudd. O Allah! Ibrahim is Your slave, Your Khalil and Your Prophet. I am Your slave and Your Prophet. He prayed to You for Makka. I pray to You for Madina for the like of what He prayed to You for Makka, and the like of it with it.' Then he called the smallest child he saw and gave him the fruits."

 

Now just because we don't find this title being given to all the other Prophets, doesn't mean that they are not considered to be Allah's friends. Allah, due to His infinite wisdom selectively chose whom He would like to give certain titles to and Jesus (peace be upon him) was selected to receive specific titles as well.

 

As for Jesus (peace be upon him) being a spirit from Allah, Imam Qurtubi in his commentary states one opinion...

 

 

: , ;

 

 

And it is said: He is named 'Spirit' because of the blow of Gabriel (peace be upon him), and the blow is called 'Spirit' because it is a wind coming out of a Spirit. (Abu 'Abdullah al-Qurtubi's, Tasfir al Jami' li-ahkam al-Qur'an, Commentary on Surah 4:171, Source)

 

 

Imam Qurtubi in exclusion to the above goes on to mention at least 7 other possible reasons as to why Jesus is called Spirit and all are sufficient enough to refute Shamoun who has the burden of proof upon himself to prove that only his interpretation is the correct one.

 

Shamoun appeals to Surah 58:22 and argues that the verse shows that...

 

the Spirit from Allah is present with all true believers in order to strengthen them in faith. This presupposes that this Spirit is both omnipresent and omnipotent, qualities which belong only to God.

 

 

First one must be aware that every time the word 'spirit' appears, this does not necessarily imply that it is talking about the same thing.

 

For instance, the word 'Spirit' mentioned in Surah 2:87, 2:253, 5:110 (strongest opinion states that this is referring to angel Gabriel) does not necessarily have to be speaking about the same 'Spirit' mentioned in Surah 4:171 (i.e. Jesus), or Surah 12:87 (most commentators interpret 'Spirit' to be referring to Allah's mercy)

 

Secondly, the Spirit that Allah attributes to Himself is only for glorifying its greatness. Not that it is actually one of His eternal attributes.

 

Imam Qurtubi states...

 

; : ( )

 

 

The Spirit is from the creation of Allah that He has attributed to Himself in order to honor it, just as His saying "My land (Surah 4:97) and My sky (cannot find Qur'anic reference) and My House (Surah 2:125) and the camel of Allah (Surah 7:73) and the month of Allah (Saheeh Muslim hadith states that Muharram is the month of Allah, see here)"

 

 

As usual, we see that Shamoun fails to provide any reasonable arguments that pass careful scrutiny.

 

 

Recommended Reading

 

http://www.islam-qa.com/index.php?ref=6333&ln=eng

 

 

 

 

 

 

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