Monday, 21 December 2009

Muhammad's attempt of damage control; Part III

” How Surah 3:7 makes sense”

Continues from Part II

Recommended Reading

Our intention in this paper wasn’t to interact with the common Muslim responses and allegations that are often presented to refute the Christian use of the Qur’an to prove their case regarding the uniqueness of the Lord Jesus Christ. For more on the Qur’anic view of Jesus, specifically the titles given to him and the implication they have on Christ’s person, as well as reading our interaction with the Muslim responses regarding these issues, we recommend the following articles:’an.htm’an2.htm



Muhammad's attempt of damage control; Part II

” How Surah 3:7 makes sense”

Continues from Part I

Here is what Ibn Kathir said about 4:157-159:

The Evil Accusation the Jews Uttered Against Maryam and Their Claim that They Killed `Isa

Allah said,…

- -And because of their (Jews) disbelief and uttering against Maryam a grave false charge.- - `Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas stated that the Jews accused Maryam of fornication. This is also the saying of As-Suddi, Juwaybir, Muhammad bin Ishaq and several others. This meaning is also apparent in the Ayah, as the Jews accused Maryam and her son of grave accusations: They accused her of fornication and claimed that `Isa was an illegitimate son. Some of them even claimed that she was menstruating while fornicating. May Allah's continued curse be upon them until the Day of Resurrection. The Jews also said,…

- -"We killed Al-Masih, `Isa, son of Maryam, the Messenger of Allah,"- - meaning, we killed the person who claimed to be the Messenger of Allah. The Jews only uttered these words in jest and mockery, just as the polytheists said,…

- -O you to whom the Dhikr (the Qur'an) has been sent down! Verily, you are a mad man!- - When Allah sent `Isa with proofs and guidance, the Jews, may Allah's curses, anger, torment and punishment be upon them, envied him because of his prophethood and obvious miracles; curing the blind and leprous and bringing the dead back to life, by Allah's leave. He also used to make the shape of a bird from clay and blow in it, and it became a bird by Allah's leave and flew. `Isa performed other miracles that Allah honoured him with, yet the Jews defied and belied him and tried their best to harm him. Allah's Prophet `Isa could not live in any one city for long and he had to travel often with his mother, peace be upon them. Even so, the Jews were not satisfied, and they went to the king of Damascus at that time, a Greek polytheist who worshipped the stars. They told him that there was a man in Bayt Al-Maqdis misguiding and dividing the people in Jerusalem and stirring unrest among the king's subjects. The king became angry and wrote to his deputy in Jerusalem to arrest the rebel leader, stop him from causing unrest, crucify him and make him wear a crown of thorns. When the king's deputy in Jerusalem received these orders, he went with some Jews to the house that `Isa was residing in, and he was then with twelve, thirteen or seventeen of his companions. That day was a Friday, in the evening. They surrounded `Isa in the house, and when he felt that they would soon enter the house or that he would sooner or later have to leave it, he said to his companions, "Who volunteers to be made to look like me, for which he will be my companion in Paradise" A young man volunteered, but `Isa thought that he was too young. He asked the question a second and third time, each time the young man volunteering, prompting `Isa to say, "Well then, you will be that man." Allah made the young man look exactly like `Isa, while a hole opened in the roof of the house, and `Isa was made to sleep and ascended to heaven while asleep. Allah said,…

- -And (remember) when Allah said: "O `Isa! I will take you and raise you to Myself."- - When `Isa ascended, those who were in the house came out. When those surrounding the house saw the man who looked like `Isa, they thought that he was `Isa. So they took him at night, crucified him and placed a crown of thorns on his head. The Jews then boasted that they killed `Isa and some Christians accepted their false claim, due to their ignorance and lack of reason. As for those who were in the house with `Isa, they witnessed his ascension to heaven, while the rest thought that the Jews killed `Isa by crucifixion. They even said that Maryam sat under the corpse of the crucified man and cried, and they say that the dead man spoke to her. All this was a test from Allah for His servants out of His wisdom. Allah explained this matter in the Glorious Qur'an which He sent to His honourable Messenger, whom He supported with miracles and clear, unequivocal evidence. Allah is the Most Truthful, and He is the Lord of the worlds Who knows the secrets, what the hearts conceal, the hidden matters in heaven and earth, what has occurred, what will occur, and what would occur if it was decreed. He said,…

- -but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but it appeared as that to them,- - referring to the person whom the Jews thought was `Isa. This is why Allah said afterwards,…

- -and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture.- - referring to the Jews who claimed to kill `Isa and the ignorant Christians who believed them. Indeed they are all in confusion, misguidance and bewilderment. This is why Allah said,…

- -For surely; they killed him not.- - meaning they are not sure that `Isa was the one whom they killed. Rather, they are in doubt and confusion over this matter…

- -But Allah raised him up unto Himself. And Allah is Ever All-Powerful,- - meaning, He is the Almighty, and He is never weak, nor will those who seek refuge in Him ever be subjected to disgrace,…

- -All-Wise.- - in all that He decides and ordains for His creatures. Indeed, Allah's is the clearest wisdom, unequivocal proof and the most glorious authority. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Just before Allah raised `Isa to the heavens, `Isa went to his companions, who were twelve inside the house. When he arrived, his hair was dripping water and he said, `There are those among you who will disbelieve in me twelve times after he had believed in me.' He then asked, `Who volunteers that his image appear as mine, and be killed in my place. He will be with me (in Paradise)' One of the youngest ones among them volunteered and `Isa asked him to sit down. `Isa again asked for a volunteer, and the young man kept volunteering and `Isa asking him to sit down. Then the young man volunteered again and `Isa said, `You will be that man,' and the resemblance of `Isa was cast over that man while `Isa ascended to heaven from a hole in the house. When the Jews came looking for `Isa, they found that young man and crucified him. Some of `Isa's followers disbelieved in him twelve times after they had believed in him. They then divided into three groups. One group, Al-Ya`qubiyyah (Jacobites), said, `Allah remained with us as long as He willed and then ascended to heaven.' Another group, An-Nasturiyyah (Nestorians), said, `The son of Allah was with us as long as he willed and Allah took him to heaven.' Another group, Muslims, said, `The servant and Messenger of Allah remained with us as long as Allah willed, and Allah then took him to Him.' The two disbelieving groups cooperated against the Muslim group and they killed them. Ever since that happened, Islam was then veiled until Allah sent Muhammad."This statement has AN AUTHENTIC CHAIN OF NARRATION leading to Ibn `Abbas, and An-Nasa'i narrated it through Abu Kurayb who reported it from Abu Mu`awiyah. MANY AMONG THE SALAF stated that `Isa asked if someone would volunteer for his appearance to be cast over him, and that he will be killed instead of `Isa, for which he would be his companion in Paradise. (Source)


All Christians Will Believe in `Isa Before He Dies

Allah said,…

- -And there is none of the People of the Scripture, but must believe in him, before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection, he will be a witness against them.- - Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas commented,…

- -And there is none of the People of the Scripture, but must believe in him, before his death.- - before the death of `Isa, son of Maryam, peace be upon him. Al-`Awfi reported similar from Ibn `Abbas. Abu Malik commented;…

- -but must believe in him, before his death.- - "This occurs after `Isa returns and before he dies, as then, all of the People of the Scriptures will believe in him." (Source)

But wait, there is more! The Qur’an refers to a prophet named Idris, which some Muslims believe is the prophet Enoch, or perhaps even Elijah:

And make mention in the Scripture of Idris. Lo! he was a saint, a prophet; And We raised him to high station. S. 19:56-57 Pickthall

Ibn Kathir wrote:

Mentioning Idris

Allah complimented Idris for being a truthful Prophet and He mentioned that he raised him to a high station. It has previously been mentioned that in the Sahih it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah passed by Idris on the night of the Isra (Night Journey) and he (Idris) was in the fourth heaven. Sufyan reported from Mansur that Mujahid said, …

- -And We raised him to a high station.- - "This means the fourth heaven." Al-Hasan and others said concerning Allah's statement, …

- -And We raised him to a high station.- - "This means Paradise." (Source)

Being raised to a high station may imply that Idris was taken into heaven without dying, especially if Idris is supposed to be Enoch. The late Muhammad Asad noted:

41 The majority of the classical commentators identify the Prophet Idris-who is mentioned in the Qur'an once again, namely in 21:85-with the Biblical Enoch (Genesis v. 18-19 and 21-24), without, however, being able to adduce any authority for this purely conjectural identification. Some modern Qur'an-commentators suggest that the name Idris may be the Arabicized form of Osiris (which, in its turn, was the ancient Greek version of the Egyptian name As-ar or Us-ar), said to have been a wise king and/or prophet whom the Egyptians subsequently deified (cf. Maraghi XVI, 64, and Sayyid Qutb, Fi Zildl al -Qur'an, Cairo, n.d., vol. XVI, 44); but this assumption is too far-fetched to deserve any serious consideration. Finally, some of the earliest Qur'an-commentators (`Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud, Qatadah, `Ikrimah and Ad-Dahhak) assert-with, to my mind, great plausibility-that "Idris" is but another name for Ilyas, the Biblical Elijah (regarding whom see note 48 on 37: 123). (Source)

One Muslim author claims:

As for Bahgat's statement that he does not know any other information about Idris, then this is true as far as his knowledge. The long hadith of Abu Thar (narrated by Tabari, Ibn Hiban, Ibn Al-Jawzi and Abu Naim) whereby the Prophet -pbuh- numbers the prophets and groups some according to their languages explicitly mentions that Idris is Enoch. (The Legend of Idris = Osiris?:Source)

Another Muslim site has no doubt that Idris is Enoch:

Prophet Enoch (Idris)

Allah has praised Enoch, describing him as being a prophet and truthful: Mention in the Book (Qur'an) Idris (Enoch). Verily! He was a man of truth (and) a prophet. We raised him to a high station. (Ch 19:56-57 Qur'an). (The Holy Qur’an: Stories of the Prophets: Source)

Hence, if Idris is indeed Enoch (or Elijah if the alternative identification mentioned by Asad is true) then this makes it quite certain that the above Qur’anic text is saying that he didn’t taste death since according to the Holy Bible Enoch and Elijah didn’t die. They were both taken into heaven to be with God in glory:

"When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him." Genesis 5:21-24

"By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God." Hebrews 11:5

"When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.’ And Elisha said, ‘Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.’ And he said, ‘You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.’ And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, ‘My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ And he saw him no more." 2 Kings 2:9-12a

The foregoing data presents Muslims with some major problems. The claim that Jesus and Idris/Enoch/Elijah didn’t die (this assumes, of course, that Idris is either Enoch or Elijah and that the statement in the Qur’an that he was taken up refers to either of these prophets’ ascension) contradicts several Qur’anic passages which say that Allah has granted no man immortality:

And We sent none before thee, but men to whom We made revelation -- question the People of the Remembrance, if you do not know -- nor did We fashion them as bodies that ate not food,neither were they immortal; S. 21:7-8 Arberry

We appointed immortality for no mortal BEFORE THEE. What! if thou diest, can they be immortal! Every soul must taste of death, and We try you with evil and with good, for ordeal. And unto Us ye will be returned. S. 21:34-35 Pickthall

We have not assigned to any mortal BEFORE THEE to live forever; therefore, if thou diest, will they live forever? Every soul shall taste of death; and We try you with evil and good for a testing, then unto Us you shall be returned. Arberry

These passages clearly say that those living before Muhammad all died since none of them was given immortality. The texts are obviously saying that everyone must die until the Day of Resurrection when God will then raise the dead to life. Notice the words of the late, renowned Sunni commentator Ibn Kathir:

No One has been granted Immortality in this World

- -And We granted not to any human being immortality before you;- - means, O Muhammad.

- -immortality- - means, in this world. On the contrary, …

- -Whatsoever is on it (the earth) will perish. And the Face of your Lord full of majesty and honour will remain forever.- - [55:26-27] …

- -then if you die- - means, O Muhammad, …

- -would they live forever- - means, they hope that they will live forever after you, but that will not happen; everything will pass away. So Allah says: …

- -Everyone is going to taste death,- -… (Source)

The texts are obviously referring to a person’s physical existence, that there has been no human being that continues living in an embodied state since all must physically die. To help clarify this point note what the following verses say:

And say not of those slain in God's way, 'They are dead'; rather they are living, but you are not aware. S. 2:154

Count not those who were slain in God's way as dead, but rather living with their Lord, by Him provided, rejoicing in the bounty that God has given them, and joyful in those who remain behind and have not joined them, because no fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow, S. 3:169-170

Now these martyrs had obviously experienced physical death, after all that is why they’re martyrs and said to have been slain! If we were to interpret these passages with those that deny that anyone has experienced immortality then the meaning must be that no one has continued experiencing an embodied existence, that no person’s physical life has been extended beyond their time on earth.

Further substantiation that Allah hasn’t extended the physical life of any person beyond their earthly sojourn can be found in the following texts:

The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger; Messengers before him passed away; his mother was a just woman; they both ate food. Behold, how We make clear the signs to them; then behold, how they perverted are! S. 5:75

Muhammad is naught but a Messenger; Messengers have passed away before him. Why, if he should die or is slain, will you turn about on your heels? If any man should turn about on his heels, he will not harm God in any way; and God will recompense the thankful. S. 3:144

The preceding citations support the view that all the messengers before Muhammad died, which would also include Jesus.

Interestingly, the late Maulana Muhammad Ali of the Ahmadiyyah sect actually used the last text to support his case that Jesus died:

"While this verse lays stress on the essential truth of Islam, it served another important purpose at the death of the Prophet. Some of the companions thought that the Prophet was not dead. Abu Bakr went in, and seeing that life had departed, ascended the pulpit and read this verse, which had a magical effect upon his hearers, all of them being convinced that the Prophet had passed away, as all prophets had passed away before him. The prophets were but mortals, and their span of mortal life must no doubt terminate like that of other mortals. This verse affords a conclusive proof that Jesus Christ was also dead; otherwise Abu Bakr's argument could not have silenced the doubters of the Prophet's death." (Ali, Holy Qur’an [USA; Ahmadiyyah Anjuman Isha'at Islam Lahore Inc., 1995], pp. 168-169, f. 496: Source)

Another citation strongly implying that Jesus died is this one:

And He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and He has enjoined on me prayer and poor-rate so long as I live; S. 19:31

Jesus, while still in the cradle, supposedly said that Allah required him to pay the poor tax as long as he lived. If Jesus didn’t die then this means that he is still required to pay alms while in heaven!

To summarize, this results in several contradictions. It contradicts the conviction of the majority of Muslims who believe that Jesus was taken to heaven alive, without having first died. These statements definitely contradict the testimony of the Holy Bible which reports that Enoch and Elijah were taken into heaven alive, and they possibly contradict also the reference to Idris in the Qur’an, depending on which person exactly did the author of the Qur’an have in mind, and what "raised to a high station" was intended to mean.

The problems are far from over. When we introduce the so-called sahih ahadith, the allegedly undisputed sound narrations of Islam, we run into additional problems. In the above texts, the author of the Qur’an says that Allah took Jesus to himself, which obviously means that Jesus entered the very presence of Allah. But specific narrations attributed to Muhammad say something different:

...Then we ascended to the second heaven. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel said, 'Gabriel.' It was said, 'Who is with you?' He said, 'Muhammad' It was asked, 'Has he been sent for?' He said, 'Yes.' It was said, 'He is welcomed. What a wonderful visit his is!" Then I met Jesus and Yahya (John) who said, 'You are welcomed, O brother and a Prophet.' Then we ascended to the third haven. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel said, 'Gabriel.' It was asked, 'Who is with you? Gabriel said, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been sent for?' 'Yes,' said Gabriel. 'He is welcomed. What a wonderful visit his is!' - (The Prophet added:). - There I met Joseph and greeted him, and he replied, 'You are welcomed, O brother and a Prophet!' Then we ascended to the 4th heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged as in the previous heavens. There I met Idris and greeted him. He said, 'You are welcomed O brother and Prophet.' Then we ascended to the 5th heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged as in previous heavens. There I met and greeted Aaron who said, 'You are welcomed O brother and a Prophet". Then we ascended to the 6th heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged as in the previous heavens. There I met and greeted Moses who said, 'You are welcomed O brother and a Prophet.' When I proceeded on, he started weeping and on being asked why he was weeping, he said, 'O Lord! Followers of this youth who was sent after me will enter Paradise in greater number than my followers.' Then we ascended to the seventh heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged as in the previous heavens. There I met and greeted Abraham who said, 'You are welcomed O son and a Prophet.' Then I was shown Al-Bait-al-Ma'mur (i.e. Allah's House). I asked Gabriel about it and he said, This is Al Bait-ul-Ma'mur where 70,000 angels perform prayers daily and when they leave they never return to it (but always a fresh batch comes into it daily).' Then I was shown Sidrat-ul-Muntaha (i.e. a tree in the seventh heaven) and I saw its Nabk fruits which resembled the clay jugs of Hajr (i.e. a town in Arabia), and its leaves were like the ears of elephants, and four rivers originated at its root, two of them were apparent and two were hidden. I asked Gabriel about those rivers and he said, 'The two hidden rivers are in Paradise, and the apparent ones are the Nile and the Euphrates.' (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 429)

If the above hadith is sound then Jesus wasn’t taken to Allah. Yet the Qur’an says that Allah did take Jesus to be with him, meaning that this narration must be in error. But if this narration is in error then this calls into question the veracity of these so-called sound, undisputed traditions.

We now come to the final part of our discussion. We saw above that the Qur’an implies that Jesus didn’t die when he was taken into heaven, but will die at some later time. There is another passage which has been understood to mean that Christ will return to the earth:

And when the son of Mary is mentioned as an example, lo! thy people raise a clamour thereat; And they say, `Are our gods better, or he?' They mention not this to thee but for the sake of disputation. Nay, but they are a contentious people. He was only Our servant, on whom WE bestowed Our favour, and WE made him an Example for the children of Israel. And if WE so willed, WE could make from among you angels to be your successors in the earth. But, verily, he was a sign of the Hour. So entertain no doubt about it, but follow me. This is the right path. And let not Satan hinder you, he is to you an open enemy. And when Jesus came with clear proofs, he said, `Truly, I have come to you with wisdom, and to make clear to you some of that about which you differ. So fear ALLAH and obey me. Verily, ALLAH - HE is my Lord and your Lord. So worship HIM. This is the right path.' But the parties differed among themselves. So woe to the wrongdoers because of the punishment of a painful day! S. 43:57-65 Sher Ali

Many Muslims believe that this passage establishes Jesus’ return from heaven as a sign that the last hour is near:

And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way. Y. Ali

Others translate this in a way so that there is no connection with Christ:

And lo! verily there is knowledge of the Hour. So doubt ye not concerning it, but follow Me. This is the right path. S. 43:61 Pickthall

Traditionally, most Sunni Muslims have understood this to be a reference to Jesus’ second coming. If this is correct then this means that Jesus will die as stated in Surah 4:159 after descending to the earth from heaven. Ibn Kathir writes:

- -And he (`Isa) shall be a known sign for (the coming of) the Hour.- - The CORRECT VIEW concerning this phrase is that it refers to his descent before the Day of Resurrection, as Allah says: …

- -And there is none of the People of the Scripture but must believe in him before his death- - (4:159). -- meaning before the death of `Isa, peace be upon him -- …

- -And on the Day of Resurrection, he will be a witness against them- - 4:159 This meaning has the support from an alternate recitation of the Ayat

- -And he shall be a known sign for (the coming of) the Hour.- - means, evidence that the Hour will surely come. Mujahid said: …

- -And he shall be a sign for (the coming of) the Hour.- - means, sign and "One of the signs of the Hour will be the appearance of `Isa son of Maryam before the Day of Resurrection." Something similar was also narrated from Abu Hurayrah, Ibn `Abbas, `Abu Al-`Aliyah, Abu Malik, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and others. Many Mutawatir Hadiths report that the Messenger of Allah said that `Isa will descend before the Day of Resurrection as a just ruler and fair judge. (Source)

The Sunni ahadith provide additional support for this view:

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, surely (Jesus,) the son of Mary will soon descend amongst you and will judge mankind justly (as a Just Ruler); he will break the Cross and kill the pigs and there will be no Jizya (i.e. taxation taken from non Muslims). Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it, and a single prostration to Allah (in prayer) will be better than the whole world and whatever is in it." Abu Huraira added "If you wish, you can recite (this verse of the Holy Book): -- 'And there is none Of the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) But must believe in him (i.e. Jesus as an Apostle of Allah and a human being) Before his death. And on the Day of Judgment He will be a witness Against them." (4.159) (See Fateh Al Bari, Page 302 Vol 7) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 657)

The foregoing implies that either Jesus didn’t die before ascending into heaven, but will do so when he returns; or he did die before he was taken up only to return again to die a second time!

3. Concluding Remarks

Our examination of the Qur’anic teaching on Christ hopefully accomplished the purpose of demonstrating the gross confusion and contradictions surrounding the Islamic view of Jesus. To summarize all the points raised in this article, here is what we learned so far from the foregoing discussion:

1. The Qur’an denies that Jesus is God or the Son of God.
At the same time the Qur’an applies specific titles and functions to Jesus which clearly show that he is more than human, strongly supporting his Divinity and prehuman existence.
3.         The Qur’an says that those objects that are wrongly worshiped by others are unable to create, therefore disqualifying them from being worthy of such adoration and devotion.
4.         Jesus, on the other hand, creates in the same way that Allah creates which shows that he is worthy of the very worship and praise due to Allah.
5. The Qur’an denies that Allah has granted immortality to anyone.
6.         Yet the Qur’an says that Jesus ascended into heaven without dying, and was neither killed nor crucified, meaning that for over 2,000 years he has remained alive!
7.         The Qur’an suggests, with the Islamic narrations making this point explicit, that Jesus will return to the earth as a sign that the last hour is at hand.
8.         It also teaches that all the Jews and Christians will believe in Jesus before he dies, which will presumably take place after his second coming.
9.         But at the same time the Qur’an says that Jesus died already, which must have obviously happened prior to his ascension into heaven.
10.       Still others believe that specific verses, namely Surahs 3:55 and 5:117, teach that Jesus' earthly sojourn was terminated, was completed without dying when Allah took Jesus alive to be with himself, to be in the very presence of Allah.
11.       This means that Jesus will not return since the period of his stay on earth has come to an end, thereby implying that there is no need for him to come back again.
12.       But if Jesus was taken physically alive into heaven because his earthly mission was completed, which implies that he will not return, then this contradicts the Qur’an's teaching that every person must taste death.
13.       Not only is the Qur’an confused and contradictory with itself, even the so-called sound narrations are contradicting it, especially in relation to Jesus being taken alive to be with Allah himself. The hadiths deny that Jesus was taken to be with Allah since they claim that he was taken into the second heaven instead.
14.       Furthermore, as we already mentioned, the narrations also speak of Christ returning which means that Jesus' earthly period wasn't complete but had to be extended to a future date.

Is it any wonder that the author of the Qur’an came up with the explanation found in Surah 3:7? Here it is again:

He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the Book, and others are allegorical; then as for those in whose hearts there is perversity they follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to mislead and seeking to give it (their own) interpretation but none knows its interpretation except Allah, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord; and none do mind except those having understanding. Shakir

From our detailed examination we can safely conclude that this response was obviously given as a desperate attempt of evading the charge of blatant contradiction and confusion. After seeing that his statements regarding Jesus were being used against him, and that he was obviously contradicting himself, the author came up with the excuse that some of these statements were allegorical and therefore not to be taken literally. He accused the Christians who were using these so-called allegorical or unclear passages against him of being perverse at heart, trying to sow discord and confusion amongst the Muslims. But as we saw, the fault lay not with the Christians but with the author who failed to remain consistent regarding his view of Jesus, often teaching contradictory things about him.

Finally, Surah 3:7 introduces an additional major problem for the Muslims. According to this text Allah is the only one who knows the exact, precise meaning of these so-called allegorical or unclear verses. Since this verse refers to Christological texts that Christians were using to prove their case against Muhammad, this means that Muslims cannot really tell us what those citations actually mean. In other words, Muslims cannot tell us what passages such as Surah 3:45 or 4:171 literally mean, citations which call Jesus God’s Word and his Spirit, since only Allah knows their exact meanings. Hence, anytime a Muslim says that these passages do not prove that Jesus is Divine and then proceed from there to provide an alternate explanation, they are falsifying their own scripture which says none know their precise meanings except Allah.

Besides, to discount the citations used by Christians to prove their beliefs about Jesus is to ignore one important, crucial fact; Muhammad’s own followers used some of these very passages to give the misleading and deceptive impression that they were in agreement with Christian beliefs. Muslim emigrants to Ethiopia tried to appease the Christian ruler by making it appear as if their beliefs were virtually identical to his own by quoting only specific parts of Surah 19. In the words of Muslim Martin Lings:

"The royal interpreters translated all that he (i.e. Ja'far) had said. The Negus then asked if they had with them any Revelation that their Prophet had brought them from God and, when Ja'far answered that they had, he said: 'Then recite it to me,' whereupon Ja'far recited a passage from the Surahh of Mary, which had been revealed shortly before their departure:
And make mention of Mary in the Book, when she withdrew from her people unto a place towards the east, and secluded herself from them; and We sent unto her Our Spirit, and it appeared unto her the likeness of a perfect man. She said: I take refuge from thee in the Infinitely Good, if any piety thou hast. He said: I am none other than a messenger from thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a son most pure. She said: How can there be for me a son, when no man hath touched me, nor am I unchaste? He said: Even so shall it be; thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. That We may make a sign for mankind and a mercy from Us; and it is a thing ordained.
The Negus wept, and his bishops wept also, when they heard him recite, and when it was translated they wept again, and the Negus said: 'This hath truly come from the same source as that which Jesus brought.' Then he turned to the two envoys of Quraysh and said: 'Ye may go, for by God I will not deliver them unto you; they shall not be betrayed.'
" (Lings, Muhammad, His Life Based on the Earliest Sources [Inner Traditions International, Ltd. Rochester, Vermont 1983], p. 83)

Muslim Neal Robinson, in his comments on Nöldeke's chronology of the Qur’an, solidifies our charge that the Muslims were being deceptive:

In their present state, all the Surahs which contain extensive references to Jesus also include a denial that God has offspring. It is possible that this is because these Surahs WERE REVISED DURING THE MEDINAN PERIOD. For example Nöldeke maintains that Surah nineteen ORIGINALLY consisted of 19:1-33, 41-47 since these ayas all rhyme in –iyyan whereas ayas 34-40 end in the much more common –una frequently found in the Medinan period. This accords with the Muslim tradition that the emigrants recited part of this Surah to the Negus of Abyssinia. What they recited was presumably the original nucleus WHICH LACKED THE STRIDENT DENIALS THAT GOD HAD OFFSPRING. (Robinson, Christ In Islam and Christianity [State University of New York Press, Albany 1991], pp. 32-33)


According to Nöldeke's chronological scheme the earliest statement is 19:33, the infant Jesus' reference to the day of his death and the day of his being raised. In the original version of the revelation - the version recited to the Abyssinians by the Muslim refugees from Mecca - this was probably the culmination of the story. The Abysinnians may well have understood it as referring to the crucifixion and the resurrection on the third day. The statement itself is, however, much less precise. It does not specify how and when Jesus was to die nor how and when he was to be raised. In view of 19:15, where similar things are said about John, it is perhaps the general resurrection on the day of judgement which is envisaged. In any case the very fact that similar things are said about John detracts from the uniqueness of Jesus. In short the statement sounds more Christian than it is. This is in character with the general tenor of 19:1-33 where the aim seems to be THAT OF APPEALING TO CHRISTIAN SENTIMENT without making too many concessions to Christian belief. (Ibid., p. 112)

In other words, Muhammad inserted those christological verses in order to give Christians the appearance as if he is indeed bringing a compatible message. But when Christians take those verses which were given specifically FOR THEM, and take them in their obvious meaning, then they are accused of twisting and perverting the texts and are suppose to NOT focus on them! Yet were not these verses specifically given for the reason of attracting Christians? Putting it bluntly, after classifying these verses as unclear or allegorical, doesn’t it become obvious that this was part of Muhammad’s game of fooling people regarding his precise views on Christ and other issues?

We can’t help but agree with assessment of the late Christian writer and Scholar, 'Abdallah 'Abd al-Fadi:

The Qur'an itself claims to contain clear, intelligible verses that require no further explanation; these also do not allow several possible interpretations. But it states also that it has ambiguous ones whose meanings are not clear, either because they are too brief or because their literal meaning is not compatible with the context. Supposedly, only God knows the interpretation of these, and the faithful have to merely accept them.

We ask: Is not the occurrence of such ambiguous verses a defect in the Qur'an's supposed eloquence and clarity? How can we be sure of the verses whose interpretation God alone knows? The Bible says: "Test all things; hold fast what is good?" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Is the Qur'an capable of being put to the test? (Al-Fadi, Is the Qur'an Infallible? [Light of Life, PO Box 13, A-9503 Villach Austria], pp. 334-335)

Continues on Part III