Wednesday, 3 June 2009

How to Reply to Classical Muslim Apologists; Part II

The case of Ahmed Deedat

From Part I

Charge of "The Sword"

How can the enemies of Islam account for Muhummed's phenomenal achievements except to decry that he spread his religion at the point of the sword? He forced Islam down people's throats!? 6a. "HISTORY MAKES IT CLEAR HOWEVER, THAT THE LEGEND OF FANATICAL MUSLIMS SWEEPING THROUGH THE WORLD AND FORCING ISLAM AT THE POINT OF THE SWORD UPON CONQUERED RACES IS ONE OF THE MOST FANTASTICALLY ABSURD MYTHS THAT HISTORIANS HAVE EVER REPEATED." (De Lacy O'Leary). (Ahmed Deedat, Muhammed (p.b.u.h.) the Greatest, ch. 2, pp. 30-31)

Deedat claims that Muhammad did not spread Islam by the sword. To know whether this claim is true or not a person must know early Islamic history, however, most people don't know it. Here is a very brief selection from the early Islamic histories that show that Muhammad did use the sword to spread Islam.

Assassinations - Muhammad had people assassinated in order to spread Islam. The following account records how Muhammad had two people assassinated, and how these assassinations caused the tribe of Khatma to convert to Islam.

Abu `Afak ... showed his disaffection when the apostle (Muhammad) killed al-Harith b. Samit ... The apostle said, "Who will deal with this rascal for me?" Whereupon Salim b. `Umayr, ... went forth and killed him. ... (`Asma d. Marwan) was of (the tribe) B. Umayya b. Zayd. When Abu `Afak had been killed she displayed disaffection. ... When the apostle heard what she had said, he said, "Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?" `Umayr b. `Adiy al-Khatmi who was with him heard him, and that very night he went to her house and killed her. In the morning he came to the apostle and told him what he had done and he (Muhammad) said, "You have helped God and His apostle, O `Umayr!" When he asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences the apostle said, "Two goats won't butt their heads about her," ... The day after Bint Marwan was killed the men of (tribe of) Khatma became Muslims because they saw the power of Islam. (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah, pp. 675-676)

Offensive Warfare - Muhammad did fight some battles in self-defence, but when he grew in military power he began to attack others. He sought to conquer all those around him and bring them under Islamic rule.

Narrated Sulaiman bin Surd: When the clans were driven away, I heard the Prophet saying, "From now onwards we will go to attack them (i.e. the infidels) and they will not come to attack us, but we will go to them." (Bukhari: vol. 5, bk. 59, no. 436, Khan)

Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Allah's Apostle said: "I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle ..." (Bukhari: vol. 1, bk. 2, no. 24, Khan)

The Apostle of Allah, sent Khalid Ibn al-Walid with four hundred Muslims to Banu al-Harith ... He ordered him to invite them to Islam three times before fighting. ... They accepted what he had called them to. He stayed among them to teach them Islam, its regulations, the Book of Allah and the sunnah of His Prophet. (Ibn Sa'd, Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, vol. 1, p. 399)

Anas b. Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah used to attack the enemy when it was dawn. He would listen to the Adhan (Islamic call to prayer); so if he heard an Adhan, he stopped, otherwise made an attack. (Muslim: bk. 4, no. 745, Siddiqui)

Abu Bakr said: "You asked me for the best advice that I could give you, and I will tell you. God sent Muhammad with this religion and he strove for it until men accepted it voluntary or by force." (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah, pp. 668-669)

The early Islamic history shows that Muhammad spread his religion by the sword. For more information read, A Survey of How Muhammad Spread Islam

Next, Deedat claims that Islam spread throughout the world not by the sword but by peaceful Islamic traders who took Islam with them as they traded throughout the world.

But what can the enemy (of Islam) say about countries where no single Muslim soldier had set foot?

- INDONESIA: It is a fact that over a hundred million Indonesians are Muslim, yet no conquering Muslim army every landed on any of its over two thousand islands.
MALAYSIA: The overwhelming number of its people in this country are Muslims yet no Muslim soldier had landed on there either.
AFRICA: The majority of people on the East coast of Africa as far down as Mozambique, as well as the bulk of the in habitants of the West coast of the continent are Muslims, but history does not record any invading hoards of Muslims from anywhere. What sword? Where was the sword? The Muslim trader did the job. His good conduct and moral recititude achieved the miracle of conversion. (Ahmed Deedat, Muhammed (p.b.u.h.) the Greatest, ch. 2, pp. 32-33)

Deedat claims that it was the Islamic traders, and not Islamic soldiers, who brought Islam to countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and East Africa. This is true, but this does not mean it was peaceful or without coercion, for Islamic traders were slave traders. Most of us have a romantic view of traders. We think that they traded in oil, spices, pottery and silk. They did, but they also gathered and traded in slaves.

The Islamic empire conquered all of the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, Persia and across to India. From all of these regions Islamic traders took millions of slaves, but most of their slaves came from the non-conquered regions bordering the Islamic empire. These traders made excursions into these unconquered regions gathering slaves for sale in the Islamic and other empires. Islamic traders gathered millions of slaves from Africa, Europe, Persia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and possibly even as far as Australia. Slaves of an Islamic master would be treated better if they converted to Islam, and if a tribe converted to Islam then they could not be enslaved. Some tribes converted and then worked with the Islamic traders to help enslave other nearby tribes.

It must be remembered that the Islamic empires never abolished slavery. It was the Christian Western empires that did this after their shameful involvement in it. Instead, Islam seemed to encourage the expansion of slavery, for Muhammad, who is regarded as the perfect model Muslim, kept slaves.

... a black slave of Allah's Apostle was (sitting) on the first step (of Muhammad's house). ... (Bukhari: vol. 6, bk. 60, no. 435, Khan)

And Muhammad traded in slaves.

... (Muhammad said) Sell him (a slave) to me. And he (Muhammad) bought him for two black slaves ... (Muslim: bk. 10, no. 3901, Siddique)

And in the Qur'an he promised slaves as a reward in paradise for faithful Muslims.

In the Gardens of delight (Paradise). ... (They will be) on thrones woven with gold and precious stones, Reclining thereon, face to face. They will be served by immortal boys, With cups, and jugs, and a glass from the flowing wine. (Qur'an 56:12-18, Hilali-Khan. Also 76:19.)

And the Hadith records that Muslims were to use slavery to convert people to Islam.

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Verse:--"You (true Muslims) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind."(3:110) means, the best of peoples for the people, as you bring them with chains on their necks till they embrace Islam. (Bukhari: vol. 6, bk. 60, no. 80, Khan)

The Islamic traders did spread Islam, but the slave trade was part of the way they did this. Islamic traders enslaved millions of people from Spain to South East Asia and down into Africa for over a 1000 years, and this is part of the way that Islam spread.

For more information and references read, Islam and Slavery. View a short video on Islam and Slavery.

The Real Founder of Christianity

Every knowledgeable Christian concedes that the real founder of Christianity is St. Paul and not Jesus Christ (pbuh). In any event, if there is any division between a Muslim and a Christian on the grounds of dogma, belief, ethics or morality, then the cause of such conflict could be traced to an utterance of Paul found in his books ... in the Bible. (Ahmed Deedat, Crucifixion or Cruci-Fiction?, ch. 1, pp. 1-2)

Deedat claims that modern Christianity is the product of Paul and not Jesus, and that any division between Christians and Muslims is because of Paul. However, Deedat's rejection of Paul is not warranted for two reasons.

1. Early Islamic authorities accept Paul. - The Qur'an and Hadith never speak against Paul, and Islamic scholars accept that he was truly sent by Jesus.

Ibn Ishaq accepted Paul.

Those whom Jesus son of Mary sent, both disciples and those who came after them, in the land were: Peter the disciple and Paul with him ... (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah, p. 653)

Al-Tabari accepted Paul.

Among the apostles, and the followers who came after them were the Apostle Peter and Paul who was a follower and not an apostle; they went to Rome. (Al-Tabari, The History of al-Tabari, vol. iv, p. 123)

When referring to Qur'an 36:14, Ibn Kathir quotes early Muslims who had no problem in viewing Paul as an apostle/messenger.
(so We reinforced them with a third,) means, "We supported and strengthened them with a third Messenger." Ibn Jurayj narrated from Wahb bin Sulayman, from Shu`ayb Al-Jaba'i, "The names of the first two Messengers were Sham`un and Yuhanna, and the name of the third was Bulus (Paul), and the city was Antioch (Antakiyah)." (Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 8, p. 179)

And Ibn Kathir is never critical of Paul. Therefore, Deedat's rejection of Paul is at odds with major early Islamic scholars.

2. Paul agrees with the earlier prophets.

Jesus came to fulfil and confirm the teaching of the prophets who were before him.

Do not think that I (Jesus) have come to abolish the Law (of Moses) or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. (Matthew 5:17, NIV)

This means that anyone who is sent by Jesus must teach what is consistent with the Law and the prophets. Paul says that he was sent by Jesus (Galatians 1:1). If this is true then the gospel he taught must agree with the Law and the Prophets. Here are seven key areas in which Paul agrees with the earlier prophets.

a. One God

The prophets before Paul taught that there is only one God (Isaiah 45:5). Paul also taught that there is only one God.  

(W)e know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. (1 Corinthians 8:4, NIV)

For there is one God ... (1 Timothy 2:5, NIV)

b. God is the creator

The prophets before Paul taught that God is the creator.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Moses, Genesis 1:1, NIV)

It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens. (Isaiah 45:12, NIV)

Paul also preached that God is the creator.

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. (Acts 17:24-25, NIV)

c. The Image and Likeness of God

The prophets before Paul taught that God made humanity in his image.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness ..." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Moses, Genesis 1:26-27, NIV)

Since we are in God's image God calls us to be like him.

Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. (Moses, Exodus 19:2, NIV)

Paul too teaches that we are made in the image of God and are to be like him.
 (We are) being renewed in knowledge in the image of (our) Creator. (Colossians 3:10, NIV)

However, the Qur'an never teaches that we are created in the image of God, in fact it says that nothing is like God (112:4).

d. The Sons of God

The prophets before Paul said that God's people are called the sons of God.

This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you (Pharaoh), "Let my son go, so he may worship me." (Moses, Exodus 4:22, NIV)

In the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," they will be called "sons of the living God." (Hosea 1:10, NIV)

Paul also taught that God's people are called the sons of God.

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26, NIV)

Muhammad, however, denied that anyone could be called a son of God.

Say the Jews and Christians, "We are the sons of God, and His beloved ones." Say: "Why then does He chastise you for your sins? No; you are mortals, of His creating ..." (Qur'an 5:18, Arberry)

e. The Son of God

The prophets before Paul taught the Messiah (or Christ) in particular was the son of God.

I (God) will be his father, and he shall be my son ... (2 Samuel 7:14, NIV)

I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father." (David, Psalm 2:7, NIV)

The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God." "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. (Matthew 26:63-64, NIV)

Paul also taught that the Messiah was God's son.

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God - the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 1:1-4, NIV)

Muhammad, however, denied that the Messiah is the son of God.
 (T)he Christians say, "The Messiah is the Son of God." That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assail them! How they are perverted! (Qur'an 9:30, Arberry)

f. The Rule of the Messiah

The prophets before Paul taught that the Messiah is the Lord who rules from God's right hand.

I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession." (David, Psalm 2:7-8, NIV)

The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." (David, Psalm 110:1, NIV)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom. (Isaiah 9:6-7, NIV)

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days (God) and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14, NIV)

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." (Matthew 28:18, NIV)

Paul also taught that the Messiah is the Lord who rules from God's right hand.
 (God) raised him (Jesus) from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:19-21, NIV)

However, Muhammad taught that the Messiah is not Lord but only a prophet.

The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger; Messengers before him passed away; his mother was a just woman; they both ate food. (Qur'an 5:75, Arberry)

g. The Sacrifice for Sin

The prophets before Paul taught that there was a sacrifice for sin. 

He (the priest) shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people ... (then) He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites - all their sins - and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place.
(Moses, Leviticus 16:15-21, NIV)

The prophet Isaiah prophesied that God would provide the true sacrifice for sin. It would be the servant of the Lord.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. ... For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
(Isaiah 53:4-6, 12b, NIV)

John the Baptist identified Jesus as this sacrifice.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
(John 1:29, NIV)

Jesus identified himself as this sacrifice.

Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
(Matthew 26:27-28, NIV)

Paul agrees with the earlier prophets when he says:

God presented him (Jesus) as a sacrifice of atonement
. (Romans 3:25, NIV)

Muhammad contradicts the earlier prophets because he denies that God has provided a sacrifice for our sins. Muhammad taught that Jesus never died on the cross.
 (Some Jews say) "We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God" - yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them. ... and they slew him not of a certainty
. (Qur'an 4:157, Arberry)

h. Circumcision

The prophets before Paul spoke about circumcision. Circumcision was the sign of God's covenant.

This is my covenant with you (Abraham) and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you
. (Genesis 17:10-11, NIV)

God commanded the Israelites to keep this sign of the covenant (Leviticus 12:3). However, the Israelites rejected God's covenant.

Both the house of
Israel and the house of Judah have broken the covenant I made with their forefathers
. (Jeremiah 11:10, NIV)

For this reason God promised to bring a new circumcision. It was to be a circumcision that he would perform on all this people so that they would truly keep his covenant.

The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live
. (Deuteronomy 30:6, NIV)

Jesus brings the fulfilment of this promise and Paul faithfully explains this.

In him (Jesus) you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ
. (Colossians 2:11, NIV)

... circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.
(Romans 2:29, NIV)

What Paul teaches about circumcision is in line with the message of the prophets before him. However, the Qur'an never mentions circumcision even though it is such an important message of the prophets.

i. The Gift of the Spirit

The prophets before Paul prophesied that God would give his Spirit to his people.

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
(Joel 2:28, NIV)
 (T)ill the Spirit is poured upon us from on high
. (Isaiah 32:15, NIV)

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you
... (Exekiel 36:26-27, NIV)

I (John) baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
(John the Baptist, Matthew 3:11, NIV)

And with that he (Jesus) breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
(Jesus, John 20:22, NIV)

Paul agrees with the earlier prophets when he says:

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God.
(1 Corinthians 2:12, NIV)

Against the earlier prophets, Muhammad gave no promise of the Spirit to his followers. Instead he recited:

They will question you concerning the Spirit. Say: 'The Spirit is of the bidding of my Lord. You have been given of knowledge nothing except a little.'
(Qur'an 17:85, Arberry)

The gospel that Paul taught agrees with the prophets who were before him. Muhammad teaches some things that agree with the earlier prophets but he disagrees with them at many significant points. It is not Paul who is the source of disagreement between Christians and Muslims; it is Muhammad. If you say that you believe all the prophets then please read them and not just believe what Muhammad says about them.

For more information read, Jesus and the Apostle Paul

Continues on Part III



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