”A response to Muslim Dawagandist Bassam Zawadi”
In one of our articles we had provided documentation from the Qur’an that Allah is not Islam’s sole or only Lord and God. We showed that as a result of the rather chaotic way the Qur’an was written the author(s) invariably ended up positing more than one divinity.
One of the examples we used was the following citation:
They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords apart from God AND the Messiah Mary's son, and they were commanded to serve but One God; there is no god but He; glory be to Him, above that they associate. S. 9:31
We stated that due to the way this verse was written the author(s) and/or editor(s) placed Jesus alongside Allah as one of those whom the Muslims were required to take as their Lord.
We mentioned how some Muslim dawagandists may object to this due to the fact that the diacritical marks which were added later by the scribes placed the Arabic words for “the Messiah” (al-Maseeha) in the accusative position, thereby making it another object (together with the first two, ahbarahum wa ruhbanahum [“their rabbis and their monks”]) of the verb “have taken,” meaning that Jesus is one of those Lords whom the people wrongly embraced besides Allah.
We responded to this potential objection by arguing that the original Arabic text had no markings to help differentiate between the different nuances of the word. We further provided several possible ways that the author(s) could have written the verse which would have avoided the problem of associating Jesus with Allah as the Lord of the believers.
One Muslim propagandist took it upon himself to “refute” our points. He wrote:
Ignoramus Shamoun forgets that if there are no diatrical [sic] marks on the text then it is possible that it could be joining Jesus with Allah or it is also possible that it could be putting Jesus in the accusative. (Bassam Zawadi, Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "The Qur’an's many Gods and Lords: An Analysis of the Worship given to And Deification of Creatures within the Islamic Text")
The above response pretty much ignores everything we had stated, especially in relation to the use of the Arabic conjunction wa (“and”) since this actually proves that Jesus is being conjoined with Allah, and therefore the word al-Maseeh should have been in the genitive case and not in the accusative. It seems that this is another time that we are going to have to repeat ourselves.
According to Muslim scholars the Arabic word wa is the conjunction of partnership and/or equality:
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" () 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.
Hudhayfa said that the Prophet said, "None of you should say, ‘What Allah wills and ( wa) so-and-so wills.’ Rather say, ‘What Allah wills.’ Then stop and say, 'So-and-so wills.’"
Al-Khattabi said, "The Prophet has guided you to correct behaviour in putting the will of Allah before the will of others. He chose ‘then’ ( thumma) which implies sequence and deference as opposed to ‘and’ (wa) WHICH IMPLIES PARTNERSHIP."
Something similar is mentioned in another hadith. Someone was speaking in the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, "Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has been rightly guided, and whoever rebels against them both (joining them together by using the dual form)…" The Prophet said to him, "What a bad speaker you are! Get up! [Or he said: Get out!]"
Abu Sulayman said, "He disliked the two names being joined together in that way BECAUSE IT IMPLIES EQUALITY."… (Qadi ‘Iyad, Kitab Ash-shifa bi ta'rif huquq al-Mustafa (Healing by the recognition of the Rights of the Chosen One), translation 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, p. 8)
Thus, by grouping Allah and Jesus together through the use of wa the author(s) has/have invariably turned Jesus into Allah's partner and associate. And since the Arabic text originally had no markings this would mean that someone reading it would have clearly seen that Jesus was being placed alongside Allah as the Lord whom others had to believe in, as opposed to their rabbis and priests.
The same polemicist then begs the question by arguing that the diacritical markings that turn al-Maseeh into the accusative reflect how the Muslims have always recited the verse!
This is a very weak argument from Shamoun's end because the Muslims put the diatrical [ sic] marks in accordance with the way that they have been reciting it the whole time. Since the Muslims were reciting the verse the whole time with a fat ha on the word Maseeh, they then went ahead and put the diatrical [sic] mark that way…
But since the Muslims have always been reciting the verse with Jesus being put in the accusative, then THERE IS NO PROBLEM.
There are several glaring problems with Zawadi’s assertions. To begin with, where is the evidence to prove that this is how the Muslims have always recited the passage? Where is the textual data to support that this is how Muhammad and his companions recited the verse? (That is, if they recited it at all since this assumes that the present form of the Muslim scripture is identical to what Muhammad and his companions were reading and/or reciting which clearly goes against the facts as we shall see). Isn’t this assertion based on the erroneous assumption that the recitation of the Qur’an has remained stable for all these centuries even though all of the evidence shows that this is not the case at all?
Secondly, the Islamic sources themselves testify that there wasn’t one standard way of reciting the Qur’an, but multiple ways which caused confusion even among Muhammad’s companions:
Narrated by Umar bin Al Khattab: I heard Hisham bin Hakim bin Hizam reciting Suraht-al-Furqan in a way different to that of mine. Allah's Apostle had taught it to me (in a different way). So, I was about to quarrel with him (during the prayer) but I waited till he finished, then I tied his garment round his neck and seized him by it and brought him to Allah's Apostle and said, “I have heard him reciting Suraht-al-Furqan in a way different to the way you taught it to me.” The Prophet ordered me to release him and asked Hisham to recite it. When he recited it, Allah's Apostle said, "It was revealed in this way." He then asked me to recite it. When I recited it, he said, "It was revealed in this way. The Qur'an has been revealed in seven ahruf, so recite it in the way that is easier for you." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 041, Number 601)
Ubayy b. Ka'b reported: I was in the mosque when a man entered and prayed and recited (the Qur'an) in a style to which I objected. Then another man entered (the mosque) and recited in a style different from that of his companion. When we had finished the prayer, we all went to Allah's Messenger and said to him: This man recited in a style to which I objected, and the other entered and recited in a style different from that of his companion. The Messenger of Allah asked them to recite and so they recited, and the Apostle of Allah expressed approval of their affairs (their modes of recitation) and there occurred in my mind a sort of denial which did not occur even during the Days of Ignorance. When the Messenger of Allah saw how I was affected (by a wrong idea), he struck my chest, whereupon I broke into sweating and felt as though I were looking at Allah with fear. He (the Holy Prophet) said to me: Ubayy, a message was sent to me to recite the Qur'an in one dialect, and I replied: Make (things) easy for my people. It was conveyed to me for the second time that it should be recited in two dialects. I again replied to him: Make affairs easy for my people. It was again conveyed to me for the third time to recite in seven dialects. And (I was further told): You have got a seeking for every reply that I sent you, which you should seek from Me. I said: O Allah! forgive my people, forgive my people, and I have deferred the third one for the day on which the entire creation will turn to me, including even Ibrahim (for intercession). (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1787)
The assertion that these refer to the various Arabic dialects makes absolutely no sense since both Umar and Hisham belonged to the same tribe, namely the Quraish, and spoke the same exact dialect. Besides, the so-called authentic narratives claim that the Qur’an was "revealed" in the Quraish dialect:
Narrated Anas bin Malik: (The Caliph 'Uthman ordered Zaid bin Thabit, Said bin Al-As, 'Abdullah bin Az-Zubair and 'Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Harith bin Hisham to write the Qur’an in the form of a book (Mushafs) and said to them. "In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit (Al-Ansari) regarding any dialectic Arabic utterance of the Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish, for the Qur’an was revealed in this dialect." So they did it. Volume 6, Book 61, Number 507)
Narrated Anas bin Malik: Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of
Therefore, whatever the differences were they must have been of major significance since it shocked Ubayy b. Kab, a close companion and reciter of the Qur’an, to the point that he started to doubt his faith and caused Umar to physically seize and drag Hisham by his garment which he wrapped around his neck!
To make matters worse Uthman ibn Affan decided to destroy six of the seven ahruf!
Difference Between Ahrûf & Qirâ'ât
It is important to realize the difference between ahruf and Qirâ'ât. Before going into that it is interesting to know why the seven ahruf were brought down to one during Uthmân's time.
The Qur'an continued to be read according to the seven ahruf until midway through Caliph 'Uthman's rule when SOME CONFUSION arose in the outlying provinces concerning the Qur'an's recitation. Some Arab tribes had began to boast about the superiority of their ahruf and a rivalry began to develop. At the same time, some new Muslims also began mixing the various forms of recitation out of ignorance. Caliph 'Uthman decided to make official copies of the Qur'an according to the dialect of the Quraysh and send them along with the Qur'anic reciters to the major centres of Islam. This decision was approved by Sahaabah and all unofficial copies of the Qur'an were destroyed. Following the distribution of the official copies, all the other ahruf were dropped and the Qur'an began to be read in only one harf. Thus, the Qur'an which is available through out the world today is written and recited only according to the harf of Quraysh. (M S M Saifullah, Islamic Awareness, Versions Of The Qur'an?)
“If it is asked what was the point of ‘Uthman unifying people under a single copy of the Qur’an when Abu Bakr had already achieved that, then the response is that the aim of ‘Uthman was not to gather people in order to compile the Qur’an. Do you not see that he sent to Hafsa to ask her to give him the copy of the Qur’an so that it could be copied out and then returned to her? ‘Uthman did that BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE DISAGREEING ABOUT THE VARIOUS RECITATION owing to the fact that the Companions had spread to different areas AND HAD BEGUN TO STRONGLY DISAGREE, such as the conflict that took place between the people of Iraq and the people of Syria according to Hudhayfa.
“They joined an expedition to
“This is the evidence of the falseness of those who say that the seven ahruf are the seven present readings, because there is no disagreement about them. Suwayd ibn Ghafala reported from ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib that ‘Uthman said, ‘What do you think about the copies of the Qur’an? The people have disagreed about the reciters until a man says, “My reading is better than your reading. My reading is better is more excellent than your reading.” This is equivalent to disbelief.’ He replied, ‘What is your view, Amr al-Mu’minin?’ He said, ‘I think that we people should agree on one reading. If you differ today, those after you will disagree more strongly.’ ‘Ali said, ‘The correct opinion is yours, Amr al-Mu’minin.’… ‘Uthman returned the pages to Hafsa abd he sent a copy of what they had copied out to every region and commanded of what sheet or copy which had any form of the Qur’an should be burned. ‘Uthman did this after gathering the Muhajirin and Ansar and a group of Muslims and consulting them about it…
“Ibn Shihab said that he was told by ‘Ubaydullah ibn ‘Abdullah that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud disliked Zayd ibn Thabit copying out the Qur’an and said, ‘Company of Muslims, withdraw from making copies and entrusting it to one man. By Allah, I became Muslim while he was in the loins of an unbelieving father!’ meaning Zayd ibn Thabit. That is why ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud said, ‘People of
The above narration shows that the differences that existed between the competing codices produced by companions such as Ubayy and Abdullah ibn Masud were not minor. They were so great and so serious that the Muslims started to attack and curse each other! This next story which is taken from Islamist Alphonse Mingana’s discussion of the various reciters and compilers of the Qur’an provides a further illustration of just how serious these differences were:
At the end of this first part of our inquiry, it is well to state that not a single trace of the work of the above collectors has come down to posterity, except in the case of Ubai ibn Ka‘b and Ibn Mas‘ud. The Kashshaf of Zamakhshari and in a lesser degree theAnwarut-Tanzil of Baidawi record many Qur’anic variants derived from the scraps of the Qur’an edited by the above named companions of the Prophet. The fact is known to all Arabists and does not need explanation. We need only translate a typical passage from the newly published Dictionary of Learned Men of Yakut:
Isma‘il b. ‘Ali al-Khatbi has recorded in the “Book of History” and said: “The story of a man called b. Shanbudh became famous in Baghdad; he used to read and to teach the reading (of the Qur’an) with letters in which he CONTRADICTED the mishaf; he read according to ‘Abdallah b. Mas‘ud and Ubai b. Ka‘b and others; and used the readings employed BEFORE the misha was collected by ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan, and followed anomalies; he read and PROVED them in discussions, until his affair became important and ominous; people did not tolerate him anymore and the Sultan sent emissaries to seize him, in the year 828; he was brought to the house of the vizier Muhammad b. Muklah who summoned judges, lawyers, and Readers of the Qur’an. The vizier charged him in his presence with what he had done, and he did not desist from it, BUT CORROBORATED IT; the vizier then tried to make him discredit it, and cease to read with these disgraceful anomalies, which were an addition to the ishaf of ‘Uthman, but he refused. Those who were present disapproved of this and hinted that he should be punished in such a way as to compel him to desist. (The vizier) then ordered that he should be stripped of his clothes and struck with a staff on his back. He received about ten hard strokes, and could not endure any more; he cried out for mercy, and agreed to yield and repent. He was then released, and given his clothes … and Sheikh Abu Muhammad Yusuf b. Sairafi told me that he (b. Shanbudh) had recorded many readings.” (The Origins of the Qur’an – Classic Essays on Islam’s Holy Book, edited by Ibn Warraq [Prometheus Books, 1998], Part Two: The Collection And The Variants Of The Qur’an, 5. The Transmission of the Qur’an by Alphonse Mingana, pp. 103-104)
The Muslim sources further attest that the Qur’an has suffered textual corruption by way of missing Surahs (chapters) and verses, as well as additions and changes to the text.
No wonder Muslims accused the third caliph Uthman ibn Affan of corrupting and tearing up the Qur’an!
The Historian Tabari has another account: “‘Ali b. Abi Talib, and ‘Uthman b. Affan wrote the Revelation to the Prophet; but in their absence it was Ubai b. Ka‘b and Zaid b. Thabit who wrote it.” He informs us, too, that the people said to ‘Uthman: “The Qur’an was in many books, and thou discreditedst them all but one”; and after the Prophet's death, “People gave him as successor Abu Bakr, who in turn was succeeded by ‘Umar; and both of them acted according to the Book and the Sunnah of the Apostle of God–and praise be to God the Lord of the worlds; then people elected ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan WHO…TORE UP THE BOOK.” (Ibn Warraq, The Origins of the Qur’an, 5. The Transmission of the Qur’an by Alphonse Mingana, p. 102)
The book, drawn up by this method, continued to be authoritative and the standard text till 29-30 A.H. under the caliphate of ‘Uthman. At this time the wonderful faithfulness of Arab memory WAS DEFECTIVE, and according to a general weakness of human nature, the Believers have been heard reciting the verses of the Qur’an in A DIFFERENT WAY. This fact was due specially, it is said, to the hundreds of dialects used in
Hajjaj related to us from Ibn Juraij who said–Ibn Abi Humaid informed me from Jahra bint Abi Ayyub b. Yunus saying–I read to my father when he was eighty years of age from ‘A’isha’s codex –“Verily Allah and His angels pray for the Prophet. O ye who believe, pray for him and speak peace upon him and upon those who pray in the first ranks” (xxxiii:56). She said, “IT IS SAID THAT ‘UTHMAN ALTERED THE CODICES.” He said, “Ibn Juraij and Ibn Abi Jamil have related to me from ‘Abd ar-Rahman b. Hurmuz and others the like of this about ‘A’isha’s codex.” (Ibid., 9. Abu Ubaid on the verses Missing from the Qur’an by Arthur Jeffery, p. 153)
In light of this how does Zawadi know for certain that the diacritical markings accurately reflect how Muslims have always understood and recited Q. 9:31, especially when the evidence which we provided from the Qur’an clearly testifies to Jesus’ prehuman existence and divinity? Isn’t it more likely that as later Muslims became more stringent in their unitarian beliefs and in their rejection of Jesus’ divinity (and therefore diverging from what certain sections of the Qur’an actually teach) they realized the difficulty this text posed and so decided to insert these very specific diacritical points in order to avoid associating Jesus with God? (1)
For more on the problems of the seven ahruf and the conflicting Arabic versions that are still in circulation till this day we recommend the following articles:
The third problem that Zawadi faces is that Muhammad’s purported explanation of Q. 9:31 proves that Jesus is one of those whom Muslims are required to take as their Lord:
- -They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah, and the Messiah, son of Maryam- - [9:31]. Imam Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Jarir At-Tabari recorded a Hadith via several chains of narration, from ‘Adi bin Hatim, may Allah be pleased with him, who became a Christian during the time of Jahiliyyah. When the call of the Messenger of Allah reached his area, ‘Adi ran away to Ash-Sham, and his sister and several of his people were captured. The Messenger of Allah freed his sister and gave her gifts. So she went to her brother and encouraged him to become Muslim and to go to the Messenger of Allah. ‘Adi, who was one of the chiefs of his people (the tribe of Tai') and whose father, Hatim At-Ta’i, was known for his generosity, went to Al-Madinah. When the people announced his arrival, ‘Adi went to the Messenger of Allah wearing a silver cross around his neck. The Messenger of Allah recited this Ayah...
- -They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah- -. ‘Adi commented, “I said, ‘They did not worship them.’” The Prophet said...
((Yes they did. They (rabbis and monks) prohibited the allowed for them (Christians and Jews) and allowed the prohibited, and they obeyed them. This is how they worshiped them.)) …
- -They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah…- - that the Christians and Jews obeyed their monks and rabbis in whatever they allowed or prohibited for them… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Suraht Al-A'raf to the end of Surah Yunus, abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, London, Lahore; First Edition: May 2000], Volume 4, pp. 409-410)
Muhammad felt that Jews and Christians were turning their rabbis and monks into lords by obeying everything they commanded, even in cases where they made lawful the prohibited aspects of the faith and prohibited that which was permissible for the people.
Notice that Muhammad didn’t qualify his position, i.e. he didn’t say that it is wrong to obey the rabbis and monks in forbidding the lawful or permitting the prohibited since they were not inspired. Muhammad didn’t say that it would be alright for the believers to accept their decisions if they were receiving revelation from their Lord to forbid some of that which was lawful or vice-versa. His blanket statements suggest that anytime a person follows someone who prohibits that which Allah has made lawful or permits what Allah has forbidden then s/he is taking that particular individual as his/her Lord.
Hence, Muhammad’s unqualified explanation of Q. 9:31 inevitably leads to Christ being one of those whom Muslims are required to embrace as their Lord alongside Allah since the Qur’an exhorts the “faithful” to obey Jesus and further states that he came to make lawful some of that which was prohibited:
And I have come confirming that which was before me of the Taurat (Torah), and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you, and I have come to you with a proof from your Lord. So fear Allah AND obey me. It is Allah who is my Lord and your Lord; then worship Him. This is a way that is straight. When Jesus found unbelief on their part he said: Who will be my helpers to Allah? Said the disciples: We are Allah's helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims. Our Lord! we believe in what Thou hast revealed, and we follow the Apostle; then write us down among those who bear witness. S. 3:50-53
When Jesus came with Clear Signs, he said: Now have I come to you with Wisdom, and in order to make clear to you some of the (points) on which ye dispute: therefore fear Allah AND obey me. For Allah, He is my Lord and your Lord: so worship ye Him: this is a
These factors conclusively prove that the Q. places Jesus alongside Allah as one of those individuals that Muslims must take as their Lord!
Moreover, in the quotation from Ibn Kathir Muhammad likened such obedience to the rabbis and monks as worship or service:
- -They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah- -. 'Adi commented, “I said, ‘They did not worship them.’” The Prophet said...
((Yes they did. They (rabbis and monks) prohibited the allowed for them (Christians and Jews) and allowed the prohibited,and they obeyed them. This is how they worshiped them.)) …
Thus, by obeying whatever Jesus commanded, especially in regards to those prohibited aspects which he made lawful, the Qur’an is exhorting Muslims to worship or serve Jesus according to Muhammad’s logic!(2)
What makes this rather ironic is that Zawadi is aware of Muhammad’s explanation of Q. 9:31 since he quotes it in his “rebuttal” and yet he still can’t see how this actually refutes his entire position against me!
Lord Jesus willing, more rebuttals to Zawadi’s desperate polemics to follow shortly.
(1) These points also sufficiently refute his response to my assertion that Q. has Allah testifying that he, the angels and the men of knowledge are all God!
Allah bears witness that there is no god but he, AND the angels, AND those having knowledge (Shahida Allahu annahu la ilaha illa huwa WA al-mala’ikatu WA oloo al-ailmi); maintaining His creation in justice. There is no god but he, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.
Zawadi asserts that Muslims pause after they recite the part where it says, “there is no god but he,” which he claims signifies a comma and therefore a stop at this point in the recitation. He uses this to deny that the verse is teaching that the angels and men of learning are also god along with Allah. He assumes that the pause somehow proves that the passage is actually saying that these individuals are testifying with Allah that he alone is god.
Besides begging the question, i.e. he erroneously believes that Muslims have always paused at this specific part in the recitation especially at the time of Muhammad, Zawadi fails to explain how a comma or pause affects the meaning of the text. A pause in the recitation does not change the fact that the literal meaning of the Arabic has Allah confessing that there is no god besides himself, the angels and the men of knowledge. Zawadi is simply grasping at straws with such a desperate explanation and needs to come to terms with the fact that editor(s) wrote the text in such a way that s/he/they ended up deifying both angels and men! So much for the Qur’an being written in clear and eloquent Arabic.
(2) This serves to refute Zawadi’s appeal to the hadith where Muhammad told his followers not over-praise him as Christians over-praised Jesus. The problem is that it is Muhammad who invariably ended up “over-praising” Jesus by his comments. Besides, the Qur’an exhorts Muslims to praise and glorify Muhammad:
As we explained in our initial article the nearest antecedent to the pronouns is “His messenger,” e.g. Muhammad, which therefore means that Muslims are being commanded to worship Muhammad!
I f Muslims can worship and glorify Muhammad without offending Allah then why can’t true Christians praise Jesus as their Lord and Savior?
Besides, by quoting this narration Zawadi has only managed to provide a further example of the gross irreconcilable contradictions within the Islamic sources.
And even though we discussed the meaning and implication of Q. 48:9 in our article Zawadi didn’t address our points in his “rebuttal” but linked to another “ reply” instead. We have already responded to Zawadi’s “rebuttal” in the following articles:
And therefore ask the readers to consult them if they are interested in reading the refutation to his points. We further recommend the following articles and rebuttals for those interested in seeing how Islam turned Muhammad into another god besides Allah: