” A response to a Muslim Dawagandist”Bassam Zawadi addresses (*) my articles concerning the Islamic scripture portraying Jesus as the greatest of all prophets, vastly superior to Muhammad, and that his blessed mother is the greatest woman ever created (1, 2).
In the second half of his rebuttal Zawadi posted three somewhat lengthy answers from the www.islamqa.com website to prove that Muhammad is the best of creation. Instead of posting all three articles in their entirety we encourage the readers to either consult Zawadi’s article or go to the sources themselves and spend some time reviewing the evidence that they presented to prove that Muhammad is the greatest creature. Here are the links to the original responses:
What we will do here is cite a few paragraphs in order to show just how weak their case truly is. We will then follow that up by responding to Zawadi’s summation of all the points raised by these articles since this will help us keep the response from becoming too lengthy.
The Prophets (peace be upon them) vary in status over one another. This is something that has been stated by Allaah in His Book and by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in His Sunnah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning)
"Those Messengers! We preferred some of them to others; to some of them Allaah spoke (directly); others He raised to degrees (of honour); and to Eesa (Jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary), We gave clear proofs and evidences, and supported him with Rooh-ul-Qudus [Jibreel (Gabriel)]" [al-Baqarah 2:253]
Shaykh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shanqeeti (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: With regard to the words "others He raised to degrees (of honour)", in other places it is indicated that among them is Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), uch as the verses in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqaam Mahmoud (a station of praise and glory, i.e., the honour of intercession on the Day of Resurrection" [al-Isra' 17:79]…
Thirdly: There is no difference of opinion among the scholars concerning the fact that our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is superior to all of his fellow-Prophets (peace be upon them). That is clear from the evidence of the Qur'aan and Sunnah, such as the following:
1 - He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) will attain the station of praise and glory (maqaam Mahmoud) on the Day of Resurrection. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salaah (prayer) with it (i.e. recite the Qur'aan in the prayer) as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer _ Nawaafil) for you (O Muhammad). It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqaam Mahmoud (a station of praise and glory, i.e., the honour of intercession on the Day of Resurrection)" [al-Isra' 17:79]
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him): "By Allaah, if my brother Moosa were alive, he would have no choice but to follow me."
And when the Messiah Eesaa ibn Maryam (peace be upon him) comes down at the end of time, he will come to rule in accordance with the sharee'ah of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he will follow him (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
It is rather obvious that neither Zawadi nor his sources bothered reading Q. 17:79 carefully:
And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salat (prayer) with it (i.e. recite the Qur'an in the prayer), as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer Nawafil) for you (O Muhammad SAW). IT MAY BE that your Lord will raise you to Maqaman Mahmuda (a station of praise and glory, i.e. the highest degree in
Here are two other versions for comparison’s sake:
…IT MAY BE that thy Lord will raise thee to a praised estate. Pickthall
…IT MAY BE that thy Lord will raise thee up to a laudable station. Arberry
The reader can see that this text doesn’t say that Muhammad will definitely be granted this honoured station but that Allah MAY grant him this rank. Doesn’t this clearly show that Muhammad was rather uncertain whether his lord would truly favour him by giving him this status?
In fact, the following narrative shows that Muhammad was actually uncertain whether he would receive this rank and even asked his followers to beg Allah to give it to him:
'Abdullah b. Amr b. al-As reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: When you hear the Mu'adhdhin, repeat what he says, then invoke a blessing on me, for everyone who invokes a blessing on me will receive ten blessings from Allah; then BEG from Allah al-Wasila for me, which is a rank in Paradise fitting for only one of Allah's servants, and I HOPE that I MAY BE that one. If anyone who asks that I be given the Wasila, he will be assured of my intercession. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004,Number 0747)
This uncertainty may stem from the fact that in this very same surah Allah rebukes and threatens Muhammad:
This is (part) of that wisdom wherewith thy Lord hath inspired thee (O Muhammad). And set not up with Allah any other god, lest thou be cast into hell, reproved, abandoned. S. 17:39 Pickthall
Indeed they were near to seducing thee from that We revealed to thee, that thou mightest forge against Us another, and then they would surely have taken thee as a friend; and had We not confirmed thee, surely thou wert near to inclining unto them a very little; then would We have let thee taste the double of life and the double of death; and then thou wouldst have found none to help thee against Us. S. 17:73-75
And tells him that he was nothing more than a mere mortal messenger incapable of performing miracles:
Or thou have a house of gold; or thou ascend up into heaven, and even then we will put no faith in thine ascension till thou bring down for us a book that we can read. Say (O Muhammad): My Lord be Glorified! Am I aught save a mortal messenger? S. 17:93 Y. Ali
As if this weren’t bad enough Muhammad wasn’t even certain of his own destiny or the destiny of others!
Say: "I am no bringer of new-fangled doctrine among the messengers, NOR DO I KNOW WHAT WILL BE DONE WITH ME OR WITH YOU. I follow but that which is revealed to me by inspiration; I am but a Warner open and clear." S. 46:9
More on Allah rebuking Muhammad and his station of intercession later.
Now contrast this with Christ whom the Qur’an expressly testifies has been given the highest station of honour and glory imaginable. Jesus, according to the Muslim scripture, was raised to dwell in the very presence of God Almighty himself:
(And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering thee and causing thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me ye will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ. S. 3:55 Pickthall
But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. S. 4:158 Pickthall
Seeing that you can’t get any higher than being in God’s presence wouldn’t this actually prove that Jesus has received the greatest honour by being exalted to the highest of all levels? And wouldn’t this also conclusively prove that Christ, not Muhammad, has been given Maqam Mahmud or the station of praise?
In fact, the readers may have noticed that the phrase "a praised station" is a rather unclear expression. It does not say, as Hilali-Khan do in their parenthesis, that this is the HIGHEST degree in paradise. As the various translations indicate, the expression merely means A (not THE) praised station. It seems not to be a name of a definite place, but an unspecific term.
Yet what does this precisely mean, what position does this refer to exactly?
The wording itself doesn’t imply that the station is necessarily higher than any other person’s rank or position. Nothing in the phrase necessarily suggests that this is THE highest position one can attain and it is really no different than what the Qur’an says about the prophet Idris:
And mention in the Book (the Qur'an) Idris (Enoch). Verily! He was a man of truth, (and) a Prophet. And We raised him to a high station. S. 19:56-57 Y. Ali
Note the one major difference in what these texts say regarding the prophet of Islam and Idris; Idris is said to have been taken to a high station or rank whereas Q. 17:79 says that Allah MAY, not that he has or definitely will, grant Muhammad this station of praise.
The author of the Qur’an apparently didn’t want to commit himself to anything specific here.
Now contrast this with the above Qur’anic references which emphatically proclaim that Allah raised Jesus to himself which is much more definite and clear.
Moreover, Muhammad’s claim that Moses would have to follow him is contradicted by the Qur’an which commands the former to follow the guidance and religion of the prophets like Moses:
They say: "Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (To salvation)." Say thou: "Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with God." S. 2:135 Y. Ali
Say: "God speaketh the Truth: follow the religion of Abraham, the sane in faith; he was not of the Pagans." S. 3:95 Y. Ali
That is Our argument. We gave it unto Abraham against his folk. We raise unto degrees of wisdom whom We will. Lo! thy Lord is Wise, Aware. And We bestowed upon him Isaac and Jacob; each of them We guided; and Noah did We guide aforetime; and of his seed (We guided) David and Solomon and Job and Joseph and Moses and Aaron. Thus do We reward the good. And Zachariah and John and Jesus and Elias. Each one (of them) was of the righteous. And Ishmael and Elisha and Jonah and
Lo! Abraham was a nation obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the idolaters; Thankful for His bounties; He chose him and He guided him unto a straight path. And We gave him good in the world, and in the Hereafter he is among the righteous. And afterward We inspired thee (Muhammad, saying): Follow the religion of Abraham, as one by nature upright. He was not of the idolaters. S. 16:120-123 Pickthall
He hath ordained for you that religion which He commended unto Noah, and that which We inspire in thee (Muhammad), and that which We commended unto Abraham and Moses and Jesus, saying: Establish the religion, and be not divided therein. Dreadful for the idolaters is that unto which thou callest them. Allah chooseth for Himself whom He will, and guideth unto Himself him who turneth (toward Him). S. 42:13 Pickthall
Narrated Mujahid: That he asked Ibn 'Abbas, "Is there a prostration in Surat-al-Sad?" (38.24) Ibn 'Abbas said, "Yes," and then recited: "We gave ... So follow their guidance." (6.85,90) Then he said, "He (David) is one them (i.e. those prophets)." Mujahid narrated: I asked Ibn 'Abbas (regarding the above Verse). He said, "Your Prophet (Muhammad) was one of those who were ordered to follow them." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 156)
Note carefully what all of these texts are saying. Muhammad is to embrace the religion of the prophets like Abraham and it is their guidance that he is commanded to follow, not the other way around. Even Zawadi realizes and admits this since he will later say that:
- He (peace be upon him) obeyed the command and followed the guidance of the Messengers who came before him…
Thus, if Moses were walking the earth during the time of Muhammad then the latter would have to follow the former, not the other way around.
They replied: Many texts in the Qur'aan and Sunnah speak of the greatness of our Prophet Muhammad and his sublime status before his Lord, may He be exalted, through the noble attributes and unique characteristics that Allaah bestowed only upon him, which indicates that he is the best of creation, the most honoured by Allaah and the greatest in status before Him. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"Allaah has sent down to you the book (the Qur'aan), and Al-Hikmah (Islamic laws, knowledge of legal and illegal things, i.e. the Prophet's Sunnah (legal ways), and taught you that which you knew not. And Ever Great is the Grace of Allaah unto you" [al-Nisa' 4:113]
By this criterion Christ should be viewed as the greatest of all the prophets:
When the angels said, 'Mary, God gives thee good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary; high honoured shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God. He shall speak to men in the cradle, and of age, and righteous he shall be.' 'Lord,' said Mary, 'how shall I have a son seeing no mortal has touched me?' 'Even so,' God said, God creates what He will. When He decrees a thing He does but say to it "Be," and it is. And He will teach him the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel, to be a Messenger to the Children of
When God said, 'Jesus Son of Mary, remember My blessing upon thee and upon thy mother, when I confirmed thee with the Holy Spirit, to speak to men in the cradle, and of age; and when I taught thee the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel; and when thou createst out of clay, by My leave, as the likeness of a bird, and thou breathest into it, and it is a bird, by My leave; and thou healest the blind and the leper by My leave, and thou bringest the dead forth by My leave; and when restrained from thee the Children of Israel when thou camest unto them with the clear signs, and the unbelievers among them said, "This is nothing but sorcery manifest." S. 5:110
Notice how this Muslim argument ends up making Jesus vastly superior to Muhammad since the former was instructed in more Books than the latter, performed miracles that the prophet of Islam never did or could, and even spoke while in the cradle!
It is now time to address Zawadi’s summary of the data presented by the www.islamqa.com team.
- He (peace be upon him) will be the leader of all mankind (includes Prophets) on the Day of Judgment.
How can Muhammad be the leader of mankind when he isn’t even as great as Jonah or Moses?(1)
Narrated Abdullah: The Prophet said, "None has the right to say that I am better than Jonah bin Matta." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 127)
Narrated Abu Huraira: "A man from the Muslims and a man from the Jews quarreled, and the Muslim said, ‘By Him Who gave superiority to Muhammad over all the people!’ The Jew said, ‘By Him Who gave superiority to Moses over all the people!' On that the Muslim lifted his hand and slapped the Jew. The Jew went to Allah's Apostle and informed him of all that had happened between him and the Muslim. The Prophet said, ‘Do not give me superiority over Moses, for the people will fall unconscious on the Day of Resurrection, I will be the first to regain consciousness and behold, Moses will be standing there, holding the side of the Throne. I will not know whether he has been one of those who have fallen unconscious and then regained consciousness before me, or if he has been one of those exempted by Allah (from falling unconscious).’" (See Hadith No. 524, Vol. 8) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 564)
By Muhammad’s own admission Abraham is greater than him since he candidly stated that the Patriarch was the best of creation:
Anas b. Malik reported that a person came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: O the best of creation; thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: He is Ibrahim (peace be upon him). (Sahih Muslim, Book 030, Number 5841)
Now let us contrast Muhammad’s admission of not being the best with the glory and honour of the Lord Jesus:
"I tell you, something greater than the temple is here… For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." Matthew 12:6, 8
"The men of
"Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?" John 5:45-47
"Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God's house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses--as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honour than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope." Hebrews 3:1-6
"By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of
Jesus is greater than the
"‘Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.’ The Jews said to him, Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, "If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death." Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! ho do you make yourself out to be?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, 'He is our God. But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.’ So the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’ So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple." John -59
- No Prophet's intercession will avail except that of Muhammad's peace be upon him.
Which is contradicted by the following narrations:
Mention, when the angels, namely, Gabriel, said, 'O Mary, God gives you good tidings of a Word from Him, that is, a boy, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, He addresses her attributing him to her in order to point out that she will give birth to him without a father, for, the custom is to attribute the child to its father, honoured shall he be in this world, through prophethood, and the Hereafter, through [his] intercession and the high stations [al-darajat al-'ula, cf. Q. 20:75], and of those brought close, to God. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source)
… The Prophet added, "Then the prophets and Angels and the believers will intercede, and (last of all) the Almighty (Allah) will say, ‘Now remains My Intercession.’ He will then hold a handful of the Fire from which He will take out some people whose bodies have been burnt, and they will be thrown into a river at the entrance of
How, then, can these Muslims dare say that no other prophets’ intercession will prevail when there are narratives that explicitly state that their intercession will be accepted?
Moreover, how can Muslims rely on Muhammad’s intercession when there are specific reports which say that he cannot aid or save anyone on the Day of Judgment?
Narrated Abu Huraira: When Allah revealed the Verse: "Warn your nearest kinsmen," Allah's Apostle got up and said, "O people of Quraish (or said similar words)! Buy (i.e. save) yourselves (from the Hellfire) as I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment; O Bani Abd Manaf! I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment, O Safiya, the Aunt of Allah's Apostle! I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment; O
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "(On the Day of Resurrection) camels will come to their owner in the best state of health they have ever had (in the world), and if he had not paid their Zakat (in the world) then they would tread him with their feet; and similarly, sheep will come to their owner in the best state of health they have ever had in the world, and if he had not paid their Zakat, then they would tread him with their hooves and would butt him with their horns." The Prophet added, "One of their rights is that they should be milked while water is kept in front of them." The Prophet added, "I do not want anyone of you to come to me on the Day of Resurrection, carrying over his neck a sheep that will be bleating. Such a person will (then) say, ‘O Muhammad! (please intercede for me,).’ I will say to him. ‘I can't help you, for I conveyed Allah's Message to you.’ Similarly, I do not want anyone of you to come to me carrying over his neck a camel that will be grunting. Such a person (then) will say ‘O Muhammad! (please intercede for me).’ I will say to him, ‘I can't help you for I conveyed Allah's message to you.’" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 24, Number 485)
More importantly, how can Muslims place their trust in him when he himself wasn’t certain of his own fate?
Narrated 'Um al-'
And what assurance can they have in one who was constantly threatened and severely rebuked by his god?
And when Our clear revelations are recited unto them, they who look not for the meeting with Us say: Bring a Lecture other than this, or change it. Say (O Muhammad): It is not for me to change it of my accord. I only follow that which is inspired in me. Lo! if I disobey my Lord I fear the retribution of an awful Day. S. 10:15 Pickthall
And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers. And be not thou of those who deny the revelations of Allah, for then wert thou of the losers. S. 10:94-95 Pickthall
And if he had invented false sayings concerning Us, We assuredly had taken him by the right hand And then severed his life-artery, And not one of you could have held Us off from him. S. 69:44-47 Pickthall
If Zawadi tries to produce other narratives to show otherwise he will not be resolving the problem. All he will be doing is to prove that the Qur’an and hadiths are full of irreconcilable contradictions. To illustrate this point here is a narrative which claims that Muhammad’s intercession will be for those who commit major sins, thereby contradicting the one cited above which says that he will not be able to intercede for those who failed to give alms or zakat:
Narrated Anas ibn Malik: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: My intercession will be for those of my people who have committed major sins. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 40, Number 4721)
Now isn’t failing to pay zakat among the major sins in Islam? If so, doesn’t this narrative indicate that Muhammad will be able to intercede for such sinners? Then why does the hadith we posted earlier have Muhammad deny that he will be able to help those who failed to give alms?
With such blatant contradictions do Muslims really want to bank their eternal destiny, their eternal souls, on such shaky evidence, on sources which are full of gross errors and mistakes?
- He (peace be upon him) was given conciseness of speech.
So he says. Apart from this being completely subjective (after all who determines what concise speech is or isn’t?) the evidence from the Qur’an and hadith show that Muhammad’s speech was anything but eloquent or concise since these sources both contain grammatical and linguistic mistakes, as well as gross errors of science and history (1, 2). The Qur’an is also unnecessarily repetitive, repeating the same point or phrase over and over again (cf. Surah 55). This is far from being concise in one’s speech.
- He (peace be upon him) was supported with fear cast into the hearts of his enemies.
Besides begging the question, i.e. Muhammad was a true prophet whom God supported against his enemies, there is nothing special here:
"In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of
"I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way." Exodus 23:27-28
"Set out now and cross the Arnon Gorge. See, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his country. Begin to take possession of it and engage him in battle. This very day I will begin to put the terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven. They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you." Deuteronomy 2:24-25
"You may say to yourselves, ‘These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?’ But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all
Continues on Part II