Thursday, 14 January 2010

Examining Jerald F. Dirks’ Presuppositions and Theological Beliefs In Light of the teachings of Islam; Part II

”Continuation of the examination that Islam teaches only strict Monotheism”

Continues from Part I

Jesus as Creator and Author of Life

The Qur’an further testifies that Jesus creates life in the same exact way that Allah does!

and he shall be a prophet to the people of Israel (saying), that I have come to you, with a sign from God, namely, that I will CREATE for you out of clay (annee AKHLUQU lakum mina ALTTEENI) as though it were the form of a bird, and I will blow thereon and it shall become a bird by God's permission; and I will heal the blind from birth, and lepers; and I will bring the dead to life by God's permission; and I will tell you what you eat and what ye store up in your houses. Verily, in that is a sign for you if ye be believers. S. 3:49 Palmer

When God shall say, O Jesus son of Mary, remember my favour towards thee, and towards thy mother; when I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, that thou shouldest speak unto men in the cradle, and when thou wast grown up; and when I taught thee the scripture, and wisdom, and the law, and the gospel; and when thou didst create of clay (wa-ith TAKHLUQU mina ALTTEENI) as it were the figure of a bird, by my permission, and didst breathe thereon, and it became a bird by my permission; and thou didst heal one blind from his birth, and the leper, by my permission; and when thou didst bring forth the dead [from their graves], by my permission; and when I with-held the children of Israel from [killing] thee, when thou hadst come unto them with evident [miracles], and such of them as believed not, said, this is nothing but manifest sorcery. S. 5:110 Sale

Contrast this with how Allah created the first man:

HE it is Who CREATED you from CLAY (Huwa allathee KHALAQAKUM min TEENIN) and then HE decreed a term. And there is another term fixed with HIM. Yet you doubt. S. 6:2 Y. Ali

Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I am about to CREATE man from CLAY (innee KHALIQUN basharan min TEENIN): When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him.” S. 38:71-72 Y. Ali

It is apparent from these examples that Jesus, much like Allah, can create and has the breath of life whereby he can impart life to creation.

In fact, since the Qur’an identifies Jesus as a Spirit from Allah it only makes sense that he could grant life. After all, Q. 38:71-72 which we cited above says that Allah breathed his Spirit into the first man, a point reiterated in more than one place:

And when your Lord said to the angels: Surely I am going to create a mortal of the essence of black mud fashioned in shape. So when I have made him complete and breathed into him of My Spirit, fall down making obeisance to him. S. 15:28-29

And made his progeny from a quintessence of the nature of a fluid despised: But He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him of His spirit. And He gave you (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (and understanding): little thanks do ye give! S. 32:8-9

It seems certain that the Qur’an is echoing the Biblical story that God breathed his Spirit into man so as to make him a living being since it is the Spirit that animates mankind:

the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7

The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4

When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their spirit, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.” Psalm 104:29-30

If this is the case then the Qur’an is agreeing with the Holy Bible that God’s Spirit is the Agent of life, the One through whom God grants life to his creation. Thus, since Jesus is Allah’s Spirit sent to Mary in order to become a man it makes perfect sense that he would be able to give life to others.

Some Muslims are troubled by the idea of Jesus creating and giving life in the same way that Allah does since they can see that such an ability implies that Jesus was Divine. The late Maulana Muhammad Ali of the Ahmadiyyah sect writes in regards to Q. 3:49 that,

The act of khalq (creation) in the sense of creation cannot be attributed to any being except Allah. The Qur’an has laid the greatest stress upon this point. It again and again speaks of the Divine Being as the Creator of everything, so that there is nothing of which any one else may be said to be a creator. And of those who are taken as gods by any people, it says in particular that they do not create anything, while they are themselves created (16:20; 25:3).” (Ali, Holy Qur’an, [USA; Ahmadiyyah Anjuman Isha'at Islam Lahore Inc., 1995], fn. 428)

This late Maulana’s point is clear. To attribute to Christ the ability to create (as well as to breathe life into inanimate objects) is to identify him with/as God since God alone has the power of creating (or of granting life).

So how does Ali venture to explain Jesus’s ability to create clay birds and give them life? By insisting for an allegorical or spiritual interpretation of the miracles:

To understand the significance of this passage it is necessary to bear in mind that the chief characteristic of Jesus’ speeches is that he spoke in parables and preferred to clothe his ideas in allegorical language… It is perfectly intelligible if taken as a parable, but quite incomprehensible as a statement of fact. If on the one hand a prophet's dignity is much above such actions as the making of clay birds, on the other hand the act of creation is not attributable to any but the Divine Being.” (Ibid.)

Ali doesn't just stop with the creation of clay birds. He goes so far as to allegorize all the miracles attributed to Jesus in both the Qur’an and the Holy Bible, and even appeals to the liberal wing of Christianity, one that denies the supernatural from ever occurring, to support his case:

“… The miracle of Jesus’ healing the sick has been rationally explained in the Enc. Bib. By the Rev. T.K. Cheyne, who has shown that all the stories of healing of the sick have arisen from the SPIRITUAL HEALING of the sick, as in Matt. 9:12: ‘They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick’: and as in Jesus’ message to John the Baptist: ‘The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them’ (Matt. 11:5). The concluding words clearly show that the sick and the lame and the blind belong to the same category as the poor to whom the Gospel is preached, being the poor in heart. Compare also Matt. 13:15: ‘For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and should understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them.’ Here the healing cannot refer but to healing of the spiritual diseases. The Holy Qur'an gives a similar explanation of the healing of the sick when, speaking of itself, it says that it is ‘a healing for what is in the hearts’ (10:57), i.e. for the spiritual diseases. The prophet's healing is spiritual, not healing of the physical diseases. The Qur’an speaks of the blind and the deaf frequently, but it never means those who have lost the senses of seeing and hearing.” (Ibid., p. 145, f. 429)

The late Muhammad Asad is another Muslim scholar who believed that attributing creative powers to any human being is to ascribe divinity to that person. In regards to Muhammad's inability to perform miracles Asad notes in reference to Q. 7:188 that:

“… The repeated insistence in the Qur’an on the humanness of the Prophet is in tune with the doctrine that no created being has or could have any share, however small, in any of the Creator's qualities or powers. In logical continuation of this argument, the next passage (vv. 189-198), stresses the uniqueness and exclusiveness of God's creative powers.” (Asad, The Message of the Qur’an [Dar Al-Andalus Limited 3 Library Ramp, Gibraltar rpt. 1993], p. 233, fn. 154)

Asad explains Jesus’ ability to perform miracles such as raising the dead and giving life to clay birds which he created as parables or metaphors which point to specific spiritual truths:

The noun tayr is plural of ta'ir (‘flying creature’ or ‘bird’), or an infinitive noun (‘flying’) derived from the verb tara (‘he flew’). In pre-Islamic usage, as well as in the Qur'an, the words ta'ir and tayr often denote ‘fortune’ or ‘destiny’, whether good or evil (as, for instance, in 7:131, 27:47 or 36:19, and still more clearly in 17:13). Many instances of this idiomatic use of tayr and ta'ir are given in all the authoritative Arabic dictionaries; see also Lane V, 1904 f. Thus, in THE PARABOLIC MANNER so beloved by him, Jesus intimated to the children of Israel that out of the humble clay of their lives he would fashion for them the vision of a soaring destiny and that this vision, brought to life by his God-given inspiration, would become their real destiny by God's leave and by strength of their faith (as pointed out at the end of this verse).” (Asad, The Message of the Qur'an [Dar Al-Andalus Limited, 3 Library Ramp, Gibraltar, rpt. 1993], p. 74, f. 37)


“… It is probable that the ‘raising of the dead’ by Jesus is a METAPHORICAL DESCRIPTION of his giving new life to people who were spiritually dead… If this interpretation is – AS I BELIEVE – correct, then the ‘healing of the blind and the leper’has a similar significance: namely, an inner regeneration of people who were spiritually diseased and blind to the truth.” (Ibid., f. 38)

However, since Dirks professes to be an orthodox Sunni Muslim who affirms that Jesus did perform supernatural miracles he must contend with the implications of the Qur’an’s teaching that Christ could raise the dead as well as create and breathe life into inanimate objects. He must deal with the fact that such ability implies that Jesus is God since he can do what God alone does.

We now turn to our final section.

Jesus as Lord

It is amazing to find the Qur’an exhorting Muslims not to take anyone other than Allah and Jesus as their Lord!

They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords apart from God AND the Messiah Mary's son (min dooni Allahi WA al-maseeha ibna maryama), 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

According to this verse Muslims are required to view and embrace Jesus as their Lord in the same way that they take Allah as their Lord!

Some have taken exception with our exegesis of Q. 9:31, asserting that the Arabic text clearly places Jesus alongside the rabbis and monks who were wrongly taken as Lords besides Allah. For instance, the conjunction (wa) before al-Maseeha, and the short vowel fatha (a), at the end of the word indicate that al-Maseeha is in the accusative, so it is another object (together with the first two, ahbarahum wa ruhbanahum, “their rabbis and their monks”) of the verb “have taken.” These Muslims claim that the sentence actually reads like this:

They have taken their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah Mary's son as lords apart from God, and they were commanded to serve but One God; there is no god but He; glory be to Him, above that they associate.

They add that if the wa was a conjunction of al-Maseeh to Allah, i.e. binding Allah and the Messiah together, then it would need to be in the genitive just like Allahi, i.e. al-Maseehi.

There are several responses to these typical Muslim assertions. To begin with, the main problem is that the Muslims are presupposing that the markings distinguishing the different cases in Arabic, i.e. nominative, accusative etc., were always there, were always part of the original text. The reality, however, is that the original Arabic Qur’an had no markings to help differentiate between the different nuances of the word.

Here is how the text would look like in transliteration minus the critical points:

min doon allah w al-maseeh bn maryam

As one can see, there is no short fatha at the end of the words al-Maseeh, bn or maryam, which means that the original Arabic text did indeed conjoin Jesus along with Allah.

This leads us to our second point. The conjunction wa is viewed by Muslims to be the conjunction of partnership:

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” (2:32) 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.(1)

The third problem that Muslims face is that Muhammad’s purported explanation of Q. 9:31 proves that Muslims must embrace Jesus 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 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 lawful for the people.

Notice that Muhammad didn’t claim that the reason why it is wrong to obey the rabbis and monks in forbidding the permissible or permitting the prohibited is because they are not inspired. He 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 statement suggests that anytime a person follows someone who prohibits that which Allah has made lawful or permits that Allah has forbidden then s/he is taking that that individual as his/her Lord.

Hence, Muhammad’s 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 Straight Way. S. 43:63-64

These factors conclusively prove that the Q. 9:31 is placing Jesus alongside Allah as one of those individuals that Muslims must take as their Lord!

Concluding Remarks

In these rebuttals we saw how Dirks appeals to certain heretical Christian sects in order to mislead his audience into thinking that the beliefs of such groups are somehow more faithful to Jesus or closer to Islamic theology. We proved that such is not the case since these very same heretics held certain beliefs which were diametrically opposed to both the witness of the first century NT documents and the teachings of Muhammad. Thus, if these sects represent what Christ taught his followers then Islam is a false religion for opposing such beliefs.

We also demonstrated how Dirks distorted the historic Christian view concerning Jesus’ relationship to the Father as his beloved Son and the Holy Spirit’s role in creating the physical body that Christ took in order to become a man. We then applied his very own argument against the teachings of Islam to show that Muhammad and/or the author(s) of the Qur’an, as well as the Muslim expositors, were confused concerning who actually impregnated Mary. Did Allah or his Spirit cause Mary to conceive? And who actually breathed the Spirit into Mary’s body, Allah, Gabriel, or both?

We further exposed Dirk’s blatant assertion that Islam promotes strict and uncompromising monotheism by providing narrations showing how Muhammad committed idolatry by kissing a black stone which the pagans of Mecca used to venerate as well. We then went on to document that the Qur’an contradicts itself in that it denies that Jesus is God while at the same time affirming both his Divinity and his prehuman existence.

Thus, Islam encourages and actually promotes idolatry by encouraging Muslims to kiss a stone idol. It is confused concerning the identity and relationship of Allah, his Spirit, and Gabriel since it cannot decide which of these persons impregnated Mary. It also presents an incoherent and conflicting picture of the Person of Jesus, i.e. is Christ only a human messenger or is he the Word of God and his Spirit and therefore a preexistent Divine Being?

So much for the Qur’an promoting strict and uncompromising monotheism or for being mubeen, i.e. in plain and clear Arabic!

We know indeed that they say, “It is a man that teaches him.” The tongue of him they wickedly point to is notably foreign, while this is Arabic, pure and clear. S. 16:103

Lord Jesus willing, more rebuttals to Dirks’ distortions and manhandling of both the Holy Bible, God’s true Word, and his own Islamic sources to follow shortly.

Related Articles’an/Contra/jesus_creator.htm’an/Incoherence/many_gods.htm’an.htm’an/Contra/allah_high_god.html’an/Contra/gabriel_spirit.html’an/Contra/only_judge.html’an/Contra/death_angels.html


(1) The author(s) did it yet another time! S/he/they used the conjunction wa in pairing Allah with the angels in their prayers and worship:

Verily, God AND His angels pray for the prophet. O ye who believe! pray for him and salute him with a salutation! S. 33:56 Palmer

Inna Allaha WA malaikatahu yusalloona ala al-nabiyyi ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo salloo alayhi wa sallimoo tasleeman

This means that Allah is actually part of a group of creatures that are praying for Muhammad! In fact, the above text troubled some Muslims precisely because the angels’ prayers were conjoined with the prayers of Allah:

The commentators and etymologists disagree regarding the words of Allah, “Allah and His angels pray blessings on the Prophet.” (33:56) about whether the word “pray” (masc. pl.) refers to both Allah and the angels or not. Some of them allow it to refer to both while others forbid this because of the idea of partnership. They make the pronoun refer to the angels alone and understand the ayat as Allah prays and His angels pray. (Ash-Shifa of Qadi Iyad, pp. 8-9)

For more on Allah’s praise and worship we recommend the article,
Islam and the prayers of Allah.



1 comment:

  1. Actually I don't find any comment to such a low level of discussion. It doesn't make sens to give you a reply.
    I can advise you one thing: spare your efforts to an other thing. Mohammed has accomplished his mission successfully. Islam has survived and is becoming the largested religion...with hundereds of converting every day...thanks God.
    Nevertheless we will live in peace with our brothers jews and christians but not with you