Answering Dr. Jamal Badawi:

Jamal Badawi's Misinformation and Misquotations - Part 1

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Sam Shamoun

The following article highlights some of the misinformation and misquotations made by Dr. Jamal Badawi throughout his writings, lectures and debates regarding Christian and Muslim beliefs. We do not hold Dr. Badawi accountable for mistakes or misquotations made unintentionally, since everyone makes honest mistakes. Rather, we are holding him accountable for his constant abuse and misuse of his sources. The ones we chose to expose are not unintentional mistakes. They are claims often made by Badawi, which are so glaring that any competent reading of the source in question would have prevented such a gross misreading of the text. In case Badawi decides to acknowledge his mistakes and corrects them, or decides to rebut the accusations against his scholarly credibility, we will be more than happy to inform our readers.

We proceed to the evidence. The following citations and claims are taken from Badawi's debate with Labib Mikhail on the Divinity of Jesus held in February 1, 1988, unless noted otherwise. Please keep in mind that most of the points we will be addressing are ones that Badawi often presents throughout his writings, lectures and debates.

Badawi on John L. McKenzie

Badawi claims that Christian scholar John L. McKenzie acknowledges that John's profile regarding the Paraclete is contradictory and incoherent. He states:

"And I like to refer to a Christian source, a very well respected biblical scholar by the name of John McKenzie. In his book, Dictionary of the Bible, in which he analyzed the profile of the Paracletos mentioned in John and came up with the conclusion, almost this words. He says, these profile it must be admitted do not give a coherent picture. On one hand he is described as a human, on one hand that particular verse say the Holy Spirit, the Paracletos, the Holy Spirit. Whether that was an insertion or an interpretive statement by the writer of that Gospel is open to question. But that biblical scholar himself admit the contradiction."

Badawi says something similar in his pamphlet Muhammad in the Bible:

In the Gospel according to John (Chapters 14, 15, 16) Jesus spoke of the "Paraclete" or comforter who will come after him, who will be sent by Father as another Paraclete, who will teach new things which the contemporaries of Jesus could not bear. While the Paraclete is described as the spirit of truth, (whose meaning resemble Muhammad's famous title Al-Amin, the trustworthy), he is identified in one verse as the Holy Ghost (John 14:26). Such a designation is however inconsistent with the profile of that Paraclete. In the words of the Dictionary of the Bible, (Ed. J. Mackenzie) "These items, it must be admitted do not give an entirely coherent picture." (Source)

Did McKenzie say what Badawi claims? Let us find out:

Paraclete (Gk parakletos) the word is not used in the LXX and only 5 times in the NT. In profane Gk the word means the person called to the side of one in need of assistance, particular in legal processes; but it does not signify a professional advocate (which Lt advocatus does mean). Hence, the general meaning of paraclete is helper. Profane Gk also employs the word as an active verbal adjective, i.e., one who speaks on behalf of another, an intercessor. The roots of the NT are difficult to trace, and they have not been found in comparative religious phenomena of the Hellenistic world. It is probable that the phrase is closely connected with the function of the spirit of truth as "helper" in the Qumran* documents, and this meaning best suits the biblical occurrences of the word.

Jesus Himself is called paraclete before the Father (1 Jn 2:1); since it is He to whom the sinner turns, the word in this passage must mean intercessor. It is not clear, however, that this meaning of the word is at the base of the use of the word in Jn 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7. Jn 14:26 implies that Jesus Himself is primarily the paraclete, for the spirit who is sent is "another" paraclete. The meaning of paraclete as applied to the spirit* can be deduced only from what is said of the mission of the spirit. He is the spirit of truth (Jn 14:16); He will teach the disciples all truth and bring to their minds what Jesus has told them (14:26; 16:13); He will bear witness to Jesus (15:26); He will demonstrate the error of the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment (16:6-11); He will give glory to Jesus (16:14). These items, it must be admitted, do not give an entirely coherent picture. They are almost entirely fulfilled by speech, either formally or equivalently, but the speech is not the speech of intercession. In a broad sense the paraclete, then, is conceived as a helper. Scholars are quite generally agreed that the word as applied to the spirit should not be translated "comforter" or "consoler," as an active verbal adjective derived from the verb parakalein, and the context justifies this exclusion." (McKenzie, pp. 636-637; bold emphasis ours)

When one reads McKenzie in context it becomes obvious that the author was not speaking about the identity of the Paraclete. Rather, the author was referring to the precise meaning and function of the Paraclete. McKenzie is arguing that the term Paraclete refers to one that is an intercessor, whereas John's profile does not fit the role of an intercessor. Yet McKenzie clearly identifies John's Paraclete as the Spirit. McKenzie's reference to the Spirit affirms that McKenzie believes that the Paraclete is the Spirit of God. McKenzie does not believe that the Paraclete refers to a human agent, or that John's profile is contradictory. That McKenzie believes the Paraclete is God's Spirit can be seen in his section dealing with the NT view of the Spirit. In his section regarding John's view of the Spirit, McKenzie writes

IV. John. In Jn, as P. Menoud has observed, the spirit works in and through Jesus; the association is perhaps even more intimate than the association in Paul. Jn does not emphasize the giving of the spirit in the baptism of Jesus (Jn 1:33). While he states that the spirit is not given in measure (Jn 3:34), the prevailing conception in Jn is the conception of a reality rather external to the Christian than internal. Baptism is a birth of water and spirit (Jn 3:5-8); the antithesis of flesh and spirit in this passage is characteristic of Jn. The play on pneuma as wind and as a vital and creative force in Jn 3:8 cannot be translated; the dynamism of the spirit is given the free and unpredictable power of the wind. Because God is spirit He is to be worshiped in spirit and truth (Jn 4:24). E. Schweizer notes that this is not a denial of external cult; to worship God in spirit is to worship Him in His manifest divine reality, which is incarnate in Jesus Christ. So Schweizer finds that Jn's "worship in spirit and truth" is equivalent to Paul's "in Christ." The verse so understood shows the same idea of the pervading reality which is seen in Paul.

The spirit as opposed to flesh is a principle of the Christian life; and the words of Jesus, which are the revelation of God, are spirit and life (Jn 6:63), Christ gives the spirit (1 Jn 3:24; 4:13), which is streams of life for the believer (Jn 7:38 f).

The Pentecostal experience moves Jn to add here that the spirit was not given before Jesus was glorified. Only Jn (20:22) presents the spirit as a power conferred upon the apostles enabling them to remove sin by a forgiving* act. The spirit is conferred by a symbolic act of breathing; as God inspired life into the body of man (Gn 2:7), so Jesus communicates His spirit here.

The spirit is most prominent in Jn AS THE PARACLETE*, the spirit of truth (Jn 14:17; 15:26; 16:13) which DWELLS IN the apostles (Jn 14:17), which the world does not know (Jn 14:17), which is sent by the Father, AND BY JESUS (Jn 14:24, 26; 15:26), proceeds from the Father (Jn 15:27), teaches (Jn 14:26), witnesses (Jn 15:26; 1 Jn 5:6), convicts the world of sin (Jn 16:8-11), does not speak of itself (Jn 16:13), comes after Jesus (Jn 16:7), REMAINS FOREVER (Jn 14:16), reveals the true reality of Jesus (Jn 14:26; 16:13). Here perhaps a distinct personal reality is more explicitly asserted than elsewhere in the NT. The Paraclete shares His functions with Jesus, but the distinction between the two seems evident; the Paraclete is in THE CONTINUING LIFE OF THE CHURCH what Jesus was in its foundation. The caution concerning the personality of the spirit already made is to be entered again; the obscurity of its character makes it difficult to enunciate it more clearly." (McKenzie, pp. 844-845; bold and capital emphasis ours)

According to McKenzie, the Paraclete is the same Spirit that operated in and through Jesus and which continues to function in the life of the Church. This clearly shows that McKenzie was not denying that the Paraclete was God's Spirit or even saying that the Paraclete was a human being.

The preceding citations demonstrate both Badawi's misquotation and misapplication of McKenzie. Badawi twists the Dictionary of the Bible presumably to suit his theological agenda. To use sources in this manner is simply dishonest to say the least.

Badawi on John 8:58

The Apostle John records Jesus telling the Jews:

"‘I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am.'"

Badawi claims that Jesus wasn't literally claiming to exist before Abraham. Rather, Badawi presumes that the word "before" can mean more important or ahead of in terms of position. According to this interpretation, Jesus was claiming to be more important than Abraham. Badawi chose to focus on the wrong term, ignoring both the context and the one specific term that refutes his shallow exegesis. Here is the passage in its context:

"‘Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.' ‘You are not yet fifty years old,' the Jews said to him, ‘and you have seen Abraham!' ‘I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham WAS BORN, I AM (prin Abraam genesthai ego eimi)!' At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds." John 8:56-59

Christ claims that Abraham saw his day and that he existed before Abraham was brought into being. The emphasis here is not on the word "before" (prin), as Badawi erroneously assumes, but rather on the phrase "was born" (genesthai). The verb genesthai comes from the verb ginomai. This verb refers to a point of origin, coming into being, entering into existence, birth, generation etc. When speaking of his own personal existence, Jesus does not use the verb ginomai, but rather the present tense verb eimi. The contrast of the two verbs highlights the point that whereas Abraham came into being, Christ always was and is. There is no beginning to his life. A.T. Robertson's Word Pictures In The New Testament states regarding John 8:58:

{Before Abraham was} (prin abraam genesqai). Usual idiom with prin in positive sentence with infinitive (second aorist middle of ginomai) and the accusative of general reference, "before coming as to Abraham," "before Abraham came into existence or was born." {I am} (egw eimi). Undoubtedly here Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase used of God. The contrast between genesqai (entrance into existence of Abraham) and eimi (timeless being) is complete. See the same contrast between en in # 1:1 and egeneto in # 1:14. See the contrast also in # Ps 90:2 between God (ei, art) and the mountains (genhqhnai). See the same use of eimi in # Joh 6:20; 9:9; 8:24, 28; 18:6.

Vincent's Word Studies on John 8:58 concurs:

Was, I am (genesqai, egw eimi). It is important to observe the distinction between the two verbs. Abraham's life was under the conditions of time, and therefore had a temporal beginning. Hence, Abraham came into being, or was born (genesqai). Jesus' life was from and to eternity. Hence the formula for absolute, timeless existence, I am (egw eimi).

Badawi also claims that the literal rendering of the passage only implies that Christ existed before Abraham. It says nothing about Jesus existing before the creation of Adam, the world or the angels. As we have just noted, the contrasting verbs implies that Jesus' life has no beginning point which means that Christ existed prior to any created thing. This makes Jesus eternal. This is precisely the point made by both Jesus and the Apostle John. John begins his Gospel by stating that Jesus is the eternal preexistent Word of God, being fully God in nature and the Agent of God's creation who then became flesh:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men… He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1-4, 10-11, 14

That all things were made through Christ logically means that Christ not only existed before the angels were created, but is actually the One that brought them into existence!

The Lord Jesus states:

"and now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world WAS MADE... Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world." John 17:5, 24 RSV

Christ is claiming to have personally existed alongside the Father in the same divine glory, being the object of the Father's love, prior to the creation of the world. This clearly shows that Christ was there even before the creation of Adam and the physical universe:

"‘For the bread of God IS HE WHO COMES DOWN FROM HEAVEN and gives life to the world’ ... Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty... For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me...’ At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They said, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, "I came down from heaven"?’ " John 6:33, 35, 38, 41-42

"What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!" John 6:62

"But he continued, ‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am, you will indeed die in your sins.’ " John 8:23-24

"Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;" John 13:3

"No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father AND ENTERED THE WORLD; now I am leaving the world AND GOING BACK TO THE FATHER." John 16:27-28

These passages further show that Jesus personally existed with the Father in heaven prior to his human birth.

The final explanation offered by Badawi to avoid the clear witness of John 8:58 regarding Christ's deity is the assertion that Jesus was simply claiming to have existed in the foreknowledge of God. God knew and decreed the creation and mission of Christ even before Abraham actually lived. This explanation is plainly erroneous. If this is all that Christ meant then he could not say that he was before Abraham since Abraham also existed in the foreknowledge of God (as well as everyone else for that matter)! Furthermore, Christian Apologist Robert M. Bowman Jr. gives another reason why this explanation makes no sense whatsoever:

"... As has already been mentioned (in chapter 6), John Calvin debated persons in his day who interpreted the passage to mean that Jesus was eternally known by God in his foreknowledge. This view survived late into the nineteenth century, when it was effectively put to rest by the orthodox observation that the emphatic ego allowed for no other interpretation but that Jesus himself was the one who existed eternally. Thus, Godet, a famous nineteenth-century biblical scholar, wrote:

‘If,’ says Luthardt, ‘it follows from the apposition between to be and to become, in this saying, that the existence of Christ is eternal, it follows quite as clearly from the ego that this existence is personal.' This, too, is proved by the comparison with Abraham. For there would have been a touch of charlatanism on the part of Jesus in suddenly substituting an impersonal principle for His person, in His reply to the Jews, who were accusing Him of making Himself the contemporary of Abraham. If one of the two existences compared is personal, the other must be so too, otherwise, this statement, marked as it is by the greatest solemnity, is not a serious one." (Bowman, Jehovah's Witnesses & Jesus [Baker Book House; Grand Rapids, MI, 1995], p. 113; bold emphasis ours)

The preceding explanations should sufficiently put to rest Badawi's shallow exegesis and misinterpretation of John 8:58.

Badawi on John's Revelation

In the debate Badawi tried to mockingly dismiss the testimony of Revelation to the deity of Christ due to its symbolic imagery of things like seven horned and seven headed beasts. Badawi also stated that Revelation, "is a sort of dream, and people have every right to dream."

Badawi's snide and unscholarly attack upon Revelation only serves to discredit the Quran. This is because the Islamic traditions claim that the first revelation came to Muhammad in a dream:

Narrated ‘Aisha (the mother of the faithful believers):

The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah's Apostle WAS IN THE FORM OF GOOD DREAMS which came true like bright day light, and then the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him. He used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family. He used to take with him the journey food for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food like-wise again till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, "I do not know how to read..." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 3)

Narrated Aisha:

The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah's Apostle was in the form of true dreams. The Angel came to him and said, "Read, in the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists), has created man a clot. Read! And your Lord is Most Generous"... (96.1,2,3). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 479)

Muslim historian al-Tabari relates Muhammad's "call" to prophethood:

"... When the night came on which God ennobled him by making him his Messenger and thereby showed mercy to his servants, Gabriel brought him the command of God. The Messenger of God said, ‘Gabriel came to me AS I WAS SLEEPING with a brocade cloth in which was writing. He said, "recite!" I said, "I cannot recite." He pressed me tight and almost stifled me, until I thought that I should die. Then he let me go, and said, "Recite!" I said, "What shall I recite?" only saying that in order to free myself from him, fearing that he might repeat what he had done to me. He said:

Recite in the name of your Lord who creates! He creates man from a clot of blood. Recite: And your Lord is the Most Bountiful, He who teaches by the pen, teaches man what he knew not.

I recited it, and then he desisted and departed. I WOKE UP, and it was as though these words had been written on my heart. There was no one of God's creation more hateful to me than a poet or a madman; I could not bear to look at either of them. I said to myself, "Your humble servant (meaning himself) is either a poet or a madman, but Quraysh shall never say this of me. I shall take myself to a mountain crag, hurl myself down from it, kill myself, and find relief in that way."’" (The History of Al-Tabari, Volume VI, Muhammad at Mecca, tran. By W. Montgomery Watt and M.V. McDonald [State University of New York Press, Albany 1988]. p. 71; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Hence, Muhammad received his "call" to prophethood in a dream. Muhammad also claimed that he "received" the command to marry 6-year-old Aisha in his dreams:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

Allah's Apostle said (to me), "You have been shown to me twice IN (MY) DREAMS. A man was carrying you in a silken cloth and said to me, ‘This is your wife.’ I uncovered it; and behold, it was you. I said to myself, ‘If this dream is from Allah, He will cause it to come true.’" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 15)

In fact, it was the dreams of his companions that led Muhammad to conclude that the Night of Power occurred during the last seven nights of Ramadan:

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:

Some men amongst the companions of the Prophet were shown in their dreams that the night of Qadr was in the last seven nights of Ramadan. Allah's Apostle said, "It seems that all your dreams agree that (the Night of Qadr) is in the last seven nights, and whoever wants to search for it (i.e. the Night of Qadr) should search in the last seven (nights of Ramadan)." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 32, Number 232)

Furthermore, the Islamic traditions claim that the dreams of prophets are divinely inspired and that dreams are the only remaining part of prophethood left:

Narrated Kuraib:

Ibn ‘Abbas said, "The Prophet slept till he snored and then prayed (or probably lay till his breath sounds were heard and then got up and prayed)." Ibn ‘Abbas added: "I stayed overnight in the house of my aunt, Maimuna, the Prophet slept for a part of the night, (See Fateh-al-Bari page 249, Vol. 1), and late in the night, he got up and performed ablution from a hanging water skin, a light (perfect) ablution and stood up for the prayer. I, too, performed a similar ablution, then I went and stood on his left. He drew me to his right and prayed as much as Allah wished, and again lay and slept till his breath sounds were heard. Later on the Mua'dhdhin (callmaker for the prayer) came to him and informed him that it was time for Prayer. The Prophet went with him for the prayer without performing a new ablution." (Sufyan said to ‘Amr that some people said, "The eyes of Allah's Apostle sleep but his heart does not sleep." ‘Amr replied, "I heard ‘Ubaid bin ‘Umar saying that the dreams of Prophets were Divine Inspiration, and then he recited the verse: ‘I (Abraham) see in a dream, (O my son) that I offer you in sacrifice (to Allah).’ (37.102) (See Hadith No. 183). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 4, Number 140)

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "The (good) dream of a faithful believer is a part of the forty-six parts of prophetism." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 117)

Narrated Abu Huraira:

I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "Nothing is left of the prophetism except Al-Mubashshirat." They asked, "What are Al-Mubashshirat?" He replied, "The true good dreams (that conveys glad tidings)." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 119)

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "When the Day of Resurrection approaches, the dreams of a believer will hardly fail to come true, and a dream of a believer is one of forty-six parts of prophetism, and whatever belongs to prophetism can never be false." Muhammad bin Sirin said, "But I say this." He said, "It used to be said, ‘There are three types of dreams: The reflection of one's thoughts and experiences one has during wakefulness, what is suggested by Satan to frighten the dreamer, or glad tidings from Allah.’ So, if someone has a dream which he dislikes, he should not tell it to others, but get up and offer a prayer." He added, "He (Abu Huraira) hated to see a Ghul (i.e., iron collar around his neck in a dream) and people liked to see fetters (on their feet in a dream). The fetters on the feet symbolizes one's constant and firm adherence to religion." And Abu ‘Abdullah said, "Ghuls (iron collars) are used only for necks." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 144)

Finally, the Quran itself mentions prophets receiving divine instructions through dreams and visions:

When Allah showed them to you IN YOUR DREAM as few; and if He had shown them to you as many you would certainly have become weak-hearted and you would have disputed about the matter, but Allah saved (you); surely He is the Knower of what is in the breasts. S. 8:43 Shakir

And when he attained to working with him, he (SAM- Abraham) said: O my son! surely I have seen IN A DREAM that I should sacrifice you; consider then what you see. He said: O my father! do what you are commanded; if Allah please, you will find me of the patient ones. S. 37:102 Shakir

Certainly Allah had shown to His Apostle THE VISION with truth: you shall most certainly enter the Sacred Mosque, if Allah pleases, in security, (some) having their heads shaved and (others) having their hair cut, you shall not fear, but He knows what you do not know, so He brought about a near victory before that. S. 48:27 Shakir

In light of the preceding factors, would Badawi apply his own criteria and reject the Quran solely because parts of it were given via dreams? If not, then on what basis does Badawi reject John's apocalyptic vision? It seems that the only real reason behind Badawi's rejection is due to his Islamic presuppositions that forbid him from accepting the clear NT witness to the perfect deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Badawi on Isaiah 7:14 and Ha Almah

Badawi claims that Matthew 1:22-23 wrongly applies Isaiah 7:14 to the Messiah. Badawi asserts that the Hebrew word used in Isaiah 7:14, almah, does not mean virgin but rather young maiden. If Isaiah had a virgin in mind he would have used the Hebrew b'tulah. Badawi also claimed that the prophecy was given to Ahaz, that Judah would be delivered from the Syrian-Israel alliance that was coming up against the land to dethrone the king. God would deliver Ahaz and the people by raising up Assyria against Judah's enemies.

Several comments are in order. First, although it is true that almah refers to a young maiden, this maiden by necessity would be a virgin since the Mosaic Law forbids women from engaging in premarital sex. (Cf. Deuteronomy 22:13-21)

Furthermore, the OT clearly shows that the word almah always refers to a virgin. One example includes Rebecca, Isaac's wife, who is called an almah in Genesis 24:43. That almah means virgin here can be gleaned from the context that states Rebecca had never slept with a man. (Cf. Gen. 24:16)

In Exodus 2:8, almah is used to describe Moses' older sister Miriam who is an obvious virgin from the context.

Psalm 68:25 uses the word to refer to the female musicians in the procession escorting the king into the sanctuary. Nothing in the context calls into question the virginity of these maidens.

In Song 1:3 and 6:8 almah refers to the attendants of Solomon's queens and concubines. Again, nothing in the context raises a question regarding the virginity of these young maidens.

Second, it is not true that b'tulah necessarily refers to a virgin. In fact, the OT data shows that the opposite is true. Whereas almah always refers to a virgin, b'tulah does not. For instance, in Joel 1:8 b'tulah refers to a woman who mourns for the husband of her youth.

In Genesis 24:16 where Rebecca is said to be a b'tulah, the inspired author qualifies it by stating that "neither had any man known her." This qualification would have been unnecessary had b'tulah clearly meant a virgin who had not engaged in sexual intercourse. We find this same qualification made in Judges 21:12:

"They found among the people living in Jabesh Gilead four hundred virgins (b'tulot) who had never slept with a man, and they took them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan."

This indicates that the word b'tulah by itself does not always or necessarily mean a virgin in the literal sense.

At times the b'tulah is used in reference to various pagan nations, as well as apostate Israel, known for their idolatry and immorality which is viewed as spiritual fornication or adultery. (Cf. Isaiah 23:12; 37:22; 47:1; Jeremiah 14:17; 46:11; Lamentations 1:15; 2:13; Ezekiel 23; Amos 5:2)

Moreover, more than two centuries before the birth of Jesus, the Jewish translators of the Greek Septuagint used parthenos for almah, the very same word Matthew uses in 1:22-23. This shows that Matthew wasn't misapplying anything since he used the very same word found in the Greek of Isaiah 7:14. This indicates that the Jews translating Isaiah into Greek knew that the context of the passage demanded that a virgin be meant and used the proper Greek term to signify this fact.

Furthermore, both almah and b'tulah are sometimes used synonymously. For instance, the most famous medieval Jewish Bible commentator Rashi (AD. 1040-1105) explained that alamot (plural of almah) in Song of Solomon 1:3 means b'tulot ("virgins") as a metaphorical reference to the nations. Hence, we find at least one Rabbi agreeing that almah and b'tulah are virtually synonymous terms.

Cyrus Gordon, a leading Jewish scholar who was formerly Professor of Assyriology and Egyptology, Dropsie College, wrote:

The commonly held view that "virgin" is Christian, whereas "young woman" is Jewish is not quite true. The fact is that the Septuagint, which is the Jewish translation made in pre-Christian Alexandria, takes ‘almah to mean "virgin" here. Accordingly the New Testament follows Jewish interpretation in Isaiah 7:14.

.... From Ugarit of around 1400 B.C. comes a text celebrating the marriage of the male and female lunar deities. It is there predicted that the goddess will bear a son... The terminology is remarkably close to that in Isaiah 7:14. However, the Ugaritic statement that the bride will bear a son is fortunately given in parallelistic form; in 77:7 she is called by the exact etymological counterpart of Hebrew ‘almah "young woman"; in 77:5 she is called by the exact etymological counterpart of Hebrew betulah "virgin". Therefore, the New Testament rendering of ‘almah as "virgin" for Isaiah 7:14 rests on the older Jewish interpretation, which in turn is now borne out for precisely this annunciation formula by a text that is not only pre-Isaianic but is pre-Mosaic in the form that we now have it on a clay tablet. (Gordon, "Almah in Isaiah 7:14," Journal of Bible and Religion 21 (1953), p. 106; bold emphasis ours)

Third, it is not at all clear that Isaiah 7:14 was a sign for Ahaz. In fact, Isaiah 7:9 states that Judah's deliverance was conditional:

"The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah's son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all."

Seeing that Ahaz refused to stand firm in the faith and rejected God's offer of a sign (Cf. Isaiah 7:11-12), God permitted Syria and Israel to come in and kill 120,000 troops and capture 200,000 of the inhabitants (Cf. 2 Chronicles 28:5-21). After Ahaz's refusal and rejection, God then turned his attention to the entire house of David. God promises Judah that in spite of all the sufferings and calamities they shall experience at the hands of Syria, Israel and even Assyria (Cf. Isaiah 7:17-25; 2 Chronicles 28:16-21), they would survive since God has sworn that the Messiah will come and shall sit on David's throne forever. (Cf. Isaiah 9:6-7).

Finally, the rabbis applied Isaiah 7, specifically Isaiah 7:21, to messianic times:

"In connection with Gen. 18:4, 5 it is noted (Ber. R. 48, ed. Warsh. P. 87b) that the words of Abraham to his Angelic guests were to be returned in blessing to Abraham's descendants, in the wilderness, in the land of Canaan, and in the latter (Messianic) days. Referring only to this last point, the words ‘let a little water be fetched,’ is paralleled with the ‘living waters’ in Zech. 14:8; ‘wash your feet,’ with Isa. 4:4 (the washing away of the filth of the daughters of Zion); ‘rest under the tree,’ with Isa. 4:6- ‘there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat;’ ‘I will fetch a morsel of bread,’ with the provision, Ps. 72:16- ‘there shall be a handful of corn in the earth,’ etc. So also the words: ‘Abraham ran unto the herd,’ are paralleled with Isa. 7:21 (which is most significantly here applied to Messianic times); and lastly, the words ‘he stood by them,’ with Mic. 2:13- ‘the breaker is come upon them.’ The same interpretation occurs in Bermid. R. 14 (ed. Warsh. p. 55a), the references to the Messianic days there being to Isa. 14:2; 30:25; 41:18; 4:4; and 4:6." (Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah- Complete and Abridged in One Volume [Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., Fourth Printing 1993], pp. 981-982)

In light of the preceding points, we see another one of Badawi's points crumbling from beneath his feet.

(Note- This is one plausible explanation. Another view can be found here: We also recommend the two following articles for further insight into this issue: and

Badawi on John 3:16 and Begotten

Badawi erroneously asserted that the word "begotten" in John 3:16 had been expunged from modern Bibles such as the RSV. Badawi inferred that this was due to the fact that the word is not found in the ancient MSS. Badawi is not the first to promote this gross blunder, since South African Muslim Debater Ahmad Deedat was one of the first to promote this falsehood.

It must be stated that the Greek word which the KJV translated as "begotten" has not been expunged. The word, monogenes, was and remains part of the original Greek text. The reason why "begotten" does not appear in some modern English translations is solely based on the linguistic data supporting the fact that monogenes is best rendered as "unique," "one of a kind," or "one and only." Scholars are basically unanimous in their view that monogenes refers to uniqueness as opposed to generation.

The following citations are adapted from Dr. James R. White's book, The Forgotten Trinity- Recovering the Heart of Christian Belief, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis MN, 1998, pp. 201-203. All bold emphasis is ours. Dr. James R. White notes:

The key element to remember in deriving the meaning of monogenes is this: it is a compound term, combining monos, meaning only, with a second term. Often it is assumed that the second term is gennasthai/gennao, "to give birth, to beget." But note that this family of terms has two nu's, "vv," rather than a single v found in monogenes. This indicates that the second term is not gennasthai but gignesthai/ginmai, and the noun form, genos. G.L. Prestige discusses the differences that arise from these two derivations in God in Patristic Thought (London: SPCK, 1952), 37-51, 135-141, 151-156.

Genos means "kind or type," ginomai is a verb of being. Hence the translations "one of a kind," "one and only," "of sole descent." Some scholars see the - genes element as having a minor impact upon the meaning of the term, and hence see monogenes as a strengthened form of monos, thereby translating it "alone," "unique," "incomparable." An example of this usage from the LXX is found in Psalm 25:16, "turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely (monogenes) and afflicted: (NASB) (White, pp. 201-202, f. 27)

Newman and Nida's A Translator's Handbook on the Gospel of John (New York: United Bible Societies, 1980, p. 24) states:

Only son is the rendering of all modern translations (i.e., John 1:18 -ed.). There is no doubt regarding the meaning of the Greek word used here (monogenes); it means "only" and not "only begotten." The meaning "only begotten," which appears in the Vulgate, has influenced KJV and many other early translations.

James Hope Moulton and George Milligan, in The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament (Grand Rapids, Eerdman's, 1930, pp. 416-417), concur:

Monogenes is literally "one of a kind," "only," "unique" (unicus), not "only begotten," which would be monogennetos (unigenitus,) and is common in the LXX in this sense... The emphasis is on the thought that, as the "only" Son of God, He has no equal and is able to reveal the Father.

George Beasley-Murray in his the Word Biblical Commentary on John (Waco: Word Books, 1987, p.14), says:

monogenes, lit., "the only one of its kind," unique in its genos, in the LXX frequently translates ... (yahid)..."

We therefore see that the issue is one of translation rather than textual evidence, since the original Greek text of John contains the word monogenes.

The truly sad thing about this is that Badawi is well aware of this fact. In a panel discussion titled "God as Viewed in the Bible and the Qur'an", which took place on June 5-6 1992 in Toledo Ohio, Badawi was informed of his misrepresentation. Dr. Robert Douglas, a member of the Christian panel, clearly called Badawi into account for falsely claiming that the RSV expunged "begotten" from the text.

Yet, even after being exposed for giving misinformation, Badawi still refused to acknowledge his mistake. Instead, Badawi tried to justify his error on irrelevant and untenable grounds. Badawi therefore knowingly promotes falsehood in order to mislead audiences. This is dishonest scholarship and speaks volumes about Badawi's true motives and intentions.

Badawi on Micah 5:2

Badawi claimed that Micah 5:2 neither refers to the Messiah nor does it speak about the Messiah being God. Rather, it simply refers to a human ruler. Here is the passage in context:

"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity. Therefore, He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has borne a child." Micah 5:2-3

When we examine the text as well as the specific Hebrew words used by Micah we find that Badawi has failed to deal with the real issues. For instance, the word goings forth comes from the Hebrew mowtsa'ah, which is the plural of mowtsa'. It means "origin, issue, export, source, spring, act or place of going out from." This word is used of the true God in Hosea 6:3:

"Let us know, let us press on to know the LORD; his going forth (mowtsa') is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth." RSV

In both the context of Micah and Hosea this word refers to activity, that God and this ruler have been active in history.

Micah also says that the ruler is to go forth (yatsa') for the Lord. Yatsa' is a primitive root meaning, "to go out, come out, exit, go forth." Micah also states that this ruler has been active from the days of eternity (olam).

These specific terms are also used to refer to God's eternal existence and activity:

"And the Levites-Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah-said: ‘Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting (olam) to everlasting (olam). Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.’" Nehemiah 9:5

"Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting (olam) to everlasting (olam) you are God." Psalm 90:2

"Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity (olam)." Psalm 93:2

"Even from (yatsa') eternity I am He; And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?" Isaiah 43:13

This means that much like God, this ruler has been actively around from eternity!

Therefore, the preceding considerations clearly demonstrate that this ruler is an eternal personality that has been active from the very beginning of time. This ruler is also to come forth from Bethlehem during the time the woman that is in labor conceives him. This shows that the ruler is both God and man, eternal and generated, born and unborn, infinite and finite at the same time!

That this passage is a prophecy of the Messiah, and not simply a human ruler, can be seen from the following rabbinic citations:

"Out of thee Bethlehem shall MESSIAH go forth before me, to exercise dominion over Israel. Whose name has been spoken of Old from the day of eternity." Targum Jonathan

"Out of thee (Bethlehem) shall come forth unto me Messiah, the Son of David." Rabbi Jarchi

"Although thou art little among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall come forth unto me a Judge to be Ruler in Israel, and this is King Messiah." Rabbi Kimchi

"Out of thee shall come forth unto me a Judge that is to be Ruler in Israel, and this is the King Messiah; for because He is to be of the Seed of David, from Bethlehem He will be." Abendena (Michlol Yophi in loco.)

"And He, the Ruler of Israel, is the King Messiah, who shall come forth from the Seed of David the King, who was of Bethlehem Judah." Rabbi Isaac (Chizzuk Emunah, par. I, 279)

The Jews during the time of Christ also understood Micah messianicly:

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’ When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written: "But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel."’" Matthew 2:1-6

"On hearing his words, some of the people said, ‘Surely this man is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘He is the Christ.’ Still others asked, ‘How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?’ Thus the people were divided because of Jesus." John 7:40-43

We therefore see that when the passage is exegeted correctly it only reaffirms the eternal, divine nature of the Messiah-Ruler.

Badawi's assault on the Apostle Paul

In his debate with Anis Shorrosh, titled The Quran-Word of God or Muhammad, Badawi claimed that Paul admitted to lying in Romans 3:7-8. It is sad to see Muslims twisting scriptures the way they do. The one that is actually lying is Badawi, not Paul. This is because when we actually do read the verses in context, one will discover that Paul was speaking figuratively. Paul is addressing how man's unrighteousness manifests God's righteous judgment more clearly. Paul then addresses a hypothetical question a person might ask that if in fact one's falsehood proves that God is righteous, then why does God condemn the individual? That Paul is using a human analogy here is crystal clear from the context:

"But if our unrighteousness brings out God's righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? ‘If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?’ Why not say - as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say – ‘Let us do evil that good may result’? Their condemnation is deserved." Romans 3:5-8

Interestingly, Paul indicates that it is men like Badawi who slanderously accuse the Apostle of condoning sin and falsehood, a charge to which Paul places under condemnation. Paul clearly denies the use of deception in preaching the Gospel:

"Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God." 2 Corinthians 2:17

"Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." 2 Corinthians 4:2

"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10

"Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?" Galatians 4:16

"You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed-God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed." 1 Thessalonians 2:1-10

In fact, Paul states that those using deception and lying incur the wrath of God:

"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." Colossians 3:5-10

"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

On the other hand, and contrary to the clear teaching of the apostle Paul, Muhammad explicitly condoned deception and the use of lying. The Quran states:

"Whoso disbelieves in God, after he has believed - excepting him who has been compelled, and in his heart is still at rest in his belief - but whosoever's heart is expanded in unbelief, upon them shall rest anger from God, and there awaits them a mighty chastisement." S. 16:106

Al-Tabari comments:

"It has been reported that the Quraish compelled ‘Ammar, his father Yasir, and his mother Sumayya to renounce Islam. So they tied Sumayyya to two camels and pointed a spear to her heart, saying to her that she converted for the men, and killed her. Later they killed Yasir. Thus, these two were the first martyrs in Islam. As for ‘Ammar, he told them, unwillingly, what they wanted to hear. So it was told the Messenger of God that ‘Ammar disbelieved. He said, ‘No, ‘Ammar is full of faith from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet; belief has been mingled with his flesh and blood.' ‘Ammar came weeping to the Messenger of God. Therefore, the Messenger of God started to wipe his tears, and said, ‘If they come back to you, repeat to them what you said.' This is the evidence for the admissibility of speaking unbelief under compulsion." (‘Abdallah ‘Abd al-Fadi, Is the Qur'an Infallible? [Light of Life PO Box 13 A-9503 Villach, Austria], p. 97; bold emphasis ours)

The Traditions tell us that there are at least four instances where deception can be used:

Humaid b. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Auf reported that his mother Umm Kulthum daughter of ‘Uqba b. Abu Mu'ait, and she was one amongst the first emigrants who pledged allegiance to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him), as saying that she heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: A liar is not one who tries to bring reconciliation amongst people and speaks good (in order to avert dispute), or he conveys good. Ibn Shihab said he did not hear that exemption was granted in anything what the people speak as lie but in three cases: in battle, for bringing reconciliation amongst persons and the narration of the words of the husband to his wife, and the narration of the words of a wife to her husband (in a twisted form in order to bring reconciliation between them).

More information is provided by William Muir's "Life of Mahomet", Volume I, footnote 88:

The common Moslem belief is that it is allowable to tell a falsehood on four occasions:

1st, to save one's life;

2nd, to effect a peace or reconciliation;

3rd, to persuade a woman;

4th, on the occasion of a journey or expedition.

To save one's life

The first is borne out by Mahomet's express sanction. Ammar ibn Yasir was sorely persecuted by the pagans of Mecca, and denied the faith for his deliverance. The Prophet approved of his conduct: - "If they do this again, then repeat the same recantation to them again." Katib al Wackidi; p. 227 .

Another tradition preserved in the family of Yasir, is as follows: - "The idolators seized Ammar, and they let him not go until he had abused Mahomet and spoken well of their gods. He then repaired to the Prophet, who asked of him what had happened." – "Evil, oh Prophet of the Lord! I was not let go until I had abused thee, and spoken well of their gods." – "But how," replied Mahomet, "dost thou find thins own heart?" – "Secure and steadfast in the faith." – "Then," said Mahomet, "if they repeat the same, do thou too repeat the same." Ibid. Mahomet also said that Ammar's lie was better than Aba Jahl's truth.

To effect a peace or reconciliation

The second is directly sanctioned by the following tradition:- "That person is not a liar who makes peace between two people, and speaks good words to do away their quarrel, although they should be lies." Mishcat, vol ii. p.427

To persuade a woman

As to the third, we have a melancholy instance that Mahomet did not think it wrong to make false promises to his wives, in the matter of Mary his Egyptian maid.

On the occasion of a journey or expedition

And regarding the fourth, it was his constant habit in projecting expeditions (excepting only that to Tabuk) to conceal his intentions, and to give out that he was about to proceed in another direction from the true one. (Hishami, p. 392; Katib al Wackidi, p. 133 .)

Hence, Muhammad treated truth and deception according to his own style of situational ethics. Muhammad condoned, and actually permitted lying to further his goals.

We are told in Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Number 361:

Narrated Zahdam:

Once we were in the house of Abu Musa who presented a meal containing cooked chicken. A man from the tribe of Bani Taim Allah with red complexion as if he were from the Byzantine war prisoners, was present. Abu Musa invited him to share the meal but he (apologized) saying. "I saw chickens eating dirty things and so I have had a strong aversion to eating them, and have taken an oath that I will not eat chickens." Abu Musa said, "Come along, I will tell you about this matter (i.e. how to cancel one's oath). I went to the Prophet in the company of a group of Al-Ashariyin, asked him to provide us with means of conveyance. He said, ‘By Allah, I will not provide you with any means of conveyance and I have nothing to make you ride on.’ Then some camels as booty were brought to Allah's Apostle and he asked for us saying. ‘Where are the group of Al-Ash'ariyun?’ Then he ordered that we should be given five camels with white humps. When we set out we said, ‘What have we done? We will never be blessed (with what we have been given).’ So, we returned to the Prophet and said, ‘We asked you to provide us with means of conveyance, but you took an oath that you would not provide us with any means of conveyance. Did you forget (your oath when you gave us the camels)?’ He replied. ‘I have not provided you with means of conveyance but Allah has provided you with it, and by Allah, Allah willing, if ever I take an oath to do something, and later on I find that it is more beneficial to do something different, I will do the thing which is better, and give expiation for my oath.'"

Muhammad also permitted his followers to use lies and deception to achieve their aims, whether to kill his enemies or to retrieve money:

According to Ibn Humayd- Salamah- Muhammad b. Ishaq- 'Abd Allah b. Al-Mughith b. Abi Burdah: The Prophet said, "Who will rid me of Ibn al-Ashraf?" Muhammad b. Maslamah, the brother of the Banu 'Abd al-Ashshal said, "I will rid you of him, O Messenger of God. I will kill him." "Do it then," he said, "if you can." Muhammad b. Maslamah went back and remained for three days, neither eating nor drinking more than would keep him alive. The Messenger of God got to hear of this, so he summoned him and said to him, "Why have you left off food and drink?" "O Messenger of God," he said, "I said something, and I do not know whether or not I can fulfill it." "All that you are obliged to do is try," he replied. "O Messenger of God," he said, "we shall have to tell lies." "Say what you like," he replied, "You are absolved in the matter." ... (The History of Al-Tabari - The Foundation of the Community, tarnslated by M. V. McDonald and annotated by W. Montgomery Watt [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1987], Volume VII, p. 95; bold emphasis ours)

"When Khaybar had been conquered al-Hajjaj b. 'Ilat al-Sulami of the clan al-Bahz said to the apostle, ‘I have money with my wife Umm Shayba d. Abu Talha-when they lived together he had a son called Mu'rid by her - and money scattered among the Meccan merchants, so give me permission to go and get it.’ Having got his permission he said, ‘I must tell lies, O apostle.’ He said, ‘TELL THEM’ ..." (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasulullah, translated by Alfred Guillaume (The Life of Muhammad), Oxford University Press, Karachi, tenth impression, 1995, p. 519; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The Quran testifies that even Allah is a deceiver:

The Hypocrites - they seek to deceive Allah but it is Allah Who DECEIVE them. When they stand up to prayer, they stand without earnestness, to be seen of men, but little do they hold Allah in remembrance; S. 4:142

Ibn Kathir comments:

In verse nine of Al-Baqarah, Allah says: <They (think) deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves.> While in the above verse, Allah says: <Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He who deceives them.> There is no doubt that Allah does not deceive as He is All-Aware of secrets. But, the hypocrites, owing to their ignorance, believe that they can trick Allah on the Day of Judgment them with the same external shows of piety and honesty that they used to gain advantage with the people and to get verdicts in the law courts in this world. Allah knows their intentions. Similarly, Allah says in the following verse: <On the Day when Allah will resurrect them all together, then they will swear to you.> (58:18).

After claiming that Allah does not deceive, Ibn Kathir goes on to say:

<But it is Allah Who deceives them.> It is Allah Who tempts them in their going over the limits and their misguidance, and DECEIVES them into reaching false perceptions regarding the purpose of this life and the trial on the Day of Judgment when their falsehood will fail. It is reported in a hadith that: ‘Allah commands that a servant enter Paradise, as it may seem to people, then takes him to Fire.’" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Sura An-Nisa, ayat 24-147, abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafa'i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London 2000], pp. 207-208)

Therefore, Muslims themselves admit that their God is a deceiver.

Further passages from the Qur'an about the deceiving nature of Allah:

And (the unbelievers) schemed and planned, and Allah schemed also, and the best of schemers is Allah. S. 3:54

Remember how the unbelievers schemed against thee, to keep thee in bonds, or to slay thee, or get thee out (of thy home). They scheme and plot, but the best of schemers is Allah. S. 8:30

The term for scheme in Arabic is makara and denotes one who is a deceiver, one who is conniving, a schemer. It is always used in a negative sense. Allah is thus seen as the best of deceivers, the premiere schemer and conniving one.

This is not simply a Christian perspective but one thoroughly endorsed by Muslim theologians as well. For example Dr. Mahmoud M. Ayoub in his book, The Quran and Its Interpreters, Volume II, The House of Imran, brings up the question of,

"how the word makr (scheming or plotting), which implies deceitfulness or dishonesty, could be attributed to God." (Ibid. [1992 State University of New York Press, Albany], p. 165)

After listing several Muslim sources he quotes ar-Razi as arguing that "scheming (makr) is actually an act of deception aiming at causing evil. It is not possible to attribute deception to God. Thus the word is one of the muttashabihat [multivalent words of the Quran]." (Ibid., p. 166; all bold italic emphasis ours)

Badawi also claimed that Paul denied inspiration in 1 Corinthians 7:25:

"Now concerning the unmarried, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy." RSV

Paul clearly states what he writes in this passage is solely his opinion. A couple of comments are in order.

First, the Greek word translated as "opinion" is gnome. The online Thayer's Greek Dictionary defines it as:

Strong's #1106 : gnome

AV - judgment 3, mind 2, purpose + 1096 1, advice 1, will 1,
agree + 4160 + 3391 1; 9

1) the faculty of knowledge, mind, reason
2) that which is thought or known, one's mind
2a) view, judgment, opinion
2b) mind concerning what ought to be done
2b1) by one's self: resolve purpose, intention
2b2) by others: judgment, advice
2b3) decree
(Source: Blue Letter Bible)

The word may mean to give a judgment, decree, view or even an opinion. In this particular context, the word is best rendered as judgment since Paul is speaking as Christ's representative.

Paul is addressing the question of whether virgins should remain unmarried, something that Christ never addressed while on earth. Yet as Christ's spokesperson Paul can speak on issues not addressed by the Lord Jesus during his earthly ministry. This authority to speak on issues not addressed by Christ is a right that the Lord personally bestowed upon his followers:

"He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me." Matthew 10:40

"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Matthew 16:18-19

"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:15-20

"I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me." John 13:20

"Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also." John 15:20

"Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’" John 20:21-23

Christ's followers were given authority to address issues and make commands that would then become binding upon all true believers.

An example of this can be found in Acts 15 and the Jerusalem council. There, the Apostles and elders convened to decide whether the Gentiles needed to observe the Mosaic commands, an issue never addressed by Christ while he was physically with them.

Their decision was that apart from a certain few restrictions the Gentiles were not obligated to follow the Law of Moses:

"When they finished, James spoke up: Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: ‘After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things that have been known for ages.’ It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath. Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul-men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell." Acts 15:13-29

This meant that all true believers had to now accept and follow the decisions of the Jerusalem Council. To reject their authority was to reject Christ.

Seeing that Christ commissioned Paul to be his Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul could therefore make commands that were binding upon his hearers.

Second, had Badawi read Paul in context he would have found the Apostle acknowledging inspiration:

"This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words." 1 Corinthians 2:13

"In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is-and I think that I too have the Spirit of God." 1 Corinthians 7:40

"If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I AM WRITING to you is the Lord's command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored." 1 Corinthians 14:37-38

This ends Part 1. Continue with Part 2.

In the service of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ forever. We love you Jesus forever.

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