Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

More Deceptive Tactics From A Leading Muslim Taqiyyist Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We continue to examine some more of Dr. Badawi’s deceptive and misleading statements.

Christ possesses unique, divine qualities and demands worship

Here is what Badawi had to say in his debate with Dr. William Lane Craig concerning Jesus claiming to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life in John 14:6:

“We always heard this John 14… I said, ‘Amen!’ Every prophet speak not for himself–and Jesus himself said that in John–he speaks for God who sent him. And since the way to God is one way, then a prophet in his lifetime is the way, the truth, and the life; nobody can reach God except by following the way that God revealed to that prophet.” (The Concept of God in Islam and Christianity, University of Illinois, 1997)

Badawi says the same thing in his pamphlet on Jesus:

1.    THE WAY, THE TRUTH (John 14:6): applies to every prophet in his time. (Jesus in the Quran and Bible)

Before we delve into the details of this discussion, it should be obvious that there is a huge difference between saying: “I speak the truth” or even “I have the truth” (because it was given to me by God), and the claim that “I am the truth”. No true prophet before Jesus has ever spoken this way. His claim is unique and much stronger.

With that said, it is vitally important that we quote the exact words of the Lord Jesus:

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way AND THE TRUTH (al-haqq) AND THE LIFE (al-hayat). No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6

As we can see from the passage, Christ not only said that he is the Way and the Truth, he also claimed to be Life itself, a point which he made on more than one occasion:

“‘Your brother will rise again,’ Jesus told her. Martha said, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am THE Resurrection and THE Life (ana huwa al-qiyamatu w’al-hayat). The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she told Him, ‘I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.’ … So they removed the stone. Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, thank you for hearing Me. I know you always hear Me. I say this for the benefit of the crowd standing here so that they will believe that you sent Me.’ Having said this Jesus shouted with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his feet bound and his hands tied, and his face covered with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.’” John 11:23-27, 41-44

Notice how Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead in order to prove to the crowds that he is both the Resurrection and Life! This shows that Jesus believed that he is the One who gives both physical and spiritual life to all creatures.

Jesus even claimed to be the One who will actually raise the dead from out of their graves at the last day:

“For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will… Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live… Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his [the Son’s] voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.” John 5:21, 25, 28-29

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.’” John 6:36-40

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28

Moreover, in the very same context where Jesus said that he is the Way, he also went on to say that he will personally answer all of his disciples’ prayers, doing whatever they directly ask him in order to help them accomplish his will on earth:

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:13-14

Here is where the problems begin for Badawi. The Quran repeatedly says that it is Allah who gives life and resurrects the dead, and also states that he is the Truth and the Resurrection. It even says that he is the one whom people pray to or call upon, as well as praise:

That is because Allah, He is the Truth (al-haqqu), and it is He Who gives life to the dead, and it is He Who is Able to do all things. And surely, the Hour is coming, there is no doubt about it, and certainly, Allah will resurrect those who are in the graves. S. 22:6-7 Hilali-Khan

Wherefore let God be exalted, the King, the Truth (al-haqqu)! There is no god but He! Lord of the stately throne! S. 23:116 Rodwell

Look then at the effects (results) of Allah's Mercy, how He revives the earth after its death. Verily! That (Allah) Who revived the earth after its death shall indeed raise the dead (on the Day of Resurrection), and He is Able to do all things. S. 30:50 Hilali-Khan

He is the Living (One) (huwa al-hayyu): There is no god but He: Call upon Him, giving Him sincere devotion. Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds! … It is He Who gives Life and Death; and when He decides upon an affair, He says to it, "Be", and it is. S. 40:65, 68 Y. Ali

In order to understand how all of this exposes Badawi for being deceptive, it is vitally important to keep in mind that orthodox Islam teaches that there must be three necessary prerequisites in order for pure monotheism to exist: Tauhid al-Rububiyyah, Tauhid al-Uluhiyyah/Ibaadah, and Tauhid al-Asma wa-Sifaat.

What these categories entail is that a Muslim must believe that Allah is the sole creator, sustainer, and sovereign ruler of the universe who does not allow anyone to share in his dominion over all creation (Rububiyyah). A Muslim must also acknowledge that only Allah is worthy to be worshiped (Uluhiyyah/Ibaadah), and that he alone possesses certain divine names and characteristics (al-Asma wa-Sifaat).

Badawi himself accepts this threefold classification since he mentioned it in the same debate with Dr. Craig:

“For the Muslim, there are at least three important condition for pure monotheism. One is to believe that God is the sole creator, sustainer of the universe. No partner and no co-creator with him.

“Secondly, that God alone is worthy of worship, which means none is to be worshiped instead of him, alongside with him; nor is God to worship [sic] through any of his creature, no confession, no clergy with a specific authority.

“Thirdly, that God is not only one numerically, but one also in attributes and person, which mean there is only one person; there are no persons in Godhead.

“For the Muslim, any departure from any of these three element is regarded as so-called shirk, which is not only polytheism. Actually, it means in a broad sense to associate others with God in his exclusive divine attributes. The Quran present that as the cardinal sin that will never be forgiven. It quotes Jesus, the blessed himself, as saying that he would be innocent of those who do the same.

“The Quran indicates that this pure monotheistic faith has been the mission and message of all prophets throughout history and they invited all mankind, in fact, to willingly submit to God, follow his guidance in their life [sic].” (The Concept of God in Islam and Christianity)

Now this is where Badawi exposes himself. By saying that all the prophets were the Truth, or even the Life, in the same way that Jesus claimed to be, Badawi is pretty much committing shirk and accusing the prophets of God of doing the same.

After all, if Tauhid al-Asma wa-Sifaat is correct then no true prophet who was nothing more than a human being could ever call himself “the Truth”, “the Resurrection”, or “the Life”. To do so would be shirk since the prophet in question would be taking the unique names and attributes of God and applying them to himself.

Moreover, no true prophet who was merely human would ever make himself an object of prayers, going as far as to claim to have the ability to answer every invocation that is directed to him in his very own name! Such an assertion would be a violation of Tauhid al-Uluhiyyah/Ibaadah since the prophet would be robbing God of the exclusive worship and devotion which belong only to him.

Badawi obviously is completely aware of this and is therefore misleading people into thinking that Jesus’ proclamation that he is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” is nothing special, and doesn’t establish his Deity. If, as Badawi asserts, Jesus is nothing more than a Muslim prophet, then according to Islam Christ is guilty of committing shirk for ascribing to himself some of God’s very own unique names, attributes, and functions.

Since Badawi knows all this, he cannot be excused for speaking out of ignorance. He surely knows that what he says and writes concerning Jesus’ statements contradict his own beliefs as a Muslim.

Jesus shares in the sovereign rule of God over all creation

In the same debate with Dr. Craig, Badawi sought to lessen the impact of Jesus’ statements that the Father had committed all things to him:

"Dr. Craig raised also the issue about Matthew 11:27 when Jesus said that ‘God gave me everything.’ Well, logically speaking, if someone is receiving and someone is giving, the one who is giving is greater and he is the only one God! Furthermore, if we take it literally that ‘God gave me everything’ then there is no Trinity because God, or the Father, is totally emasculated, and he has nothing because he gave everything already! So if you want to take it literally, it goes both ways.”

Badawi says something similar in his pamphlet attacking the Deity of Christ:

13.    SAID THAT ALL AUTHORITY WAS GIVEN TO HIM: He who gave authority is Greater (ie. His God). (Jesus in the Quran and Bible)

It is obvious that Badawi has Matthew 28:18 in view here.

There are several problems with Badawi’s arguments. First, Badawi commits the fallacy of false dilemma (*, *) and a non sequitur (*, *). The Son receiving all things doesn’t result in the Father being replaced, nor does it end up diminishing the Father’s Deity. Rather, what Jesus’ statements imply is that he shares in the unique rule and authority of the Father over all things, and that the entire creation belongs to both the Father and the Son equally.

Nor does it follow that the Son is less than the Father in essence just because he receives authority from him. After all, if this logic were to be employed consistently then we would be forced to conclude that husbands are greater than their wives in essence, fathers are greater than their sons, employers are greater than their employees etc. Badawi is committing a category error at this point since he confuses nature and essence with function and authority.

It would also prove that Allah himself isn’t God since the Quran says that the Muslim deity inherits and takes loans from his creatures!

Who is he that will lend Allah a good loan, and He will multiply it for him manifold? God grasps, and outspreads; and unto Him you shall be returned. S. 2:245

Surely We shall inherit the earth and all that are upon it, and unto Us they shall be returned. S. 19:40

and We shall inherit from him that he says, and he shall come to Us alone. S. 19:80

Who is he that will lend to Allah a good loan, and He will multiply it for him, and his shall be a generous wage? S. 57:11

Now here is what happens when we apply Badawi’s reasoning to these texts. Since, logically speaking, the one who is giving is greater than the one who receives, this means that Allah’s creatures are greater than Allah since they are the ones who are giving to him, and he is the one receiving from them!

Second, Badawi doesn’t adequately address Jesus’ statements which clearly go against Islamic monotheism.

For instance, in Matthew 11:27, Jesus claims to know the Father in the same way that the Father knows him. Christ also affirms that he alone knows the Father and is therefore the only One qualified to reveal him to whomever he pleases:

“All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Cf. Luke 10:22

These assertions mean that Jesus believed that he was(is) omniscient, since this is the only way he could know the Father in the same way that the Father knows him. Christ’s statements also imply that he is incomprehensible, which is why the Father is the only One who can know him completely, since it requires another incomprehensible, omniscient mind to fully comprehend the Son.

Does Badawi seriously want us to believe that such statements are compatible with the Islamic view of Christ (or any prophet for that matter)?

Now let us see what Matthew 28:18 says in context:

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him (sajadoo lahu); but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the NAME of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” Matthew 28:16-20

According to the above passage, Christ receives worship, possesses absolute sovereignty over the entire creation, shares the divine name with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and is omnipresent since this is the only way that Jesus could be present with all his followers at the same time no matter where they are.

In light of this, does Badawi really think that this is all consistent with the Quranic depiction of Jesus? Doesn’t the fact that Christ receives worship in the same context of his claiming to be omnipresent, of having absolute sovereignty, and of also possessing the divine name violate all three classifications of Tauhid as articulated by Badawi himself?

Would Badawi really have no problem saying, “In the name of Allah, and of the Messenger, and of the Angel of Revelation,” or “In the name of Allah, and of Muhammad, and of Gabriel”? Would it be perfectly acceptable for him, or any other Muslim, to use such a formula where Allah is not only conjoined together with Muhammad and Gabriel but also shares the same divine name and authority with them?

Could Badawi say of Muhammad that he is personally present with all of his followers till the end of the age?

Moreover, could Badawi say that Muhammad rides the clouds and sits at God’s right hand, as Jesus did of himself?

“And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, ‘Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?’ But he was silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am; and you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’ And the high priest tore his garments, and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?’ And they all condemned him as deserving death.” Mark 14:60-64

Would Badawi really be comfortable with preaching that Muhammad is David’s Lord, much like Jesus claimed,

“While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, ‘Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: “The Lord (ar-Rabb) said to my Lord (rabbee): ‘Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.’” David himself calls him “Lord (Rabb).” How then can he be his son?’ The large crowd listened to him with delight.” Mark 12:35-37

Even though the Quran says that Allah hasn’t permitted anyone from taking an angel or prophet as Lord (rabb)?

And he commanded you not that ye should take the angels and the prophets for lords. Would he command you to disbelieve after ye had surrendered (to Allah)? S. 3:80 Pickthall

If Badawi were to say yes then he would only be violating Tauhid al-Rububiyyah since to sit at God’s right hand in heaven means to share in God’s unique rule over creation. As the following noted Evangelical Christian scholar explains in regard to Jesus’ response to the Sanhedrin at his trial:

“… Elsewhere in Mark, fifthly, blasphemy always consists in dishonoring someone by verbal robbery; in 2:7 by verbally robbing God of the prerogative to forgive sins, in 3:28-30 by verbally robbing the Holy Spirit of enabling Jesus to perform exorcisms, in 7:22 by verbally robbing other people of their rights and dignity (as may be inferred from the sandwiching of blasphemy between envy and arrogance), and in 15:29 by verbally robbing Jesus of his supposedly claimed power to destroy the temple and build another one in three days.

“So what does Jesus say that in the judgment of the Sanhedrin dishonors the tetragrammaton pronounced by him? We may best think that the high priest and the rest of the Sanhedrin judge Jesus to have verbally robbed God of incommensurateness and unity by escalating himself to a superhuman level, by portraying himself as destined to sit at God’s right hand and come with the clouds of heaven (cf. Dan, 7:13 LXX, according to which one like a Son of man comes, not to the Ancient of Days, but as an ancient of days - noted by W. Bousset, Religion 264-65; F.F. Bruce, NT Development 81, though the parallel is weakened by the anarthrousness of ‘ancient of days’ in the LXX [contrast Theod])…” (Robert H. Gundry, Mark: A Commentary on His Apology for the Cross [William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI 1993], pp. 916-917; bold emphasis ours)

Interestingly, this is exactly what the sin of shirk entails, namely, robbing God of his unique divine status and unity.

The Quran emphatically proclaims that Allah has absolutely forbidden any creature from sharing in his sovereign rule over all creation:

And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and Allah has power over all things. S. 3:189 Hilali-Khan

He, Whose is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and Who did not take to Himself a son, and Who has no associate in the kingdom, and Who created everything, then ordained for it a measure. S. 25:2 Shakir

Hence, if Jesus is not God but a mere Muslim prophet then the high priest was right in concluding that Christ had just committed blasphemy. In fact, Jesus’ disciples were also guilty of shirk since they all preached that Christ is a co-occupant of God’s throne and therefore a co-ruler with God over all creation.

In other words, Jesus and the Apostles sinned against God by committing shirk in Tauhid al-Rububiyyah since they openly taught that Christ is the sovereign King of all creation, and that every creature had to therefore submit to him as Lord in order to be saved.

Noted liberal NT scholar, Professor James D. G. Dunn does an excellent job of summing up the beliefs of the very first Christians:

“Whatever we can or should say about Jesus and his mission there can be little or no question that what the FIRST CHRISTIANS believed had happened to Jesus after his death transformed their appreciation of him completely. FOR THEY WERE CONVINCED THAT GOD HAD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD. This is the core affirmation of Christian faith, and it can be traced back FIRMLY TO THE EARLIEST DAYS OF THE MOVEMENT THAT STEMMED FROM JESUS, and in particular to the visionary experiences that the FIRST CHRISTIANS had of Jesus as risen from the dead and exalted to heaven. Such belief was already a confession by the time Paul was himself converted, WHICH WAS PROBABLY LESS THAN TWO YEARS AFTER JESUS’ CRUCIFIXION (1 Cor. 15.3-7). And Paul was probably converted to beliefs that he had persecuted, BELIEFS ALREADY WELL ESTABLISHED AMONG THE FIRST MEMBERS OF THE SECT OF THE NAZARENES. THEIRS WAS AN ASTONISHING BELIEF IN ITSELF. Many Jews believed that there would be a resurrection at the end of time and before the day of last judgment; that is, a general resurrection of the dead. But the thought of one person being resurrected (not simply revived to his previous life) WAS UNHEARD OF. SOMETHING OF MIND-BLOWING SIGNIFICANCE HAD HAPPENED, AND JESUS WAS AT THE CENTRE.

“More to the immediate point, these EARLIEST BELIEVERS were also convinced that Jesus had been taken or exalted to heaven. What had happened to Jesus was not simply a translation like that of Enoch or Elijah, nor simply a vindication such as Wisdom 5 assures the righteous they could anticipate. What then? We can safely assume that the first disciples would have searched the Scriptures to help explain and make sense of what had happened to Jesus. A key verse that shed much light for them and that evidently informed and shaped THE EARLIEST CHRISTIAN reflection on the subject was Psalm 110.1

“This verse runs like a gold thread through much of the New Testament, and is so interwoven into the language of the New Testament writers that it evidently was a primary starting point or stimulus for the strong strand of New Testament christology summed up in the confession, ‘Jesus is Lord’. The title (‘lord’) in itself did not necessarily signify any more than the status of a (human) master to his servant or slave; but in the context of the times, use of the title for Jesus in a cultic setting affirmed that he was being ranked alongside the gods of other cults (Asclepius, Isis, etc.), or alongside the Emperor in some degree of competition with the divine claims made for Caesar. And in the context given to the title 'Lord' (kyrios) by Psalm 110.1, its reference to Christ immediately indicates that in EARLIEST CHRISTIAN FAITH Jesus was now to be reckoned in terms similar to those used for heavenly beings of earlier Jewish reflection, or, more precisely, to be reckoned AS SHARING THE ONE GOD’S RULE. With this title Jesus is seen to be more on the side of God reaching out to humankind, than of humankind coming to God. (Dunn, Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?, 4. The Lord Jesus Christ, pp. 101-103; bold and capital emphasis ours)

This places Badawi in an unenviable and difficult position since the Quran asserts that Jesus is one of the greatest Muslim prophets and messengers, and therefore always spoke the truth about God and his relationship to him. The Quran further states that Jesus’ own followers were Muslims as well (cf. Q. 3:52; 5:111). And yet, not only did the historical Jesus and his very first followers proclaim that he is God’s unique and beloved Son who died on the cross and rose again, they also preached that the resurrected Lord is now a co-occupant of God’s heavenly throne, sharing in God’s exclusive rule over all creation forever!

“And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’” Luke 1:30-33

“For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:11

On Jesus Praying to the Father

In the debate with Dr. Craig, Badawi tried to undermine the significance of Jesus being worshiped by arguing that Christ himself fell down on his face and prayed to God. Badawi then defined prayer as an act performed “from the finite to the infinite.”

If Badawi’s definition of prayer is correct then this means that his own god must be finite since the Muslim scripture testifies that Allah himself prays:

They are those on whom are the prayers (salawatun) from their Lord and mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones. S. 2:157

He it is who prays (yusallee) for you and His angels too, to bring you forth out of the darkness into the light, for He is merciful to the believers. S. 33:43 Palmer

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

Badawi must now apply his argument consistently and so conclude that his deity is a limited, finite creature like angels and humans since he joins along with them in praying and worshiping.

For more on the subject of Jesus and Allah praying we recommend the following articles and rebuttals:

If Jesus is God was he praying to himself?
Examining Islam's Teaching that Allah Prays and Worships
The "Mystery" of PBUH Revealed: Allah's Prayers For Muhammad Examined
The "Mystery" of PBUH Revealed: Allah's Prayers For Muhammad Examined Pt. 2

Concluding Remarks

It has once again become obvious that Badawi does not hesitate to pervert not only what the Holy Bible teaches concerning the Deity of Christ and the Trinity, but is also willing to distort and hide what he believes as a Muslim. Badawi obviously does this in order to mislead people away from the truth of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, in so doing, he only ends up embarrassing himself since there are people that truly love the Lord Jesus Christ who are ready by the grace of the sovereign Triune God to expose him and his deceptive methods.

All praise to our glorious and majestic Triune God who faithfully raises up his servants in every generation to expose the lying and shameful tactics of Satan and his children in order to protect his flock from the deceptive schemes of the enemy!

This concludes Part 2. Lord willing, we shall have more to say about Badawi’s deceptive tactics in the near future.