Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Another Taqiyyist Bites the Dust Pt. 5

Sam Shamoun

We have now come to the final section of our rebuttal.



“And who appointed a pope? Certainly not Jesus. True, he may have called Peter the rock upon which he would build his church (Matthew 16:18-19). However, a scant five verses later, he called Peter ‘Satan’ and ‘an offense.’ And let us not forget that this ‘rock’ thrice denied Jesus after Jesus’ arrest—poor testimony of Peter’s commitment to the new church.”



What does the pope have to do with Jesus’ blessing to Peter in Matthew 16:18-19? For Protestants and others like the Orthodox Church, absolutely nothing.

Moreover, since Brown has a problem with Peter’s sins and failures, all of which occurred before the Holy Spirit had been given to him (cf. John 7:38-39; 14:16-17; 16:7; 20:21-23; Acts 1:1-8; 2:1-36), then what will he say about his own prophet who was fooled by Satan into reciting verses in praise of the three pagan goddesses of the Meccans? 

Here is the story taken from the oldest extant biography on Muhammad’s life:

Now the apostle was anxious for the welfare of his people, wishing to attract them as far as he could. It has been mentioned that he longed for a way to attract them, and the method he adopted is what Ibn Hamid told me that Salama said M. b. Ishaq told him from Yazid b. Ziyad of Medina from M. b. Ka`b al-Qurazi: When the apostle saw that his people turned their backs on him and he was pained by their estrangement from what he brought them from God he longed that there should come to him from God a message that would reconcile his people to him. Because of his love for his people and his anxiety over them it would delight him if the obstacle that made his task so difficult could be removed; so that he meditated on the project and longed for it and it was dear to him. Then God sent down "By the star when it sets your comrade errs not and is not deceived, he speaks not from his own desire," and when he reached His words "Have you thought of al-Lat and al-`Uzza and Manat the third, the others", Satan, when he was meditating upon it, and desiring to bring it (sc. reconciliation) to his people, put upon his tongue "these are the exalted Gharaniq whose intercession is approved". When the Quraysh heard that, they were delighted and greatly pleased at the way in which he spoke of their gods and they listened to him; while the believers were holding that what their prophet brought from their Lord was true, not suspecting a mistake or a vain desire or slip, and when he reached the prostration and the end of the Sura in which he prostrated himself the Muslims prostrated themselves when their prophet prostrated confirming what he brought and obeying his command, and the polytheists of Quraysh and others who were in the mosque prostrated when they heard the mention of their gods, so that everyone in the mosque believer and unbeliever prostrated, except al-Walid b. al-Mughira who was an old man who could not do so, so he took a handful of dirt from the valley and bent over it. Then the people dispersed and the Quraysh went out, delighted at what had been said about their gods, saying, "Muhammad has spoken of our gods in splendid fashion. He alleged in what he read that they are the exalted Gharaniq whose intercession is approved".

The news reached the prophet's companions who were in Abyssinia, it being reported that Quraysh had accepted Islam, so some men started to return while others remained behind. Then Gabriel came to the apostle and said, "What have you done, Muhammad? You have read to these people something I did not bring you from God and you have said what He did not say to you." The apostle was bitterly grieved and was greatly in fear of God. So God sent down (a revelation), for he was merciful to him comforting him and making light of the affair and telling him that every prophet and apostle before him desired as he desired and wanted what he wanted and Satan interjected something into his desires as he had on his tongue. So God annulled what Satan had suggested and God established His verses i.e. you are just like the prophets and apostles. Then God sent down: "We have not sent a prophet or apostle before you but when he longed Satan cast suggestions into his longing. But God will annul what Satan has suggested. Then God will establish his verses, God being knowing and wise". Thus God relieved his prophet's grief, and made him feel safe from his fears and annulled what Satan had suggested in the words used above about their gods by his revelation "Are yours the males and His the females? That were indeed an unfair division" (i.e. most unjust); "they are nothing by names which your fathers gave them" as far as the words "to whom he pleases and accepts", i.e. how can the intercession of their gods avail with Him?

When the annulment of what Satan had put upon the prophet's tongue came from God, Quraysh said: "Muhammad has repented of what he said about the position of your gods with Allah, altered it and brought something else." (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], pp. 165-167; bold emphasis ours)

And this is what another Muslim convert, whose last name also happens to be Brown, had to say concerning this event:

According to this story, soon afterwards Gabriel informed Muhammad that the last verse had not been revealed by God. Rather, Satan had FOOLED the Prophet into thinking it was divine revelation. The verse was removed from the Quran and replaced by the verse that follows verse 53:20 in the Quran we know today: ‘These [supposed goddesses] are nothing but empty names you have invented, you and your forefathers, for which God has bestowed no warrant from on high’ (53:21-3). God then comforted Muhammad by revealing that ‘We never sent a messenger or prophet before you without Satan intervening in his desires. But God abrogates what Satan interposes’ (Quran 22:52).

The story of the Satanic Verses appears in the Sira of Ibn Ishaq as well as most early works of Quranic commentary (tafsir). Western historians have accepted it as true based on the HCM principle that reports that seem to contradict orthodoxy must be true (who would make them up?). As Watt notes, the Satanic Verses story is ‘so strange that it must be true in its essentials’.

Indeed, the story seems to undermine the central pillars of Muhammad’s claim to prophecy: his status as an infallible channel of revelation and the complete reliability of the Quran. From a Muslim point of view, if Satan could interfere in the revelation of the holy book, how do we know that other verses were not also tampered with?? From the point of view of a non-Muslim evaluating Muhammad’s claims to prophethood, his ‘error’ in the revelation makes him seem like a mere mortal who first politicked to earn Meccan support and then tried to cover up a mistake. 

We must be careful, however, in relying too heavily on the principles of the Historical Critical Method. Just because we think that a story makes an orthodox tradition look bad does not mean that the participants in that tradition viewed it in the same way. The great historian of the Prophet’s campaigns, al-Waqidi (d. 822), reports that when Muhammad sent Khalid bin al-Walid to destroy the idol of ‘Uzza, it came alive in the form of a naked black woman with long, wild hair. This also seems to contradict the orthodox vision of Islam. The Quran repeatedly states that idols cannot speak or defend themselves (see, for example, Quran 21:58-67).   

We must consider the possibility that early Muslims saw the story of the Satanic Verses, as well as those of live idols, as totally consistent with their religion. Certainly, most Muslim scholars later rejected the story of the Satanic Verses as heresy. The Spanish Muslim scholar Qadi Iyad (d. 1149) argued that the story could not have been true because none of the critics of Muhammad from the Quraysh ever took advantage of the episode to undermine his claims of prophecy. But other Muslim scholars accepted the Satanic Verses as fact. Some, like Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328), explained them by saying that the Prophet was still entirely trustworthy as a medium of revelation because God would have corrected him whenever the Devil confused him. In the late antique world in which God constantly intervened in the lives of His prophets, the Satanic Verses would not seem out of place. (Jonathan A. C. Brown, Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction [Oxford University Press Inc., New York 2011], pp. 97-99; bold emphasis ours)    

Will Brown now do the honorable thing and turn away from Muhammad who couldn’t even distinguish Satan’s voice and words from the words of his own god? How can Brown continue to trust a man who could be so easily deceived and duped by the evil one?

What will he also do with the hadith reports which proclaim that Muhammad came under the control of black magic which caused him to think he was having sex with his nine wives when in fact he wasn’t! 

Narrated Aisha: Once the Prophet was bewitched so that he began to imagine that he had done a thing which in fact he had not done. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 53, Number 400)

Narrated Aisha: magic was worked on Allah's Apostle so that he used to think that he had sexual relations with his wives while he actually had not (Sufyan said: That is the hardest kind of magic as it has such an effect). Then one day he said, "O 'Aisha do you know that Allah has instructed me concerning the matter I asked Him about? Two men came to me and one of them sat near my head and the other sat near my feet. The one near my head asked the other, ‘What is wrong with this man?' The latter replied he is under the effect of magic. The first one asked, ‘Who has worked magic on him?' The other replied, ‘Labid bin Al-A'sam, a man from Bani Zuraiq who was an ally of the Jews and was a hypocrite.' The first one asked, ‘What material did he use?' The other replied, 'A comb and the hair stuck to it.' The first one asked, 'Where (is that)?' The other replied. 'In a skin of pollen of a male date palm tree kept under a stone in the well of Dharwan.’” So the Prophet went to that well and took out those things and said "That was the well which was shown to me (in a dream) Its water looked like the infusion of Henna leaves and its date-palm trees looked like the heads of devils." The Prophet added, "Then that thing was taken out.” I said (to the Prophet), "Why do you not treat yourself with Nashra?" He said, "Allah has cured me; I dislike to let evil spread among my people."  (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 660)

Will these humiliating stories, such as Muhammad being bewitched into imagining that he was actually having sex with his spouses, cause Brown to reject his prophet as a fraud? Or will he continue to justify his belief in a prophet who fails to live up to Brown’s own standards and criticisms?

Such Muslim hypocrisy and inconsistency is truly repulsive to say the least, and should repel any honest truth seeker from ever considering Islam as a/the religion from God.

So much for Brown’s blatant distortion of Christianity.

Lord Jesus willing, we will have more rebuttals to Brown’s misrepresentation of biblical truths and abysmal ignorance of Islamic theology in the future. 

Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptural quotations taken from the New American Standard Version of the Holy Bible (NASB).