Responses to Sami Zaataris Debate Points [Part 1]
Just recently, a group of Christians engaged several Muslims in a series of debates on March 21-23, 2008 titled "the Easter Debates" (*). Some of the debate participants included our own David Wood and Muslim neophyte Sami Zaatari (*).
I was able to listen to their debate which took place on March 22 concerning the thesis, "Was Muhammad a Prophet of God?"
I jotted down some of Samis main points which I will seek to address here in order to expose his inconsistency and distortions of the facts. It became evident to me during the course of the debate that Sami is another Muslim who doesnt mind lying and using cheap debate tricks to deceive people into believing in his false prophet. Despite Samis deceptive tactics and cheap rhetoric David Wood managed to thoroughly address his points with the time allotted to him and I felt that he won the debate. Yet the time constraints really didnt allow Wood to expose all of Samis lies and distortions, and hence our article.
We do need to state from the outset that since we wrote down Samis points on the fly it may be that we misheard some of his claims. In the case that we did we do want to apologize in advance and will make sure to correct anything once the tapes are available for reviewing.
With that said we now proceed to our refutation and exposition of Samis assertions.
Sami said he would use the Biblical Criteria to prove that Muhammad was a prophet.
He first pointed to doctrine, specifically that the Holy Bible speaks of the unity of God, of strict Monotheism, which Muhammad affirmed cf. Mark 12:29; Deuteronomy 6:4; Q. 112:1-4
As Wood correctly noted, the problem with this approach is that Sami conveniently ignores all the major theological contradictions between the Holy Bible, Gods Word, and the Muslim scripture. For example, the Quran disagrees with the Holy Bible that God is a spiritual Father who has spiritual children, or that Jesus is Gods unique and beloved Son, or that Christ died for our sins on the cross and rose again.
Now if Sami believes that doctrinal agreement is essential in establishing the prophetic claims of anyone then he must accept the fact that Muhammad is a fraud for contradicting basic Biblical theology.
Sami also mentioned that the inspired Scriptures prohibit any graven images. That is not entirely true since God himself commanded Moses to fashion specific images such as the Ark of the Covenant and the cherubim:
"Have them make a chest of acacia woodtwo and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it. Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other. Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the chest to carry it. The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed. Then put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. Make an atonement cover of pure goldtwo and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites." Exodus 25:10-22
Which the Quran agrees with:
And (further) their Prophet said to them: "A Sign of his authority is that there shall come to you the Ark of the covenant, with (an assurance) therein of security from your Lord, and the relics left by the family of Moses and the family of Aaron, carried by angels. In this is a symbol for you if ye indeed have faith." S. 2:248
God also told Moses to fashion an image of a bronze serpent:
"They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food! Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us. So Moses prayed for the people. The LORD said to Moses, Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live. So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived." Numbers 21:4-9
What the Holy Bible forbids is images that are taken as objects of worship:
"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me," Exodus 20:4-5
"Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israelall whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him." 1 Kings 19:18
Pay careful attention to the fact that bowing to and kissing an idol is considered acts of worship since this will be important in showing how Muhammad committed idolatry.
"In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan)." 2 Kings 18:1-4
The above reference shows that even an object commissioned by a prophet of God cannot be venerated through religious gestures such as kissing, bowing or by burning incense to it. If this is the case with images which meet with Divine approval how much more so will God be against venerating symbols which he has not personally commanded anyone to make?
Yet in Islam Muslims kiss a black stone due to the example of their prophet, which prompted a rather interesting response from one of his closest companions:
Narrated 'Abis bin Rabia: 'Umar came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said "No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen Allah's Apostle kissing you I would not have kissed you." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 667)
Narrated Salim that his father said: I saw Allah's Apostle arriving at Mecca; he kissed the Black Stone Corner first while doing Tawaf and did ramal in the first three rounds of the seven rounds (of Tawaf). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 673; see also nos. 675, 676, 679, 680)
For more on Muhammads idolatry please consult the following:
Sami asked Wood to show where the prophets worshiped the Trinity, a question that has been answered in plenty of articles some of which include the following:
Sami also asked where they said that God is Three-in-One. But then again Sami kept harping that Wood needed to be consistent in how he applies his methods and arguments. In light of keeping Sami honest and consistent we need to ask him to show us where the Quran mentions the following things:
Here we will help Zaatari out by quoting what some of the Muslim sources say concerning the word Tawhid and its threefold classification:
Tauhiyd comes from the verb wahhad which literally means TO UNITE. In Islamic terminology, it means to realize and maintain the unity of Allah in one's actions (inwardly and outwardly). The actual word tauhiyd does not occur in the Quran or Sunnah though the present tense of the verb (from which tauhiyd is derived) is used in Sunnah. The Prophet sent Muadh ibn Jabal as governor of Yemen in 9 A.H. He told him, "You will going to the people of the book, so first invite yuwahhidu Allah [them to the assertion of the oneness of Allah]".
Further, the division of tauhiyd into the components known to us today WERE NOT DONE BY THE PROPHET OR HIS COMPANIONS. It was systematically defined as such in order to convey, as concisely as possible, the simple unitarian belief of Islam. This was necessary because as Islam quickly spread to the four corners of the world, new converts began to interpret the teachings of Islam in line with their own philosophical concepts of Allah and so confusion arose. Preconceived interpretations, all of which are blameworthy, were propagated by those who wanted to destroy Islam from the inside. The first such enemy of Islam was an Iraqi convert from Christianity named Sausan who preached man's absolute free will while denying (qadr) Divine Decree. His student, Ma`bad ibn Khalid al-Juhani, spread such deviant ideas until he was tried and executed by the Umayyad Caliph. There were three other such executions over the period of 26 years. The later Umayyad Caliphs were relatively more corrupt and cared less about such religious issues. At the same time, the masses were also relatively less educated about their religion. This proved to be a deadly combination. As the number of deviants increased through the liberation of various lands, apostates were no longer executed. Instead, Muslim scholars rose to execute the tide of heretics intellectually. Tauhiyd, precisely defined, EMERGED OUT OF THIS DEFENSE STRATEGY. Tauhiyd had been divided into the three following categories: tauhiyd ar-rububiyah, tauhiyd al-asma was-sifaat, and tauhiyd al-`ibadah or tauhiyd al-`uluuhiyah. Tauhiyd has been likened to a tree, the roots being tauhiyd ar-rububiyah, the trunk being tauhiyd al-asma was-sifaat, and the fruit being tauhiyd al-`ibadah. Each category of tauhiyd will now be discussed in some detail. (The Concept of Tauhiyd, 7 October 2005; source/; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Or consider the seventy-three-page "introduction" to volume one of this same translation, a tract that explains the Muslim Trinity: Tawhid al-Rububuyya, Tawhid al-Uluhiyya, and Tawhid al-Asma wa al-Sifatthe (1) Tawhid of Lordship, (2) Tawhid of Godhood, and (3) Tawhid of Names and Attributes. By way of preface to it, Dr. Khan notes that many Western converts enter Islam without knowing what belief in the Oneness of Allah really means. He clarifies that tawhid is not one; namely, to say and believe the shahada of Islam with complete convictionas it was from the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) until the advent of Ibn Taymiya seven centuries lateras new converts might imagine, but must now be three in order to be one, and cannot be one without being three. While such logic may be already familiar to converts from Christianity, Imam Bukhari (d. 256/870) certainly never knew anything of it, and its being printed as an "introduction" to his work seems to me to qualify as "tampering with classical texts"aside from being a re-form of traditional aqida, in which Islam, in the words of the Prophet of Islam (Allah bless him and give him peace), "is to testify that there is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah " (Sahih Muslim, 1.37: 8). (Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Question 3, Re-Forming Classical Texts: As far as Wahhabi tamperings with classical texts goes, how widespread is this heinous crime? Can you give some serious examples of this?; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Renowned Sunni scholar Shaykh Gibril Foaud Haddad writes:
It is related by al-Harawi from Imam al-Shafi`i, that he said, Imam Malik was asked about kalam (Theological rhetoric) and tawhid, so Malik said:
"It is foolishness to think about the Prophet, that he taught this Umma about istinja (cleaning after relieving oneself), but he did not teach them tawhid. And tawhid is what the Prophet said:
I was commanded to fight the people until they say: There is no Deity worthy of worship besides Allah." [Quoted in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]
This report is true and its meaning undisputed. It shows that tawhid is One, NOT THREE. Its splitting into three IS ONE OF THE INNOVATIONS OF MISGUIDANCE that created fitna among the Muslims and is reminiscent of the Byzantine disputations. It is strange that some are still confused over this. (Haddad, "Salafi" Tamperings of Classical Texts The Aqida of the Imams, (2) Tampered Report - Imam Malik And Istawa; source; capital and underline emphasis ours)
Despite this candid admission that such terms and concepts were unknown to Muhammad and his followers we are going to insist that Sami be consistent and quote Quranic references where all of these doctrines are mentioned by name explicitly, otherwise we are going to have to assume that the Muslim scripture doesnt endorse such theological distortions (actually it doesnt since it teaches that there is more than one god. We will provide links to articles to document this point at the end of this specific section).
If Sami claims that the Quran doesnt need to mention these things explicitly in order for such doctrines and concepts to be true consistency therefore demands that he then stop challenging Christians to show where the blessed and inspired prophets or apostles mentioned the word Trinity or that God is Three-in-One since these are nothing more than cheap debate tricks. It is not the terms themselves which are important, but whether the Holy Bible teaches the very things that these words imply, which it clearly does.
Samis colleague Shadid Lewis, who was one of the debate participants, noted that the Jews reading the Scriptures didnt believe in the Trinity (by this he obviously didnt mean Messianic Jews who believe in the Trinity and the Deity of Christ), and yet in his debate with Nabeel Qureshi concerning the Deity of Christ ("Who Was Jesus?," March 23, 2008) Zaatari discounts the testimony of Jesus Jewish opponents on the grounds that they were unbelievers and were condemned by Christ (cf. Matthew 23:37-39). Talk about the Muslims being inconsistent and dishonest!
If the testimony of the unbelieving Jews concerning Christs Deity isnt good enough then why should their testimony concerning what the Hebrew Bible teaches regarding Gods Triunity be submitted as evidence against the Christian position? Moreover, these same unbelieving Jews rejected (and continue to reject) Jesus as the Messiah and further believe that their Messiah is a king who rules forever and ushers in universal peace. Since Islam believes Jesus is the Messiah and yet denies he is an eternal King then this means that it is a false religion. Sami and his cohorts cannot have his cake and eat it too even though he is trying hard to have both.
For more on all of the above points please go here:
Sami appealed to prophecy to show that Muhammad was a messenger.
He mentioned two specific prophecies in his opening statements and another in his rebuttal periods.
Sami said that Muhammad predicted that his people would compete for tall buildings:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
One day while the Prophet was sitting in the company of some people, (The angel) Gabriel came and asked, "What is faith?" Allah's Apostle replied, "Faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, (the) meeting with Him, His Apostles, and to believe in Resurrection." Then he further asked, "What is Islam?" Allah's Apostle replied, "To worship Allah Alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly to pay the compulsory charity (Zakat) and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan." Then he further asked, "What is Ihsan (perfection)?" Allah's Apostle replied, "To worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion then you must consider that He is looking at you." Then he further asked, "When will the Hour be established?" Allah's Apostle replied, "The answerer has no better knowledge than the questioner. But I will inform you about its portents.
1. When a slave (lady) gives birth to her master.
2. When the shepherds of black camels start boasting and competing with others in the construction of higher buildings. And the Hour is one of five things which nobody knows except Allah.
The Prophet then recited: "Verily, with Allah (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour--." (31. 34) Then that man (Gabriel) left and the Prophet asked his companions to call him back, but they could not see him. Then the Prophet said, "That was Gabriel who came to teach the people their religion." Abu 'Abdullah said: He (the Prophet) considered all that as a part of faith. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Number 47)
The problem with Zaataris interpretation is that he erroneously thinks that this is referring to the construction of modern structures as opposed to some of the buildings that were eventually built by the Muslims as they spread their rule of terror and evil throughout the eastern parts of the world.
In fact, one can say that this narrative was written to address the situation that Muslims found themselves in centuries after their prophets death, e.g. when this report was composed the Muslims had already begun erecting what would have been considered large structures at that time. This may have prompted someone to read back into the mouth of Muhammad this information in order to make it seem that the Muslim prophet had announced all of this. After all, this specific hadith was written over two hundred years after Muhammads death.
Moreover, even if we were to assume that Muhammad did utter these words one can take this to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, e.g. Muslims deliberately went about constructing tall buildings in order to fulfill their prophets words.
Besides, Zaatari didnt bother to mention the Quranic reference which his prophet sourced here, one which exposes the Quran as a false book and Muhammad as a false prophet:
Verily, Allah! With Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, All-Aware (of things). S. 31:34 Hilali-Khan
Seeing that modern science does have the ability to not only tell what is in a womans womb but can actually help to determine the gender of the child the woman wants to have this shows that Muhammad was truly ignorant of the future. Had he been a true prophet he would have surely known that science would eventually be able to both know and even assist in determining the sex of a child from conception.
The other so-called prophecy that Sami mentioned was Q. 22:27 where Allah says that people will come to the Kaba to make the hajj. Sami stated that one could observe the fulfillment of this prophecy even till this day since approximately two million people come to the Kabah annually.
Here, Sami pulled a fast one on David since the context shows that this was not addressed to Muhammad or his contemporaries, but rather to Abraham:
Behold! We gave the site, to Abraham, of the (Sacred) House, (saying): "Associate not anything (in worship) with Me; and sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or stand up, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer). And proclaim the Pilgrimage among men: they will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways; That they may witness the benefits (provided) for them, and celebrate the name of God, through the Days appointed, over the cattle which He has provided for them (for sacrifice): then eat ye thereof and feed the distressed ones in want. Then let them complete the rites prescribed for them, perform their vows, and (again) circumambulate the Ancient House." S. 22:26-29 Y. Ali
Allah is telling Abraham that people will come from all over to the holy House and is commanding him to inform them concerning the rites of pilgrimage that must be performed once they arrive. As renowned Sunni exegete Ibn Kathir stated:
<And proclaim to mankind the Hajj> meaning, announce the pilgrimage to mankind and call them to perform pilgrimage to this House which We have commanded you to build. It was said that Ibrahim said: "O Lord, how can I convey this to people when my voice will not reach them?" It was said: "Call them and We will convey it." So Ibrahim stood up and said, "O mankind! Your Lord has established a House so come on pilgrimage to it." It is said that the mountains lowered themselves so that his voice would reach all the regions of the earth, and those who were still in their mothers' wombs and their fathers loins would hear the call. The response came from everyone in the cities, deserts and countryside, and those whom Allah has decreed will make the pilgrimage, until the Day of Resurrection: "At Your service, O Allah, at Your service." This is a summary of the narrations from Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr and others among the Salaf. And Allah knows best. This was recorded by Ibn Jarir and by Ibn Abi Hatim at length. (source; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Nor does the citation even mention the Kaba! Sami has assumed that this must be referring to the pagan shrine of Mecca but doesnt bother providing any proof from the Quran itself to establish his case.
Furthermore, even if we were to again assume that this is addressed to Muhammad all this would be saying is that Muhammads immediate followers would come on camels to worship Allah at the Kaba, which is something that was happening during his lifetime, e.g. Muslims came from Medina, at-Taif etc. to perform the pilgrimage.
Moreover, for some strange reason Zaatari thinks that this is a prophecy as opposed to a command given to the Muslims that they are required to travel to Mecca to honor Allah at the (pagan) shrine.
Notice the last part of the context once again:
"Then let them complete the rites prescribed for them, perform their vows, and (again) circumambulate the Ancient House." S. 22:29
The Muslims are being enjoined to complete the rites, demonstrating that this isnt a prophecy but a command to those peoples and places that had already embraced Islam to travel to Mecca.
Finally, one can actually view this as a false prophecy since how many of the two million pilgrims to the Kaba actually come on camels? Dont many (if not most) of them drive in their cars or take planes to get there? If the Quran is really predicting the future then why didnt Allah say that some people would be actually flying and driving? Couldnt the one who predicted the construction of tall buildings also mention the mode of transportation that these people would be using if this were referring to modern times?
And the very fact that this so-called prophecy is unclear and rather vague, lending itself to more than one possible explanation, shows just how unimpressive this alleged prediction is.
The final "prediction" he referred to is the vision of Muhammad in the hadith where he supposedly saw his followers conquering Syria and Persia. Again, the problem with this alleged prophecy is that the sources which mention it were all written long after the Muslims had conquered these places. It is not hard to imagine how Muslims forged a narration where they had their prophet foreseeing the Muslim victories over these specific lands.
In light of this we hereby challenge Sami to produce a document written long before the Muslims captured these places which contains this specific prediction.
Even though this sufficiently puts to rest his prophetic examples there are additional problems that Sami needs to contend with. First, fulfilled prophecy is not sufficient according to the Holy Bible since even liars and deceivers will be able to accurately foretell the future as a means of testing Gods people:
"If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, Let us follow other gods (gods you have not known) and let us worship them, you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you." Deuteronomy 13:1-5
Muhammad himself agreed that fulfilled prophecy is not sufficient in of itself:
Some people asked Allah's Apostle about the fore-tellers. He said, "They are nothing." They said, "O Allah's Apostle! Sometimes they tell us of a thing which turns out to be true." Allah's Apostle said, "A Jinn snatches that true word and pours it into the ear of his friend (the fore-teller) (as one puts something into a bottle). The foreteller then mixes with that word one hundred lies." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 657)
Some people asked the Prophet regarding the soothsayers. He said, "They are nothing." They said, "O Allah's Apostle! Some of their talks come true." The Prophet said, "That word which happens to be true is what a Jinn snatches away by stealth (from the Heaven) and pours it in the ears of his friend (the foreteller) with a sound like the cackling of a hen. The soothsayers then mix with that word, one hundred lies." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 650)
The key is consistency with the message preached by the prophets who came before Muhammad. And as we saw in the first section Muhammads teachings were anything but consistent with the preaching of Gods true prophets and apostles.
Sami got rather desperate in the debate and retorted that Muhammad wasnt speaking of prophecies but addressing fortune telling which is completely different. As Wood correctly noted, this misses the point and is nothing more than a smokescreen. The point is that evil spirits are capable of inspiring people to make accurate predictions, which means that fulfilled predictions are not evidence for Muhammads prophethood. Consistency with the inspired revelation is what will establish Samis case, and yet Muhammad fails this test miserably.
Thus, the most that Sami has proven by fulfilled prophecy is that Muhammad was deceived by the jinn (actually Satan or one of the demons) into making some accurate predictions but then added a hundred lies to the truth of Gods Word since his prophet fails the test of biblical consistency.
The second problem is that Sami focused on what he thought were fulfilled prophecies but didnt bother to mention all the false predictions of his prophet such as the following:
'A'isha reported that when the desert Arabs came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) they asked about the Last Hour as to when that would come. And he looked towards the youngest amongst them and said: If he lives he would not grow very old that he would find your Last Hour coming to you he would see you dying. (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 7050)
Anas reported that a person asked Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as to when the Last Hour would come. He had in his presence a young boy of the Ansar who was called Muhammad. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: If this young boy lives, he may not grow very old till (he would see) the Last Hour coming to you. (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 7051)
Anas b. Malik reported that a person asked Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him): When would the Last Hour come? Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) kept quiet for a while, then looked at a young boy in his presence belonging to the tribe of Azd Shanilwa and he said: If this boy lives he would not grow very old till the Last Hour would come to you. Anas said that this young boy was of our age during those days. (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 7052)
Anas reported: A young boy of Mughira b. Shu'ba happened to pass by (the Holy Prophet) and he was of my age. Thereupon Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: If he lives long he would not grow very old till the Last Hour would come (to the old People of this generation). (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 7053)
Wood also sourced these hadiths in the debate which prompted Sami to assert that they are not sound narratives since they come from Sunan Abu Dawud. He then claims that Muhammads point was that the judgment day would get closer as the lad grows older. Sami also said that the Quran says Muhammad didnt know the day or hour which further disproves the authenticity of this hadith. Talk about someone being desperate!
In the first place these narratives are from Sahih Muslim, considered the second most authentic collection of hadiths.
Secondly, Muhammad didnt say that as the child grows the hour would be approaching ever closer. Rather, he expressly and unambiguously says that the child WILL NOT GROW VERY OLD until the Day of Judgment comes, which is clearly a false prophecy.
To further establish the fact that Muhammad mistakenly assumed that the world was going to end shortly notice what these next ahadith say:
Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar:
Once the Prophet led us in the 'Isha' prayer during the last days of his life and after finishing it (the prayer) (with Taslim) he said: "Do you realize (the importance of) this night? Nobody present on the surface of the earth tonight will be living after the completion of one hundred years from this night." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 3, Number 116)
"One night Allah's Apostle led us in the 'Isha' prayer and that is the one called Al-'Atma by the people. After the completion of the prayer, he faced us and said, Do you know the importance of this night? Nobody present on the surface of the earth tonight will be living after one hundred years from this night." (See Hadith No. 575). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 10, Number 539)
Nearly fourteen centuries have gone by and there continue to be human beings alive all around the earth! This particular hadith was so troubling that one narrator tried to explain it away by arguing that Muhammad really meant that none of his generation would be alive in a hundred years:
Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar:
The Prophet prayed one of the 'lsha' prayer in his last days and after finishing it with Taslim, he stood up and said, "Do you realize (the importance of) this night? Nobody present on the surface of the earth tonight would be living after the completion of one hundred years from this night."
The people made a mistake in grasping the meaning of this statement of Allah's Apostle and they indulged in those things which are said about these narrators (i.e. some said that the Day of Resurrection will be established after 100 years etc.) But the Prophet said, "Nobody present on the surface of earth tonight would be living after the completion of 100 years from this night"; he meant, "When that century (people of that century) would pass away." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 10, Number 575)
There are several points to note from this specific report. First, pay attention to the candid admission of the narrator that Muslims themselves understood from Muhammads words that the world was going to end in a hundred years. This provides corroborating evidence that the plain meaning of Muhammads so-called prophecy was that the last day would occur within a hundred years.
Second, also notice just how irrational this ad hoc explanation is. The hadith compiler really expects his readers to believe that what Muhammad meant was that no one of his generation would be alive within a hundred years when there is nothing amazing about such a claim. To say that ones generation would all be dead within a hundred years doesnt require supernatural knowledge. The only thing required to make such a claim is common sense since life expectancy was low in those days. Hardly anyone lived beyond the age of a hundred years. If it was supposed to be a statement ("prophecy") about the life expectancy of the people living around him, then it was trivial. What is the point?
Even though trivial, it would almost certainly be wrong. Muhammad said "on the surface of the earth" that is a large place. Although centenarians are rare, they probably existed at all times. Even in the life of Muhammad there was at least one such person. Abu Afak is reported to have lived to the age of 120:
SARIYYAH OF SALIM IBN UMAYR
Then occurred the sariyyah of Salim Ibn Umayr al-Amri against Abu Afak, the Jew, in Shawwal in the beginning of the twentieth month from the hijrah of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him. Abu Afak, was from Banu Amr Ibn Awf, and was an old man who had attained the age of one hundred and twenty years. He was a Jew, and used to instigate the people against the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, and composed (satirical) verses. Salim Ibn Umayr who was one of the great weepers and who had participated in Badr, said: I take a vow that I shall either kill Abu Afak or die before him. He waited for an opportunity until a hot night came, and Abu Afak slept in an open place. Salim Ibn Umayr knew it, so he placed the sword on his liver and pressed it till it reached his bed. The enemy of Allah screamed and the people, who were his followers rushed to him, took him to his house and interred him. (Ibn Sa'ad's Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, English translation by S. Moinul Haq, M.A., PH.D assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A. [Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daryaganj, New Delhi - 110 002 India), Volume II, p. 31; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Did Muhammad really want to say that in a hundred years from now, there will be no more people who are older than a hundred years? Again, what would be the point of such an announcement? What has that to do with the message of Islam?
Moreover, Muhammad introduced his announcement with these words: "Do you know the importance of this night?" For that main reason, the alternative interpretation supplied by the narrator makes little sense. After all, in what sense would the observation that a time will come when nobody will be older than a hundred years be important for Muslims or Islam? It is simply irrelevant, and irrelevant is the opposite of important.
On the other hand, the proclamation of the Day of Resurrection and Allahs judgment of all people is an essential part of Islam. If it had been revealed to Muhammad in his prayer that the world would end in exactly one hundred years, such a revelation would mark this night without question as being very important.
Only this interpretation really makes sense of the statement. The problem is, however, that the only meaningful interpretation of it has the consequence that Muhammad made a false prophecy. Muslims have tried to avert this by putting instead an utterly trivial, irrelevant and most probably still incorrect statement into Muhammads mouth.
It must also be kept in mind that imam al-Bukhari collected these traditions roughly 250 years after Muhammads migration to Medina (c. 622/623 AD), long after the time that Muhammad said the world was going to end. In light of this, it is not surprising that he or someone else would provide an explanation in order to avoid having to admit that Muhammad was a false prophet for falsely claiming that the Day of Resurrection would take place a hundred years after his time.
With the foregoing in perspective it is rather obvious that this narrator sure sounds just as desperate as Sami in his attempt of explaining away Muhammads blatant false predictions.
In fact, by interpreting all of these so-called prophecies in light of one another it becomes apparent that Muhammad believed that the people would start erecting large buildings within a hundred years after his time since the world was going to end by then. This clearly didnt happen (according to Sami who says that this only recently occurred among the Arabs of Bahrain and some other neighboring nations) which again substantiates that he was a false prophet.
Since it is abundantly clear that Muhammad added lies to Gods revelation and made false predictions the most Sami can prove from his approach is that his prophet was nothing more than a soothsayer, a fortune-teller. After all, the above examples show just how similar Muhammads "predictions" were to the fortunetellers, e.g. both they and he said some things that were accurate but also made many false prophecies along with it.
Thus, whereas fulfilled prophecy isnt an indication that a person is Gods spokesperson failed prophecy is a sure sign that the individual in question is definitely not a prophet:
"But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death. You may say to yourselves, How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD? If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him." Deuteronomy 18:20-22
Muhammad is therefore a false prophet.
More importantly, the Quran doesnt merely assert that Muhammad doesnt know the day or hour but that he doesnt have knowledge of the unseen, period!
SAY, `I do not say to you: I possess the treasures of ALLAH, nor do I know the unseen; nor do I say to you: I am an angel, I follow only that which is revealed to me.' Say, `Can a blind man and one who sees be alike?' Will you not then reflect And with HIM are the keys of the unseen; none knows them but HE. And HE knows whatsoever is in the land and in the sea. And there falls not a leaf but HE knows it; nor is there a grain in the deep darkness of the earth, nor anything green or dry, but it is recorded in a clear book. S. 6:50, 59 Sher Ali
SAY: I do not control any benefit or harm for my own soul except as Allah please; and had I known the unseen I would have had much of good and no evil would have touched me; I am nothing but a warner and the giver of good news to a people who believe. S. 7:188 Shakir
This now leaves Sami with one of three options:
To read more about these points please consult the following materials:
Sami appealed to Muhammads miracles as another Biblical test proving his prophethood. Even this assertion has several problems with it.
First, much like fulfilled prophecy performing miracles is not a convincing sign that the person doing them is speaking on behalf of God. The Holy Bible expressly says that even false Christs and false prophets will come doing miracles in order to deceive people:
"At that time if anyone says to you, Look, here is the Christ! or, There he is! do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the electif that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time." Matthew 24:23-25
"The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish BECAUSE THEY REFUSED TO LOVE THE TRUTH and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness." 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
"Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666." Revelation 13:11-18
Second, all of the so-called miracles are found in the hadith literature which is not based on contemporary, eyewitness accounts.
Third, the Quran emphatically denies that Muhammad was capable of performing any miracles whatsoever:
Naught prevented Us from sending the signs (bial-ayati) but that the ancients cried lies to them; and We brought Thamood the She-camel visible, but they did her wrong. And We do not send the signs, except to frighten. S. 17:59
Here we are told that Allah refrained from providing miracles, which would make no sense at all if Muhammad did indeed perform signs and wonders. As the late Muslim scholar and translator Muhammad Asad indicated:
This highly elliptic sentence has a fundamental bearing on the purport of the Qur'an as a whole. In many places the Qur'an stresses the fact that the Prophet Muhammad, despite his being the last and greatest of God's apostles, WAS NOT EMPOWERED TO PERFORM MIRACLES similar to those with which the earlier prophets are said to have reinforced their verbal messages. His ONLY miracle was and is the Qur'an itself - a message perfect in its lucidity and ethical comprehensiveness, destined for all times and all stages of human development, addressed not merely to the feelings but also to the minds of men, open to everyone, whatever his race or social environment, and bound to remain unchanged forever (Asad, Message of the Qur'an [Dar Al-Andalus Limited 3 Library Ramp, Gibraltar rpt. 1993], p. 427, fn. 71; source; capital and underline emphasis ours)
This next one pretty much sounds the death knell for any Muslim who claims that Muhammad performed miracles:
Not before this didst thou recite any Book, or inscribe it with thy right hand, for then those who follow falsehood would have doubted. Nay; rather it is signs, clear signs (ayatun bayyinatun) IN THE BREASTS of those who have been given knowledge; and none denies Our signs but the evildoers. They say, 'Why have signs (ayatun) not been sent down upon him from his Lord?' Say: 'The signs (al-ayatu) are only with God, and I am only a plain warner.' What, is it not SUFFICIENT for them that We have sent down upon thee the Book that is recited to them? Surely in that is a mercy, and a reminder to a people who believe. S. 29:48-51
Muhammad presents the Quran as his only miracle, the one sign he had which was sufficient to prove his prophethood. Muhammad Asad writes concerning this passage:
I.e., "are the contents of this revelation not enough for them to make them grasp its intrinsic truth without the help of miraculous proofs of its divine origin?" (Cf. note 60 on the last sentence of 7: 75.) (Ibid., p. 614, fn. 50; underline emphasis ours)
Thus, if Muhammad did perform miracles then this falsifies the assertion that the Quran was his all-sufficient witness and sign.
Verses such as these led one Muslim convert to write the following concerning the miracles attributed to Muhammad in the hadith literature:
(2) The authenticated traditions contain numerous reports of the Prophet performing miracles - with God's permission, of course. Many of these are similar to ones attributed to Jesus in the New Testament, such as transforming small quantities of food into enough to feed a whole host of hungry followers and curing blindness with his saliva. Although the Qur'an recalls miracles of past prophets in its narratives, it identifies itself - and perhaps one other supernatural phenomenon - as the only observable miracle(s) granted to the Prophet. Moreover, the Qur'an states that the Prophets opposition frequently complained that he produced no other miraculous signs. Yet if the Prophet indeed performed most of the miracles recorded in the Hadith literature, then it is a wonder that his opponents consistently complained of a lack of supernatural signs or that the Qur'an did not at least cite more of them in response to pagan objections. (Jeffrey Lang, Losing My Religion: A Call For Help [Amana Publications, 2004], pp. 249-250; underline emphasis ours)
This leads us to our final point. Whereas we would expect to find Muslims making their prophet look much better with the passing of time, transforming a mere fallible sinner into a demigod, we wouldnt expect them to write derogatory things about him which call his integrity into question. In light of this, whenever we see hadiths making Muhammad look much better than what the Quran says concerning him we are to view these reports with suspicion. Yet when we find statements which portray Muhammad as a murderer, robber, liar, womanizer, a man bewitched and inspired by Satan etc., we can have confidence that these narratives have some historical credibility behind them, that they have a higher degree of being based on actual events than the miracle stories, since which Muslim would make up such slanderous stories about the man whom s/he loves the most?
For more on this issue of Muhammad performing absolutely no miracles at all, and to see Samis feeble attempt of trying to refute this point, we suggest reading the following:
Wood raised up the problem of Muhammad falling under the influence of black magic and being duped into reciting verses from Satan (i.e. "the Satanic verses").
Amazingly, Sami claimed that these stories somehow proved that Muhammad is a prophet! He went on to say that if Wood accepts the story then he must accept all of it, meaning that these reports also state that the angels came to Muhammads aid or, in the case of the satanic verses, Gabriel later correct him.
Here is where Sami gets himself in a heap of trouble. In the first place, the Holy Bible says that Gods true servants (including his emissaries) cannot come under the control of Satan such as sorcery or black magic since Yahweh protects them:
"There is no sorcery against Jacob, no divination against Israel. It will now be said of Jacob and of Israel, See what God has done!" Numbers 23:23
"The seventy-two returned with joy and said, Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name. He replied, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." Luke 10:17-20
This in itself sufficiently proves that Muhammad wasnt a prophet of the true God.
Second, the Quran itself says that Satan will not be able to harm any of Allahs righteous slaves:
O you who believe! take care of your souls; he who errs cannot hurt you WHEN YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT WAY; to Allah is your return, of all (of you), so He will inform you of what you did. S. 5:105 Shakir
He said: O Iblis! what excuse have you that you are not with those who make obeisance? He said: I am not such that I should make obeisance to a mortal whom Thou hast created of the essence of black mud fashioned in shape. He said: Then get out of it, for surely you are driven away: And surely on you is curse until the day of judgment. He said: My Lord! then respite me till the time when they are raised. He said: So surely you are of the respited ones Till the period of the time made known. He said: My Lord! because Thou hast made life evil to me, I will certainly make (evil) fair-seeming to them on earth, and I will certainly cause them all to deviate Except Thy servants from among them, the devoted ones. He said: This is a right way with Me: Surely, as regards My servants, you have no authority over them except those who follow you of the deviators. And surely Hell is the promised place of them all: It has seven gates; for every gate there shall be a separate party of them. S. 15:32-44 Shakir
And when thou recitest the Qur'an, seek refuge in Allah from Satan the outcast. Lo! he hath no power over those who believe and put trust in their Lord. His power is ONLY over those who make a friend of him, and those who ascribe partners unto Him (Allah). S. 16:98-100 Pickthall
Sami is now in a jam since if Muhammad was truly pleasing to Allah then his god would have never allowed the devil to control his mind through magic to such an extent that he started imagining that he was having sex with all of his wives:
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-Asam, 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)
The questions that Sami must answer are,
The other problem that Sami faces is that if Muhammad could not distinguish between Satan and Gabriel, between the words of the devil and the speech of his god, then what guarantee can Sami give us that Muhammad wasnt mistaken that all the rest of the verses he was receiving were truly from God? How can he convince us that it wasnt Satan who again appeared as Gabriel to deceive Muhammad into thinking that Allah had come to his aid in order to keep Muhammad on the path of destruction, making him believe that he was a prophet when in reality he wasnt?
Sami stated that he hoped that Muslims would accept the veracity of the Satanic Verses since he believed that this serves as strong support for Muhammads prophetic ambitions. We, too, hope that Muslim scholars accept this story since it provides one of the most persuasive reasons why Muhammad was a false prophet and conclusively demonstrates that he was a man who was under Satans influence, not Gods.
For more on this issue we recommend the following articles and rebuttals:
We will continue our discussion of Muhammad and Satan in the next part.
Rebuttals to Answering-Christianity
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page