An Analysis of Shabir Allys debate with Dr. Anis Shorrosh
On May 13-16 2005, Shabir Ally and evangelist Dr. Anis Shorrosh engaged in a series of debates that took place at Glasgow, Scotland. The title of debates were:
Is the Claim that Muhammad is Foretold in the OT & NT True or False?
The Nature of Allah and The Trinity
The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus
Jesus and the Bible vs. Muhammad and the Quran
The readers can order these debate tapes here:
We have been saying for a while now that throughout his debates and lectures Shabir has shown that he isnt interested in promoting or learning truth. Shabir is more interested in scoring cheap points by using deceptive debate tricks and argumentation in order to mislead his audiences.
Shabir will misquote sources, twist statements and references, attack or discredit works and authors who do not agree with his suppositions.
Shabir could have provided no greater proof for our accusations than what we find in his series of debates with Dr. Anis Shorrosh. Therefore, we intend to examine Shabirs case for Muhammad being mentioned in the Holy Bible, refute his arguments and from there document our charges regarding his deceptive and inconsistent handling of sources.
We will do our best to present Shabirs case as accurately as possible, albeit by either summarizing his points or by accurately paraphrasing the gist of his specific arguments. But we do encourage the readers to purchase the debates and see if whether we have successfully done this, and if not, to please send us any feedback documenting where we have misunderstood or distorted Shabirs position.
Shabir presented five points, five arguments, which he believes support his position that Muhammad is predicted in the Holy Bible. They were:
We will be switching the orders around so that Shabirs third point will be our second point and his second our third, which will end up looking like this:
The reason why we decided to switch points 2 and 3 around is because in point 3 Shabir basically reiterated his position that Muhammad was that Prophet like Moses who was expected to come. We thought it would be better to deal with points 1 and 3 together, right after the other, instead of spreading it elsewhere in our rebuttal.
We will list each specific point and immediately follow it up with our response.
1. Muhammad the Prophet Like Moses (Cf. Deuteronomy 18:14-19).
Shabir presented the typical arguments which are often used by Muslims to connect Muhammad with the Prophet like Moses. What made Shabirs presentation rather intriguing was when he quoted Islamicist William Montgomery Watts comments on this passage from his book, Muslim Christian Encounters, p. 36:
The passage in Deuteronomy 18:14-19 in which Moses says to the Israelites that God will raise up for them from among their brothers a prophet like himself seem to state a general principle, namely, that when Gods people need divine guidance or other help God will send a prophet to give them that. This principle could be taken to be fulfilled in a whole series of prophets who, through many centuries, guided the Israelites. The later Jews thought it applied to the coming of the Messiah and it was taken in this sense by the early Christians and applied to Jesus in Acts 3:22ff. From this standpoint a Christian can admit that in a sense it also applies to Muhammad. (Underline and italic emphasis ours)
It is amazing how Shabir overlooked Watts admission that both the Jews AND the Christians interpreted this text Messianicly, as a prophecy of the Messiah to come! Since both the New Testament and the Quran concur that Jesus is the Messiah this means that Jesus is the Prophet like Moses, at least if we assume that both the Jewish and Christian understandings of the verses are correct.
Even Muslim scholars believed that Moses predicted Jesus coming:
Isa said, "The Tawrah CONVEYED THE GLAD TIDINGS OF MY COMING, and my coming confirms the truth of the Tawrah. I convey the glad tidings of the Prophet who will come after me. He is the unlettered, Makkan, Arab Prophet and Messenger, Ahmad." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 9, Surat Al-Jathiyah to the end of Surat Al-Munafiqun, abridged under a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors Riyadh, Houston, New York, London, Lahore; First Edition: September 2000], p. 617; online edition; bold and capital emphasis ours)
So our challenge to Shabir is simple: Where exactly did Moses predict the coming of Jesus?
We will allow the late renowned Sunni commentator Ibn Kathir help Shabir answer the question:
In Book four[sic] of the existing Torah, there is a verse which says: <A prophet was set for them from their close relations, and brothers like you Musa (Moses), and I will put my word in his mouth.> It is clear to them and to everyone that Allah did not send a prophet from the offspring of Isma'el except Muhammad In fact, there was no prophet from the Children of Isra'el similar to Musa EXCEPT 'Issa but the Jews do not accept his prophethood, and he is not the offspring of their brothers; instead, he is related to them through his mother, therefore, the meaning of the above verse focuses on Prophet Muhammad (The Seerah of Prophet of Muhammad (S.A.W.), abridged by Muhammad Ali Al-Halabi Al-Athari [Al-Firdous Ltd, London, 2001: First Edition], part II, p. 24; bold, italic and capital emphasis ours)
Even though Ibn Kathir thinks that Deuteronomy refers to Muhammad, he nonetheless admits that Jesus was the only Prophet who was similar, was like, Moses! Thus, even by Muslim admission Jesus fulfills the criteria of being the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18.
Returning to Watts quote, we agree with him that the text from Deuteronomy 18 in a broader sense applies to all of Gods true prophets, emphasis being on true, as the following verses show:
"I HAVE PUT MY WORDS IN YOUR MOUTH and have covered you with the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, You are My people." Isaiah 51:16
"Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations. Then I said, Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth. But the LORD said to me, Do not say, I am only a youth; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, AND WHATEVER I COMMAND YOU, YOU SHALL SPEAK. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD. Then the LORD put out his hand AND TOUCHED MY MOUTH. And the LORD said to me, Behold, I HAVE PUT MY WORDS IN YOUR MOUTH. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant." Jeremiah 1:4-10
These texts echo the language of the Deuteronomy citation indicating that these prophets were like Moses since God commissioned them to preach the very words which he had placed in their mouths.
The New Testament uses the same language to describe Jesus commission by his Father:
"So Jesus said to them, When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me." John 8:28
"For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment--what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me." John 12:49-50
"but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here." John 14:31
"For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me." John 17:8
Thus the biblical evidence shows that the Deuteronomy passage applies generally to all of Gods inspired spokespersons, as well as applying to the Christ in a more specific manner.
One even finds both of these interpretations within the writings of the early Church fathers such as Clement of Alexandria (ca. 150-213 A.D.) who wrote:
Now the law is ancient grace given through Moses by the Word. Wherefore also the Scripture says, "The law was given through Moses," not by Moses, but by the Word, and through Moses His servant. Wherefore it was only temporary; but eternal grace and truth were by Jesus Christ. Mark the expressions of Scripture: of the law only is it said "was given; "but truth being the grace of the Father, is the eternal work of the Word; and it is not said to be given, but to be by Jesus, without whom nothing was. Presently, therefore, Moses prophetically, giving place to the perfect Instructor the Word, predicts both the name and the office of Instructor, and committing to the people the commands of obedience, sets before them the Instructor. "A prophet," says he, "like Me shall God raise up to you of your brethren," pointing out Jesus the Son of God, by an allusion to Jesus the son of Nun; for the name of Jesus predicted in the law was a shadow of Christ. He adds, therefore, consulting the advantage of the people, "Him shall ye hear;" and, "The man who will not hear that Prophet," him He threatens. Such a name, then, he predicts as that of the Instructor, who is the author of salvation. Wherefore prophecy invests Him with a rod, a rod of discipline, of rule, of authority; that those whom the persuasive word heals not, the threatening may heal; and whom the threatening heals not, the rod may heal; and whom the rod heals not, the fire may devour. "There shall come forth," it is said, "a rod out of the root of Jesse." (Clement, The Instructor (Paedogogus), Book 1, Chapter VII - "Who the Instructor Is, and Respecting His Instruction" [Early Church Fathers, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume II]; online edition)
Tertullian (ca. 150-220 A.D.) stated:
When therefore He here presents Him with the words, "This is my (beloved) Son," this clause is of course understood, "whom I have promised." For if He once promised, and then afterwards says, "This is He," it is suitable conduct for one who accomplishes His purpose that He should utter His voice in proof of the promise which He had formerly made; but unsuitable in one who is amenable to the retort, Can you, indeed, have a right to say, "This is my son," concerning whom you have given us no previous information, any more than you have favoured us with a revelation about your own prior existence? "Hear ye Him," therefore, whom from the beginning (the Creator) had declared entitled to be heard in the name of a prophet, since it was as a prophet that He had to be regarded by the people. "A prophet," says Moses, "shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, of your sons" (that is, of course, after a carnal descent); "unto Him shall ye hearken, as unto me." "Every one who will not hearken unto Him, his soul shall be cut off from amongst his people." So also Isaiah: "Who is there among you that feareth God? Let him hear the voice of His Son." This voice the Father was going Himself to recommend. For, says he, He establishes the words of His Son, when He says, "This is my beloved Son, hear ye Him." Therefore, even if there be made a transfer of the obedient "hearing" from Moses and Elias to Christ, it is still not from another God, or to another Christ; but from the Creator to His Christ, in consequence of the departure of the old covenant and the supervening of the new (Against Marcion, Book 4, Chapter XXII- "The Same Conclusion Supported by the Transfiguration. Marcion Inconsistent in Associating with Christ in Glory Two Such Eminent Servants of the Creator as Moses and Elijah. St. Peter's Ignorance Accounted for on Montanist Principle" [Early Church Fathers, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume III]; online edition)
Origen (ca. 185-254), however, applied the prophecy in a general sense believing that it referred to all the prophets whom God would raise up as his spokesperson:
The true God, however, neither employs irrational animals, nor any individuals whom chance may offer, to convey a knowledge of the future; but, on the contrary, the most pure and holy of human souls, whom He inspires and endows with prophetic power. And therefore, whatever else in the Mosaic writings may excite our wonder, the following must be considered as fitted to do so: "Ye shall not practise augury, nor observe the flight of birds;" and in another place: "For the nations whom the Lord thy God will destroy from before thy face, shall listen to omens and divinations; but as for thee, the Lord thy God has not suffered thee to do so." And he adds: "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you from among your brethren." On one occasion, moreover, God, wishing by means of an augur to turn away (His people) from the practice of divination, caused the spirit that was in the augur to speak as follows: "For there is no enchantment in Jacob, nor is there divination in Israel. In due time will it be declared to Jacob and Israel what the Lord will do." And now, we who knew these and similar sayings wish to observe this precept with the mystical meaning, viz., "Keep thy heart with all diligence," that nothing of a demoniacal nature may enter into our minds, or any spirit of our adversaries turn our imagination whither it chooses. But we pray that the light of the knowledge of the glory of God may shine in our hearts, and that the Spirit of God may dwell in our imaginations, and lead them to contemplate the things of God; for "as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." (Origen, Contra Celsus, Book 4, Chapter XCV (95) [Early Church Fathers, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume IV]; online edition)
But since Muhammad was a false prophet the Deuteronomy text cannot be applied to him in any sense whatsoever, whether generally or specifically, and Watt is therefore wrong in that regard.
Another of Shabirs points had to do with the term brethren referring to others outside of the nation of Israel who were related to the covenant community. For instance, the descendants of Jacobs older twin brother Esau, the Edomites, are called Israels brethren (Cf. Deuteronomy 2:4,8; 23:7). On this basis Shabir argued that the Ishmaelites are also the brothers of the Israelites, since Ishmael and Isaac were brothers as well.
There are at least three main problems with Shabirs argument. First, to say that the Ishmaelites are the brethren of the Israelites is a non sequitur, since it does not follow from this that the Prophet like Moses had to be, or would be, an Ishmaelite. Much like it doesnt follow from the fact that just because the Edomites were the brothers of Israel this therefore means that the Prophet would be an Edomite.
This brings us to the second problem with Shabirs reasoning. In his haste, Shabir failed to see how the texts from Deuteronomy refute his case since they prove that the Prophet like Moses must be an Israelite. The only reason Shabir knows that the Edomites are Israels brothers is because the texts explicitly state this. If the passages had not identified the descendants of Esau as Israels brothers then Shabir would have never known this to be the case. The text had to make this connection in order for Shabir to have known it.
But this puts him in a dilemma. These texts demonstrate that unless the context mentions otherwise, unless the context identifies the brethren as a distinct group from Israel, than one has to assume that the term is referring to the individual Israelite tribes. Putting it in another way, unless stated explicitly within the text itself, the term brethren will be referring to the different tribes of Israel as they relate to one another. Since the context of Deuteronomy 18 doesnt mention any other distinct group, i.e. Edomites or Ishmaelites, we are to assume that the Prophet like Moses must arise from one of the individual brethren tribes of Israel.
Third and finally, Shabir assumes that Muhammad was a descendant of Ishmael but has no solid grounds for doing so. Even Muslim scholars were hard pressed to provide a genealogy that could trace Muhammad all the way back to Ishmael, and many of them candidly admitted that it couldnt be done. For more on this specific point please read the following (1, 2).
In light of the foregoing we can now see how many assumptions Shabir is operating under:
Yet every one of Shabirs points is tenuous since he assumes too much but fails to prove anything.
We will have more to say about the Prophet like Moses in our next point.
2. The New Testament anticipates a Prophet to come, the one like Moses, along with the Christ and Elijah (Cf. John 1:19-21, 25).
Shabir keeps proving our suspicion that he doesnt bother pondering over the texts carefully. This is even more so in the case of his reading of John 1:19-25. Had Shabir simply taken the time to carefully meditate on the passage he would have avoided causing more problems for his position.
Shabir is basing his case on the (mis)understanding of the Jews that three figures were expected to come, and that Christ and the Prophet were two distinct individuals. Shabir didnt stop to think that if the Jews were correct then Muhammad couldnt be that Prophet like Moses. The reason for this is very simple: if the Prophet was to be an Ishmaelite, or a non-Israelite, then why in the world did they ask a fellow Israelite if he were that Prophet? Why did they ask John, an Israelite, if he were that Prophet if the Prophet was to be a non-Israelite, a Gentile?
Hence, if Shabir believes that the Jews were correct that the Prophet was a distinct figure from the Christ then he must also accept that they were correct in believing that the Prophet would be an Israelite. But if Shabir concedes that the Jews may have been incorrect regarding the nationality of that Prophet, then he must likewise concede the possibility that they may have been wrong for assuming that the Prophet and Christ were two different figures. The only way we can know whether they were right, wrong or whether they were partially correct is to see what the rest of the Holy Scriptures say about this manner:
"Philip found Nathanael and said to him, We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." John 1:45
Jesus agrees with Philip:
"Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?" John 5:45-47
Thus the Jews were correct to assume that the Prophet was an Israelite, but incorrect to think he was a separate person from Christ.
Shabir tried to prove from John 7:40-43 and 50-52 that the Prophet would not come from Galilee, whereas Jesus was from Galilee. This therefore means that Jesus could not be that Prophet. Let us ponder over the passages and see if they help Shabirs case:
"When they heard these words, some of the people said, This really is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was? So there was a division among the people over him." John 7:40-43
"Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does? They replied, Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee." John 7:50-52
Shabir once again didnt bother to pay careful attention to these texts. Not only did these Jews erroneously assume that the Prophet wouldnt come from Galilee, but some of them also thought that the Messiah couldnt be from there either! Thus if these Jews were correct then not only could Jesus not be that Prophet, he couldnt even be the Christ as well! But if thats true, then both Christianity and Islam are false since both believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. So Shabir has managed to undermine both his religion and ours due to his appeal to the claims of these unbelieving Jews. Way to go, Shabir!
The division amongst the Jews on whether the Christ was from Bethlehem or Galilee shows just how confused they were and demonstrates once more how weak Shabirs case truly is, since it is based on very flimsy arguments.
Thankfully, the Hebrew Scriptures help us to see that these particular Jews who thought that Christ would come from either one of these places, but not from both, were wrong. The OT prophets announced that the Messiah, even though from Bethlehem, would also shine forth in Galilee:
"But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this." Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7
"But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days." Micah 5:2
And here is the fulfillment:
"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: "And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel."" Matthew 2:1-6
"Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-- the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned. From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 4:12-17
Note how Matthew had no problem with Jesus the Messiah being from both places. Being an eyewitness who knew Jesus and his family personally, Matthew was aware that Christ was born in Bethlehem and then later settled in Galilee. Hence, the preceding data indicates that this was another time where the Jews were wrong, being mistaken about what the Scriptures actually said about the Messiahs point of origin.
Besides, the passage in Deuteronomy 18:15-19 doesnt say where the Prophet like Moses would come from. As long as he was an Israelite he could have came from anywhere. Lest the readers misunderstand we need to further qualify what we mean here.
The passage in Deuteronomy does not explicitly link the Prophet with the Messiah, nor does it tell us from what land he would come. So if we were to base our case on that passage alone, in isolation from the rest of the Scriptures, then we couldnt definitely say or know where that Prophet would come from.
On the other hand, the Hebrew Bible does say where the Messiah would come from and the location of his ministry, i.e. Bethlehem of Judea, Galilee of the Gentiles etc., so that point we know for sure. Yet seeing that the NT documents identify the Prophet with the Messiah, with later rabbinic Jewish interpretation agreeing, this means that the Prophet would have to also come from Bethlehem and Galilee.
Shabir also tried to show that this Prophet was to be a temporal ruler while Jesus refused to be King, which means that he could not be that Prophet (Cf. John 6:14-15).
When Shorrosh cited texts showing that the expression brethren is used in reference to the individual tribes of Israel, especially Deuteronomy 17:15, Shabir didnt deny that it could be used in this way. Shabir said that in a broader sense it could also be used for other nations in relation to Israel. He also claimed that Deuteronomy 17:15 doesnt say that the brethren whom the King would come from are Israelites, but that this is Shorroshs interpretation of the text. He further asserted that its about a king not necessarily about the Prophet like Moses, so it doesnt follow that the Prophet had to come from Israel just because the ruler had to.
Here is the text in question, including the immediate context for further clarification:
"When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me, you may indeed set a king over you whom the LORD your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, 'You shall never return that way again. And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold. And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel." Deuteronomy 17:14-20
Remember what we said earlier that if a text doesnt specify the tribe or nation of the brother(s) in question then we are to conclude that the passage is referring to someone from one of the twelve Israelite tribes. Our exegesis is confirmed by the overall teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures since we see that the King had to be chosen from amongst the Israelites. The ruler could never be a non-Israelite:
"Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father's sons shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion's cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey's colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk." Genesis 49:8-12
"Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head and kissed him and said, Has not the LORD anointed you to be prince over his people Israel? And you shall reign over the people of the LORD and you will save them from the hand of their surrounding enemies. And this shall be the sign to you that the LORD has anointed you to be prince over his heritage." 1 Samuel 10:1
The Scriptures even narrow down the lineage of the King since God singled out Davids family as the line from which all the rulers would come:
"And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you." 2 Samuel 7:11-15
"Yet the LORD God of Israel chose me from all my father's house to be king over Israel forever. For he chose Judah as leader, and in the house of Judah my father's house, and among my father's sons he took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel. And of all my sons (for the LORD has given me many sons) he has chosen Solomon my son to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. He said to me, It is Solomon your son who shall build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. I will establish his kingdom forever if he continues strong in keeping my commandments and my rules, as he is today." 1 Chronicles 28:4-7
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this." Isaiah 9:6-7
"My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore." Ezekiel 37:24-28
Now in light of Shabirs candid admission that the Prophet like Moses was to be a ruler, note what this does to his position:
Furthermore, Jesus himself says that he is the King who was to come, but not the type of King that some specific Jews were expecting:
"So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, Are you the King of the Jews? Jesus answered, Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?" Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world. Then Pilate said to him, So you are a king? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world--to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice. Pilate said to him, What is truth?" John 18:33-38
"Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him. So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, Behold the man! When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, Crucify him, crucify him! Pilate said to them, Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God. When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, Where are you from? But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you? Jesus answered him, You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin. From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar. So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, Behold your King! They cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him! Pilate said to them, Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, Do not write, "The King of the Jews," but rather, "THIS MAN SAID, I am King of the Jews." Pilate answered, What I have written I have written." John 19:1-22
All the Gospels unanimously concur on this point, with many of the Epistles mentioning this as well. It is well attested throughout the NT documents:
"And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." Matthew 28:18
"And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor's headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, The King of the Jews. And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross! So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe. Those who were crucified with him also reviled him." Mark 15:16-20, 25-32
"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
"And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king. And Pilate asked him, Are you the King of the Jews? And he answered him, You have said so." Luke 23:2-3
"For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living." Romans 14:9
"Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For God has put all things in subjection under his feet. But when it says, all things are put in subjection, it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all." 1 Corinthians 15:24-28
"and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood." Revelation 1:5
"They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful." Revelation 17:14
The foregoing makes it plain that Jesus is currently ruling from heaven, which means that Jesus isnt coming in order to start ruling the earth. He returns not only to usher in judgment and immortality, but to also show the world what has been the case since the time of his glorious ascension: Christ sits enthroned as King of all creation!
Now as a Muslim Shabir cannot object to the Christian view regarding Christ being a King who will make manifest his sovereign rule at his second coming. Even Shabirs prophet is reported to have said that Jesus would return as a ruler:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you as a just ruler, he will break the cross, kill the pigs, and abolish the Jizya tax. Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it (as charitable gifts)." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43, Number 656)
We obviously dont believe this hadith, or in what Muhammad said, but Shabir does. And since Muhammad claimed that Jesus would return to rule, presumably in a similar way that Muhammad ruled his community, Shabir cannot therefore object to the explicit biblical teaching that Jesus will return and reveal his universal Lordship over all his creation. He may object to the kind of ruler the NT depicts Jesus as, but he cannot object to the fact that at Christs return his rule will be made evident to all creation.
After all, even Shabir doesnt believe that Muhammad was the type of ruler which the Jews envisioned or expected. The Jews expected their coming King to be an Israelite who would destroy their enemies. Muhammad was neither an Israelite nor did he kill their enemies. He instead turned against the Jews, expelled them from their homes and slaughtered many of them! Hence, if Shabir objects to Jesus being Israels ruler as taught in the NT on the basis that he isnt the kind of King which the Jews were expecting, then he would only be exposing more of his double standards and inconsistencies since neither was Muhammad.
What the foregoing basically demonstrates is that Jesus does fulfill the criteria of being that Prophet since, a) he is an Israelite, and b) he is Gods appointed King.
But Shabirs problems and contradictions are not quite over. In other papers, Shabir uses John 6:14 to prove that Jesus is a Prophet:
It was very clear to the earliest followers of Jesus that Jesus was a prophet like the other prophets who came before him (see Luke 4:24; John 6:14; Jn 9:17). (The Parable of the Tenants; bold and underline emphasis ours)
So now what does Shabir want us to believe exactly? Is Jesus that Prophet mentioned in John 6:14, which means that he is the one like Moses thereby disqualifying Muhammad, or is he not?
Shabir asserted that Peter, according to Acts 3:22, said that Jesus would remain in heaven until the time of restoration occurs during which God would give the people that Prophet. Shabir claims that this may mean that Jesus, in his return, will be that Prophet. But Shabir argues that it is more likely that the Prophet was to come before Jesus returned, thereby distinguishing the two.
Let us see what Peter actually intended by his statement by looking at the immediate context:
"The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And his name--by faith in his name--has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth OF ALL THE PROPHETS, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people. AND ALL THE PROPHETS WHO HAVE SPOKEN, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed THESE DAYS. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness." Acts 3:13-26
In this chapter, Peter affirms Jesus real humanity and his perfect Deity, as well as his death and glorious resurrection. Peter was saying in context that not only Moses, but ALL THE PROPHETS predicted Christs coming, ministry, death and resurrection, a point which both he and Paul reiterate elsewhere:
"As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him ALL THE PROPHETS BEAR WITNESS that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." Acts 10:36-43
"To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets AND MOSES SAID WOULD COME TO PASS: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles." Acts 26:22-23
It should be evident from the foregoing that the last thing Peter had in mind was the idea that God would send a Prophet before Christs return, or that the Prophet like Moses was someone distinct from Christ.
But let us suppose that Shabirs eisegesis is correct, that Peter was envisioning a Prophet to come who was distinct from Christ. This still doesnt prove Shabirs case regarding Muhammad being that person since the Prophet would have to come preaching the very same message which was proclaimed by both Christ and his followers. Muhammad didnt preach the same message of Christ and his followers, but contradicted and distorted it.
In fact, Jesus himself said that he would be sending prophets to the people:
"Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town," Matthew 23:34
Interestingly, this shows that Jesus believed he is God since only God commissions and sends prophets!
Acts itself refers to several prophets which Christ had raised up for the Church:
"Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). So the disciples determined, everyone according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea." Acts 11:27-29
"Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off." Acts 13:1-3
"And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words." Acts 15:32
"On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, Thus says the Holy Spirit, "This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles."" Acts 21:8-11
Thus if Peter was speaking of a Prophet which God was to send before Christs return, that Prophet would have to be a Christian proclaiming the Gospel of the risen and immortal Lord Jesus, Gods blessed and pure Son. He wouldnt be preaching the Jesus of Islam or of the Quran, since that Jesus is a false Christ, a satanic counterfeit.
We now turn our attention to Shabirs third point.
3. Muhammad is the fulfillment of Gods Promise to Abraham and Ishmael (cf. Genesis 17:20).
Let us read the immediate context to see if this is indeed what the passage is saying:
"God said, No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father TWELVE PRINCES, and I will make him into a great nation. But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year." Genesis 17:19-21
Gods promise to Ishmael was to make him a great nation by raising up for him twelve princes or rulers. But as the text itself shows, God rejects Ishmael from being part of the covenant since that will be made with Isaac and his seed forever. The only way for an Ishmaelite, or anyone else for that matter, to be included within Gods covenant is by uniting themselves to the covenant community and worshiping according to the revelation given to them. Just as the Lord Jesus put it to the Samaritan woman:
"Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship. Jesus said to her, Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews." John 4:20-22
In other words, God would save the nations through his people Israel, more specifically through the Jewish Messiah whom both Christians and Muslims agree is Jesus:
"Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, He told me all that I ever did. So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world." John 4:39-42
"And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world." 1 John 4:14
Returning to Gods promise to Ishmael, the same book of Genesis records how God fulfilled it shortly afterwards:
"These are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's servant, bore to Abraham. These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, named in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages and by their encampments, TWELVE PRINCES according to their tribes. (These are the years of the life of Ishmael: 137 years. He breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.) They settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria. He settled over against all his kinsmen." Genesis 25:12-18
Ishmael indeed became a great nation when God gave him twelve sons who became tribal rulers. Gods promise has nothing to do with either Muhammad or Islam.
Now in fairness to Shabir we must acknowledge that he is not entirely at fault regarding this point. Dr. Shorrosh also shares part of the guilt since he claims in his book that:
God still promised to bless Ishmael, too. But his special covenant was established with Isaac, as Genesis 17:18-19 reveals
The four promises made to the Arabs by God through Ishmael have been fulfilled precisely:
(1) With three-fourths of the free worlds oil reserves, the Arabs believe they are definitely blessed.
(2) There are 167 million Arabs as of 1987, which fulfills "will multiply him exceedingly." Ten million Arabs claim Christianity.
(3) "He shall beget twelve princes" is fulfilled in that there are almost twice that many countries claiming to be Arabs.
(4) "I will make him a great nation" was fulfilled when the Muslim Empire was a reality from the seventh to the twelfth centuries. (Shorrosh, Islam Revealed: A Christian Arabs View of Islam [Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville 1988], p. 208)
Dr. Shorrosh also erroneously assumes, without any solid proof, that Muhammad was in fact an Ishmaelite (p. 73).
Yet in light of our examination, we conclude that Shorrosh is just as mistaken about these issues as Shabir is.
This concludes the first part. Continue with Part 2.
Responses to Shabir Ally
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