A Rebuttal to

Jalal Abualrub's Polemic against the Genealogy of Jesus

Part 2

Sam Shamoun

[Begin with Part 1.]

Abularub has some more stuff to say about Jesus’ genealogies:

Two Possibilities

Yet, even if the two genealogies of Jesus –as recorded by Matthew and Luke– were perfectly identical, which they are not, then the fact that they appear in the Bible baffles the mind and indicates one of two conclusions, as follows.

1. Either the god of the Bible forgot to inspire the writers of the two Gospels popularly known as the Gospels of Matthew and Luke to –firstly– write their true names and to –secondly– state this otherwise utter Shirk: "Here is the genealogy of Jesus: Jesus, son of Mary; Mary had Jesus with God Himself."  The god of the Bible –as described therein- may forget these things.  However, Allah, the One and Only True Lord of all that exists, Who did not beget a son nor was He begotten, Who has revealed the original copies of the Torah and the Gospel which the Christians and Jews corrupted, never forgets; He always called Jesus by this:

{Isā (Jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary)}.

2. Or, the Bible contains mistakes and was written by fallible humans who committed manifest errors, contradicted each other and never revealed their true identities.


As far as the alleged errors within Jesus’ genealogies are concerned, we recommend the following articles:


And also see the last section of the following article:


We will allow the readers to decide for themselves if we Christians are only following mere conjectures.

Furthermore Abularub assumes that unless the writers specifically presented Jesus' genealogy and relationship to God in the manner he proposes, there must therefore be a contradiction and that the true God, unlike his false nonexistent god, forgets (that pretty much explains why his god doesn't forget since he doesn't exist so as to be able to forget!). As we saw in the first part of our rebuttal, the writers stated both these truths, i.e. that Jesus is Mary's Son and God's Son. Note again the following passages:

"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 1:30-34

Mary is to have a Son who is also the Son of God, and whose ancestor is David!

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law," Galatians 4:4

God sent forth his Son to born from a woman. You can't really get any more explicit than this.

The final comment we would like to make regarding the genealogies is how this serves as further vindication of the NT’s veracity and textual integrity. If the Church simply made up these genealogies, then why did she not attempt to harmonize them? Why didn’t she produce genealogies that were uniform and didn’t seem to conflict with one another? In fact, why didn’t she simply reject one of the Gospels as opposed to keeping both? The answer is simple. The Church wasn’t fabricating genealogies, but tried to faithfully pass down what she had received from her Lord through his spokespersons. If the alleged discrepancies prove anything, they prove that the Church would not try to willfully tamper and corrupt what she believed to be God’s Word but did her best to preserve it as best as she could (obviously by God’s grace, of course), even if this made it harder to defend the belief in the inerrancy of the Holy Bible.

We now turn our attention to Abualrub’s claim that the Gospel writers are anonymous. But first, we want to quote the following claims by Abualrub regarding the composition of the New Testament:

[34] [Log onto: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament). If one reads the article mentioned here aiming to reach a direct answer to the question of, "who wrote the New Testament", one will end up with the same confusion as started with.  The problem facing Christians is multi-fold: they lack verifiable chains of narration leading to any author of any book contained in the New Testament; they cannot agree on the original language of many parts of the New Testament or when they were compiled; they cannot agree on a simple answer as to, "Who wrote the New Testament?"  As for the Torah, its predicament is more profound than the predicament of the New Testament.] (The Prophet of Mercy, Chapter Two, source)

When we do go to the link given by Abualrub, here is what we find:

The New Testament was written by many different people. The TRADITIONAL belief is that all the books were written by the apostles or their followers (e.g. Mark and Luke). MODERN SCHOLARS now largely discount this assumption aside from seven of Paul's letters. Except for Hebrews, NO SERIOUS QUESTION ABOUT THE AUTHORSHIP OF ANY OF THE BOOKS as listed above WAS RAISED IN THE CHURCH BEFORE THE 18TH CENTURY, when critical inquiry into the New Testament began…

The exact authorship of most other books has not been agreed upon by any measure. The issue of authorship is somewhat different for the gospels, because they are all technically anonymous so the question becomes whether THE TRADITIONAL ATTRIBUTIONS (to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are correct. The Johannine writings, particularly the Gospel and the first epistle, have been accepted as coming from circles around John the Evangelist, and the main authorship question there is whether Revelation is ascribed to the same John or to another John.

Of key concern IS THE ROLE PRESUPPOSITIONS in Biblical scholarship, especially gospel and historical Jesus studies. It is now WIDELY RECOGNIZED that every individual comes to historical study WITH THEIR OWN EXPERIENCES, RELIGIOUS BELIEFS, AND PHILOSOPHICAL ASSUMPTIONS, and that these factors can play a defining role in the final product that any particular scholar produces. In the case of the gospels, modern research has been approached from a number of perspectives: Jewish, feminist, Protestant, Roman Catholic, agnostic, materialist, historical, and social-scientific, to name just a few. A prime example of this diversity of opinion is represented in the numerous, often contradictory, "historical Jesus" books published in the past 25 years (compare, for example, the work of the Jesus Seminar, B. Mack, J. Dominic Crossan with that of John P. Meier, James Dunn, and N. T. Wright). This has often had the effect of creating reconstructions of Jesus IN THE IMAGES OF THE PARTICULAR AUTHORS, AS OPPOSED TO NARRATING WHO JESUS REALLY WAS, WHAT HE DID, AND WHAT HE TAUGHT. Nevertheless, most scholars are of the opinion that this process of often heated debate has produced viable results…

According to tradition, the earliest of the books were the letters of Paul, and the last books to be written are those attributed to John, who is traditionally said to have lived to a very old age, perhaps dying as late as 100, although evidence for this tradition is generally not convincing. Irenaeus of Lyons, c. 185, stated that the Gospels of Matthew and Mark were written while Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome, which would be in the 60s, and Luke was written some time later. Evangelical and Traditionalist scholars continue to support this dating.

Some other modern critical scholars concur with the dating of the majority of the New Testament, except for the epistles and books that they consider to be pseudepigraphical (i.e. those thought not to be written by their traditional authors). Some do not. For the Gospels, they tend to date Mark no earlier than 65, and Matthew some time between 70-85. Luke is usually placed in the 80-95 time frame. The earliest of the books of the New Testament was 1 Thessalonians, an epistle of Paul, written probably 51, or possibly Galatians in 49 according to one of two theories of its writing. Of the pseudepigraphical epistles, Christian scholars tend to place them somewhere between 70 and 150, with 2 Peter usually being the latest.

However, John A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (1976), proposed that all of the New Testament was completed before 70, the year the temple at Jerusalem was destroyed. Robinson argued that because the destruction of the temple was prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 24:15-21 and Luke 23:28-31, the authors of these and other New Testament books would not have failed to point out the fulfillment of this prophecy. Robinson's position is popular among some Evangelicals.

In the 1830s, German scholars of the Tubingen school dated the books as late as the third century, but the discovery of some New Testament manuscripts, not including some of the later writings, dating as far back as 125 has called such late dating into question. Additionally, a letter to the church at Corinth in the name of Clement of Rome in 95, quotes from 10 of the 27 books of the New Testament, and a letter to the church at Philippi in the name of Polycarp in 120 quotes from 16 books. Therefore some of the books of the New Testament were at least in a first draft stage, although others were probably not completed until later, while editing, some minor, some major, continued until the present day. (bold, underline and capital emphasis ours)

It should be noted that John Robinson was a liberal scholar, not a conservative, and did not hold to the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures.

Pay careful attention to what is being said here. The Encyclopedia clearly states that the traditional, historical position has been that all the NT books were written by the Apostles or their immediate associates. The Encyclopedia is referring to the early witness of the Church, the testimony of the very disciples of the Apostles, and their followers after them, whose writings are still extant. The writings of men such as Polycarp, Clement of Rome, Irenaeus, Tertullian etc., provide an unbroken chain of evidence for the apostolicity and historical veracity of most of the NT, especially that of the four Gospels. Abualrub wants to simply brush aside and discount all this historical evidence supporting the NT Scriptures.

This is precisely why the Encyclopedia’s statement regarding one’s presuppositions impacting how one reads the data is so crucial here. It is not the historical data which leads Abualrub to question the veracity of the NT, but his presupposition that the Quran is the word of God. Abualrub attacks the integrity of the NT books since these writings falsify the Quran, proving that Muhammad was a false prophet, which Abualrub cannot accept even though the massive weight of the historical evidence is in support of the Bible.

His claim that the Gospel writers are anonymous is an outdated one and is no longer tenable on historical grounds. As the following Evangelical writers state:

"It is frequently asserted that the gospel designated as Matthew’s, like the other three canonical gospels, is anonymous. That is formally correct, if the standard comparison is, say Paul’s epistle to the Romans, where the opening lines of the agreed text designate both the author and the initial readers. There is nothing comparable in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Nevertheless, we have no evidence that these gospels ever circulated without an appropriate designation,… (kata Matthaion, "according to Matthew") or the like. How early are these titles?

Until recently, most scholars tacitly assumed that the four gospels first circulated anonymously and that the present titles were first attached to them about A.D. 125. There is little evidence to support this date as the decisive turning point; it is little more than an educated guess, based only on the presupposition that the Gospels were originally entirely anonymous and on the fact that by about 140, and perhaps earlier, the traditional attributions were widely known, without significant variation. Now, however, this consensus has been vigorously challenged by Martin Hengel. Hengel examines the practice of book distribution in the ancient world, where titles were necessary to identify a work to which any reference was made. In this context he studies the manner in which second-century authors refer to the Gospels, calling to mind, among other things, Tertullian’s criticism of Marcion for publishing his own gospel (a highly truncated version of Luke) without the author’s name. Tertullian contends that a "work ought not to be recognized, which holds not its head erect … which gives no promise of credibility from the fullness of its title and the just profession of its author." Hengel argues that as soon as two or more gospels were publicly read in any one church - a phenomenon that certainly occurred, he thinks, not later than A.D. 100 - it would have been necessary to distinguish between them by some such device as a title. The unanimity of the attributions in the second century cannot be explained by anything other than the assumption that the titles were part of the works from the beginning. It is inconceivable, he argues, that the Gospels could circulate anonymously for up to sixty years, and then in the second century suddenly display unanimous attribution to certain authors. If they had originally been anonymous, then surely there would have been some variation in second-century attributions (as was the case with some of the second-century apocryphal gospels). Hengel concludes that the four canonical gospels were never even formally anonymous.

Objections have been raised against this proposal in four areas.

1. Some of Hengel’s arguments are of the "what must have been the case" variety. That is a fair charge. Even so, "what must have been the case" in the church’s reference to the gospels that were circulating is based on demonstrable second-century practices. Certainly Hengel’s reconstruction makes more sense than any other theory that seeks to explain the unanimity of second-century attribution.

2. Hengel’s arguments are no defense against pseudonymity. Again, that is correct. But most scholars think of the four canonical gospels as anonymous, not pseudonymous. In any case, not only was pseudonymity in the first century largely if not entirely restricted to apocalyptic works, but as soon as the church began to discuss the issue, there was unanimity in rejecting the authority of any work that fell under the suspicion of being pseudonymous composition.

3. Anonymity was surely less threatening than Hengel intimates. Was not the epistle to the Hebrews, say, written anonymously? Certainly Tertullian overstates the argument. Nevertheless, the epistle to the Hebrews is distinguished from other epistles by a title, namely, its (assume) addresses; and its adoption by the church into the canon was constrained in part by doubts as to the identity of its author. It is not an accident that it was first accepted in the East, where tradition associated it with the apostle Paul. Hengel himself has discussed this question at length.

4. Hengel’s interpretation assumes that … (kata Matthaion, "according to Matthew") is an attribution of authorship, whereas parallels show that the phrase "according to" serves other purposes. For example, in the titles "Gospel According to the Hebrews" and "Gospel According to the Egyptians," the prepositional expression does not indicate authorship. Plummer says it "implies conformity to a type, and need not mean more than ‘drawn up according to the teaching of.’" Plummer and others acknowledge that by the time of Papias,… (kata, "according to") is understood to indicate authorship, but they insist that the expression does not necessarily bear that weight. Hengel agrees that kata plus the accusative is not itself a necessary indication of authorship and indeed is only rarely used in that way in contemporary Greek literature. But he draws attention to a telling analogy. In the Greek fathers, the one Old Testament is referred to as "according to the Seventy" or "according to Aquila" or "according to Symmachus," where the prepositional expression is used to introduce the person or group thought to be responsible for producing the version concerned. In the same way, the one gospel early circulated in four distinct forms, "according to Matthew," "according to Mark," and so forth, where the prepositional expression introduces the person understood to be the author.

In short, the argument that Matthew was understood to be the author of the first gospel long before Papias wrote his difficult words affirming such a connection seems very strong, even if not unassailable.

In any case, not only was pseudonymity in the first century largely if not entirely restricted to apocalyptic works, but as soon as the church began to discuss the issue, there was unanimity in rejecting the authority of any work that fell under the suspicion of being a pseudonymous composition." (D.A. Carson, Douglas Moo, and Leon Morris, An Introduction to the New Testament [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992], pp. 66-67)

Even the very names of some of the Gospels point in the direction of authenticity, demonstrating the extreme care and honesty of the early Church. Many forgers and false witnesses, such as the Gnostic groups, would forge documents in the name of the Apostles of Christ, i.e. Gospel of Thomas, Apocryphon Gospel of John etc. These groups realized that by so doing there was a greater chance that their forgeries would be accepted if they could convince their audiences that the Apostles themselves personally penned these writings. Yet, in the case of the four Gospels two of them are attributed to disciples of the Apostles as opposed to the Apostles themselves, i.e. Mark and Luke. Now if the Church was simply making these names up it would have been more convenient for her to have attributed these Gospels to Apostles like Peter and Thomas rather than to their immediate followers. Thus, the very names of the canonical Gospels are strong support for both their authenticity and the Church’s honesty in trying to accurately preserve their own religious history.

We highly recommend that our readers get Martin Hengel’s book, The Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International, 2000). Hengel is not a conservative, evangelical Scholar and does not hold to the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. His work is based solely on analyzing the historical data regarding the composition of the four Gospels. He demonstrates that the historical evidence conclusively shows that the Gospels never circulated anonymously but with the names of the authors attached to them. For a helpful review of the book please see this review.

And for more on the composition and canonization of the NT books, we recommend the following links:



Quran, Surahs and Muhammad’s Genealogy

We now would like to turn the tables on Abularub and use his own arguments against the Quran. To begin with, Abualrub approvingly cited the Wikipedia’s online Encyclopedia regarding the NT books. Therefore, he surely must agree with their assessment of the Quranic text:

According to later tradition, the first complete compilation of the Qur'an in one volume was thought made in the first caliph Abu Bakr’s time by Zayd ibn Thabit, who "gathered the Qur'an from various parchments and pieces of bone, and from the chests (ie memories) of men." However, this account is deemed disingenuous by some scholars as an attempt to further the history of the Qur'an back to the time of Muhammad. Accordingly, this copy was kept in Hafsa bint Umar’s house. During the caliphate of Uthman ibn Affan, A DISPUTE developed about the use of various dialects (ahruf) that the Qur'an was being recited in. Some were also ALARMED by reported divergences in the recitation of the revelation, especially among new Muslims. In response, Uthman decided to codify and standardize the text. According to some Islamic traditions, Uthman commissioned a committee, that included Zayd and several prominent members of Quraysh, to produce a standard copy of the text, based on the compilation in the keeping of Hafsa…

Higher biblical criticism revolutionized Judaism and Christianity by calling into question long-held assumptions about the origins of the Bible; some ambitious textual critics are doing the same for the Qur'an. They say that parts of the Qur'an are based on stories of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), the New Testament of the Christian Bible, and other non-canonical Christian works; differences of the biblical to the Qur'anic versions suggest to some scholars that these stories were not taken directly from written texts but seem rather to have been part of the oral traditions of the Arab peninsula at Muhammad's time. To Muslims, however, this explanation is topsy-turvy: the "non-canonical" Jewish and Christian stories are simply further textual corruptions of an otherwise nearly lost divine original reflected in the Qur'an.

These critics also seek to find evidence of TEXT EVOLUTION AND TRANSCRIPTION DISPUTES in early Islam; the results have been meager, but some have expressed hopes that recent discoveries of "Qur'an Graveyards" in Yemen will throw more light on the subject. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quran; bold, underline and capital emphasis ours)

Furthermore, Abualrub has been complaining about the Bible’s genealogies, but has no problem with the fact that the Quran fails to provide a genealogy for Muhammad. This is especially intriguing since Abualrub believes that Muhammad was the fulfillment of the prayers of Abraham and Ishmael:

And when Abraham, and Ishmael with him, raised up the foundations of the House: 'Our Lord, receive this from us; Thou art the All-hearing, the All-knowing; and our Lord, make us submissive to Thee, and of our seed a nation submissive to Thee; and show us our holy rites, and turn towards us; surely Thou turnest, and art All-compassionate; and, our Lord, do Thou send among them a Messenger, one of them, who shall recite to them Thy signs, and teach them the Book and the Wisdom, and purify them; Thou art the All-mighty, the All-wise.' S. 2:129

The above citation is understood by Muslims to be fulfilled in the advent of Muhammad, but the Quran utterly fails to provide a genealogy tracing Muhammad back to Ishmael. Therefore, a person has no way of determining whether Muhammad was of the seed of Ishmael. This is unlike the Lord Jesus whose life accounts which list his genealogies were written during the life of the first generation of his followers.

It is indeed true that Ibn Ishaq, in his sirah, provides such a genealogy. But the problem with appealing to Ibn Ishaq is that it is written over 100 years after Muhammad's death (d. 632 A.D.), dating to roughly 750 A.D. More importantly, we do not even have Ishaq's original sirah but an edited and expurgated version by Ibn Hisham (died 834 A.D.) from the nineth century A.D., or roughly two hundreds after Muhammad's death!

Besides, Abualrub has discounted his sirah and casts great doubt on its authenticity. After citing some scholars who classified Ishaq’s narrations as being reliable, Abualrub then quotes a host of others who call his integrity into question:

The scholars who collected Maghazi also include Imam Musa Ibn Uqbah (died 141/758), the first to collect a book on Maghazi, according to Imam adh-Dhahabi in, Siyaru A`lami an-Nubalaa. When Imam Malik Ibn Anas was asked about which book of Maghazi should be studied, he recommended Musa Ibn Uqbah's. Malik said on another occasion, "Musa Ibn Uqbah did not collect numerous narrations as others did." Imam adh-Dhahabi commented, "Malik meant Ibn Is`haq by these words. There is no doubt that Ibn Is`haq wrote a lengthy book and mentioned numerous genealogies, which should have been summarized, and collected many unnecessary poems, which should have been omitted, as well as, collecting unreliable narrations. In addition, Ibn Is`haq failed to collect many authentic narrations he did not hear of. Therefore, his book needs to be edited and corrected in addition to adding the narrations he failed to include." Adh-Dhahabi added that al-Bukhari and Muslim collected the narrations of Musa Ibn Uqbah in the core of their Hadeeth collections. In comparison, and as adh-Dhahabi stated, al-Bukhari only mentioned Ibn Is`haq's narrations as a way of supporting other narrations (and without Sanad, i.e., in the form of Ta`liqat); Muslim mentioned Ibn Is`haq's narrations coupled with other narrators narrating the same reports. Musa Ibn Uqbah died in the Hijri year of one hundred and forty-one (758 CE), nine years before Ibn Is`haq died. May Allah honor both of them.

3 – Adh-Dhahabi also listed some of the major scholars of Islam who refuted Ibn Is`haq's reliability in Hadeeth narrations.  Imam Malik, for instance, called Ibn Is`haq a liar and Yahya Ibn Sa`eed al-Ansari, as well as, al-A`mash refuted one of Ibn Is`haq's narrations by saying that he lied.  As a general statement, Yahya Ibn Sa`eed graded Ibn Ishaq as being weak in Hadeeth narration.  Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal discounted the reliability of Ibn Ishaq if he alone narrates a Hadeeth.  Also, Imams Yahya Ibn Ma`een (in another narration from him), an-Nasaii and ad-Daraqutni stated that Ibn Ishaq was weak in Hadeeth.  The great Imam of Sunnah, Imam A`hmad Ibn Hanbal, also added that Ibn Is`haq's narrations are not accepted if they are about the Sunan (Pl. for Sunnah; [yet, Craig Ibn Winn claims that Ibn Is`haq's Seerah is a Sunnah book!]), stating that even [in the rare occasions] where Ibn Is`haq clearly stated that he heard a Hadeeth from his teacher, he would often contradict other narrators.  Therefore, and as Imam A`hmad stated, if Ibn Is`haq alone reports a Hadeeth, then that narration is not accepted.  Adh-Dhahabi also stated that if a narration that Ibn Is`haq reports contradicts other [more established] narrators, then Ibn Is`haq's narration is rejected.

4 – Adh-Dhahabi listed some of the reasons why Ibn Is`haq was considered weak regarding Hadeeth narration, as follows.

A – Imam A`hmad Ibn Hanbal stated that Ibn Is`haq was a Mudallis , and in another occasion, he said that Ibn Ishaq's Tadlees (v. for Mudallis) was substantial.  Imam A`hmad also said that Ibn Is`haq did not care from whom he collected Hadeeth.

B – Imam Ibn Numair said that Ibn Is`haq reported false Hadeeths from unknown narrators.

C – Adh-Dhahabi concluded by saying that among the worst errors made by Ibn Is`haq is that he used to record narrations he collected from anyone, and thus, did not have Wara` in this regard, may Allah forgive him.

5 – How Ibn Is`haq's narration should be treated is summarized in this statement from Imam Ibn Numair, "If he narrates a Hadeeth from teachers he directly heard from and who are known to be truthful, then his Hadeeth is from the grade Hasan because he is truthful."  Yet, Imam A`hmad stated that if Ibn Is`haq is the only narrator of that Hadeeth, then his narration is discounted.  And the key words to look for here, for Ibn Ishaq's narration not to be dismissed outright, are, "If Ibn Is`haq says, ‘So and so narrated to me', then he did hear that narration.' Otherwise, if he says, ‘So and so said', then the narration is rejected.'"  Meaning, Ibn Is`haq would not lie; if he states that he heard the Hadeeth from his teacher, then his assertion is accepted. (Source)


A Summary of How Muslim Scholars Treated Ibn Is`haq's Hadeeth Narration

For a Hadeeth reported by Ibn Is`haq to be accepted as a Hasan Hadeeth, which is the lesser grade of authentic Hadeeths, Ibn Is`haq must declare that he heard the narration directly from his teacher, provide a reliable chain of narrators throughout the chain of narration until it reaches the companion or the Prophet, and then his narration cannot contradict a narration reported by a more established narrator or group of narrators.  Imam A`hmad added that Ibn Is`haq should not be the only narrator for a Hadeeth, otherwise, his narration is rejected. (Source)

Regarding the meaning of Mudalis, Abualrub notes:

[30] [Ibn Is`haq often started his narrations by saying, "Those whom I trust narrated to me", or "Some men from this city told me", etc.  He also would collect Hadeeths from unreliable narrators and hide the name of his teacher by saying, "So and So said", meaning the teacher of his teacher, who may be trustworthy, so that the Hadeeth narration is not rejected if the name of his own teacher is specified.  However, whenever Ibn Is`haq said, "So and so said to me", he would not lie.] (Source)


If Hadeeth Established Through Weak Isnad (Chain of Narration) is Rejected in Islam, Then What About Stories that Have No Isnad?

Winn agrees with Muslims that the collection of Hadeeth by Imam Muslim is among the most respected books in Islam.  In the introduction to his collection of authentic Hadeeths, Imam Muslim restated, and agreed with, the established methodology that scholars of Hadeeth use pertaining to rejecting weak and unsubstantiated Hadeeths and only accepting authentic, well known Hadeeths reported by reliable, trustworthy and truthful narrators.  Imam Ibn Taimiyyah concurred, by saying (Fatawa 1:250), "It is not allowed to rely on weak Hadeeths, i.e. that are neither Sahih nor Hasan in grade, in matters pertaining to Sharee`ah."  ‘Sharee`ah', pertains to aspects of Sunnah and Islamic Law, which Imam A`hmad stated should not be taken from Ibn Is`haq, a known Mudallis. (Source)

The genealogy presented by Ibn Ishaq fails to meet the criteria proposed by Abualrub. Ishaq gives no chain for his genealogy, nor do other genealogists concur with Ishaq’s lineage for Muhammad. In fact, the Muslims gave various genealogies, all of which contradict each other. Some went so far as to call anyone a liar who tried to trace Muhammad’s lineage beyond Adnan or al-Nather ibn Kinanah:

Muhammad genealogized himself regarding his ancestors until he reached al-Nather ibn Kinanah, then he said, "anyone who claimed otherwise or added further ancestors, has lied." (As-Sirah al-Halabiyah, volume I, p. 36)


There is no question of ‘Adnan being of the line of Ishmael, son of Abraham, upon both of whom be peace. What dispute there is relates to the number of forebears there were from ‘Adnan to Ishmael according to the various sources.

At one end of the spectrum, there s the extreme view that considers there to have been FORTY; this is the view of Christians and Jews who adopted it from the writings of Rakhiya, the clerk of Armiya (Jeremy) b. Halqiya, as we will relate.

Some authorities maintain there THIRTY, others TWENTY, yet more FIFTEEN, TEN, NINE, or SEVEN.

It has been said that the lowest estimate given is for FOUR, according to the account given by Musa b. Ya‘qub, on the authority of ‘Abd Allah b. Wahb b. Zum’a al-Zuma‘i from his aunt, and then from Umm Salama who stated that the Prophet (SAAS) said that the line was: "Ma‘ad b. ‘Adnan b. Adab b. Zand b. al-Tara b. A‘raq al-Thara".

According to Umm Salam this Zanad was al-Hamaysa‘, al-Yara was Nabit, while A‘raq al-Thara was Ishmael. This was implied because he was Abraham's son; for Abraham was not consumed by hell-fire, since fire does not consume moist earth, the meaning of al-thara.

Al-Daraqatni stated that he knew of no "Zand" except the one in this tradition, and Zand b. al-Jawn, who was Abu Dalama the poet.

Abu al-Qasim al-Suhayli and other Imams stated that the time lapse between ‘Adnan and Ishmael was too great for there to have been only FOUR, TEN, or even TWENTY generations between them. That, they said, was because the age of Ma‘ad son of ‘Adnan was twelve at the time of Bukhtunassar (Nebuchadnezzar).

Abu Ja‘far al-Tabari and others related that Almighty God sent a revelation at that time to Armiya’ b. Halqiya telling him to go to Bukhtunassar to inform him that God had given him rule over the Arabs. And God commanded to Armiya’ to carry Ma‘ad b. Adnan on the horse al-Buraq so that they would not bear him any rancour saying, "For I shall draw forth from his loins a noble Prophet by whom I shall seal the prophets."

‘Armiya did that, bearing Ma‘ad on al-Buraq to the land of Syria where he grew up among the Jews who remained there following the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem. There he married a woman named Ma‘ana, daughter of Jawshin unrest had quietened [sic] down and accord prevailed in the Arabian peninsula. Rakhiya, Armiya’s scribe, wrote his master's genealogy down in a document he had there which was to go into Armiya’s library; and he similarly preserved the genealogy of Ma‘ad. But God knows best.


Al-Suhayli commented further, "We have merely discussed tracing back these lines to accord with the school of thought of those scholars who favour and do not disapprove of it, men such as Ibn Ishaq, al-Bukhari, al-Zubayr b. Bakkar, al-Tabari, and others."

As for Malik, God have mercy on him, he expressed disapproval when asked about someone tracing his descent back to Adam and commented: "WHENCE COMES TO HIM KNOWLEDGE OF THAT?" When he was asked about tracing back to Ishmael, he expressed similar disapproval, asking, "WHO COULD PROVIDE SUCH AN INFORMATION?" Malik also disliked tracing the genealogy of the prophets, such as saying, "Abraham son of so-and-so". Al-Mu‘ayti stated this in his book.

Al-Suhayli commented also that Malik's viewpoint was analogous to what was related of ‘Urwa b. al-Zubayr who is reported to have said, "WE HAVE FOUND NO ONE WHO KNOWS THE LINE BETWEEN ‘ADNAN AND ISHMAEL."

It is reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said, "Between ‘Adnan and Ishmael there were 30 ancestors WHO ARE UNKNOWN."

Ibn ‘Abbas is also reputed to have said when he traced back lines of descent as far as ‘Adnan: "The genealogists have LIED. TWICE OR THRICE." And that (scepticism) is even more characteristic of Ibn Mas‘ud, whose (attitude) was like that of Ibn ‘Abbas.

‘Umar b. al-Khattab stated, "We carry back the genealogy ONLY AS FAR AS ‘ADNAN."

Abu ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-Barr stated in his book Al-Anba’ fi Ma‘rifat Qaba’il al-Ruwah (Facts Concerning Knowledge of the Tribes of the Transmitters) that Ibn Lahi‘a related from Abu al-Aswad that he heard ‘Urwa b. al-Zubayr say, "WE NEVER FOUND ANYONE WHO KNEW [sic] GENEALOGY BACK PAST ‘ADNAN, NOR PAST QAHTAN, UNLESS THEY WERE USING CONJECTURE."

Abu al-Aswad stated that he had heard Abu Bakr Sulayman b. Abu Khaytham, one of the very most knowledgeable men of the poetry and the genealogy of Quraysh, say, "WE NEVER KNEW ANYONE WITH INFORMATION GOING BACK BEYOND MA‘AD B. ‘ADNAN, whether relating poetry or other knowledge."

Abu ‘Umar said that there was a group of the predecessors including ‘Abd Allah b. Mas‘ud, ‘Amr b. Maymun al-Azdi, and Muhammad b. Ka‘b al-Quradhi who, when they recited the verse from the Qur’an "and those after them who no one but God knows" (surat Ibrahim, XIV, v. 9) would comment, "THE GENEALOGISTS LIED."

Abu ‘Umar, God have mercy on him, stated, "We hold the meaning of this to differ from their interpretation. What is implied is that regarding those who claim to enumerate Adam's descendants, no one knows them except God who created them. But as for the lines of descent of the Arabs, the scholars conversant with their history and genealogy were aware of and learned by heart about the people and the major tribes, DIFFERING IN SOME DETAILS OF THAT." (The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya), Volume I, translated by professor Trevor Le Gassick, reviewed by Dr. Ahmed Fareed [Garnet Publishing Limited, 8 Southern Court, south Street Reading RG1 4QS, UK; The Center for Muslim Contribution to Civilization, 1998], pp. 50-52; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The problem is compounded when we realize that there is no pre-Islamic evidence that the Meccan Arabs are descendants of Ishmael:

... Ishmael is considered the progenitor of the Arabs. Dagon (1981) has shown that this idea is an Islamic construction AND THAT NO CONNECTION BETWEEN ISHMAEL AND THE ARABS HAD EVER BEEN MADE IN THE PRE-ISLAMIC PERIOD. Already in the first Islamic century, however, Ishmael came to symbolize the Islamic Umma, and biblical passages about Ishmael were taken to refer to Muhammad, the Arabs, or the Muslim community. (Camilla Adang, Muslim Writers on Judaism & the Hebrew Bible from Ibn Rabban to Ibn Hazm, p. 147, fn. 37: E.J. Brill Academic Publishers; August 1997 ISBN: 9004100342; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Former Muslim turned to atheist Ibn Warraq writes:

We are told that [Abraham] was born in Chaldea, and that he was the son of a poor potter who earned his living by making little clay idols. It is scarcely credible that the son of this potter went to Mecca, 300 leagues away in the tropics, by way of impassable deserts. If he was a conqueror he no doubt aimed at the fine country of Assyria; and if he was only a poor man, as he is depicted, he founded no kingdoms in foreign parts. — Voltaire

For the historian, the Arabs are no more the descendents of Ishmael, son of Abraham, than the French are of Francus, son of Hector. — Maxime Rodinson

It is virtually certain that Abraham never reached Mecca. — Montgomery Watt

The essential point ... is that, where objective fact has been established by sound historical methods, it must be accepted. — Montgomery Watt

According to Muslim tradition, Abraham and Ishmael built the Kaaba, the cube-like structure in the Sacred Mosque in Mecca. But outside these traditions there is absolutely no evidence for this claim - whether epigraphic, archaeological, or documentary. Indeed Snouck Hurgronje has shown that Muhammad invented the story to give his religion an Arabian origin and setting; with this brilliant improvisation Muhammad established the independence of his religion, at the same time incorporating into Islam the Kaaba with all its historical and religious associations for the Arabs. (Ibn Warraq, Why I Am Not A Muslim [Prometheus Books, Amherst NY 1995], p. 131; bold emphasis ours)

It gets even worse for Abualrub. In the endnotes to the second chapter of his "response" (*) to Craig Winn's book, The Prophet of Doom (http://www.prophetofdoom.net/toc.html), Abualrub presents the dates for the extant hadith books which he lists in a descending order of prestige and authenticity:

[19] by Imam Muhammad Ibn Isma`eel al-Bukhari (194-256 AH/809-869 CE)]

[20] [by Imam Muslim Ibn al-`Hajjaj Ibn Wird Ibn Kushadh al-Qushairi (204-261 AH/819-874 CE)]

[21] [by Imam Abu Dawood Sulaiman Ibn al-Ash`ath as-Sujustani (202-275 AH/817-888 CE)]

[22] [by Imam Muhammad Ibn `Eesa at-Tirmidhi (210-279 AH/825-892 CE)]

[23] [by Imam Ahmad Ibn Shu`aib an-Nasaii (215-303 AH/830-915 CE)]

[24] [by Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Yazid Ibn Majah (209-273 AH/824-886 CE)]

[25] [by Imam Malik Ibn Anas (93-179 AH/711-795 CE)]

[26] [by Imam Ahmad Ibn `Hanbal (164-241 AH/780-855 CE)]

As one can see, none of these sources are contemporary, eyewitness accounts from the time of Muhammad or his companions. This opens the door for these sources to contain legendary and fanciful stories, as well as for gross distortion of historical events and facts.

Abualrub tries to circumvent the obvious problem the late dating of these sources poses for Islam's credibility, and commits a classic textbook case of circular reasoning in the process:

However, these are by no means the earliest Sunnah collections.

In, Holy Wars…Crusades…Jihad, Pg., 27-8, is the following: "Collecting `Hadiths started during the lifetime of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Some of his companions, like the family of `Hazm, Abdullah Ibn `Amr Ibn al-`Aas, to name a few, recorded the Prophet's statements, with his permission. Many more companions memorized and reached an excellent standard in memorizing `Hadith verbatim…The Arabs were largely an unlettered nation that depended on memory to preserve its traditions, history and poems, in order to transfer them from one generation to the next…A large number of companions excelled in memorizing `Hadith, such as Abu Hurairah, `Aishah (the Prophet's wife), Jabir Ibn Abdullah, Abdullah Ibn `Umar, Abdullah Ibn `Amr, Abdullah Ibn Abbas, Abdullah Ibn az-Zubair, among many others. Even when literacy became widespread in the Muslim World, scholars of early and successive Muslim generations relied on memory to preserve `Hadith narrations, as well as, compiling `Hadith on a massive professional scale."

Also, there is this segment in, Holy Wars…Crusades…Jihad, Pg., 29-30,: "There were many other Collectors of `Hadith who came before and after the mentioned scholars, such as Abu Zur`ah `Ubaidillah ar-Razi (200-264 AH/815-877 CE), Abu `Hatim Muhammad Ibn Idris ar-Razi (195-277/810-890) and his son Abdul-Ra`hman Ibn Abi `Hatim (240-327/854-938), Muhammad Ibn Nasr al-Marwazi (202-294/817-906), Ayyub as-Sikhtiyani (68-131/687-748), Abdullah Ibn al-Mubarak (118-181/736-797), Muhammad Ibn al-`Hasan ash-Shaibani (131-189/748-804), Abu Dawood at-Tayalisi (124-204/741-819), Abdul Razzaq Ibn Hammam (126-211/743-826), Muhammad Ibn Sa`d (168-230/784-844), Abu `Hatim Ibn `Hibban (270-354/883-965), at-Tabarani (260-360/873-970), to name a few." (Source)

The first problem with Abualrub’s claim is that the sources which he lists are not contemporary documents, but texts written well over one hundred years after Muhammad’s time. They, therefore, do not qualify as eyewitness accounts. The second problem is that his belief that there were hadiths written by Muhammad’s companions is not based on any contemporary textual data from that time, but on the hadiths which were written centuries later. Abualrub is presupposing that the hadith records that mention that Muhammad’s companions wrote down narrations are reliable enough to be trusted, despite their being written centuries after these events occurred! In other words, Abualrub has provided us with a textbook case of the fallacy of begging the question or circular reasoning.

Besides, the historical data is, at best, contradictory since there is evidence showing that Muhammad's so-called sunnah and hadiths were not even given any major prominence in relation to Islamic jurisprudence or conduct. As Wakas Mohammed, while commenting on Daniel Brown's book, Rethinking Tradition in Modern Islamic Thought, writes:

The word sunna predates the rise of Islam and is well attested in pre-Islamic sources. The word sunna was likely to be applied to Muhammad even during his lifetime (p8).

The Quran never mentions sunna-al-nabi (sunna of the Prophet). The application of the term sunna is likely to be post-Quranic, especially when applied exclusively to Muhammad.

Early muslims did not give precedence of Muhammad's sunna over other sunnas, such as the sunna of the early caliphs or early companions. The sunna term was not exclusive to Muhammad. There were no rigid distinctions about sources of religious law, i.e. it wasn't concrete that Muhammad's sunna could be used as a source of law.

Shafi was born in 204 AH (193 years after Prophet Muhammad's death). He was THE FIRST to argue the Prophet's sunna as a source of law, identified to authentic prophetic hadith, and give it an equal footing to The Quran. Different attitudes to sunna existed during Shafi, al-kalam (a particular group or school of thought) REJECTED THE HADITH ALTOGETHER in favour of The Quran alone. Shafi's view was also oppossed early by schools of jurisprudence in Hijaz, Iraq and Syria, who applied the term sunna to Muhammad, his companions and the early caliphs as well.

AFTER Shafi, it is rare to find the term sunna applied to other than Muhammad. Al-kalam argued the sunna of Muhammad SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TO RULE ON THE QURAN and described the science of hadith (as in the methods used to collect hadith) AS ARBITRARY. Evidence of this was the hadith was FILLED with contradictory, blasphemous and absurd traditions. (Source; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

What the foregoing basically means is that Abualrub has no pre-Islamic evidence, not even any contemporary records from the time of Muhammad, to prove to us that Muhammad and his tribe were actual descendants of Ishmael!

If, in spite of all this, Abualrub still feels that these sources are reliable enough regarding Muhammad's genealogies, despite the contradictions between the various lists, then on what grounds does he even dare question the reliability of the Gospels' genealogies seeing that they were written within the very first generation of believers?

We therefore issue the following additional challenges to Abualrub:

We challenge you to present pre-Islamic data documenting that the Meccans, specifically Muhammad’s tribe the Banu Hashim, were believed to be Ishmael’s descendants.

We further challenge you to produce a source from Muhammad’s time, not sources which are removed by over one hundred years, which provide a genealogy of Muhammad that traces him to Ishmael.

For more on this issue please consult the following articles (1, 2, 3).

Now Abualrub may try to get disingenuous and appeal to the Bible to prove that Ishmael settled in Mecca, a claim refuted in the above links. In case he does, this would only further expose his hypocrisy and lack of "scientific investigative" abilities, since his aim in this paper, and elsewhere, is to discredit the Biblical record. To, therefore, appeal to this very record to prove Islam is inconsistent and hypocritical.

Even more astonishing is the complaint of Abualrub regarding the alleged anonymity of the Bible writers in light of the failure of the Quran to specify its exact length or the names of its chapters. There is not a single verse in the entire Quran which says that all of it is from Allah, nor does it indicate what all of it is, i.e. there are no references indicating how many chapters and verses make up the Quran. Here are a few chapters which never once claim to have come down from Allah:

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate Praise belongs to God, the Lord of all Being, the All-merciful, the All-compassionate, the Master of the Day of Doom. Thee only we serve; to Thee alone we pray for succour. Guide us in the straight path, the path of those whom Thou hast blessed, not of those against whom Thou art wrathful, nor of those who are astray. S. 1:1-7

As anyone reading this chapter can easily see, this is a prayer offered to God not God’s words revealed to man.

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate The Clatterer! What is the Clatterer? And what shall teach thee what is the Clatterer? The day that men shall be like scattered moths, and the mountains shall be like plucked wool-tufts. Then he whose deeds weigh heavy in the Balance shall inherit a pleasing life, but he whose deeds weigh light in the Balance shall plunge in the womb of the Pit. And what shall teach thee what is the Pit? A blazing Fire! S. 101:1-9

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate Gross rivalry diverts you, even till you visit the tombs. No indeed; but soon you shall know. Again, no indeed; but soon you shall know. No indeed; did you know with the knowledge of certainty, you shall surely see Hell; Again, you shall surely see it with the eye of certainty then you shall be questioned that day concerning true bliss. S. 102:1-8

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate By the afternoon! Surely Man is in the way of loss, save those who believe, and do righteous deeds, and counsel each other unto the truth, and counsel each other to be steadfast. S. 103:1-3

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate Woe unto every backbiter, slanderer, who has gathered riches and counted them over thinking his riches have made him immortal! No indeed; he shall be thrust into the Crusher; and what shall teach thee what is the Crusher; The Fire of God kindled roaring over the hearts covered down upon them, in columns outstretched. S. 104:1-9

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, Perish the hands of Abu Lahab, and perish he! His wealth avails him not, neither what he has earned; he shall roast at a flaming fire and his wife, the carrier of the firewood, upon her neck a rope of palm-fibre. Surah 111:1-5

As far as we can tell, these chapters are the prayers, curses, threats, or poems of some unnamed individuals which were combined together in a book claiming to be from God, despite these chapters never claiming this for themselves.

To make matters worse, the Quran even fails to provide the specific names of the chapters!

Since Abualrub has basically discounted all of Christian history, the testimony of the early Church fathers, the witness of the very disciples of the Apostles, we therefore challenge him to prove to us from the Quran ALONE that these chapters are from Allah and that they do belong in the Quran. We further challenge him to tell us who this Abu Lahab was without any recourse to Islamic history and narrations that are removed from Muhammad’s time by over a hundred years, if not more.

Mankind Desperately Needs the Holy Bible, God’s True Word, Not the Lies of Satan.

Responses to Jalal Abualrub
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page