Akbarally Meherally attempts to rebut my article by making ad hominem attacks against me, rather than discussing the issue at hand. In his article, Akbarally attempts to question my integrity hoping that others will not take my article seriously. Yet, interestingly, Akbarally fails to comment at all on the fact that Muslims themselves disagreed, and some continue to disagree, over the issue of whether Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Ishmael or Isaac. Furthermore, I will proceed to show that Akbarally is guilty of deception, or very poor scholarship, because in one of his recent articles, he misquoted a fellow Muslim by attributing quotations to that particular individual who never made such statements. In fact, the citations were actually taken from my response to the Muslim in question!
INJECTS... "(the sacrifice)"?
Please visit the web site:
Once on the site go to:
SECTION B - ISLAM Part 4 Jesus and Muhammad
Please click: Response
Go to the paragraph entitled THE QURANIC NARRATION
Click the Link: Isaac was the son of sacrifice
You should be at
You are now reading the article Abraham and the Child of Sacrifice - Isaac or Ishmael? by Critic Sam Shamoun
I have copied and pasted the following from Sam's Deceptive Article:
First of all, it would be much easier and neater for Akbarally to insert a hyper-text link in his webpage instead of all of this! Second, notice that Akbarally has already made up his mind that I am "Deceptive", and hence couldn't have simply been mistaken in what I had interjected. The fact that Akbarally has to go this route indicates that he has no real arguments to rebut my article and, since he cannot refute what I wrote, he resorts to attacking me. Akbarally continues by citing my article:
Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, He said: 'O my son! I see in a vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!' (The son) said: 'O my Father! Do as thou art commanded: Thou will find me, if God so wills one practicing patience and constancy!'
"So when they had both submitted their wills (to God), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice), we called out to him, 'O Abraham! Thou hast already fulfilled thy vision'- thus indeed do we reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial - And we ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice ..." (Sura 37:99-106).
The ambiguity of the text has left many Islamic scholars guessing as to whether the child was Isaac or Ishmael. Yusuf Ali makes a note of this in his commentary:
"This (the sacrifice) was in the fertile land of Syria and Palestine. The boy thus born, was, according to Muslim tradition (which however is not unanimous on this point), the first-born son of Abraham, viz Ishmael ..." (1: p. 1204, f. 4096).
Yes, the AMBIGUITY is there PROVIDED one STOPS reading further and closes the Revealed Book at the verse number 106 as the Christian Critic Sam Shamoun has done.
There is NO AMBIGUITY if one continues reading up to the verse number 113. As a matter of fact the SECTION 3 of Surah 37 begins with the verse number 75 and ends with the verse number 113.
THE READERS WILL HAVE NO DOUBT AS TO WHY THE CRITIC HAS STOPPED AT VERSE 106 ONCE THEY READ THE FOLLOWING:
Verse 100: Abraham prays to Allah for a righteous son.
Verse 101: Allah gives Abraham the good news of a forbearing son.
Verses 102-103: The son reaches the age of serious work and
Allah Commands Abraham to sacrifice that son.
Abraham and his son submit to the Will of Allah.
Verses 104-108: Allah rewards Abraham and his son for the momentous sacrifice.
Verses 109-111: Allah sends "Peace and Salutations" to Abraham. Confirms He rewards those who do right and praises Abraham as His believing servant.
VERSE NO. 112: (NOT MENTIONED BY SAM) reads:
"And We gave him the good news of Isaac - a prophet, - one of the Righteous."
VERSE NO. 113 (NOT MENTIONED BY SAM) reads:
"We blessed him and Isaac; But of their progeny are (some) that do right, and (some) that obviously do wrong, to themselves."
The end of Section Three.
ANY ONE READING ALL THE ABOVE VERSES CAN TELL YOU THAT THE COMMAND FROM ALLAH FOR THE SACRIFICE CAME BEFORE ISAAC WAS BORN AND WHEN ISHMAEL WAS OF SERIOUS WORKING AGE.
Actually, it is Akbarally who is being deceptive. I did not deliberately omit the verses that followed since these passages had no relevance to my point. This should have been apparent to Akbarally since if these passages did make a difference in identifying the child, then there should have been no confusion amongst Muslim scholars. The fact that Tabari and other Muslim authorities did disagree over the child's identity, in spite of knowing these passages that Akbarally presents, speaks volumes on Akbarally's desperate attempt at trying to rebut my article. Mr. Akbarally, if the verses which follow are so clear in proving that Ishmael, not Isaac, was the child of sacrifice, then please explain to us why Muslim authorities such as Tabari could still argue over this issue? In case you missed it, here are the citations from my article which you failed to comment on:
"The earliest sages of our Prophet's nation disagree about which of Abraham's two sons it was that he was commanded to sacrifice. Some say it was Isaac, while others say it was Ishmael. Both views are supported by statements related on the authority of the Messenger of God. If both groups of statements were equally sound, then - since they both came from the Prophet - only the Quran could serve as proof that the account naming Isaac is clearly the more truthful of the two." (2: p. 32).
Instead of listing both sides of the argument, our paper will therefore focus on those who said it was Isaac. All the following quotations are found in al-Tabari (2: pp. 82-86) [italics our emphasis]:
'According to Abu Kurayb - Ibn Yaman-Mubarak - al-Hasan-al-Ahnaf b. Qays-al - 'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib: The quote, "Then We ransomed him with a tremendous victim," refers to Isaac.
According to al-Husayn b. Yazid al-Tahhan - Ibn Idris - Dawud b. Abi Hind - 'Ikrimah - Ibn 'Abbas: The one whom Abraham was ordered to sacrifice was Isaac.
According to Ya'qub - Ibn 'Ulayyah - Dawud - 'Ikrimah - Ibn 'Abbas: The victim was Isaac.
According to Ibn al-Muthanna - Muhammad b. Ja'far - Shu'bah - Abu Ishaq - Abu al-Ahwas: A certain man boasted to Ibn Mas'ud, "I am so-and-so son of so-and-so, son of the noble elders." And 'Abdallah said,"This is Joseph b. Jacob, son of Isaac the victim of God, son of Abraham the Friend of God."
According Ibn Humayd - Ibrahi, b. al-Mukhtar - Muhammad b. Ishaq - 'Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Bakr - al-Zyhri - al-'Ala' b. Jariyah al-Thaqafi - Abu Hurayrah - Ka'b: When God said, "Then We ransomed him with a tremendous victim," He was speaking of Abraham's son Isaac.
According to Ibn Humayd - Salamah - Muhammad b. Ishaq- 'Abdallah b. Abi Bakr - Muhammad b. Muslim al-Zuri - Abu Sufyan b. al-'Ala' b. Jariyah al-Thaqafi, the confederate of Banu Zuhrah - Abu Hurayrah - Ka'b al-Ahbar: The son whom Abraham was commanded to sacrifice was Isaac.
According to Yunus - Ibn Wahb - Yunus - Ibn Shihab - 'Amr b. Abi Sufyan b. Usayd b. Jariyah al-Thaqafi: Ka'b said to Abu Hurayrah, "Should I tell you about Isaac, the son of the prophet Abraham? Abu Hurayrah said, "Certainly." So Ka'b gave the following account:
"When Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac, Satan said `By God! If I cannot deceive the people of Abraham with this, I shall never be able to do it.' So when Abraham went out with Isaac to sacrifice him, Satan visited Abraham's wife, Sarah, in the shape of a man whom Abraham's people knew, and asked her, `Where is Abraham going so early with Isaac?' She said, `He went off early on some errand.' Satan said, `No, by God! That is not the reason he left so early.' Sarah asked, `Then what is the reason?' He said, `He took him out early to sacrifice him.' Sarah said, `There is no truth to that, he would not ... sacrifice his own son.' Satan said, `By God it is true.' Sarah said, `And why would he sacrifice him?' He replied, `He claims that his Lord ordered him to do it.' Sarah said, `If his Lord ordered him to do that, it is best that he obey.' Then Satan left Sarah and went to Isaac, who was walking with his father, and said, `Where is your father taking you so early?' Isaac answered, `He is taking me on some errand of his.' Satan said, `No, by God, he is not taking you out on an errand. He is taking you out early to sacrifice you.' Isaac said, `My father would not sacrifice me.' Satan told him, `Certainly he would.' Isaac asked, `Why?' Satan told him, `He claims that his Lord ordered him to do it.' Isaac answered, `By God! If the Lord told my father to do that, he should certainly obey him.' So Satan left him and went on to Abraham, saying, `Why are you taking your son out early?' Abraham said, `I am taking him on an errand.' Satan answered, `By God, you took him out early only to sacrifice him.' Abraham asked, `Why would I do that?' Satan said, `You claim that your Lord ordered you to do it.' Abraham said, `By God, if my Lord orders me to do that, I will surely do it.' When Abraham took Isaac to sacrifice him, God stayed his hand and ransomed him with a `tremendous victim.' Abraham said to Isaac, `Arise, my little son, for God has released you.' And God said to Isaac, `I will grant you any prayer you choose to make now.' Isaac said, `My God! I pray to you that I be granted this, that you grant entry into Paradise to any worshipper, past or present, who encounters you and does not make anything a partner with you'."
According to 'Amr b. Ali - Abu 'Asim - Sufyan - Zayd b. Aslam - 'Abdallah b. 'Ubayd b. 'Umayr - his father: Moses said, "O Lord! Why are you addressed as `O God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?'" God answered, "Abraham never considered anything at all equal to Me, but put Me above all things; Isaac was generous to Me in the matter of the sacrifice and in other matters; and as for Jacob, the more tribulations I inflicted upon him the more good thoughts he thought about me."
According to Ibn Bashshar - Mu'ammal - Sufyan - Zayd b. Aslam - 'Abdallah b. 'Ubayd b. 'Umayr - his father: Moses asked God, "O Lord! Why did you give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob what you gave them?" And God's answer was the same (as that given above).
According to Abu Kurayb - Ibn Yaman - Isra'il - Jabir - Ibn Sabit: He was Isaac.
According to Kurayb - Ibn Yaman - Sufyan - Abu Sinan al-Shaybani - Ibn Abi al-Hudhayl: The victim was Isaac.
According to Abu Kurayb - Sufyan b. 'Uqbah - Hmaza al-Zayyat - Abu Ishaq - Abu Maysarah: Joseph told the king to his face, "You wish to eat with me when I, by God, am Joseph son of Jacob the prophet of God, son of Isaac the victim of God, son of Abraham the friend of God."
According to Abu Kurayb - Waki' - Sufyan - Abu Sinan - Ibn Abi al-Hudhayl: Joseph said to the king... The same (rest of the) account is roughly the same.
According to Musa b. Harun - 'Amr b. Hammad - Asbat - al-Suddi - Abu Malik and Abu Salih - Ibn 'Abbas and Murrah al-Hamdani - Ibn Mas'ud and some of the companions of the Prophet: Abraham was instructed in a dream to "carry out your promise that if God granted you a son by Sarah you would sacrifice him."
According to Ya'qub - Husahym - Zakariya' and Shu'bah - Abu Ishaq - Masruq: When God said, "The We ransomed him with a tremendous victim," that was Isaac.
"As for the above-mentioned proof from the Quran that it really was Isaac, it is God's word which informs us about the prayer of His friend Abraham when he left his people to migrate to Syria with Sarah. Abraham prayed, `I am going to my Lord who will guide me. My Lord! Grant me a righteous child.' This was before he knew Hagar, who was to be the mother of Ishmael. After mentioning this prayer, God goes on to describe the prayer and mentions that he foretold to Abraham that he would have a gentle son. God also mentions Abraham's vision of himself sacrificing that son when he was old enough to walk with him. The Book does not mention any tidings of a male child given to Abraham except in the instance where it refers to Isaac, in which God said, `And his wife, standing by laughed when we gave her tidings of Isaac, and after Isaac, Jacob', and `Then he became fearful of them'. They said. `Fear not!' and gave him tidings of a wise son. Then his wife approached, moaning, and smote her face, and cried, `A barren old woman'. Thus, wherever the Quran mentions God giving tidings of the birth of a son to Abraham, it refers to Sarah (and thus to Isaac) and the same must be true of God's words `So we gave him tidings of a gentle son', as it is true of all such references in the Quran." (Ibid. p. 89).
"Akrama asked: `Who was supposed to have been slain?'
Abdallah answered: `Ishmael!'
'Why?' asked Akrama.
Ben Abbas answered: `Because how can God pass the good news of Isaac's birth to Abraham, then order that he be killed?'
`I can bring you proof from the Koran that Isaac was supposed to have been slain'. Said Akrama, `Thus will thy Lord prefer thee and teach thee the interpretation of events, and perfect His grace upon thee and upon the household of Jacob as He perfected it upon thy fathers, Abraham and Isaac. Lo! Thy Lord is All-Knowing and All-Wise'. (Joseph 6).
`God's blessing to Abraham was by choosing him, and saving him', said Akrama, `and to Isaac by redeeming him from slaying'." (3: pp. 52-53).
As the Kur'an verse above quoted does not state which son was to have been sacrificed, many Muslim theologians refer the intended sacrifice to Isma`il ... But it may be said that the oldest tradition - al-Tha`labi expressly emphasises the ashab and tabi`un, i.e. the Companions of the Prophet and their successors from `Umar b. al-Khattab to Ka`b al-Ahbar - did not differ from the Bible on this question. (Gibb and Kramers, A Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam, p. 175).
The differing views held amongst the Muslims as to the identity of the child only proves that the Bible is truly authoritative and reliable since what the Quran does not clarify, the Bible corrects and addresses, leaving no guesswork for scholars to work through."
In case these sources were not sufficient for you, here is another Muslim authority for added measure:
Here is a question for you. Since you have read my article, why did you conveniently overlook the fact that from early on, Muslims were not unanimous over the identity of the sacrificial child and decided to focus on a minor point which does not effect the overall clarity and accuracy of my article? Should I accuse you of deception seeing that you neglected to respond to the citations I provided from your fellow Muslims who agree with me over against you?
Furthermore, instead of commenting on your citations from S. 37:107-113, I will simply reproduce John Gilchrist's excellent rebuttal. The following material is adapted from Gilchrist's book, The Christian Witness to the Muslim, pp. 146-156, which can also be read here in its entirety-
"Firstly we read that the son to be sacrificed was promised to Abraham: Fabash-sharnaahu bighulaamin haliim - We announced to him an upright boy (Surah 37.101); and we read further that Isaac was specifically promised to him by name: Fabash-sharnuahu bi-Ishaaq - We announced to him Isaac (Surah 37.112). Nowhere in the Qur'an is it ever similarly stated that Ishmael was promised to Abraham.
"Secondly there is a clear symmetry between these words: Falammaa aslamaa - when they had both submitted (Surah 37.103), and Wa baaraknaa alayhi wa alaa Ishaaq - And we blessed him and Isaac (Surah 37.113). As Abraham and Isaac had both fully submitted themselves to God's will that the one should sacrifice the other, it was only reasonable that God's blessing should come upon them both.
"It is significant that there is no word in the text, such as thumma ("then"), between the story of the sacrifice and the mention of Isaac to distinguish the two or give them a different time period. The Muslim argument that Ishmael must have been the sacrificial son because the story of the sacrifice precedes the mention of Isaac is shown to be highly vulnerable upon closer analysis. Certainly the complete omission of Ishmael's name in the passage considerably undermines the dogmatic contemporary Muslim claim that he was the son who was commanded to be sacrificed."
Interestingly, Hagar is never mentioned or alluded to throughout the entire Quran:
It is strange that the name of Hagar should not be mentioned in the Qur'an. (Stanton, The Teaching of the Qur'an, p. 46).
"In actual fact, the Qur'an has no reference to her whatsoever, let alone by name. In this section we shall shortly see that the Qur'an speaks plainly of Isaac's mother as the wife of Abraham, the only wife of the prophet to whom there is any reference. Is not the complete silence in the Qur'an about Hagar, the mother if Ishmael, a testimony to the fact that Sarah alone was the wife of Abraham and that Hagar was merely her mistress? The Muslim argument that Ishmael was the sacrificial son quite clearly has no solid evidence to substantiate it. The plain statements in the Bible that it was Isaac must obviously be preferred to the Qur'an's nebulous and at times confusing treatment of the identity of the son whom Abraham was commanded to sacrifice."
Gilchrist picks up on this point of Sarah being Abraham's only wife:
"When the promise of Isaac came to Abraham and Sarah, Ishmael had already been born, and the mention of Sarah at this point as Abraham's only wife is a clear testimony that Hagar was not one of his wives. We also note once again that there is no mention of Hagar in the Qur'an whatsoever, a strange omission if she also was a wife of Abraham. In fact no one reading through the Qur'an without reference to any other work could possibly guess that there was another woman in Abraham's life. The only such woman mentioned is described as the single wife of Abraham and she is expressly described as the mother of Isaac. If, therefore, Sarah is mentioned in the Qur'an alone as the wife of Abraham and is also so described in the Bible, can there be any further objection to the description of Isaac as "your only son" in Genesis 22.2 when the command comes to Abraham to sacrifice him? If Sarah is the only legitimate wife of Abraham, is it not perfectly in order to describe her son Isaac as Abraham's only son as well?
"This matter begs further scrutiny. We must bear in mind that a promise was made to Abraham that he would bear a son through his wife. In the Bible the promise comes directly by the Word of God to Abraham (Genesis 17.19), whereas in the Qur'an it comes through the heavenly messengers who have come to destroy the people of Lot (Surah 11.70). In both cases, however, it is the express promise of God that a son would be born to Abraham and that the son would be Isaac. In Surah 15. 53 the narrative is repeated and the promise of a son again appears, though this time Isaac is not mentioned by name. The same goes for Surah 51.28-29 where once again the promise of a son to Abraham's only wife (again imra 'ah in the singular) is repeated. Once again Yusuf Ali, in a footnote, takes it to be Sarah (The Holy Qur'an, p. 1424). Finally, as we have seen, the promise of a son to Abraham appears again at the introduction of the story of the sacrifice (Surah 37.101) and a little lower down the promised son is again specifically named Isaac (Surah 37.112). There can be no doubt that Isaac is the only son promised to Abraham in the Qur'an and he must therefore be identified as the intended sacrificial son.
Ishmael is nowhere mentioned as the child of promise. (Wherry, A Comprehensive Commentary on the Qur'an, Vol. 2, p. 360).
"As Sarah alone is mentioned in the Qur'an and as the single wife of Abraham, it is surely too hard to believe that God would announce to him the birth of a ghulamin halimin, a righteous boy (Surah 37.101), by an illegitimate union with a slave woman, especially as no mention whatsoever of this woman appears in the Qur'an. The only son promised to Abraham in the Qur'an is Isaac and, as Surah 37.102 makes it quite plain that it was this very same promised son who was to be sacrificed, the only reasonable conclusion we can draw is that the Qur'an takes no issue with the Bible on the specific identification of the sacrificial son as Isaac. It is only the popular sentiment of the Muslims that it was Ishmael and that for obvious reasons. We have shown just how the promise of a son to Abraham was inextricably linked to the subsequent command to sacrifice him and how Abraham, through a deliberate consideration of all that was involved against the background of God's unchanging faithfulness, foresaw the coming of the Son of God into the world together with his sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection."
Hence, we find that what Akbarally hoped was evidence refuting the fact that Isaac was the child of sacrifice actually backfires against him.
The Bible repeatedly records that the Command from God to prophet Abraham (p.b.u.h.) was to Sacrifice "thy only son". This particular phrase "thy only son" could only be used when Abraham had ONLY ONE SON.
I wonder if Akbarally has actually read my article. If he had, then he would have seen my rebuttal of his claims. The fact that Akbarally merely repeats old arguments, which have been already addressed, is an indication that his rebuttal does not answer the question at hand.
"This (the sacrifice) was in the fertile land of Syria and Palestine. The boy thus born, was, according to Muslim tradition (which however is not unanimous on this point), the first-born son of Abraham, viz Ishmael ..." (1: p. 1204, f. 4096).
Here is the text of the verse number 37:101
"So We gave him the good news (n. 4096) of a forbearing son (n. 4097)".
In the above verse there is no mention of "The Sacrifice".
It is the good news for "The Birth" of a forbearing son. The sacrifice took place when the son was of the age of serious work. The place of birth and place of sacrifice need not necessarily be one and the same because prophet Abraham (p.b.u.h.) was a nomad trader and was known to have traveled long distances with his caravan.
In Abdullah Yusuf Ali's commentary number 4096 the INJECTED words (the sacrifice) do not appear.
MY QUESTION TO SAM:
Please produce the printed translation by Yusuf Ali with the commentary that has the words (the sacrifice) or please explain why have you deceitfully INJECTED these two words and are thus misleading the readers?
I actually wonder who is trying to deceive whom. Ali's point had to do with the identity of the child that was announced to Abraham, and hence the disagreement was over the child's identity, not the place where the announcement from God was first given. Secondly, Akbarally does have a point about my placing the word "sacrifice" in parentheses since this was clearly a mistake on my part. Instead, I should have inserted the following statement, "the promised child who would eventually be presented as a sacrifice to God." Hence, I acknowledge my unintentional mistake, since Ali was not speaking of sacrifice per se but the promised child who would eventually be offered as a sacrifice.
Thirdly, if I were deliberately trying to deceive my readers then it would have been foolishness on my part to give the reference for this citation enabling someone like Akbarally to incriminate me. The fact that I did give a reference should be an indication that I had no clear intention of willfully deceiving anyone.
Fourthly, the fact that Akbarally would have to stoop to such a level of ad hominem attacks and slurs is a clear indication that he has no solid case against the evidence presented in my article.
Finally, I will now turn the tables on Akbarally, using the very charge he brings up to discredit me against him.
QUESTION TO AKBARALLY
Since you want to throw cheap shots and accuse others of deception, here is something that appears in your article found here:
Hence, due to the great time factor involved it is not hard to see how stories of Muhammad's miracles could be forged and circulated, seeing that no eyewitnesses were present who could prevent any myths from taking place."
I issue the challenge to you to produce for us where Badawi ever made such a claim. What you have done is taken my criticism of Badawi and proceeded to attribute the citation to him. Compare what I wrote with what Akbarally attributes to Badawi:
"Hence, due to the great time factor involved it is not hard to see how stories of Muhammad's miracles could be forged and circulated, seeing that no eyewitnesses were present who could prevent any myths from taking place."
Since you attribute to Badawi things that he never said, but took my words and twisted them to suit your purpose, should I now assume that you were deliberately trying to deceive both Muslms and Christians? This charge against you holds more weight than your accusation against me since I at least provided a reference for my citation for others to go and check! Where is your source for the alleged quotation from Badawi? Where can we read it, from what debate or article were you copying? The fact that you did not provide any source speaks volumes.
In conclusion, there is nothing that Akbarally presents in his article that holds any weight seeing that his very arguments can be used against him.
Responses to Akbarally Meherally
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