Responses to "Islamic Information"

Questions About the Qur'an

Shabir responds to some common questions presented against Islam and then proceeds to ask some questions of his own about the Holy Bible and Christianity. This paper will be responding to all the points Shabir brings up in defense of the Quran and against the Holy Bible.


Why does surah Fussilat say that the heavens and the earth were created in eight days whereas other surahs say six days?

It does not say eight days. The total days given is six when you realize that the heavens and the earth were created simultaneously during the first two days. These two days are mentioned twice. If you count them twice then you get eight days, but who wants to double count and count for a fool?


Shabir must assume that the two days alluded to in the Quran where the heavens seem to have been created after the earth are actually parallel with the first two days of creation. In reality, the earliest Muslim exegetes as well as traditions attributed to Muhammad strongly disagree with Shabir's assertions. The following traditions are taken entirely from The History of al-Tabari, Volume 1- General Introduction and from the Creation to the Flood (trans. Franz Rosenthal, State University of New York Press, Albany 1989), pp. 187-193:

"We have stated before that time is but hours of night and day and that the hours are but traversal by the sun and the moon of the degrees of the sphere. Now then, this being so, there is (also) a sound tradition from the Messenger of God told us by Hannad b. al-Sari, who also said that he read all of the hadith (to Abu Bakr)- Abu Bakr b. `Ayyash- Abu Sa'd al-Baqqal- `Ikrimah- Ibn Abbas: The Jews came to the Prophet and asked him about the creation of the heavens and the earth. He said: God created the earth on Sunday and Monday. He created the mountains and the uses they possess on Tuesday. On Wednesday, He created trees, water, cities and the cultivated barren land. These are four (days). He continued (citing the Qur'an): `Say: Do you really not believe in the One Who created the earth in two days, and set up others like Him? That is the Lord of the worlds. He made it firmly anchored (mountains) above it and blessed it and decreed that it contain the amount of food it provides, (all) in four days, equally for those asking'- for those who ask. On Thursday, He created heaven. On Friday, He created the stars, the sun, the moon, and the angels, until three hours remained. In the first of these three hours He created the terms (of human life), who would live and who would die. In the second, He cast harm upon everything that is useful for mankind. And in the third, (He created) Adam and had him dwell in Paradise. He commanded Iblis to prostrate himself before Adam, and He drove Adam out of Paradise at the end of the hour. When the Jews asked: What then, Muhammad? He said: `Then He sat straight upon the Throne.' The Jews said: You are right, if you had finished, they said, with: Then He rested. Whereupon the Prophet got very angry, and it was revealed: `We have created the heavens and the earth and what is between them in six days, and fatigue did not touch Us. Thus be patient with what you say.'"

According to this tradition from Ibn Abbas, Muhammad believed the earth and everything within it were created on the first four days whereas the heavens and the constellations were created afterwards on Thursday and Friday. "According to al-Muthanna- al-Hajjaj- Hammad- `Ata' b. al-Sa'ib- `Ikrimah: The Jews asked the Prophet:

What about Sunday? The Messenger of God replied: On it, God created the earth and spread it out. They asked about Monday, and he replied: On it, He created Adam. They asked about Tuesday, and he replied: On it, He created the mountains, water, and so on. They asked about Wednesday, and he replied: Food. They asked about Thursday, and he replied: He created the heavens. They asked about Friday, and he replied: God created night and day. Then, when they asked about Saturday and mentioned God's rest(ing on it), he exclaimed: God be praised! God then revealed: `We have created the heavens and the earth and what is between them in six days, and fatigue did not touch Us.'"

Al-Tabari then comments:

"The two reports transmitted by us from the Messenger of God have made it clear that the sun and the moon were created after God had created many things of His creation. That is because the hadith of Ibn Abbas on the authority of the Messenger of God indicates that God created the sun and the moon on Friday. If this is so, earth and heaven and what was in them, except the angels and Adam, had been created before God created the sun and the moon. All this (thus) existed while there was no light and no day, since night and day are but nouns designating hours known through the traversal by the sun and the moon of the course of the sphere. Now, if it is correct that the earth and the heaven and what was between them, except what we have mentioned, were in existence when there was no sun and no moon, the conclusion is that all existed when there was no night or day. The same (conclusion results from) the following hadith of Abu Hurayrah reported on the authority of the Messenger of God: God created light on Wednesday- meaning by `light' the sun, if God wills."

Hence, the Quran contradicts both itself and modern scientific hypothesis on the origins of the universe


Why does surah Maryam say that Jesus died when Surah Nisa says he did not die?

Surah Maryam does not say he died. It says he will die. The fact is that he will die when he returns.


This is a poor argument since Jesus was speaking as an infant while in the cradle. (cf. 19:29-33) Obviously, he could not have been speaking of his death as a past event seeing that he had just been born! This is nothing more than a straw man argument. The reason why Christians appeal to S. 19:33 as proof that Jesus died is because of the similarities to what is elsewhere said of John the Baptist:

So Peace on him (John) The day he was born, The day he dies, And the day he Will be raised up To life (again)! Sura 19:15

"So Peace is on me The day I was born, The day that I die, And the day that I Shall be raised up To life (again)!" Sura 19:33

Muslims believe that John was born, died and will eventually be raised again to life. If this were so, then we would expect that this sequence would also be true of Christ. Since Jesus was born he would have naturally had to die, with the only difference being that he was the first person who was raised to life again. The Quran never even hints to the fact that Jesus ascended to heaven without dying first. This belief stems from Islamic sources written nearly two hundred years after Muhammad's death.

The fact that even Muslims struggle with this verse is evident by Yusuf Ali's footnote:

"... Christ was not crucified (iv. 157). But those who believe that he never died should ponder over this verse." (Ali, The Holy Quran- Translation & Commentary, p. 774, f. 2485)


Do Surah Ale Imran and Surah Maidah say that Jesus died?

No. These surahs use a form of the verb tawaffa which means to recall. This verb is also used as a euphemism for death in the sense of God calling a person back. But note that God can call a person back in a special circumstance without killing the person, as he did with Isa alayhis salaam. Note also that Allah used the same verb to describe his taking of individual souls during sleep, retaining some in death and returning others.


Since we have already dealt with the issue of tawaffa and its related meanings within the Quran elsewhere, we would just like to say that the verb almost always refers to death. Even when its meaning is to recall someone this usually occurs at death when God recalls the soul of an individual to heaven. Secondly, Shabir introduces another straw man since he states that tawaffa does not mean that God recalls a person by killing him. This presupposes that Christians use the verb to prove that Jesus was recalled to heaven by being killed on a cross. In actuality, an informed Christian would not claim such nonsense since the emphasis is not on Jesus being killed. Rather, the emphasis is on the usage of tawaffa which strongly supports that Jesus died before ascending to heaven since the primary meaning of the verb when God or angels are the subject is death. Hence, Shabir places words in the mouths of his opponents and proceeds to knock them down, giving the impression that he has refuted their arguments.

Finally, Shabir indicates that the Quran uses the verb to refer to souls that are taken while sleeping, during which some either die or return back to their bodies. The passages in the Quran which allude to this are:

"And He it is Who takes your souls at night (in sleep), and He knows what you acquire in the day, then He raises you up therein that an appointed term may be fulfilled; then to Him is your return, then He will inform you of what you were doing." Sura 6:60 Shakir

"Allah takes the souls at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep; then He withholds those on whom He has passed the decree of death and sends the others back till an appointed term; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect." Sura 39:42 Shakir

There are crucial problems with applying the sense of tawaffa in these passages to the verses which speak of Jesus dying. To say that tawaffa carries the same meaning implies that Jesus was not killed but was taken when he was sleeping. This would still leave us with Jesus either having died, or his soul being taken up while his body remained behind. Yet, both interpretations leave Shabir with problems since he believes that Jesus never died, but ascended alive into heaven. Hence, tawaffa can only mean that Jesus died before ascending bodily into heaven.


Why does the Qur'an call Mary "sister of Aaron"?

Because she had a brother named Aaron. People in the middle east have a tradition of naming their children with the names of famous people. Since there were already a brother and sister named Aaron and Mary, people who respected them felt it an honor to name their sons and daughters with the same names.


There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever where middle easterners in the past name their children after famous people. This is an error that Muhammad himself made. If it were a custom observed by middle easterners, we would expect to find evidence for such usage in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, the extant Jewish literature written before and after Christ, or even in the Quran itself. Yet, no such evidence exists.



Why does the Quran name Haman as the minister of the Pharaoh when Haman is from a different time? First, the Qur'an does not call Haman a minister of anyone. Second, the fact that the another religious writing from a different faith names a Haman as living in a certain time does not preclude the Qur'an from naming a Haman as living in another time. Obviously there can be more than one human persons named Haman. Third, where the Qur'an appears to differ with another religious writing, the Qur'an should be taken as true. This is because more than any other writing the Qur'an is demonstrably the very word of God. When we have on the one hand the pure Word of God and on the other hand the Word of God mixed up with the words of men, the choice is clear.


We do agree that in principle one can have two different individuals from two different periods with the same name. What we disagree with is Shabir's assertion that whenever the Quran appears to differ with another religious text, the Quran should automatically be taken as true.

The problem with this view is that it is the Quran, not other religious writings such as the Holy Bible, which claims to follow in the tradition of other revealed scriptures:

"That which we have revealed to you of the Book is the truth, attesting to (the truth of) that which IS between his (its) hands (the Torah and Gospel)..." Sura 35:31

"This Qur'an is not such as can be produced by other than God; but it is a verification of that (the Torah and Gospel) which IS between his (its) hands, and the explanation of the book, wherein there IS no doubt, from the Lord of the worlds." Sura 10:37

"...It (the Qur'an) is not a fabricated story, but a verification of that (the Torah and Gospel) which IS between his (its) hands, a detailed explanation, a guide and a mercy to the people who believe." Sura 12:111

"Then We gave Moses the Book complete as to whatever is excellent, and explaining all things in detail, and a guide and a mercy, that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord. And this (the Qur'an) is a Book which We have revealed, blessed: so follow it and be righteous, that you may receive mercy: lest you should say, `The Book was sent down to two peoples before us, and for our part, we remained unacquainted with all that they learned by assiduous study;' or lest you should say: `If the Book (Torah and Gospel) had only been sent down to us, we should have followed its guidance better than they.'" Sura 6:154-157

"And before this was the Book of Moses as a guide and a mercy: and this Book is a verification (of it) in the Arabic tongue to warn those who transgress and as glad tidings to the righteous." Sura 46:12

"Behold, We turned towards you a company of Jinns listening to the Qur'an...When the (reading) was finished they returned to their people as warners. They said, `O our people! we have heard a Book revealed after Moses attesting to (the truth of) that which IS between his (its) hands (the Torah) - guiding to the truth and to a straight path.'" Sura 46:29-30

Since the Quran appeals to other writings for proof of its authority and claims to be a verification of previous scriptures, the burden of proof rests upon the Quran. Therefore, when the Quran disagrees with previous scriptures we are to take the Holy Bible as true and the Quran as being in error.


Why does the Qur'an say that the sun sets in a muddy spring?

It does not actually say that if you read it carefully. It actually says that Dhul Qarnayn found it setting in a muddy spring. This is a statement not about how the sun sets but about how Dhul Qarnayn experienced the sunset. The question: "How did you find . . . " is not a question about how things are but about how things are in your opinion. In a similar way the word see is often used. Notice at the beginning of surah Hajj, for example that it says that at the onset of the Day of Judgement you will see people drunk although they will not be drunk but they will behave so due to the terror of the Judgement. Obviously "see" here is used not to denote fact but to denote one's perception of the facts. So too with Dhul Qarnayn. The Qur'an was describing his experience, not the motion of the sun.


Al-Zamakhshari remarks in his book, Al-Kash-shaf:

"Abu Dharr (one of Muhammad's close companions) was with Muhammad during the sunset. Muhammad asked him: 'Do you know, O Abu Dharr where this sets?' He answered: 'God and His apostle know better.' Muhammad said: 'It sets in a spring of slimy water."' (3rd Edition, Volume 2, p. 743, 1987)

Muhammad believed that the sun literally sets in a spring. This by itself refutes Shabir's argument. In his book, The Lights of Revelation (p. 399), al-Baidawi indicates,

"The sun sets in a slimy spring; that is, a well which contains mud. Some of the readers of the Qur'an read it, '...a hot spring', thus the spring combines the two descriptions. It was said that Ibn 'Abbas found Mu'awiya reading it (as) hot. He told him, 'It is muddy.' Mu'awiya sent to Ka'b al-Ahbar and asked him, 'Where does the sun set?' He said in water and mud and there were some people. So he agreed with the statement of Ibn al-'Abbas. And there was a man who composed a few verses of poetry about the setting of the sun in the slimy spring."

Ibn Abbas, who was both a Sahabah and a cousin of Muhammad, along with Ka'b al-Ahbar also believed that the sun literally set in a muddy spring.

In Al-Jalalan's Commentary, p. 251, we are told that the setting of the sun is in a well which contains a murky mud. The same interpretation is given by al-Tabari in his commentary (The History by Tabari, The Scientific Books, p. 339) as well as in the Concise Interpretation of al-Tabari (pt 2, p. 19) where he states that the well in which the sun sets "contains lime and murky mud".

Hence, the burden of proof rests on Shabir to refute the Quranic teaching that the sun literally sets in a muddy spring seeing that Muhammad, Ibn Abbas and others understood the passage precisely in this way.


Why does the Qur'an speak so well of Alexander the Great who was not a monotheist?

The Qur'an does not mention Alexander the Great. Unfortunately Yusuf Ali's commentary on the Qur'an offered this name for possible identification with Dhul Qarnayn. If this identification is incorrect then it is a mistake in the commentary, not in the Quran itself.


Shabir fails to mention that Sura 18:83-98 is an answer to a question posed to Muhammad. This presupposes that Zul-Qarnayn ("The Two-Horned One") was someone already known to the Arabs, Jews and Christians. When we examine the early pre-Islamic evidence as well as Muslim authorities we find that the consensus agree that Zul Qarnayn was an epithet of the historical Alexander the Great. The fact is that both Jews and Christians referred to Alexander as "the Two-Horned One" long before Muhammad was even born.

For instance, we find in a writing called "The Christian Legend Concerning Alexander" that Alexander allegedly prayed to God asking, "O God...Thou hast made me horns upon my head." (The History of Alexander the Great Being the Syriac Version of the Pseudo-Callisthenes, Trans. E.A.W. Budge, 1889, p.146) The Ethiopian version reads, "Alexander is always referred to as, 'the two horned.'" (Ibid.)

Furthermore, the discovery of coins portraying Alexander with two horns refutes Shabir's attempt to portray Zul-Qurnayn as someone other than Alexander of Macedonia. (see Y. Ali's appendix)

Amazingly, Shabir tries to brush aside Yusuf Ali's view that Alexander was in fact Zul-Qarnayn without admitting that Ali was not alone in his opinion. In his appendix, Ali clearly states that the consensus of Islamic scholarship held to the belief that Alexander was indeed Zul-Qarnayn:

"Now the generality of the world of Islam have accepted Alexander the Great as the one meant by the epithet Zul-qarnain. But some of 'Ulama have raised doubts about it and made other suggestions." (Ali, Holy Quran, Appendix VII, p 760)

Notice that Ali states that the general Islamic opinion was(is) that Alexander was in fact Zul-Qarnayn. It was only a few Muslims who did not hold this view. In fact, some of Islam's greatest commentators believed that Zul-Qarnayn and Alexander were one and the same.

Al-Baidawi in his commentary Anwar al-Tanzil wa Asrar al-Ta'wil states the following in reference to Zul-Qarnayn:

"The Jews asked Muhammad about Dhu al-Qarnain (Alexander the Great), and he said to them that God established him in the land so that he could reach the place where the sun sets (alluding to Sura 18:86)..."

Ibn Hisham concurs:

"Dhu al-Qarnain is Alexander the Greek, the king of Persia and Greece, or the king of the east and the west, for because of this he was called Dhu al-Qarnain [meaning, 'owner of two horns']..." ('Abdallah 'Abd al-Fadi, Is the Quran Infallible, p.85)

Al-Tabari also agrees:

"Christians used the period of Alexander Dhul Qarnayn [as the beginning of their era. I still think they use that era till today.]" (al-Tabari, vol. 1, General Introduction and from the Creation to the Flood, Trans. Franz Rosenthal, p. 371)

Other Muslim writers include al-Jalalan (commentary, p.251), and al-Zamakhshari (al-Kash-shaf p. 743). Hence, the best and earliest historical and archaeological evidence support the traditional Islamic understanding that the Quranic Zul-Qarnayn was in fact Alexander the Great.


Why does the Qur'an quote from apocryphal books?

First, the Qur'an does not quote from any book. The Qur'an is a direct revelation from God. The Qur'an may repeat what God already revealed to other prophets previously. Apocryphal means hidden. Hence apocryphal books are books which were meant to be kept hidden from the public. Some of what some religious authorities called apocryphal books may in fact contain some truth which initially came from God and eventually got mixed up with untruths from men. Whereas the Qur'an should be expected to disagree with the untruths, it should be expected to agree with the truths. Remember that apocryphal does not mean false. It simply means hidden. Nor does it mean forever forgotten. Some hidden and forgotten truths the Qur'an is now here to proclaim.


First, Shabir assumes that the Quran is a direct revelation from God. The fact is that a non-Muslim can easily see how Muhammad copied stories from preexisting sources and fused them together to form what he claimed to be God's word.

Secondly, while it is true that "apocryphal" originally meant hidden, it is not true that it always had this meaning. Words can mean different things at different times in different contexts. Shabir commits an etymological fallacy, attributing the root meaning to a word instead of seeing how the word came to be used throughout different periods.

Thirdly, what Shabir has seemingly done is to uncritically embrace Dr. Maurice Bucaille's misinformation on the apocrypha literature. An excellent response to both Bucaille's and Ally's assertions comes from Dr. William Campbell:

"Finally, we must consider Dr. Bucaille's third point concerning the rejected documents which are usually referred to as apocryphal. This word comes from the Greek 'apokryphos' which means 'hidden'. Dr. Bucaille claims that these documents were called 'apocrypha' because the church hid them. In a note on page 51 he says,

'One could note here that all these writings were later to be classed as apocrypha, i.e. they had to be concealed by the victorious church...'

"Dr. Bucaille is right that the original Greek root meaning of the word 'apocryphal' is 'hidden', but again he has refused to limit himself to those meanings of a word which can be established by usage... In the 1st and 2nd century AD, the word 'apokryphos' (secret) was used by a group of men called Gnostics for their own works. For example, one of their books is called the Apocryphon of John or the Secret of John. The Gnostics claimed to have 'apocryphal' or secret knowledge which others did not have, and salvation was to be found in the form of knowledge coming from the gnostic revealer-usually Jesus-though other revealers were also named... In contrast to both Christianity and Islam, Gnostic works ridicule the ``creator god'' as blind and unaware of another higher, purely spiritual deity. In the Apocryphon of John, for example, the creator God is said to be weak and 'impious in his madness...for he said, "I am God and there is no other God beside me" (reference to Isaiah 46:9), for he is ignorant of his strength, the place from which he had come'... Later in the fourth century the word was used to refer to books not publicly read in churches. It meant apocryphal in the modern sense (i.e. fictitious) only by implication, as when the church historian Eusebius speaks of some of ``the so-called secret (apocryphal) books'' as forgeries composed by heretics.

"There is not the least bit of evidence for Dr. Bucaille's statement that these books were called 'apocryphal' because the church hid them." (Campbell, The Qur'an & the Bible in the Light of History & Science [Middle East Resources 1992, Paperback, ISBN 1-881085-00-7], pp. 141-142 emphasis ours)

Fourthly, there is no Christian story in the Quran that was not known previously by Christians. In fact, most of the Christian stories that are contained within the Quran are simply mutilated parts taken from the apocrypha. For example, the Quran records the apocryphal fable of Jesus speaking as an infant with one major exception. In the apocrypha, the baby Jesus claims to be the Word of God and God's Son, yet the Quranic version has him claiming to be only a prophet. Hence, not only did Muhammad plagiarize the apocrypha, but edited it to suit his theological presuppositions.

Finally, even if one were to accept the apocryphal literature one still would not get orthodox Islamic teaching, but teaching that is virtually identical to New Testament Christianity.


Questions About the Bible

Why does the Book of Moses describe the death of Moses and the mourning of the people long after him? Does this mean that the books of Moses were written by someone else after his death? It would seem that at least a part of the book was written after his death. Today many commentaries on the Bible admit that the Books of Moses were written not by any one person.


There are basically two positions which both Jews and Christians accept. One is the belief that God might have possibly revealed to Moses the manner of his death prior to the latter actually dying. God did something similar when he revealed to Moses Israel's eventual apostasy and captivity thousands of years before it ever happened. (cf. Deut. 28:20-31:29)

The second view is that God used inspired prophets to either amend or add material that God wanted to include to earlier prophetic writings. Hence, Jews and Christians have no problem with the fact that God used his prophet Joshua to amend the book of Deuteronomy by adding Moses' obituary.

This is very similar to how the Quran was compiled. For instance, we find that Uthman conjoined two chapters together without permission from Muhammad to do so:

Ibn Abbas said he asked Uthman what had induced them to deal with al-Anfal which is one of the mathani and with Bara`a which is one with a hundred verses, joining them without writing the line containing "In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful," and putting it among the seven long ones. When he asked again what had induced them to do that, Uthman replied, "Over a period suras with numerous verses would come down to God's messenger, and when something came down to him he would call one of those who wrote and tell him to put these verses in the sura in which such and such is mentioned, and when a verse came down he would tell them to put it in the sura in which such and such is mentioned. Now al-Anfal was one of the first to come down in Medina and Bara`a was among the last of the Qur'an to come down, and the subject-matter of the one resembled that of the other, so because God's messenger was taken without having explained to us whether it belonged to it, for that reason I joined them without writing the line containing `In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,' and put it among the long suras." Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud transmitted it. (Mishkat al-Masabih, tr. by James Robson, Sh.Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, p. 470)

Uthman joined Suras 8 and 9 together despite the fact that they were revealed at separate times. He also omitted the phrase, "In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful" without any justification from Muhammad to do so.

Hence, Uthman decided to organize the Suras as he pleased and omit a phrase from the Quran without receiving instructions from either God or Muhammad.



To account for duplications, contradictions, and peculiarities in the narratives scholars came up with the documentary hypotheses. This holds that the Books of Moses were put together from four strands of distinct traditions. The writing reached its final form in the sixth century B.C.E., more that six hundred years after Moses.


What Shabir failed to state is that those who hold to the documentary hypotheses are anti-supernaturalists, individuals who do not believe in miracles or in God-inspired prophets. Hence, their conclusions are derived primarily from the presupposition that God does not perform miracles or reveal inspired writings to prophets. This would basically mean that these very same individuals that Shabir appeals to would also view the Quran as nothing more than an editorial patchwork of different sources since it could not possibly be revelation from God. Dr. William Campbell gives an excellent summary of the views of these scholars and the effects these views have on both Christianity and Islam:

"In one of his works (De Profeten en de Profetie onder Israel, Vol.I, pp.5, 585) A. Kuenen states his anti-supernaturalist position:

'So long as we attribute a part of Israel's religious life directly to God and allow supernatural or immediate revelation (prophecy) to intervene even in one instance, just so long does our view of the whole remain inexact, and we see ourselves obliged to do violence here or there to the well-assured content of the historical accounts. It is only the assumption of a natural development that takes account of all the phenomena.'

"In De Godsdienst van Israel (Vol.I, p.111) Kuenen confesses that, 'The familiar intercourse of the divinity with the patriarchs constitutes for me one of the determining considerations against the historical character of the narratives.'

"In the first quotation Kuenen says that even one supernatural event makes our view inexact... In the second he says that because God speaks to Abraham, Hagar, Isaac, and Jacob (the patriarchs), that is proof that the Books of Moses are not historical... Julius Wellhausen, one of the originators of the Graf-Wellhausen theory, ridicules the account of the miracles that occurred at Sinai when God gave Moses the law (on the tablets) with the scornful exclamation, ``Who can seriously believe all that?''... Many modern teachers continue to hold and teach these same ideas because of their continued unbelief in Miracles. Langdon B. Gilkey, from the University of Chicago, writing in 1962, describes the Biblical account of the entire Exodus-Sinai experience as, the acts (which the) Hebrews believed God might have done and the words he might have said, had he done and said them - but of course we recognize he did not.'

"Referring to the Hebrews' crossing of the Red Sea, Gilkey goes on,

'We deny the miraculous character of the event and say its cause was merely an East wind, and then we point to the unusual response of Hebrew faith.'

"In these few quotations we see that miracles are considered impossible: the very miracles which we mentioned are all denied.

It is impossible that God would have spoken to Abraham.

It is impossible that Moses could have received the Law from God.

"No miracle was done, when by the power of God the Red Sea was divided and then closed again, drowning Pharaoh and his army... The logical result of such a theory was not lost on Yusuf Ali. On page 283 of his translation of the Qur'an he warns,

'The view of the school of Higher Criticism is radically destructive. According to Renan it is doubtful whether Moses was not a myth.

...we reject the premise which we believe to be false, viz., that God does not send inspired Books through inspired Prophets.''

"Again it must be stressed, if there is no such thing as prophecy; if Moses never existed, the Qur'an falls along with the Bible." (Campbell, The Qur'an & the Bible in the Light of History & Science [Middle East Resources 1992, Paperback, ISBN 1-881085-00-7], pp.75-76)



Some conservative scholars deny this hypothesis due to its implication for the status and authority of the books. However, they themselves fail to offer a convincing alternative explanation for the duplications, contradictions, and peculiarities in the narrative.


Shabir's assertion that conservative scholars have failed to offer a convincing alternative to the theories of liberal scholars is purely wishful thinking. Shabir hopes that conservatives fail to produce a sound refutation of liberal claims since to affirm Mosaic authorship and the traditional dating of the Pentateuch would serve to discredit Muhammad and the Quran. This is due to the fact that the Bible as it stands totally contradicts the message of Islam. Hence, Shabir cannot embrace the authority and authenticity of the Holy Bible without this discrediting his belief in the Quran.

The fact is that both conservative scholarship as well as archaeological discoveries have solidified the traditional view of Mosaic authorship. We present the following links and the related articles, enabling the readers to decide for themselves where in fact does the evidence lie:

Article 1
Article 2

We also highly recommend Glenn Miller's entire list of questions and the scholarly responses he provides so the reader can see the overwhelming archaeological and historical data supporting the conservative position:

Article 3

Maybe Shabir can try and rebut Glenn Miller's excellent scholarly articles.

K.A. Kitchen, Lecturer in Archaeology at Liverpool University, says,

``The conventional forms of literary criticism (`J,E,P,D', etc., oral tradition) were evolved in a vacuum and their criteria can be proven to be non-significant and just plain wrong when compared with the ways in which people really wrote in the Biblical world. The evolutionary scheme of wholly illusory when measured against the entire Biblical world of the Near East...When the Old Testament writings and the theoretical reevaluations of them are finally measured against the visible, tangible...Old Testament world - then it is the extant documents (of the Old Testament) that match with their Near Eastern context, and not the reconstructions based on false premises and false criteria." (Campbell, pp. 86-87)

Jewish Scholar, Umberto Cassuto, in his book The Documentary Hypothesis, devotes six chapters to the five most significant arguments which the higher critics use to support the theory that Moses did not write the Torah. After comparing the five reasons to pillars which hold up a house, Cassuto says concludes,

"I did not prove that the pillars were weak or that each one failed to give decisive support, but I established that they were not pillars at all, that they did not exist, that they were purely imaginary.'' (Campbell, p. 87)

Finally let us see what would happen if we applied the very same criteria used by liberals against the Quran. The following is taken entirely from Dr. William Campbell's book:


In Arabic the name for God “Allah” parallels the Hebrew Elohim and the name “Rabb” corresponds to the Hebrew Adonai (Lord) which the Jews used later to refer to Jehovah. When we examine the Qur'an we find that the name Rabb is never used in 11 Suras: 24, 48, 49, 58, 61, 62, 77, 88, 95, 104, and 112; and the name Allah is absent in 18 Suras: 54-56, 68, 75, 78, 83, 89, 92-94, 99, 100, 105, 106, 108, 113, and 114. In addition there are 10 very short Early Meccan Suras in which, like the Book of Esther in the Torah-Old Testament, the name of God is not mentioned at all.

Below is an analysis of the use of Allah and Rabb in Suras 48 to 64. I have chosen these 17 Suras because 8 of them are in the above lists.

Sura Number Date of Sura Times Allah used Number of Verses Times per Verse Times Rabb Used Times per Verse
48 6 AH 19 29 .65 0 0.
49 9 AH 27 18 1.50 0 0.
50 Early Meccan 1 45 .02 2 .04
51 Early Meccan 3 60 .05 5 .08
52 Early Meccan 3 49 .06 6 .12
53 Early Meccan 6 62 .10 7 .11
54 Early Meccan 0 55 0. 1 .02
55 Early Meccan 0 78 0. 36 .46
56 Early Meccan 0 96 0. 3 .03
57 8 AH 32 29 1.10 3 .10
58 5-7 AH 40 22 1.81 0 0.
59 4 AH 29 24 1.21 1 .04
60 8 AH 21 13 1.61 4 .31
61 3 AH 17 14 1.21 0 0.
62 2-5 AH 12 11 1.09 0 0.
63 4-5 AH 14 11 1.27 1 .09
64 1 AH 20 18 1.11 1 .06

When we look at this information we see that in Sura 55 the word Rabb was used 36 times - 31 of them along with the word “favors” (al-ala'). This word ala' is a rare word in the Qur'an being found only three other times - once in the Early Meccan Sura 53 and twice in the Late Meccan Sura 7. Furthermore, when we examine Sura 53:19-20, we find that it is the only Sura which mentions the three Goddesses Al-Llat, and Al-`Uzza, and Manat.

A higher critic who believes in the “documentary hypothesis” would now say,

We see here that Allah is used much less often during the Meccan period, never more than once in every 10 verses. While in the Medina period this name is used at least once a verse except for Sura 48.

In addition, the word ala' and the three idol goddesses are found only in these Meccan Suras. Therefore there must have been an early Meccan writer called “R” because he used “Rabb” as the name for God, but who was still interested in idols. Later there was a second writer called “A” who used “Allah” and wrote when pure monotheism had developed. It is true, of course, that in Sura 53, Manat, Al-Llat and Al-`Uzza are mentioned with disapproval, so these disapproving words must have been added at a later date by “Q” which stands for editing done by the “Qurra”.[23]

Next we find that there are four accounts in the Qur'an telling how the honored guests came to inform Abraham that he would have a son in his old age. The Early Meccan Sura 51:24-30 mentions how Abraham's wife didn't believe and said “a barren old woman”. This was obviously done by “R”. The Late Meccan Sura 15:51-56 tells how Abraham didn't believe the news and said, “Do you give me glad tidings that old age has seized me?” Since this is Late Meccan the “A” writer was starting to have an influence.

In the Late Meccan Sura 11:69-74 the two stories have been worked together by one of the “Q” editors and the fact is added that Abraham's wife laughed.

Finally there is the early Mid-Meccan account in Sura 37:99-103 which is really concerned with Abraham's sacrifice of his son. Since sacrifices are mentioned this represents another document which we will call the “D” document for (al-dabiha) sacrifice.

As the reader can see we easily made up a new four document theory for the origin of the Qur'an. We could call it the R,A,Q,D theory. Though this R,A,Q,D theory is completely fictitious it demonstrates the type of arbitrary reasoning used by the authors of the “documentary hypothesis”, and shows what would have happened if they had applied the same type of analysis to the Qur'an. (Campbell, pp. 84-86)

If Shabir wants to embrace the critical results of liberal scholars, he must remain consistent and also accept the implication such theories have on the authenticity of the Quran.


Why does the book of Jeremiah (8:8) say that the Torah is corrupt?

Because Jeremiah was aware that scribes had written things into the book without authority. Thus they have so changed the words of the Torah as to add substantial falsehood into the book.


First, Shabir puts words into the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah since he never states that the Torah was corrupt. This is what he actually did say:

"How can you say, 'we are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,' when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?" Jeremiah 8:8

The accusation is that the scribes have falsified the Torah by their lying pens. Shabir presupposes that the manner in which the Law was falsified is by corrupting the text. Shabir assumes that this is the only possible meaning since he is convinced, as a Muslim, that the Holy Bible is no longer in its true pristine form.

But is this what Jeremiah meant? Did his hearers understand him to mean that the text of the Torah had been corrupted? Did the prophets after him agree that the Torah had been corrupted? In order to answer these questions we must look to Jeremiah and to the Holy Bible as a whole to see what indeed did Jeremiah mean.

"Say to them, 'This is what the LORD says: If you do not listen to me and follow MY LAW, which I have set before you, and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened) then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city an object of cursing among all the nations of the earth.'" Jeremiah 26:4-6

How could Israel follow the Law, i.e. the Torah, if it had been corrupted? This presupposes that the Torah was uncorrupt and available during the time of Jeremiah. Furthermore, since Jeremiah wrote Jeremiah 8:8 he would know best the meaning of the passage in question. Clearly, we see Jeremiah appealing to the availability of the Law in Jeremiah 26:4-6 implying that he did not believe that the scribes had corrupted the text.

The prophet Daniel writes:

"In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom- in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the LORD and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes." Daniel 9:1-3

Daniel is reading Jeremiah 25:11, 12 and 29:10 where God predicts that Israel would be taken into captivity to Babylon for 70 years. After reading this, Daniel continues to pray and says:

"Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. JUST AS IT IS WRITTEN IN THE LAW OF MOSES, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth." Daniel 9:11b-13

In order for Daniel to appeal to what was written in the Law of Moses presupposes that an uncorrupt Torah was available during the time of Daniel. Furthermore, after having read Jeremiah Daniel never concludes that the Torah had been corrupted, put appeals to it as the inspired word of God. This would be a strange conclusion for Daniel to come to if Jeremiah 8:8 indeed meant that the text of the Torah had been corrupted during Jeremiah's time.

"They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read...On the second day... they gathered around Ezra the scribe to give attention to the words of the Law. They found written in the Law, which the LORD had commanded through Moses, that... Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God..." Nehemiah 8:13-14, 18

This occurred approximately 430 B.C. nearly 180 years after Jeremiah's temple address which took place in 609 or 608 B.C. (see Jeremiah 26:1). Again, in order for Ezra the scribe to be able to both read from the Law of Moses and expound it presupposes that a true, uncorrupt copy of the Torah was available at that time.

Finally, the Lord Jesus and his followers quoted from the Torah as we know it today and never assumed that it was corrupt. (cf. Matthew 4:4,7,10; 22:31-32; 1 Timothy 5:18) In fact, Jesus claimed that the Torah as it exists would not pass away until all was fulfilled:

"I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." Matthew 5:18

If Jeremiah 8:8 does not mean that the text of the Torah had been corrupted what did Jeremiah mean by the statement that the lying pens of the scribes have falsified it? Presumably, Jeremiah could have been referring to the written commentary of the scribes whereby they falsely interpreted the Law of God, leading people astray by their traditions. A similar situation arose between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees:

"Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 'Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!' Jesus replied, 'And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?... Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 'these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'" Matthew 15:1-3, 6b-9

Jeremiah could have been rebuking the scribes for traditions that was leading the people astray and to rejecting the word of God. This can be seen from the passage that immediately follows:

"The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have." Jeremiah 8:9


What is the significance of Jeremiah's statement?

The statement is very significant because it forms part of the Bible. Since the Torah is part of the Bible, and the book of Jeremiah is part of the Bible, and since the book of Jeremiah says that the Torah is corrupt, it follows that the Bible says that the Bible is corrupt.


This only follows if you presuppose that there is only one valid meaning to Jeremiah 8:8. As we have seen, Shabir's interpretation neglects the entire context of Jeremiah and the rest of the Holy Bible. When the entire context of the Bible is taken into consideration, the last impression one gets is that Jeremiah 8:8 teaches that the text of the Torah is corrupt.


Why does Paul say that a certain statement in the Bible is not from the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:12)?

Paul who wrote that into his letter knew that he was writing on his own authority. He was so sure that it is not a statement from God that he made sure to say exactly that.


Paul made no such admission. If one does read Paul's writings in their intended context one will discover Paul's actual meaning:

"Now about virgins; I have no command from the Lord, but I give judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. Because of the present crisis, I think it is good for you to remain as you are." 1 Corinthians 7:25-26

In light of 7:26, Paul's statements in 1 Corinthians 7:12 and 25 are not a denial of inspiration. Rather, they constitute an acknowledgment that the Lord, while on earth, has given no commands to the disciples in regards to these particular issues. Therefore, Paul gave "judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy."

Being guided by the Holy Spirit, Paul could speak authoritatively and infallibly on matters not addressed by Christ while on earth. This is precisely what Paul goes on to say at the conclusion of his discussion:

"In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is- and I think that I too have the Spirit of God." 1 Cor. 7:40

Paul specifically states that his decisions were not simply fallible human ones, but commands given by the Spirit. His statement here is not a denial on his part that he had the Spirit, but is equivalent to someone today saying, "I think I know what I'm talking about."

Hence, Paul knows that what he says is true since it is the Spirit who is speaking through him. This point becomes more apparent in the following verses from the very same book of 1 Corinthians:

"This is what we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words." 1 Cor. 2:13 NIV

"If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that WHAT I AM WRITING TO YOU IS THE LORD'S COMMAND. If he ignores it he himself will be ignored." 1 Cor. 14:37

We find it amazing that Shabir was not able to find these passages seeing that they are in the very same book that he quotes from to establish his case that Paul denied being inspired. Paul elsewhere states:

"And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe." 1 Thessalonians 2:13

"Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know the instructions we gave you by the authority of Lord Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2

In light of all these passages, the last thing Paul had in mind was to deny inspiration for the instructions he gave to the churches.


What is the relevance of Paul's admission for Muslim-Christian dialogue?

When some people think that the entire Bible is the Word of God it will be helpful to point out that according to the said verse (1 Corinthians 7:12) at least this verse is not from God. How much else is not from God the Bible does not say. But it remains that one should no longer say that the entire Bible is from God.


The only thing that remains is Shabir's misquotation of the Holy Bible, taking verses out of their intended context, giving a misleading impression.


Why is the ending to Mark's gospel so odd-looking?

Because the original ending of Mark's Gospel is lost, torn off, or deliberately destroyed. What we have in its place are later writings which were appended to the gospel to end it off nicely. Different individuals composed different endings. This is why in some Bibles we have a long ending, in other Bibles we have a short ending, and in yet other Bibles we have more than one endings. But none of these endings is genuine.


There is a fourth possibility which Shabir did not mention, namely that Mark originally ended at verse 8. Seeing the way the gospel abruptly ends, scribes could have included material taken from the other gospel traditions and added it to Mark in order to make for a smoother ending.


Why was the original ending torn off?

It may have been torn off through use. Or it may have said something which someone saw fit to remove for the benefit of later readers.


Shabir makes it sound that Mark's longer ending was definitely part of the original Gospel and was omitted possibly due to what it said etc. How does he know that it was torn off? Does he have an original copy where the longer ending is intact to know for certain that it was torn off either deliberately or from usage?

Shabir also fails to inform his readers that out of 27 NT books the only passages within dispute are the long or short ending of Mark, John 7:53-8:11 and 1 John 5:7. This totals 24 verses that are in dispute, 24 verses from at least several thousand other passages. This does not even total 1% of the NT text. Hence, the authenticity of the NT text as a whole is assured.

Finally, the Quran itself is missing whole suras and verses according to Muslim sources:

Yahya related to me from Malik from Zayd ibn Aslam from al-Qaqa ibn Hakim that Abu Yunus, the mawla of A'isha, umm al-muminin said, "A'isha ordered me to write out a Qur'an for her. She said, 'When you reach this ayat, let me know, "Guard the prayers carefully and the middle prayer and stand obedient to Allah."' When I reached it I told her, and she dictated to me, 'Guard the prayers carefully and the middle prayer and the asr prayer and stand obedient to Allah.' A'isha said, 'I heard it from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.'" (Malik's Muwatta, Book 8, Number 8.8.26)

Yahya related to me from Malik from Zayd ibn Aslam that Amr ibn Rafi said, "I was writing a Qur'an for Hafsa, umm al-muminin, and she said, 'When you reach this ayat, let me know, "Guard the prayers carefully and the middle prayer and stand obedient to Allah."' When I reached it I told her and she dictated to me, 'Guard the prayers carefully and the middle prayer and the asr prayer and stand obedient to Allah.'" (Malik's Muwatta, Book 8, Number 8.8.27)

Narrated Aisha:

It had been revealed in the Qur'an that ten clear sucklings make the marriage unlawful, then it was abrogated (and substituted) by five sucklings and Allah's Apostle died and it was before that time (found) in the Qur'an (and recited by the Muslims). (Sahih Muslim Book 8, Number 3421)

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

'Umar said, "I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, "We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book," and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession." Sufyan added, "I have memorized this narration in this way." 'Umar added, "Surely Allah's Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him." (See also: Vol. 8, No. 817 and Vol. 9, No. 424) (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 82, Number 816)

Ubayy b. Kabb, considered the master of Quranic recitation, included two extra surahs, al-Hafd (the Haste) and al-Khal' (the Separation) (as-Suyuti, Al-Itqan, p.152-153). The narrative continues by stating that Abu Ubaid said:

"Written in the text of Ubayy ibn Ka'b were the Fatihal-kitab (the Opening Surah) and the Mu'awwi-thatayni (the Charm Surahs) and Allahumma innaa nasta'iinka (the opening words of Suratul-Khal' meaning 'O Allah, we seek your help') and Allahumma ayyaaka na'budu (the opening words of Suratul-Hafd meaning 'O Allah, we worship you')". (as-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur'an, p.153).

Here are the suras in their entirety:

Surat al-Hafd:

You (alone) we worship, and to You (alone) we pray and lie prostrate, and to You (alone) we proceed and have descendants. We fear Your torture and hope for Your mercy. Truly Your torture will overtake the infidels.

Surat al-Khal':

O Allah, You (alone) we ask for help and forgiveness. We speak appreciatingly of Your goodness. Never do we disbelieve You. We repudiate and disbelieve anyone who follows immorality.

Shabir must explain to us where are these verses alluded to by these Islamic sources? Whatever happened to the two extra suras that were recited by Ubayy Kabb and others such as Ibn Abbas? Why are they not in the Quran?

"Many (of the passages) of the Qur'an that were sent down were known by those who died on the day of Yamama ... BUT THEY WERE NOT KNOWN (BY THOSE WHO) SURVIVED THEM, NOR WERE THEY WRITTEN DOWN, nor had Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman (by that time) collected the Qur'an, nor were they found with even one (person) after them." (Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif, p.23).

"It is reported from Ismail ibn Ibrahim from Ayyub from Naafi from Ibn Umar who said: "Let none of you say 'I have acquired the whole of the Qur'an'. How does he know what all of it is WHEN MUCH OF THE QURAN HAS DISAPPEARED? Rather let him say 'I have acquired what has survived.'" (as-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur'an, p.524)."

Narrated Ibn Abbas: Umar said "Ubayy was the best of us in the recitation (of the Qur'an) YET WE LEAVE SOME OF WHAT HE RECITES". Ubayy says, "I have taken it from the mouth of Allah's Apostle (saw) and will not leave it for anything whatever". But Allah said: None of Our revelations do we abrogate or cause to be forgotten but We substitute something better or similar (2.106). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p. 489).

In light of the following statements does Shabir know with 100% certainty that he has all of the Quran intact, something that even Umar and Ibn Umar were quite uncertain of?


Why is the Trinity verse (1 John 5:7) no longer in the Bible?

It was found that the said verse is a forgery worked into the Bible by later hands. The evidence against this verse was so compelling that every honest translation done in the present century had to remove it. Many translations, however, do not draw attention to the fact that the verse is now removed. Sometimes they split the previous verse to make two verses. In this way the total number of verses remain the same although the forged verse has been removed.


Since what Shabir has said is basically true we do not disagree with him on this point. We do want to point out that every modern translation has a footnote indicating that 1 John 5:7 is not part of the original Greek NT text. This is not a major problem since the doctrine of the Trinity is not derived from one verse but from the overall biblical witness to the fact that the One true God subsists in three Persons: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

This concludes our examination of Ally's paper.

Sam Shamoun

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