Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Quran Testifies:

Muhammad is not Equal to Jesus
But Jesus is Equal to Allah!

Sam Shamoun

The Quran teaches that someone who cannot create is not the same as, or equal to, the one who can and does create:

Is then He Who creates like one that creates not? Will ye not receive admonition? S. 16:17 A. Y. Ali

Is, then, he who creates comparable to any [being] that cannot create? Will you not, then, bethink yourselves? Muhammad Asad

What makes this assertion rather intriguing is that the Muslim scripture is quite emphatic in depicting Muhammad as a messenger who was unable to perform a single miracle, let alone create anything:

And they say, "Why has no miraculous sign been bestowed on him from on high by his Sustainer?" Say: "Behold, God has the power to bestow any sign from on high." Yet most human beings are unaware of this S. 6:37 Asad

Now they swear by God with their most solemn oaths that if a miracle were shown to them, they would indeed believe in this [divine writ]. Say: "Miracles are in the power of God alone." And for all you know, even if one should be shown to them, they would not believe S. 6:109 Asad

And nothing has prevented Us from sending [this message, like the earlier ones,] with miraculous signs [in its wake], save [Our knowledge] that the people of olden times [only too often] gave the lie to them: thus, We provided for [the tribe of] Thamud the she-camel as a light-giving portent, and they sinned against it. And never did We send those signs for any other purpose than to convey a warning. S. 17:59 Asad

and so they say: "[O Muhammad,] we shall not believe thee till thou cause a spring to gush forth for us from the earth, or thou have a garden of date-palms and vines and cause rivers to gush forth in their midst in a sudden rush, or thou cause the skies to fall down upon us in smithereens, as thou hast threatened, or [till] thou bring God and the angels face to face before us,  or thou have a house [made] of gold, or thou ascend to heaven - but nay, we would not [even] believe in thy ascension unless thou bring down to us [from heaven] a writing which we [ourselves] could read!" Say thou, [O Prophet:] "Limitless in His glory is my Sustainer! Am I, then, aught but a mortal man, an apostle?" S. 17:90-93 Asad

And yet they say, "Why have no miraculous signs ever been bestowed upon him from on high by his Sustainer?" Say: "Miracles are in the power of God alone; and as for me - I am but a plain warner. S. 29:50 Asad

The late Muslim scholar and translator Muhammad Asad, in a footnote to Q. 17:59, attempted to explain the reason why Muhammad wasn’t able to perform a single miracle:

71 This highly elliptic sentence has a fundamental bearing on the purport of the Qur'an as a whole. In many places the Qur'an stresses the fact that the Prophet Muhammad, despite his being the last and greatest of God's apostles, was not empowered to perform miracles similar to those with which the earlier prophets are said to have reinforced their verbal messages. His only miracle was and is the Qur'an itself - a message perfect in its lucidity and ethical comprehensiveness, destined for all times and all stages of human development, addressed not merely to the feelings but also to the minds of men, open to everyone, whatever his race or social environment, and bound to remain unchanged forever. Since the earlier prophets invariably appealed to their own community and their own time alone, their teachings were, of necessity, circumscribed by the social and intellectual conditions of that particular community and time; and since the people to whom they addressed themselves had not yet reached the stage of independent thinking, those prophets stood in need of symbolic portents or miracles (see surah 6, note 94) in order to make the people concerned realize the inner truth of their mission. The message of the Qur'an, on the other hand, was revealed at a time when mankind (and, in particular, that part of it which inhabited the regions marked by the earlier, Judaeo-Christian religious development) had reached a degree of maturity which henceforth enabled it to grasp an ideology as such without the aid of those persuasive portents and miraculous demonstrations which in the past, as the above verse points out, only too often gave rise to new, grave misconceptions. (Bold and underline emphasis ours)

To show just how weak and desperate Asad’s explanation is, the Quran itself testifies that it was Muhammad’s own contemporaries who asked for, in fact demanded, a miracle in order to confirm that his message was from God.

Now this stands in stark contrast to Jesus, whom the Quran says possesses the divine power to create and give life to inanimate objects, as well as to dead, lifeless bodies:

and he shall be a prophet to the people of Israel (saying), that I have come to you, with a sign from God, namely, that I will CREATE for you out of clay (annee AKHLUQU lakum mina ALTTEENI) as though it were the form of a bird, and I will blow thereon and it shall become a bird by God's permission; and I will heal the blind from birth, and lepers; and I will bring the dead to life by God's permission; and I will tell you what you eat and what ye store up in your houses. Verily, in that is a sign for you if ye be believers. S. 3:49 Palmer

When God shall say, O Jesus son of Mary, remember my favour towards thee, and towards thy mother; when I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, that thou shouldest speak unto men in the cradle, and when thou wast grown up; and when I taught thee the scripture, and wisdom, and the law, and the gospel; and when thou didst CREATE of clay (wa-ith TAKHLUQU mina ALTTEENI) as it were the figure of a bird, by my permission, and didst breathe thereon, and it became a bird by my permission; and thou didst heal one blind from his birth, and the leper, by my permission; and when thou didst bring forth the dead [from their graves], by my permission; and when I with-held the children of Israel from [killing] thee, when thou hadst come unto them with evident [miracles], and such of them as believed not, said, this is nothing but manifest sorcery. S. 5:110 Sale

What makes this even more remarkable is that these two passages not only prove that Jesus is superior to Muhammad, they also illustrate that Christ possesses the breath of life and the power to create and give exactly like Allah!

Compare the following texts:

He it is Who created you from clay (Huwa allathee KHALAQAKUM min TEENIN) and then HE decreed a term. And there is another term fixed with HIM. Yet you doubt. S. 6:2 Y. Ali

Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I am about to create man from clay (innee KHALIQUN basharan min TEENIN): When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him." S. 38:71-72 Y. Ali

Note the connection between Allah blowing/breathing his Spirit into man with Christ being strengthened with the Holy Spirit and breathing life into clay birds and resurrecting the dead. Further notice how both Allah and Christ are said to have created living beings from clay. This clearly shows Christ possesses the same life-giving Spirit that Allah possess, which explains why he can create and breathe life into inanimate objects in the exact same way that Allah does!

To top it off, in the verses regarding Christ the Quran employs the very same verb for create which always denotes the creative action of God:

“The verb khalaqa is found 180 times in the Qur’an and it is always translated, in various languages, with ‘to create.’ With the exception of Q 20:17 (takhluquna ifkan= you invent a lie), it always designates the creative action of God. In 177 cases, the subject of the verb is God, while in the other two cases (3:49 and 5:110) it is Christ. Evidently this could only come from Christians; Muslim tradition, which could not uphold this meaning (the only one attested in the Qur’an), interprets it with the meaning of ‘to fashion, mold.’ Meanwhile, the action of ‘breathing into’ is, in the Bible as in the Qur’an, typical of the creative action of God.

“Thus the two verbs used in this verse both reflect the divine creative action, and not the human action of a potter, for example, thereby confirming the Christian origin of this verse.” (Samir Khalil Samir, “6. The Theological Christian Influence on the Qur'an – A Reflection,” The Qur'an in its Historical Context, edited by Gabriel Said Reynolds [Routledge Studies in the Qur’an, 2008], p. 146; bold emphasis ours)

Muslims may object that it was Allah who granted Jesus the ability to possess and impart life to others, which therefore disproves that Christ is equal to him. However, this objection doesn’t help the Muslims but actually makes matters worse, since this means that Allah has taken Jesus to be his partner by conferring upon him specific divine characteristics and functions.

In other words, this argument essentially means that Allah is guilty of committing shirk since he has granted Christ the right to share in his divine nature and attributes. And since this is the one sin that Allah will never forgive,

The One who made the land a habitat, and the sky a structure, and He sent down from the sky water with which He brought out fruit as a provision for you. So do not make any equals with God while you now know. S. 2:22 Quran: A Reformist Translation  (QRT)

Verily, God does not forgive the ascribing of divinity to aught beside Him, although He forgives any lesser sin unto whomever He wills: for he who ascribes divinity to aught beside God has indeed contrived an awesome sin. S. 4:48 Asad – cf. Q. 4:116; 39:65

This means that the Islamic deity stands condemned forever as a mushrik, e.g., one who ascribes divinity to someone other than Allah, and must therefore punish himself in hell!   

With that being said, the fact still remains that according to the Islamic scripture, Jesus creates and gives life in the same exact way that Allah does and even possesses the breath of life like Allah does.

Hence, the Quran bears witness that Muhammad doesn’t even come close to being Christ’s equal, while plainly testifying that Jesus is equal to Allah in terms of both divine power and majesty.

Continue with Part 2.


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