Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog


Sam Shamoun

Not having the good sense to know when to quit in order to avoid further embarrassment, Zawadi has produced an “appendix” trying to defend and explain away his blatant lies and dishonesty.

Zawadi resorts to personal insults, which is an obvious indication that he knows he has been humiliated and that he is fighting a losing battle:

It's a tragedy when an incompetent fool like Shamoun actually thinks that he is smart or even knowledgeable.

Shamoun the imbecile fails to understand what I clearly and obviously mean by "same Allah".

Who is Allah according to Islam?

Islamic Allah = Allah who forbids polytheism and sent the Prophet Muhammad with the Qur'an as His final revelation.

Who is Allah according to the Qurayshi polytheists?

Qurayshi Allah = Allah who allows the worship of idols in order to get closer to him.

Now you know a Muslim is fighting a losing battle when he is forced to speak of two different Allahs, thereby going against the explicit teachings of his own “holy” book! As we shall shortly see, this will end up backfiring against Zawadi.

Zawadi continues:

Also, this Allah did not send Muhammad as a messenger and did not send the Qur'an as a revelation.

Now, is Shamoun the anti-intellectual buffoon trying to tell me that Salafis believe and teach that the "Islamic Allah" and "Qurayshi Allah" are the same? Or is Shamoun the neophyte who suffers from a serious problem of reading comprehension just realizing that he completely failed to understand what I obviously meant by "same Allah"? We hope it's the latter.

So what do Salafis like Yasir Qadhi mean when they say that the Quraysh recognized Allah as their sole creator? Yasir is doing what I previously mentioned in my article and that is that we sometimes make a relation due to similarities. Since the Quraysh believed in a God out there above the heavens, we make that relation to Allah.

Rather than to do the honorable thing and admit he was wrong, Zawadi again chooses to lie and pervert what the actual Islamic position is concerning this issue in order to save face. And for that he should be ashamed of himself

As the readers can attest, the quotes that I provided from both the Quran and Zawadi’s own Salafi scholars, such as Yasir Qadhi, emphatically testify that the Meccans were in fact worshiping the “Islamic Allah.”

I will simply repeat portions of the quotations that I provided from Qadhi in order to highlight this fact once again:

Allah sent the Prophet to a group of people WHO USED TO WORSHIP HIM and perform Hajj, and give charity, AND REMEMBER ALLAH. However, they would also make certain created objects intermediaries between them and Allah.

The Arabs to whom the Prophet was sent BELIEVED IN AND WORSHIPPED ALLAH. THEY HAD INHERITED some of the acts of worship FROM THE REMNANTS OF THE RELIGION OF IBRAHIM. Hajj was of these acts.

So the fact of the matter is that the Jahiliyyah Arabs WERE FULLY AWARE THAT ALLAH WAS THEIR LORD. The idols they worshipped besides Allah WERE BY NO MEANS EQUIVALENT TO ALLAH IN THEIR EYES. Rather, they believed that Allah had full control over these deities, and that these deities, in and of themselves, could neither benefit nor harm them. THEY WERE CONVINCED THAT ALLAH WAS THEIR CREATOR, AND THAT ONLY HE WAS ALL-POWERFUL. They knew that Allah AND ONLY ALLAH, provided them with their rain and sustenance, and that it was Allah who would cause them to die and then resurrect them again.

Qadhi nowhere says that the pagans’ idolatry canceled out the fact that they were worshiping the same Allah that Muhammad proclaimed. On the contrary, these quotes affirm that Qadhi believes (as did Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab whom he cites) that the pagans did indeed worship the Muslim god.

He is not alone:

The Arab Pagans believed in Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah

The belief in Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah WAS NEVER DENIED BY ANY OF THE PREVIOUS NATIONS, except few who denied the existence of Allah, like Fir’awn (Pharaoh), the atheists and communists of this age. THE ARAB PAGANS amongst whom the Messenger of Allah was sent BELIEVED IN TAWHEED AR-RUBOOBIYYAH. THEY BELIEVED IN ALLAH TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY DECLARED ALLAH AS THE SUPREME LORD. They acknowledged Him as the Creator of the Universe and considered Him to be the Sovereign and the Provider of sustenance, as is clear from the verses of Soorah al-Muminoon, Allah says: “Say (to the disbelievers): “Whose is the earth and whosoever is therein? If you know!” They will say: “It is Allah” … Say: “Who is the Lord of the seven Heavens and the Lord of the Great Throne?” They will say: “Allah” … Say: “In whose Hands is the sovereignty of everything? And He protects all, while against whom there is no protector, if you know?” They will say: “(All this belongs) to Allah.”

However, the belief in Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah did not make them Muslims, because they lacked Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah (Oneness of Allah’s Worship). EVEN THOUGH, THE ARAB PAGANS BELIEVED THAT ALLAH WAS THEIR LORD, they did not direct all forms of worship to Him alone. They believed that Angles [sic] and pious people had special status with Allah, and thus could intercede with Allah for them. They would say: “We only worship them so that they may bring us closer to Allah.” Calling upon Allah for one’s needs is a great act of worship, and if it is directed towards other than Allah, it leads to Shirk in the worship. Allah revealed: “They worship besides Allah things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say: “These are only our intercessors with Allah.”

Thus, Allah declared their act of seeking intercession with Allah as Shirk and termed them as Kafirun and Mushrikeen. He ordered His Messenger to proclaim, “I worship not that, which you worship, nor will you worship that which I worship, and I shall not worship that you are worshiping, nor will you worship that which I worship.”

These verses of the Noble Qur’aan establish the importance of the Tawheed of worship along with the Tawheed of Lordship.

Essential Points: From the above, we understand that the Arab Pagans, despite their ignorance and arrogance, COMPLETELY UNDERSTOOD THE MEANING OF IBAADAH (worship). They believed that intercession is a form of worship, and did not deny that calling upon pious people amounted to worshiping them. They would call their idols, ‘Aaliha (pl. of Ilah lit. meaning, One, who is worshiped). This is in sharp contrast of the belief of the grave-worshipers of today, who make the engraved as intercessors with Allah, and yet do not consider it to be Shirk!! (What is Tawheed Asma wa al-Siffat? July, 2007, Chapter 2: The Islamic Concept of Tawheed (Monotheism); capital emphasis ours)

As the preceding quotes prove, the Quraysh’s worship of other gods didn’t nullify the fact that they were worshiping the “Islamic Allah.” If anything, the Quran’s rebuke of them presupposes that they did worship the same exact deity that Muhammad proclaimed, which is why their worship of other deities was considered wrong.

The Quran’s rebuke of the pagans assumes that the they knew who Allah was, and knew that he alone is the sovereign creator and sustainer of all things, and should therefore have known better than to serve others besides him.

More importantly, Zawadi forgot to pay attention to the fact that Yasir Qadhi’s book was written to show that Muslims who pray to the righteous such as angels, prophets or saints are committing the same kind of sin that the pagans of Muhammad’s day committed. Qadhi’s premise is that the Muslims who invoke angelic creatures, dead prophets and/or so-called Muslim holy men to intercede for them use the same excuses and reasoning to justify their actions that the Meccans did at the time of Muhammad.

Notice what Qadhi writes:

Now if he [the Muslim] responds, “But these verses were revealed regarding people who used to worship idols! How can you compare the pious people that we turn to to idols? And how can you make the prophets into idols?”

In this response, the adversary presumes that shirk only occurs through idol-worship…

Then once again respond to him with the knowledge that has already gone before in this tract. And that is because, if he admits that the pagans of old believed in the complete Rububiyyah of Allah, and that they only desired by turning to their idols intercession on their behalf, and he desires to differentiate between what they used to do and what he is doing, then show him that amongst the disbelieving pagans were those that worshipped idols and stones, and also others that worshiped pious people. It is concerning these people that were worshipped besides Allah that Allah says, “These people are the ones calling out to their Lord, trying to find a means of nearness to Him, which of them will be closer (to Him)…” [Surah al-Isra’; 57]. And some of these pagans would worship Jesus the son of Mary, and his mother, even though Allah says: “Jesus the son of Mary is only a messenger; many are the messengers that have come before him. And his mother was a righteous woman” [Surah al-Ma’idah; 75]. And remind this person of the statement of Allah, “And on the Day shall We resurrect them all, then He will say to the angels, ‘Did these (people) used to worship you?’ They will respond: ‘Glory be to you…’” [Surah Saba’; 40-41]. And remind him also of Allah’s statement, “And when Allah will ask, ‘O Jesus the son of Mary, did you tell people: take me and my mother as gods besides Allah?” [Surah al-Ma’idah; 116].

So after presenting all of these evidences tell him: “You now realise that Allah pronounced disbelief upon those people who turned to idols, and He also pronounced disbelief upon those who turned to pious people. And the Prophet fought all of these people and did not differentiate between them.”

The response to this argument is in re-iterating the important concept that shirk is not dependent on who is worshipped besides Allah, rather it is dependent on the fact that other than Allah is being worshipped. So it does not matter whether one worships rocks or stones, or Jesus Christ or Muhammad. The proofs for this have already been given, and are repeated here as well.

The author writes in his work al-Qawa‘id al-Arba‘ah:

The Third Principle: That the Prophet came to a people who had different (objects) of worship: from them are the worshippers of the angels. And from them are the worshippers of the prophets and the pious. And from them are the worshippers of the sun and the moon. But the Messenger of Allah fought them all, and did not consider the difference between them.

So the mere act of turning to other than Allah entails shirk, regardless of the nature of the object. And this does not imply that the Prophet, or any pious person, is equivalent to a rock or a stone, for without doubt the Prophet is the most noble of Allah’s creation. The point is that such a comparison is irrelevant when it comes to shirk – even if the Prophet is the best of creation, it does not change the fact that worshipping him is a clear and direct act of shirk. So relative comparisons are not given to the objects of worship besides Allah, but rather to the fact that other than Allah has been worshipped.

Imam al-San’ani (d. 1182 A.H.) wrote, “If they ask: ‘Are you going to equate those who believe in pious people and graves … to those who believed in idols?’ Then I say: Yes! For the exact same acts that the (idol worshippers) were guilty of are also performed by these people, and they are equivalent in them. Rather, they have in fact surpassed them in their beliefs in the (powers) of these people, and their amount of worship that they do them. So in reality there is no difference between them.” And al-Shawkani (d. 1255 A.H.) wrote: “Shirk is to perform to other than Allah an act than [sic] should only be performed to Him, regardless of whether the object is called by names the Jahiliyyah Arabs used – such as idol or statue – or called by another name – such as wali or saint or mausoleum.” (An Explanation of Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab’s Kashf al-Shubuhat - Critical Study of Shirk, translation and commentary by Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi [Al-Hidaayah Publishing & Distribution, Birmingham, UK], 13. An Explanation of Kashf al-Shubuhat, The Clearing of Doubts, pp. 121-123; bold emphasis ours)

Therefore, if Zawadi employs his reasoning consistently then he must claim that the majority of Muslims who pray to angels, dead prophets and saints do not worship the “Islamic Allah” either. Or, at the very the least, he must accept that these Muslims are not worshiping the “Salafi Allah.”

Here is what we end up with if we apply Zawadi’s own construct:

Who is Allah according to Muslims that are not Salafis?

Muslim Allah = Allah who allows praying to angels, dead prophets and so-called saints.

Who is Allah according to Salafyism?

Salafi Allah = Allah who forbids to praying to angels, dead prophets and saints.

Thus, Zawadi’s logic inevitably leads to the conclusion that there are at least three Allahs!

1. The Qurayshi Allah.
2. The Muslim Allah.
3. The Salafi Allah.

Do the readers see just how truly absurd this is? Isn’t it obvious that Zawadi will go to any lengths in order to avoid admitting that he deliberately lied about the standard Muslim position concerning the pagans worshiping the same Allah that Muhammad preached? He even hid the fact that this is also the position of his own Salafi scholars.

Zawadi needs to do the honest thing and simply admit that he was wrong for what he did.

Zawadi tries to address the hadith from al-Bukhari where Abu Sufyan exclaimed that Hubal was high, thereby showing that neither he nor the other Meccans believed that Allah was the Supreme Being:

My response, which Shamoun couldn't comprehend, is that the polytheists here clearly rejected the "Islamic Allah".

Furthermore, saying "O Hubal, be high" doesn't mean that Hubal is the highest. Also, their saying that they have Al Uzza while the Muslims don't only reinforces the fact that they believed that their idols were useful in getting them closer to God.

Here, Zawadi is begging the question since he assumes that there are no contradictions in either the Quran or the authentic ahadith. As a result, he actually thinks that this narration proves that the pagans did not worship Muhammad’s deity.

However, what this particular report does show is that the Quran and hadiths are filled with irreconcilable contradictions. As we have seen, there are certain verses and narratives which claim that the pagans believed that Allah is the supreme god and creator of all things. Yet, at the same time, there are other texts which clearly refute this notion by showing that this is not what the pagans believed. This hadith is a case in point.

Zawadi is also attacking a strawman here since we never stated that Abu Sufyan’s statement implied that Hubal was the highest-ranking god. What we said was that Abu Sufyan’s exclamation indicates that he felt that Hubal could overcome Allah and actually defeat him in battle, thereby contradicting the assertion of the Quran that all of the pagans felt that Allah was the unrivaled creator and lord of all things.

Thus, Abu Sufyan’s shout meant that he thought Hubal had proven himself to be exalted over Muhammad and his god.

Now compare this with the following quote which I provided from Qadhi:

So the ULTIMATE GOAL in this worship WAS ALLAH. However, they felt that these objects occupied a high status, and that, if they were to intercede with Allah, their intercession would be accepted. They felt that if these intermediaries were pleased, they would in turn, make sure that Allah was pleased with them as well. SO THESE ARABS DID NOT BELIEVE THAT THE GODS THAT THEY WORSHIPPED WERE SUPREME BEINGS BESIDES ALLAH. Rather, they felt that these beings – for various reasons – had reached a state where they were beloved by Allah. Thus, they felt that by pleasing these gods and asking for their intercession, Allah would in turn be pleased with them, and accept such intercession.

As this specific hadith and the other citations that I quoted in my initial article show, the pagans did believe that there were other supreme beings besides Allah who could actually challenge his status. Therefore, according to these references they did not think Allah was the omnipotent and unsurpassed god of all.

Finally, Zawadi is either unaware or is deceptively hiding the fact that according to the Islamic sources themselves, Hubal was viewed as the chief deity and the Lord of the Kabah. (The latter seems more probable since Zawadi is clearly aware of them). According to Islamic tradition, Hubal was the patron god of Quraysh and of Muhammad’s own family. For the details we recommend this article.

Now this introduces some additional problems for Zawadi. Either Hubal and Allah were initially the same deity since there can’t be two chief gods functioning at the same time. Therefore, since Muslims claim that the Kabah belonged to Allah this means that the pagans must have believed that he was the same as Hubal prior to the rise of Islam. Or, the pagans thought Hubal was greater than Allah, and that Allah was simply one of the three hundred sixty deities which the pagans acknowledged and worshiped. This would explain why Abu Sufyan thought that Hubal could actually defeat Muhammad’s god in battle.

As it stands the Muslim sources are clearly contradictory concerning whether the pagans believed that Allah was the sovereign unrivaled creator of all. Zawadi hasn’t been able to refute this nor has he been able to reconcile the contradictions inherent in the Islamic corpus.

As if Zawadi couldn’t make it any worse for himself, he now goes on to deny that Muhammad in Q. 3:64 and 29:46 claimed to be worshiping the same God as the Jews and Christians!

He argues that these texts are not affirming that Muhammad served and believed in the same God of the Jews and Christians. Zawadi argues that they are simply exhorting the people of the Book to worship the same God that Muhammad worships since he is the only God there is!

Zawadi apparently didn’t read these texts carefully, specifically Q. 29:46, since if he did then he would have noticed the following:

And argue not with the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), unless it be in (a way) that is better (with good words and in good manner, inviting them to Islamic Monotheism with His Verses), except with such of them as do wrong, and say (to them): "We believe in that which has been revealed to us AND REVEALED TO YOU; our Ilah (God) and your Ilah (God) is One (i.e. Allah), and to Him we have submitted (as Muslims)." S. 29:46

Did Zawadi miss the part which says that Muhammad believed in the revelation which was revealed to the people of Book? Revealed by whom? By some other god than the one that Muhammad thought he was worshiping? Is Zawadi really being serious here?

Pay close attention to how Muslims have interpreted this text:

(And argue not with the People of the Scripture) the Jews and Christians (unless it be in (a way) that is better) i.e. by the Qur'an, (save with such of them as do wrong) from among the delegation of Najran, then you can do so by means of Mula'anah; (and say: We believe in that which has been revealed unto us) i.e. the Qur'an (and revealed unto you) the Torah and the Gospel; (our God and your God is One) He has no son or partner, (and unto Him we surrender) we are sincere to Him in our worship and profession of Allah's divine Oneness, and we believe in Him. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs)

And do not dispute with the People of the Scripture unless it be with that — in that manner of disputation, bettering the most virtuous way, such as calling [them] to God by [reference to] His signs and pointing out His arguments; except [in the case of] those of them who have done wrong, by waging war and refusing to accept [to pay] the jizya-tax: dispute with these using the sword, until such time as they submit or pay the jizya-tax; and say, to those who have accepted [the imposition upon them of] the jizya-tax, should they inform you of something stated in their Scriptures: ‘We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you — and neither believe nor disbelieve them in that [which they tell you] — our God and your God is one [and the same], and to Him we submit’, [to Him] we are obedient. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn)

These expositors could see that Muhammad actually believed that he was worshiping and receiving revelations from the same God of the Jews and Christians.

In fact, the Quran even says that it was Allah who gave the Jews and Christians their respective Scriptures and sent them messengers to guide them:

Those to whom We gave the Scripture (Jews and Christians) recognize him (Muhammad or the Ka'bah at Makkah) as they recognize their sons. But verily, a party of them conceal the truth while they know it - [i.e. the qualities of Muhammad which are written in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)]. S. 2:146 Hilali-Khan

Allah made a covenant of old with the Children of Israel and We raised among them twelve chieftains, and Allah said: Lo! I am with you. If ye establish worship and pay the poor-due, and believe in My messengers and support them, and lend unto Allah a kindly loan, surely I shall remit your sins, and surely I shall bring you into Gardens underneath which rivers flow. Whoso among you disbelieveth after this will go astray from a plain road. And because of their breaking their covenant, We have cursed them and made hard their hearts. They change words from their context and forget a part of that whereof they were admonished. Thou wilt not cease to discover treachery from all save a few of them. But bear with them and pardon them. Lo! Allah loveth the kindly. And with those who say: "Lo! we are Christians," We made a covenant, but they forgot a part of that whereof they were admonished. Therefore We have stirred up enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection, when Allah will inform them of their handiwork. O People of the Scripture! Now hath Our messenger come unto you, expounding unto you much of that which ye used to hide in the Scripture, and forgiving much. Now hath come unto you light from Allah and plain Scripture, S. 5:12-15 Pickthall

Those to whom We have given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) recognize him (i.e. Muhammad as a Messenger of Allah, and they also know that there is no Ilah (God) but Allah and Islam is Allah's Religion), as they recognize their own sons. Those who destroy themselves will not believe. (Tafsir At-Tabari) S. 6:20 Hilali-Khan

WE did aforetime grant to the Children of Israel the Book the Power of Command, and Prophethood; WE gave them, for Sustenance, things good and pure; and WE favoured them above the nations. And WE granted them Clear Signs in affairs (of Religion): it was only after knowledge had been granted to them that they fell into schisms, through insolent envy among themselves. Verily thy Lord will judge between them on the Day of Judgment as to those matters in which they set up differences. Then We put thee on the (right) Way of Religion: so follow thou that (Way), and follow not the desires of those who know not. S. 45:16-18 Y. Ali

Zawadi also conveniently ignored all the other verses I cited showing how Muhammad permitted Muslims to marry Jewish and Christian women, and eat their food, something which he did not allow in respect to the food and women of the Arab pagans.

Yet despite all of these clear verses, Zawadi would still have us believe that Muhammad didn’t think that he was actually worshiping the same God that the Jews and Christians worshiped (and continue to worship)!

It is time for Zawadi to end his charade as an apologist and find another line of work. He is becoming a major embarrassment for Muslims since his arguments are becoming worse with each succeeding article and “rebuttal". To make matters worse, he is even resorting to lying in order to save face. Zawadi needs to face reality and accept the fact that he is not qualified to address these issues and needs to leave this work to others who are able to deal with the arguments.