Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Does Islam really teach that Muhammad is the only Universal Messenger?

Responding to the Polemics of the Muslim Dawagandists

Sam Shamoun

Bassam Zawadi and a Muslim named Mansur Ahmed have decide to tackle an article written by Abu Salam who went through various passages of the Quran to prove that Muhammad’s mission was limited only to the Arabs.

The Muslim authors begin their “rebuttal” by assuming that the teachings of Muhammad which are not recorded in the Quran are required for a correct understanding of what the Quranic verses actually mean and how to apply them. They appeal to select Quranic passages which they have erroneously interpreted to mean that Allah has commissioned Muslims to consult the Sunna of Muhammad in order to properly interpret the Quran.

To make matters worse they commit a false analogy since they assert that trying to limit the Muslims to the Quran alone is the same as limiting Christians to the Gospels in presenting the teachings of Christianity in its fullness (which is quite an ironic comparison since this is PRECISELY what these dawagandists like to do when it comes to issues such as the Deity of Christ and the Trinity!).

The problem with this comparison is that the Quran not only claims that it is a completely detailed book but also states that the verses themselves are fully explained!

Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding. It (the Qur'an) is not a forged statement but a confirmation of the Allah's existing Books [the Taurat (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel) and other Scriptures of Allah] AND A DETAILED EXPLANATION OF EVERYTHING and a guide and a Mercy for the people who believe. S. 12:111 Hilali-Khan

A Book whereof the Verses ARE EXPLAINED IN DETAIL; A Qur'an in Arabic for people who know. S. 41:3 Hilali-Khan

A scripture whose verses PROVIDE THE COMPLETE DETAILS, in an Arabic Quran, for people who know. Khalifa

By claiming that even its verses are fully explained in detail the Quran refutes the authors’ assertion that one must consult other sources such as the hadith literature, sirah etc, in order to properly understand what the Islamic scripture actually teaches.

However, it is vitally important to keep in mind that neither the Gospels nor any of the individual NT writings make such a claim, which is why Christians need to examine the entire NT corpus (as well as the OT) if they want to learn what the Bible teaches on any given theological issue.

It also has to be pointed out the authors’ analogy is too general and incorrectly assumes that the Gospels are not sufficient in and of themselves to discuss any subject matter. Their comments mistakenly presuppose that Christians are required to consult the rest of the NT writings in order to properly understand the Gospels. However, such is not the case since the Gospels are sufficient to address the issue of the earthly life of Christ, and as such there is no need to turn to sources outside the Gospels for details concerning what the historical Jesus said and did.

More importantly, in many places the hadiths do not clarify but actually contradict the Quran as we are about to see.

For more on the so-called sufficiency of the Quran and the supposed need for Muhammad’s Sunna please consult the following articles and links:

The authors then try to pit Abu Salam against two of the writers who have submitted articles to our site, namely Callum Beck and Ernest Hahn. Beck and Hahn argue that according to the Quran Muhammad’s mission is universal, much like Jesus’ mission, and that anyone can isolate passages from either Scripture to disprove this fact.

It is amazing that these authors actually think that these two perspectives are necessarily contradictory when in fact it merely shows that they haven’t understood why Beck and Hahn take the position they do. In the first place, Beck and Hahn were seeking to refute the Muslim assertion that Jesus was sent only to the nation of Israel and sought to show what happens when someone decides to interpret the Quran in the manner that Muslims misread the Holy Bible. By employing the same Muslim method of exegesis (more like eisegesis) to the Quran one can prove that Muhammad was sent only to the Arabs.

Secondly, both Beck and Hahn have taken for granted that the words which the Quran uses to describe Muhammad’s mission are universal in scope, whereas Abu Salam’s article sought to prove that such is not the case. As Salam demonstrated, the Arabic word used to describe Muhammad’s mission is used in contexts where it is clearly limited in scope and not universal in its application.

In other words, there is nothing in the words used by the Quran which necessarily proves that Muhammad was sent to all creatures for all time. One has to first assume this meaning and read that back into the Quran in order to arrive at the conclusion that Muhammad was sent to all people for all time.

Thirdly and more importantly, Zawadi and his co-author fail to see how their (mis)understanding and (mis)interpretation of the Islamic corpus create major problems for their belief in the inerrancy of the Quran.

In this rebuttal we are going to take for granted that the authors are correct and that the words which the Quran uses to describe Muhammad’s mission do mean that he was a messenger sent to all creation and whose message is for all times. We will show how this position means that both the Quran and the Sunna of Muhammad contain a major contradiction.

Muhammad – The Only Universal Messenger

Zawadi and his co-author quote the following narrative to prove that Muhammad was a universal messenger, unlike the messengers before him:

Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:

The Prophet said, "I have been given five things which were not given to any one else before me.

1. Allah made me victorious by awe, (by His frightening my enemies) for a distance of one month's journey.

2. The earth has been made for me (and for my followers) a place for praying and a thing to perform Tayammum, therefore anyone of my followers can pray wherever the time of a prayer is due.

3. The booty has been made Halal (lawful) for me yet it was not lawful for anyone else before me.

4. I have been given the right of intercession (on the Day of Resurrection).

5. Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation ONLY but I have been sent to all mankind. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 7, Number 331)

This hadith is confirmed by the Quran which in several places says that messengers were sent only to their people:

Then after him [Noah] We sent Messengers to their people, they brought them clear proofs, but they would not believe what they had already rejected beforehand. Thus We seal the hearts of the transgressors (those who disbelieve in the Oneness of Allah and disobey Him). S. 10:74 Hilali-Khan

And indeed We did send Messengers before you (O Muhammad) to THEIR OWN PEOPLES. They came to them with clear proofs, then, We took vengeance on those who committed crimes (disbelief, setting partners in worship with Allah, sins, etc.), and (as for) the believers it was incumbent upon Us to help (them). S. 30:47 Hilali-Khan

The Quran further says that the messengers spoke in the language of their people in order that they might understand the revelation:

And We sent not a Messenger except with the language of HIS PEOPLE, in order that he might make (the Message) clear for them. Then Allah misleads whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. S. 14:4 Hilali-Khan

The message of the Quran and Sunna are clear: All of the messengers were sent to their own peoples or nations speaking their very language. Muhammad, however, is supposed to be the exception since his message was intended for all peoples in all times.

Moses and the Pharaoh

However, the Quran contradicts this assertion since it mentions several messengers who were sent to other people besides their own.

One such messenger was Moses whom the Quran says was sent to both the Egyptians and the Israelites:

And We never sent a messenger save with the language of his people (qawmihi), that he might make (the message) clear for them. Then Allah sendeth whom He will astray, and guideth whom He will. He is the Mighty, the Wise. We sent Moses with Our signs (and the command). “Bring out thy people (qawmaka) from the depths of darkness into light, and teach them to remember the Days of Allah.” Verily in this there are Signs for such as are firmly patient and constant, - grateful and appreciative. Remember! Moses said to his people (li-qawmihi): “Call to mind the favour of Allah to you when He delivered you from the people of Pharaoh: they set you hard tasks and punishments, slaughtered your sons, and let your women-folk live: therein was a tremendous trial from your Lord." S. 14:4-6

It is apparent that the author of the Quran inserted the story of Moses right after Q. 14:4 as an example of a messenger that was sent only to his people, which explains why Q. 14:5-6 makes a distinction between the people of Moses and the people of Pharaoh.

Yet this directly contradicts these other verses which clearly show that Allah sent Moses as a messenger to Pharaoh and his people:

Then We sent forth, after them, Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh and his Council with Our signs, but they waxed proud, and were a sinful people. So, when the truth came to them from Us, they said, 'Surely this is a manifest sorcery.' Moses said, 'What, do you say this to the truth, when it has come to you? Is this a sorcery? But sorcerers do not prosper.' They said, ‘Art thou come to us to turn us from that we found our fathers practising, and that the domination in the land might belong to you two? We do not believe you. Pharaoh said, ‘Bring me every cunning sorcerer.’ Then, when the sorcerers came, Moses said to them, ‘Cast you down what you will cast.’ Then, when they had cast, Moses said, ‘What you have brought is sorcery; Allah will assuredly bring it to naught. Allah sets not right the work of those who do corruption. Allah verifies the truth by His words, though sinners be averse.’ So none believed in Moses, save a seed of his people, for fear of Pharaoh and their Council, that they would persecute them; and Pharaoh was high in the land, and he was one of the prodigals. S. 10:75-83

And We sent Moses with Our signs, and a manifest authority, to Pharaoh and his Council; but they followed Pharaoh's command, and Pharaoh's command was not right-minded. He shall go before his people on the Day of Resurrection, and will have led them down to the Fire-evil the watering-place to be led down to! And there was sent following after them in this world a curse, and upon the Day of Resurrection -- evil the offering to be offered! S. 11:96-99

The following passage indicates that Allah sent a Messenger specifically to Pharaoh:

Surely We have sent unto you a Messenger as a witness over you, even as We sent to Pharaoh a Messenger, but Pharaoh rebelled against the Messenger, so We seized him remorselessly. S. 73:15-16

There can be no doubt that the messenger here is supposed to be Moses just as the following expositors acknowledge:

We have indeed sent to you, O people of Mecca, a Messenger, namely, Muhammad, to be a witness against you, on the Day of Resurrection to any disobedience that you engage in, just as We sent to Pharaoh a messenger, namely, Moses, peace be upon him. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; bold emphasis ours)

Lo! We have sent unto you a messenger) i.e. Muhammad (as witness against you) that he has conveyed the message, (even as We sent unto Pharaoh a messenger) i.e. Moses. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs; bold emphasis ours)

(But Pharaoh rebelled against the messenger) i.e. Moses, and did not accept his call, (whereupon We seized him with no gentle grip) therefore We punished him with a severe punishment, i.e. by drowning. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs; bold emphasis ours)

A Muslim may claim that the Egyptians were also Moses’ people because he was reared among them, having been adopted by Pharaoh’s wife. The problem with this response is that the Quran never claims that the Egyptians were also Moses’ people. The Quran actually distinguishes the people of Moses, the Israelites whom God saved, from the people of Pharaoh who were completely destroyed:

Said the chiefs of Pharaoh's people: “Wilt thou leave Moses and his people, to spread mischief in the land, and to abandon thee and thy gods?” He said: “Their male children will we slay; (only) their females will we save alive; and we have over them (power) irresistible." Said Moses to his people: “Pray for help from Allah, and (wait) in patience and constancy: for the earth is Allah’s, to give as a heritage to such of His servants as He pleaseth; and the end is (best) for the righteous.” S. 7:127-128

Then We sent Moses and his brother Aaron, with Our Signs and authority manifest, To Pharaoh and his Chiefs: But these behaved insolently: they were an arrogant people. They said: “Shall we believe in two men like ourselves? And THEIR PEOPLE are subject to us!” S. 23:45-47

By inspiration we told Moses: “Travel by night with my servants; for surely ye shall be pursued.” Then Pharaoh sent heralds to (all) the Cities, (Saying): “These (Israelites) are but a small band, “And they are raging furiously against us; But we are a multitude amply fore-warned.” So We expelled them from gardens, springs, Treasures, and every kind of honourable position; Thus it was, but We made the Children of Israel inheritors of such things. So they pursued them at sunrise. And when the two bodies saw each other, the people of Moses said: “We are sure to be overtaken.” (Moses) said: “By no means! my Lord is with me! Soon will He guide me!” Then We told Moses by inspiration: “Strike the sea with thy rod.” So it divided, and each separate part became like the huge, firm mass of a mountain. And We made the other party approach thither. We delivered Moses and all who were with him; But We drowned the others. S. 26:52-66

A believer, a man from among the people of Pharaoh, who had concealed his faith, said: “Will ye slay a man because he says, ‘My Lord is Allah’? - when he has indeed come to you with Clear (Signs) from your Lord? and if he be a liar, on him is (the sin of) his lie: but, if he is telling the Truth, then will fall on you something of the (calamity) of which he warns you: Truly Allah guides not one who transgresses and lies!” … Then Allah saved him from (every) ill that they plotted (against him), but the burnt of the Penalty encompassed on all sides the People of Pharaoh. In front of the Fire will they be brought, morning and evening: And (the sentence will be) on the Day that Judgment will be established: “Cast ye the People of Pharaoh into the severest Penalty!” S. 40:28, 45-46

And Pharaoh proclaimed among his people, saying: “O my people! Does not the dominion of Egypt belong to me, (witness) these streams flowing underneath my (palace)? What! see ye not then? Am I not better than this (Moses), who is a contemptible wretch and can scarcely express himself clearly? Then why are not gold bracelets bestowed on him, or (why) come (not) with him angels accompanying him in procession?” Thus did he make fools of his people, and they obeyed him: truly were they a people rebellious. When at length they provoked Us, We exacted retribution from them, and We drowned them ALL. S. 43:52-55 Y. Ali

See also: Q. 2:54, 60, 67; 5:20-21; 10:84-89; 7:141, 148, 150, 155, 159-160; 20:85-86, 90; 28:15; 61:5

Thus, the Quran denies that the Pharaoh and the Egyptians were Moses’ people, Moses’ folk.

The Quran on the Mission of Jesus

The Quran also claims that Allah sent Jesus to be a sign and mercy unto all creation:

And mention in the Book Mary when she withdrew from her people to an eastern place, and she took a veil apart from them; then We sent unto her Our Spirit that presented himself to her a man without fault. She said, ‘I take refuge in the All-merciful from thee! If thou fearest Allah!’ He said, ‘I am but a messenger come from thy Lord, to give thee a boy most pure.’ She said, ‘How shall I have a son whom no mortal has touched, neither have I been unchaste?’ He said, ‘Even so thy Lord has said: “Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us (ayatan lil-nasi wa-rahmatan minna); it is a thing decreed.”’ S. 19:16-21

And (remember) she who guarded her chastity [Virgin Maryam (Mary)], We breathed into (the sleeves of) her (shirt or garment) [through Our Ruh Jibrael (Gabriel)] and We made her and her son ['Iesa (Jesus)] a sign for Al-'Alamin (the mankind and jinns). S. 21:91 Hilali-Khan

It is interesting that the Quran describes Jesus’ mission in virtually the same way it describes Muhammad’s ministry:

And We have sent you (O Muhammad) not but as a mercy for the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). S. 21:107 Hilali-Khan

Moreover, the Islamic traditions claim that Jesus sent his disciples to preach to the entire world:

Yazid b. Abu Habib al-Misri told me that he found a document in which was a memorandum (T. the names) of those the apostle sent to the countries and kings of the Arabs and non-Arabs and what he said to his companions when he sent them. I sent it to Muhammad b. Shihab al-Zuhri (T. with a trusty countryman of his) and he recognized it. It contained the statement that the apostle went out with his companions and said: ‘God has sent me as a mercy to all men, so take a message from me, God have mercy on you. Do not hang back from me as the disciples hung back from Jesus son of Mary.’ They asked how they had hung back and he said, ‘He called them to a task similar to that which I have called you. Those who had to go on a short journey were pleased and accepted; those who had a long journey before them were displeased and refused to go, and Jesus complained of them to God. (T. From that very night) every one of them was able to speak the language of the people to whom he was sent.’ (T. Jesus said ‘This is a thing which God has determined that you should do, so go.’)

Those whom Jesus son of Mary sent, both disciples and those who came after them, in the land were: Peter the disciple AND PAUL WITH HIM, (Paul belonged to the followers and was not a disciples) to Rome. Andrew and Matthew to the land of the cannibals; Thomas to the land of Babel, which is in the land of the east; Philip to Carthage which is Africa; John to Ephesus the city of the young men of the cave; James to Jerusalem which is Aelia the city of the sanctuary; Bartholomew TO ARABIA WHICH IS THE LAND OF THE HIJAZ; Simon to the land of the Berbers; Judah who was not one of the disciples was put in place of Judas. (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Seventeenth Impression 2004], p. 653; bold and capital emphasis ours)


Allah the Exalted orders His faithful servants to be Allah's supporters at all times, in all their statements and actions, sacrificing their selves and wealth. Allah orders them to accept His and His Messenger's call, just as the disciples said to Prophet `Isa when he said…

(Who are my helpers (in the cause) of Allah) meaning, `who will support me in conveying the Message of Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored?' …

(The Hawariyyun said:) in reference to the followers of `Isa…

(We are Allah's helpers) meaning, `we will support you with regards to the Message you have been sent with and will help you convey it.' Whereby, `Isa sent the disciples to the various areas of Ash-Sham to call THE GREEKS and the Israelites to Islam. Similarly, during the days of Hajj, Allah's Messenger used to ask…

<<Who will support me in conveying the Message of my Lord Verily, the Quraysh have prevented me from conveying the Message of my Lord.>> Allah the Exalted and Most Honored raised Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj to support the Prophet. They were the residents of Al-Madinah who gave the pledge to him and supported him, vowing to protect him from mankind and the Jinns if he migrated to them. When he migrated to them with his Companions, they fulfilled their vow to Allah. This is the reason why Allah and His Messenger called them, Al-Ansar, the Supporters. The name became synonymous with them. May Allah be pleased with them and please them, as well. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 61:14; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Hence, Jesus was another messenger whose message was intended for the entire world, not just to his people!

The Torah and the Gospel – A Guide to Mankind

The following passage provides further substantiation that the missions of both Moses and Jesus were not limited only to their people:

It is he who sent down to you the Book in truth, confirming that which is between his hands (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi); and He sent down the Law and the Gospel before this, a guidance to mankind (hudan lil-nasi), and he sent down the criterion. Then those who reject faith in the verses of Allah will suffer the severest penalty, and Allah is All-Mighty, Avenger. S. 3:3-4

Since Islamic tradition accepts that the Torah was given to Moses this means that his legislation and the Gospel of Jesus were revealed for all mankind.(1)

Nor is this the only passage which speaks of Moses' Book being a guidance for all mankind:

They measured not Allah with His true measure when they said, 'God has not sent down aught on any mortal.' Say: 'Who sent down the Book that Moses brought as a light and a guidance to mankind (lil-nasi)? You put it into parchments, revealing them, and hiding much; and you were taught that you knew not, you and your fathers.' Say: 'Allah.' Then leave them alone, playing their game of plunging. S. 6:91

And indeed We gave Musa (Moses), after We had destroyed the generations of old, the Scripture [the Taurat (Torah)] as an enlightenment for mankind (lil-nasi), and a guidance and a mercy, that they might remember (or receive admonition). S. 28:43 Hilali-Khan

And lest the authors argue that the Arabic word nas doesn’t prove that Allah gave the Scriptures of Moses and Jesus as guidance for all men notice what the Quran says about itself:

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind (hudan lil-nasi) and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him. S. 2:185 Hilali-Khan

The Islamic scripture uses the exact same language to describe the Torah, Gospel, and itself. Thus, all of these Scriptures were sent down to guide the entirety of mankind!

What about Jonah?

It gets worse for the Muslim authors. The Quran recounts the Biblical story of the prophet Jonah being sent to the people of Nineveh, i.e. the Assyrians:

If only there had been a community (of all those that were destroyed of old) that believed and profited by its belief as did the people of Jonah (qawma yunusa)! When they believed We drew off from them the torment of disgrace in the life of the world and gave them comfort for a while. S. 10:98

And lo! Jonah verily was of those sent (to warn) When he fled unto the laden ship, And then drew lots and was of those rejected; And the fish swallowed him while he was blameworthy; And had he not been one of those who glorify (Allah) He would have tarried in its belly till the day when they are raised; Then We cast him on a desert shore while he was sick; And We caused a tree of gourd to grow above him; And We sent him to a hundred thousand (folk) or more And they believed, therefore We gave them comfort for a while. S. 37:139-148 – cf. 21:87-88

Notice how Ibn Kathir explains Q. 10:98:

“… The point is that between Musa and Yunus, there was no nation in its entirety that believed except the people of Yunus, the people of Naynawa (Nineveh). And they only believed because they feared that the torment from which their Messenger warned them, might strike them. They actually witnessed its signs. So they cried to Allah and asked for help. They engaged in humility in invoking Him. They brought their children and cattle and asked Allah to lift the torment from which their Prophet had warned them. As a result, Allah sent down His mercy and removed the scourge from them and gave them respite… In interpreting this Ayah, Qatadah said: ‘No town has denied the truth and then believed when they saw the scourge, and then their belief benefited them, with the exception of the people of Yunus. When they lost their prophet and they thought that the scourge was close upon them, Allah sent through their hearts the desire to repent. So they wore woolen fabrics and they separated each animal from its offspring. They then cried out to Allah for forty nights. When Allah saw the truth in their hearts and that they were sincere in their repentance and regrets, He removed the scourge from them.’ Qatadah said: ‘It is mentioned that the people of Yunus were in Naynawa, the land of Mosul.’ This was also reported from Ibn Mas'ud, Mujahid, Sai'd bin Jubayr and others from the Salaf.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; bold emphasis ours)

And here is what he says concerning Q. 21:87-88:


This story is mentioned here, and in Surat As-Saffat and Surah Nun. Yunus bin Matta, upon him be peace, was sent by Allah to the people of Nineveh, which was a town in the area of Mawsil [in northern Iraq]… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; underline emphasis ours)

The two Jalals state:

And We sent him, afterwards — as [We had done] before, to a people in Nineveh, in the region of Mosul — to a [community of a] hundred thousand or, in fact, more — [a community of] twenty, thirty or seventy thousand. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Q. 37:147; bold emphasis ours)

Anyone familiar with the Holy Bible can see the problem immediately. Jonah was not an Assyrian, but a Hebrew/Israelite who lived in the land of Israel:

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me’… So they asked him, ‘Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?’ He answered, ‘I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.’ This terrified them and they asked, ‘What have you done?’ (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)” Jonah 1:1-2, 8-10


“He was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah, in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher.” 2 Kings 14:25


“The third lot came up for Zebulun, clan by clan: The boundary of their inheritance went as far as Sarid. Going west it ran to Maralah, touched Dabbesheth, and extended to the ravine near Jokneam. It turned east from Sarid toward the sunrise to the territory of Kisloth Tabor and went on to Daberath and up to Japhia. Then it continued eastward to Gath Hepher and Eth Kazin; it came out at Rimmon and turned toward Neah. There the boundary went around on the north to Hannathon and ended at the Valley of Iphtah El. Included were Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah and Bethlehem. There were twelve towns and their villages. These towns and their villages were the inheritance of Zebulun, clan by clan.” Joshua 19:10-15

This indicates that Jonah was perhaps from the tribe of Zebulun, son of Jacob.

Moreover, Jonah spoke Hebrew NOT ASSYRIAN! The Israelites and Assyrians did not speak the same language, even though the Israelites had to learn the Assyrian language seeing that the Assyrian kingdom was the dominant power at that time:

The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They came up to Jerusalem and stopped at the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman's Field. They called for the king; and Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went out to them. The field commander said to them, ‘Tell Hezekiah: "This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? You say you have strategy and military strength - but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me? Look now, you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces a man's hand and wounds him if he leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him. And if you say to me, ‘We are depending on the Lord our God’ - isn't he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem’?" Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses - if you can put riders on them! How can you repulse one officer of the least of my master's officials, even though you are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from the Lord? The Lord himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.’ Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, ‘Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall.’” 2 Kings 18:17-26

Concluding Remarks

We have seen from our examination that even though the Quran claims that messengers were sent to their own people speaking in their own language the Quran also teaches that there were messengers besides Muhammad who were sent to nations other than their own.

According to the Islamic scripture Moses was a messenger sent to Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and that the Torah which Islamic tradition says was given to him was meant to be a guidance for all mankind.

Both the Quran and Islamic tradition teach that Jesus and his mother were a sign for all creation and that his disciples were sent to many nations such as the Greeks and Arabs. The Quran further says that the Gospel of Jesus was also given as a guide for all mankind, much like the Torah and the Quran.

The Islamic tradition further claims that Jonah was sent to the Assyrians, even though he was an Israelite whose mother tongue was Hebrew not Assyrian!

Thus, in light of these blatant contradictions the authors are left with the following options.

Zawadi and his co-author can adopt the position that the words used to describe the missions of Moses and Jesus do not necessarily suggest that their ministries and message were intended for all the peoples at all times. They can claim that these words can be used in a more limited sense and do not have to be inclusive or universal in their application.

However, this leaves them with the problem of having to admit that Abu Salam was right and that the words used to describe Muhammad’s mission do not necessarily prove that it was universal in its scope. Worse still, this contradicts what the hadiths say about Muhammad being sent to all the nations and further conflicts with the Quran’s claim that Moses and Jonah were sent to nations other than their own.

Or the Muslim authors can opt for the view that Moses and Jesus were like Muhammad in that their message was intended for all mankind, and not just for their own people. However, this interpretation conflicts with the express teachings of both the Quran and ahadith which claim that the messengers were sent only to their own people and in their own language! And this still leaves us with the problem of Jonah.

Thus, no matter how these authors try to spin it they are faced with irreconcilable contradictions both in the Quran and the Sunna. So much for the assertion that the Quran is perfect or that the Sunna actually explains and clarifies it!

Related Articles


(1) This assertion that the Torah and Gospel are intended for all mankind contradicts the following reference:

But how do they come to you for decision while they have the Taurat (Torah), in which is the (plain) Decision of Allah; yet even after that, they turn away. For they are not (really) believers. Verily, We did send down the Taurat (Torah) [to Musa (Moses)], therein was guidance and light, by which the Prophets, who submitted themselves to Allah's Will, judged the Jews. And the rabbis and the priests [too judged the Jews by the Taurat (Torah) after those Prophets] for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah's Book, and they were witnesses thereto. Therefore fear not men but fear Me (O Jews) and sell not My Verses for a miserable price. And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the Kafirun (i.e. disbelievers - of a lesser degree as they do not act on Allah's Laws). And We ordained therein for them: "Life for life eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal." But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it shall be for him an expiation. And whosoever does not judge by that which Allah has revealed, such are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers - of a lesser degree). And in their footsteps, We sent ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) confirming the Taurat (Torah) that had come before him, and We gave him the Injeel (Gospel), in which was guidance and light and confirmation of the Taurat (Torah) that had come before it, a guidance and an admonition for Al-Muttaqun (the pious - see V.2:2). Let the people of the Injeel (Gospel) judge by what Allah has revealed therein. And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed (then) such (people) are the Fasiqun (the rebellious i.e. disobedient (of a lesser degree) to Allah. And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book (this Qur'an) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and Mohayminan (trustworthy in highness and a witness) over it (old Scriptures). So judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging away from the truth that has come to you. To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way. If Allah willed, He would have made you one nation, but that (He) may test you in what He has given you; so strive as in a race in good deeds. The return of you (all) is to Allah; then He will inform you about that in which you used to differ. S. 5:43-48 Hilali-Khan

A careful examination of the contents of the Torah, Gospel, and the Quran shows that they do not all prescribe or forbid the same things. This means that Allah did not give all the communities the same legislation or prescribe the exact way in every single detail.

In light of this how can the Torah function as a guide for all mankind when Q. 5:48 says that Allah prescribed to each people a different law and path?

Moreover, how can both the Torah and the Gospel function as guidance for all mankind when the Quran expressly says that Jesus abrogated certain prohibitions that are found in the Torah?

And I have come confirming that which is between my hands of the Torah (Wa-musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya min al-tawrati), and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you, and I have come to you with a proof from your Lord. So fear Allah and obey me. S. 3:50

Notice how the following expositors interpret this text:

(and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you.) This part of the Ayah indicates that `Isa abrogated some of the Laws of the Tawrah and informed the Jews of the truth regarding some issues that they used to dispute about. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; bold emphasis ours)

Likewise, I have come to you, confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful for you some of that which was forbidden to you, IN IT. Thus he made lawful for them fish and birds which had no spikes; it is also said that he made it all lawful for them, so that ba‘d, ‘some’, means, kull, ‘all’). I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, He has repeated it for emphasis and to expand upon it: so fear God, and obey me, in what I command you of affirming God’s Oneness and being obedient to Him. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; bold and capital emphasis ours)

If one Book abrogates specific precepts that are found in the other then how can both of these revealed Books function as a guide for all mankind? Which of the commands is a person supposed to follow in the case when one Book prescribes things that conflict or contradict that which is found in the other?

The problems of the Quran just keep getting worse and worse!