Responses to Akbarally Meherally's site

The following is our response to Akbarally's brief response to Andrew Vargo's rebuttal of Meherally's attack on the Apostle Paul. You can find A. Meherally's article at this page.

Meherally:

Fundamental Question:

Did Jesus Christ personally speak of the sanctification by faith in Jesus, as narrated in the second narration by "Saint Paul"?

If your answer is YES: Then the text which reads, "And the Lord said to me, "Arise and go on into Damascus; and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do" should be the UNTRUTH.

If your answer is NO: Then the rest of the writings of Paul and Paul's theory of Justification by Faith, should be the UNTRUTH.

Response:

Meherally is trying to impose twentieth century standards of reporting upon a first century document. The scholarly thing would have been for Meherally to examine how first century authors reported historical events, not impose modern standards of reporting upon an ancient document. Had Meherally done this, he would have realized that before, during and after the time of Christ both the Greco-Roman world and the Jews wrote history in a summarized format. Their aim was to accurately report historical events in a summarized fashion.

One way writers and speakers summarized reports was to telescope an event. This at times entailed omitting the middleman in a given report. In the culture of Jesus' day, a person's agent was viewed as if the person himself had personally spoken, acted, or written. Several examples from the NT will help clarify this fact:

"After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.) An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, 'Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan - the one you testified about - well, HE is baptizing, and everyone is going to him'... The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples." John 3:22-4:2

Even though it was the disciples who were baptizing, the Jews could still say that Jesus was baptizing more people than John.

Paul in his letter to the Romans states:

"I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me." Romans 15:15

Paul could say he had written to the Romans even though in reality it was Tertius who actually wrote the epistle:

"Timothy, my fellow worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my relatives. I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord." Romans 16:21-22

And,

"With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it." 1 Peter 5:12

Even though Silas helped him write his first letter, Peter could still go on and claim:

"Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking." 2 Peter 3:1

Christian author Darrel L. Bock concurs with the preceding assessment and even supplies an example from the NT to prove it:

"Sometimes details within events are selected on a parallel basis. An examination of the healing of the centurion's servant (Matt. 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10) shows a significant difference of detail. In Matthew the discussion occurs directly between the centurion and Jesus. However, in Luke a major point of the account is that the centurion never speaks directly to Jesus, for the soldier reveals his humility by insisting that Jesus need not come under his roof to facilitate a healing. Instead, Jewish messengers speak up for the Gentile, declaring he is worthy of Jesus' aid. This major detail allows Luke to make a point that Matthew is not concerned about: how Jews and Gentiles can respect one another. A common explanation for the difference is that Matthew has telescoped the account and made it simpler, since in the ancient world a messenger sent to someone's behalf was seen as equal to speaking to the person directly (much like an ambassador or press secretary speaks for the president today.) (Jesus Under Fire - Modern Scholars Reinvent the Historical Jesus, eds. Michael J. Wilkins & J.P. Moreland [Zondervan Publishing House; Grand Rapids, MI 1995], p. 85)

Therefore, Paul was being completely accurate in claiming that Christ directly commissioned him to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. Paul viewed Christ's messenger (in this case Ananias) as if it were Christ himself speaking directly to him, a view completely in line with first century culture and practice.

Interestingly, Luke recalls Cornelius' vision of the angel twice, yet with added details the second time around:

"At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, 'Cornelius!' Cornelius stared at him in fear. 'What is it, Lord?' he asked. The angel answered, 'Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.' When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants." Acts 10:1-7

Compare:

"Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man's house. He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, 'Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.'" Acts 11:12-14

Peter supplies information about the angel's instruction that had been omitted in Acts 10. We therefore find that it was common for Luke to summarize an event in one place, while providing additional information about the same event elsewhere in his narration.

In fact, Luke provides evidence to show that Paul was summarizing his report in Acts 22. Acts 9 indicates that after his encounter with the Risen Lord, Paul received additional revelation from Christ prior to Ananias coming to him:

"As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' 'Who are you, Lord?' Saul asked. 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' he replied. 'Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.' The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, 'Ananias!' 'Yes, Lord,' he answered. The Lord told him, 'Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. IN A VISION HE HAS SEEN A MAN NAMED ANANIAS COME AND PLACE HIS HANDS ON HIM TO RESTORE HIS SIGHT.' 'Lord,' Ananias answered, 'I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.' But the Lord said to Ananias, 'Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.' Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord - Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here - has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.' Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. Acts 9:3-20

It is quite possible that it was in this vision that Paul had been commissioned to be the Lord's Apostle to the Gentiles, being told to proclaim that sanctification comes by faith in Jesus Christ alone. Ananias' coming to Paul and personally instructing him would serve as a confirmation that the instructions received in the vision were definitely from God and not due to Paul's overactive imagination.

In light of the preceding factors, Jesus' command to Paul that he was to wait in the city for further instruction did not mean that the latter was to await the arrival of Ananias to receive additional info. Rather, Christ himself supplied the additional information to Paul in a vision even before Ananias ever appeared on the scene.

In either case, there are no contradictions but simply Meherally's methodology that he imposes upon the text of scripture.

Finally, let us impose Meherally's criteria upon the Quran to see if it passes his test.

And the folk of Moses, after (he left them), chose a calf (for worship), (made) out of their ornaments, of saffron hue, which gave a lowing sound. Saw they not that it spake not unto them nor guided them to any way? They chose it, and became wrong-doers. And when they feared the consequences thereof and saw that they had gone astray, they said: Unless our Lord have mercy on us and forgive us, we verily are of the lost. And when Moses returned unto his people, angry and grieved, he said: Evil is that (course) which ye took after I had left you. Would ye hasten on the judgment of your Lord? And he cast down the tablets, and he seized his brother by the head, dragging him toward him. He said: Son of my mother! Lo! the folk did judge me weak and almost killed me. Oh, make not mine enemies to triumph over me and place me not among the evil-doers. He said: My Lord! Have mercy on me and on my brother; bring us into Thy mercy, Thou the Most Merciful of all who show mercy. Lo! Those who chose the calf (for worship), terror from their Lord and humiliation will come upon them in the life of the world. Thus do We requite those who invent a lie. S. 7:148-152

This passage gives the impression that it was the Israelites along with Aaron who, under the threat of death, fashioned the golden calf. Yet, the following passage contradicts this:

And (it was said): What hath made thee hasten from thy folk, O Moses? He said: They are close upon my track. I hastened unto Thee, my Lord, that Thou mightest be well pleased. He said: Lo! We have tried thy folk in thine absence, and As-Samiri hath misled them. Then Moses went back unto his folk, angry and sad. He said: O my people! Hath not your Lord promised you a fair promise? Did the time appointed then appear too long for you, or did ye wish that wrath from your Lord should come upon you, that ye broke tryst with me? They said: We broke not tryst with thee of our own will, but we were laden with burdens of ornaments of the folk, then cast them (in the fire), for thus As-Samiri proposed. Then he produced for them a calf, of saffron hue, which gave forth a lowing sound. And they cried: This is your god and the god of Moses, but he hath forgotten. See they not, then, that it returneth no saying unto them and possesseth for them neither hurt nor use? And Aaron indeed had told them before hand: O my people! Ye are but being seduced therewith, for lo! your Lord is the Beneficent, so follow me and obey my order. They said: We shall by no means cease to be its votaries till Moses return unto us. He (Moses) said: O Aaron! What held thee back when thou didst see them gone astray, That thou followedst me not? Hast thou then disobeyed my order? He said: O son of my mother! Clutch not my beard nor my head! I feared lest thou shouldst say: Thou hast caused division among the Children of Israel, and hast not waited for my word. (Moses) said: And what hast thou to say, O Samiri? He said: I perceived what they perceive not, so I seized a handful from the footsteps of the messenger, and then threw it in. Thus my soul commended to me. (Moses) said: Then go! and lo! in this life it is for thee to say: Touch me not! and lo! there is for thee a tryst thou canst not break. Now look upon thy god of which thou hast remained a votary. Verily we will burn it and will scatter its dust over the sea. S. 20:83-97, Pickthall

According to this passage it was As-Samiri who instigated the fashioning of the golden calf. So who exactly fashioned the golden calf? The Israelites with the help of Aaron? Or As-Samiri along with the Israelites? Or should we assume that one narrative is summarizing the event, whereas the other is providing additional info? If Meherally adopts a harmonious approach to these conflicting reports, then why does he refuse to extend the same approach to the NT? In other words, why the double standard?

That the Quran repeats the same story with major verbal variations is even acknowledged by Muslim Scholars:

"Among the mutashabih (things which resemble one another) verses are those which tell the story of Moses in many places of the Qur'an, and those, like them, which employ different words to express similar meanings. Some examples of these are: 'Let into it' and 'Carry in it [the Ark]', (Q. 23:27 and 11:40); 'Slip in your hand' and 'Enter your hand [O Moses into your bosom]', (Q. 28:32 and 27:12); and 'He [Moses] cast down his staff and, behold, it became a snake slithering' and 'He cast it down and, behold, it became an unmistakable serpent', (Q. 20:20 and 7:107). Ibn Zayd then comments, 'All this is in order to show God's judgment between the prophets and their peoples.' Ibn Zayd goes on, 'Anyone whom God wishes to test and cause to fall into error would say, "Why is this not like that, and why is that like this!"' (Tabari, VI, pp. 177-179)" (Mahmoud M. Ayoub, The Qur'an and Its Interpreters, Vol. II - The House of Imran [State University of New York Press, Albany; 1992], p. 23; bold emphasis ours)

Hence, Muslim themselves have discovered and stumbled on the fact that the same Quranic stories are repeated with verbal variations.

Meherally's approach would also serve to debunk Muslim claims that Muhammad was illiterate:

Narrated Al-Bara:

When the Prophet went out for the 'Umra in the month of Dhal-Qa'da, the people of Mecca did not allow him to enter Mecca till he agreed to conclude a peace treaty with them by virtue of which he would stay in Mecca for three days only (in the following year). When the agreement was being written, the Muslims wrote: "This is the peace treaty, which Muhammad, Apostle of Allah has concluded." The infidels said (to the Prophet), "We do not agree with you on this, for if we knew that you are Apostle of Allah we would not have prevented you for anything (i.e. entering Mecca, etc.), but you are Muhammad, the son of 'Abdullah." Then he said to 'Ali, "Erase (the name of) 'Apostle of Allah'." 'Ali said, "No, by Allah, I will never erase you (i.e. your name)." Then Allah's Apostle took the writing sheet... and he did not know a better writing... and he wrote or got it the following written: "This is the peace treaty which Muhammad, the son of 'Abdullah, has concluded: "Muhammad should not bring arms into Mecca except sheathed swords, and should not take with him any person of the people of Mecca even if such a person wanted to follow him, and if any of his companions wants to stay in Mecca, he should not forbid him." (excerpt from Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Number 88)

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

Once the Prophet wrote a letter or had an idea of writing a letter. The Prophet was told that they (rulers) would not read letters unless they were sealed. So the Prophet got a silver ring made with "Muhammad Allah's Apostle" engraved on it. As if I were just observing its white glitter in the hand of the Prophet..." (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Number 65)

Narrated 'Ubaidullah bin 'Abdullah:

Ibn 'Abbas said, "When the ailment of the Prophet became worse, he said, 'Bring for me (writing) paper and I will write for you a statement after which you will not go astray.' But 'Umar said, 'The Prophet is seriously ill, and we have got Allah's Book with us and that is sufficient for us.' But the companions of the Prophet differed about this and there was a huge and cry. On that the Prophet said to them, 'Go away (and leave me alone). It is not right that you should quarrel in front of me." Ibn 'Abbas came out saying, "It was most unfortunate (a great disaster) that Allah's Apostle was prevented from writing that statement for them because of their disagreement and noise. (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Number 114)

Should we now assume that these hadiths prove that Muhammad could write, and therefore could read? Or should we assume that the claim that Muhammad wanted to write does not prove that he could actually write? Rather, should we adopt the view that these hadiths may simply be omitting the fact that it would have been Muhammad's scribes writing on his behalf as he dictated to them?

To adopt Meherally's method, a Muslim would not be allowed to assume the latter. He would be forced into accepting the former view and hence reject the claim of Muhammad's illiteracy.

(See the following articles [1], [2] for additional info regarding first century reporting and parallel accounts in the Quran that contain conflicting details.)

Meherally:

Finally, if you are at a Cross Road; Which path should you take?
A path shown by a so called "Minister" of Jesus, or a path shown by the "Messiah" of God, if they both differ in the fundamental teachings? Please read Mt. 5:19 and 19:17.

Response:

Meherally is quite selective in his citations. He assumes that Jesus' view of salvation conflicts with that of Paul's. To arrive at this conclusion, he needs to appeal to two NT passages thinking that they support this conclusion. Before examining the two passages from Matthew, let us first document the view of salvation held by the Lord Jesus and the other Apostles, whether by faith or by faith and works:

John the Baptist

"The next John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.'" John 1:29

"The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." John 3:35-36

The Lord Jesus

"Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.'" Matthew 9:1-2

"Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, 'If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.' Jesus turned and saw her. 'Take heart, daughter,' he said, 'your faith has healed you.' And the woman was healed from that moment." Matthew 9:20-22

"just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28

"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." Matthew 26:28

"Jesus said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace.'" Luke 7:50

"Then he said to him, 'Rise and go; your faith has made you well.'" Luke 17:19

"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: God, I thank you that I am not like other men-robbers, evildoers, adulterers - or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 18:11-14

In this passage, Jesus holds to the same view of justification that Paul did. The Greek term "justified" is dikaioo, the same form of the Greek term used by Paul in such passages as Romans 3:20-25, Galatians 2:16 and Philippians 3:9. Hence, Jesus affirms that justification comes from trusting in the mercy of God alone, not by the works a person does.

"Jesus said to him, 'Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.'" Luke 18:42

"Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." John 3:14-18

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24

"'Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.' Then they asked him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?' Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'" John 6:27-29

"For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:40

"I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life." John 6:47

"On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.' By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified." John 7:37-39

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'" John 11:25-26

The Apostle Peter

"By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see." Acts 3:16

"Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, 'Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.' Peter answered: 'May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!'" Acts 8:17-20

"He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." Acts 10:42-43

"'As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: "John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?' When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, 'So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.'" Acts 11:15-18

"After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: 'Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.'" Acts 15:7-11

The Apostle John

"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." John 1:12-13

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 20:31

"And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us." 1 John 3:23

"Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well." 1 John 5:1

According to the Baptist, Jesus and the Apostles salvation is a gift of God that comes by faith in Jesus Christ alone, apart from works. It is belief in the Lord Jesus that justifies a man. Once a man is justified he is then empowered by the Spirit of God to carry out the commands of Christ daily. Therefore, we find that Paul's view of salvation is in complete harmony with that of the Lord Jesus and his first disciples.

Let us now turn to the passages that Meherally alluded to:

"Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:19-20

First, this passage does not teach that a person who breaks the least of Christ's commands shall lose his salvation. Rather, the person shall be least in the kingdom, implying that the person is still saved. The person suffers a loss of rewards, not a loss of eternal life. Paul beautifully expounds upon this point in his first epistle to the Corinthians:

"For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

Second, Christ demands that a person's righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees in order to attain salvation. The righteousness that Christ demands is that of perfection:

"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48

The only way to attain such perfection is to follow Christ. The Lord Jesus is able to justify men by his perfect righteousness that is then imputed to a believer. This justification grants believers the right to stand justified before a holy God. In fact, the Lord Jesus makes this precise point in the second passage that Meherally appeals to:

"Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, 'Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life? Why do you ask me about what is good?' Jesus replied. 'There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.' Which ones? the man inquired. Jesus replied, Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself. 'All these I have kept,' the young man said. 'What do I still lack?' Jesus answered, 'If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. THEN COME, FOLLOW ME.'" Matthew 19:16-21

Hence, the righteousness demanded by Christ is a righteousness that only comes from following him. This righteousness is humanly impossible to attain, and is something received solely by faith in the Lord Jesus.

Meherally:

A Recent Christian Criticism on the subject:
Under the heading; "Responses to Akbarally Meherally's site", Section A, Part 4, sub-heading "Paul's Authority" and under the URL
http://www.answering-islam.org/Responses/Meherally/
the Christian Critic responds to the above question of Cross Road as under:

"Amen! I choose to follow Jesus and His servant Paul."

My Comments to the Critic's reply:

I have read that the Almighty God, under the Trinitarian Concept, could exist simultaneously as "Three Persons". And, could supposedly take THREE different paths simultaneously living in Three different forms. But, I have not read that a Believer of Trinity could also exist simultaneously as "Two Persons" and could take Two different paths, one going to the Right and the other going to the Left!!!
I wonder, where would "he" go to sleep, at the end of the day?

THE CONTRADICTORY RECORDS...

On this fundamentally vital subject of the discourse between Jesus and Paul, it is recorded as under, in the Book of Acts:

That the men traveling with Paul, stood speechless, hearing the voice, but seeing no one. (9 :7)
That the men traveling with Paul, saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to Paul. (22 : 9)

Can the above discordant records be defended as the longer and the shorter records? Surprisingly, in chapter 26 there is no mention of men seeing or hearing anything, although the discourse recorded here is much longer than those recorded in chapters 9 and 22 !!!

Response:

Had Meherally done just a little research into the original languages of the Holy Bible he would have found that his alleged contradiction only exists in his own imagination. Dr. Gleason L. Archer explains:

"An apparent contradiction arises between the first account of Paul's conversion on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:7) and the second account (Acts 22:9) in regard to Paul's companions. Did they hear the Voice from heaven or did they not? Acts 9:7 states: 'But the men who were journeying with Paul were standing speechless, hearing the Voice [akouontes men tes phones], but beholding no one.' In Acts 22:9, on the other hand, we are told, 'And those who were wit me beheld the light, but they did not hear the Voice [ten de phonen ouk ekousan] of the one who was talking to me.'

In the original Greek, however, there is no real contradiction between these two statements. Greek makes a distinction between hearing a sound as a noise (in which case the verb 'to hear' takes the genitive case) and hearing a voice as a thought-conveying message (in which case it takes the accusative). Therefore, as we put the two statements together, we find that Paul's companions heard the Voice as a sound (somewhat like a crowd who heard the Father talking to the Son in John 12:28, but perceived it only as thunder); but they did not (like Paul) hear the message that it articulated. Paul alone heard it intelligibly (Acts 9:4 says Paul ekousen phonen - accusative case); though he, of course, perceived it also as a startling sound at first (Acts 22:7: 'I fell to the ground and heard a voice [ekousa phones] saying to me,' NASB). But in neither account is it stated that his companions ever heard the Voice in the accusative case.

"There is an instructive parallel here between the inability to hear the voice as an articulated message and their inability to see the glory of the risen Lord as anything but a blazing light. Acts 22:9 says that they saw the light, but Acts 9:7 makes it clear that they did not see the Person who displayed Himself in that light. There is a clear analogy between these differing levels of perception in each case.

"(For the technical case-distinction in Greek, cf. W. W. Goodwin and C. B. Gullick, Greek Grammar [Boston: Ginn & Co., 1930], # 1103: 'The partitive genitive is used with verbs signifying to taste, to smell, to hear, to perceive, etc.' - with the example from Aristophanes' Pax: phones akouein moi doko - 'Methinks I hear a voice.' See also # 1104: 'Verbs of hearing, learning, etc., may take an accusative of the thing heard etc., and a genitive of the person heard from.' This comes very close to the distinction made above, that the accusative indicates the voice communicated message or thought, rather than as simply a sound vibrating against the eardrum.)" (Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties [Zondervan Publishing House: Grand Rapids, MI, 1982], pp. 382-383, bold emphasis ours)

John W. Haley concurs:

"The Greek 'akouo,' like our word 'hear,' has two distinct meanings, to perceive sound, and to understand. The men who were with Saul of Tarsus, heard the sound, but did not understand what was said to him. As to the fact that one passage represents them 'as standing'; the other, as having 'fallen to the earth,' the word rendered 'stood' also means to be fixed, to be rooted to the spot. Hence the sense may be, not that they stood erect, but that they were rendered motionless, or fixed to the spot, by overpowering fear. Or, perhaps, they all 'fell to the earth,' but afterward rose and 'stood' upon their feet." (Haley, Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible [Whitaker House; 30 Hunt Valley Circle New Kensington, PA 15068, 1992], p. 359)

Therefore, Meherally's alleged discrepancy vanishes into thin air.

Meherally:

YOU BE THE JUDGE...

I am repeating the story that I tell my audience:

Say, you went to a Sermon and heard a Minister saying that last month while he was sitting on a bench in a park an elderly man came and sat next to him. The elderly gentleman identified himself as a Professor of Theology. The Minister asked the Professor: "How to have an eternal life?" The Professor suggested that he should go to the public library get a particular book by the famous author so and so and read the relevant chapter on the subject. The Minister thereupon borrowed that book from the library and read the suggested chapter. He added; It was an enlightening material on the subject of Eternal Life and he was fortunate to have met that Professor of Theology.

Say, the next Sunday you went to another Church and happen to hear the same Minister saying the same story and asking the same question to the Professor. But, this time the Professor of Theology opens his brief case, takes out the book by the famous author and the Professor himself reads the entire chapter on the subject of Eternal Life to the Minister.

Say, if you raise your hand and ask the Minister; "How many times have you met this Professor of Theology in a park or outside?" And, if the Minister tells you: "My son, I have met this Professor only once."

Please tell me honestly; Would you hear the rest of his Sermon?

Response:

We have judged and concluded that the problem is not with either Paul or the Minister. Rather it is with Meherally's selective reading and hearing. Let us reword Meherally's point above and see where the problem actually lies.

We are repeating the story that Meherally tells his audience:

Say, you went to a Sermon and heard a Minister saying that last month while he was sitting on a bench in a park an elderly man came and set next to him. The elderly gentleman identified himself as a Professor of Theology. The Minister asked the Professor: "How to have an eternal life?" The Professor suggested that he should go to the public library get a particular book by the famous author so and so and read the relevant chapter on the subject. The Minister thereupon borrowed that book from the library and read the suggested chapter. He added; It was an enlightening material on the subject of Eternal Life and he was fortunate to have met that Professor of Theology.

Say, the next Sunday you went to another Church and happen to hear the same Minister saying the same story and asking the same question to the Professor. But this time with an added twist. This time the Minister includes the fact that the Professor of Theology took out his own personal copy of the said book and began reading the chapter on Eternal Life to the Minister. After reading it, the Minister excitedly explains to his audience that he then asked the Professor where he could get his own personal copy. That's how great the book sounded to the Minister! The Professor tells him to go to the Library and order one.

Now let us assume that Meherally happens to leave in the middle of the Minister's testimony. From there, Meherally erroneously assumes that the Minister is lying since Meherally had first heard the Minister claim that he was told by the Professor to go to the library and get a copy of the book in question.

Let us assume that based on Meherally's erroneous assumption he proceeded to launch a personal attack upon the Minister, accusing him of deception. Let us also assume that a student who had taped the event played back the portion where the Minister had clearly stated that after the Professor had read the relevant chapter on Eternal Life, he then proceeded to get his own personal copy from the library. This was done at the suggestion of the Professor himself. The student rightly corrects Meherally by telling him that the Minister never denied the part that the Professor told him to get a copy of the book from the library. Rather, the Minister provided additional information at this particular meeting that he had not given in the meeting before since at the one before he was simply summarizing the story due to the sake of the time allotted to him to speak. Yet, for some reason Meherally refuses to accept and stubbornly clings to his false assertions and continues to mislead people.

Please tell us honestly; Shouldn't Meherally have heard the rest of the sermon? The fact that he refused to hear the sermon in its entirety, would you even consider Meherally a credible witness or even give him a hearing seeing how he often misrepresents both people and sources? W e didn't think so.

Meherally:

Paul's Confession to his Falsehood!!!

Please read below what Paul has questioned to the readers of his Epistle, and then you be the Judge of Paul's Confession to Falsehood.

Paul interrogates:

"But if through my falsehood ("lie" in K.J.V.), God's truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned ("judged" in K.J.V.), as a sinner?"
Romans 3:7 (N.R.S.V.)

Would you knowingly and consciously encourage your own children to resort to "Falsehood" so that they may Glorify the God before others?

Does your God seek such "False Glory" from you or your children??

Jesus claimed he was "the Truth" (Jn. 14:6); and he preached "the Truth shall make you free" (Jn. 8:32); and he also declared that the "another Advocate" that was to come after him would be "the Spirit of Truth" (Jn. 14: 16/17), under the circumstances it is most unlikely that he would personally appoint anyone to carry forward his mission that would "through his falsehood" try to Glorify the truthfulness of God.

Response:

[Side remark by Jochen Katz: This is a very old and very bad Muslim attack. In the Bible Commentary section we have a careful explanation of Romans 3:7 since 1995. Mr. Meherally, who clearly pays much attention to the "Answering Islam" web site has little excuse to repeat this old Muslim distortion of God's word in the year 1999. Continuing with Sam Shamoun's response...]

When we actually read the verse in context, Paul was speaking of God's justice and how man's unrighteousness affirms that God's judgment upon sinners is righteous. Hence, Paul is speaking hypothetically of one who might ask if by a person's falsehood God is proven righteous, why then does God condemn the person? This becomes crystal clear from the text itself:

"But if our unrighteousness brings out God's righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? `If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?' Why not say - as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say - `Let us do evil that good may result'? Their condemnation is deserved." Romans 3:5-8

Interestingly, Paul indicates that it was others like Meherally who were slanderously accusing Paul of condoning immorality, a charge to which Paul puts under the condemnation of God. The fact is that Paul clearly denies ever using deception in preaching the Gospel:

"Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." 2 Corinthians 4:2

"For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed - God is our witness. We are not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else." 1 Thessalonians 2:3-5

Furthermore, it is Muhammad who condoned deception and the use of lying. The Quran states:

"Whoso disbelieves in God, after he has believed - excepting him who has been compelled, and in his heart is still at rest in his belief - but whosoever's heart is expanded in unbelief, upon them shall rest anger from God, and there awaits them a mighty chastisement." S. 16:106

Al-Tabari comments:

"It has been reported that the Quraish compelled 'Ammar, his father Yasir, and his mother Sumayya to renounce Islam. So they tied Sumayyya to two camels and pointed a spear to her heart, saying to her that she converted for the men, and killed her. Later they killed Yasir. Thus, these two were the first martyrs in Islam. As for 'Ammar, he told them, unwillingly, what they wanted to hear. So it was told the Messenger of God that 'Ammar disbelieved. He said, 'No, 'Ammar is full of faith from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet; belief has been mingled with his flesh and blood.' 'Ammar came weeping to the Messenger of God. Therefore, the Messenger of God started to wipe his tears, and said, 'If they come back to you, repeat to them what you said.' This is the evidence for the admissibility of speaking unbelief under compulsion." ('Abdallah 'Abd al-Fadi, Is the Qur'an Infallible? [Light of Life PO Box 13 A-9503 Villach, Austria], p. 97)

The Traditions tell us that there are at least four instances where deception can be used:

Humaid b. 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Auf reported that his mother Umm Kulthum daughter of 'Uqba b. Abu Mu'ait, and she was one amongst the first emigrants who pledged allegiance to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him), as saying that she heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: A liar is not one who tries to bring reconciliation amongst people and speaks good (in order to avert dispute), or he conveys good. Ibn Shihab said he did not hear that exemption was granted in anything what the people speak as lie but in three cases: in battle, for bringing reconciliation amongst persons and the narration of the words of the husband to his wife, and the narration of the words of a wife to her husband (in a twisted form in order to bring reconciliation between them).

More information is provided by William Muir's "Life of Mahomet", Volume I, footnote 88:

The common Moslem belief is that it is allowable to tell a falsehood on four occasions:

1st, to save one's life;

2nd, to effect a peace or reconciliation;

3rd, to persuade a woman;

4th, on the occasion of a journey or expedition.

To save one's life

The first is borne out by Mahomet's express sanction. Ammar ibn Yasir was sorely persecuted by the pagans of Mecca, and denied the faith for his deliverance. The Prophet approved of his conduct: - "If they do this again, then repeat the same recantation to them again." Katib al Wackidi; p. 227 .

Another tradition preserved in the family of Yasir, is as follows: - "The idolators seized Ammar, and they let him not go until he had abused Mahomet and spoken well of their gods. He then repaired to the Prophet, who asked of him what had happened." - "Evil, oh Prophet of the Lord! I was not let go until I had abused thee, and spoken well of their gods." - "But how," replied Mahomet, "dost thou find thins own heart?" - "Secure and steadfast in the faith." - "Then," said Mahomet, "if they repeat the same, do thou too repeat the same." Ibid. Mahomet also said that Ammar's lie was better than Aba Jahl's truth.

To effect a peace or reconciliation

The second is directly sanctioned by the following tradition:- "That person is not a liar who makes peace between two people, and speaks good words to do away their quarrel, although they should be lies." Mishcat, vol ii. p.427

To persuade a woman

As to the third, we have a melancholy instance that Mahomet did not think it wrong to make false promises to his wives, in the matter of Mary his Egyptian maid.

On the occasion of a journey or expedition

And regarding the fourth, it was his constant habit in projecting expeditions (excepting only that to Tabuk) to conceal his intentions, and to give out that he was about to proceed in another direction from the true one. (Hishami, p. 392; Katib al Wackidi, p. 133 .)

Hence, Muhammad treated truth and deception according to his own style of situational ethics. Muhammad condoned, and actually permitted lying to further his goals.

In fact, Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Number 369 records how Muhammad allowed Masalaama to use outright deception to achieve his purpose of murdering Kab Ibn Ashraf. The tradition goes on to record that Masalaama brutally stabbed and beheaded Ashraf.

Another treacherous murder took place when Muhammad sent Umar ibn Adai to kill Asma bint Marwan, a poetess who wrote poetry insulting Muhammad. According to Nisa Muhammad (Muhammad's Women), p. 102, authored by Muslim Sania Qur'aa, Adai "came to her at night and put away her baby (editor: she was nursing her infant) and killed her by the sword; then he went to Mohammed and Mohammed said, 'you've revenged God and his Apostle, Omeir.'" (See also Haykal, The Life of Muhammad, p. 243)

In Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Number 361 we are told:

Narrated Zahdam:

Once we were in the house of Abu Musa who presented a meal containing cooked chicken. A man from the tribe of Bani Taim Allah with red complexion as if he were from the Byzantine war prisoners, was present. Abu Musa invited him to share the meal but he (apologised) saying. "I saw chickens eating dirty things and so I have had a strong aversion to eating them, and have taken an oath that I will not eat chickens." Abu Musa said, "Come along, I will tell you about this matter (i.e. how to cancel one's oath). I went to the Prophet in the company of a group of Al-Ashariyin, asked him to provide us with means of conveyance. He said, 'By Allah, I will not provide you with any means of conveyance and I have nothing to make you ride on.' Then some camels as booty were brought to Allah's Apostle and he asked for us saying. 'Where are the group of Al-Ash'ariyun?' Then he ordered that we should be given five camels with white humps. When we set out we said, 'What have we done? We will never be blessed (with what we have been given).' 'I have not provided you with means of conveyance but Allah has provided you with it, and by Allah, Allah willing, if ever I take an oath to do something, and later on I find that it is more beneficial to do something different, I will do the thing which is better, and give expiation for my oath."

The Quran testifies that even Allah is a deceiver:

The Hypocrites - they seek to deceive Allah but it is Allah Who DECEIVE them. When they stand up to prayer, they stand without earnestness, to be seen of men, but little do they hold Allah in remembrance; S. 4:142

Ibn Kathir comments:

In verse nine of Al-Baqarah, Allah says: <They (think) deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves.> While in the above verse, Allah says: <Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He who deceives them.> There is no doubt that Allah does not deceive as He is All-Aware of secrets. But, the hypocrites, owing to their ignorance, believe that they can trick Allah on the Day of Judgment them with the same external shows of piety and honesty that they used to gain advantage with the people and to get verdicts in the law courts in this world. Allah knows their intentions. Similarly, Allah says in the following verse: <On the Day when Allah will resurrect them all together, then they will swear to you.> (58:18).

After claiming that Allah does not deceive, Ibn Kathir goes on to say:

<But it is Allah Who deceives them.> It is Allah Who tempts them in their going over the limits and their misguidance, and DECEIVES them into reaching false perceptions regarding the purpose of this life and the trial on the Day of Judgment when their falsehood will fail. It is reported in a hadith that: 'Allah commands that a servant enter Paradise, as it may seem to people, then takes him to Fire.'" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Sura An Nisa, ayat 24-147, abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafa'I [Al-Firdous Ltd., London 2000], pp. 207-208)

Therefore, Muslims themselves admit that their God is a deceiver.

Further passages from the Qur'an about the deceiving nature of Allah:

And (the unbelievers) schemed and planned, and Allah schemed also, and the best of schemers is Allah. S. 3:54

Remember how the unbelievers schemed against thee, to keep thee in bonds, or to slay thee, or get thee out (of thy home). They scheme and plot, but the best of schemers is Allah. S. 8:30

So they schemed a scheme: and We schemed a scheme, while they perceived not. S. 27:50

The term for scheme in Arabic is makara and denotes one who is a deceiver, one who is conniving, a schemer. It is always used in a negative sense. Allah is thus seen as the best of deceivers, the premiere schemer and conniving one.

This is not simply a Christian perspective but one thoroughly endorsed by Muslim theologians as well. For example Dr. Mahmoud M. Ayoub in his book, The Quran and Its Interpreters, Vol. II The House of Imran, brings up the question of,

"how the word makr (scheming or plotting), which implies deceitfulness or dishonesty, could be attributed to God." (Ibid. [1992 State University of New York Press, Albany], p. 165)

After listing several Muslim sources he quotes ar-Razi as arguing that "scheming (makr) is actually an act of deception aiming at causing evil. It is not possible to attribute deception to God. Thus the word is one of the muttashabihat [multivalent words of the Quran]." (Ibid., p. 166)

The Quran furnishes plenty of examples on some of the methods that Allah adopts in devising evil:

Remember in thy dream Allah showed them as a few: if he had showed them to thee as many, ye would surely have been discouraged, and ye would surely have disputed in your decision: but Allah saved you: for He knoweth well the (secrets) of (all) hearts. S. 8:43

Allah is said to have shown the opposing fighting forces as few to Muhammad since if he had shown them as they actually were, the Muslims would have been afraid to fight. Hence, Allah had to use deception in order to encourage the Muslims to fight in his cause.

And when We desire to destroy a city, We command its men who live at ease, and they commit ungodliness therein, then the Word is realized against it, and We destroy it utterly. S. 17:16

Allah commands men to sin in order to destroy them completely.

They (Jinns - demon spirits) worked for him (Solomon) as he desired ... then when We decreed death upon him, nothing showed them his death except a little creeping creature of the earth, which gnawed away at his staff. And when he fell the Jinns saw clearly how, if they had known the unseen, they would not have continued in the humiliating penalty (of work). S. 34:13-14

Allah deceived the Jinns into working for Solomon by preventing the latter's death from being disclosed to them, otherwise they would have stopped their work.

Allah also deceived both Christians and Jews into thinking that Jesus was crucified when in fact "it was so made to appear unto them", seeing that he never was crucified or killed. (cf. S. 4:157)

Not only is Allah a deceiver, but he is outright immoral according to the Quran and the sound Islamic traditions. He creates people for hell as well as for committing immoral acts:

"Whomsoever Allah guides, he is rightly guided, and whom He leads astray, they are the losers! We have created for Hell many Jinns and men... Do ye desire to guide him whom Allah led astray? Whom Allah leads away, you will find no way for him." S. 4:87, 90 (c.f. S. 11:118, 120)

"Those whom Allah wills to guide, He opens their breast to Islam; Those whom He wills to leave straying, - he makes their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies: thus does Allah lay abomination on those who refuse to believe." S. 6:125

"Many are the Jinns and men we have made for Hell." S. 7:179

"In truth thy Lord destroyed not the townships tyrannously while their folk were doing right. And if thy Lord had willed, He verily would have made mankind one nation, yet they cease not differing, Save him on whom thy Lord hath mercy; and for that He did create them. And the Word of thy Lord hath been fulfilled: Verily I shall fill hell with the jinn and mankind together." S. 11:117-119

"Allah leads astray whomsoever He will and guides whomsoever he will." S. 14:4

Narrated 'Imran:

I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Why should a doer (people) try to do good deeds?" The Prophet said, "Everybody will find easy to do such deeds as will lead him TO HIS DESTINED PLACE FOR WHICH HE HAS BEEN CREATED." (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 641)

Narrated 'Abdullah:

Allah's Apostle, the truthful and truly-inspired, said, "Each one of you collected in the womb of his mother for forty days, and then turns into a clot for an equal period (of forty days) and turns into a piece of flesh for a similar period (of forty days) and then Allah sends an angel and orders him to write four things, i.e., his provision, his age, and whether he will be of the wretched or the blessed (in the Hereafter). Then the soul is breathed into him. And by Allah, a person among you (or a man) may do deeds of the people of the Fire till there is only a cubit or an arm-breadth distance between him and the Fire, but then that writing (which Allah has ordered the angel to write) precedes, and he does the deeds of the people of Paradise and enters it; and a man may do the deeds of the people of Paradise till there is only a cubit or two between him and Paradise, and then that writing precedes and he does the deeds of the people of the Fire and enters it." (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 77, Number 593)

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

I did not see anything so resembling minor sins as what Abu Huraira said from the Prophet, who said, "Allah has written for the son of Adam his inevitable share of adultery whether he is aware of it or not: The adultery of the eye is the looking (at something which is sinful to look at), and the adultery of the tongue is to utter (what it is unlawful to utter), and the innerself wishes and longs for (adultery) and the private parts turn that into reality or refrain from submitting to the temptation." (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 77, Number 609)

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Adam and Moses argued with each other. Moses said to Adam. 'O Adam! You are our father who disappointed us and turned us out of Paradise.' Then Adam said to him, 'O Moses! Allah favored you with His talk (talked to you directly) and He wrote (the Torah) for you with His Own Hand. Do you blame me for action which Allah had written in my fate forty years before my creation?' So Adam confuted Moses, Adam confuted Moses," the Prophet added, repeating the Statement three times. (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 77, Number 611)

'A'isha, the mother of the believers, said that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) was called to lead the funeral prayer of a child of the Ansar. I said: Allah's Messenger, there is happiness for this child who is a bird from the birds of Paradise for it committed no sin nor has he reached the age when one can commit sin. He said: 'A'isha, per adventure, it may be otherwise, because God created for Paradise those who are fit for it while they were yet in their father's loins and created for Hell those who are to go to Hell. He created them for Hell while they were yet in their father's loins. (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6436)

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Apostle as saying:

Verily Allah has fixed the very portion of adultery which a man will indulge in, and which he of necessity must commit (or there would be no escape from it). (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6421, 6422)

Allah is completely unlike the God of the Holy Bible. In Scripture we are told that every perfect and good gift comes from God whereas every evil, immoral deed comes from the desires of man, not God:

"When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:13-17

"You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the LORD abhors." Psalm 5:4-6

"The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates." Psalm 11:5

"This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes." Ecclesiastes 7:29

"Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?" Habakkuk 1:13

Therefore, we like to pose Meherally's own question to him:

Would you knowingly and consciously encourage your own children to resort to "Falsehood" so that they may Glorify Allah before others?

Does your god seek such "False Glory" from you or your children??

Jesus claimed he was "the Truth" (Jn. 14:6); and he preached "the Truth shall make you free" (Jn. 8:32); and he also declared that the "another Advocate" that was to come after him would be "the Spirit of Truth" (Jn. 14: 16/17), under the circumstances it is most unlikely that he would personally proclaim to anyone the glad tidings of a false prophet to come after him named Ahmad whose god condones immorality and deception as part of the means by which believers are to serve and glorify him.

Meherally in his front page states:

Note: Paul was NOT a "Messenger of God". He testifies being made "a minister" (Acts 26:16 K.J.V.)

Let us look at the term minister and see what it means in Greek:

Strong's #5257 : Huperetes

Definition
1) servant

a) an underrower, subordinate rower
b) any one who serves with hands: a servant 1) in the NT of the officers and attendants of magistrates as -- of the officer who executes penalties
2) of the attendants of a king, servants, retinue, the soldiers of a king, of the attendant of a synagogue
3) of any one ministering or rendering service
c) any one who aids another in any work 1) an assistant
2) of the preacher of the gospel
(Source: Thayer's Lexicon, Blue Letter Bible)

Hence, the term may refer to a servant, one called to be a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Note how the NT uses the term:

"But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end." Matthew 26:58 KJV

Here the term refers to the High Priest's servants.

Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; Luke 1:2 KJV

Luke uses the same Greek word to refer to the eyewitnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." John 18:36 KJV

Jesus calls his followers, who at this time were the Apostles, his "servants"/"ministers".

"In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper." Acts 13:1-5

John Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark, is said to be a "minister" or "helper" of Paul and Barnabas. John Mark was also Peter's "helper"/"minister":

"She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark." 1 Peter 5:13

"Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." 1 Corinthians 4:1 KJV

We therefore see that the term is used in reference to the servants of Christ who were eyewitnesses of his majesty (cf. Lk. 1:2; Jn. 18:36). Hence, the term in question does not demonstrate the point Meherally seeks to prove, namely that Paul was just an ordinary preacher with no special qualifications.

Had Meherally read the NT he would have seen that Paul was invested with the same supernatural authority that the rest of the Apostles received in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

"I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done - by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ." Romans 15:18-19

"Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy." 1 Corinthians 7:25

"Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen the Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 9:1-2

"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 this, he himself will be ignored." 1 Corinthians 14:37-38

"I have made a full of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I m not least inferior to the 'super-apostles,' even though I am nothing. The things that mark an apostle - signs, wonders and miracles - were done among you with great perseverance." 2 Corinthians 12:11-12

"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 what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2

Interestingly, Paul had the power to perform mighty miracles and wonders, a thing that even Muhammad failed to manifest in his ministry. In fact, Paul survived a poisonous snakebite with no harm, whereas Muhammad admitted that the effects of poison caused his fatal illness and eventual death:

"Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, 'This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.' But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god. There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured." Acts 28:3-9

Compare this with Muhammad:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

A Jewess brought a poisoned (cooked) sheep for the Prophet who ate from it. She was brought to the Prophet and he was asked, "Shall we kill her?" He said, "No." I continued to see the effect of the poison on the palate of the mouth of Allah's Apostle. (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Number 786)

From Ibn Sa'd's biography, the Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir (Book of the Major Classes), Volume 2, p. 249:

Verily a Jewish woman presented poisoned (meat of) a she goat to the apostle of Allah. He took a piece form it, put it into his mouth, chewed it and threw it away. The he said to the Companions: "Halt! Verily, its leg tells me that it is poisoned." Then he sent for the Jewish woman and asked her; "What induced you to do what you have done?" She replied, "I wanted to know if you are true; in that case Allah will surely inform you, and if you are a liar I shall relieve the people of you."

And,

The apostle of Allah and his companions ate from it. It (goat) said: "I am poisoned." He [Muhammad] said to his Companions, "Hold your hands! because it has informed me that it is poisoned!" They withdrew their hands, but Bishr Ibn al-Bara expired. The apostle of Allah sent for her (Jewess) and asked her, "What induced you to do what you have done?" She replied, "I wanted to know if you are a prophet, in that case it will not harm you and if you are a king, I shall relieve the people of you. He gave orders and she was put to death.

From al-Tabari's History, Volume 8, p. 124:

The messenger of God said during the illness from which he died - the mother of Bishr had come in to visit him - "Umm Bishr, at this very moment I feel my aorta being severed because of the food I ate with your son at Khaybar."


The Apostles themselves confirm the apostolic authority given to Paul:

"Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul - men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell." Acts 15:22-29

"James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. Galatians 1:9-10

And,

"Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." 2 Peter 3:15-16

Peter addresses Paul as a "dear brother" and classifies his writings as inspired Scripture, placing them on the same level of authority as the other divinely revealed Scriptures.

Finally, the earliest Muslim sources held Paul in esteem unlike Meherally. In Alfred Guillaume's The Life of Muhammad, Oxford University Press Karachi, we find the first Muslims endorsing the legitimacy of Paul as a representative of Christ's teachings:

"God has sent me (Muhammad) 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 hung back and he said, 'He called them to a task similar to that which I have called you. Those who had to go 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 that 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 DISCIPLE) 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 and 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 Hijaz; Simon to the land of Berbers; Judah who was not one of the disciples was put in place of Judas.'" (Ibid. p. 653)

Other Muslim sources that affirm the preceding statement include:

"Among the apostles and those disciples around them, whom Jesus sent out, there were Peter and his companion Paul." (A history of the Christian Church, Thalabii Qisas al-Anbiyaa, pp. 389-390; Tabarii, Taarikh al-umam wa-l-muluuk II/II, 1560)

And,

"Among the apostles, and the followers who came after them were the Apostle Peter and Paul who was a follower and not an apostle; they went to Rome. Andrew and Matthew were sent to the country whose people are man-eaters, a land of blacks, we think; Thomas was sent to Babylonia in the east, Philip to Qayrawan (and) Carthage, that is, North Africa. John went to Ephesus, the city of the youths of the cave, and James to Jerusalem, that is, Aelia. Bartholomew was sent to Arabia, namely, the Hijaz; Simeon to the land of the Berbers in Africa. Judas was not then an apostle, so his place was taken by Ariobus. He filled in for Judas Iscariot after the latter had perpetrated his deed." (The History of al-Tabari - The Ancient Kingdoms, Vol. IV, trans. Moshe Perlmann [State University of New York Press, Albany 1987], p. 123)

The translator comments on the statement that Paul was not an apostle:

317. In Islamic terms the messengers or apostles pave the new path. Their work is continued by the tabi'un, the followers, members of the next generations, who lead the Faithful. (Ibid.)

Hence, according to Tabari Paul was a faithful promoter of the Apostles' teachings, especially the teachings of the Apostle Peter having been his traveling companion. In fact, Tabari lists Paul as one of those martyred for the faith:

"Abu Ja'far says: They assert that after Tiberius, Palestine and other parts of Syria were ruled by Gaius, son of Tiberius, for four years. He was succeeded by another son, Claudius, for fourteen years, following which Nero ruled for fourteen years. He slew Peter and crucified Paul head down. For four months Botlaius [Vittelius] ruled thereafter. Then Vespasian, father of Titus whom he sent to Jerusalem, ruled for ten years. Three years after his rise to power, forty years after the ascension of Jesus, Vespasian sent Titus to Jerusalem. Titus destroyed it and slew numerous Israelites in his wrath over the fate of Christ..." (Ibid., p. 126)

Amazingly, Bukhari even quotes Paul and attributes the saying to God!:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "ALLAH SAID, 'I have prepared for My righteous slaves (such excellent things) as no eye has ever seen, nor an ear has ever heard nor a human heart can ever think of.'" (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 589)

According to this Hadith, Muhammad purportedly claims that Allah revealed the preceding quotation to about the eternal rewards his righteous servants shall receive. Compare what Allah is supposed to have revealed to Muhammad with what Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians:

"However, as it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.'" 1 Corinthians 2:9

Paul is paraphrasing the following citation from Isaiah:

"Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him." Isaiah 64:4

Hence, according to the Hadith the one who inspired Paul's saying, which Muhammad alludes to in virtually identical language, is none other than God!

This essentially points to the fact that Akbarally is quite selective in his reading of Islamic sources. He totally disregards the earliest Islamic evidence where Paul is viewed favorably in order to slander the Apostle's credibility.

Yet, for Meherally to object to Paul's writings is to reject both Muslim authorities such as Tabari and Bukhari who either explicitly or implicitly attest to Paul's legitimacy as a representative of Christ's teachings. The only way for Meherally to avoid the significance of these early Islamic traditions is to deny the traditions completely, something he seemingly has chosen to do in light of what he has written elsewhere.

Hopefully, Meherally's slanderous attacks on the integrity of Paul, the beloved apostle of Christ, will finally be put to rest.

In the service of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Great God and Savior of Paul and of all true believers, the Risen Lord of Glory, the one and only eternally beloved Son of God. To Him be the glory, praise and honor both now and forever, Paul's Savior as well as ours. Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

Sam Shamoun


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