Responses to Bismikaallahuma

The Status of Paul in early Islam


The Bismikaallahuma team continues their attempts of undermining the authority of the Apostle Paul. MENJ has posted a reader’s response to my exposition of MENJ’s criticism of Paul.

MENJ doesn’t identify who the reader is, choosing to leave the author’s name anonymous. As such, I will refer to the author as anonymous throughout my response here. Anonymous begins:

Introduction

I was just reading the response of Mr. Sam Shamoun to the article, Paul of Tarsus: The False Apostle According to Islam. After having read it, I must say that this guy is really crazy. I do not know what he is trying to prove. Insha'allh, in the preceeding [sic] sections we will highlight the problems of his response.

RESPONSE:

Anonymous starts right off with an ad hominem, charging me of being crazy. How amusing. And yet he makes the candid admission that he doesn’t know what I am trying to prove. Even more amusing. One can only answer a question after one has understood the question. One can only refute an argument, if one has first understood the argument. After anonymous began his critique of my article with the statement that he did not understand my argument, one should wonder of what quality and relevance his response could possibly be. The lack of comprehension on the side of anonymous will be the real problem we will have to deal with here.

He begins his "problem searching":

Evaluating The Missionary Claims

Sam Shamoun says:

The sole witness to Muhammad's prophethood is Muhammad.

Well, there were thousand of Muslims who bear witness to Muhammad's Prophethood by watching his miracles, his good conduct, and his great character!

RESPONSE:

The link which our anonymous author points to (which also appears on MENJ’s site) fails to provide a single verse from the Quran to show the kind of miracles that Muhammad supposedly performed; apart from the claim that the Quran cannot be matched. It is truly amazing that the Quran does not hesitate to mention the kinds of miracles performed by Moses, Jesus and others but does not cite a single miracle performed by the alleged seal of the prophets.

The examples of the alleged miracles of Muhammad come primarily from the hadith literature. There are at least a couple of problems with appealing to the hadith literature to substantiate Muhammad’s miracles. The first problem is the late dating of the hadiths. The hadith literature does not stem from the seventh century, but date from the mid to late ninth centuries onwards. This leaves a gap of nearly two hundred years from Muhammad's death in A.D. 632 to the first collection of traditions by Imam Bukhari (d. A.D. 870). Even Ibn Ishaq's biography on Muhammad, which purportedly dates to the eighth century, only exists in edited form by Ibn Hisham from the ninth century.

As Christian author and polemicist Jay Smith noted:

… There are many compilers, but the four who are considered by many Muslims to be the most authoritative in each genre all lived and assembled their material between 750-923 A.D. (or 120-290 years after the death of Muhammad). It may be helpful to list their works, along with their dates:

  1. The Sira are accounts concerning the traditional life of the prophet (including his battles). The most comprehensive Sira was written by Ibn Ishaq (died 765 A.D.), though none of his manuscripts exist today. Consequently, we are dependent on the Sira of Ibn Hisham (died 833 A.D.), which was supposedly taken from that of Ibn Ishaq, though, by his own admission (according to the research of Patricia Crone) he omitted those areas which might have caused offense (such as anything which he felt was repugnant, poems not attested elsewhere, as well as matters which he could not accept as trustworthy) (Crone 1980:6).

  2. The Hadith are thousands of short reports or narratives (akhbar) on the sayings and deeds of the prophet which were collected by Muslims in the ninth and tenth centuries. Of the six most famous collections of Hadith, those of al-Bukhari (died 870 A.D.) are considered by many Muslims as the most authoritative.

  3. The Ta'rikh are histories or chronologies of the prophet's life, the most famous written by al-Tabari (died 923 A.D.) early in the tenth century.

  4. The Tafsir, are commentaries and exegesis on the Qur'an, its grammar and its context; the best known also written by al-Tabari (died 923 A.D.).

Smith responds to those who would argue for earlier collections of hadith material:

Obviously, the first question which we must ask is why these traditions were written so late, 150-300 years after the fact? We simply do not have any "account from the Islamic community during the [initial] 150 years or so, between the first Arab conquests [of the early seventh century] and the appearance, with the sira-maghazi narratives, of the earliest Islamic literature" [towards the late eighth century] (Wansbrough 1978:119). We should expect to find, in those intervening 150 years, at least remnants of evidence for the development of the old Arab religion towards Islam (i.e. Muslim traditions); yet we find nothing (Nevo 1994:108; Crone 1980:5-8).

There are Muslims who disagree, maintaining that there is evidence of earlier traditions, principly the Muwatta by Malik ibn Anas (born in 712 A.D. and died in 795 A.D.). Norman Calder in his book Studies in Early Muslim Jurisprudence disagrees with such an early date and questions whether works can be attributed to the authors listed. He argues that most of the texts we have from these supposedly early authors are "school texts," transmitted and developed over several generations, and achieving the form in which we know them considerably later than the putative "authors" to whom they are usually ascribed. Following the current assumption that "Shafi'i's law" (which demanded that all hadith be traced to Muhammad) did not come into effect until after 820 A.D., he concluded that because the Mudawwana does not speak of Muhammad's prophetic authority whereas the Muwatta does, the Muwatta must be the later document. Consequently, Calder positions the Muwatta not prior to 795 A.D., but sometime after the Mudawwana which was written in 854 A.D. In fact Calder places the Muwatta not even in eighth century Arabia but in eleventh century Cordoba, Spain (Calder 1993). If he is correct then we are indeed left with little evidence of any traditions from the early period of Islam.

Humphreys crystallizes this problem when he points out that, "Muslims, we would suppose, must surely have taken great care to record their spectacular achievements, while the highly literate and urbanized societies which they had subjugated could hardly avoid coming to grips with what had happened to them." (Humphreys 1991:69) Yet, according to Humphreys all we find from this early period are sources which are, "either fragmentary or represent very specific or even eccentric perspectives," completely annulling any posibility of reconstructing Islam's first century adequately (Humphreys 1991:69).

The question, therefore, must be asked as to where the eighth and ninth century compilers actually obtained their material from?

The answer is that we just don't know. "Our evidence for documentation prior to 750 A.D. consists almost entirely of rather dubious citations in later compilations." (Humphreys 1991:80) Consequently, we have no reliable proof that the traditions speak truly of the life of Muhammad, or even of the Qur'an (Schacht 1949:143-154). We are asked to believe that these documents, written hundreds of years later are accurate, though we are not presented with any evidence for their veracity, outside of Isnads, which are nothing more than lists purporting to give the names of those from whom these oral traditions were passed down. Yet even the Isnads lack any supportive documentation with which to corroborate their authenticity (Humphreys 1991:81-83)! … (Source: The Problems with the Islamic Traditions)

In light of the great time factor involved it is not hard to see how stories of Muhammad's miracles could be forged and circulated. Seeing that no eyewitnesses were present who could prevent the development of myths Muslims could say and write anything that suited their fancy. That this is quite plausible can be readily seen in light of the candid admission of Muslims that there were thousands of hadiths circulating which were deemed weak or inauthentic. Note the statements from the following Muslim web site:

  1. Collection during the 3rd Century H.: The Hadith was collected and categorized in the latter part of the third century of Hijrah resulting in six canonical collections (Al-Sihaah Al-Sittah)
    1. Sahih of Al-Bukhari, d.256 A.H [SAM- 879 A.D.]: 7275 (2712 Non-duplicated) out of 600,000.
    2. Sahih of Muslim, d.261 A.H [SAM- 884 A.D.]: 9200 (4,000 Non-duplicated) out of 300,000.
    3. Sunan of Abu Dawood, d.276 A.H. [SAM- 899 A.D.] 4,800 of 500,000.
    4. Sunan of Ibn Maajeh: d.273 A.H. [SAM- 896 A.D.]
    5. Jami' of Tirmidhi, d.279 A.H. [SAM- 902 A.D.]
    6. Sunan of al-Nisaa'i, d.303 A.H. [SAM- 926 A.H.]. (Source)

Imam Bukhari only accepted 2712 non-duplicated traditions out of a whopping 600,000!!!! Since Muslims didn’t hesitate to forge hadiths, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they would also forge hadiths regarding the alleged miracles of Muhammad.

Second, even if Muhammad had performed miracles this still wouldn’t prove his prophethood. The Holy Bible states that false prophets will come performing signs and wonders and yet they are to be rejected on the basis that their message does not conform to the teachings of God’s true prophets and apostles. Cf. Deuteronomy 13:1-6; Matthew 24:23-24; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 1 Timothy 4:1-2.

Muhammad’s message contradicts the teachings of the true spokespersons of God and is therefore to be rejected as a false prophet.

ANONYMOUS:

It never ceases to amaze me how Muslims will even malign their own sources in order to avoid the inevitable. Ibn Ishq is the oldest biography on the life of Muhammad, even predating the hadth collection of Sahih Al-Bukhari.

Sam Shamoun's argument is based on Ibn Ishq's work. He can go nowhere if we leave Ibn Ishq's biography on the side. Let me clarify that Ibn Ishq's biography is not among the sources of Islam. ...

RESPONSE:

Anonymous thinks that I can go nowhere if Ibn Ishaq’s source is set aside. But this only exposes his wishful thinking, i.e. he wishes and hopes that he can convince the readers that setting aside Ibn Ishaq will leave me with no support whatsoever. As anyone reading my article could clearly see I wasn’t dependent on Ibn Ishaq alone, but on other sources such as al-Tabari and Ibn Kathir. Al-Tabari is considered one of Islam’s premiere historians, while Ibn Kathir is recognized as one of the great Quranic commentators. More on this below.

Second, it is simply an unsubstantiated assertion that Ibn Ishaq is not among the sources of Islam seeing that it is essentially a Muslim work intended for a Muslim audience! If it wasn’t one of Islam’s sources then one wonders why was it preserved at all? Why did Ibn Hisham go through the trouble of editing it if he and other Muslims didn’t consider it essential for a more thorough understanding on the life of Muhammad? Why not simply reject it altogether?

One also wonders why was Ibn Ishaq’s work used as one of the foundational sources for what many consider to be one of the best, if not the best, English biography of Muhammad’s life? We are referring to Martin Ling’s Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources.

In fact, the following Muslim website uses Ibn Ishaq’s work as a basis to argue for the early transmission of hadiths and their subsequent preservation by the biographer!!!

Early Hadith collections

3. The lost folios of Aban ibn `Uthman (d. 105) the son of `Uthman ibn `Affan (d. 35), from whom Muhammad ibn Ishaq (80-150/152) narrated;

5. Muhammad ibn Shihab al-Zuhri's (d. 120) Sira, from which Ibn Ishaq also borrowed much;

6. `Asim ibn `Umar ibn Qatada ibn al-Nu`man al-Ansari's (d. 120 or 129) Maghazi and Manaqib al-Sahaba, another principal thiqa source for Ibn Ishaq and others;

7. `Abd Allah ibn Abi Bakr ibn Muhammad ibn `Amr ibn Hazm al-Ansari's (d. 135) tome, another main source for Ibn Ishaq Ibn Sa`d, and others; (http://www.abc.se/~m9783/n/vih_e.html; underline emphasis ours)

If anything, Ibn Ishaq is more thorough and advantageous for the Muslim than the hadith literature since he tried to follow an alleged chronological structure which the hadiths do not.

The next Muslim argues that Ibn Hisham’s editing of Ibn Ishaq’s work has made it one of the best and most authentic sources available:

Muhammad Ibn Ishaq (d. 768) relates the first biographie [sic] Sira known of the Prophet (PBUH), much of which was incorporated by Ibn Hisham (d.833) in whose work can also be found much on the creation of the [sic] of the world, Biblical prophets, and the advent of Islam. He corrects hadiths, and also rids his accounts of legends and poetry that are not on the reliable side. The actions and deeds of the Prophet (PBUH) are scrupulously noted, and his battles described in great detail. Ibn Hisham’s Sirat Muhammad rasul Allah is considered by Dunlap one of the best existing authorities on the life of the Prophet (PBUH). (Source)

It needs to be stated that Ibn Hisham omitted the reference to the tradition of Jesus sending out the Apostles, which Guillaume reinserted based on al-Tabari, who reported it on the authority of Ibn Ishaq. Yet not everyone believes that Ibn Hisham’s editing was as innocent as the previous author makes it sound. It is quite clear that Ibn Hisham edited the work in order to make it more palatable and tolerable, insuring that it fell in line with his preconceived views of Muhammad and Islam, which were not necessarily authentic. Speaking of Ibn Hisham’s omission of the story of the Satanic verses from Ibn Ishaq’s work, noted Christian Apologist John Gilchrist writes:

The arguments for and against the original inclusion of the story are all based on secondary sources - Tabari, Ibn Hisham, Abu Habban - but Tabari is an author of considerable prominence and a compelling one for the claim that it was indeed a part of Ibn Ishaq's work. The record of his reliance on Ibn Ishaq for the narrative suggests that Ibn Hisham may well have expunged it from the original text and prompts one writer to say:

This suggestion is strengthened by the fact that Ibn Hisham's edition contains no unfavourable stories about Muhammad, and yet in his introduction he openly complained of "scurrilous attacks on the prophet" (Guillaume, introduction to Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasulullah, p.xxxi) in the original work.

There are many evidences in other works, which quote from the Sirat, that Ibn Hisham's edition is incomplete and the story of the "satanic verses" was almost certainly one of those expunged from the text by him. Recently a Muslim publishing house in India has reprinted Hughes' great work, A Dictionary of Islam, and has introduced the reprint with these words in a "Publisher's Note":

This statement seems to sum up perfectly the similar action taken by Ibn Hisham against the original text of Ibn Ishaq's work. Not long ago new evidence came to light strengthening considerably the claim that the story of Muhammad's lapse was part of Ibn Ishaq's original work. (Gilchrist, "Satan’s Interjections and its Implications", Muhammad and the Religion of Islam, pp. 123-124)

Anonymous may wish to argue from this that Ibn Hisham’s omission proves his contention that Paul was not accepted by the earliest Muslims. A couple of responses are in order. First, anonymous cannot simply assert that Ibn Hisham omitted this reference due to the mention of Paul, since he needs to first show that Ibn Hisham disbelieved in Paul’s legitimacy. Besides, Ibn Hisham could have simply omitted the reference to Paul while keeping the rest of the reference intact. It seems more plausible that Ibn Hisham omitted the reference perhaps due to the assumption that Muhammad was the only supposed universal messenger. As a result of this, he may have then reasoned to himself that it couldn’t have been possible for Jesus to send out his disciples throughout the whole world.

Second, as we had just stated, al-Tabari cited this very tradition on the authority of Ibn Ishaq, which means that both Ibn Ishaq and al-Tabari had no problem with Paul being a true representative of Christ.

Third, even if anonymous could show that Ibn Hisham omitted the citation due to his disbelief in Paul's legitimacy, this would only show that this specific Muslim didn't believe in the beloved Apostle. It would do nothing to refute my position that the earliest Muslims such as Ibn Ishaq viewed Paul positively.

In light of the foregoing, the only reason why we are even citing these sources is to show that the author’s claim that Ibn Ishaq is not one of the sources of Islam is simply without any merit. As I said, it never ceases to amaze me how Muslims will even malign their own sources in order to avoid the inevitable.

{ IMPORTANT NOTE: It has been brought to our attention that Ibn Hisham does actually include this reference to Paul. The following quotation is the Arabic text of Ibn Hisham for those who are able to read it:

[ رواية ابن حبيب عن بعث الرسول رسله ]

قال ابن إسحاق : حدثني يزيد بن أبي حبيب المصري : أنه وجد كتابا فيه ذكر من بعث رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إلى البلدان وملوك العرب والعجم ، وما قال لأصحابه حين بعثهم . قال فبعثت به إلى محمد بن شهاب الزهري فعرفه وفيه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم خرج على أصحابه فقال لهم إن الله بعثني رحمة وكافة فأدوا عني يرحمكم الله ولا تختلفوا علي كما اختلف الحواريون على عيسى بن مريم ; قالوا : وكيف يا رسول الله كان اختلافهم ؟ قال دعاهم لمثل ما دعوتكم له فأما من قرب به فأحب وسلم وأما من بعد به فكره وأبى ، فشكا ذلك عيسى منهم إلى الله فأصبحوا وكل رجل منهم يتكلم بلغة القوم الذين وجه إليهم .

(Source: http://sirah.al-islam.com/Display.asp?f=hes2712)

We had based our assumption that Ibn Hisham did not include the story about Paul on Guillaume’s translation:

"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." (Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad [Oxford University Press Karachi], p. 653; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The T. stands for Tabari and is meant to indicate to the reader that the information cited within the parenthesis is not found in Ibn Hisham. It is found in al-Tabari’s work that he received from Ibn Ishaq. For some reason we had assumed that the quote about Paul was also taken from Tabari, even though it was not included within the parenthesis.

Hence, Ibn Hisham’s inclusion of this quote provides additional support for our case. Ibn Hisham was quick to omit any material he found derogatory or contrary to his views and yet the quote on Paul was left intact. This demonstrates that Ibn Hisham saw no problem in affirming the legitimacy of Paul as a bonafide representative of Christ. }

Anonymous proceeds to quote the Quran to demonstrate that the Quran and the hadith are the official sources of Islam. Yet none of the verses cited prove anonymous’ false assertion that a Muslim is required to follow Muhammad’s hadith. In fact a careful examination of the verses in question, as well as the over all context of the Quran proves otherwise. Let me illustrate:

... Sources of Islam are the Qur'n and Hadîth. As Allh clearly says in numerous places in Glorious Qur'n:

"And We have also sent down unto you (O Muhammad) the Dhikr [reminder and the advice (i.e. the Qur'n)], that you may explain clearly to men what is sent down to them, and that they may give thought." (Qur'n, 16:44)

The hadîth of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allh be upon him) is a revelation (wahy) from his Lord. Allh says

"Your companion (Muhammad) has neither gone astray nor has erred. Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is only a Revelation revealed." (Qur'n, 53:2-4)

RESPONSE:

Neither one of these passages prove anonymous’ contention that one must follow the hadith. Surah 53 simply claims that the Quran is a revelation given to Muhammad. And here is the context of 16:44 to make this point clearer:

And We did not send before you any but men to whom We sent revelation -- so ask the followers of the Reminder (Dhikri) if you do not know – S. 16:43 Shakir

The Reminder here obviously refers to the previous scriptures as the following passage demonstrates:

But if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to you, ask those who read the Book before you; certainly the truth has come to you from your Lord, therefore you should not be of the disputers. S. 10:94 Shakir

Hence, if 16:44 proves that Muhammad’s hadith must be followed then this would also imply that all the other prophets had hadiths which need to be followed.

Now the author may have not intended to use these specific passages to show that the hadiths are necessary since he seems to be aware that these passages, or at least 16:44, refer to the Quran. But he continues:

He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad(P)), has indeed obeyed Allh!

"And whosoever obeys Allh and His Messenger, he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and will be admitted to Paradise)." (Qur'n, 33:71)

"And obey Allh and the Messenger (Muhammad) that you may obtain mercy." (Qur'n, 3:132)

"And whosoever disobeys Allh and His Messenger (Muhammad), and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein; and he shall have a disgraceful torment." (Qur'n, 4:14)

"It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allh and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allh and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed into a plain error." (Qur'n, 33:36)

Say (O Muhammad to mankind): "If you (really) love Allh, then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur'n and the Sunnah), Allh will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Qur'n, 3:31)

RESPONSE:

The Quran also mentions that people were required to obey any Messenger or Prophet which was sent to them:

And (I come) [Jesus] confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah and obey me. S. 3:50 Pickthall

And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering thee and causing thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me ye will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ. S. 3:55 Pickthall

We sent no messenger save that he should be obeyed by Allah's leave. And if, when they had wronged themselves, they had but come unto thee and asked forgiveness of Allah, and asked forgiveness of the messenger, they would have found Allah Forgiving, Merciful. S. 4:64 Pickthall

And warn mankind of a day when the doom will come upon them, and those who did wrong will say: Our Lord! Reprieve us for a little while. We will obey Thy call and will follow the messengers. (It will be answered): Did ye not swear before that there would be no end for you? S. 14:44

In light of the foregoing, the command to obey Muhammad no more proves that a Muslim is required to follow his hadiths then the preceding statements prove that people were required to follow the hadiths of the other prophets as well. These statements simply show that a person was/is required to obey the revelation that God gave the messengers and prophets, i.e. the scriptures and laws which they passed on. For instance, to obey Jesus was to obey the Gospel given to him by revelation. The Quran says absolutely nothing about a person following Jesus’ hadiths apart from the Gospel which he received.

Anonymous concludes from this:

It is very clear from the above verses of Glorious Qur'n that the sources of Islam are two:

1. Speech of God, i.e. the Qur'n.
2. Saying and Practices of the Prophet(P), i.e. Sunnah and Hadth.

Let us now analyze the status of Paul in Islam, using the above-stated two sources of Islam.

RESPONSE:

I would like to further correct the author’s unqualified statement regarding the hadith being a source for Islam. As we saw, none of the verses cited lead to anonymous’ conclusion that one is required to follow the hadiths. In fact, there are clearer references which say that the only hadith one must follow is the Quran:

Have they not looked at the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all the things GOD has created? Does it ever occur to them that the end of their life may be near? Which Hadith, BESIDE THIS, do they believe in? 7:185 Khalifa

These are GOD's revelations that we recite to you truthfully. In which Hadith other than GOD and His revelations do they believe? S. 45:6 Khalifa

The obvious answer is that a Muslim will turn to no other hadith besides the Quran.

In their history, there is a lesson for those who possess intelligence. This is not fabricated Hadith; this (Quran) confirms all previous scriptures, provides the details of everything, and is a beacon and mercy for those who believe. S. 12:111 Khalifa

Note the claim of this verse that the Quran provides the details of everything, excluding the need for any other hadith besides it.

GOD has revealed herein the best Hadith; a BOOK that is consistent, and points out both ways (to Heaven and Hell). The skins of those who reverence their Lord cringe therefrom, then their skins and their hearts soften up for GOD's message. Such is GOD's guidance; He bestows it upon whoever wills (to be guided). As for those sent astray by GOD, nothing can guide them. S. 39:23 Khalifa

Let them produce a Hadith like this, if they are truthful. S. 52:34

The Quran is a hadith which cannot be duplicated. The Quran also mentions the Sunnah of Allah and its unchangeableness, but fails to mention the Sunnah of Muhammad. Cf. 17:77; 33:38, 62; 35:43; 48:23.

And yet anonymous and other Sunni Muslims believe that the hadith collections, which are based on the narrations of uninspired men who used their own words, are equal to the so-called revealed Quran.

Furthermore, although it is correct to say that for most Sunni Muslims the hadiths are considered one of the main sources of Islam, not all professing Muslims agree with this position. Nor do all Muslims who hold to the primacy of the hadiths believe in the hadith collections of the Sunni Muslims. For instance, there are Muslims who follow the Quran alone, and even use the passages which we just cited to prove that the only hadiths and Sunnah that are required is the Quran:

http://www.submission.org/hadith/

Lest the author labels these Muslims "Submitters" as a way of denigrating them as nothing more than heretics, here are links by those who deny their affiliation with these "Submitters" but who nonetheless hold to the Quran alone:

http://www.the-quran.org/
http://www.geocities.com/mquran/
http://www.free-minds.org/

You can find a whole host of like-minded links here:

http://www.free-minds.org/links.htm

The Shiite Muslims have their own collection of hadiths and reject the Sunni collection. After citing some Sunni hadiths, the following Shiite site writes:

There is NO requirement in Islam to believe in Sahih Bukhari, Muslim etc. As the Minhajj have taken offence to the comments let is look at some of these hadith, and then we leave it to those with open minds to conclude whether these are true words / deeds or folk tales, we present seven hadith for our readers perusal …

We the Shi’a refuse to accept such filthy traditions, by doing so does that make us kaafir. As far as we are concerned protecting the integrity of the Prophet (S) if far more important than protecting the integrity of Sahih al Bukhari! Hence yes we do regard these as tales we believe that:

  1. It is utterly untrue that the Holy Prophet (s) visited all his wives (i.e. eleven) in just one night.
  2. It is also untrue that Holy Prophet (s) had the desire of fondling his (s) wives during menses
  3. It is also untrue that The Holy Prophet (s) desired to have sexual intercourse with Hadhrath Safiya on the day of sacrifice.
  4. It is also untrue that The Holy Prophet (s) recited The Holy Quran in the Laps of any wife during her menses.

The above traditions are derogatory to the piety & holiness of The Holy Prophet (s). When a Non-Muslim commits blasphemy by quoting these narrations our necks bow down with humiliation & embarrassment. And this Minhajj are trying to call us kaafirs because we reject these books! On the Day of Judgement at least the Shi’a will say we protected the perfection of the infallible Prophet, whilst groups such as Minjajj dedicated their lives to degrading the Prophet (s) with the above filthy traditions! (Source)

This should sufficiently put to rest anonymous’ erroneous claim that HIS SUNNI hadiths are one of the essential sources of Islam.

With that said, we will still play along with anonymous’ evasion tactics and show that even his appeal to the Quran and hadiths fails to substantiate his case against Paul:

The Qur'n

1. Qur'n mentions the names of 25 Prophets. They are: Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Hud, Saleh, Lot, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Ilyasa', Jonah, Zechariah, John the Baptist, Jesus and Muhammad. As we can see clearly, Paul is not among the above-mentioned prophets.

2. Allh says clearly in Glorious Qur'n:

"And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allh (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad." But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, "This is evident sorcery!" (Qur'n, 61:06)

Here we clearly see Jesus(P) is saying that Muhammad(P) is the Prophet after him. If Paul is a Prophet recognized in Islam, wouldn't he be mentioned above?

RESPONSE:

First, we need to correct anonymous’ straw man. We never said that Paul is a prophet recognized in Islam, but rather that the first Muslims recognized Paul as a true representative of the teachings of Christ and a follower of the Apostles.

Second, does anonymous want to argue that since there are only 25 prophets mentioned explicitly by name this means that any prophet or messenger not mentioned must therefore be rejected? If so, then anonymous seems to be trying to pull a fast one since he must be aware that the Quran clearly says that there are many other apostles/messengers who are not mentioned by name:

Of some apostles We have already told thee the story; of others We have not;- and to Moses God spoke direct;- S. 4:164 Y. Ali

In light of the foregoing, and from a purely Quranic perspective, it is quite conceivable that Paul was one of these other unnamed apostles.

Nor does anonymous’ appeal to S. 61:6 establish his claim that Muhammad is the only messenger after Jesus, anymore than the following passages imply that Muhammad was the only messenger after Moses:

Do they say, ‘He has forged it?’ Say, ‘Then bring ten Surahs like it forged, and call on whom you can apart from ALLAH, if you are truthful.’ And if they do not accept your challenge, then know that it has been revealed comprising that which is only within ALLAH's knowledge and there is no god but HE. Will you then submit. Whoso desires the present life and its adornment, WE will fully repay them for their works in this life and they shall not be wronged therein. Those are they who shall have nothing in the Hereafter save the Fire, and that which they wrought in this life shall come to naught, and vain shall be that which they used to do. Can he, then, who stands upon a clear proof from his Lord, and to testify to whose truth a witness from HIM shall follow him, and who was preceded by the Book of Moses, a guide and a mercy, be an impostor? Those who are the true followers of Moses believe therein, and whoever of the opposing parties disbelieve in it, the Fire shall be his promised place. So be not thou, O reader, in doubt about it. Surely, it is the truth from thy Lord; but most men believe not. S. 11:13-17 Sher Ali

The Revelation of the Book is from God the Exalted in Power, Full of Wisdom. ... When Our Clear Signs are rehearsed to them, the Unbelievers say, of the Truth when it comes to them: "This is evident sorcery!" Or do they say, "He has forged it"? Say: "Had I forged it, then can ye obtain no single (blessing) for me from God. He knows best of that whereof ye talk (so glibly)! Enough is He for a witness between me and you! And he is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." Say: "I am no bringer of new-fangled doctrine among the apostles, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I follow but that which is revealed to me by inspiration; I am but a Warner open and clear." Say: "See ye? If (this teaching) be from God, and ye reject it, and a witness from among the Children of Israel testifies to its similarity (with earlier scripture), and has believed while ye are arrogant, (how unjust ye are!) truly, God guides not a people unjust." The Unbelievers say of those who believe: "If (this Message) were a good thing, (such men) would not have gone to it first, before us!" And seeing that they guide not themselves thereby, they will say, "this is an (old,) falsehood!" And BEFORE THIS, was the Book of Moses as a guide and a mercy: And this Book confirms (it) in the Arabic tongue; to admonish the unjust, and as Glad Tidings to those who do right. S. 46:2, 7-12 Y. Ali

Behold, We turned towards thee a company of Jinns (quietly) listening to the Qur'an: when they stood in the presence thereof, they said, "Listen in silence!" When the (reading) was finished, they returned to their people, to warn (them of their sins). They said, "O our people! We have heard a Book revealed after Moses, confirming what came before it: it guides (men) to the Truth and to a Straight Path." S. 46:29-30 Y. Ali

The preceding passages imply that the Book sent immediately before the Quran was the one given to Moses. Would anonymous argue that this means God didn’t send any apostles beside Moses and Muhammad, and that there was no other Book sent besides the ones given to these men? If not, then anonymous’ appeal to Jesus’ supposed claim that a messenger coming after him implies that no messengers would be sent until Muhammad is simply erroneous to say the least.

This leads us to our third point. The Quran mentions that Jesus had followers who were supposed submitted ones:

And when I inspired the disciples, (saying): Believe in Me and in My messenger, they said: We believe. Bear witness that we have surrendered (unto Thee) "we are muslims". When the disciples said: O Jesus, son of Mary! Is thy Lord able to send down for us a table spread with food from heaven? He said: Observe your duty to Allah, if ye are true believers. (They said:) We wish to eat thereof, that we may satisfy our hearts and know that thou hast spoken truth to us, and that thereof we may be witnesses. Jesus, son of Mary, said: O Allah, Lord of us! Send down for us a table spread with food from heaven, that it may be a feast for us, for the first of us and for the last of us, and a sign from Thee. Give us sustenance, for Thou art the Best of Sustainers. Allah said: Lo! I send it down for you. And whoso disbelieveth of you afterward, him surely will I punish with a punishment wherewith I have not punished any of (My) creatures. S. 5:111-115

The Quran says that Christ’s followers prevailed against the unbelievers:

O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of Allah: as said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the Disciples, "We are Allah's helpers!" then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved: But We gave power to those who believed against their enemies, AND THEY BECAME THE ONES THAT PREVAILED. S. 61:14 cf. 3:55

Now the questions for anonymous are, can he show us from the Quran what were the names of these disciples of Jesus and how many were they? The obvious answer is NO! Hence, to use the Quran to disprove Paul is nothing more than a smokescreen since this method would disprove Peter, John, and James etc. from being true disciples as well. Anonymous, if he were being consistent, must also reject Abu Bakr, Aisha, Umar b. Khattab, Uthman b. Affan, Ali b. Abu Thalib, Ibn Abbas etc. since none of their names appear in the Quran as well.

Anonymous then tries to bring up the crucifixion in order to support his contention:

3. Allh also says:

"That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allh" - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not." (Qur'n, 4:157)

But Paul says:

"If Christ be not risen from the dead, then our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain." (1 Corinthians 15:14)

So how can Muslims consider Paul as a prophet of God, when it is clear he gives so much stress on the crucifixion of Jesus(P) and Islam is clearly against the crucifixion?

RESPONSE:

We have already demonstrated why appealing to S. 4:157 does nothing to refute our position, albeit in relation to the Quran’s view of the Holy Bible. Nonetheless, it equally applies here:

http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/preserved-crucifixion.htm

More importantly, ALL of Jesus’ true followers affirmed the crucifixion of Christ, as the following passages from Peter show:

"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him… Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear… Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts 2:22-24, 29-33, 36

"The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 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 3:13-16

"You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached-how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen - by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 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 10:36-43

"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." 1 Peter 1:18-19

"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:21-24

"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison… It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand-with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him." 1 Peter 3:18-20, 21b-22

There is no example of an apostle denying Christ’s crucifixion. Now anonymous may wish to appeal to the literature of some dissenting Christian groups to argue otherwise, but he won’t get far. The only literature we are aware of that deny the crucifixion of Christ was written by individuals who did not believe in the real humanity of Jesus, or who assumed that there was a divine Christ that left the physical body of Jesus right at the time of the crucifixion. We seriously doubt that anonymous would consider such individuals as true followers of Jesus.

Therefore, if Surah 4:157 is a reason to reject Paul, then anonymous must reject the rest of Christ’s true followers. Yet to reject them is to reject the Quranic teaching regarding Jesus’ followers being true believers who prevailed against the unbelievers. We will leave it to anonymous to solve this problem.

Anonymous dares to say:

Sunnah and Hadth

Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Al-Muslim are two most authentic books followed by four other hadth books. Not a single of them contains the name of Paul!

As I had said above, Islam = Qur'n + Sunnah. If neither the word of God or the sayings of Prophet(P) ever mentioned the name of Paul, what does it prove? It proves that Paul has no status in Islam. Early Muslims strictly followed Qur'n and Hadth of Prophet(P). If both of them do no mention them, why did the early Muslims not believe that Paul is Messenger of God?

RESPONSE:

The problem with the above claims is that these same books DO NOT MENTION A SINGLE APOSTLE OF CHRIST BY NAME EITHER!!!! Using the author’s logic this means that Muslims must reject Peter, James, John, Thomas etc. solely because their names are not mentioned!!!

As we said above, it is only an assertion (not accepted by all) that Islam = Qur'n + Sunnah. And seeing that neither the Quran (which the author erroneously assumes is the word of God) nor the hadith collections ever mention the names of the rest of Christ’s followers, we can see that anonymous has failed to prove that Paul has no status in Islam. And in light of the fact that early Muslims such as Ibn Ishaq, al-Tabari, al-Thalabi and Ibn Kathir refer positively to Paul, our readers should be able to discern by now how weak anonymous’ case truly is thus far.

Anonymous proceeds to quote the hadiths which say that there were no prophets between Muhammad and Jesus. He boldly says that this is universally accepted. Again, a couple of comments are in order. First, as we had already mentioned, this simply shows that there is a contradiction within the Muslim sources. Anonymous has chosen to reject one source for another, obviously due to his presupposition that Paul wasn’t a true Apostle. But since he justifies his position by questioning Ibn Ishaq, here are the comments of ar-Razi on 3:53 in connection to Jesus’ disciples, ON THE AUTHORITY OF IBN ABBAS NO LESS:

Razi relates on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that the witnesses in question are Muhammad and his community. Razi substantiates this view by citing verse 2:143. He then presents a number of possible interpretations of the verse:

I. The verse, also on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas, means "Inscribe us in the company of the prophets because every prophet shall be a witness over his people [on the last day], as God says, ‘We shall question those whom [messengers] were sent and We shall question the messengers’ (Q. 7:6). God answered the prayers of the disciples AND MADE THEM PROPHETS AND MESSENGERS, for they revived the dead and did all the things which Jesus was able to do." (Ayoub, The Qur'an and Its Interpreters, Volume II, The House of 'Imran [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1992], p. 163; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Ar-Razi, on the authority of Ibn Abbas, affirms that Jesus’ disciples were prophets and messengers. Ar-Razi wasn’t alone. We again present the comments of Ibn Kathir:

<so We reinforced them with a third> means, ‘We supported and strengthened them with a third Messenger.’ Ibn Jurayj narrated from Wahb bin Sulayman, from Shu’ayb Al-Jaba’i, "The names of the first two Messengers were Sham’un and Yuhanna, and the name of the third was Bulus, and the city was Antioch ...

<Verily, we have been sent to you as Messengers.>
meaning, ‘from your Lord Who created you and Who commands you to worship Him Alone with no partners or associates.’ This was the view of Abu Al-‘Aliyah. Qatadah bin Di‘amah claimed THAT THEY WERE MESSENGERS OF THE MESSIAH, peace be upon him, sent to the people of Antioch. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 8, Surat Al-Ahzab, Verse 51 to the end of Surat Ad-Dukhan, abridged under a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors Riyadh, Houston, New York, London, Lahore; First Edition, September 2000], p. 179; bold and capital emphasis ours)

And:

We have already referred to the reports from MANY OF THE SALAF that this city was Antioch, and that these three Messengers were messengers sent from the Messiah Isa bin Maryam, peace be upon him, as Qatadah and others stated. This is not mentioned by any of the later scholars of Tafsir besides him, and this issue must be examined from a number of angles… (Ibid., p. 189; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Do recall that we said that Sham’un refers to Simon Peter, Yuhanna to the apostle John, and Bulus is Arabic for Paul. Ibn Kathir claims that not only did some of the Salaf view Jesus’ disciples as Messengers, BUT ALSO LISTED PAUL AS ONE OF THESE MESSENGERS SENT BY GOD!!!

Perhaps anonymous will also call into question ar-Razi and Ibn Kathir, who were simply narrating the opinions of the Salaf.

Second, even if we were to accept Muhammad’s alleged claim that there were no prophets between Christ and him, this still doesn’t prove anonymous’ point. One can argue that from the Muslim perspective Paul wasn’t a Prophet but only a follower of Christ like the other disciples, and hence a true spokesperson of Jesus. This way both positions can be maintained, without one having to nullify the other. We find Ibn Sa’d saying essentially the same thing:

He (Ibn Sa'd) said ... There was a span of one thousand nine hundred years between Musa Ibn 'Imran and 'Isa Ibn Maryam and there was no fatarah [Sam- an interval of time between two apostles or prophets]; one thousand Apostles were raised from among the Israelites besides those raised among other nations. There was a span of five hundred and sixty nine years between Christ's nativity and the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. In the beginning of the period THREE APOSTLES WERE RAISED AND CONCERNING THIS ALLAH SAYS: "We sent to them two Prophets whom they disbelieved and we honoured them with the third." The one by whom they were honoured was SIMON who was a hawari (Apostle of Christ). The Fatarah was of four hundred and thirty-four years, when no prophet was raised. Christ's apostles were twelve in number although many people followed him. Among these apostles were a washerman and a hunter: they worked with their own hands and they were chosen persons. (Ibn Sa'd, Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, Volume I, parts I & II, English translation by S. Moinul Haq, M.A., PH.D assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A. [Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daryaganj, New Delhi - 110 002 India], p. 46; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Ibn Sa’d could accept the position that Jesus’ disciples functioned as messengers of God as well as believing that there were no prophets between Jesus and Muhammad. He obviously considered Jesus’ disciples as essentially being one with Christ in his respective office as prophet/messenger, i.e. that their prophetic abilities was an extension of Christ’s prophetic office, not as separate prophets and messengers of God. In this way, it could be said that there were no prophets between Jesus and Muhammad.

Anonymous wrote:

Deception In The Missionary Methods

The missionary writes

Since Muhammad believed that Jesus was alive during his time, it is little wonder that the former believed that there were no prophets and messengers between them since all the apostles and prophets were long dead leaving only Christ.

This man is very clever in trying to confuse people who do not know what Muslims truly believe. We Muslims believe that Jesus(P) is alive and will come before Day of Judgment. Does that mean Muhammad is not Last Prophet since Jesus(P) is alive and will come after him. Jesus(P) was given Prophethood before Prophet Muhammad(P). So, he is a Prophet before Muhammad(P).

RESPONSE:

Deception In WHOSE Methods? Anonymous is very clever in thinking that he can get away with trying to twist what I actually said in order to attack a straw man. My comment was made in connection with Salman the Persian meeting Jesus HERE ON EARTH. My comment had nothing to do with the Muslim belief that Jesus is alive in heaven. I stated that one can see why Muhammad could say that there were no prophets between Christ and himself, SINCE MUHAMMAD ERRONEOUSLY BELIEVED THAT CHRIST WAS SUPPOSEDLY STILL ROAMING THE EARTH CENTURIES AFTER THE DEATH OF HIS DISCIPLES.

Next, anonymous repeats his claim that Islam is based (or so he thinks) on the Quran and Sunnah and that Ibn Ishaq is a non-source of Islam (whatever that means), which we already refuted. So we won’t bother with it except for the following portion:

... We all know that Christians accept Paul as an apostle, that is something which even missionary Sam would not deny. Now, if Ibn Ishq as a historian wrote in his book a historical fact that Paul is accepted as an apostle and followers of Christ by Christian world, does that prove Islam believes Paul is a prophet of God? Of course not! Islam is not based on false ideas spread in History. It is based on Qur'n and Sunnah. If the Qur'n and Sunnah do not consider Paul as a Prophet, as has been mentioned above, then it is clear that Paul has no status in Islam ...

RESPONSE:

Anonymous really thinks that he can get away with such misrepresentations. He seems to think that the readers who have read our response are stupid enough to not see his smokescreen here. Ibn Ishaq wasn’t simply narrating history, but also the theological views of Muslims. In light of this, why would Ibn Ishaq mention an alleged false Apostle of Christ AND NOT SAY A WORD ABOUT IT? It is obvious why he didn’t say anything in regards to Paul’s alleged heresies; neither Ibn Ishaq nor the Muslims that he cited believed that Paul was a heretic!!!

Anonymous proceeds:

Ibn Ishq's statement indicates that Paul is follower of Christ suggesting that he is amongst the Ummh of Prophet Jesus(P). Being in the Ummh of Prophet Jesus does not mean that he is righteous servant of God. Missionary Sam is also among ummh of Prophet(P), but he would not enter Paradise unless he does Taub, and sincerely believe and follow the message of our forefather Abraham(P).

Jesus(P) prayed to Almighty God in Qur'n:

"Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, though I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.

"Never said I to them aught except what Thou didst command me to say, to wit, 'Worship Allh, my Lord and your Lord'; and I was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them; when Thou didst take me up Thou wast the watcher over them, and Thou art a witness to all things.

"If Thou dost punish them, they are Thy servants: if Thou dost forgive them, Thou are the Exalted in power, the Wise."

Allh will say:

"This is a day on which the truthful will profit from their truth: theirs are Gardens, with rivers flowing beneath- their eternal home: Allh well-pleased with them, and they with Allh: that is the great Salvation, (the fulfillment of all desires).

To Allh doth belong the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, and it is He who hath power over all things."

RESPONSE:

As a side note, Allah also prays:

He it is who sends PRAYERS on you (Arabic- yusallii alaykum), as do His angels ... S. 33:43

Allah and His angels PRAY for the Prophet (Arabic- yasalluuna alan-Nabiyy): O ye that believe PRAY for him (salluu `alayhi), and salute him with all respect. S. 33:56

For more on this issue, please read the following: http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/divinity2.htm

Anonymous continues:

The above verses clearly says that some in the ummh of Jesus(P) will suffer in Hell and Christ will regret it. In fact, Jesus(P) is reported to have been said in Bible:

"Many will say to me (Jesus) on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:22-23)

Jesus(P) will not recognize members of his own Ummh! Therefore, even if Ibn Ishq agrees that Paul is part of the ummh (followers) of Christ, that does not mean he is a good person. Missionary Sam elevated him to apostle, although Ibn Ishq never says he is apostle of Islam.

RESPONSE:

We do agree that from a Muslim perspective many from the "ummah" of Jesus will suffer in Hell. Yet the biblical passage cited by anonymous not only shows that there will be some Christians who will not be recognized by Jesus, but that Jesus will condemn all Muslims to hell as well. Let us first look at the context to see whom exactly will Jesus be addressing:

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you lawless ones (anomian)!’ Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.’" Matthew 7:15-27

Jesus was referring to false Christian prophets who did not put Christ’s teachings into practice. The Greek word anomian implies those who reject the law, individuals who didn’t follow God’s commands. Paul himself warns against such so-called Christians:

"For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified." Acts 20:27-32

That Paul wasn’t one of these false Christians is clear from the fact that he obeyed Christ’s law, unlike the false prophets:

"To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law." 1 Corinthians 9:21

The same Gospel identifies Jesus as God’s beloved Son and the Lord of all:

"The Son of Man will send out HIS angels, and they will weed out of HIS kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear." Matthew 13:41-43

"For the Son of Man is going to come in HIS Father's glory with HIS angels, and then HE will reward each person according to what he has done." Matthew 16:27

"After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters-one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’ Matthew 17:1-5

"Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him." Matthew 21:37-39

"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And HE will send HIS angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather HIS elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." Matthew 24:30-31

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on HIS THRONE in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by MY FATHER; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world' ... Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'" Matthew 25:31-34, 41

Since Muslims reject Jesus as the Son of God, the Sovereign Lord and Judge of all, they too will be rejected on the day the Lord Jesus returns to judge both the living and the dead.

My Answer to Anonymous’ One Question:

Sam claims that there are many messengers after Jesus(P). I have one question then: who is the last prophet in Christianity? According to this missionary website, Jesus(P) is the Last Messenger of God. And the link of this website is given in Answering-Islam's team section on Muhammad(P). So we see a clear-cut contradiction here!

Then he continues with the nonsense that beside Paul, there are many "messengers" in Christianity. Once again, this is irrelevant to the topic as all so-called "prophets" between Jesus(P) and Muhammad(P) are false according to Islam. Also, there is no Prophet after him(P).

RESPONSE:

To answer the question, the last prophets will be the two spoken of in Revelation 11:

"And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on." Revelation 11:3-12

Furthermore, there is no contradiction between my position and the position held by the author, Dr. Labib Mikhail. Had anonymous simply read Mikhail’s words carefully he would have seen this for himself:

The Son of God was the last messenger to come and to be crucified. No one is to come after him TO ESTABLISH A NEW RELIGION ...

There is no place for another prophet to come AND ESTABLISH A NEW RELIGION. The blessed hope is the second coming of Jesus Christ. (Source; capital emphasis ours)

Labib was referring to prophets who start new religions, not to the Apostles (such as Paul) who came in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and preached his true Gospel. For more on the criteria of a true messenger, exposing Muhammad as a false one, please consult the following article:

http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/true_seal.htm

Thirdly, introducing Mikhail’s views here is nothing more than a red herring and a non sequitur on the part of anonymous. Even if Mikhail had said that Jesus was absolutely the last prophet this would do nothing to prove anonymous’ case since Mikhail is not a prophet and is prone to making exegetical mistakes (much like I am prone to doing so) and would simply be wrong here. His comments have absolutely nothing to do with the Islamic evidence concerning the early Muslim view of Paul.

Finally, anonymous says that my mentioning other messengers besides Paul is irrelevant to the topic at hand, which shows that he hasn’t even bothered reading my response carefully. My point was relevant to the claim made by MENJ that Paul was the only one professing to be an apostle/prophet:

We know of only one man who claimed to be a messenger of God in this intervening period. That man was called Paul, formerly known as Saul, of Tarsus. (http://bismikaallahuma.org/Paul/paul_and_islam.htm)

Since we got that red herring out of the way, we turn to the author’s next assertion which exposes Anonymous’ Failure to Adhere to The Salaf:

Sam quoted the statement of Salaf, i.e. that one should follow Salaf. But who are these Salaf? The same website from which Mr. Shamoun quoted various statements that Muslims should adhere to Salafs says:

Salafs are:

Imam Abu Hanifah (150 AH), Al-Awzai (157 AH), Ath-Thawri (161AH), Al Laith ibn Saad (175 AH), Imam Malik (179 AH), Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak (181 AH), Sufyan ibn Uyainah (198 AH), Imam Ash-Shafi'i (204 AH), Ishq (238 AH), Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (241 AH), Al-Bukhari (256 AH), Muslim (261 AH), Abu Dawood (275 AH) and others.

These Salaf spent their whole life in researching and understanding of Islamic views. Whenever there is an Islamic dispute, people refer to above-mentioned people. No one will refer to Ibn Ishq's book because his work is not considered as a reliable source of Islam. He spent his whole life in writing historical books. His works are not based on the Qur'n and Sunnah. Once again, Sam has failed to even produce one statement of a recognized Salaf mentioned above that Paul was a prophet in Islam. This clearly proves that Sam's argument is bogus. He has not quoted a single saying of single Salaf who are experts in Islamic sources.

Ibn Ishq, as I had said above, was a historian. His knowledge of Islam is very little compare to above Salafs. His knowledge is purely based on history and we know Paul was accepted as apostle and founder of Christianity. What does the missionary Sam Shamoun expect from him? Does he expect Ibn Ishq to lie and say Paul does not exist in history?

RESPONSE:

It is rather sad to see anonymous misrepresenting what I wrote. It is obvious why he does so, since he cannot refute my arguments. The author erroneously claims that I didn’t quote a single Salaf, but didn’t bother to read what I quoted from Ibn Kathir carefully. Please see above where Ibn Kathir asserted that according to some of the Salaf, the three messengers mentioned in Surah Ya Sin (36) were Peter, John and Paul.

Furthermore, the issue is not whether Ibn Ishaq had to lie or not. As we had said above, the real issue is why would Ibn Ishaq mention an Apostle who was supposedly viewed as a heretic by Muslims WITHOUT SAYING A WORD ABOUT IT? The answer? Because Ibn Ishaq and the other Muslims at that time didn’t view Paul as a heretic.

Finally, Paul wasn’t the founder of Christianity, but a faithful follower of its Founder, namely the risen Lord and eternal Savior Jesus Christ. It was Muhammad who founded a false religion which he called Islam, and tried to pass it off as God’s religion.

Anonymous continues:

Missionary Sam says:

Menj has erroneously assumed that Muhammad is a prophet/messenger, and therefore whatever his false prophet says must be true. Instead of simply assuming his position, Menj needs to prove that Muhammad is a prophet. Thus far, the Muslim evidence has been embarrassingly weak.

The main topic of this article is the status of Paul IN ISLAM! The article is not trying to prove that Paul is not a prophet to Christians. We Muslims sincerely believe that Christian believe that Paul is an Apostle. Similarly, I expect Missionary Sam to expect that the Prophet Muhammad(P) is a Prophet recognized by Muslims! Since Prophet Muhammad(P) is Prophet, the greatest creation of God, the greatest Man for Muslims, his statement is in itself proof for Islam and Muslims. If he says that there exist no Prophet between him and Jesus(P), it becomes Islamic Proof.

Of course, for the Christians Prophet Muhammad's(P) statement is worth nothing. But here we are talking about Paul's status in Islam, and the Prophet's(P) statement is the source of Islam. Because Allh says in Glorious Qur'n:

"Your companion (Muhammad) has neither gone astray nor has erred. Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is only a Revelation revealed." (Qur'n, 53:2-4)

And saying of Prophet(P) is mentioned in Sahih Al-Bukhari (most authentic Islamic Hadth book) which clearly says, "there has been no prophet between me and him (i.e. Jesus)." The above Hadth is accepted by All Muslims and is used by all Salaf. Now Imagine! How can Mr. Shamoun compare above authentic statement of Prophet(P) to the alleged misquoted statement of Ibn Ishq?

RESPONSE:

The main topic of this article is indeed the status of Paul IN ISLAM! My article wasn’t trying to prove that Paul is an Apostle to Christians. I do realize that Muslims erroneously accept that Muhammad was a Prophet, and yet Muhammad failed to mention Paul by name. Hence, appealing to him in order to deny Paul is simply erroneous to say the least. And, as we already showed, his claim that no Prophet existed between him and Jesus fails to prove anonymous’ contention, especially when other devout Muslims saw no problem in affirming both Paul’s legitimacy and Muhammad’s prophethood.

Finally, anonymous’ bold assertion that ALL Muslims accept the hadith of Imam Bukhari is clearly false in light of the many Muslims who reject the hadiths altogether.

Anonymous repeats his assault on Ibn Ishaq and reiterates the claim that according to Bukhari Muhammad is the last prophet, which we have already addressed and refuted. So we will simply omit it.

ANONYMOUS:

Missionary Sam then says that Prophet(P) had copied from Paul. Therefore, Paul is considered a prophet of Islam!

What kind of nonsensical argument is this? We know that Paul had copied so many stuff from early scriptures and Talmud. The message of the Qur'n is not made by Prophet(P). It is a confirmation of early messages given to various Prophets, as Allh says in Glorious Qur'n:

"To thee We sent the Book in truth, confirming the Book that came before it, and guarding it in safety." (Qur'n, 5:48)

Islamic Awareness has done a really good job in replying to the typical old allegations, that since the Qur'n and hadth are similar to Bible, therefore it has been copied from it.

RESPONSE:

We have refuted the charge that Paul borrowed from the Talmud, and proved that Muhammad was the one that borrowed from fables and tales:

http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/paul-talmud.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/adam-story.htm

We also showed that Muhammad took Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 2:9 and claimed that it came from Allah, providing indirect proof that Muhammad believed Paul was inspired:

http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/paul_apoc_elijah.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/mhd_plagiarizing.htm

And we have done a much better job of refuting the assertions of Islamic Awareness, showing that Muhammad not only copied from inspired Biblical stories, but that he also took Jewish, Christian, and Arab tales and fables, and tried to pass it off as God’s Word:

http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Saifullah/borrow.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Silas/borrowing.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Silas/saifdebate1.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Silas/saifdebate2.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Sources/index.html

So much for anonymous’ denial. Anonymous concludes with a defense of Ibn Taymiyya:

Regarding Sheikh Ibn Taymiyya, he was a great scholar of Islam. Some do not like him because he himself did not adhere to one madhb of the four Imms. This was his mistake according to them. In term of knowledge, let me quote from the same website Shamoun has given:

Ibn Taymiyyah had many writings and a fame, he is as the Muhaddith, Hafiz, Faqih, Wali-ud-Din al-Iraqi, the son of the Shaykh of Huffaz, Zayn-ud-Din al-Iraqi, in his book "al-'Ajwibat-ul-Mardiyyah" said about him: His knowledge is bigger than his mind. The Shafi`i hadth master al-Mizzi did not call anyone else Shaykh al-Islam in his time besides Ibn Taymiyyah.

As I said, his only problem was that he did not adhere himself to one madhb in both fqh and aqdah. I do not think any of the website Sam mentions will reject Ibn Taymiyyah's statement that Paul has no status in Islam. Let us also hear what other scholars say of him.

And only God knows best.

RESPONSE:

We want to correct anonymous’ claim that Ibn Taymiyya’s only problem was that he didn’t follow one particular school of jurisprudence. The links I cited attack Ibn Taymiyya for holding to (what they consider to be) false, heretical views. Here is an example:

ON THE ANTHROPOMORPHISM OF "SALAFIS"

Ibn Taymiyya Compares Allah to the Moon In his infamous `Aqida wasitiyya.

Ibn Taymiyya establishes a clear-cut case of tamthil or similitude for Allah and His attributes by comparing Him to the moon in his interpretation of the verse 57:4: "He is with you wherever you are":The phrase "and He is with you" does not mean that He blends into creation... Nay the moon... one of the smallest of Allah's creations, is both placed in the heaven (mawdu`un fi al-samaa') and present with the traveler and the non-traveler wherever they may be. And the Exalted is above (fawq) the Throne, as a watchful guardian of His creatures and their protector Who is cognizant of them.1

Ibn Taymiyya's admirers may claim that he represents the doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna, but we all know that none of the Ahl al-Sunna ever compared Allah to the moon, or Allah's knowledge to the moon's rays. Exalted is Allah high above the fancies of those who give such examples for Him. Yet we find today the same type of aberration still passing for Islamic education, in books such as Ibn al-`Uthaymin's Sharh al`aqida al-wasitiyya, which we will address in a few pages, and where the author, dissatisfied with Ibn Taymiyya's moon, turns to comparing Allah to the sun instead.

In consequence of such strange positions, Ibn Taymiyya was imprisoned by agreement of the Muslim scholars of Egypt and Syria who wished to prevent the dissemination of his ideas. His imprisonment, it should be stressed, came as a result of the consensus of the scholars of his time and not, as it is falsely claimed by his admirers, a massive conspiracy against him. Nor was he put in jail by a tyrannical ruler, nor due to the jealousy of his contemporaries, as is postulated today by some of those who claim to follow his teachings. One fears the authorities made him something of a martyr instead, and thus stimulated interest in his otherwise pedestrian observations touching on Divine attributes. We will mention his deviations concerning other topics later, insha Allah. We close this section with the recapitulation of Ibn Taymiyya's deviations and his unmitigated condemnation by al-Haytami. Ibn Hajar al-Haytami's Scathing Condemnation of Ibn Taymiyya Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad ibn Muhammad Abu al-`Abbas Shihab al-Din al-Haytami, known as Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (909-974/ 1504-1567) was the Shafi`i Imam of his time, a brilliant scholar of in-depth applications of Shari`a, and with Imam Ahmad al-Ramli, represents the foremost resource for legal opinion (fatwa) for the entire late Shafi`i school. He was educated at al-Azhar, but later moved to Mecca, where he authored major works in Shafi`i jurisprudence, hadith, tenets of faith, education, hadith commentary, and formal legal opinion. His most famous works include Tuhfat al-muhtaj bi sharh al-minhaj (The gift of him in need: an explanation of "The Road"), a commentary on Nawawi's Minhaj al-Talibin (The seeker's road) whose ten volumes represent a high point in Shafi`i scholarship; the four-volume al-Fatawa al-kubra al-fiqhiyya (The major collection of legal opinions); and al-Zawajir `an iqtiraf al-kaba'ir (Deterrents from committing enormities) which with its detailed presentation of Qur'an and hadith evidence and masterful legal inferences, remains unique among Muslim works dealing with godfearingness (taqwa) and is even recognized by Hanafi scholars like Ibn `Abidin as a source of authoritative legal texts (nusus) valid in their own school.2

He writes in his Fatawa hadithiyya:

Ibn Taymiyya is a slave which Allah has forsaken and misguided and blinded and deafened and debased. That is the declaration of the imams who have exposed the corruption of his positions and the mendacity of his sayings. Whoever wishes to pursue this must read the words of the mujtahid imam Abu al-Hasan (Taqi al-Din) al-Subki, of his son Taj al-Din Subki, of the Imam al-`Izz ibn Jama`a and others of the Shafi`i, Maliki, and Hanafi shaykhs...In short, his words are not given any importance whatsoever; rather they are thrown aside into every wasteland and rocky ground, and it must be considered that he is a misguided and misguiding innovator (mubtadi` dall mudill) and an ignorant who brought evil (jahilun ghalun) whom Allah treated with His justice, and may He protect us from the likes of his path, doctrine, and actions, Amin...Know that he has differed from people on questions about which Taj al-Din al-Subki and others warned us. Among the things Ibn Taymiyya said which violate the scholarly consensus are:

  1. that he who violates the consensus commits neither disbelief (kufr) nor transgression (fisq)
  2. that our Lord is subject to created events (mahallun li al-hawadith) -- glorified, exalted, and sanctified is He far above what the wrong-doers and rejecters ascribe to Him!
  3. that He is complex or made of parts (murakkab), His Essence standing in need similarly to the way the whole stands in need of the parts (taftaqiru dhatuhu iftiqara al-kulli li al-juz'), elevated is He and sanctified above that!
  4. that the Qur'an is created in Allah's Essence (muhdath fi dhatillah),3 elevated is He above that!
  5. that the world (al-`alam) is of a pre-eternal nature (qadim bi al-naw`) and that it existed with Allah from pre-eternity (wa lam yazal ma` Allah) as an everlasting created object (makhluqan da'iman), thus making it necessarily existent in His Essence (fa ja`alahu mujaban bi al-dhat) and not acting deliberately (la fa`ilan bi al-ikhtyar), elevated is He above that!4
  6. his sayings about Allah's "corporeality," "direction," "displacement," (al-jismiyya wa al-jiha wa al-intiqal), and that He fits the size of the Throne, being neither bigger nor smaller, exalted is He from such a hideous invention and wide-open disbelief (kufr), and may He forsake all his followers, and may all his beliefs be scattered and lost!
  7. his saying that the fire shall go out (al-nar tafni),5
  8. and that the prophets are not free from sin (al-anbiya'a ghayru ma`sumin),6
  9. and that the Prophet has no particular status before Allah (la jaha lahu)7 and must not be used as a means (la yutawassalu bihi),8
  10. and that the undertaking of travel (al-safar) to him in order to perform his visit (al-ziyara) is a disobedience (ma`siya) in which it is unlawful to shorten the prayers,9 and that it is forbidden to ask for his intercession in view of the Day of Need
  11. and that the words (alfaz) of the Torah and the Gospel were not substituted, but their meanings (ma`ani) were

Some said: "Whoever looks at his books does not attribute to him most of these positions, except that whereby he holds the view that Allah has a direction, and that he authored a book to establish this, and forces the proof upon the people who follow this school of thought that they are believers in Allah's corporeality (jismiyya), dimensionality (muhadhat), and settledness (istiqrar)." That is, it may be that at times he used to assert these proofs and that they were consequently attributed to him in particular. But whoever attributed this to him from among the imams of Islam upon whose greatness, leadership, religion, trustworthiness, fairness, acceptance, insight, and meticulousness there is agreement -- then they do not say anything except what has been duly established with added precautions and repeated inquiry. This is especially true when a Muslim is attributed a view which necessitates his disbelief, apostasy, misguidance, and execution. Therefore if it is true of him that he is a disbeliever and an innovator, then Allah will deal with him with His justice, and other than that He will forgive us and him.10 (Source: http://www.sunnah.org/anthro/anthro5.htm; bold emphasis ours)

It is apparent that anonymous hasn’t read these sites carefully, nor understood what he was reading. Better yet, he is trying to pull a fast one on the reader who may not be informed about what some Muslims truly think of Ibn Taymiyya.

Another writer critiques Ibn Taymiyyah's anthropomorphic views of Allah, noting:

These beliefs apparently survived for some centuries in Khorasan, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the East, for Imam al-Kawthari notes that the Hanbali Ibn Taymiya (d. 728/1328) picked up the details of them from manuscripts on sects (nihal) when the libraries of scholars poured into Damascus with caravans fleeing from the Mongols farther east. He read them without a perspicacious teacher to guide him, came to believe what he understood from them, and went on to become an advocate for them in his own works (al-Kawthari, al-Sayf al-saqil fi al-radd ala Ibn Zafil. Cairo 1356/ 1937. Reprint. Cairo: Maktaba al-Zahran, n.d. 56).

He was imprisoned for these ideas numerous times before his death, the ulama of Damascus accusing him of anthropomorphism (al-Asqalani, al-Durar al-kamina fi ayan al-mia al-thamina. 4 vols. Hyderabad 134950/193031. Reprint. Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, n.d., 1.155).

Writings were authored by scholars like Abu Hayyan al-Nahwi (d. 745/ 1344), Taqi al-Din Subki (756/1355), Badr al-Din ibn Jamaa (d. 733/ 1333), al-Amir al-Sanani, author of Subul al-salam (d. 1182/1768), Taqi al-Din al-Hisni, author of Kifayat al-akhyar, (d. 829/1426), and Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (d. 974/1567) in rebuttal of his `aqida, and it remained without acceptance by Muslims for another four hundred years, until the eighteenth-century Wahhabi movement, which followed Ibn Taymiya on points of `aqida, and made him its "Sheikh of Islam." But was not until with the advent of printing in the Arab world that Ibn Taymiya's books (and the tenets of this sect) really saw the light of day, when a wealthy merchant from Jedda commissioned the printing of his Minhaj al-sunna and other works on `aqida in Egypt at the end of the last century, resurrected this time as Salafism or "return to early Islam." They have since been carried to all parts of the Islamic world, borne upon a flood of copious funding from one or two modern Muslim countries, whose efforts have filled mosques with books, pamphlets, and young men who push these ideas and even ascribe them (with Ibn Taymiya's questionable chains of transmission, or none at all) to the Imams of the earliest Muslims. My point, as regards considering Muslims believers or unbelievers, is that this kind of money can buy the influence and propaganda that turn night into day; so perhaps contemporary Muslims have some excuse for these ideas--until they have had a chance to learn that the God of Islam is transcendently above being a large man, just as He is transcendently above being subject to time or to space, which are but two of His creatures. (Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Is it permissible for a Muslim to believe that Allah is in the sky in literal sense?)

To conclude, it is quite evident that the Muslim arguments that have been posited thus far against our position regarding the earliest Muslims having no problem with Paul are severely lacking. We brought direct POSITIVE statements about Paul by early Muslims, while anonymous only argues by inference, i.e. Paul is NOT mentioned in the Quran and Hadith, and these sources contradict Paul’s teachings, etc. However, there is no DIRECT negative statement about him anywhere in those sources and the only direct statements are positive. Muslims, like anonymous, have only been able to misrepresent our points and attack the credibility of the Muslim sources that are used, which shows that they are without any substance.

And indeed the true, triune God revealed in Holy Scripture does know best. It was he who called Paul to be an apostle of the risen and immortal Lord of eternal glory, Jesus Christ, God's eternal and beloved Son:

"Paul, an apostle - sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead - ... I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles - only James, the Lord's brother. I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie." Galatians 1:1, 11-20

"So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day." 2 Timothy 1:8-12

"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


Sam Shamoun


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