Muslim polemicist Shahid bin Waheed wrote an article titled "Top Ten Reasons to Reject Jesus Divinity!" in which he presents his main or strongest reasons why he feels that Jesus cannot be God.
Our goal here is to examine all ten of his points and show why none of them refute the clear biblical teaching that the risen Lord Jesus is fully God in nature, being the second Person of the blessed and most holy Trinity.
1. Mark 12:29 Jesus said "Here, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." [This confirms that Jesus preached to worship One and Only God, not trinity.
Shahid has obviously not understood the doctrine of the Trinity since the unity of God is an essential, foundational truth underlying the doctrine. The word Trinity is actually composed of two words, tri-unity, and refers to God being both three and one at the same time. There is only one infinite, eternal Being of God eternally existing in three distinct, yet inseparable Persons. To therefore cite biblical passages that speak of God's unity does absolutely nothing to refute the Trinity.
We are assuming that since Shahid quotes Mark 12:29 he therefore believes that these are the genuine words of the historical Jesus. This being the case, Shahid must also accept the following citations as coming from the historical Jesus as well since they are taken from the same chapter:
"He then began to speak to them in parables: 'A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away emptyhanded. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. He had one left to send, A SON, WHOM HE LOVED. He sent him last of all, saying, They will respect MY SON. But the tenants said to one another, This is THE HEIR. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours. So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard." Mark 12:1-8
The Hebrew Scriptures identify these servants as God's prophets who were sent to the nation of Israel:
"From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day." Jeremiah 7:25
"Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets." Amos 3:7
Thus, in this parable the Lord Jesus distinguishes the prophets, who were only servants of God, from himself since he is God's beloved Son and Heir.
"While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, 'How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: "The Lord said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.'" David himself calls him "Lord." How then can he be his son?'" Mark 12:35-37
The Lord Jesus, in this citation, refers to all three Persons of the Trinity. The Lord Jesus indicates that David, speaking by the Holy Spirit, called the Messiah/Christ his Lord which implies that the Messiah is more exalted and greater than David. When we combine this statement of Christ with what he said earlier in Mark 12:29 regarding there being one Lord, then it becomes quite evident that Jesus claimed Deity. Notice why this must be the case:
But at the same time David refers to two distinct entities as Lord, which means that God exists in more than one Person:
Further support that David was calling the Messiah Lord in the sense of his being God can be gathered from the fact that, at the time of the Psalm's composition, there was no one greater than David:
"Once you spoke in a vision, to your faithful people you said: 'I have bestowed strength on a warrior; I have exalted a young man from among the people. I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him'... He will call out to me, 'You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.' I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth." Psalm 89:19-20, 26-27
"Then David said to the whole assembly, 'Praise the LORD your God.' So they all praised the LORD , the God of their fathers; they bowed low and fell prostrate before the LORD and the king. The next day they made sacrifices to the LORD and presented burnt offerings to him: a thousand bulls, a thousand rams and a thousand male lambs, together with their drink offerings, and other sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. They ate and drank with great joy in the presence of the LORD that day. Then they acknowledged Solomon son of David as king a second time, anointing him before the LORD to be ruler and Zadok to be priest. So Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king in place of his father David. He prospered and all Israel obeyed him. All the officers and mighty men, as well as all of King David's sons, pledged their submission to King Solomon. The LORD highly exalted Solomon in the sight of all Israel and bestowed on him royal splendor such as no king over Israel ever had before." 1 Chronicles 29:20-25
Thus, the only entity David would have addressed as his Lord is God, since he had no other Lord over him, and for him to call Messiah his Lord means that Messiah is God!
2. John 20:17 Jesus said I ascend to my God and your God. [Jesus has a God according to him; we know that God cant have a God?]
Shahid is assuming unitarianism here, that God is only one Person as opposed to being multi-personal. His comments also ignore the fact of the Incarnation, or more precisely, the biblical witness to the Incarnation.
Shahid is quite correct that a unitarian Deity cannot have a God over him. But if God is indeed multi-personal, and if one of the Persons of God chose to become man, then this one member of the Godhead can have another member relate to him as his God.
In order to demonstrate this point, we will quote the surrounding passages from John 20 in order to properly understand Jesus' words in their intended context:
"Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord!' But he said to them, 'Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.' A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!' Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.' Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!' Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.' Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 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 20:24-31
We now quote from John's prologue:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 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. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, 'This was he of whom I said, "He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me."' From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." John 1:1-18
The inspired Evangelist had no problem asserting that the Lord Jesus is fully, eternally God, the Son of God, the Creator and Sustainer of all creation, while also affirming that Christ has a God over him. The blessed Apostle was aware that the Son entered time and space and became a real human being. Christ no longer existed only as a Divine Being, but also became a true human being. John could see that the Father became the God of Christ the moment his eternal Son became man. We will present this in the form of a syllogism to make this point clear to Shahid and our readers:
Thus, it is not an either/or situation but a both/and reality.
3. John 8:28 Jesus said, "I do nothing of myself" [Can a God be this dependant?]
7. John 5:30 Jesus told his followers that he couldnt do a single thing of his own. [When a God became this helpless?]
We will examine both verses in their intended context:
"So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, 'My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.' For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. Jesus gave them this answer: 'I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son JUST AS they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. 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. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear THE VOICE OF THE SON OF GOD and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear HIS VOICE and come out those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me." John 5:16-30
From the Lord Jesus' own words we learn the following:
We now turn to the context of John 8:28 to see what Jesus actually said:
"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.' ... Once more Jesus said to them, 'I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.' This made the Jews ask, 'Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, "Where I go, you cannot come"?' But he continued, 'You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins' ... So Jesus said, 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.' Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him. To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.' They answered him, 'We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?' Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.' 'Abraham is our father,' they answered. 'If you were Abraham's children,' said Jesus, 'then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does.' 'We are not illegitimate children,' they protested. 'The only Father we have is God himself.' Jesus said to them, 'If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.' ... 'I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.' At this the Jews exclaimed, 'Now we know that you are demon possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?' Jesus replied, 'If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.' 'You are not yet fifty years old,' the Jews said to him, 'and you have seen Abraham!' 'I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I am!' At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds." John 8:12, 21-24, 28-42, 51-59
In this chapter we learn that:
4. John 14:28 Jesus said, "My Father (GOD) is greater than I am" [So, how can Jesus himself be a God?]
Shahid chooses to ignore ALL that this Gospel says about the Lord Jesus, and focuses on isolated passages that are wrenched out of their contexts which he erroneously assumes prove that Christ cannot be God. Due to his Islamic presupposition which denies that Jesus is God, Shahid automatically assumes that the Father can only be greater than Christ in the same sense in which he is greater than all other creatures. Shahid fails to consider that one can be greater than another in position or rank, without this meaning that he is greater in nature and essence. The Father was greater than the Son in position since the Son, while on earth, took on the role and function of a slave. But this same Gospel clearly teaches that the Father and the Son are equal in nature and essence as the very same chapter from which Shahid took this passage shows:
"And I WILL DO whatever you ask IN MY NAME, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask ME for anything in my name, AND I WILL DO IT." John 14:13-14
Christ is capable of personally answering all prayers that are directed to him or are addressed in his name. The only way that Christ can both hear and answer all these prayers is if he was both omniscient and omnipotent!
"On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, AND I AM IN YOU. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." John 14:20-21
The Lord Jesus declares that he is IN all the disciples, an impossible claim if he was only a man, or even an angel. But since Jesus is God, and since God is omnipresent, we therefore see how it is possible for Christ to dwell in all believers at the same time. Finally:
"Jesus replied, If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and WE will come to him and make OUR home with him." John 14:23
Both the Father and his beloved Son make their home with all true believers! The Lord Jesus explicitly affirms that he is co-equal with the Father in nature since he is present with every believer in the same way that the Father is!
It is, therefore, quite clear that the very same context where we find John 14:28 presents Christ as God in the fullest sense of the word, attributing to him all the omni-attributes of God. Thus, the only way the Father could be greater than Christ is in position and rank, not in essence and nature.
The Lord Jesus says elsewhere:
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father, WE are (esmen) ONE." John 10:27-30
The Lord claims to do what the OT scriptures say God alone can do:
"See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand." Deuteronomy 32:39
Thus, Jesus is stating that he is one with the Father in power, essence and nature since he is able to eternally preserve believers from perishing, without anyone plucking them out of his hand, an ability which God alone has. This shows that both the Father and the Son are God Almighty!
[See also this article.]
5. Luke 23:46 Jesus said "Father (GOD), into thy hands I commend my spirit" [God does not have spirit like Jesus did.]
Shahid's comments essentially ignores the biblical teaching that Christ was God AND Man at the same time, and as a man he had (and continues to have) a real human soul, human spirit.
Furthermore, it is true that the Father doesn't have a human spirit since the Father didn't become man; the Son became human. But it is not true that the Father doesn't have a Spirit, since he does, the Holy Spirit, who also happens to be the Spirit of Christ!
"Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Genesis 1:2
"Then the LORD said, 'My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.'" Genesis 6:3
"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you... because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." Romans 8:9-11, 14-16
"Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father.'" Galatians 4:6
The fact that God's Spirit happens to also be Christ's Spirit affirms their co-equality of essence.
6. Matthew 24:36 Jesus told his followers that no one (including Jesus) knows when the judgment day will come, only GOD knows. [Or Jesus was lying to his followers, if he was God?]
The Scriptures teach that Christ is both God and man, and since he was both these things at the same time he has both a divine mind and a human consciousness. As far as his Deity is concerned, Christ knows all things and is immutable. (Cf. Matthew 9:4; 11:27-30; 17:27; John 2:23-25; 16:30-31; 1 Corinthians 4:5; Colossians 2:2-3; Hebrews 1:10-12; 13:8; Revelation 2:23)
Yet, in relation to his humanity Christ grew in knowledge and stature. (Cf. Mark 13:32; Luke 2:40, 52)
Christ wasn't lying here but simply stated the truth, namely, that as far as his waking human consciousness is concerned he didn't know the day or hour of his return. So, it isn't an either/or scenario but this is another example of a both/and situation. Now how Christ could know all things in relation to his Divine nature, and not know all things as far as his human consciousness is concerned, is something which is beyond our finite minds to grasp. Yet the issue is not whether we can grasp our finite, imperfect minds around such a picture, but whether the Holy Bible teaches both these truths simultaneously, which it clearly does.
8. John 5:32 Jesus told his followers that they have never seen GOD at anytime nor ever heard his voice. [Or Jesus was lying again here, if he was God?]
I assume that Shahid meant John 5:37, not 32. Here is what that passage actually says:
"And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent." John 5:37-38
Shahid is erroneously assuming that Jesus meant that no one at any time has seen God or heard his voice, when in actuality his comments were addressed to a specific group, not to everyone. Jesus was saying that those specific Jews whom he was directly addressing hadn't seen or heard God. Notice that even here Jesus clearly says that the Father has testified concerning him, which means that God has indeed spoken and revealed himself in some way to people on behalf of his Son. The following Scriptures clearly show that many have both seen and heard from God:
"Micaiah continued, 'Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. And the LORD said, "Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?" One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, "I will entice him." "By what means?" the LORD asked. "I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets," he said. "You will succeed in enticing him," said the LORD. "Go and do it." So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you.'" 1 Kings 22:19-23
"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.' At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 'Woe to me!' I cried. 'I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.' Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, 'See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.' Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" Isaiah 6:1-8
"As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened." Daniel 7:9-10
"As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'" Matthew 3:16-17
"Then John gave this testimony: 'I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water TOLD ME, "The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit." I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.'" John 1:32-34
"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 17:5
"We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.' We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain." 2 Peter 1:16-18
"'Father, glorify your name!' Then a voice came from heaven, 'I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.' The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, 'This voice was for your benefit, not mine.'" John 12:28-30
In light of the foregoing, let us have a closer look at the passage once again to see what the Lord Jesus actually meant:
"And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent." RSV
Jesus was telling these Jews that their rejection of him demonstrated that God hadn't spoken and revealed himself to them in the sense that he hadn't enabled them to believe and accept the truth which was being revealed through Christ. If he had enabled them by removing their spiritual blindness then they would have believed in the One whom he had sent. Ironically, their stubborness and obtuse refusal to believe in Jesus blinded them from realizing that the very One standing before them was the visible manifestation and revelation of the invisible God:
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth... No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." John 1:14, 18
"Then Jesus cried out, 'When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.'" John 12:44-45
"'If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.' Philip said, 'Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.' Jesus answered: 'Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, "Show us the Father"? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.'" John 14:7-11
Thus, they failed to realize that seeing Jesus was to see the very human form of God!
9. Luke 5:16 Jesus prays to God. [Funny, if Jesus was God, then why he is praying to God? Since when and how a God has a God?
10. Matthew 26:39 Jesus fell on his face and prayed to his GOD like Muslims do. [How would you explain this from the very Bible?
In the first place, it is not at all the case that Jesus prayed like Muslims pray. According to the Scriptures, Jesus and his followers would look either up to heaven or would stand up to pray:
"Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all." Mark 6:41
"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Mark 11:25
According to the Sunnah of Muhammad, praying with ones eyes looking up is a no-no:
Jabir b. Samura reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: The people who lift their eyes towards the sky in Prayer should avoid it or they would lose their eyesight. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 0862)
Abu Huraira reported: People should avoid lifting their eyes towards the sky while supplicating in prayer, otherwise their eyes would be snatched away. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 0863)
Jesus also called God his Father when he prayed:
"Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'MY FATHER, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.'" Matthew 26:39
Yet, no Muslim could ever pray to Allah and call him their Father:
"They say: 'The Most Gracious has begotten a son!' Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous! At it the skies are about to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, That they attributed a son for the Most Gracious. For it is not consonant with the majesty of the Most Gracious that He should beget a son. Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth BUT MUST COME TO THE MOST GRACIOUS AS A SERVANT." S. 19:88-93
Secondly, since the God of the Bible is a Trinity, and since Jesus is not the entire Trinity, Jesus can pray to God without this implying that he was praying to himself. Jesus was praying to the Father. Thirdly, prayer isn't just worship, but involves intimate communion and fellowship with God. Since there are three distinct Persons of God, this means that within the very life and being of God there is eternal communion and fellowship amongst the members of the Trinity.
Finally, we need to be actually asking these questions to Shahid, namely, how can his god pray, and to whom does he pray? The Quran and Islamic traditions state that Allah 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
Allah prays for Muhammad the way Muhammad prays for Muslims:
Take alms of their wealth, wherewith thou mayst purify them and mayst make them grow, and pray for them (wa salli alayhim). Lo! thy prayer (salataka) is an assuagement for them. Allah is Hearer, Knower. S. 9:103 Pickthall
One Muslim dictionary defines the word salah as:
Ibn Al-Atheer in his highly acknowledged dictionary of the Arabic language, 'Al-Nihaayah fi Ghareeb al-Athar' has explained "Sala'h" as follows:
'Al-Sala'h' and 'Al-Salawaat': used for a particular kind of worship. Its literal origin is supplication (prayer). Sometimes, 'Sala'h' is referred to by mentioning any one or more of its parts. It is also said that the literal origin of the word is 'to glorify' and the particular worship is called 'Sala'h', because it entails the glorification of the Lord. (Source; bold emphasis ours)
Muhammad's first cousin, Ibn 'Abbas, considered to be one of the most knowledgeable Muslims who ever lived, said:
"The tribe of Israel said to Moses: Does your God pray? God called upon him and said: Yes, I do pray, and my angels [pray] upon my prophets, and Allah then sent down this verse: Allah and His angels pray ..." [translation of Ibn Kathir's Arabic Commentary on Surat Al-Ahzaab 33:56; Source]
Just in case Shahid wants to claim that the word salah in connection with Allah actually means blessing, not prayer, we only need to quote Qadi Iyad's words to him:
Allah makes the merit of His Prophet clear by first praying blessing on Himself, and then by the prayer of the angels, and then by commanding His slaves to pray blessing and peace on him as well. Abu Bakr ibn Furak related that one of the 'ulama interpreted the words of the Prophet, "The coolness of my eye is in the prayer," as meaning Allah's prayer, that of the angels and that of his community in response to Allah's command until the Day of Rising. The prayer of angels and men is supplication for him and that of Allah is mercy.
It is said that "they pray" means they invoke blessing (baraka). However, when the Prophet taught people the prayer on himself, he made a distinction between the word salat (prayer) and baraka (blessing). We will return to the meaning of the prayer on him later. (Muhammad Messenger of Allah (Ash-Shifa of Qadi 'Iyad), Qadi 'Iyad Musa al-Yahsubi, translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K. 1991; third reprint, paperback], p. 25; bold emphasis ours)
The Prophet made a distinction between salat (prayer) and baraka (blessing) in the hadith in which he taught about making the prayer on him. This indicates that they have two separate meanings. (Ibid., p. 250; bold emphasis ours)
So we need to ask Shahid to explain to us who does Allah worship, glorify, and/or pray to when he prays for Muhammad?
A Bonus, Yepee!
John 17:3 and the Only True God!
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Again, the only thing one has to do in order to understand Jesus' point here is to simply read the entire context:
"After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: Father, the time has come. Glorify YOUR SON, that YOUR SON may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people THAT HE MIGHT GIVE ETERNAL LIFE TO ALL THOSE YOU HAVE GIVEN HIM. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I HAD WITH YOU BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN ... For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me ... All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come TO ME through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name - the name you gave me - so that they may be one as we are one ... My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be IN US so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I IN THEM and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me BECAUSE YOU LOVED ME BEFORE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them AND THAT I MYSELF MAY BE IN THEM." John 17:1-5, 8, 10-11, 20-26
From the foregoing we glean the following facts:
The context makes it evident that Jesus' statement about the Father in no way was meant to deny that Christ is God, since he goes on to make claims that only God could make. Jesus is addressing the Father for being the only true God since this is what he truly is. And yet, the only true God exists in more than one Person. Shahid is again imposing his unitarianism upon the text, and assumes that the Father alone is the only true God, without taking a moment to realize that all three Persons are the only true God, individually and collectively, since the one true God exists as a Trinity. This is why Jesus can speak of one member of the Trinity as the only true God without this implying that other members are not God. To make this point more clear, notice what the inspired book of Hebrews says:
"But about the Son he says, 'Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.' He also says, 'In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.'" Hebrews 1:8-12
The Father praises his Son by calling him God, Lord, eternal King and for being the Creator and Sustainer of all creation! Now does this mean that the Father is not God, Lord, and the Creator of the heavens and earth? No, absolutely not. He is just as much God, Lord, and responsible for creating and sustaining the universe as the Son is. In a similar way, just because the Son glorifies his Father as the only true God doesn't mean that he isn't God also.
Deuteronomy 4:2! Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you. [Also see: Deut 12:32; Josh 1:7; Prov 30:6; Rev 22:18-19; Jer 26:2; Deut 10:12-13 & Ecc 12:13]
So, how can Christians add (27) twenty-seven forged books of New Testament (34 books of Catholics) to create their man-god, while disregarding the above explicit verses?
Shahid is rather confused since he cites the book of Moses which warns Israel from adding or taking away from the Law given to them, but then alludes to several different books which also speak of not adding or subtracting to God's words, even though these books were all written after Moses' revelation! The references from Deuteronomy do not mean that God was saying that no one could add to the revelation given to Moses, since God raised up many prophets and messengers who did just that. Note for instance the following citation:
"On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he drew up for them decrees and laws. And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the LORD." Joshua 24:25-26
The Deuteronomy passages obviously mean that persons could not tamper with God's instruction by obeying only those commands that they liked, and rejecting those they didn't. It also implies that no uninspired, unauthorized person could add or take away from God's Word. God had already told his people that he would raise up prophets after Moses who would convey to them God's words, words which would be just as authoritative and binding as Moses' Law:
"The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, 'Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.' The LORD said to me: 'What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.' You may say to yourselves, 'How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?' If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him." Deuteronomy 18:15-22
Note the criteria given to distinguish a true prophet from a false one, which presupposes that God would send many prophets, not just one. Thus, it is no surprise to find God doing just that, namely raising up prophets after Moses to record down the revelation given to them:
"The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.' 'Ah, Sovereign LORD ,' I said, 'I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.' But the LORD said to me, 'Do not say, "I am only a child." You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,' declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, 'Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.'" Jeremiah 1:4-10
"Early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came from the LORD : 'This is what the LORD says: Stand in the courtyard of the LORD's house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the LORD . Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from his evil way. Then I will relent and not bring on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done. Say to them, "This is what the LORD says: If you do not listen to me and follow MY LAW, which I have set before you, and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened),"'" Jeremiah 26:1-5
"In the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD : 'Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah and all the other nations from the time I began speaking to you in the reign of Josiah till now. Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, each of them will turn from his wicked way; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin.' So Jeremiah called Baruch son of Neriah, and while Jeremiah dictated all the words the LORD had spoken to him, Baruch wrote them on the scroll. Then Jeremiah told Baruch, 'I am restricted; I cannot go to the LORD's temple. So you go to the house of the LORD on a day of fasting and read to the people from the scroll the words of the LORD that you wrote as I dictated. Read them to all the people of Judah who come in from their towns. Perhaps they will bring their petition before the LORD, and each will turn from his wicked ways, for the anger and wrath pronounced against this people by the LORD are great.' Baruch son of Neriah did everything Jeremiah the prophet told him to do; at the LORD's temple he read the words of the LORD from the scroll... After the king burned the scroll containing the words that Baruch had written at Jeremiah's dictation, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 'Take another scroll and write on it all the words that were on the first scroll, which Jehoiakim king of Judah burned up. Also tell Jehoiakim king of Judah, "This is what the LORD says: You burned that scroll and said, 'Why did you write on it that the king of Babylon would certainly come and destroy this land and cut off both men and animals from it?' Therefore, this is what the LORD says about Jehoiakim king of Judah: He will have no one to sit on the throne of David; his body will be thrown out and exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night. I will punish him and his children and his attendants for their wickedness; I will bring on them and those living in Jerusalem and the people of Judah every disaster I pronounced against them, because they have not listened."' So Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote on it all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them." Jeremiah 36:1-8, 27-32
What is most ironic about Shahid's objection is that he even alludes to the NT book of Revelation in order to accuse Christians of adding books to the revealed Word of God, when this just so happens to be one of those NT books that were added!
If this weren't bad enough, Shahid believes that the Quran is revelation from the one true God of Moses, which means that if the passages which Shahid used are actually teaching that there are no books to be added after the Old Testament Scriptures, then the Quran is a false book!
This concludes our rebuttal. We remain, by God's sovereign grace, in the service of our risen and immortal Lord Jesus Christ, the beloved and eternal Son of the Most High. Amen and amen!
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page