Answering Dr. Jamal Badawi:

Dr. Jamal Badawi and Shirk

Sam Shamoun

Most people, even Muslims, are unaware that Dr. Jamal Badawi has violated the Islamic principles of Tauhid, i.e. the absolute unity of God. Throughout many of his lectures and debates Badawi has been guilty of associating partners with Allah and has therefore committed the sin of shirk, a sin which the Quran says will not be forgiven:

Verily, Allh forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allh in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin. S. 4:48

Verily! Allh forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives whom he pleases sins other than that, and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allh, has indeed strayed far away. S. 4:116

The reason why we accuse Badawi of shirk is due to his interpretation of John 14:6, which states:

"Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’"

Badawi states quite often that no Muslim would have a problem with Jesus' claim, but would wholeheartedly agree with him. Badawi asserts that all prophets were the way, the truth and the life since they conveyed the only true religion from God to men. Hence, they were the only way to God since any other message that contradicted theirs would be false. In one radio program, Badawi addresses John 14:6 by saying:

In fact this was an answer given by Jesus to Thomas when he asked him the way. This statement has nothing to do with the divinity of Jesus, if we refer to John 14:7, if you had know me you would have known my father also. In the context of this statement, we can understand what Jesus meant when he said that he was the way, the truth, and the light. However (sic), know, obeys, and follows me knows and obeys God because it is He who sent me. This statement attributed to Jesus applies to every Prophet and messenger because the Prophets is not following his own whim or ideas, he is following the revelation of God. (Source)

Before demonstrating the reasons why Badawi's claim is a violation of Tauhid, we first need to establish that Jesus' words do not mean that he simply points the way to heaven and conveyed God's true religion to man. Jesus was making claims that only God could make and which no other prophet would dare claim. For instance, Jesus claims to be Life itself, something predicated to God alone throughout the Holy Bible:

"That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them." Deuteronomy 30:20 KJV

"And Joshua said, "Hereby you shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Per’izzites, the Gir’gashites, the Amorites, and the Jeb’usites." Joshua 3:10

"For with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light do we see light." Psalm 36:9

"The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death." Proverbs 14:27

"But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation." Jeremiah 10:10

According to the scriptures, Yahweh is the only source of life and is the only true God. Yet both Jesus and his followers claimed that Christ is the source of life and that he is the true God:

"In him was life, and the life was the light of men." John 1:4

"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 ... Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, 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 also TO HAVE LIFE IN HIMSELF ... Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear HIS VOICE and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment." John 5:21, 25-26, 28-29

"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 are one." John 10:27-30

Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said to her, "I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:23-26

"But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed THE AUTHOR OF LIFE, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses." Acts 3:14-15

"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Colossians 3:4

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning THE WORD OF LIFE- THE LIFE WAS MADE MANIFEST, AND WE SAW IT, and testify to it, and proclaim to you THE ETERNAL LIFE which was with the Father and WAS MADE MANIFEST TO US - that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:1-3

Hence, Jesus does not simply point one to life but he is eternal life itself that came from heaven to become man for our salvation. It is only through him that one inherits this life.

Furthermore, not only is God the source of life but he himself is the truth according to the Holy Bible:

"Then they said to Jeremiah, ‘May the LORD be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the LORD your God sends you to us.’" Jeremiah 42:5

"... they cried out with a loud voice, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?’" Revelation 6:10

Interestingly, this is precisely how Jesus describes himself to the Apostle John in Revelation:

"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens.’ I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name" Revelation 3:7-8

"And to the angel of the church in La-odice’a write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.’" Revelation 3:14

Reading the hadiths we see that Muhammad applied these titles to God alone. One never finds Muhammad applying them to his own person:

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:

The Prophet used to invoke Allah at night, saying, "O Allah: All the Praises are for You: You are the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth. All the Praises are for You; You are the Maintainer of the Heaven and the Earth and whatever is in them. All the Praises are for You; You are the Light of the Heavens and the Earth. Your Word is the Truth, and Your Promise is the Truth, and the Meeting with You is the Truth, and Paradise is the Truth, and the (Hell) Fire is the Truth, and the Hour is the Truth. O Allah! I surrender myself to You, and I believe in You and I depend upon You, and I repent to You and with You (Your evidences) I stand against my opponents, and to you I leave the judgment (for those who refuse my message). O Allah! Forgive me my sins that I did in the past or will do in the future, and also the sins I did in secret or in public. You are my only God (Whom I worship) and there is no other God for me (i.e. I worship none but You)." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 482)

Narrated Sufyan:

(regarding the above narration) that the Prophet added, "You are the Truth, and Your Word is the Truth." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 483)

In light of the preceding factors, let us examine the Islamic concept of Tauhid and see if Badawi's assertion has directly violated it.

There are three main requisites of Tauhid. They are:

  1. Tauhid al-Rububiyyah, that Allah alone is Lord over all things.
  2. Tauhid al-Uluhiyyah, that Allah alone is to be worshiped, invoked, glorified, praised etc.
  3. Tauhid al-Asma wa Sifat, that no one shares Allah's names and qualities.

The following citations are taken from Book of Emaan-According to the Classical Works of Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyah [d. 728H- rahimullaah], by Dr. Muhammad Naim Yasin (Al-Firdous Ltd., London 1997). All bold and capital emphasis ours:

TYPES OF TAWHEED (MONOTHEISM)

Faith in Allah incorporates Tawheed in three areas: His Lordship (Rububiyyah), His worship or Uluhiyya, His Names and Attributes (Asma’ Was Siffat). Tawheed in this context is the conviction that Allah ALONE possesses the qualities of Lord, god, the attributes of perfection and the names of Glory. A servant DOES NOT BELIEVE in Allah when at the same time he denies that He is the Lord of all things, and that there is no Lord but Him; that He is the god of all things and that there is no god but Him; that He is perfect in His names and attributes, and that none but He is perfect. (p. 10)

Regarding the Tauhid of Allah's Names and Attributes, the author states:

In general, this means the firm conviction that Allah, the Glorious and Mighty, is characterized by all the attributes of perfection, is above all defects and deficiencies, and that He ALONE is distinguished from the rest of creation BY THESE CHARACTERISTICS. (p. 22)

In his interpretation of the verse "There is nothing like unto Him", al-Qurtubi says: "It is believed, in this subject, that Allah in His Greatness, Glory, Sovereignty, beauty of names and venerable of attributes, is unlike any of His creation, and nothing could be described through likeness to Him. The terms the Shari’ah employs to describe both Creator and His creation might be similar appearance, but they indicate no resemblance between them in reality. The attributes of the (Al-Qadeem) Eternal, Exalted and Glorious is He, are incomparable to those of His creation".

Al-Wasati said: "Allah's self is not like any other self, nor are His names like any other names, nor are his actions like any other actions, nor are His attributes like any other attributes, except in the sense that the same terms employed to describe Him and His creation. The Eternal is above having the attributes of the newly created, and the newly created cannot possibly have any of His Eternal attributes. This is the creed of the people of Truth, the Sunnah and Jama’ah.

In his interpretation of the above verse, Sayyid Qutb said: "Our instinct is naturally convinced of this, the created can never be equated with their Creator". (pp. 24-25)

Comparison (Tashbee): comparing the attributes of the creator to the attributes of the created. Such as the Christians WHO COMPARED CHRIST THE SON OF MARY TO ALLAH THE EXALTED, the Jews who compared Uzair to Allah, the polytheists who compared their idols to Allah. And as some sects compared the face of Allah with the Human face, Allah's hands to the human hand, His hearing to human hearing, and so on. (p. 27)

The author lists some of Allah's attributes and names:

Those are the attributes that are fixed constituents of Allah, constant parts of His very being. They include knowledge, LIFE, POWER, hearing, seeing, the face, the hands, speech, SOVEREIGNTY, majesty, exaltation, SELF SUFFICIENCY, mercy, wisdom. (p. 29)

The "One" means that Allah has no equal or likeness, that no person or thing enjoys the characteristics of perfection that are due to Allah alone. (p. 33)

In his commentary on this Surat, Ibn Qayyim said: "Surat al-Ikhlaas incorporates the Tawheed of faith and knowledge, as well as everything that should be confirmed of Allah. Oneness means the absolute negation of the very concept of association. As-Samad means Self-Sufficient and negates the existence of any offspring or parent, which is part of being Self-Sufficient. It negates the existence of any like or equal, which includes the rejection of any comparison, resemblance or similarity. Thus, this Surat confirms every perfection in Allah, negates any deficiency, rejects the existence of any like or equal in perfection to Him. It negates the very concept of Allah having any sort of associate. These principles are the aggregate sum of Tawheed which is based on both knowledge and faith. This Tawheed sets its adherents apart from all the sects that have sunk into misguidance and polytheism". (p. 35)

"Al-Haya al-Qayyum" "the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists", has confirmed to of His great names.

The Ever-Living: is He who has a continuous life perpetuity with no beginning or end. Allah is ascribed with a life that is self-sustaining. It has no external source, unlike the lives of creatures that have been granted to them by the Creator. As He was, together, with all His attributes, in pre-eternity, so will He remain throughout endless time...

These two names "the Ever Living, the One who sustains and protects all that exists" are among the greatest of Allah's beautiful names. Upon them the rest of His names are based and around them all their meanings revolve. Life requires all attributes of perfection, and any lacking of an attribute of perfection originates from the weakness of life. He has all perfection. The attribute of "the One Who sustains and protects all that exists" incorporates His perfect Self-Sufficient and His perfect Omnipotence. He does not need help from anybody by any means, and every creature depends on Allah's existence and management. (p. 36)

Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan write:

(A) Oneness of the Lordship of Allah; Tauhid-al-Rububiyyah: To believe there is only one Lord for all the universe, Who is the Creator, Organizer, Planner, Sustainer, and the Giver of security, etc., and that is Allah.

(B) Oneness of the worship of Allah; Tauhid-Uluhiyyah: To believe that none has the right to be worshiped (e.g., praying, invoking, asking for help from the unseen, swearing, offering sacrifice, giving charity, fasting, pilgrimage) but Allah.

(C) Oneness of the Names and Qualities of Allah: Tauhid Al-Asma' was-Sifat: To believe that:

We must not name or qualify Allah with what He or His messenger… has named or qualified Him;

None can be named or qualified with the Names and Qualifications of Allah; e.g. Al-Karim ...

(Translation of the Meanings of The Noble Qur'an, In the English Language A Summarized Version of At-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir with comments from Sahih Al-Bukhari, by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D. & Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan [King Fahd Complex For The Printing Of The Holy Qur'an, Madinah K.S.A.], Appendix II, p. 892, see also pp. 886-887; bold emphasis ours)

In light of the preceding statements, Badawi is in violation of Tauhid al-Asma wa Sifat since he has named and qualified Jesus with the names and qualifications of Allah. Since Badawi believes that Jesus is not God, he is guilty of making the creature resemble the Creator by ascribing Allah's eternal qualities to Christ.

That this is precisely what Badawi has done can be seen from the following event. We are told that early in Islamic history, one Sufi named Al-Hallaj (858-922 A.D.) made similar claims to Jesus by saying, "I am the Truth." In A.D. 922 Muslims branded him a heretic for this claim and crucified him. Muslims realized that Al-Hallaj's claim of being the Truth was the same as claiming to be God. Hence, for Jesus to claim to be both the Truth and the Life is equivalent to saying that he is God.

Badawi compounds the problem by claiming that all the prophets and messengers were the Way, the Truth and the Life, something that none of them ever claimed for themselves. Badawi is therefore guilty on three counts:

  1. Badawi is guilty for falsely attributing to God's prophets and messengers divine titles and attributes that these men never claimed. In so doing, Badawi indirectly accuses these men of violating God's unity. We therefore see how grievous a sin Badawi's attribution truly is.
  2. Badawi is guilty of deliberately misinterpreting the meaning of Jesus' words in order to avoid the obvious.
  3. Because Badawi denies that Jesus is God, and he believes that Jesus is not the Creator but only a creature, therefore by nevertheless agreeing with Jesus' claim in John 14:6, Badawi becomes guilty of committing shirk since he has indirectly attributed to the creature what could only be said of the Creator. Yet by agreeing that Jesus did say these things, Badawi is admitting that the creature has ascribed to himself qualities that are only true of the Creator.

Badawi may try to avoid the charge of shirk by claiming that he does not agree that Jesus ever uttered these words, something that he has indicated in his debates and lectures. Yet to claim that Jesus didn't utter these words doesn't save Badawi from the charges. First, Badawi would still be guilty of deliberately misinterpreting John 14:6. Second, Badawi would still be guilty of reading into the text his own Islamic presuppositions, as opposed to understanding the text within its immediate and greater historical, theological and cultural context. Third, for Badawi to even acknowledge the possibility that Jesus may have said these words and then claim that other messengers could also say the same thing still leaves him with a violation of God's absolute unity.

It seems that in his hastiness to avoid one problem, Badawi makes more problems for himself.

How Were the Old Testament Prophets Saved?

A common objection often brought up by Muslims centers on the eternal destiny of the OT prophets and messengers. If Jesus' death was necessary for salvation and if he is the only way to heaven doesn't this imply that all prophets and messengers before Christ went to hell? For instance, Badawi in his debate with Anis Shorrosh titled Divinity of Jesus—Muslim and Christian Perspective, stated:

"But what does that mean really. It means that all prophets before him were wrong because he is THE only way. It mean that the last prophet after him is no good because he is THE only way. That would even condemn Abraham himself, because Abraham was not a follower of Jesus, peace be upon him. Of course some people say, ‘No, no but he was living with the anticipation of Abraham (sic).’ It is a very, sort of, forced type of interpretation."

Far from being a forced interpretation, the wholehearted message of the Lord Jesus and his followers is that all of God's messengers and prophets lived in anticipation of the Messiah's coming.

The following are some of the many NT passages affirming that the OT prophets and messengers knew of the Gospel and hoped for the coming of the Messiah:

"‘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!’" John 8:56-58

This verse by itself is sufficient in refuting Badawi's false assertions and desperate attempts of denying the clear Christological significance of specific NT passages.

"But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it." Matthew 13:16-17

"He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself." Luke 24:25-27

"He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’ Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’" Luke 24:44-47

"Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’" John 1:45

"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." John 5:39-40

"But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?" John 5:45-47

"David said about him: ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ 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. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."’ Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts 2:25-36

"For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’ Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days.’" Acts 3:22-24

"All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." Acts 10:43

"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God-the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 1:1-4

"But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference," Romans 3:21-22

"Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

"The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith." Galatians 3:8-9

"Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith." Hebrews 4:1-2

"By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward." Hebrews 11:24-26

"Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things." 1 Peter 1:10-12

This shows that the Old Testament prophets and messengers were given revelation about the coming Messiah. It was their faith in the Messiah that saved them since they believed in God’s promise that he was going to send the Messiah to save them and everyone else who would believe in him. (see these related links for more info on OT messianic prophecy: [1], [2])

As far as Badawi’s comments regarding Muhammad being the last prophet is concerned, Badawi’s analysis is correct. Since Jesus is indeed the only way, this means that the alleged last prophet after him is of no use seeing that there was no need for him. In fact, since Muhammad rejected the true Jesus of history for a Jesus of his own imagination Muhammad falls under the judgment of the risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. See these related articles for more details: Jesus or Muhammad: Who is God's True Seal of Prophethood?, Jesus As The Way, The Truth, And The Life

This concludes our rebuttal. In the service of our risen Lord and eternal Savior forever, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High God. Amen. Come Lord Jesus. We love you forever.


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