Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"

"Need for Prophets"


This is the first segment of a 10 part series on Prophethood. Muslims and Christians have very different definitions of what it means to be a Prophet. We also have different beliefs about the nature of Prophets - that is, Christians believe that Prophets are as human as the rest of us and do sin. This first segment addresses the need for Prophets

Host: Some people might raise the facetious question why should need prophets for guidance instead of our brains or science?

Jamal Badawi: There are 4 basic reasons why science cannot provide the answers:

1. Science describes facts, scientific law, which is used to predict. Science depends on individual perceptions and there are biases. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is not foolproof or final.

2. Even if our perception is accurate, science cannot explain the totality of life.

3. Science focuses on physical phenomena, material is not higher reality or whole reality. Science cannot prescribe rules or explain the ultimate aim of nature, where did we come from, etc.

4. Science cannot achieve human happiness or give us a sense of purpose. This leads to anxiety and the collapse of civilization. Science should not be worshiped as God.

For the most part, I agree. God can be known, to some extent, in the wonderful order of His creation as well as the conscience that dwells in each of us. However, God's Prophets reveal His Words to us. The critical question that we must ask is : How can we determine if someone is really a Prophet? Many people throughout history have made this claim, and many claim to be Prophets today.

An interesting side issue is that Dr. Badawi stresses the need for Prophets, for our understanding of God, over science and human reason. However, in his series "Jesus : Beloved Messenger of Allah", Badawi had 7 segments in which he used the teachings of the Unitarians to attack orthodox Christian beliefs. The Unitarians, by contrast, stress human reason over Prophethood as a means to understand God. As a graduate student, I am amazed [and disappointed] that a trained academic and Professor selects the conclusions of others on an ad hoc basis without examining the premises on which they are constructed!

Host: What about guidance through mystical experience?

Jamal Badawi: We have to distinguish between mystical experience and divine revelation. There are six differences:

1. You cannot transfer a mystical experience to another person. A Prophet's revelation is to be communicated to his people. Sura 5:70:

We took the covenant of the Children of Israel and sent them messengers, every time, there came to them a messenger with what they themselves desired not - some (of these) they called impostors, and some they (go so far as to) slay.

2. The mystical experience is highly individualized. That experience depends on the bias of the person. Each person can claim that theirs is the ultimate. Sura 4:64:

We sent not a messenger, but to be obeyed, in accordance with the will of Allah. If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful.

It is true that one can only tell others of a mystical experience and not convey the actual experience to another person. Muhammad had some very interesting mystical [occult] experiences which caste serious doubts on his claims of Prophethood.

Muhammad, at one point in his life, believed that a magic spell had been caste on him.

Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 490 where Aisha tells us:

Magic was worked on the Prophet so that he began to fancy that he was doing a thing which he was not actually doing. One day he invoked (Allah) for a long period and then said, "I feel that Allah has inspired me as how to cure myself. Two persons came to me (in my dream) and sat, one by my head and the other by my feet. One of them asked the other, "What is the ailment of this man?" The other replied, 'He has been bewitched" The first asked, 'Who has bewitched him?' The other replied, 'Lubaid bin Al-A'sam.' The first one asked, 'What material has he used?' The other replied, 'A comb, the hair gathered on it, and the outer skin of the pollen of the male date-palm.' The first asked, 'Where is that?' The other replied, 'It is in the well of Dharwan.'" So, the Prophet went out towards the well and then returned and said to me on his return, "Its date-palms (the date-palms near the well) are like the heads of the devils." I asked, "Did you take out those things with which the magic was worked?" He said, "No, for I have been cured by Allah and I am afraid that this action may spread evil amongst the people." Later on the well was filled up with earth.

According toHadith Bukhari Volume 7, Book 71, Number 660:

Narrated Aisha:

Magic was worked on Allah's Apostle so that he used to think that he had sexual relations with his wives while he actually had not (Sufyan said: That is the hardest kind of magic as it has such an effect)........

Muhammad believed that he was having sex with his wives, while he actually did not have sex with them, for nearly one year! ("The Life of Muhammad", by A. Guillaume, Oxford University Press).

If Muhammad could be charmed, or made to believe that he had been charmed, who knows what he could have said under the influence of the "magic" used by his opponents - especially when he imagined himself doing something that he was not doing - even having sex with his wives! Which of his teachings are from God (assuming for a moment that any are from God) and which are the result of these magic spells? For more on how Muhammad was affected by "Magic Spells", please read Sura 113 and 114.

3. The is a possibility of extremism and error if we depend on mysticism, that is why there are so many cults. Divine revelation must be free from error. The Prophet cannot error is honestly transmitting God's message. Any error in preservation, people can add things, and not having the original revelation. The only scripture that is intact, written in the life of the Prophet is the Qur'an.

The first issue here is extremism and error. Muhammad's problems with the occult became very serious in the case of the "Satanic Verses" (omitted from Sura 53:19-20)

At one point in time, Muhammad admitted that Satan put words in his mouth to compromise with idol worship. Later Muhammad said that God showed him he was wrong, and the Quranic recital was changed.

Ibn Sa'd also records the compromise:

The point is this, Muhammad admitted to being deceived by Satan to engage in idol worship. Although Muhammad later realized the ramifications of what he had done, and changed his mind, this does not mitigate the fact that he was indeed tricked by Satan, and could not distinguish between words from God and words from Satan.(Volume 1, page 237)

If Muhammad was a Prophet of God, why could he not distinguish between the words of God and the words of Satan? This make Muhammad's entire testimony very suspect, to say the least.

Also, if the Qur'an is "intact", as Dr. Badawi claims, can he tell us what happened to the verse on suckling, the Valley of riches, and the verse on stoning?

4. Mystical experience is attained by personal effort. Prophethood is not achieved by personal effort, it is a gift from God.

True, the gift of prophecy, which defines Prophethood, is a gift from God.

5. Mystical experience is passive and contemplative, in a trance, one would not want to come back because it is the ultimate goal in life. Divine revelation, a Prophet is never passive, he wants to get back to life and tach people and even to fight against evil.

Trances and mystical experiences played a very important role in Muhammad's claim to Prophethood. Hadith Bukhari and Muslim tell us that when Muhammad was inspired, he heard bells, fell down to the ground, turned red, sweated profusely, made moaning noises, and spit up. No Prophet of God, found in the Bible, ever underwent such theatrics!

6. God is not the one to be perceived, admired, or loved, God for the Prophet is the one who should be recognized as Lord and one in whose hands is the right to command and guide, and submission are due.

God is not the One to be perceived, admired, or loved?

Deuteronomy 6:5:

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Mark 12:30:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'

Matthew 22:37:

Jesus replied: "`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'

Host: What does revelation mean or connote?

Jamal Badawi: It is a difficult definition. Revelation is a sort of communication between God and his Prophets. An analogy can be the communication process as humans. There are four elements in the communications process:

1. Sender

2. Receiver

3. Message

4. Channels that it is communicated

In faith, the sender is God as the ultimate source of guidance. The receiver is more that a human being - a Prophet who is the most righteous person. The message covers a wide variety of subjects but covers the subject of the unseen. It also provide laws. The channel, no speculation is useful, there are 3 channels Sura 42:51:

It is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil, or by the sending of a messenger to reveal, with Allah's permission, what Allah wills: for He is Most High, Most Wise. Notice that there is no possibility that God can talk to us directly. The Prophet is to inspire knowledge. God did not talk to Moses directly and in Miraj God addressed Muhammad indirectly. The third is that God can send a messenger, not a human messenger, but an angel. Gabriel is the angel of revelation and the Qur'an says Sura 22:75:

Allah chooses messengers from angels and from men for Allah is He Who hears and sees (all things).

This is nothing new Sura 4 :163:

We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms.

All three forms were used by Muhammad. The Qur'an is verbatim the Word of God.

Issue 1: Prophets do indeed sin. Prophets are all human beings and all, except Jesus, committed sins. This un-Biblical and un-Qur'anic doctrine, which is known as Isma will be discussed in later segments. Was Muhammad without sin Dr Badawi? Sura 48:2 says:

"That Allah may forgive thee of thy sin that which is past and that which is to come, and may perfect His favor unto thee, and may guide thee on a right path."

Not only did Muhammad sin in the past, God knew that he would sin in the future!

In fairness to Muhammad, he never claimed that he was without sin. In fact, Muhammad once prayed:

"So forgive the sins which I have done in the past or will do in the future, and also those (sins) which I did in secret or in public, and that which You know better than I. None has the right to be worshipped but you". (al-Bukhari, Vol. 9, p. 403)

Issue 2: God spoke directly to Moses from the middle of the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-10). In fact, the Qur'an says:

And to Moses Allah spoke direct. (Sura 4:164)

Issue 3: The Qur'an is verbatim the Word of God?

I do not believe that the Qur'an is the Word of God and my reasons will be given throughout this series. However, if we assume that the Qur'an is composed of only the purported Words of God, how do we explain Sura 27:92?:

For me, I have been commanded to serve the Lord of this city, Him Who has sanctified it and to Whom (belong) all things: and I am commanded to be of those who bow in Islam to Allah's Will,-

Is this God speaking?

Andrew Vargo

Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"
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