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
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!
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:
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:
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:
According toHadith Bukhari Volume 7, Book 71, Number 660:
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.
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:
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?
True, the gift of prophecy, which defines Prophethood, is a gift from God.
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!
God is not the One to be perceived, admired, or loved?
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'
Jesus replied: "`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
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:
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:
This is nothing new Sura 4 :163:
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:
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:
Issue 2: God spoke directly to Moses from the middle of the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-10). In fact, the Qur'an says:
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?:
Is this God speaking?
Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"
Answering Islam Home Page