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

"Revelation and Characteristics of Prophets"


In this segment, Dr. Badawi begins to explain the concept of revelation and Prophets from the Islamic perspective. When we look a little closer at his arguments, we find that there are many philosophical problems with Badawi's, as well as Muhammad's, claims.

Host: Can you tell us more about Gabriel being used as an intermediary?

Jamal Badawi: There are two forms about Gabriel coming to Muhammad:

1. In human form, a man teaching him and dictating. This is reported in Sura 96:1-5:

Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created- Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood: Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,- He Who taught (the use of) the pen,- Taught man that which he knew not.

This was the first time when Muhammad was in a cave at Hira, and told Muhammad to read, and Muhammad was illiterate. We find the Qur'an says proclaim. Alaqa means something that hangs and mistakes where made calling it a clot, but now we known that the eggs hangs in the wall of the uterus, this is amazing that this was known 1400 years ago, showing that Muhammad could not have made this up.

There are several problems in this introduction.

1. If Islam is the only religion accepted by God and Muhammad is the last Prophet, why did God send Gabriel to speak to Muhammad, why didn't God speak directly as He did to Moses?

2. Gabriel did indeed appear to others throughout history, and his appearances were never intended to frighten anyone. Gabriel appeared to three people in the Bible:


While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man. And I heard a man's voice from the Ulai calling, "Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision." (Daniel 8:16-18).


When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. (Luke 1:12-13).


The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. (Luke 1:29-30).

Clearly, Gabriel did not want to frighten anyone, in fact, he comforted them by telling them not to be afraid. But, if we believe the Traditions, Gabriel nearly frightened Muhammad to death. Why would Gabriel do this to Muhammad? Also, according to some Traditions, Muhammad thought that the spirit in the cave was a Jinn! How did Muhammad test this spirit? Ibn Hesham tells us:

"Would you please tell me when the spirit comes to you?" When Muhammad told her of the spirit's arrival, Khadija said "Muhammad, sit on my left thigh." Muhammad sat on her left thigh. "Do you see the spirit?" she asked. "Yes." "Then sit on my right thigh." Muhammad sat on her right thigh. "Do you see the spirit?" she asked. "Yes," he answered. "Then sit on my lap." Muhammad sat on her lap. "Do you see the spirit?" she asked. "Yes," he answered. Khadija uncovered a feminine part of her body while Muhammad was sitting on her lap. "Do you see the spirit?" "No," he answered. Then Khadija said, "Muhammad, that spirit is an angel, not a devil" (Ibn Hesham, part 2, pages 74, 75).

Is this any way to test a spirit?

3. Why would Gabriel order Muhammad to read if Muhammad were illiterate? Gabriel would have known that Muhammad was illiterate and even if he did not know this, Muhammad told him that he could not read!

4. Alaqa has a variety on meanings, from blood clot to a pully that hangs over a well. It is hardly a miracle that the people of Muhammad's day knew that a developing embryo and fetus "clings" to the wall of the uterus. Incidentally, this passage contradicts Sura 38:71,72:

Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I am about to create man from clay. When I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in prostration unto him".

For more about the Qur’an and embryology please read this article.

One tradition tells us that Gabriel came to Muhammad and his companions in the form of a man and asked Muhammad what is the definition of Islam and then the Prophet told people that Gabriel came to teach you.

Yes, and that same tradition tells us that Muhammad told his companions that the man was Gabriel after the man left and could not be questioned!

2. The more common form is that Gabriel came without being seen and dictated to the Prophet. This was not secret, many companions noted this and this is why the Qur'an was preserved because people were there when Muhammad received it.

Dr. Badawi is right, these were not secret! In fact, 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 received revelations in this way! Can you imagine the true Prophets of God such as Jesus, John the Baptist, Moses, or Daniel going through such theatrics?

Once again, Dr. Badawi makes the claim that the Qur’an is perfectly preserved. However, this is not true. Muhammad's companions claimed that passages were omitted from Uthman's Codex including the verse on suckling, the Valley of riches , and the verse on stoning

Host: How did the companions know that they saw Gabriel?

Jamal Badawi: There was no physical sight, the Prophet said that. When Muhammad started revealing the Qur'an, he concentrated and perspired greatly, he had shivers while under this state - this was one indication. The second was that while under that state he uttered the verses which they memorized from his mouth. The Qur'an is God speaking, it is not a story. It says all the believe follow the messenger. The third is the statement of the Prophet who said that when Gabriel comes to him he hears something like a bell and I hear the dictation.

Once again, it is very odd that Muhammad perspired, had the shivers and heard bells - no other Prophets had this experience. Second, whether the Qur'an is the Word of God is a completely different issue that I will address in further segments.

Host: What about the idea of Muhammad being in a epileptic seizure?

Jamal Badawi: This used to be a popular theory and some today hold this. We know from doctors that epilepsy is an interruption of the normal function of the brain and the person is not totally conscious and they would utter meaningless things and would not remember anything. Muhammad remembered everything and the Qur'an is available today in the same language and words that the Prophet uttered and the Qur'an is not rambling, it is poetic. If the people who raised this issue were atheists, we can accept their motives. What bothers me is that the co called scholars who say this are confessed jews or Christians who base their beliefs of revelations, this is double standards. No Jew or Christian would say that the Torah is the product of epilepsy, but with the last Prophet Muhammad, they claim that it is not the revelation of God. If God is capable of conveying messages, then all Prophets are epileptic or all have received revelations from God - it is as simple as that.

I never believed in the epilepsy theory either. The fact the Muhammad's purported revelations are still in Arabic does not prove that they are divine. I do not consider any portion of the Old Testament or New Testament a product of epilepsy. I also do not consider the Qur'an the Word of God since it contradicts the teachings of God's Prophets.

Host: If divine inspiration is confined to a select few, why is this and why is Muhammad considered the last Prophet?

Jamal Badawi: The Qur'an calls revelation way in a general sense where God guides creatures, and the special meaning is the conveying scriptures. Inspiring creatures is in Sura 16:68:

And thy Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men's) habitations;

It is also used in guiding those that are not Prophets Sura 5:114:

Said Jesus the son of Mary: "O Allah our Lord! Send us from heaven a table set (with viands), that there may be for us - for the first and the last of us - a solemn festival and a sign from thee; and provide for our sustenance, for thou art the best Sustainer (of our needs)."

The mother of Moses was inspired. In Sura 41:12 it is used as commanding and in 8:11 informing, 19:10 as a sign. The special meaning is limited to select messengers.

There is no argument that God has inspired men and women throughout history. The key issue is that we must test the claims of those who tell us that God has given them a revelation. We cannot believe them on their word alone.

Host: What is a Prophet in Islamic terms?

Jamal Badawi: A Prophet is a select human to carry God's message and to be a model. The problem are two extremes: there are two in the Bible, to deify a pious Prophet to the level of Godhood (Jesus), the other extreme is to accuse others of cardinal sins. Prophets are humans, there is nothing between human and divine, The Qur'an says Sura 21:7

Before thee, also, the messengers We sent were but men, to whom We granted inspiration: If ye realise this not, ask of those who possess the Message.

Sura 3:59 says of Jesus

The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was.

Sura 64:6

That was because there came to them messengers with Clear Signs, but they said: "Shall (mere) human beings direct us?" So they rejected (the Message) and turned away. But Allah can do without (them): and Allah is free of all needs, worthy of all praise.

People rejected the Prophets. The Qur'an responds to the thought that it is strange that God would reveal his message to a normal human being in Sura 10:2

Is it a matter of wonderment to men that We have sent Our inspiration to a man from among themselves?- that he should warn mankind (of their danger), and give the good news to the Believers that they have before their Lord the lofty rank of truth. (But) say the Unbelievers: "This is indeed an evident sorcerer!"

To the issue of those who reject the Prophethood of Muhammad while they accept the other Prophets, the Qur'an says in Sura 6:91

No just estimate of Allah do they make when they say: "Nothing doth Allah send down to man (by way of revelation)" Say: "Who then sent down the Book which Moses brought?- a light and guidance to man: But ye make it into (separate) sheets for show, while ye conceal much (of its contents): therein were ye taught that which ye knew not- neither ye nor your fathers." Say: "Allah (sent it down)": Then leave them to plunge in vain discourse and trifling.

This is a clear fallacy of a false analogy. As a Christian, I do respect the Prophets of God. This, however, does not compel me to consider Muhammad a Prophet because he does not pass the Biblical test for Prophethood. One is not a Prophet simply based on their own claims.

Host: Can you give us some examples from the Qur'an are Prophets human or superhuman?

Jamal Badawi: I can give examples of things that humans do like eating and drinking.

Sura 25:20

Were it not for the grace and mercy of Allah on you, and that Allah is full of kindness and mercy, (ye would be ruined indeed).

Prophets got married and had children except a few like Jesus and John the Baptist. Sura 13:38

We did send messengers before thee, and appointed for them wives and children: and it was never the part of a messenger to bring a sign except as Allah permitted (or commanded). For each period is a Book (revealed).

Prophets may suffer Sura 26:18

(Pharaoh) said: "Did we not cherish thee as a child among us, and didst thou not stay in our midst many years of thy life?

Sura 21:83

And (remember) Job, when He cried to his Lord, "Truly distress has seized me, but Thou art the Most Merciful of those that are merciful."

Prophets can be killed Sura 2:87

We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of messengers; We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit. Is it that whenever there comes to you a messenger with what ye yourselves desire not, ye are puffed up with pride?- Some ye called impostors, and others ye slay!

Prophets do not control their destinies. Sura 7:188

Say: "I have no power over any good or harm to myself except as Allah willeth. If I had knowledge of the unseen, I should have multiplied all good, and no evil should have touched me: I am but a warner, and a bringer of glad tidings to those who have faith."

The problem which Dr. Badawi has avoided to this point is: how do we determine if someone is a true Prophet of God? Do we simply take them at their word? If this is the case, then we have many people throughout history, as well as today, who claim to have messages from God! Fortunately, God gives us a criterion to test the claims of those who claim to be Prophets:

"When a prophet speaks in the Name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the Lord has not spoken, the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him.". (Deuteronomy 18:21-22)

The Bible also warns us against false Prophets:

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. (2 Peter 2:1)

The fact of the matter is, my dear Muslim brothers and sisters, is that Muhammad gave us no prophecies which came true. He does not pass God's test as a Prophet. We will discuss some the issues surrounding the concept of prophecy in the next segments.

Andrew Vargo

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