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

"Finality of Prophethood"


Dr. Badawi continues this series by reducing all of the Prophets to a manageable number and then squeezing them into a one-dimensional mold. He then attempts to convince us that Muhammad was the last Prophet sent by God, without first convincing us that Muhammad was a Prophet in the first place.

Host: We have to define the main missions of a Prophet.

Jamal Badawi: On word : Islam, submitting to the will of God and accepting his guidance and all have done this. There are 4 points:

1. Prophets come to help us understand God and his attributes. Provide clarity, he cannot get mixed up with philosophy. Sura 21:25:

Not a messenger did We send before thee without this inspiration sent by Us to him: that there is no god but I; therefore worship and serve Me.

Sura 11 has stories about different Prophets who all said the same words. The Qur'an says that you shun false gods Sura 16:36:

For We assuredly sent amongst every People a messenger, (with the Command), "Serve Allah, and eschew Evil": of the People were some whom Allah guided, and some on whom error became inevitably (established). So travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who denied (the Truth).

God sent Prophets to the earth with various missions. Some Prophets were sent to instruct us in the Will of God, others were sent to warn Israel, and all of the Prophets point to the fulfillment of God's plan of redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Muhammad did none of these, in fact, he contradicted the teachings of the Prophets of God on many issues. That, along with Muhammad's lack of knowledge concerning the Prophets of God and their teachings, is why Dr. Badawi, and the Qur'an, must reduce these great men to such one dimensional characters.

2. To communicate to us the information of the unseen, the future, the destiny of the earth, judgement. Sura 27:26-27:

"Allah!- there is no god but He!- Lord of the Throne Supreme!" (Solomon) said: "Soon shall we see whether thou hast told the truth or lied!

Prophets tell us about the future through the gift of prophecy. Without this gift, and a clear demonstration of the gift of prophecy, one cannot be considered a Prophet. Muhammad gave us no prophecies, at least none that came true.

3. Prophets show us the way, tells us how to achieve salvation, how to please God. Sura 2:13:

When it is said to them: "Believe as the others believe:" They say: "Shall we believe as the fools believe?" Nay, of a surety they are the fools, but they do not know.

This passage is nothing more than insults. Did Muhammad show us the way to heaven? Hadith Bukhari Volume 8, Book 76, Number 481 tells us:

Narrated Sahl bin Sa'd:

Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him."

It is amazing that Muhammad, a mortal human, could guarantee anyone entry into heaven!

The Islamic approach to guidance is more than preaching, the Prophets must exemplify what they are preaching. They also help people improve. Sura 3:164:

Allah did confer a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a messenger from among themselves, rehearsing unto them the Signs of Allah, sanctifying them, and instructing them in Scripture and Wisdom, while, before that, they had been in manifest error.

I wonder how Dr. Badawi would explain Bukhari who tells:

Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:

Allah's Apostle said, "Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?" Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, "O Allah's Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?" The Prophet said, "Yes," Muhammad bin Maslama said, "Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab). "The Prophet said, "You may say it." .......

Was Muhammad guiding his follows and leading by a Godly example when he ordered his companions to murder and lie?

4. A Prophet must participate in the struggle to establish justice on earth, physically fighting the forces of evil and exploitation. Sura 57:25:

We sent aforetime our messengers with Clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of Right and Wrong), that men may stand forth in justice; and We sent down Iron, in which is (material for) mighty war, as well as many benefits for mankind, that Allah may test who it is that will help, Unseen, Him and His messengers: For Allah is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might (and able to enforce His Will).

These are the true fulfilment of the mission of God.

Did Muhammad fight for justice, or for himself? In addition to Bukhari's account cited above, in which Muhammad commands his followers to lie to and murder Al-Ashraf who has "hurt Allah and His Apostle", there are other examples of the injustice meted out by Muhammad and his followers. Dr. Badawi , do you believe that it is moral to send someone to lie, to kill another person in cold blood, and then to hide behind God? Also, how can a man hurt God?

Sadly, this case was not an isolated incident. Muhammad also ordered the execution of Abu 'Afak , a man who was reported to be 120 years old, simply because he questioned Muhammad! Another critic, who Muhammad had murdered, was a woman named Asma' Bint Marwan - a mother of five small children! Muhammad's henchmen killed her in her sleep, with her children in bed with her and while her baby was suckling. How could a "Prophet" of a merciful and forgiving God commit such an act? It is interesting to note that after Asma' Bint Marwan was murdered, Muhammad said "Two goats won't butt their head about her", or in other words, no one will care about her death except her children. Our Muslim friends tell us that angels helped Muhammad at the Battle of Badr, yet Muhammad resorted to murder to silence critics who could do him no harm - a 120 year old man and a woman with 5 children!

Host: Does Islam view Prophets the same or does it differentiate?

Jamal Badawi: The basic rule is that if we are trying to belittle a Prophet in a hierarchy,

Sura 2:136:

Say ye: "We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam)."

Within the rule of brother hood of all Prophets, some had a better role in the uplifting of their people Sura 2:253:

Those messengers We endowed with gifts, some above others: To one of them Allah spoke; others He raised to degrees (of honour); to Jesus the son of Mary We gave clear (Signs), and strengthened him with the holy spirit. If Allah had so willed, succeeding generations would not have fought among each other, after clear (Signs) had come to them, but they (chose) to wrangle, some believing and others rejecting. If Allah had so willed, they would not have fought each other; but Allah Fulfilleth His plan.

Term resolute Prophets are used Sura 46:55

Therefore patiently persevere, as did (all) messengers of inflexible purpose; and be in no haste about the (Unbelievers). On the Day that they see the (Punishment) promised them, (it will be) as if they had not tarried more than an hour in a single day. (Thine but) to proclaim the Message: but shall any be destroyed except those who transgress?

Many believe that these are the five Prophets of Sura 33:7. The distinction should not be important we should regard them as brotherhood.

Islam does not honor the Prophets when it ignores their teachings in exchange for the Qur'an's one-dimensional portrayal of these great men. There is, in fact, a hierarchy of Prophets. For example, Sura 16:36 says:

For We assuredly sent amongst every People a messenger, (with the Command), "Serve Allah, and eschew Evil": of the People were some whom Allah guided, and some on whom error became inevitably (established). So travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who denied (the Truth).

BUT, this Sura also tells us:

"And [remember] the day [of judgment] when We shall send forth in every nation a witness upon them from among themselves, and We shall bring you [O Muhammad] as a witness over these [people]. And We have sent down upon you the Book (the Qur'an), as an exposition of all things, a guidance, a mercy, and glad tidings for those who submitted themselves [Literally: Those who became 'Muslims']" Sura 16:89

So, in other words, Muhammad is the main witness and the Qur'an is the standard by which all will be judged at the final judgment. Therefore, Muhammad and the Qur'an are of infinitely greater importance than the "Messengers", "prophets", or "books" of the other tribes and nations since only "those who became Muslims" will obtain God's mercy. So much for Badawi's concept of the "Brotherhood of the Prophets"!

Host: Some sceptics will ask why is the final revelation to Muhammad?

Jamal Badawi: The logic of Islam explains this. The cornerstone is the belief in monotheism. The Qur'an says that we all descend from Adam, there is one humanity, one universe. We have one law that God has established in nature. It follows from all of this oneness, that there should be a oneness of Prophethood and there is a finality. Prophets were sent one after the other, people change and added the own interpretation, so other Prophets had to come. Some claimed to follow there own Prophets so it follows that one had to come as a final Prophet, whose revelation will not be lost or changed. The Qur'an is the only scripture written down from the mouth of the Prophet. The Prophet needed to have a scope for the entire humanity, whose message is valid for all times to come.

We have a problem with this analysis. We cannot judge the revelations of earlier Prophets according to the criteria given to us by someone who now claims to be a Prophet. On the contrary, we must judge the one who claims to a Prophet according to the teachings established by the earlier Prophets. Even in the Bible, the later prophets are judged on the basis of the established revelation of the Prophets. We cannot judge the former by the latter.

The problem with the Qur'an is that it says that it originates from the same source as the revelations to Moses, David, and Jesus. The Qur'an appeals to us to believe its message because it is in the same tradition as the Old and New Testaments and that it is in harmony with the messages of these scriptures. This is the reason Muhammad expected to be believed as a Prophet. Therefore, we must measure the Qur'an by its own claim:

Sura 5:49-50 tells Christians:

And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein is guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear God. Let the People of the Gospel judge by what God has revealed therein.

When we compare the contradictions between the Qur'an and the Bible, we do in fact judge the Qur'an by what God has revealed in the Old and New Testaments. This is why I to reject the Qur'an - because it contradicts the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Host: Why at this point in history does finality appear as Muhammad?

Jamal Badawi: No Prophet prior to Muhammad said his message was the last. In the Bible, there are always talking about another to come. Only Islam claims this. Selection of the time is done by God. There are 4 points:

1. Means of transportation/communication : it was very difficult in the past. From the 7th century on, movement became greater.

Not necessarily, transportation moved, mostly, on the roads of the Roman Empire which existed long before Muhammad.

2. Means of writing and preservation. It was not possible for the previous Prophets to record their words intact.

This is not true. There are codices of the Gospels which predate Muhammad by centuries. Also, if this is your argument, why are there no copies of the Qur'an which date before the 9th century? In fact, why did Muhammad, if he believed the Qur'an to be the Word of God, not have the Qur'an written down in his lifetime?

3. What remained of other Prophets were mixed up with philosophy and mythology, so we do not know their exact words.

Do we honestly believe that the Qur'an today is exactly what Muhammad recited? What about the missing verses? Muhammad's companions claimed that passages were omitted from Uthman's Codice including the verse on suckling, the Valley of riches , and the verse on stoning

4. The stage of maturity of humanity, Prophets would come with modified messages and it made more sense when a universal message could be given.

With Muhammad, the message given was preserved intact, it has not been mixed up there are no words of Muhammad, within a few years after his death it reached much of the world.

This is a weak argument. Muhammad's Prophethood claims evolved over time. For example, in Sura 13:7, we are told:

"(Mohammed) You are only a Warner and for every nation there is a guide."

and in Sura 14:4:

"And we have sent no messenger but with the language of his people, that he might make (the message) clear for them."

Sura 43:3 tells us:

"Verily, We made it a Quran in Arabic so that you may be able to understand"

To say that Muhammad is a universal Prophet with a universal message goes well beyond what the Qur'an tells us in these passages.

Host: Some ask if the door of guidance closed, then is there no more guidance?

Jamal Badawi: This mixes Prophets and reformers. Islam is a broad guidance which cannot be changed. It is possible to be inspired, but once revelation is preserved, they do not need another Prophet for the details. Since Muhammad made the claim that he was the last Prophet, no others came with a comparable message.

We do not need any additional Prophets. When Jesus said It is finished, our salvation was won through His blood. Therefore, since Jesus paid the price for our sins, we no longer need any Prophets or revelations.

Host: Can you give us an example from the Qur'an which testifies to the finality of Muhammad?

Jamal Badawi: Sura 33:40:

Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things.

Sura 7:158:

Say: "O men! I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of Allah, to Whom belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth: there is no god but He: it is He That giveth both life and death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Unlettered Prophet, who believeth in Allah and His words: follow him that (so) ye may be guided."

Sura 5:3:

.....This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, Allah is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

Once again, this is the circular reasoning: Dr. Badawi is attempting to prove the Prophethood of Muhammad by the Qur'an and then attempts to prove the truth of the Qur'an by Muhammad's alleged Prophethood. The first fact that we must prove is that Muhammad is a Prophet, Dr. Badawi has not done this.

Andrew Vargo

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