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

Comparative Christology II : The Qur'an and Deification


In this segment, Dr. Badawi attempts to deny the crucifixion of Jesus. He gives a number of passages from the Qur’an which, when they are considered together, do not provide a consistent account of what happened to Jesus. Once again, I have infinitely greater faith in the accounts of those who followed Jesus than I have in a man who recounted apocryphal tales many centuries later.

Host: I would like to ask you to explain the main reason why there are so many erroneous explanations suggested by Christian writers?

Jamal Badawi: I don't claim that I have read all, or even most of that literature, I have read some Orientalist and Christian missionaries, in Muslim countries. And by reading what they have said and trying to analyze it, I find that there are a number of reasons and a number of categories of errors.

I would like to ask Dr. Badawi why Muslim apologists (including Badawi) give so many erroneous explanations of Christianity? We are now given four errors that Badawi claims are made by Christian authors. Please keep these in mind while we examine Dr. Badawi's writings.

First, there are sometime fictitious explanations referring to saying that this is in the Qur'an, but when you check in the Qur'an you don't find it anywhere.

Second, there are problems with misquotation, they say something but the quotation says something different, than is being implied.

Thirdly, there is a problem with partial quotations in a way of stopping in the middle which changes the meaning.

The forth type of error is to make claims or statements without quoting the specific references in the Qur'an, just giving the general reference to the Qur'an, the text, we find that the claim is not really substantiated. The fifth type of error is the Helenization of the language of the Qur'an

Now Dr. Badawi will go on ad nauseam about a Christian publication which discusses Jesus in the Qur'an. I have not read this book, nor have I been able to find a copy at the time of this writing, therefore, I can neither defend nor refute what this book says. I am not sure why any Christian would look in the Qur'an for the teachings of Jesus. If anyone is interested in the life and teachings of Jesus, I recommend that they go to the Bible, which is the Word of God, instead of the Qur'an. It also must be noted that many of Dr. Badawi's complaints against this Christian writer can also be applied to many Muslim apologists including Badawi.

Host: Maybe you could give us an example of the first problem, where the passage does not exist in the Qur'an?

Jamal Badawi: This is something that struck me and I would not believe it unless I saw it with my own eyes. I have seen an article that was distributed recently when I was giving a lecture at MIT and the title of the article was "The Significance of Jesus Christ in Islam", it was written by Elvin Gill, it was published in a publication called Asia. Identified as the national director of the campus crusade for Christ and it says that it is condensed from his book "Christ in Islam". And he says and I am quoting "According to Sura Yasin and Mary, of the Qur'an, Jesus is the only one who can advise God concerning the fate of each individual on the day of judgement". The chapter that he refers to Sura 36, I went through the entire chapter several times and there is absolutely no verse in the whole chapter that had anything to do with Jesus. And then we went to the second Sura he referred to without giving a verse number, there is no single verse in the Sura which refers in an indirect or direct way that Jesus is the only one to advise God in the day of judgement about the fate of every human being. It is difficult to explain why would a responsible writer like that write something like this, did he even read the Qur'an or the Suras that he made reference to? To make a fictitious quotation that does not exist in another scripture.

Host: How about misquotations now?

Jamal Badawi: In the same reference, but this provides a clearer example, it also says that the Qur'an refers to Jesus as "above all in this world and in the world to come" this time he gives the Sura and verse number Sura 3:45. If you actually refer to that text, you find that it doesn't say that at all, it simply describes Jesus as held in honor in this world and the hereafter in the company of those who are near to God. It is obvious by referring to the text, the big difference between what the Qur'an says and what the author quotes and puts between brackets. The text of the verse aside from being different, says that Jesus is among those who are near to God meaning that there are others who are given that description.

If you would like to view an example of a Muslim who misquotes the Bible please read Dr. Norlain Dindang Mababaya's God: Is not the Author of Confusion.

Host: Is there evidence from the Qur'an if it is available.

Jamal Badawi: Yes it is available, there are very nice words here which are used to refer to Jesus, meaning honored and the very same word was used to refer to the prophet Moses in Sura 43:69, another term used to describe Jesus is not unique to Jesus because it says that is in the company of those who are close to Allah. The word close to God is used to refer to angels in Sura 4:172, to other humans like Moses in Sura 19:52, it is even to refer to others than angels and prophets, it refers to pious people Sura 56:11, 82:21-28. The point that I am trying to make is that this is not a misinterpretation, it is a misquotation. And that is not the only one, I saw a publication called "Jesus in the Qur'an and the Bible" on page 7 it says "Jesus Christ is the Word of God, God's revelation of himself to us" referring to Sura 3:45. If you read this, it simply says the angels said:

Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah;

This once again is not a problem of translation but of misquotation.

Host: Can you show us other types of errors that you mentioned, where only partial quotations?

Jamal Badawi: First of all, I would like to make a comment about partial quotation, what it means, because we know that a writer does not always have to quote everything in full, he chooses something that relates to the topic and that is legitimate in general. What I meant here as an error in a form of partial quotation is when you break the verse or the saying of the prophet in such a way that it changes the meaning altogether, you get a totally different meaning than when you read the complete passage. An example of that in the writings of Christian missionaries is the same publication that refers to Jesus in the Qur'an and the Bible, and he makes a reference to a saying of the prophet Muhammad in Bukhari and he quotes "the prophet Muhammad said in his in whose my soul is, Jesus the son of Mary will soon descend among you [the Muslims] and be a jsut ruler" and then he stops there. Then the writer concludes on page 5 "No other prophets before or after Jesus Christ is mentioned in the Qur'an to fulfil the above two functions, to rule and judge". What is obvious here in the attempt of the writer is to say that Jesus was divine. I referred to that saying and discovered that he omitted two important statements which would contradict what he was trying to prove. The statement that he did not quote which would complete the saying "Then he [Jesus] will break the cross and kill the swine". The elimination of that from the prophetic saying is very serious, that the first task of Jesus is to express his displeasure at those who deified him. But in addition to this omission, it is noted that it says Jesus the son of Mary, not the son of God, also his statement that no prophet before or after Jesus fulfilled or will fulfill the judge and ruler is erroneous because Jews, Christians, and Muslims all believe that there are many prophets in the past who were judges and rulers. David and Solomon were judges and rulers, Sura 21:78, Moses also, Muhammad was a ruler, judge and prophet. Sura 5:52 Muhammad ruled among them and judged among them what Allah has revealed. Similar thing are found in other passages.

The evidence is overwhelming and I wonder how the writer came up with that statement that in the Qur'an, no prophet other than Jesus was meant to be a ruler and a judge. It is possible for someone to be a ruler and a judge and follow the prophet Muhammad. Jesus is coming as a follower of Islam which was taught by all of the prophets, as completed through the last prophet Muhammad.

Host: You mentioned to us that there are some claims which are not sustained by the text of the Qur'an, could you elaborate on that?

Jamal Badawi: I will refer to the same reference, Jesus in the Qur'an and the Bible, the author describes on page 7, " according to the Qur'an, Jesus is the author of creation" he gives evidence from the Bible and also from the Qur'an. He cites Sura 5:113-144. Let's see if that says that Jesus is the author of creation.

It is interesting to notice that the term "by my leave" is mentioned 4 times. And I think that any viewer can easily conclude that this repetition negates the view that Jesus is the author of creation. Jesus often says that what I do is a favor from Allah. And this is not too much different if we look objectively at the Bible in

Now we look at how Dr. Badawi interprets the Bible:

John 5:30 where he said that I do nothing by myself, in chapter 6:38 he said that he is not doing his will but the will of he who sent him. So what the verse is obviously saying is that Jesus said that he is not doing anything by my own, I am only the messenger of Allah, he is his servant and messenger. Again the author forgot as he forgot in another place, that the very verse that he quotes to show that Jesus is divine, begins with "Oh Jesus, son of Mary" it doesn't say the son of God, or my equal in essence or Godhood, it says that you are my favorite, one of my favorite, one of the holiest, one of my most honored creatures, but still a creature.

John 5:30:

Here we see Dr. Badawi, who is recycling a very old Jehovah's Witness argument, violating his second (misquotation) and third (partial quotation) objections to the writings of Christian apologists. We need to read the verse in the context of the Chapter. Jesus has healed a man on the Sabbath and the Jews are angry with Him. Jesus tells them (verses 17-18):

"My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

In verses 19 and 30, Jesus is telling His enemies that there is no rivalry between the Father and the Son, as they supposed. The meaning of these verses is, "The Son can have no separate interest or action from the Father."

This passage does not support the Qur'an or Badawi's argument when the entire text is considered and quoted in context.

John 6:37-40:

Once again, let us look at the full quotation (Badawi objection #3) and look at it in context (Badawi objection #2):

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

This passage is very interesting. If we look at the original Greek text, "All that the Father gives to me" - "All" is neuter and "given" is singular, meaning that [literally] the Father gives Jesus everything. In the next portion of this verse, "whoever comes" is masculine in gender and singular meaning "every one".

For I have come down from heaven not to do my will (Verse 38), Jesus is telling us that He came down from heaven to play an independent part in God's plan; but is in respect to both the foregoing things, and the divine and the human side of salvation. When Jesus said to do the will of him who sent me, this is a reference to the twofold will of Him that sent Him :

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

Host: What is meant by the Hellenization of the language of the Qur'an

Jamal Badawi : I think that we must begin by pointing out that the Qur'an, unlike other scriptures, is still available in the exact language in which it was uttered. It hasn't been lost, it is there. The Qur'an was revealed in Arabic. Many writers take the translation of the Qur'an, they take an English term, and try to see the definition of that term in the English dictionaries and take the English meaning as that which was intended in the Qur'an, without any consideration of what the term means in Arabic, without consideration to the context in which that term is used in the Qur'an. An example of this is one of the verses that we cited earlier, but I am now looking at it from a different angle - that the Qur'an describes Jesus as a word from Allah (Sura 3:45). We said before that all creatures are the words of Allah, all created by the word of God. We find that the author says that according to the Qur'an, Jesus is "God's revelation of Himself to us", but not of his will or command. The text doesn't say that at all and the viewer can check. But he based it on a very round about way of erroneous reasoning, he went to Websters Dictionary and says it defines word as the manifestation of the mind and will of God, he is what God is, his expression of himself. This is what I call a case of the Helenization of the language. Instead of taking the Arabic word and trying to find out what is the proper usage in the Qur'an, he tried to get an English definition from an English writer influenced by Helenistic philosophy. This approach has been criticized not only by Muslims but also by fair Christian theologians. For example, Reisson indicates that in the Qur'an, Jesus is a word from Allah, this is a reference to god's creative word command, not the Logos. He says that it is futile to engage in a dialogue with this point in an attempt to Christianize the language of the Qur'an.

There are several problems with what has been said here:

1. There are Biblical texts in the original languages [Hebrew and Greek]

2. The fact that the Qur'an is written in Arabic does not prove that it is the truth.

3. Why would God, after giving mankind revelations in Hebrew, for thousands of year, suddenly switch to Arabic which, if we believe the Muslim apologists, cannot be accurately and precisely translated into other languages?

4. In spite of the claim that the Qur'an is written in "pure Arabic" (Sura 16:103), the book contains many non-Arabic words!

Host:You mentioned some of the errors that non Muslim writers have made. Is there a similar problem in non Christians who interpret the Bible?

Jamal Badawi: In any comparative study, it is not enough that a Muslim, for example, quotes from the Qur'an or a Christian from the Bible, because it is a problem sometimes of the other accepting the authority of the book being quoted. One way to do this is to re-examine both books to see if the Muslims have misinterpreted it or the other way, examining the Bible to see if the base for Jesus' divinity is based on sound and .....

Andrew Vargo

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