Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Authentic Prayer According to the Lord Jesus

Praying Like Christ and not like Muhammad

Sam Shamoun

Muslim taqiyyist Paul Bilal Williams published a short post where he quotes Matthew 26:39 to prove to Christians that Jesus prayed the way Muslims pray.

Yet Williams conveniently doesn’t quote the entire verse but only cites the part where it says that Jesus fell down on his face and prayed. We will quote the entire context to see why Williams decided to chop the verse in mid-sentence:

“And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘MY FATHER, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.’ And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, ‘MY FATHER, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.’ Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more.” Matthew 26:39-44

Jesus did more than simply fall to the ground since he also addressed God as his Father. Mark tells us that Jesus actually referred to God as Abba, which is Aramaic for Father:

“And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, ‘ABBA! FATHER! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.’” Mark 14:35-36

According to the Apostle Paul, God sent forth his Son to become a man to redeem believers by his vicarious death in order to bring them into the family of God so that they too can start calling out to God as Abba:

“For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness… For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘ABBA! FATHER! The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.’" Romans 8:3-4, 9-10, 14-17


“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘ABBA! FATHER!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:4-7

Nor is this merely the teaching of Paul since Matthew testifies that Jesus came for the purpose of saving his people from their sins:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us.’ And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.” Matthew 1:18-25

Christ himself taught that he would offer up his life as a ransom and shed his blood for the forgiveness of the sins of his followers: 

“just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28 – cf. Mark 10:45

“While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.’” Matthew 26:26-28 – cf. Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20

Hence, Paul was merely affirming the message that Christ himself proclaimed while he was on earth. This brings me to my next point.

The Lord Jesus also taught his followers to address God as their Father whenever they prayed to him:

“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for YOUR FATHER knows what you need before you ask Him. ‘Pray, then, in this way: ‘OUR FATHER who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’] For if you forgive others for their transgressions, YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then YOUR FATHER will not forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6:7-15 – cf. Luke 11:1-4


“As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. Being reminded, Peter said to Him, ‘Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.’ And Jesus answered saying to them, ‘Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be taken up and cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that YOUR FATHER who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.’” Mark 11:20-25

The Lord even encouraged them to be confident that they would get what they asked for since God was their heavenly Father who is more than delighted to bestow his good gifts upon all his children because he loves and cares for them:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will YOUR FATHER who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11 – cf. Luke 11:9-14

Now as far Jesus is concerned, the garden of Gethsemene wasn’t the only instance where Christ addressed God as Father in his prayers:

“When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, ‘FATHER, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves… And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, ‘FATHER, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last.” Luke 23:33-34, 46

In fact, God himself testified that Christ was (is) his beloved Son on two separate occasions:

“Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.’” Luke 3:21-22

“Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah’—not realizing what he was saying. While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him! And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.” Luke 9:28-36

It is interesting that on both of these occasions where the Father testifies concerning his Son, Jesus was actually praying!


Williams has a problem!

Now all of this raises a serious problem for Williams since his prophet not only denied that Jesus is God’s Son, cursing and threatening to kill the Christians for believing that he was(is),  

The Jews say, 'Ezra is the Son of God'; the Christians say, 'The Messiah is the Son of God.' That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assail them! How they are perverted! S. 9:30 Arberry

Muhammad even went as far as to deny that his god was a father to anyone, especially Jews and Christians:

Say the Jews and Christians, 'We are the sons of God, and His beloved ones.' Say: 'Why then does He chastise you for your sins? No; you are mortals, of His creating; He forgives whom He will, and He chastises whom He will.' For to God belongs the kingdom of the heavens and of the earth, and all that is between them; to Him is the homecoming. S. 5:18 Arberry

The Jews and Christians would have obviously explained to Muhammad that they were spiritual children and that God was their spiritual father since they did not believe that God was a physical being who sired them by having sexual intercourse with a consort (cf. Q. 6:101; 72:3). Muhammad, however, wasn’t buying it since his god wasn’t a father in any sense, whether physically, spiritually or metaphorically. Rather, Muhammad insisted that the highest relationship anyone could have with his deity is that of a slave to master relationship, just as the following texts demonstrate:  

And they say, 'The All-merciful has taken unto Himself a son. You have indeed advanced something hideous! The heavens are wellnigh rent of it and the earth split asunder, and the mountains wellnigh fall down crashing for that they have attributed to the All-merciful a son; and it behoves not the All-merciful to take a son. None is there in the heavens and earth but he comes to the All-merciful as a servant; He has indeed counted them, and He has numbered them exactly. Every one of them shall come to Him upon the Day of Resurrection, all alone. S. 19:88-95 Arberry

They say: 'The All-merciful has taken to Him a son.' Glory be to Him! Nay, but they are honoured servants that outstrip Him not in speech, and perform as He commands. He knows what is before them and behind them, and they intercede not save for him with whom He is well-pleased, and they tremble in awe of Him. S. 21:26-28 Arberry

Yet such a view is in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Lord Jesus and his blessed Apostles who expressly stated that a servant or slave doesn’t have a permanent place in God’s household and must therefore be set freed by the Son,

“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.’” John 8:34-36

In order to become a child of God:

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:9-14

In fact, Christ’s inspired emissaries condemned anyone who would deny the fatherhood of God and the sonship of Jesus, identifying such individuals as antichrists:

“Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:22-23

Therefore, Muhammad stands condemned as an antichrist according to the proclamation of the Apostles of the risen Lord since he not only denied that Christ is the Son, but also spoke out against using the word Father for God.

In fact, to show just how much Muhammad detested the idea of addressing his god as Father, notice what he did to the Lord’s Prayer:

Narrated AbudDarda': I heard the Apostle of Allah say: If any of you is suffering from anything or his brother is suffering, he should say: Our Lord is Allah Who is in the heaven, holy is Thy name, Thy command reigns supreme in the heaven and the earth, as Thy mercy in the heaven, make Thy mercy in the earth; forgive us our sins, and our errors; Thou art the Lord of good men; send down mercy from Thy mercy, and remedy, and remedy from Thy remedy on this pain so that it is healed up. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 28, Number 3883)

It is apparent that Muhammad not only plagiarized the prayer which the Lord Jesus personally taught to his followers, he even made a major modification to it. Instead of the expression “Our Father who is in heaven,” Muhammad replaced it with “Our Lord is Allah Who is in the heaven.” This is a clear indication of just how much he despised the idea of God being a father to anyone.

Now all of this puts Williams in a major dilemma since if he truly wants people to pray like Jesus then he has no choice but to reject Muhammad since the latter did not pray the way Christ and his followers did. This perhaps explains why Williams chose to omit that part of the verse where Jesus called God his Father. Williams obviously knows that such language is incompatible with Islamic theology and therefore decided to ignore that portion of the text, thinking that no one would call him out on it. 

In light of such dishonest handling of the Word of God we now issue the following challenge to Williams.



Since Williams quoted the Gospel of Matthew to prove that Muslims pray like Jesus we therefore challenge him to pray in the following manner and post it on his blog for all to see:

“O Allah, you are my father in heaven!”

Or he can even choose to pray the following,

“O Allah, you are our father in heaven!”

We also challenge him to pray this:

“O Allah, I cry out to you with the words ‘Abba! Father,’ since that is what you are!”

By praying in this manner Williams will show that he sincerely believes that he does pray in the same way that Jesus did while he was on earth. However, if he refuses to publish these prayers then this will prove that he is fully aware that Muslims do not pray like Christ did since it is blasphemous for them to address their god as their father, even though this is how Jesus and his followers addressed the true God when they prayed to him.

So much for Williams’ appeal to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ to defend his false religion and false prophet.

Unless noted otherwise, all biblical quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).