Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Examining More of Abdullah Kunde’s Inconsistencies Pt. 3d

Analyzing God’s Perfection 
In Light of the Islamic Doctrine of Mediation and Intercession

Sam Shamoun

We now come to the final part of our rebuttal.

Sixth Example

The following incident also took place during Muhammad’s lifetime:

3578. ‘Uthman bin Hunaif narrated that a blind man came to the Prophet and said to him: “Supplicate to Allah to heal me.” He said: “If you wish, I will supplicate for you, and if you wish, you can be patient, for that is better for you.” He said: “Then supplicate to him.” He said: “So he ordered him to perform Wudu’ and to make his Wudu’ complete, and to supplicate with this supplication: ‘O Allah, I ask You and turn towards You by Your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. Indeed, I have turned to my Lord, BY MEANS OF YOU, concerning this need of mine, so that it can be resolved, So Allah so accept HIS INTERCESSION for me (Allahumma Inni As’aluka WA MUHAMMADIN Nabi-Ir-Rahmati Tawajjahtu Bika Ila Rabbi Fi Hajati Hadhihi Lituqda Li, Allahumma Fashaffi‘hu Fiya).’” (SAHIH) 

[He said]: This Hadith is Hasan SAHIH Gharib, we do not know of it except through this route, as a narration of Abu Ja‘far, and he is someone other than Al-Khatmi, [and Uthman bin Hunaif is the brother of Sahl bin Hunaif] (English Translation of Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi: Compiled by Imam Hafiz Abu ‘Eisa Mohammad Ibn ‘Eisa At-Tirmidhi, translated by Abu Khaliyl (USA), ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Tahir Zubair ‘Ali Za’i [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, First Edition: November 2007], Volume 6, From Hadith No. 3291 to 3956, Various Narrations On The Chapters Of Supplications, Chapter 118, p. 283; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Here is a different version: 

1385. It was narrated from ‘Uthman bin Hunaif that a blind man came to the Prophet and said to him: “Pray to Allah to heal me.” He said: “If you wish to store your reward for the Hereafter, that is better, or if you wish, I will supplicate for you.” He said: “Supplicate.” He said: “So he told him to perform ablution and do it well, and to pray two Rak’ah, and to say this supplication: “Allahumma inni as’aluka wa atawajjahu ilaika BI-MUHAMMADIN NABIYYIR-RAHMA.YA MUHAMMADU inni qad tawajjahtu bika ila rabbi fi hajati hadhihi Lituqda. Allahumma fashaffi‘hu fiya (O Allah, I ask of You and I turn my face towards You BY VIRTUE OF THE INTERCESSION OF MUHAMMAD THE PROPHET OF MERCY. O MUHAMMAD, I have turned to my Lord BY VIRTUE OF YOUR INTERCESSION concerning this need of mine, so that it may be met. O Allah, accept HIS INTERCESSION concerning me)”. (SAHIH) (English Translation of Sunan Ibn Majah: Compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah Al-Qazwini, Ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair 'Ali Za'i, translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Canada), final review by Abu Khaliyl (USA) [Darussalam Publications and Distributors, First Edition: June 2007], Volume 2,  From Hadith no. 803 to 1782, 5. The Chapters Of Establishing The Prayer And The Sunnah Regarding Them, Chapter 189. What Was Narrated Concerning Prayer At Times Of Need, pp. 329-330; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Tahir-ul-Qadri lists a number of Muslim traditionists that have accepted and narrated this hadith:

Hakim in al-Mustadrak (1:313, 519, 526-7) who also declared it sahih (sound). 

Nasa’i, ‘Amal-ul-yawm wal-laylah (pp. 417-18, 658-660).

Bukhari, at-Tarikh-ul-kabir (6:209-10).

Ahmad bin Hanbal, Musnad (4:138).

Bayhaqi, Dala’il-un-nubuwwah (6:166-67).

Ibn-us-Sunni, ‘Amal-ul-yawm wal-laylah (p. 202, #622).

Mundhiri, at-Targhib wat-tarhib (1:473-4).

Subki, Shifa’-us-siqam fi ziyarat khayr-il-anam (pp. 123-25).

Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wan-nihayah (4:558-59).

Suyuti, al-Khasa’is-ul-kubra (2:201).

Qastallani, al-Mawahib-ul-laduniyyah (4:594).

Al-Zurqani, Commentary (12:221-2).

Ibn Khuzaymah, as-Sahih (2:225-6, #1219). 

An-Nawawi, al-Adhkar (p. 83).

Ibn-ul-Athir, Asad-ul-ghabah (3:571). 

Mundhiri, at-Targhib wat-tarhib (1:473-4). 

Yusuf Mizzi, Tuhfat-ul-ashraf bi-ma‘rifat-il-atraf (7:236, #9760). 

As-Suyuti, Khasa’is-ul-kubra (2:201). 

Al-Qastallani, al-Mawahib-ul-laduniyyah (4:594). 

Ibn Hajar Haythami, al-Jawhar-ul-munazzam (p. 61). 

Shawkani in Tuhfat-udh-dhakirin (pp. 194-5). 

Another Muslim authority named Mahmud Sa‘id Mamduh made the following comment in his book Raf‘-ul-Minarah, p. 123:

“All these chains are sound which have been certified by persons who have committed the traditions to memory. Among these are also included Imam Tirmidhi, Tabarani, Ibn Khuzaymah, Hakim and Dhahabi.” (Tahir-ul-Qadri, Islamic Concept of IntermediationChapter 5, Section Two)

What makes this particular prayer rather interesting is that ‘Uthman bin Hunayf recommended this same invocation to a person during the caliphate of ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan, long after Muhammad’s death! 

According to al-Tabarani, a certain man repeatedly visited Uthman ibn Affan concerning something he needed, but Uthman paid him no mind. The person complained to ‘Uthman bin Hunayf about this. Ibn Hunayf instructed him to do the following: 

Fetch an earthen pot and perform the ablution, then go to the mosque and offer two cycles of prayer and say:

O Allah, I beseech you and submit myself to you through the mediation of our Prophet Muhammad, a merciful Prophet. O Muhammad! I submit to my Lord through your means so that He should fulfil my need. 

And then mention your need. The man went away and he did as he was told to do. Later when he arrived at ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan’s door, the porter caught him by his hand and took him to ‘Uthmān bin ‘Affan who made him sit beside him on the mat and asked him: what is your need? He mentioned the need and the caliph fulfilled his need and said to him: why haven’t you mentioned your need so far? He told him further: do come to me whenever you have a problem?

Tabarani related this in al-Mu‘jam-ul-kabir (9:31#8311) and al-Mu‘jam-us-saghir (1:183-4). According to Tahir-ul-Qadri, there were other scholars and traditionists who narrated this hadith such as al-Bayhaqi, Dala’il-un-nubuwwah (6:167-8); Mundhiri, at-Targhib wat-tarhib (1:474-6); Subki, Shifa’-us-siqam fi ziyarat khayr-il-anam (p.125); Haythami, Majma‘-uz-zawa’id (2:279); and Suyuti in al-Khasa’is-ul-kubra (2:201-2). Mundhiri graded it sahih (sound). (Ibid., Section Three)

Thus, not only were Muslims praying to Muhammad in the same way that they prayed to their god, they also continued the practice of directly invoking their “messenger” long after his death!

Seventh Example

According to Ibn Kathir, during the battle of Yamamah which took place after Muhammad’s death during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, Khalid bin Walid would cry out to Muhammad for help!

“‘I am the son of Walīd. I am the son of ‘Amir and Zayd.’ And then he raised the battle cry current among the Muslims which was ya Muhammadah (O Muhammad).” (Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wan-nihayah, 5:30)

These examples show how Muhammad’s companions would cry out to him in prayer, seeking his mediation and help.

Kunde’s Dilemma

The sources that we just examined provide evidence that not only did Muhammad teach that mediation and intercession were acceptable to Allah, he also taught his followers to make their petitions directly to and through him!  

Muhammad’s followers prayed to Allah in Muhammad’s name, asking their god on the basis of Muhammad’s mediation to fulfill their wishes. In fact, individuals not only prayed to Allah in the name of their prophet during his lifetime, they also did so long before his birth and even after his death! 

Muslims also made their du’a or invocations personally to their “prophet” by calling out his name and speaking to him directly in their prayers! And they did so on the direct orders of Muhammad himself!

Muslims even went to Muhammad’s grave to pray to him there, which is an express violation of the Holy Bible which condemns contacting the dead:

“When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do so.” Deuteronomy 18:9-14

“When they say to you, ‘Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.” Isaiah 8:19-20

In fact, invoking or offering up du’a to Muhammad expressly violates his own teachings that invocations are the very essence of worship and therefore can only be made to Allah! 

296. The excellence of supplication 

712. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said, “Nothing is dearer to Allah than supplication.”

713. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said, “The noblest act of worship is supplication.” 

714. An-Nu'man ibn Bashir reported that the Prophet said, “Supplication is worship.” Then he recited, “Call on Me and I will answer you.” (Al-Adab al-Mufrad al-Bukhari, translated by Aisha Bewley, XXX. Supplication*


3828. It was narrated from Nu‘man bin Bashir that the Messenger of Allah said: “Indeed the supplication is the worship.” Then he recited: “And your Lord said: Invoke Me, I will respond to you.”[1] (Sahih(English Translation of Sunan Ibn Majah - Compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah Al-Qazwini, From Hadith No. 3657 to 4341, Ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair 'Ali Za'i, translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Canada), final review by Abu Khaliyl (USA) [Darussalam Publications and Distributors, First Edition: June 2007], Volume 5, 34. The Chapter On Supplication, Chapter 1. The Virtue of Supplication, p. 95)

[1] Ghafir 40:60. (Ibid.)

Now this places Kunde in a predicament for the following reasons. First, since Q. 10:18 states that intercession (as well as mediation) implies an imperfection in the knowledge of Allah then how can the Quran and certain Islamic narratives claim that Allah grants intercession or mediation? Doesn’t this prove that the so-called sound ahadith are implying that Allah doesn’t have perfect knowledge, and that he is in fact ignorant of certain necessary information?

Second, if intercession and mediation do not suggest that Allah has any shortcomings then what was the whole point of Q. 10:18? Why did Muhammad or the author(s) of the Quran tell the unbelievers that their belief in intercessors was basically an assault upon Allah’s perfection, undermining his omniscience? Was Muhammad and/or the author(s) misinformed or were they using lies and deception in order to dissuade the unbelievers from praying to or invoking others besides Allah? Was this nothing more than a scare or bullying tactic, an attempt to frighten the disbelievers, even though Muhammad knew that intercession does not negate Allah’s omniscience?

Third, since Muhammad is a fallible, sinful creature according to the Quran:

Say (O Muhammad): “I possess no power of benefit or hurt to myself except as Allah wills. If I had the knowledge of the Ghaib (unseen), I should have secured for myself an abundance of wealth, and no evil should have touched me. I am but a warner, and a bringer of glad tidings unto people who believe.” S. 7:188 Hilali-Khan 

Say (O Muhammad): “I am only a man like you. It has been inspired to me that your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God i.e. Allah). So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.” S. 18:110 Hilali-Khan

Then have patience (O Muhammad). Lo! the promise of Allah is true. And ask forgiveness of thy sin, and hymn the praise of thy Lord at fall of night and in the early hours. S. 40:55 Pickthall

Say (unto them O Muhammad): I am only a mortal like you. It is inspired in me that your God is One God, therefore take the straight path unto Him and seek forgiveness of Him. And woe unto the idolaters, S. 41:6 Pickthall 

Say (O Muhammad): “I am not a new thing among the Messengers (of Allah) (i.e. I am not the first Messenger) nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am but a plain warner.” S. 46:9 Hilali-Khan – cf. Q. 4:106-107; 9:43; 17:93; 47:19; 48:1-2; 72:20-22; 80:1-10; 110:3

This means that it is Islam, not Christianity, which is limiting God. Instead of the Creator approaching us to bring us closer to him, Islam posits a finite, weak, imperfect creature as Islam’s real savior whose intercession is crucial for the salvation of Muslims.  

Finally, what will Kunde do with all these gross contradictions in the Quran and ahadith? How will he reconcile these conflicting statements from his cherished religious texts, passages which cannot be harmonized? After all, if Q. 10:18 is correct that intercession undermines Allah’s knowledge then all of those citations which affirm the permissibility of individuals seeking mediation with Allah through intercessors such as Muhammad are assaulting the alleged perfection of Kunde’s deity. In Kunde’s own words, these “authentic” texts impose a limitation on Allah since they conclusively prove that Kunde’s god is ignorant. 

Thus, Kunde’s assertion against Christianity has put him in a dilemma which he cannot escape from, provided, of course, he remains consistent and honest. After all, if he decides to accept the fact that Allah does allow intercession and mediation from finite beings then he must also accept that, according to his own logic and the reasoning of Q. 10:18, Allah is an imperfect, limited, and ignorant being. He must also admit that his criticisms of the Christian concept of the Incarnation and mediation were inconsistent and not well thought out, if not deceptive and dishonest.  

However, if Kunde refuses to accept the concept of mediation altogether then he must also reject all those Quranic verses and so-called authentic traditions which teach that Allah approves of and even acts upon the intercession and mediation of imperfect creatures such as Muhammad.

We will leave it to Kunde to decide which path he chooses to follow. 

Related Articles and Books

The Islamic Concept of Intermediation
The Doctrine of Tawassul In the Light of the Quran
The Deification of Muhammad
The Muslim Christ Trumps the Prophet of Islam Again!  Pt. 1Pt. 2
Worshiping Muhammad: Answering the Challenges of a Muslim Dawagandist