Revisiting the Problem of Islamic Monotheism
Responding to Sami Zaatari’s defense of Tauhid Pt. 2
We resume our refutation of Zaatari’s “defense” of Bassam Zawadi’s unitarianism.
Whom do Muslims really fear?
Here is Zaatari trying to explain away the Quranic command to Muslims that they should fear Allah and the wombs:
Did it never occur to Shamoun that there could be two different categories of fear? Did it never occur to Shamoun that that fear we hold for Allah is unique and different to the fear we hold for other things?
It would have helped Zaatari to have actually read my article which discusses this text in some depth, since he would have saved himself the embarrassment of being exposed for attacking a straw man by distorting my position.
The point isn’t simply that the Quran says to fear the wombs, but that it does so by conjoining it with fearing Allah through the use of the Arabic conjunction wa (“and”), which as we saw in part 1 is the conjunction of partnership and equality according to Muslim expositors and scholars!
Another supposed scholar who held this position was the late Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab himself, the man who was mainly responsible for the resurgence and revival of the modern Salafi cult (considered a deviant sect by many Muslim scholars because of its blatant distortions of early Islamic teachings). He exhorted his followers in his book on monotheism to avoid using wa when referring to Allah together with someone or something else. He stated that a Muslim should rather use the conjunction thumma (“then”) or some other formulation which avoids associating Allah with anything:
A Jewish man came to the Prophet and said: "Verily, you (Muslims) commit Shirk, for you say: ‘As Allah wills AND as you will;’ and you say: ‘By the Ka’bah!’" And so the Prophet ordered whoever wanted to swear, to say: "By the Lord of the Ka’bah" and to say: "As Allah wills, THEN as you will." (An-Nasaa’ee, it was declared saheeh by Albanee in as Saheehah # 137 and declared saheeh by Adh-Dhahabee in his checking of Al Mustadrak and declared saheeh by Ibn Hajar in Al Isaabah 4/389)
A man came to the Prophet and he said: "As Allah AND you will," at which the Prophet said: "Would you set me up as a partner besides Allah? As Allah Alone Wills" (An-Nasaa’ee, declared authentic (hasan) by Albanee in as Saheehah # 139)
On the authority of At-Tufail the half brother of Aishah it is reported that he said: "I saw in a dream that I came upon a number of Jews and I said to them: ‘You are indeed a good people were it not that you claim ‘Uzair is the son of Allah.’ They replied: ‘You too are good, were it not that you say: As Allah wills AND as Muhammad wills.’ Then, I came upon a number of Christians and I said to them: ‘You are indeed a good people were it not that you claim the Messiah (Jesus) is the son of Allah.’ They replied: ‘You are also good, were it not that you say: As Allah wills AND as Muhammad wills.’ When I awoke I told someone about this then I went to the Prophet and repeated it to him. He asked me: ‘Have you told anyone about this?’ I said: ‘Yes.’ Then he went to the pulpit and, after praising Allah, he said: ‘At-Tufail had a dream which he has already communicated to some of you. You used to say something which I was prevented from forbidding to you until now. Henceforth do not say: As Allah wills AND as Muhammad wills, but say: What Allah Alone Wills.’" (Ibn Maajah, Albanee mentioned it in as Saheehah # 138, Al Haythamee said in Majma Az-Zawaaid: the men in its chain are reliable according to the conditions of Imam Muslim) (Takhreej of Kitaab at Tawheed, posted by SalafiManhaj.com, 2004, Chapter 43: Saying: "As Allah Wills and You Will", pp. 21-22; See also Kitab At-Tawheed, by Sheikh ul-Islam Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab, translated by the Compilation and Research Department Dar-us-Salam [Dar-us-Salam Publications Riyadh-Saudi Arabia, 1996], Chapter No: 44. How it is to say “What Allah may will and you may will”; capital, italic and underline emphasis ours)
This proves that the Quran is commanding Muslims to fear the relationships established by the wombs in the same way that they fear Allah. The Islamic scripture is therefore exhorting the so-called believers to commit shirk, or of associating partners with Allah in his exclusive worship!
The idolatrous veneration of the black stone
Zaatari splits hairs over the fact that I stated that some of Muhammad’s companions were confused and baffled over his kissing a stone that could neither hurt nor harm anyone when it was only the companion Umar who seemed to be bewildered at what his false prophet did. He further denies that Umar was confused or baffled.
Here, once again, is a narration which helps bring out Muhammad’s idolatrous veneration of this pagan idol and the confusion this caused for the Muslims:
It is Sunnah to perform certain acts in tawaf as given below:
Facing the Black Stone at the start of the tawaf while uttering a takbir (Allahu-Akbar), and a tahlil (La ilaha illahlah), and raising one's hands as they are raised in prayers, and if possible touching it with both hands and kissing it quietly, or placing one's cheek on it. Otherwise, one may touch it with one's hand and kiss the hand, or touch it with something, and then kiss it, or if even that is not possible, one may just point to it with a stick, etc. as is mentioned in some of the ahadith given below.
Ibn 'Umar said: "Allah's Messenger faced the Black Stone, touched it, and then placed his lips on it and wept for a long time." 'Umar also wept for a long time. The Prophet said: 'O 'Umar, this is the place where one should shed tears.''' (Reported by Al-Hakim, who considers it a sound hadith with a sound chain of authorities)
It is reported by Ibn 'Abbas that 'Umar bent down towards the Black Stone and said: "By Allah! I know that you are A MERE STONE, and if I had not seen my beloved Prophet kissing you and touching you I would have never done so." The Qur'an says: "You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct)."' (Qur'an 33.32) This was reported by Ahmad and others in slightly different words.
Nafi' said, "I have seen Ibn 'Umar touching the Black Stone with his hand, and then kissing his hand and saying: 'Ever since I saw the Prophet doing this, I have never failed to do that.''' (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim)
Sowayd bin Ghaflah said: "I have seen 'Umar kissing the Black Stone and touching it." He further said: "I know that the Prophet was especially very particular about it.'' (Muslim)
Ibn 'Umar reported that Allah's Messenger used to come to Ka'bah, touch the Black Stone and then say: Bismillahi wallahu akbar (In the name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest.)" (Ahmad)
Muslim has reported on the authority of Abu Tufail that he said: "I have seen the Prophet making tawaf around the Ka'bah and touching it with a stick and then kissing the stick."
Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Daw'ud reported that 'Umar approached the Black Stone and kissed it. Then he said: "I know that you are A MERE STONE that can neither harm nor do any good. If I had not seen the Prophet kissing you, I would have never kissed you."
Al-Khatabi said: "This shows that abiding by the Sunnah of the Prophet is binding, regardless of whether or not we understand its reason or the wisdom behind it."
Such information devolves obligation on all those whom it reaches, even if they may not fully comprehend its significance. It is known, however, that kissing the Black Stone signifies respect for it, recognition of our obligation toward it, and using it as a means of seeking Allah's blessings. Indeed Allah has preferred some stones over others, as He preferred some countries and cities, days and nights, and months over others. The underlying spirit of all this is unquestioning submission to Allah.
In some ahadith which say that "the Black Stone is Allah's right hand on earth," we do find, however, a plausible rationale and justification for this statement. In other words whosoever touches the Black Stone he pledges allegiance to Allah, as it were, by giving his hand into the hand of Allah, just as some followers do pledge their fealty to their kings and masters, by kissing and shaking hands with them.
Al-Muhallib said: "The hadith of 'Umar refutes the assertions of those who say that 'The Black Stone is Allah's right hand on earth wherewith He shakes the hands of His slaves."' God forbid that we should ascribe any physical organs to Allah [sic]. The commandment to kiss the Black Stone is meant to test and to demonstrate palpably as to who obeys and submits. It may be compared with the command to Iblis to bow to Adam.
We have no definite evidence, however, to believe that any of the stones used in building the Ka'bah originally (by Ibrahim and Isma'il), is still in existence today excepting the Black Stone. (Fiqh-Us-Sunnah, Volume 5, Number 74b – ALIM CD-ROM Version; capital, italic, and underline emphasis ours)
Let us summarize the main points of this narration:
- Muhammad would touch and kiss the black stone, as well as place his cheek on it, and took its station as the place to weep.
- Muhammad would touch the stone with his hand and then kiss the hand. He would do the same thing to his stick whenever he touched the stone with it.
- According to certain narrations the black stone is Allah’s right hand on earth so touch it is to shake Allah’s right hand!
- Venerating the black stone is a means of receiving blessing from Allah.
- The Muslims imitated and continue to implement this practice of their prophet even though they didn’t/don’t understand the wisdom behind it.
The readers will see the significance of all this in a moment.
Zaatari says that the pagans worshiped their idols directly since they felt that this would insure that their so-called gods would intercede for them. He denies that this is what Muhammad did even though he kissed and caressed the black stone idol, and even wept in its presence!
What Zaatari failed to take into consideration is that kissing and caressing stone objects were an integral part of the worship which the Meccan pagans rendered to their idols! Zaatari also conveniently forgets to mention that the black stone was actually one of the idols which the pagans venerated and worshiped!
In fact, according to the Islamic sources an event took place roughly five years before Muhammad claimed to be a prophet where the Meccans decided to rebuild the Kabah. These sources say that the pagans almost came to blows over who would place the black stone in its spot. In order to resolve the matter they allowed Muhammad to decide who would put it back in its place:
When Muhammad reached thirty-five years, he settled by his judgment a grave dispute which threatened to plunge the whole of Arabia into a fresh series of her oft-recurring wars. In rebuilding the Sacred House of the Ka'ba in A.D. 605, the question arose as to who should have the honor of raising the black stone, the most holy relic of that House, into its proper place. Each tribe claimed that honor. The senior citizen advised the disputants to accept for their arbitrator the first man to enter from a certain gate. The proposal was agreed upon, and the first man who entered the gate was Muhammad "Al-Ameen." His advice satisfied all the contending parties. He ordered the stone to be placed on a piece of cloth and each tribe to share the honor of lifting it up by taking hold of a part of the cloth. The stone was thus deposited in its place, and the rebuilding of the House was completed without further interruption. (Stories of the Prophets – ALIM CD-ROM Version; bold and underline emphasis ours)
“… When they came to him and they informed him about the matter he said, ‘Give me a cloak,’ and when it was brought to him he took the black stone and put it inside it and said that each tribe should take hold of an end of the cloak and they should lift it together. They did this so that when they got it into position he placed it with his own hand, and then building went on above it.” (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], p. 86; bold and underline emphasis ours)
This story demonstrates just how important the black stone was to the pagans before Muhammad’s time. It is inconceivable to think that an object that held such importance would not have been worshiped by the idolators in light of their fascination with and worship of stones.
Christian Apologist John Gilchrist is worth quoting at length since he helps to bring out the significance the black stone had for the pagan Arabs:
As the Arab idols were generally made of stone - some fashioned into various forms, others unshapen - is it not probable that the Black Stone itself was an idol worshipped by the pagan Arabs? As the custom of kissing it has been retained in Islam the suggestion naturally appalls Muslims.
The Black Stone was never regarded as an idol by the pre-Islamic Arabs, nor was it ever worshipped by them like the idols of the Ka'bah . . . It, no doubt, contained idols, yet it was the idols that were worshipped, not the Ka'bah; and the same is true of the Black Stone. It was kissed but never taken for a god, though the Arabs worshipped even unhewn stones, trees and heaps of sand. (Ali, The Religion of Islam, p.440, 441).
Why, then, did the pagan Arabs make a special point of kissing it as Ali himself admits? What significance did it have for them if it was not an idol? It is, perhaps, too remarkable to believe that it was not worshipped as an idol. After all, stone gods were the very thing the Arabs reverenced, whether shapen into some form or not. Another Muslim writer says:
Is it not unfortunate that so many Orientalists have misinterpreted the Muslim's veneration of the Ka'bah, the Black Stone and the pilgrimage rites as a whole, imagining them as some kind of idol worship, or dismissing the rites as silly, ridiculous or merely the relics of idolatrous superstition? Another faulty assumption is that the rites of pilgrimage were remnants of a pre-Islamic cult included by the Prophet in an attempt to reconcile the idolatrous Meccans with the faith. (Khalifa, The Sublime Qur'an and Orientalism, p. 140).
One understands the Muslim determination to absolve Islam of a relic of idol-worship in its pilgrimage rites but it does seem most improbable that this stone, one of the sacred stones built into the Ka'aba by the pre-Islamic Arabs, just somehow happened to be exempted from the adoration and worship afforded to the others. This seems even more improbable when we remember that it was over this stone that they argued even before Muhammad's mission when rebuilding the Ka'aba, finally requesting Muhammad himself to replace it. This clearly shows that they regarded it more highly than all the other idols in the shrine and it is most unlikely that it escaped the worship paid to them. It seems far more probable that it was a "fetish pure and simple" (Gairdner, The Reproach of Islam, p.156) and that it was, if anything, the chief idol in the shrine, a stone worshipped like all the others. At least one Muslim writer has admitted as much:
In fact, the Arabs venerated these stones so much that not only did they worship the black stone in the Ka'bah, but they would take one of the stones of the Ka'bah as a holy object in their travels, praying to it and asking it to bless every move they made. (Haykal, The Life of Muhammad, p. 30)
As the Arabs worshipped all the stone idols of the Ka'aba it seems historically more probable that this worship has a legacy in the reverence paid today to the Black Stone rather than the Arab worship of stones arose out of the sanctity of the Black Stone which somehow escaped this worship and adoration.
The most singular feature in this worship was the adoration paid to unshapen stones. Mussulmans hold that this practice arose out of the Kaaba rites . . . The tendency to stone-worship was undoubtedly prevalent throughout Arabia; but it is more probable that it gave rise to the superstition of the Kaaba with its Black stone, than took its rise therefrom. (Muir, The Life of Mahomet, p. xci)
Another writer is probably close to the mark when he says that the Black Stone was "the great fetish, the principal though not the only divinity of the Quraish clan" (Lammens, Islam: Beliefs and Institutions, p. 17). In any event, there appears to be no point in kissing the stone and Muslims will be hard-pressed to find a really sound reason for the perpetuation of a practice more suited to primitive pagan idolatry than the true spirit of monotheistic worship.
The kiss which the pious Muhammadan pilgrim bestows on it is a survival of the old practice, which was a form of worship in Arabia as in many other lands. (Tisdall, The Original Sources of the Qur'an, p. 43). (Gilchrist, Muhammad and the Religion of Islam, 3. ISLAM: THE RELIGION AND ITS MOVEMENTS, 7. THE PRINCIPAL DUTIES OF ISLAM, D. THE HAJJ PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA, 2. Al-Hajarul-Aswad - The Black Stone; underline emphasis ours)
With the foregoing in perspective let us compare Muhammad’s veneration of the black stone with the practice of the idolators:
- Like Muhammad, the pagans would touch and kiss their idols.
- Like Muhammad, the pagans thought that their veneration and worship of these stones brought them closer to Allah and was a means of receiving his blessings.
- And just like Umar, Muhammad didn’t see the sense behind the Meccans worshiping stones and idols that could neither harm nor benefit anyone.
If ye call them to guidance, they will not obey: For you it is the same whether ye call them or ye hold your peace! Verily those whom ye call upon besides God are servants like unto you: Call upon them, and let them listen to your prayer, if ye are (indeed) truthful! Have they feet to walk with? Or hands to lay hold with? Or eyes to see with? Or ears to hear with? Say: "Call your 'god-partners', scheme (your worst) against me, and give me no respite! For my Protector is God, Who revealed the Book (from time to time), and He will choose and befriend the righteous. But those ye call upon besides Him, are unable to help you, and indeed to help themselves." S. 7:193-197 Y. Ali
Can anyone see any real difference between Muhammad’s veneration of this pagan stone object and the manner in which the Meccans worshiped their idols?
The pagan origins of the black stone
Zaatari cannot appeal to the alleged Abrahamic origins of the pagan rites associated with the Kabah in order to justify Muhammad’s blatant idolatry since there is absolutely no pre-Islamic evidence that Abraham ever traveled there or that Ishmael himself settled in that area. All the extant evidence we have indicates that the Kabah was a pagan shrine erected by pagans for the worship of a pagan god:
Maximus Tyrius, who wrote in the second century, says, "The Arabians pay homage to I know not what god, which they represent by a quadrangular stone," alluding to the Ka'bah or temple which contains the black stone. The Guebars or ancient Persians assert that the Black Stone was amongst the images and relics left by Mahabad and his successors in the Ka'bah, and that it was an emblem of Saturn. It is probably an aerolite, and owes its reputation, like many others, to its fall from the sky. Its existence as an object of adoration in an iconoclastic religious system, can only be accounted for by Muhammad's attempt to conciliate the idolaters of Arabia. (Thomas P. Hughes, A Dictionary of Islam, p. 155; underline emphasis ours)
Thirdly, secular history in no way supports the Qur'an's claim that the Ka'aba was ever a place of monotheistic, non-idolatrous worship. The first mention of the Ka'aba is found in the writings of Diodorus Siculus who, about 60 BC, described it as a "temple greatly revered by the Arabs". Accordingly the Ka'aba dates back at least to before the time of Christ. But this fact only helps to support the final conclusion we shall draw in this chapter. It certainly does not in any way suggest that the Ka'aba existed before the Jewish Temple. On the contrary, before the time of Muhammad, the Ka'aba was only known as the principal shrine of pagan idolatry of the Arab world in and around Mecca.
We do have clear evidence, however, that the Ka'aba is not of monotheistic origin. We refer to the black stone built into its east corner known as al-hajarul-aswad. Before Muhammad's time the Arabs worshiped stones and the black stone was one of these objects of worship. Not only was the kissing of this stone incorporated into Islam, but the whole form of the Hajj Pilgrimage today is fundamentally that of the Arabs before Islam. Muhammad only changed the meaning of the formalities - he made no attempt to change the forms and rites of the pilgrimage themselves.
Some have suggested that stone-worship among the Arabs arose out of veneration of the black stone, but this is highly improbable. Any form of veneration of a dead stone - especially to the extent of bowing down and kissing the stone - can only be identified with pagan idolatry rather than pure monotheistic worship. Even Umar was reluctant to imitate the pagan Arabs by kissing the stone and only did so because he saw Muhammad do it. But in our view Muhammad likewise was only perpetuating one of the forms of Meccan idolatry and we cannot possibly see how veneration of a form of idol-worship can be reconciled with the worship of the one true God.
Secular history knows of only one form of pre-Islamic veneration of the Ka'aba and that is the idolatry of the pagan Arabs. There is no corroborative evidence whatsoever for the Qur'an's claim that the Ka'aba was initially a house of monotheistic worship. Instead there certainly is evidence as far back as history can trace the origins and worship of the Ka'aba that it was thoroughly pagan and idolatrous in content and emphasis. Certainly in the six hundred-odd years between the destruction of the Temple and the final conquest of Mecca the Ka'aba was purely a shrine of thriving pagan idolatry. Therefore the Ka'aba cannot have become the form and place of true worship in God's providence when the Temple of the Jews was destroyed. (John Gilchrist, The Temple, The Ka'aba, and The Christ; underline emphasis ours)
The veneration of the black stone in light of Biblical monotheism
Besides, even if Abraham built the Kabah we know from the Holy Bible that he would have never permitted the veneration of a stone since the true God expressly forbids such practices. According to the Holy Bible God prohibited his people from fashioning images which are then taken as objects of worship:
“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,” Exodus 20:4-5
“Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:18
Pay attention to the fact that bowing to and kissing an idol is considered an act of worship. The next reference shows what happens when an object commissioned by a prophet of God is venerated through religious gestures such as kissing, bowing or by burning incense to it:
“In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan).” 2 Kings 18:1-4
The bronze serpent that the righteous king Hezekiah destroyed was one that God commanded Moses to fashion:
“From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.’ Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses, and said, ‘We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.’ So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.” Numbers 21:4-9
An image that God commanded Moses to make was subsequently destroyed once the people started venerating it! If this is what Yahweh did to an image fashioned by one of his greatest prophets what makes Zaatari think that the God of Abraham would change his mind and command Muhammad and his followers to start kissing a stone that can neither harm nor benefit anyone?
Moreover, Zaatari often appeals to the Holy Bible to prove that Muhammad was a true prophet on the grounds that he preached the same message of monotheism that God’s true prophets taught. He must therefore accept the fact that these Biblical passages conclusively prove beyond any reasonable doubt that his false prophet was an idolator who didn’t completely eradicate the pagan practices of the Arabs. According to the inspired Scriptures Muhammad’s sunna is the cause for countless numbers of individuals sinning against the true God of Abraham by committing blatant acts of idolatry.
Zaatari has tried to defend the inconsistent use of the Holy Bible by Muslims in a series of “replies” to my six propositions that prove that Muhammad was a false prophet. We have already begun replying to his “rebuttals” which, if the Lord Jesus wills, shall appear soon. Suffice it to say his “defense” simply further exposes the utter circularity and fallacious reasoning of Islamic polemics, as well as providing another example of the inconsistent and dishonest use of sources which has become the hallmark of Muslim polemics.
More blatant idolatry from the "prophet of monotheism"
In a recent article Zaatari writes that according to the doctrine of tauhid al-uluhiyya a Muslim must take his/her oaths only in the name of Allah:
Now it must be made clear that when we say that all worship belongs to Allah we do not simply mean your salat prayer, rather we mean all acts of obedience in the religion belong to him, worship is not restricted to your salat prayer alone, but worship extends to fear, hope, trust, love, scarifying, and oath making...
Also when you make an oath, which is when you swear, you only swear by Allah, for instance you say I swear by Allah that my repentance is sincere and truthful, you do not say I swear by Muhammad (AS), or by any other person etc. (Tawheed, the core of Islam)
However, Muhammad himself failed to practice this and didn't follow his own rules. Muhammad had told his followers that swearing in the name of someone's father was shirk, or the sin of associating partners with Allah:
The Prophet said, “If anybody has to take an oath, he should swear ONLY by Allah.” The people of Quraish used to swear by their fathers, but the Prophet said, “Do not swear by your fathers.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 177)
Narrated Ibn 'Umar:
Allah's Apostle met 'Umar bin Al-Khattab while the latter was going with a group of camel-riders, and he was swearing by his father. The Prophet said, “Lo! Allah forbids you to swear by your fathers, so whoever has to take an oath, he should swear by Allah or keep quiet.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 78, Number 641)
And yet the prophet of the black stone went ahead and swore in the name of a person's father, thereby committing shirk!
Chapter 4: The Prohibition Of Withholding While Alive, Only To Squander Upon One’s Death
2706. It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: “A man came to the Prophet and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, tell me, which of the people has most right to my companionship?’ He said: ‘Yes, BY YOUR FATHER, you will certainly be told.’ He said: ‘Your mother.’ He said, ‘Then who?’ He said: ‘Then your mother.’ He said: ‘Then who?’ He said: ‘Then your mother.’ He said: ‘Then who?’ He said: ‘Then your father.’ He said: ‘Tell me, O Messenger of Allah, about my wealth – how should I give in charity?’ He said: ‘Yes, BY ALLAH, you will certainly be told…’” (Sahih)
… c. An oath can only be taken by the Name of Allah. It is not legal to take an oath over other than Allah’s Name, as in authentic Ahadith it has been made clear. The Prophet said: “Verily! Allah forbids you to swear by your fathers. If one has to take an oath he should swear by Allah or keep quite [sic].” (Sahih Al-Bukhari: 6108.) In this Hadith the oath taken by the father is either before the time when it was prohibited, or just part of Arabian culture, as a habitual custom. It was common in Arabia that during conversation some additional words or phrases without any particular intention were added. (English Translation of Sunan Ibn Majah - Compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah Al-Qazwini, From Hadith No. 1783 to 2718, 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 3, pp. 553-554; capital and underline emphasis ours)
The comments of the translator are problematic for at least three reasons. First, Muslim dawaganists like Zaatari believe that the Meccans are descendants of Ishmael and that he built the Kaba along with his father Abraham and that both of them instituted the rites of pilgrimage. This means that the people would have known and been informed that such swearing was forbidden by the God of Abraham since the Holy Bible clearly forbids taking oaths or swearing in anyone else's name:
“Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left, that you may not mix with these nations remaining among you or make mention of the names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them,” Joshua 23:7
“By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.” Isaiah 45:23
“‘If you will return, O Israel, return to me,’ declares the LORD. ‘If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, “As surely as the LORD lives,” then the nations will be blessed by him and in him they will glory.’” Jeremiah 4:1-2; cf. 12:16
At the very least, Muhammad should have known this in light of his association and contact with both Jews and Christians.
Second, Muslims assert that Allah protected Muhammad from all idolatrous practices even before he allegedly became a prophet. If this were correct then wouldn’t Allah have protected his messenger from committing idolatry by swearing by someone’s father?
Third, Muhammad’s slip occurred after his alleged prophetic ministry began, during the time when Muslims believe that their prophet was receiving inspiration. Again, if this were actually the case wouldn’t Muhammad’s lord have gone out of his way to guard his prophet from committing such a sin after the “revelation” began to descend, during the time where Muhammad always supposedly spoke by revelation? Or does this mean that it was Allah who inspired Muhammad to make this idolatrous oath in the name of somebody’s father since the latter never spoke except by way of inspiration?
With that said it is rather obvious that this is another time where Muhammad failed to practice what he preached and was guilty of idolatry. So much for the claim that Muhammad came to restore pure monotheism.
Prostration and Worship in Islam
Zaatari again splits hairs by arguing that there are only two individuals in the Quran that receive prostration, namely, Adam and Joseph. He again denies (not surprisingly) that these are cases where creatures are being worshiped and challenges me to prove that the prostration shown to these two individuals are in fact acts of worship.
However, I don’t need to prove that these were blatant acts of worship since Zaatari does that for me in his very own article. Zaatari admits that all acts of worship belong to God alone,
Now what is Tawhid of Worship? Tawheed of Worship is to believe THAT ALL ACTS OF WORSHIP BELONG TO GOD ALONE, this goes from YOUR PRAYERS, your sacrificing, your vows, your hope, your fear, your trust, and so forth and so forth, all of this belongs to God. (Capital emphasis ours)
And since the Quran connects bowing down or prostrating to Allah with service or worship:
Surely those who are with thy Lord wax not too proud to serve Him (‘ibadatihi); they chant His praise, and to Him they bow (yasjudoona). S. 7:206 Arberry
And of His signs are the night and the day, the sun and the moon. Bow not yourselves (la tasjudoo) to the sun and moon, but bow yourselves (wa-osjudoo) to God who created them, if Him you serve (ta-abudoona). S. 41:37
Rather prostrate yourselves (fa-osjudoo) before Allah and serve (wa-oabudoo) Him. S. 53:62 Pickthall
This means that the angels and Joseph’s family were guilty of worshiping the creation instead of the creator! As one Christian author put it in regards to the angels prostrating themselves to Adam:
“The story, as a whole, involves a difficult issue. Why did God order all His angels to fall prostrate before a being inferior to them in nature? The manner of prostration is reserved for the worship of God. It was not proper, therefore, to employ it in showing respect to creatures, including Adam. Realizing the problem involved in the use of the term 'Sajda' (prostration) in the passage under discussion, Jalal al-Din made the following observation:
The original word signifies properly, to prostrate one self till the forehead touches the ground, which is the humblest posture of adoration and strictly due to God only; but it is sometimes used to express civil worship or homage which may be paid to creatures. (W.T. Wherry, A Comprehensive Commentary on the Quran, Vol. I, p. 301 [read Wherry's note online; see comments on 2:34])
“Despite Jalal al-Din's apology, strictly speaking, 'Sajda' (prostration) is due only to God. That is why the commentator did not support adequately the exception he has made to the rule, from the Koran. The 'Wahhabis,' who consider themselves strict Muslims and true Monotheists, forbid worship of any creature. God alone deserves to be worshipped, according to them. They would not allow 'Sajda' to a civil authority - the kind of prostration which is meant to be used in prayers to God… Moreover, it is true that strictly speaking prostration before any being other than God is a practice against monotheism and spirit of the Koran, as Wahhabis would say.” (Abdiyah Akbar Abdul Haqq, Sharing Your Faith with a Muslim [Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN 1980], p. 78; bold emphasis ours)
In fact, you will occasionally catch a Wahhabi Muslim slipping and forgetting that Allah, in the Quran, commanded his servants to bow and prostrate before other creatures. When this happens you will find that these Salafi anthropomorphists basically agree that, from a purely Islamic perspective, prostrating before a creature is nothing less than idolatry even if the intention is not to worship the person. Note, for instance, the candid admission of the following Salafi website:
I would like to know what to do. Someone told me that when reciting dhuwa, that i have to prostrate seven times for the prophet, but i just don't know how, would you…
Undoubtedly this action is a kind of worship, and the Prophet warned us against following the Jews and Christians in that. He said during his final illness: "May the curse of Allaah be upon the Jews and Christians, for they took the graves of their Prophets as places of worship." He was warning against doing what they did. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, al-Salaah, 417)
… Prostration is one of the most exclusive acts of worship, TO BE DONE ONLY FOR ALLAAH. Allaah has commanded us to prostrate TO HIM ALONE AND NONE OTHER, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
"Prostrate yourselves not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate yourselves to Allaah Who created them, if you (really) worship Him"
"So fall you down in prostration to Allaah and worship Him (Alone)"
… As for what is mentioned in the question about prostrating for the Prophet, this is haraam (forbidden) and is major shirk, because prostration MAY ONLY BE DONE FOR ALLAAH. So the Muslim must learn about the matters of his religion from the Qur’aan and Sunnah and from trustworthy scholars; he should ask about everything that he does not understand, so that he will not fall into shirk, Allaah forbid…
Islam Q&A (www.islam-qa.com) (Question #13769: Prostrating to the Prophet constitutes disbelief in Allaah (kufr); capital and underline emphasis ours)
Is it permisible [sic] to bow while greeting a respectable/elder person/parent Other than saying "As-salam Alaykum Wa-rahmatullahi Wa-barakatuh".
Praise be to Allaah.
The usual greeting is "Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Allaahi wa barakaatuhu" (Peace be upon you, and the Mercy of Allaah and His Blessings), because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"greet one another with a greeting from Allaah (i.e. say: As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum — peace be on you), blessed and good"
The ahaadeeth explain this greeting clearly.
But bowing is not permitted, unless the person being greeted is old and is unable to stand up, or is one of your parents and you do not want to make him or her stand up to shake your hand or embrace you. So if you bow and kiss his head or forehead out of respect for the rights that he has over you, then this is not the kind of bowing that constitutes an act of worship. Undoubtedly bowing is an act of worship towards Allaah, as in rukoo’ (the bowing in prayer), so if that is done without shaking hands or kissing, it is an act of veneration towards that person and is therefore shirk.
Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Jibreen. (www.islam-qa.com) (Question #10428: Bowing to anyone other than Allaah is haram; underline emphasis ours)
Thus, when they are not careful even Wahhabis end up admitting that prostration to any one besides Allah is outright shirk no matter the intention!
Therefore, Allah is guilty for promoting shirk since he commanded his angels to prostrate before Adam, a mere creature, and for allowing Jacob and his family to bow before Joseph.
It is now time for Zaatari to shut down his website and leave the false religion of Islam, since this is what he said he would do if I proved to him that Adam and Joseph received worship by Allah’s express command and approval.
For more on this issue we recommend this rebuttal.
Allah’s names and Zaatari’s desperate defense
Zawadi then tries to tackle the mistake of the author(s) of the Quran in attributing Allah’s exclusive names to creatures such as the Potiphar and Moses. Zaatari argues that al-aziz is not a personal name but a title, which is nothing more than a straw man since we never claimed that this was a personal name. Zaatari is confused since he erroneously assumed that when we challenged Muslims to show us that al-aziz was Potiphar’s actual name we meant his personal name.
As if he couldn’t make it any more obvious that he is incapable of providing a meaningful response, Zaatari says that the Quran is simply quoting what the people said, not what Allah said about their names! We already refuted this in our initial discussion by saying that these individuals didn’t speak Arabic and so there was no need for Allah to ascribe his own titles and qualities to them in their definite forms in his Arabic Quran. Allah could have mentioned these names in Arabic without attaching the definite article to them, just like he did in the examples which we provided. Besides, Allah could have inspired Muhammad to transliterate the original titles into the Arabic language much like he did with other Biblical names and words such as Torah, Injil etc. If he had done this he would have avoided all of these gross problems. (This assumes that the Allah of Islam truly exists and that the Quran is a divine revelation, all of which we deny since the evidence conclusively proves that Muhammad’s deity is a false god and the Muslim scripture wasn’t revealed by the true God of Abraham).
So much for Zaatari’s defense of both his and Zawadi’s un-Islamic conception of monotheism, as well as his desperate attempt of justifying and explaining away his god’s direct violation of his own rules and commandments.
Lord Jesus willing, more rebuttals to Zaatari’s bluster and smokescreens will appear shortly.
The polemicist has produced a series of "replies" to my rebuttal of his failed defense of Zawadi's position. In one of the articles the propagandist claims that I argued that Allah has taken certain creatures such as Muhammad and the wombs as his equal partners by using the Arabic word wa since it is the conjunction of partnership and equality. I need to correct Zaatari at this point since I didn't come up with the idea that wa is the conjunction used to denote equality and partnership, his own Muslim scholars did. I simply took that information and used it to prove that Allah violated his own instructions concerning tauhid by taking coequal partners from among his creation.
The dawagandist then writes:
Where in the above does it say ANYTHING about equality?
Zaatari is either ignorant, and therefore is dealing with issues that are well beyond his ability to adequately comprehend and address, or he is simply being dishonest and deceptive. The latter seems to be more likely as we shall shortly see.
In the first place didn't Zaatari bother to read the following?
Al-Khattabi said, "The Prophet has guided you to correct behaviour in putting the will of Allah before the will of others. He chose ‘THEN’ (thumma) which implies sequence and deference as opposed to ‘AND’ (wa) WHICH IMPLIES PARTNERSHIP."
Something similar is mentioned in another hadith. Someone was speaking in the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, "Whoever obeys Allah AND His Messenger has been rightly guided, and whoever rebels against them both (joining them together by using the dual form) …" The Prophet said to him, "What a bad speaker you are! Get up! [Or he said: Get out!]"
Abu Sulayman said, "He disliked the two names being joined together in that way BECAUSE IT IMPLIES EQUALITY." … (Qadi Iyad, Kitab Ash-shifa bi ta'rif huquq al-Mustafa (Healing by the recognition of the Rights of the Chosen One), translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K., third reprint 1991, paperback], Part One. Allah’s great estimation of the worth of His Prophet expressed both in word and action, Chapter One: Allah’s praise of him and his great esteem for him, Section 1. Concerning praise of him and his numerous excellent qualities, pp. 7-8; capital emphasis ours)
Notice that within the context partnership is defined as equality. Besides, what greater sin is there in Islam if not the sin of assigning partners with Allah, known as shirk?
Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin. S. 4:48 Hilali-Khan - cf. 116
It is obvious that Zaatari is splitting hairs since he knows he cannot deal with the issues and so seeks to divert attention away from my main argument.
Here is the reason why we say that Zaatari is being dishonest and deceptive. He claims that the quotation I provided from Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab wasn't dealing specifically with the conjunction wa but with the issue of of the will, i.e. it is wrong to say if Allah wills and if someone else such as Muhammad wills. Zaatari is obviously trying to pull a fast one over his readers since the point of the citation is not simply over the issue of the will but of conjoining Allah's will with another's by the use of the conjunction wa! That is why the same source advises Muslims to say if Allah wills, THEN if so-and-so wills, using the conjunction thumma instead. This shows that it is wrong to use wa in speaking of Allah and someone together since this implies that whoever is mentioned alongside Allah is Allah's partner and therefore a violation of tauhid.
To prove that this is the main concern of the quotation in question, namely to warn Muslims from employing the conjunction wa in joining Allah with anyone else, here is what some of the very chapters which I linked to state concerning the issue of setting up rivals or partners with Allah:
Important issues of the Chapter
1) The Jews were aware of the consequences of minor Shirk.
2) Man's understanding of the Shirk if he wishes to.
3) The statement of the Prophet "Have you made me an associate with Allah." How condemnable is the poet who said:
"O noblest of the creatures, there is none for me but you to seek refuge in distress."
4) This is not the major Shirk as the Prophet said: "I was prevented from doing so for such and such ..." (CHAPTER No: 44. How it is to say "What Allah may will and you may will")
Notice that, despite Zaatari's spin and smokescreen, the Muslim translator of this particular English translation of Kitab al-Tawheed asserts that this specific chapter is not about the will but about shirk!
Allah the Almighty said:
"Do not set up rivals (Al-Andad) unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped)." (2:22)
With reference to the above quoted verse, Ibn Abbas said:
"Al-Andad means Shirk. It is as inconspicuous as a black ant moving (crawling) on a black stone in the darkness of night. It is to swear: 'by Allah AND by your life' and 'by my life'. It is also to say: 'Had there not been this little dog or the duck in the house, the thief would have entered.' Or, like the statement of a man to his companion: 'By Allah's AND yours will,..' or 'Had it not been Allah AND so-and-so', etc. Do not mention anybody with Allah because all of it is Shirk." [It has been reported by Ibn Abi Hatim] ...
"Do not say 'With the will of Allah AND with the will of that person' but rather say 'With the will of Allah and then with the will of that person.' " [Abu Dawud reported this Hadith with a Sahih chain]
It is related about Ibrahim Nakhyee that he detested to say: "I seek refuge in Allah AND in you," but it is permitted to say: "I seek Allah's refuge first and then yours." He said, "Say 'If not Allah and then so-and-so' and do not say 'If not Allah AND so-and-so'"
Important issues of the Chapter ...
5) The difference between the conjunctions 'wa' (and) and 'thumma' (then). (CHAPTER No: 42. ("Do not set up rivals unto Allah..."); capital and underline emphasis ours)
Thus, my argument still stands that Allah has made Muhammad his coequal partner by joining their names together through the use of the conjunction wa which even Muslim scholars admit is used in relation to partnership and equality.
In another "reply" Zaatari quotes Ibn Kathir to show that the angels and Joseph's family were not worshiping the creation by bowing to Adam and Joseph respectively since Allah supposedly permitted people to bow down to men of authority from the time of Adam till the advent of Christ until Islam came to prohibit it. Ibn Kathir then claims that:
Islam made prostration exclusively for Allah Alone, the Exalted and Most Honored. The implication of this statement was collected from Qatadah and other scholars.
Zaatari also cites the response of www.islamqa.com to try to refute me without realizing how the site's answer actually proves my point. This Salafi website claims that prostration is of two types, the first being an act performed for the purpose of worship with the other being a kind of greeting and honor. However, Zaatari conveniently failed to understand the implication of the following assertion made by his very own source:
The prostration of Yoosuf's parents and brothers was also a prostration of greeting and honouring, which was permissible according to the law (of Allaah) at that time [sic]. But according to the sharee'ah brought by the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad, it is not permissible to prostrate to anyone at all except Allaah. Hence the Prophet said: "If I were to have commanded anyone to prostrate to anyone else, I would have commanded women to prostrate to their husbands." The Prophet forbade Mu'aadh to prostrate to him when he (Mu'aadh) said that the People of the Book prostrated to the great ones among them, and he mentioned the hadeeth quoted above. The prohibition in this sharee'ah against prostrating to anyone at all except Allaah is an aspect of its perfection in achieving true Tawheed. It is the perfect sharee'ah whose perfection is manifested in all its rulings...
The questions that Zaatari should have asked himself are the following: If prostration was allowed for the purpose of showing honor and greeting then why did Muhammad prohibit it? And if Islam forbids Muslims from prostrating to anyone other than Allah because it violates tauhid al-ibaadah, i.e. his worship, then why was it allowed in the first place? How could it not be a violation of Allah's worship back then if it violates it now? And if prohibiting Muslims to prostrate before others is an aspect of perfection in achieving true tauhid does this imply that Allah's worship was imperfect at the beginning? Are we to really believe that Allah allowed his prophets and true followers to worship him imperfectly, preventing them from attaining perfection in their worship or tauhid? Does Zaatari seriously want us to believe that his deity actually put up with people honoring him in an imperfect manner? Does that even make sense?
Moreover, how many times do we hear dawagandists like Zaatari claim that the prophets before Muhammad were Muslims and believed in tauhid? If so then why did Allah permit them to violate a crucial aspect of tauhid by allowing them to prostrate to creatures? If as propagandists like Sami keep telling us that the angels and Joseph's family were not worshiping the creation but simply showing honor and respect to great prophets of Allah then why should such honor and respect be prohibited? And seeing that Islam strictly prohibits prostrating to anyone besides Allah irrespective of one's intentions doesn't this refute the oft-repeated assertion that the angels and Joseph's family were simply showing honor? Doesn't this actually prove that their actions were in direct violation of the worship which is supposed to be shown only to Allah? Of course it does and no amount of spinning and mental gymnastics on Zaatari's part will change this fact.
Zaatari has to face reality and admit that the Quran contradicts itself, or at least is contradicting what Muslims like Sami have been taught concerning the worship of Allah. He should be honest enough and be a man of his word and close down his site just like he said he would do if shown that the Quran permitted the worship of Adam and Joseph. Yet seeing that he follows a god who permits Muslims to lie and break their oaths (*; *; *; *; *; *; *) we are not surprised that Zaatari refuses to keep his word. By trying to make excuses to avoid having to keep his promise Zaatari is simply being a good Muslim and is faithfully carrying out the example of his own false prophet.
Lord Jesus willing, my thorough refutation of the other part of Zaatari's "response" shall appear soon. And seeing that Zaatari has posted another of Jalal Abualrub's failed attempt of addressing the issue of his false prophet's cross-dressing expect my replies to that as well.