The following is my response to Meherally's attack on Paul. Meherally's article can be found here.
the Everlasting Commandment
Disregarding the Stern Warning by Jesus Christ;
Blindly following the Rebellious "RULE"
ordained unilaterally by Paul;
Is this the True Christianity?
The "Everlasting Command" of God:
God said to Abraham, "As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you;Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. Throughout your generations every male among you shall be circumcised when he is eight days old, including the slave born in your house and the one bought with money from any foreigner who is not your offspring. He that is born in your house, and he that is bought with your money both must be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant." Genesis 17: 9 to 14
1. The quoted Scripture is very explicit about"PHYSICAL" circumcision.
Indeed it is, which makes Meherally's failure to understand the passage even more astounding.
2. This Covenant of "physical circumcision" was made an EVERLASTING COMMAND by God Himself, for Abraham and his generations to come.
Let us highlight two key aspects of the passage which Meherally evidently missed:
"I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of YOUR DESCENDENTS AFTER YOU. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and YOUR DESCENDENTS; and I will be their God.' Then God said to Abraham, 'As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your DESCENDENTS after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male AMONG YOU shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male AMONG YOU who is EIGHT DAYS OLD must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner-those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant." Genesis 17:7-14
The passage states that God gave this command to Abraham and his PHYSICAL descendants. Foreign slaves also had to be circumcised since they fell under the headship of the Israelite master, being viewed as members of the household.
Gentile Christians are not PHYSICAL descendents of Abraham. They are his SPIRITUAL offspring and therefore not bound to keep the command of physical circumcision. Rather, being spiritual descendents of Abraham by faith in Christ, their circumcision is spiritual in nature. It is a circumcision of the heart which is symbolized by baptism:
"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Galatians 3:26-29
"Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless." Philippians 3:1-6
"In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." Colossians 2:11-15
Second, Genesis 17 explicitly states that males had to be circumcised on the eighth day. As we shall see, it is the Muslims who are in violation of God's everlasting command and are therefore disqualified from being God's covenant people.
3. To advocate that by the historicity of the Crucifixion of Jesus or by the Blood of Jesus, the divinely instituted everlasting covenant had been REPLACED and/or AMENDED, is to pronounce that GOD who instituted the Law of "Physical Circumcision" was not aware of the future events to happen.
Since God's eternal command was made with Abraham and his physical descendents, Meherally's false dilemma doesn't lead to his erroneous assertion regarding God being unaware of future events. More on this below.
The "Stern Warning" by Jesus:
Think not that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets; I have not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5: 17 to 19
Meherally somehow thinks that quoting Jesus' statement on fulfilling the Law/Prophets supports his argument. A careful reading of the context will show that Jesus' statement wasn't an endorsement of the Mosaic Law, but the moral and ethical parts of the Law as defined and understood by Christ. As Messianic Jewish author, David H. Stern indicates:
"It is true that Yeshua (Jesus) kept the Torah perfectly and fulfilled predictions of the Prophets, but that is not the point here. Yeshua did not come to abolish but 'to make full' (plerosai) the meaning of what the Torah and the ethical demands of the Prophets require. Thus he came to complete our understanding of the Torah and the Prophets, so that we can try to more effectively be and do what they say to be and do... The remainder of chapter 5 gives six specific cases in which Yeshua explains the fuller spiritual meaning of points in the Jewish Law. In fact, this verse states the theme and agenda of the entire Sermon on the Mount, in which Yeshua completes, makes fuller, the understanding of his talmidim (students) concerning the Torah and the Prophets, so that they can more fully express what being God's people is all about." (Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary [Clarksville, Maryland; Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996], pp. 25-26)
Hence, Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets by providing a proper exegesis of the moral code of the Hebrew Bible, as well as fulfilling the predictions concerning his coming. The following passages serve to clarify this:
"Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord. BUT I TELL YOU, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your Yes be Yes, and your No, No; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." Matthew 5:33-37
"You have heard that it was said, Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. BUT I TELL YOU, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." Matthew 5:38-42
"Then he said to them, 'These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you- that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled." Luke 24:44
"You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life." John 5:39-40
"Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believed me. For he wrote about me." John 5:45-46
"For being ignorant of the righteousness that God ascribes (which makes one acceptable to Him in word, thought and deed), and seeking to establish a righteousness (a means of salvation) of their own, they did not obey or submit themselves to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the Law - the limit at which it ceases to be, for the Law leads up to Him Who is the fulfillment of its types, and in Him the purpose in which it was designed to accomplish is fulfilled.- That is, the purpose of the Law is fulfilled in Him- as the means of righteousness (right relationship to God) for everyone who trusts in and adheres to and relies on Him." Romans 10:3-4 Amplified Bible
Interestingly, the OT itself predicted that the nations would trust in the Law which the Messiah would bring:
"Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruise reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope." Isaiah 42:1-4
Therefore, it is Christ's commands and his exposition of the Law, specifically the ethical and moral aspects of it, that is binding upon all believers. This is further seen from Jesus' concluding statements from his Sermon on the Mount, as well as his final parting comments before his ascension:
"Therefore everyone who hears THESE WORDS OF MINE and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears THESE WORDS OF MINE and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." Matthew 7:24-27
"Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I HAVE COMMANDED YOU. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20
Notice that Jesus doesn't tell his disciples to pass on Moses' commandments, but rather to pass on his commands. This shows that Meherally's appeal to Matthew 5:17-19 is misplaced since it has nothing to do with Genesis 17 and circumcision.
NOTE- Amazingly, Meherally now contradicts himself regarding the meaning of Jesus' words in Matthew 5:17-19 because in one of his later "rebuttals", Meherally now claims:
7. The Gospels record that Jesus Christ was a Jew and an upholder of "The Law" revealed to his predecessors. Here is what he said to uphold the Law:
"Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven."Matthew 5: 19
Just two verses earlier he said:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill."Matthew 5: 17
What exactly did Jesus mean when he said; "not to abolish but to fulfill"?
The Gospel of Matthew records that Jesus, instead of upholding, DID SUBSTITUTE THE EARLIER COMMAND OF TORAH; "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" (Leviticus 24: 20), WITH HIS ALTERNATE COMMAND; "Do not resist an evil doer, but if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also..." (Matthew 5: 39). These two examples from the Bible tell us THAT THE PROCESS OF GOD SUBSTITUTING HIS EARLIER MESSAGE WITH A BETTER SUITED, through the succeeding Messenger of God IS NOT AN ALIEN OR AN UNHEARD OF PHENOMENA. (Source; bold emphasis ours)
Meherally now agrees that the context of Matthew 5 shows that Jesus did in fact substitute God's commands in the Torah! Yet, in this "rebuttal" Meherally tries to use Matthew 5:17 to show that Jesus didn't come to alter God's commands such as circumcision!!!! Talk about a double standard and shoddy scholarship.
We will be addressing Meherally's alleged "rebuttal" regarding abrogation in the Quran in the near future, Lord Jesus willing.
1.God had earlierDeclared in Genesis 17: 14 that any one who has Broken His Covenant had cut himself from his people i.e., he is not among the chosen.
As we shall see Muslims are guilty of breaking God's covenant and are therefore cut off from his people.
2. Jesus had Sternly Warned in Matt. 5: 19 that one who Breaks the God's Commandment or so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. This warning was a re-affirmation of God's Declaration in Gen. 17: 14.
3. If his crucifixion was to alter the God's Eternal Commandment, Jesus would not have Warned his disciples so strictly; Do not break the commandments.
As we have shown, Jesus' warning had nothing to do with breaking Genesis 17:14. Instead, it refers to breaking HIS COMMANDS as the entire context of the Sermon of the Mount clearly shows. As such, Jesus' statement cannot be twisted to mean that Gentile Christians must follow the covenant of circumcision.
Furthermore, Jesus' death on the cross did not alter God's commandments, but actually fulfilled them. The sacrifices and ceremonial observances were simply shadows of things to come, pointing to Christ who is the reality:
"Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." Colossians 2:16-17
"The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming - not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship." Hebrews 10:1
Now that the reality has come, these observances are done away with since they have been consummated in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.
The "Rebellious Rule" of Paul:
... This ismy rule in all the churches. ("... And so ordain I in all churches." translation by K.J.V.). Is any man called being circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Is any man called being uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but obeying the commandments of God is everything. Let each of you remain in the condition in which you were called in. 1 Corinthians 7: 17-20
1.Paul hadordained his own RULE for all the Churches.
First, let us see if this was something which Paul ordained:
"Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved. This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them. Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses. The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are. The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up: Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: "After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things that have been known for ages." It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath. Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul - men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good TO THE HOLY SPIRIT and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell." Acts 15:1-29
Both Paul AND the other Apostles of Christ agreed that circumcision was unnecessary for Gentile believers.
Second, even though Paul discouraged Gentiles from getting circumcised he made sure that other believing Jews were circumcised, such as his companion Timothy:
"He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek." Acts 16:1-3
Third, Meherally seems to have forgotten our response to him regarding Paul's credentials as a legitimate Apostle:
In this article, we documented that the first Muslims spoke quite positively of Paul, viewing him as a true representative and martyr of the Lord Jesus Christ. Meherally has yet to address these positive citations from the first Muslims regarding the integrity of the Apostle Paul.
Here is another positive citation, this time from Ibn Kathir:
<so We reinforced them with a third> means, We supported and strengthened them with a third Messenger. Ibn Jurayj narrated from Wahb bin Sulayman, from Shuayb Al-Jabai, "The names of the first two Messengers were Shamun and Yuhanna, and the name of the third was Bulus, and the city was Antioch...
<Verily, we have been sent to you as Messengers.>
meaning, from your Lord Who created you and Who commands you to worship Him Alone with no partners or associates. This was the view of Abu Al-Aliyah. Qatadah bin Diamah claimed that they were messengers of the Messiah, peace be upon him, sent to the people of Antioch. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 8, Surat Al-Ahzab, Verse 51 to the end of Surat Ad-Dukhan, abridged under a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors Riyadh, Houston, New York, London, Lahore; First Edition, September 2000], p. 179; bold emphasis ours)
Shamun refers to Simon Peter, Yuhanna to the apostle John, and Bulus is Arabic for Paul. This source categorizes Paul and the other Apostles as Messengers of God! This is highly interesting, especially since Meherally will later malign Paul by claiming that he was only a minister, not a prophet. Yet, this source shows that the first Muslims did not hesitate to call Paul a Messenger of God!
So much for Meherally's assault on Paul.
2. Paul wrote: "Obeying the Commandments of God is everything."
3. We know that the "physical" circumcision was the Commandment of God.
4. Yet, Paul taught in his writings: Circumcision is nothing. This RULE of Paul was a Proclamation of a Treason in the Kingdom of God. Should a true Disciple obey the RULE of Paul and discard the WARNING by Jesus Christ?
Evidently, Meherally thinks that Paul is referring to the Mosaic Law or the OT. Yet, anyone reading Paul carefully and in context would see that the Apostle was referring to the commands given by Christ either directly or through his Apostles:
"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Matthew 16:18-19
"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:15-20
"I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me." John 13:20
"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26
"Remember the words I spoke to you: No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey YOURS also. When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning." John 15:20, 26-27
"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come." John 16:12-13
"If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you IS THE LORD'S COMMAND. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored." 1 Corinthians 14:37-38
"Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus ... Therefore, he who rejects THIS INSTRUCTION does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit." 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2, 8
Jesus' commands are referred to as "the law of liberty", "the law of Christ" or "the law of the Spirit of life", and is often placed in contrast with the Law of Moses:
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit." Romans 8:1-4
"To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law BUT AM UNDER CHRIST'S LAW), so as to win those not having the law." 1 Corinthians 9:20-21
Notice here that Paul states that he is not under the law, meaning the law of Moses, but under the law of Christ. This clearly demonstrates that the commands which Paul instructed believers to observe were those given by Christ.
(Note: We learn from other NT passages that Paul, as a Jewish believer, was still required by the law of Christ to observe many OT commands which Gentile believers were freed from. For more on this issue, please consult this article.)
"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
"But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does." James 1:25 NASB
Noted Evangelical Scholar Craig L. Blomberg writes:
Verses 18-19 illustrate this principle with the example of circumcision versus uncircumcision. Judaizers sought to force Gentile Christians to be circumcised (Acts 15:1), while many Jews who sought acceptance in the Greco-Roman world underwent a minor surgical procedure to make themselves appear to be uncircumcised. Although it was one of the most fundamental ritual requirements of Judaism, circumcision is now a matter of moral indifference for believers (cf. Acts 15:1-21). The New Testament counterpart to circumcision is salvation, symbolized by baptism (Col. 2:11-15).
"Keeping God's commandments" (v. 19) for Christians does not mean observing all 613 pieces of Mosaic legislation, at least not literally, though all do have relevance in one way or another for believers (2 Tim. 3:16). Rather Paul refers to the reinterpretations and applications of the Law for a new age, in light of the words and works of Jesus and the apostles. (Blomberg, The NIV Application Commentary- 1 Corinthians [Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids MI], pp. 145-146; bold emphasis ours)
In light of the fact that neither Christ nor his Apostles demanded Gentile believers to be circumcised, we again see that Meherally is grasping at straws and twisting the NT to suit his agenda.
An admonishment from the Glorious Qur'an:
"Say: O People of the Book! You have naught (of guidance) tillyou observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed unto you from your Lord. That which is revealed unto thee (Muhammad) from thy Lord is certain to increase the contumacy
and disbelief of many of them. But grieve not for the disbelieving folk." Glorious Qur'an 5: 68
1. The observance of the TORAH and the GOSPEL is Commanded and NOT of the EPISTLES, written by Apostles / Ministers ordainingtheir own RULES.
Meherally fails to inform his readers that the Quran also commands believers to follow ALL that God revealed, including the Book which was in the hands of the Jews and Christians. This Book is none other than the Holy Bible which includes THESE VERY EPISTLES!
Second, Meherally seems to be ignorant of the Islamic position regarding Jesus' relationship to the Law. It is the Quran that claims that Jesus abrogated certain aspects of the Law:
"(I have come to you), to attest to the Law which was before me and to make lawful to you part of what was (before) forbidden to you ..." S. 3:50
The following quotations are taken from Mahmoud M Ayoub's book, The Quran and Its Interpreters, Volume II, The House of Imran, State University of New York Press, Albany 1992. All bold and capital emphasis ours:
"Tabari reports on the authority of Wahb bin Munabbih that Jesus was a follower of the law of Moses. He observed the Sabbath and faced Jerusalem in prayer. He said to the Children of Israel, "I have not come to call you to disobey even one word of the Torah. I have come only to make lawful for you some of the things which were before unlawful and to relieve you of some of the hardships [which the Torah imposed on you]." Qatadah, according to Tabari, is said to have declared: The [Law] with which Jesus came was much more lenient than that which Moses brought. The Law of Moses made unlawful for them to eat the flesh of camel, the fat covering the stomach of an animal, and some birds and fish ...
Ibn Kathir interprets the phrase and will make lawful for you some of the things which were before unlawful as indicating that Jesus did indeed abrogate some of the precepts of the Torah. Nevertheless, he reports that some scholars have argued that Jesus did not abrogate anything, but only made lawful for the Children of Israel some of the things concerning which they had disagreed. Ibn Kathir, however, prefers the first view ...
Razi then raises the following question: It may be argued that latter statement contradicts the one before it. This is because it clearly indicates that he came to make lawful some of the things which were unlawful in the Torah. This would mean that his legislation was contrary to that of the Torah, which would contradict his saying, "I shall confirm the Torah which was before me." Razi, however, holds that there is actually no contradiction between the two statements because confirming the Torah can only signify the belief that all that is in it is true and right. If, moreover, the second purpose [of Jesus' apostleship] is not mentioned in the Torah, his making lawful some of the things which are unlawful in it would not contradict his having confirmed the Torah. Furthermore, since the Torah contains prophesies concerning the coming of Jesus, then neither his coming nor HIS LAW would be contrary to the Torah.
Razi then reports the different views concerning what Jesus made lawful for the Children of Israel. He mentions that Wahb b. Munabbih interpreted this statement as first referring to the rabbis who had invented some false laws which they ascribed to Moses. But when Jesus came, he abolished these laws, and thus matters reverted to what they were during the time of Moses. Razi also attributed to Wahb the view that God had made some things unlawful for the Jews as a punishment for the transgressions which they had committed, as God says, "because of the wrongdoing which the Jews committed, We made unlawful some of the good things which were before lawful for them" (Q. 4:160). This prohibition remained until Jesus came and lifted these restrictions from them. Razi gives by way of example what Jesus altered in the laws of the Torah, his substituting Sunday for the Sabbath as a day of rest ...
Qummi briefly comments that the things which Jesus made lawful for the Children of Israel included work on the Sabbath, and eating such fats and birds which were before unlawful ..." (pp. 149-150)
" Qutb says: The Torah was, like the Gospel, the scripture of Jesus, that is, the foundation of the religion which he came. The Gospel is intended to COMPLETE AND REVIVE THE SPIRIT OF THE TORAH and the spirit of faith which was obscured in the hearts of the Children of Israel. The Torah is the foundation of the religion of Christ and contains the law (shari'ah) on which the social order is based. The Gospel makes only slight modifications in the Torah, but it is a breath and renewal of the spirit of religion. It acts as a source of discipline for human conscience by bringing it into direct contact with God ..."
"... By Saying, "I shall confirm the Torah that was sent before me" Jesus discloses the nature of true Christianity. Qutb argues that the Torah was essential to the message of Jesus, but his message introduced certain minor modifications to it. Jesus made lawful some of the things which God had made unlawful as punishment of the Children of Israel for their sins. Then God wished to show mercy towards them through Christ." (pp. 152-153)
"... He [Razi] then presents another possible reason: The Jews knew that Jesus was the messiah who was announced in the Torah, and that he was to ABROGATE their religion ..." (p. 160)
We therefore see that it is the Quran and Muslim scholars which assert that Jesus abrogated certain parts of the Law. We leave it up to Meherally to try and reconcile S. 3:50 with 5:68, as well as with his latest claim that the context of Matthew 5:17-19 demonstrates that Jesus did in fact substitute certain aspects of the Law.
2. The Bible tells us that Paul was a "minister" of Jesus and not a Prophet.
For an exposition of Meherally's deception regarding Paul's status, please read this article.
3. Jesus Christ was circumcised in his foreskin and so are the Muslim males.
First, Meherally erroneously assumes that since Jesus was circumcised this means that all his followers, more specifically his Gentile followers, need to be circumcised as well. We have already demonstrated that the command of circumcision was restricted to Abraham's PHYSICAL DESCENDENTS. Since Jesus was a physical descendent of Abraham it is little wonder that he was circumcised.
Second, Meherally fails to inform his readers that the Quran nowhere commands circumcision as a requirement for Muslims! It is found in the Islamic traditions. In fact, nowhere are Muslims required to circumcise males on the eighth day, but within the first early years up to puberty:
...The ceremony, with great rejoicing and festivities, usually takes place one week after birth for Jews and within the early few years of age among Muslims... (Source)
As for the time set for circumcision, Al-Mawardi says: "There are two periods for
it, one at which it becomes obligatory and another at which it is recommended. The
first is the time of puberty, and the other is any time before that. The SEVENTH
DAY after birth is chosen as the proper date for circumcision".
The question of time is a matter of controversy, and the important point is that a boy should be circumcised when he reaches puberty. It is the habit of people to have their male children circumcised shortly after birth, which is a good habit. There is, however, no hadith that supplies a definite evidence as to any definite time to perform this obligation.
Abu al-Sheikh cites a quotation of Jaber saying that the Prophet (pbuh) had his grandsons Hassan and Hussein circumcised WHEN THEY WERE SEVEN DAYS OLD.
AI-Walid ibn Muslim says: "I asked Malik about it, and he said: 'I do not know, but circumcision is an act of purification, and therefore the earlier it is performed, the better to my liking".
AI-Nawawi says in Al-rawdha: "Circumcision becomes obligatory when the age of puberty is reached. But it is recommended to have a child circumcised ON THE SEVENTH DAY, unless the baby is too weak to take it. Then it should be postponed until the child can go through it". (Source)
Amazingly, the preceding author claims that some Muslim scholars state that male circumcision is not an ordinance, while others say that it is not even mandatory!:
"Scholars ARE NOT UNANIMOUS on the question of male circumcision; some, maintain that it is obligatory, while others say it is recommended."
"Ahmad and some Maliki scholars also say it is obligatory. Abu Hanifa holds the opinion that it is an obligation, but not an ordinance. AI-Nawawi says that circumcision is viewed by Malik and many other scholars as a sunna.l: Ibn al- Qayyem says: 'Scholars of Islamic jurisprudence differ on this question. Al- Shaabi, Rabia, Al-Awzaie, Yahia ibn Said al-Ansari, Malik, Al-Shafie, and Ahmad all say it is obligatory. Malik emphasizes the point and goes as far as to say: 'When a man is not circumcised, he cannot be an imam in prayer and his testimony cannot be admitted'."
Let us repeat God's specific instruction to Abraham regarding the time of circumcision:
"For the generations to come every male among you WHO IS EIGHT DAYS OLD MUST BE CIRCUMCISED, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner - those who are not your offspring." Genesis 17:12
God specifically states that the male child MUST BE circumcised on the eighth day, not the seventh day or the first few years of a child's life before he reaches puberty. If Meherally's logic is true then this means that Islam is an abomination to God and all Muslims are cut off from God's chosen people.
Meherally may claim that not all Muslims are physical descendents of Abraham and therefore not required to keep circumcision. This may be true of the non-Arab Muslims, but this would not be true of those Arab Muslims such as Muhammad who claim to be descendents of Abraham through Ishmael. They would be required to follow God's eternal command. Furthermore, if Meherally does make this claim then he concedes my point, namely that only Abraham's physical descendents were required to keep this command. Gentile believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are under no obligation to do so.
Meherally may argue that this command is no longer binding and Muslims do not therefore fall under God's condemnation for failing to circumcise males on the eighth day. If so, then Meherally has wasted everyone's time in writing this critique of the Apostle Paul and ends up contradicting himself.
Even more amazing is that these same traditions also mention female circumcision!:
Narrated Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah:
A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 41, Number 5251)
Various hadiths define legal intercourse (for purity purposes) as occurring when the circumcised parts cross or touch each other, i.e. circumcision of both men and women is presupposed.
Abu Musa reported: There cropped up a difference of opinion between a group of Muhajirs (Emigrants and a group of Ansar (Helpers) (and the point of dispute was) that the Ansar said: The bath (because of sexual intercourse) becomes obligatory only-when the semen spurts out or ejaculates. But the Muhajirs said: When a man has sexual intercourse (with the woman), a bath becomes obligatory (no matter whether or not there is seminal emission or ejaculation). Abu Musa said: Well, I satisfy you on this (issue). He (Abu Musa, the narrator) said: I got up (and went) to 'A'isha and sought her permission and it was granted, and I said to her: O Mother, or Mother of the Faithful, I want to ask you about a matter on which I feel shy. She said: Don't feel shy of asking me about a thing which you can ask your mother, who gave you birth, for I am too your mother. Upon this I said: What makes a bath obligatory for a person? She replied: You have come across one well informed! The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When anyone sits amidst four parts (of the woman) and the circumcised parts touch each other a bath becomes obligatory. (Sahih Muslim, Book 003, Number 0684)
The following traditions are found in Malik's Muwatta:
Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Said ibn al-Musayyab that Umar ibn al-Khattab and Uthman ibn Affan and A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to say, "When the circumcised part touches the circumcised part, ghusl is obligatory." (Book 2, Number 2.19.73; see also No. 74 and 75) Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Abdullah ibn Umar used to say, "When the circumcised part passes the circumcised part, ghusl is obligatory." (Book 2, Number 2.19.77)
Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said that he heard Said ibn al-Musayyab asking a group of people, "What do you think about someone who has intercourse with his wife while he is in ihram?" and none of them answered him. Said said, "There is a man who has had intercourse with his wife while in ihram who has sent a message to Madina asking about it." Some of them said, "They should be kept apart until a future year," and Said ibn al-Musayyab said, "They should carry on and complete the hajj which they have spoiled, and then return home when they have finished. If another hajj comes upon them, they must do hajj and sacrifice an animal. They should go into ihram at the same place where they went into ihram for the hajj that they spoiled, and they should keep apart until they have finished their hajj." Malik said, "They should both sacrifice an animal." Malik said, about a man who had intercourse with his wife during hajj after he had come down from Arafa but before he had stoned the Jamra, "He must sacrifice an animal and do hajj again in another year. If, however, he had intercourse with his wife after he stoned the Jamra, he only has to do an umra and sacrifice an animal and he does not have to do another hajj." Malik said, "What spoils a hajj or an umra and makes sacrificing an animal and repeating the hajj necessary is the meeting of the two circumcised parts, even if there is no emission. It is also made necessary by an emission if it is the result of bodily contact. I do not think that a man who remembers something and has an emission owes anything, and if a man were to kiss his wife and no emission were to occur from that, he would only have to sacrifice an animal. A woman in ihram who has intercourse with her husband several times during hajj or umra out of obedience to him only has to do another hajj and sacrifice an animal. That is if her husband has intercourse with her while she is doing hajj. If he has intercourse with her while she is doing umra, she must repeat the umra she has spoiled and sacrifice an animal." (Book 20, Number 20.46.161)
The following Muslim site writes in response to a question regarding female circumcision:
Ibn Qudamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said, in his book al-Mughni: "Circumcision is obligatory for men, and it is an honour for women, but it is not obligatory for them. This is the opinion of many scholars. (Imam) Ahmad said: For men it is more strictly required, but for women it is less strictly required." (al-Mughni 1/70).
Circumcision of the female consists of the removal of a part of the clitoris, which is situated above the opening of the urethra. The Sunnah is not to remove all of it, but only a part. (al-Mawsuah al-Fiqhiyyah 19/28).
In this matter, it is wise to follow the interests of the female: if the clitoris is large, then part of it should be removed, otherwise it should be left alone. This size of the clitoris will vary from woman to woman, and there may be differences between those from hot climates and those from cold climates.
A hadith on the topic of female circumcision has been attributed to the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon Him), according to which he said: "Circumcision is a Sunnah for men, and an honour for women," but there is some debate as to the authenticity of this hadith. See Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Daifah by al-Albani, no. 1935.
How circumcision is to be performed is mentioned in the hadith narrated by Umm Atiyah, may Allah be pleased with her, according to which a woman used to perform circumcisions in Madinah. The Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon Him) told her: "Do not abuse (i.e. do not go to extremes in circumcising); that is better for the woman and more liked by her husband." (Reported by Abu Dawud in al-Sunan, Kitab al-Adab; he said this hadith is daif).
The scholars' opinions cited above should be sufficient. (Source)
Is female circumcision sunnah or a bad practice? I read in a magazine that female circumcision in any form is a bad practice that is harmful from a medical point of view, and that it may sometimes lead to sterility. Is this correct?
Praise be to Allaah.
Circumcising females is sunnah; it is neither a bad practice or harmful, if it is done within moderation. When extreme forms of female circumcision are carried out, harm may result. (Source)
e4.3 Circumcision is obligatory (O: for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. bazr) of the clitoris (n: not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). (A: Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.) (Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri Reliance of the Traveller A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law In Arabic with facing English text, commentary and appendices edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller Revised Edition, 1994, amana publications)
A: ... comment by Sheikh 'Abd al-Wakil Durubi
Ar. Arabic n: ... remark by the translator
O: ... excerpt from the commentary of Sheikh 'Umar Barakat
(For further reading regarding female circumcision, please see this link.)
And the above is even a mistranslation for western consumption since the Arabic text literally states to "cut the clitoris" (see this article).
We leave it up to Meherally to defend this shameful practice. If Meherally tries to undermine these traditions then he only ends up cutting his own throat since it is these very traditions that refer to the practice of male circumcision. On what basis then would Meherally reject these traditions seeing that he is dependent on these very same sources for the practice of male circumcision?
Finally, the Quran not only contradicts the Torah regarding circumcision but also contradicts other aspects of it as well, some of which include:
"If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD . Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance." Deuteronomy 24:1-4
"A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you, (men), to take back any of your gifts (from your wives), except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah. If ye (judges) do indeed fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah, there is no blame on either of them if she give something for her freedom. These are the limits ordained by Allah. So do not transgress them if any do transgress the limits ordained by Allah, such persons wrong (themselves as well as others). So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), he cannot, after that, re- marry her until after she has married another husband and he has divorced her. In that case there is no blame on either of them if they re-unite, provided they feel that they can keep the limits ordained by Allah. Such are the limits ordained by Allah, which He makes plain to those who understand." S. 2:229-230
What Yahweh calls shameful and detestable, Allah calls permissible!
"The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 'Say to the Israelites: "Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: You may eat any animal that has a split hoof completely divided and that chews the cud. There are some that only chew the cud or only have a split hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you."'" Leviticus 11:1-4
"Do not eat any detestable thing. These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope and the mountain sheep. You may eat any animal that has a split hoof divided in two and that chews the cud. However, of those that chew the cud or that have a split hoof completely divided you may not eat the camel, the rabbit or the coney. Although they chew the cud, they do not have a split hoof; they are ceremonially unclean for you." Deuteronomy 14:3-7
"Of the cattle are some for burden and some for meat: eat what Allah hath provided for you, and follow not the footsteps of Satan: for he is to you and avowed enemy. (Take) eight (head of cattle) in (four) pairs: of sheep a pair, and of goats a pair; say, hath He forbidden the two males, or the two females, or (the young) which the wombs of the two females enclose? Tell me with knowledge if ye are truthful: Of camels a pair, and of oxen a pair; say, hath He forbidden the two males, or the two females, or (the young) which the wombs of the two females enclose? - Were ye present when Allah ordered you such a thing? But who doth more wrong than one who invents a lie against Allah, to lead astray men without knowledge? For Allah guideth not people who do wrong. Say: 'I find not in the Message received by me by inspiration any (meat) forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be dead meat, or blood poured forth, or the flesh of swine,- for it is an abomination - or, what is impious, (meat) on which a name has been invoked, other than Allah's'. But (even so), if a person is forced by necessity, without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits,- thy Lord is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. For those who followed the Jewish Law, We forbade every (animal) with undivided hoof, and We forbade them that fat of the ox and the sheep, except what adheres to their backs or their entrails, or is mixed up with a bone: this in recompense for their willful disobedience: for We are True (in Our ordinances). If they accuse thee of falsehood, say: "Your Lord is full of mercy all- embracing; but from people in guilt never will His wrath be turned back." S. 6:142-147
"The sacrificial camels we have made for you as among the signs from Allah: in them is (much) good for you: then pronounce the name of Allah over them as they line up (for sacrifice): when they are down on their sides (after slaughter), eat ye thereof, and feed such as (beg not but) live in contentment, and such as beg with due humility: thus have We made animals subject to you, that ye may be grateful." S. 22:36
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Allah's Apostle offered four Rakat of Zuhr prayer at Medina and we were in his company, and two Rakat of the Asr prayer at Dhul-Hulaifa and then passed the night there till it was dawn; then he rode, and when he reached Al-Baida', he praised and glorified Allah and said Takbir (i.e. Alhamdu-lillah and Subhanallah(1) and Allahu-Akbar). Then he and the people along with him recited Talbiya with the intention of performing Hajj and Umra. When we reached (Mecca) he ordered us to finish the lhram (after performing the Umra) (only those who had no Hadi (animal for sacrifice) with them were asked to do so) till the day of Tarwiya that is 8th Dhul-Hijja when they assumed Ihram for Hajj. The Prophet sacrificed many camels (slaughtering them) with his own hands while standing. While Allah's Apostle was in Medina he sacrificed two horned rams black and white in color in the Name of Allah." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 623)
The Prophet sent me to supervise the (slaughtering of) Budn (Hadi camels) and ordered me to distribute their meat, and then he ordered me to distribute their covering sheets and skins. 'Ali added, "The Prophet ordered me to supervise the slaughtering (of the Budn) and not to give anything (of their bodies) to the butcher as wages for slaughtering." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 774)
Yahweh forbids camel meat, whereas Allah permits it and accepts it as a sacrifice. The list could go on, but these should sufficiently demonstrate that the Quran does not in all aspects uphold God's "eternal" commands or the Torah given to Moses. In light of this, Meherally would be forced to admit that God does substitute his commands throughout progressive generations. In fact, as already quoted above, Meherally has actually one article admitting this.
May Allah Guide everyone to His Own Truth...
Indeed, may God guide us to the truth found in his only inspired record, the Holy Bible. May God also guide all to worship his risen Son and eternal Lord, Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen.
This concludes our rebuttal.
Responses to Akbarally Meherally
Answering Islam Home Page