Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Did Muhammad Know Yahweh? Pt. 3

Sam Shamoun

We continue from where we left off by providing further evidence that, contrary to the writer’s assertion, Jesus did indeed claim to be YHWH in the flesh. We will even use the author’s own argument concerning the meaning of YHWH to do so.

The writer appeals to the online Jewish Encyclopedia to show what the name YHWH basically means:

Meaning of YHWH (Yahweh)

As it was made apparent that we do not know how to pronounce the word “YHWH”, we must now look and understand what this word means so as to get an understanding of the word itself. The Jewish Encyclopedia informs us that the meaning of the name “YHWH” is “‘He who is self-existing, self-sufficient’, or, more concretely, ‘He who lives’” [emphasis added]. Hence in simplest of terms “YHWH” means The Living and Self-Subsisting.

He then argues that the Quran and ahadith actually refer to Allah as the living one (al-hayy) and the self-subsisting (al-qayyum), in order to establish his point that Muhammad knew of the meaning of YHWH, even though he never personally used the name itself.

Here are some of the verses where these specific characteristics appear:

“Allah - there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living (al-hayyu), the Sustainer of [all] existence (al-qayyumu). Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth…” S. 2:255 Sahih International

Allah - there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living (al-hayyu), the Sustainer of existence (al-qayyumu). S. 3:2 Sahih International - cf. Q. 20:111

He is the Living One (al-hayyu). There is no God save Him. So pray unto Him, making religion pure for Him (only). Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds! S. 40:65 Pickthall

In fact, these qualities happen to be listed as two of the “99 names” of Allah:

Al-Qayyûm: The Self-Sustaining

The Self-Sustaining, Self-Subsisting, Self-Existing, the One who is in charge of things and preserves them and manages them. Also the One whose power over His creatures is unchangeable and will never end. He requires nothing to exist.

Al-Qayyum is one of the Ninety-Nine Names

Al-Hayy: The Living

Ever-Living, i.e. Deathless.

Al-Hayy is one of the Ninety-Nine Names. (Aisha Bewley, The Divine Names)


63. Al-Hayy
The Ever-Living

64. Al-Qayyum
The Self-Subsisting Sustainer of All (Sh. G. F. Haddad, Allah's Names and Attributes)

As the readers can see from the above examples, the word al-qayyum not only denotes the fact that Allah is self-existent, but also highlights his role as the sustainer who holds all creation together.

Now in order to establish that Jesus did identify himself as YHWH Incarnate, all we need to do is to cite biblical references where Christ claims to be the Living One, or the One who lives forever, as well as the Self-Subsisting Sustainer who gives life to all creation.

Lo and behold, this is precisely what we find Jesus claiming for himself, just as the following texts point:

“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” Revelation 1:17-18 – cf. 2:8

Jesus not only states that he is the Living One who lives forever, he also identifies himself as the First and the Last, which is another name for God according to both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Quran:

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.’” Isaiah 44:6

“Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.” Isaiah 48:12 – cf. 41:4

He is the First and the Last, the Ascendant and the Intimate, and He is, of all things, Knowing. S. 57:3 Sahih International

Christ also referred to himself as the Bread of Life, meaning the One who gives life and sustenance to all believers (in fact to all creation):

Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.’ Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, ‘I am the bread that came down out of heaven.’ They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, “I have come down out of heaven”?’… ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh… He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day… As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.’” John 6:35-42, 47-51, 54, 57-58

“‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; AND I GIVE ETERNAL LIFE TO THEM, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them OUT OF MY HAND. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.’ The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, ‘I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?’ The Jews answered Him, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.’” John 10:27-33

This explains why the NT writers could identify Christ as the Agent of creation whom the Father used to create and sustain all things by the Son’s powerful word:

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Hebrews 1:1-3

but to the Son: Your throne, God, is forever and ever… And: In the beginning, Lord [the Son], You established the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands; they will perish, but You remain. They will all wear out like clothing; You will roll them up like a cloak, and they will be changed like a robe. But You are the same, and Your years will never end.” Hebrews 1: 8, 10-12 HCSB

This happens to be the same word, or voice, which shall raise the dead back to life at the last day,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear THE VOICE OF THE SON OF GOD, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear HIS [Son’s] VOICE, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” John 5:25-29

A divine function which the Quran says belongs uniquely to God or Allah:

That is because Allah is the Truth and because He gives life to the dead and because He is over all things competent. And [that they may know] that the Hour is coming - no doubt about it - and that Allah will resurrect those in the graves. S. 22:6-7 Sahih International 

Amazingly, Jesus also claims to be the Truth, much like Muhammad’s god does, as well as the Way and the Life who shall come to gather his people to dwell with him forever!

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” John 14:1-6

And he also says that all authority in heaven and earth belongs entirely to him!

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’” Matthew 28:18

Thus, according to the inspired Scriptures Jesus and his followers both proclaimed that Christ is YHWH in the flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit), since they identify the risen Lord as the Living One and the Sustainer who gives life to and preserves all creation by his powerful word in perfect union with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

So, in the end, it is all about the claims Jesus makes for himself, of who he is (life-giver, eternal one, self-subsisting, etc.) but not the question whether he uses the name Yahweh for himself or at all. It is about WHO Jesus is and claims to be, and not whether he speaks about God by using the name of God given in the Torah.

Finally, we need to distinguish between knowing something about God and knowing God in the sense of being in a personal relationship with him. The two are not the same since anyone can discover the fact that God’s name is Yahweh by simply reading some Christian books, but to know Yahweh personally and intimately is quite a different proposition altogether. There is no question that Muhammad did not know Yahweh in the sense of personal, first hand knowledge of the person, based on personal encounter. That is reflected by his false revelations that are in contradiction to the revelation of the true prophets. And that is what really matters when you come down right to it. Whether Muhammad ever knew (as mere information) that the original name of God was “Yahweh” is in some sense a moot point, even though the evidence shows that he didn’t. What really matters is that Muhammad was a false prophet who did not know the true God, and therefore misled people into believing a false god whom he tried to pass off as the God of Abraham.

So much for the Muslim argument.

Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptural quotations taken from the New American Standard Version of the Holy Bible (NASB).


Related Articles

The Name of God in the Bible and the Quran: Part One: Names and Titles

Part Two: The Name of Allah

Part Three: Allah the Oak?

One Last Note

The Deity of Christ in light of Jesus’ I AM Statements

Excursus – An I AM saying in the earliest Gospel

Biblical Monotheism Examined Pt. 9

Rebuttal to Mohamed Ghounem: I am or I was?

Responses to Bismikaallahuma: I AM WHAT I AM Response [Part 1], [Part 2]