Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Examining Jerald F. Dirks’ Presuppositions and Theological Beliefs

In Light of the teachings of Islam Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We continue our examination of Dirks’ assertion that Islam teaches a strict and uncompromising monotheism.

The Quran's Testimony to the Divinity of Christ

In the previous rebuttal we presented evidence to show that the Islamic sources are clearly confused concerning the issue of who exactly caused Mary to get pregnant and whether Gabriel is divine or not. Here we are about to see that the Muslims who produced these materials were equally baffled regarding the Person of Christ and didn’t know what to make of him!

For example, even though there are certain statements from the Quran that emphatically deny that Jesus was anything more than a messenger,

When the son of Mary was cited as an example, your people disregarded it. They said, "Is it better to worship our gods, or to worship him?" They said this only to argue with you. Indeed, they are people who have joined the opposition. He was no more than a servant whom we blessed, and we sent him as an example for the Children of Israel. S. 43:57-59

There are other passages that ascribe certain titles and functions to Jesus which clearly show that he is more than a messenger, that he is actually a preexistent Divine Person!

In fact, according to the Muslim commentators the following reference:

It is He Who has sent down to you (Muhammad) the Book (this Qur'an). In it are Verses that are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the Book [and those are the Verses of Al-Ahkam (commandments, etc.), Al-Fara'id (obligatory duties) and Al-Hudud (legal laws for the punishment of thieves, adulterers, etc.)]; and others not entirely clear. So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation (from the truth) they follow that which is not entirely clear thereof, seeking Al-Fitnah (polytheism and trials, etc.), and seeking for its hidden meanings, but none knows its hidden meanings save Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in it; the whole of it (clear and unclear Verses) are from our Lord." And none receive admonition except men of understanding. (Tafsir At-Tabari). S. 3:7 Hilali-Khan

Was “revealed” to address the Christians who attempted to utilize the Quran to prove that Jesus is a fully Divine Being:

The Mutashabihat and Muhkamat Ayat

Allah states that in the Qur'an, there are Ayat that are Muhkamat, entirely clear and plain, and these are the foundations of the Book which are plain for everyone. And there are Ayat in the Qur'an that are Mutashabihat not entirely clear for many, or some people. So those who refer to the Muhkam Ayat to understand the Mutashabih Ayat, will have acquired the correct guidance, and vice versa. This is why Allah said,

<They are the foundations of the Book>,

meaning, they are the basis of the Qur'an, and should be referred to for clarification, when warranted, …

<And others not entirely clear>

as they have several meanings, some that agree with the Muhkam and some that carry other literal indications, although these meaning might not be desired.

The Muhkamat are the Ayat that explain the abrogating rulings, the allowed, prohibited, laws, limits, obligations and rulings that should be believed in and implemented. As for the Mutashabihat Ayat, they include the abrogated Ayat, parables, oaths, and what should be believed in, but not implemented.

Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar commented on, …

<In it are verses that are entirely clear> as “Containing proof of the Lord, immunity for the servants and a refutation of opponents and of falsehood. They cannot be changed or altered from what they were meant for.” He also said, “As for the unclear Ayat, they can (but must not) be altered and changed, and this is a test from Allah to the servants, just as He tested them with the allowed and prohibited things. So these Ayat must not be altered to imply a false meaning or be distorted from the truth.”

Therefore, Allah said, …

<So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation>

meaning, those who are misguided and deviate from truth to falsehood, …

<they follow that which is not entirely clear thereof>

meaning, they refer to the Mutashabih, because they are able to alter its meanings to conform with their false interpretation since the wordings of the Mutashabihat encompass such a wide area of meanings. As for the Muhkam Ayat, they cannot be altered because they are clear and, thus, constitute unequivocal proof against the misguided people. This is why Allah said, …

<seeking Al-Fitnah>

meaning, they seek to misguide their following by pretending to prove their innovation by relying on the Qur'an -- the Mutashabih of it -- but, this is proof against and not for them. For instance, Christians might claim that [`Isa is divine because] the Qur'an states that he is Ruhullah and His Word, which He gave to Mary, all the while ignoring Allah's statements, …

<He [`Isa] was not more than a servant. We granted Our favor to him.> [43:59], and, …

<Verily, the likeness of `Isa before Allah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: "Be!" and he was.> [3:59].

There are other Ayat that clearly assert that `Isa is but one of Allah's creatures and that he is the servant and Messenger of Allah, among other Messengers. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; bold and underline emphasis ours)

In light of this candid admission we are going to examine some of the references which Christians have commonly used to support their view that Jesus is Divine since this will show that Q. 3:7 was primarily given to do damage control. The author(s) of the Quran said certain things with the obvious intention of trying to appease Jews, Christians and others in order to win them over to Islam without realizing how these statements would backfire against him/her/them. And yet once s/he/they saw how his/her/their own statements were being used to prove the Divinity of Christ s/he/they decided to come up with a rather lame explanation that these verses are allegorical and that only God knows their real meanings. S/he/they assumed that such a reply would undo some of the damage and problems which s/he/they caused for himself/herself/themselves. As we shall now see s/he/they were badly mistaken.

Jesus as Allah’s Preexistent Word and Spirit

The Muslim scripture affirms that Jesus is Allah's very own Word which he cast down to Mary and a Spirit that came from him:

O ye who have received the scriptures, exceed not the just bounds in your religion, neither say of God [any other] than the truth. Verily Christ Jesus the son of Mary [is] the apostle of God, and his word, which he conveyed into Mary, and a spirit [proceeding] from him. Believe therefore in God, and his apostles, and say not, [there are] three [Gods]; forbear [this]; it will be better for you. God is but one God. Far be it from him that he should have a son! Unto him [belongeth] whatsoever [is] in heaven and on earth; and God is a sufficient protector. S. 4:171 Sale

Notice that according to this passage Jesus is both the Word of God – not simply A word from him – which was given to Mary and a Spirit that proceeds from God himself.

It is obvious from this verse that the author(s) borrowed specific Christological titles which the inspired NT scriptures attribute to Christ without realizing how these very names contradicted the assertion that Jesus was only a human apostle. For instance, to say that Jesus is a Spirit that proceeds from God clearly speaks of preexistence, e.g. Jesus must have existed as a Spirit with God in heaven before he was sent to become a man from Mary.

Noted Muslim author Neal Robinson refers to a particular interpretation of Q. 19:16-21 that corroborates our view:

“Alternatively it might be thought (on the basis of 4:171) that the Spirit who presented himself to Mary was none other than the Messiah to whom she subsequently gave birth. At first this seems improbable because of the way in which the Spirit refers to himself as a messenger. There is, however, an apocryphal writing which furnishes a precedent for identifying the agent of the annunciation with the Word who became flesh. This is the so-called Epistula Apostolorum which purports to be a letter addressed to the worldwide Church by the 11 disciples recording a conversation which they had with Christ after the resurrection. In the course of the conversation he told them:

At that time I appeared in the form of the archangel Gabriel to [the virgin] Mary and spoke with her, and her heart received [me]; she believed and laughed and I, the Word, went into her and became flesh; and I myself was servant FOR MYSELF, and in the form of the image of an angel.” (Robinson, Christ In Islam and Christianity [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1991], Chapter 15. The Virginal Conception, p. 157; bold and capital emphasis ours)


“Tabari assumes that the Spirit who was sent to Mary was Gabriel. He reports that this was the view of Qatada, Ibn Jurayj and Wahb. The other commentators agree that this is the correct interpretation but none the less mention THE ALTERNATIVE VIEW, namely that the Spirit was the Messiah. Ibn Kathir gives the following report traced back by a single isnad TO THE COMPANION UBAIY:

The spirit of Jesus is one of the group of spirits with whom [God] took a pact in the time of Adam [cf. 33:7 and 7:172]. It is he, that is to say the spirit of Jesus, who presented himself to her in the form of a perfect human being. So she conceived the one who addressed her and he became incarnate in her [entering her through her mouth].

“DESPITE ITS PEDIGREE, Ibn Kathir dismisses this interpretation as reprehensible and supposes it to have been derived from the People of the Scripture.” (Ibid. p. 161; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The following Muslim commentator also attests that this was an interpretation held by some of the Islamic scholars.

A majority of scholars hold the view that … (Spirit) refers to Sayyidna Jibra’il but some say that it refers to Sayyidna ‘Isa himself. Allah Ta‘ala had placed before Sayyidah Maryam the likeness of the son to be born to her. But the former version is more appropriate and is confirmed by the statement that follows. (Mufti Shafi Uthmani, Maariful Quran, Q. 19:16-21, Volume 6, p. 34; underline emphasis ours)

Here we have specific Islamic traditions stating that Jesus was the Spirit who came to Mary in order to announce to her that he would be born from her!

The other title that the Quran ascribes to Jesus further confirms his prehuman existence, namely, the Word of God. To speak of God’s Word is to speak of his revelation, his communication or speech, the means through which God reveals himself to his creation. Moreover, God’s Word is an essential characteristic of his very nature or being and is therefore eternal; otherwise to deny that God’s Word is eternal is to deny that God always had the ability to communicate or reveal his will and purpose. This position would invariably mean that God needed to create or acquire the ability to speak at some point in time, a rather blasphemous position to take since this implies that God was imperfect at some point in his eternal existence.

In light of the foregoing the Word of God as a Christological title must mean that Jesus is eternal and is the Agent through whom God creates and reveals himself to his creation. This is precisely what the NT teaches concerning Jesus being the eternal Word or Logos who then became flesh:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made… He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” John 1:1-3, 10, 14, 18

Christ is the Word who makes the Father known to his creation since he alone has beheld and fully comprehended the Father’s essence. Jesus himself makes this very point:

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me — not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.” John 6:44-46

“And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word… I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:5-6, 26

Dirks may parrot the oft-repeated Muslim assertion that Jesus is called the Word of God solely because Allah created him by his command “Be.” The problem with this response is that if this is the correct understanding of the title then we would expect that the Quran would also call Adam the Word of God per Q. 3:59 since it says,

Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is.

According to the above verse Adam was created by the command of Allah and yet he is never called the Word of God (nor is anyone else ever called God’s Word for that matter). Therefore, this reply will not suffice to explain away the significance and implication of the Quran calling Jesus the Word of God.

Hence, although the Quran may deny Christ’s Divinity in certain places it also affirms the Deity of Jesus and his prehuman heavenly existence by identifying him as the Word and Spirit of God!

Jesus as Creator and Author of Life

The Quran further testifies that Jesus creates life in the same exact way that Allah does!

and he shall be a prophet to the people of Israel (saying), that I have come to you, with a sign from God, namely, that I will CREATE for you out of clay (annee AKHLUQU lakum mina ALTTEENI) as though it were the form of a bird, and I will blow thereon and it shall become a bird by God's permission; and I will heal the blind from birth, and lepers; and I will bring the dead to life by God's permission; and I will tell you what you eat and what ye store up in your houses. Verily, in that is a sign for you if ye be believers. S. 3:49 Palmer

When God shall say, O Jesus son of Mary, remember my favour towards thee, and towards thy mother; when I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, that thou shouldest speak unto men in the cradle, and when thou wast grown up; and when I taught thee the scripture, and wisdom, and the law, and the gospel; and when thou didst create of clay (wa-ith TAKHLUQU mina ALTTEENI) as it were the figure of a bird, by my permission, and didst breathe thereon, and it became a bird by my permission; and thou didst heal one blind from his birth, and the leper, by my permission; and when thou didst bring forth the dead [from their graves], by my permission; and when I with-held the children of Israel from [killing] thee, when thou hadst come unto them with evident [miracles], and such of them as believed not, said, this is nothing but manifest sorcery. S. 5:110 Sale

Contrast this with how Allah created the first man:

HE it is Who CREATED you from CLAY (Huwa allathee KHALAQAKUM min TEENIN) and then HE decreed a term. And there is another term fixed with HIM. Yet you doubt. S. 6:2 Y. Ali

Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I am about to CREATE man from CLAY (innee KHALIQUN basharan min TEENIN): When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him.” S. 38:71-72 Y. Ali

It is apparent from these examples that Jesus, much like Allah, can create and has the breath of life whereby he can impart life to creation.

In fact, since the Quran identifies Jesus as a Spirit from Allah it only makes sense that he could grant life. After all, Q. 38:71-72 which we cited above says that Allah breathed his Spirit into the first man, a point reiterated in more than one place:

And when your Lord said to the angels: Surely I am going to create a mortal of the essence of black mud fashioned in shape. So when I have made him complete and breathed into him of My Spirit, fall down making obeisance to him. S. 15:28-29

And made his progeny from a quintessence of the nature of a fluid despised: But He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him of His spirit. And He gave you (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (and understanding): little thanks do ye give! S. 32:8-9

It seems certain that the Quran is echoing the Biblical story that God breathed his Spirit into man so as to make him a living being since it is the Spirit that animates mankind:

“the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7

“The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4

“When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their spirit, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.” Psalm 104:29-30

If this is the case then the Quran is agreeing with the Holy Bible that God’s Spirit is the Agent of life, the One through whom God grants life to his creation. Thus, since Jesus is Allah’s Spirit sent to Mary in order to become a man it makes perfect sense that he would be able to give life to others.

Some Muslims are troubled by the idea of Jesus creating and giving life in the same way that Allah does since they can see that such an ability implies that Jesus was Divine. The late Maulana Muhammad Ali of the Ahmadiyyah sect writes in regard to Q. 3:49 that,

“… The act of khalq (creation) in the sense of creation cannot be attributed to any being except Allah. The Quran has laid the greatest stress upon this point. It again and again speaks of the Divine Being as the Creator of everything, so that there is nothing of which any one else may be said to be a creator. And of those who are taken as gods by any people, it says in particular that they do not create anything, while they are themselves created (16:20; 25:3).” (Ali, Holy Quran, [USA; Ahmadiyyah Anjuman Isha'at Islam Lahore Inc., 1995], fn. 428; bold emphasis ours)

This late Maulana’s point is clear. To attribute to Christ the ability to create (as well as to breathe life into inanimate objects) is to identify him with/as God since God alone has the power of creating (or of granting life).

So how does Ali venture to explain Jesus’s ability to create clay birds and give them life? By insisting for an allegorical or spiritual interpretation of the miracles:

“To understand the significance of this passage it is necessary to bear in mind that the chief characteristic of Jesus’ speeches is that he spoke in parables and preferred to clothe his ideas in allegorical language… It is perfectly intelligible if taken as a parable, but quite incomprehensible as a statement of fact. If on the one hand a prophet's dignity is much above such actions as the making of clay birds, on the other hand the act of creation is not attributable to any but the Divine Being.” (Ibid.; bold emphasis ours)

Ali doesn't just stop with the creation of clay birds. He goes so far as to allegorize all the miracles attributed to Jesus in both the Quran and the Holy Bible, and even appeals to the liberal wing of Christianity, one that denies the supernatural from ever occurring, to support his case:

“… The miracle of Jesus’ healing the sick has been rationally explained in the Enc. Bib. By the Rev. T.K. Cheyne, who has shown that all the stories of healing of the sick have arisen from the SPIRITUAL HEALING of the sick, as in Matt. 9:12: ‘They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick’: and as in Jesus’ message to John the Baptist: ‘The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them’ (Matt. 11:5). The concluding words clearly show that the sick and the lame and the blind belong to the same category as the poor to whom the Gospel is preached, being the poor in heart. Compare also Matt. 13:15: ‘For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and should understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them.’ Here the healing cannot refer but to healing of the spiritual diseases. The Holy Qur'an gives a similar explanation of the healing of the sick when, speaking of itself, it says that it is ‘a healing for what is in the hearts’ (10:57), i.e. for the spiritual diseases. The prophet's healing is spiritual, not healing of the physical diseases. The Qur’an speaks of the blind and the deaf frequently, but it never means those who have lost the senses of seeing and hearing.” (Ibid., p. 145, f. 429; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The late Muhammad Asad is another Muslim scholar who believed that attributing creative powers to any human being is to ascribe divinity to that person. In regard to Muhammad's inability to perform miracles Asad notes in reference to Q. 7:188 that:

“… The repeated insistence in the Quran on the humanness of the Prophet is in tune with the doctrine that no created being has or could have any share, however small, in any of the Creator's qualities or powers. In logical continuation of this argument, the next passage (vv. 189-198), stresses the uniqueness and exclusiveness of God's creative powers.” (Asad, The Message of the Quran [Dar Al-Andalus Limited 3 Library Ramp, Gibraltar rpt. 1993], p. 233, fn. 154; bold emphasis ours)

Asad explains Jesus’ ability to perform miracles such as raising the dead and giving life to clay birds which he created as parables or metaphors which point to specific spiritual truths:

“… The noun tayr is plural of ta'ir (‘flying creature’ or ‘bird’), or an infinitive noun (‘flying’) derived from the verb tara (‘he flew’). In pre-Islamic usage, as well as in the Qur'an, the words ta'ir and tayr often denote ‘fortune’ or ‘destiny’, whether good or evil (as, for instance, in 7:131, 27:47 or 36:19, and still more clearly in 17:13). Many instances of this idiomatic use of tayr and ta'ir are given in all the authoritative Arabic dictionaries; see also Lane V, 1904 f. Thus, in THE PARABOLIC MANNER so beloved by him, Jesus intimated to the children of Israel that out of the humble clay of their lives he would fashion for them the vision of a soaring destiny and that this vision, brought to life by his God-given inspiration, would become their real destiny by God's leave and by strength of their faith (as pointed out at the end of this verse).” (Asad, The Message of the Qur'an [Dar Al-Andalus Limited, 3 Library Ramp, Gibraltar, rpt. 1993], p. 74, f. 37; bold and capital emphasis ours)


“… It is probable that the ‘raising of the dead’ by Jesus is a METAPHORICAL DESCRIPTION of his giving new life to people who were spiritually dead… If this interpretation is – AS I BELIEVE – correct, then the ‘healing of the blind and the leper’ has a similar significance: namely, an inner regeneration of people who were spiritually diseased and blind to the truth.” (Ibid., f. 38; bold and capital emphasis ours)

However, since Dirks professes to be an orthodox Sunni Muslim who affirms that Jesus did perform supernatural miracles he must contend with the implications of the Quran’s teaching that Christ could raise the dead as well as create and breathe life into inanimate objects. He must deal with the fact that such ability implies that Jesus is God since he can do what God alone does.

We now turn to our final section.

Jesus as Lord

It is amazing to find the Quran exhorting Muslims not to take anyone other than Allah and Jesus as their Lord!

They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords apart from God AND the Messiah Mary's son (min dooni Allahi WA al-maseeha ibna maryama), and they were commanded to serve but One God; there is no god but He; glory be to Him, above that they associate. S. 9:31

According to this verse Muslims are required to view and embrace Jesus as their Lord in the same way that they take Allah as their Lord!

Some have taken exception with our exegesis of Q. 9:31, asserting that the Arabic text clearly places Jesus alongside the rabbis and monks who were wrongly taken as Lords besides Allah. For instance, the conjunction (wa) before al-Maseeha, and the short vowel fatha (a), at the end of the word indicate that al-Maseeha is in the accusative, so it is another object (together with the first two, ahbarahum wa ruhbanahum, “their rabbis and their monks”) of the verb “have taken.” These Muslims claim that the sentence actually reads like this:

They have taken their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah Mary's son as lords apart from God, and they were commanded to serve but One God; there is no god but He; glory be to Him, above that they associate.

They add that if the wa was a conjunction of al-Maseeh to Allah, i.e. binding Allah and the Messiah together, then it would need to be in the genitive just like Allahi, i.e. al-Maseehi.

There are several responses to these typical Muslim assertions. To begin with, the main problem is that the Muslims are presupposing that the markings distinguishing the different cases in Arabic, i.e. nominative, accusative etc., were always there, were always part of the original text. The reality, however, is that the original Arabic Quran had no markings to help differentiate between the different nuances of the word.

Here is how the text would look like in transliteration minus the critical points:

min doon allah w al-maseeh bn maryam

As one can see, there is no short fatha at the end of the words al-Maseeh, bn or maryam, which means that the original Arabic text did indeed conjoin Jesus along with Allah.

This leads us to our second point. The conjunction wa is viewed by Muslims to be the conjunction of partnership:

The fact that mention of the Prophet is directly connected to mention of Allah also shows that obedience to the Prophet is connected to obedience to Allah AND HIS NAME TO ALLAH'S NAME. Allah says, “Obey Allah and His Messenger” (2:32) and “Believe in Allah and His Messenger.” (4:136) Allah joins them together using the conjunction WA WHICH IS THE CONJUNCTION OF PARTNERSHIP. IT IS NOT PERMITTED TO USE THIS CONJUNCTION IN CONNECTION WITH ALLAH IN THE CASE OF ANYONE EXCEPT THE PROPHET.

Hudhayfa said that the Prophet said, “None of you should say, ‘What Allah wills and (wa) so-and-so wills.’ Rather say, ‘What Allah wills.’ Then stop and say, ‘So-and-so wills.’”

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), translation 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 in both 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, p. 8; capital emphasis ours)

Thus, by grouping Allah and Jesus together through the use of wa the author(s) has/have invariably turned Jesus into Allah's partner and associate. And since the Arabic text originally had no markings this would mean that someone reading it would have clearly seen that Jesus was being placed alongside Allah as the Lord whom others had to believe in, as opposed to their rabbis and priests.(1)

The third problem that Muslims face is that Muhammad’s purported explanation of Q. 9:31 proves that Muslims must embrace Jesus as their Lord:

<They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah, and the Messiah, son of Maryam> [9:31]. Imam Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Jarir At-Tabari recorded a Hadith via several chains of narration, from ‘Adi bin Hatim who became a Christian during the time of Jahiliyyah. When the call of the Messenger of Allah reached his area, ‘Adi ran away to Ash-Sham, and his sister and several of his people were captured. The Messenger of Allah freed his sister and gave her gifts. So she went to her brother and encouraged him to become Muslim and to go to the Messenger of Allah. ‘Adi, who was one of the chiefs of his people (the tribe of Tai') and whose father, Hatim At-Ta’i, was known for his generosity, went to Al-Madinah. When the people announced his arrival, ‘Adi went to the Messenger of Allah wearing a silver cross around his neck. The Messenger of Allah recited this Ayah...

<They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah>. 'Adi commented, “I said, ‘They did not worship them.’” The Prophet said...

((Yes they did. They (rabbis and monks) prohibited the allowed for them (Christians and Jews) and allowed the prohibited, and they obeyed them. This is how they worshiped them.)) …

<They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah…> that the Christians and Jews obeyed their monks and rabbis in whatever they allowed or prohibited for them… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Surat Al-A'raf to the end of Surah Yunus, abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, London, Lahore; First Edition: May 2000], Volume 4, pp. 409-410; bold emphasis ours)

Muhammad felt that Jews and Christians were turning their rabbis and monks into lords by obeying everything they commanded, even in cases where they made lawful the prohibited aspects of the faith and prohibited that which was lawful for the people.

Notice that Muhammad didn’t claim that the reason why it is wrong to obey the rabbis and monks in forbidding the permissible or permitting the prohibited is because they are not inspired. He didn’t say that it would be alright for the believers to accept their decisions if they were receiving revelation from their Lord to forbid some of that which was lawful or vice-versa. His blanket statement suggests that anytime a person follows someone who prohibits that which Allah has made lawful or permits that Allah has forbidden then s/he is taking that that individual as his/her Lord.

Hence, Muhammad’s explanation of Q. 9:31 inevitably leads to Christ being one of those whom Muslims are required to embrace as their Lord alongside Allah since the Quran exhorts the “faithful” to obey Jesus and further states that he came to make lawful some of that which was prohibited:

And I have come confirming that which was before me of the Taurat (Torah), and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you, and I have come to you with a proof from your Lord. So fear Allah AND obey me. It is Allah who is my Lord and your Lord; then worship Him. This is a way that is straight. When Jesus found unbelief on their part he said: Who will be my helpers to Allah? Said the disciples: We are Allah's helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims. Our Lord! we believe in what Thou hast revealed, and we follow the Apostle; then write us down among those who bear witness. S. 3:50-53

When Jesus came with Clear Signs, he said: Now have I come to you with Wisdom, and in order to make clear to you some of the (points) on which ye dispute: therefore fear Allah AND obey me. For Allah, He is my Lord and your Lord: so worship ye Him: this is a Straight Way. S. 43:63-64

These factors conclusively prove that the Q. 9:31 is placing Jesus alongside Allah as one of those individuals that Muslims must take as their Lord!

Concluding Remarks

In these rebuttals we saw how Dirks appeals to certain heretical Christian sects in order to mislead his audience into thinking that the beliefs of such groups are somehow more faithful to Jesus or closer to Islamic theology. We proved that such is not the case since these very same heretics held certain beliefs which were diametrically opposed to both the witness of the first century NT documents and the teachings of Muhammad. Thus, if these sects represent what Christ taught his followers then Islam is a false religion for opposing such beliefs.

We also demonstrated how Dirks distorted the historic Christian view concerning Jesus’ relationship to the Father as his beloved Son and the Holy Spirit’s role in creating the physical body that Christ took in order to become a man. We then applied his very own argument against the teachings of Islam to show that Muhammad and/or the author(s) of the Quran, as well as the Muslim expositors, were confused concerning who actually impregnated Mary. Did Allah or his Spirit cause Mary to conceive? And who actually breathed the Spirit into Mary’s body, Allah, Gabriel, or both?

We further exposed Dirk’s blatant assertion that Islam promotes strict and uncompromising monotheism by providing narrations showing how Muhammad committed idolatry by kissing a black stone which the pagans of Mecca used to venerate as well. We then went on to document that the Quran contradicts itself in that it denies that Jesus is God while at the same time affirming both his Divinity and his prehuman existence.

Thus, Islam encourages and actually promotes idolatry by encouraging Muslims to kiss a stone idol. It is confused concerning the identity and relationship of Allah, his Spirit, and Gabriel since it cannot decide which of these persons impregnated Mary. It also presents an incoherent and conflicting picture of the Person of Jesus, i.e. is Christ only a human messenger or is he the Word of God and his Spirit and therefore a preexistent Divine Being?

So much for the Quran promoting strict and uncompromising monotheism or for being mubeen, i.e. in plain and clear Arabic!

We know indeed that they say, “It is a man that teaches him.” The tongue of him they wickedly point to is notably foreign, while this is Arabic, pure and clear. S. 16:103

Lord Jesus willing, more rebuttals to Dirks’ distortions and manhandling of both the Holy Bible, God’s true Word, and his own Islamic sources to follow shortly.

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(1) The author(s) did it yet another time! S/he/they used the conjunction wa in pairing Allah with the angels in their prayers and worship:

Verily, God AND His angels pray for the prophet. O ye who believe! pray for him and salute him with a salutation! S. 33:56 Palmer

Inna Allaha WA malaikatahu yusalloona ala al-nabiyyi ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo salloo alayhi wa sallimoo tasleeman

This means that Allah is actually part of a group of creatures that are praying for Muhammad! In fact, the above text troubled some Muslims precisely because the angels’ prayers were conjoined with the prayers of Allah:

The commentators and etymologists disagree regarding the words of Allah, “Allah and His angels pray blessings on the Prophet.” (33:56) about whether the word “pray” (masc. pl.) refers to both Allah and the angels or not. Some of them allow it to refer to both while others forbid this because of the idea of partnership. They make the pronoun refer to the angels alone and understand the ayat as Allah prays and His angels pray. (Ash-Shifa of Qadi Iyad, pp. 8-9; italic and underline ours)

For more on Allah’s praise and worship we recommend the article, Islam and the prayers of Allah.