Further Bolstering the Shahada

Further Bolstering the Shahada

More Responses to Sam Shamoun on Islamic Shahada

Question Mark

 

Acknowledgement: We acknowledge Shaikh Jalal Abualrub’s help for the paper. May Allah (SWT) reward him.

 

Renowned Muslim apologist Bassam Zawadi wrote a response to one of Sam Shamoun’s paper. Shamoun’s subject paper has been refuted at “donotsaytrinity” as well, specifically, here apart from that readers might be interested to visit the following articles dealing with Islamic Shahada:

Nevertheless, no sooner did Zawadi wrote a response – Shamoun came out with his self styled reply which we shall be dealing here, inshallah.

 Zawadi wrote, to paraphrase, just because the exact formulation of the Islamic Shahada is not to be found in Qur’an it does not mean that the concept is not present in the Qur’an (3:18, 48:29). To this – Shamoun responded:

“First, we are glad that Zawadi agrees that just because an exact formulation or word is not found in a document (in this case the Quran) this doesn’t necessarily mean that the book or source doesn’t teach it. Since we assume that Zawadi is consistent we therefore expect him to never use the argument that the Holy Bible doesn’t teach doctrines such as the Holy Trinity just because the exact word or formulation is not found within the Jewish-Christian Scriptures.

Second, as we shall shortly show, the followers of Rashad Khalifa (also known as submitters) are correct in what they basically stated. Zawadi’s comments that the two parts of the Islamic confession are found in the Quran are beside the point. The argument is not whether one can find references where Muhammad is called an apostle or messenger of Allah. The real issue is whether the Quran makes it an article of faith to profess that Allah alone is God AND that Muhammad is his messenger in order to be recognized as a Muslim. The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t, and to use the logic employed by Zawadi would end proving that the creed of Islam should also include specific mention of other messengers as well. More on this later.”

 

Taking Shamoun’s first objection first – he has utterly misunderstood Zawadi’s argument because Zawadi knows that Islamic cannon of scripture is not restricted to Qur’an only but extends to Hadith literature as well. The truth of the matter is that Zawadi provided Hadith quotations in his reply which did prove that the exact formulation of the Shahada is not only just present in the sacred scriptures but was/is also to be testified to be recognized as Muslim.

What Zawadi would have stated is that just because the exact formulation is not in Qur’an word by word but the concept is there in it should be amalgamated with the fact that the exact formulation IS PRESENT in Hadith literature. This further bolsters Zawadi’s point because exact formulation is present in Hadith and the concept is worded in Qur’an.

Secondly, we would be more than glad to provide Shamoun with proofs that Islamic Scriptures does make the Islamic Shahada as an article of faith to be recognized as a Muslim. Shamoun demanded:

“The real issue is whether the Quran makes it an article of faith to profess that Allah alone is God AND that Muhammad is his messenger in order to be recognized as a Muslim.”

Nevertheless, we would like to point out the problem or shrewdness in Shamoun’s demand. Why is Shamoun demanding proof from Qur’an only? Would he accept if the proof for the testimony of Islamic Shahada is provided from Hadith Literature? If not, then why?

Nevertheless, it was one of Zawadi’s point to prove that Muslims at the time of the prophet (peace be upon him) did used to proclaim the Islamic Shahada.

Zawadi responded:

Even the people back at Prophet Muhammad’s time used to bear witness that he was the Messenger of God. 

Surah 63:1

When the hypocrites come unto thee (O Muhammad), they say: We bear witness that thou art indeed Allah’s messenger. And Allah knoweth that thou art indeed His messenger, and Allah beareth witness that the hypocrites indeed are speaking falsely.

The verse is talking about those hypocrites that used to come and bear witness that Muhammad is a Messenger but they were lying inside. Allah knew they were lying. But the point that I am trying to show from this verse is that people at the time of the Prophet did bear witness that he is the Messenger of God. 

So the concept of bearing witness that Allah is the only true God and Muhammad is his Messenger is a concept found in the Quran. It does not have to be word by word in the same sentence. This in no way indicates Muhammad is divine or anything just like how the Rashad Khalifa sect claim. The Prophet warned us not to do the same mistake as the Christians

To the above response Shamoun argued back that it was only bunch of hypocrites who proclaimed the Shahada and not the sincere Muslims in general:

“Zawadi’s claim that Sura 63:1 shows that people were confessing Muhammad as God’s messenger misses the point. The point here is that it is only the deceivers who were bearing witness that Muhammad is a messenger in order to mask their deception and unbelieving hearts. True believers do not need to publicly bear witness that Muhammad is a messenger since they show that this is what they believe by simply obeying his instructions. To put it another way, it wasn’t the believers at the time of Muhammad who were verbally bearing witness that he was an apostle, but unbelievers and hypocrites that did so.

Second, the issue is not whether the Quran claims that Allah testifies that Muhammad is his messenger, or that believers are to believe that he is. The issue at hand, which Zawadi conveniently ignores, is whether Muslims are required to make a public confession, to testify in the words given in the hadith literature, i.e. “I beat witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah,” in order to be recognized as a Muslim. The fact of the matter is that the Quran nowhere commands Muslims to make this profession, the confession that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger in order to validate their Islam.” (Bold and Italic emphasize ours)

We would soon show Shamoun that it was not just “only the deceivers who were bearing witness that Muhammad is a messenger…” but even the sincere Muslims were proclaiming the Shahada. Plus, we will also provide proofs that believers to be recognized as Muslims were required to proclaim Shahada in public – it was a practice during prophet’s (peace be upon him) time!

We provide two Hadith, notwithstanding – Shamoun demands proofs from Qur’an. His demand from Qur’an (only) is absurd:

Abu Dhar – a non-muslim becoming believer after proclaiming Islamic Shahada:

                Bukhari :: Book 4 :: Volume 56 :: Hadith 725

Narrated Abu Jamra:

“…I testify that None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and I (also) testify that Muhammad is Allah’s Slave and His Apostle.’ (Hearing that) the Quraishi men said, ‘Get at this Sabi (i.e. Muslim) !…’

 

Abdallah bin Salam – another non-muslim becoming believer by proclaiming the Islamic Shahada:

Bukhari :: Book 4 :: Volume 55 :: Hadith 546

Narrated Anas:

“…On that ‘Abdullah bin Salam said, “I TESTIFY that you are the Apostle of Allah.” ‘Abdullah bin Salam further said, “O Allah’s Apostle! The Jews are liars, and if they should come to know about my conversion to Islam before you ask them (about me), they would tell a lie about me.” The Jews came to Allah’s Apostle and ‘Abdullah went inside the house. Allah’s Apostle asked (the Jews), “What kind of man is ‘Abdullah bin Salam amongst you?” They replied, “He is the most learned person amongst us, and the best amongst us, and the son of the best amongst us.” Allah’s Apostle said, “What do you think if he embraces Islam (will you do as he does)?” The Jews said, “May Allah save him from it.” Then ‘Abdullah bin Salam came out in front of them saying, “I testify  that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah.” Thereupon they said, “He is the evilest among us, and the son of the evilest amongst us,” and continued talking badly of him.”

Notice how both Abu Dhar (RAA) and Abdallah Bin Salam (RAA) did proclaim the Islamic Shahada publicly to recognize themselves as Muslims who were initially non-muslims.

Continuing further on his arguments, Shamoun quotes Qur’an:

“SAY you: ‘We BELIEVE in God, AND in that which has been sent down on us AND sent down on Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob, and the Tribes, AND that which was given to Moses AND Jesus AND the Prophets, of their Lord; we make no division between any of them, and to Him we surrender.’ S. 2:136 Arberry

The Apostle believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in God, His angels, His books, AND HIS APOSTLES. “WE MAKE NO DISTINCTION (they say) BETWEEN ON AND ANOTHER OF HIS APOSTLES.” AND THEY SAY: “We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.” S. 2:285 Y. Ali”

O you who BELIEVE! BELIEVE in Allah AND His Apostle AND the Book which He has revealed to His Apostle AND the Book which He revealed before; and whoever disbelieves in Allah and His angels AND His APOSTLES and the last day, he indeed strays off into a remote error. S. 4:136 Shakir

 

 To allege,

 

“The fact is that the orthodox Sunni creed does make a distinction since it singles out Muhammad alone in its confession. This is a direct violation of and in stark contradiction to the plain teachings of the Quran.” (Bold and Italics emphasize ours)

 

We have four responses in line to the above objection from Shamoun:

First Response:

The subject verses clearly exhort Muslims to BELIEVE in all earlier Prophets, their Books, Angels etc:

  1. “SAY you: ‘We BELIEVE in God, AND…” (Qur’an 2:136)
  2. “The Apostle believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. (Qur’an 2:285)
  3. “O you who BELIEVE! BELIEVE in Allah AND… (Qur’an 4:136)

Having noticed that, under the light of the above verses, Shamoun’s objection would hold good if Muslims by, supposedly, excluding the names of earlier prophets from the official Islamic Shahada stop believing” in earlier prophets, on the contrary, Muslims – based on the same Qur’anic verses are compelled to believe in all earlier prophets, thus, Shamoun has no argument here.

Supporting our point, late renowned Tafseer Scholar Ibn Abbas observes:

“Then He taught the believers the path of divine Oneness so that the Jews and Christians had an indication of what this divine Oneness means, saying: (Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us) i.e. in Muhammad and the Qur’an (and that which was revealed unto Abraham) i.e. we believe in Abraham and his Scripture, (and Ishmael) and we believe in Ishmael and his Scripture, (and Isaac) and in Isaac and his Scripture, (and Jacob) and in Jacob and his Scripture, (and the tribes) and in the sons of Jacob and their Scriptures, (and that which Moses and Jesus received) i.e. we believe in Moses and the Torah and in Jesus and the Gospel, (and that which the Prophets received) We also believe in all the prophets and their Scriptures (from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them) that Allah sent them as prophets to teach divine Oneness, (and unto Him we have surrendered) we acknowledge that we worship Him and declare that there is only one true God.” (Tafsir Ibn – Abbas. Bold, Italics, Capital and Underline emphasize ours)

Notice the reason that Ibn Abbas provides for Muslims to not to make distinction between Prophets is THAT all Prophets were sent from one True God  – Allah (SWT) to teach monotheism – So the premise for making no distinction between Prophets is to believe that all Prophets came from one true God to teach monotheism. And, all Muslims do believe that all earlier prophets came from Allah (SWT) to teach monotheism – and thus, once again, there is no distinction made between prophets made in the Official Islamic Shahada.

To sum up the argument, if Shamoun wants to use Qur’an 2:136 against Muslims for making distinctions between prophets – he must prove us that Muslims do not:

  1. “Believe” in earlier Prophets
  2. Believe that earlier Prophets came from one True God – Allah (SWT).

Second Response:

By concluding a baseless argument that Muslims, who follow Qur’an in every aspect of life, have made a distinction between prophets trespassing against the teaching of Qur’an – Shamoun has once again exposed himself that to fit his arguments he will not pay respect to the context.

So let us bring forth the context of the subject verse(s), Allah willing.

Here is the subject verse with its context, Qur’an 2: 135 – 136, (Yusuf Ali Translation):

“They say: “Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (to salvation).” Say thou: “Nay! (I would rather) the religion of Abraham, the True, and he joined not gods with Allah.”

Say ye: “We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord: we make no difference between one and another of them: and we bow to Allah (in Islam).”  (Bold and Italics emphasize ours)

Observe that in verse 2:135 the Jews and Christians wanted Muslims to be either Jews or Christians to be saved – they wanted Muslims to have a partisan approach towards God’s religion which was, in actuality, universal for all humanity,  notwithstanding the fact whether s/he be a Jew or a Christian. Then came verse 136 as a rebuke to this partisan approach where  Mohammad (peace be upon him) was exhorted to reply that he and his people would rather follow the religion of Abraham (peace be upon him), that is Islam and would believe in all which was ordained to believe by Allah (SWT).

 As the Jalalyns explain in their Tafseer:

“Say: (this address is to the believers) ‘We believe in God, and in that which has been revealed to us, the Qur’ān, and revealed to Abraham, the ten scrolls, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, his sons, and that which was given to Moses, the Torah, and Jesus, the Gospel, and the prophets, from their Lord, of Books and signs, we make no division between any of them, believing in some and disbelieving in others in the manner of Jews and Christians, and to Him we submit”. (Tafsir Al-Jalalyn . Bold, Italics and Underline emphasize ours)

According to the Jalals the purpose of the verse was to point to the Jews and Christians towards the fact that Muslims would not commit the same sin which they did – by believing in some Prophets while rejecting others. Thus, once again, if Shamoun wants to hold Qur’an 2:136 against Muslims (for discrimination between prophets in the Shahada) then he should prove that Muslims believe in certain Prophets and reject others as the Jews and the Christians.

From the foregoing it is limpidly observable that this argument has got nothing to do whether Muslims include the names of Prophets in their Official Shahada or not rather it is a matter of belief in earlier prophets. It is just another blatant misuse of the Qur’anic verses out of context against Muslims which always gets caught red handed to the chagrin of Shamoun.

For the brevity of this paper we are not responding to the other two verses, that is, Qur’an 2:285 and 4:136 which he used. The above two arguments which hold good for Qur’an 2:136 also hold good for Qur’an 2:285 and 4:136.

Third Response:

Traditionally Islam is understood the way it was practiced by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and Righteous Generations after him. If something pertaining to Islam was either uttered by Prophet or acted upon then that becomes a basis for Islamic teachings.

Similarly, if with the authority of the Prophet (peace be upon him) something was said and acted upon by the members of Righteous Generations then that too becomes the basis for Islamic teachings.

 Having said that, we enquire Shamoun to show us a single proof from them where they testified the Official Islamic Shahada by proclaiming the names of all the previous Prophets.

On the contrary we have quoted Hadiths above of Abu Dharr and Abdallah Ibn Salam (RAA) where they recognized themselves as Muslims by testifying the Official Islamic Shahada which bore the name of Mohammad (peace be upon him) alone.

(Please continue reading below to find Fourth Response as well.)

To further damage his position, Shamoun derived the following,

            “In light of the foregoing, the Islamic confession of faith would go something like this:

I bear witness that:

(1) I believe in Allah.
(2) I believe in His angels.
(3) I believe in His books.
(4) I believe in His messengers and that I do not make a difference or differentiate between any of them.”

Although we have already proved above that the Qur’anic verses Shamoun is using against Muslims do not support his case, on that premise – if verses do not support his basic claim, that is, Muslims distinguish between Prophets then his further derivations, as cited above, do not stand as well.

However, we will briefly respond to him here as well.

Firstly, notice that the Official Islamic Shahada is to “bear witness…” or “to testify…”, however, Shamoun’s interpretation and derivation has Muslims to “believe in Allah, Angels, Books, Messengers etc”. We ask Shamoun whether believing the same as testifying officially? Because Muslims believe in a variety of things including belief in:

  1. Resurrection
  2. Life after death
  3. Paradise and Hell
  4. Judgment day/ Events of the Judgment
  5. Predestination (Qadr) (Source)

Shamoun’s next argument was grotesque to say the least:

“Moreover, the Quran says that prophets were all inspired to profess that Allah is god alone:

And We sent never a Messenger before thee except that We revealed to him, saying, There is no god but I; so serve Me.’ S. 21:25 Arberry

It even claims that prophets and messengers commanded people to fear Allah and obey them:

The people of Noah treated the Messengers as liars, When their brother Noah said to them, ‘Will you not be God-Fearing? Surely I am unto you a Messenger, faithful to my trust. So fear ALLAH AND OBEY ME; And I ask you no reward for it. My reward is only with the Lord of the worlds; So fear ALLAH AND OBEY ME;’ S. 26:105-110 Sher Ali

The tribe of Ad rejected the Messengers, When their Brother Hud said to them, ‘Will you not fear God? Surely, I am unto you a Messenger, faithful to my trust; So fear ALLAH AND OBEY ME… So fear ALLAH AND OBEY ME;’ S. 26:123-126, 131 Sher Ali

The tribe of Thamud also rejected the Messengers, When their brother Salih said to them, ‘will you not guard against evil? Surely, I am unto you a Messenger, faithful to my trust; So fear ALLAH AND OBEY ME… So fear ALLAH AND OBEY ME;’ S. 26:141-144, 150 Sher Ali

The people of Lot rejected the Messengers, When their brother Lot said to them, ‘Will you not fear God? Surely, I am unto you a Messenger, faithful to my trust; So fear ALLAH AND OBEY ME.’ S. 26:160-163

The people of the Wood rejected the Messengers, When Shu’aib said to them, `Will you not fear God? Surely, I am unto you a Messenger, faithful to my trust. So fear ALLAH AND OBEY ME.’ S. 26:176-179

This again shows that to follow ONLY the Qur’ans teachings a Muslim would be forced to confess faith not just in Allah’s unity but also profess belief in the apostleship of many messengers by explicitly referring to them by name!”

 

Observe how Shamoun bases his argument on “…follow ONLY the Qur’an” methodology, having seen that, let us point out some of the fundamental problems in Shamoun’s argument:

a)      We would like to ask Shamoun that with which authority he said that Muslims need to testify their Official Islamic Shahada by “explicitly referring to them by name”. The verses cited above does not say that the Muslims of Mohammad’s (peace be upon him) community and era should do so! Thus, Shamoun’s assumption begs more substantial proofs besides he is putting his words in the pure and divine verses.

 

b)      Continuing on a). All the previous Prophets before Mohammad (peace be upon him), as cited in the above verses, were particularly speaking to the community to which they were sent – so for those Muslims it would have been perfectly all right for them to testify, their belief in Allah (SWT) and in  that particular messenger. It was perfectly alright for them to then proclaim:

“I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and Noah/Hud/Salih/Lot/Shuaib (peace be upon them) is the messenger of Allah”

However, we find no evidence from the cited verses that it had to continue to the Muslims of Mohammad’s (peace be upon him) community.

Fourth Response:

c)      Continuing on b). It would be inappropriate, if not incorrect, to include any other name in the official Islamic Shahada – without any solid requirement to do so, because we are the members of the community of Mohammad’s (peace be upon him) prophet hood -following the laws and regulations which were instituted in his prophet hood. Consider the following Hadith for a clearer understanding of our argument:

Muhammad Ibn al-Alâ’ told us that Ibn Numayr reported from Mujâlid from Ibn Aamir from Jaabir that Umar Ibn al-Khattâb brought a copy of the Torah to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: “O Apostle of God, this is a copy of the Torah.” But [the Prophet] kept silent. Then Umar started reading and the face of the Prophet kept changing. So, Abu Bakr interrupted him violently: “Don’t you see the face of the Prophet (peace be upon him)?” Umar looked at the Prophet’s face and said “May God preserve me from His anger and from the anger of his Apostle (peace be upon him), we accepted God as Lord and Islâm as religion and Muhammad as prophet.” Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “By the One Who owns Muhammad’s soul, if Moses (peace be upon him) appeared to you and you followed him and left me, you would go astray from the right path and if he were alive and reached [the time of] my prophethood he would have followed me.(Sunan Al Daarimi, Kitab: Al Muqadimmah, Bab: Maa Yuttaqaa min tafseer Hadeeth Al Nabi Salaah Allaahu ‘Alayhi Wassallam, Hadith no. 436, Source.)

 

d)     Mohammad’s (peace be upon him) name is enough for the Official Islamic Shahada because (i) he is the epitome or all prophet hood – “seal of the Prophets” (Qur’an 33:40) plus (ii) he is the one who taught us about previous Prophets – so by just taking his name we inadvertently include all other Prophets in the Official Islamic Shahada there by obviating the superfluous and unnecessary act of taking (at least) 24 other names besides.

So much for the so accusations on Muslims that they discriminate between Prophets!

Further when Zawadi objected to Submitter understanding of Qur’an 63:1 – Shamoun responded back. Here are the exchanges and after that follows our response to Shamoun:

            “Zawadi also had this to say regarding the Muslim submitters use of Sura 63:1:

My Response:

This is very poor understanding of Scripture. The verse is not saying that hypocrites are the ones who bear witness that Muhammad is a Messenger. It is saying that those specific hypocrites are lying when they say that they bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God. They say it, but don’t mean it inside. The verse would not make sense. How can God accus[sic] them of lying when they say Muhammad is a Messenger of God and it is there in the Quran that Muhammad is a Messenger of God? God is saying that they are lying because they don’t mean what they say.

RESPONSE:

What truly shows poor understanding is Zawadi’s distortion of the point being made by the submitters. As we just saw above, their point wasn’t that Allah was accusing the hypocrites for lying when they testified that Muhammad was his messenger. Their point was that the only group that felt the need to publicly testify that Muhammad was a messenger were the liars and hypocrites as a way of covering up their disbelief. Basically, they are trying to show that the Quran doesn’t require believers to publicly profess Muhammad’s apostleship since by obeying and following the Quran they will be proving their belief in him.” (Bold and Italics emphasize ours)

Two responses to Shamoun are in order:

  1. It is important to understand that it was not customary or traditional ONLY of the hypocrites and liars to testify Mohammad’s (peace be upon him) Prophet hood as Shamoun and Submitters want to prove.

Zawadi was absolutely correct to point out that those specific people who were testifying his Prophet hood were charlatans and liars, however, there were numerous other faithful Muslims testifying the Shahada too, we have already provided Hadiths proving it.

 Because in Qur’an 63:1 we have bunch of hypocrites exposed does not mean this verse can be used to conclude that Quran doesn’t require believers to publicly profess Muhammad’s apostleship”. Such a statement requires more support from the texts, especially when Hadith resources are filled with faithful believers testifying the Shahada. And thus, Shamoun’s gauche exegesis is again called in to question.

  1. Submitters and Shamoun should prove that “the only group that felt the need to publicly testify that Muhammad was a messenger were the liars and hypocrites as a way of covering up their disbelief.” It is a totally unsupported myth because we have already provided two Hadiths which proves that sincere Muslims also proclaimed and testified Mohammad (peace be upon him) as a Prophet of God in their Shahada. So, it was not just the “group of hypocrites” who felt to testify but sincere first generation Muslims as well.

 

Does testifying Mohammad (peace be upon him) in the Shahada violates Islamic Monotheism?

Shamoun often quotes an Islamic author and his work, namely, Qadi Iyad Ibn Musa al-Yahsubi and Kitab Ash-shifa bi ta’rif huquq al-Mustafa (Healing by the recognition of the Rights of the Chosen One) respectively. Shamoun jumps to quote this book partially and deceitfully, we have already exposed Shamoun over this argument at Islamic Shahada – The Only True Shahada (Refer “Scholar Say” Section of the paper).

However, because it is one of Shamoun’s celebrated argument let us respond to it once again. Basically in the Qadi’s book there are comments of various Muslims which Shamoun uses to try to prove that the Shahada violates Islamic monotheism. Herein we will take all of them one at a time and respond.

“Qatada said, “Allah exalted his fame in this world and the Next. There is no speaker, witness nor anyone doing the prayer who fails to say, ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’”

We have a very simple response to the above Qatada quotation. Rhetorically replying, how does the above remark from Qatada violate Islamic monotheism?

“Abu Sa’id al-Khudri related that the Prophet said, “Jibril, peace be upon him, came to me and said, ‘My Lord and your Lord says, ‘Do you know how I have exalted your fame?”’ I said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He said, ‘When I am mentioned you are mentioned with Me.’”

Here again we fail to understand how Khudri’s (RAA) comment goes againt the Islamic monotheism. However, if people find it hard to accept that “when Allah (SWT) is mentioned Prophet (peace be upon him) is mentioned with Him” then they should take into account the capacity in which Mohammad (peace be upon him) is mentioned with Allah (SWT) in the Shahada. He is not mentioned as God besides Allah (SWT) in the Shahada rather he is mentioned as a prophet and a slave (to Allah) in it. This is further proven by Ja’far ibn Muhammad as Sadiq’s comment (in the same source Shamoun is using) where he remarked:

“No one mentions YOU as the Messenger but that he mentions Me as the Lord.”

Moreover, the same book which Shamoun is using here, Yahya ibn Adam explained the meaning and interpretation of “exalting the fame” of prophet (peace be upon him). He said,

“The sura continues: “Did We not exalt your fame?” (94:4) Yahya ibn Adam said that this meant BY BEING GIVEN PROPHET HOOD. (Muhammad Messenger of Allah. Ash-Shifa of Qadi ‘Iyad, Qadi ‘Iyad Ibn Musa al-Yahsubi, Translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley, Medinah Press Granada, Spain, ISBN 1 874216 26 2, pp.7. Bold, Capital and Italics emphasize ours)

Notice that exalting Mohammad’s (peace be upon him) fame means, the coronation of Mohammad (peace be upon him) as prophet. This certainly does not violate any Islamic Monotheism rather it further corroborates it because Mohammad (peace be upon him) is rightly not deemed as God but a prophet. Furthermore, we also notice Shamoun hiding Yahya ibn Adam’s comment which was present in the same page.

 

Furthermore,

“Ibn ‘Ata quoted a hadith qudsi saying, “I completed belief with your being mentioned with Me.” And another one which says, “I have made your mention part of My mention so whoever mentions Me, mentions you.”

“Ja’far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq, “No one mentions you as the Messenger but that he mentions Me as the Lord.”

 

Once again, we do not specifically see the problem with Ibn ‘Ata’s remark because when we ponder in to the Shahada we find that Mohammad (peace be upon him) is indeed mentioned with Allah (SWT), however, the point which Shamoun misses is that he is mentioned as a prophet and not a God beside Allah (SWT). Thus, there is no breach of Islamic Monotheism.

Just below Ja’far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq’s remark, Al-Marwardi suggested “that the Station of Intercession was being referred to by this.” Thus, how does this violate Islamic monotheism if these are talking about “Station of Intercession”?

Shamoun’s next quotation,

“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.”

Two responses are in order:

Firstly, As Yahsubi suggests that conjunction “Wa” is the conjunction of partnership, however, Shamoun again misses the point that this so called “partnership” between Allah (SWT) and Mohammad (peace be upon him) is the “partnership” of God and His Slave/Messenger – it is a God-Slave or God-Messenger “partnership” and not God-God partnership. Thus once again, Shamoun has awfully misunderstood before attacking straw-man.

Secondly, if we grant Shamoun that Yahsubi was alluding about God – God “partnership” through the usage of the conjunction “wa”, yet we personally do not agree with Yahsubi’s remark for the following reasons:

Firstly, Yahsubi’s statement that, “IT IS NOT PERMITTED TO USE THIS CONJUNCTION IN CONNECTION WITH ALLAH IN THE CASE OF ANYONE EXCEPT THE PROPHET ”.

This statement goes head on against the plain teachings of Qur’an where the same conjunction is used for other Prophets, knowledgeable People, Angels, Books etc respectively:

“The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, AND(WA) His messengers. “We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His messengers.” And they say: “We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.” (Interpretations of the meanings of the Qur’an, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, 2:285)

 

 

Conjunction “WA” used for Jesus (peace be upon him):

 

“(I have come to you), to attest the Law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (Before) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear Allah, AND OBEY ME.” (Interpretations of the meanings of the Qur’an, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, 5:50. Bold, Italics and Capital emphasize ours)

 

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 (Interpretations of the meanings of the Qur’an, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, 43:63. Bold, Italics and Capital emphasize ours)

 

Conjunction “WA” used for Noah (peace be upon him):

“That ye should worship Allah, fear Him and OBEY ME:” (Interpretations of the meanings of the Qur’an, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, 20:10. Bold, Italics and Capital emphasize ours.)

Conjunction “WA” used for non – prophets!

“O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, AND (WA) those charged with authority among you.”, (Interpretations of the meanings of the Qur’an, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, 5:64. Bold, Italics and Capital emphasize ours.)

Secondly, the conjunction “WA” cannot be used with anybody else, including Mohammad (peace be upon him), if it signifies partnership with Allah (SWT) in His deity. So, if Yahsubi is using it, which we HIGHLY DOUBT, then he is incorrect – neither is Yahsubi God nor Prophet.

Shamoun’s next quotation:

“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.’”

We do not see the issue here. Shamoun should write what he intends to prove through this quotation.

Further,

“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.”

Shamoun misses a vital point that in the above Al-Khattabi quotation the conjunction “wa” is used in sharing the “will” of Allah (SWT) – one of His attributes, with somebody else. However, in the Shahada “wa” is just the continuation of two different statements, namely, deity of Allah (SWT) AND prophet hood of Mohammad (peace be upon him), thus, in Shahada no sharing of Allah’s (SWT) attribute(s) is proved. Thus, again, Shamoun has no substantial argument from the above citation.

“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!]”

Observe that in the above citation the speaker joined Allah (SWT) and Mohammad (peace be upon him) without categorizing and differentiating who is who. The speaker did not separate Allah (SWT) as deity and Mohammad (peace be upon him) as His messenger as it is rightly done in the Shahada. Notice that Mohammad (peace be upon him) did not oust the speaker when he said obey Allah (SWT) and His messenger rather he took offense when speaker said “…rebels against them both”.

If there was really a problem in the usage of the two names together then Mohammad (peace be upon him) should have been consistent and rebuked the speaker when he was speaking of obeying Allah (SWT) and His Messenger, which the prophet didn’t do!

Thus, the speaker joined the two unjustifiably against the Islamic monotheism. Our explanation is further supported by Abu Sulayman’s quotation:

“Abu Sulayman said, “He disliked the two names being joined together in that way because it implies equality.” …

According to Abu Sulayman, the prophet (peace be upon him) disliked his name to be joined with Allah’s (SWT) in a certain special way, “in that way”. The two names should not be joined in any way which implies equality of Allah (SWT) and Mohammad (peace be upon him) like in this case where the speaker said, “…rebels against them both”.  The status of each one of them should be clearly separated just like in the Shahada that “…And Mohammad IS HIS MESSENGER”.

After quoting the above scholars Shamoun wrote:

“Thus, Muslim sources, not Christians or Orientalists, emphatically affirm that Muhammad’s name being combined with Allah through the use of the Arabic conjunction wa implies partnership, that Muhammad is a partner with Allah! This is especially true when we realize that according to Sunni Islam the recitation of the Islamic creed is a necessary first step in attaining salvation. In other words, Muslim salvation is dependent on reciting that Allah is god alone and Muhammad is his messenger, which means that Muhammad is just as much a necessary object of salvation as is Allah!”

There are various problems in the passage. Let us consider them:

Firstly, Shamoun saying, “Thus, Muslim sources, not Christians or Orientalists, emphatically affirm that…” It hardly matters whether the sources are Muslim or not, because:

  • The so called “Muslim sources” should be backed from Islamic Scriptures which was hardly to be found in the citations Shamoun provided.
  • Most of quotations did not had any sanad/isnad with them so we actually do not know the veracity of the citations notwithstanding they are coming from “Muslim Sources”.

Secondly, “…Muhammad’s name being combined with Allah through the use of the Arabic conjunction wa implies partnership, that Muhammad is a partner with Allah!”

Well, no Muslim denies that Mohammad (peace be upon him) is a partner with Allah (SWT). He is indeed a partner with him – he shares the partnership of slave to Lord, messenger to God – as is conspicuous in the Shahada and elsewhere in the Islamic Scriptures.

Thirdly, “In other words, Muslim salvation is dependent on reciting that Allah is god alone and Muhammad is his messenger, which means that Muhammad is just as much a necessary object of salvation as is Allah!”

Once again, which Muslim ever denied that salvation does not depend upon the proclamation of “Muhammad as his messenger”. However, Shamoun is incorrect when he claims that “Muhammad is just as much a necessary object of salvation as is Allah!” This is because, without a doubt, Mohammad (peace be upon him) is an impertinent “object of salvation” in the capacity of his prophet hood, however, Allah (SWT) is also of paramount importance (“object of salvation”) in the capacity of His deity. Thus, there is no common grounds for comparison between Allah (SWT) and Mohammad (peace be upon him) then what is Shamoun comparing!

Fourthly, on the same lines, it is not only Mohammad (peace be upon him) on which salvation is pivoted, nevertheless, it depends upon the belief in all previous prophets, book, angels etc.

“Those who deny Allah and His messengers, and (those who) wish to separate Allah from His MESSENGERS, saying: “We believe in some but reject others”: And (those who) wish to take a course midway,- They are in truth (equally) unbelievers; and we have prepared for unbelievers a humiliating punishment. To those who believe in Allah and His messengers and make no distinction between any of the messengers, we shall soon give their (due) rewards: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur’an 4:150-152, Yusuf Ali)

“It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers;” (Qur’an 2:177, Yusuf Ali)

Notice that in the first verse adduced above, Allah (SWT) is specifically speaking of belief in ALL MESSENGERS, more importantly than that, according to the same verse, belief in some would lead to “humiliating punishment”, nevertheless, belief in all of them would provide “rewards” to the believer. Therefore, all previous messengers, besides Mohammad (peace be upon him) are also “objects of salvation” just like Mohammad (peace be upon him).

Shaikh Saleh Ibn Fawzan Ibn al – Fawzaan comments on the above Qur’anic verses:

            “In these verses:

  • Allah has linked faith in Messengers with faith in Him, His Angels and His Books.
  • Allah has ruled Kufr (disbelief) for those who distinguish between Allah and His messengers – believing in some while rejecting others.” (We believe in all the prophets and all the messengers, by Shaikh Saleh Ibn Fawzan Ibn al – Fawzaan, Translated by Shawana A. Aziz, Pg. 4, Published at Quran Sunnah Educational Programs.  Bold and Italics emphasize ours)

After his dabbling ignorantly at the Arabic “wa”, – Shamoun then embarks to educate Christians about the Greek “kai” which, for him, conjoins the deity of Jesus (peace be upon him) and Yahweh.  He wrote,

And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, AND (kai) Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3

The Lord Jesus, by using the Greek conjunction kai in his prayer, makes himself the necessary object of the knowledge that leads to eternal life. In other words, Jesus makes himself a coequal partner with God by claiming that eternal life is dependent on knowing both the Father and the Son.”

The problem in the above explanation is that Shamoun assumed Jesus (peace be upon him) became “coequal partner with God” because his knowledge which leads to eternal life.

Shamoun’s assumption is wild and invalid because:

  1. The verse clearly differentiates Jesus (peace be upon him) separate from God – who is specifically the ONLY God. In other words, there are no Gods besides Him – otherwise the so inspired word “ONLY” will have no meaning and sense in the verse. Thus, Jesus (peace be upon him) is not God.
  2. Continuing on above, if Jesus (peace be upon him) was really a God – coequal with other God then why did not he continue to say “…whom you have sent as God OR as only true God OR as another only true God”. It is expected to include these phrases especially when this verse is so important that it is related to the salvation of Christians!
  3. 3.      On the contrary, why does Jesus (peace be upon him), in the verse, puts himself to the authority of some higher God as if he was abiding by the order – saying, “…whom you have sent” (cf. John 17:9).
  4. In fact, in the above verse,  Jesus (peace be upon him) humbling himself to some higher God establishes his true status of just an ambassador/prophet/messenger as elsewhere found in Bible:

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him inthe midst of you, as ye yourselves also know” (Acts 2:22, The Holy Bible King James Version. Pdf version.)

 

Notice that in this verse again, Paul separates Jesus (peace be upon him) from the “only true God”. He specifically defines Jesus (peace be upon him) (1.) as a man (2.) approved by some higher authority, namely, God (thus, again, he cannot be God) (3.) God was performing miracles through Jesus (peace be upon him) which again means that he is differentiated from the ONLY true God and he is not God.

Based on John 17:3 in conjunction with Acts 2:22, it seems like Jesus (peace be upon him) fits more the bill of his prophet hood than deity as Mohammad (peace be upon him) in Islamic Shahada because they both are:

  • Separate from the ONLY true God
  • God has authority over them
  • Men approved by God and,
  • God performing miracles through them (peace be upon him)

Based on John 17:3 and Acts 2:22, Jesus (peace be upon him) shares the partnership of a prophet or an ambassador which God send just as in the Islamic Shahada Mohammad (peace be upon him) share the partnership of prophet hood with Allah (SWT). Thus, rather than doing any good to Shamoun – an appeal to John 17:3 has further bolstered the Islamic Shahada.

Shamoun continued to quote two Hadiths to prove that Muslims make distinction between prophets, especially with his so called lord and savior Jesus (peace be upon him):

“Narrated ‘Ubada:
The Prophet said, “If anyone testifiesthat None has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone Who has no partners, and that Muhammad is His Slave and His Apostle, and that Jesus is Allah’s Slave and His Apostle and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit from Him, and that Paradise is true, and Hell is true, Allah will admit him into Paradise with the deeds which he had done even if those deeds were few.” (Junada, the sub-narrator said, “‘Ubada added, ‘Such a person can enter Paradise through any of its eight gates he likes.’”) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 644)

It is narrated on the authority of Ubadah b. Samit that the messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed: He who said: “There is no god but Allah, He is One and there is no associate with Him, that Muhammad is his servant and His messenger, that Christ is servant and the son of His slave-girl and he (Christ) His word which He communicated to Mary and is His Spirit, that Paradise is a fact and Hell is a fact,” Allah would make him (he who affirms these truths enter Paradise through any one of its eight doors which he would like. (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 0043)

Before moving to the response we would do nomenclature for the two different types of Shahada under question. This nomenclature is only for the sake of clarity of understanding and explanation. It has got nothing to do with Islam:

  • The Official Islamic Shahada, the one which is more common, would be called as “Mohammad (peace be upon him) Shahada”
  • The Shahada in the above adduced verses which include Jesus (peace be upon him) as well, would be named as “Jesus (peace be upon him) Shahada”

Having said that let us begin with our response…

Shamoun’s argument is so weak that we would like to respond it through two approaches, namely, Concordant and Discordant approach:

Concordant Approach:

Firstly, based on the above Hadith, anyone can testify Jesus’ (peace be upon him) testimony in the Shahada. That being the case, where is the so called distinction Shamoun is talking about? As a matter of fact many Muslims do testify this type of Shahada.

Secondly, it is not that Jesus (peace be upon him) Shahada can only be testified but it is actually being testified in practice even today:

            “Christian women convert to Islam on the spot”

 

Discordant Approach:

Firstly, observe that the Sahih Muslim rendering of the Jesus (peace be upon him) Shahada does not stress on testifying but it says “he who says”. Saying could mean to just say for the sake of reciting it (for blessings), remembering it, teaching it, which would be different from proclaiming as an official testimony. This explanation of ours is further supported by the points to follow:

Secondly, from a closer look of the Hadiths cited above, it is clear that the above Hadiths were not actually revealed to set words for the Official Islamic Shahada. Notice that both the Hadith starts by saying that anyone who “testifies or says” certain things would be rewarded with certain other things. The construction of the above Hadiths is like:

            “If any one testifies X then s/he will be rewarded by Y”

 The purpose of the Hadiths was to inform the testifiers of the paradise they would get as reward if they testify the Jesus (peace be upon him) Shahada – which has got nothing to do with setting up words for the Official Islamic Shahada or the Mohammad (peace be upon him) Shahada hence they cannot be held as proof for establishing Official Islamic Shahada.

Thirdly, corroborating the above (two) point(s) we do not find the first generation Muslims testifying the “Jesus (peace be upon him)Shahada”. It is worthwhile to note that Muslims are to imitate the first generation companions of the prophet. Here are a few examples from them testifying – look out which version of Shahada they are testifying:

“Narrated Abu Ma’bad:
(the slave of Ibn Abbas) Allah’s Apostle said to Muadh when he sent him to Yemen, “You will go to the people of the Scripture. So, when you reach there, invite them to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Apostle. And if they obey you in that, tell them that Allah has enjoined on them five prayers in each day and night. And if they obey you in that tell them that Allah has made it obligatory on them to pay the Zakat which will be taken from the rich among them and given to the poor among them. If they obey you in that, then avoid taking the best of their possessions, and be afraid of the curse of an oppressed person because there is no screen between his invocation and Allah.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 24, Number 573)

 

… Abu Dhar went to the Mosque, where some people from Quraish were present, and said, ‘O folk of Quraish! I testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and I (also) testify that Muhammad is Allah’s Slave and His Apostle.‘ (Hearing that) the Quraishi men said, ‘Get at this Sabi (i.e. Muslim)!’ (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 725)” (Bold, Italics and Underline emphasize ours)

Fourthly, if Shamoun does not withstanding the above three explanations, then he should know that, given the fact that both Jesus (peace be upon him) and Mohammad (peace be upon him) types of Shahada is permissible, Muslims prefer proclaiming “Mohammad (peace be upon him) Shahada” because they know:

a)      By proclaiming him (only) they are testifying prophet hood of all other prophets besides Books, Angels, Paradise, Hell etc. It was Mohammad (peace be upon him) who taught about them all.

b)      Muslims have support from the practices of first generation Muslims who testified with only Mohammad’s (peace be upon him) messenger ship proclamation in it. 

Fifthly, we would like to quote Zawadi’s response:

“The real testimony is “I witness that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” to become an orthodox Muslim. This is because Prophet Muhammad said that this Shahadah is one of the pillars of Islam and not any other Shahadah is. The other Shahadahs are statements of fact but this is the ultimate Shahadah because the Prophet said that this Shahadah is one of the five pillars of Islam and no other Shahadah.

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 1, Book 2, Number 7:

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:

Allah’s Apostle said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):

1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle.

2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.

3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity).

4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca)

5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.

Shamoun desperately and miserably responded to the above:

“Moreover, Zawadi’s assumption that Muhammad mentioning this specific shahadah in a list enumerating the pillars of Islam excludes all other shahadahs is simply erroneous. The fact of the matter is that Muhammad NEVER said that this specific profession is the ONLY shahadah that is part of Islam’s pillars. Had Muhammad said this then this would only prove that he contradicted himself, or that the Hadith literature contains contradictory teachings.” (Bold and Italics emphasize ours)

By writing the above response, Shamoun has grossly exposed his shallow understanding of Islamic theology because the absence of any other Shahada other than the Official Islamic Shahada (in the pillars of Islam), in any authentic Hadith collection proves that Mohammad (peace be upon him) only recommended this type of Shahada; if there would have been other renderings of Shahada included in Islam’s first pillar then they should have found their way in the Islamic Traditions.

So much for the two Hadiths which Shamoun cherishes using to include Jesus (peace be upon him) in the Official Islamic Shahada.

 

Recapitulate

To recapitulate, in this rebuttal we have seen:

  1. That Islamic Canon of Scripture is not restricted to Qur’an only and thus an attempt to disprove Islamic Shahada from Qur’an only is sheer straw – man attempt.
  2. Continuing on (1.), the authentic Hadiths reports do establish the Islamic Shahada as proclaimed by Muslims all over the world. Not only that, they also prove that at the time of the prophet (peace be upon him) proclaiming the Islamic Shahada was the norm.
  3.  We also saw how Shamoun was caught distorting the sense and purpose of divinely inspired verses of Qur’an like, 2:136, 285 to allege that Muslims make distinctions between prophets.
  4. We witnessed how Shamoun unsuccessfully tried to use distorted imports from Qadi Iyad’s book to establish breach of Islamic Monotheism by the proclamation of Mohammad’s (peace be upon him) name in the Shahada.
  5. We also saw how Shamoun’s straw – man argument of Mohammad (peace be upon him) as an “object of salvation” broke apart on closer observations.
  6. Rather than doing any good to Shamoun; an appeal to John 17:3 further established the Islamic Shahada!
  7. Finally, more importantly, we saw how Shamoun was exposed on his poor understanding of God-breathed and uncorrupted Islamic Scripture when he unsuccessfully tried to misuse Hadiths to prove that Jesus’ (peace be upon him) testimony should also be included in the Official Islamic Shahada.

No matter how much anyone tries to challenge the Official Islamic Shahada by their twisted understandings but it only remains for a fact that, “There is no God but Allah (SWT) and Mohammad is His messenger”

 

 

 

 

 

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  • By DO NOT SAY TRINITY on September 16, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    […] his paper “A Common Word”. And, we continue with more responses to Sam Shamoun on the Islamic Shahada. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. By qmarkmark, on […]

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