Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

A Muslim Polemicist Becomes a Mushrik

Sam Shamoun

According to the Quran, the one transgression that Allah will never forgive anyone for committing, after having known the message of Islam, is that of shirk, which is the crime of ascribing to a creature the unique characteristics, names, functions and/or worship that belong to Allah alone:

It is He who made the earth a couch for you, and the sky a dome. He sends down water from the sky and by it brings forth fruits for your provision. Do not, then, knowingly make others equal to Allah. S. 2:22 Aisha Bewley 

Surely Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him, and He forgives what is besides this to whom He pleases; and whoever associates anything with Allah, he indeed strays off into a remote error. S. 4:116 Shakir – cf. v. 48; 6:84-88; 39:65

Muhammad is also reported to have warned his followers from over-praising him like the Christians have supposedly over-praised the Lord Jesus: 

Narrated 'Umar: I heard the Prophet saying, "Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Mary, for I am only a Slave. So, call me the Slave of Allah and His Apostle."  (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 654)

However, such warnings seem to have fallen on deaf ears since one will find plenty of Muslims who take their love and devotion for Muhammad to such an extreme, that they actually end up committing shirk as a result. 

On such Muslim happens to be the Islamic polemicist and daiee Ali Ataie. In a book that he wrote titled, In Defense of Islam: Confronting the Christian with their own Scriptures, Ataie tries to prove that Muhammad is the figure that the prophet Daniel saw and spoke of in the seventh chapter of his inspired book:

“…A quick glimpse at Daniel 7:13 leaves little doubt that the person Daniel envisioned was none other than Muhammad al-Mustafa, coming in the clouds to the Temple of Solomon and then ascending unto the ‘Ancient of Days’ where he was brought near and ‘shown of the Signs of his Lord, the greatest’ (Qur’an 53:18; Malachi 3:1; Haggai 2:7)…” P. 217

“… It is extremely interesting to note that the community which authored these ancient writings also believed in the idea of the ‘dual-Messiah.’ The Essenes, as they were called, wrote of a Priestly Messiah, whom we can call Jesus (ben-Adam), and also of a Kingly Messiah, who is Muhammad (Barnasha)…” P. 218

“… Here are some examples where Jesus refers to the Apocalyptic Barnasha of Daniel 7 (Muhammad)…” P. 219

Here is the passage that Ataie is referring to:

“I saw in the night visions, and there was one like a Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. There was given to Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that ALL peoples, nations, and languages should SERVE Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14

In this prophetic vision, the Son of Man is seen riding the clouds like ONLY God does,

“who lays the upper beams of His chambers on the waters above, who makes the clouds His chariot, who rides upon the wings of the wind,” Psalm 104:3 – cf. 68:4, 33-34

“the Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will in no way acquit the guilty. In gale winds and a storm is His way, and clouds are the dust of His feet.” Nahum 1:3 – Exodus 13:21-22; 14:19-20, 24-26; 33:7-11; 40:34-38; Numbers 10:34; Deuteronomy 33:26

A fact which even the Quran agrees with:

Wait they for naught else than that Allah should come unto them in the shadows of the clouds with the angels? Then the case would be already judged. All cases go back to Allah (for judgment). S. 2:210 Pickthall

Daniel’s Son of Man also rules forever like God does,

“I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, enduring forever; His kingdom shall never be destroyed, and His dominion shall be forever.” Daniel 6:26

“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.” Psalm 145:13

And is served/worshiped by all nations in the same way that God ALONE is supposed to be served/worshiped:

“Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Your God whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.’” Daniel 6:16 – cf. v. 20; 3:12, 14, 17-18, 28

“Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall SERVE and obey Him.” Daniel 7:27

This explains why the NT identifies the Lord Jesus as this Divine Son of Man, the One who possesses absolute sovereignty over the entire creation, and whom every creature must worship in the exact same way that God Almighty is worshiped:

“For the Son of Man shall come with His angels in the glory of HIS Father, and then He will repay every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27 – cf. 25:31-46

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

“… Again the high priest asked Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus said, ‘I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.’” Mark 14:61b-62

“But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” Acts 7:55-56

“When He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of saints. And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests unto our God; and we shall reign on the earth.’ Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voices of many angels, numbering ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!’ Then I heard EVERY CREATURE which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and in the sea, AND ALL THAT ARE IN THEM, saying: ‘To Him who sits on the throne AND TO THE LAMB be blessing and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!’ The four living creatures said, ‘Amen.’ And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshipped Him who lives forever and ever.” Revelation 5:8-14

“I looked. And there was a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like a Son of Man, having on his head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. Then another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, ‘Thrust in Your sickle and reap. The time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ So He who sat on the cloud thrust His sickle on the earth, and the earth was harvested.” Revelation 14:14-16

The inspired Christian Greek Scriptures are quite clear that Christ is the God-Man, e.g., Jesus is the eternal Word and divine Son of God who became a human being for our redemption, and who now reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords (Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 1:26-35; John 1:1-5, 9-18; Ephesians 1:19-23; 5:5; Colossians 1:13-20; Colossians 2:9-10; Hebrews 1:1-14; Revelation 1:5-6; 17:14; 19:16). It therefore makes sense that Christ and his followers would identify him as this Divine figure that the prophet spoke of.

However, this CANNOT be said of Muhammad since the Quran emphatically prohibits Muslims from serving and worshiping anyone other than Allah, even if they happen to be one of his prophets:

You ALONE we serve; you alone we ask for help. S. 1:5 Quran: A Reformist Translation (QRT)

It is not meet for a mortal that Allah should give him the Book and the wisdom and prophethood, then he should say to men: Be my servants rather than Allah's; but rather (he would say): Be worshipers of the Lord because of your teaching the Book and your reading (it yourselves). And neither would he enjoin you that you should take the angels and the prophets for lords; what! would he enjoin you with unbelief after you are Muslims? S. 3:79-80 Shakir

Nor will the Quran allow for any creature, no matter how exalted, to share in the eternal rule of Allah over all creation:

And say: (All) praise is due to Allah, Who has not taken a son and Who has not a partner in the kingdom, and Who has not a helper to save Him from disgrace; and proclaim His greatness magnifying (Him). S. 17:111 Shakir

He, Whose is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and Who did not take to Himself a son, and Who has no associate in the kingdom, and Who created everything, then ordained for it a measure. S. 25:2 Shakir

And note what the following Muslim scholar says concerning this issue:

And (The Author’s) statement “is the Speech of our Malik (i.e. King)”: The Malik (i.e. King) is the Malik (i.e. Owner). And Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, is (indeed) the owner. For He said…

“Blessed be He in Whose Hand is the kingdom; and He is Able to do all things.” [Al-Mulk: 1]…

“Say (O Muhammad): “O Allah! Possessor of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You take the kingdom from whom You will, and You endue with honour whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In You Hand is the good. Verily, You are able to do all things.” [ali Imran: 26]

Allah, Exalted is He, is the Possessor of the Kingdom. As for the kings from the children of Adam, their kingdoms are such that they are exposed: Allah gives (ownership) to who He wills from amongst them and He takes (ownership) from them and gives it to another. (Their kingdoms) are such that they are constantly circulating. As for the everlasting kingdom which will never cease, IT IS ALLAH’S OWNERSHIP (of everything.) And when the hour is established Allah, Exalted is He, will say:

“Whose is the kingdom this Day?” [Ghafir: 16]

No one will respond and no one will speak. If someone had a legitimate claim they would have said, “The kingdom is mine.” Allah then answers Himself (saying)…

“It is Allah’s the One, the Irresistible!” [Ghafir: 16]

And there is no one who opposes this, for the Kingdom belongs to Allah, the Exalted is He. He only bestows to whom He wills something of His kingdom FOR A LIMITED PERIOD OF TIME, then that person either dies or it is taken from him by brute force. (The Explanation of Al-Ha’iyah: A Poem written about the Creed of Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jama’ah, by Abu Bakr bin Abu Dawud As-Sijistani [D. 316H], explained by Dr. Salih bin Fawzan Al-Fawzan [Riwayah Publishing, 2013], fn. 9, pp. 54-56; capital and underline emphasis ours)    

Therefore, the only way that Ataie can claim that Muhammad is the Son of Man whom Daniel saw is if he is willing to admit that his prophet is God manifest in human flesh. However, Ataie knows full well that he cannot embrace this position since his own Islamic sources are quite emphatic that Muhammad was nothing more than an imperfect, fallible human being:

Muhammad is but a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him. Will it be that, when he dieth or is slain, ye will turn back on your heels? He who turneth back on his heels doth no hurt to Allah, and Allah will reward the thankful. S. 3:144 Pickthall

May Allah forgive you (O Muhammad). Why did you grant them leave (for remaining behind, you should have persisted as regards your order to them to proceed on Jihad), until those who told the truth were seen by you in a clear light, and you had known the liars? S. 9:43 Hilali-Khan

Verily, they were about to tempt you away from that which We have revealed (the Qur'an) unto you (O Muhammad), to fabricate something other than it against Us, and then they would certainly have taken you a friend! And had We not made you stand firm, you would nearly have inclined to them a little. In that case, We would have made you taste a double portion (of punishment) in this life and a double portion (of punishment) after death. And then you would have found none to help you against Us. S. 17:73-75 Hilali-Khan

Or you have a house of adornable materials (like silver and pure gold, etc.), or you ascend up into the sky, and even then we will put no faith in your ascension until you bring down for us a Book that we would read." Say (O Muhammad): "Glorified (and Exalted) be my Lord (Allah) above all that evil they (polytheists) associate with Him! Am I anything but a man, sent as a Messenger?" S. 17:93 Hilali-Khan

Verily, you (O Muhammad) will die and verily, they (too) will die. S. 39:30 Hilali-Khan

Say (unto them O Muhammad): I am only a mortal like you. It is inspired in me that your God is One God, therefor take the straight path unto Him and seek forgiveness of Him. And woe unto the idolaters, S. 41:6 Pickthall

So know (O Muhammad) that there is no God save Allah, and ask forgiveness for thy sin and for believing men and believing women. Allah knoweth (both) your place of turmoil and your place of rest. S. 47:19 Pickthall

And if the apostle were to invent any sayings in Our name, We should certainly seize him by his right hand, And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: Nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath). S. 69:44-47 A. Yusuf Ali

As such, Ataie is guilty of not only over-praising his prophet, but he also stands condemned for committing the sin of shirk. Ataie has pretty much become a mushrik since, by identifying his prophet as the Divine Son of Man whom Daniel wrote of, he has essentially turned Muhammad into a god-man and ascribed to him the very sovereignty and worship which the Quran says belong to Allah alone!

We will let Ataie deal with the dilemma that he has created for himself, as a result of his desperate attempt to show Christians that the Holy Bible prophesied the coming of Muhammad.