Muhammad the Prophet of God
We now continue our series in refuting Sam Shamoun's 6 propositions (arguments) he uses to try and disprove Muhammad (PBUH) as a prophet.
I advise all readers to read the previous two rebuttals to Shamoun's first two propositions before reading this one; both articles can be read here: 1, 2
We now move on to Shamoun's third proposition (argument) against the prophethood of Muhammad (AS), as usual Shamoun's comments will be in green followed by my responses in black.
1. Night Journey
Glory to (Allah) Who did take His Servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque (Masjid al-Aqsa), whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things). S. 17:1
According to the Islamic traditions, Muhammad went to the Mosque in Jerusalem. The following is taken from Alfred Guillaume's The Life of Muhammad (Oxford University Press Karachi, 1995 tenth impression), which is a translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasulullah:
Ziyad b. 'Abdullah al-Bakka'i from Muhammad b. Ishaq told me the following: Then the apostle was carried by night from the mosque at Mecca to the Masjid al-Aqsa WHICH IS THE TEMPLE OF AELIA, when Islam had spread in Mecca among the Quraysh and all the tribes. His companion (Gabriel) went with him to see the wonders between heaven and earth, UNTIL HE CAME TO JERUSALEM'S TEMPLE.
In his story al-Hasan said: ?The apostle and Gabriel went their way until they arrived AT THE TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM'. (Guillaume, pp. 181, 182; bold and capital emphasis ours)
And from Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 309:
It is narrated on the authority of Anas b. Malik that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: I was brought al-Buraq Who is an animal white and long, larger than a donkey but smaller than a mule, who would place his hoof a distance equal to the range of version. I mounted it and came to the Temple (Bait Maqdis in Jerusalem), then tethered it to the ring used by the prophets. I entered the mosque and prayed two rak'ahs in it, and then came out and Gabriel brought me a vessel of wine and a vessel of milk. I chose the milk, and Gabriel said: You have chosen the natural thing. Then he took me to heaven. (Source)
The problem with all of this is that the first Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian armies in 587 BC. Furthermore, General Titus and his Roman soldiers levelled the Second Temple in AD. 70, more than five centuries before this alleged night journey to Jerusalem took place. In fact, the Temple that eventually became Masjid al-Aqsa did not come into existence until AD. 691 when Amir Abd-ul-Malik built it.
There is a very easy way to reconcile this problem, if THE temple of Jerusalem was there no more, then obviously the prophet visited ANOTHER temple!
Who says that the temple he went to has to be the same exact Jewish holy temple which was revered by the Jews?
Secondly, what's to say that God could not reconstruct the main Jewish temple for the prophet Muhammad on this specific event? The whole night journey is a miraculous event; hence it would not be a problem at all for God to reconstruct the temple for a short period so the prophet could go inside it and pray. Does Shamoun doubt God's powerful abilities?
Thirdly, as I said in rebuttal number two, Shamoun cannot pick parts of the story he likes, and disregard other parts of the story which debunk his case! Why doesn't Shamoun quote the entire story? For instance this part:
Ibn Ishaq went on (and the Prophet (SAAS) told the sceptical, tr.) "And the proof of this is that I passed by the caravan of such-and-such a tribe in such-and-such a valley, and the sound of (al-buraq) startled them and so one of their camels ran away. I led them to it, being then on my way to al-Sham. Then I continued on until I reached Dajanan, where I passed a caravan of such-and-such tribe. I found the people asleep. They had a vessel with water in it that they had covered it with something. I took off the cover and drank the water and replaced its cover. And the proof of this is that their caravan is now making its way down from the pass at al-Tanim al-Bayda. Leading it is an ash-coloured camel on which are two sacks, one of which is black, the other black and white.
"On hearing this, people hurried to the pass. The first camel, which was as he described to them, was insufficient proof for them, so they asked about the vessel and the camel, and those in the caravan did tell them just as the Prophet (SAAS) had recounted."
Yunus b. bukayr related, from Asbat, from Ismail al-Suddi, that the sun had almost set before that caravan arrived and so he prayed to God, Almighty and Glorious is He, who slowed it down until they came, just as he had described it to them.
So notice the prophet gave proof of his journey, noting things on the way which no one could know! Hence why Does Shamoun leave this out? If he wants Muslims to carefully assess their prophet then with all due respect quote the entire story so we can assess the entire event and situation. It is mischievous to ask Muslims to carefully consider our prophet when you cannot even carefully quote the entire story, especially when it is on the same page as he is quoting from!
Moving on, if anyone does continue with the story one will find that the people around the prophet Muhammad who knew Jerusalem ADMITTED that his description of Jerusalem was accurate as well.
According to the Quran Allah created exactly seven heavens and seven earths
"It is Allah Who has created seven heavens, and earths as many." S. 65:12, F. Malik's translation
Does Shamoun have any conclusive proof that other earth like planets do not exist? NONE! Until Shamoun can provide conclusive evidence that there are no other earth like planets then he has no argument.
In fact here are some interesting articles from the Telegraph:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/04/02/scialien102.xml - Astronomers searching for earth like planets. (Why would they search for something if it didn't exist?)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/earth/2008/08/07/sciearth107.xml - Scientist claims that earth like planets should be quite common around the universe.
http://www.physorg.com/news6889.html - Another article showing how NASA is looking for other earth like planets and that the only reason they haven't been able to search properly was due to technological deficiencies which have been cleared.
So is the Quran wrong? Absolutely not. Shamoun has to bring conclusive evidence which proves there are no earth like planets out there, and he never will be able to bring this proof.
The orbit of the sun
The Quran and Muhammad's Sunna teach that the sun travels all the way to Allah's throne where it prostrates and waits for permission to return to its course!
"And the sun runneth on unto a resting-place for him. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Wise." S. 36:38 Pickthall
Narrated Abu Dharr:
The Prophet asked me at sunset, "Do you know where the sun goes (at the time of sunset)?" I replied, "Allah and His Apostle know better." He said, "It goes (i.e. travels) till it prostrates Itself underneath the Throne and takes the permission to rise again, and it is permitted and then (a time will come when) it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course but it will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return whence it has come and so it will rise in the west. And that is the interpretation of the Statement of Allah: ?And the sun runs its fixed course for a term (decreed). That is The Decree of (Allah) The Exalted in Might, The All-Knowing.'" (36.38) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 421: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/054.sbt.html#004.054.421)
Is there an error here, or has Shamoun simply read into the text? I quote the hadith again:
Narrated Abu Dharr:
The Prophet asked me at sunset, "Do you know where the sun goes (at the time of sunset)?" I replied, "Allah and His Apostle know better." He said, "It goes (i.e. travels) till it prostrates Itself underneath the Throne and takes the permission to rise again, and it is permitted and then (a time will come when) it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course but it will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return whence it has come and so it will rise in the west. And that is the interpretation of the Statement of Allah: ?And the sun runs its fixed course for a term (decreed). That is The Decree of (Allah) The Exalted in Might, The All-Knowing.'" (36.38) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 421:
Where does this hadith say anything about the sun stopping as a whole? Basically where does this hadith say that the sun completely stops its full normal course?
Shamoun has ASSUMED that just because the sun asks for permission to rise again in a dark area means that it has stopped giving light in other areas! For instance it will be night time in London, yet still day time in LA, the sun will be giving its light for LA while at the same time it will be asking for permission to re-rise again in the city of London! Very simple! The error Shamoun claims is non-existent but only a result of his own false assumptions.
Secondly here is a hadith that completely ends Shamoun's argument and proves my case:
Ibn 'Abbas (A.S.) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) was asked:
"Where does the sun set, and where does it rise from? The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) answered, "It is going in a (nonstop) regular motion; it does not cease or disappear. It sets in one place and rises in another, and sets in another place and rises elsewhere and so on. So, some people would say the sun has set and others would say it has just risen (at the same moment)." (http://www.elnaggarzr.com/en/main.php?id=32)
Also for further reading on this topic visit this link:
The Quran further claims that one of the purposes of the stars is to be hurled at satans or jinns:
And We have (from of old), adorned the lowest heaven with lamps, and We have made such (lamps as) missiles to drive away Satans ... S. 67:5
We have indeed decked the lower heaven with beauty (in) the stars, (for beauty) and for guard against all obstinate rebellious Satans. (So) they should not strain their ears in the direction of the Exalted Assembly but be cast away from every side. S. 37:6-8 - cf. 15:16-18; 55:33-35)
Again can Shamoun conclusively prove that all shooting stars are not missiles chasing at the evil devils? The answer is no he cannot!
Number two it is a part of our Muslim belief to believe in such things, such things that cannot be witnessed by our eyes, we call it the al-Ghaib, the unseen, as the Quran says:
This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah; Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them; (Surah 2:2-3)
So it is part of our Muslim belief to believe in the unseen, this is what being a theist essentially is! Shamoun is arguing along atheist rationality, since I cannot see it, and since it sounds too supernatural and different I therefore reject it.
Now what is interesting is that Shamoun is attempting to make us Christians, yet he is arguing along atheistic lines, so what about things in the Bible which go against science and rationality? What should we do with them? Here are a few examples:
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. (Book of Joel)
Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. [Is] not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel. (Joshua 10:12-14)
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many (Matthew 27: 50-53)
I could carry on but that should do for now. So since Shamoun is against the supernatural, and the unseen, we cannot become Christians neither since his Bible is filled with such things! So essentially all Shamoun is turning us into is atheists!
The question should be asked though; does Shamoun REALLY have a problem with the supernatural and unseen? The obvious answer is no since he is a Christian, so therefore why does he attack Islam for such things? Well folks therein lay the inconsistency and lack of honesty on the part of our evangelical Christian opponents; they will do whatever it takes to demonize Islam, even if it means that they drag their own faith down the gutter.
Notice the irony
?Leave Islam because it says that shooting stars chase demons, but become a Christian where we believe the moon will turn into blood during the last days, and where we also believe that God died and went into hell and then rose after 3 days.'
Who are these Christians trying to convince with these arguments?
Lastly Shamoun tries to point out a contradiction about whether Islam teaches the Quran or Heavens came first, this has already been dealt with on this link:
So this brings us to the end of part three, Shamoun's third proposition has miserably failed, in point of fact his latest method only turns people into atheists and reveals the true level of inconsistency upon our Christian evangelical opponents.
Continue to Part Four.
And Allah Knows Best!