Sam Shamoun of Answering-Islam has written an article seeking to show that Islam teaches fables and fairy tales:
Basically in this rebuttal I shall be responding to Sam's claims, while at the same time apply his own criteria against him by bringing several examples from the Bible which under Shamoun's own criteria means that his very own Bible also has fables, fairy tales, and myths.
Shamoun's comments will be in green followed by my responses:
Many have heard of Aesop's fables, but not many have heard of Islam's fables. Both the Quran and Muslim traditions narrate some of the most fantastic details, i.e. several youths and their dog sleeping for over three hundred years, Israelites being transformed into apes and swine, Solomon speaking to animals such as ants and hoopoes, the wind and jinn being under Solomon's control etc.
None of these incidents Shamoun mentions are fairy tales or myths; does Sam deny the mighty power of God? God can do whatever he wills, and he is not limited by anything, as any God believer knows, God can do the super natural, to basically believe in God and his prophets you must believe in the super natural.
Therefore I see no reason as to why Sam should have a problem in God turning a couple of evil Israelites into pigs and monkeys, does Sam deny God's ability to carry out such a task? Also does not God control the winds and the all creatures in the universe? Off course he does so why would Sam have a problem with God bestowing the wind and the Jinn under Solomon's command. Last but not least why could not Solomon understand the language and communication of animals? Don't animals communicate? Off course they do, now off course us humans don't understand what animals say when they communicate with each other, but God surely does, so if God bestows this wisdom and knowledge on you to be able to understand the communication of certain animals then who are we to argue against it?
Remember we are not atheists, we believe in God, so therefore Sam's argument in reality make no sense since he himself is a believer in God and believes God can do anything, so therefore such arguments do not make much sense.
Just to illustrate to the readers exactly what we mean here are two examples from the Quran:
Or hast thou not heard of the like of him who passed by a town which had fallen down upon its roofs and exclaimed, ?When will ALLAH restore it to life after its destruction?' Then ALLAH caused him to die for a hundred years, then HE raised him and said, ?How long hast thou remained in this state?' He answered, ?I have remained a day or part of a day.' ALLAH said, ?It is so but thou hast also remained in this state for a hundred years. Now look at thy food and thy drink; they have not rotted And look at thy ass. And WE have done this that WE may make thee a Sign unto men. And look at the bones, how WE set them and then clothe them with flesh.' And when this became clear to him, he said, ?I know that ALLAH has the power to do all that HE wills.' S. 2:259 Sher Ali
Allah preserves a man, his food and his donkey for one hundred years.
How is this a fable? Does Sam deny God's ability to cause someone and his donkey to die for one hundred years and then raise them up? In fact the reason why God did this was to show his strength and power to the man, as the verse says:
YUSUFALI: Or (take) the similitude of one who passed by a hamlet, all in ruins to its roofs. He said: "Oh! how shall Allah bring it (ever) to life, after (this) its death?" but Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him up (again). He said: "How long didst thou tarry (thus)?" He said: (Perhaps) a day or part of a day." He said: "Nay, thou hast tarried thus a hundred years; but look at thy food and thy drink; they show no signs of age; and look at thy donkey: And that We may make of thee a sign unto the people, Look further at the bones, how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh." When this was shown clearly to him, he said: "I know that Allah hath power over
This is far from a fable as the incident shows. There was basically a man who saw a place in ruins, and basically questioned God's power by saying if God could actually bring the place back to life. So therefore God caused the man and his donkey to die, and after that raised them for a hundred years, and the reason God did this was to make this man and his donkey as a sign for the generations of people to come. It was to be a sign for people who doubted God's ability to bring people back from the dead and so on, as the story continues, the man eventually knew that God has all the power, and that nothing is impossible for him and that God can indeed raise a place back to life and that was what God was showing to this man.
How can that be a fable or myth? It is God demonstrating his power and responding to a doubter, and making it clear to other doubters that God can do anything so do not doubt.
And when the word is fulfilled concerning them, We shall bring forth a beast of the earth to speak unto them because mankind had not faith in Our revelations. S. 27:82 Pickthall
Allah will raise a talking beast due to mankind's unbelief.
How in the world is that a fable or myth? These are not the arguments raised by people who believe in God; rather these are the exact same type of arguments that we would see an atheist bringing up!
Sam does not bring any evidence to show why this is a fable, or why this is impossible, all he does is show a super natural event being done by God, and then classifying it as a fable and myth. This is exactly the method of an atheist, an atheist will bring up something super-natural from the Bible or Quran, then attack it saying that such things cannot happen, I would never expect that a person who believed in God would also use this same line of argument.
This event of the beast is one of the sign of Judgment day.
Sahih Muslim Book 041, Number 6931:
Hudhaifa b. Usaid Ghifari reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) came to us all of a sudden as we were (busy in a discussion). He said: What do you discuss about? They (the Companions) said. We are discussing about the Last Hour. Thereupon he said: It will not cone until you see ten signs before and (in this connection) he made a mention of the smoke, Dajjal, the beast, the rising of the sun from the west, the descent of Jesus son of Mary (Allah be pleased with him), the Gog and Magog, and land-slidings in three places, one in the east, one in the west and one in Arabia at the end of which fire would burn forth from the Yemen, and would drive people to the place of their assembly.
The Islamic traditions are also full of stories regarding animals and trees speaking to Muhammad, and trees moving from their places and returning, with many of these objects converting to Islam. In this paper, we produce several such stories.
The Bible itself has trees that speak to trees which I will show later on.
From the book "The Beginning and the End" written by Ibn Kathir, Chapter Six, Entry title: "The Conversation of the Donkey" (online source).
More than one of the reciters have denied this hadith, however it was narrated by Abu Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Hamid, narrated by Abu Al-Hussian Ahmad Ibn Hadan Al-Sijsi, narrated by Umar Ibn Muhammad Ibn Bajir, narrated by Abu Jafaar Muhammad Ibn Mazid, narrated by Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Akba Ibn Abu Al-Sahba', narrated by Abu Huthaifa, narrated by Abdullah Ibn Habib Al-Hathli, narrated by Abu Abd Al-Rahman Al-Silmy, narrated by Abu Manthur who said,
"When Allah opened Khaybar to his prophet Muhammad - may Allah's prayers and peace be upon him - he (Muhammad) received as his share of the spoils four sheep, four goats, ten pots of gold and silver and a black, haggard donkey.
The prophet - may Allah's prayers and peace be upon him - ADDRESSED the donkey asking, ?What is your name?' THE DONKEY ANSWERED, ?Yazid Ibn Shihab. Allah had brought forth from my ancestry 60 donkeys, none of whom were ridden on except by prophets. None of the descendants of my grandfather remain but me, and none of the prophets remain but you and I expected you to ride me. Before you, I belonged to a Jewish man, whom I caused to stumble and fall frequently so he used to kick my stomach and beat my back.'
The prophet - may Allah's prayers and peace be upon him - said to him, ?I will call you Ya'foor, Oh Ya'foor.' Then Ya'foor REPLIED, ?I obey.' The prophet then asked, ?Do you desire females?' The donkey replied, ?NO!'
So the prophet used to ride the donkey to complete his business and if the prophet dismounted from him he would send the donkey to the house of the person he wanted to visit and Ya'foor would knock at the door with his head. When the owner of the house would answer the door, the donkey would signal to that person to go see the prophet.
When the prophet died, the donkey went to a well belonging to Abu Al-Haytham Ibn Al-Tahyan and threw himself in the well out of sadness for the prophet's death, making it his grave."
Muhammad converses with a donkey who is a believer in Muhammad's prophethood and uses him as one of his means of transportation. The donkey, which Muhammad named Ya'foor, comes from a line of donkeys many of which were ridden by prophets only. Muhammad asking the donkey his name and the donkey identifying himself as Yazid Ibn Shihab assumes that animals communicate and even name their offspring much like humans. What is amazing is that they even identify themselves as the son of their fathers much like the Arabs of Muhammad's time did!
A very interesting story indeed, however so does Shamoun prove his case? Not even close, to begin with there are quite a few problems with this story.
This supposed story is not even mentioned in a single of the major hadith works of Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Malik, nor Tirmidhi! That in itself is enough to cast a lot of doubt on this supposed story, since the major and best men in the field of hadiths did not involve this story in their works. That in itself is enough to refute this story showing it is a very weak story that these major scholars of hadith did not even take seriously.
Secondly the book Sam quotes from is not even a major source of Islam! This is a book that was simply written by Ibn Kathir, a Muslim is not at all commanded to believe in everything that is written in a book, Shamoun is being very illogical, he expects Muslims have to believe and follow everything written in every book written by a Muslim. Yet Shamoun himself knows that this is not the case, Shamoun himself knows that men like Ibn Kathir, Tabari, Qurtubi and others have written several books, and in those books these men mentioned many many stories, not all of them authentic, these scholars were simply conveying what was floating around and simply recorded it, they however did not go through the task of authenticating each story they mentioned. For instance Tabari himself wrote:
Let him who examines this book of mine know that I have relied, as regards everything I mention therein which I stipulate to be described by me, solely upon what has been transmitted to me by way of reports which I cite therein and traditions which I ascribe to their narrators, to the exclusion of what may be apprehended by rational argument or deduced by the human mind, except in very few cases. This is because knowledge of the reports of men of the past and of contemporaneous views of men of the present do not reach the one who has not witnessed them nor lived in their times except through the accounts of reporters and the transmission of transmitters, to the exclusion of rational deduction and mental inference. Hence, if I mention in this book a report about some men of the past, which the reader of listener finds objectionable or worthy of censure because he can see no aspect of truth nor any factual substance therein, let him know that this is not to be attributed to us but to those who transmitted it to us and we have merely passed this on as it has been passed on to us
This is an approach that many Islamic scholars approached, including Ibn Kathir, and this story of the donkey is basically one of those cases, Ibn Kathir simply conveyed the story that was floating around, it does not make the story true nor does it mean the story has any basis in Islam.
Another issue with this story is that this is not even narrated by the prophet himself; rather it is a story being told by someone else, not the prophet. Also Ibn Kathir himself says that many recitors DENY the story:
More than one of the reciters have denied this hadith
Another issue with this supposed story, the isnad (chain of narrartors) shows that the source of the story was a man named Abu Manthur, what makes this so interesting is that there is not one single hadith narrated by this person to be found in Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, nor Malik!
So therefore this story is of no issue for Muslims, Should Muslims always try to explain every single thing that is written or conveyed by a scholar who happens to be a Muslim? Off course not, such logic is absurd, should we hold Christianity responsible for every single quote and comment made by Christian scholars? If we wanted to apply this method that would put Christianity in a lot of problems.
This story has no root in the Quran, or the major authenticated hadiths, so it has no basis, and is of no concern to Muslims, we are not obliged to believe it, and information is indicating that this story is very weak and is made up.
Now a person may say that the Holy Bible also speaks of a talking ass. Yet the biblical account greatly differs with this Islamic story since the Holy Bible clearly shows that the donkey only spoke as a result of a miracle:
"Then THE LORD OPENED THE DONKEY'S MOUTH, and she said to Balaam, ?What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?'" Numbers
"Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; A SPEECHLESS DONKEY spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness." 2 Peter 2:15-16
The Islamic tradition, on other hand, presumes that donkeys do actually communicate with each other in the same way humans do and that, much like humans, they even name their offspring and keep track of their ancestors for many generations! The miracle in the account is not that Allah caused an animal to speak, but that Muhammad was allegedly given the ability to understand the language of the animals.
Notice the double standard that Shamoun applies now, Shamoun shows us a donkey talking in the Bible, Shamoun then tries to make sense of it by saying that the donkey spoke as a result of miracle! So wait a minute, when Allah causes a man and his donkey to die and rise after a hundred years, that is a problem? Yet when Shamoun shows a donkey talking he calls it a miracle! This double standard in the worst form, when he sees a super-natural event in the Quran he claims fable and myth, when it is found in his Bible he says miracle.
Now Shamoun then goes on to compare apples and oranges, you see folks, Shamoun's Bible shows a donkey talking, the story Shamoun mentions from Ibn Kathir is not in the Quran, nor in any of the major hadiths, Shamoun is acting like the story he quoted from Ibn Kathir has a solid basis! Yet this is wishful thinking since the story Sam mentioned in Ibn Kathir's book has no basis, but what about the donkey in the Bible? As we know the Bible IS THE MAIN SOURCE of Christian belief, so therefore in Sam's main source of information he has a donkey talking!
Now I have no problem if a donkey talked, as Sam said, it is a miracle, I believe that, but it is Sam who has a problem with such events, therefore using Sam's own criteria this story of a donkey talking in the Bible is a fable and myth.
However so, what makes it interesting is that Sam did not quote the whole story of the talking donkey in the Bible, since the story goes on to show that the human responded back to the donkey! Basically a conversation between human and donkey:
Numbers 22: 28-30
8 And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?29 And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.30 And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay.
So note we have a conversation between a donkey and a human! Yet Shamoun says the Quran contains fables and myths! What makes this more amazing is that Sam has shot himself in the foot, notice earlier Sam wrote:
The Islamic traditions are also full of stories regarding animals and trees speaking to Muhammad
Shamoun was basically saying that Islamic traditions show animals speaking to Muhammad, and according to Shamoun that means it is a myth and fable, well as we just saw in his own very BIBLE we have a donkey speaking with a human! So under Shamoun's own criteria he just admitted his Bible has fables itself!
From the book "The Beginning and the End" written by Ibn Kathir, Chapter Six, Entry title: "The Conversation of the Deer" (online source).
It was narrated by Al-Hafith Abu Naim Al-Asbahani, may Allah rest his sole, in his book "The proofs of Prophethood" that it was narrated by Sulaiman Ibn Ahmad, narrated by Muhammad Ibn Uthman Ibn Abu Shabiba, narrated by Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad Ibn Maimun, narrated by Abd Al-Karim Ibn Hilal Al-Ja'fy, narrated by Salih Al-Murri, narrated by Thabit Al-Banani, narrated by Ans Ibn Malik who said,
"The prophet - peace be upon him - passed by a tribe who had captured a deer and tied it to a granite column. THE DEER SAID, ?O prophet! I have been captured and I have a young buck. Allow me to go feed it and I shall return.' So the prophet said, ?To whom does this deer belong?' The tribe replied, ?To us, O prophet.'
The prophet responded, ?Released her so that she may go feed her young buck and she will return to you.' The tribesmen asked, ?And who will guarantee us this?' The prophet replied, ?I will.' So they released the deer, which went and fed its buck and then returned and was tied again.
The prophet (later) passed by again and saw the deer and asked, ?To whom does this deer belong?' The tribesmen said, ?To us, O prophet.' The prophet then said, ?Sell her to me.' But they replied, ?She is yours (for free),' so the prophet said to them, ?Then release her.' Thus they released her and she left them."
Abu Naim also related that it was narrated by Ahmad Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Al-Ghatrifi, narrated by Ahmad Ibn Musa Ibn Ans Ibn Nasr Ibn Ubaid Allah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Sireen who is from Al-Basra, narrated by Zakariah Ibn Yahya Ibn Khalad, narrated by Haban Ibn Aghlab Ibn Tamim, narrated by Hisham Ibn Hasan, narrated from Al-Hasan, narrated from Daba Ibn Muhsin, narrated by Um Salamah the wife of the prophet who said,
"When the prophet - peace be upon him - was once in the desert he heard a caller saying, ?O prophet of Allah! O prophet of Allah!' The prophet said he looked around but could not see anyone so he walked a little further. He again heard a caller saying, ?O prophet of Allah! O prophet of Allah!' He looked around but again could not find anyone. The caller cried again so the prophet followed the voice until he came to a deer that was tied with a rope.
The prophet saw a Bedouin lying down next to it, sleeping in the sun. THE DEER SAID, ?O prophet of Allah! This Bedouin hunted me down but I have a young buck in this mountain. If you see it fit to release me that I may go and feed it, I promise that I shall return again.' The prophet asked, ?And you shall return?' THE DEER ANSWERED, ?May I be tortured with the torment of a sinner if I do not do so.' So the prophet released her and she went and fed her buck and returned.
While the prophet was tying her up again, the Bedouin woke up and said to the prophet, ?By my father and mother, O prophet I captured this deer a short while ago, but do you have need for her?' The prophet replied, ?Yes', so the Bedouin said to him, ?Then she is yours.' The prophet released her and she pranced joyfully into the desert, kicking with her hind legs and saying, ?I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that you are the prophet of Allah.'
This story that Sam quotes is not found in the major Hadith collections, so therefore it is of no problem for the Muslim.
Secondly, for the sake of argument, let us assume that this story is true, and did really happen and is authentic, what exactly is wrong with it?
We just saw from Shamoun's own Bible that a donkey spoke to a human, so if Shamoun has no problem with that, then why would he have a problem with a deer being able to speak to Muhammad? If God could make a donkey talk to Balaam could God not also make a deer talk to Muhammad?
From the book "The Beginning and the End" written by Ibn Kathir, Chapter Six, Entry title: "Hadith of the Tree." (online source).
It was narrated by Al-Bayhaqi, narrated by Hamad Ibn Salma, narrated by Ali Ibn Zayd, narrated by Abi Rafi', narrated by Umar Ibn Khatab who stated that the prophet - may Allah's prayer and peace be upon him - was once depressed because of what the non-believers had done to him, so he said, "Oh Allah! Show me a sign today that I may disregard whoever disbelieves me."
So the prophet commanded a tree that belonged to the people of the city of Madina to come to him and it came crawling on the ground until it reached him. The prophet then commanded it to return and it returned to where it was. The prophet then said, "I no longer care who disbelieves me after this."
What exactly is wrong with this story? Once again Shamoun is bringing up arguments of an atheist! The story is very simple and has lots of wisdom in it. As you can see the prophet was depressed one day because of how evil the pagans were to him, and he was in need of a sign from God to help him through this hard time, so therefore God granted this favor to the prophet Muhammad. This is exactly like the incident of Abraham:
YUSUFALI: When Abraham said: "Show me, Lord, how You will raise the dead, " He replied: "Have you no faith?" He said "Yes, but just to reassure my heart." Allah said, "Take four birds, draw them to you, and cut their bodies to pieces. Scatter them over the mountain-tops, then call them back. They will come swiftly to you. Know that Allah is Mighty, Wise."
This was the exact same thing with the prophet Muhammad, he needed a sign to simply re-assure his heart just like Abraham did.
From the book "Sunan Al-Darimi" written by Ibn Kathir, Hadith number 16, Section One: The Introduction, Entry title: "What Allah has graced His prophet with that which causes trees, animals and Jinn to believe in him." (online source).
It was narrated by Muhammad Ibn Tarif, narrated by Muhammad Ibn Fadil, narrated by Abu Hayan, narrated by Atta, narrated by Ibn Umar who said, "We were with the prophet - may Allah's prayer and peace be upon him - on a journey when we were approached by a Bedouin.
When the prophet saw him he said to him, ?To where are you heading?' The Bedouin said, ?To my family.' The prophet asked, ?Do you wish to have a good thing?' The Bedouin asked, ?What would that be?' The prophet replied, ?To bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, who has no partners and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.'
The Bedouin asked, ?And who will testify to what you say?' The prophet answered, ?This tree will.' So the prophet called to the tree that was in a valley by the seashore and it came to him, crawling on the ground until it stood up right between his hands. So the prophet made the tree say the Shahada three times and then it returned to where it was planted before.
The Bedouin then returned to his people and said, ?If they follow me I will bring them (to Muhammad) otherwise I will return to him myself."
I would like to thank Shamoun for showing this story, since this puts a rest to many of Shamoun's claims that the prophet never performed any miracles. Shamoun always claims the prophet never performed a single miracle and has written this in his articles, at least now he has refuted himself by showing the prophet did indeed perform a mighty miracle.
Shamoun thinks that quoting a story like this will make Muslims leave Islam, on the contrary it only strengthens our faith and proves that the prophet really was a true prophet. However so, yet again Shamoun shows his inconsistency, he has no problems with miracles occurring in the Bible, yet when it comes to Islam he rejects such super natural events.
It shouldn't surprise the readers that trees can speak as humans do, since the Quran says something similar:
And We made Solomon to understand (the case); and unto each of them We gave judgment and knowledge. And we subdued the hills and the birds TO HYMN (His) PRAISE along with David. We were the doers (thereof). S. 21:79 Pickthall
Seest thou not that to God bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth, - the sun, the moon, the stars; the hills, the trees, the animals; and a great number among mankind? But a great number are (also) such as are fit for Punishment: and such as God shall disgrace, - None can raise to honour: for God carries out all that He wills. S. 22:18 Y. Ali
And assuredly We gave David grace from Us, (saying): O ye hills and birds, echo his psalms of praise! And We made the iron supple unto him, S. 34:10 Pickthall
And the herbs and the trees do adore (Him). S. 55:6 Y. Ali
Where do these passages show that animals and trees speak as humans do? In fact none of them do nor do the tafsir indicate that neither.
a further indication that these statements are intended to be taken literally, note what the following hadiths say about the prostration and speech of the sun, trees etc.:
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)
The translator, Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, has an interesting footnote here:
The procedure of the sun mentioned in this Hadith and similar other things mentioned in the Qur'an like the prostration of the trees, herbs and stars (V. 55:6) are beyond our limited knowledge of this universe. It is interpreted that these are mentioned so because of the limited understanding of the people at that time about matters of the universe.
The hadith causes no problems; the hadith is metaphorical while real at the same time. Note the prophet Muhammad did not say the SUN STOPS, he is talking about a certain area where the sun has set, and a certain area where the sun is about to rise, the prophet did not say at sun set the sun stops shining and goes away. The prophet says that the sun prostrates before God before it is permitted to rise again. This is metaphorical in nature, because the sun is under the command of God, and it only rotates on God's command and no one else's, so in that sense it is obedient to God, thus prostrating itself. Now off course it is only God who gives the sun permission to rise in the mornings of countries around the world, this is a fact that all believers in God believe and agree on. So therefore this hadith is not false, nor does it even contradict science, it is a metaphoric saying mixed with reality.
Jabir reported: We set out on an expedition along with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) until we got down at a spacious valley and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) went to relieve himself. I followed him with a bucket full of water and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) looked about and he found no privacy but two trees at the end of the valley and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) went to one of them and took hold of one of its twigs and said: Be thou under my control by the permission of Allah, and so it came under his control like the camel who has its nose string in the hand of its rider, and then he came to the second tree and took hold of a twig and said: Be thou under my control with the permission of Allah, and it came under his control, and when he came in the middle of the two trees he joined together the two twigs and said: join with the permission of Allah. Jabir said: I was afraid lest Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) should be aware of my nearness and go still farther. And Muhammad b. Abbad has used the word" faitab'd" and I began to talk to myself. And as I saw, I suddenly found Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) before me and the two trees were separated and each one of them was standing at its place. I saw Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) standing for a short time, nodding his head towards right and left. Isma'il pointed towards the right and left with the help of his head (in order to demonstrate how the Holy Prophet had pointed). Then he (the Holy Prophet) came to me and said: Jabir did you see my place where I was standing? I said: Allah's Messenger, yes. He then said: Then you should go to those two trees and cut a twig from each of them and go to that place with them where I was standing and stand there where I was standing and place a twig on the right and a twig on the left. Jabir said: I set out and took hold of a stone and broke it and sharpened it and then I came to those trees and cut a twig from each one of them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 042, Number 7149)
From the book "Sunan Al-Darimi" written by Ibn Kathir Hadith number 17, Section One: the Introduction, Entry title: "What Allah has graced His prophet with that which causes trees, animals and Jinn to believe in him." (online source).
It was narrated by Ubaid Allah Ibn Musa, narrated by Ismail Ibn Abd Al-Malik, narrated by Abi Al-Zubair, narrated by Jabir who said, "I went with the prophet on a journey but he would not urinate unless he was far away and unseen. We camped in an area of land that had no trees or shrubs so the prophet said to me, ?O Jabir! Place in your container some water and proceed with our caravan.' We moved until I saw him standing between two trees that were four cubits apart.
The prophet then said to me, ?O Jabir! Go tell that tree that the prophet asks of you to go join your friend, the other tree, that I may sit behind you." So I did as he said and the prophet sat behind them (to urinate) and then the trees returned to their original place.
Once again this poses no problems, but is a simple miracle of the prophet Muhammad. In fact thanks to Sam from now on I will use this article of his to refute Christians and himself when they ask for miracles performed by the prophet Muhammad, although I have already written an article documenting just a few of the miracles carried out by the prophet Muhammad:
We conclude with a narration from Sahih al-Bukhari which, although not about animals or trees, is nonetheless fascinating:
Narrated by Uthman Ibn Abu Shaybah, narrated by Jarir, narrated by Mansour, narrated by Abu Wa'il, narrated by Abdullah - may Allah be pleased with him - who said, "The prophet - may Allah's prayers and peace be upon him - had a man sleep in his house. When the man woke up the next morning, the prophet said, ?The devil has urinated in this man's ears." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Arabic edition, Hadith number 3030, Chapter titled "The beginning of creation", Entry title: "The description of Satan and his soldiers", online source; cf. a Muslim English paraphrase of this story in Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 492)
The hadith is not meant to be taken literally, something most Muslims agree on. And for the sake of argument just say we should take it literally, can Shamoun prove that satan does not urinate in people's ears? Sam will never be able to prove otherwise hence he can have no valid objection unless he were an atheist.
That concludes Shamoun's supposed fables in Islam, however so it does not conclude this article.
FAIRY TALES AND FABLES IN THE BIBLE
We shall now turn the table against Sam Shamoun's own Bible using his own criteria against him.
Dead people walking through Jerusalem
The Bible records that a group of dead people rose from their graves and walked through Jerusalem:
Matthew 27: 50-53:
50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 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; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many
How interesting indeed, note the verses say that dead people basically raised from the graves and walked into Jerusalem, basically like zombies!
However sadly for Christians is that this story causes many problems because this incident has never been recorded in any history book concerning Jerusalem. One would think that dead people walking through Jerusalem would be recorded by a ton of sources, yet it is not recorded in a single historical record, talk about a fable!
Let us see what Christian commentators had to say about this incident:
The Adam Clarke Commentary:
Verse 52. And the graves were opened
By the earthquake; and many bodies of saints which slept, i.e. were dead, sleep being a common expression for death in the Scriptures.
Verse 53. And came out of the graves after his resurrection
Not BEFORE, as some have thought, for Christ was himself the FIRST FRUITS of them who slept, 1 Corinthians 15:20. The graves were opened at his death, by the earthquake, and the bodies came out at his resurrection.
And appeared unto many.
Thus establishing the truth of our Lord's resurrection in particular, and of the resurrection of the body in general, by many witnesses. Quesnel's reflections on these passages may be very useful. "1. The veil being rent shows that his death is to put an end to the figurative worship, and to establish the true religion. 2. The earthquake, that this dispensation of the Gospel is to make known through the earth the judgments of God against sin and sinners. 3. The rocks being rent declare that the sacrifice of Christ is to make way for the grace of repentance. 4. The graves being opened, that it is to destroy the death of sin, and confer the life grace on sinners. 5. The rising of the bodies of the saints shows that this death of Christ is to merit, and his Gospel publish, the eternal happiness of body and soul for all that believe in his name."
It is difficult to account for the transaction mentioned Matthew 27:52,53. Some have thought that these two verses have been introduced into the text of Matthew from the gospel of the Nazarenes; others think that the simple meaning is this:-by the earthquake several bodies that had been buried were thrown up and exposed to view, and continued above ground till after Christ's resurrection, and were seen by many persons in the city. Why the graves should be opened on Friday, and the bodies not be raised to life till the following Sunday, is difficult to be conceived. The place is extremely obscure.
So note the problems that Christians faced with this passage, they had such problems with it some have said that these 2 verses may have been added by Nazarenes, others said that the bodies were simply thrown out by the earthquake and people saw the dead bodies. However that explanation is useless and does not reflect the text, the text says the people in the graves ROSE, it does not say they were thrown out, and it also goes on to say that the these dead people went into Jerusalem, meaning they walked there. Or do some Christians suggest that these dead saints were thrown out of their grave from the gravesite into Jerusalem city! Flying dead men?
John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels:
52. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
[And many bodies of saints which slept arose.] You can hardly impute the rending of the hangings to the earthquake, but it must be ascribed rather to another peculiar miracle; since it is more proper for an earthquake to break hard things than soft, and to rend rocks rather than curtains. Rocks were rent by it in those places where sepulchres had been built, so that now the gates of the resurrection were thrown open, the bonds of the grave were unloosed, and the bodies of dead men were made ready, as it were, for their rising again when Christ, the firstfruits, was raised. The Jews had a fancy that the kingdom of the Messias would begin with the resurrection of the dead, as we have noted before; vainly indeed, as to their sense of it; but not without some truth, as to the thing itself: for from the resurrection of Christ the glorious epoch of the kingdom of God took its beginning, as we said before (which he himself also signifieth in those words Matthew 26:29); and when he arose, not a few others arose with him. What they thought of the resurrection that was to be in the days of Messias, besides those things which we have already mentioned, you may see and smile at in this one example: "R. Jeremiah commanded, 'When you bury me, put shoes on my feet, and give me a staff in my hand, and lay me on one side; that when the Messias comes I may be ready.'"
So basically these Christians believe dead people walked through Jerusalem. How interesting indeed.
The war in Heaven
This is one my favorite parts in the Bible, from the book of Revelations, where the dragon enters heaven and wages war with the angels! It is a classic fairy tale from a magical world, here are the verses:
Revelations 12: 1-9
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. 7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Wow, that is a great magical fairy tale wouldn't you say.
A lot of wonderful fables there, first you have the lady who actually wears the sun as a dress! and the moon are her shoes! and the stars are her crown! Wow! What a nice dress style, that must be the dress style that will come in the next 10,000 years if we are to remain alive.
The Trees who voted for their own King
This is a very funny story, and it is straight from the Bible, a group of trees voted for a king! The democracy of the trees!
Judge 9: 7-16
And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mountGerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you.8 The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.9 But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honor God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?10 And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us.11 But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees?12 Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us.13 And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?14 Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us.15 And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.16 Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with
Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands;
Note the trees are asking for a king over them, and they communicate with other trees, I colored each different tree that was talked to and talked back, how funny is this story, this is something the kids would enjoy a lot.
Adam Clarke commentary of the Bible
Verse 8. The trees went forth on a time
This is the oldest, and without exception the best fable or apologue in the world. See the observations at the end of this chapter.
It is not to be supposed that a fable, if well formed, requires much illustration; every part of this, a few expressions excepted, illustrates itself, and tells its own meaning.
To anoint a king
Hence it appears that anointing was usual in the installation of kings, long before there was any king in Israel; for there is much evidence that the book of Judges was written before the days of Saul and David.
The olive tree
The olive was the most useful of all the trees in the field or forest, as the bramble was the meanest and the most worthless.
Verse 9. Wherewith-they honour God and man
I believe the word elohim here should be translated gods, for the parable seems to be accommodated to the idolatrous state of the Shechemites. Thus it was understood by the Vulgate, Arabic, and others. It is true that olive oil was often used in the service of God: the priests were anointed with it; the lamps in the tabernacle lighted with it; almost all the offerings of fine flour, cakes prepared in the pan, oil mingled with them; therefore Jotham might say that with it they honour God; and as priests, prophets, and kings were anointed, and their office was the most honourable, he might with propriety say, therewith they honour man. But I am persuaded he used the term in the first sense. See on Judges 9:13.
Verse 11. But the fig tree said-Should I forsake my sweetness
The fruit of the fig tree is the sweetest or most luscious of all fruits. A full-ripe fig, in its own climate, has an indescribable sweetness; so much so that it is almost impossible to eat it, till a considerable time after it is gathered from the trees, and has gone through an artificial preparation. This I have often noticed.
Verse 13. Which cheereth God and man
I believe elohim here is to be taken in the same sense proposed on Judges 9:9. Vast libations of wine, as well as much oil, were used in heathenish sacrifices and offerings; and it was their opinion that the gods actually partook of, and were delighted with, both the wine and oil. The pagan mythology furnishes the most exquisite wines to its gods in heaven, and hence the nectar and ambrosia so much talked of and praised by the ancients. It is not reasonable to suppose that Jotham makes any reference here to the sacrifices, oblations, and perfumes offered to the true God. This language the idolatrous Shechemites could scarcely understand. What could the worshippers of Baal-berith know of the worship of the God who gave his law to Moses? And it is not very likely that Jotham himself was well acquainted with the sacred rites of the Mosaic religion, as they had been little preached in his time.
Verse 14. Then said all the trees unto the bramble
The word atad, which we translate bramble, is supposed to mean the rhamnus, which is the largest of thorns, producing dreadful spikes, similar to darts. See Theodoret on Psalms 58:10.
There is much of the moral of this fable contained in the different kinds of trees mentioned. 1. The olive; the most profitable tree to its owner, having few equals either for food or medicine. 2. The fig tree; one of the most fruitful of trees, and yielding one of the most delicious fruits, and superior to all others for sweetness. 3. The vine, which alone yields a liquor that, when properly prepared, and taken in strict moderation, is friendly both to the body and mind of man, having a most direct tendency to invigorate both. 4. The bramble or thorn, which, however useful as a hedge, is dangerous to come near; and is here the emblem of an impious, cruel, and oppressive king. As the olive, fig, and vine, are said in this fable to refuse the royalty, because in consequence, they intimate, they should lose their own privileges, we learn that to be invested with power for the public good can be no privilege to the sovereign. If he discharge the office faithfully, it will plant his pillow with thorns, fill his soul with anxious cares, rob him of rest and quiet, and, in a word, will be to him a source of distress and misery. All this is represented here under the emblem of the trees losing their fatness, their sweetness and good fruits, and their cheering influence. In short, we see from this most sensible fable that the beneficent, benevolent, and highly illuminated mind, is ever averse from the love of power; and that those who do seek it are the thoughtless, the vain, the ambitious, and those who wish for power merely for the purpose of self-gratification; persons who have neither the disposition nor the knowledge to use power for the advantage of the community; and who, while they boast great things, and make great pretensions and promises, are the tyrants of the people, and often through their ambition, like the bramble in the fable kindle a flame of foreign or domestic war, in which their subjects are consumed.
The sleepless nights and corroding cares of sovereignty, are most forcibly described by a poet of our own, whose equal in describing the inward workings of the human heart, in all varieties of character and circumstances, has never appeared either in ancient or modern times. Hear what he puts in the mouth of two of his care-worn kings:-
"How many thousand of my poorest subjects Are at this hour asleep?-Sleep, gentle sleep, Nature's soft nurse! how have I frighted thee, That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down, And steep my senses in forgetfulness? Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs, Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee, And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber Than in the perfumed chambers of the great, Under the canopies of costly state, And lull'd with sounds of sweetest melody? O thou dull god! why liest thou with the vile In loathsome beds; and leav'st the kingly couch A watch-case, or a common 'larum bell? Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains In cradle of the rude imperious surge; And in the visitation of the winds, Who take the ruffian billows by the top, Curling their monstrous heads and hanging them, With deafening clamours, in the slippery clouds, That, with the hurly, death itself awakes? Canst thou, O partial sleep! give thy repose To the wet sea-boy, in an hour so rude; And, in the calmest and most stillest night, With all appliances and means to boot, Deny it to a king? Then, happy low, lie down! Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."____ "O hard condition! twin-born with greatness, Subjected to the breath of every fool, Whose sense no more can feel but his own wringing! What infinite heart's ease must kings neglect, That private men enjoy! And what have kings, that privates have not too, Save ceremony, save general ceremony?"____ "'Tis not the balm, the sceptre, and the ball, The sword, the mace, the crown imperial, The intertissued robe of gold and pearl, The farced title running 'fore the king, The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp That beats upon the high shore of this world, No, not all these, thrice gorgeous ceremony, Not all these, laid in bed majestical, Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave." SHAKESPEARE
This is precisely the sentiment expressed in the denial of the olive, fig tree, and vine.
Verse 15. Come and put your trust in any shadow
The vain boast of the would-be sovereign; and of the man who is seeking to be put into power by the suffrages of the people. All promise, no performance.
Wow! This Christian commentator admits that this story is FABLE!
John Gill's exposition of the Entire Bible:
The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them.
This is an apologue or fable, and a very fine and beautiful one; it is fitly expressed to answer the design, and the most ancient of the kind, being made seven hundred years before the times of Aesop, so famous for his fables, and exceeds anything written by him. By the trees are meant the people of Israel in general, and the Shechemites in particular, who had been for some time very desirous of a king, but could not persuade any of their great and good men to accept of that office:
and they said unto the olive tree, reign thou over us;
a fit emblem of a good man, endowed with excellent virtues and qualifications for good, as David king of Israel, who is compared to such a tree, (Psalms 52:8) , Jarchi applies this to Othniel the first judge; but it may be better applied to Gideon, an excellent good man, full of fruits of righteousness, and eminently useful, and to whom kingly government was offered, and was refused by him; and the men of Shechem could scarcely fail of thinking of him, and applying it to him, as Jotham was delivering his fable.
Another Christian admitting that this is a fable.
Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible:
7. he . . . stood in the top of mount Gerizim and lifted up his voice--The spot he chose was, like the housetops, the public place of Shechem; and the parable [Jud 9:8-15] drawn from the rivalry of the various trees was appropriate to the diversified foliage of the valley below. Eastern people are exceedingly fond of parables and use them for conveying reproofs, which they could not give in any other way. The top of Gerizim is not so high in the rear of the town, as it is nearer to the plain. With a little exertion of voice, he could easily have been heard by the people of the city; for the hill so overhangs the valley, that a person from the side or summit would have no difficulty in speaking to listeners at the base. Modern history records a case, in which soldiers on the hill shouted to the people in the city and endeavored to instigate them to an insurrection. There is something about the elastic atmosphere of an Eastern clime which causes it to transmit sound with wonderful celerity and distinctness [HACKETT].
Yet another Christian commentary admitting that this is a fable.
So as you can see, it is the Bible with the fables and fairy tales, not the Quran. And with all that said this brings a conclusion to this rebuttal.