Sam Shamoun and Tawheed

Sami Zaatari

 

Most recently missionary Sam Shamoun has decided to come out with a three part rebuttal series against Bassam Zawadi, Shamoun's rebuttal series is specifically aimed at brother Bassam Zawadi's recent dialog he had with Pastor Thabiti. Bassam's excellent dialog can be found on the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ7yKNG7HRY&feature=channel_page

In this article I will be mainly replying to Shamoun's first part rebuttal which can be accessed here:

http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/zawadi/dialogue_thabiti_1.html

Although Shamoun's rebuttal is directly written against Zawadi and his arguments, I still found it appropriate to respond back as Shamoun made several errors and ignorant statements concerning Islamic monotheism, specifically Tawheed, and hence it would be good for everyone to have his points refuted.

Shamoun begins his article by displaying his usual ignorance:

In his opening statements Zawadi tried to convince his audience that his salafi (per)version of the conception of Allah's unity and salvation were based on the actual teachings of his very own religious sources. He gave the misleading impression that he was presenting the actual historic and orthodox position of the earliest Muslims such as Muhammad and his companions.

RESPONSE

It would be better for Shamoun to have consulted the Islamic sources, starting with the Quran and hadiths to see that the points made by Bassam Zawadi are the earliest and most orthodox position. In fact we shall see how ignorant Shamoun is concerning the earliest Muslims such as the prophet Muhammad and his companions, which is precisely the reason for this rebuttal, to show how little understanding Shamoun has of basic Islamic theology, and you just have to chuckle that in part 3 of his rebuttal Shamoun actually asks for a debate with brother Bassam Zawadi on Islamic monotheism! I suggest Shamoun goes and first learns the basics of Islamic monotheism, and goes and listens to a few lectures about Tawheed, and then maybe he can debate the subject. In fact this right here will be a nice small lesson on Tawheed for Shamoun, hopefully he will follow. He writes:

Zawadi began his talk by elaborating on the three sub-categories of tauhid or Islamic monotheism. He started with with tauhid al-rububiyyah:

1. Allah is one in lordship. Muslims must believe that Allah is the sole lord who is in control of all things. He is the ultimate being who sustains and nourishes all things, and there is no one else who shares that kind of authority alongside with him.

RESPONSE

Indeed an aspect of God's pure monotheism is his divine Lordship, as brother Bassam Zawadi correctly pointed out, now remember at the start of Shamoun's article he accused Bassam of discussing a doctrine that is not supported by the earliest Muslims and the Islamic sources themselves, and that Bassam's doctrine is simply some ?Salafi' doctrine made up by their own whims and desires. Well let us read the Quran for ourself and see how it points to Tawheed Al-Rubuiyyah or in English Tawhid of Lordship. I shall quote some verses which point to Tawheed of Lordship:

"Allah!- there is no god but He!- Lord of the Throne Supreme!" (27:26)

To Him belongs what is in the heavens and on earth, and all between them, and all beneath the soil. (20:6)

Verily your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and is firmly established on the throne (of authority), regulating and governing all things. No intercessor (can plead with Him) except after His leave (hath been obtained). This is Allah your Lord; Him therefore serve ye: will ye not receive admonition? (10:3)

Knowest thou not that to Allah (alone) belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth? He punisheth whom He pleaseth, and He forgiveth whom He pleaseth: and Allah hath power over all things. (5:40)

To Allah doth belong the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, and it is He Who hath power over all things. (5:120)

I could continue to quote similar verse after similar verse which all points to Tawhid of Lordship, that there is only one God, and that he is the creator of all things, in charge and owner of all things, and so on and so on.

So this first point has been established, Tawheed of Lordship is clearly taught within the Quran, so much for his silly claim that brother Zawadi was simply preaching some ?Salafi' doctrine rather than the official creed of Islam.

Shamoun then thinks he has come up with a problem concerning Tawhid of Lordship, he writes:

For instance, Muslims are required to fully submit to Muhammad and completely accept his decrees:

But no! by your Lord! they do not believe (in reality) until they make you a judge of that which has become a matter of disagreement among them, and then do not find any straitness in their hearts as to what YOU have decided and submit with entire submission. S. 4:65 Shakir

Thus, Islam is the religion of submitting to both Allah and Muhammad equally, which means that Muhammad is Allah's co-equal partner.

This is precisely why Muslims are required to mention Muhammad's name alongside that of Allah's every time they testify of their faith:

(And exalted thy fame) and raised your voice with the call to prayer, supplication and testification of faith, such that you are mentioned just as I am? And the Prophet said: "Yes, indeed!" (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ?Abbas; underline emphasis ours)

And:

Did We not exalt your mention? For you are mentioned where I [God] am mentioned in the call announcing [the time for] prayer (adhn), in the [second] call to perform the prayer (iqma), in the witnessing ['there is no god but God, Muhammad is His Messenger'] (tashahhud), in the Friday sermon and in other instances. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; underline emphasis ours)

RESPONSE

So Shamoun's argument is that since Muslims are commanded to obey the prophet Muhammad, and are commanded to follow the prophet Muhammad, and are commanded to submit to the prophet Muhammad then this means this contradicts Tawhid of Lordship. Shamoun is so ignorant he even confused himself! Shamoun should have thrown this argument against Tawhid of Worship rather than Tawhid of Lordship! This clearly shows how IGNORANT Shamoun is concerning Tawheed.

Let me teach Shamoun on how somebody contradicts Tawhid of Lordship, people contradict Tawhid of Lordship by the following:

-Believing in no God (atheists)

-Believing in another false God, a God who creates and is control over the affairs of the universe (Christian)

Now what is Tawhid of Worship? Tawheed of Worship is to believe that ALL acts of worship belong to God alone, this goes from your prayers, your sacrificing, your vows, your hope, your fear, your trust, and so forth and so forth, all of this belongs to God.

For instance a person can believe in Tawheed of Lordship, but not in Worship, for instance they will believe in the one true God and so forth, yet they will pray to idols, saints, and they will make their own law above the law of God!

So Shamoun is so ignorant he actually attacked the wrong aspect of Tawheed! Shamoun's argument concerning the prophet Muhammad should have come against Tawheed of Worship, that is to say that we Muslims worship the prophet Muhammad.

Now Shamoun's argument also shows his ignorance concerning Tawhid of Worship, the reason why we submit and obey the prophet Muhammad is because God told us to, and because the laws that the prophet Muhammad made were laws of God, they were not laws of his own self, rather they were the laws of God, hence when a Muslim submits, obeys, and follows the prophet Muhammad they are actually following God because the prophet Muhammad is simply forwarding what God gave him! Hence this is in line with Tawhid of Worship!

To disobey the prophet Muhammad means you disobey God, and to follow another law over the law of the Sunnah means you have disobeyed God as well which means you are not truly worshipping him a correct manner because you choose to follow a man made law over the law of God himself!

Furthermore when a Muslim submits and obeys the prophet Muhammad, we submit and obey him in HIS RULINGS AND LAWS, this does not mean we worship and pray to him, or we make sacrifices to him, or we make vows in his name and so forth and so forth.

There is no need to repeat ourselves, I have already refuted Shamoun on this silly point, and I direct the readers to the following article:

http://muslim-responses.com/Obeying_the_Prophet/Obeying_the_Prophet_

The above article provides the Islamic texts from the Quran and Hadiths which show that when we follow and obey the prophet Muhammad it is because God told us to, and it is because the rules and regulations made by the prophet Muhammad were not on his desires but rather they were rules and laws from God himself. And all of this comes under Tawheed of Worship.

Shamoun continues:

Zawadi then discussed tauhid al-ibaadah/uluhiyyah

RESPONSE

Oh now Shamoun wants to talk about Tawhid of Worship, which is Tawhid al-ibadah/uluhiyyah in Arabic. Shamoun continues:

However, the Quran also commands Muslims to fear others besides Allah:

Mankind, fear your Lord (ittaqoo rabbakumu), who created you of a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them scattered abroad many men and women; and fear Allah (wa ittaqoo Allaha) by whom you demand one of another, AND the wombs (WA al-arhama); surely Allah ever watches over you. S. 4:1

RESPONSE

So Shamoun's argument is as follows:

-Muslims are called to fear Allah as an act of worship

-Muslims are also called to fear the wombs, therefore this contradicts tawheed of worship as Muslims are asked to fear something other than Allah!

Did it never occur to Shamoun that there could be two different categories of fear? Did it never occur to Shamoun that that fear we hold for Allah is unique and different to the fear we hold for other things?

For instance you go ask any normal human being especially a Muslim, ask them if they fear a plane crash, if they fear spiders, if they fear torture, if they fear scary things etc etc, most of them would say yes. Now does this mean that these Muslims have commited shirk which is polytheism? Of course not!!

The fact is is that when the Quran tells the Muslims to fear the wombs it means we should uphold ties of kinship, not break the family, and to keep the family close. This how the early Muslims interpreted the issue of fearing the wombs, I quote from Ibn Kathir's tafsir:

according to Ibrahim, Mujahid and Al-Hasan. Ad-Dahhak said; "Fear Allah Whom you invoke when you conduct transactions and contracts.'' "And revere the womb by not cutting the relations of the womb, but keep and honor them, as Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi`, and others have stated.

So that is what it means when Allah says to fear the wombs, it is completely different to that of having a fear/fearing of Allah, it is an entirely different context and meaning, any sincere honest person would realize that.

Shamoun then writes:

It further cites cases where certain individuals prostrated themselves or bowed down to created beings:

And when We said to the angels, 'Prostrate/bow yourselves to Adam'; so they prostrated/bowed themselves (osjudoo li-adama fasajadoo), save Iblis; he was one of the jinn, and committed ungodliness against his Lord's command. What, and do you take him and his seed to be your friends, apart from Me, and they an enemy to you? How evil is that exchange for the evildoers! S. 18:50

Behold! Joseph said to his father: "O my father! I did see eleven stars and the sun and the moon: I saw them prostrate (sajideena) themselves to me!" S. 12:4

And he raised his parents upon the throne and they fell down in prostration (sujjadan) before him, and he said: O my father! this is the significance of my vision of old; my Lord has indeed made it to be true; and He was indeed kind to me when He brought me forth from the prison and brought you from the desert after the Shaitan had sown dissensions between me and my brothers, surely my Lord is benignant to whom He pleases; surely He is the Knowing, the Wise. S. 12:100

RESPONSE

For starters when Shamoun says ?CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS' then know that these ?certain individuals' were only 2 people, Adam and the prophet Joseph. Shamoun is wording his sentence to give the false perception that there are MANY cases of the like; in fact he quotes two references which are referring to the same person from the same Surah! Notice he quotes Surah 12 twice, he is trying to simply give the false impression that this is happening to many people.

For starters, when the angels bowed to Adam, and when Joseph's family bowed to him, this was NOT an ACT OF WORSHIP. Now if they bowed down in worship then okay Shamoun would have AN EXCELLENT CASE, but now I challenge Shamoun to bring a single Islamic reference from the Quran, from the Hadiths, and from the Ijma of Islamic scholars which claim that the above mentioned passages were prostrations of worship.

If Shamoun can show that the prostration to Adam was a prostration of worship, and likewise for Joseph, then I will shut down this website and leave Islam. J

Off course Shamoun will never do the above two things because I have already discussed the topic with Shamoun and I have already refuted him on it.

The reason why the angels bowed down to Adam was to show mankind's superiority over the other creations. The reason why the family of Joseph bowed down to him was a sign of his leadership, and a sign of their submitting and respect for his leadership, after all these were the same family members (excluding his father) who looked down upon him, who threw him down a well and left him for dead! Secondly, as Ibn Kathir also mentions:

(I saw (in a dream) eleven stars...) In the laws of these and previous Prophets, it was allowed for the people to prostrate before the men of authority, when they met them. This practice was allowed in the law of Adam until the law of `Isa, peace be upon them, but was later prohibited in our law. Islam made prostration exclusively for Allah Alone, the Exalted and Most Honored. The implication of this statement was collected from Qatadah and other scholars.

Shamoun then brings up arguments concerning the Tashahud and Tawassul, arguments I have already addressed in the following rebuttals:

http://muslim-responses.com/Tashahhud/Tashahhud_

http://muslim-responses.com/Tashahhud_again/Tashahhud_again_

http://muslim-responses.com/Tawassul/Tawassul_

I urge all readers to visit the above 3 rebuttals which systematically destroyed Shamoun and his weak arguments, the same weak arguments he is repeating in his latest ?reply' to brother Bassam Zawadi.

Shamoun then discusses the black stone:

However, Muhammad venerated and kissed a black stone which baffled and confused some of his companions:

Narrated 'Abis bin Rabia:
'Umar came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said "No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen Allah's Apostle kissing you I would not have kissed you." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26,
Number 667)

Narrated Zaid bin Aslam from his father who said:
"Umar bin Al-Khattab addressed the Corner (Black Stone) saying, 'By Allah! I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit nor harm. Had I not seen the Prophet touching (and kissing) you, I would never have touched (and kissed) you.' Then he kissed it and said, 'There is no reason for us to do Ramal (in Tawaf) except that we wanted to show off before the pagans, and now Allah has destroyed them.' 'Umar added, '(Nevertheless), the Prophet did that and we do not want to leave it (i.e. Ramal).' (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26,
Number 675)

Umar's statements are significant since they echo the words of the Quran, which censures the kissing of idols or stones that can neither harm nor benefit anyone.

RESPONSE

First of all I would like to ask Shamoun where ANY companions became confused or baffled, where in the above hadiths does it show any companion with the following symptoms? If Shamoun wants to see confusion and bafflement then let him go read his own Gospels, where the disciples time and time again became baffled and confused by Jesus' teaching, to the point where Jesus had to rebuke them! Even Pastor Thabiti the opponent of Bassam Zawadi admitted this! So it seems Shamoun is confusing the companions!

Secondly, does Shamoun have a reading problem? For instance he says COMPANIONS in the plural, yet he mentions two hadiths, which are only about ONE companion namely Umar Al Khattab, perhaps this is due to his Trinitarian confusion where he says plurality in everything? Or is it a simple case of deception and exaggeration, just as he did with the bowing incident calling it ?certain individuals' when there were only 2 people.

Thirdly, Shamoun compares and apples and oranges, indeed the Quran condemns pagans for making rocks and whatever objects as their objects of worship, because after all they were simple object which could not do a thing. Now is this similar to the black stone? Not even close! For starters the prophet Muhammad didn't worship the black stone, he didn't  make dua to the black stone, he didn't invoke it for mercy, and didn't call for help from the black stone, he did none of these things with the black stone, yet the pagans did all of these things with their objects! So can you see the difference? Off course you can, how Shamoun couldn't see the difference between the two I don't know, you have to ask him.

Shamoun continues:

What makes this all the more amazing, as well as troubling, is that Muhammad taught that the black stone would intercede for Muslims:

2944. Sa'd b. Jubair (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said, "I heard Ibn 'Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) saying that Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings Allah be upon him) said, "This Stone must come on the Day of Resurrection and it will have two eyes to see with and a tongue to talk with bearing witness for him who caressed it with Truth (Islam)." (Sunan Ibn-I-Majah (Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad b. Yazid Ibn-I-Maja Al-Qazwini), English version by Muhammad Tufail Ansari [Kazi Publications, Lahore (Pakistan), 1st edition 1995], Volume IV, Chapter NO. XVII: Caressing The (Black) Stone (Fixed in a Wall of Ka'ba), pp. 244-245; bold and underline emphasis ours)

This is exactly what the pagans said concerning their stones and idols! Thus, Muhammad was guilty of doing the very same thing and using the same exact excuse that the disbelieving idolators did and said to justify their idolatry!

RESPONSE

Again, Shamoun is comparing apples and oranges. The pagans directly worshiped their idols and objects, the prophet Muhammad NOR the Muslims WORSHIP or INVOKE to the black stone!

Now if Muslims worshiped the black stone, made invocations to the black stone, feared the black stone, thought it could bring harm and good for us if we pray to it and so forth, THEN Shamoun would have a case, but obviously we don't do any of that, hence Shamoun as usual has no case.

The pagans didn't simply say their idols will act as intercessors, rather they said this and did worst, Shamoun does not mention HOW THE PAGANS THOUGHT THIS INTERCESSION COULD BE BROUGHT ABOUT, the pagans thought their idols would intercede, but the only way to achieve that was by worshiping the idols!! So they worshiped the idols, made sacrifices, and did all acts of worship as a means to get these idols to intercede for them, and I challenge Shamoun to show where the prophet Muhammad did that, or commanded the Muslims to do that.

So to try and even compare the two is laughable.

Shamoun then ends his article with perhaps his worst argument:

The problem which Zawadi faces here is that the Quran ascribes some of the names of Allah to his creatures. For example, the Muslim scripture mentions that Allah's names include al-aziz and al-qawi:

In Allah's help to victory. He helpeth to victory whom He will. He is the Mighty (al-azizu), the Merciful. S. 30:5

Say: Show me those whom ye have joined unto Him as partners. Nay (ye dare not)! For He is Allah, the Mighty (al-azizu), the Wise. S. 34:27

Allah is gracious unto His slaves. He provideth for whom He will. And He is the Strong (al-qawiyyu), the Mighty (al-azizu). S. 42:19 - cf. 22:40

However, the Quran says that the name of the man to whom Joseph was sold was al-aziz:

And women in the city said: "The wife of Al-'Aziz is seeking to seduce her (slave) young man, indeed she loves him violently; verily we see her in plain error." S. 12:30

(The King) said (to the women): "What was your affair when you did seek to seduce Yusuf (Joseph)?" The women said: "Allah forbid! No evil know we against him!" The wife of Al-'Aziz said: "Now the truth is manifest (to all), it was I who sought to seduce him, and he is surely of the truthful." S. 12:51

It even says that the prophet Moses was called al-qawi!

And said one of them (the two women): "O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong (al-qawiyyu), the trustworthy." He said [to Moses]: "I intend to wed one of these two daughters of mine to you, on condition that you serve me for eight years, but if you complete ten years, it will be (a favour) from you. But I intend not to place you under a difficulty. If Allah will, you will find me one of the righteous." S. 28:26-27

RESPONSE

So Shamoun thinks he has found an argument, for instance the husband's name is al-aziz, which is a name of Allah, and Moses is described as Al-Qawwiyu which also a name of Allah, hence the Quran committed polytheism by giving God's unique names and characteristics to the creation.

Something Shamoun may have failed to realize is that the Quran is QUOTING what the people said, for instance if you the read the passages he quotes then you will see it is not Allah naming them with those titles, rather he is simply relating the story of what the people said. Hence it was the lady who called Moses with such a name, and it was the people around the prophet Joseph who called the husband by his name or title.

Now Shamoun obviously couldn't have been so ignorant to have missed this, thankfully he wasn't! He even acknowledges this but tries to find a way out, he writes:

Now Zawadi may interject here and say that Allah isn't giving these names to these specific individuals, but is merely narrating what others called them. The Qur'an is simply reporting that the people of former times used these names for these individuals.

There are at least a couple of problems with this argument. First, al-aziz is called Potiphar in the Holy Bible, so it is indeed the author of the Qur'an who introduced this "forbidden name" for this person. Where else was he ever called this? The Muslim has no evidence that this was his actual name.

RESPONSE

Who says al-aziz would have been referring to his actual name? This could have been referring to a title of his, not his actual personal name. Shamoun continues:

Second, the people in these stories didn't speak Quraish Arabic, the language of the Quran, so there was no need to use the definite forms of these specific words in quoting what they said.

RESPONSE

Just because they didn't speak Arabic Qurayshi does not mean there isn't an equivalent term in their own language which corresponds to al-Aziz in the Arabic!

All of this brings us to an end of Shamoun's first ?reply' to Zawadi's points, and if this is anything to go by, then it can be said for sure that his other 2 parts are a waste of time.

And Allah Knows Best!

www.muslim-responses.com