Does the Quran Affirm Paul?

 

Sami Zaatari

 

 

 

 http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/quran_affirms_paul.htm

 

 

Sam Shamoun of Answering-Islam has a written an article where he seeks to actually prove that the Quran affirms Paul as a true apostle of God. Indeed such a claim is fascinating and incredible, but does the claim actually stand and does it live up to its hype? We shall find out in this rebuttal. (Sam's comments will be in green) 

 

It may come as a surprise to some to hear that the Quran implicitly affirms that the teachings of the Apostle Paul, which has become the foundation of Christianity, are derived from Christ. In other words, the Quran indirectly testifies that Paul's theology wasn't something that he simply concocted in order to win converts from the Gentiles, but came from God through Christ.

 

Response

 

Let me correct you Mr. Shamoun, the Quran does not implicitly affirm the teachings of Paul. You very well know that is a false comment and is not true what so ever. In fact let us see if the Quran does indeed affirm the teachings of Paul:

 

The Quran:

 

019.035
YUSUFALI: It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, "Be", and it is.


Paul:

 

Hebrews 6:6 :

 

 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame.

 

So there is just one example of how the Quran does not agree with the message of Paul. Note the Quran says it is not befitting to Allah that he should beget a son, this is referring to the Christian saying that God has a son i.e. Jesus is the Son of God. So hence the Quran denies that Allah has a son. When we read Hebrews 6:6 we see that Paul teaches that there is indeed a son of God and Paul is referring to Jesus in Hebrews 6:6, the Quran denies that Allah has a son, and the Quran is specifically denying that Jesus is the son of God in surah 19:35. So there is just one case in which the Quran explicitly denies the message of Paul. Here are some more differences:


The Quran

 

004.157
YUSUFALI: That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-


Paul

 

2Cr 13:4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.

 

Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

 

So hence another major difference between the Quran and Paul. The Quran explicitly denies the crucifixion episode, the Quran says that Jesus was not killed nor was he crucified but it was made to appear to them. So hence according to the Quran, Jesus did not die, nor was he crucified. However we see from Paul that Paul believes that Jesus did get crucified and did die! These are major differences between the Quran and Paul. Paul always taught about the death and crucifixion of Jesus, it was one of his main doctrines to teach the death and crucifixion of Jesus. This completely contradicts the Quran which DENIES the crucifixion of Jesus, the Quran goes all the way to claim that anyone who does say that Jesus was crucified and killed follow nothing but CONJECTURE meaning CORRUPTION. So hence the Quran calls Paul corrupt! So Shamoun is completely wrong when he says that the Quran confirms Paul's message, that is not true at all as we saw.


In summary we see that:

 

1-The Quran denies that God has a son, specifically Jesus.

 

2- Paul states that Jesus is the Son of God contradicting the Quran.

 

3- The Quran denies the crucifixion of Jesus, it also denies the death of Jesus and says that anyone else who claims that Jesus was crucified and killed follow corruption.

 

4- Paul preaches about the death and crucifixion of Jesus, it was one of the main things he taught hence contradicting the Quran.

 

So no, the Quran does not accept or agrees with Paul's message.

 

Before presenting the evidence, we would first like to clarify our reasons for appealing to the Quran. We do not believe that the Quran is God's Word. However, we do believe that the Quran is an early record of what the first Muslims believed. As such, the Quran becomes an important source of information for discovering the official beliefs of the first Muslims.

 

RESPONSE

 

I agree with you, the Quran is a very important source of information of the official beliefs of Muslims. So how could you miss the fact that the Quran completely denies what Paul teaches and completely contradicts it! So I cannot understand how you have overlooked this point.

 

In light of this, it bears repeating that the Quran testifies that the Christianity proclaimed by Paul (i.e., "Pauline" Christianity) is true Christianity.

We base our position on the Quranic claim that Christ's true believers would prevail over the unbelievers till the Day of Resurrection:

Behold! Allah said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee SUPERIOR to those who reject faith, TO THE DAY OF RESURRECTION: Then shall ye all return unto Me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute." S. 3:55

O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of Allah: as said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the Disciples, "We are Allah's helpers!" then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved: But We gave power to those who believed against their enemies, AND THEY BECAME THE ONES THAT PREVAILED. S. 61:14

According to these passages, Allah gave Christ's followers the power to prevail over the disbelievers, and made them superior till the day of resurrection. Yet the ones that prevailed were the Apostles such as Paul, as well as his followers. This means that if the Quran is correct, then Paul's message is the truth since it has become dominant and has prevailed over all other opposing messages.

RESPONSE

 

Well let me respond to Shamoun's points. To start off, Christians and Paul are not the TRUE followers of Jesus. The true followers are the Muslims; the true followers of Jesus are the ones who believe in Allah, the true followers are those who take Jesus as a prophet ONLY.

 

Followers of Christ do not believe he is God nor do they believe he is divine. To make it clear for the readers let us see what the Quran says about Jesus and if Paul and Shamoun believe what the Quran says:

From Surah Al-Imran:

003.045
YUSUFALI: Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah;

003.046
YUSUFALI: "He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous."

003.047
YUSUFALI: She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, 'Be,' and it is!

003.048
YUSUFALI: "And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel,

003.049
YUSUFALI: "And (appoint him) a messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this message): "'I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah's leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by Allah's leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe;

003.050
YUSUFALI: "'(I have come to you), to attest the Law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (Before) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear Allah, and obey me.

003.051
YUSUFALI: "'It is Allah Who is my Lord and your Lord; then worship Him. This is a Way that is straight.'"

003.052
YUSUFALI: When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: "Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples: "We are Allah's helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.

003.053
YUSUFALI: "Our Lord! we believe in what Thou hast revealed, and we follow the Messenger; then write us down among those who bear witness."

003.054
YUSUFALI: And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah.

03.055
YUSUFALI: Behold! Allah said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.

003.056
YUSUFALI: "As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help."

003.057
YUSUFALI: "As to those who believe and work righteousness, Allah will pay them (in full) their reward; but Allah loveth not those who do wrong."

003.058
YUSUFALI: "This is what we rehearse unto thee of the Signs and the Message of Wisdom."

003.059
YUSUFALI: The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was.

003.060
YUSUFALI: The Truth (comes) from Allah alone; so be not of those who doubt.

003.061
YUSUFALI: If any one disputes in this matter with thee, now after (full) knowledge Hath come to thee, say: "Come! let us gather together,- our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves: Then let us earnestly pray, and invoke the curse of Allah on those who lie!"

003.062
YUSUFALI: This is the true account: There is no god except Allah; and Allah-He is indeed the Exalted in Power, the Wise.

003.063
YUSUFALI: But if they turn back, Allah hath full knowledge of those who do mischief.

Do Christians believe this? Does Shamoun believe this? The answer is no, these verses deny that Jesus is God; these verses deny that Jesus died. Paul also denies these verses, so hence Paul and Christians are not true followers of Christ. In fact the verses mention Jesus' followers:

003.052
YUSUFALI: When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: "Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples: "We are Allah's helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.

So this verse mentions Jesus' followers. Now as we see, Jesus' followers do not believe he is God, the verse also says that Jesus' followers were Muslims basically meaning they submitted their will to God.

 

Here is something else that Jesus said which is recorded in the Quran and we shall see if Shamoun or Paul believe it:

 

061.006
YUSUFALI: And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad." But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, "this is evident sorcery!"

So hence Jesus according to the Quran fore told the coming of the prophet Muhammad! So hence the true followers of Jesus must believe in the prophet Muhammad, however so Shamoun and Christians don't believe in Muhammad so hence they are not true followers of Jesus since he told them to believe in Ahmad.

 

Shamoun posted two verses in which he thinks they mean that Christians and Paul are true believers, here are the two passages:

Behold! Allah said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee SUPERIOR to those who reject faith, TO THE DAY OF RESURRECTION: Then shall ye all return unto Me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute." S. 3:55

O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of Allah: as said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the Disciples, "We are Allah's helpers!" then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved: But We gave power to those who believed against their enemies, AND THEY BECAME THE ONES THAT PREVAILED. S. 61:14

The true followers of Jesus are Muslims, the true followers of Jesus believe in the prophet Muhammad; the true followers of Jesus do NOT believe he is God. Shamoun and every Christian do not believe any of that so hence they are not the true followers of Jesus. So Shamoun has wrongly believed that these verses are referring to him and Paul which is not true at all.

 

Sayyid Qutb comments on S. 3:55:

... It was also the will of God to elevate the followers of Jesus above the unbelievers until the Day of Resurrection ...

It is not difficult, on the other hand, to explain God's statement that He had placed those who follow Jesus above the unbelievers, and that this elevation continues until the Day of Resurrection. Those who follow Jesus are the ones who believe in God's true religion, Islam, or surrender to God. Every prophet is fully aware of the true nature of this religion. Every messenger preached the same religion and everyone who truly believes in the Divine faith believes in it. These believers are indeed far superior to the unbelievers according to God's measure, and they will continue to be so until the Day of Judgement. Moreover, they prove their superiority in our practical life every time they confront the forces of un-faith with the true nature of faith and the reality of following God's messengers. The Divine faith is one, as preached by Jesus, son of Mary, as preached by every messenger sent before him and by the messenger sent after him. Those who follow Muhammad at the same time follow all the messengers sent by God, starting with Adam until the last messenger. (In the Shade of the Qur'an - Fi Zilal al-Qur'an, Volume 2, Surah 3, translated and edited by Adil Salahi & Ashur Shamis [The Islamic Foundation, 2000], pp. 97-98)

The problem with Qutb's claim is that the Christian believers that prevailed over all were not Muslims and their message certainly wasn't Islam. Hence, either the true followers of Christ were vanquished, thus falsifying the Quran which says that they would dominate. Or, the Quran is false since it contradicts the true message of Christ's followers.

 

 RESPONSE

Let me correct another statement of Shamoun in which he states:

The problem with Qutb's claim is that the Christian believers that prevailed over all were not Muslims and their message certainly wasn't Islam. Hence, either the true followers of Christ were vanquished, thus falsifying the Quran which says that they would dominate. Or, the Quran is false since it contradicts the true message of Christ's followers

 

Once again let me correct you, the true followers of Christ have not vanquished, the Muslims are the true followers of Christ, so the true followers of Christ did not vanquish. Secondly it is also safe to say that not all followers of Christ at his time did believe he was God or had any divinity. Many of Jesus' early followers took him as a prophet and nothing more.

 

Again let me make it clear, Shamoun's beliefs does not make him a true follower of Jesus, nor does anyone who shares the same beliefs as Shamoun. So Christianity nor Christians is a true branch of Jesus.

 

In response to a question regarding 3:55, Moiz Amjad writes:

This verse relates to the law relating to the messengers of God. As a punishment on the rejecters of Jesus (pbuh), the Qur'an has mentioned that at the time of the God's decision relating to the termination of Jesus' (pbuh) mission, God declared that after him those who believe in Jesus (pbuh) will dominate those who rejected him (i.e., the Jews) till the Day of Judgment. In the referred verse, those who believed in Jesus (pbuh) refers to the Christians. It is clear that even today, the Jewish collectivity is completely dependant upon Christian collectivities for even maintaining their existence. (Source; bold emphasis ours)

Maulana Muhammad Ali writes regarding S. 3:55:

... This verse contains four promises relating to Jesus' triumph over his enemies as against their plans ... And the fourth promise is that those who follow Jesus shall be made dominant over his rejectors till the day of Judgment. The truth of this fourth prophecy is witnessed TO THIS DAY in the dominance of the Christians over the Jews. (Ali, Holy Quran [Ahmadiyyah Anjuman Isha'at Islam Lahore Inc. USA, 1995], pp. 147-148, fn. 439; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Here are his statements regarding S. 61:14:

... The description applies to the triumph of the teachings of Christ over those who opposed the dissemination of his teachings, and speaks prophetically of the ultimate triumph of Islam over all other religions of the world. (Ibid., p. 1058, fn. 2501; bold emphasis ours)

Ali fails to mention that the teachings that dominated were those passed on by Paul (which is actually the same message preached by Christ and the other disciples)!

 

RESPONSE

Well it now seems Shamoun's argument has moved on to what an Ahmediyyah scholar has to say! This means nothing to me of what some Ahmediyyah scholar has to say, I look at what Allah says in the Quran, and when I read the Quran I see that Allah denies the essential teachings of Paul and today's Christians! Also again, not every single follower of Jesus in his time believed he was God, this is fact, and these are his true believers, the ones who did not take him as God. All of those who did take him as God and believe Paul was true then they were not true followers but false ones.

 

A. Yusuf Ali, in his translation The Holy Qur'an - Text and Commentary, p. 1543, footnote 5448, states:

A portion of the Children of Israel - the ones that really cared for Truth - believed in Jesus and followed his guidance. But the greater portion of them were hard-hearted, and remained in their beaten track of formalism and false racial pride. The majority seemed at first to have the upper hand when they thought they had crucified Jesus and killed his Message. But they were soon brought to their senses. Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus in A.D. 70 and the Jews have been scattered ever since. "The Wandering Jew" has become a bye-word in many literatures. On the other hand, those who followed Jesus PERMEATED the Roman Empire, brought many new races within their circle, and through the Roman Empire, Christianity became the predominant religion of the world until the advent of Islam ... (bold and capital emphasis ours)

What this Ali failed to note is that the form of Christianity that permeated the Roman Empire is what Muslims degradingly call "Pauline" Christianity. Hence, that Paul's message dominated is a sign that his Gospel was that which God entrusted to Christ's true followers. If it were argued that Paul's version of Christianity is an aberration of the truth, this then means that the Quran is wrong for claiming that God had caused Christ's true followers to prevail. It would mean that Paul was able to thwart Allah's purposes, being able to prevent the true believers from dominating over their enemies.

 

RESPONSE

 

If Yusuf Ali meant that the Pauline Christianity was the true form of Christianity then he is CLEARLY in the wrong and I am not shy to say that. I first look at what Allah says, and once Allah's position is clear everyone's opinion is useless especially if it plainly contradicts the Quran. Paul and today's Christianity completely contradicts the Quran. However so, I don't believe all of those Christians back then believed Jesus was God regardless of whether they believe in Paul or his teachings. So hence this is open up for discussion. Also I don't believe Yusuf Ali believes Pauline Christianity was true, I believe all he said is that they prevailed over the Romans. Is that a problem for the Muslim position? Not at all, God would help the Pauline Christians on the fact that they still believed in Jesus and the pagan Romans didn't. It does not make the Pauline Christians correct or means they are on the right path, God is simply helping them out JUST because they believe in Jesus. In fact Shamoun will quote Ibn Kathir later on which proves my point.

 

Here are the late S. Abu Al'a Maududi's comments on S. 61:14:

... Those who disbelieved in Jesus Christ are the Jews, and those who believed him are the Christians as well as the Muslims, and Allah granted them domination over the disbelievers of Christ. This is meant to requires [sic] the Muslims that just as the believers of Christ have dominated over his disbelievers in the past, so will the believers of the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) prevail over disbelievers. (Meaning of the Qur'an, Volume V, english rendering by A.A. Kamal, M.A. [Islamic Publications (Pvt.) Limited, 13-E, Shahalam Market, Lahore-8 Pakistan], p. 516, fn. 21; underline emphasis ours)

As we had noted earlier, the obvious problem with Maududi's explanation is that the message of Christ's true believers directly contradicts the message of Islam. That is, unless one wants to claim that Christ's true message got distorted and a false message prevailed over it, a claim which then contradicts the plain reading of the passages in question.

As Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi, while commenting on the last part of S. 61:14, states:

... (and neither the Messenger NOR THE MESSAGE could be destroyed). (Tafsir-Ul-Qur'an Translation and Commentary of the Holy Qur'an, Volume IV [Darul-Ishaat Urdu Bazar, Karachi-1, Pakistan; First edition: 1991], p. 356, fn. 270; capital emphasis ours)

Again, if "Pauline" Christianity is a corruption of Jesus' true teachings then the message was destroyed and Allah failed to bring to pass what he said would happen!

 

RESPONSE

 

To correct you again, the message of Jesus never got destroyed, the Quran teach them today, worship ONE GOD. So the message is alive with the Quran, Jesus' true followers are alive with the Muslims.

 

Now as for Maududi's comments, well his comments can still stand. Allah could have helped the Christians on the fact that they simply believed in Jesus and the pagans did not. So even if those Christians did view Jesus as God and so on, God could still help them out on the fact that they still in a sense believed in Jesus and the pagans didn't. It does not make the Pauline Christians true. In this world Allah helps out several good people even though they are not Muslim just on the fact that they are good people and closer to the truth. However so it doesn't necessarily mean they are on the straight path.

 

 

Noted Muslim commentator Ibn Kathir's statements are most interesting. Commenting on S. 3:55, he writes:

"This is what happened. When Allah raised ?Isa to heaven, his followers divided into sects and groups. Some of them believed in what Allah sent ?Isa as, a servant of Allah, His Messenger, and the son of His female-servant.

However, some of them went to the extreme over ?Isa, believing that he was the son of Allah. Some of them said that ?Isa was Allah Himself, while others said that he was one of a Trinity. Allah mentioned these false creeds in the Qur'an and refuted them. The Christians remained like this until the third century CE, when a Greek king called, Constantine, became a Christian for the purpose of destroying Christianity. Constantine was either a philosopher, or he was just plain ignorant. Constantine changed the religion of ?Isa by adding to it and deleting from it. He established the rituals of Christianity and the so-called Great Trust which is in fact the Great Treachery. He also allowed them to eat the meat of swine, changed the direction of the prayer that ?Isa established to the east, built churches for ?Isa, and added ten days to the fast as compensation for a sin that he committed, as claimed. So the religion of ?Isa became the religion of Constantine, who built more than twelve thousand churches, temples and monasteries for the Christians as well as the city that bears his name, Constantinople (Istanbul). THROUGHOUT THIS TIME, the Christians had the upper hand and dominated the Jews. ALLAH AIDED THEM AGAINST THE JEWS BECAUSE THEY USED TO BE CLOSER TO THE TRUTH THAN THE JEWS, even though both groups were and still are disbelievers, may Allah's curse descend on them." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 2, Parts 3, 4, & 5 (Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147), abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First Edition: March 2000], p. 171; bold and capital emphasis ours; cf. online edition) Noted Muslim commentator Ibn Kathir's statements are most interesting. Commenting on S. 3:55, he writes:

"This is what happened. When Allah raised ?Isa to heaven, his followers divided into sects and groups. Some of them believed in what Allah sent ?Isa as, a servant of Allah, His Messenger, and the son of His female-servant.

However, some of them went to the extreme over ?Isa, believing that he was the son of Allah. Some of them said that ?Isa was Allah Himself, while others said that he was one of a Trinity. Allah mentioned these false creeds in the Qur'an and refuted them. The Christians remained like this until the third century CE, when a Greek king called, Constantine, became a Christian for the purpose of destroying Christianity. Constantine was either a philosopher, or he was just plain ignorant. Constantine changed the religion of ?Isa by adding to it and deleting from it. He established the rituals of Christianity and the so-called Great Trust which is in fact the Great Treachery. He also allowed them to eat the meat of swine, changed the direction of the prayer that ?Isa established to the east, built churches for ?Isa, and added ten days to the fast as compensation for a sin that he committed, as claimed. So the religion of ?Isa became the religion of Constantine, who built more than twelve thousand churches, temples and monasteries for the Christians as well as the city that bears his name, Constantinople (Istanbul). THROUGHOUT THIS TIME, the Christians had the upper hand and dominated the Jews. ALLAH AIDED THEM AGAINST THE JEWS BECAUSE THEY USED TO BE CLOSER TO THE TRUTH THAN THE JEWS, even though both groups were and still are disbelievers, may Allah's curse descend on them." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 2, Parts 3, 4, & 5 (Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147), abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First Edition: March 2000], p. 171; bold and capital emphasis ours; cf. online edition)

 

RESPONSE

 

I would like to thank Shamoun for posting what Ibn Kathir said because it actually proves my point when I said that Allah simply could help Pauline Christians on the fact that they simply believed in Jesus. Note what Ibn Kathir states:

"This is what happened. When Allah raised ?Isa to heaven, his followers divided into sects and groups. Some of them believed in what Allah sent ?Isa as, a servant of Allah, His Messenger, and the son of His female-servant.

However, some of them went to the extreme over ?Isa, believing that he was the son of Allah. Some of them said that ?Isa was Allah Himself, while others said that he was one of a Trinity. Allah mentioned these false creeds in the Qur'an and refuted them. The Christians remained like this until the third century CE, when a Greek king called, Constantine, became a Christian for the purpose of destroying Christianity. Constantine was either a philosopher, or he was just plain ignorant. Constantine changed the religion of ?Isa by adding to it and deleting from it. He established the rituals of Christianity and the so-called Great Trust which is in fact the Great Treachery. He also allowed them to eat the meat of swine, changed the direction of the prayer that ?Isa established to the east, built churches for ?Isa, and added ten days to the fast as compensation for a sin that he committed, as claimed. So the religion of ?Isa became the religion of Constantine, who built more than twelve thousand churches, temples and monasteries for the Christians as well as the city that bears his name, Constantinople (Istanbul). THROUGHOUT THIS TIME, the Christians had the upper hand and dominated the Jews. ALLAH AIDED THEM AGAINST THE JEWS BECAUSE THEY USED TO BE CLOSER TO THE TRUTH THAN THE JEWS, even though both groups were and still are disbelievers, may Allah's curse descend on them." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 2, Parts 3, 4, & 5 (Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147), abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First Edition: March 2000], p. 171; bold and capital emphasis ours; cf. online edition)

So note Ibn Kathir says that Christians are CLOSER to the truth than the Jews, he does not say that Christians have THE truth. So hence Ibn Kathir completely proves my point. Allah simply aided Christians because they were CLOSER to the truth, they were not on it. There is a big difference between being on the truth and being close to the truth. So hence again, Allah simply helped Pauline Christians out just on the fact that they believed in Jesus. Note Ibn Kathir still states:

 

even though both groups were and still are disbelievers

 

So Ibn Kathir still calls the Christians disbelievers! Hence Ibn Kathir had no problem in stating that Allah helped the Christians out although they were still disbelievers, the reason being is that the Christians had SOME truth, they at least believed in Jesus so Allah helped them out on that fact alone.

 

 

Another renowned commentary, Al-Qurtubi, says of Surah 61:14:

It was said that THIS VERSE was revealed about the apostles of Jesus, may peace and blessing be upon him. Ibn Ishaq stated that of the apostles and disciples that Jesus sent (to preach) there were Peter AND PAUL who went to Rome; Andrew and Matthew who went to the land of the cannibals; Thomas who went to Babel in the eastern lands; Philip who went to Africa; John went to Dac-sos(?) which is the tribe to whom the sleepers of the cave belonged; Jacob went to Jerusalem; Bartholomew went to the lands of Arabia, specifically Al-Hijaz; Simon who went to the Barbarians; Judas and Barthas(?) who went to Alexandria and its surrounding regions.

Allah supported them (the apostles) with evidence so that they prevailed (thahirin) meaning they became the party with the upper hand. Just as it is said, "An object appeared on the wall" meaning it is clearly visible (alu-wat) on the wall. Allah, who is glorified and exalted, knows the truth better and to Him is the return and retreat. (Source; translated into English by Dimitrius, bold and capital emphasis ours)

Notice how al-Qurtubi had no qualms in admitting that Paul was a legitimate follower of Christ! If al-Qurtubi is correct, then this means that Paul was one of the followers whom God gave the power to overcome the unbelievers and prevail!

 

RESPONSE

 

Nowhere does Qurtubi say Paul is a legitimate follower, all Qurtubi says is that Paul went with Peter. Just because someone is a supposed follower of a religion or a person does not make that person correct. There are several people who claim to be followers of some doctrine or belief and don't even follow it! Just because Paul happened to be a follower of Jesus does not automatically make Paul a true follower of Jesus. It is clear that Paul miss-interpreted Jesus' message and taught something completely different to what Jesus taught, this could have been an un-intentional mistake on the part of Paul. He is a human so he is fallible so hence he miss-understood Jesus' message and taught something completely different all the while believing he was teaching what Jesus taught. Paul was simply wrong. So hence what Qurtubi said has no ground breaking statements. Paul may have been a follower of Jesus, but sadly he didn't know he was doing harm to Jesus' message and was teaching something contradictory to what Jesus taught and that he was not a true follower of Jesus.

 

 

The following Muslim writer, a moderate, makes the following rather candid admission in reference to 3:54 and 61:14 (comments within brackets [] will be ours):

Christian readers especially will be interested to learn that the Koran teaches that Jesus was God's best prophet, and that Christians will be placed above non-believers until the Day of Judgment. Does it surprise you to learn that the Koran may have been intended for Christians, to confirm all that they had been taught by Christ? (Dr. Nader Pourhassan, The Corruption of Moslem Minds [Barbed Wire Publishers, Las Cruces, New Mexico 2002], pp. 61-62)

The first time I read this verse [3:54] in the Koran, I could hardly believe my eyes. Even today, any Moslem I discuss this verse with is shocked. In the Koran, God tells all Moslems that the followers of Jesus will be exalted above the disbelievers until the Day of Resurrection. While there are some verses in the Koran that promise the world to the Moslem people if they follow its teachings, these are followed up with predictions that they will disobey their holy book, and not uphold its commands. God's prediction that the Christians will succeed in doing so is even clearer in the following verse [author then cites 61:14] ..." (Ibid., pp. 103-104)

Most Moslems obtain their understanding of the Koran from the interpretations of their religious leaders. Few ever question what they are told to believe. But the holy book contains many messages that might shock them from their complacency. For example, in the Koran there is a verse saying [quotes 3:54] ...

The above verse says very simply that Christians will be above non-believers until the resurrection. Moreover, the Koran states:

"Do not falter and feel saddened since you are superior, if you are believers."

The most reasonable conclusion to this is that among all believers, whether they are Jews, Christians, or Moslems, only one group will be above the non-believers and only one group will be superior. That group will be comprised of the believers who are the followers of Jesus (Christians)... (Ibid., p. 119)

Hence, Muslims are in a dilemma that they cannot easily resolve. Namely, to accept the Quran is to accept "Pauline" Christianity. Yet to accept "Pauline" Christianity is to reject the Quran, since the Quran contradicts the core teaching of Paul as has been preserved in the pages of the Holy Bible and amongst true Christians historically.

 

RESPONSE

 

This supposed moderate Muslim is no more Muslim than I am Christian. If this moderate writer is a Muslim then I am the pope! Shamoun must know better than to quote such a person who already seems to have an agenda against Islam and Muslims!

 

As for what this moderate Muslim said, I already addressed it, the true followers of Jesus are Muslims! The true followers are not today's Christians nor Paul! Go back to the top of the rebuttal to read it again.

 

A Muslim may wish to argue that these verses refer to Muhammad and the Muslims as those who truly believe in Christ and dominate till the Resurrection Day. This explanation fails to resolve the issue. The passages do not say that Christ's followers would only prevail from the time of Muhammad's advent, but from the time that Christ was taken to God and unto the Day of Resurrection.

This is perhaps why men such as Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Kathir, al-Tabari, al-Qurtubi, and al-Thalabi could view Paul in such a positive light. They seemingly realized that Paul had a tremendous influence in the growth and spread of Christianity, and had been sovereignly used by God as his instrument of domination over the unbelievers (see the article The Apostles of Christ: Messengers of God or Mere Disciples?).

 

RESPONSE

 

Where did Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Kathir, al Tabari, and al Qurtubi view Paul in such a positive light? In fact Shamoun refuted himself when he quoted Ibn Kathir here is it again:

 "This is what happened. When Allah raised ?Isa to heaven, his followers divided into sects and groups. Some of them believed in what Allah sent ?Isa as, a servant of Allah, His Messenger, and the son of His female-servant.

However, some of them went to the extreme over ?Isa, believing that he was the son of Allah. Some of them said that ?Isa was Allah Himself, while others said that he was one of a Trinity. Allah mentioned these false creeds in the Qur'an and refuted them. The Christians remained like this until the third century CE, when a Greek king called, Constantine, became a Christian for the purpose of destroying Christianity. Constantine was either a philosopher, or he was just plain ignorant. Constantine changed the religion of ?Isa by adding to it and deleting from it. He established the rituals of Christianity and the so-called Great Trust which is in fact the Great Treachery. He also allowed them to eat the meat of swine, changed the direction of the prayer that ?Isa established to the east, built churches for ?Isa, and added ten days to the fast as compensation for a sin that he committed, as claimed. So the religion of ?Isa became the religion of Constantine, who built more than twelve thousand churches, temples and monasteries for the Christians as well as the city that bears his name, Constantinople (Istanbul). THROUGHOUT THIS TIME, the Christians had the upper hand and dominated the Jews. ALLAH AIDED THEM AGAINST THE JEWS BECAUSE THEY USED TO BE CLOSER TO THE TRUTH THAN THE JEWS, even though both groups were and still are disbelievers, may Allah's curse descend on them." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 2, Parts 3, 4, & 5 (Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147),

 

This does not seem that Ibn Kathir viewed Paul in such a positive light, Ibn Kahitr called Christians disbelievers! The reason he did so is because they believe Jesus died, and they believed Jesus is God which are all teachings of Paul so hence Paul is a disbeliever according to Ibn Kathir! So Shamoun is completely wrong in these assertions.

 

To summarize the Islamic evidence, we discovered that

-The Quran records the domination of Christ's true believers over the disbelievers.

-This domination would continue till the Day of Resurrection.

-Paul's message dominated and became superior to all other opposing messages.

-This implies that if the Quran is right then Paul's message must be correct.

Yet, these factors introduce the following problems for the Muslims:

-The Quran contradicts the core teachings of the Apostle Paul as well as the message of the Holy Bible as a whole.

-Since the Quran and early Muslim commentators clearly testify to the accuracy and legitimacy of Paul's preaching, this means that the Quran cannot be the word of God. Rather, it must be the word of fallible men such as Muhammad and/or others.

-This also implies that the author(s) of the Quran was (were) unaware of the true message of the Holy Bible and of the Apostle Paul, and thought that it agreed with his (their) own preaching. The author(s) presumably thought that in acknowledging the testimony of the Holy Bible he (they) would therefore be legitimizing the prophetic claims of Muhammad. Had he (they) been aware of the true message of the Holy Bible the author(s) might not have given so much credence to both Paul and the Holy Bible.

This concludes our paper. We pray that our risen Lord and immortal Savior will use this to bring precious Muslims into his glorious love and truth. Amen. Come Lord Jesus, come. We will always love you by God's all powerful, sovereign grace.

 

RESPONSE

 

To summarize we find out:

 

-The true followers of Jesus are the Muslims

  

-The true followers of Jesus do not believe he is God and believe in the prophet Muhammad

 

-Today's Christians do not believe in the prophet Muhammad and believe Jesus is God hence they are not the true followers according to the Quran

 

-The Quran calls Paul's teachings corruption hence Paul is a liar and corrupt.

 

-Allah simply helped out some Pauline Christians on the fact that they simply believed in Jesus

 

 

So Shamoun is wrong, the Quran does not affirm Paul's message, nor do the scholars in Islam.

 

This concludes my rebuttal. I pray that Allah will open the hearts of Christians and make them come to Islam and finally become the true followers of Jesus. Ameen. In service to Allah forever we love you and praise you! Ameen.

 

www.muslim-responses.com

 

 

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