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Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "Muhammad and the Arab Criteria of Demon Possession"

By
Bassam Zawadi

 

 

 

Sam Shamoun originally wrote an article trying to prove that Muhammad (pbuh) was deceived by Satan. I then responded back to his article and now Shamoun has responded back to my rebuttal. 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Several corrections and responses to Zawadi’s comments are necessary. First of all, the quote from Abu Lahab’s wife was made in conjunction to several other sources to establish the point that Muhammad’s contemporaries believed he was demon possessed. Had she been the only person that we presented then Zawadi’s point would carry some credibility, since she was obviously a hostile witness who could have simply sought to slander Muhammad. But when her testimony is combined with the witness of several other individuals then her opinion isn’t as one-sided or biased as Zawadi would want his readers to believe. After all, her position agrees with that of Muhammad’s foster parents:

"Some months after our return he and his brother were with our lambs behind the tents when his brother came running and said to us, ‘Two men clothed in white have seized that Qurayshi brother of mine and thrown him down and opened up his belly, and are stirring him up.’ We ran towards him and found him standing up with a livid face. We took hold of him and asked him what was the matter. He said, ‘Two men with white raiment came and threw me down and opened up my belly and searched therein for I know not what,’ so we took him back to our tent.

His father said to me, ‘I am afraid that this child has had a stroke, so take him back to his family before the result appears.’ So we picked him up and took him to his mother who asked why we had brought him when I had been anxious for his welfare and desirous of keeping him with me. I said to her, ‘God has let my son live so far and I have done my duty. I am afraid that ill will befall him, so I have brought him back to you as you wished.’ She asked me what happened and gave me no peace until I told her. When she asked if I feared a demon possessed him, I replied THAT I DID. She answered that no demon had any power over her son who had a great future before him, and then she told me how when she was pregnant with him a light went out from her which illumined the castles of Busra and Syria, …" (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth Impression 1995] pp. 71-72; bold and capital emphasis ours)

It even agrees with Muhammad himself since he initially believed that he might have been possessed:

… I recited it, and then he desisted and departed I woke up, and it was as though these words had been written on my heart. There was no one of God’s creation more hateful to me than a poet or a madman; I could not bear to look at either of them. I said to myself, "Your humble servant (meaning himself) is either a poet or a madman, but Quraysh shall never say this of me. I shall take myself to a mountain crag, hurl myself down from it, kill myself, and find relief in that way." (The History of al-Tabari: Muhammad at Mecca, translated and annotated by W. Montgomery Watt and M.V. McDonald [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1988], Volume VI, p. 71; bold emphasis ours)

And:

Then he went to Khadijah and said, "Khadijah, I think that I have gone mad." "No, by God," she said, "Your Lord would never do that to you. You have never committed a wicked act." Khadijah went to Waraqa b. Nawful and told him what had happened. He said, "If what you say is true, your husband is a prophet. He will meet adversity from his people. If I live long enough, I shall believe in him."

After this, Gabriel did not come to him for a while, and Khadijah said to him, "I think that your Lord MUST HAVE COME TO HATE YOU." Then God revealed to him:

By the forenoon, and by the night, when it is still, your Lord has not forsaken you, nor does he hate you. (The History of al-Tabari: Muhammad at Mecca, translated and annotated by W. Montgomery Watt and M.V. McDonald [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1988], Volume VI, p. 70; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

As a side note, notice how similar the reaction of Muhammad’s first wife was with that of Abu Lahab’s wife when Muhammad’s spirit did not show up for awhile:

Narrated Jundub bin Sufyan:
Once Allah's Apostle became sick and could not offer his night prayer (Tahajjud) for two or three nights. Then a lady (the wife of Abu Lahab) came and said, "O Muhammad! I think that your Satan has forsaken you, for I have not seen him with you for two or three nights!" On that Allah revealed: 'By the fore-noon, and by the night when it darkens, your Lord (O Muhammad) has neither forsaken you, nor hated you.' (93.1-3) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 475)

Both these women knew that there was something wrong with Muhammad being abandoned by his spirit for a period of time.

 

My Response:

Again purely circumstantial evidence. Sam quotes people who THOUGHT and FEARED that the Prophet was possessed. However, did they continue to believe so? Did the Prophet's wife Khadija continue believing that her husband (pbuh) was possessed? Did she ever think he was possessed? Or did she only give her opinion as to why she thought that God stopped sending revelations to the Prophet. Did that mean she was right? As for the Prophet and the suicide attempts read about it here

 

So again, no objective evidence provided. So lets move on...

Sam Shamoun said:

Returning to Muhammad’s analysis of his first encounter with the spirit, it is interesting to read that he believed that satan actually lived inside of him and had to be removed:

Anas b. Malik reported that Gabriel came to the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) while he was playing with his playmates. He took hold of him and lay him prostrate on the ground and tore open his breast and took out the heart from it and then extracted a blood-clot out of it and said: That was THE PART OF SATAN IN THEE. And then he washed it with the water of Zamzam in a golden basin and then it was joined together and restored to its place. The boys came running to his mother, i. e. his nurse, and said: Verily Muhammad has been murdered. They all rushed toward him (and found him all right). His color was changed, Anas said. I myself saw the marks of a needle on his breast. (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 311)

Yet other narrations report that Muhammad still had a satan circulating in him, even though Allah supposedly protected Muhammad from the evil spirit’s mischief!

Narrated Aisha:
Aisha said: One day Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) went out of her (Aisha's apartment) during the night and she felt jealous. Then he came and he saw me (in what agitated state of mind) I was. He said: Aisha, what has happened to you? Do you feel jealous? Thereupon she said: How can it be (that a woman like me) should not feel jealous in regard to a husband like you? Thereupon Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) said: It was your devil who had come to you, and she said: Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) is there along with me a devil? He said: Yes. I said: Is devil attached to everyone? He said: Yes. I (Aisha) again said: Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) is it with you also? He said: Yes, but my Lord has helped me against him as such I am absolutely safe from his mischief. (Sahih Muslim, Book 039, Number 6759)

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Do not visit women whose husbands are away from home, for the Devil circulates in you like your blood." He was asked if this applied to him also and said, "To me also, but Allah has helped me against him so that I may be safe."
Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 931; Alim CD-Rom Version)

Yet Allah didn’t prevent others from being harmed by these evil spirits, it seems. After all, Muhammad wasn’t the only one who was possessed by a satan, as the above narrations plainly indicate, and one of his close companions and the first caliph, Abu Bakr, even warned the Muslims to avoid him whenever his satan would come to possess him:

The Apostle of God died with no one of this community having a claim against him concerning anything wrongfully taken [for which the punishment would be] one lash of the whip or [even] less. I have a Satan who takes possession of me; so when he comes to me, avoid me so that I may have no [evil] effect [even] on your hair and your skins. (The History of Al-Tabari: The Conquest of Arabia, translated by Fred M. Donner [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1993], Volume IX, pp. 11-12; bold emphasis ours)

My Response:

As for the hadith saying that the Prophet with the help of God became safe from the devil, well what is the problem? I don't understand why Shamoun highlighted that part of the hadith. What point is Sam trying to make? Didn't Jesus have help from God when he wanted to overcome devils? (Luke 11:20)

Plus in Islam we believe that there are sects of Jinn. Some are Muslim, Christian, Jews etc. This life is a test for both men and Jinn...

 

Surah 6:130

"O ye assembly of Jinns and men! came there not unto you apostles from amongst you, setting forth unto you My signs, and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?" They will say: "We bear witness against ourselves." It was the life of this world that deceived them. So against themselves will they bear witness that they rejected Faith.

Surah 46:29-32

Behold, We turned towards thee a company of Jinns (quietly) listening to the Quran: when they stood in the presence thereof, they said, "Listen in silence!" When the (reading) was finished, they returned to their people, to warn (them of their sins). They said, "O our people! We have heard a Book revealed after Moses, confirming what came before it: it guides (men) to the Truth and to a Straight Path. "O our people, hearken to the one who invites (you) to God, and believe in him: He will forgive you your faults, and deliver you from a Penalty Grievous. "If any does not hearken to the one who invites (us) to God, he cannot frustrate (God's Plan) on earth, and no protectors can he have besides God: such men (wander) in manifest error."

Surah 72:11;14-15

'There are among us some that are righteous, and some the contrary: we follow divergent paths. 'Amongst us are some that submit their wills (to God), and some that swerve from justice. Now those who submit their wills - they have sought out (the path) of right conduct: 'But those who swerve,- they are (but) fuel for Hell-fire'-

 

The hadith which shows that Gabriel said that this was part of Satan in the Prophet's heart and the devil circulating in the blood people. These are just figures of speech only to emphasize that the devil is always around trying to persuade people to do evil. 

There are many examples of hadith, which talks about the devil in a figure of speech. (*,*,*,*,*,*,*) We could also see this in the Bible in Matthew 16:23, 1 Timothy 1:20

 

How can the Prophet be possessed by Satan when he was a great enemy of Satan...

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 4, Book 55, Number 590:

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

The Prophet used to seek Refuge with Allah for Al-Hasan and Al-Husain and say: "Your forefather (i.e. Abraham) used to seek Refuge with Allah for Ishmael and Isaac by reciting the following: 'O Allah! I seek Refuge with Your Perfect Words from every devil and from poisonous pests and from every evil, harmful, envious eye.' "

 

Saheeh Muslim

Book 004, Number 1166:

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When any one of you is in doubt about his prayer and he does Dot know how much he has prayed, three or four (rak'ahs). he should cast aside his doubt and base his prayer on what he is sure of. then perform two prostrations before giving salutations. If he has prayed five rak'ahs, they will make his prayer an even number for him, and if he has prayed exactly four, they will be humiliation for the devil.

 

The Prophet assured us that the devil could never take an image of him...

Book 029, Number 5638:

Jabir reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: He who saw me in sleep in fact saw me, for it is not possible for the satan to appear in my form; and he also said: When any one of you sees a hulm he should not inform anyone, for it is a sort of vain sport of devil in the state of sleep.

 

Sunan Abu Dawud

Book 14, Number 2597:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr:

When the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) was travelling and night came on, he said: O earth, my Lord and your Lord is Allah; I seek refuge in Allah from your evil, the evil of what you contain, the evil of what has been created in you, and the evil of what creeps upon you; I seek refuge in Allah from lions, from large black snakes, from other snakes, from scorpions, from the evil of jinn which inhabit a settlement, and from a parent and his offspring.

 

Now yes the devil is 'attached to everyone' in the sense that there is always a Jinn who is trying to incite evil in the person. However, the Prophet was an exception because he overcame the devil with the will of God. However, even if the devil tried to incite the Prophet to do evil, would that make the Prophet demon possessed? Of course not!

Why don't we try to see what the Bible says about the devil...

Job 2:3

3 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited (cuwth) me against him to ruin him without any reason."

Cuwth means...

1) to incite, allure, instigate, entice

a) (Hiphil)

1) to incite (to a request)

2) to allure, lure

3) to instigate (bad sense)

 

Source: http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/5/1145124452-6142.html 

 

Shamoun has a problem with the devil trying to incite the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) yet his own Bible says that the devil incited God Himself to do wrong! Would that make the God of the Bible demon possessed? 

Sam Shamoun said:

This is in stark contrast to the Lord Jesus who expressly stated that Satan had absolutely no hold on him:

"I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. HE HAS NO POWER OVER ME;" John 14:30

In fact, Christ went so far as to insure believers that they would be given his sovereign authority to overcome and trample Satan and his demons:

"The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us IN YOUR NAME!’ And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I HAVE GIVEN YOU AUTHORITY to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’" Luke 10:17-20

 

My Response:

Okay fine I also just quoted hadith that shows that the Prophet was safe from the devil by the grace of God and that the Prophet would also give ways to his followers on how to repel and resist the devil. 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Furthermore, Waraqa bin Naufal, the Christian monk whom Khadijah took Muhammad to see after his encounter with the spirit, suspected that Satan might have deceived Muhammad:

"Waraqa was dumbfounded at this, and said, ‘If Gabriel has actually placed his feet upon the earth, he has done so for the best of people thereupon. And he never came down for anyone except a prophet. For he is the companion of all the prophets and messengers, the one whom God sends down to them. I believe what you tell me of him. Send for ‘Abd Allah’s son, so that I may question him, hear what he says and talk to him. I am afraid it may be someone other than Gabriel, for certain devils imitate him and by so doing can mislead and corrupt some men. This can result in a man becoming confused and even crazy whereas before he had been of sound mind.’" (Ibn Kathir, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya), Volume I, translated by professor Trevor Le Gassick, reviewed by Dr. Ahmed Fareed [Garnet Publishing Limited, 8 Southern Court, south Street Reading RG1 4QS, UK; The Center for Muslim Contribution to Civilization, 1998], pp. 296-297; bold and underline emphasis ours)

In light of the foregoing, the testimony of Abu Lahab’s wife holds a lot of weight since it agrees with the belief of Muhammad’s foster parents as well as his own initial assessment of the situation.

 

My Response:

Again, like before Sam is quoting someone who THOUGHT and was AFRAID that the Prophet might have had an experience with a devil. However, did Waraqa continue to believe in this?...

 

Sahih Bukhari

Volume 1, Book 1, Number 3:

Narrated 'Aisha:

(the mother of the faithful believers) The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah's Apostle was in the form of good dreams which came true like bright day light, and then the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him. He used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family. He used to take with him the journey food for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food like-wise again till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, "I do not know how to read.

The Prophet added, "The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, 'I do not know how to read.' Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, 'I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?' Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said, 'Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists) has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous." (96.1, 96.2, 96.3) Then Allah's Apostle returned with the Inspiration and with his heart beating severely. Then he went to Khadija bint Khuwailid and said, "Cover me! Cover me!" They covered him till his fear was over and after that he told her everything that had happened and said, "I fear that something may happen to me." Khadija replied, "Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your Kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones."

Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin 'Abdul 'Uzza, who, during the PreIslamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to Waraqa, "Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!" Waraqa asked, "O my nephew! What have you seen?" Allah's Apostle described whatever he had seen. Waraqa said, "This is the same one who keeps the secrets (angel Gabriel) whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out." Allah's Apostle asked, "Will they drive me out?" Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said, "Anyone (man) who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility; and if I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly." But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while.

Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah Al-Ansari while talking about the period of pause in revelation reporting the speech of the Prophet "While I was walking, all of a sudden I heard a voice from the sky. I looked up and saw the same angel who had visited me at the cave of Hira' sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth. I got afraid of him and came back home and said, 'Wrap me (in blankets).' And then Allah revealed the following Holy Verses (of Quran):

'O you (i.e. Muhammad)! wrapped up in garments!' Arise and warn (the people against Allah's Punishment),... up to 'and desert the idols.' (74.1-5) After this the revelation started coming strongly, frequently and regularly."

Volume 4, Book 55, Number 605:

Narrated 'Aisha:

The Prophet returned to Khadija while his heart was beating rapidly. She took him to Waraqa bin Naufal who was a Christian convert and used to read the Gospels in Arabic Waraqa asked (the Prophet), "What do you see?" When he told him, Waraqa said, "That is the same angel whom Allah sent to the Prophet) Moses. Should I live till you receive the Divine Message, I will support you strongly."

 

See also Volume 6, Book 60, Number 478, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 111 and in Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0301:

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Now is this at all similar to the accusations which were leveled against Jesus in Mark 3:22? Not even close as the context itself shows:

"And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they should crush him; for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. And whenever the unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God.’ And he strictly ordered them not to make him known… And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He is possessed by Be-el'zebul, and by the prince of demons HE CASTS OUT DEMONS.’ And he called them to him, and said to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house. ‘Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’ -- for they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’" Mark 3:9-12, 22-30

Notice that the reason why the scribes accused Jesus of being possessed WAS DUE TO HIS HAVING THE POWER TO CAST OUT DEMONS! Unlike Muhammad, they didn’t accuse Jesus of demon possession because the Spirit had left him or had delayed in returning to him, or because Christ had contemplated suicide as a result of thinking that he may have been possessed. Zawadi’s appeal to Mark 3:22 is nothing more than the fallacy of false analogy since he is comparing apples and oranges at this point.

 

My Response:

The reason for the accusation is irrelevant. Because it is still possible for someone to cast out demons by the power of the devil. Therefore, it was a good reason for them to accuse Jesus because it was possible. The reason for the accusation is irrelevant, the issue is whether the accusation holds any water. 

It does not against the glorious Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Now Zawadi may try to use Jesus’ statements in Mark regarding Satan dividing against himself to prove that the Quran is true since it attacks Satan as an enemy of God. Why would Satan attack himself in the Quran if the latter were his work since he would be divided against himself and could therefore not stand?

This position betrays a certain naiveté on how Satan actually works, at least according to the Holy Bible. The Scriptures plainly teach that Satan will and does masquerade his lies in the guise of religious truth:

"I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if some one comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough." 2 Corinthians 11:2-4

Paul warned believers from Satan’s cunning in preaching another Jesus and a different Gospel in order to mislead them from the truth. Satan even appears as an angel and raises ministers who practice righteousness to deceive people!

"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds." 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

What the foregoing shows is that Satan doesn’t mind producing a religion which attacks him since he realizes that any religion which doesn’t originate from the true God cannot affect him. A religion that does not originate from God and which does not have the authority of the risen and exalted Christ can do nothing to stop the Adversary or undermine his cause to destroy the souls of men.

In other words, just because a religion happens to mention Satan this doesn’t make it correct, nor does it mean that it has the right Satan or the real Adversary in mind. The religion can quite possibly be a satanic counterfeit aimed at deceiving people into thinking that they are truly opposing God’s spiritual enemy by following it.

And this is precisely the position that Muslims are in since they erroneously assume that the figure that the Quran calls Satan is actually the Devil. In reality, the Satan of Islam is not the same one mentioned in the Holy Bible - just as the Jesus of Islam is not the real Jesus of history, the Christ of faith.

Besides, if this Muslim claim is correct then this means any religion which warns against Satan must also be true and could not originate from the Devil. Therefore, Mormonism, Bahaism, Ahmadiyyism, etc. could not be satanic in origin since they all have negative things to say about the Adversary. Yet all these religions have conflicting views of God, Christ, Satan, man and the nature of salvation. Unless we assume that God inspires chaos and confusion it is evident that not all of these religions can be from the same divine source. They can all be false, but they can’t all be true.

 

My Response:

Sam does not realize that this argument could also be used against his religion. Anyone could come up and say MAYBE THIS AND MAYBE THAT, where is the OBJECTIVE proof?

 

Sam Shamoun said:

As far as Paul is concerned, there is ample evidence supporting his conversion and encounter with the risen Lord. For instance, Jesus didn’t simply appear to Paul but also to a disciple named Ananias whom he sent to baptize Paul:

"As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' 'Who are you, Lord?' Saul asked. 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' he replied. 'Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.' The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, 'Ananias!' 'Yes, Lord,' he answered. The Lord told him, 'Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. IN A VISION HE HAS SEEN A MAN NAMED ANANIAS COME AND PLACE HIS HANDS ON HIM TO RESTORE HIS SIGHT.' 'Lord,' Ananias answered, 'I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.' But the Lord said to Ananias, 'Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.' Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord - Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here - has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.' Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God." Acts 9:3-20

The reason why Jesus appeared to Ananias should be obvious. By appearing and sending Ananias to Paul, Jesus was giving confirmation that what Saul had seen wasn't a deception or the figment of his overactive imagination. After all, individuals normally do not have the same dream or vision where they receive messages independently from one another so as to verify each others' experiences.

My Response:

I was expecting a more solid reply from Sam. Couldn't the devil have simply deceived both Paul and Ananias? Your defense is weak and does not disprove the POSSIBILITY that it was the devil. 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Furthermore, the other Apostles such as Peter confirmed Paul’s Apostleship and gave him the right hand of fellowship:

"And when he had come to Jerusalem he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists; but they were seeking to kill him." Acts 9:26-29

"For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it; and I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cili'cia. And I was still not known by sight to the churches of Christ in Judea; they only heard it said, ‘He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.’ And they glorified God because of me." Galatians 1:11-24

"Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up by revelation; and I laid before them (but privately before those who were of repute) the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, lest somehow I should be running or had run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. But because of false brethren secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage -- to them we did not yield submission even for a moment, that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who were reputed to be something (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) -- those, I say, who were of repute added nothing to me; but on the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for the mission to the circumcised worked through me also for the Gentiles), and when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised; only they would have us remember the poor, which very thing I was eager to do." Galatians 2:1-10

Peter even classified Paul’s writings as Holy Scripture:

"And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures." 2 Peter 3:15-16

Thus, if Paul was deceived into deceiving others, so were the rest of the disciples and eyewitnesses of Christ.

 

My Response:

Sam is forgetting that there were other apostles who disagreed with Paul regarding major issues of doctrine...

Galatians 1:6

6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel

Galatians 3:1-3

1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish?

2 Corinthians 11:4-5

4For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles."

2 Corinthians 11: 22-24

What anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I. 23Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.

Lets also not forget the incident of Paul opposing Peter at Antioch...

Galatians 2:11-21

Paul Opposes Peter

11When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. (why did people such as the Apostle James still believe that the law regarding food should still be applied? If Jesus came to replace the law, then why are they still following the law?) 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. (so, Peter, James and Barnabas are wrong?)

 14When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

15"We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners' 16know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. (why are they arguing over following the law or not? Why are they not in agreement of doctrine?)

 17"If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"[d]

Paul condemns all Jewish Christians including Peter and Barnabas. We only have Paul’s side of the story but Peter’s recollection of this story is not given to us in the New Testament.

Peter truly would have known Jesus better than Paul. There is dispute whether 1 Peter is a letter written by Peter and almost all scholars, ancient and modern agree that 2 Peter is not a letter written by Peter. Sam may argue and quote his scholars to prove that 2 Peter is written by Peter, however there are still many major Christian scholars who don't think that 2 Peter was written by Peter so at the end of the day we are not going to be 100% sure and therefore cannot use 2 Peter as evidence to prove that he agreed with Paul. 

 

Acts 4:31

31After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

If Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit then why is Paul calling Peter a hypocrite for eating with the Gentiles and then when people came from James he got up. James is Jesus’ half brother, he lived and stayed with Jesus. Why did he still think that people have to eat kosher meat? We don’t have any account of Peter’s story regarding this incident. Barnabas is also called a hypocrite in verse 13. Look how in verses 15 thought 17 Paul is arguing with them about the law. That means the disciples wanted to follow the law and suggested following it. Otherwise Paul wouldn’t have mentioned it. How could he say those things to Peter and look what Jesus said about Peter

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Finally, what makes Zawadi’s argument regarding Paul not knowing Jesus well enough to identify him truly amazing is just how inconsistent this position is. After all, Muhammad was born roughly five hundred and seventy years after the birth of Christ and could not have seen or known Jesus enough to identify him either. Yet this still doesn’t prevent Zawadi from believing that Muhammad could give a description of Christ as reported in the hadith literature:

Narrated Ibn Umar:
The Prophet said, "I saw Moses, Jesus and Abraham (on the night of my Ascension to the heavens). Jesus was of red complexion, curly hair and a broad chest. Moses was of brown complexion, straight hair and tall stature as if he was from the people of Az-Zutt." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 648)

Narrated Salim from his father:
No, By Allah, the Prophet did not tell that Jesus was of red complexion but said, "While I was asleep circumambulating the Ka'ba (in my dream), suddenly I saw a man of brown complexion and lank hair walking between two men, and water was dropping from his head. I asked, 'Who is this?' The people said, 'He is the son of Mary.' Then I looked behind and I saw a red-complexioned, fat, curly-haired man, blind in the right eye which looked like a bulging out grape. I asked, 'Who is this?' They replied, 'He is Ad-Dajjal.' The one who resembled to him among the people, was Ibn Qatar." (Az-Zuhri said, "He (i.e. Ibn Qatan) was a man from the tribe Khuza'a who died in the pre-Islamic period.") (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 650)

The reason? Because Zawadi erroneously assumes that what Muhammad saw was a vision from God. Yet the problem with believing that Muhammad saw Jesus in a vision is that, unlike the blessed Paul, he had none of the eyewitnesses of Christ to confirm his experience. In fact, Muhammad contradicts the writings of those who had seen Christ or had seen the eyewitnesses of Jesus, proving that he was not receiving genuine revelation from the true God.

 

My Response:

The reason why I said that was only to show your logic of using circumstantial evidence to prove something. 

So Paul and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) both did not physically see Jesus during Jesus ministry on earth. But they both claimed to have seen him, so who is right? Sam tilts the favor a bit more onto Paul's side because Paul could have verified with the apostles. However, its possible that Satan could have appeared as someone who looked like Jesus and not exactly Jesus and thus Paul saying the description would match that of Jesus. So there is really no favor on either side. It all just comes down to whose religion is the truth or not. 

Sam Shamoun said:

Moreover, the problem is not with Muhammad getting scared. Rather, the problem is with the reason why Muhammad got scared, i.e. the spirit physically tortured him in their first encounter

My Response:

Gabriel did not torture the Prophet he just pressed him hard. How is that torturing?

 

Now as for the rest of the paper Sam Shamoun's basic argument is that because the Prophets of the Old Testament did not have the same experiences when receiving revelation such as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) then this necessarily implies that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is not a true Prophet. There are some problems with this assertion...

First, Shamoun assumes that his Bible is the true authentic word of God and is using it as a criteria to judge Prophet Muhammad. This is something that he still needs to prove and not just assert. 

Secondly, Shamoun is arguing from silence. He thinks that just because his Bible does not mention these experiences then that necessarily implies that they didn't happen. 

Shamoun recently had a debate with Sami Zaatri on the topic, "Is Jesus God", which can be downloaded here . Sam Shamoun says in the 20th minute 10th second...

Your arguing from silence, right, and absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Now let me repeat that again. Now just because the documents do not say that he said "x" does not mean that he didn't say "x".

So notice, Shamoun is committing the same fallacy he accused Sami Zaatri of doing. There are many Prophets in the Old Testament that we do not know full and complete details about. Therefore, it would not be fair to say with conviction that they did not have the same experiences. 

Thirdly, Sam quotes from the book of Daniel and gospel of Luke to show Prophet's experiences with Gabriel. But Sam forgot an important point. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) saw Gabriel in his true original form while receiving the revelation. He saw him up close and personal and had physical contact with him. Daniel saw Gabriel while Gabriel took the form of a man...

 

"While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill-- while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, ‘Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.’" Daniel 9:20-22

However, this man did have extraordinary features...

Daniel 10:5-6

I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist.  His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.

 

If we continue reading on you will see that Daniel was actually terrified...

Daniel 10:7-15

7 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9 Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.

    10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, "Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you." And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.

    12 Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come."

    15 While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. 16 Then one who looked like a man [b] touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, "I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I feel very weak. 17 How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe."

 

So here we see that Daniel got terrified from his vision just like Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him did. We also see in verse 15 that Daniel had problems breathing. I believe that 'gasping for air' was one of the criteria that Shamoun put forth for someone being possessed by a demon while receiving revelation. So does Daniel fit the criteria as well? Or is Sam Shamoun being a hypocrite and only applying it to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)?

 

 

CONCLUSION

Sam Shamoun has not provided me with any objective without a shadow of a doubt evidence to convince me that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was possessed. It is all weak circumstantial evidence that could actually be used against the Prophets of the Old Testament. Shamoun uses the criteria of the pagan Arabs at the time and his Bible to judge Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him without even first showing us why such a criteria is the correct standard to use for judgment. Sam Shamoun has no case.

 

 

 

 

 

Back to My Rebuttals, and exposing the lies of the Answering Islam team section.

Rebuttals by Bassam Zawadi.

Islam and the Noble Quran - Questions and Answers.

Answering Trinity.

Contradictions and History of Corruption in the Bible.

Questions about Jesus that trinitarian Christians don't have logical answers for.

What parts of the Bible do Muslims believe are closest to the Truth? and Why?

"Allah" was GOD Almighty's original Name in the Bible according to the Hebrew and Aramaic sources.

Scientific Miracles in Islam and the Noble Quran.

Most of the Bible's books and gospels were written by mysterious people!

Jesus mentioned Muhammad by the name in the Bible.

Did Isaiah 53 really prophesies about the crucifixion of Jesus? It supports Islam's claims about Jesus peace be upon him never died on the cross.  I also addressed John 19:36-37 from the Bible and proved that Jesus never got crucified, since GOD Almighty promised that he will protect Jesus' body and not let even a single bone be broken.    My question to all Christians is: How in the world is it possible for the feet to get nailed on the cross without any penetration to the bones by the nails, hence breaking part of the feet's bones?! I also added refutations to Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12, Zechariah 12:10 and Psalm 34:20, which supposedly prove the Christians' belief about Jesus crucifixion.  I proved that this dogma has no truth what so ever and exposed the wrong Trinitarian English translation of Zechariah 12:10.


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