Making the Bible More Islamic Than the Qur’an Through the First Half of the Islamic Creed (the Shahada)

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Muslims have long claimed that Jews and Christians changed the Bible so that neither of them would accept Muhammad as the final prophet from God. While history stands as a witness against this baseless allegation, Muslims need no longer to rely on their polemical misinterpretations of the Bible to find “support” for Muhammad being a prophet. They merely have to turn to a most unlikely ally – professing evangelicals who, in the name of Bible translation, have produced “contextualized translations” in the “heart language” of Muslims, also known as “Muslim Idiom Translation” (MIT). 1

There are no less than 4 Arabic “versions” of the Bible or New Testament that contain the first part of the Islamic creed or confession of faith, that is, the shahada, 2 “There is no god but Allah” (لا إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ). There are two significant problems in rendering any part of the Bible with this phrase. First, “There is no god but Allah” is a highly technical phrase with a very restricted meaning within Islam. It is considered incompatible with the monotheism (i.e. the belief in one God) of the Bible. In his dissertation, Dr. Fred Farrokh interviewed a Palestinian Imam who explained the importance of tawhid [i.e. the oneness of God or Islamic monotheism] as a theological construct, “In Islam, you have to destroy all thoughts which are un-Islamic” (2013). He applied this to the shahada confession that “there is no God but Allah,” “You must make a nafy (denial) that there are any other gods, and an ithbat (confirmation) that Allah is the only one God” (U5 2013). 3

Of even greater significance is the fact that there is no textual justification for the phrase, “There is no god but Allah,” in any of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts of the Bible. The following two charts list the 4 MIT versions and their occurrences followed by a chart contrasting this phrase with the corresponding accurate and faithful renderings of the biblical manuscripts from the New American Standard Bible (NASB):

 

Name References Containing  the First Part of the Shahada (i.e. the Islamic creed or confession of faith)
1. Today’s Arabic Version

(available through the app, YouVersion, https://www.bible.com/)

1 Corinthians 8:4

 

2a. Sharif Bible (2000 through 2013)

(this includes both printed and digital copies)

 

2b. Sharif Bible

(available through the app, YouVersion, https://www.bible.com/, or http://www.sharifbible.com/)

2 Samuel 7:22; 22:32; 1 Chronicles 17:20; Psalm 18:31; Isaiah 45:14; 1 Cor 8:4; 1 Tim 2:5; James 2:19

 

 

2 Samuel 7:22; 22:32; 1 Chronicles 17:20; Psalm 18:31; 1 Corinthians 8:4

 

 

3. The True Meaning of the Gospel of Christ

(currently available online through the app, YouVersion, https://www.bible.com/, or http://asraarulinjil.com/. The printed version uses the title The Bold Proclamation of the Apostles of Christ)

1 Corinthians 8:4, 6; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Al-Injil (New Testament)

note: the verse numbers are placed at the end of each verse as found in the Qur’an

(available for download at https://raw.githubusercontent.com/alkotob/bible-translations/master/files/injil.pdf or copy and paste the following in a browser: https://alkotob.org/injil)

 

1 Corinthians 8:4, 6; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19

 

 

 

 

 

Reference Corresponding Phrase

from the NASB

First Part of the Shahada Used In Place of the Corresponding Phrases In the Middle Column
2 Samuel 7:22 there is no God besides You There is no god but Allah
2 Samuel 22:32 For who is God, besides the Lord? There is no god but Allah
1 Chronicles 17:20 nor is there any God besides You There is no god but Allah
Psalm 18:31 For who is God, but the Lord? There is no god but Allah
Isaiah 45:14 No other God There is no god but Allah
1 Corinthians 8:4 there is no God but one There is no god but Allah
1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is but one God There is no god but Allah
Ephesians 4:6 one God There is no god but Allah
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God There is no god but Allah
James 2:19 God is one There is no god but Allah

 

Since the Qur’an contains the first part of the shahada in only two places (Sura 37:35; 47:19), the Sharif Bible, The True Meaning of the Gospel of Christ/The Bold Proclamation of the Apostles of Christ, and Al-Injil, which are produced by professing evangelicals, all promote Islam through this phrase more than does the Qur’an.

 

The Means to Conversion to Islam

The shahada consists of two phrases in Arabic:

1. “There is no god but Allah”
2. “and Muhammad is his messenger.”

It is through the repetition of this creed in Arabic that one becomes a Muslim. Islamic theology treats both phrases as reciprocal. In other words, neither phrase stands by itself—the first phrase implies the second while the second assumes the first. When Muslims read or hear “there is no god but Allah” in Arabic, they understand this to imply the affirmation of Muhammad being Allah’s messenger who alone is the “Seal of the prophets” (that is, the final prophet who is greater than all of the previous “prophets” including Jesus Christ—see Sura 33:40). 4

 

Making Muhammad Greater than Jesus?

Islamic theology also regards the first part of the shahada as exclusive to Islam. Regardless of the claims and assumptions by MIT proponents that this phrase is identical to biblical monotheism, Islamic theology teaches that its mere repetition incurs great benefits only for Muslims. This exclusivity is readily apparent in the online compilation, “Forty Hadiths On The Merit Of Saying La Ilaha Illallah [i.e. there is no god but Allah].” 5

One of these 40 hadiths comes from the collection of Al-Bukhari, which is considered by Sunni Muslims to be the most authoritative of hadith collections. According to this hadith, on the Day of Resurrection (that is, the Day of Judgment),  Muhammad alone, to the exclusion of and exaltation above all other “prophets”—including Jesus—is given the ability to intercede for Muslims who are in Hell that they may enter Paradise in conjunction with their saying, in Arabic, “there is no god but Allah” (which is transliterated as “La ilaha illal-lah” in the following quote):

The Prophet [i.e. Muhammad] said, “Allah will gather the believers [i.e. Muslims] on the Day of Resurrection in the same way (as they are gathered in this life), and they will say, ‘Let us ask someone to intercede for us with our Lord that He may relieve us from this place of ours.’ Then they will go to Adam…Adam will say, ‘I am not fit for this undertaking…But you d [sic]better go to Noah…Noah…will reply, ‘I am not fit for this undertaking…But you’d better go to Abraham…Abraham…will reply, ‘I am not fit for this undertaking…But you’d better go to Moses…Moses…will reply, ‘I am not fit for this undertaking…You’d better go to Jesus…Jesus…will say, ‘I am not fit for this undertaking, but you’d better go to Muhammad… [emphasis added]So they will come to me [i.e. Muhammad] and I will ask the permission of my Lord, and I will be permitted (to present myself) before Him. When I see my Lord, I will fall down in (prostration) before Him and He will leave me (in prostration) as long as He wishes, and then it will be said to me, ‘O Muhammad! Raise your head and speak, for you will be listened to; and ask, for you will be granted (your request); and intercede, for your intercession will be accepted.’ I will then raise my head and praise my Lord with certain praises which He has taught me, and then I will intercede. Allah will allow me to intercede (for a certain kind of people) and will fix a limit whom I will admit into Paradise….[after Muhammad repeats this same process]…I will come back and say, ‘O my Lord! None remains in Hell (Fire) but those whom Qur’an has imprisoned therein and for whom eternity in Hell (Fire) has become inevitable.’ “

The Prophet added, “There will come out of Hell (Fire) everyone who says: ‘La ilaha illal-lah,’ [i.e. “there is no god but Allah”] and has in his heart good equal to the weight of a barley grain. Then there will come out of Hell (Fire) everyone who says: ‘ La ilaha illal-lah,’ [i.e. “there is no god but Allah”] and has in his heart good equal to the weight of a wheat grain. Then there will come out of Hell (Fire) everyone who says: ‘La ilaha illal-lah,’ [i.e. “there is no god but Allah”] and has in his heart good equal to the weight of an atom (or a smallest ant).” 6

Leaving aside the erroneous belief that those in Hell can be rescued from it (e.g. see Luke 16:26), this hadith clearly teaches that the efficacy of the first part of the shahada assumes that Muhammad is “the Seal of the prophets,” the sole intercessor between God and man. He is greater than Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. This hadith also shows that repetition of the first part of the shahada is sufficient to be considered a “believer,” that is, a Muslim, and enter Paradise, even though the second part of the creed is not spoken.

 

Arousing Anger & Censure

When I have either shown former Muslims the first part of the shahada in one of the four books in the above chart or simply mentioned it to them, they are shocked or angered—oftentimes a combination of both. A former Muslim from Iraq told me that had he seen this phrase within the Sharif Bible prior to his conversion he would have refused to read it because it was an Islamic book (he was not a devout Muslim). Another former Muslim, born into a Shi’a family in Lebanon, raised in an Islamic orphanage after his father’s death, and who subsequently studied Sunni Islam in Mecca for a number of years, was left almost speechless with incredulity when I showed him the shahada in the Sharif Bible. This was quite an accomplishment, considering that this normally talkative person is almost never at a loss for words.  When I had him turn to 1 Corinthians 8:4 in Today’s Arabic Version, he commented that this upholds Islam then took his pen and crossed it out!

After reviewing a draft of this article, a former Muslim from Iraq with whom I have had the privilege of serving on different occasions commented:

I have to admit, I am totally ignorant of the source of these translations and the motive behind making them. When I was first exposed to the Sharif translation…I felt that it was a very lame, cheap and obvious attempt to preach the gospel to Muslims.

The only reaction among Muslims that I can think of, when they read these translations, sounds something like “I like it! It shows me that I’ve been right all along, and that the Quran is inspired and authoritative.” I am not familiar with anyone who has read these translations and decided to turn away from the Quran.

I would neither use, nor give, nor endorse any of these translations. I am not only a former Muslim, I am a student of God’s word, a preacher and a teacher,  and I have to be very particular of what I use and suggest. 7

Earlier this year, a former Muslim from Saudi Arabia, in our very first conversation with one another felt it important enough to warn me against the Sharif Bible. He pulled a copy from his bookshelf and told me how prior to his conversion, he and other Muslims mocked it as a desperate ploy by Christians to trick Muslims. This sentiment is in keeping with Muslim perceptions that Christians are unethical. In an online article in Arabic entitled, “Means of Christian Missionaries” (Arabic, “وسائل المنصرين”), the author prefaces his article with the following:

Before getting into the various means, I would like to mention that Christians use all means, honorable or dishonorable, since it is permissible for them. The rule [by which they operate]is that the end justifies the means, whatever they may be.” 8

Others have experienced similar reactions. Carol Ghattas, who served along with her husband as a missionary for 20 years in the Middle East, wrote the following regarding the Sharif Bible:

Should the Language of the Bible Be Adapted for Those from Non-Christian Religions?

…the Injil al-Sharif [i.e. the New Testament of the Sharif Bible]…which in targeting a Muslim audience, changes words within the text itself or presents biblical truth in a “quranic” format…we have seen new followers of Christ reject these forms of Scripture for a traditional form when able to compare the two.

These “quaranicized” Bibles can actually hinder the growth of new believers and bring confusion when they do eventually read the literal translations or come in fellowship with believers in other settings. 9

The repeated, identical reactions of shock and anger by former Muslims stand as a witness that the phrase, “there is no god but Allah,” does not convey to them the biblical teaching that God is one, which includes His triune nature with its eternal Fatherhood, Sonship, and Spirithood (e.g. Deut 6:4; cf. Isa 48:16; Matt 28:19). The presence of the first part of the shahada rather conveys to them that Islamic teaching is being upheld. Muslims themselves will be inclined to conclude that this is either a confirmation that Islam is true—thus discrediting any and all parts of a MIT that may be adequately rendered—or a contemptible attempt to deceive them.

 

“There is no god but Allah” vs. “There is no god but God”

It may initially appear that the use of the phrase, “There is no god but Allah,” is simply an affirmation of monotheism since “allah” is the common Arabic word for “God” used by all Arabic speakers, regardless of religious belief. For this reason, the phrase is often rendered, “There is no god but God.” There are, however, several important factors that we must consider: “allah” has been typically used in Arabic translations of Scripture as a rendering for “elohim/el/eloah” in Hebrew and “theos” in Greek when referring to the one, true God. It is not normally used for YHWH (“LORD”) in Hebrew or “kurios” (“Lord”) in Greek. The use of “allah” in such translations is only as a generic word for deity, not for any of God’s personal names or special titles.

The use of “allah” within faithful and accurate translations of Scripture in Arabic is not identical to its use within Islam. This point cannot be overstated. Islam exalts a generic term for deity which runs counter to the Old Testament distinction between “God” and “the LORD.” Within Islam, there is no room for a personal name for the Creator such as was revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14 (“I am who I am”) related to which is YHWH (‘He is”). Under the New Covenant, the personal name of the incarnate Creator is “Jesus” in which is contained the abbreviation for YHWH (i.e. “YH”). 10

“Allah” is understood by Muslims to be the “ultimate” known name/title for the Creator. 11

The absence of a personal name for the Creator within Islam is consistent with its teaching that “Allah” is the master and his believers are his slaves. There is no relational intimacy within Islam between the Creator and his believers. When a Muslim reads or hears, “there is no god but Allah,” it reinforces the Islamic notion of the Creator, namely, a non-relational being who is only to be feared and obeyed. Inserting the first part of the shahada in these MIT productions implies that God is not relational; He does not desire intimacy with those who believe in Him; and is ultimately unknowable. Such false ideas thoroughly contradict the revelation of God throughout Scripture.

“Allah” is sharply contrasted with Jesus Christ within the Qur’an. Unlike a number of passages in the Bible in which “God” is explicitly used in reference to Jesus (e.g. Matthew 1:23; John 1:1; 5:18; 10:33; 20:28; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; 2 Pet 1:1; Jude 4), “allah” within Islam can never be applied to Jesus. It is a polemical attack against the deity of Jesus and the triune nature of God.

The Qur’an explicitly denounces the deity of Jesus and His worship, contrasting this with the worship of Allah:

(Remember) when God [i.e. Allah] said, ‘Jesus, son of Mary! Did you say to the people, “Take me and my mother as two gods instead of God [i.e. Allah] (alone)…I only said to them what You commanded me: “Serve God [i.e. Allah], my Lord and your Lord!”… (Sura 5:116-117)

A similar passage is found in Sura 43:

Ask those of Our messengers whom We sent before you: Did We appoint any other gods than the Merciful to be served?…When the son of Mary is cited as an example…He [i.e. Jesus] was only a servant [lit. slave] whom We blessed and We made him an example for the Sons of Israel…When Jesus brought you the clear signs, he said…Surely God [i.e. Allah] – He is my Lord and your Lord, so serve Him! This is a straight path. (Sura 43:45, 57, 59, 63-64)

According to the Qur’an, Jesus cannot be God because He was created by God speaking Him into existence in the same way that He created Adam or anything else:

When the angels said, ‘Mary! Surely God [i.e. Allah] gives you good news of a word [i.e. a spoken utterance from Him]: his name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary…She said, ‘My Lord, how shall I have a child, when no man has touched me?’ He said, ‘So (it will be)! God  [i.e. Allah] creates whatever He pleases. When He decrees something, He simply says to it, “Be!” and it is.’ (Sura 3:45, 47) [emphasis added]

Surely the likeness of Jesus is, with God [i.e. Allah] as the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, (and) then He said to him, ‘Be!’ and he was. The truth (is) from your Lord, so do not be one of the doubters. (Sura 3:59-60) [emphasis added]

People of the Book! Do not go beyond the limits in your religion, and do not say about God [i.e. Allah] (anything) but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only a messenger of God [i.e. Allah], and His word, which He cast into Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in God [i.e. Allah] and His messengers, but do not say, ‘Three.’ Stop! (it will be) better for you. God [i.e. Allah] is only one God. Glory to Him! (Far be it) that He should have a son! To Him (belongs) whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. God [i.e. Allah] is sufficient as a guardian. (Sura 4:171) [emphasis added]

That was Jesus, son of Mary – a statement of the truth about which they are in doubt. It is not for God [i.e. Allah] to take any son. Glory to Him! When He decrees something, He simply says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is. Surely God [i.e. Allah] is my Lord and your Lord, so serve Him! (Sura 19:34-36) [emphasis added]

A special comment is warranted here regarding the use of “word” (Arabic, kalima) in these passages as a referent to Jesus. Although “kalima” is the same Arabic word that appears in most Arabic translations of John 1:1, the Qur’an never refers to Jesus as “the Word” or “the Word of God.” Jesus is only stated in the Qur’an to be “a word from Him” (Sura 3:45; emphasis added) and “His word, which He cast into Mary” (Sura 4:171; emphasis added). It is clear from the context of both passages that Jesus is a created being through God’s ability to speak things into existence. This is why all attempts to appeal to the deity of Jesus from these passages is mistaken. Such misguided attempts are no different than Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc. taking phrases or passages from the Bible out of context in the attempt to find support for their anti-biblical beliefs.

In agreement with the above, Islamic commentaries on the Qur’an (Arabic, tafsir, singular; tafasir, plural) explain that “there is no god but Allah” is something other than what Christians believe. The following English summaries of two different Islamic commentators are sufficiently representative of how Muslims understand and explain the first part of the shahada:

Tabari interprets the word sawa’ (just or common) to mean a just word. He reports that, according to Abu al-‘Aliyah, the “just word” is the shahadah, or testimony that there is no god but God [i.e. allah]. By the phrase “and that we do not take one another as lords” is meant, Tabari argues, “the obedience which they accorded their leaders, and by which they committed acts of rebellion against God [i.e. allah].” Tabari cites in support of this interpretation the verse “They took their rabbis and monks, as well as Christ, son of Mary, as lords instead of God [i.e. allah]. Yet they were commanded to worship only one God [i.e. allah] (Q. 9: 3I).” According to ‘Ikrimah, the verse means “bowing down for one another” 12 [emphasis added]

Tabataba’i…argues that “it is also possible that this ‘just word’ means that it is an affirmation on which the Qur’an, the Torah and the Gospel all agree. It is a word of divine oneness. If this is what is intended, then God’s saying, ‘that we worship no one except God’ [i.e. allah] would be a way of substituting the true interpretation of this ‘word’ of common consent for the word itself. But if God [i.e. allah] here refers to the willful and unacceptable interpretation of the people of the Book of their own scriptures, then the word applies to their caprices, or their ideas of incarnation, the divine sonship of Christ and the trinity, as well as the worship of rabbis, priests and bishops. The meaning of the ‘just word’ would be the word, or affirmation, of divine oneness. Divine oneness (tawhid) demands rejection of associates with God [i.e. allah], and that others be not taken as lords instead of Him.” ¶With regard to the phrase “that we worship no one except God [i.e. allah],” Tabataba’i then argues that it is one of negation of worship of any being but God [i.e. allah], not one of affirmation of the worship of God [i.e. allah]. This is the same as the shahadah, or testimony, “There is no god but God [i.e. allah]” because “the Qur’an takes the truth of God’s [i.e. allah] existence for granted.” 13 [emphasis added]

This second quote is especially instructive about what Muslims think about the phrase, “there is no god but Allah.” In addition to Tabataba’i contrasting “there is no god but God [i.e. allah] with the “unacceptable interpretation” and “caprices” [of Christians]that include “their ideas of incarnation, the divine sonship of Christ and the trinity,” he then adds that the first part of the shahada is not an affirmation of the worship of God [i.e. allah] but rather the negation of the worship of anything else but Allah—in which is implied that this is the exclusive privilege of Muslims. This Shi’a Muslim commentator directly contradicts any assumption or claim that the first part of the shahada is in agreement with the biblical teaching of monotheism. 14

 

Conclusion

The repetition of the shahada in Arabic is how a person initially converts to Islam and continues to profess his belief in it. Because of this, to say or write the first part of the shahada communicates to a Muslim that Islamic belief is being upheld. This includes the rejection of all other ideas of monotheism, such as the biblical teaching of God’s triune nature (i.e the Trinity). It also includes  promoting the belief that Muhammad is the final  messenger of God , a.k.a. the “Seal of the Prophets.” Inserting the first part of the shahada into a so-called Bible translation is not a valid way of translating any biblical manuscript in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek which indicates that there is only one God or that He is one. It also refuses Muslims the right to define their own terms and beliefs. Finally, instead of clearly conveying the truth of the Bible, it introduces a serious and quite unnecessary measure of confusion, especially to Muslims and former Muslims.

 

What You Can Do

If you have been distributing or using MIT versions (including the 4 listed in the chart at the beginning of this article), in any format (i.e. hard copy, audio, audio-visual, digital), STOP!! For a helpful guide to determine if a version is MIT, you can download the brochure which I wrote for this purpose, “Let’s Stop Giving Muslims Islamized Bibles.”

Another way you can do something is by contacting the following organizations and individuals listed below. Let them know that the Arabic versions mentioned in this article promote Islam through the use of the first part of the shahada. The insertion of this phrase deprives Muslim readers of the truth of the Gospel and provokes former Muslims to feel both shame and anger. May we follow the example of the Apostle Paul when he wrote:

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Cor 4:1-2)

YouVersion (or, https://www.bible.com/)

YouVersion Help Team Center

Life.Church / YouVersion: https://www.life.church/contact/

Life.Church leadership
Craig Groeschel, Senior Pastor: https://www.life.church/contact/ or https://www.craiggroeschel.com/connect 
Bobby Gruenewald, Innovation Leader (oversees YouVersion) https://www.life.church/contact/
Jerry Hurley, Team Development Leader https://www.life.church/contact/
Sam Roberts, Campus Operations https://www.life.church/contact/

 

Every Tribe Every Nation (ETEN; this group is responsible for the database used by YouVersion and others): info@everytribeeverynation.org (all of the Steering Committee Members can be contacted through this way. The links and emails below are additional ways of contacting a few of these individuals since their respective organizations are also listed next to their names on the ETEN website.)

ETEN Steering Committee Members:
Gary Nelson, Chairman
Mart Green
Katherine Barnhart
Robert Briggs, American Bible Society/United Bible Societies (see below)
Bob Creson, Wycliffe: https://www.wycliffe.org/contact or info_USA@wycliffe.org
Daryl Heald
Dr. Carl Moeller, Biblica: https://www.biblica.com/about/contact-us/

 

Contact the publishers/producers of these MIT versions:

Today’s Arabic Version:
American Bible Society: https://www.americanbible.org/about/contact
United Bible Societies: https://www.unitedbiblesocieties.org/contact-us/

Sharif Bible (Arabic)
Sharif Bible Society: orders@sharifbible.com (this seems to be the only way to contact them based on the website information)

The True Meaning of the Gospel of Christ and The Bold Proclamation of the Apostles of Christ:
Al Kalima: http://www.al-kalima.com/content/contact-us or contact@al-kalima.com
Frontiers: https://frontiersusa.org/contact/ or info@frontiersusa.org.

Al Injil
Jeff Hayes: http://www.hayestranslation.com/contact_us.html or hayestranslation@gmail.com
Common Ground Consultants, Inc.: info@comgro.org

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Notes:

  1. For a more detailed discussion of MIT see the author’s thesis here.
  2. I am using the singular here according to its popular usage in English. The Islamic creed is more precisely referred to in Arabic as the “two shahadas” (al-shahadatayn) or “the word” (al-kalima).
  3. Fred Farrokh, “Perceptions Of Muslim Identity: A Case Study Among Muslim-Born Persons In Metro New York,” (PhD dissertation, Assemblies Of God Theological Seminary, 2014), 172.
  4. Carra de Vaux, “Shahada,” in First Encyclopaedia of Islam, eds. M. Th. Houtsma, et. al. (E.J. Brill: Leiden, 1993 reprint), 259: “In the religious use of the word shahada is the Muslim profession of faith: ‘there is no god but God; Muhammad is the Prophet of God’ (cf. tashahhud)…”; cf. Thomas Patrick Hughes, “Tashahhud,” in A Dictionary of Islam (London: W.H. Allen & Co., 1885), 628; cf. “Tashahhud,” Wikipedia, last modified 20 July 2018; Bukhari: Book 8: Volume 74: Hadith 281.
  5. G.F. Haddad, “Forty Hadiths On The Merit Of Saying La Ilaha Illallah [i.e. there is no god but Allah], accessed September 29, 2018, http://www.sunnah.org/aqida/forty_hadith_merits_tahlil.htm#_ftnref6.
  6. Bukhari: Book 9: Volume 93: Quran Explorer, accessed July 17, 2018; Hadith 507. For the Arabic see: Al-Bukhārī, al-jāmi’  al-ṣaḥīḥ (Cairo: al-maktabah al-salafiyya, 1400 A.H. [1979-80 A.D.]), vol. 4, book 97 (kitāb al-tawḥīd), section (bāb) 19, no. 7410, 385-386.
  7. Email message to author, September 30, 2018.
  8. Rashid Othman Al-Zahrani, “Christian Missionaries,” Islamway.net, accessed July 22, 2018, https://ar.islamway.net/article/46494/%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%86%D8%B5%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%86#.
  9. Carol B. Ghattas, “The Insider Movement: Is This What Christ Requires?,” in Muslim Conversions to Christ: A Critique of Insider Movements in Islamic Contexts, eds. Ayman S. Ibrahim and Ant Greenham (New York: Peter Lang, 2018), 418-419).
  10. Jesus in Hebrew is, “YH saves.” It is the same name as “Joshua” but differs in spelling because it is an English transliteration of the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew, whereas “Joshua” is the traditional English transliteration of this Hebrew name. For a clear example of this, see Hebrews 4:8 in the KJV where the referent is “Joshua” in the OT but is spelled as “Jesus.”
  11. For example, in Ibn Kathir’s commentary on Sura 112 he references a hadith in which Muhammad heard a man praying in a mosque, “O Allah! I ask you by my testifying that there is no God worthy of worship except You. You are the One, the Self-Sufficient Sustainer of all, Who does not give birth, nor were You born, and there is none comparable to Him.” Muhammad then said, “By He in Whose Hand is my soul, verily he has asked Him by His Greatest Name. It is His Name that if He is asked by it He will give, and if He is called upon by it He will answer.” [emphasis added] 15Ibn Kathīr Ismāʻīl Ibn ʻUmar, and Ṣafī Al-Raḥmān Al-Mubārakfūrī. Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (abridged). first ed., vol. 10 (Riyadh: Darussalam, 2000), 632-633; cf. “Greatest Name” in Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 8: Hadith 1490.
  12. (Tabari, VI, pp. 486-89). 16Mahmoud Ayoub, The Qur’an and Its Interpreters, vol. II (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992), 203.
  13. Mahmoud Ayoub, The Qur’an and Its Interpreters, vol. II (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992), 207-208.
  14. I am in no way implying that the Bible teaches the worship of Mary, rabbis, monks, or any other religious leader. It does not teach these things. The Bible does teach us, however, to worship Jesus, not due to some kind of apotheosis but rather because He is God incarnate.
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Adam Simnowitz is a minister with the Assemblies of God. He lives in Dearborn, MI. He recently completed his M.A. thesis, "Muslim Idiom Translation: Assessing So-Called Scripture Translation For Muslim Audiences With A Look Into Its Origins In Eugene A. Nida's Theories Of Dynamic Equivalence And Cultural Anthropology." He was one of the contributing authors to the adopted Assemblies of God paper, "The Necessity for Retaining Father and Son Terminology in Scripture Translations for Muslims," from which this paper is partially drawn (http://fatherson.ag.org/).

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