Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Rise and Fall of Another Taqiyyist Pt. 3

Sam Shamoun

We continue from where we left off.


Jesus’ Genealogy and the Sister of Moses 

In the debate concerning Muhammad being prophesied in the Holy Bible, Hussein made the assertion that Jesus could not have been from Moses’ brothers because he had no biological father. Hussein reasoned that Jesus could not have traced his lineage to any of the 12 tribes of Israel, and therefore could not have been the prophet like Moses who would be from among Moses’ brethren.

Moreover, in order to disprove Green’s assertion in their debate on the Bible versus the Quran that the Muslim scripture mistakenly confuses Jesus’ mother with the sister of Moses, Hussein claimed that Islamic tradition teaches that the Lord’s blessed mother was a priestess, being from the line of Aaron.

This is simply another glaring example of Hussein’s deceptive tactics since he is simply incorrect on both counts.

The Hebrew Scriptures provide examples where a person's line comes through his mother, where one’s tribal affiliation is actually determined by the female side in cases where a man has no sons to carry on his lineage:

"Then drew near the daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, from the clans of Manasseh the son of Joseph. The names of his daughters were: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. And they stood before Moses and before Eleazar the priest and before the chiefs and all the congregation, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, saying, 'Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah, but died for his own sin. And he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father's brothers.' Moses brought their case before the LORD. And the LORD said to Moses, 'The daughters of Zelophehad are right. You shall give them possession of an inheritance among their father's brothers and transfer the inheritance of their father to them. And you shall speak to the people of Israel, saying, "If a man dies and has no son, then you shall transfer his inheritance TO HIS DAUGHTER. And if he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers. And if he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father's brothers. And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the nearest kinsman of his clan, and he shall possess it. And it shall be for the people of Israel a statute and rule, as the LORD commanded Moses."'" Numbers 27:1-9; cf. 36:1-12

Having no sons to preserve the family's inheritance, Zelophehad's daughters would insure that their father's inheritance remained within his line through their offspring. In other words, Zelophehad's daughters could pass on the lineage and inheritance of their father to their children, regardless of the tribal affiliation of their husbands.


"The sons of Judah: Er, Onan and Shelah; these three Bath-shua the Canaanite bore to him. Now Er, Judah's firstborn, was evil in the sight of the LORD, and he put him to death. His daughter-in-law Tamar also bore him Perez and Zerah. Judah had five sons in all. … The sons of Nadab: Seled and Appaim; and Seled died childless. The son of Appaim: Ishi. The son of Ishi: Sheshan. The son of Sheshan: Ahlai. The sons of Jada, Shammai's brother: Jether and Jonathan; and Jether died childless. The sons of Jonathan: Peleth and Zaza. These were the descendants of Jerahmeel. Now Sheshan had no sons, only daughters, but Sheshan had an Egyptian slave whose name was Jarha. So Sheshan gave his daughter in marriage to Jarha his slave, and she bore him Attai. Attai fathered Nathan, and Nathan fathered Zabad." 1 Chronicles 2:3-4, 30-37

Here was a descendant of Judah, the same tribe from which Jesus and David sprung, who’s line continued through his daughter since he had no sons of his own. In other words, Sheshan’s future descendants traced their Judean line through Sheshan’s daughter, meaning through the female side!

Therefore, since Jesus was unique, being conceived supernaturally from a blessed virgin maiden by the power of the Holy Spirit, the normal rules do not apply to him. Having no earthly father as a result of his supernatural origin, Jesus' lineage would have to be traced through his mother's line. And since Hussein believes in Jesus' virgin birth, he has no grounds to object to the preceding points.

In fact, what makes this rather ironic is that even Hussein’s own Muslim scholars acknowledge that Jesus was a descendant of David through Mary his blessed mother!

For instance, noted Muslim scholar and historian Al-Tabari linked Jesus’ mother to David, going as far as to “borrow” the genealogy of Joseph found in Matthew’s Gospel to do so!

“The Persians assert that sixty-five years after Alexander seized Babylonia, and fifty-one years after Arsacid rule began, Mary the daughter of ‘Imran gave birth to Jesus. But the Christians assert that Jesus was born to her 303 years after Alexander conquered Babylonia, and that John the Baptist was born six months before Jesus. They report that Mary was pregnant with Jesus when she was thirteen years old. They also report that Jesus lived thirty-two years and a few days before his ascension, and that Mary lived six more years after his ascension, altogether over fifty years. They assert that John and Jesus met in the Jordan River when Jesus was thirty years of age, and that John was slain before the ascension of Jesus. Zechariah b. Berechiah, the father of Yahya b. Zechariah, and ‘Imran b. Matthan, the father of Mary, were married to two sisters. One was married to Zechariah- she was the mother of John, the other was with ‘Imran b. Matthan, and she was the mother of Mary. ‘Imran b. Matthan died when the mother of Mary was pregnant with her. When Mary was born, Zechariah provided for her after her mother’s death, because her aunt, the sister of her mother, was with him. The name of Mary’s mother was Hanna bt. Faqud b. Qabil; the name of the sister of Mary’s mother, that is, the name of John’s mother was Elizabeth bt. Faqud. Zechariah provided for Mary, and she was engaged to Joseph b. Jacob b. Mathan b. Eleazar b. Eliud b. Achim b. Zadok b. Azor b. Eliakim b. Abiud b. Zerubbabel, b. Shealtiel b. Jechonia b. Josiah b. Amon b. Manasseh b. Hezekiah b. Ahaziah b. Jotham b. Uzziah b. Joram b. Jehosaphat b. Asa b. Abijah b. Rehoboam b. SOLOMON B. DAVID.

According to Ibn Humayd – Salamah – Ibn Ishaq: As far as I could learn from her lineage, Mary was the daughter of ‘Imran b. Josiah b. Amon b. Manasse b. Hezekiah b. Ahaziah b. Jotham b. Azariah b. Amaziah b. Joash b. Ahaziah b. Joram b. Jehosaphat b. Asa b. Abijah b. Rehoboam b. SOLOMON. (The History of al-Tabari Volume IV - The Ancient Kingdom, Moshe Perlman trans. [The State University of New York Press; Albany, 1987], pp. 103-104; bold emphasis ours)

Notice how al-Tabari cites specific traditions which affirm that both Joseph AND Mary were descendants of King David.

The other classical Muslim scholars also held to this view:

“The Qur’an informs us that the father of Mary was named ‘Imran and the classical Muslim scholars UNANIMOUSLY ACCEPT that she was from the line of the prophet David… Differences of opinion emerge, however, over the intervening genealogy, most probably due to a lack of familiarity with such foreign names and consequent error in recording them in the Arabic orthography. According to the Spanish exegete al-Qurtubi, ‘All these differences are mentioned because the Prophets and Messengers are all descendants one of the other.’ The following genealogy (taking into account orthographic variations), which is attributed to Ibn Ishaq or directly to the Prophet’s companion Ibn ‘Abbas, is the most generally accepted: Mary bint ‘Imran ibn Yashim ibn Misha ibn Hazqiya ibn Yawish (ibn Isha ibn Yahushafat) IBN SULAYMAN IBN DAWUD… Although the name of her mother is not supplied in the Qur’an, it is universally accepted as Hanna bint Faqudh.” (Aliah Schleifer, Mary The Blessed Virgin of Islam, Fons Vitae; ISBN: 1887752021; July 1, 1998, pp. 22-23; bold and capital emphasis ours)

One such scholar was Ibn Kathir who wrote the following in reference to Q. 19:16:

<And mention in the Book, Maryam,> She was Maryam bint `Imran from the family lineage of Dawud. She was from a good and wholesome family of the Children of Israel. Allah mentioned the story of her mother's pregnancy with her in Surah Al `Imran, and that she (Maryam's mother) dedicated her freely for the service of Allah. This meant that she dedicated the child (Maryam) to the service of the Masjid of the Sacred House (in Jerusalem). Thus, they (Zakariyya, Maryam's mother and Maryam) were similar in that aspect. (Q. 19:16; bold emphasis ours)

Ibn Kathir also mentioned Muslims who used Jesus as proof that a man can trace his lineage through his mother:

“… Mentioning `Isa in the offspring of Ibrahim, or Nuh as we stated above, is proof that the grandchildren from a man's daughter's side are included among his offspring. `Isa is included among Ibrahim's progeny through his mother, although `Isa did not have a father. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Harb bin Abi Al-Aswad said, ‘Al-Hajjaj sent to Yahya bin Ya`mar, saying, “I was told that you claim that Al-Hasan and Al-Hussein are from the offspring of the Prophet, did you find it in the Book of Allah? I read the Qur'an from beginning to end and did not find it.” Yahya said, “Do you not read in Surah Al-An`am…

(and among his progeny Dawud, Sulayman…) until,

(and Yahya and `Isa…).

Al-Hajjaj said, “Yes.” Yahya said, “Is not `Isa from the offspring of Ibrahim, although he did not have a father!” Al-Hajjaj said, “You have said the truth.”’ For example, when a man leaves behind a legacy, a trust, or gift to his ‘offspring’ then the children of his daughters are included. But if a man gives something to his ‘sons’, or he leaves a trust behind for them, then that would be particular to his male children and their male children…” (Q. 6:84-90; bold emphasis ours)

Therefore, the claim that Mary is a priestess and a descendant of Aaron holds no weight since there is no reliable historical data to support this. Nor does the claim that Jesus cannot be from Moses’ brethren since he had no biological father. This is simply nothing more than Hussein’s desperate spin on what the Holy Bible and his own sources actually teach.

Hussein quoted the following verse to prove that the phrase “brother of” means a member of or someone belonging to a particular tribe:

And to 'Ad (people We sent) their brother Hud. He said, "O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other Ilah (God) but Him. Certainly, you do nothing but invent (lies)! S. 11:50 Hilali-Khan

Here Hud is called the brother of his tribe. His point in using this example was to establish that Mary was called “the sister of Aaron” in the Quran (cf. Q. 19:28) because of her tribal affiliation and lineage.

The problem with this claim is that this example actually backfires against Hussein, since Aaron is not the name of a tribe that one belongs to! Therefore, it would have been more correct to refer to Mary as the sister of Levi, since that is the tribe which Aaron and the priests all came from. Moreover, neither the Holy Bible nor any reputable Jewish source employs the expression “brother/sister of” when referring to a person’s lineage. Rather, the term that is used is actually “son/daughter of.” So in both instances Hussein is again wrong.

As such, Hussein has to face the music and accept the fact that the Quran confuses Jesus’ mother with the sister of Moses!

For more on the Quran’s confusion and blatant error concerning the identity of Jesus’ blessed mother we recommend the following rebuttal:

Does The Quran Mistakenly Teach That Moses Is Jesus’ Uncle?


The Chumash and God’s Blessing to Ishmael

In the debate on Muhammad being prophesied in the holy Bible, Hussein appealed to the following promise of God to make Ishmael a great nation:  

God also said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be THE MOTHER OF NATIONS; KINGS OF PEOPLES WILL COME FROM HER.’ Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?’ And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!’ Then God said, ‘Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant WITH HIM as an everlasting covenant FOR HIS DESCENDANTS after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. BUT MY COVENANT I WILL ESTABLISH WITH ISAAC, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.’” Genesis 17:15-21

Despite the fact that the text emphatically says that God’s covenant would be with Isaac and his descendants, Hussein desperately tried to connect Ishmael with God’s covenant promises by manhandling the Hebrew text but to no avail. The plain reading of the context shows that, although Ishmael would become a great nation by having twelve rulers spring forth from his loins, God’s covenant would be established with Isaac not him.

Hussein then cited an orthodox Jewish commentary on the Tanakh to establish that even non-Muslim sources agree that this promise was fulfilled with the rise of the Islamic nation or empire. Accordingly, this is supposed to be the time when Ishmael became a great nation.

There are a few problems with Hussein’s distorted reasoning.

First, the very source which he references emphatically says that the covenant was made ONLY with Isaac!

19. Here and in verse 21 God reaffirmed the promise that the Abrahamic covenant would be perpetuated ONLY through Isaac, AND NONE OTHER. His name… Isaac, refers to Abraham’s joyous laughter… (Rashi).

20.… – Princes. The Torah uses this word because it can also be translated as clouds, to allude to the fact that Ishmael’s offspring will enjoy a period of ascendancy, but ultimately they will dissipate like clouds (Rashi).

“We see from the prophecy in this verse that 2337 years elapsed before the Arabs, Ishmael’s descendants, became a great nation [with the rise of Islam in the 7th Century.]… Throughout this period, Ishmael hoped anxiously until finally the promise was fulfilled and they dominated the world. We, the descendants of Isaac, for whom the fulfillment of the promises made to us is delayed due to our sins…should surely anticipate the fulfillment of God’s promise and not despair” (R’ Bachya citing R’ Chananel). (The Stone Edition of the Chumash: The Torah, Haftaros, and Five Megillos With a Commentary Anthologized from the Rabbinic Writings, Rabbi Nosson Sherman/Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz (general editors) [Mesorah Publications ltd, Third edition, Fifth Impression 2012 (Pocket size edition)], Bereishis/Genesis, p. 76; capital emphasis ours)

This brings me to my second point. Although mistaken, it is apparent what the Chumash means that the rise of the Islamic nation in the 7th century fulfilled God’s promise to Ishmael. Since this source emphatically denies that God’s covenant would be perpetuated through anyone other than Isaac, thereby excluding Ishmael, it cannot mean that Ishmael’s descendants would be great in a spiritual or religious sense. Rather, greatness means that the Ishmaelites became a numerous and powerful people, despite the fact that their religious beliefs were an abomination to God. This can be seen from the way the Scriptures employ this phrase:

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Look, an army is coming from the land of the north; A GREAT NATION is being stirred up from the ends of the earth. They are armed with bow and spear; they are cruel and show no mercy. They sound like the roaring sea as they ride on their horses; they come like men in battle formation to attack you, Daughter Zion.” Jeremiah 6:22-23

“Flee out of Babylon; leave the land of the Babylonians, and be like the goats that lead the flock. For I will stir up and bring against Babylon an alliance OF GREAT NATIONS from the land of the north. They will take up their positions against her, and from the north she will be captured. Their arrows will be like skilled warriors who do not return empty-handed. So Babylonia will be plundered; all who plunder her will have their fill,’ declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 50:8-10

“Look! An army is coming from the north; A GREAT NATION and many kings are being stirred up from the ends of the earth. They are armed with bows and spears; they are cruel and without mercy. They sound like the roaring sea as they ride on their horses; they come like men in battle formation to attack you, Daughter Babylon.” Jeremiah 50:41-42

“In the eleventh year, in the third month on the first day, the word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his hordes. Who can be compared with you in majesty? Consider Assyria, once a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches overshadowing the forest; it towered on high, its top above the thick foliage. The waters nourished it, deep springs made it grow tall; their streams flowed all around its base and sent their channels to all the trees of the field. So it towered higher than all the trees of the field; its boughs increased and its branches grew long, spreading because of abundant waters. All the birds of the sky nested in its boughs, all the animals of the wild gave birth under its branches; all the GREAT NATIONS lived in its shade.’” Ezekiel 31:1-6   

In these examples, pagan nations such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians etc. are said to be great not because of their religious or spiritual values, but because of their size, wealth and dominance. In a similar fashion, the Islamic empire wasn’t great because of its religious teachings but because it came to dominate a great part of the world through its military expeditions.

However, this assumes that the assertion of the Chumash is correct, that this prophecy was fulfilled with the rise of Islam in the 7th, which is not the case at all since the Scriptures themselves record the precise fulfillment of God’s promise:

Abraham left everything he owned TO ISAAC. But while he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east. Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah. After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who then lived near Beer Lahai Roi. This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Sarah’s slave, Hagar the Egyptian, bore to Abraham. These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. These were the sons of Ishmael, and these are the names of THE TWELVE TRIBAL RULERS according to their settlements and camps. Ishmael lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. He breathed his last and died, and he was gathered to his people. His descendants settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt, as you go toward Ashur. And they lived in hostility toward all the tribes related to them.” Genesis 25:5-18

God fulfilled his promise by granting Ishmael 12 sons who became twelve tribal rulers, which is precisely how Genesis 17:20 says God would make Ishmael into a great nation:

“And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee; behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.” Jewish Publication Society 1917 (JPS)

As such, this has absolutely nothing to do with Muhammad or Islam.

And since Hussein is so fond of the Chumash does he accept their interpretation of Deuteronomy 18:15-19?

15.From your midst, from your brethren, like me. Moses told the nation that just as he was one of them, so God would designate future prophets from among the people to bring them his word (Rashi). From your midst implies that prophecy would be limited to Eretz Yisrael (and even those, such as Ezekiel, who prophesied elsewhere, had begun to prophesy in the Land), and from your brethren implies that God would let his spirit rest only upon members of Israel (Ramban). (Ibid., Devarim/Deuteronomy, p. 97; underline emphasis ours) 

The Chumash understands this to be a promise by God to send his people prophets in their land in order to communicate his will to them. This means that the prophecy has nothing to do with God raising up an Ishmaelite prophet 2000 years later.

This brings me to the fourth part of our rebuttal.