Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Who is Islam’s Real Savior? Pt. 3b

Sam Shamoun

We now come to the final part of our discussion.

More problems facing Williams

Now these narrations create serious problems for Williams claims concerning the nature of Islamic monotheism.

Muhammad’s intercession contradicts the words of Allah.

In the first place, all of these narrations contradict the scores of passages which expressly teach that there will be no one interceding on the Day of Judgment for anyone:

IT IS GOD who has created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six aeons, and is established on the throne of His almightiness. You have none to protect you from God, and NONE to intercede for you [on Judgment Day]: will you not, then, bethink yourselves? S. 32:4 Muhammad Asad

Have they taken others as intercessors besides Allah? Say: "Even if they have power over nothing whatever and have no intelligence?" Say: "To Allah belongs all intercession. His is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, then to Him you shall be brought back." S. 39:43-44 Hilali-Khan

Muhammad’s Intercession trumps Allah’s mercy.  

They also conflict with the teaching of the Quran that individuals will only be calling upon Allah to save them from the torment of the last hour:

Say (O Muhammad): "Tell me if Allah's Torment comes upon you, or the Hour comes upon you, would you then call upon any one other than Allah? (Reply) if you are truthful!" Nay! To Him Alone you call, and, if He will, He would remove that (distress) for which you call upon Him, and you forget at that time whatever partners you joined with Him (in worship)! S. 6:40-41 Hilali-Khan

Yet according to the reports which we looked at, instead of pointing his followers to Allah and reassuring them that they can trust in the mercy of his god, Muhammad actually encouraged Muslims to take him as their savior and hope instead! 

These ahadith do nothing more than depict Allah as a very frightening and wrathful god whom Muslims dare not approach directly at the last day. Muhammad, however, is pictured as being so merciful and loving that Muslims can be assured of the fact that if they come to their prophet on that day he won’t turn his back on them, but will go before Allah in order to make sure that his god is satisfied with all of them. 

Muhammad pretty much ends up replacing the Muslim deity since his statements depict him as being even more merciful and compassionate than Allah himself. His words actually create fear in the hearts of Muslims, obviously because he wanted to discourage them from approaching Allah without him, thereby deceiving them into thinking his intercession is the only hope they have that their god will ever be pleased with them. 

This causes major problems for Williams since Muhammad’s teachings directly conflict with the Quran’s repeated emphasis that Allah is the most merciful of all those who show mercy: 

Moses prayed: "O my Lord! forgive me and my brother! admit us to Thy mercy! for Thou art the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!" S. 7:151 Y. Ali – cf. Q. 12:64, 92; 21:83

If this is the case how, then, could Muhammad portray himself as being more merciful than his own god?

Muhammad’s Intercession proves that Allah is a biased and unjust tyrant. 

But that’s not all. Muhammad’s teaching that on the Day of Judgment Allah will allow him to intercede for Muslims in order to save them from the eternal tortures of hell, not only likens the Muslim god to creation, it also makes him out to be a partial and unrighteous dictator. As the following Muslim scholar observes:

2. Comparing the Creator to the created. An example of this is the comparison that extreme Sufi groups give when justifying their shirk. They state, “Just like an average person cannot approach a mighty king except through a minister or person of power, so too it is not possible for a sinful person’s du’a to be answered until he goes through a prophet or saint.” Thus, they compare Allah to a king. Ibn Taymiyyah, in a lengthy discussion, shows the fallacy of this comparison by pointing out that such intermediaries between laymen and a king perform one of three functions. Firstly, they can act as informers, informing a just and pious king of the needs of the people, since such laymen would not typically have access to the king. And of course this function is not needed for Allah, since He is aware of the most secret of secrets. Secondly, such intermediaries might act as helpers, for a king cannot personally take care of all the affairs of his people. So these ministers and intermediaries can be assistants in the execution of the king’s affairs. Once again, this analogy does not apply to Allah, since Allah does not need any help, nor can any object ‘help’ Allah in any matter. Thirdly, it is possible that a king will not fulfill a request except to please a particular person. Thus, if a person of no status were to ask such a king, he would not be responded to unless a person of status interceded his behalf. And such a king, by all standards, is an unjust and tyrannical monarch, for he does not respond to requests except for personal benefit. Therefore, this too cannot be applied to Allah, for He is the Most Merciful, and His Justness encompasses all matters. So Ibn Taymiyyah proves that, in reality, this analogy is a proof against those who seek to use it, even though at first glance it might seem to represent proof for them. (An Explanation of Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab’s Kashf al-Shubuhat - Critical Study of Shirk, translation and commentary by Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi [Al-Hidaayah Publishing & Distribution, Birmingham, UK], 7. The Causes of Shirk, Incorrect Comparisons, p. 50; bold emphasis ours)

Muhammad’s Intercession is a blatant act of shirk.

To make matters worse, by encouraging his followers to pray to and through him in their invocations, Muhammad basically commanded his followers to commit shirk in their worship. According to Muhammad himself, invocations or supplications are the very essence or heart of worship: 

3828. It was narrated from Nu‘man bin Bashir that the Messenger of Allah said: “Indeed the supplication is the worship.” Then he recited: “And your Lord said: Invoke Me, I will respond to you.”[1] (Sahih(English Translation of Sunan Ibn Majah - Compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah Al-Qazwini, From Hadith No. 3657 to 4341, Ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair 'Ali Za'i, translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Canada), final review by Abu Khaliyl (USA) [Darussalam Publications and Distributors, First Edition: June 2007], Volume 5, 34. The Chapter On Supplication, Chapter 1. The Virtue of Supplication, p. 95)

[1] Ghafir 40:60. (Ibid.)

To, therefore, encourage his followers to invoke him directly is a clear violation of Tauhid al-Uluhiyyah/Ibaadah, which teaches that all acts of worship such as prayers and supplications be made only to Allah:

AND IF My servants ask thee about Me - behold, I am near; I respond to the call of him who calls, whenever he calls unto Me: let them, then, respond unto Me, and believe in Me, so that they might follow the right way. S. 2:186 Asad 

And [know] that all worship is due to God [alone]: hence, do not invoke anyone side by side with God! S. 72:18 Asad

Muhammad also committed shirk by humanization, since his teaching on intercession likens Allah to his creation. As one of Salafi Islam’s greatest scholars stated: 

Ibn Taymiyyah explains: “Whoever affirms intermediaries between creation and Allah, similar to the intermediaries that exist between kings and their peoples, is a mushrikRather this is the essence of the religions of the pagans and the idol-worshippers. They would justify (their shirk) by saying: ‘These are the figures of prophets and pious people, and these are only means that we use to come closer to Allah.’ And this was the shirk that Allah rejected from the Christians as well.” 

The last point in the initial argument (that these objects enjoy high status with Allah) is not explicitly refuted by the author here. This argument can, however, be refuted in a number of ways:

1. The status does not give them the right that Allah respond to their requests. No object, no matter how noble, has a right over the Creator on any regards. Such a right, if it existed, would contradict the total Rububiyyah of Allah over the creation. How can someone whom Allah created demand something, and expect a response, from Allah Himself? In fact, even the Prophet, who by consensus is the most noble of all the creation, does not have this right over Allah. In one hadith, he said: 

“I asked my Lord for three things, but He gave me two of them, and prevented me from one. I asked my Lord that my nation not be destroyed by a drought, so He gave it to me. And I asked Him that my nation not perish by drowning, so He gave me that. And I asked Him that fighting not occur between them, but He did not give it to me.”135

So if even the du‘a of the Prophet does not carry the guarantee of an answer, then what is the status of the du‘a of someone less than he?

2. Even on the supposition that this right existed, the Qur’an explicitly mentions that calling out to other than Allah is shirk. Therefore, even if we hypothetically accepted the adversary’s premise that these prophets and saints have a right over Allah that their requests be answered, we can respond by stating that Allah labelled asking dead prophets and saints as a sin that He will not forgive. (Qadhi, An Explanation of Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab’s Kashf al-Shubuhat, 13. An Explanation of Kashf al-Shubuhat, The Clearing of Doubts, p. 120; bold emphasis ours)

135. Reported by Muslim (# 2890) and others. (Ibid.; bold emphasis ours)

Muhammad’s Intercession proves that Allah is an imperfect being.

Finally, according to the Quran intercession is basically an assault against God since it assumes that he is ignorant of all the facts and needs someone to inform him.

And they worship besides Allah things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say: "These are our intercessors with Allah." Say: "Do you inform Allah of that which He knows not in the heavens and on the earth?" Glorified and Exalted be He above all that which they associate as partners with Him! S. 10:18 Hilali-Khan

This particular text presupposes that an intercessor or mediator would only be needed if Allah were ignorant of certain details and didn’t have full knowledge of the situation. Yet since Allah’s knowledge is supposed to be perfect he therefore doesn’t need a mediator to come before him on behalf of his servants, i.e. since Allah knows best and knows all, what can any intercessor or mediator possibly tell him that he doesn’t already know or which would change Allah’s view of the person for whom mediation/intercession is being made? 

In other words, the writer(s) and/or editor(s) of the Quran presupposed that having mediators or intercessors implies that these individuals are better informed and possess more knowledge in certain aspects than Allah himself. 

Yet since there isn’t anything that Allah is not aware of, and there isn’t anyone that is better informed than him since there is no creature that knows all that he knows, mediation and intercession are therefore completely useless. 

As one of Williams’ favorite Muslim scholars explains:

27 Thus, belief in the efficacy of anyone's unqualified intercession with God, or mediation between man and Him, is here equated with a denial of God's omniscience, which takes all the circumstances of the sinner and his sinning a priori into consideration. (As regards God's symbolic grant of permission to His prophets to “intercede” for their followers on the Day of Judgment, see note 7 above.) (Q. 10:18; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Here is what we find when we check Asad’s note 7:

7 Lit., "there is no intercessor whatever, save after His leave [has been granted]". Cf. 2:255 – "Who is there that could intercede with Him, unless it be by His leave?" Thus, the Qur'an rejects the popular belief in unqualified "intercession" by living or dead saints or prophets. As is shown elsewhere in the Qur'an (e.g., in 20:109, 21:28 or 34:23), God will grant to His prophets on Judgment Day the permission to "intercede", symbolically, for such of the sinners as will have already achieved His redemptive acceptance (rida') by virtue of their repentance or basic goodness (see 19:87 and the corresponding note 74): in other words, the right of "intercession" thus granted to the prophets will be but an expression of God's approval of the latter. Furthermore, the above denial of the possibility of unqualified intercession stresses, indirectly, not only God's omniscience – which requires no "mediator" – but also the immutability of His will: and thus it connects with the preceding mention of His almightiness. (See also note 27 below.) (Q. 10:3)

Asad’s statements highlight the extreme difficulty Muslims face in attempting to reconcile the contradictory statements of the Quran concerning the permissibility of intercession. It is obvious that Asad didn’t know how to handle the glaring problem with the Quran affirming and denying that Allah accepts intercession.

After all, if the individuals for whom intercession is made have already achieved or merited redemption then what need is there for anyone to intercede for them? Intercession in this case becomes a joke since it is completely meaningless. 

Besides, there is absolutely nothing symbolic about the teachings of the hadiths that Allah will save Muslims from hell because of the intercession of Muhammad. 

With that said, it is time for Williams to come to terms with reality and accept the fact that the teachings of his false prophet on intercession insults and denigrates Allah, since it depicts the Islamic deity as an unrighteous, ignorant, imperfect, weak, and biased tyrant. 

What makes all of this rather ironic is that Muhammad chided the pagans for taking certain individuals and objects as mediators/intercessors that could neither harm nor benefit anyone. And yet Muhammad is guilty of doing the very same thing since the Quran is emphatic that he himself can neither harm nor benefit anyone as well!

Say (O Muhammad): “I possess no power of benefit or hurt to myself except as Allah wills. If I had the knowledge of the Ghaib (unseen), I should have secured for myself an abundance of wealth, and no evil should have touched me. I am but a warner, and a bringer of glad tidings unto people who believe.” S. 7:188 Hilali-Khan 

Say (O Muhammad): “I am not a new thing among the Messengers (of Allah) (i.e. I am not the first Messenger) nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am but a plain warner.” S. 46:9 Hilali-Khan – cf. Q. 4:106-107; 9:43; 17:93; 18:110; 40:55; 41:6; 47:19; 48:1-2; 72:20-22; 80:1-10; 110:3

These passages show that Muslims are looking to an imperfect, fallible human being who can’t save or benefit anyone, as their mediator whom they hope will bring them closer to Allah! 

Muhammad is, therefore, personally responsible for causing his followers to commit the same sin that he and his god accused and condemned the disbelievers of committing! 

“And who could be more wicked than they who attribute their own lying inventions to God or give the lie to His messages? Verily, those who are lost in sin will never attain to a happy state – and [neither will] they [who] worship, side by side with God, things or beings that can neither harm nor benefit them, saying [to themselves], “These are our intercessors with God!” S. 10:17-18 Asad

He calls besides Allah unto that which hurts him not, nor profits him. That is a straying far away. S. 22:12 Hilali-Khan 

So much for Williams’ claim that Islam’s stress on Allah being a God of mercy and forgiveness rules out any need for any mediator or priest. It is obvious from the so-called authentic teachings of Muhammad that Williams’ prophet didn’t think as highly of the Muslim god as Williams does.

Related Articles and Rebuttals

The Deification of Muhammad 

Examining More of Abdullah Kunde's Inconsistencies 3a3b3c3d


(1) What makes this rather ironic, even humorous, is that Williams just posted a blog article titled, “Inhabitants of Hell meet the mercy of God”, where he quotes the hadith from al-Bukhari showing how Allah will actually remove people from hell as a result of intercession!

Abu Hurayrah related that the Messenger of God said, “On the Day of Resurrection, a caller will cry out, ‘Let every people follow what they worshiped!’ They will be asked, ‘Is there a sign between you and Him that will let you know Him?’ They will say, ‘Yes!’ So their legs will be uncovered and Allah will give permission to all those who used to prostrate to Him by their own free will to prostrate. And Allah will make those who used to prostrate only to be seen by others or to ward off criticism unable to prostrate. Their backs will be made as a stiff single part, so whenever they try to prostrate, they topple on their backsides.

Then they will come upon the bridge over Hell AND INTERCESSION WILL BEGIN. They will murmur, “O Allah, bring them to safety! Bring them safety!’ And the faithful ones will pass over the bridge in a wink of an eye. Others will pass like lightening, others like the wind, others like birds, others like strong horses. Some will cross over whole and safe, others will be sent across bruised, while others will be flung into the fire of Gehenna. By the One who holds my soul in His hand, none of you will be more vehement in pleading for justice than the faithful ones will at that time for their brothers who are in the fire. They will say, ‘Our Lord, they fasted with us! They prayed with us! They made pilgrimage with us!’ He will say to them, ‘Bring out of it all the ones that you know.’ So their forms will be forbidden to the fire as they enter it and they will bring out many people, until they say, ‘Our Sustainer none are left of those You have commanded us to extract.’ Then He will say to them, “Go back and bring out whoever you find that has a dinar’s worth of goodness in them.’ And they will bring out many people. And He will say to them, ‘Go back and bring out whoever you find that has half a dinar’s worth of goodness in them.’ And they will bring out many people. Then He will say o them, ‘Go back again and bring out whoever you find who has an atom’s weight of goodness in them.’ And they will bring out many people. And this will go on till they say to Him, ‘Our Lord, we have left no one in it who has any trace of goodness in them.’

Allah will then declare, ‘THE ANGELS HAVE INTERCEDED, AND THE PROPHETS HAVE INTERCEDED, AND THE FAITHFUL HAVE INTERCEDED. Only the Most Merciful of those who show mercy (Arhamur-Rahimin) is left to intercede!’ And He will bring out with His grasp the people who have never done any good and He will throw them into a river at the mouth of Paradise called the River of Life and they will emerge from it like pearls. When the people of Paradise see them, they will know them, ‘These are Emancipated of God. He has made them enter Paradise without any of their own actions, and without any goodness that they offered!’ And God will say to them, ‘Enter Paradise! What you have seen is yours.’ They will say, ‘Our Sustainer, You have given us what You have not given anyone of the worlds!’ He will say ‘I have for you what is even better then this.’ They will ask, ‘O Our Sustainer, what could be better than this?’ He will say, ‘My contentment with you, for I shall not be displeased with you after this ever again.’”

(Bukhari & Muslim) (Bold, capital and italic emphasis ours)

Williams even goes so far as to say he wished he had time to read this “wonderful hadith” during his debate!

It is rather amazing that Williams fails to see how this particular hadith exposes his blatant lie that Allah’s mercy and forgiveness in Islam basically rules out the need for mediation and intercession.

Williams also failed to grasp that this narration actually highlights just how unrighteous and unholy Allah truly is. The hadith clearly says that Allah will take out from hell people who have never done any good deed and let them enter into paradise! To say that this is a travesty of justice and makes a complete mockery out of God’s holiness would be a wild understatement!

So much for Allah being a perfectly righteous and just deity!

{Sidenote: Williams has either deliberately mistranslated this hadith or is quoting a translation which has chosen to do so. Notice these words again, 

“They will be asked, ‘Is there a sign between you and Him that will let you know Him?’ They will say, ‘Yes!’ So THEIR LEGS will be uncovered.” 

The problem with this rendering is that the narration doesn’t speak of the legs of the people being uncovered, but rather refers to Allah unveiling his shin for everyone to see!

Notice how the following versions translate this same report:

7001… There will remain those who worshipped Allah, pious or impious. They will be asked, “What keeps you when all of the people have gone?” They will answer, "We parted from them (in the world) in spite of having greater need of them then. We heard an announcer proclaiming, 'Let every nation join what they used to worship.' We are waiting for our Lord." Then the Compeller will come to them in a form other than His form which they saw the first time and will say, "I am your Lord." they will answer, "You are not our Lord." None will speak to Him except for the Prophets. He will say, "Is there a sign between you and Him by which you can recognise Him?" "The shin," they will answer. He will bare HIS SHIN and every believer will prostrate to Him. There will remain those who used to prostrate to Allah in order to show off and for the sake of reputation. They will go to prostrate and their backs will become like a single surface. Then the bridge will be brought and placed over the Fire.' (Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari100. Book of Tawhid (the belief that Allah is One in His Essence, Attributes and Actions)*; bold, capital and italic emphasis ours)


“… Then the Almighty will come to them in a shape other than the one which they saw the first time, and He will say, 'I am your Lord,' and they will say, 'You are not our Lord.' And none will speak: to Him then but the Prophets, and then it will be said to them, 'Do you know any sign by which you can recognize Him?' They will say. 'The Shin,' AND SO ALLAH WILL UNCOVER HIS SHIN whereupon every believer will prostrate before Him and there will remain those who used to prostrate before Him just for showing off and for gaining good reputation. These people will try to prostrate but their backs will be rigid like one piece of a wood (and they will not be able to prostrate). Then the bridge will be laid across Hell…” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 532s*)

I can see why Williams would want to hide this from his readers since it is rather embarrassing to mention to non-believers that at the last day his god ends up revealing himself to his followers by uncovering his shin for all of them to see!}