Channel: Jamal Badawi
All of the viewers of Islam in focus program, I greet you with the greetings of all of the profits from Abraham to Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him Assalamu alaikum which means peace be upon you. Today we continue with the second part of a series, which we began last week on Mohammed in the Bible, or Prophet Muhammad is foretold in the Bible. We have with us as a guest on our program, Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University.
Brother, I wonder, for the benefit of those people who may be catching our program for the first time today and who didn't have an opportunity to
see our part one, where we go into the introductory program on this series, if perhaps you might take a few moments just to summarize or highlight some of the major points that we discussed when we talked to you last time in part one. Okay, I think one of the main question that was raised last time is how come with the Muslim use the Bible as reference in support of this particular topic, or that Mohammed was first told in the Bible. And we try to clear two of the common misconception that neither the Muslim, take the Bible as the source of his face, because the Quran is the last revelation of God, which is the in the most complete and accurate form. And the Muslim does have
reservations about the incorporation of human errors, human philosophies, alongside with the revelation as originally and purely given to the prophets. Prior to Prophet Mohammed.
On the other hand, we said that this is no reason for the Muslim to totally reject the Bible and say, we will accept the word of it, because that's biased also, because the one of the articles of faith in Islam is that the Muslim believes in all prophets and in the holy books in their original form as we get to them. And even though that this holy books might not necessarily exist in this original form, still, it does not mean that its own fabrication, definitely, there are some portions, which probably remains intact. So you're asking another question as to what criteria does the Muslim use to distinguish is it just pick and choose by convenience? Or is there a criteria for
that, and we refer to the verse in the Quran that indicated that the Quran itself is the criterion that is any portions from the old or new testament that is consistent with what the Quran has confirmed later, as the last and most up to date, if you will, Revelation word to get the final word of God, then the Muslim can accept that portion from the Bible as probably remaining intact. If on the other hand, the Quran say something which,
which is contradicted by what the Bible says, such as the character of the prophets,
giving or associating deity to any other human being prophet as he may be. This all seems, of course, we can take the Quran and the Muslim would say probably that part was
human interpretation rather than the pure words of the prophet in the past. And we indicated also that even in the present form of the Bible, we'll find that there are so many prophecies that we'll be covering, which obviously, and clearly shows that Prophet Mohammed was really foretold both in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. We started off even though we didn't certainly finish the prophecy in the Genesis. And we started from Abraham, and he said that his wife, his first wife, Sarah was born. And then she gave him a bank woman said that she had witches, Hagar, and from Hagar. Abraham had his first son, Ishmael, about 14 years laters Sarah who was barren, so
somehow gave him the another son, the second son, Isaac, and that we said that from the descendants of Isaac, came all the Israelite prophets, ending with Jesus. And from the ishmaelites side,
that the last prophet after Jesus was Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. And we said that this actually reflects the fulfillment of God's covenant or promise that he gave to Abraham. And we call it the chapter and verse from the book of Genesis in which God explicitly made the promise to make of Abraham a great nation. Some specified Isaac some specified Ishmael, but it was obvious That's true.
Both branches of Abraham, the nations of the earth will be blessed as we find and the integration of the profits. We concluded our last program, we started to touch upon the
the controversy concerning the
covenant being limited to the descendants of Isaac only. And we only have time for you to respond very briefly to that. I wonder if perhaps you might elaborate a little bit further on this, on this controversial area, which reminds me with one discussion that I had with a very, very sincere and length Christian that I met recently.
And I told him, what do you think about the attitude that one gets in the Bible when it talks about
the two sons of Abraham, Isaac amishman. And he said, without any hesitation, he said, anyone would notice the clear bias in favor of the Israelites sides, at the expense of the ishmaelites. Even both of even though both of them are really the children of Abraham. And that's well understood, I think many biblical scholars are coming to realize that in the Bible, unlike the Quran, there is some kind of human authorship, that is people who wrote the books, somehow, would have been expected to be as any human would be a little bit more biased towards one on ethnic group,
In fact, the kind of argument that you mentioned, is based on largely on two quotations in the Bible, which I think would be worthwhile quoting, even though it's the counter argument that just wants to be fair and gives chance for the other side also of the of this particular point. The reference is made at times to chapter 17, verse 21, and the book of Genesis again in the King James Version here.
But my covenant will I establish with Isaac,
there is also another citation that appears in the book of Genesis, chapter 21, verse 12.
And at the end of verse 12, it says, For in Isaac, shall thy seed be called.
So some people would take that and say, Hey, you know, the competence and the actual the sentence or seeds of Abraham really are the Israelites, that branch that the other branch is excluded.
But we find that even though these two citations do not in themselves preclude Ishmael, because you could say, Alright, I'll make confidence with Isaac, but does not necessarily say that I will not make covenant with him may
also when it says, In the 2112, an Isaac Salva shall buy seed because it does not again preclude Ishmael because the very following verse immediately after that, in Genesis in and 2113, it also adds and also of the son of the bondwoman, will I make a nation because he is vicey. So, just the next line is also say that it might also is vice here. So it follows from that, that even if Isaac these two verses for write together, verses 12 and 13, Jordan and 16. Yes, one of them talk about Isaac as dicey. The other talk about Ishmael, as also being dicey. So even if you stick to these two verses that are quoted frequently to negate the honor given to Ishmael, the first son of Abraham, in
themselves, they're not they do not really preclude the prophecy for Ishmael. But there are a few more points, I think that would be very interesting to look into. Remember, this diverse that we cited last time, which is
verse four, in chapter 17, in the book of Genesis,
that is, when the promise was made to Abraham, it says, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be the father of many nations. Notice, this applies to Abraham and his seeds. And at that time, Isaac was not even in the picture. Yes, it was not even born yet, which shows that the promise applied to the seeds of Abrahamic periods, without necessarily making discrimination between either of his sons.
Not only this, we find that even as early as the world's chapter before, even if made was born. In chapter 12, verses two and three, it states basically the same thing again, I make the great nation addressing Prophet Abraham. So what appears from this is that according to the Bible itself, there was no evidence whatsoever of the exclusion
of Ishmael. Furthermore, there is a positive evidence that the promise was also made to make Ishmael a great nation. We cited that last time, so I'll just give the
Verse number, it's verse 13. In chapter 21, and the Genesis, which is confirmed further, in chapter 21, verse 80, and both of them speak, particularly about Ishmael, we're not saying that to the exclusion of Isaac, we're simply saying that both of them definitely were included in the in the promise of God bless the nations of the earth. And that's the historical manifestation that the last great prophet actually came in the descendants of Ishmael.
As we also mentioned last time, sometimes the doubt is raised about the status of Hagar, the bond woman who was
taken or given to Prophet Abraham by Sierra his first wife.
Who, of course, was Ishmael his mother, some suggested because she was a bond woman.
And some even go so far as to the question the the status of Ishmael as being a legitimate. Could you perhaps comment on this and clarify this, from the Muslim perspective?
What I've comments on it, so the Muslim perspective, but I'm using the Bible also as a source to show that it's not just a biased argument that the Bible itself contradicts this. First of all, we have indicated in the previous citations, conclusively that the promise does not exclude Ishmael, and that itself suffice to respond to that. However, if there's any question about the status of Hagar, refer to the Bible. In chapter 16, verse three, it reads, and Sarah, which was the name of Sarah, and Sarah, Abraham's wife, took Hagar her made the Egyptian, after Abram had 1210 years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband, Abram to be his wife.
The Bible itself, right, that says that Hagar was given to Abraham as his wife. Now, if ever if Hagar, the mother of Ishmael was illegitimate wife, and as you know, in the Old Testament, polygamous marriages were recognized, and many of the prophets including Abraham, David, Solomon had more than one wife. Yes. So on the text of the Bible itself, she was Alicia to his wife. And if she's illegitimate twice in the science lesson, there's no absolutely question about that. It's just the bias that would cause anyone to raise any issue about the legitimacy of the other son of Ishmael, he's not coming out of the wedlock or anything of that sort. Not only this, that we find
that in the Mosaic law itself,
they used to have this notion that if a woman gives the first son,
so her husband, and the other wife who might might be more beloved or more high in status, as could be interpreted, give him the second son, then the owners that is usually bestowed on the first son, they call it from the Old Testament, also, the double portion of honor, does not change. In fact, I have my evidence right from the Bible itself. It's not just an interpretation of the Bible, the text of the Bible, the Bible itself, indicate that I refer, for example, to the book of Deuteronomy, in chapters 21,
in verses 15, through 18. And it says, If a man had have two wives, one Beloved, and another hated, that could also be a symbol of one of higher social status, one of lower Sarah Hagar, for example.
And they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated. And if the firstborn son of hers, sorry, let's do this again, if a man has two wives, one beloved and another, hated, and they have born him, children, both the beloved and the hated, and if the firstborn son of hers, that is of the,
of the hated, or lower social status, that was hated, then it shall be when he makes his sons to inherit that which he has, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn, before the son of the head, which is indeed his firstborn. In other words, his position and status.
As a firstborn child does not change. We're not saying that, from the Muslim point of view that Ishmael is superior to Isaac because we defining him the same bias again, but we're simply saying that, according to the Bible itself, the Mosaic law, the status of Ishmael, being the son of Ubuntu woman, does not change. And his status as a first son does not change either because of the status of his mother. Maybe I should also add here that the distinction between the two children of the very same father is a distinction that is neither justified from the text of the Bible, nor is it justified with on the moral or logical grounds, especially when we keep talking about the compassion
of God, the love of God for humanity.
How could that kind of assertion be admitted. So in that sense, then we can say that, from the Muslim point of view and from the biblical point of view, if taken in the true spirit of it, both our children and both are on equal footing, I'd like to indicate also something here, that shows to me conclusively the divine origin of the Quran, as compared with revelation, which is mixed with people's biases.
From the Quranic point of view, all human beings are free in the sight of God. The unfortunate and temporary state of bondage in itself does not make people superior or inferior in the sight of God. This is one thing God does not subscribe to this kind of distinction.
God does not accept or follow the human attitude of being
ethnic oriented and thinking in terms of ethnic superiority, whatever that ethnic grouping might be, or exclusivism. If people have demonstrated,
then God does not necessarily accept this as a criteria to distinguish between human beings, especially when you keep talking about love and compassion of God, we have to be consistent and reject this kind of attitude. If we do accept that distinction, that because Ishmael was the son of a woman who has been unfortunately under certain temporary state of bondage, then we are making of slavery of bondage, a divine institution, something that no sincere, Judeo, Christian or Muslim, or any logical person
can accept. So we can see then that both according to the Bible, according to the Quran, according to the Spirit of revelation given to all prophets before, it is an untenable, totally untenable argument to, to make that discrimination between the two sons of the same prophet. The more logical thing is that the fulfillment of the promise of God
has taken place through both branches of both children of his mind through Israelite prophets, and through the final prophet Muhammad. And that is what really makes sense and is consistent with the universality of God's revelation to mankind. Let's move on now to the story of Vishnu most Ishmael is the settlement in their Arabia. And I wonder how similar or different from the Bible, the story of Ishmael is the settlement Arabia is according to Muslim tradition, when there are, I would say, three central differences in the story. And this would be a very interesting area to, to compare. The first
difference is that if you check in the Genesis, particularly in chapter 21,
particularly verse 14,
it says that
when Abraham took Hagar, and her son, Ishmael,
to the wilderness of Beersheba, which is in southern part of Palestine,
now, in the Islamic tradition, and according to the Quran itself, that was not the case that Ishmael actually was settled in Mecca, which is now in Saudi Arabia, the evidence from the Quran,
and they did in chapter 14,
This is an interesting one, it says,
when Abraham took, Ishmael says, Our Lord made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by by second house. And it is a very well known thing that, as you know, the grandfather of the Arabs is who Ishmael Ishmael is actually are the descendants of
fishmarket, who are Arabs, and it is one non historical also that Mecca was the place or the centers of Arabia, this is one thing. A second issue here is that, according to Islamic or Muslim tradition, the reason for taking Ishmael to the wilderness of Mecca, as actually should be, was not necessarily the jealousy of Sarah. There's no mention of jealousy of Sarah as the cause for it as we find in Genesis 21, for example, but rather because this was a divine plan, a divine plan in fulfillment of the promise to bless our nation through the children of
Abraham, and so that there will be another profit coming from from Arabia.
The third basic difference I would say
is that according to Muslim tradition, when Abraham took Ishmael Ishmael was only a baby at that time. And Muslim tradition says that when he came with his hat with tiger, his mother's Tameka, his mother ran out of water and she started running between two hills, known as a suffer Admiral and Marwah. In search for waters. her baby's mind was crying and kicking the ground with his feet. And all of a sudden miraculously, well, we'll have waters gushed under his feet and the mother gave him drink. It is very interesting to notice that until today,
this three sides are in existence physically. That is a Safa and Marwa are mentioned in the Quran, for example, in chapter two verse 181 58, mentioning the name of those hills, safa and marwah even before Islam, that is even more than 1400 years ago, it was known that the Arabs used to also make certain rights. They added some paganistic slant to it. But originally, apparently, it came through the practice of Prophet Ishmael, in commemoration of his mother search for water, they still exist. I have been in pilgrimage myself and I've seen the hills they are inside the confines of the Kaaba, the holy shrines. The Well of Zamzam, interestingly enough, is there, it has been there even before
Mohammed came, may peace be upon him and is still gushing with water until this very moment. So for hundreds of years, there is a physical evidence actually, of Where's Ishmael and his mother has settled and that's a different interpretation, of course, from the mention of the word Beersheba, which is obviously, a sort of inaccuracy that does not go with the historical facts that has been,
you know, descending for hundreds of years among the, the herbs, just the physical evidence, they're just the Bible makes me think about the age of Ishmael when he was taken to the wilderness with his mother.
he's talking about the Bible, or the Quran, five minutes, the Bible, okay, well, in the Bible, if you refer to chapters 21, especially verses 10, to 20, there's something that's quite revealing this.
As you know,
the Bible itself shows that when Isaac was born, Ishmael was already 14 years old. And that's documented. For example, in Genesis 1616, and 21. Five, Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born. And he was 100 years when Isaac was born. So that means that when Isaac was born, schmied was already a grown up big boy, teenager, a teenager. Okay. According to the chapter 21 in Genesis,
you get the clear impression also that this incident of taking Ishmael was after Isaac was born, actually, after Isaac was weaned, which means that Ishmael is made was about 16 years old or more even at that time, because it says when Sarah gets jealous, you know, after Isaac was born, then she asked her husband to to take the band woman and her child away. All right. Now,
I said that this is a very revealing difference. And you're entitled to ask which story to believe. Let me just give you five questions that would clarify the issue. First of all,
if you go to verse 14, in chapter 21, in the book of Genesis,
it talks about Abraham giving a bottle of water, and the child putting them on the shoulders of
his mother, Hagar. That's an interesting point. And indeed, I checked also, the revised edition standard right device standard edition of the Bible, which I have it right here also,
which gives the indication also that he gives the child over his shoulder. I checked the interpreter's Bible. And again, there is an admission that the original Hebrew word shows that Hagar was carrying her child on her shoulder as much as she was carrying also, the bottle of water. The question here is this. According to the Bible, it says this most made was over 14 years old.
One wonders how could a mother's carry on her shoulders at 15 or 14 years old? teenager? Question one. Question two.
In verse 15, in chapter 21 Genesis,
it says specifically, that Hagar cast the child under the sharp
The question here is this. How could we imagine a mother casting a full grown teenager under a shrub
could not be seen as old or 14 years old? Question three,
in verse 16, in the same chapter 21, it says that Hagar set set away because she could not stand sitting there and watching her child have lead, die. So she kept away from him. Again, would that really be applicable to our 14 or 15 years old? Boy?
The first question, according to verse 17, and chapter 21, it says that the angels taught Hagar, Arise, lift up the lead. Again, imagine a woman a mother carrying a boy who might be taller and more Husky than her even cutting him up.
In verse 19, of the same chapter, it said that, Hey, guys, when God made her see, well, we'll have water went and she filled bottles with water, and she came to give the child waters to drink. Again, the question here is this, the impression is obviously that he was a baby, somebody who was a baby, that you could go and get the water, actually, you should get water for his mother should be stronger than his mother. By that time he is his 14 or 15 years old. These are very clear signs for anyone who read it without any bias with open mind and open heart. That shows very clearly that there are some confusion in the mind of the writers of the book of Genesis that he put certain
things out of sequence. And for sure, this gives credibility to the Islamic tradition, that Ishmael was a baby. We only have about two minutes left in today's program. I wonder if we could use that time. And I'm interested in your
comment from you in terms of how the biblical scholars explain these discrepancies that we've just been discussing. I have to be honest about it. I cannot speak for Biblical scholars. I believe in the Quran. I think the Bible only insofar as it agrees with this part does not agree. So I take the Quran as my reference. But I checked some references like the dictionary of the
of the Bible, by James Heston. I checked also the interpreters Bible. And it appears that the view held by many biblical scholars is quite different from the fundamentalist view. That is the fundamentalist view which says that every word in the Bible is literally the Word of God, there could be no error or mistake in it, but we have seen already that
that has been introduced to the original revelation.
So most of the scholars, I would say they acknowledge the human authorship of both the old as well as the New Testament. It doesn't mean that the Bible is all fabricated or just authored by humans without any foundation simply mixing revelation with their own thoughts or possibly even biases. There are more than one evidence in the Bible that shows there is difficulties with the sequence of events in the book of Isaiah that are problems also that has been mentioned in the interpreter's Bible. And at times, even consistency, as we have seen in the study of Ishmael. I think what is useful in a matter like this is to look in the sub to look into the subject, with open heart and
open mind to leave behind the antagonism and polemics of the past. And to
to get both researchers who are familiar with Islam and biblical researchers
join together in the reconstruction of the history of Revelation, which is not a monopoly to us Christians are Muslim is a heritage for the entire mankind. If this is done, not only were some of this in consistencies and problems can be resolved in the light of the last revelation in the Quran, we could also even pave the way to better understanding of the nature of the foretelling of prophecy about the advent of Prophet Muhammad in the Bible. And this would lead hopefully, to at least, better mutual understanding between the followers of those creators who have to break it off their brother Jamal, we've we've exhausted our time for today. We want to thank you for watching part two
of our series on Muhammad in the Bible. This concludes our program for today. Thank you very much for watching. See you next time.