An Account by Fr. Zakaria Botros
Father Zakaria Botros recently ran a show dedicated to answering the question, “Was Muhammad a messenger from God or Satan?” As usual with these shows, viewers were asked to call in and respond to this question, with poll results revealed at the end of the show.
His co-host in this particular show was an ex-Muslim woman turned Christian, who, a few shows earlier, used to still wear a hijab, but not today—as Zakaria Botros put it, in English, her “new look.” She said that such an offensive question—ascertaining the divine or demonic source of Muhammad’s prophethood—would have enraged her in former days, and how, till today even, it makes her feel awkward, uncomfortable. Such was her conditioning.
Botros was quick to respond by saying that it is not he that insults Muhammad but rather Islam’s books. He, once again, insisted that he’s merely a reader, who is bringing to the table what he reads—”So don’t be angry with me!” he says, somewhat tongue in cheek. “If you don’t like it, then go and burn all those books that portray him so and leave me alone!”
He then spent some time making a valid point: that in Islam, it seems that Muhammad’s honor is to be more zealously guarded than even Allah’s. To prove this, he quoted from a famous Arabic manual of law calledKitab Ahkam Al-Koran (“Book of Koranic Rulings”) by the famous scholar al-Jassas: according to this manual, the apostate must not be killed until he has been given several chances to repent and return to Islam. This same book, however, clearly states that whoever offends the name of the prophet (Muhammad) must be killed right where he stands, not given a chance to repent or take back his words.
So, wondered Botros, while the person who offends Allah by essentially rejecting him and trying to break away from his religion gets several chances to repent, not the one who offends Muhammad—thus, according to Botros’ logic, “In Islam, Muhammad has a higher place than Allah.”
As for the question of the show, Botros asked a more pivotal question: how does one differentiate prophets from false prophets? He came up with three prerequisites of prophethood as well as three characteristics of prophets. Today we will examine the prerequisites.
1.A prophet typically receives direct revelations from God
2.A prophet usually does just that—prophesy, usually about the future
3.A prophet’s claim to prophethood is usually supported by miracles
As for receiving direct revelations from God, Botros provided several examples from the Bible, such as Exodus 3:10, where God not only directly communicates with Moses, but also sends him out on his mission. Likewise, the Koran confirms this, by saying that Allah spoke directly to Moses (4:164).
“So, what about Muhammad?” asked Botros; “Did God speak to him direct? Not at all; instead, he was visited by a creature [that is, a created, lesser being], who Muhammad himself was convinced was a demon or Jinn.” (Botros ran an entire episode revealing the many anecdotes in Islamic tradition that indicate that Muhammad was in fact visited by a Jinni, which I hope to translate shortly).
As for the second prerequisite, prophecy, again Botros provided several examples from the Bible of prophets prophesying, such as Psalms 22: 16, which Christians believe foretells the sufferings of Jesus, by nearly two millennia.
Asked Botros: “So, what prophecy did Muhammad bring?” He then quoted from the Koran verses which plainly indicate that Muhammad had no inkling of the future (see 6:50 and 7:188).
To the third prerequisite of prophethood: miracles. Botros indicated the miracles of Moses (e.g., Ten Plagues) and Jesus (raising the dead), which are recorded in both the Bible and Koran.
“So,” asked again, rather dryly, the Coptic priest, “what miracles did Muhammad perform?”
Here his co-hostess said that, from childhood, she, as a Muslim, was taught that the Koran is the miracle of Islam and Muhammad—to which Botros gave a chuckle, only to implore the viewers to not be angry with him, that he is not laughing in mockery but rather dismay.
He then insisted that discussing the problems of the “divine” Koran are manifold—linguistically, contextually, grammatically, etymologically—and that he had already dedicated several shows examining these problems. “However, let’s let one single Islamic book that exposes this issue suffice for today.”
After giving the title of the book, Haqa’iq Al Islam (“the Truths of Islam”), he boomed: “Quick, leave the TV set, or send your sons to the stores to buy this book, because we all know from previous experience that whatever Islamic book is used as evidence against Islam on this show is often immediately pulled off the market!”
He then read from page 200 of that book: “The Koran is most magnificent and perfect in language and structure; thus, if something appears wrong, it is not the Koran that is wrong but rather our understanding of language. As for obvious problems or contradictions, we are obligated to overlook these, for faith will resolve these matters.”
He also quoted Sunni Islam’s most authoritative institution, Al Azhar, saying “We must always strive to discover why in certain instances the Koran appears to not follow correct Arabic grammar. If we cannot find an answer, however, then we must leave the matter to Allah.”
The co-hostess said that Muslims believe Muhammad performed other miracles, according to the hadith. Botros responded by saying that that is simply another contradiction with the Koran, which flatly declares that even though the people demanded a miracle from Muhammad, the only one he could provide was the Koran:
“They say: We shall not believe in thee, until thou cause a spring to gush forth for us from the earth. Or (until) thou have a garden of date trees and vines, and cause rivers to gush forth in their midst, carrying abundant water…. No, we shall not even believe in thy mounting until thou send down to us a book that we could read. Say: Glory to my Lord! Am I aught but a man—a messenger?” (17:90-93).
Earlier, Father Zakaria Botros discussed the three prerequisites of prophethood—direct revelation from God, the ability to prophesize, and the ability to perform miracles to support the claim of prophet. Here he discussed the three characteristics of prophethood, which are:
1.Lead a righteous life in order to be a good example before others
2.Make sacrifices for others, not vice-versa
3.Dedicate one’s life to the service of God
For the first characteristic regarding prophethood, Botros opened by quoting Jesus’ famous saying: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matt 7:15-16).
However, since Muslims may think that verse has been “corrupted”—the accusation of tahrif being commonplace when wanting to avoid biblical debates—Botros also went on to quote from none other than Ibn Taymiyya himself, radical Islam’s most favorite son, in regards to the characteristics of prophets.
According to Sheikh al-Islam’s Minhaj Al Sunna Al Nabawayya, Taymiyya said that false prophets, such as Musailima the Liar, were exposed by the fact that they were liars, oppressors, and possibly possessed by demons and jinn. However, when sober minded individuals studied their lives and deeds, they were able to discern that they were false prophets, that they were exposed.
After reading the relatively long quote from Taymiyya, Botros put his book down, looked directly at the screen, and flatly said that everyone of those negative characteristics indicative of false-prophethood mentioned by Taymiyya in fact apply to Muhammad. As but one example, he pointed to the fact that, even though the Taymiyya excerpt condemned lying, Muhammad himself justified lying in three circumstances—during war, to reconcile people, and husband to wife.
As for oppressive qualities of false prophets, Botros, reading from Sunan Al Bayhaqi, revealed to the viewers that Muhammad, after raiding innocent villages, would take into concubinage women he found desirable, and then send off to be sold in the market less than attractive women as well as children. With the money he’d make from this slave trade, he would purchase war horses and weaponry, in order to conquer other villages.
After reading such accounts, the good priest again put the books down, looked directly into the camera, and asked the predominantly Muslim viewers: “Does this sound like a real prophet to you? Remember: Ye shall know them by their fruits.”
Botros next considered what he called “Muhammad’s sexual escapades.” After listing them—all which should be famous by now to Jihad Watch readers—he proceeded to read from Kitab Al Tabaqat A Kubra, quoting a Muhammadan hadith, wherein the latter said “Of this world, the most things Allah has made me love are”—here Botros interjected with “What? Salvation of souls?! Doing good to others? What?!” only to continue quoting Muhammad’s conclusion—”women and perfume,” the latter to lure the former.
As for the second characteristic Botros listed as being indicative of prophethood—making sacrifices on behalf of others—the Coptic priest listed some biblical examples, such as Paul saying “I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved” (2 Cor 12:15). He also pointed to the “ultimate sacrifice” of Jesus. Here, his co-hostess objected saying that Jesus was not a prophet, but Son of God, to which the father roared “I’m speaking according to their beliefs!”
He then looked at the viewers asking, “So, what ‘sacrifices’ did Muhammad make?” He confessed he knew of none, but instead read various quotes of Muhammad asking others to sacrifice themselves for him and his religion—in the jihad and as shuhada—promising them a sensual heaven in return, one filled with sexual orgies and rivers of wine.
He next moved on to the final point, the final characteristic of a prophet: dedicating one’s life to God, exhibited by a life of good deeds, advocating peace, and above all love. He spend some time insisting that a prophet should lead mankind to love God unconditionally, so that believers would want to worship God voluntarily, not as an act of obsequiousness or fear.
He quoted from John 14:21: “He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
“Well, what of Muhammad? What was his approach to making humanity worship their Maker?” Botros insisted that Muhammad, doing away with grace and love as typified by the New Testament, tried instead to usher mankind back to an era of law and fear. “Instead of love and mercy, Muhammad brought death and punishments.”
As example, he read from al-Shinqiti’s works an entire chapter dedicated to proving that in Islam, whoever refuses to perform the obligatory prayers should be killed. Writes Shinqiti: “Those who refuse to pray, stand above them with a sword or stick, and command them—’Pray!’—and if they refuse, smite them until they either pray or die.”
Finally, Father Zakaria Botros closed the program with an overall comparison of the life and deeds of Jesus and Muhammad, the founders of the two largest religions. He said that Jesus’ words and life example would lead to peace on earth, and mercy, whereas the words of Muhammad and his life example—here he quoted several Koranic verses, such as 9:5, 9:29, and 8:60—lead only to warfare and terrorism.
“Jesus came to save souls, Muhammad came to sacrifice the souls of others in order to create a worldly empire for himself.”
At the end of the program, Botros revealed the end poll results regarding the question “Was Muhammad a messenger from God or Satan?” 89% said Satan, 11% said God.