Sinless Still

James M. Arlandson

Examining Jesus’ Absolute Holiness In Light of one Muslim’s Denial

Sam Shamoun

We continue with our response to Muslim missionary Omar Alhabeshi’s article Were Jesus and Muhammad Sinless? In his second section dealing with the issue of whether Christ made mistakes or not, Alhabeshi writes:

First according to the Islamic sources Jesus (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) was not a sinless man at all. One authentic hadith of the prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) reads as follows:

Every son of Adam is a sinner, and the best of sinners are those who repent constantly. - Ibn Majah, Tirmizi, Darimi

He repeats this in his conclusion:

So far it’s proven that from the two religion’s sources that no son of Adam is with out sin…

He further says:

Some missionaries argue

"Show us where in the quran does it say ‘Jesus sinned’ or show us a single sin committed by Jesus (of source from the Quran)?"

I say

"If according to your faith Jesus is the only sinless man, so according to your logic show me where in the Quran and the BIBLE too is said that John the Baptist sinned or is a sinner?"

Islamic sources on the sinlessness of Christ and the sinfulness of Muhammad

Recall that in our first rebuttal we spoke about Alhabeshi citing narrations which he thought proved his case, when in reality they simply provided evidence that the Islamic sources clearly contradict each other. He has provided another example of them contradicting and canceling out one another.

For instance, the Muslim scholar Mahmoud M. Ayoub cites al-Tabari who quoted Qatadah as saying:

"Jesus and his mother did not commit any of the sins which the rest of the children of Adam commit." (Mahmoud M. Ayoub, The Quran and Its Interpreters: The House of Imran [State University of New York Press (SUNY), 1992], Volume II, p. 94)

The rest of the children of Adam naturally include John the Baptist (a true messenger of God) and Muhammad (a false messenger). Moreover, other so-called sound narrations confirm Qatadah’s statements:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
Some (cooked) meat was brought to Allah Apostle and the meat of a forearm was presented to him as he used to like it. He ate a morsel of it and said, "I will be the chief of all the people on the Day of Resurrection. Do you know the reason for it? Allah will gather all the human being of early generations as well as late generation on one plain so that the announcer will be able to make them all-hear his voice and the watcher will be able to see all of them. The sun will come so close to the people that they will suffer such distress and trouble as they will not be able to bear or stand. Then the people will say, 'Don't you see to what state you have reached? Won't you look for someone who can intercede for you with your Lord' Some people will say to some others, 'Go to Adam.' So they will go to Adam and say to him. 'You are the father of mankind; Allah created you with His Own Hand, and breathed into you of His Spirit (meaning the spirit which he created for you); and ordered the angels to prostrate before you; so (please) intercede for us with your Lord. Don't you see in what state we are? Don't you see what condition we have reached?' Adam will say, 'Today my Lord has become angry as He has never become before, nor will ever become thereafter. He forbade me (to eat of the fruit of) the tree, but I disobeyed Him. Myself! Myself! Myself! (has more need for intercession). Go to someone else; go to Noah.' So they will go to Noah and say (to him), 'O Noah! You are the first (of Allah's Messengers) to the people of the earth, and Allah has named you a thankful slave; please intercede for us with your Lord. Don't you see in what state we are?' He will say.' Today my Lord has become angry as He has never become nor will ever become thereafter. I had (in the world) the right to make one definitely accepted invocation, and I made it against my nation. Myself! Myself! Myself! Go to someone else; go to Abraham.' They will go to Abraham and say, 'O Abraham! You are Allah's Apostle and His Khalil from among the people of the earth; so please intercede for us with your Lord. Don't you see in what state we are?' He will say to them, 'My Lord has today become angry as He has never become before, nor will ever become thereafter. I had told three lies (Abu Haiyan (the sub-narrator) mentioned them in the Hadith) Myself! Myself! Myself! Go to someone else; go to Moses.' The people will then go to Moses and say, 'O Moses! You art Allah's Apostle and Allah gave you superiority above the others with this message and with His direct Talk to you; (please) intercede for us with your Lord Don't you see in what state we are?' Moses will say, 'My Lord has today become angry as He has never become before, nor will become thereafter, I killed a person whom I had not been ordered to kill. Myself! Myself! Myself! Go to someone else; go to Jesus.' So they will go to Jesus and say, 'O Jesus! You are Allah's Apostle and His Word which He sent to Mary, and a superior soul created by Him, and you talked to the people while still young in the cradle. Please intercede for us with your Lord. Don't you see in what state we are?' Jesus will say. 'My Lord has today become angry as He has never become before nor will ever become thereafter. JESUS WILL NOT MENTION ANY SIN, but will say, 'Myself! Myself! Myself! Go to someone else; go to Muhammad.' So they will come to me and say, 'O Muhammad ! You are Allah's Apostle and the last of the prophets, AND ALLAH FORGAVE YOUR EARLY AND LATE SINS. (Please) intercede for us with your Lord. Don't you see in what state we are?" The Prophet added, "Then I will go beneath Allah's Throne and fall in prostration before my Lord. And then Allah will guide me to such praises and glorification to Him as He has never guided anybody else before me. Then it will be said, 'O Muhammad Raise your head. Ask, and it will be granted. Intercede It (your intercession) will be accepted.' So I will raise my head and Say, 'My followers, O my Lord! My followers, O my Lord'. It will be said, 'O Muhammad! Let those of your followers who have no accounts, enter through such a gate of the gates of Paradise as lies on the right; and they will share the other gates with the people." The Prophet further said, "By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, the distance between every two gate-posts of Paradise is like the distance between Mecca and Busra (in Sham)." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 236)

… They would come to Jesus and would say: O Jesus, thou art the messenger of Allah and thou conversed with people in the cradle, (thou art) His Word which He sent down upon Mary, and (thou art) the Spirit from Him; so intercede for us with thy Lord. Don't you see (the trouble) in which we are? Don't you see (the misfortune) that has overtaken us? Jesus (peace be upon him) would say: Verily, my Lord is angry today as He had never been angry before or would ever be angry afterwards. HE MENTIONED NO SIN OF HIS. (He simply said:) I am concerned with myself, I am concerned with myself; you go to someone else: better go to Muhammad (may peace be upon him).

They would come to me and say: O Muhammad, thou art the messenger of Allah and the last of the apostles. Allah HAS PARDONED THEE ALL THY PREVIOUS AND LATER SINS ... (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0378)

Jesus, unlike the rest of the prophets and especially Muhammad, mentions no sin which he ever committed since he never committed any!

In contrast, about Muhammad it is said explicitly, again, that Allah forgave him all his earlier and later sins, which proves he had sins that needed to be forgiven. Moreover, the explicit statements "your early and late sins" and "previous and later sins" are conclusive evidence that there were not only sins from the time before Muhammad was called as a prophet, but later sins committed during his prophetic career are in view here as well.

Thus, here are several Muslim sources which soundly refute and contradict the narration provided by Alhabeshi that every son of Adam is a sinner!

Zakiyya and Jesus and Muhammad

Missionary Alhabeshi then quotes verses where the word zakiyya that is applied to Jesus in Sura 19:19 is also used for others:

Indeed Allah conferred a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (Muhammad SAW) from among themselves, reciting unto them His Verses (the Qur'an), and purifying them (from sins by their following him), and instructing them (in) the Book (the Qur'an) and Al-Hikmah [the wisdom and the Sunnah of the Prophet SAW (i.e. his legal ways, statements, acts of worship, etc.)], while before that they had been in manifest error. S. 3:164 Hilali-Khan

He it is Who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger (Muhammad SAW) from among themselves, reciting to them His Verses, purifying them (from the filth of disbelief and polytheism), and teaching them the Book (this Qur'an, Islamic laws and Islamic jurisprudence) and Al-Hikmah (As-Sunnah: legal ways, orders, acts of worship, etc. of Prophet Muhammad SAW). And verily, they had been before in manifest error; S. 62:2 Hilali-Khan

It is amazing that Alhabeshi actually thinks that these Suras refute the sinlessness of Christ when it only proves it, or that they somehow provide a parallel to show that Muhammad must have also been sinless. After all, isn’t it the purpose of the Quran to provide the message of forgiveness whereby sinners can be purified from their sins? In other words, isn’t it the goal of the Quran to show Muslims the way to follow so that Allah can cleanse them of their impurities? And once they are cleansed and made pure are they considered sinners anymore?

Furthermore, Alhabeshi draws the wrong conclusion from these references since he assumes that Muhammad reciting the message which purifies the unlettered folk implies that he himself must be exempt from impurities. This is a non-sequitur since Muhammad’s recitation has no relevance on his moral and spiritual condition, especially when this same message expressly says that Muhammad was a sinner who needed to receive forgiveness from his god! The fact is that God can use sinful vessels to convey his perfect message since their imperfections do not impact or affect the nature of God’s Words (not that we believe that Muhammad was a messenger of the true God since he wasn’t). To put it simply, Muhammad isn’t the one who made people pure, as Alhabeshi erroneously assumes; rather it is the message which Muhammad recited that supposedly purifies people, including himself.

Moreover, these passages actually establish the sinlessness of Jesus since they show that the word zakiyya refers to purification from sin, that whoever is made pure is free from sins and defects. This also shows that if the Quran wanted to convey the idea that Muhammad was sinless then it could have done so by using the same language it does of Christ and speak of him as having been born pure. The Quran clearly doesn’t use this language for Muhammad but expressly speaks of him being a sinner who needed to be forgiven and made holy:

We narrate unto thee (Muhammad) the best of narratives in that We have inspired in thee this Qur'an, though aforetime thou wast of the heedless. S. 12:3 Pickthall

Did He not find thee erring (dallan), and guide thee? S. 93:7 Arberry

The word dallan is used in reference to persons who are not following the true religion and/or who are steeped in idolatry:

O you who believe! Believe in Allah, and His Messenger (Muhammad SAW), and the Book (the Qur'an) which He has sent down to His Messenger, and the Scripture which He sent down to those before (him), and whosoever disbelieves in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Last Day, then indeed he has strayed far away (faqad dalla dalalan baAAeedan). S. 4:136 Hilali-Khan

When he saw the moon rising up, he said: "This is my lord." But when it set, he said: "Unless my Lord guides me, I shall surely be among the erring people (addaallen)." S. 6:77 Hilali-Khan

This means that Allah found Muhammad steeped in spiritual error and darkness!

Thus, Jesus is unlike Muhammad and other Muslims since he didn’t need to hear and follow the guidance of the Quran to be made pure, whereas they certainly did. The Quran gives the reason why Jesus didn’t need to be purified like them, because he was actually born pure!

The birth of Jesus was pure and protected from Satan

Alhabeshi says regarding Arlandson’s appeal to the hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari that Jesus and Mary were the only two whom Satan could not touch when they were born:

Jesus (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) is a sinless man. I don’t know where in the hadith does it mention Jesus’ (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) alleged sinlessness? The hadith simply states that Jesus (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) and his mother weren’t touched by Satan at the time their mothers gave them birth. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they never sinned through out their life.

Here is the narration so that the readers can better appreciate why Alhabeshi isn’t adequately addressing the issues:

Narrated Said bin Al-Musaiyab:
Abu Huraira said, "I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, "There is none born among the off-spring of Adam, but Satan touches it. A child therefore, cries loudly at the time of birth because of the touch of Satan, EXCEPT MARY AND HER CHILD." Then Abu Huraira recited: "And I seek refuge with You for her and for her offspring from the outcast Satan" (3.36) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 641; see also Volume 4, Book 54, Number 506)

And here is the Sura which Abu Huraira recited:

When the wife of Imran said, ‘Lord, I have vowed to Thee, in dedication, what is within my womb. Receive Thou this from me; Thou hearest, and knowest.’ And when she gave birth to her she said, ‘Lord, I have given birth to her, a female.’ (And God knew very well what she had given birth to; the male is not as the female.) ‘And I have named her Mary, and commend her to Thee with her seed, to protect them from the accursed Satan.' S. 3:35-36 Arberry

Allah protected Mary and Jesus from Satan in answer to the request of Mary’s mother. The Sura goes on to say about Mary:

And when the angels said, 'Mary, God has chosen thee, and purified thee; He has chosen thee above all women. S. 3:42 Arberry

Allah purified Mary, which implies that she was made sinless just as the following Muslim source claims:

(And when the angels) i.e. Gabriel (said: O Mary! Lo! Allah hath chosen thee) with Islam and worship (and made thee pure) from disbelief, the association of partners with Allah and blemishes; it is also said this means: He has saved you from being killed, (and hath preferred you above (all) the women of creation) of your time by the birth of Jesus. (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn ‘Abbs; online source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

When we interpret the above text in light of Sura 3:36 and the hadiths then the conclusion is that Allah purified Mary and Jesus from the moment of their conceptions, which explains why Satan couldn’t touch them. This also means that they were born sinless.

The birth of Muhammad was impure and unprotected from Satan

This is unlike Muhammad and his household who had to be made pure and who came under the influence of Satan:

And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance, and perform As-Salat (Iqamat as-Salat), and give Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah wishes only to remove ArRijs (evil deeds and sins, etc.) from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet SAW), and to purify you with a thorough purification. S. 33:33 Hilali-Khan

Never did We send a Messenger or a Prophet before you, but; when he did recite the revelation or narrated or spoke, Shaitan (Satan) threw (some falsehood) in it. But Allah abolishes that which Shaitan (Satan) throws in. Then Allah establishes His Revelations. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise: That He (Allah) may make what is thrown in by Shaitan (Satan) a trial for those in whose hearts is a disease (of hypocrisy and disbelief) and whose hearts are hardened. And certainly, the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.) are in an opposition far-off (from the truth against Allah's Messenger and the believers). S. 22:52-53 Hilali-Khan

According the two Jalals, this last passage was "revealed" concerning Muhammad reciting verses from Satan:

And We did not send before you any messenger (rasul) - this is a prophet who has been commanded to deliver a Message - or prophet (nabi) - one who has not been commanded to deliver anything - but that when he recited [the scripture] Satan cast into his recitation, what is not from the Qur'an, but which those to whom he [the prophet] had been sent would find pleasing. The Prophet (s) had, during an assembly of the [men of] Quraysh, after reciting the [following verses from] surat al-Najm, Have you considered Lat and 'Uzza? And Manat, the third one? [53:19-20] added, as a result of Satan casting them onto his tongue without his [the Prophet's] being aware of it, [the following words]: 'those are the high-flying cranes (al-gharaniq al-'ula) and indeed their intercession is to be hoped for', and so they [the men of Quraysh] were thereby delighted. Gabriel, however, later informed him [the Prophet] of this that Satan had cast onto his tongue and he was grieved by it; but was [subsequently] comforted with this following verse that he might be reassured [of God's pleasure]: thereat God abrogates, nullifies, whatever Satan had cast, then God confirms His revelations. And God is Knower, of Satan's casting of that which has been mentioned, Wise, in His enabling him [Satan] to do such things, for He does whatever He wishes. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; online source; bold emphasis ours)

That He may make what Satan has cast a trial, a test, for those in whose hearts is a sickness, dissension and hypocrisy, and those whose hearts are hardened, namely, the idolaters, [hardened] against acceptance of the truth. For truly the evildoers, the disbelievers, are [steeped] in extreme defiance, [in] a protracted feud with the Prophet (s) and the believers, for his tongue uttered mention of their gods in a way that pleased them, and yet this was later nullified. (Source; bold emphasis ours)

More on Muhammad being influenced by Satan later.

What the New Testament really says about Jesus

Alhabeshi claims:

According to the Christian doctrine of original sin if we all the sons of Adam have to share original sin Jesus too must share that sin of Adam too! Its amazing to get the Christian doctrine of the original sin putting EVERY son of Adam under the sin committed by Adam while leaving Jesus to be innocent from it although it’s claimed under the Christian doctrine that Jesus is a FULY MAN! Yet interestingly Paul indirectly put Jesus to be from among the cursed ones. Paul said

Galatians 4:4

"But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law"

And he had to say in Galatians 3:10

"All who rely on the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.""

As its well know from the Christian doctrine that the source of the curse which all sons of Adam must share unless being set free by Christ’s blood is Adam’s sin. So just by combining the above two verses we can easily understand that Jesus’ being made under the law makes him under a curse thus making him blamed for that original sin. Additionally 1 john 1:8 informs us that if we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. So if Jesus is said to be a full man how can he get escaped from at least original sin (if every son of Adam is blamed for that sin)?

He will also say in his conclusion that:

… As for those who still argue Jesus to be sinless to prove his divinity 1 John 3:9 which reads:

"No one born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God."

is enough. According to this verse every born again Christian is sinless and those whom the bible witnesses to have been filled with Holy Spirit since birth (Luke 1:15 says, "For he (John the Baptist) will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth") too are sinless thus many gods will be available. So we can conclude that the bible it self refutes the idea that accuses all prophets of sinning while leaving Jesus to be a sinless man.

Amazingly, missionary Alhabeshi has distorted the meaning of every one of these texts by wrenching them out of their immediate and greater contexts. We deal with his last points first since this will lead into a discussion of 1 John 3:9. Regarding John’s claim that those born of God do not continue to sin his point, in context, is rather clear; the life of a true believer is not characterized by habitual sinning but a sincere effort of trying to live in complete conformity to the will of God. Yet John is aware that Christians will stumble and sin since he also wrote:

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." 1 John 1:7-10

"My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world." 1 John 2:1-2

John expressly stated that if we say we are without sin then we are not true believers, but if we confess our sins to God then we will be washed in the blood of Jesus who offered himself as a sacrifice to appease and satisfy God’s perfect justice. Notice that John says that is because of Christ’s shed blood and his work as intercessor that believers can receive forgiveness of sins. This presupposes that Christ is completely pure and holy which separates him from born again believers who had to be made righteous and pure, precisely what John himself wrote in the context of 1 John 3:

"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when HE APPEARS we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself AS HE IS PURE. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, AS HE IS RIGHTEOUS. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother." 1 John 3:1-10

John claims that the reason that believers do not have to live in habitual or continual sin is because Jesus, God’s Son, came to destroy the works of Satan thereby granting Christians the ability to overcome the evil one and live righteously:

"Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? … If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life… " 1 John 5:1-5, 9-13, 18

John also states that Jesus is pure, righteous and has no sin whereas believers need to strive to become pure and live righteously so as to be like Christ. Clearly, John did not believe that Jesus was a sinner or that believers were also sinless like him.

As far as John the Baptist being filled with the Holy Spirit is concerned, this doesn’t mean that he was sinless since the Scriptures show that he had a lapse of faith:

"The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ And when the men had come to him, they said, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?"’ In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.’" Luke 7:18-23

Now regarding what Paul believed about Jesus’ sinlessness here is what Alhabeshi conveniently failed to quote:

"For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.’ Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ But the law is not of faith, rather ‘The one who does them shall live by them.’ Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us--for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’-- so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith." Galatians 3:10-14

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." Galatians 4:4-7

Paul did not say that being under the Law was a curse, but that breaking the Law resulted in a person being cursed by God. The reason why Paul wrote Jesus became a curse is because Christ came to take the penalty of death which came as a result of sinners breaking the Law. And by paying the price for sins Jesus provided the ransom which procured the redemption, the salvation, of those whom God appointed to be his children. In other words, Paul’s view was that individuals are adopted into the family of God as result of Christ dying on the cross for them, thereby removing the curse that was/is upon them:

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father," Galatians 1:3-4

"yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified." Galatians 2:16

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20

Paul clearly taught and affirmed the absolute sinlessness of Christ and believed that he came to take our sins and die on our behalf:

"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21

This was also the same view held by the Apostle Peter:

"knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot." 1 Peter 1:18-19

"For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore OUR SINS in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:21-24

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit," 1 Peter 3:18

And the inspired writer of Hebrews confirmed this position:

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15

"For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens." Hebrews 7:26

"how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God." Hebrews 9:14

Alhabeshi was aware of some of these citations affirming Christ’s absolutely purity since he tries to discount them:

The problem with these verses is just neither of them is spoken on the authority of Jesus. The authority of these verses cannot be passed from Peter, John and Paul who are said to have written them…

Correcting Alhabeshi’s interpretations

Several responses are necessary to correct Alhabeshi’s convoluted reasoning. First, note Alhabeshi’s glaring inconsistency for discounting the testimony of these writers when just earlier he was appealing to these same authors to prove his points!

Second, who better to serve as a witness to Christ’s absolute purity than those who walked and lived with him, or knew those that did? The Apostles and their immediate followers were far more qualified than either Alhabeshi or Muhammad to speak in reference to the Person and works of Jesus since these men were eyewitnesses of his life and ministry:

"That which was from the beginning, which WE HAVE HEARD, which WE HAVE SEEN WITH OUR EYES, which WE LOOKED UPON AND HAVE TOUCHED WITH OUR HANDS, concerning the word of life-- the life was made manifest, and WE HAVE SEEN IT, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made MANIFEST TO US-- that which WE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:1-3

Fourth, these men had been given Christ’s authority to speak and act on his behalf:

"Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me." Matthew 10:40

"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me." John 13:20

"He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’" Matthew 16:15-19

"Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." Matthew 18:18-20

"And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’" Matthew 28:18-20

"But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning." John 15:26-27

"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come." John 16:12-13

"Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.’" John 20:21-23

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8

"since you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you… For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down." 2 Corinthians 13:3, 10

This means that the Apostles and their companions could and did speak with the authority of the risen Lord and that their instructions had to be followed as coming from God himself:

"If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized." 1 Corinthians 14:37-38

"And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers." 1 Thessalonians 2:13

"For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 4:2

"This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles," 2 Peter 3:1-2

Fifth, it isn’t simply the NT writers which testify to Christ’s absolute perfection since even the OT prophets confirmed that the Messiah is completely holy. The prophet Isaiah said in reference to God’s suffering Servant, the Messiah, that:

"Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand; he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall THE RIGHTEOUS ONE, MY SERVANT, MAKE MANY TO BE ACCOUNTED RIGHTEOUS; AND HE SHALL BEAR THEIR INIQUITIES. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; YET HE BORE THE SIN OF MANY, and made intercession for the transgressors." Isaiah 53:1-12

Alhabeshi also claims that:

… If we thoroughly search the bible we get a single verse, which is said to had been spoken by Jesus himself, claiming that he was never guilty of sin.

Alhabeshi quotes John 8:45-46 along with verses 12-44 to try to prove that Jesus was simply denying that he was lying, no more no less. In his haste Alhabeshi forgot to pay attention to the following citation:

"And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, FOR I ALWAYS DO THE THINGS THAT ARE PLEASING TO HIM." John 8:29

Jesus can say that he always does what pleases the Father, with the Father himself bearing witness to this fact:

"And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’" Mark 1:11

A creature, no matter how righteous, can never say that he or she always does what pleases God. Even Alhabeshi was forced to admit that his prophet made mistakes which shows that not even Alhabeshi can claim that his prophet always pleased Allah.

Christ also said:

"The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, AND IN HIM THERE IS NO FALSEHOOD." John 7:18

"I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me," John 14:30

Jesus says that Satan had no hold on him and that he was completely free from any falsehood, claims that demonstrate his absolute purity and holiness. This conclusively sets Christ apart from the rest of humanity since, according to the Holy Bible, men are taken captive by Satan and must be set freed by God through the Son:

"Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So IF the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:34-36

"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:1-7

"And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will." 2 Timothy 2:24-26

"Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery." Hebrews 2:14-15

This also sets Jesus apart from Muhammad since the latter, according to Islamic sources, succumbed to Satan on more than one occasion and even had the devil circulating within him as blood:

Narrated Aisha:
Magic was worked on Allah's Apostle SO THAT HE USED TO THINK THAT HE HAD SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH HIS WIVES WHILE HE ACTUALLY HAD NOT. (Sufyan said: That is the hardest kind of magic as it has such an effect). Then one day he said, "O ‘Aisha do you know that Allah has instructed me concerning the matter I asked Him about? Two men came to me and one of them sat near my head and the other sat near my feet. The one near my head asked the other. What is wrong with this man?’ The latter replied he is under the effect of magic. The first one asked, ‘Who has worked magic on him?’ The other replied Labid bin Al-A’sam, a man from Bani Zuraiq who was an ally of the Jews and was a hypocrite.’ The first one asked, What material did he use)?’ The other replied, ‘A comb and the hair stuck to it.’ The first one asked, ‘Where (is that)?’ The other replied. 'In a skin of pollen of a male date palm tree kept under a stone in the well of Dharwan’." So the Prophet went to that well and took out those things and said, "That was the well which was shown to me (in a dream) Its water looked like the infusion of Henna leaves and its date-palm trees looked like the heads of devils." The Prophet added, "Then that thing was taken out." I said (to the Prophet) "Why do you not treat yourself with Nashra?" He said, "Allah has cured me; I dislike to let evil spread among my people." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 660)

Narrated Aisha:
Aisha said: One day Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) went out of her (Aisha's apartment) during the night and she felt jealous. Then he came and he saw me (in what agitated state of mind) I was. He said: Aisha, what has happened to you? Do you feel jealous? Thereupon she said: How can it be (that a woman like me) should not feel jealous in regard to a husband like you? Thereupon Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) said: It was your devil who had come to you, and she said: Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) is there along with me a devil? He said: Yes. I said: Is devil attached to everyone? He said: Yes. I (Aisha) again said: Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) is it with you also? He said: Yes, but my Lord has helped me against him as such I am absolutely safe from his mischief. (Sahih Muslim, Book 039, Number 6759)

It is therefore clear from the foregoing that when Jesus made the following challenge to his opponents:

"Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?" John 8:46

He didn’t simply have lies in view, i.e. that they couldn’t accuse him of lying, but any and every sin in mind, i.e. that none of his opponents could prove that Jesus committed any transgression because he is absolutely holy since he is absolutely God!

The uniqueness of Christ

Now as far as Jesus being a sinner due to his being full man and a Son of Adam is concerned, Alhabeshi fails to take into consideration that Jesus is completely unique for at least two reasons. First, according to the NT Jesus is the unique Son of God who existed with the Father before he became man:

"For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me." John 6:38

"And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed." John 17:5

This by itself distinguishes him from all other men. Second, Jesus was protected from inheriting a sinful nature through the virgin birth:

"And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’ And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born WILL BE CALLED HOLY--the Son of God.’" Luke 1:30-35

The above texts show that the Holy Spirit caused Mary to conceive Christ’s physical body without the touch of a man in order that Jesus could preserve his holiness and sinlessness. This is why we consistently find Jesus called the Holy and Righteous One:

"What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God." Mark 1:24

"Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.’" John 6:68-69

"But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you," Acts 3:14

"Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered," Acts 7:52

"And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth;’" Acts 22:14

Did Jesus speak a false prophecy?

As if the foregoing biblical distortions weren’t bad enough, Alhabeshi quotes Matthew 19:28 in order to accuse Jesus of making a false prophecy. Jesus, in that passage, addresses the twelve and tells them that in the age to come they will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The problem with this claim (or so Alhabeshi thinks) is that one of the twelve happened to be Judas who later betrayed Christ, thus falsifying what Jesus promised. The problem does not lie with Jesus, but with the author’s ability to read carefully. We highlight the one specific part that the author apparently failed to see:

"Then Peter said in reply, ‘Lo, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, YOU WHO HAVE FOLLOWED ME will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’" Matthew 19:27-28 RSV

Christ’s promise was conditioned on the apostles’ faithfulness in following him. Judas disqualified himself since he failed to follow Jesus faithfully. This becomes clearer from a similar promise Jesus made which is found in Luke:

"And likewise the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But behold the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of man goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!’ And they began to question one another, which of them it was that would do this. A dispute also arose among them, which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have continued with me in my trials; and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’" Luke 22:20-30 RSV

Christ promised that only those who continue with him in his trials would sit on thrones to judge Israel. That this promise did not include Judas specifically can be seen by what Jesus had just said regarding one of them betraying him. This means that since Judas was going to betray Christ Jesus was not including him in the promise.

Later on the Lord Jesus chose Matthias to replace Judas thereby insuring that Christ’s promise that there would be twelve disciples sitting on twelve thrones did not fail:

"In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) and said, ‘Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus- he was one of our number and shared in this ministry. (With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) For,’ said Peter, ‘it is written in the book of Psalms, "May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it," and, "May another take his place of leadership." Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.’ So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, ‘Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.’ Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles." Acts 1:15-26

These are the twelve who form the foundation of heavenly Jerusalem:

"One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." Revelation 21:9-14

The foregoing demonstrates that Christ’s promise was based on the condition that his followers had to remain faithful till the end; otherwise they would lose the promised blessing.

And if uttering a false prophecy is an indication of being a sinner then Muhammad was one of the greatest sinners:

Say (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to these Mushrikun and Kafirun): "O Al-Kafirun (disbelievers in Allah, in His Oneness, in His Angels, in His Books, in His Messengers, in the Day of Resurrection, and in Al-Qadar, etc.)! I worship not that which you worship, Nor will you worship that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which you are worshipping. Nor will you worship that which I worship. To you be your religion, and to me my religion (Islamic Monotheism)." S. 109:1-6 Hilali-Khan

This Sura is telling Muhammad’s contemporaries at Mecca that they will not worship what Muhammad worships. As Islamic records attest, Muhammad turned out to be wrong since all the Meccans became Muslims! For more on this point see the following:

http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/what_i_worship.html
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/what_i_worship3.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/what_i_worship2.html

Concluding Remarks

As we come to the conclusion of our discussion we want to highlight one last intriguing component to the Muslim missionary’s "refutation." What makes Alhabeshi’s rebuttal so bizarre is that he tried to go out of his way to disprove that Muhammad was a sinner, despite there being plenty of Quranic verses to support that he was, and yet wanted to show that Jesus wasn’t sinless even though both the Holy Bible and Islamic sources expressly teach that he is! Note the irony in of all this: One (Muhammad) is expressly identified as a sinner whereas the other (Jesus) is clearly presented as being absolutely pure, and yet Alhabeshi wants to flip things around so as to convince his readers that the sinner was actually sinless, even though he was only guilty of making a few mistakes, whereas the sinless one was actually the sinner!

Yet we hope that we were able to show that according to the records themselves Jesus is completely holy, pure, undefiled, and perfect, whereas Muhammad was a sinner who committed gross transgressions. The fact of the matter is that Muhammad needed Jesus to save him from his sins, but unfortunately he rejected the true Christ of history who is the risen Lord of the New Testament for a satanic counterfeit named Isa who can save no one, not even himself:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." John 3:16-18

"I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough." 2 Corinthians 11:2-4

"The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost." 1 Timothy 1:15

Save, O risen and immortal Lord Jesus, and redeem us sinners from the wrath to come. Amen.

Recommended Reading

http://answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/Sharing/11unique.html
http://answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/Challenge/chap3.html
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/sinless_jesus.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/Vol1/7b.html
http://answering-islam.org/Silas/mo-sinner.htm



Copyright (c) by James Malcolm Arlandson and used by permission. Originally published at Answering Islam.

Other articles by James Arlandson

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