Category Archives: Christianity/Orientalists

Refutation of the Christian Lie that “Paul is a Prophet in Qur’an”


by Ebrahim Saifuddin

The Claim

In all their desperation Christian missionaries have now started to claim that according to the Quran Paul was a prophet of God. Their conclusions are based on conjectures and the misrepresentation of the text of the Qur’an. Simply put, there is not a single place in the Qur’an which even mentions the name “Paul” let alone mentioning him to be a prophet of God.

To make such claims the Christian missionaries run to Tafsir Ibn Kathir. They read out the tafsir by Ibn Kathir regarding the 14th ayah (Verse) of the 36th Surah (Chapter) of the Quran.

Verse under Question:


إِذْ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهِمُ اثْنَيْنِ فَكَذَّبُوهُمَا فَعَزَّزْنَا بِثَالِثٍ فَقَالُوا إِنَّا إِلَيْكُم مُّرْسَلُونَ

When We (first) sent to them two apostles, they rejected them: But We strengthened them with a third: they said, “Truly, we have been sent on a mission to you.”  – [Translation: Abdullah Yusuf Ali]

Christian missionaries say that Ibn Kathir says in his Tafsir of the Quran that this verse refers to Paul of Tarsus and thus Paul (Bulus) is one of the Messengers of God according to Islam.

Let’s see whether Ibn Kathir makes such a claim.

Ibn Kathir writes:

“The names of the first two Messengers were Sham`un and Yuhanna, and the name of the third was Bulus, and the city was Antioch (Antakiyah).”

But the question is this Ibn Kathir’s view?

No. This saying is attributed to: Shu`ayb Al-Jaba’i

Ibn Kathir is quoting Shu`ayb Al-Jaba’i. Ibn Kathir has also quoted interpretations of different people as well. He says that according to Ibn Ishaq the names of these three are:

(i) Sadiq

(ii) Saduq

(iii) Shalum

Note: No Bulus (i.e. Paul) mentioned here.

Later on Ibn Kathir in his tafsir refutes this and says that according to the proceeding Qur’anic verses the people were destroyed. Historically there is no evidence that the city of Antioch faced such destruction and thus this cannot even be about the city of Antioch.

Analyzing Some Tafsirs

Now let’s check Qurtubi whom these missionaries have labeled to be “The Number 1 Muslim Imam”.


“Tabari mentions: Sadiq Saduq Shalum

Someone else: Shamoun Yuhanna

Al Naqash said: Saman and Yahya – Did not mention Sadiq and Saduq.

According to Qurtubi ‘Eesa Masih (alayhissalaam) (Jesus) sent the first two as messengers to the king of Antioch. To him they said “We are disciples of ‘Eesa”. The king jailed them and whipped them. This news reached ‘Eesa (alayhissalaam) and he sent a third messenger ‘Shamoun Al-Safa’.”

Note: Qurtubi does not mention any Paul (Bulus) either.

We will now check another tafsir

Tafsir Ibn Abbas:

(When We sent unto them twain) two apostles: Simon the Canaanite and Thomas, (and they denied them both, so We reinforced them with a third) We strengthened them with Simon Peter who confirmed the message conveyed by the other two apostles, (and they said; Lo! we have been sent unto you.

Note: No Paul mentioned over there either.

What we have done here is basically refuted the idea that the Tafsirs unanimously agree that one of the three people sent as messengers was Paul. There is a difference of opinion among the scholars of tafsir which is evidence that neither the Qur’an mentions the name of Paul as one of the messengers nor did Prophet Muhammad ever mention his name with regards to this verse.

Does The Verse Really Talk About Messengers (Rasul)?

Now we will go on to refute the idea that the verse is talking of a Rasul of Allah.

The Arabic text of the Qur’an clearly shows the word used for these three to be “mursaloon”. Mursaloon which is the plural of mursal means “sent one”. This word has been highlighted in the concerned verse above.

Rasul (pl. rusul) in Islam has a specific definition.

Generally the word means:ambassador, messenger, envoy, emissary, forerunner, apostle, and courier.

Mursal (pl. mursaloon) means: sent one

This word, in the Qur’an can or can not refer to a prophet of Allah. For example in the Quran we see the following verse:

وَإِنِّي مُرْسِلَةٌ إِلَيْهِم بِهَدِيَّةٍ فَنَاظِرَةٌ بِمَ يَرْجِعُ الْمُرْسَلُونَ

But indeed, I will send to them a gift and see with what [reply] the messengers will return. – [Quran 27:35]

The same word “mursaloon” has been used. So does this mean that the messengers that Bilqis sent were RUSUL?

Another verse of the Quran:

فَلَمَّا جَاء آلَ لُوطٍالْمُرْسَلُونَ

At length when the messengers arrived among the adherents of Lut – [Quran 15:61]

Again the same word “mursaloon” is used. Does this mean that the angels which came to Lut were RUSUL?

Of course the answer to both the questions is “No”. None of them was a rasul but they were only ‘sent ones’. This word  “mursaloon” simply means a messenger and not necessarily RasulAllah

Further Deception by Christian Missionaries

The deceiving nature of these certain Christian missionaries is actually laughable. To support their claim they try to quote another verse from the Qur’an. The translation of that verse is given below:

Muhammad is no more than a Messenger  – [Quran 3:144]

And they say that look Muhammad was also only a messenger like the other three. But if we read the verse of the Qur’an we see that the word used here is “rasul” and not the general term“mursaloon”. A general term for messenger was used for the three people in 36:14 but for Prophet Muhammad the special word“rasul” has been used in this verse.

Further the verse continues:

Many Were the messengers that passed away before him. – [Qur’an 3:144]

This part of the verse talks about the previous rusul of Allah. And in the Arabic text, for them, again the word “rasul” is used and not the common word mursaloon.

Hence clearly the three that the Quran is talking about in Surah Yasin (36) verse 14 were not “rasul” but messengers (the sent ones) sent by Jesus on the directive of Allah.

Let’s give an example to make things clearer. If Allah informs Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) to send Omar (radhiyallahu anhu) to Persia for Da’wah does that not mean that Omar (radhiyallahu anhu) is a messenger (mursaloon)? Of course he is a messenger! But it can never mean that he is a rasul!

Similarly these three were not rasul but were only messengers sent by ‘Eesa alayhissalaam (Jesus) (on the directives of Allah.

Further Evidence

For more evidence we have to read Surah 36 verse 16:

They said: “Our Lord doth know that we have been sent on a mission to you:– [Qur’an 36:16]

This is a significant verse. These three supposed rasul of God go to a city and there they do not say ‘Our Lord sent us on a mission’ but rather say ‘Our Lord knows that we have been sent.’

Clearly when a Rasul of Allah (i.e. Jesus in this case) sends a messenger (i.e. Paul, Shamoun, Yuhanna or any of the other names mentioned by scholars in this case) to another city, God knows that they have been sent. It does not mean that God actually chose them to be rasul and sent them.

The Last Blow

It has clearly been refuted that according to the Qur’an or the Tafsir Paul was a Rasul of Allah. For the final blow to the deception which the Christian missionaries try to create let us take a look at a hadith of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

There is a clear hadith from the mouth of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam):

Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Apostle saying, “I am the nearest of all the people to the son of Mary, and all the prophets are paternal brothers, and there has been no prophet between me and him (i.e. Jesus).” – [Sahih Bukhari Vol.4, Book 55, #651] This hadith has also been recorded in Sahih Muslim and Abu Dawud.


The whole idea of Paul being a rasul of God has been defeated in this article.

1) The verse 36:14 does not talk about a rasul but only about mursaloon.

2) Whether the verse in question refers to Paul or not is a matter of interpretation and clearly there are many scholars who don’t even mention Paul’s name in their tafsir of this verse.

3) Ibn Kathir himself refutes the claim of the city being Antioch.

4) According to Sahih Hadith it is clear that between ‘Eesa alayhissalaam (Jesus) and Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) there has been no prophet and hence Paul could have never been a prophet.

5) Even if, for argument’s sake, we would say that according to Ibn Kathir Paul is a Rasul of God, no tafsir can supercede the authentic hadith. This would be Ibn Kathir’s interpretation and Ibn Kathir was a man and not a rasul of God hence his word can never be taken over the word of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).


Who was the First Muslim in the Quran? No Contradiction/Error!


[By Yahya Snow]

The Critics allege a contradiction against the Qur’an and ask; who was the first Muslim?

Secular critics such as the sceptics use this claim as well as Christians though I would imagine it was borne out of the Christian camp; it is used in evangelical Christian work such as GJO Moshay’s evangelism [1].

The critics point to two references from the Qur’an, 6:14 and 6:161-163, and claim these references show Prophet Muhammad as the first Muslim and then the critics turns their attention to another verse of the Qur’an (7:143) concerning Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) being the first of the believers. Just to further their agenda they may also highlight other Qur’anic references indicating there were Muslims before Prophet Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) namely the first man Adam (S. 2:30, 34-35, 37) and Ibraheem alayhissalaam (Abraham) as well as other Prophets (S. 4:163, S. 6:84) as believers. However they mainly use the Qur’anic verse about Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) (7:143) and try to put it along side the two concerning Muhammed (6:14 and 6:163) and they then allege contradiction/error.

The Refutation

Quite simply, the Qur’an does not claim Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) nor Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) to be the first ever Muslim. The critic imposes a faulty understanding on the Qur’anic verses and alleges a contradiction when there is no contradiction/error.

Despite this it is still thorough and beneficial to offer explanations in order to clear any confusion as well as help highlight the errors of the critics in the hope they realise their mistakes and abjure themselves and eventually become amongst the guided ones, Insha’Allah

I feel it is logical to begin this simple refutation with analysing the reference concerning Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) and then we shall build upon this in a methodical fashion so the reader can follow with ease. Did the Quran claim Musa alayhissalaam Moses to be the first ever believer?

7:143 sees Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) saying he is the first of the believers. However, we do see that this is true as he (Moses) was the first believer amongst his own people.

7:143. And when Mûsa (Moses) came at the time and place appointed by Us, and his Lord spoke to him, he said: “O my Lord! Show me (Yourself), that I may look upon You.” Allâh said: “You cannot see Me, but look upon the mountain if it stands still in its place then you shall see Me.” So when his Lord appeared to the mountain[], He made it collapse to dust, and Mûsa (Moses) fell down unconscious. Then when he recovered his senses he said: “Glory be to You, I turn to You in repentance and I am the first of the believers.” [2]

Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) does not say he is the first believer ‘ever’. He merely claims he is the first of the believers and knowing the context one understands he is not claiming to be the first ever believer from humankind but the first amongst his people to believe, this is apparent as it is a relative term to the “believers” and situational-context tells us that the believers at the time of Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) were essentially the Children of Israel and thus we realise that Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) is referring to himself as the first to believe amongst the Children of Israel.

The critic fails to mention this and tries to present this verse as meaning Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) is the first ever to believe amongst humanity, this is unfair and misleading on the part of the critic especially considering the word “ever” is not in the verse. There is further clarification of the Arabic phrase of the Quran ascribed to Moses (“awwalu al-mumineena”= “first of the believers”) as there is another reference in the Quran (26:51) where this term comes up and thus explaining the meaning of Musa alayhissalaam (Moses’) statement of being the “first of the believers (“awwalu almumineena”).

So we use a basic principle of Tafsir (explaining the Qur’an) by explaining a verse of the Qur’an (the verse concerning Moses, 7143) by using another part of the Quran (26:51). So what do we learn about the statement of Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) in 7:143 by looking at 26:51?

26:51. “Verily! We really hope that our Lord will forgive us our sins, as we are the first of the believers [in Mûsa (Moses) and in the Monotheism which he has brought from Allâh].” [3]

The context of this verse is Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) going to Fir’awn (Pharaoh) and preaching the Message and with the intention of freeing the enslaved Children of Israel.

The verse (26:51) is teaching us what the sorcerers of the Fir’awn (Pharaoh) said when they realised that Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) and Haroon alayhissalaam (Aaron) were truthful in their preaching. Thus they became the first to believe amongst the people of Fir’awn (Pharaoh) and even use the same expression as Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) “awwala al-mumineena”. It is clear that they are not claiming to be the first ever to believe as Haroon alayhissalaam (Aaron) and Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) (two people who were believers before them) were in front of them delivering the Message to Fir’awn (Pharaoh) and his people and they became believers due to the preaching (miracles) of Moses by the Will of Allah. Therefore we realise the term “awwala al-mumineena” (first of the believers) in the Quran (7:143) does not mean he is the first ever believer but it is a relative term. Thus we realise that both the sayings of Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) (7:143) and the sorcerers (26:51) are relative to their situations and they are clearly not referring to themselves as the first ever believers but it does mean they are the first believers amongst their own people. We also realise the critics build there argument upon faulty information as well as error. So now we know that Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) was not referring to himself as the first ever believer through the information presented.

However, for thoroughness we can use the same method of Tafsir (i.e. ‘explanation of the Quran by the Quran’ [6]) to realise that Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) was speaking relative to his own time and people. We need look no further than the Qur’anic references to Adam (2:30-37) and we deduct that Adam alayhissalaam came before Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) and was a believer therefore believed before Moses so we realise that the Quran is not presenting Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) as the first ever believer but as the first believer relative to the time and place Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) was in (i.e. the first to believe amongst his people). This is basic Tafsir and logic which the critic avoids.

The critics have no authority (Tafsir writers such as Ibn Kathir etc) to support their claims which are merely erroneous self-imposed understandings based on ignorance of context and Tafsir. Now we realise that the Quran did not put forward Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) (or the sorcerers) as the first ever Muslim (s) we still have the question; did the Quran claim Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as the first ever Muslim? Well let us focus on the references in question.

It is not up for debate whether Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was the first Muslim or not. Quite simply he was the first Muslim in the sense that Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was the first Muslim (i.e. who has submitted to God) amongst his own people (the Quraish) at that particular phase in history. This is completely correct. Hence there is no contradiction as Adam alayhissalaam was the first Muslim ever while Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was the first Muslim amongst his own people.

There are two Qur’anic references (6:14 and 6:162-163) the critics bring up, so it is appropriate to analyse the two references. The first of the Quranic references the critics cite (6:14) shows that Allah instructs Muhammed to “say” (Qul): “Verily, I am commanded to be the first of those who submit themselves to Allâh (as Muslims).”:

6:14. Say (O Muhammad Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam): “Shall I take as a Walî (helper, protector, etc.) any other than Allâh, the Creator of the heavens and the earth? And it is He Who feeds but is not fed.” Say: “Verily, I am commanded to be the first of those who submit themselves to Allâh (as Muslims).” And be not you (O Muhammad Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) of the Mushrikûn [polytheists, pagans, idolaters and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh]. [4]

We also note the same applies to the second Quranic reference (6:162-163) in that it also begins with Qul (say) and Mohammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is instructed to say: “… I am the first of the Muslims”:

6: 162. Say (O Muhammad Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam): “Verily, my Salât (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allâh, the Lord of the ‘Alamîn (mankind, jinns and all that exists). 163. “He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims.” [5]

So we see that Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is being instructed to say these words and we can refer to Von Denffer concerning Qur’anic verses, such as the two cited by the critics (6:14 and 6:162-163), which begin with Qul (say): “More than 200 passages in the Quran open with the word ‘Qul’ (say:), which is an instruction to the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) to address the words following this introduction to his audience in a particular situation…” [7]

So the natural question is who is Muhammed’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) audience for him to say these words to? The audience were the tribe of Quraish. The Quraish were Muhammed’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) people (tribe) [8].Thus they were his foremost audience. Indeed Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was the first Muslim amongst the Quraish who were a Pagan tribe.

Also we realise his immediate audience resided in Makkah as these two Quranic references are form the Makkan period, this shows that Muhammed’s audience was the Pagan Arabs of Makkah and the foremost of these Pagans in Makkah was his own people, the Quraish tribe. Thus we realise that Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was to teach the Pagan audience in Makkah that he was the first Muslim. This was the context and we realise it is relative to the Quraish and thus refers to him being the first Muslim from amongst the Pagans of Quraish. Note he was not instructed to say this to Adam alayhissalaam or earlier Prophets nor was he instructed to say this to the whole of humanity but he was instructed to say it “to his audience” (pg78) who were primarily the Quraish. How the critic misses this context is not worth too much thought at this juncture, the fact of the matter is that the critics completely miss the context and thus fall into error and onto the thorny path of misleading others with their erroneous claims.

Even not knowing the context one can realise that Qur’an is not referring to Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as the first ever Muslim as the Qur’an does not qualify it with the word ‘ever’! However there is further unscholarly work on the part of the critic as the context is again realised through the rest of the verse (6:14): And be not you (O Muhammad (lsallallaahu alayhi wasallam) of the Mushrikûn [polytheists, pagans, idolaters and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh]. [4]

This shows that Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was instructed by Allah through the Quran to speak relatively to his people who were idolaters/disbelievers (Quraish) Interestingly enough 6:163 uses a similarly structured term as the verse concerning Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) (7:143, “awwala almumineena”), thus we can deduce that “Awwalul-muslimeen” is not a term used by the Qur’an referring to the first ever Muslim and thus the context needs to be applied. The context shows that Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is the first Muslim relative to his own time and place i.e. the first Muslim amongst his immediate audience (the Quraish) who were the Mushrikun. It is disheartening to see the critics would overlook scholarship of explaining the Quran in favour of their own shoddy, misleading methodology of imposing their own understanding on the Quranic verses they choose to use. If they had an ounce of scholarship they would realise that their own warped understanding should not be imposed upon the Quran as there is a clear methodology to explain (tafsir) the Quran.

To further pour humiliation and refutation on the critic’s claims we can refer to the two undisputed modes of explaining the Quran; “Naturally, the explanation of the Quran by the Quran and the explanation of the Quran by the Prophet are two highest sources for tafsir, which cannot be matched nor superseded by any other source”. [6]

So let us use the Qur’an to explain the Qur’an as “many of the questions which may arise out of a certain passage of the Qur’an have their explanation in other parts of the very same book, and often there is no need to turn to any sources other than the word of Allah, which in itself contains tafsir”. [6]

Strangely and worryingly enough we see the critics ignoring the use of the Qur’an and the Hadith (of the Prophet Muhammed) in favour of their own views. This is intellectual savagery and quite frankly a butchering of the science of tafsir. Now we know the two primary methods of explaining the Qur’an are the Qur’an and the Hadith (of the Prophet). So if we use the Qur’an we realise that Mohammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is not being put forward as the first ever Muslim as the Quran (elsewhere) refers to earlier Prophets who are believers. Hence we realise that the Quranic references (6:163, 6:14) do not teach us that Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is the first ever Muslim.

Now to use the other form of Tafsir we need not look further than these hadith (from the Prophet Muhammed (Sahih Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 52, Number 290, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 555 and Volume 1, Book 5, Number 277) to realise that the Muslims (including Muhammed) never believed Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was the first Muslim ever as he mentions other prophets in the past tense and through the text we realise these prophets are indeed believers who came before Muhammed’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) time, and these Prophets (who were believers) existed before Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) on this earth and believed before Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had not even been born at the time. So this highlights that the Qur’an is not teaching us that the Prophet Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is the first ever Muslim contrary to the fanciful claims of the critics.

To further highlight the misleading vehicle which is the critic’s claim we can look to the authoritative Tafsir (explanations) of the relevant verses by the early Muslim scholars, strikingly enough; none of them hold the belief of the critics! So, in essence, the critic abandons scholarship, reasoning and research in favour of their own clouded, ignorant and embarrassing methodology in order to level an accusation of contradiction/error at the Qur’an. This leads them to arguing a false point and attributing their own inexact, ignorant and distorted views on the Qur’an and claiming a non-existent contradiction.

The fact remains the Qur’an does not put either Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) or Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) forward as the first ever Muslim. Nor does the Qur’an put forward Ibraheem alayhissalaam (Abraham) or anybody after the time of Adam alayhissalaamas the first Muslim. The Qur’an does not explicitly tell us who the first ever Muslim was but we can deduce it was Adam alayhissalaam.

Thus it becomes clear that there is no contradiction in the Qur’an and we realise that the critics essentially show themselves to be unscholarly in omitting the context or not knowing the context and thus rendering their work misleading, confusing and full of error.

It is thoroughness to mention the other references a critic may bring up despite these other references not impacting upon what has been mentioned above, however it is still beneficial to know what the critic may bring up such as 2:132, this Qur’anic reference does not mention anybody as a first Muslim/believer here but critics would bring this up to show Abraham and Jacob to be Muslims (i.e. Muslims before Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). This still does not impact on anything said earlier as the critic argues a straw man and claim the Qur’an states something which it does not. I stress again; the Qur’an does mention Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) or Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) as being the first EVER Muslims. The context of the Quran is clear, they (Musa and Muhammad) are the first to believe amongst their people.

The critic also cites Qur’anic references about Adam (2:30-37). Despite these references not exactly saying Adam was the first Muslim we still know by the way of context and deduction that Adam was the first believer in God amongst mankind. This does not impact on the reference concerning Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) (7:143) who was the first of the believers amongst his own people and nor does it impact on the references about Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) (6:14 and 6: 161-163) who was commanded to be and indeed was the first to submit to Allah amongst his own Pagan people (Quraish)

The other citations (S. 4:163, S. 6:83-87) the critic may bring forth highlight to us that there were a number of guided people (Messengers) before Muhammed. This is the Muslim believe, all Muslims are aware of this so it should be realised by the critic that this is not new information to the Muslim. It is also important to reiterate; none of this impacts on the fact that Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and Musa alayhissalaam (Moses) were the first to believe amongst their own people and not the first to believe (ever) amongst human kind.

Also the more astute critics may point to the religion of Hanif and followers of the Abrahamic traditions of the past, however the teachings of Ibraheem alayhissalaam (Abraham) (and Ishmael) became diluted with the gradual introduction of innovations, superstitions and idol-worship. Eventually ‘idolatry spread all over Makkah’ and thus the people left the Abrahamic teachings [9]. This was many years prior to Muhammed’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) time so this does not impact on what has been said earlier either. There are traditions of four friends who rejected the idol-worshipping of Makkah and went out in search of an alternative, this does not impact on the fact that Muhammed (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was the first Muslim amongst the Quraish either.

Finally, after showing the critics to be wrong, it is worthy of mention to bring up the concerted efforts of critics in the past in order to find a critical claim of contradiction/error to stick (concerning the Holy Qur’an) despite their past work and the work of their contemporaries we see that they have failed and not found anything which people can honestly call a contradiction in the Qur’an, all this despite their best efforts.

Of course Allah knows best and we ask Allah do guide and help us further. Aameen.


[1] Anatomy of the Quran by G.J.O Moshay Chick Productions 2007 pg 116

[2] 7:143 Translation and explanation of The Noble Quran In the English Language, A Summarized Version of At-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir with comments from Sahih Al-Bukhari By Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D. and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan

[3] 26:51 Translation and explanation of The Noble Quran In the English Language, A Summarized Version of At-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir with comments from Sahih Al-Bukhari By Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D. and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan

[4] 6:14 Translation and explanation of The Noble Quran In the English Language, A Summarized Version of At-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir with comments from Sahih Al-Bukhari By Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D. and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan

[5] 6:162-163 Translation and explanation of The Noble Quran In the English Language, A Summarized Version of At-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir with comments from Sahih Al-Bukhari by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D. and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan

[6] Ulum al Quran, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Quran by Ahmad Von Denffer, The Islamic Foundation 2003 pg 124

7. Ulum al Quran, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Quran by Ahmad Von Denffer, The Islamic Foundation 2003 pg 78

8. Islam A Short History by Karen Armstrong, Phoenix Press, 2001, pg 3

9. Ar-Raheequl-Makhtum by Safi-ur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, Darussalam, 2002 pg 45

The “Sibghatullah,” Or The Baptism With The Holy Spirit And With Fire

One of the few religious phenomena I have not been able to explain is this: How is it that the well-known Saba’ites (Sabians), so predominant in the Arabian peninsula and Mesopotamia, did not embrace Christianity if the Prophet Yahya (alayhis salaam) John the Baptist, had really and openly declared and presented ‘Eesa Maseeh alayhissalaam (Jesus) as the “more powerful” Prophet than himself, and the Messiah whose shoes he was not worthy to unloose? If, as foretold by Yahya alayhis salaam (John), ‘Eesa alayhissalaam (Jesus) was the Prophet of Allah who came to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire the myriads whom he “dyed” in the water of the Jordan and elsewhere, why did not Prophet Jesus baptize them instantly with the Spirit and with fire and then purge of idolatry all the lands promised by Allah to the seed of Prophet Ibraheem (Abraham) and establish the Kingdom of God by force and fire? It is absolutely inconceivable that the disciples and the believers in the divine mission of Yahya alayhissalaam (John) should not follow Jesus if he had been presented to the public as his Lord or Superior on the spot. The followers of John might have been excused for their refusal to enter into the Christian Church if Jesus Christ had come, say, a century later than the Baptist, but happily such was not the case. They were both contemporaries and born in the same year. They both baptized with water unto repentance, and prepared their penitent converts for the Kingdom of God that was approaching but not established in their time.

The Sabaites, the “Dyers” or “Baptists,” were the faithful adherents of Yahya alayhissalaam (John). They may have fallen into error and superstition; but they knew perfectly well that it was not ‘Eesa alayhissalaam (Jesus) who was intended in the prophecy of their Prophet. They embraced Islam when Prophet Muhammad came. The people of Harran in Syria are not – as they have been supposed to be – the remnant of the old Saba’ites. In the promised lands only three non-Muslim religions were recognized and tolerated by the Qur’an, namely, Judaism, Christianity, and Sabianism. It is stated that the Harranians pretended to be the remnant of the old Saba’ites, and they were, therefore, permitted to practice their peculiar religion without molestation by the Turkish Government.

The Christian conception of the Holy Spirit is entirely different from the Islamic and the Jewish. The Holy Spirit is not a divine person with divine attributes and functions not belonging to this or that other divine persons of a triple god. The Christian belief that this same holy ghost, the third divine person, descends from his (or her, or its) heavenly throne at the bidding of every priest – in his daily celebration of some sacrament – to consecrate its elements and change their essence and qualities into some supernatural elements is extremely repugnant to the religious sentiments of every Unitarian, whether Jew or Muslim. Nothing could horrify a Muslim’s feeling more than the belief that the Holy Spirit – always at the intervention of a priest – changes the water of baptism into the blood of a crucified god and blots out the so-called original sin; or a belief that the magic operation upon the material elements of the Eucharist transubstantiates them into the blood and body of an incarnate god. These beliefs were absolutely opposed to the teachings of the Old Testament and a falsification of the real doctrine of John and Jesus. The Christian assertion that the Holy Spirit at the incantations of a priest, fills certain individuals and sanctifies them, but does not guarantee their impeccability and ignorance, is meaningless. We are told that Hananiah (Ananias) and his wife Shapirah were baptized, which is to say filled with the Holy Ghost. They were thus inspired by the third divine person to sell their field and to place its price in cash at the feet of the Apostle Peter, but at the same time were seduced by the devil to conceal a portion of the money. The consequence was that the unfortunate communist couple were stricken dead miraculously (Acts v).

Think of the belief that the third person of the trinity descends upon men, sanctifies them, and then allows them to fall into error, heresy, and atheism, and abandons them to commit murderous wars and massacres. Is this possible? Can the devil seduce a man filled with and guarded by the Holy Ghost and change him into a demon? The Holy Qur’an is very expressive on this point. Allah says to the devil: “He said: ‘This is for Me the Right Path over My worshipers, you have no power over My worshipers, except the sinners who follow you…'” [Ch.15:41-42 Qur’an]

We cannot believe, nor even imagine for a moment, that a worshiper of God, a righteous believer who has received the Spirit of sanctification, can fall into a deadly sin and perish in Hell. No, a holy person, so long as he is in this material world, is to combat and struggle against sin and evil; he may fall, but he will rise again and shall never be abandoned by the pure Spirit that guards him. True repentance is the work of the good Spirit that lives in us. If a Christian is baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire, in the sense which the book of the “Acts of the Apostles” describes and the Churches accept, then every baptized Latin, Greek, or Abyssinian must not only become a sinless saint but also a linguist and a polyglot prophet!

The truth is that the Christians have not a definite or precise conception about the Holy Spirit filling a baptized Christian. If it is God, then how dare the devil approach, tempt, and seduce the hallowed or rather defied man? And, besides, what is more serious is: How can the devil chase away the Holy Ghost and settle himself in the heart of a baptized heretic or atheist? On the other hand, if the Holy Spirit means the Archangel Gabriel (Jibreel alayhis salaam) or some other angel, then the Christian Churches roam in a desert of superstition; for an angel is not omni-present. If this Spirit that purifies and fills a baptized Christian is God Himself, for such is their belief in the third person of the Trinity, then all the baptized Christians ought to claim themselves divine or deified!

Then there is a Protestant conception of the Holy Spirit, which (or who (1)) fills the hearts of those who, at the highest excitement and ecstasy during an inflammatory sermon of an ignorant or learned haranguer, believe themselves to become “new-born”; yet many among them slide back and become what they were before, rogues and swindlers!

————Footnote (1) The Holy Spirit, in all the Christian literature of diverse languages, has not a fixed gender. He, she, it, are all commonly used as the personal pronouns for the Holy Ghost. ————- End of footnote

Now before I come to explain, according to my humble understanding, the spiritual and fiery baptism, I wish to admit and confess that there are many pious and God-fearing persons among the Jews and the Christians. For however their religious views and beliefs may differ from ours, they love their God and do good in His name. We cannot comprehend and determine the dealings of God with the peoples of different religions. The Christian conception of the Deity is only an erroneous definition of the true God in whom they believe and love. If they extol ‘Eesa alayhissalaam (Jesus) and deify him, it is not that they wish to dishonor God, but because they see His beauty in that Ruh-Allah (the “Spirit of God,” i.e. Jesus). They certainly cannot appreciate the Messengerhood of Prophet Muhammad, not, because they deny his unparalleled service to the cause of Allah by inflicting the greatest blow on the devil and his cult of idolatry, but because they do not understand as he did the true nature of the mission and person of ‘Eesa alayhissalaam (Jesus). Similar reasoning may be put forward with regard to the attitude of the Jews towards Prophet Jesus and Prophet Muhammad. Allah is Merciful and Forgiving!

The Holy Spirit, with the definite article “the,” means a special angelic Gabriel, or any one of the numerous “pure” spirits created by Allah, and appointed to perform some particular mission. The descent of the Holy Spirit upon a human person is to reveal to him the will of Allah, and to make him a prophet. Such a one can never be seduced by the satan.

What is known as “baptism” before the era of Prophet Muhammad is called “Sibghatullah”, namely, the religious indelible marking mentioned in the Qur’an which Prophet Muhammad brought is explained to us by the Divine Revelation only in one verse of Al-Qur’an: Ch 2:138

“The (religious indelible) marking (of the believers) of Allah. And who marks better than Allah? And for Him we are worshipers.”

Muslim commentators rightly understand the word “Sibghat,” not in its literal signification of “dyeing,” but in its spiritual or metaphorical sense of “religion.” This Qur’anic verse cancels and abolishes the religions of the “Sab’utha” and of the “Ma’muditha” or both the Saba’ites and the Nasara. “Sibghatullah” is the religious indelible marking of the believers of Allah, not with water, but with the Holy Spirit and fire! The religion professed by any of the companions of the Prophet of Allah in the first years of the Hijrat is to-day professed in its entirety by every Muslim. This cannot be said of the baptismal religion. More than sixteen Ecumenical Councils have been summoned to define the religion of Christianity, only to be discovered by the Synod of the Vatican in the nineteenth century that the mysteries of the “Infallibility” and the “Immaculate Conception” were two of the principal dogmas, both unknown to the Apostle Peter and the Blessed Virgin Mary! Any faith or religion dependent upon the deliberations and decisions of General Synods – holy or heretical – is artificial and human. The Religion of Islam is the belief in One God (Allah) and absolute resignation to His Will, and this faith is professed by the angels in the heavens and by the Muslims on earth. It is the religion of sanctification and of enlightenment, and an impregnable bulwark against idolatry. Let us develop these points a little further.

The spiritual indelible marking is the direct work of Allah Himself. As a fuller or a laundress washes the linen or any other object with water; as a dyer tints the wool or cotton with a tincture to give it a new hue; and as a indelible marking blots out the past sins of the true penitent believer, so does Allah Almighty mark, not the body, but the spirit and the soul of him whom He mercifully directs and guides unto the Holy Religion of Islam. This is the “Sibghatullah,” the marking of Allah, which makes a person fit and dignified to become a citizen of the Kingdom of Allah and a member of His religion. When the Angel Gabriel communicated the Word of Allah for the first time to Prophet Muhammad, he (Prophet Muhammad) was invested with the gift of prophecy. His spirit was purified and magnified with the Holy Spirit to such a degree and extent that sever times the Angel Gabriel opened his chest and heart and washed it, thereby removing any bases for the whispering of satan. Once when he was a child playing in the desert, and one in Ka’ba before his ascent, and to the extent that when he in his turn pronounced that Word to those whose spirit Allah pleased to guide were also purified, marked. They, too, thus became holy officers in the new army of the faithful Muslims. This spiritual marking does not make the Muslims prophets, sinless saints, or miracle-mongers. For after the Revelation of the Will and Word of Allah in the Holy Qur’an there is the end of the prophecy and of revelation. They are not made sinless saints because their piety and good works would not be the outcome of effort and struggle against evil, and therefore not justly meritorious. They are not appointed to become workers of supernatural miracles because they have a firm and sound faith in their Creator, Allah.

Further, this “Sibghatullah” makes the true Muslims grave, constant in their duties to Allah and towards their fellowmen, especially towards their families. It does not move them to the folly of believing themselves holier than their co-religionists, and so to arrogate the post of pastorship to themselves over others as if they were their flocks and herds. Fanaticism, religious conceit, and the like are not operations of the Holy Spirit. Every Muslim receives at his creation the same “Sibghatullah,” the same religion and spiritual religious indelible marking, and has to run the race of his short earthly life to the best of his ability and effort in order to win the crown of glory in the next world. Every Muslim needs only education and religious training in accordance with the wisdom of the Word of God. But he needs not the intercession of a priest, sacrament, or saint. Every enlightened believer can become an Imam (leader of prayer), missionary, preacher according to his learning and religious zeal, not for vain glory or lucrative gain.

In short, every Muslim, whether at his birth or at his conversion, is marked spiritually, and becomes a citizen of the Kingdom of God, a free man, and possesses equal rights and obligations, according to his ability, virtue, knowledge, wealth, rank.

Yahya alayhissalaam (John the Baptist) ascribes this spiritual and igneous marking to the Great Prophet of Allah, not as a divine being, God, or son of God, but as a holy agent, and as an instrument through which this divine marking was to be operated. Prophet Muhammad delivered the Message of Allah which was His Word; he led the prayers, administered the Divine service, and fought the holy wars against the unbelievers and the idolators to defend his cause. But the success and the victory achieved was God’s. In the same way Yahya alayhissalaam (John) preached and baptized, but the contrition, penance, and the remission of sins could only be done by God. The Prophet Yahya alayhissalaam (John)’s prediction that “he who comes after me is more powerful than I; he will baptize (mark) you with the Spirit and with fire” is quite intelligible, because only through Prophet Muhammad this spiritual marking was given and performed.

It is to be remarked that the form and material of this marking is altogether Divine and supernatural. We feel and see the effect of an invisible but real cause which accomplishes that effect. There is no longer water as the material, nor a marker to officiate at the ritual or the form. It is Allah who, through the Spirit, works it out. The materials of the “Sibghatullah” in the words of the Marker are the Holy Spirit and fire. The form exclusively belongs to Allah. We cannot attribute to the Almighty any form of operation except His Word “Kun” – “Be!” – and His command is obeyed or created. The result is that a Muslim becomes sanctified, enlightened, and an equipped soldier to fight the Satan and his idolatry. These three effects of the “Sibghatullah” deserve a serious consideration and study. Their exposition is but brief.

1) The Holy Spirit, whether the Archangel Gabriel or another of the created Superior Spirits, by the command of God sanctifies the spirit of a Muslim at his birth or conversion – as the case may be; and this sanctification means:

Engraving a perfect faith in the One true God. The “Subghatu ‘I-Lah” makes the spirit of a true Muslim believe in the absolute Oneness of Allah, to rely upon Him, and to know He alone is his Master, Owner, and Lord. This faith in the true God is manifest in every person who professes himself a Muslim. The mark and the evidence of this ingrained faith in a Muslim shines brilliantly when he affirms, “Ana muslim, Alhamud li ‘l-Lahi (“I am Muslim; praised be Allah!”). What is more impressive and singularly obvious a sign of a Holy belief than the hatred and repugnance which a Muslim feels against any other object of worship besides God? Which of the two is holier in the Sight of Allah: he who worships his Creator in a simple building of the Mosque, or he who worships the fourteen pictures and images representing the scenes of the crucifixion in a building whose walls and altars are adorned with the idolatrous statues, its ground covering the bones of the dead, and its dome decorated with the figures of angels and the saints? The sanctification by the Holy Spirit and fire which God works upon the spirit of a Muslim is that He impregnates and fills it with love for, and submission to, Him. An honorable husband would rather divorce his beloved wife than see her sharing his love with any other man. The Almighty will cast away any “believer” who associates any other object or being with Him. The Muslim’s love for Allah is not theoretical or idealistic but practical and real. He will not hesitate for a moment to expel from his house his wife, son, or friend if he should blaspheme the Holy Name or Person. A pagan or a person of an other religion may show a similar furious zeal for his object of worship. But that love which is shown for the One True God is Holy and sanctified; and such love can only exist in the heart of a Muslim. Those auspicatory and doxological formulae “Bismi ‘l-Lahi” and “Alhamdu li ‘l-Lahi,” which mean, respectively, “In the Name of Allah” and “Praised be Allah” at the beginning and the end of every action or enterprise, are the most sincere expressions of the purified Muslim spirit impressed and inebriate with the “Love of God” that transcends and excels every other love. These ejaculations are not artificial or hypocritical expressions in the mouths of Muslims, but they are the prayer and the praise of the indelibly marked spirit that resides in his body. And if a Christian and a Jew are imbued with the same faith and devotion, and if their soul does effuse those expressions that the spirit of a Muslim does, then he is a Muslim though he knows it not.The indelible marking of sanctification which the “Sibghatullah” inspires in the spirit of a Muslim, besides faith and love, is a total submission and resignation to the Holy Will of Allah. This absolute submission emanates not only from belief and love, but also from a holy fear and from a deep respect so latent in the soul and spirit of every true believer.

Such are the principal characteristics of the spiritual indelible marking, and nowhere are they manifest but among the adherents of Islam. Yahya alayhissalaam (John the Baptist), ‘Eesa alayhissalaam (Jesus Christ) and his apostles believed in, loved, and feared the same Allah as every Muslim does according to the degree of the Divine Grace and Mercy. The Holy Spirit, or as known in Islam as the Purified Spirit, meaning Angel Gabriel himself, who, also holds the rank of Messenger, is also too a creature and loves and fears Allah whom you and I do.

2) The second sign of the spiritual indelible marking is enlightenment. The true knowledge of Allah and of His Will, so much as men are enable to possess, can only and exclusively be seen in Muslims. This knowledge sparkles dazzlingly in the countenance and the general behavior of every Muslim. He may not comprehend the Essence of God, just as a child cannot understand the nature and the qualities of his parents; yet a baby recognizes its mother among all other women. The analogy is by far below the reality, and the comparison infinitely inferior between an enlightened good Muslim in relation to his Creator and a baby crying after its own good mother. Every Muslim, however ignorant, poor, and sinful, sees the signs of Allah in every phenomenon of the nature. Whatever befalls him, in happiness or misery, Allah is in his mind. The Muslim call to prayer is a living witness of this enlightenment. “There is no object of worship besides Allah,” is an eternal protest against all those who associate with Him other objects unworthy of worship. Every Muslim confesses: “I bear witness that Allah is the only Being worthy of worship.”

In this respect I may hint at the fact that the human soul is quite different from the human spirit. It is this holy spirit that enlightens the soul and implants in it the knowledge of truth. It is again the evil spirit that induces the soul to error, idolatry, and ungodliness.

3) The “Sibghatullah” is that Divine marking with fire which arms and equips the Muslim to become a bulwark against error and superstition, chiefly against idolatry of every kind. It is this mark of fire that melts the soul and spirit of a Muslim, thus separating its golden substance from the rubbish and ordure. It is the Power of God which strengthens and consolidates the connection between Him and the believing worshiper, and arms him to fight for the religion of God. The fervor and the zeal of the Muslim for Allah and His Religion is unique and holy. The savages also fight for their fetishes, the heathen for their idols, and the Christians for their cross; but what a contrast between these unworthy object of worship and the God of Islam!

In conclusion, I must draw the attention of my Muslim brethren to think who they are; to remember the favors of Allah; and to live accordingly.


Refuting the Judeo-Christian Insult On Ishmael (Isma’eel Alayhissalaam) That He Was a “Wild Ass” Man

Brief Philological Analysis on the term “Wild Ass” in Genesis 16:12

By Brother Eric bin Kisam

Many christians see Muslims, Arabs, and what is happening in the east as a direct fulfilment to Genesis 16 11-12 by deeming all Prophet Ishmael (Ar. إسماعيل‎ Ismā’eel) descendants  i.e. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the Arabs and Muslims in one derogatory category “wild ass of men”.

As a result they develop a racist view and built-in hatred towards Arabs and Muslims for centuries since the spread of Islam, through the middle ages until modern day phenomenon known as Islamophobic prevalent in ‘Christian’ nations these days. Moreover fundamentalist and evangelical christians seem to love to ridicule muslims and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ based on the understanding from this passage in the Hebrew Bible,.

We try to briefly examine, was Prophet Ishmael (ص) really a ‘Wild Ass’ Man (Astaghfirullah) or Is it a deliberate character assassination due to the enmities which arose in Prophet Abraham’s extended family contributed to the translation of Gen 16:12?

Genesis 16:11-12

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לָהּ֙ מַלְאַ֣ךְ יְהוָ֔ה הִנָּ֥ךְ הָרָ֖ה וְיֹלַ֣דְתְּ בֵּ֑ןוְקָרָ֤את שְׁמוֹ֙ יִשְׁמָעֵ֔אל כִּֽי־שָׁמַ֥ע יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־עָנְיֵֽךְ

And the angel of the LORD said unto her: ‘Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son; and thou shalt call his name Ishmael, because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.

וְה֤וּא יִהְיֶה֙ פֶּ֣רֶא אָדָ֔ם יָד֣וֹ בַכֹּ֔ל וְיַ֥ד כֹּ֖ל בּ֑וֹוְעַל־פְּנֵ֥י כָל־אֶחָ֖יו יִשְׁכֹּֽן

And he shall be a wild ass of a man (pere’āḏām): his hand shall be with every man, and every man’s hand with him; and he shall dwell in the face of all his brethren.’

If we look for the direct arabic cognate for the hebrew פֶּ֣רֶא pere in arabic it is  فَرَاء fara

LANE Arabic-English Lexicon  give the following entry for فَرَاء

افراء. (M, K.) Hence the saying, كل الصيد فى جوف الفرا [Every kind of game is in the belly (or might enter into the belly) of the wild ass];

This archaic saying which has been recorded in the hadith of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ indicates the nuance of the term “wild ass” it denotes superiority as what the saying mean is every animal is inferior to the wild ass, as though the wild ass were a carnivore able to devour whatever it chooses.

However there are several roots in Hebrew that begin with the two consonants פ and ר (P and R) and  interestingly those are connected with the concept of fertility and fruits of nature. Obviously such concepts in Hebrew like in other languages are also used figuratively: the Hebrew פֶּ֣רֶא pere can also be from the same root with the word פָּרָא para meaning “fruit”.

This option is very much possible since the hebrew text did not use vocalisation from the beginning and diacritical markings was introduced later.

The usage of word פָּרָא mis found in Hosea 13:15 , we read:

…כִּ֣י ה֔וּא בֵּ֥ן אַחִ֖ים יַפְרִ֑יאיָב֣וֹא קָדִים֩ ר֨וּחַ יְהוָ֜המִמִּדְבָּ֣ר

Though He will be the most fruitful (yaphri) of all his brothers, the east wind–a blast from the LORD–will arise in the desert.

Here in the above passage יַפְרִ֑יא yaphri , the stem could be פרא (p-r -‘) as well as  פרה (p-r -h)

Something fruitful makes much more sense if instead of “wild ass human being” it may simply be another way of stating what appears unambiguously in Genesis 17:20,

וּֽלְיִשְׁמָעֵאל֮ שְׁמַעְתִּיךָ֒ הִנֵּ֣ה ׀ בֵּרַ֣כְתִּי אֹתֹ֗ו וְהִפְרֵיתִ֥יאֹתֹ֛ו וְהִרְבֵּיתִ֥י אֹתֹ֖ו בִּמְאֹ֣ד מְאֹ֑ד שְׁנֵים־עָשָׂ֤ר נְשִׂיאִם֙ יֹולִ֔יד וּנְתַתִּ֖יו לְגֹ֥וי גָּדֹֽול׃

And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful(wehiphreithi) and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.

Having thus dealt with those possible hebrew roots Genesis 16:12 should read:

And he shall be a fruitful man: his hand shall be with every man, and every man’s hand with him; and he shall dwell in the face of all his brethren.’

Some Christian/jews translation render בַכֹּ֔ל bekol to “against every man” this is dishonest because nothing in the original text indicate as such , בַ is simply “with”

Septuagint Translation of Genesis 16:12

Interesting to observe that Septuagint version for the term “wild ass of a man” is ἔσται ἄγροικος ἄνθρωπος estai agroikos anthrōpos

We read

12 οvτος ἔσται ἄγροικος ἄνθρωπος αἱ χεῖρες αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ πάντας, καὶ αἱ χεῖρες πάντων ἐπ᾿ αὐτόν, καὶ κατὰ πρόσωπον πάντων τῶν ἀδελφῶν αὐτοῦ κατοικήσει.

Septuagint specialist Robert J. V. Hiebert, Ph.D. renders the greek phrase ἔσται ἄγροικος ἄνθρωποςestai agroikos anthrōpos , as  “he shall be a rustic man ” this means a countrymen living in the rural areas or wilderness [4]

This translation reflects a slightly different reading from the Hebrew פּרא to possibly hebrew variant of בָּרָא bar’

Strong’s Concordance

bar: (an open) field

Original Word: בָּרָא

Part of Speech: Noun Masculine

Transliteration: bar

Phonetic Spelling: (bar)

Short Definition: field

Here the word field possibly refer to Vorlage reading ברא means “country”.

Interestingly enough Greek text suggest that it is the land which is wild rather than the man i.e. Ishmael.

If the Vorlage of the Septuagint had ברא, instead of the Masoretes פּרא, two Arabic cognates are of great interest.

The first is بَرّ (barra) Which means

“devoted and righteous [towards his father or parents, and towards God and all kind of good and affectionate and gentle in behaviour, towards his kindred; and kind, or good, in his dealings with strangers” (Lane Lexicon).

So the angel’s announcement to Hagar that her son would become البر (the righteous) may well have assured her that her son would show her due filial piety and manifest godly devotion. Such a prediction would have been a welcomed promise.

This makes more perfect sense than the angel would announce to her that her son would become a “wild ass” who would continually fight with his brothers such as the predominant christian and jewish translations.

Second, Arabic cognate برأ (bara’) which means

“free, secure, safe, free from disease, distress or debt” (Lane Lexicon),

This could provide further insight into what may well have been a double entendre in the original tradition. For the slave woman to be promised that her son would be free would have been great news, helping her make her own bondage bearable.

The angel’s word to Hagar that Ishmael would be פּרא may not have been understood by Hagar as meaning “an onager man” or “wild ass human being.”

In conclusion

Brief philological analysis of the Hebrew texts of Genesis 16:12 using possible Hebrew roots and definitions, most of which have survived as cognates in classical Arabic. These include:

ברא “forest, wilderness, country”

בר “filial piety, kind to strangers, devotion to God”

ברא “free, secure, safe”

פּרא “to bear fruit, to have progeny”

Now it becomes a little easier to understand just what the angel said to Hagar and what it was that the narrator actually said about Ishmael. Far from being negative, derogatory, or racist, the words about Ishmael and the Ishmaelites in Genesis were laudatory and compatible with the divine promise to Abraham that, through his progeny, “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen 12:3).


[1] “ISHMAEL: A PEACE MAKER: GENESIS 16:10 –12” (.pdf) THOMAS F. McDANIEL Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

[2] Arabic-English Lexicon by Edward William Lane  (London: Willams & Norgate 1863)

[3] .Net Bible Study Tool

[4] A New English Translation of the Septuagint. 01 Genesis



By Brother Abu Zakariya


The world around us, our very existence, everything, we owe it all to our Creator. God also sustains all life. Imagine what would happen if God withheld the rain, or blotted out the sun; life would cease to exist. Now, can you imagine if you gave someone a really expensive gift and they didn’t thank you, or perhaps even worse, thanked someone else? What would you think about that person? God is our Master; we are but His servants. Our love, obedience and reverence are His rights upon us.

It’s important to note that God is not in need of our worship; God is free of all needs. If the whole of humanity were to collectively  worship God, it would not increase Him one iota. Similarly, if the whole of mankind were to cease worshipping God, it would not degrade Him one iota. God existed in all His majesty and splendour for an eternity before He created man. God does not need our worship, but He deserves it.

Thankfulness and gratitude is a key aspect of worship. This is why it’s so important that we worship God properly, that we give Him His due reverence. Is it possible to have a meaningful relationship with a stranger? Would anyone want a relationship with the wrong concept of God? As you can see, in order for our worship to be effective, we need to know who God is. This is why the question of who Jesus is, what his true nature is, is so important. Thus, we begin by looking at the Christian concept of God.


When it comes to the nature of God, beliefs differ significantly across the various denominations of Christianity. The most popular belief, promoted by the vast majority of churches in the world,  is that God has a triune nature. This is the doctrine known as the Trinity, which defines God as one Being who exists eternally as three distinct persons — the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Put simply, it is “one God in three persons”. The persons of the Trinity are not to be confused, so the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is not the Father. All three persons of the Trinity are said to be co-equal and co-eternal, and “each is God, whole and entire.” However, each person is said to have a different role when it comes to how God relates to the world. For example, in God’s plan of salvation for mankind, the Father is said to have sent the Son, Jesus, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. The Holy Spirit is said to sanctify believers, inspiring Christians in their day-to-day lives.

Here is a diagram that is commonly used by Trinitarians to summarise the doctrine:


A key element of the doctrine of the Trinity is the incarnation of God. This teaches that the second person of the Trinity, the Son, took on human flesh in the bodily form of Jesus. Thus, when Mary gave birth to Jesus, God entered into the creation. Jesus is said to be the God-man, who has two natures – one divine, one human. Jesus is said to be both fully God and fully man. As a result of the incarnation, humanity has been permanently incorporated into the Godhead; the Son will forever have an inseparable divine and human nature. Jesus’s humanity is not something that can be discarded or dissolved back into  the Godhead. Even after his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension back to the Father, Jesus will forever exist in heaven as a glorified man, albeit God at the same time. Here is a diagram which summarises this concept:


As a Muslim, I was raised to believe in the pure monotheism of Islam that teaches God is one, not only in essence, but also in personhood, and that God is distinct from human beings. So, it took me a long time to grasp the Trinitarian concept of God. It turns out that I’m not alone in  struggling to grasp the Trinity. According to scholars of Christianity and defenders of the Trinity, many Christians who profess to believe in the Trinity in fact do not understand the doctrine. Dr James White, one of the foremost apologists for the Trinity today, wrote the following:

“For many Christians, the Trinity is an abstract principle, a confusing and difficult doctrine that they believe, although they are not really sure why in their honest moments.” [1]

This is evident when one discusses the doctrine with the average Christian. In my experiences of interacting with Christians, a common way of trying to explain the Trinity is the use of elaborate analogies.

The following examples are quite commonly put forward:

– The Trinity is like the three parts of an egg: the shell, the white and the yolk.

– The Trinity is like three forms of water: ice, liquid and vapour.

– The Trinity is like a man who can exist as a father, a son and a husband, all at the same time.

Such analogies, however, are highly problematic. The egg analogy doesn’t work because the doctrine of the Trinity states that each person (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is fully God. One wouldn’t say that the shell is fully an egg, the white is fully an egg or that the yolk is fully an egg. It is only the totality of the three parts (shell, white and yolk) that make a complete egg. The water  analogy doesn’t work either, because it implies that God first manifested Himself as Father, then as the Son and then as the Holy Spirit. These ‘forms’ are temporary and never co-exist, thus violating the principle of the doctrine that the persons eternally co-exist. Finally, the man analogy also fails to encompass the doctrine of the Trinity. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit aren’t simply three functions or roles of God, they are said to be three distinct persons.

The simple fact is that no analogy will ever be complete. Although this is not appreciated by the average Christian that I encounter on a day-to-day basis, it is something that is fully acknowledged by Christian theologians who freely admit that the Trinity cannot be explained. Many theologians have abandoned all hope of deriving a deep understanding of the doctrine and have resigned themselves to classifying it as a holy mystery. The Catholic Church states: “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life” [2]. The  Catholic Church defines mystery in theology as something that remains veiled in darkness:

The Vatican Council has explained the meaning to be attributed to the term mystery in theology. It lays down that a mystery is a truth which we are not merely incapable of discovering apart from Divine Revelation, but which, even when revealed, remains “hidden by the veil of faith and enveloped, so to speak, by a kind of darkness.[3]

Reconciling the plurality of the godhead, a threeness, within a monotheistic framework, continues to be one of the great challenges faced by Trinitarians. If Trinitarians embraced the polytheism that is inherent in the doctrine and explained it for what it really is  –  three Gods and not one – then there would be no confusion. The doctrine is inexplicable because Trinitarians try to reconcile a concept of threeness into a monotheistic  context which does not, and cannot, fit. How can anyone, or anything, be three things and one thing, all at the same time? The fact is that the Trinity is something that believers must accept on blind faith; it cannot be rationalised.

The doctrine of the Trinity is also problematic when we consider the purpose of revelation, which boils down to guidance – the books of God were revealed in order to guide mankind. If guidance results in confusion (or misguidance), then it defeats the purpose of revelation. If the Trinity were some inconsequential aspect of Christian theology, then perhaps its mystery wouldn’t be an issue. But it isn’t; so entrenched has the belief in the Trinity become that it is the litmus test for whether or not a person is considered to be orthodox. Rejecting any aspect of the doctrine is enough for a Christian to be  condemned  as  a  heretic. Evangelical scholar Harold Lindsell and seminary professor Charles Woodbridge wrote the following:

The mind of man cannot fully understand the mystery of the Trinity. He who has tried to understand the mystery fully will lose his mind; but he who would deny the Trinity will lose his soul. [4]

There you have it, “deny the Trinity and you lose your soul.” This reveals a fundamental paradox with the doctrine: why would God reveal something that cannot be fully comprehended, and yet tie our salvation to it? What should we make of all this in the light of the purpose of revelation? Revelation is an opening up, an uncovering. How can the Trinity be a revelation when the most learned of biblical scholars write that it is a mystery? That is double-talk which directly conflicts with the very purpose of revelation: guidance.

Today, faith and the Trinity are synonymous in Christian thought. In fact, they are so intertwined that you would think the Trinity must have always been the dominant belief going all the way back to the early Church. As we are going to see, this could not be further from the truth.


Very early on in Christianity, almost from the beginning, different Christians in different churches in different regions had different views of Jesus. Here are some of the views about Jesus that existed in the first few centuries of Christianity:

1. Jesus was purely human.

This is the view that Jesus was born a human being with no divine aspect whatsoever. One such early Christian group that held this belief were the Ebionites. The word “Ebionite” is from Hebrew Ebyonim meaning “poor ones”. The Ebionites were Jewish followers of Jesus and were concentrated in Palestine and its surrounding regions. The Ebionite Christians believed that
Jesus was the Jewish Messiah sent from God to the Jewish people in fulfilment of the Jewish Scriptures. They also believed that to belong to the people of God, one needed to be Jewish. As a result, they insisted on observing the Sabbath, keeping kosher, and circumcising all males. Their insistence on staying Jewish should not seem peculiar from a historical perspective, since Jesus and his disciples were Jewish, as were the earliest Christians who were also Jewish  followers of Jesus. At this early point, Christianity was a Jewish phenomenon. It was not yet a separate and distinct religion, but rather a sect of Judaism. It seems that the only thing that distinguished these early followers of Jesus from any other Jew was their belief that Jesus was the Messiah. The Book of Acts attests to their continued regular attendance at the Jewish Temple, as well as the goodwill they had from their fellow Jews, which would have been impossible had they preached that Jesus was God incarnate, a belief which is seen as blasphemous in Judaism:

And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. [Acts 2:44-47]

From what we know of the beliefs of the Ebionites, they saw Jesus as the adopted Son of God. They held that Jesus was born human and that he became God’s son by adoption during his baptism, being chosen by God because of his sinless devotion to the will of God. It’s important to note that, for the Ebionites, Jesus did not pre-exist and was never an object of worship because they believed he was inferior to God.

Many scholars believe that such views about Jesus were held by the earliest Christians. A New Testament scholar, Professor Bart Ehrman, states: “… adoptionistic Christologies can be traced to sources that predate the books of the New Testament.” [5]

2. Jesus was purely divine and not human at all.

This view is an opposite extreme to that of the Ebionites. It is the belief that Jesus had no human aspect at all and was purely divine. One such group which held these beliefs were the Marcionites. Unlike the Ebionites, the Marcionites represented a highly attractive religion and had many pagan converts. Potential converts from among the pagans were not flocking to the Ebionite form of religion, which involved restricting activities on the Sabbath, giving up pork and other popular foods, and men getting circumcised. The Marcionites, on the other hand, had a comparatively easy religion to follow as it was avowedly Christian with nothing Jewish about it. In fact, everything Jewish was taken out of it as they had trouble reconciling what they saw as a wrathful, vengeful God of the Old Testament with the loving, merciful portrayal of God in the New Testament. They went so far as to even exclude the Jewish books of the Old Testament from their Bible.

The Marcionites believed that Jesus was not truly a part of this material world. He did not have a flesh-and-blood body, and was not actually born. Although he appeared to be human, his human form was merely an illusion. Jesus was purely divine with no human aspect whatsoever.

3. Jesus was both human and divine.

There were numerous sub-groups within this category. One group, known as Sub-ordinationists, believed that Jesus was divine and that he was created by God the Father; thus, Jesus was not equal to the Father but subordinate to him. Origen of Alexandria, the most prolific Christian writer in history with over 1,000 books, was a Sub-ordinationist.

Another group believed that Jesus was always divine and that when Jesus became human he became an additional person. So, Jesus existed as two beings: the man Jesus of Nazareth who was human and the Christ who was completely divine. People who held this belief are known as Separationists.

A third group believed that Jesus  was always divine and when he became human he took on an additional nature. So Jesus is one person with two natures, one divine and one human. This is the Trinitarian view of Jesus that ultimately became orthodoxy. Today, it is the mainstream position in Catholicism, Protestantism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The official position of these churches is that all the other groups, with their different views about Jesus, are heretics, deviators from the truth of the orthodoxy of Trinitarianism.

Is it fair to casually dismiss these other views of Jesus as heretical? They can’t be considered heretics from an early Church perspective because, as we’ve seen, there were many competing views about Jesus. During the first three centuries, Church doctrine had yet to be fixed. To take one example, Trinitarians like to quote early Church Fathers like Tertullian (155 – 240 CE) who spoke of a “trinitas” (Latin for ‘threeness’). They cite them as proof that the Trinity was the standard belief of Christians in the early Church. However, such claims are misleading. When we properly examine the writings of individuals like Tertullian, we find that this is not the case:

For the Father is the entire substance, but the Son is a derivation and  portion  of  the  whole, as He Himself  acknowledges: “My Father is greater than I.” In the Psalm His inferiority is described as being “a little lower than the angels.” Thus the Father is distinct from the Son, being greater than the Son. [6]

In other words, one of the earliest sources in the early Church who spoke of a ‘trinity’ never actually taught a doctrine of three co-equal persons. Tertullian’s understanding of Scripture was that the Father and Son cannot be co-equal, which goes against modern Trinitarianism. At this early stage in history, the doctrine of the Trinity was still in its infancy, so any talk of the Trinity being orthodoxy is not only anachronistic, but also a gross oversimplification. Many of the doctrine’s finer details had yet to be formulated. This is why historians refer to the early Christians who believed in the deity of Jesus as “partially Trinitarian”, or “proto-Trinitarian”, as the doctrine hadn’t yet been fully developed. Another issue with labelling these other views of Jesus as heretical is that proto-Trinitarianism wasn’t even necessarily the majority belief in the early Church. Indeed, historians think that, at one point, there were more non-Trinitarian Christians than so-called orthodox Trinitarian believers. We can find evidence of this in the writings of Tertullian who commented:

The simple, indeed, (I will not call them unwise and unlearned,) who always constitute the majority of believers, are startled at the dispensation (of the Three in One)… are constantly throwing out against us that we are preachers of two gods and three gods… [7]

Tertullian wrote the above in a chapter in his book “Sundry Popular Fears and Prejudices. The Doctrine of the Trinity in Unity Rescued from These Misapprehensions”. This indicates that the proto-Trinitarian view was a minority belief in the early Church, which the masses rejected on the grounds that it was polytheistic. Another piece of historical evidence is a sermon delivered by the fourth century bishop Gregory of Nyssa:

If in this city you ask a shopkeeper for change, he will argue with you about whether the Son is begotten or unbegotten. If you enquire about the quality of the bread, the baker will answer, ‘The Father is greater, the Son is less.’ And if you ask the bath attendant to draw your bath, he will tell you that the Son was created ex nihilo [out of nothing]. [8]

Gregory’s wry comment is fascinating for what it says and what it implies. It suggests that ordinary tradespeople and workers felt perfectly competent to debate abstract theological issues. Gregory’s shopkeeper questions whether Jesus is “begotten or unbegotten” – that is, whether he is a creation of God or the Creator Himself. The bath attendant says that he was created “out of nothing”, meaning that he was brought into existence like the rest of God’s creatures. And the baker asserts that Jesus is separate from, and lesser than, God. All of these views go against the Trinity and seemed to be the popular belief among common people.

Proto-Trinitarianism was not  even necessarily the default  position of the bishops of the Roman Empire in the middle of the fourth century. For example, the high-ranking bishop of Constantinople, Macedonius, endorsed a non-Trinitarian position:

Towards the middle of the fourth century, Macedonius, Bishop of Constantinople, and, after him a number of Semi-Arians, while apparently admitting the Divinity of the Word, denied that of the Holy Ghost. [9]

One of the most astounding historical facts about the Trinity is that the earliest Church Fathers who promoted a proto-Trinitarian belief (such as Tertullian and Origen) were all later condemned by the Roman Catholic Church as heretics. On the other hand, Church Fathers such as Ignatius, Polycarp and others, who taught a binitarian (not Trinitarian) view, are today considered to be saints by the Roman Catholic Church. This demonstrates the frivolity of assigning labels like orthodox  and heretic in the early Church, as the orthodoxy of one age can (and did) become the heresy of the next.

We need to be more nuanced in our discussion of these subjects. We shouldn’t evaluate these different views about Jesus as a popularity contest, but rather on the strength of the arguments that each view puts forward. We’ve seen that early Christianity was widely diverse, and that different groups of Christians in the ancient world held varying, even contradictory, points of view about the nature of Jesus. By the sixteenth century, the Trinity had a virtual monopoly in Christian thought. So dominant was the doctrine of the Trinity that toeing the line of orthodoxy was a matter of life and death. Michael Servetus was a sixteenth century Spanish theologian whose interpretations of the Bible brought him into conflict with the Church. In 1531 CE, Servetus published the book “Errors of the Trinity”, in which he said those who believed in the Trinity were really Tritheists (believers in three gods). He was condemned as a heretic and burnt alive atop a pyre of his own books [10]. How did the Trinity go from being just another belief about Jesus to a position of absolute dominance to the point where dissent could cost you your life? We will now turn our attention to the tides of history to see just how the Trinity came to be the dominant, orthodox position of Christianity today.


Earlier, we saw how Christianity started out as a small movement within Judaism. When Christianity eventually spread to Gentiles (non-Jews), how was the religion perceived by the general Pagan populace in the Roman Empire? By 300 CE, Christians had accounted for approximately 10% of the Roman population,  according to some estimates [11]. Up until that point, Christians had been a persecuted minority. This persecution culminated in the passing of legislation which compelled Christians to sacrifice to the Roman gods or face imprisonment and execution [12].

The coming to power of the Roman Emperor Constantine was a major turning point for Christianity. After his victory, Constantine supported the Church financially, granted privileges such as exemption from certain taxes to the clergy, promoted Christians to high-ranking offices and returned previously confiscated property to the churches [13]. Under the influence of Constantine, the Christian movement gradually underwent its major transformation from a previously underground, and even criminal, movement persecuted by the general Pagan populace into an officially-sanctioned religion of ‘first rank’ within the Roman Empire. Both Paganism and Christianity were now legal religions, with their respective adherents vying for power in the Roman Empire.

Perhaps the defining moment of Constantine’s reign came with the Arian controversy. In the early fourth century, a debate raged within the Church with regard to the nature of Jesus and his precise relationship to God. Arius, a priest and theologian, and bishop Athanasius, a Church Father, were the chief proponents of both sides of the debate. Athanasius was a Trinitarian who promoted the idea that Jesus was equal to God, whereas Arius promoted the idea that Jesus was in fact a creation of God and therefore inferior to God. A major contention for Arius and his followers, the Arians, with regard to the Trinity was that if the Son were equal to the Father, then there would be more than one God. These disagreements about the nature of Jesus and his relationship to God deeply divided Christianity in the Roman Empire into two opposing theological factions. It’s important to note that neither side was a niche group; in the fourth century, Arianism had the upper hand in the Eastern, Greek-speaking  part of the Roman Empire, while the Trinitarians dominated the Western, Latin-speaking part.

Council of Nicea

Emperor Constantine, seeking to unify the Church, convened the Council of Nicea in 325 CE. The question to be settled was, “Is Jesus absolutely equal to the Father: always existing and of the very same substance, or not?” Bishops from all over the empire were summoned to the council  where their differences would be debated with the aim of reaching agreement. This was the first time in Christian history that such a council had convened. Constantine told the delegates that they would enjoy the climate and also, with a hint of menace, that he intended to: “be present as a spectator and participator in those things which will be done”   [14]. It must be noted that Constantine was not interested in doctrinal purity; his motivation for calling the council was merely to assure the political stability of his empire. Constantine himself said: “When I heard of your division, I was convinced that this matter should by no means be neglected… I shall feel my desire fulfilled only when I see the minds of all united in that peaceful harmony… Put away all causes of strife, and loosen all knots of discord by the laws of peace.”  [15]

The Council of Nicea had three points of view represented at the meeting: the strict Arians, the  semi-Arians and the strict  Trinitarians. The strict Arians were a small minority who were led by Arius. They believed that Jesus is inferior to God and rejected the notion that Jesus is of the same substance as God. The strict Trinitarians were also a small minority and they were led by Athanasius. They opposed Arianism because it questioned the deity of Jesus. The vast majority in attendance, however, took a middle position between Arianism and Trinitarianism. They were led by Eusebius of Caesarea and are referred to as “Semi-Arians”. They rejected the Trinitarian doctrine that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are of the same substance. About this council, Church historian Philip Schaff wrote:

In reference to the theological question the council was divided in the beginning into three parties. The orthodox party… was at first in the minority… The Arians or Eusebians numbered perhaps twenty bishops… The majority, whose organ was the renowned historian Eusebius of Caesarea, took middle ground between the right and the left… [16]

This is further evidence that the Trinity was not the orthodox position of the early Church, since the majority of bishops attending had not held a pro-Trinitarian, anti-Arian view before the council.

The council proceedings caused the mood of the undecided majority to move towards an anti-Arian view. Because of this sudden swing away from Arianism, the goal of the council quickly shifted from seeking compromise to condemning  Arianism in no uncertain terms. Since it was difficult to do this on scriptural terms alone, the bishops decided to formulate a creed that specifically excluded Arianism from the  scope of Christian belief. Key to it was a concept found nowhere in the Bible: homo-ousios (from the Greek ‘homos’, meaning “same”, and ‘ousia’, meaning “essence”). The anti-Arians wanted to insert this concept of Jesus being of the same substance as God into the official creedal statement of the Church. This  anti-Arian clause was proposed by Emperor Constantine himself [17]. Arius and his followers refused to accept it because they believed that Jesus was created by God and therefore they were materially separate from one another. Notice that the contention was not about passages of the Bible, but rather philosophy. This further reinforces the point that the Trinity is not a biblical concept but rather extraneous to the Bible. The Church had to come up with terms of “philosophical” (pagan/Greek) origin in order to explain it, as former Pope Benedict XVI states:

In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to  develop its own terminology with  the help of certain notions of philosophical origin: “substance,” “person,” or “hypostasis,” “relation” and so on. [18]

Faced with the awe-inspiring presence of the emperor, there could be little opposition: the majority of the bishops on the council ultimately agreed upon a creed, known thereafter as the “Nicene Creed”: “[The] majority eventually acquiesced in the ruling of the Alexandrians [trinitarians]; yet this result was due… partly to the pressure of the imperial will.” [19]

When the creed was finished, eighteen bishops still opposed it. Constantine at this point intervened to threaten with exile anyone who would not sign for it. Two Libyan bishops and Arius still refused to accept the creed. All three were exiled [20].

Although Constantine is usually remembered for the steps he took towards making Christianity an established religion in the Roman Empire, it would not be wrong to consider him as one of the chief driving forces behind the Nicene Creed. It was he who proposed and perhaps even imposed the expression homo-ousios (“same essence”) on the Council of Nicea, and it was he who provided government aid to the so-called orthodox and exerted government pressure against non-conformists [21].

Councils of Rimini and Seleucia

The Council of Nicea, however, did not end the controversy, as many bishops of the Eastern provinces disputed the concept of homo-ousios, the central term of the Nicene Creed. The debates among these groups continued and resulted in numerous meetings, and no fewer than fourteen further creedal formulas between 340 CE and 360 CE, leading the pagan observer Ammianus Marcellinus to comment sarcastically: “The highways were covered with galloping bishops.” [22]

Emperor Constantine’s sons, among whom the empire was divided after his death, became even more embroiled in the theological disputes. The emperor in the West, Constans, sided with Nicea, while the emperor in the East, Constantius, was anti-Nicea. Thus, a pattern was being set for political interference with theological issues on the part of civil rulers. Whether Arianism  or  the Nicene Creed had the upper  hand at any particular time depended upon which one had the favour of the respective emperor.

With the death of Constans in 350 CE, his anti-Nicea brother Constantius became the sole ruler of the Empire. In 359 CE, he summoned two councils, one in the East at Seleucia and the other in the West at Rimini. These councils were attended by more bishops than at Nicea and were thus more representative of the entire Church. Like his father Constantine before him, Constantius also involved himself in the council proceedings, exerting pressure on the bishops attending. An anti-Nicean, pro-Arian creed was adopted, and thus Arianism gained the upper hand in the Roman Empire. Writing about these councils, Saint Jerome remarked that the world “awoke with a groan to find itself Arian” [23]. The balance of power was now in favour of Arianism, and it looked like it had triumphed over Trinitarianism. So, if Trinitarians want to argue that today orthodoxy is on their side on the basis of popularity, then at one point Arianism was in the dominant position and was therefore orthodoxy!

Council of Constantinople

The seeming triumph of Arianism was short-lived. In 381 CE, the Council of Constantinople was summoned by Emperor Theodosius I. The main business of  the council was  to re-establish the doctrine that had  been set forth in the Nicene Creed. They did this by writing a new creed to remove some of the language of the Nicene Creed that had proven controversial and problematic. This council “sealed the final adoption of the faith of Nicea by the entire Church” [24]. So, the Nicene Creed, first set out on the Council of Nicea 55 years earlier, was ultimately victorious over Arianism.

It’s important to note that on earlier councils, for example the Council of Nicea, they did not specify that the third person of the Trinity existed; they simply  said they believed in the Holy Spirit. While the Council of Constantinople reaffirmed the tenets of the faith which were established in Nicea, one specific area where the doctrine of the Trinity had developed was related to the Holy Spirit. The divinity of the Holy Spirit was an important issue, as the Church debated and formalised its emerging view of the Trinity. The council attributed a number of things to the Holy Spirit, such as a divine title, ‘Lord’, and supreme worship equal to that rendered to the Father and the Son. Thus, the Holy Spirit was voted as the third Person of the Trinity. It should be pointed out that the disciples of Jesus had all been dead for hundreds of years before this position was agreed upon. The Catholic Church states: “The apostolic faith concerning the Spirit was announced by the second ecumenical council at Constantinople (381 CE).” [25]

Trinitarian and evangelical scholar Harold Brown gives some reasons for the slow adoption of the Holy Spirit as a person of the Trinity:

The language of the New Testament permits the Holy Spirit to be understood as an  impersonal force or influence  more readily than it does the Son…The attempt to develop an understanding of the Holy Spirit consistent with the trinitarian passages…came to fruition at Constantinople in 381. There were a number of reasons why the personhood of the Holy Spirit took longer to acknowledge than the Son: (1) the term pneuma, breath, is neuter in general and impersonal in ordinary meaning;  (2) the distinctive work of the Holy Spirit, influencing the believer, does not necessarily seem as personal as that of the Father…in addition, those who saw the Holy Spirit as a Person, were often heretical, for example, the Montanists; (3) many of the early theologians attributed to the Logos or Word, the revelatory  activity later theologians saw as the special, personal work of the Holy Spirit. [26]

In other words, we can understand that:

1. A doctrine close to what modern Trinitarians teach about the Holy Spirit was not widely accepted until over 300 years after Jesus.

2. Normal understanding of the Greek of the New Testament suggests that the Holy Spirit is impersonal – not a person. This is in contrast to the portrayal of the Father and the Son.

3. The idea of treating the Holy Spirit as a person, as Trinitarians do today, was often associated with heretical groups in the early Church.

4. Early Christian theologians contradicted the current Trinitarian view of the Holy Spirit because they used to assign its functions, such as revelatory activity, to the Son.

At the close of the Council of Constantinople, Emperor Theodosius issued an imperial decree declaring that the churches should be restored to those bishops who confessed the equal divinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit:

…let us believe in the one deity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since in our judgement they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give their conventicles the name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of divine condemnation and the second the punishment of our authority, in accordance with the will of heaven shall decide to inflict… [27]

Historical scholar Jonathan Roberts wrote:

Until Theodosius commanded his subjects to believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, and enforced his commands upon them by the most inhumane ways, that doctrine was rejected and resisted by the Greek and Roman followers of the Christos… That so senseless and unnatural doctrine should have been forced upon any people, by any means,  however tyrannical is a mystery even  more mysterious than the arithmetic that can make one three, and three one. [28]

Thus, Arianism was officially outlawed. It was extinguished not by the force of scriptural truth, but by the force of imperial involvement. After over 55 years of battle, the Nicene Creed permanently gained the upper hand and Trinitarianism became the official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church.

Council of Chalcedon

Even after Arianism was defeated, debate raged on about the nature of the incarnate Jesus as he walked upon the earth. While the Council of Nicea focused on the precise relationship of the Son to God the Father, the question that now had to be settled was: did Jesus have a single nature, meaning a mixture of human and divine, or a dual nature – human and divine, both distinct and not blurred together?

In 451 CE, the council of Chalcedon was summoned to address the nature of Jesus. The bishops arrived at the understanding of the two natures of Christ in one person. They adopted the Creed of Chalcedon, which stated:

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess  one  and  the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [coessential] with us according to the manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.

This concept of a dual human and divine nature in the person of Jesus is known as the Hypostatic Union, an essential component of modern Trinitarianism. Yet, it wasn’t until the Council of Chalcedon that we saw the emergence of an official doctrine of the Trinity in a form that is recognisable with what Trinitarians believe in today. This took place in the fifth century, over 400 years after Jesus.

Evangelical theologian and professor Wayne A. Grudem sums this up as follows: “[A] precise understanding of how full deity and full humanity” argues Grudem, “could be combined together in one person was formulated only gradually in the church and did not reach the final form until the Chalcedonian Definition in a.d. 451.” [29]

Some reflections on the Church councils

Regarding these various Church councils, I’d like to share with the reader some personal reflections:

1. The Trinity, as it is believed in today, did not emerge as the official doctrine of the Church until over 400 years after Jesus. Yet, today it is considered to be so pivotal to mainstream Christianity that anyone diverging from this is labelled a disbeliever or member of a cult. How central to the early Church could a doctrine, not fully formulated until a much later date, actually be? One would expect that anything that was truly fundamental to the Christian faith would have been clear and accepted by the Church from the first century.

2. The doctrine of the Trinity did not come into the Church easily, but rather through a great deal of dispute. Every fundamental aspect of the doctrine – the relationship of Jesus to God, the deity of the Holy Spirit, the dual nature of Jesus – was borne out of council proceedings spanning over a century. These were not dominated solely by scriptural  discussion; politics and philosophy played significant roles.

3. Imperial involvement played a large part in determining which theological view was dominant at any given moment. Emperor Constantine was not a minister or even a theologian, but a political figure. However, he was a pivotal figure in establishing the Nicene Creed. To him, it was not a matter of true doctrine, but what was politically expedient. If Constantine or any subsequent emperors had favoured Arianism, then the tides of history could very well have turned in its favour and Arianism could be orthodoxy today!

So far, we have analysed the Trinitarian  claim to orthodoxy from the historical angle. We will now look at the Bible to see whether it can stake a claim to orthodoxy from a scriptural standpoint.


Is the Trinity Biblical? To many people, this may sound like a strange question; in fact, many of the Christians that I interact with assume that everything they have been taught in church is based on the Bible. Is this really the case with the Trinity, is it Biblical? Through my research I was surprised to learn that the term ‘Trinity’ is not found anywhere in the Bible. Such terminology appears only in the writings of Church Fathers, much later in history. The position of the Catholic Church is that the term ‘Trinity’ was first mentioned late into the second century, about 150 years after Jesus:

In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together…The word trias (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A.D. 180… Afterwards it appears in its Latin form of trinitas in Tertullian. [30]

Its absence from the Bible is striking when one considers that this is the core doctrine of Trinitarianism. The Oxford Companion to the Bible, which has entries from over two hundred and sixty Bible scholars and academics from leading biblical institutes and universities in America and Europe, states: “Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament…” [31]

I often ask Christians about the absence of the term “Trinity” in the Bible. A common response that I receive is that, although the specific word “Trinity” is not present, its concept is found throughout the New Testament. When we examine the New Testament, is it really the case that there is a concept of God being three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who are co-equal and co-eternal? Since the Trinity is a fundamental doctrine, it’s not unreasonable to expect to find a clear statement from the Bible that comprehensively defines the doctrine of the Trinity as it is believed in today. In my experience, the most common pieces of evidence put forward are the letters of Paul and the Gospels of John and Matthew. Here are some typical examples:

For in him [Jesus] dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. [Colossians 2:9]

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [John 1:1]

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.   [Matthew 28:19]

Let’s analyse each of these statements in turn to see if they are genuine proof texts for the concept of the Trinity as it is taught by the Church today. We will first deal with the statement by Paul: “For in him [Jesus] dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” [Colossians 2:9].  When one looks at other writings by Paul, we find mention of God “dwelling” in individuals other than Jesus: “and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” [Ephesians 3:19]. Here Paul prays that believers will be filled with “all the fullness of God”. Clearly, Paul is not implying that believing Christians are literally divine persons. In other places, Paul talks of there being government in the Godhead, he gives a hierarchy of authority and responsibility: “But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” [1 Corinthians 11:3]. Here Paul evidently states that the Father is the head over all creation, including Jesus. Remember that the doctrine of the Trinity states that Jesus the Son and God the Father are co-equal, which of course conflicts with Paul’s hierarchy of the Father as being the head of the Son. Even if we were to accept that Paul’s mention of “Godhead” in Colossians 2:9 indicates a plurality in the nature of God, can we conclude that God is three persons from this statement? We cannot; it is in fact ambiguous because it could mean two or more persons, there’s no reason to conclude three. Nor is there any mention of the Holy Spirit, so  Colossians 2:9 is insufficient as it does not comprehensively support the concept of God being three persons who are all co-equal and co-eternal.

Now, if Paul had really believed in there being three persons in the Godhead, then he would have mentioned all three members in his letters to the churches – he never did. Paul mentioned the Father and Jesus in every introduction of every letter he wrote (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians  1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Hebrews 1:1-2), but he never mentioned the Holy Spirit. If Paul were a Trinitarian, then such an omission is astounding. Clearly, Paul did not believe in a Triune God.

What about the Gospel of John, does it represent a proof text for the Trinity? The alleged proof text cited earlier was the following: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [John 1:1]. At face value, this may seem like conclusive evidence of Jesus being God, because Trinitarians interpret the Word to be Jesus and the verse apparently states  “and the Word was God.” The English translation that this particular version of the Bible has chosen is subjective. If one was to analyse the original Greek of the New Testament, one would find that it is far less clear. The English word translated as “God”  (“and the Word was God”) lacks the definite article in Greek, so the verse can also be translated as “and the Word was divine” or “and the Word was a god”. Origen of Alexandria, a teacher of Greek grammar of the third century and arguably the most important theologian and biblical scholar of the early Greek Church, wrote about the use of the definite article in John 1:1:

In some cases he [John] uses the article, and in some he omits it… He uses the article, when the name of God refers to the uncreated cause of all things, and omits it when the Logos [Word] is named God…. The true God, then, is ‘The God’” [32]

Origen concluded that John’s intention in omitting the definite article was to show that Jesus is not truly God. Because of the ambiguity of John 1:1, we cannot use it as a basis to establish the divinity of Jesus. If we are serious about understanding Scripture, then we must interpret any ambiguous statements by an author in the light of their clear statements. The following verses of the Gospel of John provide the correct context for interpreting  John 1:1:

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”   [John 17:1-3]

Notice that Jesus is said to pray to the Father, evidently identifying the Father as the only true God to the exclusion of himself, the Son. If Jesus really were part of a Trinity, then he would have said “the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the only true God.” Remember that the doctrine of the Trinity states that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all fully God. Yet, Jesus isolates the Father as the only God to the exclusion of himself. Church Father Augustine, one of the greatest Trinitarian theologians in history, was so disturbed by these verses that he resorted to manipulating them in order to protect the doctrine of the Trinity. It was so difficult for Augustine to harmonise John 17:3 with his belief in the doctrine of the Trinity that he restructured the verse to make the Father and the Son equal in divinity. Augustine, in his “Homilies on John”, changed the wording of  John 17:3 to say: “This is eternal life, that they may know Thee and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent, as the only true God.” [33]  Notice how Augustine grouped the word “Jesus” with “Thee”  (“Thee and Jesus Christ”) in order for both the Father and Jesus to be identified as “the only true God”. Compare this to what John actually says: “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent”, which distinguishes Jesus from God. Augustine’s change was subtle, but it seriously distorted the original meaning of the words in order to make Jesus equal to the Father in divinity.

With regard to this statement from the Gospel of Matthew: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” [Matthew 28:19]. Now this verse does have Jesus mentioning the three persons of the Trinity; however, it says nothing about their relationship with one another. It does not say that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all equal, nor does it say that they are all eternal, or that they are even God. Just mentioning the persons collectively does not equate to the doctrine of the Trinity, as even Muslims believe in the persons of God Almighty, Jesus and the Holy Spirit (whom we believe is the angel Gabriel). What’s interesting about this verse in the Gospel of Matthew is that there are serious doubts about whether Jesus ever uttered the words attributed to him. The reason is, if Jesus really did say those words, then shouldn’t we expect his loyal disciples to obey  his command and baptise people using the formula that Jesus instructed? Although the Gospel of Matthew does not have any instances of disciples carrying out baptisms, other books of the New Testament, such as the Book of Acts, contain many such instances, and not once does any disciple baptise in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Rather, they consistently baptise in the name of Jesus only:

So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.   [Acts 10:48]

And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his [Jesus] name.’ [Acts 22:16]

Unless one is going to argue that the disciples of Jesus intentionally disobeyed him, then this indicates that the disciples were not aware of any such instruction, and therefore it is very likely that Jesus never uttered the words attributed to him in the Gospel of Matthew. We find support for this conclusion in the writings of the third century historian Eusebius. He wrote prolifically, quoting many verses of the New Testament in his writings. The verse in question, Matthew 28:19, is one that he happens to have quoted numerous times. However, he never quotes it as it appears today in modern Bibles, but always finishes the verse with the words “in my name”. For example, in his writings about the persecution of early Christians, we read:

But the rest of the apostles, who had been incessantly plotted against with a view to their destruction, and had been driven out of the land of Judea, went unto all nations to preach the Gospel, relying upon the power of Christ, who had said to them,  “Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in my name.” [34]

We can be confident that if the New Testament Eusebius had in front of him read  “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, he would never have quoted it as “in my name”. Thus, the earliest manuscripts must have read “in my name”, which explains why the disciples used those exact words and not a Trinitarian formula when performing baptisms.

This is the case with all such proof texts put forward by Trinitarians. At best, they only allude to the divinity of Jesus, but this is only when they are taken in  isolation. When we go beyond a superficial reading of Scripture, what we find is that all such proof texts fall short in comprehensively supporting the concept of the Trinity as it is believed in today. When Trinitarians try and argue for the divinity of Jesus as conclusive proof of the doctrine of the Trinity, they miss a big point. Even if, for the sake of argument, we grant the claim that there are some statements in the New Testament which can be interpreted to imply that Jesus is divine in some capacity, this in no way takes away from my point about the Trinity: nowhere do we find a clear definition of the doctrine of the Trinity, the idea that God is one Being consisting of three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who are all co-equal and co-eternal.

The fact is that nowhere in the New Testament is there any explicit mention of any such Trinitarian formula. Nor is God ever spoken of using terms like ‘Being’ and ‘Persons’ which is the language used by Trinitarians. These are not only my personal conclusions after years of study into the Bible, but also the findings of Christian scholarship. The Oxford Companion to the Bible, written by Bruce Metzger, one of the most influential New Testament scholars of the 20th century, and containing entries from over two hundred and sixty scholars and academics from leading biblical institutes and universities in America and  Europe, states: “…the developed concept of three co-equal partners in the Godhead found in later creedal formulations cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the canon” [35]. Likewise, the New Catholic Encyclopedia explains that the doctrine of the Trinity is a product of history, developed over centuries:

There is the recognition on the part of exegetes and biblical theologians, including a constantly growing number of Roman Catholics, that one should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament without serious qualification. There is also the closely parallel recognition on the part of historians of dogma and systematic theologians that when one does speak of an unqualified Trinitarianism, one has moved from the period of Christian origins to, say, the last quadrant of the 4th century. It was only then that what might be called the definitive Trinitarian dogma ‘One God in three persons’ became thoroughly assimilated into Christian life and thought…it was the product of three centuries of doctrinal development.[36]

The New Bible Dictionary, an evangelical Trinitarian source, states that while the concept of God becoming man is present in Scripture from the perspective of how it relates to our salvation, the authors of the dictionary concede that the theological formulation of the doctrine is puzzlingly absent in the New Testament:

The only sense in which the New Testament writers ever attempt to explain the incarnation is by showing how it fits into God’s overall plan for redeeming mankind…This evangelical interest throws light on the otherwise puzzling fact that the New Testament nowhere reflects on the virgin birth of Jesus as witnessing to the conjunction of deity and manhood in His person—a line of thought much canvassed by later theology. [37]

If the Trinity is the true nature of God, why does the New Testament not clearly support it? If this doctrine is so important, then shouldn’t it be evidently explained all over the New Testament, like other doctrines  such as the death of Jesus for our sins and his resurrection from the dead? The doctrine must be read into Scripture – it is not derived from it. It is not developed from clear scriptural references, but rather by beginning with a premise and then proceeding to develop “proofs” from ambiguous statements in Scripture.

Any speculation about ambiguous verses of the Bible can be put to rest when we look to the clear, explicit statements that Jesus made regarding God’s nature.


There is an interesting incident in the New Testament where Jesus seems to affirm the theology of the Old Testament. One of the Jewish teachers of the law approaches Jesus and asks him which of the commandments is the most important:

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions. [Mark 12:28-34]

This incident was the perfect opportunity for Jesus to correct misconceptions about God’s nature and give the Jewish teacher of the law a Trinitarian understanding of God being three co-equal and co-eternal persons. As you can see, the exact opposite is the case; by quoting the Old Testament commandment about God being One, a direct quote of Deuteronomy 6:4 (“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one”), and by agreeing with the Jewish teacher’s interpretation, Jesus is affirming an understanding of God that is purely monotheistic and rejects all notion of God being a Trinity. Not only is the Jewish teacher’s wisdom about God acknowledged, but also Jesus goes so far as to compliment him, saying that he is close to the kingdom of God.

The reason why Jewish people do not believe in a Triune God is that He is never presented as such in the Old Testament. This is not surprising, given that God is described in purely monotheistic terms throughout the Old Testament. The Prophets of the Old Testament, such as Abraham, Noah and Moses, never preached that God is a Trinity. Their core message was simple: there is one God who is unlike His creation and He alone deserves our worship. Does it make sense that God sent countless Prophets, over a span of thousands of years, with a consistent message of pure monotheism, and then all of a sudden reveals that He is a Trinity, a radically different message which contradicts His previous Prophets’ teachings?

How do Trinitarians explain this juxtaposition between their beliefs and the portrayal of God in the Old Testament? They claim that God reveals Himself gradually in stages; this is known as the concept of “Progressive Revelation”:

The things that God revealed to humanity were not all given at once. His revelation was given in stages… Progressive revelation means that God did not unfold His entire plan to humanity in the Book of Genesis or, for that matter, in the entire Old Testament. The Old Testament revelation, though accurate, is incomplete. The fullness of certain teachings cannot be found in the Old Testament. [38]

This is the idea that the sections of the Bible that were written later contain a fuller revelation of God, compared to the earlier sections. So, the New Testament is to be used to better understand and interpret the Old Testament. Such an explanation must be rejected because the progression from a purely monotheistic concept of God, who is unlike His creation, to a Trinity where God becomes His creation, is anything but gradual. Rather it is a radical overhaul of everything that came before it. Moreover, such an appeal creates more problems than it tries to solve. Because of Progressive Revelation, the Trinitarian concept of God’s nature is, and continues to be, open to development. For example, when Trinitarians say that God is plural in personhood, how do they know to stop at three? Why not four or five? We’ve already seen that there is no verse in the Bible that says there are only three divine persons. At best, one can say that only three have revealed themselves to the Church so far.  But how do you know there isn’t a fourth lurking in the shadows, ready to reveal themselves? For example, couldn’t it be revealed that Mary is also God, perhaps the Mother in the Godhead? Or could it later be revealed that the Holy Spirit is in fact seven persons and not just one (see  Revelation 1:4 which mentions  “the seven spirits before his [God’s] throne”)? To reiterate, there is no explicit mention of ‘three’ either by name or concept, so with Progressive Revelation, there’s nothing to stop God becoming four or more persons at some point in the future. Thus, Trinitarians can never lay claim to having a correct understanding of God, because they can never know for certain that God has revealed the full picture about Himself.

The New Testament touches upon an incident with Jesus and a fig tree in the Gospel of Mark:

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it. [Mark 11:12-14]

Such an incident makes no sense in the light of the Trinitarian claim that Jesus is God. God is All-Knowing, so if Jesus really is God, then that would make him the creator of fig trees, in which case how could he have not known that it was not the season for figs? Moreover, why would God curse the fig tree for doing something He himself willed it to do? If Jesus is God, then wouldn’t it have been more befitting of him to command the tree to bear fruit? Why ruin a perfectly good tree? Come fig season, this tree would have had fruit and others could have eaten from it.

Some Trinitarians try to get around this problem by claiming that the verses about the fig tree and its lack of fruit are not to be taken literally but rather as a symbol of the nation of Israel and its lack of faith. Now, if the fig tree represents Israel in this particular incident, then this creates a problem. Notice that Mark makes it clear that the fig tree was not defective but just that it wasn’t the right season, yet Jesus admonished a perfectly functioning fig tree for obeying  God’s law by producing figs in certain seasons. This would mean that Israel was being punished by God for obeying him! Such interpretations must be rejected because Mark very clearly gives us the reason as to why Jesus approached the fig tree: “Jesus was hungry.” It doesn’t say that “Jesus approached the fig tree because he saw an opportunity for a parable.”

From the perspective  of  Trinitarian theology and the dual nature of Jesus, it would have been the limited human nature that made the mistake and the divine nature that had the power to curse the fig tree. However, this situation presents us with some difficult questions with regard to the interplay between the divine and human nature – why did the divine nature not inform him that there were no figs instead of acting upon the mistake of his human side? Is this a case of the human nature overriding the divine nature? Is such a thing possible?

Furthermore, such incidents bring to light the many paradoxes of the Trinity. For example, how can God be All Powerful and yet have weaknesses such as hunger? Such attributes are mutually exclusive. It would be like being asked to draw a square circle. Such a task is impossible, because each has incompatible properties: a shape cannot have four corners like a square and no corners like a circle at the same time. Yet, such paradoxes are what Trinitarians  have to believe in in order for Jesus to not only be God, All Powerful and All Knowing, but also human with limitations such as hunger and possessing limited knowledge.

From this incident we can see that when it comes to the knowledge of Jesus, it seems that the divine nature is either lacking or completely absent. How then can the claim be made that Jesus is fully God? From what we’ve seen it seems that Jesus is human but not divine because he lacks essential attributes of God, such as possessing All Knowledge.

The fig tree incident is by no means an isolated case. Jesus plainly says elsewhere that the Son and the Holy Spirit do not know the hour, meaning the time of the Day of Judgement, but only the Father: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” [Mark 13:32]. From this we can see that the divine shortcomings of lacking All Knowledge aren’t just restricted to Jesus; the Holy Spirit also lacks God’s perfect knowledge. How then can the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be said to be co-equal, as the doctrine of the Trinity teaches? If the Father possesses knowledge that the Son and the Holy Spirit lack, then the Father is a greater person of God than both Jesus and the Holy Spirit, in at least one area: knowledge.

In conclusion, we can see that the New Testament paints a picture of God and Jesus that is at odds with Trinitarian theology.


God is perfect in His knowledge, so it stands to reason that His true revelation will also be perfect. When we move beyond a basic understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity and dig beneath the surface even just a little, we will find that it is full of contradictions and inconsistencies. For example, the Bible says God is eternal and unchanging:

Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.   [Psalm 93:2]

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,  who does not change like shifting shadows. [James 1:17]

The Bible supports the notion that God does not change; indeed, God cannot change, because He transcends time altogether. Now the Trinitarian claim that God became flesh at the incarnation poses a problem. If the Son took on a dual nature, that is, a limited human nature alongside his divine nature, whilst at the same time still being God, then the implication is that in becoming man, the nature of God changed. The doctrine of the incarnation seems to contradict the Bible’s statements that God is eternal and unchanging.

Trinitarians try to get around this issue by arguing that at the incarnation, nothing changed about God, and a human nature was merely added to God’s divine nature. They reason that, since the two natures did not mix, the divine nature did not change at all in this “joining” and so God remained the same.

Can this be considered valid reasoning? Well, if God ‘added’ a new nature to Himself, then that is a change in state. Was God always a man? He was not. Did God later on become fully human? The answer, according to Trinitarian theology, is yes. Adding anything to oneself is clearly a change. To claim otherwise is nothing more than philosophical wordplay.

To illustrate why this is the case, let’s take the example of a human being called John. Consider a hypothetical scenario in which God granted John a second nature – a divine nature. You can see that this scenario mirrors the incarnation; John took on an additional divine nature, much like Trinitarians believe God the Son took on an additional human nature. Even if John’s first nature, humanity, remains unchanged and separate from his divinity, would you ever conclude that John has undergone no change at all? Would any reasonable person argue, “well, John hasn’t really changed in nature, his original finite human nature is only being complemented by an additional infinite nature.” Evidently, for anyone to claim that John, going from mere mortal to master of the universe, has undergone no change would be absurd.

Yet, the Trinitarian doctrine represents exactly the same scenario. In becoming divine, John has changed from one state (not being God) to another (being God). This mirrors the incarnation where God is said to have become flesh, which also entails a change from one state (not being human) to another (being human). The end result for both Jesus and John is the same; they’ve both become God-men. The only difference was their direction of change (God ➡God-man v.s. man  ➡God-man). We must conclude that the incarnation involved an intrinsic change to the Son, and since Trinitarians claim that the Son is God, the implication is that God has changed. This directly conflicts with the Bible’s statements that God is eternal and unchanging.

More issues with the doctrine of the incarnation emerge when we consider God’s perfection. God is perfect in every way possible; both Muslims and Christians believe this to be true. Recall that Trinitarians believe that, at the incarnation,  God entered  into the creation  as a human being  in the form of Jesus. Humanity has been permanently incorporated into the Godhead; the Son will forever have an inseparable divine and human nature. This is in contrast to the nature of the Godhead before the incarnation, with all persons of the Trinity being purely divine into eternity past. This raises some uncomfortable questions. Since God is the pinnacle of perfection, then there is no need for Him to become anything. If God is perfect and something needs to be added to His nature, then doesn’t that mean He lacked something before? Which state is considered more “godly”, the pre-incarnation God, or post-incarnation God? You can see that the doctrine of the incarnation puts Trinitarians in a blasphemous predicament.

We’ve seen that such contradictions and inconsistencies are rampant throughout Trinitarian teaching. Can such a theology really be a true revelation from God when He is perfect in His knowledge?


We’ve seen that the Trinity is not present in the Bible in either name or concept, and that its claim of a Triune God not only conflicts with the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament, but it is also inherently contradictory and inconsistent and therefore unlikely to be God’s perfect revelation. So, where did the Trinity come from? In order to answer this question, we need to understand the world into which Christianity was born and developed. The disciples, the first believers in Jesus, were Jews. In fact, Christianity started out as a movement within Judaism. Like Jews since the time of Moses, these first believers kept the Sabbath, were circumcised and  worshipped in the Temple: “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of  prayer—at  three  in  the  afternoon.” [Acts  3:1] The only thing that distinguished the early followers of Jesus from any other Jews was their belief in Jesus as the Messiah, that is, the one chosen by God who would redeem the Jewish people. Today, many Christian scholars agree that the authors of the New Testament, such as Matthew, were Jewish believers in Jesus. The influence of Judaism on the New Testament is important because it helps us to correctly understand its message. The New Testament is full of terminology like “son of God”. Such language is interpreted literally by Trinitarians to mean that Jesus is God the Son, but is this correct? What was the intention of the Jewish writers of the New Testament when they used such language? What did these terms mean at the time of Jesus?

When we turn to the Old Testament, we find that such language permeates its pages. For example, Moses calls God “Father”: “Is this the way you repay the Lord, you foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?”   [Deuteronomy 32:6]

Angels are referred to as “sons of God”: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” [Job 1:6]

The Old Testament even goes so far as to call Moses a god: “And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet” [Exodus 7:1].

The Israelites are also referred to as “gods”: “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High’” [Psalm 82:6]. What we can conclude is that such highly exalted language was commonplace and was intended to serve figurative purposes; it is not a literal indication of divinity. Even as late as the end of the first century, when the New Testament writers started penning their accounts of the life of Jesus, Jewish people were still using such language figuratively. In a conversation between Jesus and some Jewish teachers of the law, they say to Jesus: “…The only Father we have is God himself” [John 8:41]. The Gospel of Luke calls Adam a son of God when it recounts the lineage of Jesus:  “the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” [Luke 3:38].

Jesus even says that anyone who makes peace is a child of God:  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” [Matthew 5:9]. If the New Testament writers understood such language to be a claim to divinity, then they would have used it exclusively in relation to Jesus. Clearly, it denotes a  person that is righteous before God, nothing more.

The turning point in history came when Christianity ceased being a small movement within Judaism and Gentiles (non-Jews) started to embrace the faith in large numbers. We need to look at the pagan world of the Gentiles in order to understand the mindset of the people that received the New Testament message. Since the time of Alexander the Great, Gentiles had been living in a Hellenistic (Greek) world. Their lands were dominated by Roman  armies, with the Roman Empire being the superpower of the world at the time. The Roman Empire itself was heavily influenced by Hellenistic religion, philosophy and culture. Greek gods and goddesses, such as Zeus, Hermes and Aphrodite, as well as Roman gods and goddesses, like Jupiter, Venus and Diana, dominated the landscape. There were temples, priesthoods,  and feasts dedicated to the patron god or goddess of a city or a region; statues to the deities dotted the forums of the cities. Even rulers themselves were frequently worshipped as gods.

Gentiles from such a polytheistic background would have naturally understood Christian preaching about the “son of God” in the light of a Greek or Roman god having been begotten by another. We can see this mindset manifested in the New Testament. In the Book of Acts, there is an incident where the Gentile crowds think that Paul is a Greek god because he heals a crippled man:

When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!”

Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker.

The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them. [Acts 14:11-13]

It is worthy of note that Paul and Barnabas did not take this opportunity to explain that it was not they but rather Jesus who was God come in human form. Such a clarification is what you would expect, if Trinitarian beliefs about Jesus are correct. Instead, they argued against such pagan beliefs and practices:

But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting:

“Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you.  We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.   [Acts 14:14-15]

Here we see that the Greco-Roman peoples that Paul and Barnabas were preaching to were in the habit of taking humans for gods. Despite Paul protesting that he was not a god, the people persisted in their belief: “Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them” [Acts 14:18].  From this example we can see that, according to Christian history, it was a common practice for people to attribute divinity to other humans. Inspite of Paul openly denying being a god, the people continued to worship and sacrifice to him. We can conclude that, even if Jesus himself rejected being God at that time, the mindset of the people was such that they would still have found a way to deify him. This is not an isolated incident, as we read elsewhere that Gentiles believed Paul was a god because he survived a bite from a venomous snake:

Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta.

The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.

Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.

When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.”

But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.
The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.  [Acts:28:1-6]

With this background in mind, it’s easy to see how Judaic phrases like “son of God” took on a different meaning when transported out of their Jewish monotheistic context into pagan Greco-Roman thought. The Trinity doctrine arose neither in a vacuum, nor strictly from the text of Scripture. It was the result of the influence of certain beliefs and attitudes that prevailed in and around the Church after the first century. The Church emerged in a Jewish and Greek world, and so the primitive Church had to reconcile the notions it had inherited from Judaism with those it had derived from pagan mythology. In the words of historian and Anglican bishop John Wand, “Jew and Greek had to meet in Christ.” [39]

It’s interesting to note that the Greco-Roman religions were filled with tales of gods procreating with human beings and begetting god-men. The belief that God could be incarnate, or that there were sons of God, was common and popular. For example, the chief god in the Greek pantheon, Zeus, visited the human woman Danae in the form of golden rain and fathered Perseus, a “god-man.” In another tale, Zeus is said to have come to the human woman Alcmena, disguised as her husband. Alcmena bore Hercules, another “god-man”. Such tales bear a striking similarity to Trinitarian beliefs of God being begotten as a man. In fact, the early Christian apologist Justin Martyr, considered a saint in the Catholic Church, said the following in response to pagan criticisms that Christianity  borrowed from their beliefs about the sons of God:

When we say that the Word, who is our teacher, Jesus Christ the first born of God, was produced without sexual union, and that he was crucified and died and rose again, and ascended to heaven, we propound nothing new or different from what you [pagans] believe regarding those whom you consider sons of Jupiter.[40]

According to ancient Roman myth, Jupiter was the king of all the gods. Here Justin Martyr is telling Roman pagans that what the Christians believe about Jesus being the son of God is nothing different from what they believe about the sons of the god Jupiter. That the Church Fathers’ conception of the Trinity was a combination of Jewish monotheism and pagan polytheism can be seen in the testimony of Gregory of Nyssa, a fourth century bishop who is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. He also happens to be one of the great figures in the history of the philosophical formulation of the Trinity doctrine. He wrote:

For the truth passes in the mean between these two conceptions, destroying each heresy, and yet, accepting what is useful to it from each. The Jewish dogma is destroyed by the acceptance of the Word and by belief in the Spirit, while the polytheistic error of the Greek school is made to vanish by the unity of the nature abrogating this imagination of plurality. [41]

The Christian conception of God, argues Gregory of Nyssa, is neither purely the polytheism of the Greeks nor purely the monotheism of the Jews, but rather a combination of both.

Even the concept of God-men who were saviours of mankind was by no means exclusive to Jesus. Long before Jesus was born, it was not uncommon for military men and political rulers to be talked about as divine beings. More than that, they were even treated as divine beings: they were given temples with priests who would perform sacrifices in their honour. In Athens, for example, Demetrios Poliorcetes (Demetrios the Conqueror of Cities, 337–283 BCE) was acclaimed as a divine being by hymn-writers because he liberated them from their Macedonian enemies:

How the greatest and dearest of the gods are present in our city! For the circumstances have brought together Demeter and Demetrios; she comes to celebrate the solemn mysteries of the Kore, while he is here full of joy, as befits the god, fair and laughing. His appearance is solemn, his friends all around him and he in their midst, as though they were stars and he the sun. Hail boy of the most powerful god Poseidon and Aphrodite! For other gods are either far away, or they do not have ears, or they do not exist, or do not take any notice of us, but you we can see present here, not made of wood or stone, but real. So we pray to you: first make peace, dearest; for you have the power…[42]

The Athenians gave Demetrios an arrival that was fit for a god, burning incense on altars and making offerings to their new deified king. It must be pointed out that, as time passed by, he did some other things that the Athenians did not approve of, and as a consequence they revoked their adoration of him. It seems that, in the days before Jesus, divinity could be stripped away from human beings just as easily as it was granted. Perhaps the best-known examples of God-men are the divine honours bestowed upon the rulers of the Roman Empire, starting with Julius Caesar. We have an inscription, dedicated to him in 49 BCE and discovered in the city of Ephesus, which says this about him [43]:

Descendant of Ares and Aphrodite     

The God who has become manifest

And universal savior of human life

So, Julius Caesar was described as God manifested as man, the saviour of mankind. Sound familiar? Now, prior to Julius Caesar, rulers in the city of Rome  itself  were not  granted  divine  honours.  But  Caesar  himself  was  –  before he died, the senate approved the building of a temple and statue for him. Soon after his death, his adopted son and heir, Octavian, promoted the idea that at his death, Caesar had been taken up to heaven and been made a god to live with the gods. There was a good reason that Octavian wanted his adopted father to be declared a God. If his father was a God, then what would that make him? This deification of Caesar set a precedent for what was to happen with the emperors, beginning with the first of them, Octavian himself, who became “Caesar Augustus” in 29 BCE. An inscription, which survived from his lifetime and was found in the city of Halicarnassus (modern Turkey), calls Augustus [44]:

…The native Zeus and

Savior of the human race

This is yet another example of a divine saviour of mankind. Now, Octavian happened to also be the “son of God” by virtue of his divine father Julius Caesar. In fact, Octavian became known as ‘Divi filius’ (“Son of the Divine One”). These, of course, are all titles widely used by Christians today to describe Jesus. We must realise that the early Church did not come up with these titles out of the blue, for they are all things said of other men before they were said of Jesus. For early Christians, the idea was not that Jesus was the only person who was ever called such things; this is a misconception. The concept of a divine human being who was the saviour of mankind was a sort of a template that was applied to people of great power and authority. We’ve seen that the history of paganism is littered with such examples, and Jesus was just another divine saviour, in a long list of divine saviours who had preceded him.


What is the situation with the Trinity today? Even after numerous councils and centuries of discussion and debate, there is still major disagreement among Trinitarians over the doctrine. The biggest issue relates to the Holy Spirit. As we’ve seen, the equality of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son was established on the Council of Constantinople in 381 CE. While the council concluded that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father, it said nothing concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son. Here is the last section of the Creed of the Council of Constantinople:

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father,    

who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified.

Note that the second line only specifies the Father. This section of the creed was later translated into Latin with the addition, “and the Son”:

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,  

who proceeds from the Father and the Son, 

who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified.

This addition to the creed is known as the Filioque (Latin for “and the Son”), a phrase that has been the subject of  great controversy between Eastern and Western Churches. Whether one includes that phrase, and exactly how the phrase is translated and understood, can have important implications for how one understands the central Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

Eastern Churches believe that it proceeds from the Father only, whereas Western Churches believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son. Here is a diagram which illustrates the difference:

Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches reject the Filioque because it makes the Holy Spirit a subordinate, or a less important member of the Trinity. Thus, in their view it compromises the co-equality of the Persons of the Trinity. This issue is responsible for the largest schism in Church history. It divided Christianity into Western Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Differences over this doctrine still remain as a point of contention to this day [45].

Such lingering doctrinal disagreements are only one aspect of the issues with the Trinity today. Even after centuries of evolution and fine tuning, Trinitarians still walk a tightrope of heresy. To demonstrate this point, let us consider the question of who suffered and died on the cross, was it God or man?

If a Trinitarian claims that it is God who died, then this contradicts the Bible which teaches that God is immortal and cannot die: “I lift my hand to heaven and solemnly swear: As surely as I live forever” [Deuteronomy 32:40]. This is why many Trinitarians believe that it was only the human side of Jesus that suffered and died, as the crucifixion is only meaningful with reference to his human nature; you cannot crucify the divine nature. However, in doing so, Trinitarians separate the divine nature from the human one at the crucifixion. The problem is that this violates the creed that was adopted on the Council of Chalcedon which states that Jesus is:

“…acknowledged in Two Natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly…”

Recall that the Chalcedonian Creed, today considered orthodoxy in the Catholic, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox churches, established that Jesus has a dual nature, with his divine nature and his human nature being eternally united (the doctrine of the Hypostatic Union). So, when Trinitarians state that it is only the human that died in Jesus, they are isolating the human nature from the divine one on the cross. Trinitarians are separating the natures of Jesus that are supposed to be eternally united, thus falling into heresy. We can see that every Trinitarian falls into some form of heresy in relation to the crucifixion, either by taking the view that it was the divine side of Jesus that died on the cross, which is in clear contradiction to what the Bible teaches about God’s immortal nature, or by believing that only the human nature of Jesus was crucified, a violation of the “orthodoxy” of the Chalcedonian Creed. Trinitarians cannot avoid being involved in heresy; in practice, they almost have to decide which heresy they’re going to commit. You have to walk on such a sharp edge that you’re going to fall on one side or the other.

Today, such confusion is rampant throughout the Trinitarian doctrine. This is in spite of centuries of doctrinal fine-tuning by numerous Church councils and the collective efforts of the most brilliant minds that Christendom has had to offer. Is this really God’s perfect revelation, or is it the fallible teaching of man? God’s true guidance is surely perfect, free of conflict. This problem of holes appearing in one area of theology in the light of other areas is another sign that the doctrine of the Trinity is man-made. The whole doctrine is a patchwork; it joins things which cannot be joined, and the seams are always showing. Could this really be God’s final revelation, would mankind be left to linger in the darkness of confusion until the Day of Judgement? As we will see in the next chapter, God has sent forth a light to guide us back to the truth.


[1] – James White, “Loving the Trinity,” Christian Research Journal, vol. 21, no. 22.

[2] – Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 234.

[3] – The Catholic Encyclopedia, Constitution, “De fide. cath.”, iv.

[4] – Harold Lindsell and Charles Woodbridge, A Handbook of Christian Truth, pp. 51-52.

[5] – Ehrman, Bart D., The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: the effect of early Christological controversies on the text of the NT; New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993, p. 48.

[6] – Tertullian, Against Praxeas,  chapter  9 – The Catholic  Rule of Faith Expounded in Some of Its Points. Especially in the Unconfused Distinction of the Several Persons of the Blessed Trinity.

[7] – Ibid., chapter 3 – Sundry Popular Fears and Prejudices. The Doctrine of the Trinity in Unity Rescued from These Misapprehensions.

[8] – W. H. C. Frend, The Rise of Christianity, p. 636.

[9] –  Mansi, III, col. 560.

[10]  –  Alister E. McGrath, A Life of John Calvin: A Study in the Shaping of Western Culture, 1990, pp. 118-120.

[11] – Keith Hopkins, A World Full of Gods: The Strange Triumph of Christianity, p. 191

[12] – W. H. C. Frend, The Rise of Christianity, p. 319.

[13] – R. Gerberding and J. H. Moran Cruz, Medieval Worlds (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004) pp. 55–56.

[14] – Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity, p. 214.

[15] – Emperor Constantine as quoted in History of the Christian Church, vol. 3, p. 626.

[16] – Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume 3, pp. 627-628.

[17] – Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity, p. 214.

[18] – Catechism of the Catholic Church, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, p. 74.

[19] –  Encyclopedia Britannica 14th ed., vol. 16, pp. 410-411.

[20] – Richard E. Rubenstein, When Jesus Became God, p. 83.

[21] – Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 332 – 333.

[22] –  Ammianus Marcellinus, as cited by Schaff, History of the Christian Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985), III:632.

[23] – Charles D. Levy, The Arian Christian Doctrines: The Origins of Christianity, p. 78.

[24] – The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, Vol. 1. Arianism, by V.C. Declercq, p. 793.
[25] – Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, p. 72.

[26] – Harold Brown, Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church, p. 140.

[27] – Theodosian Code XVI.1.2. Cited in Bettenson H, ed., Documents of the Christian Church, London: Oxford University Press, 1943, p. 31.

[28] – Roberts JM. Antiquity Unveiled: Ancient Voices from the Spirit Realms Disclose the Most Startling Revelations, Proving Christianity to be of Heathen Origin, University of Michigan, May 21, 2007, p. 468.

[29] – Grudem, Systematic Theology: Chapter 26 – The Person of Christ, 1994, p. 554.

[30] – The Catholic Encyclopedia,  “De pud.”, xxi.

[31] – Bruce Metzger and Michael D. Coogan (eds.), The Oxford Companion to the Bible (Oxford University Press, 1993) pp. 782 – 783.

[32] – Origen, Commentary on John, Book II, chapter 2.

[33] – Homilies on John, tractate CV, chapter 17.

[34] – Eusebius, Book III of his  History, Chapter 5, Section 2.

[35] – Bruce Metzger and Michael D. Coogan (eds.), The Oxford Companion to the Bible (Oxford University Press, 1993) pp. 782-783.

[36] – The New Catholic Encyclopedia – vol. 14, p. 295.

[37] – New Bible Dictionary, Grand Rapids, MI, 1975, p. 559.

[38] – See article by Don Stewart, BlueLetterBible.Org (accessed 22/11/2015):

[39] – John William Charles Wand. 1955. The Four Great Heresies, p. 39.

[40] – Justin Martyr, The First Apology, Chapter 21.

[41] – Dr. H Wolfson, The Philosophy of the Church Fathers, pp. 361-363.

[42] – Angelos Chaniotis, The Ithyphallic Hymn for Demetrios Poliorcetes and Hellenistic Religious Mentality, p. 160.

[43] – Iris Sulimani, Diodorus’ Mythistory and the Pagan Mission: Historiography and Culture, p. 288.

[44] – Hans-Josef Klauck, Religious Context of Early Christianity: A Guide To Graeco-Roman Religions, p. 296

[45] – Walter Kasper, The Petrine ministry: Catholics and Orthodox in dialogue: academic  symposium  held at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, p. 188.


Christmas during Pre-Christianity Era

In ancient pagan times, the last day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere was celebrated as the night that the Great Mother Goddess gives birth to the baby Sun God. It is also called Yule, the day a huge log is added to a bonfire, around which everyone would dance and sing to awaken the sun from its long winter sleep.

In Roman times, it became the celebrations honouring Saturnus (the harvest god) and Mithras (the ancient god of light), a form of sun worship that had come to Rome from Syria a century before with the cult of Sol Invictus. It announced that winter is not forever, that life continues, and an invitation to stay in good spirit.

The last day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere occurs between the 20th and 22 December. The Roman celebrated Saturnalia between 17 and 24 December.

The early Christians
To avoid persecution during the Roman pagan festival, early Christians decked their homes with Saturnalia holly. As Christian numbers increased and their customs prevailed, the celebrations took on a Christian observance. But the early church actually did not celebrate the birth of Christ in December until Telesphorus, who was the second Bishop of Rome from 125 to 136AD, declared that Church services should be held during this time to celebrate “The Nativity of our Lord and Saviour.” However, since no-one was quite sure in which month Christ was born, Nativity was often held in September, which was during the Jewish Feast of Trumpets (modern-day Rosh Hashanah). In fact, for more than 300 years, people observed the birth of Jesus on various dates.

In the year 274AD, solstice fell on 25th December. Roman Emperor Aurelian proclaimed the date as “Natalis Solis Invicti,” the festival of the birth of the invincible sun. In 320 AD, Pope Julius I specified the 25th of December as the official date of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas official, but not generally observed 
In 325 AD, Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman emperor, introduced Christmas as an immovable feast on 25 December. He also introduced Sunday as a holy day in a new 7-day week, and introduced movable feasts (Easter). In 354 AD, Bishop Liberius of Rome officially ordered his members to celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25 December.

However, even though Constantine officiated 25 December as the birthday of Christ, Christians, recognising the date as a pagan festival, did not share in the emperor’s good meaning. Christmas failed to gain universal recognition among Christians until quite recently. In England, Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas festivities between 1649 and 1660 through the so-called Blue Laws, believing that Christmas should be a solemn day.

When many Protestants escaped persecution by fleeing to the colonies all over the world, interest in joyous Christmas celebrations was rekindled there. Still, Christmas was not even a legal holiday until the 1800s. And, keep in mind, there was no Father Christmas (Santa Claus) figure at that time.

Christmas becomes popular
The popularity of Christmas was spurred on in 1820 by Washington Irving’s book The Keeping of Christmas at Bracebridge Hall. In 1834, Britain’s Queen Victoria brought her German husband, Prince Albert, into Windsor Castle, introducing the tradition of the Christmas tree and carols that were held in Europe to the British Empire. A week before Christmas in 1834, Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol (in which he wrote that Scrooge required Cratchit to work, and that the US Congress met on Christmas Day). It was so popular that neither the churches nor the governments could not ignore the importance of Christmas celebrations. In 1836, Alabama became the first state in the US to declare Christmas a legal holiday. In 1837, T.H. Hervey’s The Book of Christmas also became a best seller. In 1860, American illustrator Thomas Nast borrowed from the European stories about Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children, to create Father Christmas (Santa Claus). In 1907, Oklahoma became the last US state to declare Christmas a legal holiday. Year by year, countries all over the world started to recognise Christmas as the day for celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Today, many of the pagan uses are reflected in Christmas. Jesus was born in March or April, yet his birth is celebrated on 25 December, the time of solstice. The Christmas celebrations end the 12th day of Christmas (6 January), the same amount of days that the return of the sun was celebrated by ancient and Roman pagans. It thus is no surprise that Christian puritans – or even conservative Christians – often are upset that Christmas “is not as religious as it was meant to be,”  forgetting that Christmas was not celebrated at all until fairly recently.

What Did Jesus Say About Christmas?

The Christmas Experience

The perfect Christmas tree is bought. Adorned with ornaments and glittering with tinsel, it stands by the window. The stores are crammed with shoppers hunting for presents and the little ones anxiously waiting for Santa.

Busy with Christmas fever, wonder did you ever, did the Bible or Jesus made any injunction on Christmas ever?

Ponder upon the following analysis on Christmas, and the Truth will become clearer and clearer.

Does Christmas have Biblical Evidence?

The word ‘Christmas’ does not exist in the Bible. The Bible has closed lips on the entire feast of Christmas, with one exception, the decoration of a tree. The Bible itself criticizes the decoration of the (Christmas) trees:

“The customs of the people are worthless, they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel, they adore it with silver and gold, they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter” (Jeremiah 10-3,4).

European Pre-Christian pagans superstitiously believed that the green trees had special protective powers. In fact the use of the Christmas tree began only in the 17th century in Strasbourg, France and from there it spread to Germany, Britain and then to the U.S.

“Tree worship was a common feature of religion among the Teutonic and Scandinavian peoples of northern Europe before their conversion to Christianity…German settlers brought the Christmas tree custom to the American colonies in the 17th century. By the 19th century its use was quite widespread”. (Compton’s Encyclopedia, 1998 Edition)

Was Jesus born on Dec. 25?

Neither the date 25th Dec. nor any other date on Jesus’ birth is mentioned in the Bible. It was not until the year 530 C.E. that a monk, Dionysus Exigus, fixed the date of Jesus’ birth on Dec. 25th. . “He wrongly dated the birth of Christ according to the Roman system (i.e., 754 years after the founding of Rome) as Dec. 25, 753”. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 ed.) This date was chosen in keeping with the holidays already indoctrinated into pagans beliefs.

Roman pagans celebrated Dec. 25th as the birth of their ‘god’ of light, Mithra.

“In the 2nd century A..D., it (Mithraism) was more general in the Roman Empire than Christianity, to which it bore many similarities” (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 ed.)

Other pagan ‘gods’ born on Dec. 25th are: Hercules the son of Zeus (Greeks); Bacchus, ‘god’ of wine (Romans); Adonis, ‘god’ of Greeks, and ‘god’ Freyr of Greek-Roman pagans.

What about Santa Claus?

If aliens descended on earth during the Christmas season, they would undoubtedly believe Christmas as being Santa’s birthday. The words ‘Santa Claus’, appear nowhere in the Bible.

However, Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) was a real person, a bishop, who was born 300 years after Jesus. According to legend, he was extremely kind and set out at night to bring presents to the needy. After his death on 6th of Dec., school boys in Europe began celebrating a feast day each year.

Queen Victoria later changed the celebration date from Dec. 6th to Dec. 24th eve.

Did Jesus or his Companions Celebrate Christmas?

If Jesus meant his followers to celebrate Christmas, he would have practiced it himself and enjoined it on his followers. There is no mention in the entire Bible that any of his followers ever celebrated Jesus’ birthday like Christians do today.

“The church did not observe a festival for the celebration of the event of Christmas until the 4th century” (Grolier’s Encyclopedia)

Thus we see that neither the Bible nor Jesus and his companions say anything about the celebration of Christmas which currently involves fanfare, commercialization, and extravagant spending, devoid of any spiritual relevance.

Ruling on Christmas & New Year

Praise be to Allah.

Ibn Taymiyah said in his commentary on the ayah (interpretation of the meaning), “And those who do not witness falsehood [al-zoor]…” [al-Furqaan 25:72]: As regards the festivals of the mushrikeen: they combine confusion, physical desires and falsehood, there is nothing in them that is of any religious benefit, and the instant gratification involved in them only ends up in pain. Thus they are falsehood, and witnessing them means attending them.This ayah itself praises and commends (those who do not witness falsehood), which has the meaning of urging people to avoid taking part in their festivals and other kinds of falsehood. We understand that it is bad to attend their festivals because they are called al-zoor  (falsehood). It indicates that it is haraam to do this for many reasons, because Allah. has called it al-zoor.

Allah condemns the one who speaks falsehood [al-zoor] even if no-one else is harmed by it, as in the ayah forbidding zihaar [a form of divorce in which the man says to his wife “You are to me like the back of my mother”], where He says (interpretation of the meaning): “… And verily, they utter an ill word and a lie [zooran]…” [al-Mujaadilah 58:2]. And Allah. says (interpretation of the meaning): “… So shun the abomination of idols, and shun lying speech (false statements) [al-zoor].” [al-Hajj 22:30]. So the one who does al-zoor is condemned in this fashion. In the Sunnah: Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah. be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah. (peace and blessings of Allah. be upon him) came [to Madeenah] and they had two days in which they would (relax and) play. He said, “What are these two days?” They said, “We used to play (on these two days) during the Jaahiliyyah.” The Messenger of Allah. (peace and blessings of Allah. be upon him) said: “Allah. has given you something better instead of them: Yawm al-Duhaa [Eid al-Adha] and Yawm al-Fitr [Eid al-Fitr].” (Reported by Abu Dawood). This indicates clearly that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah. be upon him) definitely forbade his ummah to celebrate the festivals of the kuffaar, and he strove to wipe them out by all possible means.

The fact that the religion of the People of the Book is accepted does not mean that their festivals are approved of or should be preserved by the ummah, just as the rest of their kufr and sins are not approved of. Indeed, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah. be upon him) went to great lengths to command his ummah to be different from them in many issues that are mubaah (permitted) and in many ways of worship, lest that lead them to be like them in other matters too. This being different was to be a barrier in all aspects, because the more different you are from the people of Hell, the less likely you are to do the acts of the people of Hell.The first of them is: The hadeeth “Every people has its festival, and this is our festival” implies exclusivity, that every people has its own festival, as Allah. says (interpretation of the meaning): “For every nation there is a direction to which they face (in their prayers)…” [al-Baqarah 2:148] and “… To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way…” [al-Maa’idah 5:48]. This implies that each nation has its own ways. The laam in li-kulli  [“for every”, “to each”] implies exclusivity. So if the Jews have a festival and the Christians have a festival, it is just for them, and we should not have any part in it, just as we do not share their qiblah (direction of prayer) or their laws. The second of them is: one of the conditions set out by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allah. be pleased with him) and agreed upon by the Sahaabah and by all the Fuqaha’ after them is: that those of the People of the Book who have agreed to live under Islamic rule (ahl al-dhimmah) should not celebrate their festivals openly in Daar al-Islam (lands under Islamic rule). If the Muslims have agreed to prevent them from celebrating openly, how could it be right for the Muslims to celebrate them? If a Muslim celebrates them, is that not worse than if a kaafir does so openly?

The only reason that we forbade them to celebrate their festivals openly is because of the corruption involved in them, because of the sin or symbols of sin. In either case, the Muslim is forbidden from sin or the symbols of sin. Even if there was no evil involved apart from the kaafir feeling encouraged to celebrate openly because of the Muslim’s actions, how can a Muslim do that? The evil involved (in their festivals) will be explained below, in sha Allah.Al-Bayhaqi reported with a saheeh isnaad in Baab karaahiyat al-dukhool ‘ala ahl al-dhimmah fi kanaa’isihim wa’l-tashabbuh bihim yawmi nawroozihim wa maharjaanihim  (Chapter on the abhorrence of entering the churches of ahl al-dhimmah on the occasion of their New Year and other celebrations): From Sufyaan al-Thawri from Thawr ibn Yazeed from ‘Ata’ ibn Deenaar who said: ‘Umar said: “Do not learn the language of the non-Arabs, do not enter upon the mushrikeen in their churches on their feast-days, for the wrath (of Allaah) is descending upon them.” ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: “Avoid the enemies of Allaah on their festivals.” It was reported with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Usaamah: ‘Awn told us from Abu’l-Mugheerah from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr: “Whoever lives in the land of the non-Arabs and celebrates their New Year and their festivals, and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.” ‘Umar forbade learning their languages, and even entering their churches on the day of their festival, so how about doing some of the things they do on those days, or doing things that are a part of their religion? Is not going along with their actions worse than learning their language? Is not doing some of the things they do on their festival worse than just entering upon them? If divine wrath is descending upon them on the day of their festival because of what they do, then is not the one who does what they do, or a part of it, also exposed to the same punishment? Do not the words “Avoid the enemies of Allaah on their festivals” mean that we should not meet them or join them on those days? So how about the one who actually celebrates their festivals?

‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr clearly stated: “Whoever lives in the land of the non-Arabs and celebrates their New Year and their festivals, and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.” This implies that the one who joins in with them in all of these matters is a kaafir, or that doing this is one of the major sins (kabaa’ir) that will doom one to Hell; the former meaning is what is apparent from the wording.He mentioned – and Allaah knows best – the one who lives in their land, because at the time of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr and the other Sahaabah, they used to forbid open celebration of kaafir festivals in the Muslim lands, and none of the Muslims imitated them in their festivals; that was possible only when living in the lands of the kaafirs. ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) refused to even acknowledge the name of their festivals which were exclusively theirs, so how about actually celebrating them? Ahmad mentioned the meaning of the reports narrated from ‘Umar and ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with them) on this topic, and his companions discussed the matter of festivals.

Imaam Abu’l-Hasan al-Aamidi said: the one who is known as Ibn al-Baghdaadi said in his book ‘Umdat al-Haadir wa Kifaayat al-Musaafir: “It is not permitted to attend the festivals of the Christians and Jews. Ahmad stated this in the report of Muhannaa, and his evidence for that is the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And those who do not witness falsehood [al-zoor]…’ [al-Furqaan 25:72]. He said: (This is) al-Sha’aaneen and their festivals. He said: The Muslims are to be prevented from entering upon them in their synagogues and churches.”

From Iqtida’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem Mukhaalifat Ashaab al-Jaheem by Ibn Taymiyah, p. 183.

Greeting the kuffaar on Christmas and other religious holidays of theirs is haraam, by consensus, as Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah: “Congratulating the kuffaar on the rituals that belong only to them is haraam by consensus, as is congratulating them on their festivals and fasts by saying ‘A happy festival to you’ or ‘May you enjoy your festival,’ and so on. If the one who says this has been saved from kufr, it is still forbidden. It is like congratulating someone for prostrating to the cross, or even worse than that. It is as great a sin as congratulating someone for drinking wine, or murdering someone, or having illicit sexual relations, and so on. Many of those who have no respect for their religion fall into this error; they do not realize the offensiveness of their actions. Whoever congratulates a person for his disobedience or bid’ah or kufr exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allaah.” 

Congratulating the kuffaar on their religious festivals is haraam to the extent described by Ibn al-Qayyim because it implies that one accepts or approves of their rituals of kufr, even if one would not accept those things for oneself. But the Muslim should not aceept the rituals of kufr or congratulate anyone else for them, because Allaah does not accept any of that at all, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):  “If you disbelieve, then verily, Allaah is not in need of you, He likes not disbelief for His slaves. And if you are grateful (by being believers), He is pleased therewith for you. . .” [al-Zumar 39:7] “. . . This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion . . .” [al-Maa’idah 5:3] So congratulating them is forbidden, whether they are one’s colleagues at work or otherwise. If they greet us on the occasion of their festivals, we should not respond, because these are not our festivals, and because they are not festivals which are acceptable to Allaah. These festivals are innovations in their religions, and even those which may have been prescribed formerly have been abrogated by the religion of Islaam, with which Allaah sent Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to the whole of mankind. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

Whoever seeks a religion other than Islaam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:85] 

It is haraam for a Muslim to accept invitations on such occasions, because this is worse than congratulating them as it implies taking part in their celebrations. Similarly, Muslims are forbidden to imitate the kuffaar by having parties on such occasions, or exchanging gifts, or giving out sweets or food, or taking time off work, etc., because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”

Ibn Taymiyah said in his book Iqtidaa’ al-siraat al-mustaqeem mukhaalifat ashaab al-jaheem: “Imitating them in some of their festivals implies that one is pleased with their false beliefs and practices, and gives them the hope that they may have the opportunity to humiliate and mislead the weak.” Whoever does anything of this sort is a sinner, whether he does it out of politeness or to be friendly, or because he is too shy to refuse, or for whatever other reason, because this is hypocrisy in Islaam, and because it makes the kuffaar feel proud of their religion. 

Allaah is the One Whom we ask to make the Muslims feel proud of their religion, to help them adhere steadfastly to it, and to make them victorious over their enemies, for He is the Strong and Omnipotent.


​Jesus is the Prophet of Allah, Say no to Merry Christmas

Jesus (Peace be upon him) is not the son of God, he is the chosen Messenger and Prophet of Allah.

(Not permissible to congratulate saying Merry Christmas)

By Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi 

The overall Code which is made by Allah, the Exalted, for the birth of mankind i.e. a man getting married to a woman and have intercourse with her, thereafter by Allah’s command, firmness of pregnancy and giving birth of a child. Under no circumstance, Allah Almighty has also created some humans by not following this Code. Allah Almighty created Adam in such a way in which He involved neither a man nor a woman. Since Hawwa (Eve) was created from Adam’s rib, so, somehow, a man was involved in her creation, but there was no involvement of a woman. Similarly, Allah, the Exalted, created Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) without a father, only from the mother (Maryam daughter of Imran) through His power, in the city of Bethlehem, Palestinian. As, Almighty Allah said in the Verse 59 of Surah A’al Imran (Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, “Be,” and he was.)

In the light of Quran and Hadith, all Muslims believe that Jesus Christ (‘Eesa Masih alayhissalaam) is the chosen Prophet and Messenger of Allah. In the holy Quran, almost at 25 places, the name of Jesus Christ (‘Eesa alayhissalaam) is mentioned and he was not hanged/crucified, but he was lifted into the heavens and a person similar to him was hanged. As, Allah Almighty has stated in Surah An-Nisa Verses 157 & 158 (And (for) their saying,  “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but (another) was made to resemble him to them).

Furthermore, Allah, the Exalted, explicitly explained that Jesus Christ was not hanged/crucified, but he was lifted up. The full detail of this event is elaborated by the holy prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and can be found in Ahadith. It is also mentioned in Hadiths that before the day of Resurrection, he will be descended from heavens to the white minaret in the east of Damascus. Then, all nook and corner of the world will be ruled by Muslims under his patronage.
No certain date of Jesus birth is found in any religious authoritative book, even in the book of Christians, it is not mentioned that he was born on 25th December. Without any evidence, they recognized 25th December as Jesus date of birth. Although, what is estimated from texts of the Quran, Hadiths and the Bible is that Jesus was born in the summer season. As per Bible (chapter 2 verse 8), when Jesus was born at the night, at that time the shepherd was grazing his sheep outside. In the last days of December, it is snowing heavily in Bethlehem that no one can dare to go out of his house. And Bible says that the shepherd was grazing his sheep outside. In the month of December, due to heavy snowing in Bethlehem (Palestine), it is impossible to graze sheep outside at night. The holy Quran (Surah Maryam Verse 25) says that immediately after the birth of Jesus, Allah, the Exalted, told Marry “And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates. So eat and drink and be contented.”

The whole world knows that the dates become ripe in the summer season, not in winter. Besides, there are more evidence that denote that Jesus was born in the summer season. 

Christians believe that Jesus is given birth by Allah Almighty (Allah forbid), i.e. Jesus is the son of Allah, the Exalted. This was strongly denounced by Allah, the Exalted, in Surah Maryam: “And they say, “The Most Merciful has taken (for Himself) a son.” You have done an atrocious thing. The heavens almost rupture there from and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation. That they attribute to the Most Merciful a son. And it is not appropriate for the Most Merciful that He should take a son.”

In Surah Ikhlas, Almighty Allah has explicitly said: Say, “He is Allah, (who is) One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent”.  

Thus, in the light of very open instructions/teachings of Quran and Sunnah, all Muslims believe that Jesus is not the son of Allah, the Exalted, but he is a man and there is no compromise in this matter at all.

Christians celebrate Merry Christmas on 25th December with the belief that Allah Almighty has given birth of Jesus on 25th December (Allah forbid). We don’t want to interfere in their religion, but it is our religious obligation that we should not participate in those religious parties/celebrations are being convened on this occasion, and also do not congratulate anyone saying Merry Christmas. As this sentence is totally averse of Quran and Sunnah.

Yes! In case, your neighbour or friend is a Christian and he congratulates you on this occasion, then you have to withdraw yourselves by saying other words such as (thanks, etc.) As, the base/belief on which the Merry Christmas celebrated, is quite contrary to Quranic teachings. You could be thoughtful about your neighbour or friend, but on the other hand, there is also the issue of God’s wrath and His severe punishment. So, it would be said to them openly that our belief is that Jesus besides being a chosen messenger and prophet, he is not Allah’s son at all. So that, I’m sorry to participate in the celebrations convened on this occasion.

There is substantial difference of opinion among Christians and Muslims on their belief in Isa (Alaihis Salam)

1)   Nasara (Christians) believe that ‘Isa (Alaihis Salam) is son of Allah, the Almighty, while in the light of Quran and hadith the whole Muslim Ummah (Nation) believes that Allah has no son or daughter, as Allah, the Almighty has repeatedly clarified this in the holy Quran.  In Surah Al-Ikhlas also this has been clearly asserted that Allah, the Almighty neither begets nor is He begotten. Allah, the Almighty had created Adam (Alaihis salam) without any role of a man and woman, and Eve (Alaihas salam) was created without any role of a woman merely by with Allah’s command. Allah, the Almighty created Isa (Alaihis Salam) by a woman (Maryam –Alaihas Salam) without any role of a male. Christians do not believe in Adam and Eve (Alaiham Assalam) as son and daughter of Allah, despite the fact that Allah, the Almighty had created Adam (Alaihis Salam) without any role of man and woman and created Eve (Alaihas Salam) without any role of a woman, then how come that Isa (Alaihis Salam) who was created without a man (in similar circumstances), is believed to be Allah’s son? Our intellect also demands that it is not befitting to the Almighty Allah Who is the Creator, Lord and Sustainer of the whole universe that He begets nor is He begotten. 

2)   Christians believe that Isa (Alaihis Salam) shares Allah’s right of being worthy of worship. Trinity is an integral part of Christianity, which means three in one or one in three. Christians believe that Allah is one but includes three entities in one; god father, god son, the holy ghost. The Christian till to date stick to this belief. As for Islam, there is no place of trinity in it. Hundreds of verses of the Holy Quran refute this belief. According to Islamic creed Allah is one and nothing is like unto Him neither in His self nor in His attributes.  In Surah Maryam, Allah strongly refutes this belief saying it is such a terrible evil thing whereby the heavens are almost torn.

3)   Christians believe that Jews had crucified Isa (Alaihis Salam). However, in the light of teachings of Quran and Hadith, the whole Muslim nation is unanimous that Isa (Alaihis Salam) was neither killed nor was he crucified, but rather he was ascended to heaven prior to his crucifixion and a person resembling him was crucified in his place. He will descend down on the earth prior to the doomsday. He will spend his life following the Shari’ah of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and will enforce the teachings of the Holy Quran and Hadith.

4)   Christians believe that the last Messenger Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) who is from the descendants of Ismail (Alaihis salam) the second son of Ibrahim (Alaihis Salam) born in Makkah is not a Messenger of Allah, the Almighty and anyone who believes in Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) as a messenger of Allah exits from the fold of Christianity. On the other hand, in the religion of Islam besides believing in Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) as the last Messenger it is also necessary to believe in Ibrahim, Musa, Isa (Alaihim Assalam). Now, the reader can easily decide as to which religion subscribes to extremism.

Summary: To exchange greetings on the occasion of New Year is a practice of non-Muslims. However, the rituals and functions organized on this occasion are not motivated by a specific religion’s ideology and it has now become a social norm. Therefore, though it is not unlawful to exchange greeting on such occasion, however, the Holy Quran and Hadith are replete with teachings of not adopting the non-Muslims’ rituals. Therefore, we should avoid exchanging such greetings, because the leader of all prophets,  Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), his companions, mufassireen (Quran commentators), muhadditheen (scholars of Hadith) and other scholars of Islam, none of them has been reported to have exchanged greeting on the occasion of New Year even at the beginning of Hijri year. But to exchange greeting by saying “Merry Christmas” is a pure religious matter. The belief with which the people celebrate Christmas day saying “Merry Christmas” is absolutely contrary to Islamic teaching, for Christians believe that Isa (Alaihis Salam) was born on 25th December and fathered by Allah, the Almighty.

In addition they also believe in trinity, i.e. they believe that Allah, the Almighty instead of being one entity is comprised of three entities; god father, god son and the holy ghost. This belief is very dangerous and contrary to Islamic teachings. It is a matter of great sorrow that some Muslims initiate greeting each other saying “Merry Christmas” which has no room in the religion of Islam. Therefore, Muslims should not exchange greeting on this occasion. Those Muslims residing in Western countries or studying with Christians or employed with Christians or doing business with Christians should not proactively greet them on this occasion. However, if they are greeted by Christians they should say other words of prayer to them. It is worth mentioning that not a single reliable religious book even the bible itself having thousands of copies, mentions that  Isa (Alaihis Salam) was born on 25th December.