Recently Sam Shamoun, a well-known belligerent and provocative Christian missionary at Answering Islam, issued a “challenge” to Muslims to prove that Jesus (peace be upon him) did not claim to be God, as per the Qur’anic statement. His challenge is two-fold:
(1) Challenging Muslims to show where in the Qur’an Jesus says he is not God or not the Son of God.
(2) to bring the Aramaic phrase where Jesus disavows his claim to divinity.
It is obvious, however, that his demands are as preposterous as they are stupid. The Qur’an certainly quotes or paraphrases Jesus as saying that he is not God.1 and the Qur’an denies that he is a Son of God2, but in Arabic. This is because the Qur’an has affirmed itself to be revealed in Arabic text3, sent down to an Arab prophet, lest its audience uses the excuse that they will not be able to understand the Qur’an if were brought down in a foreign tongue.
Furthermore, unlike the Bible, the Qur’an is not a historical document written over the centuries by numerous scribes who were “inspired” and was later compiled into a book. The Qur’an is an Arabic text in nature and has always been in Arabic, therefore there is no need to bring an actual statement. To demand that the words of Jesus(P) be quoted in its original language would be akin to asking an English philosopher to quote the words of Confucius in his original Chinese language to a totally American audience who does not understand Chinese!
However, since Sam Shamoun has brought this needless issue up, we would like to issue a counter-challenge to the veracity of his claims. Perhaps we might be inclined to accept his premise, and even acknowledge that Jesus is indeed “God in the flesh”, as per the Christian belief, if he and his missionary brethren are able to answer the following question:
Show us where precisely, in Aramaic, does Jesus say that he is God or the Son of God as in “more than a man”?
We are not interested in quotations found in Greek, as it is generally accepted that the language Jesus, peace be upon him, spoke was Aramaic. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to demand the exact Aramaic statements from Jesus, peace be upon him, and word-for-word, in inverted commas.
Furthermore, we demand that this Aramaic quote, assuming if one exists, is one which all New Testament scholars deem authentic and agree upon without question, including all the critical scholars. Moreover, there should be absolutely no controversy whatsover over the interpretation and, of course, the authenticity of this verbatim Aramaic statement.
If the missionary decides to quote something in Greek, or anything the interpretation of which is disputed or the authenticity of which is disputed, he would fail to meet our challenge. We want, we repeat, a verbatim Aramaic quote, the authenticity and interpretation of which is not at all disputed, where Jesus says categorically “I am God” and where he claims to be the “the Son of God”, as in “more than a man”.
And only God knows best.
- See Qur’an, 5:116-117 where Jesus is explicitly quoted as follows: “And behold! Allah will say “O Jesus the son of Mary! didst thou say unto men
worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah"? <u>He will say: "Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart though I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden. "Never said I to them aught except what Thou didst command me to say to witWorship Allah my Lord and your Lord’; and I was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them; when Thou didst take me up thou wast the Watcher over them and Thou art a Witness to all things.“. So basically the missionary has no case since we have here the statement of Jesus(P) who denies being God. Whether the missionary wants to believe that this is a “fictitious account”, that is not our problem. Our belief is that the portrayal of Jesus(P) in the New Testament is mostly fictitious, but it is not us making silly challenges as the Christian missionary is fond of making! [⤺]
- “Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth about which they (vainly) dispute. It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter He only says to it “Be” and it is.” (Qur’an, 19: 34-35) [⤺]
- “A Book, whereof the verses are explained in detail; a Qur’an in Arabic for people who understand.” (Qur’an 41:3) [⤺]