Our King then said to me: "Did Christ then
worship and pray?"—And I answered his Majesty: "He did worship and pray."—And
our King retorted saying: "By the fact that you say that He worshipped and
prayed, you deny His divinity, because if He worshipped and prayed He is not
God; if He was God, he would not have worshipped and prayed."—And I replied: "He
did not worship and pray as God, because as such He is the receiver of the
worship and prayer of both the celestial and the terrestrial beings, in
conjunction with the Father and the Spirit, but He worshipped and prayed as a
man, son of our human kind. It has been made manifest by our previous words that
the very same Jesus Christ is Word-God and man, as God He is born of the Father,
and as man of Mary. He further worshipped and prayed for our sake, because He
Himself was in no need of worship and prayer."
And our King said to me: "There is no creature
that has no need of worship and prayer."—And I replied: "Has Jesus Christ, the
Word of God, sinned or not?"—And our King said: "May God preserve me from saying
such a thing!"
31 —And I then asked: "Has God created the worlds with His Word or not?" And
our King replied in the affirmative and said " Yes."—And I then asked: "Is the
one who is neither a sinner nor in need of anything, in need of worship and
prayer?"—And our King answered "No." —And I then said to him: "If the Christ is
a Word from God, and a man from Mary, and if as a Word of God He is the Lord of
everything, and as a man He did not commit any sin as the Book and our King
testify, and if he who is the Lord of everything and a creator is not in need,
and he who is not a sinner is pure, it follows that Jesus Christ worshipped and
prayed to God neither as one in need nor as a sinner, but He worshipped and
prayed in order to teach worship and prayer to His disciples, and through them
to every human being.
"The disciples would not have yielded to His
teaching, if He had not put it into practice in His own person. There is no
creature that has not sinned except Jesus Christ, the Word of God, and He is the
only created being who in His own humanity appeared above the dirt of sin. As He
was baptised without having any need of baptism, and as He died on the Cross but
not because of His own sin, so also He gave Himself to worship and prayer not
for His own sake but in order to impart their knowledge to His disciples."
Our God-loving King ended the above subject
here, and embarked on another theme and said to me: "How is it that you accept
Christ and the Gospel from the testimony of the Torah and of the prophets, and
you do not accept Muhammad from the testimony of Christ and the Gospel?"
32 And I replied to his Majesty: "O our King, we have received concerning
Christ numerous and distinct testimonies from the Torah and the prophets. All of
the latter prophesied in one accord and harmony in one place about His mother:
"Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son,"
33 and taught us that He shall be conceived and born without marital
intercourse like the Word of God. It is inded fit that the One who was born of
the Father without a mother should have been born in the flesh from a virgin
mother without a father, in order that His second birth may be a witness to His
first birth. In another place they reveal to us His name: "And His name shall be
called Emmanuel, Wonderful, Counsellor, and Mighty God of the worlds."
"In another place the prophets reveal to us the
miracles that He will work at His coming in saying, 'Behold your God will come.
. . . He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and
the ears of the deaf shall hear. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and
the tongue of the dumb shall be loosened.'
35 Yet in another place they disclose to us His passion and His death, 'He
shall be killed for our transgressions, and humbled for our iniquities.'
36 Sometimes they speak to us about His resurrection, 'For Thou hast not
left my soul in Sheol, nor hast Thou suffered Thy Holy One to see corruption,'
37 and 'The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I
38 Some other times they teach us concerning His Ascension to Heaven, 'Thou
hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive, and Thou hast made gifts
39 and 'God went up in glory, and the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.'
"Some other times they reveal to us His coining
down from heaven in saying, 'I am one like the son of men coming on the clouds
of heaven, and they brought Him near before the Ancient of days, and there was
given Him dominion, and glory and a kingdom that all peoples of the earth should
serve Him and worship Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His
kingdom shall not pass away nor be destroyed.'
41 These and scores of other passages of the prophets show us Jesus Christ
in a clear mirror and point to Him. So far as Muhammad is concerned I have not
received a single testimony either from Jesus Christ or from the Gospel which
would refer to his name or to his works "
And our benevolent and gracious King made a sign
to mean that he was not convinced, then he repeated twice to me the question:
"Have you not received any?"—And I replied to him: "No,
O God-loving King, I have not received any."—And
the King asked me: "Who is then the Paraclete?"—And I answered: The Spirit of
God."—And the King asked: "What is the Spirit of God?"—And I replied: "God, by
nature; and one who proceeds, by attribute; as Jesus Christ taught about
Him."—And our glorious King said: "And what did Jesus Christ teach about
I answered: "He spoke to His disciples as
follows: 'When I go away to Heaven, I will send unto you the Spirit-Paraclete
who proceeded from the Father, whom the world cannot receive, who dwelleth with
you and is among you, who searcheth all things, even the deep things of God, who
will bring to your remembrance all the truth that I have said unto you, and who
will take of mine and show unto you.'"
And our King said to me: "All these refer to
43 —And I replied to him: "If Muhammad were the Paraclete, since the
Paraclete is the Spirit of God, Muhammad, would, therefore, be the Spirit of
God; and the Spirit of God being uncircumscribed like God, Muhammad would also
be uncircumscribed like God; and he who is uncircumscribed being invisible,
Muhammad would also be invisible and without a human body; and he who is without
a body being uncomposed, Muhammad would also be uncomposed. Indeed he who is a
spirit has no body, and he who has no body is also invisible, and he who is
invisible is also uncircumscribed; but he who is circumscribed is not the Spirit
of God, and he who is not the Spirit of God is not the Paraclete. It follows
from all this that Muhammad is not the Paraclete. The Paraclete is from heaven
and of the nature of the Father, and Muhammad is from the earth and of the
nature of Adam. Since heaven is not the same thing as earth, nor is God the
Father identical with Adam, the Paraclete is not, therefore, Muhammad.
"Further, the Paraclete searches the deep things
of God, but Muhammad owns that he does not know what might befall him and those
who accept him.44
He who searches all things even the deep things of God is not identical with the
one who does not know what might happen to him and to those who acknowledge him.
Muhammad is therefore not the Paraclete. Again, the Paraclete, as Jesus told His
disciples, was with them and among them while He was speaking to them, and since
Muhammad was not with them and among them, he cannot, therefore, have been the
Paraclete. Finally, the Paraclete descended on the disciples ten days after the
ascension of Jesus to heaven, while Muhammad was born more than six hundred
years later, and this impedes Muhammad from being the Paraclete. And Jesus
taught the disciples that the Paraclete is one God in three persons, and since
Muhammad does not believe in the doctrine of three persons in one Godhead, he
cannot be the Paraclete. And the Paraclete wrought all sorts of prodigies and
miracles through the disciples, and since Muhammad did not work a single miracle
through his followers and his disciples, he is not the Paraclete.
"That the Spirit-Paraclete is consubstantial
with the Father and the Son is borne out by the fact that He is the maker of the
heavenly powers and of everything, and since he who is the maker and creator of
everything is God, the Spirit-Paraclete is therefore God; but the world is not
able to receive God, as Jesus Christ said,45
because God is uncircumscribed. Now if Muhammad were the Paraclete, since this
same Paraclete is the Spirit of God, Muhammad would therefore be the Spirit of
God. Further, since David said, 'By the Spirit of God all the powers have been
46 celestial and terrestrial, Muhammad would be the creator of the celestial
and terrestrial beings. Now since Muhammad is not the creator of heaven and
earth, and since he who is not creator is not the Spirit of God, Muhammad is,
therefore, not the Spirit of God; and since the one who is not the Spirit of God
is by inference not the Paraclete, Muhammad is not the Paraclete.
"If he were mentioned in the Gospel, this
mention would have been marked by a distinct portraiture characterising his
coming, his name, his mother, and his people as the true portraiture of the
coming of Jesus Christ is found in the Torah and in the prophets. Since nothing
resembling this is found in the Gospel concerning Muhammad, it is evident that
there is no mention of him in it at all, and that is the reason why I have not
received a single testimony from the Gospel about him."
And the God-loving King said to me: "As the Jews
behaved towards Jesus whom they did not accept, so the Christians behaved
towards Muhammad whom they did not accept."—And I replied to his Majesty: "The
Jews did not accept Jesus in spite of the fact that the Torah and the prophets
were full of testimonies about Him, and this renders them worthy of
condemnation. As to us we have not accepted Muhammad because we have not a
single testimony about him in our Books."—And our King said: "There were many
testimonies but the Books have been corrupted, and you have removed them."—And I
replied to him thus: "Where is it known, O King, that the Books have been
corrupted by us, and where is that uncorrupted Book from which you have learned
that the Books which we use have been corrupted? If there is such a book let it
be placed in the middle in order that we may learn from it which is the
corrupted Gospel and hold to that which is not corrupted. If there is no such a
Gospel, how do you know that the Gospel of which we make use is corrupted?
"What possible gain could we have gathered from
corrupting the Gospel? Even if there was mention of Muhammad made in the Gospel,
we would not have deleted his name from it; we would have simply said that
Muhammad has not come yet, and that he was not the one whom you follow, and that
he was going to come in the future. Take the example of the Jews: they cannot
delete the name of Jesus from the Torah and the Prophets, they only contend
against Him in saying openly that He was going to come in the future, and that
He has not come yet into the world. They resemble a blind man
48 without eyes who stands in plain daylight and contends that the sun has
not yet risen. We also would have done likewise; we would not have dared to
remove the name of Muhammad from our Book if it were found anywhere in it; we
would have simply quibbled concerning his right name and person like the Jews do
in the case of Jesus. To tell the truth, if I had found in the Gospel a prophecy
concerning the coming of Muhammad, I would have left the Gospel for the Kur'an,
as I have left the Torah and the Prophets for the Gospel."
And our King said to me: "Do you not believe
that our Book was given by God?"—And I replied to him: "It is not my business to
decide whether it is from God or not. But I will say something of which your
Majesty is well aware, and that is all the words of God found in the Torah and
in the Prophets, and those of them found in the Gospel and in the writings of
the Apostles, have been confirmed by signs and miracles; as to the words of your
Book they have not been corroborated by a single sign or miracle. It is
imperative that signs and miracles should be annulled by other signs and
miracles. When God wished to abrogate
49 the Mosaic law, He confirmed by the signs and miracles wrought by the
Christ and the Apostles that the words of the Gospel were from God, and by this
He abrogated the words of the Torah and the first miracles.50
Similarly, as He abrogated the first signs and miracles by second ones, He ought
to have abrogated the second signs and miracles by third ones. If God had wished
to abrogate the Gospel and introduce another Book in its place He would have
done this, because signs and miracles are witnesses of His will; but your Book
has not been confirmed by a single sign and miracle. Since signs and miracles
are proofs of the will of God, the conclusion drawn from their absence in your
Book is well known to your Majesty."
31. The Arab, a`udhu billahi.
32. That the name of Muhammad is found in Jewish
and Christian Books is the claim made by the Prophet himself in Kur'an, vii.
156: "The ummi prophet whom they find written down with them in the Torah and
the Gospel." See also lxi. 6.
33. Is. vii. 14.
34. Is. vii. 14 and ix. 6.
35. Is. xxxv. 4-6.
36. Is. liii. 5.
37. Ps. xvi. 10.
38. Ps. ii. 7.
39. Ps. lxviii. 18.
40. Ps. xlvii. 5.
41. Dan.vii. 13-14.
42. John xiv. 16, 26; xv. 26; xvi. 7; 1 Cor. ii.
43. The Muslims have always believed that the
Paraclete spoken of in the Gospel referred to Muhammad. See Kitab ad-Din of Ibn
Rabban (pp. 140-141 of my translation), who even corroborates his statement by
an appeal to the numerical value of the letters of the word. Many other writers
(such as Yahsubi in his shifa) counts the name Paraclete among the various names
of the Prophet.
44. Kur'an, vi. 50; vii. 188; xi. 33, etc.
45. John xiv. 17.
46. Ps. xxxiii. 6; cir. 30.
47. The bulk of Muslim testimony, based on
Kur'an, vii. 156, is to the effect that the name of Muhammad is found in the
Gospel. Almost all the work of Ibn Rabban entitled Kitab ad-Din wad-Daulah has
been written for the purpose of showing that this name is found in Jewish and
Christian scriptures. (See especially pp. 77-146 of my translation.) Cf. Ibn
Sa'd's Tabakat, i., ii., 89 and i. i., 123, and see the commentator Tabari on
Kur'an, vii. 156, and the historians Ibn Hisham and Tabari.
48. Read samya in sing.
49. Read d-nishre.
50. Muslim tradition, somewhat against Kur'an,
xxix. 49, etc., is full of miracles of all sorts attributed to the Prophet. All
these miracles have apparently been invented in order to answer the objection of
the Christians to the effect that since Muhammad performed no miracle he was not
a prophet. Pp. 30-60 of my edition of Ibn Rabban's Apology, the Kitab ad-Din
wad-Daulah, have been written for this purpose. The extent to which later
tradition amplified this fabulous theme may be gauged by the references given in
Wensinck's Handbook of Early Muhammadan Tradition, pp. 165-168. The theme of the
lack of miracles on the part of the Prophet is emphasised by the Christian
apologist Kindi, Risalah, pp. 62 sqq. and 67.
of part 3