I was in the city of Hârezm. I heard that a priest had come to the city and was trying to spread Christianity. I went to him. We began to talk. He asked me, “What is the evidence showing that Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ is the Prophet?” I gave the following answer:
Fakhr-ud-dîn Râzî — As there are narratives reporting that Mûsâ, Îsâ and otherProphets ‘alaihimus-salâm’ displayed wonders and miracles, so it has been reported that Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ displayed miracles. These reports are in forms of narratives. You either accept or refuse reports coming in forms of narratives. If you refuse them and say that a miracle does not prove a person’s prophethood, then you should also deny the other Prophets whose miracles have been reported to us through narratives. If you admit the truth of the reports coming through narratives and believe that a person who has displayed miracles is a Prophet, then you should accept also that Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ is a Prophet. For Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ displayed miracles, which have been reported to us through authentic narratives called (Tawâtur). Since you believe otherProphets’ prophethood because of the miracles reported through narratives, you should believe that Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ is the Prophet!
The priest — I believe that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ is a god, not a Prophet.
[God means ma’bud (that which, or who, is, or is to be, worshipped). Anything which is worshipped is called a god. The name of Allâhu ta’âlâ is Allah, not God. There is no ilâh (god) besides Allâhu ta’âlâ. It would be a very vile mistake to say ‘God’ instead of ‘Allah’.]
Fakhr-ud-dîn Râzî — We are talking about prophethood now. We have to settle the question of prophethood before passing on to divinity. Moreover, you are wrong to say that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ is a god. For a god has to exist always. Material beings, objects, things that occupy spaces cannot be gods. And Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ was matter, human. He came into existence from nonexistence and was, according to you, killed. He was a child and grew up. He ate and drank. He spoke as we do. He would go to bed, sleep, wake up, and walk. Like any other human being, he needed a number of things to live. Could a person in need ever be Ghanî (who is in possession of everything)? Could something that came into existence from nothing, exist eternally? Could something that changes be everlasting, eternal?
You say that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ ran away and hid himself but the Jews arrested him and hanged him. You say that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ was very sad then and had recourse to various ways to escape. If he had been a god or if a piece of God had entered him, would not he have defended himself against the Jews and even destroyed them? Why did he feel sad and look for a place to hide himself? I would swear on the name of Allah that this paradox appals me. How could a reasonable person make or believe these statements? Reason testifies against these statements.
You have three different assertions:
1 — You say that he is a visible, substantial god. To say that the god of the universe is Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, the substantial god incarnate, would mean to say that the Jews killed the god of the universe, since (you believe that) they killed him (Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’). In that case the universe must have been deprived of its god, which is impossible. Furthermore, is it possible for a weakling whom the Jews arrested and killed unjustly to have been the god of the universe?
Another fact reported through narratives is that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ worshipped Allâhu ta’âlâ very much and was very much fond of praying. If Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ were a god, he would not worship or pray. For a god will never worship himself. [On the contrary, others will worship him.]
This is another evidence showing that the priest is wrong.
2 — You say that God has entered him completely and (therefore) he is the Son of God. This belief is wrong. For God cannot be an object or an attribute. It is impossible for God to enter an object. If God were an object He would enter another object. When something enters an object it will become an object and the components of the two objects will be mixed with each other. And this, in its turn, will mean God’s being broken. If God were an attribute, then He would need a space, a place, which would mean God’s needing something. And he who needs something cannot be a god. [What was the reason for God’s entering Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’? His entering Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ without any reason to do so would mean terjîh-i-bi-lâ murej-jih, which, as we have explained while proving the unity of Allâhu ta’âlâ, is out of the question.]
3 — You say that he is not a god but a part of God has entered him and settled in him. If the part which (is supposed to have) entered him were a component part of God, then God should have completely lost His capacity of being God with the departure of that component part. If that part did not have any function in God’s being God, then it should not have been a part from God. Hence, God has not entered him.
Now, what is your other evidence to prove that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ was a god?
The priest — He is a god because he resuscitated the dead, opened the eyes of people who were blind from birth, and cured the disease called leprosy resulting in itchy patches on the skin. Only God could make such things.
Fakhr-ur-dîn Râzî — Could it be asserted that when there is no evidence for the existence of something it must be nonexistent? If you say that absence of evidence proves non-existence of the thing whose existence would otherwise be inferred from the evidence, it will mean to say that the Creator of the universe did not exist before creating the universe, that is, in the eternal past. And this inference, in its turn, is quite wrong. For the universe [all creatures] is an evidence for the existence of the Creator.
If you say that absence of evidence does not necessarily mean nonexistence of the thing whose existence were to be inferred from the evidence, you will have accepted the existence of the Creator in eternity, when creatures did not exist yet. On the other hand, if you say that God entered Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ in eternity, when he was nonexistent, you will need evidence to prove it. Otherwise, you will have accepted it without evidence. For Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ was created afterwards. His nonexistence in eternity shows nonexistence of evidence. Since you believe without evidence that God entered Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, how do you know He did not enter me, you, animals, plants, stones? Why don’t you believe without evidence that He entered all these things?
The priest — It is obvious that God entered Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ and He did not enter you, me, or other beings. You, I, or other beings did not display such wonders. We infer from this that He entered him, and not us or other beings.
Fakhr-ud-dîn Râzî — You assert that Îsâ’s ‘alaihis-salâm’ displaying miracles is an evidence for God’s having entered him. Why do you say that absence of evidence, that is, not displaying miracles, shows that God should not have entered. You cannot say that God will not enter you, me, or other creatures because we do not have wonders or miracles. For we have already proved that absence of evidence does not necessarily mean that something does not exist. Accordingly, God’s entering something does not have to do with the appearing of wonders and miracles. Then, you will have to believe also that God has entered me, you, cats, dogs, mice. Now, could a religious system which leads to believing that God has entered these humble creatures ever be a true religion?
It is more difficult to make a viper or a serpent from a rod than it is to resuscitate a dead person. For a rod and a serpent are in no way similar. You believe that Mûsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ transformed the rod into a viper and yet do not call him ‘God’ or ‘Son of God.’ Why do you call Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ ‘God’ or ascribe divinity to him?
Unable to find an answer to this argumentation of mine, the priest had to remain silent. This chapter has been translated from the (Turkish) book (Se’âdet-i Ebediyye).
O priest! We wish that you explain the belief systems of these two religions to philosophers who do not belong to either religion or to other wise and reasonable people, ask them which of these two religions they find logical, factual and beautiful, and be true to your advice, “One should compare the two religions, and then accept the one which is beautiful,” which you suggest in your book (Ghadâ-ul-mulâhazât).
Allâhu ta’âlâ, alone, will grant guidance and assistance.
In order to mislead Muslims and Christianize them, priests wrote many books. The Islamic ’Ulamâ wrote answers to the lies in these books, and thus protected Muslims from falling into the pit of Christianity. One of these answers is the Turkish book (Îzâh-ul-Merâm), which was written by Abdullah Abdî bin Destan Mustafâ ‘rahmatullâhi alaihimâ’ and was published in Istanbul in 1288 [A.D. 1871]. He was from Manastir (Bitolj), and passed away in 1303 [A.D. 1896].