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Rebuttal of: Muhammad's Changing of the Qiblah

By Dr. Munir Munshey

(his article can be viewed at http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/qiblah.htm)

According to Mr. Shamoum the mission of prophet of Islam was to unite the various groups existing in the 7th Century Arabia.  He alleges that the prophet first tried to appease the Christians and the Jews by adopting their practices, which were later abandoned in favor of those of the pagan Arabs.  As evidence Mr. Shamoum cites the changing of the Qibla, and the abrogation of the fast of the 9th of Muharram.

 

My Response:

Certain assertions are so ridiculous that one wonders where to begin to rebut them.

Consider for instance the following assertion from Mr. Shamoum

 

Mr. Sam Shamoun Wrote:

“Muhammad sought to win the Jews to Islam, and adopting their direction of prayer was one of the tools employed in this endeavor. After it became clear that the Jews would never follow him, he turned against them, and abandoned the fasting at Ashura”

 

My Response:

The prophet of Islam observed the non-obligatory fast of Ashura till the very last.  Pious Muslims observe that fast even to this day.  

When Allah prescribed the obligatory fasts during the month of Ramadhan, Muslims sought clarification about the status of the fast on the day of Ashura.

Please read all the ahadith quoted by Mr. Shamoum.  The matter is rendered crystal clear:

When Allah made the fasting of the month of Ramadan compulsory, Allah’s Apostle said, "Whoever wishes to fast (on the day of ‘Ashura’) may do so; and whoever wishes to leave it can do so." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 662)

Consider another assertion of Mr. Shamoum:

 

Mr. Sam Shamoun Wrote:

“[Muhammad] often tried to appease Jews and Christians … Some of the ways in which he went about it was by adopting certain Jewish or Christian practices such as fasting, purification rites, dietary restrictions”

 

My Response:

One is tempted to ask, “what dietary restrictions and the purification rites do the Christians observe?”  They have no purification rites!  They have no dietary restrictions!

The Lenten fast is not commanded or even mentioned in the bible. 

Here is another assertion by him:

 

Mr. Sam Shamoun Wrote:

“What is amazing about this is that Muhammad replaced these very monotheistic practices for those originating from the paganism of the Meccan Arabs”

 

My Response:

Fasting and having a Qibla are the “monotheistic practices”?  Christians are not enjoined to fast, and they do not have a Qibla.  Yet to a Christian, these are monotheistic practices?

Fasting is observed by the Hindus. They are not monotheistic, are they?

And here is a highly arrogant assertion of Mr. Shamoun:

 

Mr. Sam Shamoun Wrote:

”Similarly in the matter of fasting, Islam’s legislator ceased to follow the example of the Jews and ….”

 

My Response:

There have been prophets in the past who have been “Jewish” by race as well as sent exclusively for the guidance of the Jews.

Even those prophets have found it necessary to “cease to follow” the example of the Jews. Haven’t they?  Please read Mark chapter 7.  The disciples of Jesus “cease to follow” the example of the Jews.   Jesus defends them!

Could a Christian blame Jesus for not following the example of the Jews? Had the “example of the Jews” been so perfect, would there be any need for any prophet to guide the Jews to the right path? 

The prophet of Islam was neither “Jewish” by race, nor sent exclusively for the guidance of the Jews.  Mr. Shamoun fails to explain why a non-Jewish prophet would be required to follow the example of the Jews.

Mr. Shamoun’s contention is that the prophet of Islam first tried to launch his movement by enlisting the support of the Christians and the Jews, and so he adopted their customs. Rejected by them, he turned to the pagan Arabs and sought to unite them. 

 

Mr. Sam Shamoun Wrote:

“When [Muhammad, SAW] saw that the Jews and Christians were not embracing him, that they were not accepting his prophetic claims, Muhammad turned against them ……. After Muhammad had lost hope that the Jewish and Christian communities would join his movement, the only groups he could still hope to unite in his religion were the various pagan tribes of Arabia.”

 

My Response:

Is that not laughable?  Why would a reformer seek the support of the foreigners in order to unite his own people?  Adopting alien customs is more likely to alienate the indigenous people and cause them to resist his reforms.

Can Mr. Shamoun name any successful reformist movement of the world that was launched by adopting the customs of the foreigners?

Leave aside the reformist movements.  Has any movement of any kind been launched in the world that sought to unite the locals by adopting the customs of the foreigners?

Jews were the foreigners living in the land of the Arabs.  Were they not?   There were very few Jews living in Makkah where the Prophet of Islam first began preaching.  Many beliefs and practices of Islam, like the appointment of the first Qibla and the fast of Ashura were established at that time.

During those thirteen years in Makkah, there was no need to “adopt” the practice of the Jews to “appease” them and to get them to join the movement.

Muslims came in contact and conflict with the Jewish communities when they migrated to Medina and established their state there.

Mr. Shamoun contends that the Jews cannot be blamed at all for that conflict. How quickly they forget!  The Jews had earlier planned the murder of the penultimate messenger of God, Jesus.

Before that they had planned and executed the murder of another great messenger of God, John the Baptist.

That is not all.  They had killed other prophets as well.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee” Mat 23:37

Note the plural!

Is Mr. Shamoum willing to accept that the fault may have lied with the Jews?  Is it possible?

 

Why Similarity of customs among religions is not surprizing

This universe has only one God, He sent the same guidance to His messenger Moses, as He did to His messengers Jesus, and Muhammad (peace be upon them all). 

It should be no surprise that the customs and rites established by the messengers are similar. Their source was the same.

Human beings, as also all beings created by God are the slaves of God.  Arrogantly, the Jews pretend that God is their slave.  They insist that God must not, cannot, and did not send guidance to any individual who did not belong to their race. 

That God would be an unfair God, if He ignores all humanity and restricts guidance only to one tiny tribe does not ever occur to them.  They try to always prove that all others have copied their beliefs and their customs.

 

Mr. Sam Shamoun Wrote:

Note that the change of the Muslim direction of prayer — away from Jerusalem and towards the Kabah in Mecca — happened at a time when it was full of pagan idols and the worship of false gods was the daily practice at this shrine, and would continue to be this way for a good number of years until Muhammad’s conquest of Mecca.

 

My Response:

And that underscores the significance of the change of Qibla, and provides evidence of the divine source of the commandment!

Just a few short years after the change of Qibla, the worship of false gods abruptly ended in the town of Makkah.

The pagan practices being carried out in Makkah for centuries were abolished. The house built by Prophet Ibraheem for the exclusive worship of one God was restored to the worship of only One God.

 

Does God have the right to change His own Law?

Mr. Shamoun, if he is a Christian, would readily recognize God’s right to change His own law. 

Christianity believes that God changed His mind, abrogated the “Old Testament” and its laws, and enacted a “New Testament” that radically changed the requirements of salvation.  Reliance on the law is now a curse; a belief in the death of God (or the son of God) is henceforth enough for salvation!

Could a Christian have the gall to dispute the right of God to change the direction of the Qibla?

 

The Reasons for the change of Qibla

The Qibla is not merely a direction to face during the five obligatory prayers. It is a place to gather in a display of a brotherhood of mankind, and the equality of all human beings.

No other religion has a Qibla!   The Hindus and the Jews do not believe in the equality of the human race.  Hundreds of millions of human beings are considered untouchables by Hinduism.

Jews consider themselves to be the “chosen race”; all others are considered gentiles by them.

Christians accept this ridiculous claim of the Jews.

Islam is the only religion that declares all human beings to be equal.  No race is superior to any other.  There are no chosen ones!

The declaration of the brotherhood of mankind is not a mere lip service.  The Hajj is the annual display of this equality of human beings.  This living miracle of Islam has been put on display every single year since the last 14 centuries.

Makkah is the only town that qualifies to host this annual display of the miracle till the end of times. 

 

Natural Calm and Tranquility prevails in Makkah

Makkah is the spiritual capital of the world.  Since the last 14 centuries millions of pilgrims have been visiting this town annually during the prescribed days of Hajj.  This town has the capacity to absorb such a large influx of visitors.

Makkah is in the middle of a desert. It is not anywhere close to a river.  There is hardly any rainfall. Yet a spring in Makkah seems sufficient to supply water to millions of visitors year after year.

Despite famines that have visited the earth, there has never been any dearth of food supply in the town of Makkah during all these centuries.

The climate of Makkah is remarkably stable.  It has never been shut down by a snow storm, a dust storm, an earthquake, a flood, a hurricane, a tornado, or any other calamity.

 

Political stability and peace prevails in Makkah

The world has seen radical changes since the last 14 centuries.  Empires have sprung up and have hit dust in due times.  Regional wars, religious wars, economic wars, cultural wars, colonial wars, and World wars have taken their toll.  Diseases and famines have consumed the world.  There have been revolutions and counter revolutions.

Throughout all these upheavals, Makkah has stayed calm and tranquil.  Its tradition offers refuge and protection to all.

Remarkable peace throughout the centuries has prevailed in the town of Makkah.  The pilgrimage rites were carried out uninterrupted even when the world was engulfed in wars.

 

Makkah is uniquely qualified to accommodate millions of Pilgrims

The languages of all the world scriptures are dead and extinct, except the language of the Islamic scriptures.  Arabic is alive and is spoken in its unadulterated form in Makkah. Pilgrims who arrive from every corner of this planet in the millions worship in Arabic.  

None of the world scriptures have ever served as the law of the land anywhere in the world. Not even for an hour!  Except the Islamic scriptures! Never has a day dawned on this earth in the last 14 centuries, when the Islamic Scriptures was not the law of the land in Makkah.

A non-believer has never walked the streets of Makkah in the last fourteen centuries.  In that town one will not find anyone who associates partners with the One true God.

There does not exist any other town on the surface of this planet where One and only one God has been worshipped exclusively and without interruption for the last fourteen centuries.

It is the only town in the history of the world that came into being specifically and exclusively for the worship of one God.

 

Why was the Qibla shifted from Jerusalem to Makkah

The shift of Qibla from Jerusalem to Makkah is significant and symbolic.

The Israelites were given the means and opportunities to implement the laws of God on earth.  Many Israelite prophets were granted empires and the political and military might.

But they declared themselves the chosen race, disparaged all others and forbade them to enter the religion of God.

They disobeyed and mocked the messengers of God, and even killed them.  They committed these acts knowingly, willfully and out of defiance _ not out of ignorance, but rather out of arrogance.  They considered themselves immune from any retribution from God.

They refused to be the servants of God; instead, they sought to turn God into their servant and their personal genie!

Their arrogance reached its height when they slandered Mary and plotted the murder of two messengers of God.

Mary was consecrated to God and was raised in their Sacred Temple.  Miraculously she became pregnant.  Tongues began wagging in every home.  It was the greatest scandal of its time!

The new born infant spoke from the cradle in front of a large audience, and absolved his mother of any wrong doing.   (Al-Quran 19: 27-33) That messenger of God, who proved his credentials right at his birth, lived among them all his life.

They recognized Jesus, knew fully well that he was the messiah and yet continued to slander Mary.  They called Jesus an illegitimate child _ and continue to do so even to this day_, murdered Prophet Yahya (John the Baptist) and even planned to murder Jesus.

That sealed their fate.

Those claiming to be the chosen ones were declared to be the “cursed ones” by the Almighty.

Jesus refers to them as "blind guides," "blind fools," extortionists, unclean, serpents, a brood of vipers, murderers, persecutors, and being full of iniquity, Mathew 23: 13-36

He declared that no more signs would be shown to them.

And [Jesus] sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.   Mar 8:12

The Quran concurs!

4:156 (We punished them) because of their rejection (of the messenger Jesus), and their atrocious utterances of slander against Mary

4:157   (We punished them because of) their (blatant and boastful) statement, “We killed Jesus, the son of Mary, the Massiah, the messenger of Allah!”

5:78   The disbelievers of the children of Israel were cursed by the tongue of David, and of Jesus son of Mary. This is because they (disobeyed and) strayed beyond the bounds.

The change of Qibla from Jerusalem to Makkah is a symbolic gesture.

It announced to the world that the people who call themselves the “chosen race” will henceforth be treated as the “cursed race”

That is why the Qibla was changed.

The history of the Israelites ever since the departure of Jesus bears ample proof of the cursed status of this self-styled “chosen race”

And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. Mat 24:2

 

 

 

 

Rebuttals, and exposing the lies of the Answering Islam team section.

Rebuttals to Sam Shamoun's Articles section.

Rebuttals to all of the so-called "contradictions" in the Noble Quran.

Munir Munshey's Rebuttals section.


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