Islam, Jack Chick and the Battle for Souls – “Is Allah Like You?”

Islam, Jack Chick and the Battle for Souls – Response to the Chick Tract “Is Allah Like You?”

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“They say: “Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (To salvation).” Say thou: “Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with Allah.””

– The Holy Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:135

            This article is a continuation of the series “Islam, Jack Chick and the Battle for Souls”.  Continuing with our exposé of the bigoted and ignorant “Chick tracts”, we will now discuss another abhorrent and ludicrous tract titled “Is Allah Like You?”[1]

“Is Allah Like You?” – The Plot

            Like many of Chick’s tracts about Muslims, “Is Allah Like You?” involves a fictional plot about a crazy and violent Muslim man, who undergoes a miraculous change after learning the “truth” about Islam and then learning about Christianity.  The story begins with two children innocently playing (one is chasing the other), when one of them accidentally runs into the mother of one of the children.  Unfortunately, the mother is carrying a pot full of water, which falls on the woman’s husband, whose name is “Ahmed,” while he is reading the Quran.  Enraged by the incident, the man berates his wife and son (emphasis in the original):

“[y]ou idiots!  That water defiled my Qur’an!  I’ll beat you both for this!”

Obviously fearful, the poor wife and son plead for the man to not hurt them.  But the man begins to beat his son, whose name is “Hassan”, while calling him a “lazy, worthless child”.  When the wife, whose name is “Safiya”, pleads for him to stop, he grabs her and says (emphasis in the original):

“[h]ow dare you, Safiyah!  No worthless woman tells her husband what to do!”

The fiendish man beats both his wife and son, until the son begs for him to stop.  Ahmed tells his son to “be a man” and orders him to “milk the goat!”  Traumatized by the event, Hassan wonders if Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) is as “mean” as his father. 

            A few hours later, Ahmed visits his uncle “Yousef” to ask him a question.  Uncle Yousef responds by advising his nephew to “see what the Qur’an says”.  After consulting the Quran, Yousef answers Ahmed’s question by confidently asserting (emphasis in the original):

“[o]f course I beat my wife.  The Qur’an and the greatest prophet tell me to…any time she disobeys or embarrasses me!”[2]

Uncle Yousef then berates Ahmed and tells him to go home and study the Qur’an and Ahadith. 

            Meanwhile, poor Hassan and his mother fearfully await Ahmed’s return.  Hassan even asks why his father will not stay away and that he is “scared” of him.  When he returns home, Ahmed finds a letter sent by a Christian.  Ahmed locks himself into his room and goes over the letter, which contains a list of surahs that supposedly prove that Islam is a false religion.  Ahmed is enraged but proceeds to “play his little game”. 

            Almost immediately, Ahmed is shocked by what he reads.  According to the letter, the Quran says that Ahmed will:

“…to be judged by [his] actions even if it pleases Allah to mislead [him]…”

Dumbfounded by this claim, Ahmed credulously asks himself (emphasis in the original):

“How can we trust him?”

            Ahmed then proceeds to consult the Ahadith, supposedly because “there are many confusing parts” in the Qur’an, despite the fact that it “descended from heaven, perfect, holy and true”.  But after consulting some ahadith, Ahmed is shocked yet again when he finds out that:

“the Qur’an was originally written on tablets of stone, palm branches…and men’s memories…”

After having this shocking revelation (which most Muslims learn when they are children), Ahmed declares that:

“…the Qur’an didn’t descend from heaven.  I was lied to!”

            Two nights later, Ahmed is getting more and more confused.  This time, he is confused because the Qur’an has “hundreds of Arabic words that have no meaning”, such as “ssad” (sic) and “qaf” (apparently, he didn’t realize that these are not words but letters, despite being an Arab). 

            Next, Ahmed struggled to understand why the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) could “do things no other Muslim could”, despite saying that he was “only a human…”  Ahmed struggled to understand why Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) “supported all of his decisions”, such as having more wives than what was allowed for other Muslims, and forcing a man to divorce his wife so the prophet could marry her.  Not only that, but Ahmed seemed to come to the realization that this use of fear also forces relatives of apostates to kill them if they leave Islam.

            Moreover, even the angels are commanded to kill unbelievers and “smite” them “above their necks”.[3]  Ahmed also learned that the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had said that whoever kills another person, all of the murdered man’s belongings belong to his killer![4]

            Meanwhile, Ahmed’s fearful wife dutifully reminds him that dinner is ready.  But the mean-hearted Muslim man rebuffs her and tells her to stop “bothering” him.  The poor Safiyah and her son are left to ponder their lives as they witness Ahmed’s behavior getting worse.    

            Continuing with his “study”, Ahmed finds out that, according to the Quran (Surah 32:13), Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He):

“…could have brought everyone to the truth, but instead will fill hell with them.”

After discovering this shocking revelation, Ahmed credulously asks himself (emphasis in the original):

“[w]hat kind of god is this?”

He also wonders how he can “trust” Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), if He keeps changing His mind.[5]  He also finds it difficult to understand why Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) commands Muslims to fight unbelievers and “force them to submit” yet also says that He “does not compel people to believe”.

            Apparently being confused to his limit, Ahmed falls to his knees and asks the “Living God in heaven” who he is and begs this God to show him “the truth”.  This “God” responds by inspiring Ahmed to “go to the market”.  Once there, Ahmed is given a book by one of the merchants which apparently contains “the words of the Prophet Jesus”! 

            After a week of study, Ahmed undergoes a miraculous change after learning about some of the wonderful and loving things the “Prophet Jesus” allegedly said, such as “loving” one’s enemies and wives, to “give honor unto the wife” and to not be “bitter against” her.  Not surprisingly, Ahmed’s wife Safiyah is “amazed” that she is so “honored”![6]   

            Having read such amazing things, Ahmed declares to Safiyah and Hassan that he has “surrendered” to Jesus, within whom is “the living God”.  He asks them both to forgive him for his behavior and promises to never hurt them again.  Amazed by her husband’s transformation, Safiyah asks him to “show us how we can find this Jesus”.  Similarly, the impressionable Hassan proudly declares:

“Daddy, I was wrong…Allah is nothing like you!”

Examination of “Is Allah Like You?”

            As we have seen, “Is Allah Like You?” is a fictional tale about an abusive Muslim husband and father who undergoes a miraculous transformation after realizing the “truth” about Islam (Spoiler Alert: It’s “false!”) and then learning about “the words of the Prophet Jesus” and converting to Christianity.  But as we have seen with previous examinations of Chick tracts, “Is Allah Like You?” is simply more bluster and propaganda with a faulty plot,[7] rather than an honest discussion about comparative religion.

            First and foremost, Chick used what is invariably his only weapon in his battle for souls: a violent Muslim man based on a stereotypical caricature.  Chick had to rely on such caricatures because that is the method that propaganda artists have historically used when they need to malign a certain group.  Hence, when the Nazis published propaganda material maligning Jews, the Jewish characters were always greedy, scheming, and blood-thirsty savages.[8]  Similarly, caricatures of African-Americans by white supremacist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan always portrayed black men as:

“…innately savage, animalistic, destructive and criminal – deserving punishment, maybe death”.[9]

In all of these historical cases of prejudice, the target group was portrayed in the worst way possible, which was also, quite unsurprisingly, a completely false portrayal.  Just like the Nazis and the KKK, Jack Chick resorted to bigoted and dishonest portrayals of Muslims, all in a vain attempt to promote his religion.  One has to wonder why Chick needed to utilize fear rather than reason if he believed that his religion was really the “truth”. 

            Besides the unfair and dishonest characterization of Muslims, Chick once again resorted to misquoting Islamic teachings.  The tract is full of such misquotes.  To begin, Chick presented child abuse as an Islamic practice.  Moreover, he presented Islam as an inherently misogynistic religion, which devalues women as “worthless”, and then claimed that Christianity is the exact opposite.  But none of these polemics are true.  Rather, they are lies designed to mislead Chick’s readers.  So what do Islamic teachings actually say about the treatment of one’s children and wives?  Let us take a look.   

  1. Treatment of children –

First and foremost, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught the merciful and kind treatment of children.  In one hadith, the Prophet stated that:

“[a]nyone who does not show mercy to our children nor acknowledge the right of our old people is not one of us.”[10]

By saying that a person who does not treat children with mercy is “not one of us”, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was issuing a very stern condemnation of those who abuse children.  Thus, Chick’s angry character “Ahmed”, who was abusive towards his son Hassan, was not following the commands of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). 

            Other ahadith also expound upon treating children with kindness and mercy.  In fact, some ahadith show the example of the prophet himself in his treatment of children.  For example, one hadith states that he used to carry his grandson Hasan (alternatively spelled “Hassan”) on his shoulder and supplicate to Allah to “love him”.[11]  This love was also directed towards his own children as well, especially his beloved daughter Fatima (may Allah be pleased with her).  One hadith states of Fatima that:

“[w]hen she came to him, he stood up for her, made her welcome, kissed her and had her sit in his place. When the Prophet came to her, she stood up for him, took his hand, made him welcome, kissed him, and made him sit in her place. She came to him during his final illness and he greeted her and kissed her.”[12]

The Prophet’s love for children even manifested while he was praying:

“Narrated Abu Qatada: The Prophet (ﷺ) came out towards us, while carrying Umamah, the daughter of Abi Al-As (his granddaughter) over his shoulder. He prayed, and when he wanted to bow, he put her down, and when he stood up, he lifted her up.”[13]

Describing Muhammad’s love for children, the eminent scholar Karen Armstrong writes:

“Muhammad loved children: all his life he would hug and kiss them and join in their games.  He was always devoted to his daughters.”[14]

Similarly, W. Montgomery Watt stated:

“[h]e seems to have been specially fond of children and to have got on well with them.  Perhaps it was the yearning of a man who saw all his sons die as infants. […] He was able to enter into the spirit of childish games and had many friends among children.  He had fun with the children who came back from Abyssinia and spoke Abyssinian.”[15]

Based on this overwhelming evidence, on what basis should anyone consider the fictional Ahmed’s behavior towards his son as “Islamic”? 

            As for the issue of disciplining children, it is allowed and actually recommended as a way to raise children properly.  In one hadith stipulating the importance of prayer, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“[c]ommand your children to pray when they become seven years old, and beat them for it (prayer) when they become ten years old; and arrange their beds (to sleep) separately.”[16]

However, this does not mean a violent beating.  As Imam Nawawi stated in his commentary on this hadith in “Riyad-as-Saliheen”:

“[w]hen warranted by the situation, it is permissible to beat children for their proper upbringing and education. But this should not be in any case violent and aggressive. It should rather be done in a manner that the child does not suffer any physical injury and receives the right type of training.”[17]

Thus, while disciplining children is recommended, it is in no way permissible to violently strike a child, as the fictional “Ahmed” did with his son.

            Before moving on, it should be pointed out that Chick did not actually quote any verse from the Bible about how to treat children.  Perhaps it was because disciplining children is encouraged by the Bible as well!  As it is stated in Proverbs 13:24:

“[w]hoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”[18]

Moreover, in Proverbs 23:13-14, the command to discipline a child is even clearer:

“[d]o not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.  Punish them with the rod and save them from death.”

  1. Treatment of wives –

According to Chick’s character “Ahmed”, a woman is essentially “worthless” and cannot tell her husband what to do.  In addition, according to his “Uncle Yousef”, the Holy Quran commands husbands to beat their wives “any time” they disobey or embarrass their husbands.  The irony of the former claim is that it actually applies quite appropriately to Biblical teachings (specifically, the teachings of Paul), and not the teachings of Islam, as we will see later. 

            Let us examine “Ahmed’s” claim that a woman is “worthless” and is not permitted to “tell her husband what to do”.  This claim is pure sophistry and there is no basis for it.  The reader should have noticed that Chick did not quote any Islamic source to back up his claim.  The reason why is obvious!  Indeed, the Holy Quran shows that a pious woman is far better than a disbelieving man, and provides the example of the wife of the Pharaoh (Asiyah):

“[a]nd Allah sets forth, as an example to those who believe the wife of Pharaoh: Behold she said: ‘O my Lord! Build for me, in nearness to Thee, a mansion in the Garden, and save me from Pharaoh and his doings, and save me from those that do wrong’.”[19]

Whereas the Pharaoh is condemned as a sinner who will dwell in hell forever,[20] his wife is greatly honored for believing in Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).  In fact, some reports from the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) state that Asiyah was tortured to death for her faith (because she refused to obey her husband and follow his commands).  According to Islamic author Suzanne Haneef:

“…Salman al-Farsi mentions that although Asiyah died of torture in the dungeon of Pharaoh’s palace because of her faith and her belief in the prophethood of Moses, God supported and strengthened her throughout her awesome ordeal, alleviated her suffering, and showed her her place in Paradise.”[21]

Thus, the story of Asiyah illustrates that a woman is not required to obey her husband if the husband commands her to do evil.  Whereas the Pharaoh opposed Moses (peace be upon him) and commanded his people to do the same, some among his people (including his wife) disobeyed him, despite the fact that they would be persecuted for their faith.[22]  This is exactly why the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated that:

“[t]here is no obedience in matters involving disobedience to Allah. Obedience is in matters which are good and universally recognized.”[23]

            Of course, it is true that a Muslim woman should obey her husband, as long as it does not violate the laws of Islam.  This is part of the rights of a husband over his wife, just as a wife has certain rights over her husband.  Also, despite the requirement upon wives to obey their husbands, the Holy Quran commands husbands to be kind to their wives:

“O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may Take away part of the dower ye have given them,-except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.”[24]

In addition, according to a hadith of Muhammad (peace be upon him), husbands are warned not to “hate” their wives:

“[a] believer must not hate (his wife) believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics he will be pleased with another.”[25]

In his commentary on this hadith, Imam Nawawi stated that:

“[t]his Hadith also contains a very wise counsel for a happy married life. It tells us that every person has certain good qualities as well as some shortcomings. Man has been advised here to overlook the shortcomings that he does not like in his wife and appreciate her good qualities. Similarly, a woman is advised to ignore the shortcomings of her husband and admire his good qualities.”[26]

Yet another hadith (isn’t it amazing how many sayings of Muhammad were ignored by Chick?) states that the best people among the Muslims are those who are kind towards their women:

“[t]he most complete of the believers in faith, is the one with the best character among them.  And the best of you are those who are best to your women.”[27]

In his commentary on this hadith, Islamic scholar Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Adam Al-Kawthari states:

“[a] wife enjoys many rights and privileges in Islam, of which being treated kindly is at the forefront.  The husband must be compassionate, forgiving, gentle, and not cruel and abusive towards her.  Allah Most High says, ‘…And live with them [women] in the recognized good manner…’ (Qur’an 4:19).  The Messenger of Allah, in this hadith, expands further by saying that in order to acquire perfection in faith (iman), a man needs to display good behavior towards all humans, especially the womenfolk under his care; for charity begins at home.”[28]

With such clear statements, where did Chick’s angry Muslims “Ahmed” and “Uncle Yusuf” get the idea that their cruel behavior towards their wives was allowed by Islamic teachings?  Such abusive behavior is actually strongly condemned in the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

            However, what about “beating” wives?  Chick predictably appealed to one of the most controversial verses in the Holy Quran, Surah An-Nisa, 4:34.  According to “Uncle Yousef”, the verse allows husbands to beat their wives “any time” they disobey or embarrass them.  But the verse actually says nothing of the sort:

“[a]s to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all).”

The verse does not say that a husband can beat his wife “any time” she disobeys or embarrasses him!  In fact, “beating” is only allowed as an absolute last resort, when other measures do not work.  Moreover, according to the Sunnah of Muhammad (peace be upon him), this last resort is only applicable when one’s wife:

“…allows herself to converse with men against her husband’s wishes or…commits some grievous transgression (fahisha mubayyina), a phrase with sexual innuendo…”[29]

In addition, according to Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Adam Al-Kawthari, other reasons for disciplining one’s wife can include when:

“…she is physically or verbally abusive, slanderous or violates Islamic rulings…”[30]

Not only that, but as with disciplining one’s child, “beating” one’s wife for the above transgressions can only be done “with a light blow that leaves no mark”.[31]  It is also well known that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never beat any of his wives and strongly discouraged others from doing so.[32]  As Jonathan Brown states:

“[a]ll available evidence of Muhammad’s own conduct shows a complete aversion to domestic violence.”[33]

            In addition, Islam gives an abused woman the right to seek a divorce on the grounds of domestic abuse.  As Brown explains:

“…any physical harm was grounds for compensation and divorce since the Prophet had limited striking one’s wife to a ‘light blow that leaves no mark.’  Causing any injury thus meant that a husband had exceeded his rights.”[34]

So once again, “Ahmed” and “Uncle Yousef” (and by extension, Jack Chick) were completely wrong!

            Finally, we should point out that, while Islam does not prohibit a woman from teaching a man, Paul of Tarsus, the alleged “apostle” of Jesus (peace be upon him), stated in clear words that he did not (emphasis ours):

“…permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man…”[35]

Thus, it is quite ironic that Chick’s pseudo-Muslim character “Ahmed” said that:

“[n]o worthless woman tells her husband what to do!”

This was an embarrassing blunder by Chick, as it sounds more like the teachings of Paul rather than the teachings of Muhammad (peace be upon him)! 

            Moving on, let us now deal with the other polemics directed against Islam.  During his “study”, Ahmed began reading a letter sent by a Christian which purportedly showed some flaws in Islamic theology, thereby “proving” that Islam is a false religion.  The first thing that confused Ahmed was that a person will be judged for his actions even though Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) had deliberately “mislead” him.  Ahmed found this difficult to understand and wondered how people could “trust” Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).  The tract appeals to three verses from the Holy Quran: Surah Ibrahim, 14:4, Al-Anaam, 6:39 and An-Nahl, 16:93.  Here are these verses, respectively:

“We sent not a messenger except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people, in order to make (things) clear to them. Now Allah leaves straying those whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases: and He is Exalted in power, full of Wisdom.”

“Those who reject our signs are deaf and dumb,- in the midst of darkness profound: whom Allah willeth, He leaveth to wander: whom He willeth, He placeth on the way that is straight.”

“If Allah so willed, He could make you all one people: But He leaves straying whom He pleases, and He guides whom He pleases: but ye shall certainly be called to account for all your actions.”

As we can see, the verses indeed say that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) guides whom He wills and leaves others to go astray.  But apparently Chick didn’t realize the key phrase in Surah Al-Anaam, 6:39: “[t]hose who reject our signs…”  In other words, the ones whom Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) leaves to “wander” are those who have already “rejected” His message.  This concept is made clear in another surah which was ignored by Chick (emphasis ours):

“[f]or the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are the deaf and the dumb,- those who understand not.  If Allah had found in them any good. He would indeed have made them listen: (As it is), if He had made them listen, they would but have turned back and declined (Faith).”[36]

This passage makes it clear that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) does not guide the “deaf and dumb” because He knows there is no good in them.  Thus, they are left “straying” (14:4) instead of being guided, and will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment.  The same can be said regarding Surah As-Sajda, 32:13:

“If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: but the Word from Me will come true, “I will fill Hell with Jinns and men all together.””

Of course Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) can guide everyone to Islam!  He is All-Powerful.  But His will is not to guide those who have rejected His message, so that they will go to hell.  This is the fulfillment of Allah’s (Glorified and Exalted be He) warning to Iblis (Satan), after the latter refused to obey Allah’s command to prostrate to Adam (peace be upon him):

“(Iblis) said: ‘Then, by Thy power, I will put them all in the wrong,- Except Thy Servants amongst them, sincere and purified (by Thy Grace).’  (Allah) said: ‘Then it is just and fitting- and I say what is just and fitting; ‘That I will certainly fill Hell with thee and those that follow thee, everyone.’”[37]

Chick simply cherry-picked some verses and ignored others; typical behavior from a dishonest missionary.   

            Additionally, the criticism hurled at the Holy Quran is ironic given that the Bible states in a few places that God “hardened” the hearts of some people so they would not follow His commands!  Perhaps the best example is the Pharaoh, who refused to listen to Moses (peace be upon him).  Why did he not listen?  According to the Bible, it was because God “hardened” his heart!  The book of Exodus states:

“[t]he Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”[38]

Shockingly, it seems God also “hardened” the hearts of the Israelites themselves!  Isaiah 63:17 asks God:

“[w]hy, Lord, do you make us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so we do not revere you?”

And it gets even worse, for the New Testament is clear that God chooses whom He will have mercy on and whom He will “harden”.  According to Paul:

“…God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”[39]

This is exactly what the Holy Quran says as well, yet Chick was complaining about the Quran!

            So using Chick’s “logic”, how can we trust the God of the Bible when He “hardened” Pharaoh’s “heart” and the “hearts” of the Israelites, instead of guiding them just as easily?  If God had decided to make Pharaoh listen to Moses (peace be upon him), then all the suffering of the Egyptians and the Israelites would have been averted.  There would have been no plagues and no deaths of the first-born sons!  If God had decided to guide the Israelites, then all their suffering would have been averted as well!  Why didn’t Chick wonder “what kind of god is this?”

            But it doesn’t end there.  It gets even worse for Chick and other deceitful missionaries.  According to the Bible, “Yahweh” even hardened the hearts of the Israelites to the extent that He made them commit barbaric acts of child sacrifice!  According to Ezekiel 20:25-26, God gave the Israelites:

“…other statutes that were not good and laws through which they could not live; I defiled them through their gifts—the sacrifice of every firstborn—that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the Lord.”

Perhaps we should let that sink in.  According to Ezekiel, “Yahweh” punished the Israelites for their rebelliousness by requiring “the sacrifice of every firstborn”!  As Professor Mark Smith, currently the Helena Professor of Old Testament Language and Exegesis at Princeton Theological Seminary, has observed:      

“[t]hese passages indicate that in the seventh century [BC] child sacrifice was a Judean practice performed in the name of Yahweh.”[40]

Again, perhaps the missionaries should ask “what kind of God is this?”

            Continuing with his “study”, Ahmed found an alleged contradiction between the belief that the Quran “descended from heaven…” and the fact that it was “originally written on” such things as stones, palm branches and animal bones, as well as memorized by men, women and children.[41]  But as any reasonable person would see, the descent of the Quran from heaven does not mean it literally descended as a complete book from heaven.  Rather, it means that the Quran is Allah’s Word which He has sent to mankind through the Angel Gabriel:

“[s]ay, the Holy Spirit [Gabriel] has brought the revelation from thy Lord in Truth, in order to strengthen those who believe, and as a Guide and Glad Tidings to Muslims.”[42]

Surely a serious Muslim like our friend “Ahmed” would not be so utterly gullible as to fall for such a silly polemic!

            But the obviously gullible Ahmed apparently did not know Arabic (his native language) well enough that he could not tell the difference between actual Arabic “words” and Arabic “letters”!  In Chick’s tract, the ignorant Ahmed was confused by alleged Arabic “words” like “sad” and “qaf”, which would tend to happen when one thinks a letter is a word!  That would be like saying an English-speaking person is confused by the words “S” and “Q”! 

            The reality is that the Quran does use Arabic letters in the beginning of certain surahs.  As the commentary in “The Study Quran” explains:

“[o]f the 114 surahs of the Quran, 29 begin with individual letters of the Arabic alphabet.”[43]

As for the “meaning” of these letters or what they signify, this has been a matter of debate and most Islamic scholars have accepted them as a mystery.  In other words, there is no need to delve on the “meaning” because the meaning is known only to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).  One would be hard-pressed to find an Arab-speaking Muslim whose “head spins” because of these letters!  It seems Chick was simply projecting his own ignorance onto the gullible Arab-Muslim Ahmed.

            Next, Ahmed became confounded by the Prophet Muhammad’s statement that he was just a man like everyone else, and yet he was able to “do things no other Muslim could” such as have more wives than others were allowed.  This is a common polemic against the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and demonstrates how desperate missionaries get when trying to demonize him.  But this attempt at demonization invariably ignores the fact that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was also required to forego many of the world’s pleasures which were not forbidden for his followers.  For example, Muslims are allowed to gain wealth and spend out of it for themselves and their families.  They can buy things with their wealth, so long as they are not extravagant, as the Quran states:

“Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just (balance) between those (extremes).”[44]

And yet we find that Muhammad (peace be upon him), despite the power he commanded, lived a very simple life and forbid himself material comforts which he did not forbid for his followers.  Despite being such a powerful man, he slept on a simple mat and refused to order his followers to get him an actual bed:

“Abdullah narrated:  ‘The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) was sleeping upon a mat, then he stood, and the mat had left marks on his side.  We said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! We could get a bed for you.’ He said: ‘What do I have to do with the world! I am not in the world but as a rider seeking shade under a tree, then he catches his breath and leaves it.’”[45]

Even his clothing was meager.  In his commentary on the “Shamaa-Il Tirmidhi”, the Islamic scholar Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kanhdhelwi observed that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):

“…possessed only one each, of a lungi [a garment worn around the waist], qamis [a long tunic worn by men], sheet (body wrap), shoes or any other clothing.”[46]

And yet, he did not forbid his followers from having more clothing.  According to a hadith Sunan Ibn Majah, the Prophet stated that:

“[t]here is nothing wrong with any one of you, if he can afford it, buying two garments for Friday, other than his daily work clothes.”[47]

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also allowed his followers to wear nice clothes as well:

“Abdullah narrated: ‘The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Whoever has a speck of pride (arrogance) in his heart, shall not be admitted into Paradise. And whoever has a speck of faith in his heart, shall not be admitted in to the Fire.'” He said: “So a man said to him: ‘I like for my clothes to be nice, and my sandals to be nice?’ So he said: ‘Indeed Allah loves beauty. But pride is refusing the truth and belittling the people.’’”[48]

Similarly, he fasted for long hours but forbid his followers from doing the same:

“Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) observed fasts uninterruptedly in Ramadan and the people (in his wake) did this. But he forbade them to do so. It was said to him (to the Holy Prophet): You yourself observe the fasts uninterruptedly (but you forbid us to do so).  Upon this he said: I am not like you; I am fed and supplied drink (by Allah).”[49]

            As for the issue of having more wives, would it not make sense for a supposed impostor to impose absolutely no limit on the number of wives he could have?  And yet the Holy Quran contains a command to the Prophet not to have any more wives than he already had:

“It is not lawful for thee (to marry more) women after this, nor to change them for (other) wives, even though their beauty attract thee, except any thy right hand should possess (as handmaidens): and Allah doth watch over all things.”[50]

Why would a limit have been placed at all?  What is more interesting is that, according to some commentators, this command was later abrogated (although this is not unanimous), thereby allowing Muhammad (peace be upon him) to take more wives.  However, he actually took no additional wives despite the permission!   As the commentary in “The Study Quran” states:

“[t]hough the Prophet is said to have been granted the opportunity to take more wives again before he died…he nonetheless took no more wives after the revelation of this verse.”[51]

So again, there is no substance to the missionary argument, and yet again, one cannot help but point to the irony of Bible-thumping Christians criticizing the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for taking many wives,[52] when according to the Bible, God’s beloved David (peace be upon him) took many wives as well![53]  This is despite the fact that the Law of Moses specifically prohibited the king of Israel from taking many wives:

“[h]e must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.”[54]

Why was David allowed to take multiple wives and concubines?  Why is there not a single condemnation from God for this clear violation of the law? 

            Not only that, but David was treated differently in one other instance, namely his adulterous affair with Bathsheba.[55]  Whereas the law required death by stoning for adultery, the king of Israel was spared death and instead his innocent son was struck by God with an illness and died.  This was David’s punishment: the death of his innocent son!  And yet even more egregious is the fact that he was still allowed to marry Bathsheba, the woman with whom he had an affair!  How is that for doing things other people could not do?!

            Next, Ahmed found out from the Christian’s letter that if the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) desired a married woman, her husband was required to divorce her so the Prophet could marry her.  But the fact is that the missionaries are lying, plain and simple.  No doubt, they are referring to the Prophet’s marriage to Zaynab (may Allah be pleased with her), who had been married to the Prophet’s adopted son Zaid (may Allah be pleased with him).  The Islamic sources are unanimous that the marriage between Zaid and Zaynab was not a happy one.  According to the Holy Quran, the Prophet advised Zaid to stay with Zaynab:

“[b]ehold! Thou didst say to one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favour: “Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife, and fear Allah.””[56]

This shows that Zaid had wanted to divorce Zaynab anyway.  The marriage did not work because Zaynab was from the tribe of Bani Hashim (the same tribe as Muhammad), whereas Zaid was a freed slave and not a member of her same tribe.  As Islamic author Moustafa Zayed explains:

“[t]he marriage didn’t last long because Zaynab kept looking down upon her husband, who kept complaining to the Prophet till the Prophet found no other solution but to accept their divorce.”[57]

The other fact that the missionaries always seem to ignore is that it was Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself who persuaded Zaynab to marry Zaid in the first place!  As Moustafa Zayed points out, if the Prophet wanted her for himself, he could have married her “a thousand times over” instead of first persuading her to marry Zaid, and then hoping for a divorce so he could marry her![58]  The fact is that Zaid had not been threatened into divorcing Zaynab.  He wanted to divorce her, and she also wanted to divorce him.  So, Chick’s claim that if Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) desired a married woman, her husband had to divorce her “for fear of his life” is yet another concocted lie.  Perhaps the missionaries can provide other examples of such injustice in the life of Muhammad (peace be upon him), since we can see that the incident with Zaynab and Zaid does not fit into this conspiracy theory!

            Next, Chick’s confused character Ahmed learned that “fear controls” Muslims “who live by the Prophet’s teachings” and that one’s own relatives are commanded to kill anyone who leaves Islam.  To support this contention, Chick cited Surah An-Nisa, 4:89, which states:

“[t]hey but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.”

But who are the people referred to in this verse?  If we read the preceding verse (4:88), we can get our answer (emphasis ours):

“Why should ye be divided into two parties about the Hypocrites? Allah hath upset them for their (evil) deeds. Would ye guide those whom Allah hath thrown out of the Way? For those whom Allah hath thrown out of the Way, never shalt thou find the Way.”

So we can see that 4:89 is referring to the hypocrites, who were people who pretended to be Muslims but were in fact non-Muslims who were trying to destroy the religion of Islam.   But here is the kicker.  As usual, Chick ignored the very next verse (4:90) which completely pulverizes his attempt at demonizing the teachings of Islam.  Verse 90 states (emphasis ours):

“Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (Guarantees of) peace, then Allah Hath opened no way for you (to war against them).”

Where is the “fear” that controls the lives of Muslims?  The better question is: where was Chick’s dignity when he wrote such an egregious lie, all for the sake of spreading his religion?  Why does his religion need lies in order to win converts?

            Next, Chick appealed to Surah Al-Anfal, 8:12, which we have previously commented on.[59]  In the tract “Camel’s in the Tent”, Chick had used the verse to prove that Muslims were commanded to kill unbelievers.   But we refuted this nonsensical claim by pointing out that:

“…this verse is not addressed to Muslims at all but to the angels who were sent to aid them in battle!”

In the present tract, Chick was aware that the verse was about angels, and not Muslims, but he still mistakenly stated that in this verse, “Allah’s angels declared” that they would instill fear in the unbelievers.  It seems he could never quote this verse properly!  In actual fact, it was addressed to the angels.  It was a command by Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) to the angels to aid the Muslims in the battle of Badr.  In addition, we noted that the same surah contains a clear command to Muslims to seek peace whenever the opportunity arises.  Verse 61 states:

“But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things).”

So much for the “fear” by which Islamic teachings are maintained!

            Next, Chick concocted another silly lie by claiming that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had commanded that whoever kills another person automatically “has the right to all his belongings” (emphasis in the original).  To support this utterly idiotic assertion, Chick referred to some ahadith in Sahih Bukhari (4:53:370) and Sahih Muslim (19:4340).  Here is the relevant quote from Sahih Bukhari:

“…the Prophet (ﷺ) sat and said, “Anyone who has killed an enemy and has a proof of that, will possess his spoils.””

Here is the quote from Sahih Muslim:

“One who has killed an enemy and can bring evidence to prove it will get his belongings.”

The next hadith in Sahih Muslim (#4341) refers specifically to the belongings of Abu Jahl, who was killed during the battle of Badr, so his “belongings” were given to a Muslim soldier named Muadh ibn Amr ibn Al-Jumah.  Thus, we can see that these ahadith are referring to the enemy combatants that have been killed in battle.  Their “belongings” refer to things like their weapons and armor as shown in Sahih Bukhari, 4:53:370, in which Abu Qatada was given the armor of an enemy combatant he had killed in battle:

“…Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) gave the spoils to me. I sold that armor (i.e. the spoils) and with its price I bought a garden at Bani Salima, and this was my first property which I gained after my conversion to Islam.”

Chick also made the ludicrous claim that “all” of the enemy combatant’s “belongings” were the right of the Muslim soldier, but the ahadith refer specifically to the belongings found on the battlefield.  It is rather silly to claim that when Abu Jahl was killed during the battle of Badr, the Muslims went to the Quraysh in Mecca and demanded that all of Abu Jahl’s belongings be handed over to the soldiers who had killed him!  But Chick was obviously implying that the above ahadith gave Muslims the permission to kill any non-Muslim they wanted in order to usurp their properties and belongings, which is just another egregious lie.  The reality is that taking someone’s property (unless it belongs to an enemy combatant and is found on the battlefield) without their permission is a grave sin, as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated:

“[w]hoever claims something that does not belong to him; he is not one of us, so let him take his place in Hell.”[60]

So, once again, Chick was caught red-handed concocting another lie about Islam.

            Next, Chick’s dumbfounded “Ahmed” got even more confused by the concept of abrogation, in which Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) allegedly “changed” His mind.  Chick appealed to Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:106, but only part of it.  The entire verse states (the bold part is what Chick deliberately left out):

“We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent?

So even though this verse states that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) abrogates previous revelations and substitutes them with another revelation, it also states that He has control over all things.  In the words of Ibn Kathir:

“He commands a matter containing a benefit which He knows of, and then He out of His wisdom, prohibits it. Hence, perfect obedience is realized by adhering to His commands, following His Messengers, believing in whatever they convey, implementing their commands and avoiding what they prohibit.”[61]

Chick’s character “Ahmed” even credulously asked if God “changes” because He abrogates previous revelations.  But surely a serious Muslim would not be so childishly naïve.  It is a well-known fact that abrogation only applies to matters of law.  According to “The Study Quran” (emphasis in the original):

“…naskh [abrogation] can occur only in matters of commands and prohibitions, not in descriptive passages relating to metaphysics, ethics, history, the nature of God, or the Hereafter…Thus there can be no abrogation of a passage such as God has power over all things (2:259) or Whosoever believes in God and the Last Day and works righteousness shall have their reward with their Lord.  No fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve (2:62); or accounts of previous prophets found throughout the Quran.”[62]

So the answer to Ahmed’s (or Chick’s) absurdly naïve question is “no, God does not change, but He does change His Laws as and when He wills.”

            Finally, nearing the end of his “study” of Islam, Ahmed asked “what kind of god” orders Muslims to fight those who “do not follow Allah” and also “force them to submit”, yet also claim that He “does not compel people to believe”.  To support the former assertion, Chick cited (though he didn’t actually quote them) Surah At-Tawbah 9:27 (but probably meant 9:29) and Surah Muhammad, 47:4.  Here is what these verses state, respectively:

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

“Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens.”

As for 9:29, this is a favorite of anti-Islamic missionaries.  Chick’s contention was that this verse commands Muslims to “force” non-Muslims to submit.  However, he also appealed to Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:256, to show an alleged contradiction.  The verse states:

“[l]et there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.”        

Where is the contradiction?  Whereas verse 9:29 states that the unbelievers should be fought until they submit and pay the “Jizya” (poll tax), verse 2:256 states that they are not to be compelled to become Muslims.  The two verses are not at all contradictory.  Verse 9:29 actually does not say anything about forcing non-Muslims to convert to Islam.  They may continue to practice their religions, as long as they pay the Jizya. 

            As for verse 47:4, it is obvious that it is referring to those unbelievers that have fought Muslims.  The verse even says that when the unbelievers are “subdued”, they can either be ransomed back to their people or be released without any ransom.  Thus, there is no command to force them to convert to Islam.  Moreover, the verse clearly says that Muslims should fight “until the war lays down its burdens” (i.e. until the war ends).   

            At this point, Ahmed’s “study” of Islam had reached its conclusion.  Needless to say, he was quite confused and had already decided that Islam was not the true religion.  He was then “inspired” to go to the market, where one of the merchants handed him a copy of “words of the Prophet Jesus”.  Obviously, the merchant gave Ahmed a copy of the New Testament.  After studying the book for one week, Ahmed was completely changed.  His violent temperament had dissipated and he was kinder to his wife and son.  As with the previous responses to Chick tracts, we will not respond to aspects of Christian theology for the sake of brevity.  However, let us briefly respond to the selective quotes of the New Testament which Chick used to create the illusion that Christianity urges better treatment of women than Islam. 

            Chick cited two Biblical passages: Colossians 3:19 and 1 Peter 3:7.  First, it should be pointed out that these are not the “words of the Prophet Jesus”.  Colossians is said to have been written by Paul, whereas 1 Peter is said to have been written (or dictated) by Peter.[63]  Either way, the “words” were not said by Jesus (peace be upon him).  Both verses stress the importance of kind treatment of wives, similar to the teachings of Islam.  However, as Chick was selective and deceptive in his quotes of Islamic sources, he was also selective and deceptive in his quotes of the New Testament.  As it turns out, Colossians 3 and 1 Peter 3 both state that wives must “submit” to their husbands, a fact that Chick did not feel compelled to mention!  Colossians 3:18 states:

“[w]ives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” 

Similarly, 1 Peter 3:1 states:

“[w]ives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands…”

So, as it turns out, when it comes to marital relations, Islam and Christianity are actually pretty similar.  Both emphasize the duty of the wife to obey her husband, and both urge husbands to treat their wives with kindness.  Conversely, Islam does not prohibit a woman from teaching a man, whereas Christianity does.   

Conclusion

            In this article, we have examined the Chick tract “Is Allah Like You?”  This tract is yet another example of the laughable ignorance and faulty logic of the late Jack Chick.  But on a more serious note, it is another example of his extreme bigotry and hatred of Islam.  He concocted yet more lies about Muhammad (peace be upon him), made unfair stereotypes of Muslim men, and deceitfully quoted the Islamic sources.  It is hard to find sympathy for such a lying and bigoted man as Chick.  In this article, we have refuted his ludicrous claims about alleged Islamic misogyny and wife-beating, alleged contradictions in Islamic theology and the nature of the One and Only God, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).  Perhaps now, we can actually answer the main question of the tract: “is Allah like you?”  The best answer comes from Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) Himself:

“Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.”[64]

And Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) knows best! 


[1] http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1058/1058_01.asp

[2] Uncle Yousef evidently got this idea from reading Surah An-Nisa, 4:34.  As we will see, the verse does not say that it is permissible to beat one’s wife “any time she disobeys or embarrasses” her husband, nor is it a license for brutal acts of violence even when a wife disobeys her husband.

[3] Chick appealed to this verse in a previous tract as well, which we responded to: https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/18/islam-jack-chick-and-the-battle-for-souls-camels-in-the-tent/

[4] As we will see, Chick is using yet another gullible Muslim character in his fictional tract to spread his propaganda about Islam.  Anyone who actually checks the sources used by Chick will see that it is an absurd and laughable attempt on his part to spread his religion.  In short, Chick lied!

[5] Here, Chick appealed to the “abrogation” verse, which states that some previous revelations may be replaced later on (Surah 2:106).  It seems the irony of criticizing “abrogation” did not dawn on the Trinitarian who believes that the laws of the Tanakh have been…abrogated! 

[6] It seems poor Safiyah was also quite gullible, just like her husband, as we will see!

[7] Some plot holes in the tract can be seen in the character of “Ahmed”.  Despite being an avid reader of the Quran, he seems to be abhorrently ignorant of what it actually says.  Moreover, he doesn’t even seem to be too knowledgeable about his native language, Arabic, despite the fact that he is…an Arab!

[8] http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/sturmer.htm

[9] https://ferris.edu/jimcrow/brute/

[10] Adab Al-Mufrad, 19:363.

[11] Ibid., 5:86. 

In another version of this hadith, it states that the young Hasan’s saliva would drop on the Prophet while he was carrying him (Sunan Ibn Majah, 1:1:658).

[12] Adab Al-Mufrad, 42:971.

[13] Sahih Al-Bukhari, 8:73:25.

The prophet did the same with his other grandchildren as well:

“It was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin Shaddad, this his father said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came out to us for one of the nighttime prayers, and he was carrying Hasan or Husain. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came forward and put him down, then he said the Takbir and started to pray. He prostrated during his prayer, and made the prostration lengthy.” My father said: “I raised my head and saw the child on the back of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) while he was prostrating so I went back to my prostration. When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) finished praying, the people said: “O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), you prostrated during the prayer for so long that we thought that something had happened or that you were receiving a revelation.’ He said: ‘No such thing happened. But my son was riding on my back and I did not like to disturb him until he had enough.'”” (Sunan An-Nasai, 2:12:1142).

[14] Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992), p. 81.

[15] W. Montgomery Watt, Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman (London: Oxford University Press, 1961), p. 230.

[16] Sunan Abu Dawud, 2:495.

[17] http://islamicstudies.info/hadith/riyad-us-saliheen/riyad.php?hadith=298&to=302

[18] New International Version.

[19] Surah At-Tahrim, 66:11.

[20] Surah Hud, 11:98.

“He will go before his people on the Day of Judgment, and lead them into the Fire (as cattle are led to water): But woeful indeed will be the place to which they are led!”

[21] Suzanne Haneef, A History of the Prophets of Islam: Derived from the Quran, Ahadith and Commentaries, Vol. 2 (Chicago: Kazi Publications, Inc., 2003), p. 69.

[22] See note #13 in the article “The Exodus from Egypt: Part I – A Comparison of the Biblical and Quranic Versions” for more on this (https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/the-exodus-from-egypt-part-i/#_edn13)

[23] Sunan Abu Dawud, 14:2619.

[24] Surah An-Nisa, 4:19.

[25] http://islamicstudies.info/hadith/riyad-us-saliheen/riyad.php?hadith=273&to=280

[26] Ibid.

[27] Jami At-Tirmidhi, 1:7:1162.

[28] Muhammad Ibn Adam Al-Kawthari, Al-Arbain: Elucidation of the Forty Hadiths on Marriage (London: Turath Publishing, 2013), p. 92. 

For a detailed discussion of the rights of a wife, see pp. 91-99.

[29] Jonathan A. C. Brown, Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy (London, OneWorld Publications, 2014), p. 275.

[30] Al-Kawthari, op. cit., p. 98.

[31] Brown, op. cit., p. 275.

To this, Al-Kawthari adds:

“[t]he idea is not to hurt one’s wife, but merely to discipline and make her realise that her behaviour needs to change.  It’s more like a ‘tap’ on the shoulder than a hard strike, and even this is best avoided” (p. 98).

[32] Sunan Ibn Majah, 3:9:1984.

“It was narrated that ‘Aishah said: ‘The Messenger of Allah never beat any of his servants, or wives, and his hand never hit anything.’”

[33] Brown, op. cit., p. 275.

This attitude towards domestic violence was also inherited by the scholars of Islam centuries after the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  According to Brown:

“[i]t became received opinion among Sunni ulama from Iberia to Iran that, though striking one’s wife was permitted, other means of discipline and dispute were greatly preserved, more effective and better for the piety of both spouses” (Ibid., p. 276).

[34] Brown, op. cit., p. 277.

In contrast, the Biblical view on divorce is completely and utterly impractical.  In the Tanakh, a woman’s right to divorce is non-existent (whereas a man could divorce his wife for many reasons)!  According to the “Christian Broadcasting Network” (which is affiliated with noted Islamophobe Pat Robertson):

“[i]n the Old Testament, Moses permitted a man to obtain a divorce on just about any grounds” (http://www1.cbn.com/questions/bible-says-about-divorce-and-remarriage)

As far as the New Testament is concerned, the above article states that divorce is only permissible on the grounds of adultery or spousal desertion.  The reason for the latter is not explained in the Bible, but according to the CBN:

“…some people recognize such a thing as a “constructive desertion,” which would be when a husband so brutalizes his wife that it is impossible to live with him any longer…”

So, in essence, Christianity makes seeking a divorce on the grounds of domestic abuse impossible, but states that a woman may simply leave her husband to escape his “brutality”!  But here is the kicker.  According to Paul, “constructive desertion” only applied in the case when a “believer” was married to an “unbeliever”, so this rule would not apply to a Christian couple!  Indeed, as the CBN admits:

“[f]rankly, it seems impossible that two born-again Christians who are dedicated to serving Jesus Christ can find any grounds for divorce.”

Apparently, domestic abuse is not grounds for divorce!  As the Christian website “GotQuestions” states:

“[s]ince the Bible does not list abuse as an acceptable reason for divorce, we are careful to limit our advice to separation” (https://www.gotquestions.org/abuse-divorce.html).

[35] 1 Timothy 2:12.

To be fair, it is likely that Paul was not the author of the letters to Timothy.  According to the Biblical scholar Burton Mack:

“[th]e three letters [1 and 2 Timothy and Titus] were written at different times, undoubtedly during the first half of the second century.  They were not included in Marcion’s list of Paul’s letters (ca. 140 C.E.), nor do they appear in the earliest manuscript collection of Paul’s letters (P46, ca. 200 C.E.). […] Their attribution to Paul is clearly fictional, for their language, style, and thought are thoroughly un-Pauline…” (Who Wrote the New Testament?  The Making of the Christian Myth (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1995), p. 206).

To this, the eminent New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman explains:

“…all three letters were written by the same person, and…this person was not Paul” (Bart Ehrman, Forged: Writing in the Name of God – Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are (New York: HarperOne, 2011), p. 97).

However, as Reza Aslan explains, even though 1 Timothy is most likely not a Pauline epistle, it could still have been influenced by his teachings:

“…naming a book after someone significant was a common way of honoring that person and reflecting his views” (Reza Aslan, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (New York: Random House, 2013), pp. 204). 

[36] Surah Al-Anfaal, 8:22-23.

[37] Surah Sad, 38:82-85.

[38] Exodus 4:21.  Cf. Exodus 7:3, 9:12, 10:1, 20, 11:10, 14:4.

[39] Romans 9:18.  Paul also cited Exodus 33:19, which states:

“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

[40] Mark S. Smith, The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1990), p. 132.

[41] The fact that the early Muslims had memorized the Holy Quran and written it down on whatever materials were available is actually a testament to its amazing preservation.  Perhaps if the early Christians had done the same thing, we would actually have the original teachings of the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him)!  But alas, this did not happen.

[42] Surah An-Nahl, 16:102.

[43] The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary, ed. Seyyed Hossein Nasr (New York: HarperOne, 2015), p 13. 

[44] Surah Al-Furqan, 25:67.

[45] Jami At-Tirmidhi, 4:10:2377.

[46] Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhelwi, “Khasaa-il Nabawi Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam,” in Shamaa-Il Tirmidhi, Trans. Muhammad bin ‘Abdurrahman Ebrahim (New Delhi: Islamic Book Service, 2010), p. 60.

[47] Sunan Ibn Majah, 1:5:1096.

[48] Jami At-Tirmidhi, 4:1:1998.

[49] Sahih Muslim, 6:2427.

[50] Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:52.

[51] The Study Quran, op. cit., p. 1035.

[52] Chick claimed that Muhammad (peace be upon him) had 23 wives.  But this is incorrect.  According to Islamic scholar Safi-ur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri:

“…the wives he married were thirteen.  Nine of them were alive when he passed away.  Two died in his lifetime: Khadija and the Mother of the poor…Zainab bint Khuzaimah, besides two others whom he did not consummate his marriage” (Safi-ur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar: Biography of the Noble Prophet (Riyadh: Darussalam, 2002), p. 562).

[53] 2 Samuel 5:13-16.

[54] Deuteronomy 17:17.

[55] As we explained in our article on the blessed David (peace be upon him), Muslims do not believe that he committed adultery:

https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/david-in-the-bible-and-the-quran/

[56] Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:37.

[57] Moustafa Zayed, The Lies About Muhammad: How You Were Deceived into Islamophobia (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2010), p. 103.

[58] Ibid., p. 102.

[59] https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/18/islam-jack-chick-and-the-battle-for-souls-camels-in-the-tent/

[60] Sunan Ibn Majah, 3:13:2319.

[61] http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=329

[62] The Study Quran, op. cit., p. 49.

[63] In actual fact, most scholars view both Colossians and 1 Peter as forgeries, which were not written by Paul or Peter, respectively.  Regarding Colossians, Ehrman states:

“[o]n the surface it looks like Paul’s work, but not when you dig deeply into it” (Bart Ehrman, Forged: Writing in the Name of God – Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are (New York: HarperOne, 2011), p. 112).

He also states:

“[w]hat we have here…is another instance in which a later follower of Paul was concerned to address a situation in his own day and did so by assuming the mantle and taking the name of Paul, forging a letter in his name” (Ibid., pp. 113-114).

Regarding 1 Peter, Ehrman states that (emphasis in the original):

“[i]t was written by someone claiming to be Peter” (Ibid. p. 68).

Similarly, Mack states regarding Colossians:

“Paul’s letters to the Colossians and Ephesians are not authentic.  There is not a suggestion of the personal Paul in either of them.” (Mack, op. cit., p. 183).

Regarding 1 Peter (as well as 2 Peter and Jude), Mack states:

“[a]ll three letters bear the marks of second-century authorship and erudition: excellent Greek, formal education, facile use of the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint)…” (Ibid., p. 208).

Suffice it to say, no serious scholar of the New Testament regards Colossians or 1 Peter as authentic letters of Paul or Peter, respectively.

[64] Surah Al-Ikhlas, 112:1-4.

 

6 thoughts on “Islam, Jack Chick and the Battle for Souls – “Is Allah Like You?”

  1. John Stewart

    Came in for an addon with regards to abrogation. Abrogation is not something new to Islam it exists in both secular law and the Bible as well.

    In the Bible, for example the law of divorce:

    “If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves
    his house she becomes the wife of another man…” (Deuteronomy 24:1-2)

    Jesus is said to have abrogated this:

    “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. (Matthew 5:31-32)

    The next point is that the Jews themselves continue to abrogate their own laws. Today they themselves no longer carry out the various punishments in the Tanakh such as marriage of raped women to their rapists, execution for breaking the sabbath, etc. The Talmud itself is very clear on abrogation:
    “The abrogation of a law is sometimes equivalent to the maintenance of the law”; that is, to set a law aside is sometimes as meritorious as to establish it (Men. 99b).

    If you want a more complex example,Moses (as) himself does abrogation regarding the laws of land inheritance in Israel. The background is that each of the 12 tribes would own a specific region of the land, and all of the families in that tribe would own some portion of the land. The land would remain in the tribe and family. In fact, if the land were sold, it would revert back to the family in the Jubilee year every fifty years. (Lev. 25:13, 23-24.) Since one’s tribe is determined through the father, only males can inherit land. So, a father’s land holdings would be passed down to his son or sons. A daughter would presumably marry and join the family of her husband, and their sons would inherent the land from their father.

    This was the state of the law until the daughters of Zelophehad showed up. (Num. 27:1-11.) Zelophehad was a member of the tribe of Manasseh, and he died with five daughters but no sons. Under the rules then in place, his daughters would be left with no inheritance. The daughters argued to Moses and everyone else that they should be allowed to inherent his share. “Let not our father’s name be lost to his clan just because he had no son! Give us a holding among our father’s kinsmen.” (Num 27:4.)

    Moses checked with God, and God said that the daughters were right. “The plea of Zelophehad’s daughter is just.” (Num. 27:5.) From now on, the rule is that if a man dies without sons but with daughters, the property should be transferred to his daughters. (If he dies without any children, there is a more complex hierarchy of inheritance.)

    Importantly, this was not merely an elaboration or clarification of the existing law but an entirely new rule. Before this “case” was brought, the daughters would have received nothing and Zelophehad’s other relatives would have inherited land. Now the daughters inherent and the other relatives receive nothing. And the basis for this change in the law, according to God, is simply justice. “The plea of Zelophehad’s Daughter’s is just.” (Num. 27:5.)

    This story shows the evolution of the law. The children of Israel started with one set of legal rules, but they proved to be unjust in a particular situation. God then modified the rules to comport with justice, producing a second set of rules.

    If this story does not show that law evolves, there’s more. Eight chapters later, in the last chapter of Numbers, new people show up with a new problem with this law. And it changes again. (Num. 36:1-12.)

    The family heads of Zelophehad’s clan show up with a complaint. If the daughters of Zelophehad marry someone from another tribe, their sons will inherit not only their father’s land holding (from the other tribe), but also the land holdings of Zelophehad (from Manasseh). So someone from another tribe will end up owning land smack dab in the middle of Manasseh. The total amount of land that the people of Manasseh own will be permanently reduced.

    Moses agreed with this argument and “commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the Lord, saying ‘The pleas of the the tribe of the sons of Joseph is just.'” Moses then set forth a new rule: daughters may inherit under the old rule only if they marry members of their own tribe. If they marry members of a different tribe, they may not inherit. (The end of the story is that the Daughters of Zelophehad ended up marrying their uncles or cousins, and everyone lived happily ever after.)

    So by this time, the law has now gone through three stages of development: the original law (only sons inherit), the modified law (daughters can inherit if there are no sons), and the modified modified law (only if they marry someone from their tribe).

    Several points are worth noting here.

    First, the Torah could have given us just the final rule without showing any of its intermediate forms of development. The fact that we see the evolution of the law suggests that the evolution itself is important, not just the final law.

    Second, Moses used the identical language (and the Hebrew is identical: keyn) to describe the plea of the Manasseh tribe here that God used to describe the plea of the daughters of Zelophehad. Their plea is “just”. (Some translations use “right”.)

    Third, the text does not say that Moses checked with God before stating the new rule. Instead, Moses himself spoke to the Children of Israel “al pi Adonai”: according to the work of God.

    Fourth, Moses changed the very law that God himself had changed.

    What do we make of this? God, responding to the daughters of Zelophehad, set forth a methodology for determining when laws should change. Once God established this methodology, Moses was free to employ it himself in response to the other members of the tribe of Manasseh, and in doing so he spoke “al pi Adonai.”

    And there are many more examples of this when one starts to add in their sacrifice systems etc. It really does show the ignorance of this man even in regards to the religion he’s attempting to call Muslims too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John Stewart

    No problem. I’m also going to do a post regarding his “qaf, ayn, etc.” and Muslims “not knowing what they mean” argument. The irony is there are A TON of Hebrew words in the Bible they don’t know the meaning too. (Simply pull up Biblical commentaries such as Oxford’s,NRV or Jewish Study Bible and you will constantly see “Hebrew word of unknown origin”) The Jewish scholars around I believe 10th to 12th century actually had to ask a Sultan to have Muslim scholars bring back Hebrew using Arabic lexicons because it was a dead language. That’s why you’ll also see them having to use Arabic in commentaries to attempt to breakdown Hebrew words. InshAllah when I have more time I’ll get some examples from the Bible.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Discussion With Another Chickie – “Allah Had No Son” – The Quran and Bible Blog

  4. Pingback: Islam, Jack Chick and the Battle for Souls – “Men of Peace?” – The Quran and Bible Blog

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