Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Jesus as the Holy and Righteous One

Highlighting the Utter Ignorance of a Christophobe concerning His Religion

Sam Shamoun

Reformed Christian apologist Turretinfan has commented on Muslim taqiyyist Paul Bilal Williams’ recent debate with Rev. Chris Green where the former denied that the title which Peter used to describe Christ in Acts 3:14, namely  “the Holy and Righteous One,” is an epithet for God. Williams also objected when Green cited Peter’s proclamation in Acts 3:15 that Jesus is the Author of Life, claiming that this did not imply that Christ is God.

In objecting to what Green said, Williams not only proved once again that he is not interested in the truth, and could care less what the Holy Bible has to say about the Lord Jesus Christ, he once more demonstrated that he has no clue what his own religion teaches concerning this issue.

According to Islamic scholarship, titles such as “Holy One” and “Righteous/Just One” are names which belong exclusively to Allah:

The Divine Names Related to Perfection

As-Subbûh, Al-Quddûs: The All-Perfect, Utterly Pure

Subbuh is from Subhan, which is glorification and tanzih, disconnecting and elevating Him above any others. He is All-Perfect, All-Pure, All Glorious, far removed from everything evil and imperfect.

Quddus means pure (tahir, munazzah), pure and free of any imperfection. He is far removed from every imperfection or impurity or from anything that would detract from His glory, and disconnected from every description perceived by the senses and thought, All-Holy, All-Pure, All-Perfect.

Some say Subbuh denies imperfection and Quddus affirms perfection.

Al-Quddus is one of the Ninety-Nine Names…

The Divine Names Related to Justice

Al'Adl,  Al-'Âdil: The Just

The Just and Equitable. He whom desire does not cause to incline or decline so that He should deviate from the right course in judgement.

Al-'Adl is one of the Ninety-Nine Names. (Aisha Bewley, Divine Names)


5. Al-Quddus
The Most Holy…

30. Al-'Adl
The Utterly Just (Gibril F. Haddad, Allah’s Names and Attributes)

The Quran itself labels Allah as “the Holy One” in two places:

God is He save whom there is no deity: the Sovereign Supreme, the Holy (al-qudusu), the One with whom all salvation rests, the Giver of Faith, the One who determines what is true and false, the Almighty, the One who subdues wrong and restores right, the One to whom all greatness belongs! Utterly remote is God, in His limitless glory, from anything to which men may ascribe a share in His divinity! S. 59:23 Muhammad Asad 

ALL THAT IS in the heavens and all that is on earth extols the limitless glory of God, the Sovereign Supreme, the Holy (al-qudusi), the Almighty, the Wise! S. 62:1 Asad

Here is how Pickthall and Yusuf Ali render these same texts:

He is Allah, than Whom there is no other Allah, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the Superb. Glorified be Allah from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him). Pickthall

All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth glorifieth Allah, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, the Mighty, the Wise. Pickthall

Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god;- the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection), the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him. Ali

Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare the Praises and Glory of Allah,- the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Exalted in Might, the Wise. Ali

Islamic theology further teaches that none of Allah’s names and characteristics can ever be ascribed to any creature, no matter how highly exalted. To do so would be to commit shirk (“association”) in Tawhid al-Asma wa l-Sifat (“the unity of Allah’s names and attributes”), which is an unforgiveable sin:

3. Shirk in Asma wa l-Sifat. The concept of Tawhid al-Asma wa l-Sifat involves affirming for Allah the Most Beautiful Names and Perfect Attributes. So shirk of this category can occur in a number of ways:

a. By comparing Allah to creation. For example, the claim of the Jews and Christians that Allah ‘tired’ after creating the Heavens and Earth, or that He ‘forgot’ certain matters are examples of shirk in Asma wa l-Sifat.

b. By comparing creation to Allah. When creation is given the Names or Attributes that belong solely to Allah, shirk occurs. So to claim that a certain saint knows everything, or can hear the plea of any worshipper, is in fact shirk in Asma wa l-Sifat.

c. By deriving the names of idols from Allah’s Names. This was the practice of the Jahiliyyah Arabs of old, for they named their idol al-Lat by feminising the name ‘Allah’, and al-‘Uzza by feminising al-‘Aziz, and al-Manat from al-Mannan

This categorisation, just like the three categories of tawhid, can be inferred and derived from various texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah. The Qur’an explicitly describes shirk in all of these three categories. In one verse, Allah states…

“Say: Call out to those whom you claim [as deities] besides Allah. They do not possess an atom’s weight [of control] in the heavens or on earth, nor do they have any share (shirk) therein, nor does He [Allah] have any helpers [from amongst them]” [Surah Saba’; 22]

In this verse, shirk in Rububiyyah is mentioned, since Allah negates them having any command or ownership of the heavens and earth.

A verse which mentions shirk in Uluhiyyah is…

“So whoever is hopeful for the meeting of his Lord – let him do righteous deeds, and not associate (yushrik) anyone in the worship of his Lord” [Surah al-Kahf; 110]

In this verse, Allah warns mankind from falling into shirk in Uluhiyyah by directing acts of worship to other than He.

Shirk in Asma wa l-Sifat is also negated frequently in the Qur’an. For example, Allah states…

“And he does not share (yushrik) in His legislation with anyone” [Surah al-Kahf; 26]

 And He states…

“And there is no equal to Him” [Surah al-Ikhlas; 4]

So Allah negates the existence of any partner that resembles Him, or has His Names and Attributes. (An Explanation of Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab’s Kashf al-Shubuhat - Critical Study of Shirk, translation and commentary by Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi [Al-Hidaayah Publishing & Distribution, Birmingham, UK], 6. The Categories of Shirk, 1. Shirk in Relation to the Categories of Tawhid, pp. 37-38; bold emphasis ours)

Therefore, to call Jesus the Holy and/or Righteous One is to ascribe to him some of the names and characteristics which Islam insists belong only to God. And yet this is precisely what we find Jesus’ first followers doing, just as the following examples amply testify:

“This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. But God raised him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with thy presence.’ Brethren, I may say to you confidently of the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.” Acts 2:23-32

“Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered,” Acts 7:52

“And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he spoke in this way, ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ Therefore he says also in another psalm, ‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’ For David, after he had served the counsel of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid with his fathers, and saw corruption; but he whom God raised up saw no corruption.” Acts 13:32-37 

“And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Just One and to hear a voice from his mouth;’” Acts 22:14

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the Holy One, the True One, who has the key of David, who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens.’” Revelation 3:7

Even the unclean spirits recognized that Jesus was the Holy One of God!

“And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.’” Mark 1:23-24

The Hebrew Bible itself recognizes that these are divine titles which the blessed prophets ascribed to Yahweh their God:

“From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One. But I say, “I pine away, I pine away. Woe is me! For the treacherous deal treacherously, the treacherous deal very treacherously.”” Isaiah 24:16

“‘To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?’ says the Holy One.” Isaiah 40:25

“I am Yahweh, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” Isaiah 43:15

“I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I devastate Ephraim again. For I am God, and not a man—the Holy One among you. I will not come against their cities.” Hosea 11:9

“Art you not from everlasting, O Yahweh my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, you have ordained them as a judgment; and you, O Rock, have established them for chastisement.” Habakkuk 1:12

“Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: ‘You are just in these judgments, O Holy One, you who are and who were; for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.’ And I heard the altar respond: ‘Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.’” Revelation 16:5-7

And even though there are individuals who are called saints or holy ones, such persons were made such. In the case of Christ, however, not only is holy by nature, being absolutely sinless,

“Mary asked the angel, ‘How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?’ The angel replied to her: ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.’” Luke 1:34-35

“The one who speaks for himself seeks his own glory. But He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” John 7:18 – cf. 8:29, 46; Psalm 92:15; Romans 9:14

“But because He remains forever, He holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore, He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them. For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He doesn’t need to offer sacrifices every day, as high priests do—first for their own sins, then for those of the people. He did this once for all when He offered Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak, but the promise of the oath, which came after the law, appoints a Son, who has been perfected forever.” Hebrews 7:24-28 – 4:15; 9:14

“Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure You know that He was revealed so that He might take away sins, and there is no sin in Him… Little children, let no one deceive you! The one who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous. The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works.” 1 John 3:2-3, 5, 7 – cf. 2:1-2

He is also the One who actually makes people holy, being able to grant them repentance and forgiveness of sins in his sovereign name or by his divine authority:

“Then He said to them, ‘These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in HIS NAME to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Luke 24:44-47

“Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?’ And Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.’” Acts 2:37-39

“The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you. You killed the Author/Source of life, whom God raised from the dead; we are witnesses of this. By faith in His name, His name has made this man strong, whom you see and know. So the faith that comes through Him has given him this perfect health in front of all of you… God raised up His Servant and sent Him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.” Acts 3:13-16, 26(1)

“God exalted Him at His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31

“And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified BY FAITH IN ME.’” Acts 26:15-18

“To God’s church at Corinth, to those who are sanctified IN CHRIST JESUS and called as saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord—both their Lord and ours.” 1 Corinthians 1:2

“Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom. And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

“For in bringing many sons to glory, it was entirely appropriate that God—all things exist for Him and through Him—should make THE SOURCE OF THEIR SALVATION perfect through sufferings. For THE ONE who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. That is why JESUS is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying: I will proclaim Your name to My brothers; I will sing hymns to You in the congregation.” Hebrews 2:10-12

The reason why the Lord Jesus is capable of making people holy is because he voluntarily offered up himself as a vicarious sacrifice, in which he shed his blood and poured out his life unto death, in order to procure forgiveness and redemption for all those who would believe in him:

“even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ And he took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” Matthew 26:26-28

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior… Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” Ephesians 5:2, 23, 25-30

“awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.” Titus 2:13-14

“For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps. He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth; when He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He was suffering, He did not threaten but entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds. For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:21-25 – cf. 1:18-19; 3:18(1)

“And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until His enemies should be made a footstool for His feet. For by a single offering HE HAS PERFECTED FOR ALL TIME those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:10-14

“So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through HIS OWN BLOOD.” Hebrews 13:12

“and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has set us free from our sins by His blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—the glory and dominion are His forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6

“When He took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slaughtered, and You redeemed people for God BY YOUR BLOOD from every tribe and language and people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:8-10

“After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were robed in white with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, AND TO THE LAMB! All the angels stood around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures, and they fell facedown before the throne and worshiped God, saying: Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen. Then one of the elders asked me, ‘Who are these people robed in white, and where did they come from?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ Then he told me: These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and they serve Him day and night in His sanctuary. The One seated on the throne will shelter them: They will no longer hunger; they will no longer thirst; the sun will no longer strike them, nor will any heat. For the Lamb who is at the center of the throne will shepherd them; He will guide them to springs of living waters, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:9-17

The foregoing explains why Jesus is even said to have saints that call on his name in worship:

“But Anani′as answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to YOUR SAINTS/HOLY ONES at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon YOUR NAME.’” Acts 9:13-14, 21

Believers are the saints of Christ because he has made them holy by his perfect obedience to the Father’s will, which entailed offering his life on the cross as a sacrifice of atonement for the sins committed by his people:

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation… But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the effect of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous." Romans 5:8-11, 15-19(1)

Yet the only way that the Lord Jesus could ever have accomplished this work is if he is actually God since the Scriptures emphatically testify that no person is able to ransom the life of a single individual, let alone countless numbers of lives, seeing that this is something which only God can do:

“Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit… But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Selah” Psalm 49:7-9, 15

“I have been Yahweh your God ever since the land of Egypt; you know no God but Me, and no Savior exists besides Me. I knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought… I will ransom them from the power of Sheol. I will redeem them from death. Death, where are your barbs? Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from My eyes.” Hosea 13:4-5, 14

In light of this, we challenge Williams to produce a single Biblical passage where prophets such as Moses are said to have saints whom they have made holy by offering themselves in their place in order to make atonement for them. We further challenge him to cite a specific Quranic text where a human being is called holy or holy one. In fact, we challenge him to show from the Quran where Muhammad is ever called the Holy or Righteous One.(2)

Until he does, Williams needs to retire from apologetics since his blasphemous rants against the risen Lord Jesus Christ and his abysmal ignorance of his own false religion isn’t going to get him too far or popular with individuals who truly love God and his truth. Such shameful tactics will only endear Williams to his fellow taqiyyists and Christophobes who, much like him, could care less about the truth or honesty and integrity.

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(1) These texts deliberately echo the language used by the prophet Isaiah to describe the vicarious sufferings of the Servant of the Lord who comes to make atonement for the sins of God’s people:

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the Righteous One, My Servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:5-12

Hence, even the OT prophets knew and spoke of the absolute essential purity and moral perfection of the Lord’s Messiah and Savior!

(2) The Quran actually goes out of its way to prove that Muhammad was nothing more than an imperfect, fallible sinner who needed to be purified from his transgressions. It even repeatedly warns him that Allah will kill him and damn him to hell if he were to fail or turn away from his mission (cf. Q. 4:105-107; 5:67; 7:188; 9:43; 17:73-75, 93; 18:110; 33:1-3; 39:30-31, 65; 40:55; 41:6; 47:19; 46:9; 48:1-2; 69:44-47; 72:20-25; 110:3). Jesus, on the other hand, is said to be absolutely pure and holy even from birth!

And mention in the Book Mary when she withdrew from her people to an eastern place, and she took a veil apart from them; then We sent unto her Our Spirit that presented himself to her a man without fault. She said, 'I take refuge in the All-merciful from thee! If thou fearest God ... He said, 'I am but a messenger come from thy Lord, to give thee a boy most pure. She said, 'How shall I have a son whom no mortal has touched, neither have I been unchaste?' He said, 'Even so thy Lord has said: "Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us; it is a thing decreed.”’ S. 19:16-21 Arberry