In his articles, lectures and debates regarding the Islamic conception of God, one will often find Muslim polemicist Jamal Badawi claiming that Islam expressly prohibits worshiping Allah through the mediation of any creature, no matter how exalted that being might be, since to do so is to commit the one sin that Badawi’s deity will never forgive, namely, shirk (cf. Q. 2:22; 4:48, 116; 39:65). Here is what Badawi said in one of his many debates on this very topic:
First, God is one in essence and in person. This excludes the presence of equal divine persons in the same Godhead. Neither tritheism nor trinity, however explained, is compatible with the pure Islamic monotheism. Two, God alone is worthy of worship and unqualified devotion. None is to be worshiped instead of Him or along side with Him as “co-equal,” nor is God to be worshiped through any creature whether religious institution, clergy or even the greatest of the prophets. The third condition in Islam for monotheism is that any shortcoming, man-like weaknesses and limitation is not befitting to the glory of God. This excludes any notion of God incarnate and any other quality or action which is ungod-like or unsuitable for the majesty of God.
To the Muslim any deviation from any of these conditions means to associate or join others with God in His exclusive, divine attributes. It is regarded as a serious compromise of pure and long-standing monotheism taught by all prophets. In fact, Muslims believe that prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was sent by God to restore and clarify the same pure concept of monotheism that was taught by all of the prophets. (The Concept of God in Islam and Christianity https://www.jashow.org/articles/islam/christianity-islam-compared/the-concept-of-god-in-islam-and-christianity/; bold emphasis ours)
With the foregoing in view, we are going to examine Badawi’s assertions in light of Islam’s primary sources to see whether they concur with his claims or not.
To begin with, the only religion that Allah accepts is that of Islam:
Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ except, out of mutual jealousy, after knowledge had come to them. And whoever disbelieves in the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, then surely, Allah is Swift in calling to account… And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers. S. 3:19, 85 Hilali-Khan
And yet the only way that a person can become a Muslim according to the ahadith is by testifying that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger:
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: Allah’s Apostle said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles): 1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle. 2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly. 3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity) . 4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca) 5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 7 http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=2&translator=1&start=0&number=7)
Therefore, there is no way for a person to enter into the fold of Islam without confessing and putting one’s trust in Muhammad.
In fact, the Quran itself testifies that a person must obey and love Muhammad just as much as s/he loves and trusts the Muslim deity, and more than anything and anyone else if s/he wants to be loved and accepted by Allah,
Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Say: Obey Allah AND the messenger. But if they turn away, lo! Allah loveth not the disbelievers (in His guidance). S. 3:31-32 Pickthall
Say, “If are your fathers, and your sons, and your brothers, and your spouses, and your relatives, and wealth that you have acquired and the commerce, you fear a decline (in) it and the dwellings you delight (in) it (are) more beloved to you than Allah, AND His Messenger and striving in His way, then wait until Allah brings His Command. And Allah (does) not guide the people – the defiantly disobedient.” S. 9:24
Thou wilt not find folk who believe in Allah and the Last Day loving those who oppose Allah AND His messenger, even though they be their fathers or their sons or their brethren or their clan. As for such, He hath written faith upon their hearts and hath strengthened them with a Spirit from Him, and He will bring them into Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide. Allah is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him. They are Allah’s party. Lo! is it not Allah’s party who are the successful? S. 58:22 Pickthall
Since Allah demands wholehearted submission to the desires and decisions of Muhammad himself:
But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make thee judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which thou decidest, and submit with full submission. S. 4:65 Pickthall
This is why the Muslim scripture proclaims that obedience to Muhammad is exactly the same as obeying Allah, since you cannot have one without the other:
He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad), has indeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away, then we have not sent you (O Muhammad) as a watcher over them. S. 4:80 Hilali-Khan
Islam further stresses the necessity of Muhammad’s intercession for the forgiveness of sins, since without Muhammad’s prayers a person can never be clean or made pure in the sight of Allah:(1)
We sent no messenger save that he should be obeyed by Allah’s leave. And if, when they had wronged themselves, they had but come unto thee and asked forgiveness of Allah, and asked forgiveness of the messenger, they would have found Allah Forgiving, Merciful. S. 4:64 Pickthall
The true believers are only those, who believe in (the Oneness of) Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), and when they are with him on some common matter, they go not away until they have asked his permission. Verily! Those who ask your permission, those are they who (really) believe in Allah and His Messenger. So if they ask your permission for some affairs of theirs, give permission to whom you will of them, and ask Allah for their forgiveness. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. S. 24:62 Hilali-Khan
Take Sadaqah (obligatory alms) out of their wealth through which YOU MAY cleanse and purify them, and pray for them. Indeed, YOUR PRAYER is a source of peace for them. And Allah is (All-) Hearing, (All-) Knowing. S. 9:103 Dr. Muhammad Taqi Usmani http://islamawakened.com/quran/9/st24.htm
Badawi’s woes are far from over as we are about to see in the second part of our discussion https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/05/unveiling-jamal-badawis-true-mediator-and-savior-pt-2/.
(1) This raises a major problem since Muhammad is dead now. Therefore, Muslims like Badawi must accept that much of the Quran has been made obsolete with the passing of Muhammad, proving that it isn’t a message for all times. Or Badawi must assume that these verses are still binding on Muslims, and if so, then this means that Badawi has to believe that his prophet is still praying and interceding for his community even though he has been dead and buried for over fourteen hundred years. This being the case then Muslims are still required to somehow seek Muhammad’s intercession, either by praying to him directly and/or by visiting his grave in order to personally ask him to pray on their behalf, which is precisely what some Muslims did and still do!
Note the explanation of Q. 4:64 by a renowned Islamic scholar:
Although, this verse (64) was revealed in the background of a particular incident relating to hypocrites, yet its words yield a general ruling which stipulates that anyone who presents himself before the Holy Prophet and he prays for his forgiveness, he will be definitely forgiven. And ‘the presence before the Prophet,’ as it would have been during his blessed life in this mortal world, HOLDS THE SAME EFFECT EVEN TODAY as the visit to the sacred precincts of the Mosque of the Prophet and the act of ‘presenting’ oneself BEFORE THE BLESSED RESIDENT OF THE SANCTIFIED MAUSOLEUM FALLS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THIS RULE.
Sayyidna ‘Ali has said: “Three days after we all had finished with the burial of the Messenger of Allah a villager came and fell down close to the blessed grave. Weeping bitterly, he referred to this particular verse of the Qur’an AND ADDRESSING HIMSELF TO THE BLESSED GRAVE, he said: ‘Allah Almighty has promised in this verse that a sinner, if he presented himself before the Rasul of Allah, and the Rasul elects to pray for his forgiveness, then he will forgive him. Therefore, here I am, presenting myself BEFORE YOU so that I may be blessed with YOUR prayer for my forgiveness.’ People personally present there at that time say that, in response to the pleading of the villager, a voice coming out from the sanctified mausoleum rang around with the words… You have been forgiven.” (al-Bahr al-Muhit) (Mufti Shafi Usmani, Maariful Quran, Volume 2, p. 486 https://ia802707.us.archive.org/2/items/maarifulquran-english-pdf/MaarifulquranEnglishPdf-Vol2-Page451-505ByMuftiShafiUsmaniRah.pdf; bold and capital emphasis ours)