Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Islam


"A question as to Mohammed not being of God"

by Theodore Abu Qurrah

Source: PG 97,1543A-1546A.

Re-published, from: http://thematorthodoxtheolog.blogspot.com/2010/11/blog-post_21.html

Set out below is a noteworthy dialogue that took place in the 8th century A.D. between a Christian and a Saracen, as found in the Patrologia Graeca, Ref. PG 97,1543A-1546A.

Herebelow is the original text, accompanied by a loose translation in English:

Έθος τοις των Σαρακηνών υποκριταίς, ει συναντών Χριστιανόν, μη χαιρετίζειν, αλλ’ ευθέως λέγειν:

"Χριστιανέ, μαρτύριον, ότι είς ο Θεός ακοινώνητος τον Μωάμεθ έχει δούλον και απόστολον."

Και ταύτα τις τών  τοιούτων υποκριτών του Αβουκαρά ηρώτησεν. Ο δε αποκριθείς είπεν:

"Ουχ άλις σοι το της ψευδομαρτυρίας κατάκριμα, έως ου και άλλοις ψευδομαρτυρείν επιτρέπη;


It was customary for the hypocrites of the Saracens, if they should happen to encounter a Christian, to not greet him, but to say directly to him: 

"Christian, there is testimony that God is one and incommunable, and He has Mohammed as His servant and Apostle." 

And this is what one such hypocrite asked Abukaras.  He in reply said to him:

"Isn't the crime of false witness enough for you, that it even allows you to falsely witness to others also?"

Σαρακηνός: Ου ψευδομαρτυρώ.

Saracen: I do not bear false witness.


Χριστιανός: Ουκούν παρώς, ότε ο Θεός τον Μωάμεθ απέστειλε.

Christian:  Therefore you know when God sent Mohammed.


Σαρακηνός: Ουχί. Αλλ’ ως μαρτυρεί ο πατήρ μου, μαρτυρώ καγώ.

Saracen:  No.  But, just as my father testifies, so do I testify.


Χριστιανός: Ει πάντοτε αληθή τα υπό των γονέων τοις τέκνοις λαλούμενα, και Σαμαρείται, και Ιουδαίοι, και Σκύθαι, και Χριστιανοί, και Έλληνες καλώς αν πιστεύωσι, επειδή έκαστοι μαρτυρείν ως οι γόνοι εδιδάχθησαν. Και τι εστί λοιπόν της θρησκείας σου το διάφορον, τω πατρί σου πιστεύσαντος; ούτως γαρ θεμιστεύεται και τα βοσκηματώδη έθνη.

Christian: If the things that parents say to their children are always true, then so do the Samaritans, and the Judeans, and the Scythians, and the Christians, and the Hellenes rightly believe, because each one of them was taught to testify like his parents. So, what is it in your religion that makes it differ from the others, by having believed in your father?  For that is the way that the foraging nations govern themselves.


Σαρακηνός: Επειδή με εις απορίαν περιέστησας, ειπέ μοι συ· αρ’ ουχ όσα δεδίδαξαι υπό του πατρός σου, μαρτυρείς;
Saracen: Because you have made me wonder, now tell me, don't you testify everything you have learnt from your father?


Χριστιανός: Αληθώς. Αλλ’ εμέ ο πατήρ μου αλλά εδίδαξε, και σε ο πατήρ σου άλλα.

Christian:  That is true. But my father taught me other things and your father taught you other things.


Σαρακηνός: Τίνα ουν εδίδαξέ σε ο πατήρ σου, και τίνα με ο πατήρ μου;

Saracen: What are the things that your father taught you, and what are the things that mine taught me?


Χριστιανός: Ο πατήρ μου εδίδαξέ με δέξασθαι απόστολον εκ παλαιοτέρου προδηλωθέντα, ή δια σημείων εαυτόν αξιόπιστον παραστήσαντα. Ο δε σος Μωάμεθ εκατέρων γεγύμνωται, και ηλλοτρίωται. Παλαιός γαρ αυτόν προφήτης, προφήτην ου προεμύνησε, και σημείοις εαυτόν ουκ επιστώσατο.

Christian: My father taught me to accept someone as an apostle, if it has been foretold by someone in the past that he will come, or unless he presents himself with signs that he is trustworthy. Your Mohammed is lacking in and foreign to both these (points). For no old prophet has pre-announced him, nor has he made himself trustworthy through signs.


Σαρακηνός: Ναι, ο Χριστός εν τω Ευαγγελίω έγραψε λέγων· Αποστέλλω υμίν προφήτην, Μωάμεθ λεγόμενον.

Saracen: Yes, Christ wrote in the Gospel, saying: "I send you a prophet, named Mohammed".


Χριστιανός: Το μνημόσυνον αυτού το Ευαγγέλιον ουκ έχει.

Christian:   The Gospel has no commemoration of him.


Σαρακηνός: Είχεν, αλλ’ υμείς εξηλείψατε αυτό.

Saracen:  It had, but you eliminated it.


Χριστιανός: Ο φέρων προς τον δικαστήν, κατά του οφείλοντος δανείου, χειρόγραφον τι των ζητουμένων, ή λαλουμένων μη έχον, τι κρίνει ο δικαστής, ίνα λάβη;

Christian: When someone brings (a case) before a judge against the debtor of a loan, but has no manuscript of what was demanded or has no witness to testify, what does the judge take into account, to reach a decision? 


Σαρακηνός: Ουδέν.

Saracen: Nothing.


Χριστιανός: Ουκούν εν του Ευαγγελίου έχετε ουδέν.

Christian:  Therefore you have nothing from within the Gospel.


Σαρακηνός: Καν εκ του Ευαγγελίου έχω ουδέν, αλλ’ εκ των σημείων, ων εποίησεν, αξιόπιστος δείκνυται προφήτης.

Saracen:  Even if I have nothing from within the Gospel; but, from the signs that he performed he has shown himself to be a trustworthy prophet.


Χριστιανός: Ποίον σημείον εποίησεν;

Christian:  What sign did he perform?


Ο Σαρακηνός, εις ψευδή μυθολογίαν τραπείς, και μηδέν αληθές ειπείν δυνηθείς, ησύχασεν.

The Saracen, having resorted to false evidence and tales, and unable to say anything true, fell silent.


Translation K. N.

Article published in English on: 9-12-2010.

Last update: 9-12-2010.