[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]

An Examination of Shabir Ally's Fascination with Pigs

Being a Christian Response to his "Eating Pork" Article

[Part 2]

[ To follow the flow of the argument, the three parts should be read in the order presented. ]

Shabir continues with these claims:

Some people are aware of this prohibition from God, but they say that they can eat pork because St. Paul said that all food is clean in his letter to the Romans 14:20. St. Paul said this because he believed (as he wrote in his letter to the Ephesians 2:14-15) that Jesus had abolished the Law with all its commandments and regulations. He seems, however, to have misunderstood what he heard about Jesus. In the Gospel According to Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus is reported to have said quite the contrary, as follows: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law . . . ." Jesus then went on in that passage (in verse 19) to denounce anyone who would break the smallest commandment and teach others likewise. He also praised his true followers who will practice and teach even the smallest commandment. One of the commandments, as we have seen, is to stay away from pork.


Did Paul really misunderstand "what he heard about Jesus"? Or is this another instance where Shabir exposes his inability to grasp the real meaning behind Jesus' words? Shabir now thinks that by appealing to Jesus' statement on fulfilling the Law/Prophets he will somehow prove his assertion that the dietary restrictions of the Torah are still binding upon Christians. Shabir's appeal here only proves that he, unlike the beloved Apostle Paul, has no real understanding of the Holy Bible and simply quotes verses out of their intended context in the hopes of establishing the claims of his false religion.

A careful reading of the context will show what Jesus actually meant by fulfilling the Law AND THE PROPHETS. Christ's statement doesn't simply mean that he came to perfectly observe the precepts of the Law. Christ's meaning in context is that he came to bring out the true meaning and intent of the ethical and moral aspects of the Law and Prophets as the following verses demonstrate:

"Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ BUT I TELL YOU, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." Matthew 5:33-37

"You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ BUT I TELL YOU, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." Matthew 5:38-42

The context clearly shows that the way that Christ fulfilled the Law and Prophets is by exegeting the ethical demands of the Hebrew Bible as God intended them to be exegeted. In the words of Messianic Jewish Scholar, David H. Stern:

"It is true that Yeshua (Jesus) kept the Torah perfectly and fulfilled predictions of the Prophets, but that is not the point here. Yeshua did not come to abolish but ‘to make full’ (plerosai) the meaning of what the Torah and the ethical demands of the Prophets require. Thus he came to complete our understanding of the Torah and the Prophets, so that we can try to more effectively be and do what they say to be and do ... The remainder of chapter 5 gives six specific cases in which Yeshua explains the fuller spiritual meaning of points in the Jewish Law. In fact, this verse states the theme and agenda of the entire Sermon on the Mount, in which Yeshua completes, makes fuller, the understanding of his talmidim (students) concerning the Torah and the Prophets, so that they can more fully express what being God's people is all about." (Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary [Clarksville, Maryland; Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996], pp. 25-26; underlined emphasis ours)

Further support for Stern's claim can be seen from Jesus' concluding remarks in his Sermon on the Mount, as well as his final parting comments before his ascension:

"Therefore everyone who hears THESE WORDS OF MINE and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears THESE WORDS OF MINE and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." Matthew 7:24-27

"Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I HAVE COMMANDED YOU. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’" Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus doesn't tell his disciples to pass on Moses' commandments, but rather to pass on the commands he had personally taught them.

Christ also completed the Law by fulfilling the predictions made about him:

"All this took place to FULFILL (plerothe) what the Lord had said through THE PROPHET: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ - which means, ‘God with us.’ Matthew 1:22-23

"When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’ So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was FULFILLED (plerothe) what the Lord had said through THE PROPHET: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’" Matthew 2:13-15

"After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead.’ So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was FULFILLED (plerothe) what was said through THE PROPHETS: ‘He will be called a Nazarene.’" Matthew 2:19-23

"Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. ‘Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be FULFILLED (plerothosin) that say it must happen in this way?’ At that time Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings OF THE PROPHETS might be FULFILLED (plerothosin).’ Then all the disciples deserted him and fled." Matthew 26:51-56

"He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: "And he was numbered with the transgressors"; and I tell you that this MUST BE FULFILLED (telesthenai) IN ME. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its FULFILLMENT (telos).’" Luke 22:36-37

"Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you - that everything written about me in THE LAW of Moses, THE PROPHETS, and the psalms must be FULFILLED (plerotheenai).’" Luke 24:44

As one can see, the word Matthew uses, fulfill (plerosai, coming from the verb pleroo), is used elsewhere in reference to Christ's fulfillment of OT prophecies.

The Blue Letter online Greek lexicon notes:

Strong's # 4137 : pleroo {play-ro'-o}

1) to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full

a) to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally 1) I abound, I am liberally supplied 2) to render full, i.e. to complete a) to fill to the top: so that nothing shall be wanting to full measure, fill to the brim
b) to consummate: a number 1) to make complete in every particular, to render perfect
2) to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out, (some undertaking)
c) to carry into effect, bring to realisation, realise 1) of matters of duty: to perform, execute
2) of sayings, promises, prophecies, to bring to pass, ratify, accomplish
3) to fulfil, i.e. to cause God's will (as made known in the law)
to be obeyed AS IT SHOULD BE, and God's PROMISES
(GIVEN THROUGH THE PROPHETS) to receive fulfilment

(Source: Blue Letter Bible)

The Apostle Paul beautifully sums this all up:

"For being ignorant of the righteousness that God ascribes (which makes one acceptable to Him in word, thought and deed), and seeking to establish a righteousness (a means of salvation) of their own, they did not obey or submit themselves to God's righteousness. For Christ is THE END (telos) of the Law - the limit at which it ceases to be, for the Law leads up to Him Who is the fulfillment of its types, and in Him the purpose in which it was designed to accomplish is fulfilled. - That is, the purpose of the Law is fulfilled in Him - as the means of righteousness (right relationship to God) for everyone who trusts in and adheres to and relies on Him." Romans 10:3-4 Amplified Bible

In light of the preceding contextual factors, we can see what Jesus meant in context. The Law which believers are to follow is the Law that Christ taught and defined through his life, teachings, death and resurrection.

What is most amazing about all this is that the Quran claims that Christ came to make lawful that which was unlawful in the Torah:

"(I have come to you), to attest to the Law which was before me and to make lawful to you part of what was (before) forbidden to you ..." S. 3:50

The following quotations are taken from Mahmoud M Ayoub's book, The Quran and Its Interpreters, Volume II, The House of Imran, State University of New York Press, Albany 1992. All bold and capital emphasis ours:

"Tabari reports on the authority of Wahb bin Munabbih that ‘Jesus was a follower of the law of Moses. He observed the Sabbath and faced Jerusalem in prayer. He said to the Children of Israel, "I have not come to call you to disobey even one word of the Torah. I have come only to make lawful for you some of the things which were before unlawful and to relieve you of some of the hardships [which the Torah imposed on you]."’ Qatadah, according to Tabari, is said to have declared: ‘The [Law] with which Jesus came was much more lenient than that which Moses brought. The Law of Moses made unlawful for them to eat the flesh of camel, the fat covering the stomach of an animal, and some birds and fish’ ...

Ibn Kathir interprets the phrase ‘and will make lawful for you some of the things which were before unlawful’ as indicating that Jesus did indeed abrogate some of the precepts of the Torah. Nevertheless, he reports that some scholars have argued that Jesus did not abrogate anything, but only made lawful for the Children of Israel some of the things concerning which they had disagreed. Ibn Kathir, however, prefers the first view ...

Razi then raises the following question: ‘It may be argued that latter statement contradicts the one before it. This is because it clearly indicates that he came to make lawful some of the things which were unlawful in the Torah. This would mean that his legislation was contrary to that of the Torah, which would contradict his saying, "I shall confirm the Torah which was before me."’ Razi, however, holds that ‘there is actually no contradiction between the two statements because confirming the Torah can only signify the belief that all that is in it is true and right. If, moreover, the second purpose [of Jesus' apostleship] is not mentioned in the Torah, his making lawful some of the things which are unlawful in it would not contradict his having confirmed the Torah. Furthermore, since the Torah contains prophesies concerning the coming of Jesus, then neither his coming nor HIS LAW would be contrary to the Torah.’

Razi then reports the different views concerning what Jesus made lawful for the Children of Israel. He mentions that Wahb b. Munabbih interpreted this statement as first referring to the rabbis ‘who had invented some false laws which they ascribed to Moses. But when Jesus came, he abolished these laws, and thus matters reverted to what they were during the time of Moses.’ Razi also attributed to Wahb the view that ‘God had made some things unlawful for the Jews as a punishment for the transgressions which they had committed, as God says, "because of the wrongdoing which the Jews committed, We made unlawful some of the good things which were before lawful for them" (Q. 4:160). This prohibition remained until Jesus came and lifted these restrictions from them.’ Razi gives by way of example what Jesus altered in the laws of the Torah, his substituting Sunday for the Sabbath as a day of rest ...

Qummi briefly comments that the things which Jesus made lawful for the Children of Israel included work on the Sabbath, and eating such fats and birds which were before unlawful ..." (Ayoub, pp. 149-150)

"... Qutb says: ‘The Torah was, like the Gospel, the scripture of Jesus, that is, the foundation of the religion which he came. The Gospel is intended to COMPLETE AND REVIVE THE SPIRIT OF THE TORAH and the spirit of faith which was obscured in the hearts of the Children of Israel. The Torah is the foundation of the religion of Christ and contains the law (shari'ah) on which the social order is based. The Gospel makes only slight modifications in the Torah, but it is a breath and renewal of the spirit of religion. It acts as a source of discipline for human conscience by bringing it into direct contact with God ...’

"... ‘By Saying, "I shall confirm the Torah that was sent before me" Jesus discloses the nature of true Christianity.’ Qutb argues that the Torah was essential to the message of Jesus, but his message introduced certain minor modifications to it. Jesus made lawful some of the things which God had made unlawful as punishment of the Children of Israel for their sins. ‘Then God wished to show mercy towards them through Christ.’" (pp. 152-153)

"... He [Razi] then presents another possible reason: ‘The Jews knew that Jesus was the messiah who was announced in the Torah, and that he was to ABROGATE their religion ...’" (p. 160)

Commenting on the Jewish demand for a sacrifice and for fire from heaven to consume it in S. 3:183, Ayoub writes:

"Qurtubi reports the account and adds: ‘It is reported that this [divine charge] was in the Torah but that it concluded with the words "until Christ and Muhammad shall come to you, but when they come, believe in them without a sacrifice." It also reported, Qurtubi continues, that ‘offering sacrifices was mandatory UNTIL IT WAS ABROGATED BY JESUS SON OF MARY. Before that a prophet would slaughter the sacrificial animal and pray to God. Then a white smokeless fire with a hissing sound would descend and devour the sacrifice. Hence, this was a false claim by the Jews, for [the truth is that] either it was an exception which they concealed [from the Prophet] OR A CASE OF ABROGATION WHICH THEY STUBBORNLY DENIED ...’" (p. 395)

Here is what the English translation of the Tafsir of Ibn Abbas says regarding this text:

(And (I come) confirming) and I have come confirming Allah's divine Oneness in the Religion (that which was before me of the Torah) and all other Scriptures, (and to make lawful) to give you legal dispensation regarding (some of that which was forbidden unto you) such as the meat of camels, the fat of bovines and sheep, the Sabbath, and other things. (I come unto you with a sign) with a token (from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah) so fear Allah in that which He has commanded you with and repent to Him (and obey me) and follow my command and Religion; (online source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

The Tafsir al-Jalalayn states that:

Likewise, I have come to you, confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful for you some of that which was forbidden to you, in it. Thus he made lawful for them fish and birds which had no spikes; it is also said that he made it all lawful for them, so that ba'd, 'some', means, kull, 'all'). I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, He has repeated it for emphasis and to expand upon it: so fear God, and obey me, in what I command you of affirming God's Oneness and being obedient to Him. (online source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

It is clear that both the Quran and these Muslim commentators agree that the Lord Jesus made lawful certain things that were forbidden in the Law such as certain dietary restrictions.

It becomes quite apparent that Shabir's appeal to Matthew 5:17-20 is misplaced since it does nothing to support his erroneous exegesis. Shabir has shown that he hasn't studied either the Holy Bible or the Quran carefully, since if he had he wouldn't have made such gross blunders in his exegesis.

This concludes the second part. Continue with Part 3.

Sam Shamoun

Responses to Shabir Ally and his "Islamic Information"
Answering Islam Home Page