Revisiting

Muhammad and the Unbelievers:

Worshipping the Same or a Different God?

It appears that our articles are having an impact upon Muslims, to the extent that many have taken up the task of trying to refute our claims. One such individual is Shahid bin Waheed (SW for short). The problem with most of SW's counter-responses to our material is that they are very bad in terms of content and substance. Many of the responses do not even bother refuting our points, but simply pile on quote after quote, producing at times lengthy articles presumably to give the impression to his readers that he is in fact refuting our material. At times the author actually ends up rewriting his articles after being refuted by us.

We have already shown in two previous articles why his material lacks any real substance and are really not worth responding to:

http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/pharaohs_magicians_r1.html
http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/davids_seed.htm

Yet SW thinks that our unwillingness to respond to all of his alleged responses has to do with our inability to refute them.

Recently, Jochen Katz and I coauthored the article Muhammad and the Unbelievers: Worshipping the Same or a Different God? to which SW "responded" with his Refutation to Anti-Islaam Misrepresentation of Truth!

In light of his consistent request to refute his responses, I seek to respond to this one particular "rebuttal" in order to provide further evidence why his material lacks content and are really not worth responding to.

To begin with, SW has completely ignored what we had written regarding consulting sources outside the Quran:

To say that this is referring to the idols that the pagans were wrongly worshipping doesn’t solve the problem since:

  1. How does a Muslim know that this is referring to the pagans? Where is this explicitly stated in the text?
  2. Even if this were referring to the pagans, does not the Qur’an say that the pagans knew of and worshipped Allah, and therefore were worshippers of that which Muhammad worshipped?

It doesn’t surprise us that SW ignored our statement regarding the text itself failing to provide data to show that this is referring to the pagans. He seemingly realizes that the Quran is incoherent, making little sense, and that he MUST appeal to outside sources in order to make sense out of this chaos he calls God’s revelation; sources that were written centuries after Muhammad’s death.

What is even more amazing is that the citations provided by SW end up proving our argument! Recall that we had shown from the Quran that the pagan Meccan Arabs worshipped Muhammad’s god, Allah. Now let us compare this with the "historical background" provided by SW in response to our claim, this time with added emphasis:

According to Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas, the Quraish proposed to the Holy Prophet; "We shall give you so much of wealth that you will become the richest man of Makkah; we shall give you whichever woman you like in marriage; we are prepared to follow and obey you as our leader, only on the condition that you will not speak ill of our gods. If you do not agree to this, we present another proposal which is to your as well as to our advantage." When the Holy Prophet asked what it was, they said that if he would worship their gods, Lat and Uzza, for a year, THEY WOULD WORSHIP HIS GOD FOR THE SAME SPACE TIME. The Holy Prophet said: "Wait awhile; let me see what my Lord commands in this regard." Thereupon the revelation came down: Qul ya-ayyuhal-kafirun...and: Qul afa-ghair Allahi...(Az-Zumar: 64): "Say to them: ignorant people do you bid me to worship others than Allah?" (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Tabarani). According to another tradition from Ibn Abbas, the Quraish said to the Holy Prophet: "O Muhammad, if you kiss our gods, the idols, we shall worship your God." Thereupon, this Surah was sent down. (Abd bin Humaid).

Said bin Mina (the freed slave of Abul Bakhtari) has related that Walid bin Mughirah, As bin Wail, Aswad bin al-Muttalib and Umayyah bin Khalaf met the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) and said to him: "O Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings), let us agree THAT WE WOULD WORSHIP YOUR GOD and you would worship our gods, and we would make you a partner in all our works. If what you have brought was better than what we possess, we would be partners in it with You, and have our share in it, and if what we possess is better than what you have brought, you would be partner in it with us and have your share of it." At this Allah sent down: Qul ya-ayyuhal-kafirun (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Hisham also has related this incident in the Sirah).

Wahb bin Munabbih has related that the people of Quraish said to Allah's Messenger: "If you like WE WOULD ENTER YOUR FAITH FOR A YEAR and you would enter our faith for a year." (Abd bin Humaid, Ibn Abi Hatim).

These sources state THAT THE PAGANS DID WORSHIP ALLAH AND WERE EVEN WILLING TO EMBRACE ISLAM, THEREBY PROVING OUR CONTENTION!

It is truly astonishing to see how SW failed to see how his own sources admit that the pagans were willing to worship Allah, thus falsifying Surah 109 WHICH SAYS THAT THEY WOULDN’T WORSHIP THAT WHICH MUHAMMAD WORSHIPPED! (This assumes of course that the surah is addressing the pagan Arabs.)

Here again is the passage:

(Muhammad), tell the disbelievers, "I do not worship what you worship, nor do you worship what I worship I have not been worshipping what you worshipped, NOR WILL you worship what I shall worship You follow your religion and I follow mine." S. 109:1-6 Sarwar

Notice how others translate 109:5:

NOR WILL ye worship that which I worship. Pickthall

NOR WILL ye worship that which I worship. Y. Ali

NOR ARE you GOING to serve Him Whom I serve: Shakir

NOR WILL you worship that which I worship. Hilali-Khan

NOR WILL you be the worshipper of what I worship. Daryabadi

NOR WILL you be worshippers of what I worship. Saheeh International

NOR WILL you EVER what I worship. N.J. Dawood

NOR WILL ye serve what I serve;- Palmer

NOR WILL you EVER worship what I worship. Khalifa

And NEITHER WILL you [EVER] worship that which I worship. Asad

NEITHER WILL you worship what I worship. T.B. Irving

NEITHER WILL ye worship that which I worship. J.M. Rodwell

We truly do appreciate SW’s efforts of providing further proof that the Quran is in error and that our article was correct.

Now SW may contest our assertion and claim that the pagans’ offer to worship Muhammad’s god shows that they were not worshipping Allah. In other words, their offer wouldn’t have been really much of an offer if they were already worshipping Allah. If he does claim this then he would only be positing a contradiction with the Quran since it says THEY WERE WORSHIPPING ALLAH ALREADY. The only way for SW to reconcile both these statements is to assume that what the pagans meant was that they would worship Allah EXCLUSIVELY for that period of time, discarding the worship of their gods for that year.

SW continues:

My comments: Notice that we have an unbroken chain of transmission of authentic narrators. I challenge that web site "answering-islam" or any Christian in this world produce something like this about their gospels and/or Bible. Christians can’t even produce the names of the ghostwriters of their Bible and/or anything about their lives; even proof that any and/or all of them were inspired? Nevertheless, the Surah information cited above with reasons of revelation quashes the absurd claims of anti-Islaam forces, while answering their absurd questions.

RESPONSE:

SW imagines that he has an unbroken chain of transmission, despite the fact that these sources were compiled during a time when the first Muslims were long dead. The following articles written by Muslims demonstrate why many Muslims have rejected the hadith collection as false:

http://www.submission.org/hadith/

These links demonstrate from Muslim sources that the Quran is a text which has undergone corruption:

http://answering-islam.org/PQ/index.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Campbell/s3c3b.html
http://answering-islam.org/Campbell/s3c3c.html
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/bravo_r4bc.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/bravo_r4bc_add.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/quran_variants.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Text/index.html

These links provide the evidence to satisfy SW’s request for evidence demonstrating the historical reliability and inspiration of the Holy Bible:

http://answering-islam.org/Bible/Text/index.html
http://www.answer-islam.org/BibleQuran.html
http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/documents.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Campbell/s3c3a.html
http://answering-islam.org/Campbell/s3c3d.html
http://answering-islam.org/Campbell/s3c3ef.html
www.tektonics.org/lp/nttextcrit.html
www.tektonics.org/ntdocdef/gospdefhub.html
www.tektonics.org/af/bauerhyp.html
www.tektonics.org/qm/qmhub.html
www.tektonics.org/ntdocdef/pastorals.html
www.christian-thinktank.com/stil23.html
www.christian-thinktank.com/ynotpeter1.html
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Shabir-Ally/nab.htm
http://christian-thinktank.com/dumbdad2.html
http://christian-thinktank.com/dumbdad3.html
http://christian-thinktank.com/dumbdad4.html
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Saifullah/bravo1.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Saifullah/bravo3.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Saifullah/bravo4.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Saifullah/bravo5.htm

We challenge him to produce any comparable historical, archaeological, textual and MSS evidence for his book the Quran. We know he can’t since he has none.

SW digresses from the issue by bringing up irrelevant points, such as Islam being tolerant of other faiths. For the most part these are red herrings and we would simply ignore them. Yet, since he complains about us not studying the "authentic" Muslim sources in order to better understand the Quran we are therefore forced to show how he fails to do the very thing he demands of us.

He quotes S. 2:256 to prove that Islam is a tolerant religion, BUT FAILS TO QUOTE HIS OWN SO-CALLED AUTHENTIC SOURCES WHICH EXPLAIN WHAT THIS VERSE REALLY MEANS. Since he failed to quote his own sources we will do him a favor and quote them for him:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:
When the children of a woman (in pre-Islamic days) did not survive, she took a vow on herself that if her child survives, she would convert it a Jew. When Banu an-Nadir were expelled (from Arabia), there were some children of the Ansar (Helpers) among them. They said: We shall not leave our children. So Allah the Exalted revealed; "Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error." (Sunan of Abu Dawud, Book 14, Number 2676)

The following comes from Tafsir Ibn Kathir:

Allah says: "There is no compulsion in religion", meaning: do not force anyone to embrace Islam because it is clear, and its proofs and evidences are manifest. Whoever Allah guides and opens his heart to Islam has indeed embraced it with clear evidence. Whoever Allah misguides, blinds his heart and has set a seal on his hearing and a covering on his eyes cannot embrace Islam by force.

The reason for the revelation of this verse was that the women of Ansar used to make a vow to convert their sons to Judaism if the latter lived. And when the tribe of Bani an-Nadhir was expelled from Madinah, some children of Ansar were among them, so their parents could not abandon them; hence Allah revealed: <There is no compulsion in religion...> narrated by Ibn Jarir, on the authority of Ibn Abbas, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i, on the authority of Bandar, Abu Hatim, and Ibn Hiban from the Hadith of Shu‘bah, Mujahid and others. However Muhammad Ibn Ishaq narrated that Ibn Abbas said: it was revealed with regard to a man from the tribe of Bani Salim Ibn Awf called al-Husayni whose two sons converted to Christianity but he was himself a Muslim. He told the Prophet: "Shall I force them to embrace Islam, they insist on Christianity", hence Allah revealed this verse. BUT, THIS VERSE IS ABROGATED BY THE VERSE OF "FIGHTING": "You shall be called to fight against a people given to great warfare, then you shall fight them, or they shall surrender" (sura 48:16). Allah also says: "O Prophet! Strive hard against the disbelieves and the hypocrites, and be harsh against them" (9:73), and He says, "O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who are the Pious, (9:123).

Therefore, all people of the world should be called to Islam. If anyone of them refuses to do so, or refuses to pay the Jizya they should be fought till they are killed. This is the meaning of compulsion. In the Sahih (al-Bukhari), the Prophet said: "Allah wonders at those people who will enter Paradise in chains", meaning prisoners brought in chains to the Islamic state, then they embrace Islam sincerely and become righteous, and are entered among the people of Paradise. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir Part 2, Surah Al-Baqarah 2:253 to 286 Surah Al-Imran ayat 1 to 92, abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rifa‘i [Al-Firdous Ltd, London: First Edition, 1999], pp. 37-38; bold, capital and underlined emphasis ours)

Fellow colleague and author Silas notes in regard to the previous citations:

Ibn Kathir presents two different stories as reasons behind 2:256. The first story has nothing to do with compelling people into Islam. The second story begins to go against compulsion, but, Ibn Kathir then says that this verse was abrogated by the verse of "fighting" i.e. 48:16. I add that the only Sahih Hadith material I’ve been able to find on the matter (Sunan of Abu Dawud) supports the story of the expulsion of the Banu Nadir Jews. Thus, either way, compulsion of people to convert to Islam is allowed.

Ibn Kathir does say at the beginning of this quote: Allah says: "There is no compulsion in religion", meaning: do not force anyone to embrace Islam because it is clear, and its proofs and evidences are manifest. Whoever Allah guides and opens his heart to Islam has indeed embraced it with clear evidence. Whoever Allah misguides, blinds his heart and has set a seal on his hearing and a covering on his eyes cannot embrace Islam by force. But he goes on to contradict himself later in the next two paragraphs. (Source: http://answering-islam.org/Silas/jihad.htm)

SW claims that the passages that I cited from the Quran stating that Jews, Christians and Sabians worshipped Allah do not mean what they say. He writes:

Response! First, it is incorrect that Ayaat (verses cited by Shamoun i.e. 2:62; 3:64; and 29:46) contradicts Surah Al-Kaafiroon. In fact, these verses (especially 2:62; 5:69; & 22:17) in Glorious Qur’aan upon which merely state two or few fundamental of Islaamic creed (Imaan), such as belief in Allaah, Last Day, and/or Charity etc. These verses briefly mentions Imaan, this brief description of Imaan (creed) cannot be interpreted as the negation of the detailed definition of Imaan (creed). A sensible Believer (Muslim) will not claim on the basis of this concise mention of ‘belief in Allaah’ that all the other beliefs, which are axiomatic to belief in Allaah, do not constitute and integral part of Imaan. Any person who ventures to deny the Eternity of Allaah, etc. and tenders as his proof these verse/s, is branded as an open Kafir. Similarly, belief in the Akhirah (the Last Day) is a fundamental of Imaan, which entails belief in all the other beliefs attendant and axiomatic to the belief in the Last Day. Belief in the Last Day necessarily implies belief in the Resurrection, Jannat (Paradise), Jahannum (Hell), Siraat, Kauthar and the numerous other teachings of Islaam pertaining to Aakhirah. One who claims that belief in the Last Day means belief in a future existence without having to believe in the Prophethood of Muhammad (SAW), Jannat, Jahannum and the rest of the Akhirah beliefs stated by the Qur’aan and Muhammad (SAW) and then, as his bases of deduction, cites the aforementioned verse/s containing a concise reference to the Last Day, will undoubtedly be beyond the pale of Islaam and will be labeled a Kafir.

All the Kuffaar –whether Hindu, Christian, Jew or Sabian – believe in God, but their belief in Allaah is not the conception of TauhÓd as believed in by the adherents of Islaam. i.e. the Islaam brought by Muhammad (SAW). Hence, if they believe in god, we cannot accept that they have fulfilled the Qur’aanic command of belief in Allaah and cite as proof the verse/s containing a mere reference to belief in Allaah. Belief in Allaah does not mean mere belief in a divine being. Belief in Allaah is the specific and particular concept of Tauhid as taught in its minutest details by Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Rejection of the detailed definition of Tauhid is nothing but a negation of belief in Allaah.

A General Principle for Salvation:

The Qur'aan, in these verses, points to a general and common principle when it proclaims that that which is worthy is ` truth ' and ` reality '. With Allaah, only ` true Faith ' and ` good deeds are accepted.

Second, the author of absurdity (i.e. Shamoun) is dead wrong when he falsely claimed and I quote:

Passages claiming that group (a) worshiped the same God:

Because none of the Ayaat (verses) quoted by Shamoun, i.e. 2:62; 3:63; & 29:46 are claiming that group (?) worshipped the same God. In fact, they carry a completely different thought that a layperson can understand.

RESPONSE:

Several comments to SW’s gross errors. First, Surah 109 only specifies the OBJECT of worship, but not the scope or set of precise doctrines associated with the belief of Allah. It speaks of the OBJECT of Muhammad's worship, i.e. Allah. The Quran claims that Jews, Christians, Sabians, the pagans, and Muhammad worshipped Allah, even though they differed in the manner in which they worshipped him. SW is simply reading into the text what is not explicitly stated.

Secondly, even though the Quran attacks Christians for deifying the Lord Jesus it does not deny that they worshipped Allah. The Quran tells them to abandon their deification of Christ and say that Allah is one:

O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not "Three" - Cease! (it is) better for you! - Allah is only One God. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender. S. 4:171 Pickthall

They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers. They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three; when there is no God save the One God. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve. Will they not rather turn unto Allah and seek forgiveness of Him? For Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. S. 5:72-74 Pickthall

In these two verses we see that the Christians worship Allah but are called not to say things about him that is not true (4:171). In the other passage they are called disbelievers, not because they didn't believe in Allah, but because they deified Christ.

The Quran goes further and claims that both the Jews and Christians boasted about being the sons of Allah!

The Jews and Christians say: We are sons of Allah and His loved ones. Say: Why then doth He chastise you for your sins? Nay, ye are but mortals of His creating. He forgiveth whom He will, and chastiseth whom He will. Allah's is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, and unto Him is the journeying. S. 5:18 Pickthall

Again, this presumes that Jews and Christians were (allegedly) worshipping Allah, Muhammad’s god.

Third, neither the word Tauhid nor its prescriptions appear in the Quran as Muslims themselves admit:

Tauhiyd comes from the verb wahhad which literally means TO UNITE. In Islamic terminology, it means to realize and maintain the unity of Allah in one's actions (inwardly and outwardly). The actual word tauhiyd does not occur in the Quran or Sunnah though the present tense of the verb (from which tauhiyd is derived) is used in Sunnah. The Prophet sent Muadh ibn Jabal as governor of Yemen in 9 A.H. He told him, "You will going to the people of the book, so first invite yuwahhidu Allah [them to the assertion of the oneness of Allah]".[1]

Further, the division of tauhiyd into the components known to us today WERE NOT DONE BY THE PROPHET OR HIS COMPANIONS. It was systematically defined as such in order to convey, as concisely as possible, the simple unitarian belief of Islam. This was necessary because as Islam quickly spread to the four corners of the world, new converts began to interpret the teachings of Islam in line with their own philosophical concepts of Allah and so confusion arose. Preconceived interpretations, all of which are blameworthy, were propagated by those who wanted to destroy Islam from the inside. The first such enemy of Islam was an Iraqi convert from Christianity named Sausan who preached man's absolute free will while denying (qadr) Divine Decree[2]. His student, Ma`bad ibn Khalid al-Juhani[3], spread such deviant ideas until he was tried and executed by the Umayyad Caliph. There were three other such executions over the period of 26 years. The later Umayyad Caliphs were relatively more corrupt and cared less about such religious issues. At the same time, the masses were also relatively less educated about their religion. This proved to be a deadly combination. As the number of deviants increased through the liberation of various lands, apostates were no longer executed. Instead, Muslim scholars rose to execute the tide of heretics intellectually. Tauhiyd, precisely defined, EMERGED OUT OF THIS DEFENSE STRATEGY. Tauhiyd had been divided into the three following categories: tauhiyd ar-rububiyah, tauhiyd al-asma was-sifaat, and tauhiyd al-`ibadah or tauhiyd al-`uluuhiyah. Tauhiyd has been likened to a tree, the roots being tauhiyd ar-rububiyah, the trunk being tauhiyd al-asma was-sifaat, and the fruit being tauhiyd al-`ibadah. Each category of tauhiyd will now be discussed in some detail. (Source: http://bismikaallahuma.org/God/tawheed.htm)

Hence, neither the term Tauhid nor its component parts were taught by Muhammad or his Companions, but arose from the need to define and defend what some Muslims thought was the correct form of Islamic monotheism from alleged heretical elements that were plaguing the Muslim communities.

It is not really important whether the word Tauhid appears in the Quran, but whether the Quran provides the basis for its formulation. The fact is that this Muslim formulation is actually a violation of the plain teaching of the Quran. Simply stated, the Quran does not teach the concept of Tauhid articulated by the so-called orthodox Muslims scholars.

It may surprise some readers to find that the Quran affirms a plurality of persons within the unity of Allah as the following articles demonstrate:

http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Saifullah/t5_73.htm
http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/gabriel.htm

For the sake of brevity we present only a few verses from the Quran which establishes this point.

And mention Marium in the Book when she drew aside from her family to an eastern place; So she took a veil (to screen herself) from them; then We sent to her Our spirit, and there appeared to her a well-made man. She said: Surely I fly for refuge from you to the Beneficent God, if you are one guarding (against evil). He said: I am only an apostle of your Lord: That I WILL GIVE YOU a pure boy. S. 19:16-19 Shakir

And Mary, daughter of 'Imran, whose body was chaste, therefore We breathed therein something of Our Spirit. And she put faith in the words of her Lord and His scriptures, and was of the obedient. S. 66:12 Pickthall- cf. 21:91

God’s Spirit appears in the form of a man and grants Mary a child. He presumably did so by having God breathe him into Mary which evidently caused her to conceive Christ. In other words, the Spirit is the Creator!

"Thou wilt not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, to dwell therein (forever). Allah will be well pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allah. Truly it is the Party of Allah that will achieve Felicity." S. 58:22

The above passage demonstrates that this Spirit from God is divine, having all of God’s omni-attributes. That the Spirit strengthens all believers demonstrates his omnipresence and omnipotence since this is the only way that the Spirit can be with all the Muslim believers at the same time. The late Abdullah Yusuf Ali agrees since he writes in relation to this passage:

"Cf. ii 87 and 253, where it is said that God strengthened the Prophet Jesus with the holy spirit. Here we learn that all good and righteous men are strengthened by God with the holy spirit. If anything, the phrase used here is stronger, ‘a spirit from Himself'. Whenever any one offers his heart in faith and purity to God, God accepts it, engraves that faith on the seeker's heart, and further fortifies him with the Divine Spirit, which we can no more define adequately than we can define in human language the nature of God." (Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Quran, p. 1518, fn. 5365; bold emphasis ours)

The next passage lends further support to Ali’s assessment:

They ask thee concerning the Spirit (of inspiration). Say: "The Spirit (cometh) by command of my Lord: of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you, (O men)!" S. 17:85

According to the hadith literature this verse "came down" when the Jews questioned Muhammad on the Spirit's identity:

Narrated Ibn Mas'ud:
While I was walking in company with the Prophet in one of the fields of Medina, the Prophet was reclining on a palm leave stalk which he carried with him. We passed by a group of Jews. Some of them said to the others, "Ask him about the spirit." The others said, "Do not ask him, lest he would say something that you hate." Some of them said, "We will ask him." So a man from among them stood up and said, 'O Abal-Qasim! What is the spirit?" The Prophet kept quiet and I knew that he was being divinely inspired. Then he said: "They ask you concerning the Spirit, Say: The Spirit; its knowledge is with my Lord. And of knowledge you (mankind) have been given only a little." (17.85) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 554)

Here was a golden opportunity for Muhammad to explain that the Spirit was Gabriel, but instead he speaks of it as something mysterious which little is known. Muhammad’s assessment is essentially in agreement with what Yusuf Ali said in his footnote above.

Furthermore, the root from which Tauhid stems provides additional evidence that God’s unity doesn't preclude a plurality within his eternal Being. In the article which was quoted above the Muslim author said in regard to the word Tauhid:

Tauhiyd comes from the verb wahhad which LITERALLY means TO UNITE ...

Muslim apologist Dr. Zakir Naik writes:

TAWHEED:

Definition and Categories:

Islam believes in ‘Tawheed’ which is not merely monotheism i.e. belief in one God, but much more. Tawheed LITERALLY MEANS ‘UNIFICATION’ i.e. ‘asserting oneness’ and is derived from the Arabic verb ‘Wahhada’ which means TO UNITE, UNIFY OR CONSOLIDATE. (http://www.irf.net/irf/comparativereligion/middle/islam/conceptofgod.htm)

In light of the foregoing we issue the following challenges to SW:

  1. Please produce a single Quranic statement which says that Allah’s Spirit, the faithful Spirit, the Holy Spirit is angel Gabriel.
  2. Please produce passages which show that Allah’s Spirit is a creature, as opposed to being part of Allah’s eternal Being. We have briefly given passages to show that Allah’s Spirit has certain divine characteristics that show that he is not on the level of a creature.
  3. Please produce a statement that says that there are no distinct Persons within Allah. We are not asking for passages that deny Jesus is God, or that there are no other gods besides Allah. We want passages that say that Allah is one not just in his essence but also in his personhood.
  4. If Allah having a plurality of attributes doesn’t negate his unity, then why would a plurality of persons nullify Allah’s oneness? Hence, if it is possible for Allah to have a plurality of attributes then it is also possible for him to be a plurality of Persons and yet still be one. Please provide verses from the Quran which expressly deny this possibility.

SW repeats the verses of the same Surah as if this will somehow strengthen his point:

Shamoun is clueless about the fact that the Surah re-emphasizes the point, saying:

Surah Al-Kafirun 4

وَلَا أَنَا عَابِدٌ مَا عَبَدْتُمْ (4)

"And I shall not worship that which you are worshipping.

Surah Al-Kafirun 5

وَلَا أَنْتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ (5)

"Nor will you worship that which I worship.

Surah Al-Kafirun 6

لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ (6)

"To you be your religion, and to me my religion (Isl‚mic Monotheism)."

RESPONSE:

As we have shown, the only thing these verses do is reiterate the problem. The Surah happens to contradict other passages from the Quran AS WELL AS THE SO-CALLED AUTHENTIC SOURCES THAT SW WANTED US TO APPEAL TO. Certain passages of the Quran show that the Jews, Christians, Sabians and the Pagans did worship Allah, Muhammad's god! Again, we need to thank SW for helping us to reemphasize the fact that Surah 109 is contradicted by other Quranic statements, as well as outside Muslim sources, proving beyond any reasonable doubt that the Quran is not the word of the true God.

The rest of SW’s rhetoric is irrelevant to our main points. In his alleged rebuttal, SW has committed ad hominem slurs against us, has used off target references that have nothing to do with our paper, and has failed to correctly exegete Surah 109. Readers must note how SW seeks to evade our arguments by attacking our use of multiple translations of the Quran, despite the fact that he copiously quotes from Quranic translations such as Hilali-Khan. SW wants readers to ignore the translations done by both Muslims and non-Muslims and embrace what he claims to be the correct understanding of the said passages. In other words, he expects his readers to blindly accept his translation while calling into question all the others!

SW gives us no reasons why anyone should trust his understanding of what these passages say over the opinions and understandings of the other translators. This is especially so in light of his gross errors and misunderstanding of the arguments he claims to be responding to.

It is therefore all the more ironic to read SW write:

The English translations of Glorious Qur’aan, which they use as literal word of God is totally absurd, because what they are using is the understanding of man (translator), which is NOT the literal word of God.

Apart from the straw man claim that we take the English translations as "the literal word of God", it is evident that SW wants us to accept his understanding (i.e. translation). In other words, SW is guilty of doing the very thing he accuses us of, namely trust his man-made translation and interpretation while ignoring the others!

Besides, if a translation of the Quran is not the literal word of God then why does SW even bother translating it or appealing to translations of it? Doesn’t he even follow his own rules that a translation is not God’s literal word? If he doesn’t follow his own rules, then how can he even dare complain when others (such as us) use English translations to prove or make a point?

Thirdly, SW has failed to show us how the Arabic text, which is supposedly the literal word of God, falsifies our argument. In fact, he didn’t even base his response on the Arabic text of the Quran BUT ON SOURCES OUTSIDE THE QURAN!!!!

Finally, if the Quran is ONLY God’s word in Arabic then this is an argument against it, not for it. What kind of revelation is this when its miracle can only be appreciated in a language which the great majority of the world cannot understand? How can mankind be guided on the "straight path" when they cannot know for themselves what are the literal words of God, but are at the mercy of the understanding of men and translations? Does SW expect the majority of humanity to study not just any Arabic, but a seventh century dialect of Arabic (Quraish) which even the majority of present day Arabs do not understand without first carefully studying it?

In conclusion, SW has provided another example of why his rebuttals fall way short of interacting with our arguments, further demonstrating why his material is really not worth a response.

Sam Shamoun


Contradictions in the Qur'an
Articles by Sam Shamoun
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