Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Khayru Al-Mushrikin

Allah as the best mushrik of them all Pt. 1

Sam Shamoun


According to the Muslim scripture, there is a specific transgression which Allah is said to never forgive, provided that the person is fully aware of the gravity of committing such a crime against his creator. This is the sin of shirk, or of ascribing partners with the Muslim deity:

WHO made the earth a bed for you, and the heaven a roof, and caused water to come down from the clouds and therewith brought forth fruits for your sustenance; so do not set up equals to ALLAH, while you know. S. 2:22 Sher Ali

Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin. S. 4:48 Hilali-Khan – cf. 4:116

And indeed it has been revealed to you (O Muhammad), as it was to those (Allah's Messengers) before you: "If you join others in worship with Allah, (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers." S. 39:65 Hilali-Khan

There are various ways in which an individual can commit this evil deed, such as worshiping and praying to others, and/or ascribing the unique qualities and functions of Allah to someone besides him.

In this article we shall see that the one who is most guilty of committing this crime is Allah himself. We will be providing documentation to show that Allah commands the worship of certain creatures, and that he has also allowed others to assist him in performing specific divine functions.

We start off by examining Allah’s command to his angels to worship his physical image.

Allah commands the worship of Adam whom he created to be his visible clone

According to Islamic theology, prostration (sujud) is an act of worship which can only be given to Allah. Islam strictly forbids prostrating to anyone other than Allah, even if the intention behind such an act is not to worship but to simply show honor and reverence.

Here is where the problem starts for the Muslims. The Quran claims that Allah himself ordered the angels to prostrate to Adam!

And when We told the angels, "Prostrate yourselves before Adam!" - they all prostrated themselves, save Iblis, who refused and gloried in his arrogance: and thus he became one of those who deny the truth. S. 2:34 Muhammad Asad (MA)

For [thus it was:] when We told the angels, "Prostrate yourselves before Adam!"- they all prostrated themselves, save Ibis, who refused [to do it]; S. 20:116 MA

That’s not all. Muhammad taught that Adam was created after the shape and size of Allah himself!

I. Initiating the Greeting

5873. Hammam related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet said, "Allah created Adam on HIS FORM and HIS HEIGHT was sixty cubits. When He created him, He said, 'Go and greet that group angels and listen to how they greet you. It will be your greeting and the greeting of your descendants.' He said, 'Peace be upon you,' and they said, 'Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah,' and they added, 'and the mercy of Allah.' Everyone who enters the Garden will be in form of Adam. People have been getting shorter until now." (Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 82. Book of Asking Permission to Enter; *)


Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger as saying: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, created Adam in HIS OWN image with HIS LENGTH of sixty cubits, and as HE created him HE told him to greet that group, and that was a party of angels sitting there, and listen to the response that they give him, for it would form his greeting and that of his offspring. He then went away and said: Peace be upon you! They (the angels) said: May there be peace upon you and the Mercy of Allah, and they made an addition of "Mercy of Allah." So he who would get into Paradise would get in the form of Adam, his length being sixty cubits, then the people who followed him continued to diminish in size up to this day. (Sahih Muslim, Book 040, Number 6809; *)

Here we learn that Allah’s height in which he made Adam is sixty cubits in length, or approximately ninety feet tall!

This means that Muhammad erroneously thought that both Allah and Adam were/are roughly ninety feet tall!

Just in case a Muslim tries to deny that this is what Muhammad meant, we quote the following Islamic scholars who unapologetically admit that all the pronouns in the above narratives refer back to Allah, e.g. Allah created Adam in Allah’s very own image and length:

Ibn Abi 'Aasim narrated in al-Sunnah (517) that Ibn 'Umar said: The Messenger of Allaah said: "Do not say 'May Allaah deform your face' [a form of cursing in Arabic], for the son of Adam was created IN THE IMAGE OF THE MOST MERCIFUL." Shaykh 'Abd-Allaah ibn al-Ghunaymaan said: "This hadeeth is saheeh and was classed as such by the imams and by Imam Ahmad and Ishaaq ibn Raahawayh. Those who classed it as da'eef have no evidence, except for the view of Ibn Khuzaymah, but those who classed it as saheeh are more knowledgeable than him.

Ibn Abi 'Aasim also narrated (516) that Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allaah said: "When any one of you fights let him avoid the face, for Allaah created Adam in the image of His Face." Shaykh al-Albaani said: its isnaad is saheeh.

These two hadeeth indicate that the pronoun in the phrase "in His image" refers to Allaah, may He be glorified.

From these ahaadeeth we learn that IT IS PROVEN THAT ALLAAH HAS AN IMAGE (soorah in Arabic), in a manner that befits Him, may He be glorified and exalted. His image is one of His attributes which cannot be likened to the attributes of created beings, just as His essence cannot be likened to their essence.

And he [Ibn Taymiyya] said: "There was no dispute among the salaf of the first three generations that the pronoun in the hadeeth refers to Allaah, and it is narrated through many isnaads from many of the Sahaabah. The contexts of the ahaadeeth all indicate that. But when al-Jahamiyyah became widespread in the third century AH, a group began to say that the pronoun refers to something other than Allaah, and this was transmitted from a group of scholars who are known to have knowledge and to follow the Sunnah in most of their affairs, such as Abu Thawr, Ibn Khuzaymah, Abu'l-Shaykh al-Asfahaani and others. Hence they were denounced by the imams of Islam and other Sunni scholars."

The Prophet's words, "Adam was created in His image" means that Allaah created Adam in His image, for He has a face, an eye, a hand, and a foot, and Adam had a face, an eye, a hand, and a foot. but that does not mean that these things are exactly the same. There is some similarity, but it is not exactly the same. Similarly the first group to enter Paradise are likened to the moon, but they are not exactly the same. This confirms the view of Ahl al-Sunnah wa'l-Jamaa'ah, who say that none of the attributes of Allaah can be likened to the attributes of created beings, without distorting or misinterpreting, or discussing how or likening Him to His creation.

See Sharh al-'Aqeedah al-Waasitah by Shaykh Muhammad ibn 'Uthaymeen, 1/107, 293... (Islam QA, Question #20652: Commentary on the hadeeth, "Allaah created Adam in His image"; bold and capital emphasis ours)

This may account for why Allah commanded his heavenly host to worship the first man. Seeing that Adam was essentially Allah’s physical clone, being fashioned after Allah’s very own size and shape, the Islamic deity may have thought to himself that worshiping the father of mankind wasn’t such a bad idea since the angels would be basically worshiping Allah’s own image. Allah may have reasoned that worshiping his physical likeness was the same as worshiping him.

Whatever the case may be, it is clear that Allah was guilty of ordering his servants to bow down and prostrate to a fellow creature, thereby ascribing a partner to himself in his exclusive worship.

Allah causes other human beings to be worshiped

Adam wasn’t the only human being whom Allah ordered to be worshiped. Allah is also responsible for Joseph’s family bowing down and prostrating themselves to this humble servant of God:

Behold! Joseph said to his father: "O my father! I did see eleven stars and the sun and the moon: I saw them prostrate themselves to me!” S. 12:4

“And he raised his parents high on the throne (of dignity), and they fell down in prostration, (all) before him. He said: ‘O my father! this is the fulfilment of my vision of old! God hath made it come true!…’” S. 12:103

What makes this rather ironic is that Muhammad is reported to have forbidden his followers from prostrating to another human being:

It is narrated by Anas that the Prophet said: “It is not appropriate for a human being to bow to another.” (Narrated by Ahmad, 3/158; classed as sahih by al-Albaani in Sahih al-Targhib, 1936-1937; Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 3/158)

He also went so far as to say that if prostration had been allowed, he would have ordered women to bow down to their husbands:

Narrated Qays ibn Sa'd:
I went to al-Hirah and saw them (the people) prostrating themselves before a satrap of theirs, so I said: The Apostle of Allah has most right to have prostration made before him. When I came to the Prophet, I said: I went to al-Hirah and saw them prostrating themselves before a satrap of theirs, but you have most right, Apostle of Allah, to have (people) prostrating themselves before you. He said: Tell me, if you were to pass my grave, would you prostrate yourself before it? I said: No. He then said: Do not do so. If I were to command anyone to make prostration before another I would command women to prostrate themselves before their husbands, because of the special right over them given to husbands by Allah. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2135; *)


Narrated AbuHurayrah
The Prophet said: Had it been permissible that a person may prostrate himself before another, I would have ordered that a wife should prostrate herself before her husband. Transmitted by Tirmidhi. (Hadith of al-Tirmidhi, Number 110 – ALIM CD-ROM Version)

And yet despite all of this, Muhammad accepted the prostration of trees and camels!

Narrated Aisha:
Once when Allah's Messenger was with a number of the Emigrants and Helpers a camel came and prostrated itself before him. Thereupon his companions said, "Messenger of Allah beasts and trees prostrate themselves before you, but we have the greatest right to do so.” He replied, “Worship your Lord and honour your brother. If I were to order anyone to prostrate himself before another, I should order a woman to prostrate herself before her husband. If he were to order her to convey stones from a yellow mountain to a black one, or from a black mountain to a white one, it would be incumbent on her to do so.” Ahmad transmitted it. (Hadith of al-Tirmidhi, Number 963 – ALIM CD-ROM Version)


Narrated by Jabir: “… We were travelling with the Prophet when suddenly a camel came near and prostrated to the Prophet. The Prophet asked: Who is the owner of this camel? At this some youngsters from Ansar said that it belonged to them. The Prophet asked them: What have you done with it? They replied: We have been putting a load on it for the past 20 years; now when that he has become old and gain excessive weight on itself, we have made up our minds to slaughter him and distribute the meat amongst our friends. The Prophet asked: Would you sell it to me? They replied: It is yours, O Prophet. The Prophet said: Keep it but take good care of it until natural death reaches it. The Sahaba asked: O Prophet we are more deserving of prostrating to you than the animals. The Prophet replied: It is not allowed for anyone.” (Sunan Darimi, Vol. 1, Hadith No. 17, pp. 22-23; Authenticated by Hussain Saleem Asad)

In other words, even though it is not acceptable for humans to prostrate themselves to Muhammad, it is perfectly all right for inanimate objects and animals to bow down to him!

However, this goes against the clear teachings of the Quran which claims that everything, animals included, are Muslims who perfectly submit to Allah:

Do they seek other than the religion of Allah (the true Islamic Monotheism worshipping none but Allah Alone), while to Him submitted all creatures in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly. And to Him shall they all be returned. S. 3:83 Hilali-Khan

And unto Allah (Alone) falls in prostration whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and so do their shadows in the mornings and in the afternoons. S. 13:15 Hilali-Khan

See you not that to Allah prostrates whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and Ad-Dawab (moving living creatures, beasts, etc.), and many of mankind? But there are many (men) on whom the punishment is justified. And whomsoever Allah disgraces, none can honour him. Verily! Allah does what He wills. S. 22:18 Hilali-Khan

Why would Allah permit trees and camels to commit shirk in worship by ordering them to bow down to Muhammad if everything perfectly submits and prostrates to him? Is it an act of perfect submission for inanimate objects and animals to worship a creature instead of or along with the creator?

But it gets worse. Allah went so far as to inspire Adam to invoke Muhammad’s name in order to receive forgiveness for the evil he committed in the garden!

According to the Muslim expositors, the following passage:

And We said: O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden, and eat ye freely (of the fruits) thereof where ye will; but come not nigh this tree lest ye become wrong-doers. But Satan caused them to deflect therefrom and expelled them from the (happy) state in which they were; and We said: Fall down, one of you a foe unto the other! There shall be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a time. Then Adam received from his Lord words (of revelation), and He relented toward him. Lo! He is the relenting, the Merciful. S. 2:35-37 Pickthall

Refers to Adam beseeching his Lord to forgive him for the sake of Muhammad and on the basis of his status before Allah:

Al-Bayhaqi cited the following hadith in his book “Dala'il an-Nubuwwah” (Signs of Prophethood): Narrated 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab: the Prophet said: “When Adam committed the sin, he said to Allah, ‘O My Lord, I ask You with reference to Muhammad to forgive me’. Allah said: ‘O Adam! How did you know about Muhammad, for I have not yet created him?’ Adam replied, ‘O My Lord, when You created me, I looked up and saw inscribed on the legs of the Throne the words: There is no God worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger. I knew that you do not attach to Your name but the name of the dearest of Your Creation.’ Allah said to Adam, ‘You have spoken rightly, Adam. Muhammad is the dearest of My Creation. I have forgiven you because you asked by Muhammad. AND HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR HIM, I WOULD NOT HAVE CREATED YOU.’” This hadith was narrated by al-Hakim who also classified it as sahih (authentic). Among the transmitters of this hadith is ‘Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Zayd Ibn Aslam. Al-Haythami said: “This hadith was reported by at-Dabarani and in its chain of transmitters are people I do not know. Al-Hakim was therefore mistaken in classifying this hadith as sahih because he himself criticised ‘Abd ar-rahman Ibn Zayd Ibn Aslam in his book ad-Du'afa, so how can he state the authenticity of the hadith after he had criticised him?!!” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Part 1, Surah Al-Fatiah Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 1 to 141, Abridged by Sheikh Nasib Ar-Rafa'i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London: Second Edition 1998], p. 107, fn 10; bold and capital emphasis ours)


Abu Muhammad al-Makki, Abu'l-Layth as-Samarqandi and others related that when Adam rebelled, he said, “O Allah, forgive me my error BY THE RIGHT OF MUHAMMAD!” Allah said to him, “How do you know Muhammad?” He said, “I saw written in every place in the Garden, ‘There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’ So I knew that he was the most honoured creation in Your eyes.” SO ALLAH TURNED TO HIM AND FORGAVE HIM. It is said that this is the interpretation of the words of Allah, “Adam learned some words from his Lord” (2:37)

Another variant has that Adam said, “When you created me, I lifted my gaze to Your Throne AND WRITTEN ON IT WAS: ‘There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,’ so I knew there would be no one held in greater esteem by You than the one whose name You placed alongside Your own name.” Allah then revealed to him, “By My might and majesty, he is the last of the prophets among your descendants. IF IT HAD NOT BEEN FOR HIM, I WOULD HAVE NOT CREATED YOU.” It is said that Adam was given the kunya, Abu Muhammad. Some people say that it was Abu'l-Bashar (the father of mankind). Qadi 'Iyad Musa al-Yahsubi, Muhammad Messenger of Allah (Ash-Shifa of Qadi 'Iyad), translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K. 1991; third reprint, paperback], Chapter Three: On the Sound And Well-Known Traditions Related About the Immense Value Placed On Him By His Lord, His Exalted Position And His Nobility In This World And The Next, Section 1: His place, p. 89; capital emphasis ours)

Allah has not only caused Muhammad to be his associate in salvation, he has even made Muhammad’s name equal to his own, going so far as to inscribe it on his very own throne and in every place in the garden!

If this isn’t creature worship then we don’t know what is!

Allah causes his followers to commit idolatry by kissing a black stone

If this weren’t bad enough, Allah went so far as to order his followers to kiss and caress a black stone!

Narrated 'Abis bin Rabia:
'Umar came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said “No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen Allah's Apostle kissing you I would not have kissed you." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 667; *)


It is Sunnah to perform certain acts in tawaf as given below:

Facing the Black Stone at the start of the tawaf while uttering a takbir (Allahu-Akbar), and a tahlil (La ilaha illahlah), and raising one's hands as they are raised in prayers, and if possible touching it with both hands and kissing it quietly, or placing one's cheek on it. Otherwise, one may touch it with one's hand and kiss the hand, or touch it with something, and then kiss it, or if even that is not possible, one may just point to it with a stick, etc. as is mentioned in some of the ahadith given below.

Ibn 'Umar said: “Allah's Messenger faced the Black Stone, touched it, and then placed his lips on it and wept for a long time.” 'Umar also wept for a long time. The Prophet said: 'O 'Umar, this is the place where one should shed tears.” (Reported by Al-Hakim, who considers it a sound hadith with a sound chain of authorities)

It is reported by Ibn 'Abbas that 'Umar bent down towards the Black Stone and said: "By Allah! I know that you are A MERE STONE, and if I had not seen my beloved Prophet kissing you and touching you I would have never done so." The Qur'an says: "You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct)."' (Qur'an 33.32) This was reported by Ahmad and others in slightly different words.

Nafi' said, “I have seen Ibn 'Umar touching the Black Stone with his hand, and then kissing his hand and saying: 'Ever since I saw the Prophet doing this, I have never failed to do that.''' (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim)

Sowayd bin Ghaflah said: "I have seen 'Umar kissing the Black Stone and touching it." He further said: "I know that the Prophet was especially very particular about it." (Muslim)

Ibn 'Umar reported that Allah's Messenger used to come to Ka'bah, touch the Black Stone and then say: Bismillahi wallahu akbar (In the name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest.)" (Ahmad)

Muslim has reported on the authority of Abu Tufail that he said: "I have seen the Prophet making tawaf around the Ka'bah and touching it with a stick and then kissing the stick.”

Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Daw'ud reported that 'Umar approached the Black Stone and kissed it. Then he said: “I know that you are A MERE STONE that can neither harm nor do any good. If I had not seen the Prophet kissing you, I would have never kissed you."

Al-Khatabi said: "This shows that abiding by the Sunnah of the Prophet is binding, regardless of whether or not we understand its reason or the wisdom behind it."

Such information devolves obligation on all those whom it reaches, even if they may not fully comprehend its significance. It is known, however, that kissing the Black Stone signifies respect for it, recognition of our obligation toward it, and using it as a means of seeking Allah's blessings. Indeed Allah has preferred some stones over others, as He preferred some countries and cities, days and nights, and months over others. The underlying spirit of all this is unquestioning submission to Allah.

In some ahadith which say that “the Black Stone is Allah's right hand on earth,” we do find, however, a plausible rationale and justification for this statement. In other words whosoever touches the Black Stone he pledges allegiance to Allah, as it were, by giving his hand into the hand of Allah, just as some followers do pledge their fealty to their kings and masters, by kissing and shaking hands with them.

Al-Muhallib said: “The hadith of 'Umar refutes the assertions of those who say that ‘The Black Stone is Allah's right hand on earth wherewith He shakes the hands of His slaves.’” God forbid that we should ascribe any physical organs to Allah [sic]. The commandment to kiss the Black Stone is meant to test and to demonstrate palpably as to who obeys and submits. It may be compared with the command to Iblis to bow to Adam.

We have no definite evidence, however, to believe that any of the stones used in building the Ka'bah originally (by Ibrahim and Isma'il), is still in existence today excepting the Black Stone. (Fiqh-Us-Sunnah, Volume 5, Number 74b – ALIM CD-ROM Version: *; bold and capital underline emphasis ours)

Notice how Muhammad would touch and kiss the black stone, as well as place his cheek on it, and took its station as the place to weep. Muhammad would also kiss his hand after touching the stone, and if he couldn’t touch it he would use a stick to reach it and then kiss that. And even though they didn’t (still don’t) understand the wisdom behind it, the Muslims continued to implement this practice of their prophet since they thought that they would receive a blessing by doing so.

In fact, this practice of kissing a stone that could neither harm nor benefit anyone is nothing more than a carryover from the paganism of Muhammad’s own tribe, and happens to be one of the very practices which Allah rebuked the pagans for doing:

And they worship besides Allah things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say: “These are our intercessors with Allah.” Say: “Do you inform Allah of that which He knows not in the heavens and on the earth?” Glorified and Exalted be He above all that which they associate as partners with Him! S. 10:18


Narrated Abu Raja Al-Utaridi:

We used to worship stones, and when we found a better stone than the first one, we would throw the first one and take the latter, but if we could not get a stone then we would collect some earth (i.e. soil) and then bring a sheep and milk that sheep over it, and perform the Tawaf around it. When the month of Rajab came, we used (to stop the military actions), calling this month the iron remover, for we used to remove and throw away the iron parts of every spear and arrow in the month of Rajab. Abu Raja' added: When the Prophet sent with (Allah's) Message, I was a boy working as a shepherd of my family camels. When we heard the news about the appearance of the Prophet, we ran to the fire, i.e. to Musailima al-Kadhdhab. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 661; *)

And yet Allah has no problem with Muslims doing the very same thing!

All of this means that Allah is responsible for causing millions of people to worship an inanimate stone, something which the true God of Abraham would never tolerate (Exodus 20:4-5; Leviticus 26:1; Numbers 33:50-52; 1 Kings 19:18; 2 Kings 18:1-4 [cf. Numbers 21:4-9]).

Allah makes the angels his partners in the inspiration and compilation of the Quran

According to the Quran, Allah has taken angels as his partners in granting revelation to prophets and messengers. Case in point:

Surely WE shall inherit the earth and all that are upon it, and unto US they shall be returned. And mention in the Book Abraham; surely he was a true man, a Prophet. And mention in the Book Abraham; surely he was a true man, a Prophet… So, when he went apart from them and that they were serving, apart from God, WE gave him Isaac and Jacob, and each WE made a Prophet; and WE gave them of OUR mercy, and WE appointed unto them a tongue of truthfulness, sublime. And mention in the Book Moses; he was devoted, and he was a Messenger, a Prophet. WE called to him from the right side of the Mount, and WE brought him near in communion. And WE gave him his brother Aaron, of OUR mercy, a Prophet… And mention in the Book Idris; he was a true man, a Prophet. WE raised him up to a high place. These are they whom God has blessed among the Prophets of the seed of Adam, and of those WE bore with Noah, and of the seed of Abraham and Israel, and of those WE guided and chose. When the signs of the All-merciful were recited to them, they fell down prostrate, weeping. Then there succeeded after them a succession who wasted the prayer, and followed lusts; so they shall encounter error save him who repents, and believes, and does a righteous deed; those -- they shall enter Paradise, and they shall not be wronged anything; Gardens of Eden that the All-merciful promised His servants in the Unseen; His promise is ever performed. There they shall hear no idle talk, but only 'Peace.' There they shall have their provision at dawn and evening. That is Paradise which WE shall give as an inheritance to those of OUR servants who are godfearing. WE come not down, save at the commandment of thy Lord. To Him belongs all that is before US, and all that is behind US, and all between that. Not one of you there is, but he shall go down to it; that for thy Lord is a thing decreed, determined. Then WE shall deliver those that were godfearing; and the evildoers WE shall leave there, hobbling on their knees. When OUR signs are recited to them as clear signs, the unbelievers say to the believers, ‘Which of the two parties is better in station, fairer in assembly?’ And how many a generation WE destroyed before them, who were fairer in furnishing and outward show! S. 19:40-42, 50-53, 56-74 Arberry

The context makes it obvious that it is the same group of indviduals that are speaking throughout the entire text. The verses distinguish "God", "the All-merciful", "thy Lord" from those who refer to themselves in the plural, e.g. "We," "Our," "Us." These are the same persons that say that they only come down by the Lord’s command. Here is the text again:

And we do not descend but by the command of your Lord; to Him belongs whatever is before us and whatever is behind us and whatever is between these, and your Lord is not forgetful. S. 19:64 Shakir

The traditional Muslim interpretation asserts that these are actually the words of Gabriel to Muhammad when the latter asked him why it took him so long to show up:

(We (angels) come not down save by commandment of thy Lord…) [19:64]. Isma'il ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Hamawayh informed us> Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ma'mar al-Shami> Ishaq ibn Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Rus'ani> his grandfather> al-Mughirah> 'Umar ibn Dharr> his father> Sa'id ibn Jubayr> Ibn 'Abbas who said: “The Messenger of Allah said [to Gabriel]: 'O Gabriel, what prevents you from visiting us more often than you do?' And so this verse was revealed (We (angels) come not down save by commandment of thy Lord. Unto Him belongeth all that is before us and all that is behind us and all that is between those two, and thy Lord was never forgetful). This was a response to Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah”. This was narrated by Bukhari from Abi Nu'aym from 'Umar ibn Dharr. Mujahid said: “The angel [Gabriel] took quite a while to come to the Messenger of Allah. When he finally came to him he said: 'Did I take too long to come to you?' The Prophet said he did, upon which the angel said: 'Why should I not delay my coming when you [the community of the believers] do not polish your teeth by using small sticks (siwak), do not cut your nails and do not clean the joints of your fingers'. And then he added (We (angels) come not down save by commandment of thy Lord…)”. 'Ikrimah, al-Dahhak, Qatadah, Muqatil and al-Kalbi said: “Gabriel failed to come to the Prophet when his people asked him about the people of the Cave, Dhu'l-Qarnayn and the Spirit. He did not know what to answer them and was hoping that Gabriel would come to him with an answer. When his coming was delayed, the Messenger of Allah was very aggrieved. When Gabriel finally came, the Prophet said to him: 'You delayed your coming so much that I had some misgivings, and I have missed you'. Gabriel said: 'I have missed you more but I am only a slave who obeys orders. When I am sent, I come; and when I am kept back, I remain where I am kept'. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed (We (angels) come not down save by commandment of thy Lord…)”. ('Ali Ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi, Asbab al-Nuzul)

If this is correct then this implies that angels are not only partners with Allah in giving revelation to his servants, they are also his associates in granting mercy and salvation to the faithful, as well as in bringing destruction upon the disbelievers.

This is also means that the plural pronouns are not limited to Allah, but are intended to include his heavenly host in his exclusive work and characteristics. More on this point later.

This concludes the first part of our section. There is still a lot more left to discuss in Part 2.