Abraham's road to Monotheism

 

Is there an inconsistency?

 

Sami Zaatari

 

 

 

Missionary Sam Shamoun has recently written an article where he seeks to try and show that the Quranic accounts concerning Abraham's guidance to monotheism is filled with inconsistencies, and contradictions. Shamoun's article can be located and accessed on the following link:

 

http://www.answeringislam.net/Quran/Contra/abrahams_idolatry.html

 

Shamoun's comments will be in green, followed by my responses in black. So with all of this said, let us proceed to see what the missionary has written:

 

in the Quran Abraham is portrayed as committing a heinous sin against God by worshiping the constellations:

And when Abraham said to his father Azar, 'Takest thou idols for gods? I see thee, and thy people, in manifest error.' So We were showing Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and earth, that he might be of those having sure faith. When night outspread over him he saw a star and said, 'This is my Lord.' But when it set he said, 'I love not the setters.' When he saw the moon rising, he said, 'This is my Lord.' But when it set he said, 'If my Lord does not guide me I shall surely be of the people gone astray.' When he saw the sun rising, he said, 'This is my Lord; this is greater (hatha akbaru)!' But when it set he said, 'O my people, surely I am quit of that you associate. I have turned my face to Him who originated the heavens and the earth, a man of pure faith; I am not of the idolaters.' His people disputed with him. He said, 'Do you dispute with me concerning God, and He has guided me? I fear not what you associate with Him, except my Lord will aught. My Lord embraces all things in His knowledge; will you not remember? How should I fear what you have associated, seeing you fear not that you have associated with God that whereon He has not sent down on you any authority?' Which of the two parties has better title to security, if you have any knowledge? Those who believe, and have not confounded their belief with evildoing -- to them belongs the true security; they are rightly guided. S. 6:74-82

A practice which the Holy Bible expressly condemns:

"And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars?all the heavenly array?do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven." Deuteronomy 4:19 NIV

"If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the LORD gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God in violation of his covenant, and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars of the sky, and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death. On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. You must purge the evil from among you." Deuteronomy 17:2-7 NIV

Note this interesting statement from Job:

"if I have looked at the sun when it shone, or the moon moving in splendor, and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand, this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges, for I would have been false to God above." Job 31:26-28 ESV

This is precisely what the Quran slanderously accuses Abraham of doing!

 

RESPONSE

 

It is interesting to note that Shamoun has a problem with the fact that the Quran says that Abraham did things that his false Bible condemns. What makes it more interesting is that he quotes from the book of Deuteronomy, what makes this even more interesting is that according to this false book of the Bible, Abraham is cursed! This is what it writes:

 

Deuteronomy 27:22 Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen

 

So notice that according to the very same book that Shamoun just quoted, a man who sleeps with his half sister, the daughter of his father, or mother, will be cursed. The Bible accuses Abraham of doing this exact same thing! As we read:

 

Genesis 20:11-12: 11 And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake. 12 And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.

 

So according to Deuteronomy, the book Shamoun quoted, Abraham is a cursed man! What makes this even funnier is that the Bible says that anyone who curses Abraham will be cursed! So the Bible curses itself, the Bible curses Abraham, Shamoun believes in Deuteronamy, hence he is commanded to curse Abraham, Shamoun curses Abraham, hence Shamoun is cursed as well!

 

Talk about inconsistency and slandering!

 

The simple fact is this, is that Abraham wasn't perfect, however so God guided him and made him a great man, and a great monotheistic prophet, and a father and leader of many nations.

 

Shamoun is being inconsistent yet again, one of the greatest man according to Christianity, is Paul, in fact they even call him a saint. This is the same Paul who used to persecute and KILL Christians! Off course Shamoun has no problem with this, he will say Paul used to be bad, and then God guided him. Yet when it comes to the Quran, and we see the same thing, Shamoun will take offence and try to use this as an argument. Very sad I must say, the level of dishonesty is breath-taking, it is even sadder that many Christian fans of Shamoun will cheer such garbage arguments as well!

The missionary continues:

 

Thus, Muhammad turned Abraham into a mushrik, or one who worships created things as God, which is the sin that Allah will never forgive even if it happens to be a prophet who commits it

 

RESPONSE

 

The prophet Muhammad didn't turn Abraham into anything; this is a true story being conveyed to Muhammad from the God of Abraham. The Quran isn't the Quran according to Muhammad, such as the Gospels, the Quran is the word of God; hence get your facts straight.

 

Secondly, Shamoun yet again shows how unqualified he is to debate or even approach Islam, he has no understanding of Islamic aqeedah! According to Islam, and the Quran itself, shirk will not be forgiven if you die upon shirk, however so, if you are alive and repent from shirk, Allah will forgive you! There are many incidents in the Quran, and the hadiths, where mushriks (shirk followers) were forgiven for repenting from shirk:

 

Yet they [the Israelites] worshipped the calf even after Clear Signs had come to them; even so We forgave them; and gave Moses manifest proofs of authority. -- Sura 4:153

 

So Allah forgave the Israelites when they repented while they were ALIVE. As one of the best Islamic commentators also writes:

 

(forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship),) meaning, He does not forgive a servant if he meets Him while he is associating partners with Him,

 

I seriously suggest that Shamoun goes and learns Islamic aqeedah before he wants to debate Islam.

The missionary now continues and try to show a Quranic contradiction and inconsistency when he writes:

The following Sura further substantiates the fact that the patriarch already knew and believed in the one God when he turned to worship the heavenly host:

And We verily gave Abraham of old his proper course, and We were Aware of him, When he said unto his father and his folk: What are these images unto which ye pay devotion? They said: We found our fathers worshippers of them. He said: Verily ye and your fathers were in plain error. They said: Bringest thou unto us the truth, or art thou some jester? He said: Nay, but your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who created them; and I am of those who testify unto that. And, by Allah, I shall circumvent your idols after ye have gone away and turned your backs. Then he reduced them to fragments, all save the chief of them, that haply they might have recourse to it. They said: Who hath done this to our gods? Surely it must be some evil-doer. They said: We heard a youth make mention of them, who is called Abraham. They said: Then bring him (hither) before the people's eyes that they may testify. They said: Is it thou who hast done this to our gods, O Abraham? He said: But this, their chief hath done it. So question them, if they can speak. Then gathered they apart and said: Lo! ye yourselves are the wrong-doers. And they were utterly confounded, and they said: Well thou knowest that these speak not. He said: Worship ye then instead of Allah that which cannot profit you at all, nor harm you? Fie on you and all that ye worship instead of Allah! Have ye then no sense? They cried: Burn him and stand by your gods, if ye will be doing. We said: O fire, be coolness and peace for Abraham, And they wished to set a snare for him, but We made them the greater losers. S. 21:51-70 Pickthall

This narrative pretty much starts off at the same point that Q. 6:74-82 begins, e.g. Abraham telling his father that he is in manifest error for worshiping idols. It is clear from reading these stories in light of each other that Abraham worshiped the heavenly objects even though he had already been receiving knowledge and guidance from the one true God.

As if this wasn't apparent enough here is another Sura which also supports the understanding that Abraham did know of the true God before he went to his father to condemn his idolatry:

Of his party was also Abraham; when he came unto his Lord with a pure heart, when he said to his father and his folk, 'What do you serve? Is it a calumny, gods apart from God, that you desire? What think you then of the Lord of all Being?' And he cast a glance at the stars, and he said, 'Surely I am sick.' But they went away from him, turning their backs. Then he turned to their gods, and said, 'What do you eat? What ails you, that you speak not?' And he turned upon them smiting them with his right hand. Then came the others to him hastening. He said, 'Do you serve what you hew, and God created you and what you make?' They said, 'Build him a building, and cast him into the furnace!' They desired to outwit him; so We made them the lower ones. He said, 'I am going to my Lord; He will guide me. My Lord, give me one of the righteous.' S. 37:83-100

It is rather interesting that this specific text says that Abraham got sick after he glanced at the stars. This perfectly coincides with the events of S. 6:74-82, e.g. God reveals himself to Abraham, the patriarch goes to his father and people to criticize their worship of idols, but then he experiences a momentary lapse into idolatry by looking to the constellations in worship, after which he gets sick.

RESPONSE

So Shamoun claims that these 2 Quranic accounts show that Abraham knew monotheism, and the right path, yet he still worshiped the star, moon, and sun.

Is that the case though? As usual, Shamoun is wrong, since had he read carefully surah 21:51-70 and Surah 37:83-100 DOES NOT start off at the same place as Surah 6:74-82. Rather the incidents from Surah 21 and 37 start from verse 79 of Surah 6! I shall quote all three surah's together and you shall see how they perfectly go together:

Surah 6:79-80:

"For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah." His people disputed with him. He said: "(Come) ye to dispute with me, about Allah, when He (Himself) hath guided me? I fear not (the beings) ye associate with Allah: Unless my Lord willeth, (nothing can happen). My Lord comprehendeth in His knowledge all things. Will ye not (yourselves) be admonished?

Surah 21:51-71:

We bestowed aforetime on Abraham his rectitude of conduct, and well were We acquainted with him. Behold! he said to his father and his people, "What are these images, to which ye are (so assiduously) devoted?" They said, "We found our fathers worshipping them." He said, "Indeed ye have been in manifest error - ye and your fathers."  They said, "Have you brought us the Truth, or are you one of those who jest?" He said, "Nay, your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, He Who created them (from nothing): and I am a witness to this (Truth).  And by Allah, I have a plan for your idols - after ye go away and turn your backs"..  So he broke them to pieces, (all) but the biggest of them, that they might turn (and address themselves) to it.  They said, "Who has done this to our gods? He must indeed be some man of impiety!"  They said, "We heard a youth talk of them: He is called Abraham."  They said, "Then bring him before the eyes of the people, that they may bear witness." They said, "Art thou the one that did this with our gods, O Abraham?"  He said: "Nay, this was done by - this is their biggest one! ask them, if they can speak intelligently!"  So they turned to themselves and said, "Surely ye are the ones in the wrong!"  Then were they confounded with shame: (they said), "Thou knowest full well that these (idols) do not speak!" (Abraham) said, "Do ye then worship, besides Allah, things that can neither be of any good to you nor do you harm?  "Fie upon you, and upon the things that ye worship besides Allah! Have ye no sense?"..  They said, "Burn him and protect your gods, If ye do (anything at all)!"  We said, "O Fire! be thou cool, and (a means of) safety for Abraham!"  Then they sought a stratagem against him: but We made them the ones that lost most!  But We delivered him and (his nephew) Lut (and directed them) to the land which We have blessed for the nations.

 

Surah 37:80-100:

 

Verily among those who followed his Way was Abraham. Behold! he approached his Lord with a sound heart. Behold! he said to his father and to his people, "What is that which ye worship?  "Is it a falsehood- gods other than Allah- that ye desire?  "Then what is your idea about the Lord of the worlds?" Then did he cast a glance at the Stars.  And he said, "I am indeed sick (at heart)!"  So they turned away from him, and departed. Then did he turn to their gods and said, "will ye not eat (of the offerings before you)?... "What is the matter with you that ye speak not (intelligently)?"  Then did he turn upon them, striking (them) with the right hand.  Then came (the worshippers) with hurried steps, and faced (him).  He said: "Worship ye that which ye have (yourselves) carved?  "But Allah has created you and your handwork!"  They said, "Build him a furnace, and throw him into the blazing fire!"  (This failing), they then sought a stratagem against him, but We made them the ones most humiliated! He said: "I will go to my Lord! He will surely guide me!  "O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)!"

 

So if anyone reads properly, they will see that Surah 21 verses 51-71 and Surah 37 verses 80-100 start off at the same point as Surah 6 verses 79-80.

 

The two Surah's DO NOT start off at the same point as Surah 6 verse 74 as Shamoun has falsely claimed. The other two Surah's pick off right after Abraham realized that Allah was the true lord, and that the star, moon, and sun, including the idols were all false deities.

 

Surah 21 and Surah 37 leave the incident of Abraham worshipping the star, moon, and sun out, it doesn't include these incidents.

 

Also for further proof, the narration of Surah 6 verse 74 specifically says that Abraham addressed his FATHER, here it is again:

 

006.074
YUSUFALI: Lo! Abraham said to his father Azar: "Takest thou idols for gods? For I see thee and thy people in manifest error."

 

Notice it specifically shows that Abraham was arguing with his father Azar only. Yet when we look at the other two Surah's we see that Abraham was disputing with BOTH his father and the people at the same time:

 

Behold! he said to his father AND HIS PEOPLE  Surah 21:51

 

Behold! he said to his father AND TO HIS PEOPLE  Surah 37:80

 

This perfectly coincides with Surah 6 starting at verse 79, not 74, here is verse 79:

 

His people disputed with him. He said: "(Come) ye to dispute with me

 

So this is where the other 2 Surah's start from, from verse 79 when Abraham started to dispute with the people as well, not his father ONLY which is what we see from verse 74 of Surah 6.

 

So to summarize:

 

-Surah 6:74-78 records Abraham arguing with his father only

 

-Surah 6:74-78 further shows that Abraham took the star, moon, and sun as his Lord before finally realizing that they weren't true gods, and the true God was Allah

 

-Surah 6:79-80 then shows Abraham beginning to argue with his people as well after realizing true monotheism

 

-Both Surah 21 and 37 start recording the story of Abraham from verse 79 of Surah 6

 

-Both Surah 21 and 37 leave the incident about Abraham worshipping the star, moon, and sun out. The Surah chooses to leave these things out, and simply start from verse 79 of Surah 6 AFTER these incidents occur

 

-Both Surah 21 and 37 makes it clear that Abraham disputed with BOTH his father and the people

 

-Therefore this makes it clear that these 2 Surah's start off at verse 79 of verse 6, when Abraham began the dispute with the people, when he was fully aware of true monotheism.

 

So Shamoun is wrong when he claims Abraham knew true monotheism and still proceeded to worship the star, moon, and sun. Abraham did NOT know the true message yet, he only found out in verse 79 of Surah 6, which is where surah 21 and 37 kick off from.

 

In fact God is trying to convey two different stories here. In surah 6 God is showing how Abraham came to monotheism, and the trials he took to finally realize the truth. In surah 21 and 37 God is now showing what Abraham did when he completely knew the true faith, and tells us about the abuse he suffered by the hands of his people, when they threw him in the fire. Hence you have God trying to show you two different things that were happening in Abraham's life, the before, and after essentially.

 

Lastly as for these two verses:

 

003.067
YUSUFALI: Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but he was true in Faith, and bowed his will to Allah's (Which is Islam), and he joined not gods with Allah.

 

002.135
YUSUFALI: They say: "Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (To salvation)." Say thou: "Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with Allah."

 

These verses do not contradict the incidents of Surah 6. These verses are obviously referring to once Abraham became a pure and true monotheist, after God guided him and taught him the truth. As surah 3 verse 67 says, Abraham had TRUE FAITH, you can't have true faith if you don't know what the entire truth is, and in Surah 6 Abraham was still searching for the truth, once he got it, he stuck to it and never wavered and remained a pure monotheist until the day he died. Hence these verses are referring to when Abraham completely knew the truth, and when he was a prophet.

 

And Allah the Lord of Abraham Knows Best!

 

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