Is there a problem with Islamic Monotheism?

Sami Zaatari

 

Missionary Sam Shamoun has decided to come out with a two part rebuttal to my article which refuted his ignorant claims against Islamic monotheism. This latest round of refutations will further cement Shamoun's ignorance concerning Islamic monotheism, and will further cement why Shamoun should go learn the basics of Islam before he goes out issuing challenges to hold a debate on Islamic monotheism!

The missionary writes:

Moreover, the Quran mentions a prophet calling on an angel as his lord!

Then and there did Zachariah PRAY TO HIS LORD (rabbahu), saying, ?MY LORD (rabbi) grant me from Thyself pure offspring; surely thou art the Hearer of Prayer.' AND THE ANGELS CALLED TO HIM as he stood praying in the chamber, ?ALLAH gives thee glad tidings of Yahya, who shall testify to the truth of a word from ALLAH - noble and chaste and a Prophet, from among the righteous.' HE SAID ?MY LORD (rabbi), how shall I have a son, when old age has overtaken me already, and my wife is barren?' He answered, ?Such is the way of ALLAH; HE does what HE pleases,' HE SAID ?MY LORD (rabbi), give me a commandment.' HE [the angel] REPLIED, ?The commandment for thee is that thou shalt not speak to men for three days except by signs. And remember THY LORD (rabbaka) much and glorify HIM in the evening and in the early morning.' S. 3:38-41 Sher Ali

When he called upon HIS LORD (rabbahu) in a low voice, He said: MY LORD (rabbi)! surely my bones are weakened and my head flares with hoariness, and, MY LORD (rabbi)! I have never been unsuccessful in my prayer to Thee: And surely I fear my cousins after me, and my wife is barren, therefore grant me from Thyself an heir, Who should inherit me and inherit from the children of Yaqoub, and make him, my Lord, one in whom Thou art well pleased. O Zakariya! surely We give you good news of a boy whose name shall be Yahya: We have not made before anyone his equal. He said: O MY LORD (rabbi)! when shall I have a son, and my wife is barren, and I myself have reached indeed the extreme degree of old age? HE SAID: So shall it be, YOUR LORD (rabbuka) SAYS: It is easy to Me, and indeed I created you before, when you were nothing. He said: MY LORD (rabbi)! give me a sign. HE SAID: Your sign is that you will not be able to speak to the people three nights while in sound health. S. 19:3-10 Shakir

These passages mention Zechariah's prayer to Allah for a son, the angels' response, and the subsequent discussion that supposed to have taken place between the prophet and the angels. What this means is that this prophet of Allah was either addressing the angels collectively or one specific angel as his very own lord!

RESPONSE

So Shamoun thinks he has a case by quoting surah 3 verses 38-41, which I shall re-quote again:

There did Zakariya pray to his Lord, saying: "O my Lord! Grant unto me from Thee a progeny that is pure: for Thou art He that heareth prayer! While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: "Allah doth give thee glad tidings of Yahya, witnessing the truth of a Word from Allah, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a prophet,- of the (goodly) company of the righteous." : He said: "O my Lord! How shall I have son, seeing I am very old, and my wife is barren?" "Thus," was the answer, "Doth Allah accomplish what He willeth." He said: "O my Lord! Give me a Sign!" "Thy Sign," was the answer "Shall be that thou shalt speak to no man for three days but with signals. Then celebrate the praises of thy Lord again and again, and glorify Him in the evening and in the morning." (3:38-41)

So Shamoun's weak argument is as follows:

-Zakariya prays to God

-God answers Zakariya's prayer

-The angels come to Zakariya

-While Zakariya is talking to the angels he is saying Lord etc

Did it never occur to Shamoun that those angels which were sent to Zakariya were representatives of God and were simply relaying what God told them?! What we see above is something very simple, Zakariya prays to God, God answers Zakariya's prayer, and God decides to communicate to Zakariya through the angels, God sends the angels to Zakariya and the angels relay what God is saying! When Zakariya says Lord he is not directly referring to the angels, although they respond back to him, it does not mean he is referring to them, rather as I said, they are representatives of God, and are sent by God, and they themselves are in communication with God, therefore they simply relay what God says, God uses the angels as the means of communication.

God has several ways of communicating to his people, either through dreams, direct revelations, or through the angels as he himself says:

It is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil, or by the sending of a messenger to reveal, with Allah's permission, what Allah wills: for He is Most High, Most Wise. (42:51)

He doth send down His angels with inspiration of His Command, to such of His servants as He pleaseth (16:2)

So it is as simple as that my fellow reader, the angels were not gods, Zakariya was not addressing them as gods, and Shamoun even knows this!

In fact funny enough Shamoun quotes a few commentaries which also provide a good enough explanation, and I borrow from Shamoun's article:

. Ibn Kathir assumes that Zechariah's dialogue was with an angel, not with God (Ibn Kathir, II, p. 36).

Qurtubi begins by relating on the authority of al-Kalbi that the word "Lord" in this verse refers to Gabriel. He says, "Zechariah said to Gabriel ?my lord,' meaning ?my master.'".

The above explanation is very suitable as well, as it was something common during the time of Zakaria to call others as lords and so forth but not meaning the all mighty Lord, rather someone who was of a high rank would be called lord or master. Shamoun tries to contend this issue by writing:

The Quran expressly forbids taking angels and prophets as lords and protectors:

Nor would he instruct you to take angels and prophets for Lords and Patrons. What! Would he bid you to unbelief after ye have bowed your will (to Allah in Islam)? S. 3:80

RESPONSE

Yes, the Quran is would never command men to take angels as their Lords meaning as their God who saves them or their God who you pray to etc. Context of the meaning is ALWAYS important, and Shamoun himself knows there is a difference between calling a high ranking member as lord, which is a title of respect and rank, and between making someone your Lord as in meaning he is your God and Saviour and the one who you devout your life to, hence Shamoun's weak contention does not even stand. So thanks Shamoun, those above commentaries even add more ammunition against your weak argument of Zakariya and the angels!

The missionary than compounds his ignorance like no other:

Zaatari tries to teach me how to refute tauhid al-rububiyyah!

Let me teach Shamoun on how somebody contradicts Tawhid of Lordship, people contradict Tawhid of Lordship by the following:

-Believing in no God (atheists)

-Believing in another false God, a God who creates and is control over the affairs of the universe (Christian)

What is amazing about his list is that he conveniently left out the specific manner that his own false prophet said would directly conflict with Allah's lordship:

<They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah, and the Messiah, son of Maryam> [9:31]. Imam Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Jarir At-Tabari recorded a Hadith via several chains of narration, from 'Adi bin Hatim, may Allah be pleased with him, who became a Christian during the time of Jahiliyyah. When the call of the Messenger of Allah reached his area, 'Adi ran away to Ash-Sham, and his sister and several of his people were captured. The Messenger of Allah freed his sister and gave her gifts. So she went to her brother and encouraged him to become Muslim and to go to the Messenger of Allah. 'Adi, who was one of the chiefs of his people (the tribe of Tai') and whose father, Hatim At-Ta'i, was known for his generosity, went to Al-Madinah. When the people announced his arrival, 'Adi went to the Messenger of Allah wearing a silver cross around his neck. The Messenger of Allah recited this Ayah...

<They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah>. 'Adi commented, "I said, ?They did not worship them.'" The Prophet said...

((Yes they did. They (rabbis and monks) prohibited the allowed for them (Christians and Jews) and allowed the prohibited, and they obeyed them. This is how they worshiped them.)) .

<They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah.> that the Christians and Jews obeyed their monks and rabbis in whatever they allowed or prohibited for them." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Surat Al-A'raf to the end of Surah Yunus, abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, London, Lahore; First Edition: May 2000], Volume 4, pp. 409-410; bold emphasis ours)

As we saw, Muhammad demanded this very same kind of blind obedience and allegiance from his own followers! If unquestioningly submitting to the whims and dictates of the rabbis and monks is an act of deification, an act of worship, then Muslims are worshiping and deifying Muhammad for giving him the very same kind of allegiance; and yet they do so on the express and strict orders of Muhammad! Worse still, according to Muhammad they are actually doing so on the express commands of Allah, which means that it is Allah who is demanding that Muslims deify and worship Muhammad!

RESPONSE

Quite frankly it is amazing that the missionary quotes sources, and doesn't realize the sources he quote serve as a proof of his ignorance. Shamoun quotes Ibn Kathir which explains how the Jews were polytheists, and notice what it says, it says the Jews are polytheists because they follow the law of their Rabbis over the law of God, HENCE THAT IS THEIR WORSHIPPING AND POLYTHEISM!!! EXACTLY, this is in regards to TAWHEED AL ULUHIYA, Tawhid of Worship, it has nothing to do with Tawheed al-Rububbiyah as the Jews did not contest or believe in more than One God, their polytheism came in worshiping others beside the one true God!!! So wow, really Shamoun, thanks for proving my point that you understand NOTHING about Tawheed, or what we believe, and you EVEN quoted the very source to prove it.

In fact my fellow Muslims, whenever, WHENEVER you go learn about Tawheed Al-Uluhiyyah you will find that many scholars use the above citation that Shamoun just did as a PROOF for Tawheed al-Uluhiyah and how someone can contradict it, yet Shamoun is using this for Tawheed al-Rububbiyah! Amazing, that is all I can say.

Furthermore, Shamoun attacks a HUGE straw man, when Muslims obey the prophet Muhammad it is because HIS LAW IS BASED ON GOD'S LAW, NOT HIS OWN WHIMS AND DESIRE, HIS LAW DOES NOT CONTRADICT GOD! The Jewish rabbis however made laws that contradicted the Torah and God himself! Shamoun's very OWN BIBLE and his very own God Jesus even said that! I quote:

He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7:6-9)

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. (Mark 7:13)

And also from the Islamic source:

Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 79:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Umar:

The Jews brought to the Prophet a man and a woman from among them who had committed illegal sexual intercourse. The Prophet said to them, "How do you usually punish the one amongst you who has committed illegal sexual intercourse?" They replied, "We blacken their faces with coal and beat them," He said, "Don't you find the order of Ar-Rajm (i.e. stoning to death) in the Torah?" They replied, "We do not find anything in it." 'Abdullah bin Salam (after hearing this conversation) said to them. "You have told a lie! Bring here the Torah and recite it if you are truthful."

So they obeyed their Rabbis and monks in whatever they obeyed them, even if it went against the rules and laws of God, hence by doing so they committed polytheism because their law was now above the law of God, and hence their worship was not true, and it was impure, and hence their Tawheed al-Uluhiyyah was corrupt, this has nothing to do with Tawheed al-Rububbiya.

As I have said before, there is no reason to repeat ourselves; I have already dealt with the issue of obeying the prophet Muhammad:

http://muslim-responses.com/Obeying_the_prophet/Obeying_the_prophet_

The missionary continues:

To make matters worse, Muhammad is not the only creature that the Quran conjoins with Allah in his attributes. In one particular passage the Islamic scripture uses the conjunction wa to ascribe honour or glory to Allah, Muhammad and Muslims:    

They (hypocrites) say: "If we return to Al-Madinah, indeed the more honourable ('Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul, the chief of hypocrites at Al-Madinah) will expel therefrom the meaner (i.e. Allah's Messenger)." But honour, power and glory belong to Allah, His Messenger (Muhammad), and to the believers (WA-lillahi al-aizzatu WA-lirasoolihi WA-lilmumineena), but the hypocrites know not. S. 63:8 Hilali-Khan

What makes this rather problematic for dawagandists like Zaatari is that we are expressly and repeatedly told throughout the Quran that this attribute belongs wholly to Allah!

Those who take unbelievers for their friends instead of believers -- do they seek glory in them? But glory altogether belongs to God (inna al-aizzatu lillahi jameean). S. 4:139 Arberry

RESPONSE

This is not problematic at all, in fact it is very easy, which shows that it is you Shamoun who has the problem in understanding basic Islamic theology.

So Shamoun's argument is very simple, in Surah 63:8 Allah, the prophet Muhammad, and the Muslims are all described as having honour, power, and glory, this therefore means this is polytheism because the Muslims are described in the same way as God, and that Surah 4:139 says all glory belongs to God, so how can that be?!

Did it never occur to Shamoun that there could be differences between the glory, honour, and power of Allah compared to that of the prophet and the Muslims? So although Surah 63:9 says that Allah, the prophet, and the Muslims all have honour, power, and glory, this does not mean they are equal at all, or in any way similar!

So just because Allah is described as having power, honour, and glory, does not mean that if others are described with these terms then it equals equality in totality between the three, the Quran itself teaches the following:

And there is none like unto Him. (112:4)

 (He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees. (42:11)

So the Quran makes it clear that there is nothing like God, so with that in mind, since we know that there is nothing like Allah, then this allows us to know that when Muslims themselves are described as having honour, power, and glory, that these attributes are nothing similar to that of God's honour, power, and glory! This is what you call simple harmonization and this is what you call simple basic theology, you allow the text to explain itself!

Furthermore, when Muslims are described as having honour, power, and glory, who gave them this description? Shamoun says the ?Muslim scripture' yet from where is this scripture? It is from God! Hence it was ALLAH HIMSELF WHO GAVE THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD AND THE MUSLIMS SUCH ATTRIBUTES!!!

Furthermore, one will notice a chain in the passage, it mentions Allah first, the prophet, then the Muslims, and this allows us to look at things from a much better perspective. At the end of the day from where does power come from? From where does honour come from, and from where does glory come from? Are you able to get these things alone by yourself in a righteous manner? Of course not, all of these attributes are given by God himself, and since God is the source of all these things, it is precisely him who has given the Muslims honour, glory, and power! So when the Muslims have power, when we have honour, and when we have glory it is because Allah himself through his mercy has granted us these privileges and rights, and this is precisely why ALLAH IS GIVING US THESE ATTRIBUTES IN SURAH 63:8! Remember what I said above, in Surah 63:8 it is Allah himself that is speaking, and naming the Muslims with such attributes, and indeed Allah is the source of everything, hence our power, glory, and honour all come from him, not from ourselves or our own power.

The Quran even states that those who are upon Tawheed will be the victorious ones:

Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion - the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace: 'They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me. 'If any do reject Faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked. (24:55)

So this power, honour, and glory we have all comes from Allah himself, he is the source of it all.

So to summarize:

-Similar names of attributes does not mean equality in attributes

-Allah himself gave the Muslims such description

-All Honour, Glory, and Power comes from God himself as the Quran mentions, hence when Muslims have these titles it is precisely because God granted them mercy and put them in such a position, he is the source of it all, showing he is the ultimate power and source of strength.

And this is what Shamoun brings to argue against Islamic monotheism, in fact the verses he brings are very good in explaining Islamic monotheism as you have just seen!

The missionary just goes from bad to worse:

The other problem with the concept of tauhid al-rububiyyah is that even though Allah is said to be rich and free of all needs:

Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than Sadaqah (charity) followed by injury. And Allah is Rich (Free of all wants) and He is Most-Forbearing. S. 2:263 Hilali-Khan

The Quran repeatedly exhorts creatures to lend to Allah a loan which he will gladly repay!

Who is he who will lend to Allah a goodly loan? So he will increase it manifold for him, and he will have a noble reward. Surely, the men who give alms and the women who give alms, and those who lend to Allah a goodly loan - it will be increased manifold for them, and theirs will also be a honourable reward - S. 57:11, 18

RESPONSE

Wow, I have seen a lot of bad arguments, but this has to be one of the best (as in worst worst) bad arguments I have ever seen!

So since Allah claims to be rich, and not in need of us, but at the same time he asks Muslims to spend in his cause, this means there's a problem and that he does need us!

Did it never occur to Shamoun that yes Allah doesn't need us, but the only reason he asks you to spend in his cause is to test you, and to see if you are a true believer who will get involved?

Furthermore when Allah asks you to spend in his cause, ITS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! It's not for him, he already made it clear that he doesn't need you, he is already rich, but he only asks you to spend in the cause FOR YOUR OWN SAKE! It is you with all to gain all to lose, it does not affect Allah in the LEAST.

Furthermore, when one spends in the cause of Allah it doesn't mean you find an angel and give it a cheque so the angel will go cash it to God! Spending in the cause of Allah means for Islamic causes on earth, such as Jihad, when Muslims are in war, Muslims should spend in this cause with their money and goods to aid the Islamic state which is fighting. Or if there is an Islamic state, then you give charity and help it out as much as you can and so forth. This is spending in the cause of Allah, it doesn't mean you literally send a cheque to heaven for an angel to cash it and give it to Allah!

To put it simple, the very fact that YOU WILL GET REWARDED for your spending debunks Shamoun's case, this money or whatever you spend is not to feed or give a house to God, it is for YOUR OWN GOOD, YOUR OWN GOOD SHAMOUN, YOU, not God, and that debunks your silly argument.

Shamoun ends with a final point:

To top it off, Allah deliberately created mankind sinful and in need of repentance so that he could have a reason to show mercy!

Chapter 2: THE OBLITERATION OF SINS WITH THE HELP OF SEEKING FORGIVENESS PROM ALLAH

Abu Sirma reported that when the time of the death of Abu Ayyub Ansari drew near, he said: I used to conceal from you a thing which I heard from Allah's Messenger and I heard Allah's Messenger as saying: Had you not committed sins, Allah would have brought into existence a creation that would have committed sin (and Allah) would have forgiven them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037, Number 6620)

RESPONSE

No where in the above hadith did it say anything about Allah doing this so he could have a reason to show his mercy. Allah was all merciful even before any creation existed! Allah is not in need of any creation to have his perfect attributes, which shows how narrow minded Shamoun is, since Shamoun cannot grasp God and his perfection, Shamoun gets confused with concepts such as how can God be a creator when nothing existed, or how can God be all loving when there was nothing to love, or how could be the all forgiving when there was nothing to forgive etc etc.

So in conclusion Shamoun has come no where close to showing any problems within Islamic monotheism, you need to try harder Sam.

And Allah Knows Best!

www.muslim-responses.com