Examining Bismikaallahumas Proposed Harmonization
Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi (MENJ) has enlisted the help of Nadir Ahmed in the hope of refuting our claim regarding the incoherence and incompleteness of the Quran. We had written an article demonstrating the Qurans confusion regarding whether Muslims worship the same God of the Jews, Christians or the pagans, or not.
Before proceeding to our response, you may want to first read our original paper as well as MENJs reply.
The authors (NM for short) state:
This is a response to the missionary article on a so-called "error" in the Qur'ân. We basically feel that this claim of theirs with regard to this being an "error" in the Qur'ân is best described as an "inconsequential polemic". They claim that "the problems that this sûrah poses should be apparent to anyone familiar with both the Qur'ân and the Islamic traditions", and to reproduce the missionary rhetoric, they identify the "first problem" as:
First problem: Whom exactly is this Surah referring to?
(a) The People of the Book (Jews, Christians, perhaps Sabians)?
(b) The Meccan idolaters?
First, let us establish the correct methodology in our interpretation of the above verse. We will use the Qur'ân to interpret the Qur'ân, as this is the perfectly accepted methodology as adopted in Qur'ânic exegesis. Therefore, if we use the Qur'ân to interpret the Qur'ân, it can easily be noted that the Qur'ân presents many different types of disbelievers. Therefore, a person should go back and look through the Qur'ân to identify which type of "disbeliever" fits the category of sûrah 109. This is the correct way of understanding the Qur'ân.
The authors claim that by using the Quran to interpret the Quran, one can identify which type of disbeliever surah 109 has in mind. But instead of turning to the Quran to show us which group of unbelievers the surah is referring to, note carefully what the authors do:
Now, moving on to the "disputed" sûrah, we read that:"Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion." (Q. 109:1-6)
It is established in any authoritative sîrah of the Prophet(P) that this verse is a Makkan sûrah which was revealed when the idolators in Makkah confronted the Prophet(P) with a "proposal" to counter his public preaching in the city.Therefore the answer to the missionary rhetoric is (b). We certainly do not see how the missionaries could claim that there are "problems" in this verse in regard to who it is directed at, when it is clear that anyone who understands the asbâb an-nuzûl of this sûrah sees no problems in it!
Let me highlight the authors statement to see the glaring contradiction and inconsistency:
It is established IN ANY AUTHORITATIVE SIRAH OF THE PROPHET(P) that this verse is a Makkan sūrah which was revealed when the idolators in Makkah confronted the Prophet(P) with a "proposal" to counter his public preaching in the city ...
And now let me repeat what they wrote above:
... Therefore, if we use the Qur'ān to interpret the Qur'ān, it can easily be noted that the Qur'ān presents many different types of disbelievers. Therefore, a person should go back and look through the Qur'ān to identify which type of "disbeliever" fits the category of sūrah 109. THIS IS THE CORRECT WAY OF UNDERSTANDING OF THE QURAN.
So instead of turning to the Quran to find out the identity of the disbelievers, THE AUTHORS REJECT THEIR OWN PROPOSED METHODOLOGY AND TURN TO THE SIRAH LITERATURE!!! The inconsistency is truly amazing to say the least.
Furthermore, by appealing to sources outside the Quran the authors have indirectly proven our point. They have demonstrated that we are correct in saying that the Quran is an incomplete record that makes little sense without the aid of commentaries and secondary sources written hundreds of years after the time the Quran was supposedly compiled.
Therefore, the authors response is simply empty rhetoric. We certainly do not see how the authors could claim that there are no "problems" in this surah in regard to the group being addressed, especially when they had to go outside the Quran to find their answer!
It should be noted that if a religion's concept of God is incorrect even though there are some elements of truth in its conception of God, then Muslims will neither worship that God nor will the disbelievers worship our different concept of God (or otherwise it will negate their religion).The Qur'ân never stated that any other religion's concept of God is completely correct. This is clearly noted in 'âyah 4:36, "...worship Allâh and join none with Him in worship".
The authors claim that a wrong conception of God nullifies the fact that Muslims worship the same God that the disbelievers worship. If by conception the authors mean that there are no other gods, then it is true that the pagans didnt hold this conception. But the problem with this claim is that the Quran doesnt say that by worshiping other gods the pagans were therefore not worshiping the same God of the Muslims. In fact, the authors assertion both ignores what we had written and the verses we had cited from the Quran itself.
The Quran explicitly states that the pagans DID WORSHIP THE SAME GOD OF THE MUSLIMS. Again, note the following passages carefully:
Say, `To whom belongs the earth and whosoever is therein, if you know?' `To ALLAH,' they will say. Say, `Will you not then be admonished?' Say, `Who is the Lord of the seven Heavens, and the Lord of the Great Throne?' They will say, `They are ALLAH's.' Say, `Will you not then take HIM as your Protector?' Say, `In whose hand is the dominion of all things and who protects, but against Whom there is no protection, if you know?' They will say, `All this belongs to ALLAH.' Say, `How then are you being deluded?' Yea, WE have brought them the truth, and they are certainly liars. ALLAH has not taken unto Himself any son, nor is there any other god along with HIM; in that case each god would have taken away what he had created, and some of them would, surely, have sought domination over others. Glorified be ALLAH far above that which they allege; S. 23:84-91 Sher Ali
If indeed thou ask them who has created the heavens and the earth and subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law), they will certainly reply, "Allah". How are they then deluded away (from the truth)? Allah enlarges the sustenance (which He gives) to whichever of His servants He pleases; and He (similarly) grants by (strict) measure, (as He pleases): for Allah has full knowledge of all things. And if indeed thou ask them who it is that sends down rain from the sky, and gives life therewith to the earth after its death, they will certainly reply, "Allah!" Say, "Praise be to Allah!" But most of them understand not. S. 29:61-63
And if thou ask them, Who has created the heavens and the earth? They will, surely, answer, ALLAH. Say, All praise belongs to ALLAH. But most of them have no knowledge. S. 31:25 Sher Ali
The unbelievers, just like the Muslims, believed that Allah created the entire universe and that he was the sovereign Owner and Ruler of all things. The Quran continues:
And Allah has made for you of what He has created shelters, and He has given you in the mountains places of retreat, and He has given you garments to preserve you from the heat and coats of mail to preserve you in your fighting; even thus does He complete His favor upon you, that haply you may submit. But if they turn back, then on you devolves only the clear deliverance (of the message). They recognize the favor of Allah, yet they deny it, and most of them are ungrateful. S. 16:81-83
Your Lord is He Who speeds the ships for you in the sea that you may seek of His grace; surely He is ever Merciful to you. And when distress afflicts you in the sea, away go those whom you call on except He; but when He brings you safe to the land, you turn aside; and man is ever ungrateful. S. 17:66-67
The preceding passages presume that the disbelievers knew of Allahs favors, and even called upon him during their distress, despite their worshiping other gods. The hadith even states that the pagans bowed after hearing Muhammad recite surah 53:
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
The Prophet performed a prostration when he finished reciting Surat-an-Najm, and all the Muslims and pagans and Jinns and human beings prostrated along with him. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 385)
It is evident that the Quran doesnt accuse the unbelievers of denying the oneness of Allahs Being, or that he was the sole creator of the universe, or the supreme Lord over all. What the Quran attacks the idolaters for is their belief that there were other gods, and yet the Quran claims that the reason why they worshiped these gods was so that they could come closer to Allah:
Surely pure religion is for Allah only. And those who choose protecting friends beside Him (say): We worship them only that they may bring us near unto Allah. Lo! Allah will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Lo! Allah guideth not him who is a liar, an ingrate. S. 39:3
Furthermore, MENJ seems confused regarding his position here. In the following article, he tries to argue that the Meccan pagans worshiped and recognized Allah as the supreme God:
Not only does the Critic show his ignorance of the origins of the word ALLAH in Arabic, but he also shows his ignorance of the religion of the pagan Arabs in pre-Islamic Arabia. Let's discuss it in brief here: To the pagan Arabs, ALLAH is the One True God of Abraham and Ishmael, and the Lord of the Ka`aba. This religion was originally pure monotheism in nature. However, the pagan Arabs tainted this simple monotheistic religion of worshipping Allāh alone by resorting to worship of idols as intercessors to worship Him. They would stand by an idol and, using it as an intercessor, WORSHIP ALLAH ...
In the Collier's CD-ROM Encyclopedia, more details could be found regarding how the pagan Arabs view Allah:
Archaeological, linguistic, and non-Arabic data support the view that there were among the Arabs, long before the emergence of Islam, worshipers of a supreme god known as Allah...leaves little doubt that the Meccans, despite their idolatry, recognized that Allah was Creator and Supreme Provider...Allah was recognized as a High God to whom the inhabitants of the desert and the townsfolk turned in all great difficulties. Two pagan bards, Nabighah and Labid, used the name "Allāh" in connection with the Supreme Deity, while the so-called Hanifs, in their search for an acceptable religion, rejected polytheism and sought freedom from sin by appeal to the will of Allah.
On the description of this "primitive monotheism" of Arabia, it says:
Evidence shows that Islam goes back to a primitive monotheistic belief of ancient Arabia. Though this early faith in Allah was not a monotheism complete with theological dogma, there was a continuous tradition among the peoples of the desert, or among some of them, that maintained a belief in an Originator, a Supreme Being. This High God was the guardian of their flocks, arbiter of ends, protector of their lives, sender of rain, and their defender against the hazards of fate.
Rev. St. Clair Tisdall, the author of The Original Sources of The Qur'an, despite unfailingly asserts the theory of "Qur'anic borrowing", does admit in his book the following:
For the word Allah, containing as it does the definite article, is a proof that those who used it were in some degree conscious of the Divine Unity. Now Muhammad did not invent the word, but, as we have said, found it already in use among his fellow countrymen at the time when he first claimed to be a Prophet, a Divinely commissioned messenger. Proof of this is not far to seek. Muhammad's own father, who died before his son's birth, was called Abdu'llah, "Servant of Allah." The Ka'bah or Temple at Mecca seems long before Muhammad's time to have been called Baitu'llah or "House of Allah."
It is clear that contrary to what the Critic is claiming, the pagan Arabs had always recognized ALLAH as the Supreme Deity and the Lord of the Kaa`ba. Yet, he is trying to claim the opposite of what historians have acknowledged about pre-Islamic Arabia ...
In a similar way the pagan Arabs worshipped 360 idols, but they also worshipped the true God. Their problem was that they did not know enough about the true God. So God commissioned his Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to fix that with his preaching.(Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi, The Origins of "Allah"; capital and underline emphasis ours)
Note the last paragraph carefully. MENJ says that the pagan Arabs worshiped the true God which directly contradicts Surah 109:
Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship.
MENJ also posts on his website a part of Shabir Allys response to Dr. Robert Morey regarding Allah being the moon god. But note what Ally says regarding the pagan Arabs:
Did the Meccans worship the true God since they recognized Allāh? Was Allāh one of the gods of the Ka'bah? And if so, where did the Meccans derive the recognition and the name of Allāh from?
First, Allāh was not one of the 360 idols which were in the Ka'abah, although Morey has claimed this without evidence. When the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) entered Meccah victorious he went into the Ka'abah and broke the idols therein.
Allāh to the Arabs was the Lord of the Ka'abah. He was the unseen God whom they would call upon when in distress. YES, THEY WORSHIPPED THE TRUE GOD but their worship was not purely for Him. They also worshipped other gods thinking that they would act as intermediaries between them and the true God Allāh.
The Arabs know of Allāh because Abraham visited Meccah and together with his son Ishmael laid the foundation of the Ka'abah. The descendants of Ishmael retained some of the worship rites and beliefs from Abraham. THIS INCLUDED THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUE GOD Allāh. (Source)
So now MENJ must tell us what does he exactly believe. Does he agree with Shabir Ally and also with his originally stated position that the pagans did worship Allah? If yes, then he has only refuted his own "rebuttal" here and proven our point.
It may even be that MENJ has changed his position in light of our paper, since he clearly seems to be aware that his original view poses major problems for the Qurans alleged infallibility and inerrancy.
In either case, the authors view that Surah 109 refers to the pagans clearly contradicts the foregoing Quranic passages. The surah doesnt say that the disbelievers do not worship how Muhammad worshiped, or in the manner that Muhammad worshiped. Nor does it say that Muhammad doesnt worship the other gods that the disbelievers were worshiping. The surah clearly says that the disbelievers did not worship WHAT Muhammad worshiped, namely Allah. As we have just seen, and as MENJ himself had to admit, the pagans DID worship Allah, the god of Muhammad!
And in case the authors want to argue that the Arabic text of Surah 109 uses the impersonal Ma ("what" or "which") as a way of showing that it is the religion itself, not just the object of worship, that is in view, we only need to remind them of the following verse:
By the heaven and that WHICH built it. S. 91:5
Arabic: was-samaaa-i wa MAA ba-naahaa
Ma refers to Allah since, according to the Quran, he is the one who built heaven.
Finally, the claim that the Quran never says that the concept of any other religion is correct is blatantly false since it claims that Muslims worship the very same God of the Jews, Christians and even the Hanifs. Which leads us to the next argument:
The so-called "second problem" generated by the missionaries is the claim that the above sûrah contradicts verses such as:"...our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender." (Q. 29:46)
To make things clear, the missionary is really claiming that his interpretation of 'âyah 29:46 is in contradiction. Therefore, in order to arrive at the correct interpretation it is very important that we do not look at verses in a vacuum, and divorce it from the context -- 'âyahs 3:64 and 5:74 informs us that there is something false about the Christians' understanding of God, and that they have too many gods in their belief (Trinity). This "God is One" has been clearly defined and excludes the Trinity or "sons of God".
Therefore, 'âyah 29:46 is not stating that the Christians have a correct understanding of God in this verse or the correct number of Gods and Muslims share in that understanding. That is a false and twisted interpretation. Rather, the only other valid interpretation is that the Qur'ân is teaching the Christians the truth about the God which they read about in the Bible, by reaffirming:"Our God and YOUR God is One." (Q. 29:46)
This phrase "God is One" has already been defined in the Qur'ân as one being without Trinity or a Son:"O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allâh aught but the truth. The Messiah 'Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allâh and His Word, ("Be!" - and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Rûh) created by Him; so believe in Allâh and His Messengers. Say not: "Three (trinity)!" Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allâh is (the only) One Ilâh (God), Glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allâh is AllSufficient as a Disposer of affairs." (Q. 4:171)
Here we see God directly addressing both the Jews and Christians (with special reference to the latter). Notice how the phrase "Allâh (God) is one" is being used here to condemn the Christian understanding of God (Trinity, Sonship, Divinity of Christ), and also, to correct the false Christian understanding of the Christians but emphatically stating "for Allâh is (the only) One Ilâh! Therefore, if Christians believe that Jesus is God, part of a Trinity, or has a Sonship with God, they obviously do not belive in one God as defined by the Qur'ân. Therefore, it is clear that when the Qur'ân pronounces "God is One" to the Christians it is not agreeing with the Christian concept of God, rather it goes on the offensive in condemning and correcting their beliefs.
Therefore, to rephrase this statement:
If God is One = the God, without partners or a Trinity
thenOur God and your God, is God without partners or a Trinity
The author of the Qur'ân is pronouncing to the Christian that GOD IS ONE! It is completely irrelevant as to what the Christians already believed about their God, it means nothing to the author of the Qur'ân in 'âyah 29:46 because the Qur'ân is telling them what is the truth. Nevertheless, it is admitted that the Christians do worship this God but they worship this God in tandem with additional partners ('âyahs 3:64, 5:74).
The Muslim authors have put up a smoke screen. They have completely ignored the immediate context of Surah 29:46. We will shortly discuss this in detail. The following question may clarify the issue considerably. Does the Quran state that (a) "our God and your God are one and the same" or (b) "our God is one, and your God is one as well, but they are two different gods who both happen to have the attribute of oneness"? One could get the impression from the authors' effort to disassociate the Muslim and Christian God(s) that they are propagating option (b). Putting the issue plainly in the above alternative, it is obvious that the Quran claims option (a). Despite some differences in understanding, in this passage the Quran clearly claims that "our (Muslim) God and your (Jewish/Christian) God are not different gods, but they are one and the same God". The purpose of the passage is to address Jews and Christians who rejected Muhammad as a prophet from their God, responding that they have really no reason to reject Islam because the Quran is revelation from the SAME God. Interestingly, in several other publications MENJ is interpreting this passage in just this way. More about that below. In this passage it is not the concept of God which is discussed, but the question of identity. Is it the same God or not? And in this verse the Quran claims that it is one and the same God.
Thus, it is not our interpretation which is influencing our understanding of the text, but rather the authors attempt of trying to reconcile the Quranic contradictions which is clearly guiding their exegesis. First, the Quran nowhere condemns the Trinity as it is understood and believed by orthodox Christians. The Quran attacks a gross aberration of the doctrine. Lord Jesus willing, we will have more to say on this issue in an upcoming rebuttal to another of MENJs papers.
Second, the authors are reading into the Quran their own erroneous, post-Quranic understanding of the oneness of Allah. Contrary to the authors beliefs, the Quran does not support the position held by the majority of Muslims that Allah is a single person, a single consciousness, that Allah is one in person and in being. Since this is not the topic of our discussion, we defer our readers to the following articles:
Third, the authors give the misleading impression that all the Quranic references lump Christians into one category, that the Quran views all Christians as disbelievers in the oneness of Allah. The authors have conveniently forgotten the following verses:
THEY ARE NOT ALL ALIKE. Of the People of the Scripture there is a staunch community who recite the revelations of Allah in the night season, falling prostrate (before Him). They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency, and vie one with another in good works. These are of the righteous. S. 3:113-114 Pickthall
And lo! of the People of the Scripture there are some who believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto you and that which was revealed unto them, humbling themselves before Allah. They purchase not a trifling gain at the price of the revelations of Allah. Verily their reward is with their Lord. Lo! Allah is swift to take account. S. 3:199 Pickthall
Certainly you will find the most violent of people in enmity for those who believe (to be) the Jews and those who are polytheists, and you will certainly find the nearest in friendship to those who believe (to be) those who say: We are Christians; this is because there are priests and monks among them and because they do not behave proudly. And when they hear what has been revealed to the apostle you will see their eyes overflowing with tears on account of the truth that they recognize; they say: Our Lord! we believe, so write us down with the witnesses (of truth). S. 5:82-83 Shakir
The authors may claim that these Christians believed in Muhammad and his religion, and thus do not fall under the category of Christians. The problem with this claim is that these individuals are still identified as Christians, not that they ceased to be Christians after confessing their faith in Muhammads revelation. In fact, the Quran says that Muslims can marry women from the People of the Book, but cannot marry unbelieving women:
This day all good things have been made lawful for you. And the food of the people of the Book is lawful for you. And your food is lawful for them. And lawful for you are chaste believing women and chaste women from among those who were given the Book before you, when you give them their dowries, contracting valid marriage and not committing fornication, nor taking secret paramours. And whoever rejects the faith, his work indeed is vain, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers. S. 5:5 Sher Ali
Wed not idolatresses till they believe; for lo! a believing bondwoman is better than an idolatress though she please you; and give not your daughters in marriage to idolaters till they believe, for lo! a believing slave is better than an idolater though he please you. These invite unto the Fire, and Allah inviteth unto the Garden, and unto forgiveness by His grace, and expoundeth thus His revelations to mankind that haply they may remember. S. 2:221 Pickthall
Again, the implication here is that (some/many?) Christians are believers in Allah, otherwise their women wouldnt be lawful for Muslims.
Furthermore, this still contradicts Surah 109 which says:
Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. NOR WILL YE WORSHIP THAT WHICH I WORSHIP.
If this is referring to the Christians, then it is wrong since the verses that we just looked at assert that the Christians worshiped what Muhammad worshiped.
Fourth, the authors have conveniently focused on Christians, whereas surah 29:46 wasnt referring to the Christians alone. Rather, the passage is addressing BOTH Christians AND JEWS. Apart from one single reference which falsely impugns Jews for calling Ezra the son of Allah (cf. 9:30), the Quran assumes that for the most part the Jews were worshipers of Allah.
In fact, Muslims are made to profess their belief in the revelation of Allah given to the Jews and Christians:
Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered. S. 2:136 Pickthall
The apostle believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers; they all believe in Allah and His angels and His books and His apostles; We make no difference between any of His apostles; and they say: We hear and obey, our Lord! Thy forgiveness (do we crave), and to Thee is the eventual course. S. 2:285 Shakir
These passages are simply echoing 29:46:
And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender. Pickthall
The foregoing makes it quite evident that, contrary to the authors assertions, the statement that the God of the Muslims and the God of the Jews/Christians is one was not intended as a reprimand or rebuke. Rather, it is clearly intended to be a profession of faith, that Muslims are worshiping the same Deity that Jews and Christians worship.
Now contrast the preceding citations with Surah 109 again:
Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship.
Muhammad says that he does not nor will he worship what the disbelievers worship. If this refers to the Deity worshiped by Jews and Christians, then the Quran is obviously contradicting itself since Muhammad says he does worship their God.
Finally, this again shows MENJs inconsistency. As we noted above, MENJ seeks to lump all Christians as disbelievers in Allahs "oneness." Yet, elsewhere, he posts the following article on his site which directly contradicts what he has stated here:
A. Judaism and Christianity
Islam accords to these two religions special status. First, each of them is the religion of God. Their founders on earth, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, are the prophets of God. What they have conveyed -- the Torah, the Psalms, the Evangel (gospels) -- are revelations from God. To believe in these prophets, in the revelations they have brought, is integral to the very faith of Islam. To disbelieve in them, nay to discriminate among them, is apostasy. "Our Lord and your Lord is indeed God, the One and Only God." God described His Prophet Muhammad and his followers as "believing all that has been revealed from God"; as "believing in God, in His angels, in His revelations and Prophets"; as not-distinguishing among the Prophets of God.
Arguing with Jews and Christians who object to this self-identification and claim an exclusivist monopoly on the former prophets, the Qur'ān says: "You claim that Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and their tribes were Jews or Christians [and God claims otherwise]. Would you claim knowledge in these matters superior to God's?" "Say, [Muhammad], We believe in God, in what has been revealed by Him to us, what has been revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the tribes; in what has been conveyed to Moses, to Jesus, and all the prophets from their Lord." "We have revealed [Our revelation) to you [Muhammad] as We did to Noah and the Prophets after him, to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, Solomon, and David." "It is God indeed, the living and eternal One, that revealed to you [Muhammad] the Book [i.e., the Qur'ān] confirming the previous revelations. For it is He Who revealed the Torah and the Gospels as His guidance to mankind. ... Who revealed the Psalms to David." "Those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], those who follow the Jewish [scriptures], and the Sabians and the Christians -- all those who believe in God and in the Day of Judgment, and have done good work -- will receive their due reward from God. They have no cause to fear, nor shall they grieve."
The honor with which Islam regards Judaism and Christianity, their founders and scriptures, is not courtesy but acknowledgment of religious truth. Islam sees them in the world not as "other views" which it has to tolerate, but as standing de jure, as truly revealed religions from God. Moreover, their legitimate status is neither sociopolitical, nor cultural or civilizational, but religious. In this, Islam is unique. For no religion in the world has yet made belief in the truth of other religions a necessary condition of its own faith and witness.
Consistently, Islam pursues this acknowledgment of religious truth in Judaism and Christianity to its logical conclusion, namely, self-identification with them. Identity of God, the source of revelation in the three religions, necessarily leads to identity of the revelations and of the religions. Islam does not see itself as coming to the religious scene ex nihilo but as reaffirmation of the same truth presented by all the preceding prophets of Judaism and Christianity. It regards them all as Muslims, and their revelations as one and the same as its own. Together with Hanifism, the monotheistic and ethical religion of pre-Islamic Arabia, Judaism, Christianity and Islam constitute crystallizations of one and the same religious consciousness whose essence and core is one and the same. ...
... In the Qur'ān, the Christians are exalted for their self-discipline and humility, and they are declared the closest of all believers to the Muslims. "[O Muhammad], you and the believers will find closest in love and friendship those who say 'We are Christians,' for many of them are ministers and priests who are truly humble?" If despite all this commendation of them, of their prophets, and of their scriptures, Jews and Christians would persist in opposing and rejecting the Prophet and his followers, God commanded all Muslims to call the Jews and Christians in these words: "O People of the Book, come now with us to rally around a fair and noble principle common to both of us, that all of us shall worship and serve none but God, that we shall associate naught with Him, and that we shall not take one another as lords beside God. But if they still persist in their opposition, then warn them that We shall persist in our affirmation."
Evidently, Islam has given the maximum that can ever be given to another religion. It has acknowledged as true the other religion's prophets and founders, their scriptures and teaching. Islam has declared its God and the God of the religions of Jews and Christians as One and the same. It has declared the Muslims the assistants, friends, and supporters of the adherents of the other religions, under God. If, after all this, differences persist, Islam holds them to be of no consequence. Such differences must not be substantial. They can be surmounted and resolved through more knowledge, good will, and wisdom. Islam treats them as domestic disputes within one and the same religious family. And as long as we both recognize that God alone is Lord to each and every one of us, no difference and no disagreement is beyond solution. Our religious, cultural, social, economic, and political differences may all be composed under the principle that God alone - not any one of us, not our passions, our egos, or our prejudices - is God.(Islam and Other Religions; bold emphasis ours)
MENJ has published several articles in which he makes great efforts to prove that the god of the Quran is the same as the God of the Bible. The following statement is found in the conclusion of these articles:
... Insha'allāh, the comparisons above will help quell the doubts of those who have been duped into believing that "Muslims worship a different god" by Christian missionary propaganda, ... (The Word 'Elohim' in the Hebrew Qur'ān)
It seems that MENJ will do and say just about anything to save the Quran from its gross errors, even to the point of contradicting himself from one paper to the next. The authors conclude this present paper with:
It will always be a missionary fantasy to find "incoherance" or "problems" within the Noble Qur'ân. The biggest problem in these types of discussions, however, is that the Christians have been duped into believing that they are strict monotheists who worship only one God, which is a totally false assumption from the start. Please also keep in mind that the Qur'ân also clearly states that the Bible has been corrupted ('âyahs 2:79, 4:157), which would explain how the Christians fell into false doctrines about God.
We have used the traditional method of Qur'ānic exegesis, i.e., al-Qur'ān yufassiru ba'duhu ba'dan (different parts of the Qur'ān explain each other). What is given in a general way in one place is discussed in detail in some other place in the Qur'ān. What is dealt with briefly at one place is expanded in some other place.
And only God knows best!
Our examination of the authors "rebuttal" has shown that it is the Muslims who fantasize that the Quran is free from "incoherance" [sic] or "problems". The real problem in these types of discussions, however, is that the Muslims have been deceived into believing that the Quran teaches a strict monotheism, and because of this erroneous belief they think that any concept of Gods unity which includes a plurality of Persons within one infinite, eternal Being is somehow a violation of REAL monotheism. Furthermore, they even believe that the Quran is actually a true revelation from the true God, and therefore whatever it has to say is the absolute and unquestionable truth, which is a totally false assumption from the start.
Please also keep in mind that the Quran clearly states that the Holy Bible is the uncorrupt, pure word of God, contrary to the claims of the authors which have been thoroughly refuted here:
Many more articles on this topic are found here:
We also encourage our readers to hear the debate with Nadir Ahmed, and see for themselves how he failed to defend his erroneous contention that the Quran claims that the Holy Bible has been corrupted:
This also explains why the authors so desperately seek to undermine the Christian faith since they realize that neither Muhammad nor the Quran can pass the biblical test of what makes a person a real prophet of the true God. But sadly, in their desperation to save the Quran from its errors by attacking the Holy Bible, they only prove that they either do not believe in the Quran or that the Quran is a false book since it clearly testifies to the authority and purity of the biblical text.
Using the authors proposed method of Quranic exegesis, i.e., different parts of the Quran explain each other, we have found that the Quran does in fact contradict itself. The authors proposed reconciliation of the conflicting passages basically ignored most of what we had said, and introduced irrelevant issues and red herrings.
And only the eternal, triune God knows best!
Responses to Bismikaallahuma
Contradictions in the Qur'an
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page