Responses to Akbarally Meherally's site

What Islam has to Offer That Christianity Cannot?

I sent him the following four lines from the Qur'an with the commentaries by the famous translator Abdullah Yusuf Ali. In the original Arabic text these four short sentences from Surah Al-Ikhlaas (112) have their endings in a poetic rhythm. It is impossible to duplicate the beauty and marvel of that poetic outpouring it in the translated text.

Say: He is Allah the One and Only; 6296 6297
Allah the Eternal Absolute; 6298
He begetteth not nor is He begotten; 6299
And there is none like unto Him. 6300

I am very happy that you are having conversations with Christians and are attempting to make a positive case for the Qur'an instead of relying on attacking the Bible in order to imply the Qur'an is true by default. Sura 112 - Ikhlaas [or sincerity] is a fascinating chapter of the Qur'an. Unfortunately for your argument, it is far from being pure and actually casts great doubt on the message of the Qur'an as well as the "messenger". There are several very serious problems with these four short sentences.

Muhammad used this Sura (and its statement of Tauhid) against the Pagans, Jews, and Christians, depending on the situation at hand.

For example, the Christians believed in One God, however, Muhammad objected to the idea that God had a son and this sentiment is reflected in the third ayah. He also objected to the idea of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), which he completely misunderstood. Muhammad incorrectly believed and taught that Christians believed in three gods and even implied that Mary was a member of the Trinity.

The Jews also believed in One God. Like Muhammad's concept of God, the Jews believed that God was without physical or human qualities and characteristics. However, Muhammad, as well as today's Muslims object to the fact that the Old Testament says that He went for a stroll, appeared in human form, wrestled with Jacob. Muhammad also incorrectly claimed that the Jews believed that God was the father of a son, Ezra.

Muhammad made many serious theological errors in the Qur'an, clear evidence that his revelations were not from God since God could never make these mistakes! For example, God would know the Christian definition of the Trinity and would know that Mary was never considered equal to God by any group of orthodox Christians. An all-knowing God would also know that nowhere in Jewish history is Ezra considered God's Son. There are other serious theological and historical errors in the Qur'an which are beyond the scope of this discussion.

Another theological problem is the many different stories told by the traditions. This is clearly an important Sura, yet we have no clear and consistent account of whether this Sura was "revealed" for Muhammad to preach to the Christians, Jews, or Pagans. For example:

Abdullah bin Masud, Abul Aliyah [on the authority of Ubayy bin Kab], Jabir bin Abdullah, and Amir bin at-Tufail claim that this Sura was "revealed" for the first time to Muhammad when he responded to the Pagans. However, Ikrimah [from Ibn Abbas], Anas, Dahhak, Qatadah and Muqatil claim that this Sura was first "revealed" to and delivered by Muhammad to the Jews. But the confusion does not end here! Ibn Abbas, in yet another tradition, reported that a deputation of the Christians of Najran along with seven priests visited Muhammad when he first delivered this Sura.

The fact that the various traditions are so different, makes me rather suspicious whether any of them are correct. It also raises the question of the reliability of Muslim traditions. Obviously the Sura was only "revealed" once, although it might be have been re-recited , however, this is not what the traditions tell us. Also, God could have reminded Muhammad of the revelation on different occasions, and this answer could have fit into the new situations. However, could this Sura have been "revealed" (the first time) in such different settings?

Mr. Meherally gives us an interesting commentary by Yusuf Ali:

6300 This sums up the whole argument and warns us specially against Anthropomorphism, the tendency to conceive of Allah after our own pattern, an insidious tendency that creeps in at all times and among all peoples. (112.4)

What? The Qur'an contains many examples of Anthropomorphism. According to the Qur'an, Allah has a face (Sura 55:27), a hand (Sura 48:10), and an eye (Sura 20:39)

Note: Neither the Christ Jesus himself nor any of his disciples (including John), ever wrote or claimed that Jesus was "the begotten son" or "the only begotten son" of the Father. What one reads in the English translation of the Gospel according to John is the INJECTION of this term from The Vulgate. In response to the Arian claim that Jesus was made but not begotten, Jerome (c. 347-420) the famous apologist of the early Christian Church, translated the Greek term "monogenes" (meaning, "of a single kind") into Latin as "unigeitus" (meaning, "only begotten") in his translation of the Bible, commonly known as The Vulgate. In 1592, The Council of Trent chose The Vulgate as the authentic text in the matter of theology. The recent revised translations that are done from the original Greek text written by John do render "of a single kind" as the correct translations in John 1:18 and 3:16. For further details please read 'Anchor Bible' - Volume 29, The Gospel according to John (i), Garden City, New York; publishers Doubleday (1966), pages 13 and 14.

We have discussed this issue before! Mr. Meherally is insinuating that Christians added the word begotten to the Bible. This is not true, the Greek manuscripts of John 3:16 are consistent. The word "begotten" is one of English translations of the Greek word "monogenes" which means "only", "one of a kind" and the scholars are debating whether it also can mean "only begotten". For a detailed discussion see this dictionary entry. Jesus is called God's "only Son" in either case. [By the way, we see again, that Meherally has little real knowledge about Greek or Latin, as he misspells the very word he discusses. It is not "unigeitus" but "unigenitus" (only begotten) in the Vulgate, while it was rendered more correctly as "unicus" in Old Latin translation that was used in the Western church before the Vulgate.]

Incidentally, Mr. Meherally, since your are continually claiming that the Bible has been corrupted and that the Qur'an is "pure", please read A `Perfect' Qur'an OR "So it was made to appear to them"?

Until then,

May God bless you,

Andrew Vargo

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