The Islamic Concept of Corporate Justice

More Evidence of One Muslim’s Blatant Inconsistency

Sam Shamoun

The Objection

Muslim polemicist Shabir Ally has written several articles addressing and interacting with Dr. James R. White’s comments regarding their recent debate in Seattle, Washington, concerning the topic, "Was Jesus Christ Crucified as a Willing Sacrifice for the Sins of God’s People?", which took place on October 19, 2007.

The Story of Achan

As already seen, one of the points which some Christian scholars raise against the theory of penal substitution is about the injustice involved in crucifying the innocent to free the guilty. In response, James said in essence that I do not understand the idea of corporate justice as is known from the Bible. I was puzzled. James explained this with reference to the story of Achan. After the Battle of Ai, Achan had not turned over to the public treasury all of the spoils taken from the enemy. As a punishment for Achan’s withholding from the state treasury, Achan, his sons, his daughters, his cattle, his donkeys, and his sheep were stoned and then burned by the congregation under the direction of Joshua. As a result, the Lord turned from his fierce anger (Joshua 7:24-26).

When James mentioned this I volunteered that I did not know the story. He seems now on DL to delight over the fact of my ignorance. I do not mind this, for it is good now and again to remember that what I know is only a little. But it would also be important for James to recall what my response was to this story and to the corporate justice James thinks it establishes. My retort was that this too is injustice. Therefore this could not be used as an answer to the injustice of the cross as a means of Atonement. I added that if I point to one example of injustice and James points to another we now have two examples of injustice. Two wrongs do not make a right. In sum, James has succeeded in showing me an example of injustice in the Bible of which I had no previous knowledge. (Conversing With a Caller on the Dividing Line of Oct. 23, 2007; source a, b; bold and underline emphasis ours)

The Quran on Corporate Solidarity and Federal Headship

Since Shabir has a problem with the doctrines of corporate justice, federal headship etc., we will turn our attention to the Quran and Islamic ahadith to see whether his own sources teach something similar to these concepts. After all, our goal in these rebuttals is to make sure that Shabir is being honest and consistent in the way he employs his criticisms and arguments.

1. The Fall of Adam and Eve

It may surprise some Muslims to find that the Quran emphatically proclaims that the sin of Adam and Eve resulted in the expulsion of all their descendants from the heavenly paradise:

But the Satan made them both fall from it, and caused them to depart from that (state) in which they were; and We said: Get forth, some of YOU being the enemies of others, and there is for you in the earth an abode and a 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. We said: Go down, ALL OF YOU, from hence; but verily there cometh unto YOU from Me a guidance; and whoso followeth My guidance, there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. S. 2:36-38

The Arabic for YOU in both 2:36 and 38 is plural (referring to more than two) as opposed to the dual, implying that the sin of Adam and Eve didn’t simply affect them but also their children. We know for certain that the plural in the case of Q. 2:38 does not include Satan since he stands condemned to hell which means that he is not included among those to whom Allah will send the guidance. It is therefore apparent that the plural is addressed to all of mankind, that the entirety of the human race was expelled from heaven due to their federal head, Adam, a point that is reiterated in the following citation:

God said, ‘Go forth, some of you will be enemies of others. And for you there is an abode on the earth and a provision for a time.’ S. 7:24

Here is how renowned Sunni exegete Ibn Kathir explained Q. 2:38-39:

"Allah informs of His warning to Adam, his wife and Satan, THEIR OFFSPRING, when he ordered THEM to descend from Paradise. He says he will send messengers with Scriptures, signs and proofs…" (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], pp. 109-110; capital emphasis ours)

The late Abdullah Yusuf Ali agrees with this exposition since this is what he stated concerning Q. 2:36:

"… Note the transition in Arabic from the singular number in ii. 33, to the dual in ii. 35, and the plural here [2:36], which I have indicated in English by ‘All ye people.’ Evidently Adam is the type of all mankind, and the sexes go together in all spiritual matters. Moreover, the expulsion applied to Adam, Eve, and Satan, and the Arabic plural is appropriate for any number greater than two." (Bold and underline emphasis ours)

Ibn Kathir made also some interesting comments in reference to Q. 2:34:

"This Ayah mentions the great honor that Allah granted Adam, and Allah reminded Adam's offspring of this fact. Allah commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam, as this Ayah and many Hadiths testify, such as the Hadith about the intercession that we discussed. There is a Hadith about the supplication of Musa, ‘O my Lord! Show me Adam who caused us and himself to be thrown out of Paradise.’ When Musa met Adam, he said to him, ‘Are you Adam whom Allah created with His Own Hands, blew life into and commanded the angels to prostrate before?’" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) (Surat Al-Fatihah to Verse 252 of Surat Al-Baqarah), abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First Edition: January 2000], Parts 1 and 2, Volume 1, p. 193; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

In regards to another text, specifically that of Q. 7:172, Ibn Kathir further noted that:

"Commenting on this Ayah (7:172), At-Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said…

((… So Adam denied that and HIS OFFSPRING FOLLOWED SUIT (denying Allah's covenant), Adam forgot and HIS OFFSPRING FORGOT, Adam made a mistake and HIS OFFSPRING MADE MISTAKES.))

At-Tirmidhi said, ‘This Hadith is Hasan Sahih, and it was reported from various chains of narration through Abu Hurayrah from the Prophet. Al-Hakim also recorded it in his Mustadrak, and said; Sahih according to the criteria of Muslim, and they did not record it.’

These and similar Hadiths testify that Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, brought forth Adam’s offspring from his loins and separated between the inhabitants of Paradise and those of the Fire…" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) (Surat Al-A‘raf to the end of Surah Yunus), First Edition: May 2000, Volume 4, pp. 201-203; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

We quote the specific narrative that Ibn Kathir sourced from al-Tirmidhi:

Narrated AbuHurayrah
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: When Allah created Adam, He touched his back, and there fell from his back every soul that He would create from his offspring till the Day of Resurrection and He created between the two eyes of every person a gleam of light. Then He presented them to Adam who said: My Lord who are they? He (the Lord) said: They are your offspring. He (Adam) saw a person from amongst them and he felt attracted towards him and the sparkle of light between his two eyes. He said: My Lord, who is he? (The Lord) said: It is David. He (Adam) said: My Lord, what span of life have you allotted to him? He replied: Sixty years. He said: My Lord, enhance his age from my age (to the extent of forty years). Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: When Adam completed his age life-span with only forty years remaining, there came to him the angel of death. Thereupon Adam said: Are there not forty years left in my life-span? The angel said: Did you not confer your son (forty years). Adam denied it and so did his offspring. Adam forgot and ate (the fruit) of the tree and so his offspring also forgot and he (Adam) committed an error and so did his offspring commit an error.
Transmitted by Tirmidhi. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 37; ALIM CD ROM Version)

Narrated AbuHurayrah
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: When Allah created Adam and breathed the spirit into him he sneezed and said, "Praise be to Allah." So he praised Allah by His permission and his Lord said to him, "Allah have mercy on you, Adam. Go to those angels (i.e. a company of them who were seated) and say, 'Peace be upon you'." He said, "Peace be upon you," and they replied, "Upon you be peace and Allah's mercy." Then he returned to his Lord who said, "This is your salutation and the salutation of your descendants to one another." Then Allah said to him, keeping His hands closed, "Choose which of them you wish." He said, "I choose my Lord's right hand, and both of my Lord's hands are Right and Blessed." Then He opened it and it contained Adam and his descendants. He asked, "My Lord, what are these?" He replied, "These are your descendants." Now every man's period of life was written on his forehead, and among them there was a man who was the brightest of them (or, one of the brightest of them). He said, "My Lord, who is this?" He replied, "This is your descendant David, and I have recorded his period of life for him as forty years." He said, "My Lord, increase his life." But He replied, "That is what I have recorded for him." He said, "My Lord, I have appointed him sixty years of my life." He replied, "That is as you wish." He then lived in Paradise as long as Allah wished, after which he was sent down from it. Now Adam was reckoning for himself, and when the angel of death came to him, Adam said to him, "You have come before your time. A thousand years have been recorded for me." He replied, "Certainly, but you appointed sixty years for your descendant David." Then he denied, and his descendants denied; and he forgot, and his descendants forgot. The Prophet said that from that day orders were given that a document be drawn up and witnesses be produced.
Transmitted by Tirmidhi. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 1214; ALIM CD ROM Version)

The tradition also holds Eve personally responsible for causing God's curse to fall on all future generations of women:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Were it not for Bani Israel, meat would not decay; and were it not FOR EVE, no woman would ever betray her husband." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 611)

Hammam b. Munabbih said: These are some of the ahadith which Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) narrated to us from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), and one of these (this one): Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Had it not been for Bani Isra'il, food would not have become stale, and meal would not have gone bad; and had it not been FOR Eve, a woman would never have acted unfaithfully toward her husband. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3472)

Another renowned exegete and commentator named al-Tabari narrated the following story regarding the fall of Adam and Eve:

According to Yunus - Ibn Wahb - Ibn Zayd (commenting on God's word: "And he whispered"): Satan whispered to Eve about the tree and succeeded in taking her to it; then he made it seem good to Adam. He continued. When Adam felt a need for her and called her, she said: No! unless you go there. When he went, she said again: No! unless you eat from this tree. He continued. They both ate from it, and their secret parts became apparent to them. He continued. Adam then went about in Paradise in flight. His Lord called out to him: Adam, is it from Me that you are fleeing? Adam replied: No, my Lord, but I feel shame before You. When God asked what had caused his trouble, he replied: Eve, my Lord. Whereupon God said: Now it is My obligation to make her bleed once every month, as she made this tree bleed. I ALSO MAKE HER STUPID, although I had created her intelligent (halimah), and must make her suffer pregnancy and birth with difficulty, although I made it easy for her to be pregnant and give birth. Ibn Zayd said: Were it not for the affliction that affected Eve, the women of this world would not menstruate, AND THEY WOULD BE INTELLIGENT and, when pregnant, give birth easily. (The History of Al-Tabari: General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, translated by Franz Rosenthal [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1989], Volume 1, pp. 280-281; bold and capital emphasis ours)

There is more. The so-called sound narratives assert that Allah actually predestined that Adam’s children would be thrown out of the garden as a consequence of their father’s disobedience:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Adam and Moses argued with each other. Moses said to Adam. 'O Adam! You are our father WHO DISAPPOINTED US AND TURNED US OUT OF PARADISE.' Then Adam said to him, 'O Moses! Allah favored you with His talk (talked to you directly) and He wrote (the Torah) for you with His Own Hand. Do you blame me for action WHICH ALLAH HAD WRITTEN IN MY FATE forty years before my creation?' So Adam confuted Moses, Adam confuted Moses," the Prophet added, repeating the Statement three times. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 77, Number 611)

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira and Hudhaifa that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, would gather people. The believers would stand till the Paradise would be brought near them. They would come to Adam and say: O our father, open for us the Paradise. He would say: What turned you out from the Paradise WAS THE SIN OF YOUR FATHER ADAM. I am not in a position to do that; ... (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0380)

Abu Huraira reported that God’s messenger told of Adam and Moses holding a disputation in their Lord’s presence and of Adam getting the better of Moses in argument. Moses said, "You are Adam whom God created with His hand, into whom He breathed of His spirit, to whom He made the angels do obeisance, and whom He caused to dwell in his garden; then BECAUSE OF YOUR SIN caused MANKIND to come down to the earth." Adam replied, "And you are Moses whom God chose to deliver His messages and to address, to whom He gave the tablets on which everything was explained, and whom He brought near as a confidant. How long before I was created did you find that God has written the Torah? Moses said, "Forty years." Adam asked, "Did you find in it, ‘And Adam disobeyed his Lord and erred’?" On being told that he did, he said, "Do you then blame me for doing a deed WHICH GOD HAD DECREED THAT I SHOULD DO forty years before He created me?" God’s messenger said, "So Adam got the better of Moses n the argument." Muslim transmitted it. (Mishkat Al-Masabih English Translation With Explanatory Notes by Dr. James Robson, Volume I [Sh. Muhammad Ahsraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters, Lahore-Pakistan, Reprint 1990], p. 23; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu'z-Zinad from al-Araj from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Adam and Musa argued and Adam got the better of Musa. Musa rebuked Adam, 'You are Adam WHO LED PEOPLE ASTRAY and brought them out of the Garden.' Adam said to him, 'You are Musa to whom Allah gave knowledge of everything and whom he chose above people with His message.' He said, 'Yes.' He said, 'Do you then censure me for a matter WHICH WAS DECREED FOR ME BEFORE I WAS CREATED?'" (Malik's Muwatta, Book 46, Number 46.1.1)

How unfair, how cruel, how unjust for Allah to punish the children of Adam for the sins of their parents, especially when he foreordained this crime!

As if this weren’t shocking enough, Cain also shares in the blame of man’s fallen state:

Narrated 'Abdullah:
The Prophet said, "None is killed unjustly, but the first son of Adam will have a part of its burden." Sufyan said, "… a part of its blood because he was the first to establish the tradition of murdering." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 92, Number 423)

Again, how cruel and unfair of Allah to blame Cain for part of the murderous acts of the descendants of Adam!

Shabir Ally may opine that Allah forgave Adam and Eve for their sin which therefore disproves that their transgression had any affect on their unborn descendants. The problem with this argument is that if Allah really did forgive them then why weren’t they brought back to the garden? After all, doesn’t the Quran say that the punishment of their disobedience and defiance was banishment from paradise? Thus, if they were truly forgiven and if their rebellion really didn’t have repercussions upon their offspring then why aren’t we all in paradise right now?

2. The Guilt of the Jews.

We are told in the Quran that Allah blamed the Jews of Muhammad’s day for the sins their ancestors had committed before their time, such as the sin of making the golden calf:

O Children of Israel! remember MY favours which I bestowed upon YOU and that I exalted YOU above the peoples of the time. And guard YOURSELVES against the day when no soul shall serve as a substitute for another soul at all, nor shall intercession be accepted for it, nor shall ransom be taken from it, nor shall they be helped. And remember the time when WE delivered YOU from Pharaoh's people WHO AFFLICTED YOU with grievous torment, SLAYING YOUR SONS AND SPARING YOUR WOMEN; and in that was a great trial for YOU from your Lord. And remember also the time when WE divided the sea FOR YOU and SAVED YOU and drowned Pharaoh's people WHILE YOU LOOKED ON. And when WE made Moses a promise of forty nights, THEN YOU TOOK THE CALF FOR WORSHIP IN HIS ABSENCE AND YOU WERE THE TRANSGRESSORS. Then WE FORGAVE YOU thereafter, that YOU may be grateful. And remember when WE gave Moses the Book and the Discrimination, that YOU may be rightly guided. And when Moses said to his people, ‘O my people, you have indeed wronged yourselves by taking the calf for worship; turn ye therefore to your Maker, and kill your evil desires; that is best for you in the sight of your Maker.’ Then HE turned TOWARDS YOU with compassion. Surely HE is Oft-Returning with compassion and is Merciful. And remember WHEN YOU SAID, ‘O Moses, we will not believe thee until we see ALLAH face to face;’ Then the thunderbolt OVERTOOK YOU, WHILE YOU WITNESSED WITH YOUR OWN EYES THE CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR CONDUCT. THEN WE RAISED YOU UP AFTER YOUR DEATH that you might be grateful. And WE caused the clouds to be a shade OVER YOU and sent down ON YOU Manna and Salwa, saying, ‘Eat of the good things We have provided for you.’ And they wronged us not, but it was themselves that they wronged. S. 2:47-57 Sher Ali


And remember the time when Moses prayed for water for his people and WE said, ‘Strike the rock with thy rod;’ And there gushed forth from it twelve springs, so that each tribe knew their drinking place. And they were told, ‘Eat and drink of what ALLAH has provided, and commit not iniquity in the earth, creating disorder.’ And remember when YOU said, O Moses, surely we will not remain content with one kind of food; pray, then, to thy Lord for us that HE may bring forth for us of what the earth grows - of its herbs and its cucumbers and its wheat and its lentils and its onions.’ He said, ‘Would you take in exchange that which is worse for that which is better? Go down to some town and there is for you what you ask.’ And they were smitten with abasement and destitution, and they incurred the wrath of ALLAH; that was because they rejected the Signs of ALLAH and sought to slay the Prophets unjustly; this was because they rebelled and transgressed... And remember the time when WE took a covenant FROM YOU AND RAISED YOU ABOVE THE MOUNT, saying, ‘Hold fast that which WE have given you and bear in mind what is therein, that you may be saved.’ Then YOU turned back thereafter; and had it not been for ALLAH's grace and HIS mercy upon YOU, YOU would surely have been of the losers. And surely, you have known the end of those AMONGST YOU, who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath. So WE said to them, ‘Be ye apes, despised.’ Thus WE made it an example to those of its time and to those who came after it, and a lesson to those who fear God. S. 2:60-61, 63-66 Sher Ali


And remember the time when YOU killed a person and differed among yourselves about it, and ALLAH, would bring to light what YOU were hiding. Then WE said, ‘Compare this incident with some other similar ones’ and YOU will discover the truth. Thus does ALLAH give life to the dead and show YOU HIS Signs that YOU may understand. Then YOUR hearts became hardened after that, till they were like stones or harder still; for of stones there are some out of which gush forth streams, and of them there are some out of which flows water when they cleave asunder. And indeed of them are some that humble themselves for the fear of ALLAH. And ALLAH is not unmindful of what YOU do. S. 2:72-73 Sher Ali


And Moses came to YOU with manifest Signs, THEN YOU TOOK THE CALF FOR WORSHIP IN HIS ABSENCE, and YOU were transgressors. And remember the time when WE took a covenant from YOU and raised high above YOU the Mount, saying ‘Hold firmly to what WE have given you and hearken;’ They said, ‘We hear and we disobey;’ and their hearts were saturated with the love of the calf because of their disbelieve. Say ‘Evil is that which your faith enjoins on you if you are believers,’ Say ‘If the abode of the Hereafter with ALLAH is solely for you to the exclusion of all other people, then wish for death if you are truthful.’ But never shall they wish for it, because of what their own hands have sent on before them; and ALLAH knows the wrongdoers well. S. 2:92-95 Sher Ali

The above passages accuse the Jews of Muhammad’s time in the seventh century AD of specific sins that their ancestors committed in the fifteenth century BC, such as the fashioning and worshiping of the golden calf.

The Quran further accuses Muhammad’s contemporaries of killing the prophets, despite the fact that the last prophet which walked this earth before Muhammad according to the Quran was Jesus!

And when it is said to them, Believe in what Allah has revealed, they say: We believe in that which was revealed to us; and they deny what is besides that, while it is the truth verifying that which they have. Say: Why then DID YOU KILL ALLAH'S PROPHETS BEFORE if you were indeed believers? S. 2:91 Sher Ali

Here is what Ibn Kathir wrote in reference to Q. 2:91ff.

Although The Jews denied the Truth, They claimed to be Believers!

Allah said…

<And when it is said to them>, meaning, the Jews and the People of the Book…

<Believe in what Allah has sent down> TO MUHAMMAD, believe in and follow him

<They say, "We believe in what was sent down to us."> meaning, it is enough for us to believe in what was revealed to us in the Tawrah and the Injil, and this is the path that we choose ...

<And they disbelieve in that which came after it>.

<while it is the truth confirming what is with them> meaning, while knowing that what was revealed to Muhammad ...

<it is the truth confirming what is with them>. This means that since what was sent to Muhammad conforms to what was revealed to the People of the Book, then this fact constitutes a proof against them. Similarly, Allah said…

<Those to whom We gave the Scripture (Jews and Christians) recognize him (Muhammad) as they recognize their sons> (2:146). Allah said next…

<"Why then have you killed the Prophets of Allah aforetime, if you indeed have been believers">.

This means, "If your claim that you believe in what was revealed to you is true, then why did you kill the Prophets who came to you affirming the Tawrah's Law, although you knew they were true Prophets. You killed them simply out of transgression, stubbornness and injustice with Allah's Messengers. Therefore, you only follow your lusts, opinions and desires." Similarly, Allah said…

<Is it that whenever there came to you a Messenger with what you yourselves desired not, you grew arrogant. Some you disbelieved and some you killed.>

Also, As-Suddi said, "In this Ayah, Allah chastised the People of the Book ...

<Say (O Muhammad to them): "Why then have you killed the Prophets of Allah aforetime, if you indeed have been believers">."

<And indeed Musa came to you with clear proofs> meaning, with clear signs and clear proofs that he was the Messenger of Allah and that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. The clear signs - or miracles - mentioned here are the flood, the locusts, the lice, the frogs, the blood, the staff and the hand. Musa's miracles also include parting the sea, shading the Jews with clouds, the manna and quails, the gushing stone, etc.

<Yet you worshipped the calf> meaning, as a deity instead of Allah, during the time of Musa. Allah's statement…

<after he left> after Musa went to Mount Tur to speak to Allah. Similarly, Allah said…

<And the people of Musa made in his absence, out of their ornaments, the image of a calf (for worship). It had a sound (as if it was mooing)> (7:148).

<and you were Zalimun> meaning, you were unjust in this behavior of worshipping the calf, although you knew that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. Similarly, Allah said…

<And when they regretted and saw that they had gone astray, they (repented and) said: "If our Lord have not mercy upon us and forgive us, we shall certainly be of the losers"> (7:149). (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Volume 1, Parts 1 and 2 (Surat Al-Fatihah to Verse 252 of Surat Al-Baqarah), abridged under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First Edition: January 2000], pp. 296-298; source; underline emphasis ours)

The question we would like to ask of Shabir is how can the author(s) place the burden of guilt upon the Jews of Muhammad’s time for sins committed during the Exodus, an event which took place some 2000 years earlier? Moreover, how can Allah blame the Jews of the seventh century for persecuting and killing the prophets when the last prophet to appear before Muhammad came nearly seven hundreds before their time? Where is the justice in condemning people for the sins of others?

3. Jews and Christians Punished in the Place of Muslims.

Muhammad taught a form of vicarious suffering, a type of substitutionary atonement, in that he believed that Allah would ransom Muslims from hell by punishing the Jews and Christians in their place:


Abu Musa' reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: When it will be the Day of Resurrection Allah would deliver to every Muslim a Jew or a Christian and say: That is your RESCUE from Hell-Fire. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037, Number 6665)

Abu Burda reported on the authority of his father that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: No Muslim would die but Allah would admit IN HIS STEAD a Jew or a Christian in Hell-Fire. 'Umar b. Abd al-'Aziz took an oath: By One besides Whom there is no god but He, thrice that his father had narrated that to him from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). (Sahih Muslim, Book 037, Number 6666)

Abu Burda reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: There would come people amongst the Muslims on the Day of Resurrection with AS HEAVY SINS AS A MOUNTAIN, and Allah would FORGIVE THEM and He would PLACE IN THEIR STEAD the Jews and the Christians. (As far as I think), Abu Raub said: I do not know as to who is in doubt. Abu Burda said: I narrated it to 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Aziz, whereupon he said: Was it your father who narrated it to you from Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him)? I said: Yes. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037, Number 6668)

Is this fair, torturing Jews and Christians in hell for the sins of others? Would Shabir say that Allah is being perfectly just by allowing Muslims to get away with atrocious sins and punishing Jews and Christians for crimes that they didn’t commit? In light of what he has written here and elsewhere:

James' answer to this is that whereas a sinner cannot die for other sinners a sinless person can die for sinners. One who is under the curse is not capable of dying for those who are likewise under the curse. But Jesus had the required ability and character and he was willing to die on behalf of sinners. James is satisfied with this explanation, but I am sorry to say that it does not really answer my objections. Why would God want to do it this way? Why does he not merely forgive the sinners? Is it justice to crucify an innocent person in order to let the guilty go free? If Jesus dies as a sacrifice, who is offering him up to whom? In the Old Testament believers were instructed to offer sacrifices to God and God would forgive them. Are we then to conceive of ourselves as offering up Jesus as a sacrifice to God instead of sacrificing animals? Or is God offering the sacrifice to himself? We can explore all the variations and show major problems to attach to each possibility. (Comments on the Dividing Line of Oct. 23, 2007; source a, b)

Surely he must object to such teachings. In fact, Shabir needs to apply these same objections to these particular narratives, i.e. why would Allah want to pardon Muslims this way? Why doesn’t he simply forgive them? Is it justice to send people to burn in hell in order to let the guilty, wicked Muslims go free? In the OT believers were instructed to offer sacrifices to God in order to be forgiven. Are we then to understand that Muslims are offering Jews and Christians as sacrifices in place of the animals? Or is Allah offering these Jews and Christians as sacrifices to himself, to appease his wrath in order to pardon the Muslims? Perhaps Shabir can answer.

4. The death of infants and children.

The Quran refers to peoples and places that were completely destroyed. Here are a few examples:

"At length, behold! There came Our Command, and the fountains of the earth gushed forth! We said: `Embark therein, of each two, male and female, and your family- except those against whom the Word has already gone forth,- and the believers.' But only a few believed with him." S. 11:40 Y. Ali

And Lot, when he said to his people 'Surely you commit such indecency as never any being in all the world committed before you. What, do you approach men, and cut the way, and commit in your assembly dishonour?' But the only answer of his people was that they said, 'Then bring us the chastisement of God, if thou speakest truly.' He said, 'My Lord, help me against the people that work corruption.' And when Our messengers came to Abraham with the good tidings, they said, 'We shall destroy the people of this city, for its people are evildoers.' He said, 'Lot is in it.' They said, 'We know very well who is in it; assuredly We shall deliver him and his family, except his wife; she has become of those that tarry.' When that Our messengers came to Lot he was troubled on their account and distressed for them; but they said, 'Fear not, neither sorrow, for surely we shall deliver thee and thy family, except thy wife; she has become of those that tarry. We shall send down upon the people of this city wrath out of heaven for their ungodliness.' And indeed, We have left thereof a sign, a clear sign unto a people who understand. And to Midian their brother Shuaib; he said, 'O my people, serve God, and look you for the Last Day; and do not mischief in the land, working corruption.' But they cried lies to him; so the earthquake seized them, and morning found them in their habitation fallen prostrate. And Ad, and Thamood -- it has become clear to you from their dwelling-places; and Satan decked out fair to them their works, and barred them from the way, though they saw clearly. S. 29:29-38 Arberry

and that He destroyed Ad, the ancient, and Thamood, and He did not spare them, and the people of Noah before -- certainly they did exceeding evil, and were insolent and the Subverted City He also overthrew, so that there covered it that which covered. S. 53:50-54 Arberry

Thamood and Ad cried lies to the Clatterer. As for Thamood, they were destroyed by the Screamer; and as for Ad, they were destroyed by a wind clamorous, violent that He compelled against them seven nights and eight days, uninterruptedly, and thou mightest see the people laid prostrate in it as if they were the stumps of fallen down palm-trees. Now dost thou see any remnant of them? S. 69:4-8 Arberry

Unless Shabir wants us to believe that Allah did not utterly annihilate these places it should be obvious that these mass destructions included women, children, infants and even animals. Imagine the pain and suffering that these children and animals went through, i.e., being drowned in a flood, burned by fire etc. The Quran even brags about how Allah makes the destruction of people very painful:

Such is the seizing of thy Lord, when He seizes the cities that are evildoing; surely His seizing IS PAINFUL, TERRIBLE. S. 11:102 Arberry

In light of this, can Shabir explain the justice behind Allah causing the death of children and infants? Can he help us understand why Allah killed these "innocent" victims for the sins of others, for wicked acts which they did not personally commit?

Concluding Remarks

Recall what Shabir stated concerning the Bible’s teaching that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of others and the concept of corporate justice:

… But it would also be important for James to recall what my response was to this story and to the corporate justice James thinks it establishes. My retort was that this too is injustice.

Therefore this could not be used as an answer to the injustice of the cross as a means of Atonement. I added that if I point to one example of injustice and James points to another we now have two examples of injustice. Two wrongs do not make a right. In sum, in criticizing the Holy Bible for teaching the concept of corporate justice Shabir has succeeded in attacking the Quran and his early Islamic sources. He has managed to prove that Allah is rather unjust and wicked for punishing individuals for the specific sins of others. (Emphasis ours)

In light of his assertions what will Shabir do with the documentation we provided from quranic passages and Islamic narratives which affirm the concepts of federal headship and corporate solidarity/justice in unambiguous language and with a clarity which parallels the Holy Bible? Will he admit that Allah is unjust and cruel or will he seek to find a way to harmonize these doctrines with his belief in the absolute justice of his god?

And if he does try to reconcile these Islamic teachings wouldn’t such a harmonization equally apply to the Holy Bible? And if so, why then didn’t he first try to harmonize these Bible teachings with the absolute justice of God? To put this simply, wouldn’t honesty and consistency demand that he would apply the very same method of harmonization of these Islamic doctrines to the Bible’s teaching concerning these very same issues?

Thus, what this really boils down to is Shabir’s consistency or lack thereof. Shabir must learn to start applying his critical methodology to the Islamic corpus, specifically the Quran, and not simply adopt it when it helps him to undermine the Holy Bible in debates; especially when that same critical analysis can be used equally, if not more forcefully, against his own sources.

Further Reading

Responses to Shabir Ally
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page