Saturday, 22 July 2017

Quran Contradiction

Does Allah Forgive All Sins or Doesn’t He?

Sam Shamoun & Jochen Katz
The Quran says that Allah forgives all the sins committed by his slaves.
Say: “O 'Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives ALL sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And turn in repentance and in obedience with true Faith (Islamic Monotheism) to your Lord and submit to Him, (in Islam), before the torment comes upon you, then you will not be helped.” S. 39:53-54
There are other passages, however, that say Allah does not forgive all sins.
For instance, Allah does not forgive the apostate who turns away from faith even if s/he repents:
How shall God guide a people who have disbelieved after they believed, and bore witness that the Messenger is true, and the clear signs came to them? God guides not the people of the evildoers. Those -- their recompense is that there shall rest on them the curse of God and of the angels and of men, altogether, therein dwelling FOREVER; the chastisement shall not be lightened for them; no respite shall be given them. But those who repent THEREAFTER, and make amends -- God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. Surely those who disbelieve after they have believed and then increase in unbelief -- their repentance shall not be accepted; those are the ones who stray. Surely those who disbelieve, AND DIE DISBELIEVING, there shall not be accepted from any one of them the whole earth full of gold, if he would ransom himself thereby; for them awaits a painful chastisement, and they shall have no helpers. S. 3:86-91 Arberry
The above passage presents one mass of confusion! First a rhetorical question is asked, “How shall Allah guide a people who ...” with the implied answer that Allah will not guide such a people. On the contrary, according to these verses Allah’s curse will rest on those who believed, who were once Muslims, but who then turned away. And it is specifically added that they will “abide therein,” “dwelling therein forever” (v. 88), which according to some of the Islamic exegetes refers to the disbelievers abiding in hell:
Abiding therein, that is, in the curse, or in the Fire implied by it [the curse]; the chastisement shall not be lightened for them and they shall not be reprieved, they shall [not] be given any respite. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn)
This clearly precludes any possibility of a change of their state – whether based on repentance or for any other reasons. The decision is made, they will remain in Hell forever, i.e. even if they should be repent, their repentance will not be accepted.
However, the passage goes on to speak of those who repent THEREAFTER (v. 89), which implies that apostates CAN repent and be forgiven after all! But then, in verse 90, the passage reverts back to saying that “NEVER will their repentance be accepted”!!!???
As if it couldn’t get any more confusing, the text speaks of people repenting after they have entered into hell and says that Allah will not accept ransom from anyone who dies disbelieving even if s/he were to bring an earth full of gold. Here is another translation which helps bring this out more clearly:
How shall God Guide those who reject Faith after they accepted it and bore witness that the Apostle was true and that Clear Signs had come unto them? but God guides not a people unjust. Of such the reward is that on them (rests) the curse of God, of His angels, and of all mankind; - In that will they dwell; nor will their penalty be lightened, nor respite be (their lot); - EXCEPT FOR THOSE THAT REPENT (Even) AFTER THAT, and make amends; for verily God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. But those who reject Faith after they accepted it, and then go on adding to their defiance of Faith, - NEVER will their repentance be accepted; for they are those who have (of set purpose) gone astray. As to those who reject Faith, AND DIE REJECTING, - never would be accepted from any such as much gold as the earth contains, though they should offer it for ransom. For such is (in store) a penalty grievous, and they will find no helpers. Y. Ali
The question is how would anyone bring any ransom when s/he is dead? To say that this is rather incoherent is a wild understatement.
All in all, Allah seems not to be able to decide whether he will forgive if there is repentance or not.
This brings us to our next point. The Quran claims that Allah will only accept the repentance of a person who sins out of ignorance or foolishness, provided that the individual repents soon after he has committed any evil deed since Allah does not accept the repentance which takes place when a person is about to die:
Allah accepts ONLY the repentance of those who do evil IN IGNORANCE AND FOOLISHNESS and repent SOON afterwards; it is they to whom Allah will forgive and Allah is Ever All Knower, All Wise. And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: “Now I repent;” NOR of those WHO DIE while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment. S. 4:17-18
Once again, this passage like the one before it implies that there will be people repenting AFTER they die. According to the Quran disbelievers enter hell when they die:
So Allah saved him from the evils that they plotted (against him), while an evil torment encompassed Fir'aun's (Pharaoh) people. The Fire; they are exposed to it, morning and afternoon, and on the Day when the Hour will be established (it will be said to the angels): "Cause Fir'aun's (Pharaoh) people to enter the severest torment!" S. 40:45-46 Hilali-Khan
Nuh (Noah) said: “My Lord! They have disobeyed me, and followed one whose wealth and children give him no increase but only loss. And they have plotted a mighty plot. And they have said: 'You shall not leave your gods, nor shall you leave Wadd, nor Suwa’, nor Yaghuth, nor Ya'uq, nor Nasr (names of the idols); And indeed they have led many astray. And (O Allah): Grant no increase to the Zalimun (polytheists, wrong-doers, and disbelievers, etc.) save error.” Because of their sins they were drowned,
then were made to enter the Fire, and they found none to help them instead of Allah. S. 71:21-25
This establishes that unbelievers who have died are already in the Fire now, even before the Day of Judgment (the Hour) has come, the time when all people will be resurrected to be judged by Allah. Thus, the passages cited above and some more following below that are speaking about people repenting after death and/or in Hell could refer to repentance in Hell before the final judgment or after it, but since this is not specified and these statements are formulated in general terms, it means that repentance in Hell will not be accepted in either case.
The Quran makes it absolutely clear that the repentance of these dead individuals will be of no avail since Allah will never forgive them. Note the following verses:
Then, when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no kinship among them that Day, nor will they ask of one another. Then, those whose scales (of good deeds) are heavy, - these, they are the successful. And those whose scales (of good deeds) are light, they are those who lose their ownselves, in Hell will they abide. The Fire will burn their faces, and therein they will grin, with displaced lips (disfigured). Were not My Verses (this Qur'an) recited to you, and then you used to deny them?" They will say: "Our Lord! Our wretchedness overcame us, and we were (an) erring people. Our Lord! Bring us out of this; if ever we return (to evil), then indeed we shall be Zalimun: (polytheists, oppressors, unjust, and wrong-doers, etc.)." He (Allah) will say: "Remain you in it with ignominy! And speak you not to Me! Verily! There was a party of My slaves, who used to say: ‘Our Lord! We believe, so forgive us, and have mercy on us, for You are the Best of all who show mercy!’ But you took them for a laughingstock, so much so that they made you forget My Remembrance while you used to laugh at them! Verily! I have rewarded them this Day for their patience, they are indeed the ones that are successful.” He (Allah) will say: "What number of years did you stay on earth?" They will say: "We stayed a day or part of a day. Ask of those who keep account." He (Allah) will say: "You stayed not but a little, if you had only known! "Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?" S. 23:101-115
But those who disbelieve, (in the Oneness of Allah - Islamic Monotheism) for them will be the Fire of Hell. Neither it will have a complete killing effect on them so that they die, nor shall its torment be lightened for them. Thus do We requite every disbeliever! Therein they will cry: "Our Lord! Bring us out, we shall do righteous good deeds, not (the evil deeds) that we used to do." (Allah will reply): "Did We not give you lives long enough, so that whosoever would receive admonition, - could receive it? And the warner came to you. So taste you (the evil of your deeds). For the Zalimu (polytheists and wrongdoers, etc.) there is no helper." S. 35:36-37
Those who disbelieve will be addressed (at the time of entering into the Fire): "Allah's aversion was greater towards you (in the worldly life when you used to reject the Faith) than your aversion towards one another (now in the Fire of Hell, as you are now enemies to one another), when you were called to the Faith but you used to refuse." They will say: "Our Lord! You have made us to die twice (i.e. we were dead in the loins of our fathers and dead after our deaths in this world), and You have given us life twice (i.e. life when we were born and life when we are Resurrected)! Now we confess our sins, then is there any way to get out (of the Fire)?" (It will be said): "This is because, when Allah Alone was invoked (in worship, etc.) you disbelieved, but when partners were joined to Him, you believed! So the judgement is only with Allah, the Most High, the Most Great!" S. 40:10-12
Verily, the Mujrimun (criminals, sinners, disbelievers, etc.) will be in the torment of Hell to abide therein forever. (The torment) will not be lightened for them, and they will be plunged into destruction with deep regrets, sorrows and in despair therein. We wronged them not, but they were the Zalimun (polytheists, wrong-doers, etc.). And they will cry: "O Malik (Keeper of Hell)! Let your Lord make an end of us." He will say: "Verily you shall abide forever." S. 43:74-77
And for those who disbelieve in their Lord (Allah) is the torment of Hell, and worst indeed is that destination. When they are cast therein, they will hear the (terrible) drawing in of its breath as it blazes forth. It almost bursts up with fury. Every time a group is cast therein, its keeper will ask: "Did no warner come to you?" They will say: "Yes indeed; a warner did come to us, but we belied him and said: 'Allah never sent down anything (of revelation), you are only in great error.'" And they will say: "Had we but listened or used our intelligence, we would not have been among the dwellers of the blazing Fire!" Then they will confess their sin. So, away with the dwellers of the blazing Fire. S. 67:6-11
These passages demonstrate that the repentance of a disbeliever who dies will never be accepted. It will not be accepted during his death, after he dies and first enters hell, on the day of judgment, or when s/he will be sent back to hell after his/her judgment.
Allah will also not forgive a person who intentionally murders a believer:
O believers, consume not your goods between you in vanity, except there be trading, by your agreeing together. And kill not one another. Surely God is compassionate to you. But whosoever does that in transgression and wrongfully, him We shall certainly roast at a Fire; and that for God is an easy matter. If you avoid the heinous sins that are forbidden you, We will acquit you of your evil deeds, and admit you by the gate of honour. S. 4:29-31 Arberry
It is quite instructive that in this passage Allah says that he will forgive the evil deeds of a person provided s/he avoids committing those sins which are considered heinous or major. What this basically means is that Allah does not forgive major sins such as murder, adultery, idolatry etc. And:
And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein, and the Wrath and the Curse of Allah are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him. S. 4:93
Another sin that Allah will never forgive is shirk, i.e. associating or setting up partners or other gods with Allah:
Verily! Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives whom he pleases sins other than that, and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, has indeed strayed far away. They (all those who worship others than Allah) invoke nothing but female deities besides Him (Allah), and they invoke nothing but Shaitan (Satan), a persistent rebel! S. 4:116-117
Muhammad and his followers are expressly warned that if they associate other gods with Allah they will be thrown into hell:
This is (part) of that wisdom wherewith thy Lord hath inspired thee (Muhammad). And set not up with Allah any other god, lest thou be cast into hell, reproved, abandoned. S. 17:39 Pickthall
And indeed it has been revealed to you (O Muhammad), as it was to those (Allah's Messengers) before you: "If you join others in worship with Allah, (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers." S. 39:65
HOWEVER, there are passages where the Quran mentions Allah accepting the repentance of an evildoer as he was about to die:
And We brought the Children of Israel over the sea; and Pharaoh and his hosts followed them insolently and impetuously till, when the drowning overtook him, he said, 'I believe that there is no god but He in whom the Children of Israel believe; I am of those that surrender.' 'Now? And before thou didst rebel, being of those that did corruption. So today We shall deliver thee with thy body, that thou mayest be a sign to those after thee. Surely many men are heedless of Our signs.' S. 10:90-92 Arberry
Allah even forgave the Israelites for committing idolatry, which is the sin of shirk, despite the clear signs he had shown them that he alone is God and that they were to have no other god besides him:
And when We appointed with Moses forty nights then you took to yourselves the Calf after him and you were evildoers; then We pardoned you after that, that haply you should be thankful. And when We gave to Moses the Book and the Salvation, that haply you should be guided. And when Moses said to his people, 'My people, you have done wrong against yourselves by your taking the Calf; now turn to your Creator and slay one another. That will be better for you in your Creator's sight, and He will turn to you; truly He turns, and is All-compassionate.' S. 2:51-54 Arberry
The People of the Book will ask thee to bring down upon them a Book from heaven; and they asked Moses for greater than that, for they said, 'Show us God openly.' And the thunderbolt took them for their evildoing. Then they took to themselves the Calf, AFTER THE CLEAR SIGNS HAD COME TO THEM; yet We pardoned them that, and We bestowed upon Moses a clear authority. S. 4:153 Arberry
Besides all of this, both Muhammad and most of his followers were originally idolaters before they became Muslims. So how could any one of them be forgiven if Q. 4:48 and 116 are true? And yet according to Muslims these men were forgiven for their acts of shirk.
A Muslim may argue that verses such as Q. 4:48 and 116 actually mean that individuals who persist in idolatry even after having been invited to Islam will not be forgiven. But then most of the first Muslims were not converted at the first invitation. So how long does one have to persist until one cannot be forgiven anymore? Or does it only mean that Allah won’t forgive that sin when persisting in it until death? Yet that is not what the verses say and no such qualification appears in any of these texts.
To make matters worse the Quran further says that Allah will also forgive those who intentionally murder a person unlawfully!
And those who invoke not any other ilah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such life as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse and whoever does this shall receive the punishment. The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace; Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds, then verily, he repents towards Allah with true repentance. S. 25:68-71
Astonishingly, this passage doesn’t only say that Allah forgives but that he also actually changes a person’s sins into good deeds, i.e. Allah will reckon every transgression committed by an individual as a good deed. This means that Allah will actually reward a person for all the crimes s/he has committed!
The hadiths actually substantiate this fact:
2594. Anas narrated that the Prophet said: "Allah will say: ‘Remove from the Fire whoever remembered Me one day, or feared Me while in a state of sinning.’" (Hasan)
[Abu ‘Eisa said:] This Hadith is Hasan Gharib Sahih.
Remembering Allah and fearing Him is the sign of one’s faith. The Hadith confirms that even those persons who have no good in their Register of Deeds expect the weakest form of faith (iman) will ultimately get deliverance from Fire through Allah’s benevolence and mercy. (English Translation of Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi, Compiled by Imam Hafiz ‘Eisa Mohammad Ibn ‘Eisa At-Tirmidhi, From Hadith no. 1897 to 2605, translated by Abu Khalil (USA), Ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair ‘Ali Za’i, final review by Islamic Research Section Darussalam [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, First Edition: November 2007], Volume 4, Chapter 9. What Has Been Related About ‘The Fire Has Two Breaths,’ And What Has Been Mentioned About Those Who Will Exit The Fire From The People of Tawhid, p. 572; underline emphasis ours)
2596. Abu Dharr narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: "I know that the last of the people of the Fire depart from the Fire and the last of the people of Paradise to enter Paradise. A man will be brought forth and He will say: ‘Ask about his small sins and hide his large sins.’ So it will be said to him: ‘Did you do this and that on such and such a day, did you do this and that on such-and-such a day?’" He said: "Then it will be said to him: ‘FOR EACH OF YOUR SINS YOU SHALL HAVE A REWARD.’" He said: "So he will say: ‘O Lord! I have done things that I do not see here.’" He (Abu Dharr) said: "I saw the Messenger of Allah laugh until his molars were visible." (Sahih)
Abu ‘Eisa said: This Hadith is Hasan Sahih.
Allah’s benevolence and mercy are boundless. NO RULES OR LAWS CAN BIND HIM, since He is for Whom it is said in the Qur’an: He cannot be questioned as to what He does. (21:23) HE WILL, THEREFORE, CHANGE THE SINS INTO VIRTUOUS DEEDS FOR WHOMEVER HE WILLS. (Ibid., Chapter 10. Something Else Regarding The Story Of The Last Of The People Of The Fire To Leave it, pp. 573-574; capital and underline emphasis ours)
These narrations speak of Allah actually giving people who have done no good whatsoever a reward for every sin they have committed!
Talk about a travesty of justice! Not only does Allah not punish the wicked he actually rewards them for their wickedness! As the commentator stated, Allah is not bound by anything and is therefore a capricious being who can pervert justice. Clearly, Muhammad’s god is not simply an amoral being, one who is morally neutral, he is actually immoral and unholy who promotes wickedness and is the cause of outright injustice.
It is one thing to forgive an evil deed, it is altogether something else to “turn sins into good deeds”, i.e. reward them as if they had been good deeds. It makes Allah unjust, morally reprehensible, for rewarding people for evil deeds.
The hadiths also indicate that Allah will actually take people out of hellfire on the day of judgment and accept them into paradise!
“… When Allah has finished His Judgments among the people, He will take whomever He will out of Hell through His Mercy. He will then order the angels to take out of the Fire all those who used to worship none but Allah from among those whom Allah wanted to be merciful to and those who testified (in the world) that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah. The angels will recognize them in the Fire by the marks of prostration (on their foreheads), for the Fire will eat up all the human body except the mark caused by prostration as Allah has forbidden the Fire to eat the mark of prostration. They will come out of the (Hell) Fire, completely burnt and then the water of life will be poured over them and they will grow under it as does a seed that comes in the mud of the torrent.
“Then Allah will finish the judgments among the people, and there will remain one man facing the (Hell) Fire and he will be the last person among THE PEOPLE OF HELL to enter Paradise. He will say, ‘O my Lord! Please turn my face away from the fire because its air has hurt me and its severe heat has burnt me.' So he will invoke Allah in the way Allah will wish him to invoke, and then Allah will say to him, ‘If I grant you that, will you then ask for anything else?’ He will reply, ‘No, by Your Power, (Honor) I will not ask You for anything else.’ He will give his Lord whatever promises and covenants Allah will demand.
“So Allah will turn his face away from Hell (Fire). When he will face Paradise and will see it, he will remain quiet for as long as Allah will wish him to remain quiet, then he will say, ‘O my Lord! Bring me near to the gate of Paradise.’ Allah will say to him, 'Didn't you give your promises and covenants that you would never ask for anything more than what you had been given? Woe on you, O Adam's son! How treacherous you are!’ He will say, ‘O my lord,’ and will keep on invoking Allah till He says to him, ‘If I give what you are asking, will you then ask for anything else?’ He will reply, 'No, by Your (Honor) Power, I will not ask for anything else.’
“Then he will give covenants and promises to Allah and then Allah will bring him near to the gate of Paradise. When he stands at the gate of Paradise, Paradise will be opened and spread before him, and he will see its splendor and pleasures whereupon he will remain quiet as long as Allah will wish him to remain quiet, and then he will say, O my Lord! Admit me into Paradise.' Allah will say, ‘Didn't you give your covenants and promises that you would not ask for anything more than what you had been given?' Allah will say, 'Woe on you, O Adam's son! How treacherous you are!’
“The man will say, ‘O my Lord! Do not make me the most miserable of Your creation,’ and he will keep on invoking Allah till Allah will laugh because of his sayings, and when Allah will laugh because of him, He will say to him, ‘Enter Paradise,’ and when he will enter it, Allah will say to him, ‘Wish for anything.’ So he will ask his Lord, and he will wish for a great number of things, for Allah Himself will remind him to wish for certain things by saying, ‘(Wish for) so-and-so.’ When there is nothing more to wish for, Allah will say, ‘This is for you, and its equal (is for you) as well.’”

‘Ata' bin Yazid added: Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri who was present with Abu Huraira, did not deny whatever the latter said, but when Abu Huraira said that Allah had said, “That is for you and its equal as well,” Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri said, “And ten times as much, O Abu Huraira!” Abu Huraira said, “I do not remember, except his saying, ‘That is for you and its equal as well.’” Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri then said, “I testify that I remember the Prophet saying, ‘That is for you, and ten times as much.’” Abu Huraira then added, “That man will be the last person of the people of Paradise to enter Paradise.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 532c)
Here was a person who was destined for hell but who was taking out from there solely because he kept persisting and nagging Allah! And:
Narrated 'Abdullah: Allah's Apostle said, “The person who will be the last one to enter Paradise and the last to come out of Hell (Fire) will be a man who will come out crawling, and his Lord will say to him, ‘Enter Paradise.’ He will reply, ‘O Lord, Paradise is full.’ Allah will give him the same order thrice, and each time the man will give Him the same reply, i.e., ‘Paradise is full.’ Thereupon Allah will say (to him), ‘Ten times of the world is for you.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 602)
Notice that neither hadith claims that these individuals whom Allah took out of hell were sorrowful for their sins or begged for forgiveness. The implication of these narrations is that Allah will save people from hell who have not repented of their sins nor recognize thier transgressions!
Here is a summary of all of the Quran’s mass confusion concerning the forgiveness of sins:
The Quran states that Allah promises to forgive all the sins of his slaves if they repent and believe.
However, the Quran says that Allah will not forgive shirk or intentional unlawful murder, nor will he accept the repentance that is offered when a person is dying.
The Quran contradicts this by providing examples of Allah accepting a person’s repentance at death and forgiving people who knowingly and willfully committed shirk. The Quran even claims that Allah will forgive anyone who commits unlawful murder provided s/he repents.
The hadiths also contradict the Quran by claiming that Allah will actually save individuals who are burning in hellfire despite the fact that they didn't show any regret for their crimes, asked for forgiveness, or showed any signs of repentance!
These contradictions prove that Allah is a wicked, unjust, capricious deity who changes his mind, perverts justice, and acts inconsistently. This is why Allah had no problem replacing or eradicating verses from the Quran which he had revealed to Muhammad:
Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a BETTER ONE or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is able to do all things? S. 2:106
Allah blots out what He wills and confirms (what He wills). And with Him is the Mother of the Book (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz). S. 13:39
And when We change a Verse [of the Qur'an, i.e. cancel (abrogate) its order] in place of another, and Allah knows the best of what He sends down, they (the disbelievers) say: "You (O Muhammad) are but a Muftari! (forger, liar)." Nay, but most of them know not. S. 16:101
What it really boils down to is that Allah simply forgives whatever sin he wants, whomever he wants, whenever he wants and doesn’t have to answer or explain his inconsistencies or actions to anyone since he supposedly has power over all things!
Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin. S. 4:48
Allah made it not but as a message of good news for you and as an assurance to your hearts. And there is no victory except from Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. That He might cut off a part of those who disbelieve, or expose them to infamy, so that they retire frustrated. Not for you (O Muhammad, but for Allah) is the decision; whether He turns in mercy to (pardons) them or punishes them; verily, they are the Zalimun (polytheists, disobedients, and wrong-doers, etc.). And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. He forgives whom He wills, and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. S. 3:126-129
O you who believe! Follow not the footsteps of Shaitan (Satan). And whosoever follows the footsteps of Shaitan (Satan), then, verily he commands Al-Fahsha' [i.e. to commit indecency (illegal sexual intercourse, etc.)], and Al-Munkar [disbelief and polytheism (i.e. to do evil and wicked deeds; to speak or to do what is forbidden in Islam, etc.)]. And had it not been for the Grace of Allah and His Mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure from sins. But Allah purifies (guides to Islam) whom He wills, and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower. S. 24:21
Such a being is not worthy to be worshiped and it is a disgrace to even call him God.
So much for the Quran being a clear book free of all contradictions and for Muhammad's sunna being an explanation of the Muslim scripture!
Unless noted otherwise all of the citations were taken from the Hilal-Khan version of the Quran.
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Imran's Fatherhood: Part III

Continues from Part II
Mystery solved: Patriarch Israel’s replacement with Patriarch Imran
The narrative of Mary and Jesus’ nativity in Surah 3:35-47 was borrowed by Mohammad from the non-canonical Gospel of James (aka the Protoevangelium of James) and adapted to Islamic creed with the help of a few textual alterations. The comparison of the account in the Qur’an with its original version does not only verify the charges of plagiarism, but also displays the superiority of the original source to its copy in terms of integrity and clarity:
(Remember) when the wife of 'Imran said: My Lord! I have vowed unto Thee that which is in my belly as a consecrated (offering). Accept it from me. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower! And when she was delivered she said: My Lord! Lo! I am delivered of a female - Allah knew best of what she was delivered - the male is not as the female; and lo! I have named her Mary, and lo! I crave Thy protection for her and for her offspring from Satan the outcast. (Surah 3:35-36 Pickthall)
And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood by, saying: Anna, Anna, the Lord has heard your prayer, and you shall conceive, and shall bring forth; and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world. And Anna said: As the Lord my God lives, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life. And, behold, two angels came, saying to her: Behold, Joachim your husband is coming with his flocks. For an angel of the Lord went down to him, saying: Joachim, Joachim, the Lord God has heard your prayer. Go down hence; for, behold your wife Anna shall conceive. And Joachim went down and called his shepherds, saying: Bring me hither ten she-lambs without spot or blemish, and they shall be for the Lord my God; and bring me twelve tender calves, and they shall be for the priests and the elders; and a hundred goats for all the people. And, behold, Joachim  came with his flocks; and Anna stood by the gate, and saw Joachim coming, and she ran and hung upon his neck, saying: Now I know that the Lord God has blessed me exceedingly; for, behold the widow no longer a widow, and I the childless shall conceive. And Joachim rested the first day in his house. And on the following day he brought his offerings, saying in himself: If the Lord God has been rendered gracious to me, the plate on the priest's forehead will make it manifest to me. And Joachim brought his offerings, and observed attentively the priest's plate when he went up to the altar of the Lord, and he saw no sin in himself. And Joachim said: Now I know that the Lord has been gracious unto me, and has remitted all my sins. And he went down from the temple of the Lord justified, and departed to his own house. And her months were fulfilled, and in the ninth month Anna brought forth. And she said to the midwife: What have I brought forth? And she said: A girl. And said Anna: My soul has been magnified this day. And she laid her down. And the days having been fulfilled, Anna was purified, and gave the breast to the child, and called her name Mary.(Gospel of James chapters 4-5)
Evidently, Mohammad shortened the original and detailed account by selecting a few verses from it and skipping many others. This, of course, made the narrative in Surah 3 vague and even incomplete. In order to overcome this difficulty and help Muslims get a clearer picture of the story, Islamic scholars raced to plagiarize further from the same source, testifying to the fact that most of the stories about Christianity in their scripture had been created thanks to their prophet who borrowed from apocryphal writings. For example, Ibn Kathir added the following part while commenting on the Qur’an verses relating Mary’s mother’s pregnancy:
The wife of `Imran mentioned here is the mother of Maryam, and her name is Hannah bint Faqudh. Muhammad bin Ishaq mentioned that Hannah could not have children and that one day, she saw a bird feeding its chick. She wished she could have children and supplicated to Allah to grant her offspring. Allah accepted her supplication, and when her husband slept with her, she became pregnant. She vowed to make her child concentrate on worship and serving Bayt Al-Maqdis (the Masjid in Jerusalem), when she became aware that she was pregnant. She said, (O my Lord! I have vowed to You what is in my womb to be dedicated for Your services, so accept this from me. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knowing.) meaning, You hear my supplication and You know my intention. She did not know then what she would give birth to, a male or a female. (Source)
This clarifying commentary was definitely taken from the Gospel of James:
And his wife Anna mourned in two mournings, and lamented in two lamentations, saying: I shall bewail my widowhood; I shall bewail my childlessness. … And Anna was grieved exceedingly, and put off her garments of mourning, and cleaned her head, and put on her wedding garments, and about the ninth hour went down to the garden to walk. And she saw a laurel, and sat under it, and prayed to the Lord, saying: O God of our fathers, bless me and hear my prayer, as You blessed the womb of Sarah, and gave her a son Isaac. And gazing towards the heaven, she saw a sparrow's nest in the laurel, and made a lamentation in herself, saying: Alas! Who begot me? And what womb produced me? Because I have become a curse in the presence of the sons of Israel, and I have been reproached, and they have driven me in derision out of the temple of the Lord. Alas! To what have I been likened? I am not like the fowls of the heaven, because even the fowls of the heaven are productive before You, O Lord. (Gospel of James chapters 2-3)
More interestingly, Mohammad seems to have deliberately focused on Mary’s mother and ignored all the references to her father (Joachim) while copying the account of her nativity from the Gospel of James. Accordingly, the borrowed story in Surah 3 begins with the supplication and vow uttered by Mary’s mother in verse 35. In contrast, the Gospel of James first talks about Mary’s father (Joachim) before proceeding to the narrative about his wife and her supplications:
In the records of the twelve tribes of Israel was Joachim, a man rich exceedingly; and he brought his offerings double, saying: There shall be of my superabundance to all the people, and there shall be the offering for my forgiveness to the Lord for a propitiation for me. For the great day of the Lord was at hand, and the sons of Israel were bringing their offerings. And there stood over against him Rubim, saying: It is not meet for you first to bring your offerings, because you have not made seed in Israel. And Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and went away to the registers of the twelve tribes of the people, saying: I shall see the registers of the twelve tribes of Israel, as to whether I alone have not made seed in Israel. And he searched, and found that all the righteous had raised up seed in Israel. And he called to mind the patriarch Abraham, that in the last day God gave him a son Isaac. And Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and did not come into the presence of his wife; but he retired to the desert, and there pitched his tent, and fasted forty days and forty nights, saying in himself: I will not go down either for food or for drink until the Lord my God shall look upon me, and prayer shall be my food and drink. (Gospel of James chapter 1)
If we focus on the bolded statements in the narrative above, we can figure out the source of the mysterious sequence of the patriarchs in Surah 3:33. Mohammad was aware of this section on the theme of fatherhood in the Gospel of James, and incorporated it into Surah 3 in the shortest form possible and not without his mistaken conclusions. First, in the original account Mary’s father was depicted as a man having no seed in Israel in contrast to all other righteous people and thus emphatically singled out from the twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob) because of his childlessness. Second, he was said to liken himself to patriarch Abraham with regard to the notion of miraculous fatherhood in expectation for a child despite his barrenness. These motifs sufficed to convince Mohammad that Mary’s father signified a unique case in the seed/family of patriarch Israel in terms of fatherhood and that he was made similar to patriarch Abraham. Consequently, he replaced Israel with Mary’s father (whose name he had changed into Imran) while transferring the names of the four forefathers from Surah 19:58 to Surah 3:33 and inserted him right after Abraham as the fourth patriarch. To put it another way, Mohammad thought that Mary’s father’s highlighted affiliation with the twelve tribes of Israel would allow him to take Israel’s place in the sequence of the patriarchs. The analogy drawn in the Gospel of James between Abraham and Mary’s father further encouraged Mohammad to place Imran’s name right after Abraham’s and designate him as the father of a race (patriarch).
The discovery of the ties between the Gospel of James and Surah 3:33 also clarifies the vague link between the references to Imran’s fatherhood in verse 33 and to his wife’s motherhood in verse 35. Thus, it becomes easy to see that in Mohammad’s scripture Surah 3:33-34 were meant to be the equivalent of the teachings about Mary’s father and his relation to the patriarchs in the first chapter of the same Gospel. After all, Surah 3:34 functions to strengthen the significance of lineage and common patriarchs:
They were descendants one of another. Allah is Hearer, Knower. (Pickthall)
The emphasis laid in this verse on Allah’s hearing and knowing is most likely derived from the last sentence in the first chapter of the Gospel of James, where Mary’s father asks God to look upon him and hear his prayers.
Evolution in Surah 3:33 after Mohammad’s death
The lack of a reference to Ishmael or to Mohammad in Surah 3:33 causes much trouble for Islamic scholars as Christian apologists and critics of the Qur’an use this particular verse to prove Jesus’ superiority to Mohammad. For example, in his article entitled Jesus Superior Still According to the Qur’an! Sam Shamoun rebuts the objections of the Islamic scholars who strive to add Mohammad into the list of the chosen and preferred families by expanding the definition of the phrase “family of Abraham” to include Ishmael. As stated in Shamoun’s article, the linguistic structure of the verse will not allow Mohammad’s addition into Abraham’s family with the help of his unsubstantiated affiliation with Ishmael7, for Mary’s father is linked in Surah 3 to Abraham through his son Isaac, proving that the “final” family chosen by God was by no means related to Ishmael and his lineage.
As we discussed above, Mohammad could never have pointed at Ishmael’s line while referring to Abraham’s family in Surah 3:33 since he copied the names and order of the two patriarchs (Abraham and Imran) from the Gospel of James, a non-canonical Christian text that neither knew nor confirmed the modern Islamic allegations concerning Mohammad’s affiliation with Ishmael. More to the point, in the first chapter of that Gospel of Infancy, which was summarized and incorporated into the 3rd chapter of the Qur’an in the form of two short verses, Mary’s father remembered Abraham not because of his son Ishmael, but because of his son Isaac. Since Mohammad repeated this certain parallelism between Abraham and Mary’s father to the point of presenting the latter as a patriarch, it is unthinkable that he regarded the line descending from Ishmael as chosen and preferred.
The difficulty posed by Surah 3:33 was noticed by Islamic scholars who tried to solve this problem by making vain efforts to bind Mohammad to the chosen family of Abraham through Ishmael. For instance, Ibn Kathir wrote the following comment and did not understand that Mohammad’s addition to the family of Abraham would be to no avail since Mohammad was born centuries after Mary’s father, who was designated in the Qur’an as the last link in the chain of chosen families. In short, the chronological sequence in Surah 3:33 would never allow Mohammad’s linking to the supposedly preferred family of Ishmael:
Allah also chose the household of Ibrahim, including the master of all mankind, and the Final Prophet, Muhammad, peace be upon him. Allah also chose the household of `Imran, the father of Maryam bint `Imran, the mother of `Isa, peace be upon them. So `Isa is from the offspring of Ibrahim, as we will mention in the Tafsir of Surat Al-An`am, Allah willing, and our trust is in Him. (Source)
The weakness of the argument and defense suggested by scholars like Ibn Kathir was well-known to some Muslims who expected to see in Surah 3:33 an overt reference to Mohammad’s family not before, but after the reference to Imran’s progeny. This expectation took the form of a variant reading in the Qur’an after Mohammad’s death. The following statement attributed to the Sixth Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq reads:
The verse was revealed as, ‘the house of ‘Imran and the house of Muhammad above all beings,’ but they [the opponents of the imams] deleted ‘and the house of Muhammad’ from the Book” ... (Source)
The inclusion of Surah 3:33 into the problematic list of the variant readings of the Qur'an shows how much some Muslim scholars were bothered with it because they considered the lack of a reference to Mohammad in that verse a disgrace and source of resentment. The only thing they could do to avoid this problematic issue was to insert the missing reference into the Qur'an later most probably through wishful thinking.
Some of the Islamic teachings in the Qur’an did not take their final shape at once, being compatible with the doctrines of gradual revelation and abrogation invented by Mohammad, who needed to process the things he heard from the People of the Book for their transfer to the Qur’an. As a result, some basic Biblical teachings evolved in Mohammad’s mind and underwent modifications that corresponded to the correction and amelioration of the previously delivered teachings, and were enforced with the pretext of Allah’s better revelation.
In this process, two things made the evolution of some tenets crucial: Mohammad’s inability to understand the original statements of the Bible and his struggle to reconcile the things he derived from the Bible with the new material he derived from some non-canonical writings. These evolutions did not only expose Mohammad’s ignorance and confusion, but also created some Qur’an verses that were harmonious neither with the Bible nor with the apocryphal texts. Finally, evolving ideas gave birth to some variations even within the Qur’an and turned into mysterious references that can be understood only if the Qur’an is compared first with the Bible and then with the non-canonical literature Mohammad heard and abused while forging his scripture.
The comparison of the Meccan verses about Abraham’s sons with those of the Medinan period is evidence for the difficulties Mohammad went through while talking of Abraham’s descendants. His vague knowledge on the issue was at first limited to the number of Abraham’s sons, which had been a Biblical teaching. Mohammad repeated what the Bible said: Abraham had two sons. However, Mohammad had to wait until after the migration to get the names of these two sons’ names correct. Prior to the migration his observations gave him the wrong idea that of Abraham’s two sons, Isaac was the firstborn whilst Jacob the second. As a result of Ishmael’s uncanny replacement with Isaac, the chapters of the Mecca period by no means affiliated Ishmael with Abraham although the Jews and Christians did not deny or alter the Biblical doctrine that Abraham had fathered Ishmael before Isaac.
Being unaware of Ishmael’s relation to Abraham, Mohammad kept repeating Isaac and Jacob’s name along with Abraham and did not come to his senses until his migration to Medina, after which he raced to correct his mistake by removing Jacob from the group of Abraham’s two sons. This correction was quite smooth and theologically beneficial as Abraham’s first reference to Ishmael as his first son in the Qur'an was thematically tied to the construction of the Cube and Ishmael’s alleged settlement in Mecca.
Our Lord! Lo! I have settled some of my posterity in an uncultivable valley near unto Thy holy House, our Lord! that they may establish proper worship; so incline some hearts of men that they may yearn toward them, and provide Thou them with fruits in order that they may be thankful. Our Lord! Lo! Thou knowest that which we hide and that which we proclaim. Nothing in the earth or in the heaven is hidden from Allah. Praise be to Allah Who hath given me, in my old age, Ishmael and Isaac! Lo! my Lord is indeed the Hearer of Prayer. (Surah 14:37-39 Pickthall)
The reason for Ishmael’s linking to Mecca and the Cube was most likely Mohammad’s desire to take revenge from Sara, who had thrown Ishmael out of her house and thus prevented him from taking part of Abraham’s inheritance. In Mohammad’s fantasy this was paid back by Allah, who symbolically threw Isaac out of his house when he did not allow him to construct the Cube with Abraham and denied him the honor of settling in Mecca, the hometown of the alleged final messenger.
The Islamic assertion that the recurrent references made to Jacob along with Isaac as Abraham’s son in the chapters of the Meccan period were due to Jacob’s being Abraham’s grandson is refuted by the lack of a similar reference in the chapters of the Medina period to Jacob as Abraham’s son. This lack was quite natural because Mohammad changed only the names of Abraham’s sons, maintaining their number. Thus, according to the Qur'an, Abraham fathered two sons and these two sons were Isaac and Jacob (Mecca) and Ishmael and Isaac (Medina).
It is not difficult to guess what compelled Mohammad to identify Jacob as Abraham’s second son in the Meccan period of the Qur'an. First, he was aware of the Biblical doctrine that God Almighty had blessed and chosen the nation of Israel (Jacob’s offspring), and wrote a few verses to display his agreement with this teaching.
O Children of Israel! Remember My favour wherewith I favoured you and how I preferred you to (all) creatures. (Surah 2:47 Pickthall)
And certainly We gave the Book and the wisdom and the prophecy to the children of Israel, and We gave them of the goodly things, and We made them excel the nations. (Surah 45:16 Pickthall)
While in Mecca, Mohammad also became familiar with the Biblical sequence of the three ancestors “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” and incorporated this triplet into his scripture:
And remember Our servants Ibrahim and Ishaq and Yaqoub, men of power and insight. (Surah 38:45 Shakir)
And thus will your Lord choose you and teach you the interpretation of sayings and make His favor complete to you and to the children of Yaqoub, as He made it complete before to your fathers, Ibrahim and Ishaq; surely your Lord is Knowing, Wise. (Surah 12:6 Shakir)
And I follow the religion of my fathers, Ibrahim and Ishaq and Yaqoub; it beseems us not that we should associate aught with Allah; this is by Allah's grace upon us and on mankind, but most people do not give thanks. (Surah 12:38 Shakir)
At this point, Mohammad misunderstood the cause of this particular sequence of the three patriarchs and jumped into the conclusion that this triplet consisted of Abraham and his two sons. The natural outcome of this fallacious reasoning was the indirect denial of every tie between Abraham and Ishmael, which again contradicted the Biblical account that designated Ishmael as Abraham’s son through his concubine named Hagar. Ishmael’s separation from Abraham before his death and Isaac and Jacob’s burial in the same place as Abraham in the Biblical accounts (Genesis 49:29-32) were probably some of the factors contributing to Mohammad’s supposition that Ishmael had nothing to do with Abraham and his offspring.
Unsurprisingly, Mohammad did not give Ishmael’s name when he related the story of Abraham’s sacrifice (Surah 37:102-107) even though most Muslim scholars tend to identify the child whom God asked Abraham to offer as Ishmael rather than Isaac.8 Traditional Islamic commentaries on this issue are far from accuracy, for Mohammad would have placed Ishmael in the verse below between Abraham and Isaac if he had agreed with the Islamic scholars in regard to the identity of the child mentioned in verses 102-103:
And We blessed him and Isaac. And of their seed are some who do good, and some who plainly wrong themselves. (Surah 37:113 Pickthall)
Nevertheless, things started to change all of a sudden when Mohammad went to Medina and found out that Ishmael was actually a son of Abraham. In order to clear his previous mistake, he abruptly included Ishmael into the verses referring to Abraham’s lineage descending from his son Isaac. For instance:
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. (Surah 2:136 Pickthall)
This awkward sequence gave the wrong impression that Isaac was Ishmael’s son instead of his brother and contradicted the basic Biblical doctrine that bound the divine promises and the prophetic lineage to Abraham’s descendants through Isaac and not through Ishmael. In the light of this analysis it becomes clear that Mohammad excluded Ishmael from Abraham’s story (and replaced Ishmael with Isaac) when the Bible included him as a son and inserted Ishmael into Abraham’s lineage descending through Isaac when the Bible excluded him from the sequence (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) indicating Isaac’s preference by God to Ishmael. This problem and discrepancy depicts Mohammad as a man who followed the extreme ends in opposite directions as a result of his failure to understand the simple doctrine that God established his covenant with Isaac although Ishmael was Abraham’s other son.

1 In fact, the Bible tells us more about his wife Jochebeth than about Amram. On the other hand, her name was necessarily left out in the Qur’an. 2 More about this can be found in my article The Anatomy of the Qur'an's Mistakes. 3 Further on this issue can be read in Sam Shamoun’s article Does the Quran teach a local flood? 4 However, this verse overtly contradicts Surah 11:36, 40, which stunningly teach that some people from Noah’s folk believed his message and were saved with him. This article highlights the contradictory teachings in the Qur’an regarding Noah’s flood. 5 After his migration, Mohammad changed his stand and mistakenly affiliated Ishmael with Abraham even to the point of Ishmael’s insertion into the prophetic lineage descending from Isaac. How Mohammad made a gross mistake with regard to Abraham’s sons in both Mecca and Medina periods is explained at length in the appendix. 6 Read this commentary. 7 See the article Ishmael is not the father of Muhammad. 8 However, there are several early Muslim commentators who were convinced it was Isaac. For a detailed discussion, see the article Abraham and the Child of Sacrifice - Isaac or Ishmael?