Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Problems with the Islamic Doctrine of Atonement


More Proof That Bassam Zawadi and Co. Are Truth Impaired Pt. 3

Sam Shamoun

We resume our discussion from the previous part.

Atonement and Expiation in the Quran

To make matters worse for these two taqiyyists, the Quran repeatedly emphasizes the point that forgiveness is predicated upon Allah making atonement or expiation for the transgressions committed against him:

It is he who sendeth down secure tranquillity into the hearts of the true believers, that they may increase in faith, beyond their [former] faith: - The hosts of heaven and earth are God's; and God is knowing [and] wise: -That he may lead the true believers of both sexes into gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein for ever; and may expiate (yukaffira) their evil deeds from them: - This will be great felicity with God: -S. 48:4-5 Sale

In fact, the Muslim scripture is filled with verses which say that Allah will expiate or atone for the sins of those who do whatever he asks of them.

For instance, expiation/atonement will be made for all those who truly believe and fear Allah:

More, if they who have received the scriptures believe, and fear [God], we will surely expiate (lakaffarna) their sins from them, and we will lead them into gardens of pleasure; 5:65 Sale

O true believers, if ye fear God, he will grant you a distinction, and will expiate (wa’yukaffir) your sins from you, and will forgive you; for God is indued with great liberality. S. 8:29 Sale

But he who bringeth the truth, and giveth credit thereto, these are they who fear God; they [shall obtain] whatever they shall desire, in the sight of their Lord: This [shall be] the recompense of the righteous: That God may expiate (Liyukaffira) from them the [very] worst of that which they have wrought, and my render them their reward according to the utmost merit of the good which they have wrought. S. 39:33-35 Sale

This [is] the command of God, which he hath sent down unto you. And whoso feareth God, he will expiate (yukaffir) his evil deeds from him, and will increase his reward. S. 65:5

It is also offered for those who repent sincerely and do what is right:

“O Lord, we have heard a preacher inviting us to the faith, [and saying], believe in your Lord: And we believed. O Lord, forgive us therefore our sins, and expiate (wa’kaffir) our evil deeds from us, and make us to die with the righteous. O Lord, give us also [the reward] which thou hast promised by thy apostles; and cover us not with shame on the day of resurrection; for thou art not contrary to the promise.” So their Lord accepted their prayer: That I will not waste the work of a worker among you, whether male or female, the one of you being from the other; they, therefore, who fled and were turned out of their homes and persecuted in My way and who fought and were slain, I will most certainly cover (laokaffiranna – “atone for”) their evil deeds, and I will most certainly make them enter gardens beneath which rivers flow; a reward from Allah, and with Allah is yet better reward. S. 3:193-195

Those who believe and do right, we will surely cover (lanukaffiranna) for them, their offences; and we will surely reward them with better than that which they have done. S. 29:7 Palmer

But those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and believe in that which is sent down to Muhammad, for it is the truth from their Lord, He will expiate (kaffara) from them their sins, and will make good their state. S. 47:2 Sale

On a [certain] day he shall assemble you, at the day of the [general] assembly: That [will be] the day of mutual deceit: And whoso shall believe in God, and shall do that which is right, from him will he expiate (yukaffir) his evil deeds, and he will lead him into gardens beneath which rivers flow, to remain therein for ever. This [will be] great felicity. S. 64:9 Sale

O ye who believe! turn repentant to God with sincere repentance; it may be that thy Lord will cover (yukaffira) for you your offences and will bring you into gardens beneath which rivers flow!- the day God will not disgrace the Prophet nor those who believe with him; their light shall run on before them, and at their right hands! they shall say, 'Our Lord! perfect for us our light and forgive us; verily, Thou art mighty over all!' S. 66:8 Palmer

Expiation/atonement is even made for anyone who avoids committing the major or great sins:

If ye avoid great sins from which ye are forbidden, we will cover (nukaffir) your offences and make you enter with a noble entrance. S. 4:31 Palmer

Allah further demands that atonement be made for specific sins which the Muslim may commit, such as unintentional manslaughter:

AND IT IS not conceivable that a believer should slay another believer, unless it be by mistake. And upon him who has slain a believer by mistake there is the duty of freeing a believing soul from bondage and paying an indemnity to the victim's relations, unless they forgo it by way of charity. Now if the slain, while himself a believer, belonged to a people who are at war with you, [the penance shall be confined to] the freeing of a believing soul from bondage; whereas, if he belonged to a people to whom you are bound by a covenant, [it shall consist of] an indemnity to be paid to his relations in addition to the freeing of a believing soul from bondage. And he who does not have the wherewithal shall fast [instead] for two consecutive months. (This is) the atonement (tawbatan) ordained by God: and God is indeed all-knowing, wise. S. 4:92 Muhammad Asad

(Note: Although the word used here is not the one normally used for atonement/expiation, it nonetheless carries the same connotation, as the context makes clear, which is why Muhammad Asad translated it as such.)

It is also required for the breaking of vows and/or oaths:

GOD will not take you to task for oaths which you may have uttered without thought, but He will take you to task for oaths which you have sworn in earnest. Thus, the breaking of an oath must be atoned for by feeding ten needy persons with more or less the same food as you are wont to give to your own families, or by clothing them, or by freeing a human being from bondage; and he who has not the wherewithal shall fast for three days [instead]. This shall be the atonement (kaffaratu) for your oaths whenever you have sworn [and broken them]. But be mindful of your oaths! S. 5:89 Asad

As well as for killing animals while in ihram, or the state of ritual purity required for making pilgrimage:

O you who have attained to faith! Kill no game while you are in the state of pilgrimage. And whoever of you kills it intentionally, [shall make] amends in cattle equivalent to what he has killed - with two persons of probity giving their judgment thereon - to be brought as an offering to the Ka'bah; or else he may atone for his sin (kaffaratun) by feeding the needy, or by the equivalent thereof in fasting: [this,] in order that he taste the full gravity of his deed, [while] God shall have effaced the past. But whoever does it again, God will inflict His retribution on him: for God is almighty, an avenger of evil. S. 5:95 Asad

Now let us again take a look at the following passage which was cited in the previous parts of our rebuttal:

And We ordained for them in that [Torah]: A life for a life, and an eye for an eye, and a nose for a nose, and an ear for an ear, and a tooth for a tooth, and a [similar] retribution for wounds; but he who shall forgo it out of charity will atone (kaffaratun) thereby for SOME of his past sins (lit., ‘it shall be an atonement for him’). And they who do not judge in accordance with what God has revealed - they, they are the evildoers! S. 5:45 Asad

The Quran cites what is commonly referred to as the lex talionis, which was a command given through Moses to the Israelites (cf. Exodus 21:22-25; Leviticus 24:19-21; Deuteronomy 19:16-21), and adds the caveat that if anyone is willing to pardon the transgressor it will be atonement for him/her.

In light of all these verses, the assertion of these two dawagandists that true forgiveness excludes the need for atonement or payment of any kind either means that they have no clue what they are talking about and are ignorant of what their own scripture teaches. Or, worse still, they are deliberately lying in order to depict Christianity in the worst possible light.

However, the problems are just starting for these propagandists.

The Quranic notion of ransom/redemption

There are passages where it is explicitly stated that even if the disbelievers were to offer an earth full of gold on the last day to redeem their souls they would still not be spared from Allah’s wrath, since that is a day in which no ransom will be accepted from any unbeliever:

Those who have rejected and died while they are ingrates, if the earth full of gold were to be ransomed (iftada) with it, it would not be accepted from any of them. For these there will be a painful retribution and they will have no supporters. S. 3:91 Quran: A Reformist Translation (QRT)

For those who respond to their Lord, are (all) good things. But those who respond not to Him, - Even if they had all that is in the heavens and on earth, and as much more, (in vain) would they offer it for ransom (laiftadaw). For them will the reckoning be terrible: their abode will be Hell, - what a bed of misery! S. 13:18 Y. Ali

This Day shall no ransom (fidyatun) be accepted of you, nor of those who rejected God." Your abode is the Fire: that is the proper place to claim you: and an evil refuge it is! S. 57:15 Y. Ali – cf. Q. 2:48, 123; 10:54; 39:47

The above verses presuppose that Allah does accept or require a ransom, just not from those who die in their disbelief. These texts imply that Allah will accept a ransom for the sins committed by the believers, which is precisely what we find stated in both the Quran and ahadith!

For instance, the Islamic scripture commands Muslims to feed a needy person as a ransom for any fast days they may have missed:

(Fast) a certain number of days; and (for) him who is sick among you, or on a journey, (the same) number of other days; and for those who can afford it there is a ransom (fidyatun): the feeding of a man in need - but whoso doeth good of his own accord, it is better for him: and that ye fast is better for you if ye did but know - S. 2:184 Pickthall

Ransom is also demanded in situations where Muslims have been hindered from completing the rites of pilgrimage:

Perform the pilgrimage and the visit (to Makka) for Allah. And if ye are prevented, then send such gifts as can be obtained with ease, and shave not your heads until the gifts have reached their destination. And whoever among you is sick or hath an ailment of the head must pay a ransom (fafidyatun) of fasting or almsgiving or offering. And if ye are in safety, then whosoever contenteth himself with the visit for the pilgrimage (shall give) such gifts as can be had with ease. And whosoever cannot find (such gifts), then a fast of three days while on the pilgrimage, and of seven when ye have returned; that is, ten in all. That is for him whoso folk are not present at the Inviolable Place of Worship. Observe your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is severe in punishment. S. 2:196 Pickthall

Hence, the Quran explicitly affirms that Allah demands a ransom in cases in which Muslims have failed to adequately carry out Allah’s prescribed will.

This leads us to our next point.

The (Il)Logic of Allah Punishing Jews and Christians in Hell as a Sacrifice for Sins

These master taqiyyists forgot to inform their readers that their own prophet went as far as to teach that Allah would sacrifice Jews and Christians in hell as a ransom for all the sins committed by the Muslims!

Superiority of the believers in the Oneness of Allah and the punishment of the Jews and Christians

8) Narrated Abu Musa: Allah’s Messenger said: On the Day of Resurrection, my Ummah (nation) will be gathered into three groups. One sort will enter Paradise without rendering an account (of their deeds). Another sort will be reckoned an easy account and admitted into Paradise. Yet another sort will come bearing on their backs heaps of sins like great mountains. Allah will ask the angels though He knows best about them: Who are these people? They will reply: They are humble slaves of yours. He will say: UNLOAD the sins from them AND PUT THE SAME OVER the Jews and Christians: then let the humble slaves get into Paradise by virtue of My Mercy.

(This Hadith IS SOUND and mentioned in Mustadrak of Hakim). (110 Hadith Qudsi (Sacred Hadith), translated by Syed Masood-ul-Hasan, revision and commentaries by Ibrahim m. Kunna [Darussalam Publishers and Distributors], pp. 19-20; capital and underline emphasis ours)

432. Abu Musa al-Ash'ari reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “On the Day of Rising, Allah will hand over a Jew or a Christian to every Muslim and say, 'HERE IS YOUR REDEMPTION FROM THE FIRE.” [Muslim]

In another variant from him is that the Prophet said, “Some of the Muslims will be brought on the Day of Rising WITH SINS THE SIZE OF MOUNTAINS and Allah will forgive them.” (Al-Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya bin Sharaf An-Nawawi Ad-Dimashqi, Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous), 51. Chapter: On Hope; capital and italic emphasis ours)

(20) CHAPTER. Disbelievers are sent to Hell as SACRIFICE to the Muslims

1937. Abu Musa narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “When it is the Day of Resurrection, Allah will deliver every Muslim a Jew or Christian and say: ‘THAT IS YOUR SACRIFICE FROM HELL-FIRE.’” (The Translation of the Meanings of Summarized Sahih Muslim (Arabic–English), Compiled by Al-Hafiz Zakiuddin Abdul-Azim Al-Mundhiri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, First Edition: February 2000], Volume 2, 62– The Book Of Repentance And Allah’s Great Mercy, pp. 1033-1034; capital emphasis ours)

And here is a different translation of the above hadith, along with a couple of others from Sahih Muslim:


Abu Musa' reported that Allah's Messenger 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 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. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037, Number 6666)

Abu Burda reported Allah's Messenger 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? I said: Yes. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037, Number 6668)

Talk about a travesty of justice!

Not only does the Muslim deity demand atonement/expiation be made, as well as offering up a ransom, for the forgiveness of sins, he even goes as far as to eternally torture Jews and Christians as a ransom for all the transgressions committed by Muslims!

To get an idea of the kind of pain that Jews and Christians will have to endure for the evil and wickedness committed by Muslims, notice how the following verses depict the punishment of hell:

Surely! Those who disbelieved in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) We shall burn them in Fire. As often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for other skins that they may taste the punishment. Truly, Allah is Ever Most Powerful, All-Wise. S. 4:56 Hilali-Khan

In front of him (every obstinate, arrogant dictator) is Hell, and he will be made to drink boiling, festering water. He will sip it unwillingly, and he will find a great difficulty to swallow it down his throat and death will come to him from every side, yet he will not die and in front of him, will be a great torment. S. 14:16-17 Hilali-Khan

Imagine that! Jews and Christians will have their skins roasted over and over again, will be forced to drink boiling water, and endure other kinds of sadistic and barbaric tortures forever because of the sins committed by others!

What makes this all the more reprehensible is that, instead of condemning Allah and his messenger for teaching such nonsense, these taqiyyists will go out of their way to justify such barbarity and sadism.

So now these dawagandists have a problem!

Let me again repeat what Zawadi stated concerning the nature of forgiveness:

“Similarly, the only way for God to TRULY forgive us our debt is to let go of the debt all together.”

“True forgiveness is a virtuous act of letting go of a wrong without exacting ANY FORM OF PAYMENT or punishment in return.”

According to this taqiyyist Allah cannot exact any form of payment if he is to be truly forgiving.

Here is what this leading exponent of khida further stated in “response” to Stephen Hayes of the triablogue site (

I’m talking about definition (what the word forgiveness means) and not about any particulars regarding method and conditions of application.

Steve… it’s very simple brother. It makes no sense that WE ARE FORGIVEN our sins, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME our sins were ACCOUNTED FOR IN THE FORM OF “PUNISHMENT” (which Jesus allegedly bore).

Very simple.

If you want to define the word forgiveness in a way not understood according to the norm, then fine. Please do so CLEARLY. Otherwise, Christians are speaking gibberish according to Muslims, since it makes no sense to us how PTS [sic] and forgiveness are harmonious with each other. (Source)

Seeing that Zawadi’s deity and apostle required atonement and the eternal torture of Jews and Christians as a ransom for the sins of Muslims in order to receive forgiveness, this means that Allah and his messenger are going against the norm. Zawadi has pretty much established that both Muhammad and his god were speaking gibberish since it makes absolutely no sense to taqiyyists like him how the Islamic theory of penal substitutionary atonement (IPST), e.g. Allah eternally torturing Jews and Christians in hell for the evil and wickedness committed by Muslims, and forgiveness can be harmonious with each other.

Zawadi has also managed to prove that Muhammad’s claim in the hadith that Allah will unload the sins of Muslims upon Jews and Christians makes absolutely no sense.

After all, as Zawadi himself asks(1), what could it possibly mean for Allah to unload the sins of the Muslims upon Jews and Christians when sin is not a tangible matter nor is it a liquid that is injectable into the body? Sin is either a thought or an action. You can’t punish crime without punishing the criminal. Sin is what a sinner does and it is the sinner who deserves the punishment. Allah doesn’t punish murder, theft and fornication, rather he punishes murderers, thieves and fornicators. We shouldn’t be treating sin as some type of abstract thing.

In light of the foregoing, what in the world was Allah thinking when he told Muhammad that he was going to unload all of the sins committed by Muslims upon Jews and Christians? Does Allah really know what he is talking about? Maybe he needed to have created Zawadi at the of Muhammad in order to remind Allah and his messenger that it is absolute nonsense to speak of unloading sins, which happen to be immaterial, intangible, upon any individual.

As it stands, Islam is an irrational and unjust religion according to the very logic and criteria employed by these inconsistent and deceptive dawagandists.

This now leads us to the final segment of our discussion.


(1) Zawadi pretends to be eloquent in order to try to impress his readership since he writes:

We often hear Christians say: “God leaves no sin unpunished”? What does that even mean?

Sin is not a tangible matter nor is it a liquid that is injectable into the body. Sin is either a thought or an action. You can’t punish crime without punishing the criminal. Sin is what a sinner does and it is the sinner who deserves the punishment. God doesn’t punish murder, theft and fornication, rather He punishes murderers, thieves and fornicators. We shouldn’t be treating sin as some type of abstract thing.

If one wants to clarify “well what we mean is that all sin must be accounted for and it was accounted for in punishing Jesus”.

The problem with trying to be something you’re not is that you end up saying things which come back to bite you and demonstrate that you have no business discussing matters that are well beyond your intellectual capacity to address.

Note, for instance, what Zawadi went on to say concerning God forgiving a person’s debts:

If someone owes you a thousand dollars and you wanted to “forgive this debt” that would mean that you would have to forgo the thousand dollars and absorb your losses. If Kevin owes you a thousand dollars and then you tell Kevin you don’t have to pay it anymore and that John could pay it instead, that doesn’t mean that you have truly forgiven Kevin’s debt. Kevin’s debt is still there even though it’s not Kevin paying it anymore. The only way for you to TRULY forgive Kevin’s debt is for you to absorb your losses. Similarly, the only way for God to TRULY forgive us our debt is to let go of the debt all together. Now we don’t say that God “absorbs His losses” because God is independent of all creatures and has no “losses”, but the logic is the same in that God would have to forgo the debt all together in order to TRULY forgive us our debts. However, in Christianity we don’t see that because Jesus takes the debt and pays it.

Let us see what happens when we again apply Zawadi’s statements concerning the punishment of sins to his assertion here concerning God forgiving our debts:

What does that even mean?

Since debt in this context refers to our sins how can a debt be forgiven? Debt here is not a tangible matter nor is it a liquid that is injectable into the body. Debt is either a thought or an action which is committed. You can’t forgive a debt without forgiving the debtor. A debt is what a debtor owes and it is the debtor who either deserves the punishment or receives pardon. God doesn’t punish or forgive debts such as murder, theft and fornication, rather He punishes the debtors who commit such acts. We shouldn’t be treating debt in this context as some type of abstract thing seeing that debt here refers to a person’s sin.

This also means that it makes absolutely no sense for the Quran to speak of Allah forgiving all sins since, per Zawadi’s (ir)rationale, Allah doesn’t forgive sins anymore than he punishes it. Rather, Allah forgives or punishes the sinner who sins.

That Zawadi knows what Christians mean when they employ such language is evident from what he goes on to say:

“… If one wants to clarify “well what we mean is that all sin must be accounted for and it was accounted for in punishing Jesus.’…”

Since he knows what Christians mean why, then, even bring up such a silly objection that God doesn’t punish sins seeing that they are intangible if not for the sole purpose of trying to sound intelligent?

Unfortunately for him it is not working, since the only thing these arguments (which he merely parrots from others) show is that Zawadi is dealing with issues that are beyond his intellectual capacity to adequately comprehend. This is why he is constantly embarrassing himself and his fellow dawagandists every time he tries to dabble into such matters.