Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

A Muslimah Has Some Questions Pt. 4

Sam Shamoun

In this part of our response we are going to show from the Quran how Allah is guilty of committing shirk for taking partners to himself in his unique, exclusive worship.

Adam worshiped by the orders of Allah

According to the Quran Allah actually commanded all of his angels to bow down in worship to Adam in recognition of the fact that the Muslim god created him with his own hands and breathed his spirit into him:

And when We said to the angels, “Fall down and worship Adam (osjudoo li-adama)," they worshipped all (fasajadoo), save Eblis, who refused: S. 20:116 Rodwell

When thy Lord said unto the angels, verily I am about to create man of clay: When I shall have formed him, therefore, and shall have breathed my spirit into him, do ye fall down and worship him (sajideena). And all the angels worshipped [him] (fasajada), in general; except Eblis, [who] was puffed up with pride, and became an unbeliever. [God] said [unto him], O Eblis, what hindreth thee from worshipping (tasjuda) that which I have created with my hands? Art thou elated with vain pride? Or art thou [really] one of exalted merit? S. 38:71-75 Sale – cf. Q. 2:34; 7:11-12; 17:61; 18:50

Here we see Adam receiving the exact same worship which the Islamic deity is supposed to receive according to the Quran:

And when it is said to them: "Prostrate to the Most Beneficent (Allah) (osjudoo lilrahmani)!” They say: "And what is the Most Beneficent? Shall we fall down in prostration (anasjudu) to that which you (O Muhammad) command us?" And it increases in them only aversion. S. 25:60 Hilali-Khan

Whereupon the magicians prostrated themselves, worshipping (sajideena), [and] said, we believe in the Lord of all creatures, the Lord of Moses and of Aaron. S. 26:46-48 Sale – cf. 7:120-122

Among the signs [of his power are] the night, and the day, and the sun, and the moon. Worship not (la tasjudoo) the sun, neither the moon: But worship (wa’osjudoo) God, who hath created them; if ye serve him. S. 41:37 Sale

Suffice it to say, the Muslims were not oblivious to the problem these texts posed for the Quran’s repeated insistence that Allah is the only being worthy of such worship. As the following Christian author explains:

“The story, as a whole, involves a difficult issue. Why did God order all His angels to fall prostrate before a being inferior to them in nature? The manner of prostration is reserved for the worship of God. It was not proper, therefore, to employ it in showing respect to creatures, including Adam. Realizing the problem involved in the use of the term ‘Sajda’ (prostration) in the passage under discussion, Jalal al-Din made the following observation:

The original word signifies properly, to prostrate one self till the forehead touches the ground, which is the humblest posture of adoration and strictly due to God only; but it is sometimes used to express civil worship or homage which may be paid to creatures. (W.T. Wherry, A Comprehensive Commentary on the Quran, Vol. I, p. 301)

“Despite Jalal al-Din's apology, strictly speaking, ‘Sajda’ (prostration) is due only to God. That is why the commentator did not support adequately the exception he has made to the rule, from the Koran. The ‘Wahhabis,’ who consider themselves strict Muslims and true Monotheists, forbid worship of any creature. God alone deserves to be worshipped, according to them. They would not allow ‘Sajda’ to a civil authority–the kind of prostration which is meant to be used in prayers to God…. Moreover, it is true that strictly speaking prostration before any being other than God is a practice against monotheism and spirit of the Koran, as Wahhabis would say.” (Abdiyah Akbar Abdul-Haqq, Sharing Your Faith with a Muslim [Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN 1980], p. 78; bold emphasis ours)

Hence, if prostration is a religious act reserved for the worship of Allah alone then this must have always been the case right from the very beginning.

However, if Muslims contend that it was allowed at the beginning then they need to explain why did Allah prohibit it later on when he had initially permitted his creatures to show such reverence to others besides him? Why did Allah only decide to restrict such acts at some later point, specifically at the time of Muhammad?

Do Muslims really want us to believe that something that is classified as an act of shirk at a later point in time wasn’t considered shirk earlier on? What changed, the definition of shirk or the nature of worship? Perhaps both?

Besides, if bowing down to someone besides Allah was permissible at the beginning then Muslims can’t say that this is an action which is to be given only to their god since, if it were, such a religious act would have always been restricted to God from the very start.

After all, it makes no sense to say that prostrating to creatures was initially permitted since we are not speaking of ceremonial laws such as washing, or even dietary restrictions, which can change as time passes. We are dealing with the nature of worship. As such, worship is one of those aspects of theology that remains consistent and is not affected by time or culture.

The fact is that the story of Adam turns Allah into a mushrik who actually commanded his creatures to commit shirk in their worship.

Allah takes partners in his might and honor

This isn’t the only time that Allah has been guilty of shirk.

The Quran is clear that all honor and might belongs to Allah alone:

As for those who take the deniers of the truth for their allies in preference to the believers - do they hope to be honoured by them when, behold, all honour belongs to God [alone] (fa-inna al-izzata lillahi jamee’an)? S. 4:139 Muhammad Asad

And be not grieved by the sayings of those [who deny the truth]. Behold, all might and glory belong to God alone (inna al-izzata lillahi jamee’an): He alone is all-hearing, all-knowing. S. 10:65 Asad

He who desires might and glory [ought to know that] all might and glory belong to God [alone] (falillahi al-izzatu jamee’an). Unto Him ascend all good words, and the righteous deed does He exalt. But as for those who cunningly devise evil deeds - suffering severe awaits them; and all their devising is bound to come to nought. S. 35:10 Asad

The Islamic scripture even says that Allah is the lord of might and honor:

LIMITLESS in His glory is thy Sustainer, the Lord of almightiness (rabbi al-izzati), [exalted] above anything that men may devise by way of definition! S. 37:180 Asad

Here is where the problem lies for the Muslims. The same Quran also says that Allah allowed Muhammad and the believers to share in his might and honor!

They say: If we return to Medina, the mighty will surely drive out the meaner therefrom; and to Allah belongs the might and glory AND to His Apostle AND to the believers (wa-lillahi al-izzatu WA-lirasoolihi WA-lilmu’mineena), but the hypocrites do not know. S. 63:8

Here Allah uses the Arabic conjunction wa (“and”) in order to associate Muhammad and his followers with himself in the possession of might and honor.

According to Muslim scholars this is the conjunction of partnership or association, which is why it is expressly forbidden to use it in the same sentence where Allah is mentioned with someone else:

The fact that mention of the Prophet is directly connected to mention of Allah also shows that obedience to the Prophet is connected to obedience to Allah and his name to Allah's name. Allah says, "Obey Allah and His Messenger" (2:32) and "Believe in Allah and His Messenger." (4:136) Allah joins them together using the conjunction wa WHICH IS THE CONJUNCTION OF PARTNERSHIP. IT IS NOT PERMITTED TO USE THIS CONJUNCTION IN CONNECTION WITH ALLAH IN THE CASE OF ANYONE EXCEPT THE PROPHET.

Hudhayfa said that the Prophet said, "None of you should say, ‘What Allah wills and (wa) so-and-so wills.’ Rather say, ‘What Allah wills.’ Then stop and say, ‘So-and-so wills.’"

Al-Khattabi said, "The Prophet has guided you to correct behaviour in putting the will of Allah before the will of others. He chose ‘THEN’ (thumma) which implies sequence and deference as opposed to ‘AND’ (wa) WHICH IMPLIES PARTNERSHIP."

Something similar is mentioned in another hadith. Someone was speaking in the presence of the Prophet and said, "Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has been rightly guided, and whoever rebels against them both (joining them together by using the dual form) …" The Prophet said to him, "What a bad speaker you are! Get up! [Or he said: Get out!]"

Abu Sulayman said, "He disliked the two names being joined together in that way because it implies equality." … (Qadi Iyad, Kitab Ash-shifa bi ta'rif huquq al-Mustafa (Healing by the recognition of the Rights of the Chosen One), translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K., third reprint 1991, paperback], Part One. Allah’s great estimation of the worth of His Prophet expressed both in word and action, Chapter One: Allah’s praise of him and his great esteem for him, Section 1. Concerning praise of him and his numerous excellent qualities, pp. 7-8; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab, the man who was mainly responsible for the resurgence and revival of the modern Salafi cult (considered a deviant sect by many Muslim scholars because of its blatant distortions of early Islamic teachings), was another scholar who held this position. In his book on monotheism, he warned against using wa when referring to Allah together with someone or something, stating that a Muslim should rather use the conjunction thumma (“then”) or some other formulation which avoids associating Allah with his creation:

A Jewish man came to the Prophet and said: "Verily, you (Muslims) commit Shirk, for you say: ‘As Allah wills AND as you will;’ and you say: ‘By the Ka’bah!’" And so the Prophet ordered whoever wanted to swear, to say: "By the Lord of the Ka’bah" and to say: "As Allah wills, THEN as you will." (An-Nasaa’ee, it was declared saheeh by Albanee in as Saheehah # 137 and declared saheeh by Adh-Dhahabee in his checking of Al Mustadrak and declared saheeh by Ibn Hajar in Al Isaabah 4/389)

A man came to the Prophet and he said: "As Allah AND you will," at which the Prophet said: "Would you set me up as a partner besides Allah? As Allah Alone Wills" (An-Nasaa’ee, declared authentic (hasan) by Albanee in as Saheehah # 139)

On the authority of At-Tufail the half brother of Aishah it is reported that he said: "I saw in a dream that I came upon a number of Jews and I said to them: ‘You are indeed a good people were it not that you claim ‘Uzair is the son of Allah.’ They replied: ‘You too are good, were it not that you say: As Allah wills AND as Muhammad wills.’ Then, I came upon a number of Christians and I said to them: ‘You are indeed a good people were it not that you claim the Messiah (Jesus) is the son of Allah.’ They replied: ‘You are also good, were it not that you say: As Allah wills AND as Muhammad wills.’ When I awoke I told someone about this then I went to the Prophet and repeated it to him. He asked me: ‘Have you told anyone about this?’ I said: ‘Yes.’ Then he went to the pulpit and, after praising Allah, he said: ‘At-Tufail had a dream which he has already communicated to some of you. You used to say something which I was prevented from forbidding to you until now. Henceforth do not say: As Allah wills AND as Muhammad wills, but say: What Allah Alone Wills.’" (Ibn Maajah, Albanee mentioned it in as Saheehah # 138, Al Haythamee said in Majma Az-Zawaaid: the men in its chain are reliable according to the conditions of Imam Muslim) (Takhreej of Kitaab at Tawheed, posted by, 2004, Chapter 43: Saying: "As Allah Wills and You Will", pp. 21-22; See also Kitab At-Tawheed, by Sheikh ul-Islam Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab, translated by the Compilation and Research Department Dar-us-Salam [Dar-us-Salam Publications Riyadh-Saudi Arabia, 1996], Chapter No: 44. How it is to say “What Allah may will and you may will”; capital, italic and underline emphasis ours)

Yet this is precisely what Allah has done according to the Quran! He caused the angels to worship Adam, and has taken believers to be his associates in his might and honor. Allah is therefore guilty of taking partners to himself in his exclusive worship and majesty.

So much for Islam being a strict monotheistic religion!

Lord Jesus willing, there will be further rebuttals to the objections which this Muslimah raised.

Further Reading

Many more examples of the elevation of Muhammad to a god-like status in Islam can be found in the series of articles listed in the section, “The Deification of Muhammad.”