CHAPTER iv /Refuting Absurdity

Refuting Absurdity

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Let us now look at how the Qur’an refutes their religious superstitions. “We have created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six aeons, and no weariness has ever touched Us.”

(50: 38.)

This refutes their claim that after God had created all creation in six days, He rested on the seventh day.

“It was not Solomon that denied the truth.” (2: 102.) This vindicates Solomon against their false claim that he was not a prophet, but merely a magician who was able to ride the wind. “God has heard those who said, ‘God is poor and we are rich.’”

(3: 181.)

“The Jews say: ‘God’s hands are fettered.’”

(5: 64.)

“The Jews said, ‘Ezra is son of God,’ while the Christians said, ‘Jesus is son of God.’”

(9: 30.)

“The Jews and the Christians say, We are God’s children, and His beloved ones.” “Disbelievers are they who say, God is the Christ, son of Mary”. “Disbelievers are they who say, God is the third of a trinity.”

(5: 18, 72 & 73.)

“Say: People of earlier revelations! Come to an equitable agreement between you and us: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall associate no partners with Him, and that we shall not take one another for lords beside God.”

(3: 64.)

Consider now how the Qur’an describes the faith of religious leaders at the time of its revelation, particularly those who were Christian. Elements of polytheism were so evident in their religion.

Indeed, the illiterate Arabs noticed this and consoled themselves on account of their own polytheism: “When the son of Mary is set forth as an example, your own people raise an outcry on this score, and say, ‘Which is better - our deities or he?’”

(43: 57.)

They even used Jesus in their argument that the monotheism which the Qur’an advocates was an innovation without precedent in all religions. They said: “Never did we hear of a claim like this in any faith of latter days.”

(38: 7.)

In this they are referring particularly to Christianity.

Here is yet another series of offences which the Qur’an relates as their long chain of crimes:

And so, [We punished them] for the breaking of their pledge, their disbelief in God’s revelations, their killing of prophets against all right, and for their boast, “Our hearts are closed”. Indeed God sealed their hearts on account of their disbelief. As a result they have no faith except for a few of them. And for their disbelief and the monstrous calumny they utter against Mary, and their boast: “We have killed the Christ Jesus, son of Mary, God’s Messenger.” They did not kill him, and neither did they crucify him, but it only seemed to them [as if it had been] so. Those who hold conflicting views about him are indeed confused, having no real knowledge about it, and following mere conjecture. For, of a certainty, they did not kill him. No! God raised him up to Himself. God is indeed Almighty, Wise. There is not one of the people of earlier revelations but will, at the moment of his death, believe in him, and on the Day of Resurrection he will bear witness to the truth against them. So, then, for the wrongdoing of the Jews did We forbid them some of the good things of life which had been formerly allowed to them; and, indeed for their turning away often from God’s path, and for their taking usury although it had been forbidden to them, and their wrongful devouring of other people’s property. We have prepared for the unbelievers among them grievous suffering.

(4: 155-161.)

Do we see in all this a picture of teachers imparting their knowledge to the one who conveyed the Qur’an to mankind? Certainly not, for it is the reverse which is true. He is the one who teaches them and points out their errors and their poor knowledge.

We do not deny that there were among them some scholars of rich knowledge. But those of them who were deeply rooted in knowledge declared their belief in the Qur’an and the Prophet who delivered it: “None can bear witness between me and you as God does; and anyone who possesses knowledge of the revelations.”

(13: 43.)

Had they been his teachers, they would have believed in themselves, instead of believing in him.

We should also raise the question: was the knowledge possessed by scholars available to anyone who sought it? On the contrary, they were so secretive about their knowledge, that they guarded it more preciously than they did their own lives.

They were reluctant to impart it even to their own children, fearing for their positions or hoping themselves to be chosen as the prophet whom they knew would soon be coming.

Let us refer to the Qur’an which the atheists have accepted as an arbiter between them and us. It provides the complete answer to this question.

It tells us that in their keen desire to keep their Scriptures and knowledge to themselves they would “write out the Scriptures with their own hands and then say, ‘This is from God,’ in order to exchange it for a trifling price.”

(2: 79.)

At times they would “twist their tongues when quoting the Scriptures, so that you may think that [what they say] is from the Scriptures, when it is not from the Scriptures. They say: It is from God, when it is not from God.”

(3: 78.)

At other times they would “distort the meaning of [God’s] words.”

(5: 13.)

They would also resort to dividing their Scriptures, revealing some parts and keeping others secret: “Say: Who has bestowed from on high the Scriptures which Moses brought to men as a light and a guidance, and which you treat as mere sheets of paper, making a show of them the while you conceal much.”

(6: 91.)

Sometimes they argued citing what they had learnt by heart. They looked dumbfounded when they were told to bring the Torah and read it to prove any point they could. They would not take that up.

Alternatively, they might bring it and read the verses preceding and following the relevant one, concealing that verse with their own hands. This actually took place when they denied that the Torah specified stoning as a punishment for adultery. [This story is related by al-Bukhari in his Ṣaḥīḥ.]

The Qur’an openly accuses them of deceit and of concealing the truth: “O people of earlier revelations! Why do you cloak the truth with falsehood and conceal the truth of which you are so well aware?”

(3: 71.)

Indeed, the Qur’an brings into the open that which they had concealed and arbitrates on that over which they disputed. “O people of the Bible! Now Our Messenger has come to you to make clear to you much of what you have been concealing of the Bible.”

(5: 15.)

“The Qur’an explains to the Children of Israel most of that over which they hold divergent views.”

(27: 76.)

“By God, even before your time We sent messengers to various communities; but Satan has made all their own doings seem goodly to them; and he is their patron today. Hence, grievous suffering awaits them. And upon you have We bestowed from on high this Book so that you may make clear to them all questions on which they hold divergent views, and provide guidance and bestow grace on people who will believe.”

(16: 63-64.)

It is important to reflect on these last two quotations, from Surahs 27 & 16, entitled respectively The Ant and The Bee. Both were revealed in Makkah, i.e. in the early period of Islam.

Yet both make it clear that an essential purpose of the revelation of the Qur’an is to explain to the people of earlier Scriptures questions on which they dispute. This is actually the first purpose, followed by providing guidance to the believers and bestowing mercy on them.

Once more we say to anyone who claims that a human being taught Muhammad what he preached: tell us the name of that teacher, and who saw and heard him, and what he heard him saying? When and where did this teaching take place?

To us, the term, ‘human’, refers to people who walk on the earth, and whom we see as they come and go. Hence, we do not accept such a claim without naming the man in question.

Otherwise, the claim is the same as that made by people who allege that God has partners who do not exist anywhere other than in their imagination.

They too are required to name those partners: “Yet they ascribe to God partners. Say: Name them. Would you tell Him of anything on earth which He does not know; or are these merely empty words?”

(13: 33.)

And we ask: was this prophet born on Mars, or was he brought up in a remote corner of the world, and then came to his people after he had attained maturity? Did they see him only sparingly thereafter? Was he not in fact born in their midst? Was he not among them all the time, meeting them morning and evening? Did they not see him coming and going? “Or is it that they have not recognised their Messenger, and so they disavow him?”

(23: 69.)

Yes, indeed. In their hostility to his cause, his people contrived to make such a claim: “It is but a human being that teaches him!”

(16: 103.)

But were they serious about their claim? Were they referring to a person whom they knew to have such great knowledge? No. They were not even concerned about being right or serious.

They only wanted to defend themselves against their inability to make a serious reply to his call. Hence, they selected whatever defence came to their minds, be it true or false, serious or trifling.

Then, who was this human being they said was teaching him? Did they dare to attribute this teaching to one of their own number? No. They realised their ignorance was so manifest that they could not teach a man who spoke to them about things that neither they nor their ancestors knew anything about.

Should we suggest that, having found Makkah devoid of scholars of religion and history at the time when Muhammad was sent with his message, they attributed that teaching to a scholar in Madinah or Syria or some other place? They were unable to make such a claim either. Then who could that teacher be?

page ii

The Honour Conferred

They realised that they had to seek a person who met two conditions. The first that he lived in Makkah, so ...

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