REFUTATION OF THE ALLEGED INTERNAL CONTRADICTIONS IN THE QUR'AN
These responses have all been uploaded onto the main site here:
I am now keeping a Table of Contents, so people can easily find their answers.
1. The Inheritance Laws in the Qur'an
2. The Number of Angels Speaking to Mary pbuh
3. On The Length of God's Days
4. The Number of Gardens in Paradise
5. The Number of Groups on the Day of Resurrection
6. Who Takes the Soul at the Time of Death
7. The Number of Wings on Angels
8. The Number of Days Taken to Create the Universe
9. Was Creation Quick or Slow?
10. Which was Created first, the Heavens or the Earth?
11. Were the Heavens and the Earth called together, or ripped apart for Creation?
12. The Time Taken to Destroy the Aad
13. What Was Man Created From?
14. Where is Allah?
15. On The Origin of Calamity
16. The Mercy and Guidance of Allah
17. Will there be Inquiry in Paradise?
18. Are Angels Protectors?
19. Is Everything Devoutly Obedient to Allah?
20. Does Allah forgive Shirk?
21. Did Abraham commit Shirk?
22. Worshipping the Same or a Different God?
23. The Sequence of Events in the Children of Israel Worshipping the Calf
24. The Guilt of Aaron in the Children of Israel Worshipping the Calf
25. Was Jonah cast on the Desert Shore?
26. The Reference to the Injeel and the Time of Moses
27. Concerning the Food for the Inhabitants of Hell
28. Forgiveness for Slander of Chaste Women
29. How the Disbelievers will recieve their record on Judgement Day
30. Can Angels Disobey? - The case of Iblis
31. Can Angels Disobey? - The case of Harut and Marut
32. Angel Gabriel and the 'Holy Spirit'
33. Confirming the Old Revelation or Substituting it
34. The Qur'an's Pure Arabic and the Presence of Foreign Words
35. The Qur'an being contained in the Earlier Revelations
36. Lot's Wife being called "An Old Woman"
37. The Response of Lot's Nation to His Call
38. Is the Punishment and Mercy of Allah Arbitrary?
39. Did Abraham Smash The Idols?
40. The Fate of Noah's Family
41. Was Noah Driven Out?
Most of them have already been answered, and most are very silly. I'll get around to refuting them insha'Allah. Until then, I encourage other members to have a go at them.
The Inheritance Laws in the Qur'an
Concerning the first contradiction:
The inheritance law has been explained in great detail here and in the articles on this contradiction found here.And it just doesn't add up: Sura 4:11-12 and 4:176 state the Qur'anic inheritance law. When a man dies, and is leaving behind three daughters, his two parents and his wife, they will receive the respective shares of 2/3 for the 3 daughters together, 1/3 for the parents together [both according to verse 4:11] and 1/8 for the wife [4:12] which adds up to more than the available estate. A second example: A man leaves only his mother, his wife and two sisters, then they receive 1/3 [mother, 4:11], 1/4 [wife, 4:12] and 2/3 [the two sisters, 4:176], which again adds up to 15/12 of the available property.
The verses mentioned are the following:
4:11-12 Allah (thus) directs you as regards your Children's (Inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females; if only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left a child; if no child, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth. The distribution in all cases (is) after the payment of legacies and debts. Ye know not whether your parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.
In what your wives leave, your share is a half, if they leave no child; but if they leave a child, ye get a fourth; after payment of legacies and debts. In what ye leave, their share is a fourth, if ye leave no child; but if ye leave a child, they get an eighth; after payment of legacies and debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question, has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third; after payment of legacies and debts; so that no loss is caused (to any one). Thus is it ordained by Allah. and Allah is All-knowing, Most Forbearing.
4:176 They ask thee for a legal decision. Say: Allah directs (thus) about those who leave no descendants or ascendants as heirs. If it is a man that dies, leaving a sister but no child, she shall have half the inheritance: If (such a deceased was) a woman, who left no child, Her brother takes her inheritance: If there are two sisters, they shall have two-thirds of the inheritance (between them): if there are brothers and sisters, (they share), the male having twice the share of the female. Thus doth Allah make clear to you (His law), lest ye go astray. And Allah hath knowledge of all things.
1. The first major point to note is that there are two types of inheritors. The first category are those who have recieved a fixed inheritance, which includes the spouse and the parents. The second category includes those who take their share AFTER the shares of the first category are distributed. This includes siblings and children.
So if we understand this, we know that the parents and the wife would recive their amount, and the daughters would get a share of what remains. This explanation on its own solves the problem, because:
-1/3 for the parents together
-1/8 for the wife
-And for the daughters 2/3 of what remains = 2/3 of 13/24=13/36 of the total amount
So what remains after is 13/72 of the original amount. This remaining portion is to be given to whoever the deceased person appointed as their heir. The deceased can choose to have it given in charity or to the local masjid etc. If they have not specified any destination for the remaining wealth then it is given to the closest male relative.
After understanding this, it become clear that the allegation is based on ignorance of the fact that siblings and children get the remaining wealth after the parents and spouse have taken their share. Islamic rulings come from both the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
2. Let us now address the specific claims. The first claim is that 2/3 (daughters) +1/3 (parents) +1/8 (wife) will add up to more than available. But the truth is that the Qur'an does not specify what the parents and the wife will recieve if there are three daughters. The Qur'an states that the parents get 1/6 each if the deceased left a child. And the wife gets 1/8 if the deceased left a child. Both times it is singular, but in the proposed scenario, there are three daughters, not one.
Some confusion may have caused this misunderstanding because in some translations, the word walad (child) is mistranslated as children. But in most translations like Pickthall, Asad, Shakir, Daryabadi, Irving, etc. the word has been correctly translated in the singular form.
3. The second claim is that 1/3 (mother) + 1/4 (wife) + 2/3 (two sisters) also adds up to more than available. Again, one of the shares being used is not mentioned in the Qur'an. The number 2/3 is derived from verse 4:176, which speaks of a Kalalah, a man who leaves no descendants nor ascendants. In other words, the mother's share is not mentioned in this scenario. Verse 4:176 is for the deceased who does not have any children nor parents. So the problem is once again, confusing values from different scenarios.
4. One may also object that in the case of a deceased with no descendants nor ascendants, verse 4:12 appears to allocate 1/6 of the wealth to the brother and sister each (or 1/3 together), while verse 4:176 gives 2/3 to the same group in the same scenario. The first point that may be mentioned in response to this is that verse 4:12 speaks of a brother and a sister, while verse 4:176 speaks of two sisters and no brothers. So again, this is a confusion of two different cases. Secondly, there is a prevalent interpretation mentioned in the tafsir that verse 4:12 speaks of a brother and sister from the mother, while verse 4:176 speaks of full siblings. It is mentioned by Ibn Kathir commenting on verse 4:12:
Allah says,Hence, this was how it was explained by Prophet Muhammad to his companions, and his Sunnah is a source of rulings in Islam. Some commentators take the view that verse 4:12 gives instructions on the inheritance for others that the deceased may nominate.
(But has left a brother or a sister), meaning, from his mother's side, as some of the Salaf stated, including Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas. Qatadah reported that this is the view of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq.
5. The last point that needs to be mentioned here is in regards to the inheritance of women in comparison to men. Many may wonder why the womna recives half of that given to the man. The answer has been provided by muslim scholars. Ibn Kathir explains in his tafsir:
The people of Jahiliyyah used to give the males, but not the females, a share in the inheritance. Therefore, Allah commands that both males and females take a share in the inheritance, although the portion of the males is twice as much as that of the females. There is a distinction because men need money to spend on their dependants, commercial transactions, work and fulfillling their obligations. Consequently, men get twice the portion of the inheritance that females get.
Dr. Zakir Naik further elaborates:
In Islam a woman has no financial obligation and the economical responsibility lies on the shoulders of the man. Before a woman is married it is the duty of the father or brother to look after the lodging, boarding, clothing and other financial requirements of the woman. After she is married it is the duty of the husband or the son. Islam holds the man financially responsible for fulfilling the needs of his family. In order to do be able to fulfill the responsibility the men get double the share of the inheritance. For example, if a man dies and after giving the shares of other relatives, if the children (i.e one son and one daughter) inherit Rs. One Hundred and Fifty Thousand, the son will inherit One Hundred Thousand rupees and the daughter only Fifty Thousand rupees. Out of the one hundred thousand which the son inherits, as his duty towards his family, he may have to spend on them almost the entire amount or say about eighty thousand and thus he has a small percentage of inheritance, say about twenty thousand, left for himself. On the other hand, the daughter, who inherits fifty thousand, is not bound to spend a single penny on anybody. She can keep the entire amount for herself. Would you prefer inheriting one hundred thousand rupees and spending eighty thousand from it, or inheriting fifty thousand rupees and having the entire amount to yourself?
And an additional explanation is provided by Moiz Amjad:
The Qur'an says:
You know not who among your children and your parents are nearest to you in benefit. This is the law of Allah. Indeed Allah is wise, all knowing.
Obviously, the extent of help and co-operation which a person receives from his parents, children and other close relatives cannot, normally, be paralleled by any other association. Undoubtedly, the world has always considered the kins of a deceased as the rightful beneficiaries of the wealth that he leaves behind. But certain issues, in this regard, have always remained unresolved. For instance, who among the relatives is nearest with respect to the benefits he holds for the deceased, and how should the shares of inheritance be calculated on this basis. It is not that the human endeavour in this regard has fallen prey to lack of application, rather it is due to certain inherrent limitations of the human mind which have made this task beyond its reach. Love, hatred, prejudice and other emotions have made it very difficult for the human intellect to come to grips with this challenge. Consequently, the wise and the all knowing has Himself guided mankind in this regard to relieve them from the disorders which have originated and can originate on this account.
Thus, the basic principle on which the shares of the various relatives of the deceased have been assigned is the benefit that accrues or can accrue from these relations to the deceased.
After having examined the claims, we find that they are built on misunderstandings. The Qur'an does not address the cases mentioned, and the reason is because the Qur'an gives the general details, while the Prophet Muhammad's teachings go in more detail in explaining the Qur'anic concepts. If the reader requires further clarification, they may examine the articles provided at the start.
The Number of Angels Speaking to Mary pbuh
Concerning the second alleged contradiction:
There are many ways to explain these verses, and we shall examine some of them, insha'Allah.How many angels were talking to Mary? When the Qur'an speaks about the announciation of the birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary, Sura 3:42,45 speaks about (several) angels while it is only one in Sura 19:17-21.
The verses in question are the following:
From Suratul Imran:
3:42. And (remember) when the angels said: "O Mary! Verily, Allâh has chosen you, purified you (from polytheism and disbelief), and chosen you above the women of all nations."
3:43. O Mary! "Submit yourself with obedience to your Lord (Allâh, by worshipping none but Him Alone) and prostrate yourself, and bow down along with those who bow down etc.)."
3:44. This is a part of the news of the Ghaib (unseen, i.e. the news of the past nations of which you have no knowledge) which We inspire you with (O Muhammad ). You were not with them, when they cast lots with their pens as to which of them should be charged with the care of Maryam (Mary); nor were you with them when they disputed.
3:45. (Remember) when the angels said: "O Maryam (Mary)! Verily, Allâh gives you the glad tidings of a Word ["Be!" - and he was! i.e.Jesus the son of Mary] from Him, his name will be the Messiah Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and in the Hereafter, and will be one of those who are near to Allâh."
3:46. "He will speak to the people in the cradle and in manhood, and he will be one of the righteous."
3:47. She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me." He said: "So (it will be) for Allâh creates what He wills. When He has decreed something, He says to it only: "Be!" and it is.
And from Sura Maryam:
19:17. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent to her Our Ruh [angel Jibrael (Gabriel)], and he appeared before her in the form of a man in all respects.
19:18. She said: "Verily! I seek refuge with the Most Beneficent (Allâh) from you, if you do fear Allâh."
19:19. (The angel) said: "I am only a Messenger from your Lord, (to announce) to you the gift of a righteous son."
19:20. She said: "How can I have a son, when no man has touched me, nor am I unchaste?"
19:21. He said: "So (it will be), your Lord said: 'That is easy for Me (Allâh): And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind and a mercy from Us (Allâh), and it is a matter (already) decreed, (by Allâh).' "
1. There is NO indication that these verses refer to the same event.
If we examine the Qur'anic verses we can come up with an interpretation of the chronological order of events.
a. The angels announced to Mary pbuh the glad tidings of Jesus pbuh without giving any further details. (verse 3:45)
b. After the angels depart, Mary pbuh expresses her surprise in her prayer to God. (verse 3:47). The verse makes it clear that she is no longer talking to the angels because she says, "My Lord.."
c. An angel sent by God informs her that God is able to do all things (verse 3:47, "So (it will be) for Allâh creates what He wills.")
d. After a period of time, Angel Gabriel is sent by God, and appears personally before Mary to inform her of the birth of Jesus pbuh (verse 19:19).
e. Here she asks the Angel directly (verse 19:20) how it is possible for her to have a child. And the Angel Gabriel replies as seen in verse 19:21.
The basis of this explanation is the usage of the words yubashiroke in Sura Al-Imran which means to give glad tidings of a coming event. On the other hand, the verse in Sura Maryam uses the wordsle ahaba lake which means to "present you with", implying that the event is to happen there.
An objection raised to this explanation is that Mary must be forgetful if she asks the same question having already recieved the answer. This is not necessarily the case. An event so surprising and unusual as this would easily explain her persistence in trying to understand how this is possible. Often people may be so bewildered by some news that they may repeat their inquiry in their surpirse, and that is not unusual.
2. Another simple and logical explanation that can be offered is that the it is not uncommon for the action of a single member of an organization to be attributed to the whole organization. In a hockey match, we may say that so-and-so scored the final goal, or we could say that such-and-such a team scored the final goal. It would not be a contradiction. So when Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and he gave her the glad tidings of a son, the action may be attributed to the angels, whether they were present or not, visible or not. This interpretation is supported by verse 3:47, which says that Mary asked how it could be possible and he (Angel Gabriel) replied, and not they (angels).
3. Another way to understand the verses is to examine a similar verse of the Qur'an:
41:30. In the case of those who say, "Our Lord is Allah., and, further, stand straight and steadfast, the angels descend on them (from time to time): "Fear ye not!" (they suggest), "Nor grieve! but receive the Glad Tidings of the Garden (of Bliss), the which ye were promised!
Here we are told that those who stand firm in Islam will have angels surrounding them and telling them not to fear. Obviously, this does not mean that the righteous people expect to hear these voices speaking to them, but rather it is the general feeling of peace and good inspired into the righteous person by these angels. The presence and words of the angels invoke a feeling of security.
Likewise, when we read the first passage about Mary, the angels speaking to her may just have been a general inspiration or notion that she would bear a child, and she continually wondered to Allah, as to how this was possible. And the answer given in 3:47 is Allah's answer inspired to her through the angels in the same fashion. Naturally, when the event was to occur and the Angel Gabriel physically appeared to her in the form of a man, she would voice this same concern to verify the inspiration she had been recieving.
Each of these three explanations is sufficient to answer the allegation.
On The Length of God's Days
Concerning the third alleged contradiction:
Verses in question:Does Allah's day equal to 1,000 human years (Sura 22:47, 32:5) or 50,000 human years (Sura 70:4)?
22:47 Yet they ask thee to hasten on the Punishment! But Allah will not fail in His Promise. Verily a Period with thy Lord is like a thousand years of your reckoning.
This verse states that Allah has already decreed the coming of the punishment. And a period in the sight of Allah is like a thousand years of our reckoning.
We should also mention that in this first verse when it speaks of the length of a period with God, this does not mean that God experiences time as we do, simply on a larger scale. Rather, it refers to the measure of a specific period, for God is eternal and does not experience time. Otherwise, one would claim that a million years feels like a thousand years to God, which is obviously not true. This is just a mention of the length of a period that God has determined the universe to operate in. Alternatively, it may be a reference to the slow passing of time near God, relative to the rest of the universe.
32:5 He rules (all) affairs from the heavens to the earth: then will (all affairs) ascend to Him, in a Period, the space whereof will be (as) a thousand years of your reckoning.
This verse mentions that the affairs/commands of God descend to earth and return to Him, this period being one thousand years of our reckoning again. This period could mean that the interval of time for God to send commands to earth is 1000 years. Alternatively, it may refer to the laws of science, which govern the universe and the period it takes for them to return.
70:4 The angels and the spirit ascend unto him in a Period the measure whereof is (as) fifty thousand years
This verse states that the angels and the Ruh (spirit/Angel Gabriel) ascends to Him in a period of fifty thousand years.
Concerning the allegation, we shall offer multiple explanations for these verses, each being sufficient to refute the allegation on its own.
1. It can clearly be seen that the verses are not discussing the same thing. The first verses talks about a day in God's sight, the second talks about the time for affairs/orders to return to God, and the last one speaks of the period when angels will ascend to Him. Also, notice how verse 70:4 never mentions human years/reckoning. The arabic phrase mimaa ta'udoon is absent, which leaves human beings to ponder over it. Seeing as none of these verses refer to the same thing, it cannot possibly be considered a contradiction.
One objection is that all verses refer to a day in God's sight. On what basis do they conclude that? The verses simply state the length's of periods and only the first one refers to a period in God's sight.
Another objection is that the commands are brought by Angels, therefore 70:4 and 32:5 are referring to the same thing. This is only an assumption. Verse 70:4 does not necessarily state the period of time it takes for the angels to ascend, but it states that they ascend during a period of 50 000 years. The commands may be totally independent of the angels in these verses, as was the case with the interpretation of the affairs as the laws of science. In addition, even if we agree that the affairs are taken by angels, there is no way of knowing if the angels referred to in 70:4 are the same that transport the affairs. Based on these reasons, the objection is dismissed.
2. The earliest muslim scholars responded to this question as well. It was reported by Ibn Abi Haatim via Sammaak from ‘Ikrimah from Ibn ‘Abbaas: the day of a thousand years mentioned in Soorat al-Hajj (22) is one of the six days in which Allaah created the heavens and the earth; the day of a thousand years mentioned in Soorat al-Sajdah (32) is the length of time it takes for a matter to go up to Allaah; and the day of fifty thousand years is the Day of Resurrection.
The angels do not need to take 50 000 years to ascend to God. They may do so in the twinkling of an eye. In this manner, verse 70:4 may be taken as referring to a future event (the Day of resurrection). As stated before, 70:4 does not necessarily mean that the angels will take 50 000 years to ascend to God, but they may ascend to God during a period that is 50 000 years in length.
One may point out that if 22:47 is taken as a day of creation, then the total period of creation would be only 6000 years, contradicting scientific research. This is not necessarily true as the verses says a Day INDA your Lord, meaning near your Lord. As we know from the General Theory of Relativity, time passes at a slower rate near more massive objects (those with a stronger gravitational field), and therefore time passes slower at God's throne than on Earth.
3. Another interpretation is that what is meant by the verses the Day of Resurrection, and the difference in the time span depends on whether a person is a believer or a disbeliever. This is indicated by the verse:
74:9-10 Truly that Day will be a Hard Day, far from easy for the disbelievers. This suggestion was mentioned by As-Suyootee, the author of al-Itqaan, along with the previous explanation.
4. If one insists that these verses refer to the same thing, we can take a scientific explanation. Is it possible that one day can be equal to 1000 years, and another can be equal to 50,000 years because time is relative, and it depends on the speed of moving objects relative to each other. The faster the object the larger the time difference. Which means that the angels and the spirit are faster than the affairs/orders in their ascensions.
5. The following site also analyzes these very same Qur'anic verses with some astonishing findings:
According to this article, verse 32:5 relates the velocity of the angels who carry the command, while verse 70:4 relates the specific time period. When we analyze these verses with the appropriate mathematical formulae, we are able to calculate the speed of the angels (who are made of light), which is almost identical to the speed of light!
Verse 32:5 has been translated as:
(Allah) Rules the cosmic affair from the heavens to the Earth. Then this affair travels to Him a distance in one day, at a measure of one thousand years of what you count
And verse 70:4 has been translated as:
The angels and the Spirit ascend to Him in a day, the measure of which is fifty thousand years.
And both translations are acceptable and accurate.
We have now provided the reader with 5 different explanations for this verses. They may choose whichever one they wish.
The Number of Gardens in Paradise
Concerning the fourth alleged contradiction:
Before we explain this allegation, we will quote a few of the verses in question.How many gardens are there in paradise? ONE [as stated in 39:73, 41:30, 57:21, 79:41] or MANY [18:31, 22:23, 35:33, 78:32]?
39:73 And those who feared their Lord will be led to the Garden in crowds: until behold, they arrive there; its gates will be opened; and its keepers will say: "Peace be upon you! well have ye done! enter ye here, to dwell therein."
18:31 For them will be Gardens of Eternity; beneath them rivers will flow; they will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and they will wear green garments of fine silk and heavy brocade: They will recline therein on raised thrones. How good the recompense! How beautiful a couch to recline on!
The answer to this may have already become obvious to the reader.
Nevertheless, we shall briefly summarise the explanations on this verse.
1. Paradise is one large garden offered as a reward for the believers, composed of many individual gardens within it.
2. If we look at the way the question is phrased, we note that it says, "How many gardens are there in paradise?" Since the actual arabic word used for 'garden' is 'Jannah', which can also be used for 'paradise', the question is exactly the same as if one were to ask, "How many gardens are there in the garden?", thus lending more support to the first explanation.
3. Jannah is used in the Qur'an as a generic noun, referring to paradise, which is composed of many individual gardens. This is as if one were to say, "The computer is a great invention". By this we understand that the statement is not referring specifically to any one computer, but is rather a reference to all computers oin general.
The Number of Groups on the Day of Resurrection
Concerning the fifth alleged contradiction:
The verses in question:According to Sura 56:7 there will be THREE distinct groups of people at the Last Judgement, but 90:18-19, 99:6-8, etc. mention only TWO groups
56:7 And ye shall be sorted out into three classes.
90:18-19 Such are the Companions of the Right Hand. 90:19 But those who reject Our Signs, they are the (unhappy) Companions of the Left Hand.
99:6-8 On that Day will men proceed in companies sorted out, to be shown the deeds that they (had done). Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it.
Verse 56:7 describes three groups and the Chapter goes on to mention that they are 1. The elite/closest ones 2. The companions of the right hand and 3. the companions of the left hand.
So there are a few points that can be raised to refute this alleged contradiction.
1. The only verse which specifies the number of groups is 56:7. Verses 90:18-19 do not mention the number of groups but only describe two of them. How then can this be considered a contradiction? It is as though I told someone that I have three bedrooms in my house and later on I told them that the bedroom on the right is large and the bedroom on the left is small. Does my not mentioning the third bedroom constitute a contradiction?
2. The elite are a subgroup of the companions of the right. They are mentioned seperately in Chapter 56 to distinguish between those foremost in performing good deeds. This usually occurs when the subset of a group is so distinct from other elements in the group that it can effectively be categorized on its own.
An example is when we commonly differentiate between humans, plants and animals. We often mentions humans seperately from animals, because of the great differences between humans and other animal species. But as we know, humans are merely one species of the Kingdom Animalia, which contains many other species of animals. But because humans are so distinct from the other species, we often categorize them seperately.
3. Lastly, it is the style of the Qur'an to mention some groups seperately for emphasis.
2:98 Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and apostles, to Gabriel and Michael,- Lo! Allah is an enemy to those who reject Faith.
This verse mentions Angle Gabriel and Angel Michael seperately from the other angels, but we know that they are angels themselves. This is simply the Qur'anic style of emphasis.
Who Takes the Soul at the Time of Death
Concerning the sixth alleged contradiction:
The verses in question are the following:There are conflicting views on who takes the souls at death: THE Angel of Death [32:11], THE angels (plural) [47:27] but also "It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death." [39:42]
32:11 Say: "The Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls: then shall ye be brought back to your Lord."
47:27 But how (will it be) when the angels take their souls at death, and smite their faces and their backs?
39:42 It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep: those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He keeps back (from returning to life), but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed verily in this are Signs for those who reflect.
There are some very simple points, which will explain this allegation.
1. Before we get into the specific explanations concerning the Angels, let us analyze the meaning of the last verse. It is obvious that Allah does not directly take the souls of a human, but rather the action is attributed to Him because everything happens by His command. The Angels cannot disobey God, hence their actions are the direct result of God's command. It is not unusual for an action to be attributed to the One in command. The angels are the tools of God.
For example, if a man writes a letter to a friend, and they ask, "Who sent this letter?" is the answer the mail man or the man who wrote the letter?
Often, actions done by an army are also attributed to the one in charge. For example, we can say that Hitler invaded Poland, even though he did not actually march in and attack Poland, but his army did it by his command.
2. Concerning the Angels, the narrations from the Prophet Muhammad indicate that the Angel of Death takes the soul of the deceased person and passes it to two other angels who accompany him. Thus, the Angel of Death takes the soul from the body, and the other angels take the soul from the angel of death and wrap it in a shroud.
This is similar to saying that the Police arrested a man, even though a single officer performed the arrest.
Another example is if there is a basketball game between two teams, and someone mentions that a certain team scored the final goal, even though it was a single player who actually scored that final goal.
The Number of Wings on Angels
Regarding the seventh alleged contradiction,
Verse in question:Angels have 2, 3, or 4 pairs of wings [35:1]. But Gabriel had 600 wings. [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 455]
35:1 All the praises and thanks be to Allâh, the (only) Originator [or the (only) Creator] of the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels messengers with wings, - two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Verily, Allâh is Able to do all things.
Narration in question:
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 455:
Narrated Abu Ishaq-Ash-Shaibani:
I asked Zir bin Hubaish regarding the Statement of Allah: "And was at a distance Of but two bow-lengths Or (even) nearer; So did (Allah) convey The Inspiration to His slave (Gabriel) and then he (Gabriel) Conveyed (that to Muhammad). (53.9-10) On that, Zir said, "Ibn Mas'ud informed us that the Prophet had seen Gabriel having 600 wings."
A number of points can be mentioned here:
1. The remaining part of the verse 35:1 says that Allah swt increases in creation what He wills. It is fascinating that the Qur'an answers the allegation someone might raise against this verse, in the verse itself. So while God creates Angels with two, three or four pairs of wings, He has the power to increase this further and is not restricted at all. This is the strongest interpretation and it is supported by Ibn Kathir (d. 1372CE) who says the following in his renowned Tafsir Al-Qur'an Al-Azim:
Among them (angels) are some who have two wings, some have three and some who have four. Some have more than that, as stated in the Hadith mentioning that the Messenger of Allah saw Jibril, peace be upon him, on the Night of the Isra with six hundred wings. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, 2000, vol. 8, p. 120)So this is the meaning that has been understood by the earlier muslims from the beginning. As Mufti Muhammad Shafi, the late Grand Mufti of Pakistan, writes the following in his tafsir:
And the words: (in twos and threes and fours) are, evidently enough, numerical adjectives referring to (wings) in the sense that the number of the feathers angels have varies from angels to angel. Some have only two wings. Others have three. Still others have four. Even the numbers mentioned here are not comprehensive, rather they are mentioned here just as an example, because it is proven by a Hadith in Sahih of Muslim that Sayyidina Jibra'il (as), has six hundred feathers. (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
Moreover, it is also possible that these three words are numerical adjectives referring to the word (rusulan: bearers of the message) in the sense that these angels who deliver messages from Allah Ta'ala to this world sometimes come in twos or threes or fours. Once again, in this situation too, the number of four is not intended for restriction. It is there just for example because the coming of angels in a much larger number stands proved from the Qur'an itself. (Abu Hayyan in Al-Bahr ul-Muhit).
The next sentence: (He adds to the creation what He wills) means that Allah Ta'ala has the power to increase whatever He wills and as much as He wills in the creation of everything He has originated. This obviously is related to: (ajnihah: wings) in that the feathers and wings of the angels are not something simply restricted to two or four in numbers, for they could be many more than these if Allah Ta'ala so wills. Most commentators say exactly this. (Ma'ariful Qur'an, Maktaba-e-Darul-Uloom, Karachi, 2003, vol. 7, pp. 322-323)
2. We know that human beings cannot see angels in their true form as they are created from light. Therefore, Angel Gabriel assumed an alternative form when the Prophet Muhammad pbuh saw him. This alternate form was described with 600 wings, but it may well be that Angel Gabriel normally assumes a form with less wings. This may have been a temporary state that Angel gabriel was in.
3. It must also be noted that Angel Gabriel is unique in many ways. The Qur'an often mentions him seperately from the other angels for emphasis, and he is referred to in the Qur'an as Ruh Al-Qudus, or the Holy Spirit (not to be confused with the entity bearing the same name from the Trinity). In this verse, Allah describes the Angels who fit into a group called "messengers". it may be that Gabriel is of a group of angels of a higher class.
These three points sufficiently explain this allegation against the Qur'an.
The Number of Days Taken to Create the Universe
Concerning the eighth alleged contradiction:
This one will require some more detail in the analysis and explanation.Six or eight days of creation? Sura 7:54, 10:3, 11:7, and 25:59 clearly state that God created "the heavens and the earth" in six days. But in 41:9-12 the detailed description of the creation procedure adds up to eight days.
The Qur'an clearly mentions that creation took place in six days:
7:54 Your Guardian-Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days...
Now let us examine the verses 41:9-12:
41:9. Say: "Do you verily disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two Days and you set up rivals (in worship) with Him? That is the Lord of the Universe.
41:10. He set on the (earth), mountains standing firm, high above it, and bestowed blessings upon it, and measured therein its sustenance within four Days, for all those who ask (about its creation).
41:11. Thumma(Moreover/then), He turned towards the heaven when it was smoke, and said to it and to the earth: "Come both of you willingly or unwillingly." They both said: "We come, willingly."
41:12. So He completed them as seven firmaments in two Days, and He assigned to each heaven its duty and command. And We adorned the cosmic heaven with lights, and (provided it) with guard. Such is the Decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might, Full of Knowledge.
There are various explanations that can be given here:
1. The first explanation is the classical and most common one, but we shall elaborate upon it in greater detail. The classic scholars of the Qur'an have mentioned that the four days mentioned in verse 41:10 includes the two days mentioned in verse 41:9. This was the explanation provided by Al-Qurtubi, Al-Zajjaaj and Al-Baghawi. Indeed this is a very logical approach because there is no indication that verse 41:10 describes a period subsequent to that described in verse 41:9. Verse 41:9 is in the form of a question, while 41:10 explains the point further. It is logical that the development of mountains, the bestowment of blessings, and the measure of sustenance would denote the full development of the earth, including its period of creation mentioned in 41:9.
A similar example would be if one were to say, "I read the first chapter of that book in two days, and I finished the entire book in two weeks." Or if one were to say, "The teacher taught us the basics in two days, and we understood all the details within three weeks."Obviously, in both cases, the second period of time can be taken to include the first period of time.
One objection that is raised to this explanation is that the second stage described in 41:10 presupposes the existence of the earth and therefore does not include its creation. Is this true? The indication of time in 41:10 is given by saying "fee four days". When fee is translated as within, then this period can clearly include the previous period describing the creation of the earth. As illustrated by the second example provided, understanding the details of a subject does entail understanding the basics, but this does not mean that the basics cannot be included in the second period of time if the preposition 'within' is used. So if it is said that we understood the basics in two days, and we understood the details within three weeks, even though the details requires the basics, the second period of time still includes the first period. Moreover, the period of time is connected to the measurement of sustenance, which does not need to occur after to the creation of the earth. Rather, it occurs during the earth's creation as well.
Another objection to this explanation is that it is scientifically innaccurate to say that the earth was formed before the heavens. This objection interprets the heavens in this verse to refer to outerspace, and claims that it is innacurate to say that it was only 'smoke' even after the earth was created. But these critics do not realize that the heaven in this passage refers to the atmosphere of the earth, as is indicated by the mentioning of the seven layers, and each with its own property or command (this description is explained here ). The term used for heaven in the Qur'an is As-Samaa. This basically denotes whatever is above or beyond the earth. Depending on the context of the verse, it can be taken to mean atmosphere of outerspace. In these verses, only after mentioning the atmosphere does verse 41:12 mention As-Samaa Ad-Dunyaa or what can be translated as the cosmic heaven. The cosmic heaven refers to outerspace while the heaven described in seven layers refers to the earth's atmosphere. So to answer this objection, any student of science knows that the atmosphere has developed greatly since the formation of the earth. The modern atmosphere is often referred to as the 'third atmosphere'. The first atmosphere that formed with the earth was very primitve and very different from our modern atmosphere. The original atmoshpere consisted of mainly helium and hydrogen, and was soon dissipated by the heat of the earth. The second atmosphere was formed after volcanic activity and primarily consisted of carbon dioxide and water vapor. There was some nitrogen but virtually no oxygen. So the development of the modern atmosphere was clearly after the creation of the earth, which is exactly as the verses state. Interestingly, the modern atmosphere also formed after the existence of early life and the abundance of rain, which Allah often describes as His blessings in the Qur'an. This is exactly as the Qur'an has stated in verses 41:9-12.
The above explanation is evidently the best and most logical. Nevertheless, we shall quote some other explanations given by muslims to allow the reader some choice in selecting the best refutation to this allegation.
2. The word yawm, which has been translated as day can also mean period. It has been explained thoroghly by Moiz Amjad in his article entitled The Length of God's Days. If we understand yawm as period, there can be no contradiction because the same action can be measured in different periods of time. Here Allah is providing the details on the stages in the development of the earth and the rest of the universe. These verses demonstrate the design and wisdom in nature, and the bounties Allah has favoured us with. Therefore, Allah has chosen to mention the periods seperately in more detail.
3. The third explanation does not say that the second period includes the first, but instead argues that the last period (mentioned in 41:11-12) of two days, occurs simultaneously in relation to the first two periods. Therefore, the earth was created in two days simultaneously with the creation of the heaven, then the mounatins and blessings were added in four days, adding to a total of six days. This explanation translates thumma as moreover instead of then. In other words, the period described in 4:11 is not subsequent to the previous verses, but rather it occurs parallel to the creation of the earth in 4:9. The meaning of Thumma is explained very well by Moiz Amjad in his article entitled The Meaning of "Thumma" & "Yawm". Critics argue that when it says God turned towards the heaven, this implies a sequential act. But this is not entirely true, as God could have turned to the heaven at any point in the past, not necessarily after the creation of the heavens.
4. A similar explanation to the above is that the two days taken to create the heavens are not to be added to the previous days. This argument does not debate the meaning of thumma but instead argues that nowhere in the passage does God mention the creation of the heavens. It only mentions the further development of the heavens. So this can either be taken to refer to the atmosphere or outerspace, as both are compatible with this description. In other words, the earth was created as described in 41:9-10, and the creation of the heaven is not mentioned at all in this passage. The passage only mentions the further perfection and development of the heavens, indicating that they were created while the process described in 41:9-10 was going on. This explanation is also sufficient to explain the allegation.
Before finishing with this allegation, there is still another issue to comment on. Some people have inquired about a hadith found in Sahih Muslim that describes the order of creation. Concerning this hadith, it is sufficient to quote a fatwa from IslamToday.com:
As for the hadîth in Muslim, it reads:The above fatwa clarifies that the narration is not only defective but that it contains other points which are inconsistent with similar narrations. As far as the text of the narration itself is concerned, since we know that the arabic term yawm can refer to either a day or a period of time, then the only point in the narration which would appear to conflict with science is the saying that light was created on the fourth day. Concerning this part of the narration, it is interesting to read the commentary of Sahih Muslim written by Imaam Abu Zakariyya An-Nawawi (d. 1300CE):
Allah created the dust on Saturday. He created the mountains on Sunday. He created the trees on Monday. He created the despised things on Tuesday. He created the light on Wednesday. He scattered the beasts throughout it on Thursday. He created Adam (peace be upon him) in the late afternoon on Friday as the last creation on the last hour of Friday, between the late afternoon and the night.There are numerous criticisms against it.
Al-Bukhârî writes in al-Târâkh al-Kabîr:“Some of them have said that it is from Abû Hurayrah who took it from Ka`b al-Ahbâr. This is the most correct view.”Ibn Kathîr, in his commentary of the Qur’ân writes:
This hadîth is one of the unusual hadîth found in Sahîh Muslim. `Alî al-Madînî, al-Bukhârî, and a number of other leading scholars of hadîth have criticized it, saying that it is the statement of Ka`b and that Abû Hurayrah merely heard it from Ka`b al-Ahbar and some narrators merely got confused and attributed it to the Prophet (peace be upon him). This has been thoroughly researched by al-Bayhaqî.Ibn Taymiyah comments:“It is a defective hadîth. It has been declared defective by more than a few scholars.” [Majmû` al-Fatâwâ (17/236)]
Moreover, regarding the text itself, al-Qurtubî points out in his commentary on Sahîh Muslim that the text does not convey its meaning with sufficient coherence. He writes in al-Mufhim:
This hadîth has been related in other sources besides Sahîh Muslim with various conflicting narrations. In some of them the Earth is created on Sunday and Monday while the mountains are created on Tuesday and the trees, rivers, and inhabitants are created on Wednesday, and the Sun, Moon, stars, and angels created on Thursday, and Adam on Friday. These are single-narrator hadîth that conflict with one another and do not provide any practical instruction. We must not rely upon them in determining the order of appearance of created things during those days.
What he is saying is that even if we regard the hadîth as authentic – as a number of scholars do – there remains the problem that there is too much incoherence in its many conflicting narrations to provide evidence for the order of events.
And Allah knows best.
Fatwâ Department Research Committee of IslamToday chaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî
The Messenger's Saying (peace be upon him): "And He created light (ar. Noor) on the fourth day"This seems to suggest the creation of aquatic life before that of humans.
This is how it has been narrated in Sahih Muslim as noor but in the transmission of Thabit ibn Qaasim it says noon with the letter 'Nûn' at the end. Al-Qaadi said "It refers to the fish". (Saheeh Muslim Bi-Sharh An-Nawawi, 4997)
The above discussion should clear any confusion regarding the account of creation in the Qur'an and in the hadith.
Was Creation Quick or Slow?
Concerning the ninth alleged contradiction,
Verses in question:Quick or Slow Creation? Allah creates the heavens and the earth in six days [7:54] and many Muslims want to be modern and scientific, and make that six eons, but then again, He creates instantaneously [2:117], "Be! And it is".
7:54 Your Guardian-Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and is firmly established on the throne...
2:117 To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: When He decreeth a matter, He saith to it: "Be," and it is.
Most people would not consider this a contradiction and even the author of the list himself indicates that he would not be surprised to see an easy reconciliation.
There are a number of points we can mention in this regard.
1. Kun Fayakun, which has been translated as "Be and it is" (or Be and it happens) does not necessarily refer to instantaneous creation. As it has been explained rather nicely in this article, it simply specifies the certainty of the result and not necessarily the instantaneous nature. Proof of this lies in the passage that we have discussed before:
3:47. She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me." He said: "So (it will be) for Allâh creates what He wills. When He has decreed something, He says to it only: "Be!" and it is.
Mary wonders at how she shall give birth to a child and the answer given is Kun Fayakun. Obviously, this is not referring to an instant process but rather a gradual process.
2. Even if we wish to take Kun Fayakun as instantaneous, it could imply the instantaneous initiation of a creation, it does not need to refer to the instantaneous completion of a creation.
3. Although the alleged contradiction has been adequately answered, one may still wonder why God would create the heavens and the earth in 6 periods, if He has the potential to create them immediately, which He obviously does. There are a number of points we can mention in response to this. Allah is Almighty and there is infinite wisdom in everything that He chooses to do, and He has mentioned the creation in six periods in the Qur'an. We may not understand the wisdom behind a certain event, but we may contemplate some possibilites. Following asre some possible reasons:
a) Allah may have intended to show His creation the importance of planning and design. The gradual development of our surrounding environment is a sign of God and a token of His mercy.
b) Performing an action in a short time is more indicative of power, while a longer period is more indicative of wisdom.
c) Ibn Al-Jawzi (d. 1200CE) provided various reasons, one being: Creation was accomplished step by step, lest anyone think that this happened as the result of an accident of nature. (Zaad al-Maseer (3/162))
One may also check here for a more detailed explanation.
Which was Created first, the Heavens or the Earth?
Concerning the tenth alleged contradiction:
Verses in question:Heavens or Earth? Which was created first? First earth and then heaven [2:29], heaven and after that earth [79:27-30].
2:29 He it is Who created for you all that is on earth. Then He ascended towards the heaven and made them seven heavens and He is the All-Knower of everything.
79:27-31. Are you more difficult to create, or is the heaven that He constructed? He raised its height, and He has equally ordered it, Its night He covers with darkness, and its forenoon He brings out (with light). And after that He spread the earth; And brought forth therefrom its water and its pasture...
1. At first sight, it may seem as though these verses contradict because 2:29 mentions the earth before the heavens, while in 79:27-21, the situation is reversed. However, on closer inspection, we discover some significant differences:From the above points, it should be clear that these verses do not in any way constitute a contradiction.
A) 2:29 mentions the development of the heavens into seven layers, not their initial creation which is described in 79:27-31.Thus, based on the two verses we know two things:
B) 2:29 describes the creation of the earth and its features while 79:27-31 only descibres the spreading of the earth
1. The creation of the earth preceded the formation of the heavens into seven layersAnd a third point is logically concluded from the above:
2. The creation of the heavens preceded the 'spreading' of the earth.
3. The creation of the heavens preceded their formation into seven layersHowever, it is not know from the verses whether the creation of the heavens preceded the creation of the earth or vice versa, or whether they occured simultaneously. Some Qur'anic commentators took one view while others took another. What we do know is that the heavens and the earth were created and then subsequently the earth was spread and the heavens formed into seven layers. This interpretation is supported by the classical commentaries of the Qur'an. As Imaam Abu Abdullah Al-Qurtubi (d. 1273CE) states in his monumental Al-Jaami` le Ahkaam al-Qur'an when giving his opinion on the Qur'anic description:
I believe that what Qatada said is sound Allah willing: that Allah first created the smoke of heaven and then created the earth and directed Himself to heaven, which was smoke and [He] arranged it and then He smoothed out the earth. (Tafsir Al-Qurtubi Classical Commentary of the Holy Qur'an, Dar Al-Taqwa Ltd. 2003, vol. 1, p.200, emphasis added)Imaam Ibn Kathir Ad-Damishqi (d. 1372CE) also distinguishes between the different stages in his renowned Tafsir Al-Qur'an Al-Azim, while presenting a slightly different view:
It already has been mentioned previously in [the Tafsir of] Surat Ha Mim As-Sajdah that the earth was created before the heaven was created, but it was only spread out after the creation of the heaven. This means that He brought out what was in it with a forceful action. This is the meaning of what was said by Ibn Abbas and others, and it was the explanation preferred by Ibn Jarir [At-Tabari (d. 923CE)] (fn. At-Tabari 24:208). (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, 2000, vol. 10, p. 350, emphasis added)Thus, the commentators are agreed that the difference in verse 2:29 and verses 79:27-31 relates to the different stages in the creation of the heavens and the earth, with the earth's 'spreading' occurring after the creation of the heavens and the development of the heavens occurring after the creation of the earth. The commentators only differ regarding the creation of the earth preceding the creation of the heavens, or vice versa, or if they were both created simultaneously.
Scientific research describes the creation and formation of the earth in the following stages:
Differentiation in the first few 100's of millions of years led to the formation of the core and the mantle and a crust, and initiated the escape of gases from the moving interior that eventually led to the formation of the atmosphere and oceans.The above description informs us that the earth was initially one mass and through differentiation and volcanic out-gassing, the early atmosphere formed. Then, cooling of the earth resulted in the formation of land mass.
The earliest Earth was probably an unsorted conglomeration, mostly of silicon compounds, iron and magnesium oxides, and smaller amounts of all the natural elements. It became increasingly hotter as the protoplanet grew.
...After loss of the hydrogen, helium and other hydrogen-containing gases from early Earth due to the Sun's radiation, primitive Earth was devoid of an atmosphere. The first atmosphere was formed by outgassing of gases trapped in the interior of the early Earth, which still goes on today in volcanoes.
For the Early Earth, extreme volcanism occurred during differentiation, when massive heating and fluid-like motion in the mantle occurred. It is likely that the bulk of the atmosphere was derived from degassing early in the Earth's history.
...Lava flowing from the partially molten interior spread over the surface and solidified to form a thin crust. This crust would have melted and solidified repeatedly, with the lighter compounds moving to the surface. This is called differentiation. Weathering by rainfall broke up and altered the rocks. The end result of these processes was a continental land mass, which would have grown over time. The most popular theory limits the growth of continents to the first two billion years of the Earth. (SOURCE)
These descriptions concur with the Qur'anic desciption that the earth (2:29) and the heaven (79:27) were created and were originally one mass and then seperated (verse 21:30), the heavens were then developed into seven layers (verse 2:29) and the earth's crust was later spread out (79:30). The last description may be a reference to the cooling of the earth's crust, or it may be a reference to continental drift.
Thus, we find that the Qur'an does not contradict itself here, but instead contains accurate details regarding the formation of the earth in the stages.
2. According to an alternative interpretation, verse 2:29 is rendered as follows:
He is the One who created for you all that's inside earth (Matter), then turned to the sky and perfected seven universes therein, and He is fully aware of all things.
Therefore, verse 2:29 is taken to refer to the creation of the universe and it is not the creation of the earth being described here, but rather what is in the earth, or matter. And verse 79:30 is referring to the spreading of the earth, which has been defined before.
3. A third explanation argues on the understanding of thumma, which does not always indicate sequential order. The meaning of Thumma is explained very well by Moiz Amjad in his article entitled The Meaning of "Thumma" & "Yawm". Therefore, when verse 2:29 says that Allah created the earth and thumma He turned to the heavens, this could also be read as "Furthermore He turned to the heavens" which does not necessarily imply that the creation of the heavens is after the creation of earth. Critics argue that when it says God turned towards the heaven, this implies a sequential act. But this is not entirely true, as God could have turned to the heaven at any point in the past, not necessarily after the creation of the heavens. This point is emphasized in the classical tafsirs as well. Imaam Qurtubi writes:
In His words "then directed", the word "then" is simply a narrative aid and does not imply any time sequence in the matetrs referred to. (Tafsir Al-Qurtubi Classical Commentary of the Holy Qur'an, Dar Al-Taqwa Ltd. 2003, vol. 1, p.199)Similarly, Imaam Ibn Kathir writes:
It is said that "Then" in the Ayah (2:29) relates only to the order of reciting the information being given, it does not relate to the order that the events being mentioned took place, this was reported from Ibn 'Abbas by 'Ali bin Abi Talhah. (fn. At-Tabari 1:437). (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, 2000, vol. 1, p. 180)Thus, this explanation is not in conflict with the traditional understanding of the earier Muslims.
Were the Heavens and the Earth called together, or ripped apart for Creation?
Concerning the eleventh alleged contradiction:
Let us first read the verses in question:Calling together or ripping apart? In the process of creation heaven and earth were first apart and are called to come together [41:11], while 21:30 states that they were originally one piece and then ripped apart.
41:11 Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: "Come both of you, willingly or unwillingly." They said: "We do come (together), in willing obedience."
21:30 Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?
Simply by taking a quick look at the verses, one already begins to see that these verses do not pose a contradiction at all. Furthermore, it there is a lack of scientific knowledge displayed by the author of this allegation, as we shall see.
1. These verses are not referring to the same concept at all. Let us examine the two different concepts of astronomy involved here:
a)From research in astronomy, human beings have begun to understand a concept known as the Big Bang, which describes the origin of the universe. Verse 21:30 is widely held by Muslim scholars to refer to the Big Bang, when the universe was initially combined as a primary nebula and then exploded leading to the formation of various galaxies etc. (This scientific miracle is described here and here). With this mind, the Qur'an is actually very accurate in describing the initial union of all creation before being split.
b)The concept of the Big Bang is very different from the concept of accretion of cosmic dust. The latter describes the formation of stars and planets throught the condensation or 'coming together' of matter in space. Verse 41:11 is generally taken by Muslim scholars to refer to the collection of cosmic dust into the various celestial bodies present today, specifically the heavens and the earth. Perhaps the misunderstanding arises from interpreting the heavens in this verse to be another reference to the universe as a whole. But as we have already explained, this is not the case. The word as-samaa simply describes what is above, and in this case simply refers to the immediate atmosphere of the earth. Verse 41:11 is described in greater detail here and well as here.
2. Verse 21:30 can also be taken to refer to the earth's atmposphere as well, without any conflict. If one considers the formation and development of earth, the original atmosphere was blended together with the Earth and only became seperate in its second stage. Hence, verse 21:30 is very accurate in describing the heavens and the earth as initially joined together before being cloven asunder, either by volcanic out-gassing or cometary impacts. According to this interpretation, verse 41:11 would be chronologically before verse 21:30.
3. An additional point can be made about the phrases used in verse 41:11. When the verse mentions that the heavens and the earth were ordered to come, this does not necessarily imply that they actually came together and merged. Other verses of the Qur'an used the same phrase:
37:83-84 And verily, among those who followed his (Noah's) path was Abraham. When he came to his Lord with a pure heart.
It is obviously understood that Abraham did not come to his Lord physically, but rather in terms of submission and obedience. Hence, this verse could simply be taken as God asking the heavens and the earth to submit to His will, either voluntarily or involuntarily. From this linguistic perspective, there is also no conflict between this verse and 21:30.
These explanations sufficiently demonstrate how these verses cannot be considered a contradiction in any way.
The Time Taken to Destroy the Aad
Concerning the twelfth alleged contradiction:
Verses in question:How many days did Allah need to destroy the people of Aad? One day [54:19] or several days [41:16; 69:6,7]
54:19 For We sent against them a furious wind, on a Day of violent Disaster
41:16 So We sent against them a furious Wind through days of disaster, that We might give them a taste of a Penalty of humiliation in this life; but the Penalty of a Hereafter will be more humiliating still: and they will find no help.
69:6 And the 'Ad, they were destroyed by a furious Wind, exceedingly violent;
69:7 He made it rage against them seven nights and eight days in succession: so that thou couldst see the (whole) people lying prostrate in its (path), as they had been roots of hollow palm-trees tumbled down!
A number of points can be said in this regard:
1. One can very easily see that the day in the first verse has been understood to describe the day on which the violent storms were initiated, and not necessarily indicating the duration of the punishment.
The example of this, is that of one who says, "I will be going away on the last day of this month." And later on, they mention, "I will be going away for three months." Is this a contradiction? Of course not. The first statement describes the day of initiation, while the second specifies the duration.
2. The word yawm, which has been translated as day can also mean period. It has been explained thoroghly by Moiz Amjad in his article entitled The Length of God's Days. Therefore, the first verse can be taken to mean simply a period of Calamity.
3. The first verse can also be taken to describe the duration of punishment for each citizen of the nation of Aad, while the other verses refer to the time taken for the complete destruction of the Aad as a nation. This interpretation of the first verse is strengthened by examining the following verse:
54:20 Plucking out men as if they were roots of palm-trees torn up (from the ground).
Hence, we understand from the first verse that individuals were killed within the time span of one day. If we understand the verses according to their context, there is no contradiction.
What Was Man Created From?
Concerning the thirteenth alleged contradiction,
The obvious explanation to this question is that these references describe different aspects or stages in man's creation. This has always been the understanding of such verses.What was man created from? A blood clot [96:1-2], water [21:30, 24:45, 25:54], "sounding" (i.e. burned) clay [15:26], dust [3:59, 30:20, 35:11], nothing [19:67] and this is then denied in 52:35, earth [11:61], a drop of thickened fluid [16:4, 75:37]
We will give a brief explanation of each verse, while presenting them in chronological order.
Most of the references refer to two different aspects of creation: Original creation and Embryological development.
19:67 Does not man remember that We created him before, and he was nothing?
The phrase and he was nothing is the translation of the arabic wa lam yaku shay. Some confusion may have resulted because Yusuf Ali's translation renders it as out of nothing, which is not very accurate at all. The phrase literally means, and he was nothing.
Hence, this verse states that human beings were nothing, and Allah brought us into existence. This is a tremendous favour bestowed upon us, that we may be thankful to Allah swt.
This is allegedly in contradiction to the following verse:
52:35 Were they created by nothing, or were they themselves the creators?
Ibn Kathir Ad-Damishqi (d.1372CE) has explained this verse as follows in his renowned Tafsir Al-Qur'an Al-Azim:
Allah asks them, were they created without a maker or did they create themselves Neither is true. Allah is the One Who created them and brought them into existence after they were nothing.(Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, 2000, vol. 9, p. 297)
Hence, this verse is not in contradiction to the previous verse at all, after closer examination. Even if we choose to translate verse 52:35 as "Were they created from nothing..." it would also be correct as Allah swt developed the human being from previously created substances.
20:55 Thereof (the earth) We created you, and into it We shall return you, and from it We shall bring you out once again
The original creation of Adam pbuh was from the dust of the earth.
30:20 Among His Signs is this, that He created you from dust; and then,- behold, ye are men scattered (far and wide)!
This dust was then mixed with water to produce what is mentioned in the following verse:
15:26 And indeed, We created man from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud [min hama’in masnoon]
An interesting commentary on these verses has been provided here:
Sheikh Muhammad Mutwalli Ash-Sha`rawi also comments:
If we take dust and add water to it, it will be mud. If it is left for some time, it will turn into clay. These are simply the stages of the creation of man. Man thus comes from dust, turned into clay after the addition of water. If we scrutinize this issue, we will find out that man, in his daily life, needs earth and depends on it in so many aspects. It is this earthy soil where we grow the plants upon which we live. Thus, preserving the materials of man depends on the source from which these materials are created.
Scientists have analyzed the human body and found that it is composed of 16 substances including oxygen and manganese. These elements are no more than the elements of the earth?s crust. This experiment was not meant for proving the credibility of the Qur'an; rather, it was solely for scientific research purposes.
In addition, death itself serves as a proof of creation. When we try to demolish a building, we follow the reverse order of building it; we start with the last floor. By the same token, since we have not eye-witnessed the creation of man, then we shall see how death occurs. Actually, we witness several deaths everyday. When man dies, his soul leaves his body, then the decline starts; his body becomes dry (which is similar to the stage of clay) and then decays and turns finally into dust which was his original substance. Life is given to man through the soul that is blown into his body. When the soul departs, man dies and starts his way back to his original form going through the stages of his first creation. Thus, death stands as a living proof for creation (SOURCE)
21:30...We made of water every living thing. Will they not then believe?
This verse explains that all living things are composed of water.
Dr. Zakir Naik has commented on the above verse by saying:
Only after advances have been made in science, do we now know that cytoplasm, the basic substance of the cell is made up of 80% water. Modern research has also revealed that most organisms consist of 50% to 90% water and that every living entity requires water for its existence. Was it possible 14 centuries ago for any human-being to guess that every living being was made of water? Moreover would such a guess be conceivable by a human being in the deserts of Arabia where there has always been scarcity of water? (SOURCE)
The following link also comments on this:
16:4 He has created man from a nutfah; and behold this same (man) becomes an open disputer!
Dr. Omar Abdul Rehman has explained this as follow:
Nutfah (The drop)
Al-Nutfah in Arabic means a drop or a small part of fluid and Nutfah in general describes a stage where the beginnings of a human being are found in this fluid (Ref: 6A, 12/6; 17/118; 19/120: 13A, 3/436: 15A, 17/116: 1C, 2/121: 7B, 3/116: 4D, 9/235-6: 5D, 6/258: 4A, 30/234: 7A, 4/336: 10A, 13/9: 12A, 4/288). Its real meaning can only be deduced from the text of Qur'an; evidently it is a comprehensive term and includes male and female gametes and part of their natural environments of fluid. It also includes zygote, morula and blastocyst till implantation in the uterus. This is illustrated by the following citation:
"was he not a drop or part of germinal fluid (Mani) emitted or programmed" (Surah Al- Qiyama, Ayah 37)
Here "Mani" means male or female germinal fluid (Ref: 1D, 5/276: 5D, 10/348:2D, 6/2497).
The Prophet's Hadith confirms the fact that the offspring is created from part of the germinal fluids.
"Not from all the fluid is the offspring created"
(Sahih. Muslim: Kitab Al-Nekah, Bab Al-Azl)
It is also known that not all parts of the ejaculate are equally potent in the fertilisation process. "In the first portion of the ejaculate are the spermatozoa, epididymal fluids, and the secretions from the Cowper and prostate gland fluids. In the last portions of the ejaculate are the secretions of the seminal vesicles. Most spermatozoa appear in the first part of the ejaculate, which is made primarily of prostatic secretions. Thus spermatozoa in the initial portion of the ejaculate have better motility and survival than those in the later portions, which are chiefly vesicular in origin". (SOURCE)
And concerning the verse:
96:2 Created man, out of a (mere) clot of an Alaqah
Dr. Omar Abdul Rehman states:
The 'Alaqah stage
"Then (thumm) We made the drop into an 'Alaqah". (Surah Al-Mu 'minun, Ayah 14)
In Arabic the word ‘Alaqah in fact has several meanings;
Amazingly each of these terms can be applied to the developing embryo with stunning precision. All of these terms encompassed by the word ‘Alaqah describe the appearance of the embryo as well as its relationship with the womb. From the discussion below it becomes clear that the embryo resembles a primitive multicellular organism which is attached to a host and feeding on its blood.
something which clings or a suspended thing (Ref: 7B, 5/440: 1D, 4/125: 2D, 4/1529: 3D, 343: 4D, 10/267: 5D, 7/20)
- a leech-like structure (Ref: 9A, 3/242: 20A, 2/281: 7B, 5/139: 2D, 4/1529: 3D, 343: 4D, 10/267)
a) something which clings
Modern science informs us that once the egg has been fertilised in the Fallopian tube it undergoes successive divisions to form a ball like structure of 12-16 cells by the third day. This structure is called a blastocyst and it reaches the uterus in 4 to 5 days. The blastocyst then lies free in the uterine secretions for a further 2 days. About a week after fertilisation the blastocyst begins to attach and implant into the uterine wall. By the 11th to 12th day it is completely embedded in the uterine wall. At this stage chorionic villosities begin to develop like roots in the soil, these draw nourishment from the uterus necessary for the blastocyst's growth. These formations cover the whole blastocyst and make it literally cling to the uterus. By the end of the second week implantation is complete. Inside the blastocyst the embryo is anchored to the wall of the chorionic cavity by a connecting stalk. Hence, these different ways of clinging and attachment seem to represent the most dominant features from day 7 to 21, and are perfectly described in the Qur'anic description by the word ‘Alaqah. For greater detail see S. Hussain (1986) ‘Al-‘Alaq:the mystery explored, Ark Journal, London, pp. 31-36.
b) a suspended thing
The 3 week old embryo inside the blastocyst which is embedded in the uterine wall is seen to be suspended in the chorionic cavity by means of the connecting stalk and is surrounded by the amniotic cavity and the yolk sac. Therefore, the term ‘Alaqah accurately describes the suspended embryo after it has been implanted.
c) a leech-like structure
The word ‘Alaqah can also be translated as ‘leech like structure'. The leech is a elongated pear shaped creature which thrives on blood sucking. At this stage of development the embryo from top view does bear a resemblance to a leech. This resemblance is even more marked if the 24 day old embryo is seen from the side. It is also interesting to note that the embryo is now dependent on the maternal blood for its nutrition and behaves very much like a leech!. (For greater detail see Moore, KL. ‘A scientists interpretation of references to embryology in the Qur'an.' Journal of the Islamic Medical Association of US and Canada, 1986, 18:15, and Moore, KL. and Azzindani, AMA.: "The Developing Human, Clinically Orientated Embryology, With Islamic Additions". 3rd Ed., Dar Al-Qiblah and WB Saunders).
In conclusion, whichever of the above terms are used to translate the word ‘Alaqah they are all stunningly accurate descriptions of the embryo at this stage in it's development as confirmed by modern science.
There is a gap of a few days between the stages of implantation (Nutfah) and 'Alaqah and this period is clearly explained by the above Ayah:
The word "Thumm" in Arabic is a conjunction indicating a time lag and the Ayah will, therefore, mean that after some time we created the "Nutfah" into 'Alaqah. (SOURCE)
The full explanation of the Qur'anic account of embryology can be read here:
For further information, one may examine the following two articles:
Where is Allah?
Concerning the fourteenth alleged contradiction:
This is a very important issue of Aqeedah and deserves a clear response, as it can sometimes lead to confusion and deviation.Where is Allah and his throne? Allah is nearer than the jugular vein [50:16], but he is also on the throne [57:4] which is upon the water [11:7], and at the same time so far away, that it takes between 1,000 and 50,000 years to reach reach him [32:5, 70:4].
1. Allah's Supremacy
The true believer affirms that Allah is ascended above His throne, above the seven heavens.
67:17-18 Are you sure that He Who is Above the heaven will not cleave the earth beneath you? Or are you sure that He Who is above the heaven will not send against you a stone-charged hurricane.
87:1 Declare your Rubb, the Supreme, to be far removed from every imperfection or impurity.
Commenting on this verse, Mahmood Murad explains:
The "Supreme", linguistically, is in the superlative signifying that Allah is higher than everything and is above all things in essence, power, and invincibility. (SOURCE)
2. Allah's Maiyyah
57:4 He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and then ascened the Throne. He knows what enters within the earth and what comes forth out of it, what comes down from heaven and what mounts up to it. And He is with you wheresoever ye may be. And Allah sees well all that ye do.
To some, this verse may appear to be advancing two conflicting ideas. On one hand, it says that Allah is ascended over the throne, over the seven heavens, while later it says that He is with us wherever we are. The latter concept is known as Allah's maiyyah, or the nature of His closeness to us.
According to the Qur'an and Sunnah, we understand that Allah encompasses all things in His knowledge, seeing, hearing, power, authority, etc., but not in His essence. When Allah says He is with the believers, this is understood in terms of support and approval.
Elaborating on this concept, Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al-Uthaymeen (d. 2001CE) writes:
Maiyyah in the Arabic language that the Qur'an was revealed in does not necessitate that something be mixed with other things or combined in the same place, rather it refers to something being with something else in a general way. The exact meaning is to be defined by the context...
The truth must be that Allah is with His Creation in a way that means He encompasses them by way of His knowledge, power, hearing, seeing, planning, authority, etc., while He remains above the Throne, above all of His Creation.(Ibn Uthaymeen, Concerning the Beautiful Names and Attributes of Allaah, T.R.O.I.D. Publications, 2003, pp.105-106 )So the truth about where Allah is, is that He is beyond His Creation, and ascended over the Throne.
3. This explanation of Allah's maiyyah is also sufficient to explain verses like 50:16-17 which reads:
50:16 It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein, when the two (guardian angels) appointed to learn (his doings), learn (and noted them), one sitting on the right and one on the left.
From the previous explanation we would understand that any verse describing Allah's closeness to His Creation, does not describe the closeness of His essence, but rather the encompassing nature of His powers.
Nevertheless, verse 50:16-17 has been interpreted differently by the Scholars of Tafsir, and we shall provide their explanation as well.
In the referred verses, many people do not read 50:17, and they stop at 50:16.
But if one reads the whole phrase, we find it says:
And we are closer to Him than His jugular vein, when the two (guardian angels) appointed to learn (his doings), learn (and noted them).
Hence, what is being referred to here is the closeness of the Angels and not the closeness of Allah. The question is, why has Allah attributed the closeness of the Angels to Himself?
This will be better understood if we examine the following verses:
15:9 We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).
75:18 But when We have recited it, follow thou its recital
Just as the Angels brought down the message by the leave of Allah and recited it to the Prophet Muhammad pbuh, so are they closer to the human being than the jugular vein, by the leave of Allah. In both cases, the actions of the angels are attributed to Allah because they occur by His command.
This is the understanding of the early muslim scholars, and can be found in prominent tafisr such as Ibn Kathir.
4. With regards to the following verse,
11:7 He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days - and His Throne was over the waters - that He might try you, which of you is best in conduct...
let us examine so related narrations:
Imran bin Husayn said "....The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said, 'Allah was before everything and His Throne was over the water. He then wrote in the Preserved Tablet mentioning everything.'... (Ahmad 4:431)
It is recorded that Abdullah ibn Amr bin Al-As said that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said, "Verily Allah measured the amount of sustenance of the creatures fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth, and His Throne was over the water (Muslim 4:2044)
The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said, Do you see what He has spent since He created the Heavens and the Earth? Yet all that has not decreased what is in His Right Hand. His Throne is over the water and in His other Hand is the bounty or power to bring about death, and He raises some people and brings others down(Bukhari 9:515)
This makes it very clear as to what the verse is referring to, but what the water in the verse denotes, is open to interpretation.
As Adel M. A. Abbas writes in his book, His Throne Was On Water:
The book's title is taken from the verse "His throne was on water," a verse whose splendor and scientific implication invite further reflection. The recent discovery by quantum mechanics researchers that outer space is full of virtual particles and antiparticles that materialize constantly in pairs may shed some light on this verse. This, together with the creation of the universe and the refashioning of the skies into cocentric oval or ball-shaped layers, is illustrated on the cover.The author of the referred book has gone into great detail explaining his rather fascinating scientific interpretation of verse 11:17, which deals with the structure and creation of the universe. One may consult the book for more information.
Such mysteries as space-time, humanity, the expanding universe, and the various stages of creation are addressed in the following pages.(Abbas, His Throne was on Water, Amana Publications, 1997, p. ix)
5. And finally, concerning 32:5 and 70:4, this has been dealt with in our response to the alleged contradiction On The Length of God's Days. For the purpose of this response, we would just like to emphasize that the length of the period taken to ascend to God does not necessarily relate to the distance of God, Himself.
To conclude, Allah's power is All-encompassing, but we affirm that he is ascended over His Throne, above the seven heavens. The Most High, Glorified and Exalted is He.
On The Origin of Calamity
Concerning the fifteenth Alleged contradiction:
Verses in question:The origin of calamity? Is the evil in our life from Satan [38:41], Ourselves [4:79], or Allah [4:78]?
4:78-79 "Wherever ye are, death will find you out, even if ye are in towers built up strong and high!" If some good befalls them, they say, "This is from Allah; but if evil, they say, "This is from thee" (O Prophet). Say: "All things are from Allah." But what hath come to these people, that they fail to understand a single fact?
Whatever good, (O man!) happens to thee, is from Allah. but whatever evil happens to thee, is from thy (own) soul. and We have sent thee as an apostle to (instruct) mankind. And enough is Allah for a witness.
38:41 Commemorate Our Servant Job. Behold he cried to his Lord: "The Evil One has afflicted me with distress and suffering!"
A number of points may be mentioned:
1. Before commenting on the verses, we must clarify the two reasons behind the tragedy and difficulties one may experience in their lives.
a) As a test
29:2-3 Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, "We believe", and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false.
b) As a punishment
42:30 Whatever misfortune happens to you, is because on the things your hands have wrought, and for many (of them) He grants forgiveness.
2. Verse 4:78 informs us that all events and outcomes are from Allah, i.e. Allah has full control over everything and it is by His decree that all things come about. Nothing occurs except by His will. Ibn Kathir (d. 1372CE) comments on this verse, in his renowned tafsir by saying:
Allah's statement that all things are from Him means, everything occurs by the decision and decree of Allah, and His decision shall come to pass for both the rightoeus and the wicked, the faithful and the disbelievers. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, 2000, vol. 2, p. 521)
3. Meanwhile, 4:79 mentions that the good that reaches us is of Allah's bounty, favor, kindness and mercy, and we should show gratitiude to Allah for such blessings. And the misfortune that befalls us in our lives if from our own souls. The meaning of "from thy own soul" is that the misfortune is the result of our errors as a punishment, or may serve as a test for us. This was mentioned by scholars including As-Suddi, Al-Hassan Al-Basri, Ibn Jurayj and Ibn Zayd (see Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, 2000, vol. 2, p. 521)
With the above in mind, there is no contradiction between verse 4:78 and verse 4:79. All things occur by the permission of Allah, and all events are the result of His will. Yet, this does not negate the fact that any misfortune that befalls us is the result of our misdeeds, despite the fact that it has been decreed by Allah. Everything is from Allah, yet difficulties may be the result of our actions, as a punishment ordained by Allah. The difficulties are the result of our weaknesses, and ultimately we are to blame for them. But they still occur by the permission of Allah.
4. We can also arrive at a similar conclusion from a slightly different angle. Commenting on verses 4:78-79, Dr. Jeffrey Lang writes the following in his book, Even Angels Ask:
The assertion here is that our ability to experience true benefit or harm comes from God, but to do real injury to ourselves, in an ultimate and spiritual sense, depends on our actions and decisions, which God has empowered us to make. (Lang, Even Angels Ask, Amana Publications, 1997, p.29)Thus, Dr. Lang interprets the verse to mean that evil is the result of our human nature and our freedom of choice, which God has given to us. Hence, all things may be attributed to God since God has given us the choice to do good and evil, yet we are the ones who excercise that choice.
5. Concerning verse 38:41, what is understood is that the evil decisions we may make, and the difficulties that befall us, may have originally been inspired by Satan. i.e. in verse 38:41, Prophet Ayoub (Job) is being tested by God with an affliction from Satan. It is not incorrect to attribute this to Satan, since he is the one who directly tries to divert us from the path of truth with trouble, misguidance and calamity. Nor is it incorrect to declare this to be from God, since He has allowed Satan to afflict us, as a test. Allah tests us through several means, and Satan is one of them. Our evil inclinations are also a test for us.
To conclude, in response to the question on the origin of calamity in our lives, and whether it is from Allah, Satan, or ourselves, we would declare that it is from all three, and there is nothing contradictiory about this view. Allah allows Satan to inspire us with evil by means of a test, Satan inspires us to do an evil deed to misguide us, and we are the ones who actually commit the act.
May Allah protect us from evil.
The Mercy and Guidance of Allah
Concerning the sixteenth alleged contradiction,
Verses in question:How merciful is Allah's mercy? He has prescribed mercy for himself [6:12], yet he does not guide some, even though he could [6:35, 14:4]
6:12 Say: "To whom belongeth all that is in the heavens and on earth?" Say: "To Allah. He hath inscribed for Himself (the rule of) Mercy. That He will gather you together for the Day of Judgment, there is no doubt whatever. It is they who have lost their own souls, that will not believe.
If it is hard for you to bear their aversion [from the truth] seek if you can a chasm in the earth or a ladder to the sky by which you can bring them a sign [for We are not going to show them any signs to make them believe]. Had God pleased, He would have guided them all [to the right path]. So, do not be carried away by your desire [to guide them].
14:4 We sent not an apostle except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people, in order to make (things) clear to them. Now Allah leaves straying those whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases: and He is Exalted in power, full of Wisdom.
Hence, the allegation is that, if Allah is so merciful, why does he allow some to go astray even though he could guide them?
The response is as follows:
1. First we must understand Allah's mercy and love. Allah's love may be divided into two categories: the universal mercy for all creation, and the special love reserved for those His righteous servants. The rahma (mercy) spoken of in verse 6:12 is universal, and the proof of that lies in other verses, like the following:
40:7 O our Sustainer! You embrace all things within (Your) rahmah (mercy) and knowledge.
The special love of Allah that is reserved for the righteous is described in verses like the following:
19:29 On those who have faith and do good will the Most Gracious One (Rahman) bestow love (wudda)."
2. On the question of who Allah guides, we once again refer to the Qur'an for the answer:
42:13 The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah - the which We have sent by inspiration to thee - and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him).
Hence, the answer is that Allah guides those people who desire His guidance. Those who turn to their creator and fulfill their duty will recieve further guidance. While those who are cruel to God's creation, who reject His blessings with ingratitude, they will be punished and are not worthy of guidance. They will only be allowed to stray even further. And concerning them, Allah has said:
43:76 It was not We who wronged them: but it is they who have wronged themselves.
With the above in mind, there is no contradiction. God's infinite mercy is manifest in His continual blessings, but there is divine wisdom in the fact that Allah guides those who desire guidance. If you seek Allah, He will bring you closer to Him.
Will there be Inquiry in Paradise?
Concerning the seventeenth alleged contradiction,
Verses in question,Will there be inquiry in Paradise? "neither will they question one another" [23:101] but nevertheless they will be "engaging in mutual inquiry" [52:25], "and they will ... question one another" [37:27].
23:101 Then, when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no kinship among them that Day, nor will they ask of one another
And 52:25 in context is:
52:21,22,25-28 And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in Faith, to them shall We join their offspring, and We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything. Every person is a pledge for that which he has earned. And We shall provide them with fruit and meat, such as they desire....And some of them draw near to others, questioning.
Saying: "Aforetime, we were afraid with our families (from the punishment of Allâh). But Allâh has been gracious to us, and has saved us from the torment of the Fire. Verily, We used to invoke Him (Alone and none else) before. Verily, He is Al Barr the Most Generous, the Most Merciful."
And 37:27 in context is:
37:22,23,27-33. (It will be said to the angels): "Assemble those who did wrong, together with their companions (from the devils) and what they used to worship, instead of Allâh, and lead them on to the way of flaming Fire (Hell);
And they will turn to one another and question one another.
They will say: "It was you who used to come to us from the right side."
They will reply: "Nay, you yourselves were not believers. And we had no authority over you. Nay! But you were transgressing people (disobedient, polytheists, and disbelievers). So now the Word of our Lord has been justified against us, that we shall certainly (have to) taste (the torment).So we led you astray because we were ourselves astray."
Then verily, that Day, they will (all) share in the torment.
1. The first point that becomes obvious here, once the context is added, is that these verses are not referring to the same event. Verse 23:101 states that on the Day of Judgement, after the trumpet, no one will ask eachother for help. They will stand silently before their Lord, to be judged.
Meanwhile, verse 52:25 states that in paradise, the reward for the believers will include anything they desire, and they shall engage in mutual discussion. This obviously is not a reference to the Day of resurrection.
Likewise, verse 37:27 speaks of the disbelievers who will dispute with eachother about who is to blame for their terrible fate. This is obvious from the mentioning of assembling those who did wrong, and leading them to Hell-fire. Evidently, this would occur after the Day of Judgement.
2. The second point is that there is a different understanding of what is being asked in each verse. Verse 23:101 refers to the fact that they will not be able to ask eachother for help. Here, "ask" is understood to be a request. Verse 52:25 refers to the fact that they will engage in mutual discussion. Here "ask" is understood to be general inquiry and discussion, not a request. And finally, verse 37:27 refers to the disputes that will be held by the people of Hell-fire. here "ask" refers to harsh interrogation and argumentation, not a request. This is supported by the understanding of the arabic verb used, yatasa'aloon.
Are Angels Protectors?
Concerning the eighteenth alleged contradiction,
Verses in question:Are angels protectors? "NO protector besides Allah" [2:107, 29:22]. But in Sura 41:31 the angels themselves say: "We are your protectors in this life and the Hereafter." And also in other suras is their role described as guarding [13:11, 50:17-18] and protecting [82:10].
2:107 Knowest thou not that to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth? And besides Him ye have neither patron nor helper.
29:22 "Not on earth nor in heaven will ye be able (fleeing) to frustrate (his Plan), nor have ye, besides Allah, any protector or helper."
41:31 (The Angels say) "We are your protectors in this life and in the Hereafter: therein shall ye have all that your souls shall desire; therein shall ye have all that ye ask for!
The response to this claim is rather obvious.
1. It is quite evident that angels are merely the tools of Allah. Their protection is by His command. He protects us, often through His angels. This was explained in response to the sixth allegation. Allah often attributes the actions of His angels to Himself, becuase they are the direct result of His command.
For example, the CEO of a company may mention that he has created a new product, but realistically, the product was created by those who operate under his command
2. We must also realize that when Allah informs us that we have no protector besides Allah, the arabic meaning carries the notion of exclusion. In other words, other than Allah, or excluding Allah, we have no protector. If Allah was not going to protect us, we would find no protection. This adds to the first point, because the angels would not protect us if Allah did not wish to protect us. They do exactly as they are commanded by God.