View Full Version : Misunderstood "Contradictions" in the Quran

Muhammad Zaki
09-14-2013, 08:57 AM
Discussing one of the "Alleged Contradictions in the Quran" the following Ayat of the Quran has been quoted:And when We said unto the angels : Prostrate yourselves before Adam,they fell prostrate,save Iblis,he refused (to prostrate).......(2:34)

Here the word"Illa"("Save"or"except")seems to suggest that all the angels prostrated except one of them named Iblis,who refused to prostrate before Adam.This obviously shows that Iblis was one of the angels;but another Ayat of the Quran explicitly states that Iblis was (one) of the jinn,(18:50).This obviously is taken as an apparent "contradiction" in the Quran.

Before hastily jumping to some conclusion let us carefully understand the meaning of the Ayat. It is abundantly clear that Allah had commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam, and (all) the angels did prostrate before Adam.

Now the question arises, why Iblis did not prostrate along with the angels? Did he really believe that Allah had commanded only the angels to bow down, so he, being a jinn, was not bound to prostrate along with the angels ? Had it been so, he could have offered this as an excuse;but he did not. It clearly means that he certainly believed and Allah also knew that Iblis also had to obey the command and had to prostrate along with the angels.

But here the problem faced by most of the commentators is: How the Divine command,which was exclusively directed towards the angels, could include a jinn, ie,Iblis?

Some learned scholars have argued that Iblis, no doubt a jinn," lived among the angels;" he "resembled them in their devotion and worship",so he was included when they were addressed. Moreover, as the majority(ie.the angels)was addressed, so the minority(ie.Iblis,) was also included.And as Allah had directed a higher cadre of His creation (angels) to prostrate, the lower cadre creation (the jinn) were also expected to follow the angels. Is this argument(with examples)valid and convincing?

The major problem is that most of the commentators do not try to understand and explain the Quranic Ayats in the light of the Quran itself. This is why they either misunderstand many Ayats or find contradictions in the Quran.

Now read, VERY CAREFULLY the following Ayats and see how the Quranic Ayats supplement and explain each other.

(i) Verily We created man from sounding clay , from mud moulded into shape, and the Jinn, We had created before, from the fire of a scorching wind. And (remember!) when thy Lord said unto the angels;" I am about to create a bashar (ie.man), from sounding clay from mud moulded into shape; so when I have fashioned him ( in due proportion ) and breathed into him of My Spirit, do ye fall down, prostrating yourselves unto him." (15:26-29)

This shows that some time before the creation of Adam, Allah had instructed the angels that they will have to prostrate before Adam after the completion of his creation.

(ii) After completing the creation of Adam, Allah said to the angels:Prostrate to Adam!(7:11) So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together.(15:30)It clearly means that all the angels, without any exception,prostrated. If someone did not prostrate it could not be an angel. It was a jinn(ie.Iblis).

(iii)All the angels prostrated:not so Iblis, who was not of those who prostrated.(7:11) He refused to be among those who prostrated themselves. Allah said:"O Iblis! What is thy reason for not being among those who prostrated themselves?" (15:31-32).

Now NOTE this Ayat:

Allah said to Iblis:"What prevented thee from prostrating when I HAD COMMANDED THEE ?" (7:12).

This Ayat as well as 7 11:and 15:31-32, very clearly establish that even before the creation of Adam, Allah had directly,separately,and exclusively directed Iblis also that when commanded, he will have to prostrate before Adam along with the angels.

The words "Iz amartuk" (when I had ordered thee)explicitly confirm this fact. So the word " except" does not apply to the angels as all of them had obeyed the Divine command, rather it means that when commanded all the angels prostrated ,not Iblis ,who had also to prostrate along with the angels.

The command to the angels did not include Iblis, as he had been already commanded separately. However, he had been ordered to join the angels and prostrate along with them. Thus there is no, and cannot be any, contradiction in the Quran. If someone finds any contradiction,it is certainly due to lack of (related) knowledge or is on account of some misunderstanding.

[ Note:For further details,please see my Urdu book: Payam e Rahmat, and Tarjuma e Quran aur Tashrih Quran hi ki Raushni mein.]

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