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    Jewel of LI Array Ansar Al-'Adl's Avatar
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    Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an (OP)


    REFUTATION OF THE ALLEGED INTERNAL CONTRADICTIONS IN THE QUR'AN

    These responses have all been uploaded onto the main site here:
    http://www.load-islam.com/artical_de...orious%20Quran

    Update
    I am now keeping a Table of Contents, so people can easily find their answers.

    Introduction
    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.

    Good resources:
    http://www.understanding-islam.org/r...asp?sscatid=89
    http://www.answering-christianity.co...n/quranerr.htm
    http://www.bismikaallahuma.org/
    http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Contrad/
    http://www.irf.net/irf/faqonislam/index.htm

    Salaam
    Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an

    The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
    "Surely I was sent to perfect the qualities of righteous character" [Musnad Ahmad, Muwatta Mâlik]


    Visit Ansâr Al-'Adl's personal page HERE.
    Excellent resources on Islam listed HERE.

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    Re: Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an

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    Is the Punishment and Mercy of Allah Arbitrary?

    Concerning the thirty-eighth alleged contradiction:
    The "pleasure" of Allah? Is God's action of punishment or mercy and guidance or misguidance arbitrary? Verse 29:21 states that God punishes and shows mercy as He pleases, and verse 14:4 states the same about His guidance and misguidance.
    Verses in question:
    29:21 He punishes whomever He wills, and bestows His mercy on whomever He wills; and unto Him you shall be made to return.

    14:4 And We sent not a Messenger except with the language of his people, in order that he might make (the Message) clear for them. Then Allah lets go astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.


    1. First, there is no 'contradiction' in these verses at all, and we can only wonder why the critic has chosen to label it as such. As for the interpretation of these verses, they are all explained within the Qur'an itself. With regards to the punishment and mercy of Allah, they are delivered with complete justice to whomever deserves it. Indeed, Allah has the power and strength to punish whomever He pleases, but in His justice His punishment does not befall any except those deserved it. When describing the punishment that befell previous disbelieving nations, the Qur'an states:
    9:70, 29:40, 30:9. It was not Allah Who wronged them, but they wronged their own souls.
    And in another location, Allah mentions:
    43:76 And We wronged them not, but they have been the wrong-doers themselves.
    Thus, it is clear that Allah punishes those who are sinful, who reject His signs and continue to oppress His creation on earth. His punishment is given to those who deserve it. The same is true for His mercy:
    3:132 And obey Allah and the Messenger so that ye may obtain mercy.

    24:56 So establish regular Prayer and give regular Charity; and obey the Messenger so that ye may receive mercy.

    49:10 The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, that ye may receive Mercy


    Just like His Punishment, it is evident that Allah's mercy is given for a purpose, to those who enjoin right and forbid wrong and perform righteous deeds, worshipping Allah with sincerity.

    2. We can use the same method to determine the reasons behind Allah's guidance and His allowance of someone to go astray. With regards to guidance, we have already mentioned the verse, [Allah] guides whom He wills. The question is - who does Allah will to be guided? The answer is given in the Qur'an:

    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).

    7:158... So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Unlettered Prophet, who believeth in Allah and His words: follow him that (so) ye may be guided.


    Thus, Allah guides those who turn to Him in prayer and seek His guidance. . Those who turn to their creator and fulfil their duty will receive 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. Allah clarifies who is allowed to go astray:

    2:26-27. But He causes not to be misguided except the iniquitous. Those who break Allah's Covenant after ratifying it, and sever what Allâh has ordered to be joined, and spread corruption on earth, it is they who are the losers.

    45:23 Have you seen him who takes his own lust (vain desires) as his god, and Allah knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight. Who then will guide him after Allâh? Will you not then remember?

    3:86 ...but Allah guides not a people unjust.
    The above discussion should make it clear that the mercy, guidance, punishment and misguidance delivered by Allah are not arbritary at all. Rather, there is divine wisdom behind all of these and Allah is not unjust in His decisions.

    Last edited by Ansar Al-'Adl; 09-06-2005 at 09:30 PM.
    Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an

    The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
    "Surely I was sent to perfect the qualities of righteous character" [Musnad Ahmad, Muwatta Mâlik]


    Visit Ansâr Al-'Adl's personal page HERE.
    Excellent resources on Islam listed HERE.

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    Re: Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an


    Did Abraham Smash The Idols?

    Regarding the thirty-ninth allegation:
    Did Abraham smash the idols? The accounts of Abraham, Suras 19:41-49, 6:74-83 differ quite a bit from Sura 21:51-59. While in Sura 21 Abraham confronts his people strongly, and even destroys the idols, in Sura 19 Abraham shuts up after his father threatens him to stone him for speaking out against the idols. And he seems not only to become silent, but even to leave the area ("turning away from them all").
    Verses in question:
    19:41-49. And mention Abraham in the book, he was indeed a saintly man and a prophet. When he said to his father: 'Why do you worship a thing that can neither hear [your calls] nor see [your conditions] and cannot help you in anything. My dear father, things that were unknown to you have come to my knowledge; therefore follow me, that I may guide you to the even path. My dear father, do not worship satan, for satan has rebelled against the Merciful [Creator]. My dear father, I fear that a punishment from the Merciful may inflict you and you may become a partner of the satan'. He replied: 'How dare you renounce my gods, Abraham? If you desist not, I shall stone you [to death]. Leave my house this instant and go away from me'. 'Peace be with you', said Abraham. 'I shall pray to my Lord to forgive you, indeed He has always been gracious to me. I shall leave you and what you call upon besides God. I shall call upon my Lord and may my prayers to my Lord not be in vain.

    6:74-83. And when Abraham said to his father, Aazar: 'Do you really take these idols to be gods? You and all your people are indeed in clear error'. Thus we used to show Abraham the [secrets of the] kingdom of the heavens and the earth, so that he become a firm believer. Then, [one day,] when night drew its shadow over him, he saw a star. 'That', he said, 'is my God'. But when it faded in the morning light, he said: 'I will not worship gods that fade.' When he beheld the rising moon, he said: 'That is my God'. But when it set, he said: 'If my Lord does not guide me, I shall surely go astray'. The when he beheld the sun shining, he said: That must be my God: it is the largest.' But when it set, he said to his people: 'I disown your idols. I will turn my face to Him who has created the heavens and the earth, and will live a righteous life. I am no idolater'. His people argued with him. He said: 'Will you argue with me about God, who has given me guidance? I do not fear your idols, unless my Lord so willed. My Lord has knowledge of all things. Will you not be warned? And how should I fear your idols when you yourselves are not afraid of serving idols not sanctioned by God? Which of us is more deserving of salvation? Tell me, if you know the truth. Those that have faith and do not taint their faith with wrongdoing shall surely earn salvation, for they follow the right path'. Such was the argument with which We furnished Abraham against his people. We raise whom We will to an exalted rank. Your Lord is wise and all-knowing.

    21:51-59. And We had bestowed guidance on Abraham before this for We were well-aware of him. When he said to his father and his people: 'What are these images to which you are so devoted?' They replied: 'They are the gods that our fathers worshipped'. He said: 'Then you and your fathers have, indeed, been in clear error'. They said: 'Have you got something worth listening to, or are you just playing [with our beliefs]?' He answered: [These are not true gods], your Lord, on the contrary, is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who created them. And I openly bear witness to this. By Allah, I will, indeed plan against your idols, after you turn your backs [upon them]. Thus he broke them all into pieces, except their supreme god, so that they may [be able to] turn to him [for help]. [When they saw their gods broken in pieces] They said: 'Who did this to our gods, he is indeed a transgressor'.


    The critic has claimed that there is a contradiction on the basis of the silence of some verses concerning the events narrated in other verses. Such a method is flawed, as each of these verses relate the happenings of a different event. The argument between Abraham (peace be upon him) and his father was a different stage in his life and occured before he broke the idols. As for the event in verses 6:74-83, some scholars have mentioned that this occured later in Abraham's life in a different land, while others say that this occurred very early in his life before the argument with his father and the breaking of the idols. For the explanation of verses 6:74-83 please refer to Did Abraham Commit Shirk.
    To read how these various events come together in the life of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), one may refer to the following article:
    The Story of Ibrahim.

    Last edited by Ansar Al-'Adl; 09-06-2005 at 10:02 PM.
    Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an

    The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
    "Surely I was sent to perfect the qualities of righteous character" [Musnad Ahmad, Muwatta Mâlik]


    Visit Ansâr Al-'Adl's personal page HERE.
    Excellent resources on Islam listed HERE.

  5. #43
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    Re: Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an


    The Fate of Noah's Family

    Concerning the fourtieth alleged contradiction:
    What about Noah's son? According to Sura 21:76, Noah and his family is saved from the flood, and Sura 37:77 confirms that his seed survived. But Sura 11:42-43 reports that Noah's son drowns
    Verses in question:

    21:76 (Remember) Noah, when he cried (to Us) aforetime: We listened to his (prayer) and delivered him and his family from great distress.

    37:77 And We made his progeny to endure (on this earth)

    11:42-43. So it (the ship) sailed with them amidst the waves like mountains, and Noah called out to his son, who had separated himself (apart), "O my son! Embark with us and be not with the disbelievers."
    The son replied: "I will betake myself to a mountain, it will save me from the water." Noah said: "This day there is no saviour from the Decree of Allâh except him on whom He has mercy." And a wave came in between them, so he (the son) was among the drowned.


    1. With regards to verse 21:76 which states that the family of Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) was saved, the Qur'an itself clarifies what it means by his "family", for Prophet Noah himself, asked God about this:
    11:45-47. And Noah called upon his Lord and said, "O my Lord! Verily, my son is of my family! And certainly, Your Promise is true, and You are the Most Just of the judges."
    He said: "O Noah! Surely, he is not of your family; verily, his work is unrighteous, so ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge! I admonish you, lest you be one of the ignorants."
    Noah said: "O my Lord! I seek refuge with You from asking You that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have Mercy on me, I would indeed be one of the losers."

    Thus, here Allah distinguishes between our blood family and our true family in faith. As the Qur'an states about our family:
    49:10 All believers are but brethren.
    Thus, there is no conflict between verses 11:42-43 and 21:76. With regards to verse 37:77, it simply states that his progeny endured and according to some narrations, it will until the end of humanity. There are some who have interpreted verse 37:77 to imply that his followers did not have any surviving descendants (see Ibn Kathir, Stories of the Prophets, Maktaba Darussalam 2003, p.88). However, others disagree as Shaykh Abdul Wahhab At-Turayri mentions:
    With respect to the verse: “And We made his descendants those who remained.” [Sûrah al-Sâffât: 77], we cannot derive such a conclusion, since the wording in the verse is not specifically exclusive. There is no contrary indication that we need to deduce. Noah’s descendants were definitely “those who remained”; however that is understood in the context of comparison with the unbelievers who stayed behind. As for the possibility of other passengers being on the ark and the possibility of their leaving descendants, it is a possibility that is not ruled out by the verse. It is a matter that is not clearly addressed, and therefore one about which we should not speculate.

    The Qur’ân simply does not state how many people went with Noah, nor does it say anything about what other people besides Noah’s people may have been living on the Earth at the time.

    The Qur’ân does not discuss the extent of the flood. Scholars of Qur’anic commentary differ on the matter. For instance, Ibn `Atiyyah and al-Alûsî are among the commentators who favor the idea that the flood was a regional phenomenon. All the direct statements about the global scope and extent of the flood come from various unverifiable accounts taken from Jewish and Christian sources. Since we only know about matters of the unseen through revelation in the Qur’ân and authentic Sunnah, this question cannot be answered decisively.

    ...With respect to the verse: “And We made his descendants those who remained.” [Sûrah al-Sâffât: 77]

    On the basis of this verse, some scholars have claimed that no other human beings were left on the Earth. It is related from Qatâdah that he said: “Humanity, all of them, are from the descendants of Noah.” [Tafsîr Ibn Kathîr (5/347)]

    However, this verse is making no such claim, since no reference is made to humanity as a whole or to the world as a whole. Therefore, the most that we can take from the verse with certainty is that Noah’s descendants survived while the unbelievers from among his people did not.

    As for the hadîth attributed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) about the three sons of Noah (peace be upon him), they are weak and cannot be used as evidence.
    Based on the above points, we can understand that the verses do not contradict since Noah's son was not considered amongst Noah's true family, and verse 37:77 does not include Noah's son nor does it exclude Noah's followers.

    2. Another point to note is the broad range of meanings associated with the arabic words Ahl (family) and dhuriya (progeny) used in these verses. One frequently hears the Islamic terms Ahlus-Sunnah (People/followers of the Sunnah), Ahlul-Hadeeth (People/followers of hadeeth) and Ahlul-Kitaab (People of the Book i.e. Christians and Jews). And in the Qur'an it says:
    27:34 She said: "Kings, when they enter a country, despoil it, and make the noblest of its Ahl its lowest thus do they behave.

    28:4 Truly Pharaoh elated himself in the land and broke up its Ahl into sections

    28:15 And he entered the city at a time when its Ahl were not watching

    In the above verses, all commentators and translators have interpreted Ahl to mean the people/inhabitants of the city, not the 'family' of the city. And the word Ahl has also been interpreted as people in the following verse describing Prophet Ishmael (Ismaa'il):
    19:55 He enjoined upon his Ahl (people) worship and alms giving, and was acceptable in the sight of his Lord.
    Just as Ahl is a broad term, so is dhuriyya, as the Qur'an says:
    36:41 And a Sign for them is that We bore their dhuriya [through the Flood] in the loaded Ark
    In the above verse, Yusuf Ali has even chosen to translate dhuriya as 'race' and Muhammad Asad makes the following comment:
    The term “offspring” denotes here the human race as a whole (cf. the recurring expression “children of Adam”). (Asad, The Message of the Qur'an, The Book Foundation 2003)
    Thus, when we re-read the passages with these meanings in mind, we find that verses 21:76 and 37:77 are statements concerning the survival of his followers and supporters, therefore it does not contradict verses 11:42-43 which speak about the fate of Noah's son.

    3. Critics also point out that Noah is commanded to take all his family and the believers on board the ark with him, but not those people "against whom a word has already been passed" (verse 11:40). Critics feel that this phrase implies that Noah was instructed not to take certain people on board the ark, yet he disobeyed when he called his son to join him on the ark. This claim is based on an incorrect understanding of the mentioned phrase. The usage of 'word' in the phrase implies the decree of Allah swt, hence Noah may simply have been instructed to leave the disbelievers behind - those who were decreed to stay behind. The verse does not necessitate that Noah was informed who specifically was doomed and who was not.

    Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an

    The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
    "Surely I was sent to perfect the qualities of righteous character" [Musnad Ahmad, Muwatta Mâlik]


    Visit Ansâr Al-'Adl's personal page HERE.
    Excellent resources on Islam listed HERE.

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    Re: Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an


    Was Noah Driven Out?

    Concerning the fourty-first allegation:
    Was Noah driven out? "Before them *the people of Noah* rejected (their messenger): They rejected Our servant and said, 'Here is One possessed!' And he was driven out." [Sura 54:9] Now, if he is driven out [expelled from their country] how come they can scoff at him while he is buiding the ark since we read "Forthwith he (starts) constructing the Ark: Every time that the Chiefs of *his people* passed by him, they threw ridicule on him." [Sura 11:38] He cannot be both: Driven out and near enough that they can regularly pass by.
    Verses in question:
    54:9 Before them the People of Noah rejected (their apostle): they rejected Our servant, and said, "Here is one possessed!", and he was driven out.

    11:38 Forthwith he (starts) constructing the Ark: Every time that the chiefs of his people passed by him, they threw ridicule on him. He said: "If ye ridicule us now, we (in our turn) can look down on you with ridicule likewise!


    1. The misunderstanding has arisen because the critic based his entire allegation on the interpretation presented in a single translation (Yusuf Ali). But the arabic word wazdujir has more meanings than just "and he was driven out". Consider the following translations:
    Pickthall Translation: The folk of Noah denied before them, yea, they denied Our slave and said: A madman; and he was repulsed.

    A. J. Arberry Translation: The people of Noah cried lies before them; they cried lies to Our servant, and said, 'A man possessed!' And he was rejected.

    Daryabadi Translation: There belied before them the people of Nuh. So they belied Our bondman Nuh and said: `a madman;' and moreover he was reproven.

    Muhsin Khan Translation: The people of Nuh (Noah) denied (their Messenger) before them, they rejected Our slave, and said: "A madman!" and he was insolently rebuked and threatened.

    Muhammad Asad Translation: [Long] before those [who now deny resurrection] did Noah’s people call it a lie; and they gave the lie to Our servant and said, “Mad is he!” - and he was repulsed
    The more common interpretation immediately extinguishes the contradiction.

    2. Even if Prophet Noah was driven out [of his home/neighborhood], this does not mean that there would have been no interactions with the people of his nation. It is reasonable to believe that he could have been driven to the outskirts of the city, where he began to build the ark in the desert. Whenever travellers passing by on the roads would see them they would ridicule them. This is similar to the Boycott against the family of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when his tribe moved out into the outskirts of Makkah. In fact, in many societies, someone may be drivcen out of their homes and forced to live on the streets, but that does not mean that they are driven out of civilization all together.

    Last edited by Ansar Al-'Adl; 09-08-2005 at 11:14 PM.
    Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an

    The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
    "Surely I was sent to perfect the qualities of righteous character" [Musnad Ahmad, Muwatta Mâlik]


    Visit Ansâr Al-'Adl's personal page HERE.
    Excellent resources on Islam listed HERE.

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    Re: Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an


    Regarding Pharoah's Fate

    Concerning the fourty-second alleged contradiction:
    Was Pharaoh Drowned or Saved when chasing Moses and the Israelites? Saved [10:92], drowned [28:40, 17:103, 43:55].
    Since it is well-established amongst Muslims that Pharoah was drowned, we need only examine verse 10:92 in context, which is the basis upon which the critic builds his argument:
    10:90-92. And We took the Children of Israel across the sea, and Pharaoh and his army pursued them in oppression and enmity. At length, when he began to drown, he said: "I believe that none has the right to be worshipped but the One in Whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am one of the Muslims." [We declared] "Now (you believe) while you refused to believe before and you were one of the evil-doers. [Thus, you shall never be forgiven] but this day We shall deliver you as a corpse (out from the sea) that you may be a sign to those who come after you! And verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our signs.
    1. The claim is based on a misinterpretation of verse 10:92, specifically the phrase 'falyawma nunajjîka bibadanika', that 'this day we shall deliver you as a corpse'. The misinterpretation arises from some translations rendering the phrase as "this day we shall save you in your body", which can be confusing to the reader since the key point to note is that Pharoah was not saved, but his dead body was preserved and delivered from the sea for the Children of Israel as proof of his death. This explanation has been provided in many books of tafsir (Qur'anic exegesis), for example the renowned scholar Ibn Kathir Ad-Damishqi (d.1372CE) writes in his Tafsir Al-Qur'an Al-Azim:
    About Allah's statement,
    (
    So this day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the sea) that you may be a sign to those who come after you!)
    Ibn 'Abbas and others from among the Salaf have said:
    "Some of the Children of Israel doubted the death of Fir'awn (Pharoah) so Allah commanded the sea to throw his body - whole, without a soul - with his known armor plate. The body was thrown to a high place on the land so that the Children of israel could confirm his death and destruction." (fn. At-Tabari 15:196). That is why Allah said,
    (
    So this day we shall deliver you..") meaning that we will put your body on a [raised] place on the earth. Mujahid said,
    "(
    your (dead) body) means, 'your physical body.'" (fn. At-Tabari 15:197).
    (
    that you may be a sign to those who came after you!) meaning, so that might be proof of your death and destruction for the Children of Israel. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Darussalam Publishers & Distributors 2000, vol. 4, pp. 653-654)
    Thus, Ibn Kathir explains, by quoting the traditional understanding of the earliest Muslims, that this phrase only signifies that the dead body of Phraoah was delivered from the Sea. This is confirmed by many narrations found in the tafsir of Imam Ibn Jarir At-Tabari (d. 923CE):
    God says that He told Pharaoh that We shall throw your body on a raised piece of land so that people see you dead, whoever has any doubts about your death.
    ...Muhammad Ibn Sa'd told me: My father told me: My uncle told me that his father reported from his own father who reported that Ibn 'Abbâs commented on "
    falyawma nunajjîka bibadanika litakûna liman khalfaka 'âyah" that God saved Pharaoh from the sea for the sake of the Children of Israel so that they looked at him after he was drowned. If one asked why say "bibadanika" and whether it would be possible for Pharaoh to be saved without his body so that one needs to specify "bibadanika". It would be said that Pharaoh could be saved as a body without life/soul meaning lifeless. (ARABIC SOURCE)
    A similar explanation is given in the tafsir of Fakhr Al-Din Ar-Razi (d. 1209CE), in which he clarifies the meaning of several phrases in the verse:
    There are certain aspects that need explanation in "Today We shall save you as a body": Firstly, "We shall save you" means We shall throw you [out of the water] on a plateau, which is a raised piece of land. Secondly: We shall bring you out of the waters and relieve you from what has befallen your people in the pit of the sea, but only after you have drowned. The phrase "as a body" is a circumstantial phrase, implying that 'such would be your situation at that time that you shall be a body, without life'. Thirdly, this is a promise of relief for the Pharaoh, by way of sarcasm, as the Qur'an has said [elsewhere] 'give them the glad tidings of a painful punishment'. This is as if to say to Pharaoh: We shall relieve you, but this relief shall be granted to your body only, not to your soul. (Tafsir Al-Kabir, SOURCE)
    And the following explanation is found in Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, written by Imam Jalal Ad-Deen Al-Muhalla (d. 1460CE) and his student, Jalal Al-Din As-Suyuti (d. 1505CE):
    "falyawma nunajjîka" [meaning] We will deliver you from the sea; "bibadanika" [meaning] as a corpse devoid of life/soul; "litakûna liman khalfaka" [meaning as a sign for those who would come] afterwards... (ARABIC SOURCE)
    The above detailed commentaries have been cited so as to leave no doubt in the reader's mind concerning the unanimous agreement amongst Muslim scholars on this issue - that these verses imply that Pharoah was drowned, while his body was preserved. It by no means can be taken to mean that Pharoah was saved as such an interpretation would conflict with the literal arabic wording, other parts of the Qur'an, and the statements from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the early Muslims.

    2. Some critics also raise the question as to who is conveying the words in verses 10:91-92 to Pharoah. According to them, this verse necessitates that he is either a Prophet since God is speaking to him directly, or a Prophet must be there whil he is drowning speaking these words to him. This objection is flawed for several reasons.
    First of all, even though God is the speaker addressing Pharoah in verses 10:91-92, this does not necessitate that God's words were actually heard by Pharoah. We can find many analogous exampls in our daily lives. For instance, a hunter loses his prey and mutters, "You won't get away! I'll hunt you down wherever you may hide!" Thus, it is common for a statement to be directed towards someone but not intended for that individual to hear. Nevertheless, the words conveyed to us in verse 10:91-92 may heave been heard by the Angels or inhabitants of heaven, or it is possible that an Angel may have conveyed them to Pharoah - the verse simply doesn't specify which, as it is an irrelevant matter.

    3. Some historians and Muslim scholars have identified the 'Pharoah' mentioned in the Qur'an with some Pharoahs from Ancient Egypt, such as Ramses II or Merneptah. Although these may be interesting historical theories, they are not confirmed facts nor do they have any bearing on the Qur'anic message. As Mufti Muhammad Shafi, the late Grand Mufti of Pakistan, writes in his tafsir:
    Some time back, newspaper reports indicated that the dead body of Pharoah was found intact and was seen by the public at large and that it was deposited safely in the Cairo Museum. But, it cannot be said with certainty that this is the same Pharoah who confronted Sayyidna Musa (Moses) (peace be upon him), or is some other Pharoah because names of Pharoahs differ. Every ruler of Egypt in that period of history had the title of Pharoah.
    But, no wonder, the Divine power had throwned a drowned dead body ashore. Very similarly, it may have kept it even preserved against spoilage so that it could become a lesson for future generations. And it may still be there! (However it remains essential to learn a lesson from it as compared to becoming excited about its discovery as an archaeological triumph).
    (Shafi, Ma'ariful Qur'an, Maktaba-e-Darul-Uloom, Karachi, 2003, vol. 4, p. 574, emphasis added)
    Thus, Muslims should remember that these stories have been revealed in the Qur'an as a lesson and reminder for us, so that we may take heed and serve Allah before it is too late.
    The above points should clarify that there is no contradiction between the referred passages in the Qur'an, as nothing has been stated that indicates Pharoah did not drown.
    Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an

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    "Surely I was sent to perfect the qualities of righteous character" [Musnad Ahmad, Muwatta Mâlik]


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    Re: Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an


    Repentance When Faced With Death

    With regards to the fourty-third alleged contradiction:
    Pharaoh's repentance in the face of death? According to Sura 10:90-92, Pharaoh repented "in the sight of death" and was saved. But Sura 4:18 says that such a thing can't happen.
    This claim is based on a misinterpretation of verse 10:92, the explanation of which has been mentioned in a preceding article #####. Pharoah was not saved, rather he drowned. Thus, verse 4:18 is correct when it states:
    4:18 Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil, until death faces one of them, and he says, "Now have I repented indeed;" nor of those who die rejecting Faith: for them have We prepared a punishment most grievous.

    In conclusion, there is no contradiction between the verses.
    Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an

    The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
    "Surely I was sent to perfect the qualities of righteous character" [Musnad Ahmad, Muwatta Mâlik]


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    Re: Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an


    Abrogation and the Unalterable Word of God

    Concerning the fourty-fourth alleged contradiction:
    Abrogation? "The words of the Lord are perfect in truth and justice; there is NONE who can change His words." [Sura 6:115] Also see 6:34 and 10:65. But then Allah (Muhammad?) sees the need to exchange some of them for "better ones" [Sura 2:106, 16:101].
    Verses in question:
    6:115. And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can change His Words. And He is the All Hearer, the All Knower.

    2:106. Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allâh is able to do all things?

    16:101. And when We change a Verse in place of another, and Allâh knows the best of what He sends down, they (the disbelievers) say: "You (O Muhammad ) are but a forger!" Nay, but most of them know not.

    1. This objection is based on a misinterpretation of verse 6:115, hence we shall first provide the correct explanation of this verse before moving on to explain the concept of abrogation in the Qur'an. With regards to verse 6:115 and all similar statements in the Qur'an, the phrase 'none can change His words' does not necessarily refer to literal verbal revelation. Nor does the suspension of a verse's ruling necessarily equate the changing of God's words. What is understood from this verse and similar verses in the Qur'an is that the 'words' being referred to here are the decrees of Allah. Let us examine what Imam Ibn Kathir Ad-Damishqi (d. 1372CE) says regarding this phrase in his Tafsir Al-Qur'an Al-Azim:
    (and none can alter the Words of Allah.) This refers to His decision that victory in this life and the Hereafter is for His believing servants. Allah said in other Ayat,
    (
    And, verily, Our Word has gone forth of old for Our servants, the Messengers. That they verily would be made triumphant. And that Our hosts, they verily would be the victors.) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Darussalam Publishers & Distributors 2000, vol. 3, pp. 338-339)

    (None can change His Words.) meaning, none can avert Allah's judgment whether in this life or the Hereafter, (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Darussalam Publishers & Distributors 2000, vol. 3, p. 447)
    Thus, we can see that for both verses 6:34 and 6:115, Ibn Kathir has explained that this phrase simply relates to the unalterable decrees and laws of Allah. Our destiny in this life has already been dictated by Allah and recorded in the Preserved Tablet (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfudh). This tablet contains the words of Our Creator, and these decrees cannot be changed. Abul Ala Maududi (d. 1979 CE) expresses this concept in the following terms in his commentary on verse 6:34:
    The point emphasized here is that no one has the power to change God's Law regarding the conflict between Truth and falsehood. Lovers of Truth must of necessity pass through trials and persecutions so as to be gradually tempered. Their endurance, their honesty of conviction, their readiness to sacrifice and to undertake all risks for their cause, the strength of their faith and the extent of their trust in God must be tested. They must pass through this phase of persecution to develop in themselves those qualities which can be developed nowhere else but on earth. They are also required to defeat the forces of Ignorance by virtue of their moral excellence and the nobility of their character. Only after they have established their moral superiority over the adversaries will God's help arrive. No one can secure that help beforehand. (Maududi, Towards Understanding the Qur'an, The Islamic Foundation 1995, vol. 2, p.227 fn. 22)
    Hence, Maududi emphasizes that the decree is associated with the law relating to our position and task in this wordly life. Moiz Amjad presents a similar argument in his article, Abrogation & the Unalterable 'Word' of God! , in which he writes:
    I have explained the three referred verses and have shown that if interpreted in the light of their respective contexts, none of these verses can be taken to refer to the books revealed by God. In the first of the three verses (Al-An`aam 6: 34) 'the words of God' refer to the God's law regarding the rejection of His messengers. In the second verse (Al-An`aam 6: 115) the phrase 'the word of your Lord' refers to the unchanging law of God regarding who is allowed to accept His guidance and who is not. Finally, in the third verse (Yunus 10: 64), 'the words of God' refer to the unalterable law of God regarding reward of the pious. None of the referred verses, as evidenced by their context, refers to the books or verses revealed by God. They refer to certain moral laws of God, which the Qur'an has declared to be God's constants.(SOURCE)
    By bringing together the mentioned points we may arrive at the understanding that the words referred to in these verses are those that dictate the fate of the universe. While the decrees of Allah may be presented in the verses of the Qur'an, the nullification of certain rulings of these verses does not equate the changing of Allah's decrees, as shall be elaborated under the next point. We have also commented on abrogation in #####.

    2. With regards to abrogation (Ar. naskh), it is a confirmed Islamic doctrine in the Qur'an. Since the Qur'an was revealed gradually over a period of twenty-three years, the legal rulings were not imposed on its adherents all at once. Rather, it gave them time to grow in faith and become accustomed to Islam. As Shaykh Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi mentions:
    Among the blessings of Allaah to the Companions is that He revealed to them the laws of Islaam gradually, and thus made it easier for them to adopt these laws. Initially, there were no specific laws of halaal and haraam. The Companions during the Makkan stage were being trained spiritually so that they could form the nucleus of the future Muslim state in Madeenah. Once they had passed this stage, Allaah then completed the revelation of the sharee'ah in gradual steps, so that they could adapt to the lifestyle of Islaam.(Qadhi, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan, Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution 1999, p. 86)
    And as Makkee ibn Abee Taalib (d. 1035CE) mentioned regarding abrogation:
    And this (meaning naskh) is from Allah, and is meant to be for the betterment of His worshippers. So, He commands them with a ruling at a specific time, since He knows that it will be for their betterment for that particular time, but He already knows that this command will be removed from them at a later time, since at this later time that particular ruling will not be for their benefit. (An-Nahaas, p. 116.)
    Thus, abrogation does not imply any imperfection whatsoever on the part of God, as critics allege. It does not mean that God made a mistake or that he didn't foresee an event. Rather, God knew in advance, and intended to send temporary laws for the early Muslims that would later be abrogated once the Muslim society became established.
    It is analogous to a Professor who asks his students to perform 30 minutes of studying everyday for the first week. During the second week, he 'abrogates' his initial command and asks his students to perform 1 hour of studying every day. The Professor did not make a mistake initially, nor did he react to an unforeseen event. Rather, he had always planned to give a lighter load the first week to his students, and then increase the workload the next week because he knew they would be ready for it. In fact, he had his plan for the entire course written down and recorded. So when he initially gave the order to perform 30 minutes of homework, he knew that he would later abrogate this command.
    Similarly, Allah initially gave some rulings that were later abrogated, but He knew and intended for them to be abrogated as the condition of the Muslims changed. He also recorded all His decrees in the Preserved Tablet; everythign was planned in advance. One may ask why some narrations seem to imply that God's revelation was a reaction to an event. The answer is that God revealed the laws at the occurence of such events so that the Muslims could appreciate the practical application of the law, and the need for such a law.

    3. So the question that remains is, "Does the doctrine of abrogation contradict the verses stating that none can change the decrees of God?" And the answer is no, because God had decreed right from the beginning that He would reveal temporary laws that would be abrogated. He decreed right from the beginning that the Muslims would follow this law for this amount of time, and then later it would be abrogated by this law. That was His decree, His word. Abrogation is not the changing of His words, but it is the addition of a new ruling to be followed, as originally decreed. Going back to the example of the Professor, we could say that:
    The Professor told his class at the beginning of the course, "I've written down what we will do during this course. I've planned it carefully, and written down everything we will do, word for word. No one can change my words." Then, during the second week when the Professor changes the ruling from 30 minutes of homework to 1 hour, a student complains and says, "But sir, you've changed your words!" The Professor responds by saying, "No, I haven't changed my words, I had planned this right from the beginning." Evidently, he is reffering to his plan as his words.
    Thus, Allah has informed us that no one can alter the fate which He has decreed for the universe, and no one can repeal His decisions and decrees. This is completely different from the phenomenon of naskh, in which a new ruling is followed, in accordance with His original decree. Consequently, there is no contradiction between the two verses.
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    Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an

    The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
    "Surely I was sent to perfect the qualities of righteous character" [Musnad Ahmad, Muwatta Mâlik]


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    Re: Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an


    Whom Allah Guides

    Concerning the fourty-fifth alleged contradiction:
    Guiding to truth? "Say: 'God - He guides to the truth; and which is worthier to be followed ...?" [Sura 10:35] But how much is left over of this worthiness when we also read: "Allah leads astray whom he pleases, and he guides whom He pleases, ..." [Sura 14:4]. And how do we know in which of Allah's categories of pleasure we fall? How sure can a Muslim be that he is one of those guided right and not one of those led astray?
    The question of whom God guides has already been explained in detail in two of our previous responses, #### and The Mercy and Guidance of Allah. The answer from these articles is that God guides those who desire His guidance and He allows astray those who seek only to satisfy their worldly desires.

    Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an

    The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
    "Surely I was sent to perfect the qualities of righteous character" [Musnad Ahmad, Muwatta Mâlik]


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    Re: Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an


    Salvation for Non-muslims

    In response to the fourty-sixth alleged contradiction:
    Will Christians enter Paradise or go to Hell? Sura 2:62 and 5:69 say "Yes", Sura 5:72 (just 3 verses later) and 3:85 say "No".
    Verses in question:
    2:62 Verily! Those who believed and the Jews and Christians, and Sabians - whoever believed in Allâh and the Last Day and performed righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve .

    5:69 Surely, those who believed and the Jews and Sabians and Christians - whosoever believed in Allâh and the Last Day, and worked righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

    5:72 Indeed, they have disbelieved who say, "Behold, God is the Christ, son of Mary" - seeing that the Christ [himself] said, "O children of Israel! Worship God [alone], who is my Sustainer as well as your Sustainer."" Behold, whoever ascribes divinity to any being beside God, unto him will God deny paradise, and his abode shall be the fire: and such evildoers will have none to aid them.

    3:85 And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.


    The confusion arises from a misunderstanding of verses 2:62 and 5:69, hence the focus of this article will be to present the correct understanding of these verses.

    Reference to Righteous Followers from Previous Nations

    The common interpretation of these verses is that they refer to righteous followers of Prophets before the coming of Prophet Muhammad pbuh. This can be understood through the following points.
    1. The Historical Context
    The historical background will allow us to better understand the groups described in these verses. Imaam Ibn Kathir Ad-Damishqi (d. 1372CE) describes the historical context in his renowned Tafsir Al-Qur'an Al-Azim as follows:
    [The saying of the Exalted, "verily! Those who believe and the Jews and the Christians, and the Sabians, whosoever believes in Allaah and the Last Day and does righteous deeds shall have their reward with their Lord": as-Suddi said,
    ‘the verse was revealed with regards to companions of Salmaan al-Faarisee about whom he informed the Prophet (SAW) that ‘they prayed, fasted, believed in you and bore witness that you had been sent as a Prophet.’ So when Salmaan had finished extolling them the Prophet (SAW) said, "O Salmaan they are from the People of the Fire." This weighed down heavily on Salmaan and then Allaah revealed this verse. So the Imaan of the Jews referred to those Jews who held fast to the Tawrah and the sunnah of Moses until Jesus was sent. When Jesus (AS) came then whosoever held fast to the Tawrah and the sunnah of Moses (and did not follow Jesus) was destroyed. The Imaan of the Christians referred to those who held fast to the Injeel and the laws of Jesus – these people were the believers who accepted him. This held true until Muhammad (SAW) came, so whosoever did not follow Muhammad (SAW) and did not leave what he had been following was destroyed.’
    This does not negate what Alee bin Abee Talha reports from ibn Abbaas that after this verse was revealed Allaah revealed the verse, "whosoever desires a religion other than Islaam then it shall not be accepted from him and in the Hereafter he shall be of the losers." (3: 85) Here ibn Abbaas is informing that the only thing accepted from someone will be that which is in conformity to the Sharee`ah of Muhammad (SAW) after he had been sent. As for those who came before him, then whosoever followed the Messenger of his time then he was upon guidance and the victorious way. So the Jews referred to are the followers of Moses who used to judge by the Tawrah in their time.]
    (Tafseer ibn Katheer’ 1/182)
    Salman Al-Faarisee was a Persian Zoroastrian who left his home in search of God's true religion. He became a Christian in Syria and encountered many righteous Christian scholars who foretold of the coming of a Prophet in Arabia. Later, Salman came to Madinah and accepted Islam at the hands of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh. Naturally, he enquired about the status of those devout followers of previous Prophets whom he had encountered in his journey. Verses 2:62 and verses 5:69 clarify and explain the status of such people. They are not speaking about Christians and Jews who lived after the comming of the prophet Muhammad pbuh but did not accept him as a messenger, for one must accept the message of the Prophet sent to them in order to be guided. Contemporary Muslim writer, Dr. Jamal Badawi summarizes this explanation concisely:
    This verse must be understood in the light of other verses in the Qur'an dealing with the same topic. It is clear in the Qur'an that rejecting beliefs in any prophet is tantamount to rejecting belief in all of them. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to Muslims is the last, final and universal messenger to all humankind. As such rejecting belief in him and in the divine revelations or word of God given to him is tantamount to rejecting all of the prophets. Therefore, this verse may be referring to those who followed their prophet prior to the mission of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). In fact, these people who followed the unadulterated message of their prophet are in effect "fellow Muslims", literally those who sought peace through submission to God. (SOURCE)
    In light of this explanation, it becomes quite clear that verses 2:62 and 5:69 are not at all stating that Christians and Jews who reject the message of Prophet Muhammad pbuh enter paradise, as the critic claims. The verse is referring to the original followers of previous Prophets before the coming of Prophet Muhammad pbuh. In other words, those who faithfully followed the teachings of the prophet sent to them will be rewarded.

    2. Every Prophet brought the same Message
    These verses make it very clear that the original and true followers of each Prophet will be rewarded, as all the Prophets brought the same message of submission to the One Creator and following His commandments. As the Qur'an mentions:
    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).
    Likewise, the Prophet Muhammad pbuh said: "The Prophets are brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is the same." (Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad and Abu Dawood. Saheeh al-Jaami' 2/14). Thus, verses 2:62 and 5:69 clarify that people from the past who followed their Prophet are on the same footing as those who now follow Prophet Muhammad pbuh. But once a Prophet has been sent, the people must accept that Prophet. Shaykh Umar Sulayman Al-Ashqar, Professor at the Shari'ah College of the University of Jordan, writes on this subject:
    When examining the call of the Messengers which is referred to in the Qur'an, we find that the religion to which all the Messengers called people is one and the same, namely Islam:
    Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam... (Qur'an 3:19)
    Islam in the language of the Qur'an, is not the name of a particular religion, rather it is the name of the common religion which was preached by all the Prophets. Prophet Nooh (Noah) pbuh said to his people:
    ...And I have been commanded to be of the Muslims [i.e. those who submit to Allah's will]. (Qur'an 10:72)
    Islam is the religion which Allah enjoined upon the father of the Prophets, Prophet Ibraheem (Abraham) pbuh:
    When his Lord said to him, 'Submit [i.e. be a Muslim]!' He said, 'I have submitted myself [ as a Muslim] to the Lord of the 'Alameen [mankind, jinn and all that exists].' (Qur'an 2:131)
    Both Prophet Ibraheem and Ya'qoob [Jacob] advised their children, saying,
    Then die not except in the Faith of Islam [as Muslims - Islamic monotheism]. (Qur'an 2:132)
    The sons of Ya'qoob pbuh responded to their father:
    ...We shall worship your God, the God of your fathers, Ibraheem [Abraham], Ismaa'eel [Ishmael], Ishaaq [Isaac], One God, and to Him we submit [in Islam]. (Qur'an 2:133)
    Prophet Moosa (Moses) pbuh said to his people:
    ...O' my people! If you have believed in Allah, then put your trust in Him if you are Muslims [those who submit to Allah's Will]. (Qur'an 10:84)
    The Disciples said to Prophet 'Eesa (Jesus) pbuh:
    ...We believe in Allah, and bear witness that we are Muslims [i.e. we submit to Allah]. (Qur'an 3:52)
    When a group of the People of the Book heard the Qur'an,
    ..They say: 'We believe in it. Veruly, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before it we have been from those who submit themselves to Allah in Islam as Muslims.' (Qur'an 28:53)
    Islam was the common word which was spoken by all the Prophets and their followers from the most ancient of times until the time of Prophet Muhammad pbuh.

    How to determine Islam

    Islam means obedience, surrender and submission to Allah, by doing that which He commands and abstaining from that which He forbids. Hence, Islam at the time of Prophet Nooh (Noah) meant following that which Nooh brought, Islam at the time of Prophet Moosa (Moses) meant following the Law of Moosa. Islam at the time of Prophet 'Eesa (Jesus) meant following the Injeel. And Islam at the time of Prophet Muhammad pbuh meant following the Noble Messenger pbuh.
    (Al-Ashqar, The Messengers and the Messages: In the Light of the Qur'an and Sunnah (Islamic Creed Series Volume 4), International Islamic Publishing House 2003, pp. 310-312, emphasis added)
    This quote from Shaykh Al-Ashqar explains that since the religion of every Prophet was Islam, then anyone who followed the message of the Prophet sent to them will be rewarded. In other words, the Jews at the time of Prophet Moses who followed his message will be rewarded. The Christians at the time of Prophet Jesus who followed his message will be rewarded. Now in the time of Prophet Muhammad pbuh, one must follow his message in order to attain that reward, the message being the same as that which was brought before. Shaykh Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, a Professor of Islamic studies and author of many Islamic books, repeats the same idea when he writes:
    UNIVERSALITY OF GOD’S RELIGION
    Since the consequences of following a false religion are so grave, the true religion of God must have been universally understandable and universally attainable in the past and it must continue eternally to be understandable and attainable throughout the entire world. In other words, the true religion of God cannot be confined to any one people, place, or period of time. Nor is it logical that such a religion should impose conditions that have nothing to do with the relationship of man with God, such as baptism, or belief in man as a savior, or an intermediary. Within the central principle of Islam and its definition (the surrender of one’s will to God) lie the roots of Islam’s universality. Whenever man comes to the realization that God is one and distinct from His creation, and submits himself to God, he becomes a Muslim in body and spirit and is eligible for paradise.
    Consequently, anyone at any time in the most remote regions of the world can become Muslim, a follower of God’s religion, Islam, by merely rejecting the worship of creation and turning to God alone. It should be noted, however, that in order to actually submit to God’s will, one must continually choose between right and wrong. Indeed, man is endowed by God with the power not only to distinguish right from wrong but also to choose between them. These God-given powers carry with them an important responsibility, namely, that man is answerable to God for the choices he makes. It follows, then, that man should try his utmost to do good and avoid evil. These concepts are expressed in the final revelation as follows:

    "Verily, those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians (angel-and-star-worshippers) -- any of these who believe in Allah and the Last Day and work righteousness shall have their reward with their Lord. They will not be overcome by fear or grief."
    [Qur’an 2:62]

    If, for whatever reason, they fail to accept the final message after it has been clearly explained to them, they will be in grave danger. The last Prophet said:

    "Whoever among the Christians and Jews hears of me but does not affirm his belief in what I brought and dies in this state will be among the inhabitants of hell."

    (Sahih Muslim [English Translation], Vol.1 P.91 No, 284)
    (SOURCE, emphasis added)
    In other words, verse 2:69 means that so long as an individual believed and submitted themselves to God by following the messenger of their time, they will receive their reward. Imaam Ibn Jarir At-Tabari (d. 923CE) also mentions that the Jews, Christians and Sabians being referred to in verses 2:62 and 5:69 are those who were true in following the original message of their Prophets; these were people who lived before the time of Prophet Muhammad pbuh. He writes:
    And it was even said that the people who are meant here are those who believed from the people of the book in accordance to the belief of Issa (Jesus), and what he was sent with, until they caught up with Mohammed, salah allahu 'alayhi wa salam, and so they believed in him and said he was truthful. So, it was said to those who believed in Issa (Jesus) and what he was sent with after having witnessed Mohammed, salah allahu 'alayi wa salam: believe in Mohammed and what he was sent with. The meaning of 'Iman Al Mumin' (the faith of a believer) is his steadfast with his faith and his refusal to change it. But with the 'iman' (faith) of the Jews, Christians, and Sabians, it is their belief in Mohammed, salah allahu 'alayhi wa salam, and what he was sent with, and so whoever from them believes in Mohammed, and the Last day, does good deeds, and doesn't change or replace his religion until he dies upon that, he then gets the reward of his deed with his Lord as Allah has described." (Tabari, Jami‘ al-bayan fi ta’wil al-Qur’an, ARABIC SOURCE, emphasis added)
    Imaam At-Tabari makes it clear that the verses describe followers of previous Prophets who followed that message before the coming of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh. Once he came, then they had to accept his message. Imaam At-Tabari also points out that the verse is not referring to everyone who calls themselves a Jew or Christian, but specifically to the true followers of Moses and Jesus amongst them:
    How about if someone said to us: What about the complete meaning of the verse, "and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians" The reply would be in Allah's verse which completes [the earlier] meaning "whoever believed in Allah and the Last day" because it means: whomever from amongst them [the Jews, Christians, and Sabians] truly believed in Allah and the Last day, although Allah did not mention [the word] 'minhum' (from amongst them)... (Tabari, Jami‘ al-bayan fi ta’wil al-Qur’an, ARABIC SOURCE, emphasis added)
    It becomes evident that the most prevalent understanding of these verses is that they referred to the previous nations, the true followers of Prophet Moses pbuh and Prophet Jesus pbuh. This answers the question concerning the fate of those people who came before Prophet Muhammad pbuh. Anyone who accepted the message brought by the Prophet of their time will be rewarded. However, there is absolutely no doubt that after someone receives the message of Prophet Muhammad pbuh, it is incumbent upon them to follow that path, as it is the final step in the chain of revelation. A true follower of any of the previous Prophets would be able to recognize that the message of Islam is a continuation of that which was taught by the previous Prophets. The Qur'an describes these people as follows:
    28:51-55. And indeed now We have conveyed the Word (Qur'an), in order that they may receive admonition. Those to whom We gave the previous Scriptures, - they believe in it (the Qur'ân). And when it is recited to them, they say: "We have believed in it; Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before it we have been from those who submit themselves to Allah in Islam as Muslims. They will be given their reward twice over, because they are patient, and repel evil with good, and spend (in charity) out of what We have provided them. And when they hear vain talk, they withdraw from it and say: "To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not the ignorant."
    Notice that the followers of the previous prophets/scriptures are recorded to have said, in the above passage, that they considered themselves to have been practicing the same message from before. They considered themselves already 'Muslims'. Consequently, when the Qur'anic verses were presented to them they accepted them without hesitation as they recognized that the message had the same origin and in fact had been prophesized by the Prophets whom they followed. For further information concerning the original true message of the three Abrahamic faiths, one may refer to The First and Final Commandment by Dr. Laurence Brown MD, a truly fascinating work.

    3. The Textual Context
    Examining the context in which these verses appear will enable us to better appreciate the intended meaning of the verses. Verse 5:69 appears in the following context:
    5:65-74. If only the People of the Book had believed and been righteous, We should indeed have blotted out their iniquities and admitted them to gardens of bliss. If only they had stood fast by the Tawraat, the Injeel, and what has [now] been sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There is from among them a party on the right course: but many of them follow a course that is evil. O Messenger, proclaim the (message) which has been revealed to you from your Lord. And if you do not, then you have not conveyed His Message. And Allah will protect you from mankind. For Allah guides not those who reject Faith. Say: "O People of the Book! You have no ground to stand upon unless you establish the Tawraat, the Injeel, and that which has now been sent down to you from your Lord." Verily, that which has been sent down to you (Muhammad) from your Lord increases in many of them their obstinate rebellion and disbelief. So be not sorrowful over the people who disbelieve. Surely, those who believed and the Jews and Sabians and Christians - whosoever believed in Allâh and the Last Day, and worked righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. We took the covenant of the Children of Israel and sent them apostles, every time, there came to them an apostle with what they themselves desired not - some (of these) they called impostors, and some they (go so far as to) slay. They thought there would be no trial (or punishment); so they became blind and deaf; yet Allah (in mercy) turned to them; yet again many of them became blind and deaf. But Allah sees well all that they do. They do blaspheme who say: "God is Christ the son of Mary." But said Christ: "O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord." Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help. They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them. Why turn they not to Allah, and seek His forgiveness? For Allah is Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful.[
    These verses begin by mentioning that the majority of the people of previous scriptures deviated from the truth while some still held fast to their scriptures. Then it mentions that Allah, in His infinite mercy, has sent to the people of the scripture another messenger to guide them back to the truth after they had deviated. They need only believe in Allah and the Last Day and accept the messages that were sent to them in order to attain salvation. Immediately after mentioning that anyone who has faith in Allah and does righteous deeds will be rewarded (verse 5:69), the Qur'an goes on to clarify that the Christians and Jews being referred to here are not those who killed the prophets or blasphemed by ascribing divinity to Prophet Jesus. Rather, verse 5:69 refers to those who follow the true message brought to them by their messengers. It clarifies that the Jews and Christians have now gone astray and conseuqently they do not qualify for the reward given to those who have truly believed and performed righteous deeds. This reward is for those who follow the messages of the Prophets, to worship one God alone and to keep the commandments. If one rejects the prophethood of Muhammad pbuh, they have not followed the message of God. But if one accepts the prophethood of Muhammad pbuh, then they are amongst those referred to in the verse who will be rewarded, and they are considered Muslims.
    Similarly, verse 2:62 comes after the Qur'an describes the deviation of the people of Prophet Moses while some were true in following his message. So, the verse is understood to mean that anyone from the people of Moses, who truly accepted him and his message, will receive the reward promised to them. The same is true for Prophet Jesus and Prophet Muhammad pbuh. As Mufti Muhammad Shafi, the late Grand Mufti of Pakistan, writes concerning the context of verse 2:62:
    The previous verse spoke of how the Israelites drew upon themselves the wrath of Allah through their habitual insolence and disobedience. Now, this account may lead listeners, or the Jews themselves, to suppose that, in view of such transgression, their Taubah (repentance), if they agree to offer it, would not be acceptable to Allah. In order to dispel such a misgiving, the present verse lays down a general principle: no matter how a man has been behaving ealier, so long as he submits himself fully to the commandments of Allah in his belief and in his deeds both, he is acceptable to Allah, and will get his reward. It is obvious enough that after the revelation of the Holy Qur'an, which is the last message of Allah, perfect obedience to Allah can only mean accepting Islam and following the Last Prophet Muhammad pbuh. (fn. Contrary to the flaccid fancies of some "modernizers" who are very happy with themselves over their "liberalism" and "tolerance", the present verse does not open the way of salvation for each and every "man of good will" irrespective of the creed he follows. If one reads the verse in its proper context and along with other relevant verses of the Holy Qur'an, one will easily see that the verse, in fact, promises salvation in the other world only to those who accept Islam. It is an invitation extended to the Jews, the Christians, the Sabeans and, as a matter of fact, to the followers of all possible religions, and even to non-believers - specific names only serve as examples.) The verse, in effect, assures everyone that once a man has accepted Islam, all his former transgressions, whether in the matter of beliefs or in that of deeds, will be forgiven, and he will become worthy of receiving the rewards of the other world. (Shafi, Ma'ariful Qur'an, Maktaba-e-Darul-Uloom, Karachi, 2003, vol. 1, pp. 227-228, emphasis added)
    And Verse 3:85 appears in the following context:
    3:84-85. Say (O Muhammad): "We believe in Allâh and in what has been sent down to us, and what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and Al-Asbât [the twelve tribes of the Children of Israel] and what was given to Moses, Jesus and the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between one another among them and to Him (Allâh) we have submitted (in Islâm)." And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.
    Thus, this verse mentions that since the way of life preached by all the Prophets was Islam, this is the only religion acceptable from the people. Any human being who truly strived to submit themselves to the will of their Lord and followed whichever message had come to them from their Lord would be rewarded.

    4. Objections answered
    One may object to the above interpretation by pointing out that many english translations of the verse render the word 'believed' (Amana) in the present tense as 'believe', whereas this interpretation suggest that verse refers to believers of previous times. In fact, the word 'amana' is actually in the past tense (see Lisan Al-'Arab p. 165), and it is used many times in the Qur'an in such a manner. For instance:
    10:83 But none believed (amana) in Moses except some children of his people, because of the fear of Pharaoh and his chiefs, lest they should persecute them; and certainly Pharaoh was mighty on the earth and one who transgressed all bounds.
    11:36 It was revealed to Noah: "None of thy people will believe except those who have believed (amana) already! So grieve no longer over their (evil) deeds.
    40:30 Then said the man [from the family of Pharoah] who believed (amana): "O my people! Truly I do fear for you something like the Day (of disaster) of the Confederates (in sin)!

    Evidently, the Qur'an does indeed use the word to refer to people of past times and as such, the interpretation given by the Muslim commentators is valid.

    One may also object by pointing out that the verse mentions believers before mentioning Jews, Christians and Sabians. If these verses refer to previous nations, why are believers mentioned? Many scholars pointed out that 'those who believed' was the general term given at the beginning of the verse, which continues on to mention specific groups that believed like Jews, Christians and Sabians. It is as though the verse is stating, "Those who believed - whether they were from the Jews, Christians, Sabians, etc. - any of them who truly believed in Allah and the Last Day will have their reward...". Other scholars explained that these verses were an invitation to all these groups to come to the truth, or remain firm on the truth if they were already upon it. As Mufti Muhammad Shafi writes:
    One might also ask why the verse mentions the Muslims, for if it is an invitation to Islam, there is no need to extend the invitation to those who have already accepted Islam. But if we keep in mind the richly concentrated style of the Holy Qur'an, and try to look beyond the literal sense of the words into the implications and suggestions contained in the verse, we would find that the inclusion of the Muslim factor has added a new dimension to the meaning. It is as if a king should, in a similar situation, say that his laws are impartially applicable to all his subjects, and that whosoever obeys them shall receive his reward for obedience irrespective of whether he has earlier been a friend or a foe. Obviously, the friend has always been loyal and obedient, and the warning and the promise have really been addressed to the foe. But the suggestion contained in such a formulation is that the favours of the king do not proceed from any personal attachment to the friends, but depend on the quality of obedience and loyalty, and hence the foes too will become worthy of his favours if they acquire the necessary quality. This is the raison d'etre of mentioning the Muslims along with the non-Muslims in this verse, which should never be taken to imply that salvation can be attained without accepting Islam. (Shafi, Ma'ariful Qur'an, Maktaba-e-Darul-Uloom, Karachi, 2003, vol. 1, pp. 228-229)
    In other words, the invitation to have true faith in Allah is extended to all people, and it is understood that this entails accepting the messages and messengers sent by Allah. Other scholars understood 'those who believed' (Allatheena amanu) to refer to those who outwardly believed, i.e. the hypocrites. Imam Muhammad bin Ali Ash-Shawkani (d. 1834 CE), a renowned Islamic scholars from Yemen, comments on this view as follows:
    It was said: what is meant by "Al-latheena Amanu" (those who believe) are the munafiqoon, because they've been mentioned with the Jews, Christians and Sabians, meaning, their outwardly belief (in Allah). However, what is more correct is: what is meant by (Al-latheena Amanu) are the ones who believed in Prophet Mohammed, salah allahu 'alayhi wa salaam, and became part of his followers, and it as if Allah wanted to show how the affair of the believers and the ones who came before them in creed all came down to one thing: Whoever believed in Allah from among them, the day of Judgement, and did good deeds deserved the reward which Allah refers to. And whoever passes it by then has passed by all good and all reward. (Shawkani, Fath Al-Qadeer: Mu'asasat Ar-rayan (Part 1), p. 122, emphasis added)
    These explanations given by the scholars support the interpretation of the verses given earlier; they state that no matter what era one lived in or which nation they came from, so long as they submitted themselves to the will of Allah and followed the message of the Prophet sent to them, they would receive their reward and would be considered true Muslims.

    Following Prophet Muhammad pbuh is implicitly understood from the verse

    One can arrive at the same conclusion given above, by analyzing the verses from a different angle. There are a number of points which demonstrate that following the Prophet Muhammad pbuh is implicitly understood from these verses.
    1. 'Righteous deeds' are determined according to the message of the current Prophet
    Both verse 2:62 and 5:69 point out that anyone who has faith in Allah and the Last Day, and performs righteous deeds will have their reward. 'Righteous deeds' refer to those that are in-line with the code of conduct that God has revealed to His Messengers. Thus, at the time of Prophet Moses pbuh, righteous deeds were those that were in-line with the law and teachings of Moses. At the time of Prophet Jesus pbuh, it was that which was in-line with the teachings of Jesus. And now, after the coming of Prophet Muhammad pbuh, righteous deeds are those that are in-line with the code of law (Shari'ah) brought by Prophet Muhammad pbuh. The popular exegete on the Qur'an, Syed Qutb (d. 1966CE), who was well-known for his skill in the Arabic language, mentions the following in his tafseer of 5:69:
    The Truth Versus People's Fancies
    This first part of the present passage concludes with a clear statement of the faith which God accepts from people, regardless of what they were called before the message of the last Prophet. It was the faith which united people of all creeds and doctrines in ancient hsitory. "Those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians - anyone who believes in God and the Last Day and does what is right shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve." (Verse 69)
    The passage names four groups: "those who believe" refers to Muslims, and the Jews are the followers of the Prophet Moses. The term Sabians refers, most probably, to those who abandoned the worship of idols before the Prophet Muhammad's message, worshipping God alone, following no particular creed. There were a handful of Arabs among them. The Christians are those who followed the Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him).
    This verse states that whatever their creed was, those who believe in God and the Last Day and do what is right - and it is implicitly understood here and explicitly elsewhere in the Qur'an that they have done that in accordance with the final Prophet's message - will attain salvation: "shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve." (Verse 69) They need not worry about what they used to do or under what title they were classified. The most important title is the last one.
    What we have been describing is implicity understood from this Qur'anic verse. It comes under that part of our faith which is essentially known to all people. It is a primary concept of this faith that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the last of all prophets and a Messenger of God sent to all mankind. All people, regardless of their religion, creed, belief, race, and nationality, are called upon to believe in his message as he preached it in essence and detail. Anyone who does not believe in him as a Messenger and does not believe in the totality and the details of his message remains in error. God does not accept from him the religion he followed prior to the revelation of Islam. Nor is he included among those described by God as people who "shall have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve." (Verse 69)
    It is this primary concept of faith which a Muslim may not compromise on under the great pressure of the jahiliyyah or darkness in which humanity lives today. Indeed, a Muslim cannot overlook this concept when he establishes his relations with other people of different creeds and religions. He cannot try to reduce the pressure of ignorance by coming to terms with the followers of other creeds or doctrines, giving them the privilege of having "a faith" acceptable to God and constituting grounds for mutual support.
    It is God alone who is the patron of believers: "Those who ally themselves with God and His Messenger and the believers (will find that) the party of God will be victorious." (Verse 56) This is certainly true even though appearances may give a different impression. Moreover, those who believe in God and the Last Day and do what is right, on the basis of the religion of Islam, which is the religion acceptable to God, shall have nothing to fear and shall not grieve. They need have no fear of the forces of evil and darkness and they need have no fear of their own goodly, believing souls. Grief will remain unknown to them.
    (Qutb, In The Shade of the Qur'an, The Islamic Foundation 2001, vol. IV pp. 196-197, emphasis added)
    This lenghty quote clarifies that the deeds which are acceptable and deemed righteous by Allah are those that are in accordance with the message which He has sent. Therefore, we arrive at the same conclusion - that one must accept the message of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh when it reaches them. Likewise, the people at the time of Moses pbuh had to act in accordance with his message, as did the people at the time of Jesus. Acceptance of the Prophets is implicitly included and the verse and consequently, if one does not accept and act in accordance with the code of law brought by Prophet Muhammad pbuh, then they have not acted righteously.

    2. The Definition of Imaan
    The scholars who interpreted these passages as an invitation to accept Islam pointed out that the verses require that one have imaan in Allah. While this has been simply translated as 'belief' or 'faith', its meaning goes deeper than that. The Qur'an itself clarified this:
    4:65 But no, by the Lord, they can have no real Faith (imaan), until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against Thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction.
    Likewise, Imaam Ash-Shawkaani writes in his commentary on verse 2:62:
    What is meant here by Imaan is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Imaan is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in divine destiny, both the good and the evil thereof", while no one is described as a believer except when he has entered the fold of Islam, therefore, whoever doesn't believe in Muhammad (peace be upon him) and doesn't believe in the Qur'an is not a believer, and whosoever of them believes in it, has become a Muslim/believer and he is no longer Christian, Jewish, or Sabian. (Shawkani, Fath Al-Qadeer: Mu'asasat Ar-rayan (Part 1), p. 122)
    And Mufti Muhammad Shafi writes:
    a closer look at this verse itself will show a distinct hint towards belief in prophethood because, in the terminology of the Qur'ân, only that 'Îman bil-lâh (belief in Allah) is valid, in which there is belief in everything told by Allah. The Qur'ân has made its terminology very clear in the following words:
    So, if they (the Companions) believe in the like of what you (the Prophet saws) believe in, they have certainly found the right path - 2:137
    It means that the kind of 'Îman the noble Sahâbah [companions] had is the only 'Îman which deserves to be called 'Îman bil-lâh. And it is obvious that 'Îman bir-rasûl [belief in the Messenger] was a great pillar of the edifice of their 'Îman. Therefore, the words: (whoever believes in Allah) are inclusive of the belief in the Messenger of Allah.
    (Shafi, Ma'ariful Qur'an, Maktaba-e-Darul-Uloom, Karachi, 2003, vol. 3, p. 224)
    It is quite clear that if we take these verses of the Qur'an in context and understand them in light of other Qur'anic verses and Ahadith, as oppose to taking them in isolation, then there remains no confusion that the one true path in life is submitting to the will of the Creator and acting in accordance with His final message, which is Islam.

    3. Abrogation
    Aside from the above explanations given, some other scholars assert that this verse has been abrogated (in a very general sense of the word). While this may seem to be in conflict with the understanding presented above, in reality it is complimentary to the previous explanations. According to this explanation, when Islam was in its early stages and was not yet known to many people, these verses (2:62 & 5:69) were revealed to clarify that anyone who sought their Lord, using whatever guidance they found left by previous Prophets, would be rewarded. Later, when Islam spread and became known to the people, it was clarified that from that point onwards, people would have to accept the message of Islam when it reached them. Thus, it could be said that the previous verse was 'abrogated' in a general sense (more on abrogation is found here). The support for this view is found in various Tafsir, such as that of Imaam Abu Abdullah Al-Qurtubi (d. 1272 CE) who writes:
    It is reported from Ibn Abbas that this ayat is abrogated by "If anyone desires anything other than Islam as a din [way of life], it will not be accepted from him." (3:85) Others said that it is not abrogated and that it is about those who believe in the Prophet, peace be upon him, and who are firm in their belief. (Al-Qurtubi, Tafsir Al-Qurtubi, Dar Al-Taqwa Ltd. 2003, vol. 1, p. 267)
    This quote indicates that the interpretation attributed to Ibn Abbas and supported by some scholars, holds that verse 3:85 comes after verse 2:69 and abrogates it.

    It should also be noted that Islam asserts that God will judge everyone according to their circumstances. Consequently, it is not for Muslims to say whether someone, either living or deceased, will enter hell unless with explicit proof from the Qur'an or Ahadith. The renowned scholar, Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah (d. 1350CE), said concerning non-muslims who did not receive the clear message of Islam:
    We cannot rule whether such people are believers or unbelievers, because disbelieving means to deny something, while in their case, they did not know about the message from the first instance. As they were neither believers nor unbelievers, they should have a different ruling on the Day of Judgment.

    Even if we were to say that they are unbelievers, then we would still have to say that the precondition for unbelievers to be punished in the Hereafter has not been realized in their case. They have to be warned first. Allah will not punish people without a previous warning. This warning should be in the language that the person understands.
    (Tarîq al-Hijratayn and Ahkâm ahl al-Dhimmah)
    Similarly, the IslamToday.com fatwa service writes:
    Non-Muslims who never heard the message of Islam are known as ahl al-fatrah. God says: 'Nor would We punish until We had sent a messenger (to give warning).' [Sûrah al-Isrâ: 15]

    Many scholars, including Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Kathîr and Ibn Bâz, have adopted the saying that the people who have never had an opportunity to come to know about Islam will be tested by God on the Day of Judgment. Those who pass the test and obey the commands will go to Paradise and those who are disobedient will go to Hell.

    God knows best who has heard His message properly and rejected it and who has not done so. The most we can say that it is obligatory for all people to accept Islam and that anyone who knowingly rejects the truth of Islam is condemned in the Hereafter. However, it is not our place to state exactly what God is going to do with each and every individual on the Day of Judgment. God is the only one who knows the hearts of people and their circumstances, and He is the only one who will sit in judgment. We must trust in Him.
    Hopefully, this article will clarify any confusion surrounding the Islamic concept of salvation and the meaning of these Qur'anic verses.

    And Allah knows best.
    Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an

    The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
    "Surely I was sent to perfect the qualities of righteous character" [Musnad Ahmad, Muwatta Mâlik]


    Visit Ansâr Al-'Adl's personal page HERE.
    Excellent resources on Islam listed HERE.

 

 
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