“Or were they created by nothing, or are they ˹their own˺ creators?” (Qur’an 52:35)
It seems that the Atheism community has of late retreated to two basic positions.
That the Universe comes from nothing.
That we (creation) have created other creations.
Both of these positions are highly problematic from every conceivable angle.
Let us first deal with proposition number 2. We as a creation have been created by other creations.
ARE THEY THEIR OWN CREATORS?
@2:34 “The odds we are in base reality is one in billions. Tell me what’s wrong with that argument?” The questioner from the audience persist: Is the answer yes? Elon Musk answers: “Probably. Is there a flaw in that argument?”
@:3:10 “Arguably we should hope that that’s true. Because otherwise if civilization stops advancing then that maybe do to some calamitist (word?) event that erases civilization. So maybe we should be hopeful that this is a simulation cause otherwise.” (interrupted by co-host) – “because they could reboot it.” he offers.
Elon continues with is thought…. “Either we are going to create simulations that are indistinguishable from reality or civilization will cease to exist.” “Those are the two options.”
#1) The Math: How did Elon Musk come to the conclusion that it is one in billions and not one in millions or one in trillions?
#2) The Question of Evil is unresolved or in Elon’s worldview there really is no evil at all. We are in a simulation rather it’s a video game for cheap thrills, or some advanced scientific research; constructs are created that have the understanding that they some how have real feelings and real lives and their lives have real meaning.
In Elon Musk worldview there is a 1 in one billion chance that he is actually intelligent, actually has feelings, and actually loves Amber Heard. A 1 in a billon chance that he is actually a self motivated self driven person. However, the odds are against that. In Elon’s worldview he is simply written that way. Which brings us to the issue of free will and and fatalism. More on that in a moment.
Now this is not an argument against Elon’s simulation worldview; however, it does make atheist arguments against the problem of evil backfire. What does Samuel Haris say about Elon’s view that the perceived atrocities of srebrenica and the holocaust are all a simulation?
Which things brings to a very crucial point that anyone reading this needs to ponder. Does advancement in technology mean a more compassionate worldview? A more compassionate society? After all we are now talking about a civilization that create simulations were beings are raped, molested, burned alive and have countless horrors inflicted upon them. Does this civilization learn in real time? You would have to assume so. Which argues that our simulation is more akin to a video game than to some massive scientific understanding for observation and data collecting. Why? Because how many times do you need to murder to get the achieved and desired scientific data?
It’s little wonder that Elon Musk doesn’t have that spark in his eyes as someone who is truly alive. To me the man looks massively depressed and this is the outcome of his worldview.
Now on to Free Will and Fatalism.
As mentioned in Elon’s worldview there is a 1 billion chance that he is actually intelligent, has actual feelings, actually loves someone and /or is a self driven person. However, the odds are against that.
The thought that Elon didn’t complete:
“Arguably we should hope that that’s true. Because otherwise if civilization stops advancing then that maybe do to some calamitist (word?) event that erases civilization. So maybe we should be hopeful that this is a simulation cause otherwise.”
Here Elon reveals his fear. Civilization must should continue. So it is best to hope that this is a simulation because he reasons that this civilization has managed to find ways to cheat otherwise cataclysmic events.
Which begs the question how does he not know that a cataclysmic event hasn’t already happened to said civilization and we are simply a running program on some outpost that will last as long as said generator continues to run.
Yet, this worldview with all it’s speculation and and hype and ultimately the depression that it brings doesn’t answer the question: Who created those who put us in the simulation?
OR WERE THEY CREATED BY NOTHING?
The interesting thing about the concept of nothing is that it is an abstract concept that we human beings understand but cannot grasp. Rather or not we are in a simulation or not we simply cannot imagine, conceptualize, visualize nothingness.
We understand the concept of nothing. Nothing simply means the absence of absolutely anything. If you were to close your mind and try and conceptualize or visualize nothing it is an impossibility. We will always posit something, rather it is a clear black space or a clear white space, something akin to an empty room. Yet, there it is the black space, the white space, the empty room, there is always something rather than nothing.
The comments about this book can be best summarized by an Amazon review which I will place here:
“The author, an ardent materialist, fails to deliver on his promise to the reader. His ‘reason’ simply boils down to “eternal quantum-fluctuations” did it (the common evolution-of-the-gaps idea).
Experimental observation of the initial ‘Big Bang’ event and the cascade of subsequent hypothesised events such as cosmic inflation [a miraculous “negative false vacuum energy” on a universal scale], star formation [from the self-collapsing hydrogen gas clouds], galaxy formations [no explanation given] etc., are non-existent.
For example, on p. 17: “we can extrapolate…when the universe was about one second old…all observed matter was compressed in a dense plasma whose temperature should have been 10 billion degrees”. This is a modern creation myth having nothing to do with the scientific method.
By faith he assumes many things, e.g., that the universe has no edge and is homogeneous from every location and in every direction. Further, space is somehow ‘endowed’ with energy for the ‘free lunch’ to create everything, but the begged-question of who this mysterious endower is left off.
The faith of other devoted atheists in the power of ‘nothing’ to create everything will find little nourishment in this book.
A single star for some historical and scientific educational value the reader can salvage.”
“A better analogy is the surface of an expanding balloon. Not the 3 dimensional balloon, just its 2 dimensional surface. If you were an ant crawling around the surface of a huge balloon, and the balloon was your whole universe, you would see the balloon as essentially flat under your feet.”
“Imagine the balloon is inflating. In every direction you look, other ants are moving away from you. The further they are, the faster away they’re moving. Even though it feels like a flat surface, walk in any direction long enough and you’d return to your starting point.”
However, we know the balloon is inflating into the available space around it. No available space no inflation.
All of these alternative theories… that we are a simulation -but what created those who created the simulation?
A universe out of ‘almost’ nothing, but what created these “eternal quantum fluctuations” why posit an eternal quantum fluctuations and yet this is not allowed for Allah to be eternal?
Islam offers two things.
A meaningful existence.
A cogent argument for the existence of the Creator.
Say Allah is One Independent of all things, though all things are dependent upon him. He does not bring forth like kind and he did not come forth from like kind. There is nothing like unto this Oneness. (Qur’an 112:1-4)
“We have given you the seven (l-mathani) consistency duplicated AND the glorious Qur’an.” (Qur’an 15:87)
My belief that the Qur’an that we have today is eclectic. However, that is nuanced. The term eclectic means drawling from several sources. So if someone ask me are you saying that the Qur’an is drawling from ‘several sources’?
My answer to that is an emphatic, “No!”. The Qur’an is from Allah (swt) given the Angel Gabriel and communicated to the Blessed Messenger (saw).
So that is regards the ultimate source. That being said, I do believe that the Qur’an we have in our possession is an eclectic Qur’an. I believe that Qur’an to be a composition of the various authorized modes of reading the Qur’an.
“We have given you the seven (l-mathani) consistency duplicated AND the glorious Qur’an.” (Qur’an 15:87)
It is interesting that the text here says the seven consistently duplicated or supported AND the Qur’an. Yet, traditionally this is understood as a reference to surah al fatiha. So is al fatiha part of the Qur’an or not? Is it something separate from the Qur’an?
Though this argues in favour of the Maliki and Hanafi view that basmallah is not a verse in front of al fatiha, it argues against the position of Shafi’i, Ahmed, the Ibadi, the 12er Shia and the Zaydi that the basmallah is a verse in front of al fatiha.
When we look at the other example of where mathaniya is used we see something quite interesting.
“Allah has sent down the finest report in a (mathaniya) consistently duplicated Book. The skins of those who dread their Lord tingle with it; then their skins and hearts are softened up for remembering Allah. Such is Allah´s guidance; He guides anyone He wishes by means of it, while anyone whom Allah lets go astray will have no one to guide him.” (Qur’an 39:23)
What is interesting is that this above verse tells us that mathaniya is the Qur’an. That this mathaniya is consistently duplicated. In other words, it’s message does not contradict other parts of its’ message.
“Will they not then ponder on the Qur’an? If it had been from other than Allah they would have found therein major incongruity. .” (Qur’an 4:82)
So it is my understanding that these mathaniya the refer to the 7 Ahruf of the Qur’an. I understand Ahruf as ways forms and modes.
Abdullah ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Gabriel, upon him be peace, taught me to recite the Quran in one reading and I requested another. I continued to ask for more until he stopped at seven readings.”
Ibn Shihab said, “It reached me that these seven readings are united in the matter. There is no difference in what they allow and forbid.”
Source: (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 4705, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 819)
Umar ibn al-Khattab reported: I heard Hisham ibn Hakim reciting the Surat al-Furqan in a way different from how I recited it and how it was taught to me by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him. I was about to argue with him, but then I waited until he finished and I tied his shirt around his neck and took him to the Prophet. I said, “Indeed, I heard this man recite in a way different from what you taught me!” The Prophet said to me, “Bring him to me.” Then, Prophet said to him, “Recite.” He recited and the Prophet said, “As it has been revealed.” Then, the Prophet said to me, “Recite.” I recited and the Prophet said, “As it has been revealed. Verily, the Quran has been revealed in seven dialects. Recite whichever of them you find easy.”
Source: (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 2287, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 818)
Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: A man was reciting a verse which I had heard differently from the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. I took his hand and brought him to the Prophet and he said, “Both of your recitations are good. Do not differ, for the nations before you were destroyed by their differences.”
Source: (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 2279)
May apologies I don’t necessarily make the best charts but this is how I understand the Qur’an preservation and why I say the Qur’an we have today is an eclectic Qur’an.
The Qur’an I believe has one source. That source is Allah (swt).
The Qur’an was initially transmitted as Qur’an (A) Qur’an (B) Qur’an (C) Qur’an (D) Qur’an (D) Qur’an (E) Qur’an (F) Qur’an (G) not that each set (A-G) was absolutely different from one to the other but that where Allah (swt) deemed necessary it was revealed in a way, mode, or style more suitable for the particular people.
However, think about when we say the words ‘The’ and ‘Qur’an’. The is definitive article in English and Qur’an is a noun- a reference to a revelation that is compound unity. The Qur’an is a collective. It is a collection. This is true not only for it orally, but also in the way it was revealed. Qur’an A,B,C,D,E,F,G are all Qur’an. Some would say why not call it Qur’ans (plural) but this would not be proper.
To me this explains variants in the Qur’an manuscripts. Those that are authentically preserved and transmitted show that. The vast majority of the Muslim world uses the 1924 Qur’an produced by scholars from Al Ahzar (May Allah bless them for their efforts).
Now the problem that sceptics/atheist/agnostics will have is that we do not necessarily have complete “original” physical copies of transmitted Qur’an A,B,C,D,E,F,G.
Uthman and the Qur’an.
One of the things that is certain is that when Uthman burned the Qur’an that many of the companions need not wish to hand over to him their codices. In fact this whole exercise seems more or less like an exercise in power on behalf of Uthman than anything noble and Allah (swt) knows best.
The standard story we are told is that apparently some newly converted Muslims were arguing over ways of pronouncing the Qur’an. So we are somehow led to believe that Uthman wanted to stop people arguing about differences of the Qur’an by burning physical copies of collections of a revelation that is primarily transmitted orally!!
What on Earth was Uthman thinking? How does burning physical copies of a revelation that is primarily transmitted orally stop the variant readings from being recited or the styles of recitation of being followed? No one has ever seem to be able to answer this with a straight face.
I will have more on Uthman and some insights from an Ibadi perspective (not Sunni or Shi’a narrative) on why some companions found him to be treacherous in the latter part of his reign and that many companions that this act of essentially putting himself as an authority over the Qur’an was deeply problematic theologically speaking.
One of the things that should put hearts and minds at rest is this. These variant readings that Atheist, Agnostics and Ex Muslims go on and on about, well, what actually they say?
Do they have different teachings?
Do they blatantly contradict each other?
Are they giving us different sets of data?
My answer to all of that is that they do not. I believe that the Qur’an was faithfully transmitted. When I say THE QUR’AN I mean Qur’an (ABCDEFG) and that as long as we have any part of (ABCDEFG) as a transmission we have the Qur’an.
Certainly the idea of the Qur’an being transmitted in a linear way is hardly defensible. Yet, if we have a proper understanding that the Qur’an is not just one this or one that, the questions that sceptics bring up amount to a nothing burger. Allah (swt) knows best.
I hope this entry reaches you all in the best of health and faith.
I will get straight to it. I may not have the financial resources to maintain the primaquran.com site for the year of 2021. Therefore almost all of the links and url addresses will be thrown off. What ever you wish to take, book mark, screen shot, save and so forth please do that now.
I will try and remedy this in the near future Allah-willing.
“We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures.” (Quran 21:107)
May Allah lighten the punishment of hellfire all those scholars who claim our beloved Prophet (saw) would approve of such following horrors as the killing of one’s wife and her pregnant baby…
Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 38, Number 4348 Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas: “A blind man had a slave-mother who used to abuse the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and disparage him. He forbade her but she did not stop. He rebuked her but she did not give up her habit. One night she began to slander the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and abuse him. So he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) was informed about it. He assembled the people and said: I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right to him that he should stand up. Jumping over the necks of the people and trembling the man stood up. He sat before the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and said: Apostle of Allah! I am her master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not abandon her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her. Thereupon the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood.”
Now with the recent beheading of the French teacher it has to be asked is this simply a Muslim extremist? Is this person from Al Qaeda or from ISIS? No, unfortunately it is a classical position held by classical scholars whom furnish lots of proofs that anyone who insults the Blessed Messenger (saw) is to be killed.
One of the most murderous text that you will find does not come form Al Qaeda or ISIS but from a book beloved by Sufi Muslims the world over. That book is “Al Shifa” by Qadi Iyad. Qadi Iyad is a mainstream Sunni Muslim of the Maliki school of jurisprudence. I wonder if Mufti Abu Layth considers Qadi Iyad a “Maliki Don”.
Because even for me when I read ahadith that ascribe very atrocious acts to the Blessed Messenger (saw) I start to wonder about other narrations that off set this. I begin to wonder about the Jewish lady who threw rubbish on the Prophet (saw) home almost daily until she was sick and the Prophet (saw) inquired about her and so he went to visit her. However, the above link suggest IT WAS ALL A RUSE…
Read for yourself not from an islamic phobic web site, not from Spencer, or Hatun, or Shamoun or Gondal or Sameer or Wood but from Qadi Iyad.
The reasons why the Prophet pardoned some of those who harmed himIt might be asked why the Prophet did not kill the Jew who said to him, “Death be upon you” when this is a curse, and why he did not kill the other man who said in this respect, “This is a dividing out by which the face of Allah is not intended.” When he annoyed the Prophet by saying that, the Prophet said, “Musa was harmed by worse than this,” and was patient. And why he did not kill the hypocrites who used to harm him often.
Know that at the beginning of Islam the Prophet used to court people’s friendship and he made their hearts incline to him. He made them love belief and adorned it in their hearts and he treated them gently to encourage them. He said to his Companions; “You are sent to make things easy. You were not sent to scare people away.” He said, “Make things easy and do not make them hard. Soothe and do not scare away.”
He said, “Let it not be said that Muhammad killed his Companions.” The Prophet cajoled the hypocrites and unbelievers, was cheerful in their company and lenient to them and endured their harm. He was patient when they were coarse. But it is not permitted for us to be patient with them in such cases. Allah says, “You will continue to come upon some act of treachery on their part, except for a few of them, so pardon them and overlook.” (5:15) Allah says, “Repel with that which is better and the one between whom and you there is enmity will be as if he were a close friend.” (41:35) That was because people at the beginning of Islam needed to be brought close. People are unanimous about that.
Once Islam was firmly established and Allah had given it victory over all other deens, any such detractor that the Muslims had power over and whose affair was well-known was put to death. A case in point is that of Ibn Khatal and others whom the Prophet said should be should killed on the Day of the Conquest and those among the Jews and others whom it was possible to kill by assassination. There were others who were captured but rectified their behaviour before they came into the Prophet’s company and joined the group of those who manifested belief in him. Among such people who had harmed him were Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf, Abu Rafi’, an-Nadr ibn al-Harith and ‘Uqba ibn Abi Mu’ayt.
“And if anyone from the polytheists asks for your protection ˹O Prophet˺, grant it to them so they may hear the Word of Allah, then escort them to a place of safety, for they are a people who have no knowledge.” (Qur’an 9:6)
One of the things that the Atheist have used before against the Qur’an the following argument:
As Muslims we accept the Qur’an 100% as the words of Allah (swt).
Even though the words of Iblis (Satan) are in the Qur’an.
“He said: My Lord! Because You have sent me astray, I verily shall adorn the path of error for them in the earth, and shall mislead them every one….” (Qur’an 15:39)
Now when we as Muslims read this are we to understand that quote as the words of Allah (swt) or the words of Iblis? or are they words of Allah (swt) quoting Iblis?
Is Allah (swt) quoting Iblis ad-verbatim or is Allah (swt) simply re-constructing what happened using His (Allah’s) own words? In other words not an exact account but simply the ‘gist’ of what happened?
There is dialogue and conversation between non believers and believers.
“And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fights against them. How perverse are they!” (Qur’an 9:30)
Now when we as Muslims read this are we to understand that quote as the words of Allah (swt) or the words of Unbelievers; or are they words of Allah (swt) quoting Unbelievers?
Is Allah (swt) quoting Unbelievers ad-verbatim or is Allah (swt) simply re-constructing what happened using His (swt) own words? In other words not an exact account but simply the ‘gist’ of what happened?
There is dialogue of Prophets.
“But when Jesus became conscious of their disbelief, he cried: Who will be my helpers in the cause of Allah? The disciples said: We will be Allah’s helpers. We believe in Allah, and bear witness that we have surrendered .” (Qur’an 3:52)
So here is where the dilemma comes in.
Now when we as Muslims read this are we to understand that quote as the words of Allah (swt) or the words of Jesus & his disciples; or are they words of Allah (swt) quoting Jesus & his disciples?
Is Allah (swt) quoting Jesus & his disciples ad-verbatim or is Allah (swt) simply re-constructing what happened using His (swt) own words? In other words not an exact account but simply the ‘gist’ of what happened?
We have to ask ourselves are these actual quotations? So here are our choices.
1) I Allah (swt) quoting these statements ad-verbatim?
2) Allah (swt) is not quoting ad-verbatim and thus giving us the ‘gist’ of what is said.
Here are possible solutions/problems with both option 1) & option 2).
1) It does not seem that these are actual statements ad-verbatim.
Anyone who has studied the Qur’an; or even listen to it understands that there is a fluid, tonal , rhythmic melody that rhymes along the way.
Is it highly unlikely that this is the way that Iblis talked, normal people talk or even the Prophets talk.
To give an example. It is highly unlikely that the Prophets talked like this:
“And I give you glad tidings from yourLord, so share your wealth and do nothoard. If you chase after vain desires you will be bored. You cannot simply do of your ownaccord. This advise is to be taken and not to be ignored.”
So for example the Qur’an has this rhythmic cadence ‘Qul huwallahu ahad. Allahu Samad. Lam yalid wa lamyulad. Walam yakul lahu kufuwanahad.’
Hopefully some scholar of any of the Muslim groups could come forward and give convincing arguments that this is how…
or even the unbelievers as they engaged with believers.
2) Allah (swt) is not quoting ad-verbatim and thus giving us the ‘gist’ of what is said. Or you could say giving us an account but not the actual speech or quotes.
If this is correct it sets forth an interesting precedent. In that the Allah (swt) is not say that it is important for any of us to have the actual events of anything; but an approximation of those events. The ‘gist’ if you will.
Also, this is further proof that the Qur’an cannot be the eternal speech which it is rather obvious to anyone that Allah (swt) is reformatting the words, sentence structure of what transpired in the past to conform to an Arabic grammatical and syntax structure that will be revealed in real time.
If this is the case, than those who believe in lone narrator hadith will have room to maneuver. As they do not believe that all the hadith reports are necessarily ad-verbatim transmitted, but transmitted faithfully enough so as to give the ‘gift’ of what the Blessed Messenger (saw) said.
Likewise the Christians would have considerable room to maneuver. Because now we would be presented with a theology that says it would be possible for Allah (swt) to present the ‘gist’ of the message of Christianity through disparate manuscripts without them being an ‘actual’ or ‘ad-verbatim’ account.
I have no good answers to the over all assertions put forward. You can tell from the comment section below this post that many Muslims thought I was out of line for this discovery.
I would simply say Wallahu ‘Alim (Allah knows best)
“Allah makes the believers steadfast with the firm Word ˹of faith˺ in this worldly life and the Hereafter. And Allah leaves the wrongdoers to stray. For Allah does what He wills.” (Qur’an 14:27)
I love you, I hate you, it depends.
One of the more fascinating curiosities that I have observed among fellow Muslims, as well as people of other faiths is how subjective they view God’s interaction and dealings with other people, which is curiously reflected through their own feelings towards said individual(s).
Case in point. Let us say that I happen to like a brother Hamza. Hamza is a good friend of mine. Hamza and I believe pretty much the same things about the religion.
So when Hamza gets a marriage proposal, gets married, has a child, graduates, gets promoted, gets a raise, gets recognition as a friend of Hamza’s I tend to say ,”Mash’Allah. Allah (swt) has indeed blessed you with so much.”
However, when Hamza gets a rejected for marriage proposal, gets a divorce, loses a child to cancer, fails grad school, gets fired from his job, gets a chronic illness I tend to say, “Mash’Allah, Allah test the ones he loves. This is because Allah loves you and wishes to bring you closer to him.”
So now lets’ talk about brother Hameed. Hameed is someone I despise. I just don’t like him. I don’t like the way he talks, the way he walks, the way he carries himself. I don’t like that he belongs to a different manhaj then me. But even if he did belong to the same manhaj as me, I just don’t sync with Hameed.
So when Hameed gets a marriage proposal, gets married, has a child, graduates, gets promoted, gets a raise, gets recognition as an enemy of Hameed I tend to say ,”Allah is distracting Hameed with the dunya. Hameed prefers the dunya to the remembrance of Allah (swt). This is a trial from Allah for him.”
However, when Hameed gets a rejected for marriage proposal, gets a divorce, loses a child to cancer, fails grad school, gets fired from his job, gets a chronic illness I tend to say, “Hameed is getting exactly what he deserves. This is from the balla/the wrath of Allah (swt). Hameed is one of the ungrateful servants of Allah, if indeed he serves him at all.”
You see the point brothers/sisters? Often, how we feel towards an individual or individuals or another group or sect or people, that will interpret and inform what we feel their station or status is before Allah (swt). We look at Allah’s relationship to that individual(s), sect, group, people, through our own lenses.
I don’t know how many times I have seen these exact scenarios play out and almost without fail a persons situation rather perceived as success or test will be seen as both positively or both negatively depending upon our own feelings towards that individual.
We play judge and jury when in reality none of us knows the condition and state of another individual and their relationship to their Creator.
“Indeed, those you call upon besides Allah are servants like you. So call upon them and let them respond to you, if you should be truthful.”(Qur’an 7:194)
This is actually quite interesting.
So recently when discussing with a friend of mine he had brought this verse to my attention. What he suggested is that it looks as if Allah (swt) is giving temporary permission to commit shirk in order to prove a point.
The verse is compounded by problems if we pause and reflect for a moment.
What actually was the intention of Allah (swt) to tell people to call upon other deities? What did Allah think would be proved by people doing exactly that?
Let us say for example that I was a Christian and I wanted to prove that Jesus was God. So I say, “Well, Jesus please show these heathen that you are indeed the one true God!” What happens if at that particular moment the ground began to shake? What if a seismic event just so happens to occur at that particular moment? So would the logical conclusion be: “Jesus is God?”
Let us say for example that I believed in Odin. I was tired of all the mockery and I took Allah (swt) up on his challenge. So I say, “Odin give us a sign answer us that you are the true God.” Suddenly the lightning strikes the ground near us, and the thunder clap is so deafening that we almost have a heart attack! What is the logical conclusion? “Odin is God?”
Are these observable evidences coincidence or proofs that these deities are who their followers claim them to be?
The verse in question above seems a rather curious way to go about proving /disproving the rival claims of other faith traditions. In particular the phrase: “So call upon them and let them respond to you..” As no specific period of time is given. For example we also have this statement in the Qur’an:
“Call upon Me, I will respond to you.” (Qur’an 40:60)
So, the Palestinians who get bombed daily by the Israeli military when they call upon Allah (swt) to deliver them from oppression does it happen?
When a simple villager in Syria is held hostage by Al Nusrat/ISIS, Hezbollah, FSA/Syrian Army (pick one) and he watches his 17 year old daughter get raped before him and he beseeches Allah (swt) with tears and long suffering and agony in his heart, “Oh Allah, Ya Latif, I am begging you, I associate no partner with you, please do not allow my daughter to suffer this shame, this indignity.”
Yet, he is forced to watch at gun point as she is raped. So what would we as Muslims say about these instances? We could say that Allah (swt) is not obligated to answer. Allah (swt) heard their prayers and he has a wisdom in what is transpiring.
So if Allah (swt) is not expected to “perform on the spot” than why would Jesus, or Odin, or any other deity that people worship be expected to “perform on the spot” or be obligated to answer at all?
So the challenge does seem a bit strange. Especially in light of the following verses:
“And when they said, “O Allah , if this should be the truth from You, then rain down upon us stones from the sky or bring us a painful punishment.” But Allah would not punish them while you, [O Muhammed], are among them, and Allah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness.” (Qur’an 8:32-33)
So here the disbelievers issue their own challenge to Allah (swt). They ask that stones be sent down upon them from the sky. Yet ,the response seems like an escape clause.
The Prophet Muhammed (saw) is among them.
Allah (swt) will not punish them while they seek forgiveness.
I am not sure that I understand the response, “while you are among them.” because Allah (swt) can do anything. He can send down an entire asteroid upon Madinah and have it destroy everyone and the Prophet Muhammed (saw) and the believers could remain unscathed.
For example we are told that Noah was among his people when the wrath of Allah came down upon them. Noah was saved and the son was overwhelmed by the flood.
“The son replied: “I will betake myself to some mountain: it will save me from the water.” Noah said: “This day nothing can save, from the command of Allah, any but those on whom He has mercy! “And the waves came between them, and the son was among those overwhelmed in the Flood.” (Qur’an 11:43)
“Allah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness.”
This is also curious considering these were haughty people who issuing the same sort of challenges that Allah (swt) issued to them about their gods.
So what my friend was mentioning to me is that if seems that when Allah (swt) was pressed for action the response is evasive and the tone becomes soft and re-conciliatory.
This might be why we have the “wait and see” verses.
“Wait, and I, too, will be waiting with you.” (Qur’an 11:122)
Say, “Wait. Indeed, we [also] are waiting.” (Qur’an 6:158)
Say, “Do you await for us except one of the two best things while we await for you that Allah will afflict you with punishment from Himselfor at our hands? So wait; indeed we, along with you, are waiting.” (Qur’an 9:52)
Abu Barza reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) sent a person to a tribe amongst the tribes of Arabia. They reviled him and beat him. He came to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and narrated to him (the story of atrocities perpetrated upon him by the people of the tribe). Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said:
If you were to come to the people of ‘Oman, they would have neither reviled you nor beaten you.