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"If God Were to Increase the Provision to His Servants, They Would Transgress on Earth" (Quran 42:27)
One God, one Religion and one Book
On The Concept of Reform
Towards the Elimination of the Culture of Slaves:
It is me who said it for the first time about Al Aqsa
Quranic Terminology: Being (Un)Thankful to the Lord God (4)
The Metaphysical Aspects within the Quranic Revelation
Another Message from a Homosexual Muslim Young Man
There is No “Custody of Men over Women”
Our Journey to Israel and Palestine (5)
Freedom of Religion needs War of Ideas
Our Reply to a Question Posed by a Cultured Christian

Our Reply to a Question Posed by a Cultured Christian

Published in Arabic in August 10, 2016

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

Introduction:

1- We have received the following message via email, from an Egyptian Coptic Christian cultured man, and we have decided to publish it here, despite some words in it that of which we do not approve, along with our detailed reply, hoping that Almighty God will guide us in providing the right reply.

  (… Dear Dr. Mansour … Your long history of peaceful struggle for reform has encouraged me to pose this question to you. I have posed it for the last two years via Facebook to sheikhs and clergymen, but I never received from them any logical or objective response … My clear question is as follows: why the author of the Quran says to the prophet of Islam in the Quranic text that ''He is God'', a phrase repeated about 7 times, instead of saying "I am God"? Why some do not believe that the Quran is God's word? Why people who believe in the Quran resort to sources outside the Quran to prove that the Allah of the Quran is God? It is logical that signor of a message, the Quran in that case, should reveal himself, right? … I know that you deny all hadiths … But why do not we find a Quranic verse that would say: 'O Muhammad, I am God and this is My Quran' or 'O Muslims, I am God and this is My sharia'? I have noticed in the Quranic text that Allah/God presented himself to Moses by saying "I am Allah'', and God gave Moses His sharia written in stone tablets, a fat recorded in the Quran. It is like the phrase ''I am God'' uttered to Moses and recorded in the Torah/Old Testament, and it was uttered to others like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Jews in general … If Allah as author of the Quran is not supposed to be God (the Creator of the universe), we may resolve many mysteries of the Quran and the Sunna hadiths … The question had puzzled so much that I uploaded on YouTube a video with questions and potential illogical and subjective answers I received as well as my refutations of them. My video is found within this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn72kVp7iD8  … In short, why the author of the Quran says ''He is God'' and not ''I am God''?! I hope you will kindly answer me briefly, as I will certainly understand you directly because of so much debates I initiated on that topic in cyberspace. Thank you in advance, and please accept my greetings …)

 

OUR REPLY:

 

Firstly:

 To answer this question, we are to demonstrate briefly the topic of the sue of pronouns in the Arabic tongue as opposed to the unique Quranic tongue. The word ''tongue'' better express the intended meaning instead of the word ''language''. Please refer to our previous two articles in which we discuss the difference between both terms: ''tongue'' and ''language''.  We assert here in a nutshell that the ''Quranic tongue'' refers to the unique Quranic terminology. In many previous articles, we have asserted the fact that the Quran has its own special terms, away from the semantic levels of the changeable Arabic tongue, understood and discerned easily within context of verses in the Quranic text itself. In addition, the Quranic terminology differs a great deal from the terms adopted by the Sunnite, Shiite, and Sufi Muhammadans in their earthly, man-made, fabricated religions that have nothing to do with the Quran: the only source of Islam. Hence, a researcher whose domain or field is Islam and history of Muslims must get to know terminologies of such earthly religions and how they differ 100% from the Quranic terminology and concepts as well; otherwise, such researcher would be an ignoramus and a liar propagating hoax and falsehoods, as the case with all Muhammadan clergymen and scholars all over the globe, past and present.

 

Secondly:

 Let us discuss briefly the topic of pronouns below:

1- It is known that within the Arabic tongue, there are many various categories of pronouns: speakers pronouns ("I" and ''we''), addressing pronouns ("you'' sing., ''you'' dual, ''you'' masc. plu., and ''you'' fem. plu.), and third-person pronouns: (he, she, "they'' sing., '"they'' dual, "they'' masc. plu., and "they'' fem. plu.), and this is not to mention covert pronouns referred to indirectly within declensions of many verbs, and all pronouns have a certain gender and number.

2- We focus here on the fact that Almighty God in His Book, the Noble Quran, uses pronouns to express His Holy Supreme Being in a special way that fits His Majesty, Awe, and Uniqueness as the Creator of all creatures. As regarding pronouns referring to human beings, the third person pronouns refer to absent party/parties who are being talked about. This does NOT apply to God, the Omnipotent and Omnipresent. Hence, the Quranic phrase ''He is God/Allah'' does not indicate absence; rather, it indicates powerful presence and overseeing everything as the Eternal Witness: "…God is Watchful over all things." (33:52), "…God is Witness over all things." (33:55). In the Last Day, the Day of Resurrection, God will ask His messenger and prophet Jesus Christ about those who worshipped him along with his mother, and if he told them to do so, but Jesus, as we know from in this Quranic flash-forward predicting the future, will reject such people: "And God will say, "O Jesus son of Mary, did you say to the people, "Take me and my mother as deities rather than God?'" He will say, "Glory be to You! It is not for me to say what I have no right to. Had I said it, You would have known it. You know what is in my soul, and I do not know what is in your soul. You are the Knower of the hidden. I only told them what You commanded me: that you shall worship God, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them while I was among them; but when You took me to Yourself, you became the Watcher over them-You are Witness over everything." (5:116-117). We focus here on how Jesus asserts that God is the Watcher and Witness. The same assertion and denouncement is done by Prophet Muhammad in the Last Day; he will denounce and reject those who rejected and forsook the Quran: "And the Messenger will say, "My Lord, my people have abandoned this Quran."" (25:30). And in the very next verse, God describes the likes of the Sunnite, Shiite, and Sufi Muhammadans as criminals and wicked enemies of Muhammad: "Likewise, to every prophet We assign enemies from among the wicked. But your Lord suffices as a Guide and Savior." (25:31).

3- We focus here on the fact that God is the Watcher and Witness over everything; sinners and criminals might hide from mortals but never from God the Eternal and the Omnipresent. Some of the so-called companions of Muhammad conspired secretly against Islam and early Muslims, and God has said to them: "They hide from the people, but they cannot hide from God. He is with them, as they plot by night with words He does not approve. God comprehends what they do." (4:108). We notice here in this verse the phrase ''He is with them'', and we discern that the pronoun referring to God is ''He'', which is here a pronoun that indicates presence in Quranic tongue and not absence as the case in the Arabic tongue. God says the following about some sinners: "Does he not know that God sees? " (96:14).  

4- Accordingly, pious believers fear God whether they are alone or win public, as He sees them while they cannot see Him, as they do believe that He is Omnipresent and Omniscient; the Quran asserts this fact about the pious ones: "Those who fear their Lord without seeing Him …" (21:49).

 

Thirdly:

 Let us focus in detail on the pronoun ''He'' in the Quranic text.

1- The pronoun ''he'' has little occurrences in the Quranic text to refer to human beings. Let us reflect on these examples: "…He whom God guides is truly guided…" (18:17), and the two verses showing stances of polytheists casting doubts on and leveling accusations against prophets of God: "He is nothing but a man, making up lies about God…" (23:38), "He is nothing but a man possessed…" (23:25).

2- In most cases in the Quranic text, the pronoun ''He'' refers to Almighty God; let us reflect on these examples of verses: "Say, "He is God, the One." (112:1), "Allah! There is no God except He, the Living, the Everlasting…" (2:255), "He is Allah. There is no God but He, the Knower of secrets and declarations. He is the Compassionate, the Merciful. He is God; besides Whom there is no God; the Sovereign, the Holy, the Peace-Giver, the Faith-Giver, the Overseer, the Almighty, the Omnipotent, the Overwhelming. Glory be to God, beyond what they associate along with Him. e is God; the Creator, the Maker, the Designer. His are the Most Beautiful Names. Whatever is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him. He is the Majestic, the Wise." (59:22-24), and "And it is He who produced you from a single person…" (6:98).

3-  The use of the pronoun ''He'' as referring to a third person who is absent does NOT apply to Almighty God, the Witness, the watcher, the Seer, the Omnipresent: "Allah! There is no God except He, the Living, the Everlasting…" (2:255), "He is Allah. There is no God but He, the Knower of secrets and declarations…" (59:22), "We will narrate to them with knowledge, for We were never absent." (7:7), and "…We are never heedless of the creation." (23:17).

4- Hence, the pronoun ''He'' comes in the Quranic text to refer to Almighty God, the Eternal Creator, the Controller of everything, the Omniscient, the Omnipotent. This is of course contrary to the use and meaning of the same pronoun to refer to human beings; the Quranic usage of the pronoun has a totally different semantic level in the Quranic tongue, as opposed to the Arabic tongue. Let us reflect the following verses: "Glorifying God is everything in the heavens and the earth. He is the Almighty, the Wise. To Him belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He gives life and causes death, and He has power over all things. He is the First and the Last, and the Outer and the Inner, and He has knowledge of all things. It is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then settled over the Throne. He knows what penetrates into the earth, and what comes out of it, and what descends from the sky, and what ascends to it. And He is with you wherever you may be. God is Seeing of everything you do." (57:1-4).  We see here that in these verse, the pronoun ''He'' is repeated in a context that asserts how God the Omniscient Creator differs from His creatures and creations, and the pronoun ''He'' replaces in the previous verses the word ''Allah/God'' itself. God's omnipresence asserts that He can never be referred to as an absent third-person or a third party: "…And He is with you wherever you may be…'' (57:4).

 

Fourthly:

 As for the rest of pronouns, possessives, and descriptions, we assert the following points.

1-  The same different usage of the rest of pronouns in the Quranic tongue, as opposed to the Arabic tongue, is asserted in the Quranic text. As for the possessive pronouns, in the Arabic tongue, one would say ''your book'' to denote that someone possesses this or that book. Yet, such possessive meaning of the pronoun ''your'' does NOT apply in the verse: "Praise the Name of your Lord, the Most High." (87:1), as one does NOT own God. The possessive pronoun ''your'' in the Quranic tongue in the above verse shows the opposite: a believer is owned by God. Another example is as follows: when Moses said to the Israelites: ''…so you have broken my promise" (86:20), the pronoun ''your'' denotes that the possessive quality to mortals, whereas the very same pronoun denotes God's ownership of all human beings, in the following verse: "…He is God, my Lord, and I never associate with my Lord anyone." (18:38).  

2- The meanings of Quranic terms has nothing to do with meanings of those of the Arabic tongue: the term ''Al-Roh'' does not denote the soul/spirit; rather, it refers to the Spirit/Angel Gabriel, who appeared in human form to Mary in her seclusion of worship to make her pregnant with Christ; see 19:16-21. In 19:17, we read the following: "…and We sent to her Our spirit …" (19:17), as this spirit, Gabriel, is referred to by the plural possessive pronoun to denote that this angel is owned by God; the plural form here is honorific way of glorification, used to refer to the Singular, Only God. This usage is repeated in the following verses (with the word 'spirit' meaning Gabriel): "…We breathed into her of Our spirit…" (21:91), and "When I have formed him, and breathed into him of My spirit, fall down prostrating before him." (15:29). 

3- The same applies to all descriptions and epithets of Almighty God in the Quran that we see describing creatures and humans as well in other Quranic contexts. Let us quote some examples below.

3/1: the word ''living'' is describing creatures in this verse: "He brings the living out of the dead, and He brings the dead out of the living…" (30:19). Yet, God is described in the Quran as the Living, meaning the Eternal and Everlasting: "And put your trust in the Living, the One who never dies; and celebrate His praise. He suffices as the All-Informed Knower of the faults of His creatures." (25:58); see also 2:255.

3/2: Another term in the Quran is the word ''one'': it is used to refer to anyone among human beings in the Quranic text: "…never associate anyone with the service of his Lord." (18:110), and the same term is used in other verses to denote Allah Himself as the Only One God. In the Quranic Chapter 112, both senses of the word ''one'' is used first to refer to God in 112:1 and to denote human beings in 112:4. "Say, "He is God, the One. God, the Absolute. He begets not, nor was He begotten. And there is no one comparable to Him."" (112:1-4).

4- The same principle applies to the usage of style of directives of the Arabic tongue; in the Quranic tongue, directives from God to believers comes from the Supreme, Dominant, Eternal Being, Allah, to His mortal believers; see for instance the Ten Quranic Commandments in 6:151-153. However, the same style of directives is used in the Quran in words uttered by believers toward God, denoting requesting, supplications, and imploring while performing prayers, NOT commanding or giving orders, of course. 

5- We conclude from the above examples that the usage of the pronoun ''He'' to denote God/Allah means omnipresence and absolute control, and NOT absence as the case in the third-person singular in Arabic Grammar. Another conclusion is the divine epithets that describe God in the Quran are used differently, within the semantic level, when describing human beings. Our previous articles show that God addresses people via the Quran in a simple way to make them understand, as they can never imagine and Greatness and Grandeur of God as Unseen Being, especial that our senses and mind cannot reach to imagine His Majesty and how He looks like. God addresses us in the Quran in a way that makes our minds understand in a figurative way, as far as His holy epithets are concerned, using the human way of description.    

 

Fifthly:

 The issue of the divine revelation to prophets and messengers of God:

1- Divine revelation methods given to prophets and messengers of God differed, as per the following verse: "It is not for any human that God should speak to him, except by inspiration, or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger/angel to reveal by His permission whatever He wills. He is All-High, All-Wise." (42:51). Of course, this angel is Gabriel; the spirit or ''Al-Roh", mentioned also in the following two verses: "He sends down the angels with the spirit by His command, upon whom He wills of His servants…" (16:2), and "…He conveys the Spirit, by His command, upon whomever He wills of His servants, to warn of the Day of Encounter." (40:15).

2- Of course, we cannot imagine how such revelation was actually done within the chosen selected prophets whose number is not known to us as it is not mentioned in the Quran. Let us reflect on these verses: "We have inspired you, as We had inspired Noah and the prophets after him. And We inspired Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the Patriarchs, and Jesus, and Job, and Jonah, and Aaron, and Solomon. And We gave David the Psalms. Some messengers We have already told you about, while some messengers We have not told you about. And God spoke to Moses many times." (4:163-164). Pondering these two verses, we conclude the following points.

2/1: Divine revelation received by Muhammad from God was done in the same way as in the cases of all prophets that came before him; some we know about them in the Quran, and some others about which we do not know, as their stories are not mentioned in the Quranic text.

2/2: Moses was talked to often by God, in a way that we cannot possibly imagine, and such direct speech and dialogue between Moses and God drove Moses to covet seeing God in the Mount in Sinai: "And when Moses came to Our appointment, and his Lord spoke to him, he said, "My Lord, allow me to look and see You." He said, "You will not see Me, but look at the mountain; if it stays in its place, you will see Me." But when his Lord manifested Himself to the mountain, He turned it into dust, and Moses fell down unconscious. Then, when he recovered, he said, "Glory be to you, I repent to you, and I am the first of the believers." He said, "O Moses, I have chosen you over all people for My messages and for My Words. So take what I have given you, and be one of the thankful."" (7:143-144).

3- In this direct revelation to Moses, God used the phrase "I am"; the personal pronoun of a speaker addressing another speaker to denote Himself, as He spoke to Moses when he was returning with his wife to Egypt, from the region of Madian. This revelation occurred near the right side of the Mount in Sinai; see 20:9-20, 27:7-12, and 28:30-35. This direct revelation is repeated when Moses was frightened by the tricks of the magicians in the court of Pharaoh's palace (see 20:66-69) and when Moses was told that the Israelites were misguided during his absence by worshipping a golden calf (see 20:83-85).  

 

Lastly:

 God has given humanity divine books and made human beings free to choose to believe or to disbelieve in them, to accept them or to distort their meanings within deliberate misinterpretations. Thus, the Noble Quran contains guidance only to those winners seeking to be guided, whereas those losers who choose misguidance will intentionally misinterpret and distort its meanings: "We send down in the Quran healing and mercy for the believers, but it increases the wrongdoers only in loss." (17:82). Among those misguided are the imams/clergymen of the Muhammadans who follow the footsteps of their forefathers and ancestors; God forewarns those who commit this terrible mistake. The Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent God knows those who try to detract and refute His Quran and forewarns them against Hell. The best discourse: "Those who despise Our revelations are not hidden from Us. Is he who is hurled into the Fire better? Or he who arrives safely on the Day of Resurrection? Do as you please; He is Seeing of everything you do. Those who reject the Reminder when it has come to them-it is an invincible Book.Falsehood cannot approach it, from before it or behind it. It is a revelation from One Wise and Praiseworthy." (41:40-42). God says nothing but the Truth.  


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