Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "Quran Contradiction: Is Muhammad Only A Warner or a Prophet/Messenger?
Sam Shamoun's article could be accessed here.
Shamoun cites the following Qur'anic verses that state that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is no more than a warner...
Say: For myself I have no power to benefit, nor power to hurt, save that which Allah willeth. Had I knowledge of the Unseen, I should have abundance of wealth, and adversity would not touch me. I am but (illa) a warner, and a bearer of good tidings unto folk who believe. S. 7:188 Pickthall
So perchance you (Muhammad SAW) may give up a part of what is revealed unto you, and that your breast feels straitened for it because they say, "Why has not a treasure been sent down unto him, or an angel has come with him?" But you are ONLY a warner (innama anta natheerun). And Allah is a Wakil (Disposer of affairs, Trustee, Guardian, etc.) over all things. S. 11:12 Hilali-Khan
Those who disbelieve say: If only some portent were sent down upon him from his Lord! Thou art a warner ONLY (innama anta munthirun), and for every folk a guide. S. 13:7 Pickthall
And they say: "Why are not signs sent down to him from his Lord? Say: "The signs are only with Allah (qul innama al-ayatu AAinda Allahi), and I am ONLY a plain warner (wa-innama ana natheerun mubeenun)." S. 29:50 Hilali-Khan
Then Shamoun argues that since Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is no more than a warner, then that means he isn't a Messenger, since him being a Messenger would make him more than just a warner, thus we would end up having contradictions in the Qur'an.
This is a result of Shamoun taking things too literally as we will show.
The Quran states that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a teacher of the Qur'an and a purifier (3:164), warner (7:184,188; 11:2,12; 17:105; 25:56; 26:115; 33:45; 35:23), bearer of good tidings (7:188; 11:2, 17:105; 25:56;33:45), a witness (33:45: 48:8), a caller to the straight path (33:46), a judge (4:105; 5:48) and much more.
The Qur'an states in certain verses that the only duty of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is to convey the message...
And if they argue with thee, (O Muhammad), say: I have surrendered my purpose to Allah and (so have) those who follow me. And say unto those who have received the Scripture and those who read not: Have ye (too) surrendered? If they surrender, then truly they are rightly guided, and if they turn away, then it is thy duty only to convey the message (unto them). Allah is Seer of (His) bondmen.
Obey Allah and obey the messenger, and beware! But if ye turn away, then know that the duty of Our messenger is only plain conveyance (of the message).
Now would this contradict other verses that state that other duties of the Prophet (peace be upon him) are to warn, give good tidings, teach the Qur'an, judge, etc? No we don't believe so, since we believe that this all comes under the Prophet's role of conveying the message of Islam to us.
Shamoun cites Surah 18:110, which states...
Say: "I am but a man like yourselves, (but) the inspiration has come to me, that your God is one God: whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.
Shamoun forgets to emphasize on the exception that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is making to his statement, which is that he is receiving revelations from God (meaning he is a Messenger).
There is also a verse, which states that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is no more than a messenger...
Or thou have a house of gold; or thou ascend up into heaven, and even then we will put no faith in thine ascension till thou bring down for us a book that we can read. Say (O Muhammad): My Lord be Glorified! Am I aught save a mortal messenger?
Shamoun will stubbornly insist that the verses state that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is NO MORE than a warner. Thus, it is contradicting the above verse and the others.
However, the Qur'an states that the Messengers of the past are also NO MORE than warners and bearers of good tidings...
We send not the messengers save as bearers of good news and warners. Whoso believeth and doeth right, there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.
We send not the messengers save as bearers of good news and warners. Those who disbelieve contend with falsehood in order to refute the Truth thereby. And they take Our revelations and that wherewith they are threatened as a jest.
Now is Shamoun going to continue using his very literal and uncalled for exegetical approach to the text or is he going to try to and allow for harmonization between the verses?
When the Qur'an states that the Messengers of God are no more than warners, it is emphasizing that their task and duty is not to guide people, as Allah states here...
Lo! thou (O Muhammad) guidest not whom thou lovest, but Allah guideth whom He will. And He is Best Aware of those who walk aright.
But that all that they can do is communicate the message of God to them (which includes warning, giving glad tidings, proper understanding of scripture, etc.)
Each of the verses have their intended meanings.
For instance, in 7:188 and 29:50 we see that what is being emphasized is the fact that the Prophet (peace be upon him) has no independent power or will to perform miracles or to know of the unseen. While in 11:12 we see that what is being emphasized is the fact the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a human being and not an angel.
So when all the verses are looked at together we see that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was no more than a Messenger of Allah who received revelations from Allah in order to warn, give glad tidings, teach and purify his people.
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