Rebuttal to Jochen Katz's Article "Eternal Security for Wrongdoers? How Muhammad Corrupted the Qur'an"


Bassam Zawadi


Jochen Katz's article could be found here. I encourage the readers to first read Jochen's article and then proceed to read on to my rebuttal to him.

Jochen said:

The phrase "those who believe" is used in the Qur'an over and over again to refer to the Muslims, the followers of Muhammad's message, i.e. "those who believe" (in the message of Islam). And at the core of this message is the belief in the existence of only one god, Allah, and the unity of this god (tawhid), and the rejection of any other things or beings as deities.

However, because that is so, their second parenthetical comment is utter nonsense. It is simply not possible to "worship none but Allah" (explanation of the first part of the verse) AND to "worship others besides Allah" (explanation of the second part of the verse) at the same time.

It has never dawned on Jochen's mind that the verse is trying to say that those who have come to believe in Allah (become Muslims) and don't fall into Shirk (don't end up as apostates or committing acts of disbelief) will have eternal security. Or that the verse is emphasizing that once you have become a believer and remain in that path and don't fall astray by committing Shirk, you will have eternal security.

I don't understand what is so complicated here.

There is no contradiction between someone being a Muslim and at the same time restraining from Shirk. At the same time, I am a Muslim and resist becoming a Christian. One might argue that me remaining a Muslim by default implies that I am resistant to becoming a Christian as well, however there is nothing wrong with me saying that for the purpose of emphasis.

For example, I might say "I am going to continue remaining sober and never have another drink again"

Now the statement "I am going to continue remaining sober" already implies that the person is not going to have another drink, however people do speak this way sometimes if they would like to emphasize a point.

Another example could be "I am going to keep driving fast and not slow down for any body". Obviously, when the person said that he is going to keep driving fast then that would also mean the is not going to slow down at all. Again, this is for purposes of emphasis.

Thus, the verse in the Qur'an stresses on the importance of avoiding Shirk in order for someone to be a believer and inherit eternal security. The verse also indirectly implies that it is possible for someone to be a believer and then become an apostate by committing shirk. Therefore, the believer must always be on guard and avoid Shirk as much as possible.

Jochen said:

As one can see, iniquity, injustice, wrongdoing, etc. is the meaning in which this word is regularly used in the Qur'an, and often it has nothing to do with idolatry, but may be mistreatment of women, injustice done to orphans, etc. This word refers very generally to "wrongdoing" of many kinds..

Therefore, after realizing this danger, he immediately reacted; he quickly abrogated the obvious meaning and substitute the clear actual meaning by something rather harmless, a condition that any Muslim would meet by definition. However, this new meaning is actually nonsense, as we have seen above.


It appears that Jochen didn't carefully read the very hadith that he has posted in his article where the Prophet (peace be upon him) actually shows that the word zulm does and could refer to polytheism:


Narrated 'Abdullah:

When the Verse:-- 'Those who believe and mix not their belief with wrong.' was revealed, the Muslims felt it very hard on them and said, "O Allah's Apostle! Who amongst us does not do wrong to himself?" He replied, "The Verse does not mean this. But that (wrong) means to associate others in worship to Allah:
Don't you listen to what Luqman said to his son when he was advising him, "O my son! Join not others in worship with Allah. Verily joining others in worship with Allah is a great wrong indeed." (31.13) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 639)


The Arabic word zulm, which means inequity or justice covers polytheism, killing, stealing, etc. and it is only the context that can denote what is specifically being spoken about.

Jochen erroneously assumes that the word zulm could only mean "bad deeds" per se. This is not the case. For instance, we see that the word zulm is applied to someone who evicts a widow from her marital home during the time of her 'iddah (Surah 65:1) and we see that in Surah 2:254 that the disbelievers are those that commit zulm. Now, it does not necessarily follow that those who evict widows before the 'iddah are disbelievers. Their zulm is not a sin that is as significant as those of the disbelievers.

Clearly, we see that the word zulm must be understood properly in each specific context. The Prophet (peace be upon him) clarified what it was referring to in Surah 6:82 (since that is one of his duties as a Messenger) and there is no reason whatsoever to believe that the Prophet (peace be upon him) came up with some obscure meaning for the word zulm. Rather, when we read the Qur'an as a whole we see that the word zulm does and could actually refer to polytheism and rejection of Allah in some instances (e.g. Surah 2:254, 31:13, etc.) and Surah 6:82 just so happens to be one of them.



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