Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "Allah's Pride"

 

By

 

Bassam Zawadi

 

 

Shamoun's article could be located here.

 

 

Shamoun posts verses from the Qur'an and hadith that state that Allah is All Proud. He finds this strange because at the same time Allah condemns human beings for being proud and arrogant. He then goes on to argue that the God of the Bible is humble and meek (as if that is a good thing and proper for God to be, who would God be humble towards?), thus showing that the God of the Qur'an is different (thank God) and inferior to the God of the Bible.

 

First of all, just as Shamoun quotes from Samuel Zwemer, this attribute of pride is only immoral and inferior for a human being to have:

 

This word when used of a human being always implies haughtiness

 

And not necessarily for God.

 

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) defined arrogance:

 

Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people. (Saheeh Muslim)

 

 

Human beings should not be proud and haughty, since they have no right to be. A human being should not be arrogant and proud over others, since God created him equal to other human beings. Money, race and fame do not make anyone superior to another person. The only one who is superior in the sight of Allah is he who has God fearing consciousness. (Surah 49:13)

 

However, how can we say the same thing for God? The truth of the matter is that He has every right to be proud, since He is who He is.

 

Even this Christian explains:

                                                       

Why is pride so sinful? Pride is giving yourself the credit for something that God has accomplished. Pride is taking the glory that belongs to God alone and giving it to yourself. Pride is essentially self-worship. Anything we accomplish in this world would not have been possible were it not for God enabling and sustaining us. That is why we give God the glory...for He alone deserves it. (What does the Bible say about pride? Source)

 

 

Since God is the one with ultimate Glory, He has every right to be Proud.

 

Shamoun in his attempt to prove that the God of the Bible is humble cites Psalm 34:18, Psalm 51:16-17 & Isaiah 57:15, however these verses only show that God loves those who are humble. They don't say that God Himself is humble.

 

He also cites Matthew 11:28-30, however Shamoun begs the question and assumes that Jesus is God. Secondly, even if Jesus is God then this would only be his human nature speaking and not his divine nature. This would only mean that the incarnated God is showing us the ideal way for a human being to behave. It does not necessarily imply that God is that way as well.

 

He also cites Psalm 5:5-6 & Proverbs 18:12. However, none of these verses state that God is humble, rather they only state that He hates those who are proud and haughty (since they have no right to be) and we find the same thing in the Qur'an (Shamoun already posted the verses from the Qur'an showing this)

 

Shamoun said that Allah demands worship to fulfill His ego. This is nonsense. I can argue back the same thing. Notice what this Christian says:

 

Question: "Why does God demand, seek, or request that we worship Him?"

Answer:
What is worship? Worship means "to give honor, homage, reverence, respect, adoration, praise, or glory to a superior being." God demands worship because He and He alone is worthy of it. He is the only being that truly deserves worship. He requests that we acknowledge His greatness, His power and His glory. Revelation 4:11 tells us, "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created." God created us, and He is a God who will not be usurped. (Why does God demand, seek, or request that we worship Him?, Source)

 

 

According to Shamoun's logic, we would have to say that his God is immoral because when a human being asks someone to acknowledge his greatness this would be arrogant for him to do and since the Biblical God does the same thing, He must be immorally arrogant as well!

 

Shamoun probably came up with this argument, since he as a Christian believes that God revealed His character and nature through the personhood of Jesus Christ. He also believes that God created men in His image and thus believes that the ideal character of one should be that of God's. So Shamoun's reasoning tells him that since pride is a bad trait for human beings, it should also be for God.

 

Despite the fact that this is a bad consequence of likening God to His creation, Shamoun has to remember that God does not resemble human beings in every way. For instance, God could be jealous (Exodus 10:3-5), but not in the way that is condemned (Galatians 5:26) because God is unique and unlike anyone (Isaiah 46:9).

 

Muslims also believe that Allah created us in His image, however that does not mean that we resemble Him:

 

The fact that one thing is likened to another does not mean that it is identical to it in all aspects, rather they are likened to one another because they share some attributes, but that does not means that every attribute is identical. 

 

This is indicated by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): "The first group to be admitted to Paradise will be in the image of the moon on the night when it is full." Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3327; Muslim, 2834. 

 

This hadeeth does not mean that they will enter Paradise in a form that is exactly like the moon in all regards, otherwise that would mean that they will enter Paradise with no eyes or mouths, or as rocks.  

Rather what the hadeeth means is that they will be like the moon in beauty and brightness, with shining faces, and so on. 

 

So if you say: what is the Image that belongs to Allaah and in which Adam was created? We say that Allaah has a Face and Eyes and Hands and Feet, but that does not mean that because of these things He resembles man. There may be some similarity but that does not mean that these things are identical, just as the first group of the people of Paradise to enter Paradise are likened to the moon, but that does not mean that they resemble the moon. This confirms the belief of Ahl al-Sunnah wa'l-Jamaa'ah, that none of the attributes of Allaah can be likened to the attributes of created beings, and they do not misinterpret the Divine attributes or deny them, and they do not liken them to the attributes of human beings. 

 

See Sharh al-'Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-?Uthaymeen, part 1, p. 107-110. (Source)

 

 

In conclusion, Allah is unique and we cannot use the same standards to judge Him (who are we to judge Him?) as we do with human beings. Allah is Proud and has every right to be, but Allah's Pride does not denote anything negative about Him. On the contrary, it denotes that all glory belongs to Him and He is above all in superiority.

 

 

 

Recommended Reading

 

http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/9229 

 

http://www.christian-thinktank.com/goodpride.html (Christian apologist Glenn Miller differentiates between good pride and its negative form)

 

 

 

 

 

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