Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "Did the Polytheists Believe That Allah Was The Supreme Being Or Did They View Him As One of Many Rival Gods?"

By

Bassam Zawadi

 

Sam Shamoun's article could be located here

 

Sam Shamoun said:

The Quran claims that the pagans of Muhammad's time believed that Allah was the creator and owner of the heavens and earth:

Say: Unto Whom (belongeth) the earth and whosoever is therein, if ye have knowledge? They will say: Unto Allah. Say: Will ye not then remember? Say: Who is Lord of the seven heavens, and Lord of the Tremendous Throne? They will say: Unto Allah (all that belongeth). Say: Will ye not then keep duty (unto Him)? Say: In Whose hand is the dominion over all things and He protecteth, while against Him there is no protection, if ye have knowledge? They will say: Unto Allah (all that belongeth). Say: How then are ye bewitched? S. 23:84-89

And if thou wert to ask them: Who created the heavens and the earth, and constrained the sun and the moon (to their appointed work)? they would say: Allah. How then are they turned away? Allah maketh the provision wide for whom He will of His bondmen, and straiteneth it for whom (He will). Lo! Allah is Aware of all things. And if thou wert to ask them: Who causeth water to come down from the sky, and therewith reviveth the earth after its death? they verily would say: Allah. Say: Praise be to Allah! But most of them have no sense. S. 29:61-63

If thou shouldst ask them: Who created the heavens and the earth? they would answer: Allah. Say: Praise be to Allah! But most of them know not. S. 31:25

The Quran says that the problem of the pagans was to associate other deities with Allah:

They assign unto Allah, of the crops and cattle which He created, a portion, and they say: "This is Allah's" - in their make-believe - "and this is for (His) partners in regard to us." Thus that which (they assign) unto His partners in them reacheth not Allah and that which (they assign) unto Allah goeth to their (so-called) partners. Evil is their ordinance. S. 6:136

Allah hath not chosen any son, nor is there any god along with Him; else would each god have assuredly championed that which he created, and some of them would assuredly have overcome others. Glorified be Allah above all that they allege. S. 23:91

And verily, if thou shouldst ask them: Who created the heavens and the earth? they will say: Allah. Say: Bethink you then of those ye worship beside Allah, if Allah willed some hurt for me, could they remove from me His hurt; or if He willed some mercy for me, could they restrain His mercy? Say: Allah is my all. In Him do (all) the trusting put their trust. S. 39:38

The Quran further states that their reason for worshiping these other gods was so that they might get closer to Allah:

Surely pure religion is for Allah only. And those who choose protecting friends beside Him (say): We worship them only that they may bring us near unto Allah. Lo! Allah will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Lo! Allah guideth not him who is a liar, an ingrate. S. 39:3

However, there are other references which indicate that the unbelievers did not view Allah as the supreme god, but believed he was just one of many rival deities. For instance, the Quran claims that Muhammad's antagonists did not worship his god Allah:

Say: 'O unbelievers, I serve not what you serve and you are not serving what I serve, nor am I serving what you have served, neither are you serving what I serve. To you your religion, and to me my religion!' S. 109:1-6 Arberry

Muhammad is even warned from insulting their gods lest they insult his deity:

Revile not those unto whom they pray beside Allah lest they wrongfully revile Allah through ignorance. Thus unto every nation have We made their deed seem fair. Then unto their Lord is their return, and He will tell them what they used to do. S. 6:108

The above texts make no sense if the Quran is correct that the pagans worshiped Allah as the supreme deity. After all, why would they insult the high god of their pantheon and how could they be accused of not serving Allah if in fact they believed he was the creator of all and that they only worshiped other gods in order to get closer to him?

These verses only make sense if the pagans did not worship Allah or did not view him as the Supreme Being, but believed he was only one among many rival deities.

The following narrative provides additional substantiation that the pagans viewed Allah as one among many gods, that is assuming that they did believe in Allah:

. Abu Sufyan said, "Our victory today is a counterbalance to yours in the battle of Badr, and in war (the victory) is always undecided and is shared in turns by the belligerents, and you will find some of your (killed) men mutilated, but I did not urge my men to do so, yet I do not feel sorry for their deed" After that he started reciting cheerfully, "O Hubal, be high!" On that the Prophet said (to his companions), "Why don't you answer him back?" They said, "O Allah's Apostle! What shall we say?" He said, "Say, Allah is Higher and more Sublime." (Then) Abu Sufyan said, "We have the (idol) Al Uzza, and you have no Uzza." The Prophet said (to his companions), "Why don't you answer him back?" They asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What shall we say?" He said, "Say Allah is our Helper and you have no helper." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 276)

The above tradition poses problems for the Muslim view that the pagans believed Allah was superior to the rest of the gods. Abu Sufyan's comments presuppose that Allah was either one among many deities or that he was a foreign god who could be defeated by their gods. After all, Abu Sufyan attributed the victory over Muhammad to his god Hubal and the goddess Uzza, suggesting that at least in his mind these gods were equal, if not superior, to Allah. Abu Sufyan apparently felt that Allah could be challenged and defeated.

Now wouldn't this support the fact that the pagans didn't see Allah as the unrivaled and supreme deity?

 

My Response:

It seems like we need to give Shamoun a class in basic Islamic theology. (Pretty pathetic to give to a man whom supposedly studied Islam for more than a decade).

Tawheed (monotheism) is of three types.

 

     

  1. Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiya. The exclusive uniqueness of Allah as omnipotent Lord. The one and the only one fully capable and in command in His creation. This belief affirms that God is the only ultimate Creator of all things.
  2.  

    The polytheists of Mecca affirmed this belief as seen in Surah 23:84-89, 29:61-63 and 31:25.

     

     

  3. Tawheed Al-Uloohiya. The exclusiveness uniqueness of Allah as deity. Allah is the only valid object of worship and no portion of any form of worship may be directed to other than Allah.
  4.  

    The polytheists of Mecca went against this belief for they directed their worship to idols as well and not Allah alone.

     

    Allah criticizes them for believing that God is the sole creator of the heavens, yet at the same time they directed their worship to others beside Him.

     

    Surah 39:38

    And verily, if thou shouldst ask them: Who created the heavens and the earth? they will say: Allah. Say: Bethink you then of those ye worship beside Allah, if Allah willed some hurt for me, could they remove from me His hurt; or if He willed some mercy for me, could they restrain His mercy? Say: Allah is my all. In Him do (all) the trusting put their trust.

     

     

  5. Tawheed Al-Asmaa' wa As-Sifaat. The exclusiveness uniqueness of Allah with regard to His names and attributes as He told us in the Qur'an or commanded his Prophet (peace be upon him) to tell us in the hadith. Stated another way: this form of tawheed pertains to complete acceptance of Allah's attributes and names as they have been given to us.

 

Conclusion

The polytheists of Mecca believed that Allah was the Creator of the heavens and the earth, however they still directed their worship to others besides Allah and were thus labeled as polytheists.

 

It was Shamoun's failure to pay close attention to what each of the verses were trying to say and his ignorance of basic 1st grade Islamic theology.

 

Recommending Readings Related to the Topic

http://aqeedah.wordpress.com/2007/02/19/mushrikoon-believed-in-allah-as-a-rabb/

http://aqeedah.wordpress.com/2007/02/19/mushrikoon-believed-in-allah-but-still-committed-shirk/

http://aqeedah.wordpress.com/101/ (for a whole list of articles. Notice that these articles are subject codes 101, which mean that they are taught to beginners wanting to learn Islam. It just goes to show how ignorant of Islam Sam Shamoun really is since he would need to read these articles before issuing arguments such as these)

 

Appendix

 

 

 

Shamoun responded back over here.

 

Shamoun said:


Abu Sufyan attributes his victory over the Muslims to his gods/goddesses, e.g. Hubal and al-Uzza. He even responds to Muhammad's chant of Allah being higher by extolling the praise of his idols that assisted him in the victory against the Muslims. This shows that rather than thinking that Hubal and al-Uzza were not as great as Allah, or that they were less powerful than he, Abu Sufyan actually believed that these gods/goddesses were equal to, if not greater than, him since they could defeat his followers in battle.

To put this another way so that Zawadi doesn't miss the point, the fact that Abu Sufyan attributed his victory over Muhammad and his deity to Hubal and Uzza suggests that in his mind these idols were equal, if not superior, to Muhammad's Allah. He obviously felt that Allah could be challenged and defeated, which means that the pagan Meccans didn't see Allah as the unrivaled supreme Deity as certain Quranic citations and Islamic traditions claim.

Shamoun the neophyte who deceives himself into thinking he is knowledgeable and smart thinks that when the Meccans say "Allah" they mean the same thing that Muslims mean when they say "Allah". That is as silly as saying that Muslims and Arab Christians mean the same thing when they say "Allah".

 

Sometimes a comparison could be made. For instance, sometimes you will find Muslims trying to relate Allah to whom Christians would refer to as God the Father. However, both Muslims and Christians would agree that they still mean different things. But some Muslims try to make that relation because in Islam Allah who is above the heavens sent Jesus and in Christianity God the Father similarly sent Jesus.

 

Similarly, the Meccans believed in a supreme God whom they called Allah whom they believed is up above the heavens and isn't present on earth like the idols that they fashioned and created. Yet, everyone with half a brain (i.e. excluding Shamoun) knows that Muslims and paganistic Meccans aren't referring to the same Allah.

 

So the hadiths show the Meccans believing in their own gods to be superior to the God that Muslims claim to believe in, but which the Meccans disbelieve in.

 

Shamoun then presents red herrings, which have already been refuted here.

 

 Appendix 2

Shamoun "responded" back here.

It's a tragedy when an incompetent fool like Shamoun actually thinks that he is smart or even knowledgeable.

Shamoun the imbecile fails to understand what I clearly and obviously mean by "same Allah".

Who is Allah according to Islam?

Islamic Allah = Allah who forbids polytheism and sent the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with the Qur'an as His final revelation.

Who is Allah according to the Qurayshi polytheists?

Qurayshi Allah = Allah who allows the worship of idols in order to get closer to him. Also, this Allah did not send Muhammad as a messenger and did not send the Qur'an as a revelation.

Now, is Shamoun the anti-intellectual buffoon trying to tell me that Salafis believe and teach that the "Islamic Allah" and "Qurayshi Allah" are the same? Or is Shamoun the neophyte who suffers from a serious problem of reading comprehension just realizing that he completely failed to understand what I obviously meant by "same Allah"? We hope it's the latter.

So what do Salafis like Yasir Qadhi mean when they say that the Quraysh recognized Allah as their sole creator? Yasir is doing what I previously mentioned in my article and that is that we sometimes make a relation due to similarities. Since the Quraysh believed in a God out there above the heavens, we make that relation to Allah.

So going back to the original argument that Shamoun made by appealing to this narration:

. Abu Sufyan said, "Our victory today is a counterbalance to yours in the battle of Badr, and in war (the victory) is always undecided and is shared in turns by the belligerents, and you will find some of your (killed) men mutilated, but I did not urge my men to do so, yet I do not feel sorry for their deed" After that he started reciting cheerfully, "O Hubal, be high!" On that the Prophet said (to his companions), "Why don't you answer him back?" They said, "O Allah's Apostle! What shall we say?" He said, "Say, Allah is Higher and more Sublime." (Then) Abu Sufyan said, "We have the (idol) Al Uzza, and you have no Uzza." The Prophet said (to his companions), "Why don't you answer him back?" They asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What shall we say?" He said, "Say Allah is our Helper and you have no helper." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 276)

My response, which Shamoun couldn't comprehend, is that the polytheists here clearly rejected the "Islamic Allah".

Furthermore, saying "O Hubal, be high" doesn't mean that Hubal is the highest. Also, their saying that they have Al Uzza while the Muslims don't only reinforces the fact that they believed that their idols were useful in getting them closer to God.

Shamoun the ignoramus then said:

Finally, Zawadi's false analogy of Muslims relating Allah to God the Father in Christian theology will come to backfire against him. Muhammad expressly taught that Jews and Christians worshiped the same God as he did:

Say (O Muhammad): "O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians): Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah. Then, if they turn away, say: "Bear witness that we are Muslims." S. 3:64 Hilali-Khan

And argue not with the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), unless it be in (a way) that is better (with good words and in good manner, inviting them to Islamic Monotheism with His Verses), except with such of them as do wrong, and say (to them): "We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you; our Ilah (God) and your Ilah (God) is One (i.e. Allah), and to Him we have submitted (as Muslims)." S. 29:46 Hilali-Khan

3:64 only says that the Prophet should call out to Jews and Christians to worship the same God and not that we are in fact worshipping the same God. 29:46 is not saying that we worship and believe in the same God, rather the verse is saying that our God and the God of Christians and Jews is one. So whether one wants to acknowledge whether Allah is his God or not doesn't change the fact that Allah is everyone's God in the eyes of Islam.

So much for Shamoun's pathetic and shallow "response". Shamoun needs to stay out of territories he has no place in. He needs to stop being so dense to actually think that he could somehow outsmart well informed Muslims by talking "Salafi this" and "Salafi that". These matters are way out of Shamoun's league and he has absolutely no idea what he's talking about.

 

 

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