Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "Is Allah the Only Judge or Not?"

 

By

 

Bassam Zawadi

 

 

Sam Shamoun's article could be accessed here.

 

 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

The Quran says that there is no other judge besides Allah and that he doesn't allow anyone to share in his decision-making or rule:

Shall I seek other than Allah for judge, when He it is Who hath revealed unto you (this) Scripture, fully explained? Those unto whom We gave the Scripture (aforetime) know that it is revealed from thy Lord in truth. So be not thou (O Muhammad) of the waverers. S. 6:114

Say: "Allah knows best how long they stayed. With Him is (the knowledge of) the unseen of the heavens and the earth. How clearly He sees, and hears (everything)! They have no Wali (Helper, Disposer of affairs, Protector, etc.) other than Him, and He makes NONE to share in His Decision and His Rule." S. 18:26 Hilali-Khan

But elsewhere in the Quran Muhammad is said to share in Allah's decisions and judgments:

O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those of you who are in authority; and if ye have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to Allah and the messenger if ye are (in truth) believers in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more seemly in the end. S. 4:59

We sent no messenger save that he should be obeyed by Allah's leave. And if, when they had wronged themselves, they had but come unto thee and asked forgiveness of Allah, and asked forgiveness of the messenger, they would have found Allah Forgiving, Merciful. But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make thee judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which thou decidest, and submit with full submission. S. 4:64-65 Pickthall

And it becometh not a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His messenger have decided an affair (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say in their affair; and whoso is rebellious to Allah and His messenger, he verily goeth astray in error manifest. S. 33:36

Amazingly, the above citation says that Muhammad also shares Allah's ability to forgive sinners!

In light of the above what exactly is a person to believe? Is Allah the only judge and does he refuse to share his decision and rule with anyone? Or does Muhammad also judge and make decisions for his community?

 

My Response:

 

I am quite surprised that Sam Shamoun's quality of articles have stooped this low.

 

Surah 6:114 and 18:26 talk about God being the ultimate judge and authority. That ultimately all judgment is decided by Him. There is no other ultimate authority besides Him.

 

Surah 4:59 shows that Allah and His Messenger are sources of religious authority. The reason why the messenger has this honor is because Allah has given him this privilege and task since He sent him to teach the people (3:164) and make clear to them (16:44) the revelation of God. We also have to remember that the Prophet peace be upon him does not speak of his own self but receives revelation (53:4) from God who is the ultimate source of religious authority.

 

 

Surah 4:64-65 does not intend to say that the Prophet forgave them but asked forgiveness for them. See Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Tafsir Tabari

 

 

Even most of the translations state this except for Pickthal's, which Shamoun conveniently chose for his agenda...

 

 

Pickthall

We sent no messenger save that he should be obeyed by Allah's leave. And if, when they had wronged themselves, they had but come unto thee and asked forgiveness of Allah, and asked forgiveness of the messenger, they would have found Allah Forgiving, Merciful.

Yusuf Ali

We sent not an apostle, but to be obeyed, in accordance with the will of God. If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked God's forgiveness, and the Apostle had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found God indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful.

Hilali-Khan

We sent no Messenger, but to be obeyed by Allah's Leave. If they (hypocrites), when they had been unjust to themselves, had come to you (Muhammad SAW) and begged Allah's Forgiveness, and the Messenger had begged forgiveness for them: indeed, they would have found Allah All-Forgiving (One Who accepts repentance), Most Merciful.

Shakir

And We did not send any apostle but that he should be obeyed by Allah's permission; and had they, when they were unjust to themselves, come to you and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Apostle had (also) asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Oft-returning (to mercy), Merciful.

Sher Ali

And WE have sent no Messenger but that he should be obeyed by the command of ALLAH. And if they had come to thee, when they had wronged their souls, and asked forgiveness of ALLAH, and the Messenger also had asked forgiveness for them, they would have surely found ALLAH Oft-Returning with compassion, and Merciful.

Khalifa

We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed in accordance with GOD's will. Had they, when they wronged their souls, come to you and prayed to GOD for forgiveness, and the messenger prayed for their forgiveness, they would have found GOD Redeemer, Most Merciful.

Arberry

We sent not ever any Messenger, but that he should he obeyed, by the leave of God. If; when they wronged themselves, they had come to thee, and prayed forgiveness of God, and the Messenger had prayed forgiveness for them, they would have found God turns, All-compassionate.

Palmer

We have never sent an apostle save that he should be obeyed by the permission of God; and if they, when they have wronged themselves, come to thee and ask pardon of God, and the Apostle asks pardon for them, then they will find God easy to be turned, compassionate.

Rodwell

We have not sent any apostle but to be obeyed, it God so will: but if they, after they have sinned to their own hurt by unbelief, come to thee and ask pardon of God, and the apostle ask pardon for them, they shall surely find that God is He who turneth unto man, Merciful.

Sale

We have not sent any apostle, but that he might be obeyed by the permission of God: But if they, after they have injured their own souls, come unto thee, and ask pardon of God, and the apostle ask pardon for them, they shall surely find God easy to be reconciled and merciful.

 

 

Plus even if the verse does intend to say that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him could forgive people, this in no way suggests that he is the ultimate forgiver of sins just like God.

 

Indeed, we human beings can forgive people's shortcomings but that doesn't make us God.

 

Lastly, Surah 33:36 only shows how Allah and His Messenger are sources of authority. When it says Allah, it is referring to the Qu'ran and when it refers to the Messenger it is referring to the Sunnah communicated through the Prophet's actions and statements.

 

God is the ultimate source of authority since both Qur'an and Sunnah come from Him and not from the Prophet.

 

 

 

So it's pretty simple. These verses can easily be reconciled. Yes, human beings could be judges in certain matters and forgive people for certain actions committed against them, however the ultimate judge and forgiver of sins is God.

 

 

With this understanding there is no contradiction between these verses.

 

 

I can do the same technique with the Bible.

 

 

I can show that in one place the Bible says that God is the only judge and lawgiver (James 4:12), yet we have the disciples having the ability to judge (Matthew 19:28) and obviously we have countries today instituting their own laws and constitutions.

 

I can also show that in one place the Bible says that God is the only one who forgives sins (Mark 2:10), yet we see that the disciples had the ability to forgive sins (John 20:23) and ordinary people as well (Matthew 6:14)

 

 

The Christian would reply back reconciling these verses the same way that we had in this article. So why the double standard?

 

 

 

The debate continues.

 

 

 

 

 

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