Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "What is the day of congregation?"

 

By

 

Bassam Zawadi

 

 

Sam Shamouns article could be located here.

 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

 

The Arabic, yawmi al-jumuati, literally translated means "day of the assembly/congregation," and refers to the day which Muslims are to gather together to pray. Hence, of all the translations Pickthall, Arberry and Rodwell are the most accurate.

 

Moreover, Ali, Hilali-Khan, Shakir, Sher Ali, and Khalifa have inserted the word "Friday" into their versions without any Quranic warrant to do so since the Quran nowhere specifies the exact day Muslims are supposed to gather.

 

My Response:

 

Cleary, Shamoun is ignorant of the Arabic language.

 

'Al Jum'uah', literally means Friday in Arabic.

 

For instance, this online dictionary translates Friday into 'yawm al jum'uah', the day of Friday.

 

Following is the transliteration of the days.

 

 

Saturday (Al Sabt)

Sunday (Ahad)

Monday (Ethnayn), could also mean 'two'

Tuesday (Talaata), could also mean 'three'

Wednesday (Arbi'aa), could also mean 'four'

Thursday (Khamees)

Friday (Jum'uah), could also mean 'assembly'

 

 

Indeed, the Arabic words used for the days can also have multiple meanings linguistically as I have shown above.

 

However, context informs us which meaning makes more sense.

 

Some one could say in Arabic that he is going to the park on the day of Tuesday. Linguistically speaking if we translate this phrase literally it could also mean that he is going to the park on the 'day of three', which obviously makes no sense.

 

So context (historical and textual) informs us which meaning makes more sense.

 

 

Islamic scholars and the early Muslims had no problem understanding what Surah 62:9 was referring to.

 

Ibn Kathir in his commentary says...

 

Al-Jumu`ah (Friday), and the Orders and Etiquette for Friday

Friday is called Al-Jumu`ah because it is derived from Al-Jam`, literally, gathering. The people of Islam gather weekly, on every Friday in the major places of worship. It was during Friday when Allah finished the creation, the sixth day, during which Allah created the heavens and earth. During Friday, Allah created Adam, and he was placed in Paradise, and ironically, it was a Friday when he was taken out of Paradise. It will be on a Friday when the Last Hour will commence. There is an hour during Friday, wherein no faithful servant asks Allah for something good, but Allah will give him what he asked for. All of this is based upon Hadiths in the authenic collections. In the ancient language Friday was called, `Arubah. It is a fact that previous nations were informed about Friday, but they were led astray from it. The Jews chose Saturday for their holy day, but Adam was not created on Saturday. The Christians chose Sunday, which is the day the creation was initiated. Allah chose Friday for this Ummah, because it is the day the creation was finished.Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

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(We are the last (to come) but the first on the Day of Resurrection, though the former nations were given the Scriptures before us. And this was their day (Friday) the celebration of which was made compulsory for them, but they differed about it. So, Allah gave us guidance to it, and all other people are coming after us: the Jews tomorrow and the Christians the day after tomorrow.'' This is the wording of Al-Bukhari in another narration of Muslim;

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(Allah diverted those who were before us from Friday. For the Jews there was Saturday, and for the Christians there was Sunday. Allah then brought us and guided us to Friday. He made them; Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and it is in this order they will come after us on the Day of Resurrection. We are the last of among the people of this world and the first among the created to be judged on the Day of Resurrection.) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Source)

 

Imam Tabari says...

 

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And that is the call, the call that is made to the Friday prayer when the Imam sits down on his pulpit ready to give the sermon. (Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Jami' al-bayan fi ta'wil al-Qur'an, Commentary on Surah 62:9, Source)

 

 

 

Al Suyuti says...

 

O you who believe, when the call for prayer is made on Friday, hasten, set off, to the remembrance of God, to the prayer, and leave aside [all] commerce, suspend [all] such contracts. That is better for you, should you know, that it is better for you, then do it. (Jalal ud-Din Siyuti, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Commentary on Surah 2:79, Source)

 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

 

This information is taken from the Islamic narrations or hadiths.

 

My Response:

 

Of course it is. There is something wrong with Sam Shamoun's whole section to begin with. That is that he assumes that the Qur'an is the only source of religious authority in Islam. He uses foolish arguments put forth by hadeeth rejecting Muslims (who are refuted here) and completely ignores the Islamic orthodox position.

 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

In fact, if one were to stick to the Quran closely one would come to the conclusion that this day would have to be the Sabbath:

And for their covenant we raised over them (the towering height) of Mount (Sinai); and (on another occasion) we said: "Enter the gate with humility"; and (once again) we commanded them: "Transgress not in the matter of the sabbath." And we took from them a solemn covenant. S. 4:154 Y. Ali

The Quran mentions the fate of those who broke the Sabbath:

And well ye knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath: We said to them: "Be ye apes, despised and rejected." S. 2:65 Y. Ali

And ask them (O Muhammad SAW) about the town that was by the sea, when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday): when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day, and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath. Thus We made a trial of them for they used to rebel (see the Qur'an: V.4:154). S. 7:163 Hilali-Khan

There is no indication in the Quran that Allah abrogated the Sabbath as the day of observance for believers, and gave the Muslim community a different day instead.

 

My Response:

 

Shamoun forgets to mention one crucial verse...

 

 

Surah 16:124

 

Pickthall

The Sabbath was appointed only for those who differed concerning it, and lo! thy Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they used to differ.

Yusuf Ali

The Sabbath was only made (strict) for those who disagreed (as to its observance); But God will judge between them on the Day of Judgment, as to their differences.

Hilali-Khan

The Sabbath was only prescribed for those who differed concerning it, and verily, your Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection about that wherein they used to differ.

Shakir

The Sabbath was ordained only for those who differed about it, and most surely your Lord will judge between them on the resurrection day concerning that about which they differed.

Sher Ali

The punishment for profaning the Sabbath was imposed only on those who had differed about it and thy Lord will surely judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they differed.

Khalifa

The Sabbath was decreed only for those who ended up disputing it (Jews & Christians). Your Lord is the One who will judge them on the Day of Resurrection regarding their disputes.

Arberry

The Sabbath was only appointed for those who were at variance thereon; surely thy Lord will decide between them on the Day of Resurrection, touching their differences.

Palmer

The Sabbath was only made for those who dispute thereon; but, verily, thy Lord will judge between them on the resurrection day concerning that whereon they do dispute.

Rodwell

The Sabbath was only ordained for those who differed about it: and of a truth thy Lord will decide between them on the day of resurrection as to the subject of their disputes.

Sale

The sabbath was only appointed unto those who differed [with their prophet] concerning it; and thy Lord will surely judge between them, on the day of resurrection, as to that concerning which they differed.

 

 

Ibn Kathir says...

 

The Prescription of the Sabbath for the Jews

There is no doubt that for every nation, Allah prescribed one day of the week for people to gather to worship Him. For this Ummah He prescribed Friday, because it is the sixth day, on which Allah completed and perfected His creation. On this day He gathered and completed His blessings for His servants. It was said that Allah prescribed this day for the Children of Israel through His Prophet Musa, but they changed it and chose Saturday because it was the day on which the Creator did not create anything, as He had completed His creation on Friday. Allah made observance of the Sabbath obligatory for them in the laws of the Tawrah (Torah), telling them to keep the Sabbath. At the same time, He told them to follow Muhammad when he was sent, and took their promises and covenant to that effect. Hence Allah says:

[ ]

(The Sabbath was only prescribed for those who differed concerning it,) Mujahid said: "They observed the Sabbath (Saturday) and ignored Friday.'' Then they continued to observe Saturday until Allah sent `Isa bin Maryam. It was said that he told them to change it to Sunday, and it was also said that he did not forsake the laws of the Tawrah except for a few rulings, which were abrogated, and he continued to observe the Sabbath until he was taken up (into heaven). Afterwards, the Christians at the time of Constantine were the ones who changed it to Sunday in order to be different from the Jews, and they started to pray towards the east instead of facing the Dome (i.e., Jerusalem). And Allah knows best. It was reported in the Two Sahihs that Abu Hurayrah heard the Messenger of Allah say:

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(We are the last, but we will be the first on the Day of Resurrection, even though they were given the Book before us. This is the day that Allah obligated upon them, but they differed concerning it. Allah guided us to this day, and the people observe their days after us, the Jews on the following day and the Christians on the day after that.) This version was recorded by Al-Bukhari. It was reported that Abu Hurayrah and Hudhayfah said that the Messenger of Allah said:

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(Allah let the people who came before us stray from Friday, so the Jews had Saturday and the Christians had Sunday. Then Allah brought us and guided us to Friday. So now there are Friday, Saturday and Sunday, thus they will follow us on the Day of Resurrection. We are the last of the people of this world, but will be the first on the Day of Resurrection, and will be the first to be judged, before all of creation.) It was reported by Muslim.

[ ]

(125. Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them with that which is best. Truly, your Lord best knows who has strayed from His path, and He best knows those who are guided.) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Source)

 

Al Suyuti says...

 

The Sabbath was only prescribed, in other words, its consecration was made obligatory [only], for those who differed concerning it, with their prophet - these were the Jews. They were commanded to devote themselves solely to worship on Friday, but they said, 'We do not want it', and chose Saturday; consequently thereon [the observance of] it was enforced strictly on them; and lo! your Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection, concerning that wherein they used to differ, with regard this matter [of the Sabbath], by rewarding the obedient and chastising the one who disobeyed by [his] violating its sanctity. (Jalal ud-Din Siyuti, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Commentary on Surah 2:79, Source)

 

 

Ibn Abbas said...

 

 

(The Sabbath was appointed) was made sacrosanct (only for those who differed concerning it) concerning the day of Friday, (and lo! thy Lord will judge between them) between the Jews and Christians (on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they used to differ) concerning that which they used to oppose in religion. (Ibn Abbaas, Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn 'Abbs, Commentary on Surah 2:79, Source

 

 

It is clear that the Qur'an is saying that the Sabbath was prescribed for those in the past that differed about it (Christians and Jews) and its not meant to be for us Muslims.

 

All those verses Shamoun posted do not show in any way that the Sabbath is prescribed for Muslims today. They only show that they were prescribed in the past.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

In fact, we actually find texts which imply that the Sabbath was made binding upon the Muslims:

O ye People of the Book! believe in what We have (now) revealed, confirming what was (already) with you, before We change the face and fame of some (of you) beyond all recognition, and turn them hindwards, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers, for the decision of God Must be carried out. S. 4:47 Y. Ali

The Quran comes to confirm the Scriptures of the Jews which contain the command to observe the Sabbath. The above passage also states that the Sabbath-breakers were cursed because God's decision must be carried out, i.e. that God's command to rest on the Sabbath must be obeyed. It therefore seems pretty clear that the Quran, by claiming to confirm the previous Scriptures and by exhorting the Israelites to carry out the Sabbath, is in fact exhorting the Muslims to do the same.

 

My Response:

 

As usual Shamoun abuses meaning of the verses that speak about the Qur'an confirming previous scriptures (see here).

 

 

 

 

 

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