Refuting Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an Put Forth By Sam Shamoun
Sam Shamoun had put a number of alleged contradictions in the Qu'ran in this article, which I didn't find addressed any where else. That is why I will be addressing them.
How many gardens are there in paradise?
ONE: 39:73, 41:30 [the Garden], 57:21 [a Garden], 79:41 [the Garden], or
MANY: 18:31, 22:23, 35:33, 78:32 [each time: "Gardens"]?
The plural "Gardens" has to refer to at least three because if it/they were two, then the Arabic would use the dual form of the noun. Therefore this is a discrepancy of at least 200% from "one" to "several".
"The Garden" being referred to in 39:73, 41:30 and 79:41 is Al Jannah, which every Muslim knows refers to Paradise.
The gardens mentioned in the other verses are just gardens that are in "The Garden" (i.e. paradise)
It is as simple as that.
Now let us assume that there really is one verse that talks about one garden and other verses talking about several gardens, there is still no contradiction.
If I say that you will be driving the greatest car imaginable in paradise and then somewhere else I say that you will be driving several cars, that is no contradiction. Both statements are true. Same thing regarding the gardens, Surah 57:21 mentions a garden and other verses mention gardens. So what? Both statements are true. It's not like Surah 57:21 says that we will only enjoy one garden.
Shamoun also argued:
How many groups appear on the Judgment Day, 3 or 2?
S. 56:7 mentions three distinct groups of people for judgment. But 90:18-19, 99:6-8, etc. mention only two groups
The number of groups that will appear is three, but this doesn't contradict the other verses that mention two groups, since the three groups fall under the two groups.
For example, I might divide up basketball players into two teams. Then I can further go ahead and divide them into three groups: Americans, Arabs and Chinese.
So you have three groups falling under two groups. That is no contradiction.
Now let's apply it to our case here.
In 99:6-8 we see that there will be two groups of people. One would see the good that they have done and the other will see the bad that they have done.
In 90:18-19, you have the "companions of the right hand" and the "companions of the left hand" The companions of the right hand are those righteous people. So clearly they fall under the same category of people that would see the good that they have done in Surah 99:7. The companions of the left hand are those corrupt people. So clearly they fall under the same category of people that would see the bad that they have done in Surah 99:8.
As for Surah 56:7, you have three groups. You have the "companions of the right hand", "companions of the left hand" and the "foremost foremost".
We already mentioned that companions of the right hand are the righteous and the companions of the left hand are the wicked.
The "foremost foremost" are those of higher status than the "companions of the right hand" (e.g. martyrs).
Thus, just like the "companions of the right hand" they would also fall under the same category of people that would see the good that they have done in Surah 99:7.
In conclusion: Surah 99:6-8 puts people into two general categories. Surah 90:18-19 and 56:7 divides the people into further sub categories, however they still fall under the two general categories mentioned in Surah 99:6-8. Thus, there is no contradiction. Rather just perfect harmony and another exposition of Shamoun's ignorance of interpreting the Qur'an.
Few of the Latter Believers or Many?
"(First) those on the right hand; what of those on the right hand?... Those are they who will be brought nigh In gardens of delight; A multitude of those of old And a FEW of those of later time." S. 56:8, 11-14
"For those on the right hand; A multitude of those of old And a MULTITUDE of those of later time." S. 56:38-40
I would have to say that this is the clearest example of Shamoun distorting the passages. Notice how he conveniently and purposely fails to quote 56:9-10.
Let us quote the passage fully:
Then (there will be) the Companions of the Right Hand; - What will be the Companions of the Right Hand? And the Companions of the Left Hand, - what will be the Companions of the Left Hand? And those Foremost (in Faith) will be Foremost (in the Hereafter). These will be those Nearest to God: In Gardens of Bliss: A number of people from those of old, And a few from those of later times.
Shamoun deliberately did not quote verse 10, which speaks about those who are foremost. The few in verse 14 refers to those who are foremost and it is not referring to the "companions of the right hand"! (Also see Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Tafsir Jalalayn)
Then we read Surah 56:38-40:
"For those on the right hand; A multitude of those of old And a multitude of those of later time."
Here we see that the multitude is referring to the "companions of the right hand".
Surah 56:14 is referring to those who are foremost while 56:40 is referring to the "companions of the right hand"
In conclusion, we don't see a contradiction here, since two different groups are being spoken about in the verses. We only see another example of Shamoun distorting the Qur'an and deliberately misquoting verses in order to suit his agenda.
How many Muslims does it take to defeat an army?
"O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there be of you TWENTY steadfast they shall overcome TWO HUNDRED, and if there be of you a HUNDRED (steadfast) they shall overcome a THOUSAND of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are a folk without intelligence." S. 8:65
Yet the verse following immediately after contradicts the above given estimates:
"Now hath Allah lightened your burden, for He knoweth that there is weakness in you. So if there be of you a steadfast HUNDRED they shall overcome TWO HUNDRED, and if there be of you A THOUSAND (steadfast) they shall overcome TWO THOUSAND by permission of Allah. Allah is with the steadfast." S. 8:66
Let us break this down:
v. 65: Twenty Muslims can overtake two hundred of the opposition.
v. 66: A hundred Muslims can overtake two hundred of the opposition.
v. 65: A hundred Muslims can overtake a thousand of the opposition.
v. 66: A thousand Muslims can overtake two thousand of the opposition, which means it will now take five hundred Muslims, as opposed to the one hundred of v. 65, to overcome a thousand of the opposition.
How is there a contradiction? What does verse 66 say? It says:
Now hath Allah lightened your burden, for He knoweth that there is weakness in you.
So clearly it shows that Allah due to His mercy lightened the burden upon the Muslims due to their weakness. Thus, instead of one hundred Muslims having to take on a thousand (verse 65) they can now take on two hundred (verse 66). So it is just a change of decree from Allah's end. How is that a contradiction?
One might ask why Allah did such a thing. Why did Allah in the first place state that a hundred Muslims should take on a thousand while He already knew that the Muslims are too weak to do so? Well, it's simple. It is a way of Him displaying His Mercy. If He straight away stated that one hundred Muslims should take on two hundred enemy soldiers, the Muslims probably wouldn't have realized the mercy that Allah was showing towards them when He sent down this law. Instead, Allah made the law appear to be difficult and then lessened it purposely so that His Mercy can be made more manifest to us. (another example is when Allah originally decreed fifty prayers for us and then lessened it down to five)
Last argument I will address is the following:
Messengers sent to Pharaoh, 1 or 2?
S. 73:15-16 says that one messenger was sent to Pharaoh, while S. 10:75 speaks of two (Moses and Aaron).
In S. 73:15 we are told that only "a" (not a stress on "one") messenger has been sent to Pharaoh. The comparison of this messenger to Muhammad, who is sent just in the same way makes a strong point for the "one", since Muhammad undoubtedly was only one in his time. And verse 16 affirms this by saying "the" messenger. S. 73:15
S. 7:103 also speaks only of sending Moses.
Surah 7:103 only says that Moses (peace be upon him) was sent to Pharoah, which is true. It does not say that only Moses (peace be upon him) was sent.
There are two possible answers that I can give regarding trying to harmonize between Surah 73 and Surah 10.
First, is that Surah 73 really does say that only one messenger was sent to Pharoah, but Surah 10 does not show that two people were sent AS MESSENGERS TO Pharoah.
Aaron was a Prophet of God, however Moses is clearly the main person sent to Pharoah and Aaron was just his helper (Surah 20:29). Aaron was not equally sent as a messenger to Pharoah. His main task was to assist his brother Moses.
Moses and Aaron were sent to Pharoah, but only Moses was sent as a messenger.
The second answer (and this is the one that I prefer) is that Surah 10 does say that two messengers were sent to Pharoah and that Surah 73 does not show that only one messenger was sent.
Surah 73 says that a messenger was sent to Pharoah but it does not indicate that he was the only one or that he was alone.
Shamoun argued back against this and said:
The comparison of this messenger to Muhammad, who is sent just in the same way makes a strong point for the "one", since Muhammad undoubtedly was only one in his time.
Just because it says that the messenger was sent as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that does not necessarily mean that it is trying to emphasize the fact that the Prophet was sent alone.
For instance, Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Tafsir Jalalayn state that what is being emphasized is the fact that both of them came to bear witness over their people's actions.
Thus, there is no reason why we must believe that it is referring to their "oneness"
He also said:
And verse 16 affirms this by saying "the" messenger.
This verse only states that Pharoah disobeyed the messenger. This does not necessarily imply that there was only one messenger. Perhaps Moses was the main speaker and the one speaking to Pharoah and then Pharoah rejected his invitation to Allah, while his brother Aaron was silently standing on the side.
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