Refuting Sam Shamoun's Arguments Against The Monotheism of Islam: Part 9

Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "Is the Quran An Implicit Endorsement and Continuation of Arab Paganism?"

 

[Introduction, Sami Zaatari's Rebuttals to Shamoun, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Tawassul in Christianity]

 

 

By

 

Bassam Zawadi

 

 

 

We encourage the reader to first read Shamoun's article over here.

 

Shamoun's entire argument rests on the Bible. He even admits it when he says (bold emphasis ours):

 

Moreover, swearing by these created things implies that they are just as great, if not greater than God (at least according to the Holy Bible). This means that Allah has basically committed the sin of association through his swearing by the very things that he himself supposedly created (we say supposedly since we do not believe that Allah of the Quran is the true God).

 

So Shamoun is arguing that the Qur'an promotes paganism according to the standards of the Bible. One question Muslims have for Shamoun is: why on earth should we care?

Muslims could easily turn things around and argue that certain things that the Bible promotes are polytheistic according to the standards of the Qur'an (like let's say the Trinity), so would Christians care if we do that? No, so why should we care when Shamoun appeals to the Bible to critique the Qur'an? If Shamoun argues that this is because the Qur'an supposedly holds the Bible as authoritative then we respond by saying that this is not the case as we have illustrated here. If Shamoun replies back by saying that the Bible is earlier than the Qur'an then we argue back that just because something is earlier than another thing that doesn't necessarily make the latter false and the prior true.

Allah's swearing by certain objects is not intended to raise the objects up to His status and glory, but to only give significance to it. Read more here.

Shamoun objects to why some Surahs have the same name as those of pagan Gods:

It is truly amazing that the god of Islam has no problem naming certain surahs after pagan deities, such as surah an-Nasr (110), one of the false gods supposedly worshiped during the time of Noah according to the Quran:

And they have said (to each other), 'Abandon not your gods: Abandon neither Wadd nor Suwa', neither Yaguth nor Ya'uq, nor Nasr'; - S. 71:23

Other surahs include ash-Shams (the Sun, 91), an-Najm (the Star, 53), al-Buruj (the Constellations, 85) and at-Tariq (the Morning Star, 86). As writer Benjamin Walker noted:

It is known that the chapters (suras) of the Koran were named and arranged in their present form only after Muhammad's death . and it is possible that the 'rememberers' of the Koranic text, or those who helped the compilers, gave certain chapters their titles from words in the text that were the same as the names of the pagan gods. Thus, Tarik, a stellar deity, is preserved in the title of Sura 86; Nasr, a deity of Himyar, lives on in the title of Sura 110; Shams, a solar deity often personified as a goddess and widely worshiped in the Middle East, is the title given to Sura 91. (Op. cit., p. 43)

Just because Nasr was a name given to a pagan God that doesn't mean that the word Nasr could never be used again. The Surah Al Nasr (The Victory) refers to the end of the Prophet's (peace be upon him) life (see Tafsir Ibn Kathir) and has absolutely nothing to do with pagan deities.

Anyone reading Surah 91, 53, 85, & 86 would also see that the naming of these Surahs have nothing whatsoever to do with any pagan gods. Also, Benjamin Walker's theory is not supported by any shred of evidence whatsoever. It is also not true that all of the naming and arrangement of the chapters of the Qur'an were done after the Prophet's (peace be upon him) death. See here.

Shamoun gets more desperate. He goes on to argue that since the pagans used to worship the sun and moon that means that if the Qur'an talks about the sun and moon (even if in a way that has absolutely nothing to do with the pagan deities) that means that the Qur'an is promoting paganism. How entertaining!

The same logic applies to Shamoun's argument:

Moreover, Allah even has no problem swearing by these pagan gods! Here are some references where Allah swears by the heavenly constellations:

By the Star when it goes down, - S. 53:1

So verily I call to witness the planets - that recede, S. 81:15

By the heaven, and At-Tariq (the night-comer, i.e. the bright star); S. 86:1 Hilali-Khan

According to Islamic commentators, at-Tariq is the morning star which the pagans worshiped:

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said concerning the interpretation of Allah's saying (By the heaven and the Morning Star): '(By the heaven and the Morning Star) He says: Allah swears by the heaven and the morning star (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn 'Abbs; source; underline emphasis ours)

In these next references Allah swears by the sun and the moon:

By the Sun and his (glorious) splendour; By the Moon as she follows him; S. 91:1-2

Nay, verily: By the Moon, S. 74:32

The Islamic exegetes admit that Allah is swearing by the very object worshiped as a god!

(Nay, by the Moon) Allah swore by the moon (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn 'Abbs; source)

. (1) The moon, next after the sun, is the most striking luminary to our sight. Its reflected light has for us a greater mystery than the direct light of the sun, which looks to us like pure fire. The moon was worshipped as a deity in times of darkness. (A. Yusuf Ali, fn. 5798, p. 1644; bold and italic emphasis ours)

Shamoun's faulty logic is at work again. His reasoning is that because the pagans used to worship the sun and moon that means that Allah's swearing by the sun and moon promotes paganism even though there is no evidence that Allah's intention is to swear by these pagan deities. Shamoun does not even allow for the possibility that Allah is swearing by these objects in order to show their significance. I have already explained that Allah's oaths were only meant to give significance to the objects that He swore by.

Shamoun states:

Allah even prides himself on being the Lord of Sirius, the Dog-star which Yusuf Ali stated was worshiped by the pagans!

That He is the Lord of Sirius (the Mighty Star); S. 53:49

Ali wasn't the only Islamic commentator to admit that the pagans worshiped Sirius:

and that it is He Who is the Lord of Sirius - this is a star [lying] beyond [the constellation of] Gemini, which was worshipped in the time of pagandom (jahiliyya); (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; underline emphasis ours)

(And that He it is Who is the Lord of Sirius) which was worshipped by Khuza'ah; (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn 'Abbs; source; underline emphasis ours)

And:

Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah and Ibn Zayd said about Ash-Shi`ra that it is the bright star, named Mirzam Al-Jawza' (Sirius), which a group of Arabs used to worship. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; source; underline emphasis ours)

This is confusing. How does Allah saying that He is the Lord of Sirius promote paganism? On the contrary, this very verse is opposing paganism by reminding the polytheists that what they were worshipping is not Lord.

 

Imam Al Qurtubi in his commentary states:

 

 

So Allah informed them that Sirius has a lord and isn't lord. (Abu 'Abdullah al-Qurtubi, Tasfir al Jami' li-ahkam al-Qur'an, Commentary on Surah 53:49, Source)

 

 

Imam al-Tabari has it in his commentary:

 

 

, : , : , : { } , :

 

 

Yunus - Ibn Wahb - Ibn Zayd said in regards to the verse [And that He is the Lord of the Sirius] "It used to be worshipped in Jaahiliyah". Then he said "You worship this and leave its Lord? Worship its Lord." (Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Jami' al-bayan fi ta'wil al-Qur'an, Commentary on Surah 5349, Source)

 

We as usual conclude that Shamoun hasn't proven his case.

 

 

 

 

 

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