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?"


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




Bassam Zawadi




We encourage the reader first to 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? 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, we respond by saying that this is not the case, as illustrated here. Suppose Shamoun replies by saying that the Bible is earlier than the Qur'an. In that case, 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 elevate them to His status and glory but to give them significance. 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 Surahs 91, 53, 85, and 86 would also see that the naming of these Surahs has nothing whatsoever to do with any pagan gods. Also, Benjamin Walker's theory is not supported by any shred of evidence. It is also not true that all of the naming and arrangement of the chapters of the Qur'an were made 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, 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), it 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 (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn 'Abbâs; 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 (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn 'Abbâs; 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, 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 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; (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn 'Abbâs; source; underline emphasis ours)


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 isn't very clear. How does Allah saying that He is the Lord of Sirius promote paganism? On the contrary, this very verse opposes paganism by reminding the polytheists that what they were worshipping was not the Lord.


Imam Al Qurtubi in his commentary states:

فَأَعْلَمَهُمْ اللَّه جَلَّ وَعَزَّ أَنَّ الشِّعْرَى مَرْبُوب لَيْسَ بِرَبٍّ


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: 


حَدَّثَنِي يُونُس , قَالَ : أَخْبَرَنَا ابْن وَهْب , قَالَ : قَالَ ابْن زَيْد , فِي قَوْله : { وَأَنَّهُ هُوَ رَبّ الشِّعْرَى } كَانَتْ تُعْبَد فِي الْجَاهِلِيَّة , فَقَالَ : تَعْبُدُونَ هَذِهِ وَتَتْرُكُونَ رَبّهَا ؟ اعْبُدُوا رَبّهَا


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.





Return to Refuting Sam Shamoun


Return to Homepage


click here to view site

HomeWhat's new?ChristianityRefutations Contact Me