Author [EN] [PL] [ES] [PT] [IT] [DE] [FR] [NL] [TR] [SR] [AR] [RU] Topic: Does Allah Change His Laws?

Offline Reader Questions

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 492
    • View Profile
Does Allah Change His Laws?
« on: July 04, 2012, 01:34:51 AM »
Brother Joseph's original contentions against those that deny Biblical portents.

  • Given God's infinite capacity, please provide clear Quranic proof that He cannot temporarily suspend / alter / interfere with the laws He himself has created as and when 'He so wills' to manifest a particular truth
  • What did God stop / withhold / arrest / prevent / refrain / suspend (mana) in 17:59 going forward that He had sent to previous communities?
  • How could God stop something (17:59) He did before, if He did not alter His ways?
  • Why does the Quran 'confirm' (musaddiqan) the traditional understanding of the Jewish and Christian audience at the time of the Prophet's ministry with regards portents and not challenge it?
  • Why does the Quran use similar terms in the Arabic language to support the existing understanding of the Jews and Christians regarding portents?
  • Why would one not accept the Quran's clear testimony, even though the Quran says it is not a book of riddles and has no crookedness?
    "...qur'anan arabiyyan ghayra dhi iwajin ..." (A Quran in Arabic without any crookedness...)

[QM Forum Moderators]


Salam Br Joseph
 
Br Javaid responded on ourbecon forum to your six points as below.

http://ourbeaconforum.com/cgi-bin/bbs60x/webbbs_config.pl/page/1/md/read/id/314123119179029


Response:

Thank you for the questions from Brother Joseph, they are most helpful in trying to understand his and many others point of view on the Quran.
 
I will answer each question but let me start that there can be no understanding of the Quran without due regard to verse 3:7, since this states that there are literal verses which are clear and allegorical verses which have to be pondered over, interpreted and understood to ascertain their meaning. I will use QXP but brother Joseph does not accept some verses interpreted by Dr Saab as he says that the meaning given does not reflect the words in them; again, what the words mean in the order they are in cannot sometimes be understood from the dictionary, they have to be understood from how they are used in the verse and elsewhere. For example, it is commonly understood that Allah guides and misguides people, but the real meaning is that people who do not follow the truth are deceiving themselves; those who accept the truth are on the right guidance.
 
My belief is that the only miracle we should accept, for which no amount of worldly interpretation is possible, is the Quran, anything else that manifests itself in the created universe has to abide by the universal laws [constants], that are observable and repeatable.
 
1. Given God's infinite capacity, please provide clear Quranic proof that He cannot temporarily suspend / alter / interfere with the laws He himself has created as and when 'He so wills' to manifest a particular truth.
This is the response from the Trinitarian Christians as well, if God can do anything, then why not become a man?! God cannot do everything; can He lie? Can He do injustice? Can He create another God? I hope we would say no to anything that is un-Godly. Can He alter the laws He has created? No. If 2+2=4, then they were created this way for a purpose, why alter them?
 
7:56 So, do not spread corruption [work not confusion] on earth after it has been set in order. Call upon Him in fear and hope. God‟s mercy is close to the benefactors of humanity. [Fear the consequences of violating His commands and hope for His grace since His promise is always true]
 
17:77 Such has always been Our law with all of Our Messengers We sent before you. (Nations that drove them out suffered dire consequences.) You will never find a change in Our laws. [6:34, 6:115, 10:64, 17:77, 18:27, 33:38, 33:62, 35:43, 40:85, 48:23]
 
48:23 This is God‟s law that has been in force since older times. And you will never find any change in God‟s laws. [Sunnatillah = God‟s laws in practice. Kalimatillah = God‟s Word = God‟s laws in theory 3:139, 17:77, 33:38, 33:62, 35:43, 40:85, 48:23]
 
Allah cannot say that there will be no change in His laws and then change them! This not only applies to the laws given to us in Revelation, but to all laws of nature.
42:49 To God belongs the Dominion of the heavens and the earth. He creates and designs all things according to His laws. He bestows the gift of daughters according to His laws and the gift of sons according to His laws.
 
The following has the small phrase “If God willed”:-
 
5:48 (O Messenger) We have sent to you this Divine Writ, setting forth the truth. It confirms the remaining truth in the earlier scriptures since it is a Watcher over them. So, judge between them by what God has revealed, and do not follow their desires diverging from the truth that has come to you. For each community among you We have appointed certain rites and a traced-out way. If God had willed, He could have made you all one single community. But He decided to let you test yourselves by what (potentials) He has granted you. So, outdo one another in doing good to the society. To God you will all return, and He will then make you understand wherein you differed. [2:101, 2:148, 3:78, 21:92-93, 23:52. Muhaimin = Watcher. Shari‟ah = Rites = Usual, diverse trends of a community. Minhaaj = A traced-out way = A set of laws]
 
This means that Allah is capable of making people do things they would not have done otherwise, but He does not.
 
2. What did God stop / withhold / arrest / prevent / refrain / suspend (mana) in 17:59 going forward that He had sent to previous communities?
 
17:59 (They keep asking for visible signs for fulfillment of the warnings of the oncoming disaster, such as the sign of the she-camel of Thamud.) Nothing has changed Our plan to send down this revelation, even though the previous generations have often denied Our verses. (For example) We sent the she-camel to Thamud, a visible sign of their compliance. But they did wrong to her. We send messages that they fear (the consequences of their misdeeds and establish the right System in their societies). [7:73, 11:89, 26:141, 27:45. Thamud killed the visible sign of the she-camel and incurred heavy retribution]
Allah continuously warns us about the consequences of our actions. He promises us that if we abide by what He says then we will achieve success, a heaven on earth. While we are establishing this there will be struggle and sacrifice involved. Some people will not see that “what you sow you reap” and will work against the system. When they do so, the heavenly system that the Messengers started to implement for their communities will not come to fruition, so the promise of Allah will not come about, BUT only because the people did not work to achieve this. Eventually their societies destroy themselves.
Allah will “refrain” from giving His bounties on a people if they do not do the right thing; there is no gain without the right actions.
 
3. How could God stop something (17:59) He did before, if He did not alter His ways?
He did not alter His ways, the people rejected the Message and denied themselves the bounties that would have resulted.
 
4. Why does the Quran 'confirm' (musaddiqan) the traditional understanding of the Jewish and Christian audience at the time of the Prophet's ministry with regards portents and not challenge it?
 
2:40 (One example is that of the Israelites.) O Children of Israel! Remember My blessings that I bestowed upon you (when you were following My commandments). Fulfill your promise to Me and I will fulfill My promise to you. And fear none but Me. [Fear the consequences of violating Divine Commands. 2:47, 2:83-85, 2:122, 3:61, 5:12-13, 5:70, 9:111, 45:16]

2:41 And grace yourselves with belief in what I have revealed now confirming (the truth) in what you already have. Be not the first among those who will conceal the truth therein, and trade not My revelations for petty gains. Rather, be mindful of Me.
 
[„Confirming the truth in‟ (2:101). Petty gains = The false dogma of being the „chosen ones‟ which is consistently rejected by the Qur‟an. The only criterion of honor in the Sight of God is character (2:80-81, 10:69-70, 29:23, 49:13). Kufr = Opposing the truth = Denying the truth = Concealing the truth = Ingratitude = Rejection of truth = Choosing to live in darkness = Hiding or covering something = Closing eyes to light. Kaafir = One given to Kufr = One who adamantly denies the truth = One who opposes the truth = Commonly translated as „infidel‟ = Derivatively and positively, a farmer who hides the seed under the soil (57:20). Therefore, Kufr or Kafir does not apply to the unaware, anyone to whom the message has not been conveyed or reached yet. Taqwa = Seeking to journey through life in security = Protect oneself from disintegration of the personality = Journeying in security = Being careful and observant = Getting empowered against evil = Avoid overstepping the laws Exercising caution = Preserving oneself against deterioration = Good conduct = Building character = Live upright = Fear the consequences of violating Divine Commands = Being mindful of the Creator = Remaining conscious of the Divinely ordained Values = Taking precaution = Being watchful against error]
 
musaddiqan Sad-Dal-Qaf = to be truthful, true, sincere, speak the truth, establish or confirm the truth of what another has said, verify, keep faith, observe a promise faithfully, fulfill, speak veraciously, hold anyone as trustworthy. sadaqa fi al-qitaali - to fight gallantly.
 
Musaddiqan is rendered “confirming” in most translations but it is not just confirming any old nonsense; IT CONFIRMS THE TRUTH. The whole of the Bible is not God’s word so the Quran came to confirm what is left of the truth in it. If you say no, it means the whole Bible, then why did Allah say the following straight after 2:41?:-
 
2:42 Do not confound the truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth while you are well aware of it. [2:159, 3:71]
 
I repeat the following verse:-
 
5:48 (O Messenger) We have sent to you this Divine Writ, setting forth the truth. It confirms the remaining truth in the earlier scriptures since it is a Watcher over them. So, judge between them by what God has revealed, and do not follow their desires diverging from the truth that has come to you. For each community among you We have appointed certain rites and a traced-out way. If God had willed, He could have made you all one single community. But He decided to let you test yourselves by what (potentials) He has granted you. So, outdo one another in doing good to the society. To God you will all return, and He will then make you understand wherein you differed. [2:101, 2:148, 3:78, 21:92-93, 23:52. Muhaimin = Watcher. Shari‟ah = Rites = Usual, diverse trends of a community. Minhaaj = A traced-out way = A set of laws]
 
If the Bible was complete and fully truthful, why would Allah say that you should not diverge from the truth that Allah has sent [the Quran] unless it was because they did not have the complete truth in front of them to divert you?
 
5. Why does the Quran use similar terms in the Arabic language to support the existing understanding of the Jews and Christians regarding portents?
I do not understand, please reference Biblical and Quranic portents so that I know what you mean by this.
 
6. Why would one not accept the Quran's clear testimony, even though the Quran says it is not a book of riddles and has no crookedness?
"...qur'anan arabiyyan ghayra dhi iwajin ..." (A Quran in Arabic without any crookedness...)
 
39:28 This Qur‟an in Arabic is a Monograph in plain language free of all deviousness so that they might learn and live by the Values ordained in it. [7:158, 12:3, 13:37, 14:4, 25:1, 39:28, 41:3, 42:7]
 
Crookedness is to be deceptive, to say one thing when you mean another. Allah does not do this. He says that the Quran is written in clear Arabic which means that there are no double standards, hidden words or secrets within it. Metaphorical meaning is not crookedness nor secrets. Metaphorical verses are written in the clear Arabic language but they need to be understood using one’s mind. The hare and the tortoise had a race, remember the Aesop tale? I would be sectioned under the mental health act if I say that a real hare and tortoise had a race! WE ARE WARNED IN 3:7 NOT TO TAKE METAPHORICAL VERSES AS LITERAL, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT MOST MUSLIMS DO!
 
(Comment) Finally, I ask another humble question. Do some simply not accept the Quran's testimony as it doesn't fit in with their worldview? Do they look for allegorical meanings because they do not want to accept the Quran at its word?.."
 
NO! 3:7 tells us that there are allegorical meanings to some verses. Why deny this? If we are told they exist in the Quran then those verses that sound fantastic/unusual and cannot be understood as literal because they go against the laws of nature, common sense, etc, then we have to treat them differently.
 
The worldview is one of order, only magicians are able to manipulate our senses with sleight of hand to make the apparent impossible happen; but no Messenger was a magician. So my beliefs must adhere to what is real and our understanding of verses of the Quran must be based on reality and not the fantastic.
 
Our ancestors have given us a huge amount of “details” regarding the Quran, when it was revealed, under what circumstances, and the meaning of the verses. Most of them have manmade fairy tales which blind us to the real meaning; they do not approach the Quran with a pure mind!
 
39:1 The revelation of this Book issues from God, the Almighty, the Wise.
39:2 We have revealed this Book to you (O Prophet) setting forth the truth. Therefore, serve God sincere in your faith in Him alone [pure].

39:3 Is it not to God alone that all sincere faith is due? And yet, those who take patrons besides Him say, “We worship them for no other reason than that they bring us nearer to God.” God will judge between them (the clergy and the masses) concerning that wherein they differed (from the truth). God does not guide anyone who is bent on lying to himself, stubbornly ingrate. [4:88, 5:35, 10:18, 17:57]
We are asked to ponder over the Quran:-
 
38:29 This is a scripture that We have revealed to you (O Prophet), full of lasting bliss that they may ponder its messages and that people of understanding may take them to heart.
If it was so clear, what is there to think about?
 
The following is a similitude which means that the water and plants are not meant to be understood as you taking up gardening, but think about the meaning, intellectualise what is written:-
 
10:24 Those who do not invest in the life to come must consider a similitude: The life of the world is a passing delight: We send down water from the height to produce with it all kinds of plants from the earth, provision for humans and animals. Then, just as the earth has taken its ornament and is perfectly adorned, and its people think that they are in control, Our command arrives by night or by day, leaving it completely barren, as if nothing existed there yesterday. The only way to inherit the fruit of your labor in the Hereafter is to live by Our laws. We expound Our messages and signs in nature for those who use their intellect.
 
So why should I believe the Quran means ants can talk, or Jesus made clay pigeons come alive, or Moses’ rod turned into a snake etc etc etc?




Offline Joseph Islam

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1781
    • View Profile
    • The Quran and its Message
Re: Does Allah Change His Laws?
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2012, 01:49:30 AM »
Salamun Alaikum.


I thank you for sharing brother Jawaid's responses to my contentions and send him my utmost appreciation and respect for taking the time to provide a response.

Please see my comments below:

I would first like to comment on the use of 'mutashabih' which I am happy to accept as loosely meaning allegorical in 3:7.  A considerable portion of the Quran deals with Biblical portents in clear Arabic speech. These are not allegories. I assert with respect, that we cannot and should not 'impose' allegories on to clear Arabic text. This is not the purport of verse 3:7.

Indeed the Quran propounds many parables / similitudes (daraba mathaal) which are not to be confused with ‘mutashabih’. However, to take full narratives of the Quran which are revealed in clear Arabic text and to render them as ‘mutashabih’ (allegories) is in my view, unjustified.

For example God clearly says in verse 5:110 that Prophet Jesus:

•   Made clay birds and then breathed life into them by God's leave - 'fatanfukhu fiha fatakunu tayran bi'idhni' (then you breath into it and it becomes a bird by My permission)
•   That he raised the dead by God's leave - 'tukh'riju l-mawta bi'idh'ni' (you bring forth the dead by My permission)

The above is clear Arabic speech and not an allegory. Also the Quran does not say that this is a 'mathaal'. The Quran many times narrates Biblical incidents as fact and often prefixes it as a reminder 'wa-idh' (and when) / 'idh' (when). For example when a table spread was sent down from heaven (5:112). Please note the Arabic 'idh' (when). This is narrated as fact.

Is God really using clear Arabic speech to provide allegories and then tells us not to follow allegories as it is the approach of the perverted (zayghun)? (3:7)

So I would contend the admission of 'mutashabih' as a premise to argue allegories when dealing with clear Arabic speech regarding Biblical portents.


Response 1

Indeed, God cannot create falsehood like creating another God. However, to temporarily suspend a law that He Himself created to manifest a particular truth to a people is not falsehood. It is an attempt to show God's reality. Please see verse 12:76 where God assisted Prophet Joseph to circumvent a law (the kings law – dini l-maliki) to manifest a truth. The question remains - Did God make Joseph lie and 'manufacture' falsehood? This would not be possible.

012:076
"Thus did We plan for Joseph. He could not take his brother by the law of the king except that God willed it (so)"

God is not bound by human laws or laws that He has created for His creatures. He can suspend them to manifest truths. This would remain my central assertion.

Brother Jawaid has also cited other verses such as 17:77, 33:62, 40:85, 48:23 and 35:43 as evidence. All these verses refer to God's way in dealing with former people who have transgressed in some capacity. God is not unjust and does not change the way He deals with people who have transgressed. These verses have nothing to do with God’s ability to change His laws of nature to manifest a particular truth.

To assert that the above verses apply to 'God's laws of nature' is only an interpolation without any warrant from the verses which deal specifically with transgressions of former people.


Response 2

With respect, the QXP rendition of 17:59 is grossly inaccurate and misleading.

The restriction particle 'illa' (except) is present and seals the interpretation along with the negative particle 'ma' in wama (not). “And nothing stopped us …EXCEPT”.

If I say 'nothing' stopped me 'EXCEPT' that XYZ denied them, I am affirming my actions of restraint.  Therefore in 17:59, God is clearly giving the reason why he stopped something. There is absolutely no way out of this.

The Quran could have clearly said that we have not stopped sending signs - full stop! To say that the signs would continue despite XYZ (people of old) denying them is with respect, a misrepresentation of the context.

‘illa’ does not mean ‘even though’ as the QXP renders it – This is a complete opposite meaning of the Arabic text.

For example, Lailla ha illa huwa (3:18)  does not mean - No Deity even though God. It means 'except' God


Response 3

The Arabic of verse 17:59 is absolutely clear that something was stopped (mana). Please check this with others who speak fluent Arabic or consult other translations.


Response 4

When the Quran says that it confirms the Bible (musadaqan), the parts that it confirms are clearly revealed to us including the narratives that deal with Biblical portents.

Yes indeed, the Quran does not confirm falsehood but acts as a 'furqan' (something which does 'farq' - a criterion between right and wrong). It is also a 'muhaymin' a guardian, a watcher, an overseer, over the Bible and determines what is true and what is false.   

005.048 (part)
“ To thee We revealed the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that is between the hands (coexistent Torah and Bible), and guarding it by determining what is true and false (Arabic: wa-muhayminan): so judge between them by what God has revealed..."

It also acknowledges some changes.

005:015
"O People of the Book, surely there has come to you our Messenger, making clear to you much of what you used to conceal (Arabic: tukh'funa) of the scripture and overlooking / forgiving much (Arabic: wa-ya'fu an kathiran). Surely has come to you from God a light and a clear book"
 
The Arabic word 'tukh'funa' comes from the root KHA-FA-YA which carries the meaning of what is unapparent / has become imperceptible / has become dim to the sight / or suppressed, or obscured to the mind. It also carries the meaning of something which has become 'concealed'.
 
Therefore, the Quran within context of its Arabic usage clearly recognised that certain aspects of the previous scriptures had become gradually concealed and deemed it fit to expound on some of them. It was also not the intention of the Quran to deal with each and every narrative of the Bible hence the term 'wa-yafu an kathiran' (forgive, pardon, pass over, relinquish or remit a whole or part or indeed pardon much).

But this does not mean wholesale corruption. The Quran clearly confirms what the People of the Book were reading at the time of the Prophet (5:47, 5:43, 32:23)

005.043
But why do they come to you for decision, when they have (their own) Torah before them? therein is the (plain) command of God; yet even after that, they would turn away. For they are not People of Faith.
 
032:023
"And certainly We gave Moses the Scripture, so do not be in doubt encountering it (Arabic: liqaihi) and We made it a guide for the Children of Israel"
 
The Arabic verb 'liqa' comes from the root word 'Lam-Qaf-Ya' which means to encounter, meet, see or to come across face to face. Many commentators unduly make use of the word 'receive' to translate 'liqa' when this is not the term's correct primary rendering.

We know today with advancements in Biblical scholarship, what was being read centuries before the time the Quran was revealed. One only has to consult the Codex Sinaiticus which is the earliest complete Christian Bible which can be dated to circa 350 CE (Approximately 250 years before the revelation of the Quran). It is considered one of the best texts in Greek of the New Testament along with the manuscript of the Codex Vaticanus.

To suggest we have no idea what was possibly being read in the Arabian Hijaz nearly two centuries later has no academic warrant.


Response 5

I repeat my contention with an example:

Why does the Quran use similar terms in the Arabic language to support the existing understanding of the Jews and Christians regarding portents?

So for example, if Prophet Moses's rod became a snake (Hebrew - naw-khawsh: snake, serpent - Exodus 4:3) and this is how it was always understood by the People of the Book for generations, why did the Quran use a similar expression to describe the same narrative (Arabic: jannun - serpent, snake (27:10) thu'banun: serpent)

This is clearly a 'confirmation'. Why did the Quran not challenge this Biblical understanding? Why did it confirm it in Arabic? This would be the perfect place for the Quran to challenge the Biblical understanding of portents.

To impose new allegorical meanings which were never understood by its primary Jewish and Christian audience for me is academically unwarranted and intellectually unacceptable.


Response 6

The Arabic word phrase is 'ghayra dhi iwajin' (39:28). The Arabic 'iwaj' simply means to become crooked, curved, bent uneven or even difficult. There is no inherent implication in the word 'iwaj' that it is due to deception. For example, Arabs would use the word 'iwaj’ with ‘al-oud' to imply that the wood / stick became bent or distorted. This is just a factual statement and not a deception. Similarly they would use the word 'iwaj’ with ‘amr' and imply that a certain affair become hard or difficult. This is not necessarily due to deception.

However, if clear Arabic words supported the Biblical understanding of what was being read at the time of the Prophet but meant something else, this would be 'iwaj'. It would be nothing but intentional crookedness. I respectfully contend that the Quran has no intention to do this.

I feel that brother Jawaid is confusing the Quran's parables and similes (mathal) with mutashabih. The Quran clearly informs us when it wishes to cite an example (mathaal). For example verse 10:24 quoted by brother Jawaid is clearly intended to be a simile and the Quran informs us of that (mathalu). None of the Biblical portents have been mentioned as 'mathaal' in the Quran but as factual narratives. They are narrated as fact.

Furthermore, by the standards of verse 3:7, seeking interpretations of Quranic allegories is an approach of the perverted of hearts (qulubihim zayghun - 3:7) who seek nothing but ‘fitna’ by interpreting it (tawil). So if narratives concerning Biblical portents are 'allegories', why have they been explained by late brother Ghulam Parwez or in recent interpolations such as the QXP?

The question arises, are large portions of the Quran simply to be dismissed? Does God really waste words by narrating huge passages and then expects believers to simply pass over them?

Once again, thank you to brother Jawaid for his time. We may or may not agree but dialogue between followers of God's word should always remain open. Dark forces have no other intention but to cause a divide.

Let us agree and disagree with peace. He is most welcome to discuss issues even if it is to ascertain the strength of an opposing argument. He is most welcome here.

Your brother in faith,
Joseph.


Related Articles:

[1]  WHAT IS THE INJEEL?
http://quransmessage.com/articles/injeel%20FM3.htm

[2] 'BETWEEN HIS HANDS' OR 'BEFORE IT' (MA BAYNA YADAYHI)
http://quransmessage.com/articles/between%20hands%20or%20before%20it%20FM3.htm

[3] THE BIBLE DOES NOT TEACH THE 'TRINITY'
http://quransmessage.com/articles/trinity%20FM3.htm

[4] PARAKLETOS OR PERIKLYTOS?
http://quransmessage.com/articles/pklts%20FM3.htm

[5] IS THE NAME 'AHMAD' FOUND IN THE BIBLE?
http://quransmessage.com/articles/ahmad%20FM3.htm
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell