Q & A: Christians say that Muslims limit the Creator

Someone asked: I have a question that I was hoping Shaykh Abu Adam could answer: How do we (the Ash’aris and Maturidis) respond to Christians who say that when Muslims state that the Creator cannot become human (as the Christians claim about Isa (alayhis salam)), they are limiting God and, therefore, this makes the Creator not all powerful. They claim that if the Creator is all poweful, then He would have to power and ability to become human, if Allah wills. How do the ‘ulema of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’a respond to this?

Answer: First of all, one must be careful of how they frame their questions. You had stated, “Question: Muslims Limit the Creator.” The correct way of saying this would be to say, “Christians say that Muslims limit the Creator.” Whenever you say something that is kufr, and you want to attribute that statement to a kafir, then make sure you mention the attribution as well. So whenever you want to mention a kufr statement, always say, “So and so said such and such,” and then mention the statement. The “so and so” is important.

Now, to your actual question.

Let’s begin by considering a simple example. If I say, “Can you draw a square circle?” you would respond, “That’s an absurd question.” This is known as a contradiction in terms.

Let’s take a more subtle example. Can you contain infinity? Again, the obvious response is, “What in the world does this mean?” The answer to this question is obvious. Something can only be contained in some space (for example water in a bottle) if it is limited (say 3 liters of water). How can you “contain” infinity if “containment” requires finiteness?

A similar reasoning will apply to the Christian argument. The Christians state that, “Since Allah can do anything, that Allah has complete control over everything, He can turn Himself into a man, or can contain Himself in a man, or is a man.” Now think about the two examples I gave you above. Don’t they look the same? To be a man, is to be part of creation. Sayyiduna Isa alaihissalam is a man, therefore he is part of creation. To be created is to have come into existence. To have come into existence is to have a beginning. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is Al-Awwal which means that He is attributed with Beginninglessness. Christians accept the Beginninglessness of Allah, which means that Allah is not subject to sequential moments of time like His creation is. Thus how can one say that “God became man,” or “God turned Himself into a man,” or “God contained Himself in a man,” without accepting that such a proposition would lead to an absurdity? Saying that “God became man,” is like saying, “God ended His Beginninglessness,” and this is clear kufr, as well as being logically absurd. The Christians accept the Beginninglessness while believing in the false idea of “God becoming man.” However, the two are mutually contradictory. You cannot believe in one while believing in the other.

To make matters clear, if one says that, “God became man,” and at the same time one says that “God is Al Awwal,” such a person is holding two mutually contradictory beliefs. If one believes that Allah is Al Awwal, then one must also necessarily accept that Allah has absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to His creation. When one says that, “God became man,” such a person has automatically violated His belief in Allah’s Begininnglessness. Now either such a person believes in on or the other. If he believes in both, he needs to get his head checked.

Off course the Christians have more sophisticated arguments than this, but since this is the way you have presented your question, I think the above answer should suffice.

Authored by Ibn Mazhar

Checked, revised and approved by Shaykh Abu Adam al Nauiji

10 Responses to Q & A: Christians say that Muslims limit the Creator

  1. J.S. says:

    Bismillah,

    Assalamu alaikum,

    JazakAllah khayran Sayyidi for the answer. MashaAllah, it was very clear. We know that the Creator cannot resemble the creation as Imam Tahawi stated: “Wa la yashbahul anaam”, but I know that Christians will not accept Islamic texts as proof. Alhamdulillah, your answer was what I was looking for, where logic was used.

    BarakAllah feekum Sayyidi, and please keep us in your adiyyah.

    And please forgive me for not framing the question properly.

    Ma’salama

  2. Ibn Mazhar says:

    wa iyyakum, Sidi.

    Please keep us in your duas.

    wa `alaykum salam

  3. grant says:

    a poor quranic argument that shows an infirm understanding of the trinity. A straw-person argument that sez ‘how can he have a son when he hath not consort’ similar nonsense in surah of the jinn. ‘how can mary have a child when she hath no consort’ etc. never mind the fact ash’ari maturidi are utterly ignorant of augustine or anselm etc.

    let’s have a look at a Mr Baqillani from ‘islam today’ crt gf haddad:

    He turned to him and asked: “How are your wife and children?” Hearing this, the emperor said: “Lo! Do you, the spokesman of Islâm, not know that a monk is exempt of such matters?” Ibn al-Bâqillânî replied: “You exempt a monk from such matters, but you do not exempt the Lord of the Worlds from having a mate and child?”

    Complete codswollop and sheer ignorance of knowledge of what constitutes christian doctrine. on a par with the another error of the quran that calls ezra the son of god. and the jews on the day of jujment are berated for this. Can you find any jewish creed that sez this? ignorance upon ignorance, well done ye muslims!

  4. You fail to explain how the trinity is not understood. Perhaps because the doctrine itself is nonsense? Both G.F. Haddad and I are former christians, so this tactic does not work. Al-Baqillaaniy was dead on, because his point is that ascribing a child or a wife to the Creator of all that exists is unbefitting, a silly anthropomorphic idea that shows an inability to think beyond the immediate and physical.

    As for ˆUzayr, yes I can, because the statement in the Qur’aan is enough documentation of this. The aayah does not mean that all Jews said that, nor that they say it today, nor that they recorded it in records that remain today. All it affirms is that at least some jew at some point in time did, and the jews at the time of the Prophet (ˆalayhissalaam) made no fuss of this, which indicates that they were familiar with it, for they left no opportunity for mockery or criticism. Our proof is the Qur’aan, and you have no proof of otherwise. All you have is the argument that “since we have no record, therefore it can’t be true,” which assumes that if true it must have been recorded by the jews and that if it was recorded it would remain today. There is no justification for such assumptions.

    There is no aayah mentioned in the post above, so no one knows what you are trying to say. It is clear then, that you did not even bother to read it, which shows that you are close minded, ignorant, and incapable of presenting an intelligent argument.

  5. ahmed says:

    Any comments on this :

    ” If God can see and hear without having created eyes and ears as we have; if God can have a face and hands different from our created faces and hands; if God can sit upon a throne different from thrones men occupy; if all this be possible with God – and most Muslims would agree that it is – is, then, it not possible that God have a Son different from the sons we know? If God so will, cannot God have a son without a wife and sex? ”

    ” If God’s eternal Word can become a book, why cannot His eternal Word become a man? ”

  6. First, the statement “If God can see and hear without having created eyes and ears as we have,” this is not how Muslims phrase it. What we say is that Allaah sees and hears absolutely, we do not say “can see,” or “can hear,” because they are necessary attributes, and not merely something that can be. Rather, it is a must that God sees everything and hears everything, and it is impossible that He does not. Something that can hear or can see is created, because such hearing and seeing could be removed, and this is imperfection, and whatever is imperfect is not God.

    Second, the statement, “if God can have a face and hands different from our created faces and hands,” is based on a careless translation of the words wajh and yad in Arabic. These do not refer to physical or material attributes, but have a non-physical meaning. They have several possible meanings according to their contexts, but wajh can mean status, or simply refer to Aļļaah Himself, whereas “yad” can simply mean “Power.”

    Third, the statement, “if God can sit upon a throne different from thrones men occupy” is not a Muslim belief at all, and whoever believes that Allaah is something that occupies place or direction, let alone sits, is an unbeliever in God.

    Fourth, the statement, “if all this be possible with God – and most Muslims would agree that it is,” is not correct, as we have clarified above.

    Fifth, the statement, “is, then, it not possible that God have a Son different from the sons we know?” is based on false premises, because Muslims do not accept the statements claimed prior to it. Forcing such a concession then, would work with other anthropomorphist like you, such as the wahabis, but not with Muslims. We do not believe God to be physical in any sense, so the concept of having a son does not apply to Him.

    Sixth, the statement, “If God so will, cannot God have a son without a wife and sex?” needs an explanation. What does it mean to have a son without wife or sex? The concept of son in its literal sense involves a physical part from the thing that begets, such as sperm. Do you mean asexuality? That would require a body, and God is not a body. Adoption? That would apply only to things of the same kind, and for things that have needs, and none of this applies to God. Or something else? There are answers for most of these ideas at this link. There is also a discussion on this in the Sanuusiyah commentary in the classical texts section, within the discussion about Allaah’s attribute of power.

  7. irfan says:

    Assalaamu alaikum

    what about this argument:

    ” If God’s eternal Word can become a book, why cannot His eternal Word become a man? “

    ————–

    Regarding the main article posted here;

    The argument only holds if they believe 1|3 rd of their God was created.

    I didnt get how being a man by default meant created. According to them the beginningless 1/3rd of God incarnated as a man. In otherwords, the soul of the man existed before creating the body of the man.

    —————

    How to respond to the argument of trinity being similar to mind, body & soul ?

    How to respond to the argument of using multiple personality disorder as an example of being 3 & 1 at the same time?
    i responded by saying 3 minds cannot be 1 at the same time and 3 bodies cannot be 1 at the sametime. Any better response?

  8. Irfan said: what about this argument: ” If God’s eternal Word can become a book, why cannot His eternal Word become a man? “

    Answer: Allaah is attributed with eternal Speech, which is not letters, words or sounds. This eternal speech is eternal and unchanging, and did not become anything. The book of the Qur’aan contains words or letters that express what Allaah said eternally. It is not the attribute of Speech itself, it is a reference to it, like the word “Allaah” refers to Allaah and is not Allaah Himself. Just as Allaah does not become the word Allaah whenever uttered, the Speech of Allaah did not become a book.

    Irfan said:
    I didn’t get how being a man by default meant created. According to them the beginningless 1/3rd of God incarnated as a man. In other words, the soul of the man existed before creating the body of the man.

    Answer: What they describe is not incarnation then, because they are saying that the soul remains eternally intact. Accordingly, it was not the 1/3 that was crucified, but a created body that was attached to it according to them, and is other than the 1/3.

    Irfan said: How to respond to the argument of trinity being similar to mind, body & soul ?

    Answer: This is composition, and anything composed needs someone to specify it and put it together, and whatever has this need is a creation and cannot be eternal.

    Irfan said: How to respond to the argument of using multiple personality disorder as an example of being 3 & 1 at the same time? i responded by saying 3 minds cannot be 1 at the same time and 3 bodies cannot be 1 at the sametime. Any better response?

    Answer: Your response is good enough.

  9. Abdullah says:

    Salamu Alaikum Shaykh Abu Adam could you compile an article on Jews & Judaism.

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