Refuting a Christian Argument Against an Ayah of the Quran

Someone wrote: I had a question on this ayah from the Qur’an, when it says how can Allah have a son when He has no consort. From a philosophical point of view, the existence of a spouse is not logically necessary for reproduction nor is it necessary from even a biological standpoint (eg. asexual reproduction). How do we refute that?

Answer: The arguments against heretics in the Qur’aan are often according to their premises. This statement in the aayah addresses the Christians and pagans that say Allaah has children, whether male or female. These heretics think of Allaah in human terms and of Him as being of male gender, none of them have asexuality in mind, that is why the christians say “son” and “father,” and the Arab pagans said “daughters.” Muslims believe, of course, that Allaah is not attributed with gender, so He is neither male, nor female, nor neuter. That being said, a male cannot have offspring without a female partner, so the argument is complete. Note that this is according to the anthropomorphist premises of the heretics, it shows them that according to the normal rules of created beings, a male cannot have a child without a femal partner. Accordingly, it is even more absurd to claim that Allah, who is not a creature and does not have gender, to have a child. As for the philosophical point of view, I have no idea what having a child from a philosophical point of view is supposed to mean.

Note that the aayah in question offers several arguments against those who claim that Allaah has a child:

بَدِيعُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَنَّى يَكُونُ لَهُ وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ تَكُنْ لَهُ صَاحِبَةٌ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

Meaning: “Allah is the one that created the skies and the Earth without a precedent. How could it be that He has a child when He has no female partner??? He created everything, and He knows everything.” (Al-‘An`aam, 101)

First, regarding the first part of the aayah, which means, “Allah is the one that created the skies and the Earth without a precedent.”  Note that Allah affirms the Christians’ claim that Jesus was created without a father or semen. Rather he became existent without a father. So the first part of the aayah tells them, if you mean by Allah being a father that He brought Jesus into existence without precedence, i.e. innovated him without sperm or a father, that is, without the normal cause, then the same is true for the skies and the Earth, and since you do not say that the skies and the Earth are His children, then you should not say that Jesus is His child.

This statement also contains the argument that a child is like its parent, and Allaah is the one that created the skies and the Earth without a precedent, so how can anything or anyone be like Him?

The second part of the aayah, “How could it be that He has a child when He has no female partner???” is an argument against those of them who might argue that Allah had a child in the customary manner, and it was discussed above.

The third statement, “He created everything,” argues with those who say that He had a child in the customary manner, through having a bodypart (such as semen) transferred to a female parter, or having a part becoming a separate entity (asexuality). It tells them that Allaah has the power to create anything, so if He wills for something to exist, He will create it, and it is only for those that do not have this power to work on customary causes if they want something to be. This also contains a refutation of the idea that a child was adopted by Him, because adoption is another customary legal cause.

This statement also has the meaning that since Allah is the only creator, and everything else is His creation, Jesus is merely a creation.

Moreover, since Allah is the creator, and does not have a beginning, then He does not resemble what has a beginning, such as Jesus. Accordingly, how could it be true that Jesus is His son, when Jesus is a human being, with created attributes. After all, offspring are of the same kind as their parent(s). This again contains another refutation of the idea that a child was adopted by Him, because adoption is between things of similar kind.

Moreover, since Allah is the creator, and the Creator cannot be like creation (since He is not created) then He is not a body. Accordingly, He does not have a child because having a child in the customary manner only happens to bodies.

The fourth statement, “He knows everything,” emphasizes the argument contained in “He created everything,” namely that Allah has no like.

Through these arguments, all the normal meanings of having a “child” have been refuted. There are even more arguments contained in these few statements, but this should suffice to show that the Qur’aan did not present a weak argument.

Some might still argue that the word “child” is a metaphor meaning a loving relationship. The reason why Islam does not accept the word child as a metaphor with this meaning is that the word “child” contradicts the concept of ownership; it would be absurd to say that someone “owns” his “son”. Something is not said to be someone’s child and personal property at the same time. In other words, to say that Allaah has a son is to imply a flaw in His absolute ownership. Allaah said in the Qur’aan:

“وَقَالُوا اتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ وَلَدًا سُبْحَانَهُ بَلْ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ”

Meaning: “They said: “Allaah has taken a son.” This saying is a lie, Allah is greatly clear of such non-befitting attributes! Rather, He is the absolute owner of all that is in the skies and on Earth!” (Al-Baqarah, 116) This statement tells us that having a child does not befit Allaah, because He is the absolute owner of everything, and because all things in the skies and Earth are created kind, and Allaah does not resemble it. Since He does not resemble any of it, none of it is His child, because a parent-child relationships are only for similar things.

The concept of having a son then, is incompatible with the concept of believing in one Creator that has absolute ownership of His creation. Moreover, the word “son” implies similarity in kind, which is another reason why it is blasphemy to say that Allaah has a son, even as a figure of speech.

Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam

15 Responses to Refuting a Christian Argument Against an Ayah of the Quran

  1. tru_Qur'an says:

    As salamu ‘alaykum Shaykh,

    I never knew that it was kufr to say ‘we are the children of God’ even if what is meant is merely ‘We were created by God’.

    Shaykh can you explain in detail why saying ‘we are the children of God metaphoricaly’ still makes one fall into kufr?

    Jazak’Allah khair

    • Yes, because Aļļaah said:
      “وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ ابْنُ اللَّهِ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَى الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ قَوْلُهُمْ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ يُضَاهِئُونَ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ قَبْلُ قَاتَلَهُمُ اللَّهُ أَنَّى يُؤْفَكُونَ”
      Meaning: “The Jews said: “ˆUzayr is the son of God,” and the Christians said: “the Messiah is the son of God.” This is what they say by their tongues. Their saying is like that of those who blasphemed anciently. Aļļaah has cursed them, how extreme they are in their lies!” (At-Tawbah, 30)

      It is clear from this Quranic statement that the judgment of blasphemy is absolute for the person who says that Aļļaah has a son, regardless of his intention or actual belief.

      AAA

  2. tru_Qur'an says:

    How do we respond to them when they say,”God doesn’t have a beginning. He became flesh after creating the flesh and discarded the flesh when He wanted to because He is not limited”?

    Also they also say[regarding the crucifixion] “God did not die. The incarnation died, and even then he came back to life after three days. This is about as absurred as saying that Mohammed ascended into heaven, or that God took him on a journey to Jerusalem in the middle of the night. As I have already argued, science has proven paradoxs exist, so don’t dismiss something as a contradiction just because you can’t understand it.”

    • Flesh needs a creator and a beginning, so it is not the creator, because it has a beginning and needs a creator. Moreover, flesh is limited, so how can you say that he became flesh because he is not limited? This is self contradictory.

      First you say god became flesh, and then that this so called reincarnation died, yet your god did not. This means that the reincarnation was not god, otherwise who died???

      Your comparison between this nonsense and the ascension to heaven is very different. What you are proposing about Jesus is irrational, not because it contradicts scientific rules, but because it is gibberish. The ascension is simply in contradiction with how things normally relate in the world. This is not a problem, because these rules are no more than normal correlations that Allaah created, and none of them are necessary in the mind. Allaah could have specified any other set of normal rules. Unlike your idea of flesh that is god and died, yet god did not die even though he was that flesh that died, and so on.

  3. tru_quran says:

    As salamu ‘alaykum Shaykh. A catholic has responded to your post.

    Quote:
    -First, regarding the first part of the aayah, which means, “Allah is the one that created the skies and the Earth without a precedent.” Note that Allah affirms the Christians’ claim that Jesus was created without a father or semen. Rather he became existent without a father. So the first part of the aayah tells them, if you mean by Allah being a father that He brought Jesus into existence without precedence, i.e. innovated him without sperm or a father, that is, without the normal cause, then the same is true for the skies and the Earth, and since you do not say that the skies and the Earth are His children, then you should not say that Jesus is His child.-

    This is an utterly false analogy, though, and shows a great poverty in the shaykh’s understanding of Christianity. We can say God created the Heavens and the Earth from “nothing”, if you’d like, but was Christ created from nothing? No. Christ is the eternal Word, the Logos, of one being and essence with the Father. As such He was not “created”, either in the same way as anything under the sky or in any other way. Unless you want to argue that God was without His eternal wisdom (another definition for “Logos”), this really makes no sense as an objection. We do not in the first place say that Christ was created as another one of God’s creations, like the earth or the skies or anything like that, so it is really NOT “according to (our) premises”, despite what your preamble says.

    Quote:
    -This statement also contains the argument that a child is like its parent, and Allaah is the one that created the skies and the Earth without a precedent, so how can anything or anyone be like Him? –

    Indeed. We do not say that Christ is “God-like”, but that He is God.

    Quote:
    -The second part of the aayah, “How could it be that He has a child when He has no female partner???” is an argument against those of them who might argue that Allah had a child in the customary manner, and it was discussed above.-

    Okay.

    Quote:
    -This statement also has the meaning that since Allah is the only creator, and everything else is His creation, Jesus is merely a creation.-

    Obviously, we disagree. You (and hence the Qur’an) are arguing from the assumed truth of your OWN presuppositions, not ours. Since we do most definitely affirm that Jesus Christ is God, there is no sense to this objection in the context of debates with Christians.

    Quote:
    -Moreover, since Allah is the creator, and does not have a beginning, then He does not resemble what has a beginning, such as Jesus.-

    This is another misunderstanding of the incarnation and the person of Christ on the part of Muslims. The incarnation was not always among us, but Jesus has ALWAYS been (and always will be) the eternal word of God, and hence without beginning or end. If you believe that this is not so, then explain to me how, according to Islamic belief, Jesus will return to smash crosses and kill pigs? He is “dead” already, is He not? I will assume you will probably say that it is Allah’s prerogative to send Jesus back to Earth. Fair enough. We say it is God’s perogative to have sent His Son for us and our salvation in the first place.

    Quote:
    -Accordingly, how could it be true that Jesus is His son, when Jesus is a human being, with created attributes.-

    Wrong. Jesus is GOD incarnate. He is perfectly and completely both God and man (all apostolic churches agree on this, regardless of how they conceptualize His divinity and humanity).

    Quote:
    -Moreover, since Allah is the creator, and the Creator cannot be like creation (since He is not created) –

    I suppose this depends on what you mean by “like”. I am like my father, but I am not my father. I am like any other person in the world, though I am not any other person in the world. I am like any other animal in the world, though I am not anything other than human. Let’s define our terms, please.

    Quote:
    -Accordingly, He does not have a child because having a child in the customary manner only happens to bodies.-

    What then of what happened to Maryam according to the Qur’an? She did not have a child “in the customary manner”. Does that mean that she did not have a body, or was she divine, or what? I don’t think this holds up as a good defense of why God cannot have a son.

    Quote:
    -Through these arguments, all the normal meanings of having a “child” have been refuted.-

    Hardly. These arguments are pathetically ineffective, because they are not related to what Christians actually believe. The Qur’an, and hence the defenders of it like this shaykh and you, proceed from what you say we believe, not what we say we believe. Nothing at all resembling Christianity has been refuted here. The shaykh is boxing shadows, and even so still losing.

    • A catholic said: Quote: -First, regarding the first part of the aayah, which means, “Allah is the one that created the skies and the Earth without a precedent.” Note that Allah affirms the Christians’ claim that Jesus was created without a father or semen. Rather he became existent without a father. So the first part of the aayah tells them, if you mean by Allah being a father that He brought Jesus into existence without precedence, i.e. innovated him without sperm or a father, that is, without the normal cause, then the same is true for the skies and the Earth, and since you do not say that the skies and the Earth are His children, then you should not say that Jesus is His child.-

      This is an utterly false analogy, though, and shows a great poverty in the shaykh’s understanding of Christianity.

      Comment: First of all, the post is about the claim that Jesus is the son of God. The post looks at several meanings of fatherhood, and refutes them as being true of Allaah, whether someone adhers to them currently or not. Accordingly, what is being said here is that “If you claim that the cause of Allaah being a father, as you claim, is that He brought Jesus into existence without precedence, i.e. innovated him without sperm or a father, that is, without the normal cause, then the same is true for the skies and the Earth, and they are not his children, so neither is Jesus, if this is your claimed basis.” This argument then, shows that “being brought into existence without a normal cause” does not make something the son of the Creator. It was never stated that catholics say that.

      The catholic said: We can say God created the Heavens and the Earth from “nothing”, if you’d like, but was Christ created from nothing? No. Christ is the eternal Word, the Logos, of one being and essence with the Father. As such He was not “created”, either in the same way as anything under the sky or in any other way. Unless you want to argue that God was without His eternal wisdom (another definition for “Logos”), this really makes no sense as an objection. We do not in the first place say that Christ was created as another one of God’s creations, like the earth or the skies or anything like that, so it is really NOT “according to (our) premises”, despite what your preamble says. Christ is the eternal Word, the Logos, of one being and essence with the Father. As such He was not “created”, either in the same way as anything under the sky or in any other way. Unless you want to argue that God was without His eternal wisdom (another definition for “Logos”), this really makes no sense as an objection.

      Comment: This is just throwing words together without a meaning. Jesus is a human being, not a word, not an expression, not a concept, or anything else understood from the utterance “word,” but a physical being with a flesh and soul and attributes such as length, width, intelligence, life, etc. Wisdom is is also an attribute of someone, just like speech, it is not a person or a being, but an attribute meaning something like “knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action,’ as can be found in dictionaries. Look up the words, “word”, or “wisdom” in any dictionary, and substitute the definitions in this catholic’s statement, and you find he is a scoundrel. For example, his claim “Christ is the eternal Word”, becomes “Christ is the eternal utternance,” or “Christ is eternal exression”, etc. Pure nonsense.

      The catholic said: We do not in the first place say that Christ was created as another one of God’s creations, like the earth or the skies or anything like that, so it is really NOT “according to (our) premises”, despite what your preamble says.

      Comment: Well, crazy people say whatever they feel like don’t they? Like I said, the purpose of the article is not to show what christians believe, but that fatherhood cannot be an attribute of God, no matter what you claim the cause of fatherhood to be.

      The catholic said: Quote: -This statement also contains the argument that a child is like its parent, and Allaah is the one that created the skies and the Earth without a precedent, so how can anything or anyone be like Him? – Indeed. We do not say that Christ is “God-like”, but that He is God.

      Comment: Now, compare that to what he said in his first paragraph above, and you will see how he a master of nothing except throwing words together. First he says he is an attribute, like “word”, now he says he is the attributed. Moreover, he says that Jesus is God, and the article is about those who say he is His son. Of course, he will probably say he is both….

      A catholic said: Quote: -This statement also has the meaning that since Allah is the only creator, and everything else is His creation, Jesus is merely a creation.- Obviously, we disagree. You (and hence the Qur’an) are arguing from the assumed truth of your OWN presuppositions, not ours. Since we do most definitely affirm that Jesus Christ is God, there is no sense to this objection in the context of debates with Christians.

      Comment: Like I said, crazy people say whatever they feel like. Jesus is a human being born from his mother Mary. There is no reason to think he is the creator. Being a human being, he needs to be created. If not, then there would be no proof of a creator’s existence. If you require no proof for your claims, then that is another story, but arguing with people like that is a waste of time.

      The catholic said: Quote: -Moreover, since Allah is the creator, and does not have a beginning, then He does not resemble what has a beginning, such as Jesus.- This is another misunderstanding of the incarnation and the person of Christ on the part of Muslims. The incarnation was not always among us, but Jesus has ALWAYS been (and always will be) the eternal word of God, and hence without beginning or end. If you believe that this is not so, then explain to me how, according to Islamic belief, Jesus will return to smash crosses and kill pigs? He is “dead” already, is He not? I will assume you will probably say that it is Allah’s prerogative to send Jesus back to Earth. Fair enough. We say it is God’s perogative to have sent His Son for us and our salvation in the first place.

      Comment: Funny, does one have to be the so called eternal word of God to die and come back to life? How does a “word” die anyway? A word can be an attribute of someone alive, but it does not live itself. Life requires will and knowledge, and a word has neither will, nor knowledge. Rather, a word must be spoken by someone, and if that someone has will, and knowledge, then that someone has life, not the word itself.

      It is very simple. God created human beings, and their later death, and can create another life in them coming after that. The first time is no different than the first time. Just as he can create something to live for the first time, he can create a later subsequent one following death. For the record, Jesus is not dead, but was raised to the sky, from where he will come back to earth. It could have been, however, that he was dead, and then given life again, just like we all will on the day of judgment, and none of us are “the word of god.”

      The catholic said: Quote: -Accordingly, how could it be true that Jesus is His son, when Jesus is a human being, with created attributes.- Wrong. Jesus is GOD incarnate. He is perfectly and completely both God and man (all apostolic churches agree on this, regardless of how they conceptualize His divinity and humanity).

      Comment: This so called incarnation is a human being, and as such was created, i.e. brought into existence. If you say that this incarnation really IS god, then you are saying that god is created. It is self contradictory to claim that God IS the reincarnation, which is created, and yet is not created.

      The catholic said: Quote: -Moreover, since Allah is the creator, and the Creator cannot be like creation (since He is not created) – I suppose this depends on what you mean by “like”. I am like my father, but I am not my father. I am like any other person in the world, though I am not any other person in the world. I am like any other animal in the world, though I am not anything other than human. Let’s define our terms, please.

      Comment: I mean not like anything created. I.e. neither His Self, nor His attributes necessitate having a beginning, and thus the need to be created. Attributes like physical dimensions, shape and change are attributes that need to be created.

      The catholic said: Quote: -Accordingly, He does not have a child because having a child in the customary manner only happens to bodies.- What then of what happened to Maryam according to the Qur’an? She did not have a child “in the customary manner”. Does that mean that she did not have a body, or was she divine, or what? I don’t think this holds up as a good defense of why God cannot have a son.

      Comment: He removed the context” “The third statement, “He created everything,” argues with those who say that He had a child in the customary manner, through having a bodypart (such as semen) transferred to a female parter, or having a part becoming a separate entity (asexuality). These are the customary manners.” I also mentioned the legal manner of adoption. As for Mary, she had a child without having a father, because she had no male partner. So he is her child, because she gave birth to him, like all mothers. Yet he has no father, because she did not get sperm from a partner. Just as Adam has neither a father, nor a mother, Jesus had no father, yet he had a mother. Like all creation, Jesus is a creation of Allaah, whether he has a father or not. It is not a rational necessity that a human being has a father, because Adam has neither a father nor a mother. What is necessary for a human to exist is to have a creator. All children, all creation, whether from male sperm or something else or nothing at all, are in equal need of being created by Allaah. Thus Allaah is the Creator of Jesus, and not his father, as is the case for the rest of the world.

      The catholic said: Quote: -Through these arguments, all the normal meanings of having a “child” have been refuted.- Hardly. These arguments are pathetically ineffective, because they are not related to what Christians actually believe. The Qur’an, and hence the defenders of it like this shaykh and you, proceed from what you say we believe, not what we say we believe. Nothing at all resembling Christianity has been refuted here. The shaykh is boxing shadows, and even so still losing.

      Comment: Note that I said, “normal meanings of having a “child” and he did not show any of the arguments wrong, or even weak.

      Moreover, the argument was against a specific set of beliefs, and was effective for that. He argues as if his beliefs are the only beliefs held by christians. Christians are many different groups with different beliefs, and this guy presumably represents one of those groups. In fact, in a single christian you might find several self-contradictory beliefs, such as this guy.

      The point of the Quranic statements discussed in the article is to show that the meaning of having a child does not apply to Allaah. He has not shown any meaning that applies. He cannot do so, because Jesus is a human being, and as such his need for the Creator is the same as all others, because all creation comes into existence by His Will and Power either from something or from nothing, and is not different in that. That is, his relationship to the Creator is that of a creation to his Creator, not that of a child to a father.

      As for the idea that Jesus is the Creator himself incarnated as a human being, this is impossible, because the incarnation existed after non-existence, and since the Creator is an eternal being, he cannot be this so called incarnation, because the incarnation is not eternal. It is that simple. One cannot be both eternal and not eternal. That is, beginningless existence is an attribute of the Creator, and the human being called Jesus existed after non-existence, so he is not eternal, so he is not the Creator.

      If they say that Jesus was not a human being, but became one, then He was something else before that, and this something else must have ceased to exist before the HUMAN BEING Jesus existed. This means they believe that the eternal self of the Creator ceased to exist. This means, according to them, that God Himself is only possible in existence, and not intrisically necessary in existence, because His existence ceased. This would make him equal to all creation in being only intrinsically possible in existence. There is no escape from that.

      Abu Adam

  4. tru_quran says:

    Barak’Allaahu feekum Shaykh Abu Adam

  5. tru_quran says:

    I think now, it will be a lot harder to give da’wah to the Christians because their are plenty of verses within the translations of the bible where Jesus(peace be upon him) is reported saying ‘Father’.

  6. Salam alaykum,

    What is the detailed proof from the works of past ‘Aalims that merely saying “son of God” as a matter of respect towards that person makes someone a disbeliever. I am asking since someone asked whether this is really part of Islamic belief and he wanted to know the proofs for this.

  7. faqir says:

    as-salamu `alaikum shaykh

    Could you respond to the following argument of the christians who cite it as a supposed ‘contradiction’ in the Qur’an:

    Could Allah have a Son?

    In the Qur’an we find the following two statements:

    39:4
    Had Allah wished to take to Himself a son,
    He could have chosen whom He pleased out of those whom He doth create:
    but Glory be to Him! (He is above such things.)
    He is Allah, the One, the Irresistible. (Yusuf Ali)

    If Allah had willed to choose a son,
    He could have chosen what He would of that which He hath created.
    Be He Glorified! He is Allah, the One, the Absolute. (Pickthall)

    6:101
    Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth;
    How can He have a son when He has no consort?
    He created all things, and He hath full knowledge of all things.

    Sura 39:4 and 6:101 agree on the actuality, that Allah does not have a son, but they contradict each other in the issue of ability or possibility.

    Sura 39:4 clearly states that God could have taken Himself a son from among his creation, i.e. without the necessity of a consort to father such a son. But Sura 6:101 clearly rejects the same idea as a logical impossibility.

    [end quote]

  8. defendingislam10 says:

    An Orthodox Christian had used our understanding of the Attributes of Allah (that is, our saying that the Attributes of Allah are not Him, but they are not other than Him) to make a case for Trinity. He says:
    —-
    Jesus (The Word of God) and the Holy Spirits (The Spirit of God) are like the Attributes of Father, they are not Him, yet they are Not Other than Him. Meaning they are not Him (distinct persons), yet they are not Other than Him (one in essence).

    Thus we say, Our Father is in Heaven, and the Word of God (Jesus -The Way to Father) and the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit) is how the Father interacts with His Creation. They are One in essence, yet They are distinct (which has been defined by the Church as Persons). One cannot interact with Father, except through the word of God (The Way) and being guided by the Holy Spirit all at the same time. One cannot be guided by the Holy Spirit, except that they are on the way (Through the son), and interacting with the Father, all at the same time. You cannot embrace Jesus (embark upon the way) except that you reach the Father, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, all at the same time. So they are One.
    ——

    From what I can gather,our position and theirs is different, since the Christian says that “Jesus is God”, meaning that Jesus is a ‘distinct person’ who is the Essence of God Himself. But the Muslim does not say that the “Power of Allah” is a ‘person’ since this would mean there is a body involved in here.

    Is there a more proper way to explain this difference between ourselves and the Christians, or something that should be added to this explanation?

    • His claim is just a play with words, what he means is that the supposed trinity is an integrated group of parts, distinct persona. One group, not absolute oneness. Jesus is not a word, he is a human being, a spirit, likewise is a being, not an attribute. This sort of nonsense shows how obstinate they are.

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