Someone claiming to mend the unmendable is a cause for suspicion. Is he mad? A scoundrel? I do not think William Lane Craig is mad, but here is a man who claims to preach “reasonable faith,” and claims that this faith is actually christianity. A religion that even the priests themselves admit is not compatible with logical reasoning.
Someone sent me a link on Youtube where Craig presented a number of arguments for christianity and against Islam. After several minutes of insufferable boredom from him trying to convince the audience that the biblical version of Jesus is true etc., he ventured to say that he had two objections against Islam. The first was that the history of Jesus is not correct in the Qur’aan, which I am not going to bother with, because it is much quicker and efficient to expose christianity as a severely flawed belief system. By doing that, one has undermined the religion of the book and there is no longer a need to bicker about historical documents. After all, historical documentation alone (without some external support, such as miracles) hardly ever gets you to necessary and unequivocal conclusions.
This gets us to his second point, in which he stated, “Christians and Muslims agree that God is the greatest conceivable being, thus, necessarily, God is the greatest conceivable being.” So this is where we supposedly agree, but then he goes on to say: “So besides being All Powerful, All-Knowing,” which means that he believes that the Creator is All-Powerful and All-Knowing, in agreement with Muslims. Then, based on the idea of “greatest conceivable being,” he says in brief, “He must be All-Loving also because it is better to be loving than unloving, and God is a morally perfect being. The Bible says God is Love, thus sent His son to be the sacrifice for our sins. The Qur’aan says that He does not love sinners or unbelievers. This contradicts “All-Merciful.” It is partial and has to be merited.”
In other words, he is claiming that Aļļaah is not All-Merciful as stated in the Qur’aan, because it is also stated that He does not love sinners, unlike in christianity, where He is claimed to be “All-Loving.”
The answer to this is, first, the translation of Ar-Raĥmaan as “All-Merciful” is misleading, because it implies that Aļļaah will give mercy to all things always, which is clearly not the case. It would be better if it was translated simply as “merciful”, because then all it means is that Aļļaah does show mercy, and does not necessitate that this is always the case. Moreover, his claim that God is a morally perfect being is illogical, because morality requires standards, and no one sets standards for God, as that would imply subjugation and weakness, and this is not compatible with the idea of the greatest conceivable being.
Second, the idea that the “greatest conceivable being must be All-Loving,” is not acceptable. This is because love is an emotion of need, a need to please the beloved, a need to be accepted, and a being with needs is not the greatest conceivable being, but a being flawed by needs. Surely having no needs is greater than having needs.
Third, it is not possible that the Creator would be All-Knowing and All-Powerful as well as All-Loving, because that would mean there would be no suffering in the world. We clearly witness suffering, and since the Creator is All-Knowing He does know about this suffering before it happens, when it happens and after it happens. Moreover, since He is All-Powerful, He could surely prevent it based on the fact that He knows about it. Clearly then, you cannot believe in all of these attributes at the same time, as this contradicts observable reality. If one was to believe in all-lovingness, then this would only agree with the observable suffering of the world, if one denied the Creator’s knowledge or power or both.
Muslims choose to deny all-lovingness, because this is a flaw in the first place, and they affirm the Creator’s absolute knowledge and power.
Sorry William Lane
But your talk is vain
You’re a sitting duck
or a hen to pluck
Whichever you choose
you’re going to lose
Your claim to reason
is an open season
For a rational mind
of Muhammadan kind
Nice article. I especially like your thrid point:
“Third, It is not possible that the Creator would be All-Knowing and All-Powerful as well as All-Loving, because that would mean there would be no suffering in the world. We clearly witness suffering, and since the Creator is All-Knowing He does know about this suffering before it happens, when it happens and after it happens. Moreover, since He is All-Powerful, He could surely prevent it based on the fact that He knows about it. Clearly then, you cannot believe in all of these attributes at the same time, as this contradicts observable reality. If one was to believe in all-lovingness, then this would only agree with the observable suffering of the world, if one denied the Creator’s knowledge or power or both.”
I don’t understand how they would ever explain the sufferings in the world, that all take place with the “all loving” creator’s permission!! Mr Craig, open your eyes and see what’s happening in the world; just talking about love won’t do.
Assalaamu ‘Alaikoem Shaykh Abu Adam,
SubhanAllah, very nice Shaykh Adam. But Shaykh what is meant with All-Lovingness ? Al-Wadud is among the names of Allah the Most High as you know. Could you please explain the difference Shaykh ?
Al-Waduud means, as stated by Al-Kħaţţaabiyy, that Allaah is loved by the ‘awliyaa’, or that He rewards His pious worshipers for their worship (Zaadu-l-Masiir, commentary on Huud, 90). See also this post on it being impossible that Allaah should have emotions or change.
I liked your website it has a lot of information for those of us who know so little about Islam, but I do have a question for you.
Why can’t God be all loving and also allow suffering in this world? I remember a quote by Rumi who says; “To all those who know everything is the same”
and St. Augustine says that also…what we perceive as human beings as suffering are nothing but mercy from God, with the suffering we are relieved of sin so there is good in everything.
Would this be a good explanation?
Suffering can sometimes be explained as cleansing from sins, or achieving higher reward for patience. This is not the case, however, for suffering of babies or people who are insane. They do not benefit from their suffering by learning patience, or ridding themselves of sins.
Not only that, but if one believes that Allaah is attributed with absolute love, which is a love that drives His actions according to christians, then there would be no suffering at all, because He could prevent people’s sins and give them high ranks without any prior suffering, based on His absolute Power and Knowledge.
Finally, christians believe that those who do not become christians will suffer eternally, which shows that Allaah does not love those people, because with His Power and Knowledge He could have prevented that.
I think that parents are able to learn patience when their babies die. Generally,it seems as if a system with some suffering is more purposeful and complete over all, than one in which there is none. Atheists often expect God to create a world where we’re all simply holding hands running around in circles around flower patches. It’s a ridiculous and immature conception. Such a world lacks virtue, patience, honour, heroism, sacrifice, knowing and appreciating God’s Mercy and fearing His punishment, strength, an understanding of good (because its absence is never experienced), or any general motivation to grow as believers and as humans (i.e. progress scientifically, spiritually etc.).
So, I don’t believe a world without suffering would be as complete as this one or serve the same purpose as this one (i.e. to worship Allah). I think that’s a part of the test, seeing as our purpose is to worship Allah, hardships and struggles are part of that process of submission (i.e. accepting that it is what He willed).
Just my thoughts,
Sheikh Abu Adam,
Well done.. I too really enjoyed your third point.. there certainly is suffering in the world, and this point alone crumbles the foundations of their wrong belief.
Another good reply by the sheikh, above!
Craig said:”The Bible says God is Love, thus sent His son to be the sacrifice for our sins. The Qur’aan says that He does not love sinners or UNBELIEVERS. This contradicts “All-Merciful.” It is partial and has to be merited.”
Simple question to Craig or any of his followers: So, does the christian god love the unbelievers? I am sure the answer is NO; the christian belief is that one must accept the blood of Jesus to gain salvation or one will burn in hellfire for eternity; in other words, even the god of Craig does not love the unbelievers!! Why is Craig so ignorant?
As sallamu alaikum wa rahamtullahi wa barakatuhu
So what would be the Islamic response to the suffering of babies and insane people?
I presume you mean explanation? Well, in light of the fact that Aļļaah is All-Powerful, and All-Knowing, it means that Aļļaah has no needs and no obligation, as He has no judge, and does whatever He wills. You may want to click on “Predestination,” under categories to find a number of discussions on this issue. The bottom line, however, is that Aļļaah is not subject to the concept of injustice, because this concept only applies to something that has a judge or an owner, or in other words, something that has restricted rights. Aļļaah, however, is eternal without a beginning, and is the true owner of absolutely everything, as He is the Creator of everything. If someone said, it would be injustice if Aļļaah did so and so, then he has actually appointed himself as a judge of the Creator. How is that for arrogance?
I think Craig’s argument is self defeating. For God to be an unconditionally loving being, He must love all things. Therefore, He must love evil. However, it is morally wrong to love evil. Therefore, a morally perfect being must be conditionally loving, loving only those things that are good.
Ibn Abu Talib, it does look self defeating to claim moral perfection and absolute love at the same time. You should make it much clearer though, when presenting your argument, that as Muslims we do not believe that Allaah is attributed with morality, because he does not have a judge to judge His actions. Morality applies only to those who could do something without a right. We also do not believe that Allaah is attributed with love in the sense of a drive or a motion. When it is ascribed to Aļļaah in the scriptures that He loves someone, it means that He has willed good for them, without any sense of emotion, need or drive implied. It is therefore better to focus on those ideas, since denying that Aļļaah has needs or other imperfections is our first priority. Then, after this has been made clear, one can present the point you made also. Beware, however, that you open a door for a longer debate, because they might argue that love only applies to beings, and not acts, etc. This will make it a longer affair than it needs to be. One last thing: when someone reads your comment he might get confused as to what your position is, so make sure to put words like “according to him,” or the like in there.
Thanks for the input. I agree with everything you’ve said. However, there is just one thing that I’d like to comment on. You said the Christian might respond to my argument by saying God’s love applies to the person only, not his acts. Thus, he loves the sinners, but hates his sins. There are two problems with this defense. First, it is irrational to say that God is unconditionally loving yet hates something because unconditional love negates hate. I would then say that if God only loves the person and not his acts, then this indicates human actions have no moral worth. Thus, the value of rape is the same as the value of charity-they are both worthless. However, Christians believe hell will contain people, not their acts. Thus, it is not the case that God loves the sinners and not his acts.
Jaazaaka Aļļaahu kħayraa, you are a thorn in their side.