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