Monday, May 9, 2016

Let the Study Quran Speak! Pt. 3: Allah Does Repent After All!

By Sam Shamoun

In this installment I am going to show how the Study Quran vindicates one of the arguments that I have employed against Muslim polemicists such as Shabir Ally, Zakir Naik etc., to prove just how truly inconsistent they happen to be.

In the following rebuttals,

I take a common objection used by Islamic apologists to undermine the inspiration of the Holy Bible and turn it against them to show how their very own criticism of God’s Word can be leveled more forcefully against the Quran, thereby disproving it’s supposed divine origin.

Muslims such as Ally and Naik point to biblical texts that speak of God “repenting” or “changing” his mind (cf. Genesis 6:6; Exodus 32:14; 1 Samuel 15:11, 35; Jeremiah 18:7-11; Jonah 3:9) in order to call into question the inspiration of the God-breathed Scriptures since to them, God as the perfect Being cannot and does not change his mind. What makes this objection rather intriguing is that the Quran itself bears witness to the fact that even the Islamic deity repents and changes his mind!

The Islamic scripture often describes Allah as repenting from the course of action that he intended to embark on, and even gives him the name al-Tawwab, meaning “the Repenting/Relenting One”!

Note, for instance, what the following Quranic verses teach in relation to Allah repenting from what he intended to do:

Then Adam received words from his Lord, and He RELENTED (fataba) unto him. Indeed, He is THE RELENTING (al-Tawwabu), the Merciful. S. 2:37 The Study Quran (TSQ)

Our Lord! And make us submissive unto you and of our seed a nation submissive unto you, and show us our ways of worship, and repent (watub) toward us. Lo! You are the Repenting (anta al-Tawwabu), the merciful. S. 2:128

Except those who repent (taboo) and make amends and openly declare: To them I repent (atoobu); for I am Oft-Repenting (wa ana al-Tawwabu), Most Merciful. S. 2:160

Do they not know that Allah accepts repentance (al-tawbata) from his servants and takes the alms, and that Allah is the Oft-Repenting (huwa al-Tawwabu), the Merciful? S. 9:104

And to the three who were left behind, until the earth became strait to them notwithstanding its spaciousness and their souls were also straightened to them; and they knew it for certain that there was no refuge from Allah but in Him; then He repented (taba) to them that they might repent (liyatooboo); surely Allah is the Oft-repenting (huwa al-Tawwabu), the Merciful. S. 9:118

What makes this all the more intriguing is that the scholars/editors of The Study Quran actually agree with me that the Muslim god does in fact change his mind, and they even mention some of the same biblical passages that Islamic polemicists raise to attack the inspiration of the Holy Bible which say the same thing! 

Here is their exegesis of Q. 2:37:

“In Arabic the verb for 'repent' and 'relent' (tāba/yatūb) is the same; its meaning only changes only with the addition of a proposition. Tawbah, the noun derived from the verb, means literally a ‘turning’ or a ‘return’: we turn or return to God in repentance, and He turns or returns to us. Similar passages in the Bible (Jonah 3:9, Jeremiah 15:6; Genesis 6:6) predicate a kind of "repentance" of God. Al-Tawwab (the Relenting) is the intensive participle of tawbah, meaning ‘repentance’…” (P. 24; bold and underline emphasis ours)

As we stated in the previous installment, it is truly refreshing and encouraging to find Muslim scholars finally admitting and openly acknowledging what their "holy" book actually teaches concerning such vitally important issues. Hopefully, Muslim propagandists like Ally and Naik will learn to be just as honest and open about the true contents of their respective scripture as the authors/editors of The Study Quran have been. 

Lord willing, we shall have more segments in our series appearing shortly.

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