Refutation: Idolatry and Islamic Worship


بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Anthony Rogers, accompanied by a gang of roused propagandists, spent a significant amount of time attacking Islamic monotheism and those who defend it because they assume Muslims misunderstand their doctrine of their incarnate God. Ironically, in order to demonstrate how Muslims ‘misrepresent’ Christian theology, Anthony Rogers decided not to teach Muslims about his theology, but to instead misrepresent Islam. So great is his wisdom, that instead of trying to elucidate his doctrine, he went on a tirade of foul mouthed angry posts to the extent one could sense the foam, form around his mouth due to his rabid ranting. He says:

We’ve all heard Muslims say that worshipping Jesus as the Word made flesh is inherently and inescapably idolatrous, particularly since Jesus in His humanity has a form and could be seen, handled, touched, etc.

To correct Anthony, our issue cannot be summed into such a myopic and incredulous sentence, rather our issues are:

  1. Worshiping the creation.
  2. Believing God can change – even though He the First and the Last – absolute.
  3. Believing that God can gain, change and alter in form and essence.

Hereon, Anthony builds a quasi-childish argument. He quotes an ayah which states Muslims will be able to see God on the Day of Judgment. Then, due to his faulty inference reasoning, he claims that since we can see God on the Day of Judgement, then God will also be in a created form. From this, we can now understand that his argument is not to explain to the ‘misrepresenting’ Muslims, the doctrine of an incarnate God, but to ideally commit the tu quoque fallacy through argumentum reductio ad absurdum. What does this mean? Simply explained his response is, ‘you believe the same too‘, and ‘my response can be qualified by reducing your corpus of texts to a cherry picked and out of context hadith for which I myself do not understand‘.

He quotes a lot of hadith – a lot. Why? To demonstrate that Muslims believe that God will eventually assume a form, do the texts state this? Nope, they don’t. So where does he get this idea from? Probably from the sanitarium his closest friends and teachers escaped from.

To begin with, there are two ayat of the Qur’aan which form the absolute basics of Islamic theology from which we can then extend their context to, in relation to any other text , whether that be from the Qur’aan, or the Hadith corpus. This is the first rule of scriptural exegesis and theology – to interpret scripture…….with scripture! Isolating a few verses and removing them from the context of their theological foundation is nothing short of abject dishonest on the part of Mr. Rogers. We read:

  • there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things). – 42:11.
  • And there is none like unto Him. – 112:4.

Therefore, to say that God has a form or will be incarnate, is to misrepresent and misinterpret the hadith which are within the theological bounds of Islamic theology stemming from its own scripture, as are duly quoted above. What does it therefore mean, or what do the ahadith mean, when they claim we will be able to see God on the Day of Judgement? We read the following from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani who in response to this question, “Then how can we see Allah? Wouldn’t it entail affirming a direction, body, and form for Allah?“, he states the following:

No, it doesn’t–because the beholding of Allah Most High is “without resemblance [to the beholding of created things] and without encompassing,” as Imam Ibrahim Laqani mentions in his primer on Islamic beliefs, Jawharat al-Tawhid.

It is completely possible for Allah to create beholding in His servants, without there being physical directionality between them and Him.

This beholding is one of the greatest of spiritual favors. May Allah make us of those who are granted ultimate felicity, through true following of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him).

From the Shaykh’s answer, we understand now that since God is all-powerful, and I assume Anthony believes his God is, then we can agree that God is able to allow us to behold Him, without having to take a shape and or form. We also know from the Qur’aan that God is veiled from us:

“It is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil, or by the sending of a messenger to reveal, with Allah’s permission, what Allah wills: for He is Most High, Most Wise.” – 42:51.

This veil according to two ahadith is light, as Shaykh Salih al Munajjid explains:

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) on the night of the Mi’raaj (ascent into heaven) did not see his Lord. He was asked ‘Did you see your Lord?’ He said, “I saw Light.” According to another report: “Light – how could I see Him?” i.e., between me and Him there was a great veil of light. According to a hadeeth in al-Saheeh, it is narrated that Allaah is veiled in Light. That appears in the hadeeth in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “His veil is Light and if He were to remove it, the glory of His Countenance would burn everything of His creation, as far as His gaze reaches.” Because His sight reaches everything, and everything would be burned by this immense Light.

As for the argument we expect – if God does not take a form, as Anthony argues through his application of Christian theology upon Islamic scripture, how can we see God, or how are we to understand that we can ‘behold’ God? We read from  Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam’s, “al-Fatawa al-Mawsiliyya“, the following:

“Concerning the vision of Allah Most High in the hereafter, He shall be seen with the light which He created in the eyes in addition to the light of knowledge. For vision unveils what knowledge does not unveil, and if the exalted Lord wanted to create in the heart a light such as the one He created in the eyes so that it could look at Him by means of it, it would not be difficult for Him at all. Nay – if He wanted to create the light of the heart and that of the eyes in the hands and the feet and the nails it would not be difficult for Him at all!”

Given the evidences presented above, we can understand that a complete theology accepts that God is without form, unlike His creation, while being able to allow His creation to behold Him, without his having a need to take a form. We must remember, that a God who needs, such as the Christian God which Anthony believes in, cannot be an all-powerful being, for having a need, makes God dependent and God is dependent on nothing. In closing, we must remember that Anthony is not a scholar, nor is he a gentleman, we cannot expect him to uphold any form of academic objectivity, scholastic honesty or intellectual integrity. His arguments are as of those found on the stage, mere theatrics to amuse the easily bewildered, the simple minded and the intellectual stunted. I do not expect him to represent Islam accurately, nor do I expect him to amend his ways, for he is nothing more than an internet missionary and these traits are alien to him, his lifestyle and his theology.

wa Allaahu ‘Alam.

Addendum:

Concerning the hadith in which it is stated (taken directly from Anthony’s post):

Then (Allah) the Lord of the worlds will come to them in a shape nearest to the picture they had in their minds about Him. It will be said, ‘What are you waiting for?’ Every nation have followed what they used to worship.’ They will reply, ‘We left the people in the world when we were in great need of them and we did not take them as friends. Now we are waiting for our Lord Whom we used to worship.’ Allah will say, ‘I am your Lord.’ They will say twice or thrice, ‘We do not worship any besides Allah.’ ” (Bukhari,6.60.105)

Again, in isolating any text is tantamount to clear cut dishonesty, we read other ahadith which qualify the meaning of the above one:

Allah’s Apostle said, “Allah said, ‘I am to my slave as he thinks of Me, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him). – Sahih al Bukhari Volume 9, Book 93, Number 596.

The Prophet said, “Allah says: ‘I am just as My slave thinks I am, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him) and I am with him if He remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group that is better than they; and if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.’ ” – Sahih al Bukhari Volume 9, Book 93, Number 502.

According to this, Allaah will be seen (as I explained above, by Allaah allowing us to behold Him – without form) by the creation, in varying degrees, dependent on their position with Him, i.e. their piety, worship, etc. Some will be able to behold His majesty, while others may not be able to behold Him to such a degree as those who were pious and righteous. – wa Allaahu ‘Alam.

One comment

  • “Allāh Most High will be seen in the Hereafter. The believers will see Him, while in Paradise, with their own eyes, without any comparison or modality. There will not be any distance between Him and His creation.”

    – Imām Abū Ḥanīfa (raḍīAllāhu taʻālā anhu), from ‘Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar’

    “The vision of the transcendent holy essence of God, the Sublime and Exalted, without encirclement or direction is true and real for the People of Paradise. However, this vision is not with dimensions or limits, due to God’s transcendence beyond finiteness, descriptions, limits and containment. It is a-modal [bi lā kayf] in it’s nature and has no direction, distance, description or light rays connecting the seer and the seen, nor any distance between the one gazing and the object of his gaze, for all of that is related to the vision to the vision of bodies and substances, and God, the Sublime and Exalted, is not a body contained in dimensions. Therefore, envisioning God, the Sublime and Exalted, cannot be likened gazing upon a body. Vision is in accordance with what is being seen.”

    -ʿAbdal Ghanī al-Maydānī [Sharḥ al-ʿaqīdah al-Ṭahāwiyyah al-musammāt bayān al-sunnah wa al-jamā‘ah, p. 71 (Damascus: Dār al-Fikr, 1997)]

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