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Muslim Responses by Randy Desmond

I haven't responded for a while to this contradiction list and wasn't planning to anytime soon, except a Muslim from England emailed me and said that this web site's proposed contradictions had given him problems at one time. So my intent is to respond simply for the Muslims out there who may be bothered by what this web site proposes. May God protect us from the decieving promises of Satan and his followers.

I had talked to a scholar about this question a while ago. I forgot the terms the scholar had used and the exact meanings of those terms. So anyone wishing more information should seek it through those who know. I am not a scholar - just a very concerned Muslim. And eventhough I do not like putting up my answer without full knowledge, I think it is more important to stress to my fellow brothers and sisters in Islam (and in the human race) that these contradictions have no basis in reality and can easily be refuted by those who have the knowledge.

There seems to be two cases which are misunderstood by the author of this "contradiction". First, there is the case of the inheritance portions summing to less than one. Second is the misunderstood portioning of inheritance which would seem to total more than one.

The case of portions of total less than one

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 80, Number 724:
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

The Prophet said, "Give the Fara'id (the shares of the inheritance that are prescribed in the Qur'an) to those who are entitled to receive it. Then whatever remains, should be given to the closest male relative of the deceased."

The case of portions seeming to total more than one

4:11 - parents and children 4:12 - spouse and "no direct heirs" 4:176 - "no direct heirs" = neither descendants or ascendants

The unfounded assumption, based on an English translation, is that these three verses MUST be taken in tandem when calculating inheritance. However, we can equally wonder why the ordering of shares starts with children then parents then wife then indirect heirs. Could there not also be a priority here?

So as to not bore the reader by refuting every single case brought up. I will simply highlight the faults in the three examples which are used to stress this contradiction claim. Certainly the issues are not ignored in doing so.

First, notice that in the calculation of "a man dies leaving three daughters, both parents, and his wife" the total of the inheritance sums to exactly one BEFORE taking into account the wife's share. Please also notice the wife's share is part of the NEXT verse.

Next, for one son and one daughter, that example misinterpreted the part of 4:11 which is talking about only one child as an heir which is a daughter. Then attempts to add a son which couldn't exist if there is only one daughter and no other child is not possible.

Next, notice that claims are put forth that when a man dies leaving only his mother, his wife, and two sisters, the total is 1/3 + 1/4 + 2/3 = 15/12. The problem is that Jochen is adding apples(mother) and oranges(sisters). The mother is a "direct heir" the sister is not. Notice the clause in 4:12 and 4:176: The person who has died has no descendants or ascendents.

Now, in anticipation of Jochen jumping on an incomplete response, I have not answered the issue of diffentiation between indirect heirs in 4:12 and 4:176. I haven't looked into it nor asked about it. I honestly do not know who Razi is either. So please give me some information if you have some. Unfortunate for the author of the contradiction, I can not presume his point is correct knowing all of the other points are baseless as is his whole list of proposed contradictions. So let me suggest that for those who want to know the truth of the matter, go seek answers from those who know better.

Further Response by the same Muslim:

Let me re-write portions of the verses subsituting Arabic words next to the English translations.

...Your fathers or your sons; you know not which out of them is nearer in profit to you. Fariidatin from Allah; surely Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.
...If a man or woman have no heir direct [i.e. children or parents],
but have a brother or a sister, to each of the two a sixth;
but if they are more numerous than that, they share equally a third,
after any bequest they may bequeath, or any debt not prejudicial;
Wasiyatin from Allah. Allah is All-knowing, All-clement.

I subsituted the Arabic words in for a reason: the Qur'an is in clear Arabic (not English). It is the Arabic from which the meanings are derived. So let's look at it more closesly.

Regard to me assigning a priority of the shares of 4:11 over 4:12, you had said, "Sure there could be a priority, if you invent one. But it is not indicated in the Qur'an." I can't blame you for that because of my lack of explanation, but I can support that claim by simply defining two terms that Allah uses in these verses. First, in 4:11, the instructions of shares to children and parents are called fariidatun. Fariidatun means an obligatory ordinace from Allah. Second, in 4:12, these instruction of shares are called wasiyatun. Wasiyatun means an order/command/recommendation. The definition is of an entirely different semantic feel. Hence, a priority is implied (if not outright stated).

Again, it is the Arabic which needs to be understood, not the (mis)translations.

Please don't think I am side-stepping your original questions about the distribution of shares. If you look back at those questions, they have presuppositions. Namely, (1) that the Qur'an explicitly says what to do with all the inheritance of one who dies and (2) that the Qur'an says how to aportion all the shares of inheritance explicitly and (3) that The Qur'an aportions all shares in inheritance and (4) All the portions of inheritance mentioned in the Qur'an are to be taken in tandem when distribution to inheritors is taking place. There is subtlety in the difference of these presuppositions. Do you agree that your questions do, in fact, presuppose these points? If I just attempt to answer those questions, I would first have to agree to those presuppositions. And I may be able to agree with some or none of them. That is what is sometimes a problem with your proposed contradictions. I have to address the presuppositions (which seem to be false in most cases) before I can give the clear answer.

Please notice that I am not saying that the original questions with respect to shares of inheritance are invalid within the Islamic framework of the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sunnah. That is not the case, and answers can be sought. However, that is not the point of this discussion. The point is the relevency of the questions with respect to proving a contradiction within the Qur'an. Is that not true?

I admit that my response is incomplete (I don't address the aportioning of shares to colaterals). I also admit that I don't have requisite knowledge to answer all your concerns. But that is a limitation on me, not the Qur'an or Islam. I said what I know and try not to go talk about things I don't know about.

Send your comments.

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