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m11 * Does Allah forgive shirk? This is the worst sin and Allah can't really decide if he will ever forgive it or not. No [4:48, 116], Yes [4:153, 25:68-71]. And Abraham committed this sin of polytheism as he takes moon, sun, stars to be his Lord [6:76-78] and still Muslims believe that all prophets are without any sin. 

Abraham's actions were a stage play for the benefit of his people, the worshippers of planets, in order to get them to thinking about what they were worshipping and realize the fallacy of their actions. This is made clear from the proceeding two verses of 74-75 which clearly state that not only was prophet Abraham (pbuh) already worshipping God and reproaching his father for worshipping his people's planet-idols, but God had already shown Abraham (pbuh) such signs in heaven and in earth as to establish his faith with certainty. Only after confirming these two facts do the verses of 76 onwards begin to describe how he used his wisdom to think up this ruse in order to draw his people towards the same truth which he had been guided to. And yes, Muslims do insist that all the prophets are unerring in their preachings. 

How confident would you be with a prophet who told you "God want's you to give away all of your belongings" and then after you have done so comes a little later on and says "oops, I made a mistake. That was not really necessary" What if he said: "God commands that you go to war," then after many of them die in battle he says "Oops, God did not really want that," etc. God does not make mistakes, and He protects His messengers from delivering incorrect messages or ever erring in their preaching or belief.

As for shirk, or polytheism, God does not forgive it if a person dies upon it, however, He may or may not, at His discretion, forgive all other sins which a person dies upon. Nevertheless, even polytheism is forgiven those who repent before their death. This is explained in sufficient detail below and in the various hadeeths of the prophet such as the one narrated by Anas in the Musnad of Al-Hafid Abu-Bakr, or the one narrated by Abu-Tharr in Musnad Ahmad, or the one by Jabir in the musnad of Al-Hafid abu-Yala, or the one narrated by ibn Abbas by way of Al-Tabari, etc. all of which explain that the boundary condition, or requirement for shirk to be forgiven is for the person to repent before death, otherwise even though he may be forgiven all other sins which he did not repent from before his death, still, his polytheism shall not be forgiven him if he died upon it. This is also held out by the very examples presented by the author of this list.

For example he presents the example of the Jews who worshipped the calf but were forgiven their polytheism in 4:153. But why was their polytheism forgiven them? The reason for this, as stated above, is that they had already repented from this sin before their death and had not died upon it, as seen for example in Al-Aaraf(7):149. 

Actually, Al-Furqan(25):68-71 itself expressly spells out this boundary condition in no uncertain terms. He has managed to read in these verses the promise of God that He shall forgive this sin, however, he has not chosen to read the condition which Allah has presented for forgiveness of this sin. This condition is so critical that it is repeated twice in these verses. Once in verse 70 and then in verse 71 it is repeated again in detail and spelled out quite clearly. Indeed, ibn Juraij narrated upon the authority of the Companion ibn Abbas that these very verses were revealed by God with regard to a tribe of men who had spent their lives in idol worship and adultery. When they asked prophet Muhammad (pbuh) whether it was possible for them to repent after their lifetime of polytheism, this is when God revealed to them these verses, from 68 onwards, informing them that repentance before death can even erase polytheism. After mentioning polytheism as a sin worthy of hellfire the verses then go on to say: "..and he (the sinner) will abide therein (hellfire) disgraced, EXCEPT those who repent, believe (in Islam), and did righteous deeds, for those Allah will change their sins to good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And whosoever repents and does good deeds, then verily, he repents towards Allah with a sincere repentance." 

God also says in this regard in Taha(20):82 "And indeed I excel in forgiveness towards he who repents, believes (in Islam), does righteous deeds, then is guided."

In Al-Nissa(4):110 we read "And he who commits evil or is unjust against himself but then seeks God's forgiveness, He will find God Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." 

So what is meant by a man "being unjust against himself"? To learn the answer we need to read Lukman(31):13: 

"And (remember) when Lukman said to his son when he was advising him: 'O my son! Join not partners with Allah in worship. Verily, joining partners in worship with Allah is a great injustice indeed!"

All Muslims are required to explain the Qur'an using the Qur'an itself or else the explanation of the verse which was given to us by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). So if we go to the book "Sahih Al-Bukhari" we will find that the prophet (pbuh) is quoted in a number of his Hadeeth teaching us the above concept. For example:

The verses of Al-Anaam(6):82 says: "Those who believed and did not clothe their belief in injustice, for them shall be security and they are [rightly] guided,"

The Prophet's Companion Abdullah narrated that when the Companions first heard this verse they began to fear for themselves (since none of them were perfect humans) and they asked the Prophet (pbuh) 'Who among us has not been unjust against himself?" The Prophet (pbuh) replied "It is not as you think. Do you not read: 'Verily, joining partners in worship with Allah is a great injustice indeed!' (Lukman(31):13)?

From these verses we see that the greatest injustice is associating partners with God in worship, since it attempts to refuse God His foremost right and results in severe retribution from Him. However, the God of Islam as not only Just, however He also excels in mercy such that not only does He forgive all regular sins at His discretion even if the person did not repent before death, however, He even forgives the most major sins if the stated condition of "repenting and seeking God's forgiveness before death" is fulfilled. This is all verified in the Hadeeth of the prophet (pbuh) many times, for example: 

1) Jabir narrated in Sahih Muslim: 

"A man came to the prophet (pbuh) and asked, what are the 'mujibatan'(two compulsaries)?. The prophet (pbuh) replied: 'He who dies not associating partners with Allah shall enter Heaven and he who dies associating partners with Allah shall enter Hellfire'"

2) Jabir also narrated: 

"I heard the prophet (pbuh) saying: 'He who meets Allah not associating partners with Him shall enter heaven and he who meets Him associating partners with Him shall enter Hellfire.'"

3) The scholar of the Qur'an and Companion of the prophet Abdullah ibn Masoor said: 

"The Prophet (pbuh) said: 'He who dies while associating partners with Allah shall enter Hellfire' and I say, He who dies not associating partners with Allah shall enter Heaven." Narrated by Al-Bukhari.

Anas ibn Malik narrated in Mishkat Al-Masabih the following:

"Allah's Messenger (pbuh) stated that Allah said, "O Son of Adam, as long as you supplicate to Me and have hope in me I will pardon you in spite of what you have done, and I do not care. O Son of Adam, if your sins were so numerous as to reach the lofty regions of the sky, then you asked My forgiveness, I would forgive you, and I do not care. O Son of Adam, if you were to meet Me with enough sins to fill the earth, then met Me, not associating anything with Me (in worship), I shall greet you with its equivalent in forgiveness.'" Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi. And Ahmad and Al-Darimi transmitted it from AbuTharr.

So is there still a "contradiction"?


Back to Responses to the so called "Contradictions" in the Noble Quran.

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