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My Response for this claim consists of my personal writings and the footnotes descriptions of the Holy Verses from my Holy Quran, which was translated by Sheik (Minister) Abdallah Yusuf Ali.
Anti-Islamic Claim: 3.Further numerical discrepancies Does Allah's day equal to 1,000 human years (Sura 22:47, 32:5) or 50,000 human years (Sura 70:4)? --- How many gardens are there in paradise? ONE [as stated in 39:73, 41:30, 57:21, 79:41] or MANY [18:31, 22:23, 35:33, 78:32]? --- According to Sura 56:7 there will be THREE distinct groups of people at the Last Judgement, but 90:18-19, 99:6-8, etc. mention only TWO groups. --- There are conflicting views on who takes the souls at death: THE Angel of Death [32:11], THE angels (plural) [47:27] but also "It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death." [39:42] Angels have 2, 3, or 4 pairs of wings [35:1]. But Gabriel had 600 wings. [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 455].
My Response: This Anti-Islamic claim consists of 5 different topics: (1) The days of Allah Almighty to mankind; (2) The number of Gardens in Paradise; (3) Number of group or classes of people on the day of judgment; (4) Number of angels that take our souls after death; (5) Number of wings Angels have.
The first topic, the days of Allah Almighty to mankind:
Let us look at Ayah (verse) 22:47 "Yet they ask thee to hasten on the Punishment! But Allah will not fail in His promise. Verily a day in the sight of thy Lord is like a thousand years of your reckoning."
Let us also look at Ayah (verse) 32:5 "He rules (all) affairs from the heavens to the earth: in the end will (all affairs) go up to Him (Allah), on a Day, the space whereof will (as) a thousand years of your reckoning."
Let us look at Ayah (verse) 70:4-5 "The angels and the Spirit ascend unto Him (Allah) in a Day the measure whereof is (as) fifty thousand years: Therefore do thou hold patience- a patience of beautiful (contentment)."
The first Holy Surah (22:47) above does clearly mention that one day according to Allah Almighty is worth 1000 years of ours. However, in Holy Surah (32:5), we see that the journey from the time our souls ascend to the time they arrive to their final destinations will take one thousand human years; "on a Day, the space whereof will (as) a thousand years...(32:5)". In Holy Surahs (70:4-5) we see that Allah Almighty is referring to the day of judgment as a time period of 50 thousand years of ours. The phrase "in a Day the measure (70:4)" refers to the Day of Judgment, where our judgment will take 50 thousand human years to finish before the very last person of mankind enters either heaven or hell. The phrase "Day of Judgment" in Arabic doesn't mean one day. It means multiple days (50,000 years).
Note: (22:47) clearly mentions that one day from Allah Almighty equals one thousand years from us. (32:5, and 70:4) both talk about events that will take place, and those events will take a time length of many years of our time. The word "Day" in (32:5, and 70:4) means a time period, where the word "Day" in (22:47) means an actual day. This phrase does exist in Arabic and in many languages.
Example: when a mother says to her child: "Insha'allah (If God is willing) the day will come when I see you become big and mature". The word "day" in this sentence doesn't mean a single day. It means an actual length or period of time.
The second topic, the number of Gardens in Paradise:
Let us look at Ayah (verse) 39:73 "And those who feared their Lord will be led to the Garden in crowds: Until behold, they arrive there; its gates will be opened; and its keepers will say: "Peace be upon you! Well have ye done! Enter ye here, to dwell therein."
Let us look at Ayah (verse) 41:30 "In the case of those who say, "Our Lord is Allah", and further, stand straight and steadfast, the angels descend on them (from time to time): "Fear ye not! (they suggest), Nor grieve! but receive the glad tidings of the Garden (of Bliss) that which ye were promised!"
Let us look at Ayah (verse) 57:21 "Be ye foremost (in seeking) forgiveness from your Lord, and a Garden (of Bliss) the width whereof is as the width of heaven and earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and his messengers: That is the grace of Allah, which He bestows on whom He pleases: and Allah is The Lord of Grace abounding."
Let us look at Ayah (verse) 79:41 "Their Abode will be the Garden."
Let us look at Ayah (verse) 18:31 "For them will be Gardens of Eternity; beneath them Rivers will flow: they will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and they will wear green garments of fine silk and heavy brocade; they will recline therein on raised thrones. How good the recompense! How beautiful a couch to recline on!"
Let us look at Ayah (verse) 22:23 "Allah will admit those who believe and work righteous deeds. To Gardens beneath which rivers flow: they shall be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and pearls; and their garments there will be of silk."
Let us look at Ayah (verse) 35:33 "Gardens of Eternity will they enter: therein will they be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls; and their garments there will be of silk."
Let us look at Ayah (verse) 78:32 "Gardens enclosed, and grapevines;"
In the above Holy Verses, we see that in (39:73, 41:30, 57:21, and 79:41) the word "Garden" is used for Paradise. The word "Garden" in those verses is "Jannah" in Arabic which means Paradise. We also see in Holy Verses (18:31, 22:23, 35:33, and 78:32) the word "Gardens" is used for Paradise. The word "Gardens" in those verses is written as "Jennat" in Arabic which is the plural for "Jannah".
In the Arabic language, the singular and the plural for the word Paradise or Garden is the same thing. Sometimes the word "Jannat" (Gardens) is used by Allah Almighty to give a bigger picture for Paradise to the Muslims. Also, according to the Holy Quran, Heaven is made of different levels. Not all humans who enter heaven will be on the same level. Some will be at the highest level with the Prophets and the righteous people, and others will be at the lowest level where people who sinned a lot will be at. The word "Jannah" (Garden) is used for putting all the levels of Heaven into one description which we call it Paradise. However, this big Paradise consists of several levels of Heavens or Gardens (Jannat).
Note: There are singular phrases for Heaven and plural ones as well in the English language. "The LORD of Heavens" is a plural phrase, where "In Heaven we will live peacefully" is a singular one.
The third topic, the number of group of people on the Day of Judgment:
Let us look at Ayat (verses) 56:7-56 "And ye shall be sorted out into three classes. Then (there will be) the companions of the Right Hand- what will be the companions of the Right Hand? And the companions of the Left Hand- what will be the companions of the left Hand? (Our first class) And those Foremost (In Faith) will be Foremost (in the Hereafter). These will be those Nearest to Allah: In Gardens of Bliss: A number of people From those of old, and a few from those of later times. (They will be) on thrones encrusted (with gold and precious stones), reclining on them, facing each other. Round about them will (serve) youths of perpetual (freshness), with goblets, (shinning) beakers, and cups (filled) out of clear-flowing fountains: No after-ache will they receive therefrom nor will they suffer intoxication: And with fruits, and that they may select; and the flesh of fowls, any that they may desire. And (there will be) companions with beautiful, big, and lustrous eyes- Like unto pearls well-guarded. A reward for the Deeds of their past (Life).
(Our second class) The companions of Right hand- what will be the companions of the right Hand! (They will be) among Lote trees without thorns, among Talh trees with flowers (or fruits) piled one above another- In shade long-extended, by water flowing constantly, and fruit in abundance, whose season is not limited, nor (supply) forbidden, and on thrones (of dignity), raised high. We (Allah ) have created (their companions) of special creation, and made them virgin-pure (and undefiled) - beloved (by nature), equal in age- for the companions of the Right Hand. A (goodly) number from those of old, and a (goodly) number from those of later times.
(Our third class) The companions of the Left Hand- what will be the companions of the Left Hand? (They will be) in the midst of a fierce blast of fire and in boiling water, and in the shades of black smoke: Nothing (will there be) to refresh, nor to please: For that they were wont to be indulged, before that, in wealth (and luxury), and persisted obstinately in wickedness supreme! And they used to say, 'What! when we die and become dust and bones, shall we then indeed be raised up again? (We) and our fathers of old?' Say: 'Yea, those of old and those of later times, all will certainly be gathered together for the meeting appointed for a day well-known. Then will ye truly- O ye that go wrong, and treat (Truth) as falsehood! Ye will surely taste of the tree of Zaqqum. Then will ye fill your insides therewith, and drink boiling water on top of it: Indeed ye shall drink like diseased camels raging with thirst!' Such will be their entertainment on the day of requital!"
Let us look at Ayat (verses) 90:18-19 "Such are the companions of the Right Hand. But those who reject Our signs, they are the (unhappy) companions of the Left hand."
Let us look at Ayat (verses) 99:6-8 "On that Day will men proceed in companies sorted out, to be shown the deeds that they (had done). Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it."
In the above Holy Verses (56:7-56) we see that there will be three main classes. Among the Good there will be the specially exalted class, those nearest to Allah (56:11-26), and the righteous people generally, called the companions of the Right Hand (56:27-40). And there will be those in gony, the companions of the Left Hand (56:41-56). Many who were high and mighty in this life will be brought low for their sins, and many who were lowly but virtuous will be exalted to various ranks and degrees. The old landmarks will be lost in the inner world, as they will in the outer world.
Holy Verses (90:18-19), also, talk about the classes of the Right Hand and the Left Hand, but do not say that these are the only classes. The same thing with Holy Surahs (99:6-8), we see that they talk about the Right Hand and the Left Hand classes indirectly by explaining that those who do good in their life will receive good in the Day of Judgment, and those who do bad in their life will receive bad in the Day of Judgment. However, (90:18-19) also does not say that these are the only two classes.
Note: (56:7-56) talk about the 3 classes that we will be divided in in details. (90:18-19, and 99:6-8) talk about only 2 classes of the 3 that are mentioned in (56:7-56).
The fourth topic, the number of angels that take our souls after death:
Let us look at Ayah (verse) 32:11 "Say: 'The Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls then shall ye be brought back to your Lord.'"
Let us look at Ayat (verses) 47:26-27 "This, because they said to those who hate what Allah has revealed, 'we will obey you in part of (this) matter'; but Allah Knows their (inner) secrets. But how (will it be) when the Angels take their souls at death, and smite their faces and their backs?"
Let us look at Ayah (verse) 39:42 "It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death, and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep. Those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He keeps back (from returning to life), but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are Signs for those who reflect."
In Holy Verse (32:11) we see that Allah Almighty had assigned to every one of us an Angel of Death who is in charge of taking his person's soul when that person dies. In Holy Verses (47:26-27) we see Allah Almighty referring to the unbelievers and promising them that their Angels of Death will smite their faces and backs.
To support (47:26-27) let us look at Ayah (verse) 8:50 "If thou couldst see, when the angels take the souls of the unbelievers (at death), (how) they smite their faces and their backs, (saying): 'Taste the penalty of the blazing Fire'." Here similar to (47:26-27) we see that Allah Almighty is promising the unbelievers to get their faces and backs smited by the angels who were assigned to them after death.
In Holy Verse (39:42), when death comes we surrender our physical life, but our soul does not die; it goes back to a plane of existence in which it is more conscious of the realities of the spiritual world: "Allah takes the soul. (39:42)" Allah Almighty is the one who will ultimately take our souls "Who bear in mind the certainty that they are to meet their Lord, and that they are to return to Him. (2:46)" Also "Who say, when afflicted with calamity: 'To Allah We belong, and to Him Is our return'. (2:156)"
Another Holy Verse that shows we will return to Allah Almighty and that we all belong to him : "Do they seek for other than the Religion of Allah? while all creatures in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His Will (Accepted Islam), and to Him shall they all be brought back. (3:83)"
Note: (32:11, and 47:26-27) talk about the ways or the tools (the Angels) that Allah Almighty will use to take our souls back. (39:42, and the other extra Holy Verses that I presented) talk about our souls' final destination, that ultimately all will return back to Allah Almighty.
The fifth topic, the number of wings Angels have:
Let us look at Ayah (verse) 35:1 "Praise be to Allah, Who created (out of nothing) the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels Messengers with wings- two, or three, or four (pairs): He adds to Creation as He pleases: for Allah Has power over all things."
|An addition by a Muslim brother:
Noble Verse 35:1, by itself, has the answer:
".....He adds to Creation as He pleases...." means that Allah Almighty adds to creation as He pleases. So Allah Almighty chose for Angel Gabriel, peace be upon him, to have more since he is the best of the Angels.
Also, let us look at Prophet Muhammad's hadith (saying):
Narrated Abu Ishaq-Ash-Shaibani: "I asked Zir bin Hubaish regarding the Statement of Allah: And was at a distance Of but two bow-lengths Or (even) nearer; So did (Allah) convey The Inspiration to His slave (Gabriel) and then he (Gabriel) Conveyed (that to Muhammad). (53.9-10) On that, Zir said, Ibn Mas'ud informed us that the Prophet had seen Gabriel having 600 wings. (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Beginning of Creation, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 455)"
Also let us look at further Hadiths (sayings) regarding Angel Gabriel (peace be upon him):
Narrated Aisha: "Whoever claimed that (the Prophet) Muhammad saw his Lord, is committing a great fault, for he only saw Gabriel in his genuine shape in which he was created covering the whole horizon. (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Beginning of Creation, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 457)"
Narrated Masruq: "I asked Aisha 'What about His Statement:-- 'Then he (Gabriel) approached And came closer, And was at a distance Of but two bow-lengths Or (even) nearer?' (53.8-9) She replied, 'It was Gabriel who used to come to the Prophet in the figure of a man, but on that occasion, he came in his actual and real figure and (he was so huge) that he covered the whole horizon.' (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Beginning of Creation, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 458)"
Let us look at Ayat (verses) 53:9-11 "And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer; so did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His servant- (Conveyed) what He (meant) to convey. The (Prophet's) (mind and) heart in no way falsified that which he saw."
Let us look at Ayat (verses) 53:5-7 "He (Gabriel) was taught by one Mighty in Power, Endued with Wisdom: For he appeared (In stately form) while he was in the highest part of the horizon:."
Let us look at Ayat (verses) 81:19-21 "Verily this is the word of a most honourable Messenger (Gabriel), Endued with Power, with rank before The Lord of the Throne, with authority there, (and) faithful to his trust."
Let us look at Ayah (verse) 81:23 "And without doubt he (Muhammad) saw him (Gabriel) in the clear horizon."
The Hadith (saying) in (Volume 4, Book 54, Number 455) clearly states that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did see the Angel Gabriel (peace be upon him) with 600 wings. We also see that in Holy Verses (53:9-11) Allah Almighty telling us that everything Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) claims that have seen is absolutely true.
In Holy Verse (35:1) above we see that Allah Almighty clearly says that he created the Angels (peace be upon them) in different kinds: Some have 2 pairs of wings, others have 3 pairs, and others have 4 pairs. However, this Holy Verse (35:1) does not restrict the angel Gabriel (peace be upon him) from changing his appearance; in Holy Verses (53:5-7, 81:19-21, 81:23, Hadith in Volume 4, Book 54, Number 457, and Hadith in Volume 4, Book 54, Number 458) above we see Gabriel (peace be upon him) changing his form by meeting Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a form of a man. We also see that Gabriel (peace be upon him) has a very special value in Allah Almighty's sight. Gabriel (peace be upon him) is not an ordinary Angel.
Note: Holy Verse (35:1) is speaking of ordinary Angels, but does not mean that Gabriel (peace be upon him) can not change his form and shape and make himself appear with 600 wings. We saw that Gabriel is (1) mighty; (2) has a special value in Allah Almighty's sight; and (3) is capable of changing his appearance and form according to (53:5-7, 81:19-21, 81:23, Hadith in Volume 4, Book 54, Number 457, and Hadith in Volume 4, Book 54, Number 458), which clearly explains that he is capable of appearing with 600 wings.
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