Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun’s article: Can Angels take away life?

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Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun’s article

Quran Contradiction: Can Angels take away life?

By Sami Zaatari

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.answeringislam.net/Quran/Contra/death_angels.html

 

He Wrote

 

The Quran, by way of rebuking the Christians and idolaters, claims that none of those individuals that they called upon and worshiped could create, give life, or cause to die:

Is He then Who creates like him who does not create? Do you not then mind? … And those whom they call on besides Allah have not created anything while they are themselves created; Dead (are they), not living, and they know not when they shall be raised. S. 16:17, 20-21 Shakir

And they have taken besides Him gods, who do not create anything while they are themselves created, and they control not for themselves any harm or profit, and they control not death nor life, nor raising (the dead) to life. S. 25:3 Shakir

The Quran also rebukes and warns individuals from venerating and calling on angels, which presupposes that angels were being worshiped:

And he commanded you not that ye should take the angels and the prophets for lords. Would he command you to disbelieve after ye had surrendered (to Allah)? S. 3:80 Pickthall

Say: Cry unto those (saints and angels) whom ye assume (to be gods) beside Him, yet they have no power to rid you of misfortune nor to change. Those unto whom they cry seek the way of approach to their Lord, which of them shall be the nearest; they hope for His mercy and they fear His doom. Lo! the doom of thy Lord is to be shunned. S. 17:56-57 Pickthall

According to the Quran, some of those nearest to Allah include both Jesus and the angels:

Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to God; S. 3:45 Y. Ali

The Messiah does by no means disdain that he should be a servant of Allah, nor do the angels who are near to Him, and whoever disdains His service and is proud, He will gather them all together to Himself. S. 4:172 Shakir

Thus, we can conclude from the foregoing that Sura 17:56-57 is referring to the veneration given to Christ and the angels by unbelievers. Ibn Kathir confirms this exegesis in his comments on Sura 17:56:

<Say: "Call upon those whom you pretend> Al-`Awfi reported from IbnAbbas, "The people of Shirk used to say, ‘we worship the angels and the Messiah and ‘Uzayr,’ while these (the angels and the Messiah and ‘Uzayr) themselves call upon Allah." …

<Those whom they call upon, desire) Al-Bukhari recorded from Sulayman bin Mahran Al-A’mash, from Ibrahim, from Abu Ma’mar, from ‘Abdullah …

<Those whom they call upon, desire a means of access to their Lord,> "Some of the Jinn used to be worshipped, then they became Muslims.'' According to another report: "Some humans used to worship some of the Jinn, then those Jinn became Muslim, but those humans adhered to their religion (of worshipping the Jinn)." (Source; bold emphasis ours)

Ibn Kathir wrote regarding another text (cf. Sura 21:98-103) that:

<Verily, those for whom the good has preceded from Us.> It was said that this referred to the angels and ‘Isa, and others who are worshipped instead of Allah. This was the view of ‘Ikrimah, Al-Hasan and Ibn Jurayj. Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar said in his book of Sirah: "According to what I have heard, the Messenger of Allah sat down one day with Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah in the Masjid, and An-Nadr bin Al-Harith came and sat down with them. There were also other men of Quraysh in the Masjid. The Messenger of Allah spoke, then An-Nadr bin Al-Harith came up to him and the Messenger of Allah spoke to him until he defeated him in argument. Then he recited to him and to them, …

<and therein they will hear not.> Then the Messenger of Allah got up and went to sit with ‘Abdullah bin Al-Zab’ari As-Sahmi. Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah said to ‘Abdullah bin Al-Zab’ari, "By Allah, An-Nadr bin Al-Harith could not match the son of ‘Abd Al-Muttalib in argument. Muhammad claims that we and these gods that we worship are fuel for Hell."' ‘Abdullah bin Az-Zab’ari said: "By Allah, if I meet with him I will defeat him in argument. Ask Muhammad whether everyone that is worshipped instead of Allah will be in Hell with those who worshipped him, for we worship the angels, and the Jews worship ‘Uzayr, and the Christians worship Al-Masih, ‘Isa bin Maryam." Al-Walid and those who were sitting with him were amazed at what ‘Abdullah bin Az-Zab’ari said, and they thought that he had come up with a good point. He said this to the Messenger of Allah, who said … (Source; bold, italic and underline emphasis ours)

To summarize what we have learnt thus far, the Quran rebukes unbelievers for worshiping beings that cannot create nor give life nor cause death. Some of these entities that the unbelievers were worshiping included the angels, with the implication therefore being that none of these angelic creatures are able to create life or take it away.

Yet the Quran plainly teaches that angels actually bring death upon persons, which means that they do indeed cause death, thereby contradicting itself!

Verily, those whom the angels cause to die while they are wronging their own souls, the angels will say to them: ‘What were you after?’ They will say: ‘We were treated as weak in the land.’ The angels will say, ‘Was not ALLAH's earth spacious enough so that you could have emigrated therein?’ It is these whose abode shall be Hell, and an evil destination it is; 4:97 Sher Ali

Those whom the angels CAUSE TO DIE while they are unjust to themselves. Then would they offer submission: We used not to do any evil. Aye! surely Allah knows what you did. … Those whom the angels CAUSE TO DIE in a good state, saying: Peace be on you: enter the garden for what you did. S. 16:28, 32 Shakir

Say, `The angel of death that has been put in charge of you will cause you to die; then to your Lord will you be brought back.' S. 32:11 Sher Ali

 

My Response

 

There is no contradiction. Let me post the supposed contradictory verses again:

 

Verily, those whom the angels cause to die while they are wronging their own souls, the angels will say to them: ‘What were you after?’ They will say: ‘We were treated as weak in the land.’ The angels will say, ‘Was not ALLAH's earth spacious enough so that you could have emigrated therein?’ It is these whose abode shall be Hell, and an evil destination it is; 4:97 Sher Ali

Those whom the angels CAUSE TO DIE while they are unjust to themselves. Then would they offer submission: We used not to do any evil. Aye! surely Allah knows what you did. … Those whom the angels CAUSE TO DIE in a good state, saying: Peace be on you: enter the garden for what you did. S. 16:28, 32 Shakir

Say, `The angel of death that has been put in charge of you will cause you to die; then to your Lord will you be brought back.' S. 32:11 Sher Ali

 

Once again there is no contradiction, these angels have the power to cause people to die by the will of Allah, the angels are given that power. Shamoun seems to forget that, the angels do only what Allah allows them to do, the angels are able to cause death because Allah sends them with this great power, so hence it isn’t really the angels who have the power to cause death etc.

 

And they have taken besides Him gods, who do not create anything while they are themselves created, and they control not for themselves any harm or profit, and they control not death nor life, nor raising (the dead) to life. S. 25:3 Shakir

This verse basically means that Allah alone is in control of life and death, he is independent, he does not need anyone to give him the power to cause death, nor the power to create life. The angels however unlike Allah need the help of Allah to cause someone to die, they are entirely dependent upon Allah. So hence you have two different situations, had the angels caused people to die by their own will and power, then Shamoun would have a case.

 

A good example to prove my point is the birth of Jesus:

 

021.091
YUSUFALI: And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples.

 

066.012
YUSUFALI: And Mary the daughter of 'Imran, who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into (her body) of Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of the devout (servants).

 

Now note the verses say Allah breathed a soul into Mary. As we all know Allah sent his agent Jibreel to breathe the soul into Mary, so does that now mean that the angel Jibreel is God since he breathed a soul into Mary? Off course not, as we see the Quran says it is Allah, so we are able to conclude that Jibreel was able to breathe the soul into Mary because Allah gave the angel the power to do so. This is the same case with the verses Shamoun brought up on angels causing people to die; they are just given the power to carry that order out. They are not doing it on their own will and power.

 

097.004
YUSUFALI: Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah's permission, on every errand:

 

So as we can see here, angels come down only by Allah’s permission, this in itself proves how the angels are not like Allah since Allah needs no permission. So this also shows that when the angels cause people to die, they do this by Allah’s permission, had Shamoun bothered to read the entire Quran and take it in context he would realize this.

 

019.064 PICKTHAL: We (angels) come not down save by commandment of thy Lord. Unto Him belongeth all that is before us and all that is behind us and all that is between those two, and thy Lord was never forgetful –

 

So again we see the angels do not come down, meaning come to earth to carry out a mission unless Allah gives them a commandment. Put this verse with the ones Shamoun posted we then get the big picture, the angels are able to cause death since Allah has commanded them to, meaning Allah has allowed them to do it by giving them the power. So as we see, Shamoun forgets to take the context of the Quran into account.

 

So there is no contradiction at all, it is Shamoun’s lack of knowledge on the role of angels which is the problem, not the Quran, Shamoun should study the Quran some more.

 

As for the rest of Shamoun’s article, I do not feel that I have to respond to it since all he brings up is red herrings. The topic is on a supposed Quran contradiction therefore the topic is related ONLY to the Quran, not the hadiths. However so I encourage Shamoun to write a separate topic on the angels in the hadiths to which I will gladly refute.

 

So no contradiction, the Quran is the word of God, Shamoun must accept this fact.  

 

 

 

 

 

Rebuttals, and exposing the lies of the Answering Islam team section.

Responses to the so-called "contradictions" in the Noble Quran.

Sami Zaatari's Rebuttals section.


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