Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun and Jochen Katz article Quran Contradiction regarding the First Muslim.

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Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun and Jochen Katz article
Quran Contradiction

Who Was the First Muslim?

 

By
Sami Zaatari

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/first_muslim.htm

 

Answering-Islam.org's owner and Sam Shamoun have written up an article of what they think to be a Quranic contradiction. I will not be posting their entire article, I will only be posting the verses which seem to contradict each other and respond to those.

 

 

They Wrote

 

According to several passages in the Quran, Muhammad was the first Muslim:

 

Say: Shall I choose for a protecting friend other than Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, Who feedeth and is never fed? Say: I am ordered to be the first to surrender [aslama] (unto Him). And be not thou (O Muhammad) of the idolaters. S. 6:14 Pickthall

 

Say, verily my Lord hath directed me into a right way, a true religion, the sect of Abraham the orthodox; and he was no idolater. Say, verily my prayers, and my worship, and my life, and my death are dedicated unto God, the Lord of all creatures: He hath no companion. This have I been commanded: I am the first Moslem (Wa 'Ana 'Awwalu Al-Muslimin). S. 6:161-163 Sale

He hath no associate. This am I commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims. S.

6:163 Rodwell

 

Say (O Muhammad): Lo! I am commanded to worship Allah, making religion pure for Him (only). And I am commanded to be the first of those who are muslims (surrender unto Him). S. 39:11-12 Pickthall

 

This is contradicted by both the Quran and various Islamic traditions which refer to the presence of true believers both before and during Muhammad’s alleged "call" to prophethood. The Quran mentions that Adam, Noah, the Patriarchs, the twelve tribes of Israel, Moses, Jesus etc., were all believers and many of them even messengers who lived a long time before Muhammad:

 

Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not."… And behold, We said to the angels: "Bow down to Adam" and they bowed down. Not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: He was of those who reject Faith. We said: "O Adam! dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden; and eat of the bountiful things therein as (where and when) ye will; but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression."… When learnt Adam from his Lord words of inspiration, and his Lord Turned towards him; for He is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. S. 2:30, 34-35, 37

 

We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms. S. 4:163

We gave him Isaac and Jacob: all (three) guided: and before him, We guided Noah, and among his progeny, David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, and Aaron: thus do We reward those who do good: S. 6:84

 

And when Ibrahim and Ismail raised the foundations of the House: Our Lord! accept from us; surely Thou art the Hearing, the Knowing: Our Lord! and make us both submissive (muslimayni) to Thee and (raise) from our offspring a nation submitting (ommatan muslimatan) to Thee, and show us our ways of devotion and turn to us (mercifully), surely Thou art the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful. Our Lord! and raise up in them an Apostle from among them who shall recite to them Thy communications and teach them the Book and the wisdom, and purify them; surely Thou art the Mighty, the Wise. And who forsakes the religion of Ibrahim but he who makes himself a fool, and most certainly We chose him in this world, and in the hereafter he is most surely among the righteous. When his Lord said to him, Be a Muslim (aslim), he said: I submit myself (aslamtu) to the Lord of the worlds. And the same did Ibrahim enjoin on his sons and (so did) Yaqoub. O my sons! surely Allah has chosen for you (this) faith, therefore die not unless you are Muslims (illa waantum muslimoona). Nay! were you witnesses when death visited Yaqoub, when he said to his sons: What will you serve after me? They said: We will serve your God and the God of your fathers, Ibrahim and Ismail and Ishaq, one God only, and to Him do we submit (wanahnu lahu muslimoona). S. 2:127-133 Shakir

 

When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: "Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples: "We are Allah's helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims. S. 3:52

 

Ibrahim was not a Jew nor a Christian but he was (an) upright (man), a Muslim (musliman), and he was not one of the polytheists. S. 3:67 Shakir

 

They are not all alike; of the followers of the Book there is an upright party; they recite Allah's communications in the nighttime and they adore (Him). They believe in Allah and the last day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and they strive with one another in hastening to good deeds, and those are among the good. And whatever good they do, they shall not be denied it, and Allah knows those who guard (against evil). S. 3:113-115 Shakir

 

Then will Allah say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favour to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught thee the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel and behold! thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and thou breathest into it and it becometh a bird by My leave, and thou healest those born blind, and the lepers, by My leave. And behold! thou bringest forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the Children of Israel from (violence to) thee when thou didst show them the clear Signs, and the unbelievers among them said: ‘This is nothing but evident magic.’ And behold! I inspired the disciples to have faith in Me and Mine Messenger: they said, 'We have faith, and do thou bear witness that we bow to Allah as Muslims.’" S. 5:110-111

 

Lo! it is from Solomon, and lo! it is: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; Exalt not yourselves against me, but come unto me as those who surrender (muslimeena). ... So, when she came, it was said (unto her): Is thy throne like this? She said: (It is) as though it were the very one. And (Solomon said): We were given the knowledge before her and we had surrendered (wakunna muslimeena) (to Allah). ... It was said unto her: Enter the hall. And when she saw it she deemed it a pool and bared her legs. (Solomon) said: Lo! it is a hall, made smooth, of glass. She said: My Lord! Lo! I have wronged myself, and I surrender (aslamtu) with Solomon unto Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. S. 27:30-31, 42, 44 Pickthall

 

Apart from various groups being called guided, having the right faith, or even having been given inspiration, we have at least Abraham and the disciples of Jesus being explicitly called Muslims (3:52, 67, 5:111). Certainly both Abraham and the disciples of Jesus lived long before Muhammad.

 

In fact, the Quran claims that all believers were essentially Muslims:

 

And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the cult of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular Prayer, give regular Charity, and hold fast to Allah! He is your Protector - the Best to protect and the Best to help! S. 22:78

 

Would that not qualify them as being Muslims and believers even before Muhammad? Certainly, this would make Adam the first believer, the first Muslim, wouldn’t it?

 

My Response

 

To begin with, there is no contradiction at all. It is just a lack of knowledge on the part of both Shamoun and Katz. Infact this will be very easy to respond to.

 

They allege that this verse:

 

Say: Shall I choose for a protecting friend other than Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, Who feedeth and is never fed? Say: I am ordered to be the first to surrender [aslama] (unto Him). And be not thou (O Muhammad) of the idolaters. S. 6:14 Pickthall

 

Contradicts these verses:

 

When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: "Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples: "We are Allah's helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims. S. 3:52

 

Ibrahim was not a Jew nor a Christian but he was (an) upright (man), a Muslim (musliman), and he was not one of the polytheists. S. 3:67 Shakir

 

So their argument is pretty much that some Quranic verses say Muhammad is the first Muslim while there are other passages showing that there are Muslims before Muhammad. Is this a contradiction? No, you must understand what Muhammad meant and in what context.

 

Now when The Quran says:

 

Say: Shall I choose for a protecting friend other than Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, Who feedeth and is never fed? Say: I am ordered to be the first to surrender [aslama] (unto Him). And be not thou (O Muhammad) of the idolaters. S. 6:14 Pickthall

 

Say, verily my Lord hath directed me into a right way, a true religion, the sect of Abraham the orthodox; and he was no idolater. Say, verily my prayers, and my worship, and my life, and my death are dedicated unto God, the Lord of all creatures: He hath no companion. This have I been commanded: I am the first Moslem (Wa 'Ana 'Awwalu Al-Muslimin). S. 6:161-163 Sale

 

He hath no associate. This am I commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims. S. 6:163 Rodwell

 

Say (O Muhammad): Lo! I am commanded to worship Allah, making religion pure for Him (only). And I am commanded to be the first of those who are muslims (surrender unto Him). S. 39:11-12 Pickthall

 

What this basically and simply means that Muhammad is commanded to be the first Muslim AMONG HIS PEOPLE. That is all it means, it means that Muhammad is the first Muslim among his people, and is commanded to be the first Muslim among his people. So it does not contradict the other verses, Muhammad is not the first Muslim on the planet, it just means the first Muslim among his people. Note what one of the verses also say:

 

Say: Shall I choose for a protecting friend other than Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, Who feedeth and is never fed? Say: I am ordered to be the first to surrender [aslama] (unto Him). And be not thou (O Muhammad) of the idolaters. S. 6:14 Pickthall

 

It tells Muhammad to be not of the idolaters, who were the idolaters? The idolaters were the Quraysh, they were Muhammad's people, so hence it is crystal clear when it is said for Muhammad to be the first Muslim it just basically means among his people.

 

So hence the passages of Muhammad being commanded to be the first Muslim do not contradict these passages:

 

When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: "Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples: "We are Allah's helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims. S. 3:52

 

Ibrahim was not a Jew nor a Christian but he was (an) upright (man), a Muslim (musliman), and he was not one of the polytheists. S. 3:67 Shakir

 

They are not all alike; of the followers of the Book there is an upright party; they recite Allah's communications in the nighttime and they adore (Him). They believe in Allah and the last day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and they strive with one another in hastening to good deeds, and those are among the good. And whatever good they do, they shall not be denied it, and Allah knows those who guard (against evil). S. 3:113-115 Shakir

 

Then will Allah say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favour to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught thee the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel and behold! thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and thou breathest into it and it becometh a bird by My leave, and thou healest those born blind, and the lepers, by My leave. And behold! thou bringest forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the Children of Israel from (violence to) thee when thou didst show them the clear Signs, and the unbelievers among them said: ‘This is nothing but evident magic.’ And behold! I inspired the disciples to have faith in Me and Mine Messenger: they said, 'We have faith, and do thou bear witness that we bow to Allah as Muslims.’" S. 5:110-111

 

Lo! it is from Solomon, and lo! it is: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; Exalt not yourselves against me, but come unto me as those who surrender (muslimeena). ... So, when she came, it was said (unto her): Is thy throne like this? She said: (It is) as though it were the very one. And (Solomon said): We were given the knowledge before her and we had surrendered (wakunna muslimeena) (to Allah). ... It was said unto her: Enter the hall. And when she saw it she deemed it a pool and bared her legs. (Solomon) said: Lo! it is a hall, made smooth, of glass. She said: My Lord! Lo! I have wronged myself, and I surrender (aslamtu) with Solomon unto Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. S. 27:30-31, 42, 44 Pickthall

 

And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the cult of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular Prayer, give regular Charity, and hold fast to Allah! He is your Protector - the Best to protect and the Best to help! S. 22:78

 

So there is no contradiction what so ever. Adam was indeed the first Muslim, the first Muslim among mankind. Muhammad is commanded to be the first Muslim among his people. That is all that is meant by Muhammad being the first Muslim.

 

Since we are on the topic of the word Muslim and who is a Muslim etc. Here is a link in which you can see that Jesus himself used the word Muslim in the Bible:

 

http://answering-christianity.com/luke6_40.htm

 

 

 

 

 

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

Rebuttals to the so-called "Errors" in the Noble Quran.

Rebuttals to Sam Shamoun's Articles section.

Sami Zaatari's Rebuttals section.


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