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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)? ---
Now here we once again find a case containing multiple errors. First of all, what does "Yawm" in Arabic mean. Well, in English it is translated as "day," however, the Arabic word "Yawm" is more comprehensive than that. "Yawm" is used in Arabic to signify either "day" or "span of time." Now although the English language does not have a directly equivalent parallel to this Arabic word, still, even in English it is possible to see an example of such a construct. For example, if one of us were to go sit down with our grandfather and he were to tell us about how the world has changed since he was a little boy he might start with the words: "In my day..."
So, if someone's grandfather were to say "In my day we didn't have running water, rather we had to go down to the stream and fill a bucket" does this mean that there was a SPECIFIC day in his life when he did this and then he didn't do it any more? Should we then ask him "Grandpa, which 'day' was that? Was it the 15th of January 1927, or the 4th of August 1908, etc.?"
Similarly, in the English language people use the word "age" to mean "period of history." For example, they might say: "the Stone Age" or "the Computer Age." However, at times we find people saying: "I waited for you for ages and you did not show up so I left." Does this mean that that person waited for the "Stone Age" to come to an end before leaving, or does it mean that he waited until the "Bronze Age" ended before getting up and leaving? Obviously his words are contradictory, right? It is impossible for him to say "Bronze Age" and then to say "I waited for ages," right?
In each one of these cases we see that the words "age" and "day" were given a meaning appropriate to their context, so in order to be fair we should allow the same flexibility in meaning which we use freely in the English language with their equivalents in the Arabic language.
Now that we see the usage of the words "day" and "age" and how even in the English language they can be used to mean "span of time," now we need to study the verses presented and notice how they too each refer in each case to different contexts and situations. Let us look at each individual context in isolation:
The first one, Al-Hajj(22):47 describes the polytheist's taunting of Muhammad (pbuh) and their demand that he hurry up and bring the torment of hellfire if he is truthful. The verse goes on to describe God's patience in the face of such arrogance and goading and how a "day" with our Lord is like a thousand years with us. In other words, God does not need to be in a hurry to take them in their sins "right now," rather he gives the transgressor more and more rope and more and more chances to repent not needing to follow the human desire of "get revenge NOW or he might get away." For our Lord to wait for a thousand years is like our waiting for one day. He knows that no one shall escape Him no matter how they may delude themselves.
The second verse, Al-Sajdah(32):5 speaks about the decree of our Lord descending to earth and our deeds being raised up to Him through all of the many light-years of distance across the heavens in a period, or distance, which in our estimation is equal to one thousand years, but which takes less than the blink of an eye.
The third and final verse, Al-Maarij(70):4 speaks about the Day of Judgment (as seen in Musnad Ahmed 5642, in the saying of the prophet narrated by ibn Omar) and describes it as "a day the span of which is fifty thousand years." This is part of the torment of the evil and sinful people of earth. They are taken on that day to a long and drawn-out judgment which is in and of itself a horrendous punishment. However, as narrated in Musnad Ahmed (3/75), the prophet (pbuh) informed the believers that that day shall be made lighter upon the believers than a single prayer which they used to pray in this life.
As we can see, the contexts and topics in each one are different. Three different contexts, three different spans of time. Thus, just as in English is it entirely acceptable to refer in one case to 24 hours as a "day" and in another case to refer to many years as a "day," and just as in English it is possible to refer in one case to many centuries as an "age" and in another case to one or two hours as "ages," all depending on the context, similarly, this same flexibility should not be refused the Qur'an simply because the author does not like Muslims.
Now, if the objection is not due to the flexibility of the words "day" and "age" themselves, rather, it is against God having a different criteria and yard stick for "how long" a day should be then we need to realize that the Bible itself quite explicitly endorses the words of God in the Qur'an in this regard. For example, in 2 Peter 3:8 we read:
"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
So do the verses still contradict one-another?
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]?
This one is really reaching. For example, in the Bible we read in Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the HEAVEN and the earth."
While in Genesis 2:1 the Bible says: "Thus the HEAVENS and the earth were finished, and all the host of them."
Similar examples in the Bible are unending. They would take at least five pages to list. So if this is a contradiction in the Qur'an then the same person who makes this claim will have to also claim that this is a contradiction in the Bible as well. The gardens of paradise are many, and different levels, however, this does not mean that at times they could not be referred to as a single entity rather than by the constituent parts.
As a general rule, he who believes and does good deeds will enter paradise. The specific level of paradise he will enter depends on his faith and deeds. Similarly, he who disbelieves and does evil deeds will enter a level of hellfire appropriate to his actions. Regular believers will not be equal to prophets such as Moses, Jesus, or Muhammad etc. in reward, and regular disbelievers will not be equal to Pharaoh in punishment. This can be seen in many places throughout the Qur'an or the Hadeeth (sayings of the prophet, pbuh).
For example, in Al-Anaam(6):132 we read about how mankind shall be rewarded in levels or ranks according to their faith and deeds. Similarly, in A'al-Umran(3):162-163 we read about how mankind receive reward in different "levels." We also find the same concept in Al-Nissa(4):95-96. In Al-Nahil(16):88 we read about how retribution and punishment shall also be many levels, and so forth throughout the Qur'an.
"Whosoever desires the quick reward of this world, We [readily] hasten unto him what We will for whom we desire, then We have appointed for him Hell. He shall dwell therein disgraced and rejected. And whosoever desires the hereafter and strives for it with its just due while he believes, for those their striving shall be thanked and rewarded. To each, those as well as those, We bestow from the bounty of Your Lord. And the bounties of your Lord can never be forbidden. See how We preferred some of them over others (in this life), and verily, the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preference. Set not up with Allah any other gods lest you sit reproved and forsaken [in Hellfire]" The noble Qur'an, Al-Israa(17):18-22
Is all of this "contradictory"? No, it is simply the nature of the language. For example, in English words such as "land" can either mean pieces of land owned by individuals or else it can refer to a much larger "land" which contains these smaller "lands" such as saying "In the land of Egypt many people own their personal pieces of farm land." The word "land" is used twice in this sentence, in each case it conveys a different meaning. This does not make them "contradictory."
So, do the verses really "contradict" one-another?
--- According to Sura 56:7 there will be THREE distinct groups of people at the Last Judgment, but 90:18-19, 99:6-8, etc. mention only TWO groups.
This one too is an interesting interpretation. The verse of Al-Waqia(56):7 states than on the day of judgment there shall be three groups, they are: (1)Those who receive their books of deeds in their right hands (the people of paradise), (2)those who receive their books in their left hands (the people of hellfire), and (3)those who excelled in the cause of their Lord and raced all others to His good will. Most other verses of the Qur'an only classify mankind on the day of Judgment as being "people of the right" and "people of the left." Is this really a contradiction?
This is similar to saying: "In 1995 200 people graduated from our local high school. 20 did not graduate, and 13 people were on the honor role."
Is it a contradiction to claim that these 13 people who were on the honor role were ALSO "graduates"? Does their being outstanding students mean that they can no longer be called "graduates"? The verses simply conveys distinction and honor upon those who set a higher standard for the rest of mankind and bestows upon them their well deserved recognition.
In Acts 9:27 we read: "But Barnabas took him (Paul), and brought [him] to the apostles..."
According to the above logic, it would now be a contradiction to say that Barnabas was an apostle of Jesus since the verse clearly mentions three distinct parties, Barnabas, Paul, and the apostles. Right?
Do the verses really contradict one another? One wonders why such
"contradictions" are clear only to such authors while no Muslims have managed to
discover them in over 1400 years?
--- 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]
(Note: This is the first of two places where he attempts to drive a wedge between the will of God and the will of his agents, the angels. In these two places he does not allow the angels to simply be the tools of God's will, rather, they are forced to be independent of God in their actions so that he can generate a "contradiction." However, at the end of this list he switches tracks making a complete 180 degree about face. In that one he needs to accept this basic fact in order to attempt to generate a third "contradiction.")
It is beginning to look like all of these claimed contradictions are going to follow the same general theme. Once again we find here an objection to verses which describe stages or degrees of participation. This issue is resolved quite completely in the long sermon of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) wherein he gave the details of how mankind die and then are taken to judgment. That hadeeth can be found for example in the collections of hadeeth by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Abu Dawud, or Ibn Majah, who narrate upon the authority of Al-Bara' ibn `Aazib the sermon of the prophet (pbuh) which, to make a long story short, tells us about how when a person appointed time of death arrives, God sends the Angel of Death with two other angels to take his soul. The Angel of Death will extract the soul and then hand it over to the other two angels who will, within the blink of an eye, wrap it in a shroud and embalment. They then ascend with it up into the sky then returned it to earth in its grave in time to hear the footsteps of those who buried him as they are leaving. The soul will then be taken to trial and asked four questions and based upon the answers a window either to heaven or to hell will be opened upon it in the grave and it will be left there to wait for the Day of Judgment. In this manner it is God who initiates the command, the Angel of Death who fulfills the first part of the process of death, and the other two angels who fulfill the second part.
Once again, to use "everyday" terms, if a man's car falls into a river and the chief of police arrives with some police officers, divers and paramedics, and if the chief coordinates the effort by issuing the necessary commands while the divers pull out the driver of the car and then hand him over to the paramedics in order to perform CPR, who then actually "SAVED" the driver? Can we say that the chief had nothing to do with the rescue operation? Can we say that they divers are not responsible for saving the man? Can we say that the paramedics had nothing to do with saving the man's life? They may differ in the "degree of participation," however, this does not mean that only one of them did indeed "SAVE" the man.
If all three of these groups then receive "medals of valor" for their actions then is this a "contradiction"? Does only one of them really DESERVE the medal while the other two don't?
According to this logic, if a crime kingpin were to send a hitman to kill someone then it would be unjust to say that they "both" killed the man or to attempt to prosecute both of them since it is "obvious" that only one of them could possibly be responsible for killing the man. Right?
If a man strikes another man over the head with a lead pipe and kills him, then according to the author of this list I could not say both "the man was killed by a fatal blow to the head" and "the man was killed by an intruder," Since, for him, either the lead pipe did it or the killer did it, but not both. That would be a contradiction.
The angels can not disobey God, differ with Him in will, or do evil. One good summary of the relationship of the angels to God in their wills in found in the following Hadeeth Qudsi:
"If Allah has loved a servant [of His] He calls Gabriel (pbuh) and says: I love So-and-so, therefore love him. He (the Prophet pbuh) said: So Gabriel loves him. Then he (Gabriel) calls out in heaven, saying: Allah loves So-and-so, therefore love him. And the inhabitants of heaven love him. He (the Prophet pbuh) said: Then acceptance is established for him on earth. And if Allah has abhorred a servant [of His], He calls Gabriel and says: I abhor So-and-so, therefore abhor him. So Gabriel abhors him. Then Gabriel calls out to the inhabitants of heaven: Allah abhors So-and-so, therefore abhor him. He (the Prophet pbuh) said: So they abhor him, and abhorrence is established for him on earth."
Further, once prophet Muhammad (pbuh) asked Gabriel why he did not come more often to visit him. God responded in the Qur'an on behalf of all angels with the following verse with neatly sums up the relationship of the will and actions of the angels with regard to the will of God:
"And we (angels) descend not except by the command of your Lord. To Him belongs what is before us and what is behind us and [all] that is in-between that. And your Lord is never forgetful." Mariam(19):64
Numerous other verses or Hadeeth may be found in this regard for those who which to research this issue further. It is clear from the above that the angels are submissive to God in both will and deed, living only to serve Him and carry out His commands. In Islam there is no such thing as "fallen" angels who disobey God. All angels obey God faithfully and fully in spite of themselves.
So, do the verses really contain a contradiction?
Angels have 2, 3, or 4 pairs of wings [35:1]. But Gabriel had 600 wings. [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 455]
One wonders with regard to such examples if the author actually even bothered to read the verse itself? The verse clearly states that God gives the angels two, three, and four wings, and that He then increases his creation over and above that as He wills. The verse says:
"Praise be unto Allah, the Originator of the Heavens and the earth. Who made the angels messengers with wings, two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Verily Allah is able to do all things." Fatir(35):1
For some reason the author of this list chose to not read the rest of the verse. I wonder why?
Once again, are his examples really contradictions?
Back to Responses to the so called "Contradictions" in the Noble Quran.
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