In one of his articles1 Mr. Jochen Katz has pointed out a contradiction in Al-Zumar 39: 4 and Al-An`aam 6: 101.
Al-Zumar 39: 4 reads as:
لَّوْ أَرَادَ اللَّـهُ أَن يَتَّخِذَ وَلَدًا لَّاصْطَفَىٰ مِمَّا يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ ۖ هُوَ اللَّـهُ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ
Had God wanted to take a son, He would have selected of His creations, whichever He pleased; He is absolutely clear of all fault; He is the God, the one, the Almighty.
Al-An`aam 6: 101 reads as:
بَدِيعُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لَهُ وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ تَكُن لَّهُ صَاحِبَةٌ ۖ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
The Originator of the heavens and the earth; how can He have a son, when He does not even have a wife? He created everything; and He is knowledgeable of everything.
Explaining the contradiction in the contents of the two referred verses, Mr. Katz writes:
Sura 39:4 clearly states that God could have taken Himself a son from among his creation, i.e. without the necessity of a consort to father such a son. But Sura 6:101 clearly rejects the same idea as a logical impossibility.
Unfortunately, Mr. Katz has ignored the fact that the first verse is, in fact, not describing whether God COULD take a son with or without a consort or not. On the contrary, the referred verse is only stressing the fact that God created the heavens and the earth not for the purpose of taking a son for Himself, but with a just end and a wise purpose. If it were only to fulfill His desire of taking for Himself a son, then He would have taken a son, from amongst any of His creations, without resorting to creating the vast universe. Thus, the referred verse is immediately followed by pointing out the deep wisdom in the creation of the heavens and the earth as well as in the creation of the human beings. This wisdom is pointed out to show the folly in the belief that God created the Universe to take for Himself a son. Thus, Al-Zumar 39: 5 – 6 reads as:
خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بِالْحَقِّ ۖ يُكَوِّرُ اللَّيْلَ عَلَى النَّهَارِ وَيُكَوِّرُ النَّهَارَ عَلَى اللَّيْلِ ۖ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ ۖ كُلٌّ يَجْرِي لِأَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ۗ أَلَا هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفَّارُ ﴿٥﴾ خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَأَنزَلَ لَكُم مِّنَ الْأَنْعَامِ ثَمَانِيَةَ أَزْوَاجٍ ۚ يَخْلُقُكُمْ فِي بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ خَلْقًا مِّن بَعْدِ خَلْقٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتٍ ثَلَاثٍ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّـهُ رَبُّكُمْ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ ۖ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ تُصْرَفُونَ ﴿٦﴾
He created the heavens and the earth with a just cause [not to take for Himself a son]. He covers the night over the day and covers the day over the night; He has appointed the sun and the moon – each of them running till its prescribed time. Indeed, He is the Mighty, the Forgiving. He created you all from a single soul and then made a mate for it, of its own species, And He made for you of grazing animals the eight members [forming pairs of four species]; He creates you in your mother’s wombs, one creation after another, under threefold covers. This is your Lord, the Ruler; there is no god besides Him. Then how are you turned away?
Thus, if seen in the right context, the referred verse of Surah Al-Zumar is not even related to whether God can take a son with or without a consort or not.
As far as the second referred verse (Surah Al-An`aam 6: 101) is concerned, it relates to the generally held concept of what we call a person’s son. The word ‘son’, can either be implied in a spiritual sense or a physical sense. If implied in the spiritual sense, there is no distinction between Jesus (pbuh) and the other creations of God, for all else is as much the spiritual ‘children’ of God as Jesus (pbuh)2. On the contrary, if the word ‘son’ is implied in the physical sense, then it should be according to the same principles on which we physically ascribe a ‘son’ to a person. In this case, ascribing a physical son to God should follow a number of presuppositions about God – one of which is the copulation with a spouse.
It is evident from the Qur’an that polytheists among the first addressees of the Qur’an did ascribe physical progeny to God, even though, due to its obvious absurdity, they did not ascribe to the belief of a physical spouse of God. In the referred verse, the Qur’an has commented on this particular belief of its addressees and has declared that, according to the common concept of physical progeny, their belief is absolutely absurd, unless they also ascribe a spouse to God, which would obviously be incorrect.
The foregoing explanation should suffice to show that the two verses on the basis of which Mr. Katz has tried to establish the stated contradiction in the Qur’an relate to two separate issues. One relates to the refutation of the belief that God created the whole universe to take for Himself a ‘son’, while the other points out the absurdity in ascribing a physical ‘son’ to God.
© Copyright April 2001. All Rights Reserved with the Author
- The complete article may be accessed at: http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/qi035.html [↩]
- Thus, according to John 20: 17, Jesus is reported to have said: “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’.” The verse clearly makes no distinction between Jesus (pbuh) and others. Furthermore, in Psalms 2: 7, David (pbuh) is reported to have said: “I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, ‘You are my son; today I have begotten you’.” [↩]