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Quranic Conundrums

Monday, September 24th, 2012

The following passage is presented in two English translations of the Quranic (Koranic) text Surah 112. What must be focused on here is the statement about creation contained in this passage:

Oneness – Al-‘Ikhlas
112:001
Abdullah Yousuf Ali] Say: He is Allah, the One and Only;
[Taqi Usmani] Say, :The truth is that Allah is One.

112:002
[Abdullah Yousuf Ali] Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;
[Taqi Usmani]? Allah is Besought of all, needing none.

112:003?
[Abdullah Yousuf Ali] He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;
[Taqi Usmani]? He neither begot anyone, nor was he begotten.

112:004
[Abdullah Yousuf Ali] And there is none like unto Him.
[Taqi Usmani]? And equal to Him has never been any one.1

No matter which translation is given, it is obvious that Allah created nothing. Why? Because 112:3 states emphatically that Allah begot nothing. It does not say that Allah did not beget a son like him, or some other such thing that would clarify the point (although that would be in error too). Rather, it states that Allah “begetteth not” and/or “He neither begot anyone” depending upon which translation you most agree with. There are other translations we could go with which state “has not given birth,” but the vast majority of the Muslim world agrees with “He begets not” which is virtually identical to “begetteth not.”

The problem here is that to create, one must beget in some manner. After all, the definition for “beget” states:

be·get (b-gt)
tr.v. be·got (-gt), be·got·ten (-gtn) or be·got, be·get·ting, be·gets
1. To father; sire.
2. To cause to exist or occur; produce: Violence begets more violence.
[Middle English biyeten, bigeten, from Old English begetan; see ghend- in Indo-European roots.]
be·getter n.
(The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.)

beget [bɪˈgɛt]
vb -gets, -getting, -got, -gat ; -gotten, -got (tr)
1. to father
2. to cause or create
[Old English begietan; related to Old Saxon bigetan, Old High German pigezzan, Gothic bigitan to find; see be-, get]
begetter n
(Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003)2

And yet, the Quran also states:

at-Taghabun 64:3

[Abdullah Yousuf Ali] He has created the heavens and the earth in just proportions, and has given you shape, and made your shapes beautiful: and to Him is the final Goal.

[Taqi Usmani] He has created the heavens and the earth rightly, and shaped your figures, and made your figures good, and to Him is the final return.3

Which creates a conundrum in the Quran. You cannot, on the one hand state that your god did not beget anything, and yet on the other say he created anything and everything. Quite plainly, the word “beget” and all its forms and derivatives encompass the act of creating. This much is inescapable, even in Arabic.

However, the reason for this conundrum is quite explainable — Muhammad did not have the wherewithal to catch his mistake, and like most storytellers, accidentally walked over top of what he wrote earlier. Inevitably and invariably, anyone who writes extensively will, at some point, contradict something they stated earlier — unless they are guided by the LORD God in what they write. What Muhammad was attempting to do in Surah 112 was deny that Jesus, who is called Christ, is the Son of God. In his haste to do so, he contradicted the fact that to create, one must beget — it is inevitable and unavoidable.

This sounds much like the Book of Mormon — a bad fiction.

  1. Translation is taken from the program Quran With Tafseer, ver. 1.0
  2. Definitions are taken from Dictionary.com for ease of use.
  3. Translation is taken from the program Quran With Tafseer, ver. 1.0
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