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Does God The Almighty Forget?!

 

Does God The Almighty Forget?!

Was published in Arabic in June 14, 2015

Translated by Ahmed Fathy

He said to me: Are there contradictions in the Quran? In one verse, one reads: "…They forgot God, so He forgot them …" (9:67), and in another verse, one reads: "…Your Lord is never forgetful." (19:64). How could you possibly explain this to me?

I said to him: Do you ask me to seek guidance or for mere sophistry and endless debate in divine verses of God?

He said: Why are you telling me this?

I said: If you seek endless debate and sophistry to prove the Quran wrong, I can no longer go on in the discussion; such discussions are forbidden in Quranic commands.

He said: No; I seek guidance and understanding, of course.

I said: I have warned you because some people read the Quran aiming at proving some point of view in an arbitrary manner or to find what might be deemed as faults or contradictions. There can never be faults or contradictions in the Quran.

He said: Then please explain to me the two verses I have mentioned before; how come that God forgets the hypocrites and in another verse tells us that he never forgets?

I said: This is a shallow reading of both verses.

He said: Could you please tell me how I am to reach a true understanding that removes the superficial contradiction?

I said: You are to follow the scientific methodology in reflecting and contemplating the Quran. I have written a lot on that subject on my website.

He said: Is it an obligatory matter that every Muslim has to know the scientific methodology in reflecting and contemplating the Quran?

I said: This is available and possible for all people, but more easily accessible to people with deep specialized knowledge.

He said: What about the general public? In what way should all people understand the Quran?

I said: The Quran is made easy to remember and be guided by it. This is available to all people despite differences in backgrounds, education, and knowledge by seeking guidance faithfully from God alone and solely from the Quran alone with no other man-made books in matters of faith.

He said: Could you please give me examples?

I said: The basic tenets of Islam: the testimony that there is no God but Allah (in Arabic: La Ilah Ila Allah) is manifested in several verses: God addresses Muhammad by telling him that: "Know that there is no god but Allah, and ask forgiveness for your sin, and for the believing men and believing women. God knows your movements and your resting place." (47:19). It is clear here that Muhammad the Prophet is a human being like the rest of us who have sinned like all believers, and he had to ask God imploringly for forgiveness for himself and for the sake of the rest of believers, and that God knows all about him and about the rest of believers. This is easy to understand and remember, as you see. Another example is in the following verses: "…In what message, beyond this, will they believe?" (7:185 and 77:50) and "These are God's Verses which We recite to you in truth. In which message, after God and His revelations, will they believe?" (45:6). It is clear that we deduct from these verses that we should not believe in any discourse/narrative or books in Islam except the divine discourse, i.e., the Quran. This is easy to understand and remember, as you see. 

He said: What are the fields of research, reflection, and contemplation in the Quran?

I said: The fields include everything; the verses are made easy to remember and reflect upon to seek guidance. Contemplation scope is endless. Quranic verses are to be deeply reflected upon. Most people do not do that. Do you know the meaning of the fact that the Quran is made easy to remember and read?

He said: No.

I said: This means that the Quran is easy to understand only if you wish to seek guidance solely from it, never minding any other books of the so-called theology.

He said: But contemplation of ordinary people differs certainly from those with deep specialized knowledge, right? Please give me an example concerning the topic I have mentioned about overt contradictions about forgetting.

I said: the Quranic discourse contains several different styles of addressing the reader; among them the style of scientific reporting with details, as the case in the verses with legislations and sharia laws. Such verses are so precise and exact like law codes in several advanced countries. Another style is the figurative one with similes and other figures of speech. Such verses revealed in that style are concerned with the call to Islam and the matters that are unseen/invisible or of the future in this life and the Afterlife, especially in talking about God and His traits and how He deals with people.     

He said: How is that?

I said: The Traits of God is beyond any language to describe and beyond our limited reasoning and imagination. No human tongue could possibly describe God. Yet, it is important that God speaks about Himself in a way we can understand in the Quran. That is why the figurative style, with its several figures of speech, is used in the Quranic discourse.

He said: Could you please give me an example?

I said: Let us suppose that you have gone into the wild forests of Amazon, where you have met by accident a tribe that is so isolated from the outside world. You are trying, for instance, to explain to them all advances in human knowledge in fields of science. Your words and terms addressing them must be simplified and easy enough for them to understand you and to cope with their brains and tongues. All humans, now and then, are in the same mental level like this Amazon tribe as far as the divine invisible and unseen realm. We cannot imagine how God looks like. We cannot imagine the Barsakh, i.e., the place we are told about in the Quran, where all souls are found before birth, return momentarily during sleep, and reside there after death until the Day of Resurrection. Let alone all events of the Last Day. Let alone the nature of God who is invisible to us but sees us all. Yet, we are to get to know God via the Quran and this is done using the figurative style and indirect styles in some verses.

He said: What do you mean by indirect styles?

I said: In the field of stylistics, pragmatics, and figures of speech, indirect styles are styles used in the form of another style.

He said: Could you please exemplify this?

I said: Certainly; in the verse, "They planned, and God planned; but God is the Best of planners." (3:54), we find this indirect style; God here ascribes to himself an act similar to human actions to make us understand further in a way that human minds can imagine. In the same vein, we find the verse: "They planned a plan, and We planned a plan, but they did not notice. So note the outcome of their planning; We destroyed them and their people, altogether." (27:50-51). We see the divine rule in punishment of evil planners, conspirators, and plotters: "…But evil scheming overwhelms none but its authors…" (35:43). Another example to show indirect style is in the following verses: "They plot and scheme. But I plot and scheme. Therefore, give the blasphemers respite, a brief respite." (86:15-17).

He said: what does your speech here have to do with my question about overt contradictions about forgetting?

I said: as for the following verse, "The hypocrite men and hypocrite women are of one another. They advocate evil, and prohibit righteousness, and withhold their hands. They forgot God, so He forgot them. The hypocrites are the sinners." (9:67), this means that hypocrites forget to remember God in their hearts and consequently, God intentionally removes them out of His mercy in the Day of Judgment. The following verse in the same context assert that meaning: "God has promised the hypocrite men and hypocrite women, and the disbelievers, the Fire of Hell, abiding therein forever. It is their due. And God has cursed them. They will have a lasting punishment." (9:68). Hence, the hypocrites forget God by removing Him from their hearts and never paying heed to His divine commands and warnings in the Quran. God forgets them in the sense that He will not have mercy for them in the Afterlife. In contrast, God remembers those who remember him reverently in their hearts and deeds: "So remember Me, and I will remember you..." (2:152). The remembering of believers is pious prayers, glorifications, and other acts of worship. God remembers true believers in the sense that He gives them mercy, attention, and care.

He said: Are there other Quranic examples of this style?

I said: Yes, but let us select the ones about forgetting: "Those who took their religion lightly, and in jest, and whom the worldly life deceived. Today We will forget them, as they have forgotten the meeting on this Day of theirs, and they used to deny Our revelations." (7:51). Again, forgetting of people means they did not pay heed to the Afterlife and Day of Judgment, whereas the forgetting of God means never showing mercy for them because of their bad deeds and ignoring the Quran. The preceding verse shows such heedless people to deserve Hell: "The inmates of the Fire will call on the inhabitants of the Garden, "Pour some water over us or some of what God has provided for you." They will say, "God has forbidden them for the disbelievers."" (7:50). I see that such verses specially warn the today's Muhammadans who take the Quran in jest. Reflect the following verse: "We have given them a Scripture, which We detailed with knowledge, guidance and mercy for people who believe." (7:52). The same applies to those who ignore the message of the Quran: "But whoever turns away from My Reminder, for him is a confined life. And We will raise him on the Day of Resurrection blind." He will say, "My Lord, why did You raise me blind, though I was seeing?" He will say, "Just as Our revelations came to you, and you forgot them, today you will be forgotten." Thus We recompense him who transgresses and does not believe in the revelations of his Lord. The punishment of the Hereafter is more severe, and more lasting." (20:124-127). Accordingly, we perceive here that the Quran is clear to reflect upon and remember, but people do not pay heed to it, and the Muhammadans tend to stick to the false notion that the Quran is unclear and incomplete and needs explanation and completion with the so-called Sunnite hadiths (sayings falsely ascribed to Prophet Muhammad several years after his death). The gravest error of the Muhammadans is to claim that certain Quranic verses take the place of other verses, as if the latter are cancelled! Hence, in the same way that they ignored and insulted the Quran, the only divine revelation of God, God will not have mercy upon them in the Afterlife. Another punishment in this life is bad living conditions. Hell waits for those of them who dies without repentance and without return to the Quran alone.

He said: Please tell me more examples pertaining to the idea of forgetting.

I said: "And do not be like those who forgot God, so He made them forget themselves. These are the sinners" (59:19). Here, God warns us in advance that He punishes the misguided that ignored the Quran and ignored God by making them go on like that until the moment of dying, when remorse will be of no avail. The guided ones, God will increase their guidance and piety, and the misled and misguided ones, God increases their misguidance: "As for those who are guided, He increases them in guidance, and He has granted them their righteousness." (47:17) and "In their hearts is sickness, and God has increased their sickness…" (2:10). This is the freewill granted to all human beings to choose either misguidance or guidance. "Say, "Whoever is in error, the Most Merciful will lead him on…God increases in guidance those who accept guidance…" (19:75-76). This is how we understand forgetting in the verse: "And do not be like those who forgot God, so He made them forget themselves. These are the sinners" (59:19).

He said: What about "…Your Lord is never forgetful." (19:64)?

I said: God says about the Day of Resurrection: "On the Day when God resurrects them all, and informs them of what they did. God has kept count of it, but they have forgotten it. God is Witness over everything." (58:6). As for other peoples before Islam: "He said, "Knowledge thereof is with my Lord, in a Book. My Lord never errs, nor does He forget."" (20:52). Another verse about forgetting is the following: ""We do not descend except by the command of your Lord. His is what is before us, and what is behind us, and what is between them. Your Lord is never forgetful."" (19:64). Hence, God never forgets. There are several verses to assert this fact directly and indirectly.

He said: What are these verses?

I said: Please read and reflect upon the following verses: 2:255, 13:22, 23:17, 10:61, 41:53, 4:33, 4:79, 22:17, 48:28, 21:78, 10:46, 33:55, and 34:47. The traits of God mentioned in these verses shows that God never forgets in the literal sense of this verb.

He said: How could you possibly reflect the Quranic verses in that deep level of contemplation to deduct such facts?

I said: This is not difficult for anyone, and I never feel bored to remind all readers on our website: we are to discuss and tackle the Quran in a scientific research methodology. That is to say, we are to define the meaning of every Quranic terminology only within the Quranic discourse and contexts itself. Every verse has two contexts: a local context with preceding and following verses and a larger context of the topic discussed and mentioned in the whole of the Quranic text. We are to review all verses related to one topic or term to examine and scrutinize them together carefully within contexts. We seek guidance from God in this endeavor of research without prior tendency, prejudice, or an idea to prove arbitrarily.

He said: What do you think of the endless interpretation books of our forefathers among the Arabs? They are full of myths, contradictions, mysterious points, and Middle Ages mysticism. I never felt that I could fully understand the pages I read from them!

I said: Ignore such man-made books, volumes, and tomes of myths and lies. The Quran is enough, clear, and precise for us with the needed details in one compact book of 6236 verses. The Quran is made easy to recite, read, remember, and reflect upon with many levels of depths and several angles for all researchers who want to be knowledgeable in the realm of the Quran. As for Middle Ages tomes, they are myths unrelated to Islam as you have just said, and we do not need them for any reason.           


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