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About Tangible Miracles and the People of the Book

 

About Tangible Miracles and the People of the Book

 

Published in August 30, 2018

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

Introduction:

 We have received this message via email which contains some questions; we quote part of this message follower by our reply.

  (... God says in the Quran: "...Did the believers not give up and realize that had God willed, He would have guided all humanity?..." (13:31). What is the meaning of (give up) here? Some videos on YouTube by some Arab experts mention that some early manuscripts of the Quran write this word (give up) within a different spelling that indicates other meanings such as.......... ... I feel bound to say that difference in spelling between today's Quranic text and ancient manuscripts opens the door for different interpretations; does the Quran encourage or discourage enslavement and slavery? ... Some Meccan verses praise the People of the Book and some other Yathrebian verses criticize them; why? Were they evil or good? Were they polytheistic or not? ... Did the Yathrebian Quranic verses replace/supplant Meccan ones as per the view held by some scholars of the Abbasid Era?! Do the verses revealed in Mecca reflect the weakness of persecuted believers and the ones revealed in Yathreb reflect the strength of early believers? ... What do you think? Thank you for taking some of your time to answer my questions ...).

 

OUR REPLY:

 

Firstly: we say the following about the verse 13:31:

1- This verse comes in the context of polytheists/disbelievers demanding from Muhammad to make them witness some tangible miracles (like the ones granted by God to Moses and Jesus); God's refusal to grant them such miracles is repeated in the Quranic text; God mentions that the Quran is an enough miracle addressing the minds of humanity till the end of days. God mentions in the Quran that they repeatedly demanded from Muhammad tangible miracles: "Those who disbelieve say, "Why was a miracle not sent down to him from his Lord?" You are only a warner, and to every community is a guide." (13:7); "Those who disbelieve say, "If only a miracle was sent down to him from his Lord." Say, "God leads astray whomever willing to be misguided, and He guides to Himself whoever repents."" (13:27);God's stance and reply is found here: "Even if there were a Quran, by which mountains could be set in motion, or by which the earth could be shattered, or by which the dead could be made to speak. In fact, every decision rests with God. Did the believers not give up and realize that had God willed, He would have guided all humanity? Disasters will continue to strike those who disbelieve, because of their deeds, or they fall near their homes, until God's promise comes true. God never breaks a promise." (13:31). This means that if God wills it, He would have given them a Quranic verse (or an incantation) to move mountains or shatter the earth; He has desired never to give them any tangible miracle except for the Quranic text itself; His Divine Will ordains that human beings are free to (dis)obey and to (dis)believe; the polytheistic disbelievers during Muhammad's lifetime hated and rejected the Quran, the miracle of Islam, and insisted stubbornly on having tangible miracles performed before their eyes.   

2- God has refused to grant them tangible miracles for the following reasons. 

2/1: The Quran should be enough for real believers; it is sufficient as a miracle addressing the minds of people: "And they said, "If only a miracle from his Lord was sent down to him." Say, "Miracles are only with God, and I am only a clear warner." Does it not suffice them that We revealed to you the Book, which is read to them? In that is mercy and a reminder for people who believe." (29:50-51); "" (20:133); "If you do not produce a miracle for them, they say, "Why don't you improvise one." Say, "I only follow what is inspired to me from my Lord." These are insights from your Lord, and guidance, and mercy, for a people who believe." (7:203).

2/2: The tangible miracles/signs never made the ancient people believe in the message delivered by prophets/messengers of the Lord God: "Nothing prevents Us from sending miraculous signs, except that the ancients called them lies. We gave Thamood the she-camel, a visible sign, but they mistreated her. We do not send the signs except to instill reverence." (17:59).

2/3: Polytheistic disbelievers will never believe even if they witness many different tangible miracles or signs from the Lord God:

2/3/1: "And they said, "A jumble of dreams," and, "He made it up," and, "He is a poet," "let him bring us a sign, like those sent to the ancients." None of the towns We destroyed before them had believed. Will they, then, believe?" (21:5-6). Thus, miracles/signs are linked to destroying disbelievers who reject them as this is an insult to God.

2/3/2: "Those against whom your Lord's Word is justified will not believe. Even if every sign comes to them - until they see the painful torment." (10:96-97). Stubborn polytheists will certainly reject the message of their Lord even if they witness tangible miracles/signs.

2/3/3: "Even if We sent down the angels to them, and the dead spoke to them, and We gathered all things before them, they still would not believe, unless God wills; but most of them are ignorant." (6:111). God does not want to compel people to believe; they must believe on their own accord as per their own free will.

2/3/4: "And they said, "O you who received the message, you are insane." Why do you not bring us the angels, if you are truthful?" We do not send the angels down except with reason, and they will not be held back." (15:6-8); "Those who do not expect to meet Us say, "If only the angels were sent down to us, or we could see our Lord." They have grown arrogant within themselves, and have become excessively defiant. On the Day when they see the angels-there will be no good news for sinners on that Day; and they will say, "A protective refuge."" (25:21-22). People never see angels in this world except the angels of death who take their souls.

2/3/5: "Even if We opened for them a gateway into the sky, and they began to ascend through it. They would still say, "Our eyes are hallucinating; in fact, we are people bewitched."" (15:14-15). They will reject all tangible miracles/signs by claiming they belong to witchcraft or sorcery and not from the Lord God.

3- The polytheists swore by God to Muhammad that they will believe if they witness a tangible miracle; God refutes them here: "They swear by God, with their most solemn oaths, that if a miracle were to come to them, they would believe in it. Say, "The miracles are only with God." But how do you know? Even if it did come, they still would not believe." (6:109).

4- Muhammad felt grieved by the fact that God will not grant him a tangible miracle despite their insistence upon it; God has rebuked him by telling him the following: "We know that what they say grieves you. It is not you they reject, but it is God's Verses that the unjust ones deny. Other messengers before you were rejected, but they endured rejection and persecution until Our help came to them. There can be no change to God's words. News of the Messengers has already reached you. If you find their rejection hard to bear, then if you can, seek a tunnel into the earth, or a stairway into the heaven, and bring them a sign. Had God willed, He could have gathered them to guidance. So do not be of the ignorant." (6:33-35).

5- Hence, believers wished ardently for a tangible miracle to descend to support their stance and refute their foes; they should have given up this bad wish as God has refused to fulfill it:"...Did the believers not give up and realize that had God willed, He would have guided all humanity?..." (13:31). Disbelievers/polytheists will never believe even if they witness a tangible miracle/sign; they will remain the same until torment befalls them in this world and in the Hereafter.

 

Secondly:

 Enslavement/slavery is prohibited in Islam and so is military aggression; the Quran urges freeing/liberation of slaves; we refer you to our book, in English, titled "Slavery: A Fundamental Historical Overview" found on this link:     http://www.ahl-alquran.com/arabic/book_main.php?main_id=87

 

Thirdly:

 It is not true that Meccan Quranic verses praise the People of the Book in Arabia and the Yathrebian ones criticize them; more explanation is found in the points below.

1- All human beings (Quran-believing people, the People of the Book, and others) are divided into three categories.

1/1: These are Yathrebian Quranic verses about the division of the People of the Book: "Had the People of the Book believed and been righteous, We would have remitted their sins, and admitted them into the Gardens of Bliss. Had they observed the Torah, and the Gospel, and what was revealed to them from their Lord, they would have consumed amply from above them, and from beneath their feet. Among them is a moderate community, but evil is what many of them are doing." (5:65-66); " They are not alike. Among the People of the Book is a community that is upright; they recite God's Verses throughout the night, and they prostrate themselves. They believe in God and the Last Day, and advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and are quick to do good deeds. These are among the righteous. Whatever good they do, they will not be denied it. God knows the righteous." (3:113-115).

1/2: The same division applies to Quran-believing people: "Then We passed the Book to those of Our servants whom We chose. Some of them wrong their souls, and some follow a middle course, and some are in the foremost in good deeds by God's leave; that is the greatest blessing." (35:32).

1/3: The same division applies to all human beings upon the moment of dying: "So when it has reached the throat. As you are looking on. We are nearer to it than you are, but you do not see. If you are not held to account. Then bring it back, if you are truthful. But if he is one of those brought near. Then happiness, and flowers, and Garden of Delights. And if he is one of those on the Right. Then, "Peace upon you," from those on the Right. But if he is one of the deniers, the misguided. Then a welcome of Inferno. And burning in Hell. This is the Certain Truth. So glorify the Name of your Great Lord." (56:83-94).

1/4: The same division applies to all human beings on the Last Day: "When the inevitable occurs...And you become three classes. Those on the Right-what of those on the Right? And those on the Left-what of those on the Left? And the Forerunners, the Forerunners. Those are the nearest." (56:1-11).

2- Within the Yathreb city-state military struggle went on between believers who defended themselves and sinning aggressors; see 59:2-14, 33:26-27, 5:51-52, and 9:29. These events mentioned in the Quran contradicts the fake biographies of Muhammad authored in the Abbasid Era. God prohibits aggression and allows military fighting ONLY case of self-defense; we have explained this many times in our books, article, and videos: Islam is a religion of peace and the Quran proves this (e.g., see our English articles here:     http://www.ahl-alquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=6674/      http://www.ahl-alquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=12913).  God mentions in the Quran that some groups of the People of the Book in Arabia fought against one another and imposed something like forced displacement on weaker, defeated groups; God rebukes them here: "And We made a covenant with you: "You shall not shed the blood of your own, nor shall you evict your own from your homes." You agreed, and were all witnesses. But here you are, killing your own, and expelling a group of your own from their homes-conspiring against them in wrongdoing and hostility. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, although it was forbidden to you. Is it that you believe in part of the Book, and disbelieve in part? What is the reward for those among you who do that but humiliation in this life? And on the Day of Resurrection, they will be assigned to the most severe torment. God is not unaware of what you do." (2:84-85).    

3- God praises monotheistic believers among the People of the Book in Yathrebian verses as follows:

3/1: "Those who believe, and those who are Jewish, and the Christians, and the Sabians - any who believe in God and the Last Day, and act righteously - will have their reward with their Lord; they have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve." (2:62).

3/2: "Those who believe, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians - whoever believes in God and the Last Day, and does what is right - they have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve." (5:69).

3/3: "Among the People of the Book are those who believe in God, and in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed to them. They are humble before God, and they do not sell God's Verses for a cheap price. These will have their reward with their Lord. God is swift in Judgment." (3:199).

3/4: "But those among them firmly rooted in knowledge, and the believers, believe in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed before you; and the observers of prayers, and the givers of charity, and the believers in God and the Last Day - upon these We will bestow an immense reward." (4:162).

3/5: "You will find that the people most hostile towards the believers are the Jews and the polytheists. And you will find that the nearest in affection towards the believers are those who say, "We are Christians." That is because among them are priests and monks, and they are not arrogant." (5:82). By the way, the term (Jews) in the Quranic terminology means ONLY those aggressors among the People of the Book in Arabia who joined forced with polytheistic aggressors who fought against Quran-believing people in the Yathreb city-state, and this is NOT about all Jewish communities in the past or in the present.

 

Lastly:

 God is Just; God does not side with or against anyone, as such a bias pertains to injustice; God desires no injustice for the humankind; God prohibits injustice within His Great Religion of Islam.


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