Muhammad’s speech in the Quran. Part 6
In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful
Polemics with pantheists
The pantheists have always had faith in God. Idea of the chief Creator was inherent in them initially. Therefore, the polemics with them began from drawing their attention to the main theme – the Creator.
Say, “Who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? Or who controls hearing and sight and who brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living and who arranges [every] matter?”
They will say, “God.”
So say, “Then will you not beware?” For that is God, your Lord, the Truth. And what can be beyond truth except error? So how are you averted? (10:31-32)
The aim of the polemics in such a direction was to determine the spheres of the influence of the Lord on the pagans. After all, it was important for the further argumentation.
Say, “To whom belongs the earth and whoever is in it, if you should know?”
They will say, “To God.”
Say, “Then will you not remember?”
Say, “Who is Lord of the seven heavens and Lord of the great abiding?”
They will say, “God.”
Say, “Then will you not beware?”
Say, “In whose hand is the kingship of all things – and He protects while none can protect against Him – if you should know?”
They will say, “God.”
Say, “Then how are you deluded?” (23:84-89)
Pantheists’ positive answers to the questions were not dictated by direct knowledge of the theme, but by the adoption of the tradition of that time. Polytheists’ worldview did not have the recorded written sources of knowledge.
And if you asked them, “Who sends down rain from the sky and gives life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness?” they would surely say “God!”
Say, “Praise to God!”, but most of them do not reason. (29:63)
They declared about God not from the position of knowledge or thoughtful understanding, but from the position of the adopted opinion.
And if you asked them, “Who created the heavens and earth?” they would surely say, “God!”
Say, “Praise to God!”, but most of them do not know. (31:25)
The problem was in the essence of the activities of the higher powers. The Arabs believed that along with the Creator, there are additional, autonomous forces.
Thus the Word of your Lord has come into effect upon those who defiantly disobeyed – that they do not believe!
Ask, “Are there of your ‘partners’ any who begins creation and then repeats it?”
Say, “God begins creation and then repeats it, so how are you deluded?”
Ask, “Are there of your ‘partners’ any who guides to the truth?” (10:33-35)
Appeal to reason and logic were the most important stages of the exhortations of the polytheists.
And if you asked them, “Who created the heavens and the earth?” they would surely say, “God!”
Say, “Then have you considered what you invoke besides God? If God intended me harm, are they removers of His harm; or if He intended me mercy, are they withholders of His mercy?”
Say, “Sufficient for me is God! Upon Him rely the reliers!”
Say, “O my nation, work according to your position! Indeed, I am working; and you are going to know to whom will come a torment disgracing him and on whom will descend the main punishment!” (39:38-40)
Insistence on the dogmas and “zombie” essence of Muhammad’s tribesmen did not allow them to accept the truth and break the deadlock. After all, the whole life of the pagans was riddled with all sorts of superstitions.
“Eight pairs are forbidden: two sheep, two goats, two camels and two cows.”
Say, “Is it the two males He has forbidden or the two females or that which the wombs of the two females contain? Or were you witnesses when God charged you with this? Then who is more unjust than one who invents a lie about God to mislead the people by other than knowledge? Indeed, God does not guide the obscurant people!”
Say, “I do not find within that which was suggested to me forbidden to one who would eat it unless it be a dead animal or blood spilled out or the flesh of swine or that dedicated to other than God – for indeed, it is abomination and apostasy! But whoever is forced, neither desiring nor transgressing, then indeed, your Lord is Forgiving and Merciful!” (6:143-145)
Shackles of the traditions firmly held consciousness of the pantheists in its “ticks”. Only mind could have helped getting rid of them. For these reason, following logical arguments were given.
Do they have feet by which they walk? Or do they have hands by which they strike? Or do they have eyes by which they see? Or do they have ears by which they hear?
Say, “Call your ‘partners’ and then conspire against me and give me no respite. Indeed, my patron is God, who has sent down the Prescription; and He is a patron to the ones who correct themselves. And those you call upon besides Him are unable to help you, nor can they help themselves!” (7:195-197)
Muhammad lucidly explained the mistake of his tribesmen in their faith – they believed that the Lord’s maintainers are involved in his Power.
They say, “Then is He who stand above every person, with what it has earned?” But to God they have attributed partners.
Say, “Name them. Or do you inform Him of that which He knows not upon the earth or of what is apparent of speech?”
Rather, their cunning has been beautified to those who closed themselves, and they have been averted from the way! And whomever God leaves astray – there will be for him no guide! (13:33)
Appeal to the mind predetermined the request for the evidence. After all, evidence suggests thinking.
Or have they taken gods besides Him?
Say, “Produce your proof! This is the reminder for those with me and those before me.” But most of them do not know the truth, so they are turning away. (21:24)
Who begins creation and then repeats it and who provides for you from the heaven and earth? Is there a deity with God?
Say, “Produce your proof, if you should be truthful!”
Say, “None in the heavens and earth knows the hidden except God, and they do not perceive when they will be resurrected.” (27:64-65)
Fear of responsibility dictated the denial of the resurrection. The doctrine of pantheism did not give the concept of “filing accounts” for all deeds done.
Say, “Be you stones or iron or [any] creation of that which is great within your thoughts, you will be resurrected!”
And they will say, “Who will restore us?”
Say, “He who brought you forth the first time.”
Then they will nod their heads toward you and say, “When is that?”
Say, “Perhaps it will be soon!” (17:50-51)
Revelation about the Day of Debt did not fit into the plans of the polytheists. For their own complacency, they put forward the position of the intercession of their “involved in power”, which naturally lacked any reason.
Or have they taken other than God as intercessors?
Say, “Even though they do not possess [power over] anything, nor do they reason?”
Say, “To God belongs intercession entirely. To Him belongs the kingship of the heavens and the earth. Then to Him you will be returned!” (39:43-44)
Corrections should have touched the concept of the positioning in the hierarchy of the sacred power. The basis of monotheism is in sole source of influence and decision-making – from the Creator. Everything to what people appeal apart from God, does not have any “weight” in the destiny of man.
Say, “Invoke those you claim besides God!” They do not possess an atom’s weight in the heavens or on the earth, and they do not have therein any partnership [with Him], nor is there for Him from among them any assistant! And intercession does not benefit with Him except for one whom He permits!
When terror is removed from their hearts, they will say, “What has your Lord said?”
They will say, “The truth.” And He is the Most High, the Grand!”
Say, “Who provides for you from the heavens and the earth?”
Say, “God! And indeed, we or you are either upon guidance or in clear error!”
Say, “You will not be asked about what we committed, and we will not be asked about what you do!”
Say, “Our Lord will bring us together; then He will judge between us in truth. And He is the Knowing Judge!”
Say, “Show me those whom you have attached to Him as partners! No! Rather, He [alone] is God, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (34:22-27)
“Inconvenience” of the Prescription led to simple sweeping accusations in falsity of the messenger’s signs.
Say, “Indeed, I am on clear evidence from my Lord, and you have denied it. I do not have that for which you are impatient. The decision is only for God. He relates the truth, and He is the best of clarifying!” (6:57)
So if they deny you, say, “Your Lord is the possessor of vast mercy; but His punishment cannot be repelled from the nation who are criminals!” (6:147)
Pantheist did have anything left to argue, besides excusing themselves by the traditions of their ancestors.
Those who associated with God will say, “If God had willed, we would not have associated [anything] and neither would our fathers, nor would we have prohibited anything.” Likewise did those before deny until they tasted Our power.
Say, “Do you have any knowledge that you can produce for us? You follow not except assumption, and you are not but falsifying!”
Say, “With God is the far-reaching argument. If He had willed, He would have guided you all!”
Say, “Bring forward your witnesses who will testify that God has prohibited this!” And if they testify, do not testify with them. And do not follow the desires of those who deny Our signs and those who do not believe in the hereafter, while they equate others with their Lord! (6:148-150)
The Lord has made it clear that neither any tradition nor cultural heritage can serve as an argument and justification for an ideology and subsequently for behaviour.
The only true guidance could be is God’s Prescription, in our case – the Quran.
Say, “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment, and do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them. And do not approach excessiveness – what is apparent of them and what is concealed. And do not kill the personality which God has forbidden except by [legal] right.”
This is His testament for you that you may use reason.
And do not approach the orphan’s property except in a way that is best until he reaches maturity. And give full measure and weight in justice. We do not charge any personality except [with that within] its capacity! And when you speak, be just, even if it is a near relative! Fulfil taken obligation before God!
This is His testament for you that you may take thought! And this is my path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow other ways, for you will be separated from His way! This has He instructed you that you may beware! (6:151-153)
The futility of their arguments led polytheists resort to a trick, formally not-abandoning the faith in God, but refusing the proposed prescriptions and taking as a base another sign.
And they swore by God with their strongest oaths that if a sign came to them, they would surely believe in it!
Say, “The signs are only with God, but when they came, they would not perceive them as signs! (6:109)
Muhammad’s opponents were doomed to reject the revelations of the Creator, because of their “gloomy” inner state. Their nature did not allow “the light” in their “dark kingdom”.
Say, “If I had that for which you are impatient, the matter would have been decided between me and you, but God is most knowing of the obscurantists!” (6:58)
Say, “O people! Work according to your position; [for] indeed, I am working. And you are going to know who will have succession in the home. Indeed, the obscurantists will not succeed! (6:135)
Say, “Have you considered your partners whom you invoke besides God? Show me what they have created from the earth? Or do they have partnership in the heavens? Or have We given them a Prescription so it became clear for them therefrom? Indeed, the obscurantists do not promise each other except self-delusion.” (35:40)
The problem of pantheists’ activities was that arranging partners to God implied serving them as well. But monotheism offers service only to the God and rejects serving to any other objects.
Say, “Indeed, I have been forbidden to serve those you invoke besides God.” Say, “I will not follow your passions, for I would then have gone astray, and I would not be of the [rightly] guided.” (6:56)
And they serve other than God that which neither harms them nor benefits them,
and they say, “These are our intercessors with God ”
Say, “Do you inform God of something He does not know in the heavens or on the earth?” Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him (10:18)
Say, “Is it other than God that you order me to serve, O ignorant ones?” (39:64)
Say, “Indeed, I have been forbidden to serve those you call upon besides God once the clear proofs have come to me from my Lord, and I have been commanded to be humble before the Lord of the worlds.” (40:66)
But even in such an important moment, a right to choose freely is honoured and does not lead to undue confrontation. On the contrary, whatever views the person has, peaceful attitude among believers should prevail.
So forgive them and say, “Peace.” But they are going to know. (43:89)
The similarity of the motifs in behaviour binds all generations. Among Muslims, there is a formal departure from paganism, but in the same time there is a doctrine about following “wise men”, tradition and legends. What words can be said about that? Only Muhammad’s own words from the Quran:
Say, “God guides to the truth. So is He who guides to the truth more worthy to be followed or he who guides not unless he is guided? Then what is with you – how do you judge?” (10:35)