Quran Inconsistency

Abraham’s Monotheism

Sam Shamoun

The Quran denies the assertion that Abraham was an idolater, or one who worshiped something other than Allah:

And they say, 'Be Jews or Christians and you shall be guided.' Say thou: 'Nay, rather the creed of Abraham, a man of pure faith; he was no idolater.' S. 2:135

No; Abraham in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian; but he was a Muslim and one pure of faith; certainly he was never of the idolaters. S. 3:67

Yet elsewhere in the Quran Abraham is portrayed as committing a heinous sin against God by worshiping the constellations:

And when Abraham said to his father Azar, 'Takest thou idols for gods? I see thee, and thy people, in manifest error.' So We were showing Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and earth, that he might be of those having sure faith. When night outspread over him he saw a star and said, 'This is my Lord.' But when it set he said, 'I love not the setters.' When he saw the moon rising, he said, 'This is my Lord.' But when it set he said, 'If my Lord does not guide me I shall surely be of the people gone astray.' When he saw the sun rising, he said, 'This is my Lord; this is greater (hatha akbaru)!' But when it set he said, 'O my people, surely I am quit of that you associate. I have turned my face to Him who originated the heavens and the earth, a man of pure faith; I am not of the idolaters.' His people disputed with him. He said, 'Do you dispute with me concerning God, and He has guided me? I fear not what you associate with Him, except my Lord will aught. My Lord embraces all things in His knowledge; will you not remember? How should I fear what you have associated, seeing you fear not that you have associated with God that whereon He has not sent down on you any authority?' Which of the two parties has better title to security, if you have any knowledge? Those who believe, and have not confounded their belief with evildoing -- to them belongs the true security; they are rightly guided. S. 6:74-82

A practice which the Holy Bible expressly condemns:

"And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven." Deuteronomy 4:19 NIV

"If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the LORD gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God in violation of his covenant, and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars of the sky, and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death. On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. You must purge the evil from among you." Deuteronomy 17:2-7 NIV

Note this interesting statement from Job:

"if I have looked at the sun when it shone, or the moon moving in splendor, and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand, this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges, for I would have been false to God above." Job 31:26-28 ESV

This is precisely what the Quran slanderously accuses Abraham of doing!

Thus, Muhammad turned Abraham into a mushrik, or one who worships created things as God, which is the sin that Allah will never forgive even if it happens to be a prophet who commits it:

God forgives not that aught should be with Him associated; less than that He forgives to whomsoever He will. Whoso associates with God anything, has indeed forged a mighty sin. S. 4:48; cf. 4:116

That is Our argument, which We bestowed upon Abraham as against his people. We raise up in degrees whom We will; surely thy Lord is All-wise, All-knowing. And We gave to him Isaac and Jacob -- each one We guided, And Noah We guided before; and of his seed David and Solomon, Job and Joseph, Moses and Aaron -- even so We recompense the good-doers -- Zachariah and John, Jesus and Elias; each was of the righteous; Ishmael and Elisha, Jonah and Lot-each one We preferred above all beings; and of their fathers, and of their seed, and of their brethren; and We elected them, and We guided them to a straight path. That is God's guidance; He guides by it whom He will of His servants; had they been idolaters, it would have failed them, the things they did. S. 6:83-88

It has been revealed to thee, and to those before thee, 'If thou associatest other gods with God, thy work shall surely fail and thou wilt be among the losers.' S. 39:65

As if this weren’t bad enough Muhammad also has Abraham calling the sun akbar, one of the names of Allah!

Lest a Muslim make the assertion that this took place before Abraham received inspiration from God note the following part carefully:

Thus did we show Ibrahim (Abraham) the kingdom of the heavens and the earth that he be one of those who have Faith with certainty. S. 6:75 Hilali-Khan

Abraham was being guided by God even before he looked to the heavens and worshiped the constellations.

The following Sura further substantiates the fact that the patriarch already knew and believed in the one God when he turned to worship the heavenly host:

And We verily gave Abraham of old his proper course, and We were Aware of him, When he said unto his father and his folk: What are these images unto which ye pay devotion? They said: We found our fathers worshippers of them. He said: Verily ye and your fathers were in plain error. They said: Bringest thou unto us the truth, or art thou some jester? He said: Nay, but your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who created them; and I am of those who testify unto that. And, by Allah, I shall circumvent your idols after ye have gone away and turned your backs. Then he reduced them to fragments, all save the chief of them, that haply they might have recourse to it. They said: Who hath done this to our gods? Surely it must be some evil-doer. They said: We heard a youth make mention of them, who is called Abraham. They said: Then bring him (hither) before the people's eyes that they may testify. They said: Is it thou who hast done this to our gods, O Abraham? He said: But this, their chief hath done it. So question them, if they can speak. Then gathered they apart and said: Lo! ye yourselves are the wrong-doers. And they were utterly confounded, and they said: Well thou knowest that these speak not. He said: Worship ye then instead of Allah that which cannot profit you at all, nor harm you? Fie on you and all that ye worship instead of Allah! Have ye then no sense? They cried: Burn him and stand by your gods, if ye will be doing. We said: O fire, be coolness and peace for Abraham, And they wished to set a snare for him, but We made them the greater losers. S. 21:51-70 Pickthall

This narrative pretty much starts off at the same point that Q. 6:74-82 begins, e.g. Abraham telling his father that he is in manifest error for worshiping idols. It is clear from reading these stories in light of each other that Abraham worshiped the heavenly objects even though he had already been receiving knowledge and guidance from the one true God.

As if this wasn’t apparent enough here is another Sura which also supports the understanding that Abraham did know of the true God before he went to his father to condemn his idolatry:

Of his party was also Abraham; when he came unto his Lord with a pure heart, when he said to his father and his folk, 'What do you serve? Is it a calumny, gods apart from God, that you desire? What think you then of the Lord of all Being?' And he cast a glance at the stars, and he said, 'Surely I am sick.' But they went away from him, turning their backs. Then he turned to their gods, and said, 'What do you eat? What ails you, that you speak not?' And he turned upon them smiting them with his right hand. Then came the others to him hastening. He said, 'Do you serve what you hew, and God created you and what you make?' They said, 'Build him a building, and cast him into the furnace!' They desired to outwit him; so We made them the lower ones. He said, 'I am going to my Lord; He will guide me. My Lord, give me one of the righteous.' S. 37:83-100

It is rather interesting that this specific text says that Abraham got sick after he glanced at the stars. This perfectly coincides with the events of S. 6:74-82, e.g. God reveals himself to Abraham, the patriarch goes to his father and people to criticize their worship of idols, but then he experiences a momentary lapse into idolatry by looking to the constellations in worship, after which he gets sick.

Thus, Muhammad slanders Abraham by accusing him of committing blatant idolatry even after he had received revelation from the true God. And in the process of imputing such a heinous sin to the beloved patriarch and the father of the faithful Muhammad managed to contradict himself since in other references he emphatically denies that Abraham was an idolater.

All quranic references taken from the Arthur J. Arberry version.

Note: To see another possible interpretation please consult the article Abraham and the Sun.

Contradictions in the Qur'an
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