More on the Quran Contradiction of Angels Creating and Causing Death

Sam Shamoun

Sami Zaatari, one of Osama Abdallah’s writers, has written a brief response to my claim that the Quran contradicts itself regarding whether angels can create or cause death. He says:

There is no contradiction. Let me post the supposed contradictory verses again:

After quoting some of the passages which I had cited (cf. Suras 4:97; 16:28, 32; 25:3; 32:11), Zaatari then claims:

Once again there is no contradiction, these angels have the power to cause people to die by the will of Allah, the angels are given that power. Shamoun seems to forget that, the angels do only what Allah allows them to do, the angels are able to cause death because Allah sends them with this great power, so hence it isn’t really the angels who have the power to cause death etc.

This verse basically means that Allah alone is in control of life and death, he is independent, he does not need anyone to give him the power to cause death, nor the power to create life. The angels however unlike Allah need the help of Allah to cause someone to die, they are entirely dependent upon Allah. So hence you have two different situations, had the angels caused people to die by their own will and power, then Shamoun would have a case.


Notice that in order to avoid the glaring contradiction Zaatari has to assume that these texts are saying something which they in fact do not state. He brings up the claim that angels do only what Allah allows them, as if this is refuting my argument. To show why Zaatari’s point is nothing more than a red herring we will simply post the verses once again:

Is He then Who creates like him who does not create? Do you not then mind? … And those whom they call on besides Allah have not created anything while they are themselves created; Dead (are they), not living, and they know not when they shall be raised. S. 16:17, 20-21 Shakir

And they have taken besides Him gods, who do not create anything while they are themselves created, and they control not for themselves any harm or profit, and they control not death nor life, nor raising (the dead) to life. S. 25:3 Shakir

Pay careful attention to the fact that none of these texts make the qualification that Zaatari seeks to make; none of them say that the problem with the unbelievers’ position was that they believed that angels could create and cause death independently from Allah’s decree or permission. These texts do not say that the unbelievers assumed that angels could create and cause death on the basis of their own inherent ability or authority, that they didn’t need Allah to give them the power to perform their functions. The references simply say that these other entities cannot create or cause death period, with no further qualification.

In his haste, Zaatari forgot to note that the Quran says that even the unbelievers knew that Allah has all power and created all things, and that they worshiped other beings in order that they might bring them closer to Allah:

If indeed thou ask them who has created the heavens and the earth and subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law), they will certainly reply, "Allah". How are they then deluded away (from the truth)? Allah enlarges the sustenance (which He gives) to whichever of His servants He pleases; and He (similarly) grants by (strict) measure, (as He pleases): for Allah has full knowledge of all things. And if indeed thou ask them who it is that sends down rain from the sky, AND GIVES LIFE THEREWITH TO THE EARTH AFTER ITS DEATH, they will certainly reply, "Allah!" Say, "Praise be to Allah!" But most of them understand not. S. 29:61-63

And if thou ask them, ‘Who has created the heavens and the earth?’ They will, surely, answer, ‘ALLAH.’ Say, ‘All praise belongs to ALLAH.’ But most of them have no knowledge. S. 31:25 Sher Ali

And should you ask them, Who created the heavens and the earth? THEY WOULD MOST CERTAINLY SAY: Allah. Say: Have you then considered that what you call upon besides Allah, would they, if Allah desire to afflict me with harm, be the removers of His harm, or (would they), if Allah desire to show me mercy, be the withholders of His mercy? Say: Allah is sufficient for me; on Him do the reliant rely. S. 39:38 Shakir

And those whom they invoke besides God have no power of intercession;- only he who bears witness to the Truth, and they know (him). If thou ask them, who created them, THEY WILL CERTAINLY SAY, God: How then are they deluded away (from the Truth)? (God has knowledge) of the (Prophet's) cry, "O my Lord! Truly these are people who will not believe!" S. 43:86-88

As a side note, this text introduces another contradiction. Islamic tradition teaches that at least some of those whom they invoked, i.e. Jesus and angels, do indeed intercede for individuals!

Surely pure religion is for Allah only. And those who choose protecting friends beside Him (say): We worship them only that they may bring us near unto Allah. Lo! Allah will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Lo! Allah guideth not him who is a liar, an ingrate. S. 39:3

The worshippers of false gods say: "If Allah had so willed, we should not have worshipped aught but Him - neither we nor our fathers,- nor should we have prescribed prohibitions other than His." So did those who went before them. But what is the mission of messengers but to preach the Clear Message? S. 16:35

The pagans in the preceding passage were basically repeating what Allah supposedly said to Muhammad:

If it had been Allah’s plan, they would not have taken false gods: but We made thee not one to watch over their doings, nor art thou set over them to dispose of their affairs. S. 6:107

Hence, if the Quran is to be believed then these unbelievers knew a lot about Allah and angels. They apparently knew that angels were subordinate beings who were created by Allah, not that they were rival gods who were equal to Allah. After all, by claiming that the unbelievers knew that Allah created all things the Quran invariably shows that even they were aware that angels were creatures of Allah. Thus, from the foregoing we can safely conclude that the unbelievers would have understood that the angels that they worshiped could only create and cause death because Allah had granted them this ability, that Allah created them to have these powers.

To put it rather simply, the problem that the Quran has with the unbelievers isn’t that they thought that these creatures could create independently from Allah’s will. Rather, the Quran has a problem with the unbelievers thinking that angels could create at all.

Zaatari then asserts:

A good example to prove my point is the birth of Jesus:

YUSUFALI: And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples.

YUSUFALI: And Mary the daughter of 'Imran, who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into (her body) of Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of the devout (servants).

Now note the verses say Allah breathed a soul into Mary. As we all know Allah sent his agent Jibreel to breathe the soul into Mary, so does that now mean that the angel Jibreel is God since he breathed a soul into Mary? Off course not, as we see the Quran says it is Allah, so we are able to conclude that Jibreel was able to breathe the soul into Mary because Allah gave the angel the power to do so. This is the same case with the verses Shamoun brought up on angels causing people to die; they are just given the power to carry that order out. They are not doing it on their own will and power.


It seems that Zaatari has not bothered reading our rebuttals addressing the claim that these texts are referring to Gabriel breathing into Mary, or the ramifications this assertion has on the alleged consistency and infallibility of the Quran. In the first place, Zaatari’s example only reinforces the contradiction, it does nothing to resolve it. It proves that the unbelievers were correct in assuming that angels can create life, which means that the Quran was wrong for claiming that they cannot.

Second, Zaatari has assumed without actually bothering to prove that the texts in question are speaking of Allah breathing a soul into Mary. These texts say no such thing, but rather claim that Allah breathed of his own Spirit into Mary.

Third, Zaatari again assumes without proof that Allah used Gabriel to create Jesus. Yet none of these texts ever state this nor do they even come close to implying it.

Fourth, contrary to Zaatari’s wishful thinking, to say that Gabriel was the one that breathed into Mary does in fact make him God. The claim that Gabriel breathed into Mary would logically make Gabriel the one speaking in Suras 21:91 and 66:12. According to these verses the one speaking is the one that will breathe his Spirit into Mary. As we just stated, neither of these passages even hint that someone besides the speaker will be the one who will actually breathe and impregnate Mary. More importantly, since Muslims claim that the Quran is the word of Allah this would obviously mean that Allah is supposed to be the speaker in these references. Zaatari himself admits this when he says that Allah was the one who breathed a soul into Mary. Hence, Zaatari’s position inevitably equates Gabriel with Allah, and that Gabriel has a Spirit that he uses to create and impart life. This basically means that Gabriel is the Creator and Life-giver.

There are even more problems for Zaatari. Since Muslims do not equate Gabriel with Allah, and since Zaatari believes Gabriel breathed into Mary, this leads to the inevitable conclusion that there is actually more than one creator, namely Allah and Gabriel. Yet the Quran emphatically denies that there are other creators besides Allah:

"It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her (in love). When they are united, she bears a light burden and carries it about (unnoticed). When she grows heavy, they both pray to Allah their Lord, (saying): ‘If Thou givest us a goodly child, we vow we shall (ever) be grateful.’ But when He giveth them a goodly child, they ascribe to others a share in the gift they have received: but Allah is exalted high above the partners they ascribe to Him. Do they indeed ascribe to Him as partners things that can create nothing, but are themselves created?" S. 7:189-191

"O men! Remember the grace of Allah unto you! Is there a Creator, other than Allah, to give you sustenance from heaven or earth? There is no god but He: how then are ye perverted?" S. 35:3

"He created you (all) from a single person: then created, of like nature, his mate; and He sent down for you eight head of cattle in pairs: He creates you, in the wombs of your mothers, in stages, one after another, in three veils of darkness. Such is Allah, your Lord and Cherisher: to Him belongs (all) dominion. There is no god but He: then how are ye turned away (from your true Lord)?" S. 39:6

Therefore, the only plausible explanation is that Allah did not use Gabriel to breathe into Mary. Otherwise, if he did then this implies that Allah isn’t the only one that can create life since there is at least one other who can as well. But this would again end up proving that the unbelievers were right that the angels they worshiped can create life or take it away, which means that the Quran is wrong for saying that they cannot. Talk about confusion and chaos!

Lest Zaatari misunderstands or tries to distort what is being stated here, we will break it down in steps so that he will have no excuse:

  1. Suras 21:91 and 66:12 quote Allah as saying that he breathed into Mary of his Spirit.
  2. According to Zaatari and others, Gabriel was the one that breathed into Mary.
  3. Therefore, if these Muslims are correct then Gabriel must be Allah and it is his Spirit that was breathed into Mary.
  4. Or if Gabriel is not Allah then this means that Allah isn’t the only creator. Even angels can create and give life.
  5. But the Quran says in certain passages that angels cannot create life, which means that we have a contradiction.

Basically, Zaatari’s arguments have only compounded the problem and actually proved that I was correct that the Quran does contradict itself regarding whether angels can create life. Zaatari has only managed provide further confirmation for my claims by his arguments.

For more on these points we recommend that the readers consult the following papers:

He now turns his attention to the following texts:

YUSUFALI: Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah's permission, on every errand:

So as we can see here, angels come down only by Allah’s permission, this in itself proves how the angels are not like Allah since Allah needs no permission. So this also shows that when the angels cause people to die, they do this by Allah’s permission, had Shamoun bothered to read the entire Quran and take it in context he would realize this.

019.064 PICKTHAL: We (angels) come not down save by commandment of thy Lord. Unto Him belongeth all that is before us and all that is behind us and all that is between those two, and thy Lord was never forgetful –

So again we see the angels do not come down, meaning come to earth to carry out a mission unless Allah gives them a commandment. Put this verse with the ones Shamoun posted we then get the big picture, the angels are able to cause death since Allah has commanded them to, meaning Allah has allowed them to do it by giving them the power. So as we see, Shamoun forgets to take the context of the Quran into account.


As we stated, this is nothing more than a red herring since arguing that angels can only come down and do what Allah permits does nothing to refute the plain teaching of the Quran that those beings which the unbelievers worshiped cannot create or cause death. Some of these beings that unbelievers were invoking included angels. Yet the Quran claims that angels can indeed create and cause death, thereby contradicting itself. Thus, the unbelievers were right and Muhammad was wrong.

We need to repeat this point again. The Quran doesn’t say that the unbelievers thought that the angels, like Allah, didn’t need any permission to create or cause death. The Quran does not say that the unbelievers were worshiping angels because they believed that these spiritual beings were equal to Allah in that they didn’t need his permission to act. This is nothing more than Zaatari’s straw man and red herring argumentation. Had Zaatari bothered reading my article carefully, and truly understood what the unbelievers believed about Allah and his angels, then he would have saved himself the time from writing a rebuttal that fails to refute anything.

As it stands, there is a MAJOR contradiction in the Quran. It is simply Zaatari’s lack of knowledge and ability to both exegete the texts and to properly understand the Quran that are hindering him from seeing the problems. Zaatari really needs to invest sometime in learning how to properly interpret the Quran.

Moreover, Zaatari is a great illustration of what we have said about the level of argumentation being produced by Abdallah’s staff of authors. These articles are just as bad in terms of quality as Osama’s papers. In fact, Zaatari is perhaps the least qualified of Osama’s writers and his material is even worse than Osama’s. The reason we even bother interacting with these materials is because of how popular Osama’s site has become with Muslims. We specifically address these shallow arguments in order to silence the lies of some Muslims who are under the impression that our not responding to these papers somehow proves that these arguments are irrefutable.

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