On Serving Others Besides Allah

The Hypocrisy and Blasphemy of Islam

Sam Shamoun

This is a continuation of our series (Part 1, Part 2) concerning the teaching of the Quran that the prophets preached that there is no other Lord besides Allah and that Allah has no children. We resume our discussion by comparing the claims of the Quran in light of the true teachings of God’s inspired messengers.

God’s Prophets as His Children

In stark contradiction with the teachings of the Quran which denies that the true God has children:

Say the Jews and Christians, 'We are the sons of God, and His beloved ones.' Say: 'Why then does He chastise you for your sins? No; you are mortals, of His creating; He forgives whom He will, and He chastises whom He will.' For to God belongs the kingdom of the heavens and of the earth, and all that is between them; to Him is the homecoming. S. 5:18 Arberry (1)

And they say, 'The All-merciful has taken unto Himself a son. You have indeed advanced something hideous! The heavens are wellnigh rent of it and the earth split asunder, and the mountains wellnigh fall down crashing for that they have attributed to the All-merciful a son; and it behoves not the All-merciful to take a son. None is there in the heavens and earth but he comes to the All-merciful as a servant; S. 19:88-93

The inspired writings of God’s emissaries emphatically proclaim that Yahweh has taken to himself sons, albeit in a purely spiritual manner and not by means of sexual procreation:

"Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, "Let my son go, so he may worship me." But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’" Exodus 4:22-23

"They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel's father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son." Jeremiah 31:9

"Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’" Hosea 1:10

"When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son." Hosea 11:1

"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." John 1:12-13

"because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." Romans 8:14-16

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." 1 John 3:1

Some of these sons that God adopted include prophets and kings such as David:

"‘I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.’ I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, ‘You are my son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.’" Psalm 2:6-8

It is rather amusing to note that the verb for begotten is the word yalad, being the Hebrew cognate of the very Arabic word which appears in S. 112:3 as a denial that Allah begets or is begotten!

Say: 'He is God, One, God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, and has not been begotten (Lam yalid walam yooladu), and equal to Him is not any one.' S. 112:1-4 Arberry

Here is how one lexical source defines the Hebrew word:

Strong’s H325


1) to bear, bring forth, beget, gender, travail

a) (Qal) 1) to bear, bring forth a) of child birth
b) of distress (simile)
c) of wicked (behaviour)
2) to beget
b) (Niphal) to be born
c) (Piel) 1) to cause or help to bring forth
2) to assist or tend as a midwife
3) midwife (participle)
d) (Pual) to be born
e) (Hiphil) 1) to beget (a child)
2) to bear (fig. - of wicked bringing forth iniquity)
f) (Hophal) day of birth, birthday (infinitive)
g) (Hithpael) to declare one's birth (pedigree)   (Source)

Elsewhere God identifies David as his firstborn son, the one exalted over all the other earthly kings:

"Of old thou didst speak in a vision to thy faithful one, and say: ‘I have set the crown upon one who is mighty, I have exalted one chosen from the people. I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him… He shall cry to me, "Thou art my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation." And I will make him the first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth.’" Psalm 89:19-20, 26-27

David’s son Solomon is another prophet that Yahweh took as his son:

"Moreover I declare to you that the LORD will build you a house. When your days are fulfilled to go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son; I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom for ever and his throne shall be established for ever." 1 Chronicles 17:10b-14


"David said to Solomon, ‘My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the LORD my God. But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me upon the earth. Behold, a son shall be born to you; he shall be a man of peace. I will give him peace from all his enemies round about; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for my name. He shall be my son, and I will be his father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel for ever."’" 1 Chronicles 22:7-10


"Yet the LORD God of Israel chose me from all my father's house to be king over Israel for ever; for he chose Judah as leader, and in the house of Judah my father's house, and among my father's sons he took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel. And of all my sons (for the LORD has given me many sons) he has chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. He said to me, ‘It is Solomon your son who shall build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.’" 1 Chronicles 28:4-6

The inspired Scriptures also refer to God as a spiritual Father in the sense of his being the Creator, the life-giver, provider and protector of his people:

"But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name." Isaiah 63:16

"Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." Isaiah 64:8

"Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another?" Malachi 2:10

This is one of the definitions that the blessed Apostle Paul assigns to God’s role as Father, e.g. we are all God’s children because he is the One who gives life and sustains us:

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’" Acts 17:24-28

With the foregoing in perspective it is abundantly clear that the Quran distorts the teachings of the prophets and apostles since they spoke quite often of the spiritual Fatherhood of God and the fact that he has many children.

God’s Prophet-Kings Receive Reverence and Homage

The Hebrew Scriptures further state that God commands his people to serve and revere his prophets, especially the anointed, righteous kings whom Yahweh adopted as his sons:

"Then David said to all the assembly, ‘Bless the LORD your God.’ And all the assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers, and bowed their heads, and worshiped the LORD, and did obeisance to the king." 1 Chronicles 29:20

"Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him." Psalm 2:11-12 NIV

It is interesting that the Psalmist here refers to the blessing that comes to all those who take refuge in the Son when in another Psalm he refers to God being a shield to those who take refuge in him:

"This God -- his way is perfect; the promise of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him." Psalm 18:30

Thus, true believers must take refuge in both God and his Son, the Anointed or Messianic King, and are also commanded to kiss God’s Son as an act of homage! Continuing further:

"Give the king thy justice, O God, and thy righteousness to the royal son! … May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth! May his foes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust! May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him! Psalm 72:1, 8-11

"And it shall come to pass in that day, says the LORD of hosts, that I will break the yoke from off their neck, and I will burst their bonds, and strangers shall no more make servants of them. But they shall serve the LORD their God AND David their king, whom I will raise up for them." Jeremiah 30:8-9

The Quran is therefore wrong when it asserts that God’s prophets never taught the people to serve them since they clearly did so, and on direct orders from God himself!(2)

Jesus the Messiah – God’s Beloved Son and Lord of Creation

Both Jesus and his Apostles taught that persons must believe and confess that Christ is Lord and God’s Son in order to be saved. The plain and unambiguous message of the inspired NT writings is that Jesus is the Sovereign Lord and Savior of the world:

"And the angel said to them, ‘Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’" Luke 2:10-11

"You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet." John 13:13-14

"because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved." Romans 10:9-10

"Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit." 1 Corinthians 12:3

"Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:10-11

Christ further taught that individuals must honor and worship him the same way that they honor and worship God his Father:

"But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ they were indignant; and they said to him, ‘Do you hear what these are saying?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have you never read, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast brought perfect praise"?’" Matthew 21:15-16

Here, the Lord Jesus justifies the praise he received from children by quoting a Psalm that speaks of Yahweh receiving praise from the mouth of infants:

"O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger." Psalm 8:1-2 NIV

The only way for this quotation from the Psalms to count as valid justification for Jesus not to forbid, but to confirm, the praise of his own person from those children is if he was equating himself with Yahweh God. In other words, Jesus is basically saying that to praise him is to praise Yahweh God! There is more:

"The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him… and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man." John 5:22-23, 27

Let the reader notice how Christ didn’t say that he is to be honored as one honors a prophet, king, parents etc. Rather, Jesus says that a person must honor him just as they honor God the Father! Notice, also, how Jesus speaks of himself as the Son of Man who judges, a clear allusion to the prophetic book of Daniel:

"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." Daniel 7:13-14

By referring to himself as the Son of Man who executes judgment Jesus was identifying himself with the figure that Daniel saw, the One who rules forever as King over all creation and whom all must worship.

In light of the above it is patently clear that the Quran is grossly mistaken when it states that Jesus never taught people to worship him as Lord, or that his followers were Muslims and therefore didn’t or wouldn’t believe or preach that Christ is God’s Son and risen Lord.

The Quran is also wrong when it erroneously puts words in the mouth of Jesus denying that he knows what is in God’s mind:

And when God said, 'O Jesus son of Mary, didst thou say unto men, "Take me and my mother as gods, apart from God"?' He said, 'To Thee be glory! It is not mine to say what I have no right to. If I indeed said it, Thou knowest it, knowing what is within my soul, and I know not what is within Thy soul; Thou knowest the things unseen. I only said to them what Thou didst command me: "Serve God, my Lord and your Lord." And I was a witness over them, while I remained among them; but when Thou didst take me to Thyself, Thou wast Thyself the watcher over them; Thou Thyself art witness of everything." S. 5:116-117

Here is what the historical Jesus actually taught his followers:

"In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will. All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’" Luke 10:21-22

"I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep." John 10:14-15

The Lord Jesus claims an intimate, reciprocal knowledge of God the Father which presupposes both his incomprehensibility and his omniscience. After all, a finite creature is not able to know God in the same way that s/he is known by God; nor can a temporal being make the assertion s/he can only be known by God since this implies that the person making this claim is incomprehensible, and thereby requires an infinite mind or omniscient entity to fully know and understand such an individual. Yet this is precisely what Jesus says about his own Person and knowledge of the incomprehensible God.

It is therefore not surprising that it is precisely in this context that Jesus states that he chooses to reveal the Father to whomever he is pleased since, having perfect and intimate knowledge of God, he alone can adequately and completely reveal God’s essence, his character and nature to mankind.

To put this in simpler terms, God has clearly and fully made himself known in and through the Person of his beloved Son since the Son has complete knowledge and comprehension of the nature and Person of the Father. As the Gospel of John puts it:

"No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known." John 1:18

"And Jesus cried out and said, ‘He who believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And he who sees me sees him who sent me.’" John 12:44-45

"If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.’ Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, "Show us the Father"? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.’" John 14:7-11

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life." John 6:44-47

This last passage is quite revealing. Since the Lord Jesus is the only One who has beheld and comprehended God it only makes perfect sense that the Father draws people to his beloved Son when he desires to make himself known to them.

And, contrary to the above Quranic assertion, Jesus is still actively watching and supervising the activities of his followers, having perfect knowledge of all they say and do:

"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." Matthew 28:19-20

"‘In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.’ … Jesus answered him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and WE will come to him and make OUR home with him.’" John 14:20-21, 23

"And to the angel of the church in Thyati'ra write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first… and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I AM HE who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve." Revelation 2:18-19, 23

After all, it is Christ who is the faithful and true witness:

"and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood" Revelation 1:5

"And to the angel of the church in La-odice'a write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.’" Revelation 3:14

Finally, the prophets predicted that the Messiah is the Mighty God who would be born as a child:

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this." Isaiah 9:6-7

Here the prophet Isaiah uses the same verb yalad that David used in Psalm 2:7, but in this context he uses it in reference to the Mighty God being born as a babe! In other words, the inspired prophet identifies the birth of the Messiah as the birth of God, e.g. God becoming human by being born (obviously from a human mother).

This is precisely what the NT teaches, i.e. Jesus is God who became flesh when the virgin gave birth to him as a man, the divine Son who became David’s Son in order to rule on his throne and to save the world:

"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ And Mary said to the angel, ‘How shall this be, since I have no husband?’ And the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.’" Luke 1:26-35

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father." John 1:1-3, 14

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." John 3:16-18

"But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." Galatians 4:4-5

Hence, not only do the Hebrew prophets contradict the Quran by teaching that God does beget children (albeit in a purely spiritual manner) they further oppose the Muslim scripture by claiming that God himself chose to become man by being begotten as a child!

Concluding Remarks

Our examination of the Holy Bible, God’s true Word, revealed that the Quran is in blatant error for asserting that God’s prophets didn’t command believers to serve or honor them, or that God doesn’t have children. The inspired emissaries taught that God is a spiritual Father who has taken on many children to himself. These messengers further proclaimed that God would be begotten as a man, with the NT Scriptures stating that this event took place when the virgin Mary gave birth to the Lord Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is a way in which the Muslims can try to harmonize the Quran’s blatant mistakes concerning the message of the true prophets of God with what these anointed emissaries actually taught. The Quranic verses that we cited claim that God never commanded people to take or serve their rabbis, monks, prophets etc. as Lords in the place of or besides God:

It is not (possible) that a man, to whom is given the Book, and Wisdom, and the prophetic office, should say to people: "Be ye my worshippers rather than God's": on the contrary (He would say) "Be ye worshippers of Him Who is truly the Cherisher of all: For ye have taught the Book and ye have studied it earnestly." S. 3:79 Y. Ali

They take their priests and their monks for [their] lords, besides God, and Christ the son of Mary; although they are commanded to worship one God only: There is no God but he; far be that from him, which they associate [with him]! S. 9:31 Sale

A Muslim can adopt the view that these passages are telling believers not to ignore God or set him aside by serving and taking others as their Lord in place of the Creator. Seeing that this is not what the Bible teaches, e.g. neither the prophets nor the Lord Jesus ever taught believers to serve someone else as Lord instead of or rather than Yahweh, these Quranic statements do not apply to the Biblical teaching.

In other words, this explanation allows the Muslim to fully accept the teaching of the Bible that believers were permitted to serve and revere God’s messengers because of the authority they were given over the people so as long as such homage did not cause them to forsake or neglect their love, devotion and worship of the one true God.

Moreover, the Quran erroneously assumes that the only way Allah can take for himself a son is by having sex with a consort:

Yet they ascribe to God, as associates, the jinn, though He created them; and they impute to Him sons and daughters without any knowledge. Glory be to Him! High be He exalted above what they describe! The Creator of the heavens and the earth -- how should He have a son, seeing that He has no consort, and He created all things, and He has knowledge of everything? S. 6:100-101

This, also, doesn’t apply to the Bible’s teaching since the inspired Writings emphatically deny that God had sons by means of sexual relations with a partner, be it a goddess, angel or a human female figure. Thus, a Muslim can accept the message of the Bible without this affecting his/her belief in the Quran.

Yet even here the Muslims would be confronted with a few problems. The Quran seems to presuppose that the only way Allah can have a son is through sexual intercourse and since he does not engage in sexual intimacy with anyone it is therefore not possible for him to have children. To put it another way, the author of the Quran couldn’t fathom God being a Father in a purely spiritual sense, without any sexual activity being involved, since he had a carnal understanding of filial relationships. For more on this point please consult the following articles (1, 2).

The Muslim is also confronted with the teaching of the Holy Bible that Jesus Christ isn’t merely a man but is the Divine, unique Son of God who demanded that all should (and must) serve and worship him in the same exact way that they do the Father.


(1) This is a curious argument from a supposed all-knowing deity since it does not follow that just because God chastises individuals this somehow proves that these persons are not his spiritual children. In fact, the reverse is true, i.e. if a person is truly a child of God who is living in disobedience then we would expect God to correct or rebuke him/her just as earthly parents discipline their children whom they love:

"Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you." Deuteronomy 8:1-5

"My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." Proverbs 3:11-12

"And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.’ Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:5-11

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent." Revelation 3:19

(2) It is rather interesting that the word which the Quran uses for worship (ibaadah) actually means service:

(Say): I (Muhammad) am commanded only to serve (‘a‘buda) the Lord of this land which He hath hallowed, and unto Whom all things belong. And I am commanded to be of those who surrender (unto Him), S. 27:91 Pickthall

Say (O Muhammad, to the disbelievers): Do ye bid me serve (a‘budu) other than Allah? O ye fools! … Nay, but Allah must thou serve (fa‘bud), and be among the thankful! S. 39:64, 66 Pickthall

Moreover, one who serves Allah is called an abd or slave:

O My servants ('ibadi) who believe! surely My earth is vast, therefore Me alone should you serve (fa'budun). S. 29:56 Shakir

This would seem to suggest that the Quran absolutely forbids Muslims from serving others and from having slaves. Such, however, is not the case:

And do not marry the idolatresses until they believe, and certainly a believing maid is better than an idolatress woman, even though she should please you; and do not give (believing women) in marriage to idolaters until they believe, and certainly a believing servant (la‘abdum-mu’minun) is better than an idolater, even though he should please you; these invite to the fire, and Allah invites to the garden and to forgiveness by His will, and makes clear His communications to men, that they may be mindful. S. 2:221 Arberry

And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your male slaves (‘ibadikum) and your female slaves; if they are needy, Allah will make them free from want out of His grace; and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing. S. 24:32 Arberry

How, then, can the Quran command Muslims to serve Allah alone when it allows for Muslims to own Muslim slaves who serve them?

Please consult the following article to read more on this issue: http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/monotheism.htm

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