Friday, January 21, 2011

Sam Shamoun Responds to Abdullah Kunde: Part Three

I really wish that all Muslim debaters would spend a few semesters at the Sam Shamoun School of Religious Consistency. It would keep them from constantly attacking their own religion (without knowing it). Here's Sam's third reply to Abdullah Kunde:


Kunde stated:

“We also need to accept that it implies a limited God, a God that cannot hold the attributes of eternalness, being all-powerful, and also a unified God. Why? When we say that God is one in opposition to the Trinity, we don’t mean one in terms of the numerical one, that zero can come before it and two can come after it. We mean it in an absolute unity that is not describable in mathematical terms. And when we consider the Trinity, that actually applies a created aspect to God. You’re saying three; the number three in that two comes before it and four comes after it. There’s no way around this, it’s not a complex number. For those of you doing mathematics or science you’ll know it’s even been in the real number system, three. So you’re applying a created aspect to God, and there can absolutely be no such divine unity in that concept. Even if somebody came to you and said that God is one in the sense of the number one, that zero can come before it and two can come after it, that in itself is not even a proper unity, in terms of a godly unity. It’s very important to understand that point.” (Saviour of the World: Jesus or the Quran?)

Kunde keeps creating problems for his own theological views. If what says here is correct, we can only conclude that Muhammad was mistaken on several counts.

First, it is apparent that Muhammad defined Allah’s oneness numerically. This can be readily seen from the following Quranic verses:

O followers of the Book! do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa son of Marium is only an apostle of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Marium and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allah and His apostles, and say not, Three. Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one God; far be It from His glory that He should have a son, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His, and Allah is sufficient for a Protector. S. 4:171 Shakir

Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three; and there is no god but the one God, and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve. S. 5:73 Shakir

By contrasting Allah’s unity with the alleged belief of “Christians” who supposedly claimed that God is three and the third of three, it is apparent that Muhammad was thinking in terms of numerical oneness in that zero can come before it and two come after it.

Muhammad is reported to have also said that Allah is odd or single (witr) and actually likes odd and single numbers as a result of being an odd/single number himself:

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah has ninety-nine Names, i.e., one hundred minus one, and whoever believes in their meanings and acts accordingly, will enter Paradise; and Allah is Witr (one) and loves 'the Witr' (i.e., odd numbers). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 75, Number 419)

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger as saying: There are ninety-nine names of Allah; he who commits them to memory would get into Paradise. Verily, Allah is Odd (He is one, and it is an odd number) and He loves odd numbers. And in the narration of Ibn 'Umar (the words are): "He who enumerated them." (Sahih Muslim, Book 035, Number 6475)

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Apostle as saying: Verily, there are ninety-nine names for Allah, i.e. hundred excepting one. He who enumerates them would get into Paradise. And Hammam has made this addition on the authority of Abu Huraira who reported it from Allah's Apostle that he said: "He is Odd (one) and loves odd numbers." (Sahih Muslim, Book 035, Number 6476)

Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib: The Prophet said: Allah is single (witr) and loves what is single, so observe the witr, you who follow the Qur'an. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 8, Number 1411)

No one can doubt that Muhammad is clearly likening Allah’s unity to odd or single numbers, i.e. Allah is one, which is an odd and single number. He even says that this is the reason why the Muslim god likes odd or single numbers. Apparently, had Allah been two or ten then he would have liked even and double digit numbers instead.

This comparison to the numerical system again establishes that in Muhammad’s mind Allah is numerically one in the sense that zero can come before it and two come right after it.

Also notice how the preceding narratives from both al-Bukhari and Muslim refer to Allah having ninety-nine, or more specifically a hundred minus one, names (attributes, characteristics). Here is another narration which states the same thing:

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "Allah has ninety-nine names, i.e. one hundred MINUS ONE, and whoever knows them will go to Paradise." (Please see Hadith No. 419 Vol. 8). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 50, Number 894)

Muhammad even believed that Allah divided his attribute of mercy into one hundred parts!

Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah's Apostle saying, Verily Allah created Mercy. The day He created it, He made it into one hundred parts. He withheld with Him ninety-nine parts, and sent its one part to all His creatures. Had the non-believer known of all the Mercy which is in the Hands of Allah, he would not lose hope of entering Paradise, and had the believer known of all the punishment which is present with Allah, he would not consider himself safe from the Hell-Fire." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 476)

It is once again evident that Muhammad was thinking in terms of the actual numerical system. There is simply no way of denying this fact. Muhammad obviously believed that Allah’s attributes could be numbered since he listed them as ninety-nine, and that these could be further divided much like in the case of mercy which Allah broke down into one hundred parts.

Thus, Muhammad actually thought that Allah’s attributes are numerically ninety-nine in the sense that ninety-eight can come before it and one hundred can come right after it. Since this is what Muhammad clearly believed, we must conclude that, according to Kunde’s logic, there must be a created aspect to the Islamic deity, for he is a being composed of real numerical limitations. As such, Allah is neither eternal nor is he omnipotent.

The final problem with Kunde’s assertion is that if Allah is not a numerical one, but a UNIFIED one as he claims, then Kunde no longer has any grounds to object to the possibility of God existing as three distinct divine Persons. After all, if God’s unified nature can be composed of a plurality of names and attributes then surely God can exist as three Divine Persons who are unified in a single essence or being. In fact, on Kunde’s view Allah can actually be an infinite number of Persons since his oneness is not constricted to or confined within a numerical system such as we find in the case of a numerical oneness.

Hence, instead of refuting the Trinity, Kunde actually provides a strong reason why God's unity in no way undermines or rules out the Biblical teaching that God exists as three eternally distinct divine Persons. Kunde's argument actually affirms that it is quite consistent with the belief in God being a unified one as opposed to a numerical one.


observant observer said...

Thank you for the explanation, I used to have the problems myself dealing with Muslim questioning the concept of number of the attributes of God and the Trinity, now I think I can see clearer their problem.

Anthony Rogers said...

Awesome job!

Sophie said...

Brilliant work, Sam.

The story about Allah creating mercy is interesting. I had thought that Allah embodied mercy, in the way that the Bible says 'God is love' instead of 'God has the attribute of love'. But actually mercy is just another created thing that Allah made.

Zack_Tiang said...

Yes, I also find the part 'Allah created mercy' to be a rather interesting point...
That means Allah was NOT merciful before he created mercy.

Unless the Muslims are gonna say that was a weak hadith.. I really see a problem with this.

Good job, Sam. I always enjoyed your arguments in your debates.
If only there were more debate of you..