Revisiting the Issue of Allah’s Divine Corporation

The Quran states that had Allah wanted, he could find a way of keeping himself entertained or passing the time from within himself:

Had We intended to take a pastime (i.e. a wife or a son, etc.), We could surely have taken it from Us, if We were going to do (that). S. 21:17

Here’s the Arabic transliteration, with the significant terms placed in bold type:

Law aradna an nattakhitha lahwan laittakhathnahu min ladunna in kunna faAAileena

The following translation doesn’t even bother to translate the specific word in question:

If Our wish was to create games and entertainment, surely We would have done so from within Our Own ladun. But this isn’t what We do! Ahmed Hulusi

And here’s the lexical meaning of ladun:

Lam-Dal-Nun = At; near; with; from; presence; in the presence of; for. Ladun: Particle of a place or preposition.

 Ladai/Lida = At; near; with; from; presence; in the presence of; for a particle of place or preposition. The meanings of Ladun and Ladai and Lida are the same.

(with prep. min) that which proceeds from the presence of, of one’s part, from before (often translated as “from”). (Project Root List

As this lexicon shows, ladun basically means from within someone or something. Note how the Quran employs this term in respect to Allah:

(They say): “Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You (min ladunka). Truly, You are the Bestower.” S. 3:8

At that time Zakariya (Zachariya) invoked his Lord, saying: “O my Lord! Grant me from You (min ladunka), a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation.” S. 3:38

Surely! Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom (or a small ant) but if there is any good (done), He doubles it, and gives from Him (min ladunhu) a great reward. S. 4:40

And indeed We should then have bestowed upon them a great reward from Ourselves (min ladunna). S. 4:67

And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allah, and for those weak, illtreated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You (min ladunka) one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help.” S. 4:75

Alif-Lam-Ra. (These letters are one of the miracles of the Quran and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings).(This is) a Book, the Verses whereof are perfected (in every sphere of knowledge, etc.), and then explained in detail from One (min ladun) (Allah), Who is All-Wise and Well-Acquainted (with all things).S. 11:1

And say (O Muhammad): My Lord! Let my entry (to the city of Al-Madinah) be good, and likewise my exit (from the city of Makkah) be good. And grant me from You (min ladunka) an authority to help me (or a firm sign or a proof). S. 17:80

(He has made it) Straight to give warning (to the disbelievers) of a severe punishment from Him (min ladunhu), and to give glad tidings to the believers (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism), who work righteous deeds, that they shall have a fair reward (i.e. Paradise). S. 18:2

(Remember) when the young men fled for refuge (from their disbelieving folk) to the Cave, they said: “Our Lord! Bestow on us mercy from Yourself (min ladunka), and facilitate for us our affair in the right way!” S. 18:10

Then they found one of Our slaves, unto whom We had bestowed mercy from Us, and whom We had taught knowledge from Us (min ladunna). S. 18:65

“And Verily! I fear my relatives after me, since my wife is barren. So give me from Yourself (min ladunka) an heir,” S. 19:5

And (made him) sympathetic to men as a mercy (or a grant) from Us (min ladunna), and pure from sins [i.e. Yahya (John)] and he was righteous, S. 19:13

Thus We relate to you (O Muhammad) some information of what happened before. And indeed We have given you from Us (min ladunna) a Reminder (this Qur’an). S. 20:99

And verily, you (O Muhammad) are receiving the Qur’an from the One (min ladun), All-Wise, All-Knowing. S. 27:6

And they say: “If we follow the guidance with you, we would be snatched away from our land.” Have We not established for them a secure sanctuary (Makkah), to which are brought fruits of all kinds, a provision from Ourselves (min ladunna), but most of them know not. S. 28:57

And here’s a place where it is used in reference to Moses:

[Musa (Moses)] said: “If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company, you have received an excuse from me (min ladunnee).” S. 18:76

With the foregoing in perspective, pay close attention to all the various ways that Muslim translators have rendered Q. 21:17:

[for,] had We willed to indulge in a pastime, We would indeed have produced it from WITHIN Ourselves – if such had been Our will at all!19

19 Lit., “if We had [ever] willed to do so”: meaning that, had God ever willed to “indulge in a pastime” (which, being almighty and self-sufficient, He has no need to do), He could have found it within His Own Self, without any necessity to create a universe which would embody His hypothetical – and logically inconceivable – will to “please Himself”, and would thus represent a “projection”, as it were, of His Own Being. In the elliptic manner of the Qur’an, the above passage amounts to a statement of God’s transcendence. (Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’an; bold, capital and italicized emphasis mine)

If We wanted We would have taken some diversion. We would take it to Ourselves from that which PROCEEDS FROM Our Presence if We had been ones who do so. Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar

If We had wanted to adopt it as a pastime, We would have adopted it WITHIN Our very presence, had We ever done so. T.B.Irving

If We had wished for a pastime, We could have found it WITHIN Us– if We had wished for any such thing. Abdel Haleem

Had We wished to have some amusement, We would have derived it from WITHIN Ourselves, if at all. Mohammad Shafi

If We had wished to find a pastime, We could have found it IN Our presence – if We ever did. Pickthall

had We desired to take to Us a diversion We would have taken it to Us from Ourselves, had We done aught. Arberry

Had it been our wish to find a pastime, we had surely found it IN ourselves; – if to do so had been our will. Rodwell

What this shows is that the Quran is expressly stating that whatever Allah needs to keep himself entertained shall be found within himself, within his very own being.

Herein lies the problem.

According to the Muslim expositors, Q. 21:17 is referring to Allah’s ability to take to himself a wife or a child from among the angels and houris of paradise if he so chooses:

Had We desired to find some diversion that which provides diversion in the way of a partner or a child We would have found it with Ourselves from among the beautiful-eyed houris or angels were We to do so. But We did not do so thus We never desired it. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; bold emphasis mine)

Then Allah revealed the following, when they said that the angels are Allah’s daughters: (If We had wished to find a pastime) if We wished to have daughters; and it is said that this means: if We wished to have a wife; and it is also said that this means: if We wished to have children, (We could have found it in Our presence) from Us from among the maidens of Paradise (if We ever did) and We will never do this. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs; bold emphasis mine)

Yet this means that these spirit beings originate from within Allah himself, from his very own being, and are not external to him. As such they are not creatures but emanations which proceed out from within his own nature. Note the logic behind the Quran’s assertion:

  • Allah is self-existent since he possesses within his own being everything that he needs, making him independent from creation.
  • As such, if Allah wanted to find a pastime such as taking a wife or having a child he doesn’t need to do so by looking to his creation. Rather, Allah can acquire a spouse or an offspring from within himself.
  • And yet any consort he so desired would be taken from the houris, and any son he wished to have would be taken from the angels.
  • This means that these houris and angels must have originated from Allah’s very own essence; otherwise, Allah is contradicting himself if they were not beings that proceeded from his own nature since this would suggest that he does need creation in order to pass the time.

The implication of all this is that Allah eternally consists of a host of male and female spirit entities, which further accounts for why Allah in the Quran is consistently speaking in the plural. The plural pronouns, verbs, adjectives, etc., are not instances of the plural of majesty or royal plural but are rather clear cut proof that Allah is a divine corporation composed of multiple spirit beings.

Muslims you have a problem!
Further Reading

The Quran’s Divine Corporation: Unveiling the Reason Why Allah Speaks in the Plural

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