CHRISTIAN COMMENTARY ON THE QURAN: Q. 33

In this first post I will be publishing the commentary I did on specific verses of the individual surahs of the Quran. I will be employing the english version of the Quran by Edwin Palmer.

I start with Quran 33.

33:1: O thou prophet! fear Allah and obey not the misbelievers and hypocrites; verily, Allah is ever knowing, wise!

Here is another passage that rebukes, and even threatens, Muhammad for displaying a willingness to compromise with the disbelievers. Muhammad is repeatedly being censured throughout the Quran for making such mistakes and slips (cf. see Q. 5:67; 9:43; 10:94; 17:73-75; 69:43-47; 80:1-10, and the subsequent notes found there).

33:5: Call them by their fathers’ names; that is more just in Allah’s sight; but if ye know not their fathers, then they are your brothers in religion and your clients. There is no crime against you for what mistakes ye make therein; but what your hearts do purposely-but Allah is ever forgiving and merciful.

The Muslim expositors and Islamic traditions contend that vv. 4-5 were composed for the specific purpose of abolishing the practice of adoption. The reason why Muhammad decided to do away with adoption was directly due to the criticisms he had been receiving for marrying his adopted son’s divorcee:

Narrated Abdullah bin Umar:
We used not to call Zaid bin Haritha the freed slave of Allah’s Apostle except Zaid bin Muhammad till the Qur’anic Verse was revealed: “Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers. That is more than just in the Sight of Allah.” (33.5) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 305 http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=60&translator=1&start=0&number=305)

For additional information on this subject please see the notes for Q. 33:37 and 40.

33:6: The prophet is nearer of kin to the believers than themselves, and his wives are their mothers. And blood relations are nearer in kin to each other by the Book of Allah than the believers and those who fled; only your doing kindness to your kindred, that is traced in the Book.

According to the Muslim sources, this passage contained an additional clause which read, “and Muhammad is their father.” This reading is attested by such renowned companions and Quranic memorizers as Abdullah ibn Masud and Ubay b. Kabb, two of the four men whom Muhammad himself ordered his followers to learn the Quran from. What this shows is that, contrary to the Muslim assertion, the text of the Islamic scripture has not been perfectly preserved, but has in fact suffered corruption to some extent since there are missing verses and chapters, as the Muslims sources plainly attest.   

33:7: And when we took of the prophets their compact, from thee and from Noah, and Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus the son of Mary, and took them a rigid compact,

This is one of the primary passages which has led Muslim scholars to label these particular prophets, “the messengers of strong will” (ulul ‘azmi). They are said to be the greatest all of the prophets and messengers, with Muhammad being considered the greatest of them all. However, such an assertion clearly contradicts passages such as Q. 2:285 which expressly state that Muslims are not to make a distinction between any of the prophets and messengers, or elevate some of them over the others. 

33:21: Ye have in the Apostle of Allah a good example’ for him who hopes for Allah and the last day, and who remembers Allah much.

As we have seen throughout this Quran commentary, and as we shall continue to see here, Muhammad was anything but a good example for anyone to follow. Yet sadly, passages such as this one have caused many Muslims to study Muhammad’s life in order to become more like him. This creates a problem for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, since Muhammad left a legacy of misery and destruction for countless numbers of people throughout the centuries. There is one however, who is worthy to emulate, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ since, unlike Muhammad, he came to bring life, peace joy and love:

“When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.’” Matthew 8:14-17 New International Version (NIV)

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’” Matthew 9:35-38 NIV

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.’ Jesus replied, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.’ We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,’ they answered. Bring them here to me,’ he said.And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.” Matthew 14:13-21

“As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him.Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ Jesus stopped and called them. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked. ‘Lord,’ they answered, ‘we want our sight.’ Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.” Matthew 20:29-34

“Therefore Jesus said again, ‘Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’” John 10:7-10 NIV

“It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘No,’ said Peter, ‘you shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus answered, ‘Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.’For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them. ‘You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.’” John 13:1-15 NIV

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 NIV

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

All who would therefore seek to be like him will also be agents and harbingers of life, peace, joy, and love. In the words of the blessed Apostle Paul:

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NIV

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV

33:33: And stay still in your houses and show not yourselves with the ostentation of the ignorance of yore; and be steadfast in prayer, and give alms, and obey Allah and his Apostle; — Allah only wishes to take away from you the horror as people of His House and to purify you thoroughly.

This passage was composed in order to prevent Muhammad’s wives in particular, and Muslim women in general, from leaving their homes without the permission of their husbands. The following quotations come from Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri’s Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law In Arabic English Text, Commentary And Appendices edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller (Amana Publications, Beltsville Maryland, revised edition 1994). It is one of the more respected, classical works in Islamic theology. This massive tome contains the fundamentals of Islamic jurisprudence, which was compiled by the great 13th century hadith scholar and jurisprudent Imam Nawawi, and others. The readers should keep in mind the fact that this work was not written with a Western audience in view. Imam Nawawi wanted to produce a book on Islamic law that was precise, and accurate, one that taught true Islamic values, specifically for a Muslim audience.

Here is what the manual says in section m10.3-4, p. 538:

(A: A husband may permit his wife to leave the house for a lesson in Sacred Law, for invocation of Allah (dhikr), to see her female friends, or to go to any place in the town. A woman may not leave the city without her husband or a member of her marriageable kin (def: m6.2) accompanying her, unless the journey is obligatory, like the hajj. It is unlawful for her to travel otherwise, and unlawful for her husband to allow her to.) (n: In the Hanafi school, it is not unlawful for her to travel beyond the city limits without a husband or member of her unmarriageable kin unless the distance to her intended destination exceeds ca. 77 km./ 48 mi. (al-Lubub fi sharh al-Kitab) (y88), 1.105).)

The husband may forbid his wife to leave the home (O: because of the hadith related by Bayhaqi that the Prophet said,

“It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to allow someone into her husband’s house if he is opposed, or to go out if he is averse”).

But if one of her relatives dies, it is preferable to let her leave to visit them. (Bold and italicized emphasis mine)

And in section m10.12 it says:

(2) It is not lawful for a wife to leave the house except by permission of her husband, though she may do so without permission when there is a pressing necessity. Nor may a wife permit anyone to enter her husband’s home unless he agrees, even their unmarriageable kin. Nor may she be alone with a nonfamily –member male, under any circumstances. (Ibid., p. 541)

It also states in section p.42.2 that:

The Prophet said:

(1) “Allah will not look at a woman who is ungrateful to her husband, while unable to do without him.”

(2) “When a man calls his wife to bed and she will not come, and he spends the night angry with her, the angels curse her until morning.”

(3) “It is not lawful for a woman to fast when her husband is present, save by his leave. Nor to permit anyone into his house except with his permission.”

(4) Whoever leaves her husband’s house [A: without his permission], the angels curse her until she returns or repents.”

(Khalil Nahlawi:) It is a condition for the permissibility of her going out (dis: m10.3-4) that she take no measures to enhance her beauty, and that her figure is concealed or altered to a form unlikely to draw looks from men or attract them. Allah most High says,

“Remain in your homes and do not display your beauty as women did in pre-Islamic period of ignorance” (Koran 33:33). (Ibid., p. 682; bold emphasis mine)

What this essentially means is that women are basically prisoners in their own homes, since they do not have the freedom to leave their domiciles as the men do. This again shows that Islam not only places females beneath the males, it also classifies them as property or possessions that the men own and command. See the commentary to Q. 2:222-223, 228, 3:14 and 4:34 for further details.

And regarding praying at the local mosque, this same manual exhorts men to do so but advises women not to!

It is better for women to pray at home than at the mosque (A: whether they are young or old). It is offensive for an attractive or young woman to come to the mosque and pray (0: or for her husband to permit her), though not offensive for women who are not young or attractive when this is unlikely to cause temptation. (N: The author’s words here must be interpreted in the light of the following details: If a woman’s going to group prayer or elsewhere will definitely lead to temptation between the sexes, it is unlawful for her to go. If such temptation can be definitely prevented, her going to the group prayer remains sunna, as is attested to by the hadiths that have reached us on the subject. If temptation is feared but not certain to occur, her going becomes offensive. Whether such temptation is likely to occur is something that differs with different times, places, and people. An old woman is not like a young one, nor a righteous society like one in which temptation between the sexes is the rule; nor is a special prayer place set aside for women at the mosque like a prayer place which they share with men. This is why ‘A’isha said,

“Had the Prophet seen what women do now, he would have forbidden them the mosque as the women of Bani Isra’il were forbidden.”

A hadith reported by Bukhari and Muslim. (Ibid., f12.4, pp. 171-172)

The so-called sound hadiths further add:

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:
The Prophet said, “If your women ask permission to go to the mosque at night, allow them.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 12, Number 824 http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=12&translator=1&start=0&number=824)

Narrated Ibn Umar:
One of the wives of Umar (bin Al-Khattab) used to offer the Fajr and the ‘Isha’ prayer in congregation in the Mosque. She was asked why she had come out for the prayer as she knew that Umar disliked it, and he has great ghaira (self-respect). She replied, “What prevents him from stopping me from this act?” The other replied, “The statement of Allah’s Apostle: ‘Do not stop Allah’s women-slave from going to Allah s Mosques’ prevents him.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 13, Number 23 http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=13&translator=1&start=0&number=23)

Notice that wives need to ask their husbands whether they can go to mosque, and how Umar disliked the fact that Allah permitted women to pray in the mosques.

The foregoing leads us to ask the following questions: Why would women need permission to enter the house of God at night? Do men also need their wives’ permission? And where does God’s true Word, the Holy Bible, forbid women from entering God’s house? Furthermore, why should women sit behind the men while in the mosques? Finally, if Muhammad would forbid women from entering the mosque based on things that they were doing then what about the evils committed by men? Shouldn’t they have also been warned of being banished from God’s house? Or are women the only ones that do what is evil in God’s sight?

33:36: It is not for a believing man or for a believing woman, when Allah and His Apostle have decided an affair, to have the choice in that affair; and whoso rebels against Allah and His Apostle has erred with an obvious error.

According to the Muslim sources, Muhammad composed this verse in order to force his first cousin Zaynab bint Jash to marry his adopted son Zayd b. Haritha. When she initially refused, Muhammad recited this command telling her and the rest of the believers that none of them have any so in any matter or situation once Allah and Muhammad have made up their minds. What makes this rather ironic is that Muhammad eventually started to lust after Zaynab, which eventually led to his adopted son divorcing her in order to allow for his adoptive father to take her as a wife:

And it is not [fitting] for any believing man or believing woman, when God and His Messenger have decided on a matter, to have (read takūna or yakūna) a choice in their matter, in contravention of the decision of God and His Messenger. This [verse] was revealed regarding ‘Abd Allāh b. Jahsh and his sister Zaynab, whose hand the Prophet had asked for in marriage, but meaning on behalf of Zayd b. Hāritha. They were loathe to this [proposal] when they found out [that it was on the latter’s behalf], for they had thought that the Prophet wanted to marry her himself. But afterwards they consented because of the [following part of the] verse: And whoever disobeys God and His Messenger has certainly strayed into manifest error. Thus the Prophet gave her in marriage to Zayd. Then on one occasion he [the Prophet] caught sight of her and felt love for her, whereafter [when he realised that] Zayd lost his affection for her and so said to the Prophet, ‘I want to part with her’. But the Prophet said to him, ‘Retain your wife for yourself’, as God, exalted be He, says:

(Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Q. 33:36: http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=33&tAyahNo=36&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2; bold emphasis mine)

And:

And when (idh is dependent because of [an implied preceding] udhkur, ‘mention [when]’) you said to him to whom God had shown favour, by [guiding him to] Islam, and to whom you [too] had shown favour: by manumitting him — this was Zayd b. Hāritha, who had been a prisoner of war before [the coming of] Islam (in the period of al-jāhiliyya). The Messenger of God purchased him before his call to prophethood, and then manumitted him and adopted him as his son — ‘Retain your wife for yourself and fear God’, before divorcing her. But you had hidden in your heart what God was to disclose, [what] He was to manifest of your love for her and of [the fact] that should Zayd part with her you would marry her, and you feared people, would say, ‘He has married his son’s wife!’, though God is worthier that you should fear Him, in all things, so take her in marriage and do not be concerned with what people say. Zayd subsequently divorced her and her [obligatory] waiting period was completed. God, exalted be He, says: So when Zayd had fulfilled whatever need he had of her, We joined her in marriage to you — the Prophet consummated his marriage with her without [the customary] permission [from her legal guardian] and gratified the Muslims with [a feast of] bread and meat — so that there may not be any restriction for the believers in respect of the wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have fulfilled whatever wish they have of them. And God’s commandment, that which He has decreed, is bound to be realised. (Ibid., Q. 33:37: http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=33&tAyahNo=37&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2; bold emphasis mine)

All of this shows that Muhammad’s deity forced Zaynab to marry Zayd even though he knew full well that he was going to cause his messenger to lust after her, and then subsequently force Zayd to divorce his wife in order to allow Muhammad to have her for himself. See the notes to vv. 5, 37 and 40 for additional details.

This leads us to the second problem with this text. Here Muhammad places himself on the same level as his deity by making his decision identical to the decision of Allah. In so doing, Muhammad virtually made himself a partner with his lord in all matters of life, and was therefore guilty of committing the sin of shirk, which the Quran says is the one crime that Allah will never forgive. See the note to v. 1 as well as Q. 2:22, 4:48 and 116 for more on this issue of shirk.

33:37: And when thou didst say to him Allah had shown favour to and thou hadst shown favour to, ‘Keep thy wife to thyself and fear Allah;’ and thou didst conceal in thy soul what Allah was about to display; and didst fear men, though Allah is more deserving that thou shouldst fear Him; and when Zayd had fulfilled his desire of her we did wed thee to her that there should be no hindrance to the believers in the matter of the wives of their adopted sons when they have fulfilled their desire of them: and so Allah’s bidding to be done.

Pay careful attention to the plain statements of the above text. Muhammad was hiding within himself what Allah was supposedly going to bring to light, namely that Muhammad was to marry his adopted son’s wife. This means that even before the divorce occurred Allah had already caused Muhammad to desire a married woman, and that it was Allah who then caused Zayd to divorce his wife so that Muhammad could then marry her. No wonder Muhammad feared what men would think of him. Noted Muslim historian and expositor al-Tabari provides the historical background that led to the “revelation” of this passage:

The Messenger of God came to the house of Zayd b. Harithah. (Zayd was always called Zayd b. Muhammad.) Perhaps the Messenger of God missed him at that moment, so as to ask, “Where is Zayd?” He came to his residence to look for him but did not find him. Zaynab bt. Jash, Zayd’s wife, rose to meet him. Because she was dressed only in a shift, the Messenger of God turned away from her. She said: “He is not here, Messenger of God. Come in, you who are as dear to me as my father and mother!” The Messenger of God refused to enter. Zaynab had dressed in haste when she was told “the Messenger of God is at the door.” She jumped up in haste and excited the admiration of the Messenger of God, so that he turned away murmuring something that could scarcely be understood. However, he did say overtly: “Glory be to God the Almighty! Glory be to God, who causes the hearts to turn!

When Zayd came home, his wife told him that the Messenger of God had come to his house. Zayd said, “Why didn’t you ask him to come in?” He replied, “I asked him, but he refused.” “Did you hear him say anything?” he asked. She replied, “As he turned away, I heard him say: ‘Glory be to God the Almighty! Glory be to God, who causes hearts to turn!’”

So Zayd left, and having come to the Messenger of God, he said: “Messenger of God, I have heard that you came to my house. Why didn’t you go in, you who are as dear to me as my father and mother? Messenger of God, perhaps Zaynab has excited your admiration, and so I will separate myself from her.” Zayd could find no possible way to [approach] her after that day. He would come to the Messenger of God and tell him so, but the Messenger of God would say to him, “Keep your wife.” Zayd separated from her and left her, and she became free.

While the Messenger of God was talking with ‘A’isha, a fainting overcame him. When he was released from it, he smiled and said, “Who will go to Zaynab to tell her the good news, saying that God has married her to me?” Then the Messenger of God recited: “And when you said unto him on whom God has conferred favor and you have conferred favor, ‘Keep your wife to yourself .’”- and the entire passage.

According to ‘A’isha, who said: “I became very uneasy because of what we heard about her beauty and another thing, the greatest and loftiest of matters – what God had done for her by giving her in marriage. I said she would boast of it over us.” (The History of Al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, translated by Michael Fishbein [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany, NY 1997], Volume VIII, pp. 2-3; bold emphasis mine)

Al-Tabari went on to record the following:

According to Ibn ‘Umar [al-Waqidi] – ‘Abdallah b. ‘Amir al-Aslami – Muhammad b. Yahya b. Habban: The Prophet came to Zayd b. Harithah’s house looking for him. Zayd was [at that time] called Zayd b. Muhammad, and the Prophet sometimes would miss him [after] a time and would say, “Where is Zayd?” [Once] he went to Zayd’s house but did not find him [there]. Zaynab rose toward him and said, “Come here, O Messenger of God,” but he turned away, muttering something unintelligible, except the words “Praised be God the Great, praised be God, who turns the hearts.” When Zayd came home his wife told him that the Prophet had come to his house. Zayd asked, “Didn’t you ask him to come in?” She said “I proposed it to him but he declined.” Zayd asked, “Did you hear him say anything?” She said: “When he turned away I heard him say something I did not understand, and I heard him say ‘Praised be God the Great, praised be God who turns the hearts.'” Zayd left [his house] and went to the Prophet. He said: “O Messenger of God, I heard that you came to my house. Why didn’t you come in? O Messenger of God, may my father and mother be your ransom! Perhaps [the problem is] that you like Zaynab? In that case, I shall divorce her.” The Prophet said, “Keep your wife.” [But] Zayd could not touch her [after that]. He would come to the Prophet and tell him [about it], and the latter would say, “Keep your wife,” and Zayd would say, “O Messenger of God, I shall divorce her,” and the Prophet would say, “Keep your wife.” Zayd divorced her [all the same] and abstained from her, and she became lawful [for marriage]. [One day], while talking to ‘A’ishah, the Prophet fainted. On regaining consciousness he smiled and said, “Who will go to Zaynab to bring her the glad tidings that God from above gave her to me in marriage?” The Prophet [then] recited, “Recall when thou wert saying to him upon whom Allah bestowed favor and upon whom thou didst bestow favor.” ‘A’ishah narrated: I was upset by both near and remote troubles, having heard of Zaynab’s beauty. What was more, the greatest and noblest of all things happened to her, as God from heaven gave her in marriage. I said [to myself] “She is going to boast of it to us.”… (Ibid., pp. 180-181; bold emphasis mine)

There are major problems with this set up, not the least of which are the moral ramifications of this incident. The God of the Holy Bible, Yahweh Elohim, has this to say about those who have desires for married women:

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. ” Matthew 5:27-28 Authorized King James Version (AV)

Therefore, by lusting after a married women Muhammad was guilty of committing adultery before the one true God of all.

Secondly, the story from al-Tabari candidly acknowledges that Muhammad saw Zaynab and thought she was beautiful, proving that Muhammad lusted after a married woman in his heart. The fact that he then went ahead and married the divorcee, instead of overcoming his sinful desires, makes both Muhammad and Zaynab adulterers in the eyes of the true God revealed in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth:

“It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: but I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” Matthew 5:31-32 AV

According to the Lord Jesus, Zayd had no grounds for divorcing Zaynab, since neither party had committed adultery, and the marriage was therefore still binding when Muhammad took her to bed. Thus, no matter what reason Muslims come up with to excuse their prophet, the moral problem still remains.

Thirdly, shortly after this incident Muhammad abolished the institution of adoption altogether, which means that his marriage to his adopted son’s divorcee was utterly pointless. We will have more to say concerning this issue in our discussion to v. 40.

33:40: Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but the Apostle of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets; for Allah all things doth know!

The Muslim commentators claim that this text was composed to silence the unbelievers’ condemnation of Muhammad for marrying his adopted son’s wife. Muhammad was very embarrassed and became quite agitated by the disbelievers’ accusation and so decided to abolish adoption altogether:

Yet in so doing, Muhammad made the problem far worse. In the first place, v. 37 says that the reason why Muhammad took the divorcee of his adopted son was because he was going to set a precedence for other adoptive fathers to do likewise in cases where their adopted sons also end up divorcing their spouses. However, seeing that Muhammad did away with this very loving and humane institution, his marriage to Zaynab becomes absolutely meaningless. After all, there was no point in marrying her as an example for others to follow suit when shortly afterwards he was going to do away with adoption altogether.

What this basically means is that Allah himself personally caused Muhammad to have desires for a married woman, specifically for his adopted son’s wife. Allah even led Muhammad’s son to divorce his wife so that Muhammad could then marry her. The reason why Allah supposedly did this was for the purpose of permitting others to also marry their adopted sons’ former wives. Yet later on, Allah forbids the adoption of children and does not allow any one to be called the child of someone other than his/her biological father. Therefore, Muhammad’s marriage to Zaynab was unnecessary since Muslims have no chance of ever marrying the former wives of their adopted children, seeing that there is no more adoption in Islam.

The foregoing raises insurmountable problems that Muslims need to face. Since they believe that Allah knows all things, this means that they must accept the fact that Allah already knew beforehand that he was going to abolish the practice of adoption. Why, then, did he commission the divorce between Zayd and Zaynab, so as to allow Muhammad to marry the latter as a way of showing other Muslims that this is an acceptable practice, when he already knew in advance that he would prohibit adoption altogether? Isn’t it rather obvious that Muhammad needed justification for marrying his adopted son’s wife, his daughter-in-law, after having caused a rift in the marriage due to his adulterous desires for Zaynab, which then led to the couple divorcing?

Furthermore, since the Quran is supposed to be the uncreated speech of Allah this implies that the permission to marry a person’s adopted son’s divorcee, and the command to do away with adoption, have always been an integral part of this eternal revelation. This either means that Allah had already predestined for all this to happen, or that Allah’s speech is directly dependent upon Muhammad’s personal affairs and circumstances. If the former is true then are we supposed to actually believe that the Muslim deity had nothing better to do than to ordain beforehand that one of his creatures would inevitably commit adultery and wreck someone’s marriage in the process, long before any of the parties involved came into being? After all, it was Allah who decided to put it in Muhammad’s heart to desire a married woman, and who also chose beforehand to cause Zayd to divorce his wife for the specific purpose of permitting his “messenger” to marry her. Does the true God really cause people to lust after married women and commit adultery in the process?

The problems are far from over for Muslims. For instance, some Muslims contend that the abolishment of this age-old practice was a positive improvement for the adopted persons. They assert that adopted children are robbed of their real identify, since they are raised to believe that they are truly the children of the household in which they are raised. They further assert that when such children realize the truth they suffer much disappointment and grief. As such, these Muslims argue that the adoptive process only benefits the selfish gain of the adoptive parents.

It is apparent that those Muslims who reason this way haven’t truly reflected that deeply over this issue. To begin with, what if the adopted child, after knowing the truth, still desires to view his/her adopted parents as family? Can s/he then call them “mom” and “dad”? Are the adoptive parents allowed to address him/her as “son/daughter”? What if the child’s real parents are dead and hence has no family identity outside of the one given to him/her by the adopting family?

Furthermore, do all adopted children really feel pain and disappointment after knowing the truth about their situation? What about all the adopted children who have actually become better due to being adopted by loving couples? And what about the possible disappointments adopted children face after discovering who their real families are? For instance, what if a child discovers that his/her real biological mother was raped and that is how s/he was conceived? Would the child feel good about himself/herself knowing that s/he was a by-product of rape?

Moreover, Muslims believe that in Pre-Islamic times men use to bury their infant daughters alive. What if someone discovered the infant and took her in as his own child and later the child wants to find her real parents? How would such a child feel knowing that her real father deserted her to die? Would this make her feel happy and proud to have such parents? Finally, what if the only children a husband and wife can ever have are the ones they adopt, such as in the case of barren couples?

This basically means that Islam robs parents of the privilege of having adopted children that they can love as their own since the Quran disallows Muslims from granting adopted children the same status as biological ones. This also means that a barren wife and her husband can never have the privilege of hearing a child call them “mom” or “dad,” just because Allah does not allow for adoption due to what his supposed messenger did in marrying the divorced wife of his adopted son.

The fact is that there have been and continue to be countless numbers of Muslim couples and orphaned or abandoned children who have been or shall be robbed of experiencing the joy and privilege of having a loving family, all because of Muhammad’s selfish, adulterous desires which led to the complete abolishment of adoption.

Contrast this to the true God revealed in the Holy Bible who loves adoption so much that he has freely chosen to adopt countless numbers of individuals to be a part of his spiritual family forever:

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:14-17 NIV

“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” Galatians 4:4-7 NIV

33:43: He it is who prays for you and His angels too, to bring you forth out of the darkness into the light, for He is merciful to the believers.

It is rather remarkable that this verse states that Allah prays for the believers much like the angels do. The translator of this English version of the Quran, the late Edwin Henry Palmer, included a rather interesting footnote here explaining how the Quran employs the Arabic verb which is translated as “prays” here, namely salla:

145:1 The same word is used as is rendered ‘pray’ in all other passages in the Qur’ân, though the commentators interpret it here as meaning ‘bless.’ So, too, in the formula which is always used after Mohammed’s name, zalla ’llâhu ‘alâihi wa sallam, ‘may God bless and preserve him!’ is literally, ‘may God pray for him and salute him!’ (http://www.sacred-texts.com/isl/sbe09/033.htm#fn_186; bold and italicized emphasis mine)

The foregoing shows that the Muslim god actually prays and worships just like his creatures do, which is rather intriguing since one of the objections that Muslims often raise against Christ being God Incarnate is the fact that the NT documents depict him as praying to God the Father. Now if the Lord Jesus praying to the Father is taken as evidence that he cannot be God in the flesh, then Muslims must be consistent at this point and reject Allah from being God as well. See v. 56 for further problems with Allah praying and worshiping like the angels do.  

33:50: O thou prophet! verily, we make lawful for thee thy wives to whom thou hast given their hire, and what thy right hand possesses of the booty that Allah has granted thee and the daughters of thy paternal uncle and the daughters of thy paternal aunts, and the daughters of thy maternal uncle and the daughters of thy maternal aunts, provided they have fled with thee, and any believing woman if she give herself to the prophet, if the prophet desire to marry her; — a special privilege this for thee, above the other believers. We knew what we ordained for them concerning their wives and what their right hands possess, that there should be no hindrance to thee; and Allah is forgiving, merciful.

Even though Q. 4:3 says that a man can only have up to four wives, Muhammad on the other hand, allowed himself to have as many beautiful women that his lustful heart so desired. In fact, the Muslim scholars state that Allah granted Muhammad 16 privileges which he gave to no one else, including forcing a man to divorce his wife if Muhammad wanted her for himself:

And any believing woman who dedicates herself to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed (nikah) her; this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large).

As for what was granted and made lawful (by Allah) to the prophet they are 16 issues…

Second: To (forcefully) take a fifth of a fifth or just a fifth (of the spoils of war)…

Fourth: To take more than four women.

Fifth: To marry, yastankih (or have intercourse) with a woman who verbally pronounces her dedication (to the prophet).

Sixth: To marry, yastankih, without the presence (or permission) of a legal guardian.

Seventh: To marry, yastankih, without a dowry.

Eighth: To marry (and have intercourse) during a state of ritual consecration and purification.

Ninth: The annulment of an oath he may make to his wives.

Tenth: If Muhammad looks at a woman (and desires her) then it is necessary for her husband to divorce her and for Muhammad to marry her. Ibn al-Arabi said, “This is what the servant of the two holy mosques has also said, as was clear to the scholars from the story of Zaid which also had this meaning.”

Eleventh: That the prophet released Safiyyah (from her captured status) and he considered her release as her dowry.

Twelfth: To enter Mecca without being in a state of ritual purification.

Thirteenth: To fight in Mecca.

Fourteenth: That he is not inherited by anyone at all. This was mentioned in the oath of absolution for when a man approaches death due to illness, most of his possessions are taken away, so that he does not have more than a third left for him. But the possessions of the prophet remained for him, as is evidenced in the verse of inheritance and in Surat Maryam.

Fifteenth: His marriage is still considered effective after his death.

Sixteenth: If he divorces a woman she remains prohibited to everyone and may not be married (nikah) to someone else.

Yastankih comes from the word yan’kah. For it is said in different forms nakaha and istankaha just as it is said ajab and istajab… It is permissible to use the word istankaha to mean one whom requests marriage or one who requests sexual intercourse. (Translated from the Arabic text of Tafsir al-Qurtubi on Q. 33:50)

What makes this passage all the more baffling is that it is said to have abrogated v. 52, a text which came afterwards. One typically expects that a verse that came later would annul one which was composed earlier, not the other way around. See the comments to v. 52 for additional details.  

33:51: Put off whomsoever thou wilt of them and take to thyself whomsoever thou wilt, or whomsoever thou cravest of those whom thou hast deposed, and it shall be no crime against thee. That is nigher to cheering their eyes and that they should not grieve, and should be satisfied with what thou dost bring them all; but Allah knows best what is in their hearts; and Allah is knowing, clement.

Muhammad’s young child-bride made a rather astute observation when this passage was “revealed” to justify his desire to marry or have sex with as many beautiful women as he wanted:

Narrated Aisha:
I used to look down upon those ladies who had given themselves to Allah’s Apostle and I used to say, “Can a lady give herself (to a man)?” But when Allah revealed: “You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily).” (33.51) I said (to the Prophet), “I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 311 http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=60&translator=1&start=0&number=311)

Aisha also made another interesting comment, one that exposed her true feelings and the sadness she felt because of Muhammad’s conjugal favors and multiple marriages:

Narrated Muadha: ‘Aisha said, “Allah’s Apostle used to take the permission of that wife with whom he was supposed to stay overnight if he wanted to go to one other than her, after this Verse was revealed:–‘You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives) and you may receive any (of them) whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily).’” (33.51) I asked Aisha, “What did you use to say (in this case)?” She said, “I used to say to him, ‘If I could deny you the permission (to go to your other wives) I would not allow your favor to be bestowed on any other person.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 312 http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=60&translator=1&start=0&number=312)

Since Q. 4:3 expressly commands a man to take only one wife if he knows that he will not be able to deal justly if he marries more, and since Muhammad is reported to have said that a man that has failed to treat all his wives fairly and equitable will be dragging one of his sides on the judgment day,

“Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said… (Whoever has two wives and inclines to one of them (too much), will come on the Day of Resurrection with one of his sides dragging.)…” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 4:129 https://www.alim.org/quran/tafsir/ibn-kathir/surah/4/128/)

This means that Muhammad will come to his lord on the last day dragging his side, and shall stand condemned for failing to live up to his own standards. Muhammad not only took more than four wives, he also treated them unjustly since he favored some of them above others, which resulted in his wives feeling lonely and neglected. Consult the note to v. 53 for further examples of Muhammad’s unfair and unkind treatment of his wives.  

33:52: It is not lawful to thee to take women after (this), nor to change them for (other) wives, even though their beauty please thee; except what thy right hand possesses, for Allah is ever watchful over all.

Some Muslims claim that the above text forbade Muhammad from marrying any more wives. However, this explanation does nothing to refute the fact that Muhammad still had more than four wives and therefore failed to live up to his own instructions which he imposed on others. Furthermore, certain Muslim scholars have stated that this particular verse was actually abrogated by v. 50. Take, for example, what the renowned medieval Muslim expositor Ibn Kathir wrote concerning this specific text:

More than one of the scholars, such as Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Ibn Zayd, Ibn Jarir and others stated that this Ayah was revealed as a reward to the wives of the Prophet expressing Allah’s pleasure with them for their excellent decision in choosing Allah and His Messenger and the Home of the Hereafter, when the Messenger of Allah gave them the choice, as we have stated above. When they chose the Messenger of Allah their reward was that Allah restricted him to these wives, and forbade him to marry anyone else or to change them for other wives, even if he was attracted to their beauty – apart from slave-girls and prisoners of war, with regard to whom there was no sin on him. Then Allah lifted the restriction stated in this Ayah and permitted him to marry more women, but he did not marry anyone else, so that the favor of the Messenger of Allah towards them would be clear.

Imam Ahmad recorded that ‘A’ishah said: ‘The Messenger of Allah did not die until Allah permitted (marriage to other) women for him.’ It was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i in their Sunans. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Volume 8, Surat Al-Ahzab, Verse 51 to the end of Surat Ad-Dukhan, p. 21 https://www.alim.org/quran/tafsir/ibn-kathir/surah/33/52/; bold emphasis ours)

Ibn Kathir wrote elsewhere that,

When the wives made their choices to be his wives, was the Prophet … prohibited from divorcing them? The scholars suggested firmly that it was not forbidden; however, Allah … at first, denied him other women as a good reward to the Prophet’s wives (for they chose Allah, his Prophet and the Hereafter), then He … made it lawful for him … ‘Aisha … said: “Before his death, other women were lawful for him to marry” transmitted by Ashafi. (The Seerah of Prophet of Muhammad (S.A.W.), abridged by Muhammad Ali Al-Halabi Al-Athari [Al-Firdous Ltd., London, 2001: First Edition], Part II, pp. 99-100; bold emphasis mine)

As can be seen from Ibn Kathir’s statements, not only was Muhammad permitted to have sex with as many slave-girls and female captives of war he so desired, the prohibition to wed additional wives had been rescinded by Allah himself. No wonder that Muhammad’s child-bride is reported to have told her husband that she sensed that Muhammad’s lord seemed to be in the business of satisfying his messenger’s every wish and desire. See v. 51 to read Aisha’s statements.

And, as we noted earlier, what makes this all the more baffling is that v. 50 is said to have abrogated this passage, even though the former verse is supposed to have come first. What this means is that we now have a situation where an earlier passage cancels out a text that came afterwards. Here is what the late Iranian Muslim scholar Ali Dashti stated in regards to this rather strange situation:

“In Zamakhshari’s opinion, ‘A’esha’s words show that verse 52 was abrogated by custom and by verse 49 (‘O Prophet, We have made lawful for you …’). But an abrogating verse ought to come after the abrogated one. Nevertheless Soyuti, in his treatise on Qor’anic problems entitled ol-Etqan, maintains that in this case the earlier verse abrogated the later one.” (Dashti, 23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad [Mazda Publishers Costa Mesa, CA 1994; ISBN: 1568590296], p. 128; bold emphasis mine)

33:53: O ye who believe! do not enter the houses of the prophet, unless leave be given you, for a meal, — not watching till it is cooked! But when ye are invited, then enter; and when ye have fed, disperse, not engaging in familiar discourse. Verily, that would annoy the prophet and he would be ashamed for your sake, but Allah is not ashamed of the truth. And when ye ask them for an article, ask them from behind a curtain; that is purer for your hearts and for theirs. It is not right for you to annoy the prophet of Allah, nor to wed his wives after him ever; verily, that is with Allah a serious thing.

According to the Islamic sources, this passages was composed to address the problem of Muslims lingering too long at Muhammad’s homes where they mingled with his wives, and to censure some of them wanting to marry his widows after him: 

(O ye who believe! Enter not the dwellings of the Prophet for a meal) this verse was revealed concerning a group of believers who used to enter the rooms of the Prophet in the morning and evening and wait for the food to be served. They used to eat and speak with the wives of the Prophet. The Prophet did not like this but felt shy of these believers and could not tell them to stop coming to his rooms without permission, or ask them to leave once they were inside. But Allah forbade them from this, saying: O believers, do not enter the rooms of the Prophet without permission from the Prophet to come and eat (without waiting for the proper time) for the food to be ready, (unless permission be granted you) to come in. (But if ye are invited, enter, and, when, your meal is ended) when you have finished eating, (then disperse) then leave. (Linger not for conversation) with the wives of the Prophet. (Lo! That) coming in, sitting down and having conversation with the wives of the Prophet (would cause annoyance to the Prophet), (and he would be shy of (asking) you (to go)) or not to come in the first place; (but Allah is not shy of the Truth) Allah is not shy to command you to leave and not go in his rooms without his permission. (And when ye ask of them (the wives of the Prophet) anything) and when you speak with them, (ask it of them) speak with them (from behind a curtain. That is purer for your hearts and for their hearts) i.e. from doubts. (And it is not for you to cause annoyance to the Messenger of Allah) by entering his rooms without his permission and conversing with his wives, (nor that ye should ever marry his wives after him) after his death. This verse was revealed about Talhah Ibn ‘Ubaydullah who had in mind to marry ‘A’ishah after the death of the Prophet. (Lo! That) your open declaration and intention to marry the Prophet’s wives after his death (in Allah’s sight would be an enormity) it is an enormous sin which merits severe punishment. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=33&tAyahNo=53&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2; bold emphasis mine)

This raises a host of problems for the claim that the Islamic scripture is God’s revelation to mankind, and for the assertion that Muhammad was not only a mercy to creation but also an exemplar for others to emulate.

In the first place, since the Quran is supposed to be the uncreated word of Allah this means that Muhammad’s personal problems were an essential and intrinsic part of Allah’s eternal speech. As such, this either implies that these events in Muhammad’s life were foreordained to happen, or that Allah’s speech is dependent upon the actions of creatures such as Muhammad. If the latter is true then this means that Allah is a contingent being who depends on his creation to bring about his will and revelation to mankind. On the other hand, if the former is to be accepted then this would lead to the inevitable conclusion that it was the express will of Allah for Muslims to annoy Muhammad by overstaying their welcome at his homes where they freely mixed with his wives, as well as for wanting to marry some of them after Muhammad’s death.

Secondly, Muhammad’s jealousy basically led him to receive a supposed “revelation” from his lord, which expressly forbade his widows from ever remarrying. This meant that Muhammad’s wives were to remain alone for the rest of their lives with no husbands to care for them, or children of their own to love and nurture. When we take into consideration that some of Muhammad’s wives became widows in their early teens and lived for many decades afterwards, we can truly see just how merciless and cruel this prohibition turns out to be.

Take, for instance, the case of Aisha, Muhammad’s child-bride who was widowed at the age of eighteen:

‘A’isha reported that Allah’s Apostle married her when she was seven years old, and he was taken to his house as a bride when she was nine, and her dolls were with her; and when he (the Holy Prophet) died she was eighteen years old. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3311: http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=008&translator=2&start=0&number=3311)

According to the Muslim sources, Aisha was approximately 66 years old when she died in AD 678. The renowned Muslim scholar Al-Tabari wrote:

‘A’isha died in Ramadan 58/June-July 678…

According to Muhammad b. ‘Umar [al-Waqidi]: ‘A’ishah died on Tuesday night, the 17th of Ramadan 58/July 13, 678, and was buried the same night after the night prayer. She was then sixty-six years old. (The History of al-Tabari: Biographies of the Prophet’s Companions and Their Successors, translated by Ella Landau-Tasseron [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany, NY 1998], Volume XXXIX (39), p. 173)

This means that Aisha was to remain a childless widow, who basically remained a prisoner in her own home (cf. v. 33), till the day she died at the approximate age of 66.

In other words, Aisha was forced to live as a widow in her house for 47 years. Far from being an act of mercy, this was one of the worst curses a young maiden could ever experience in her life. To think that young girls such as Aisha never had the joy of raising their own children, or of having husbands to comfort them and meet all their needs for the rest of their lives, is truly sad to say the least.

Thus, far from being a mercy to mankind Muhammad turned out to be a curse that brought misery and pain for many people till this very day, including his own wives and companions.

Thirdly, Muhammad stands condemned by God’s revealed Word, the Holy Bible, which states:

“Do you not know, brothers – for I am speaking to men who know the law – that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.” Romans 7:1-3 NIV

“A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:39 NIV

33:56: Verily, Allah and His angels pray for the prophet. O ye who believe! pray for him and salute him with a salutation!

According to the Muslim expositors, Allah’s prayers for Muhammad consist of his praising him in the presence of the angels:

The Command to say Salah upon the Prophet

Al-Bukhari said: “Abu Al-`Aliyah said: ‘Allah’s Salah is His praising him before the angels, and the Salah of the angels is their supplication.’” Ibn `Abbas said: “They send blessings.” Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi said: “This was narrated from Sufyan Ath-Thawri and other scholars, who said: ‘The Salah of the Lord is mercy, and the Salah of the angels is their seeking forgiveness.’” There are Mutawatir Hadiths narrated from the Messenger of Allah commanding us to send blessings on him and how we should say Salah upon him. We will mention as many of them as we can, if Allah wills, and Allah is the One Whose help we seek… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir https://www.alim.org/quran/tafsir/ibn-kathir/surah/33/56/)

Muhammad isn’t the only human creature whom Allah magnifies:

The Meaning of Salah

Allah’s Salah means that He praises His servant before the angels, as Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Al-`Aliyah. This was recorded by Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi from Ar-Rabi` bin Anas from Anas. Others said: “Allah’s Salah means mercy.”’ It may be said that there is no contradiction between these two views. And Allah knows best. Salah from the angels means their supplication and seeking forgiveness for people, as Allah says…

(Those who bear the Throne and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord, and believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who believe (saying): “Our Lord! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who repent and follow Your way, and save them from the torment of the blazing Fire! Our Lord! And make them enter the `Adn Garden which you have promised them — and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their offspring! Verily, You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. And save them from the sins.”) (40:7-9) …

(that He may bring you out from darkness into light.) means, by means of His mercy towards you, His praise of you and the supplication of His angels for you, He brings you forth from the darkness of ignorance and misguidance into the light of guidance and certain faith. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 33:43: https://www.alim.org/quran/tafsir/ibn-kathir/surah/33/41/)

This not only shows that Allah prays alongside his angels, and therefore worships just like they do, it also signifies the fact that Allah is actually joining the angels in magnifying fallible human beings. As such, Allah is actually guilty of committing, and commanding others to commit, the unforgivable sin of shirk (cf. Q. 2:22; 4:48, 116), by permitting his human slaves to be praised and glorified alongside of him. 

33:57: Verily, those who annoy Allah and His Apostle, Allah will curse them in this world and the next, and prepare for them shameful woe!

See v. 36 for more on this issue of having to appease Muhammad together with his deity in order to obtain success and salvation.

33:61: Cursed wherever they are found, — taken and slain with slaughter!

This text anticipates Muhammad’s final orders to attack and subjugate the disbelievers through military expeditions until and unless they either decide to become Muslims or, in the case of Jews and Christians, pay the jizyah. See the explanatory notes found throughout surah 9 for additional details.

33::62 Allah’s sunna with those who have passed away before: and thou shalt never find in Allah’s sunna any alteration.

Consult the commentary to Q. 2:106 and 18:27 for the blatant contradiction that Allah does not alter or change his legislation and words.

On the day when their faces shall writhe in the fire they shall say, ‘O, would that we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Apostle!’

33:66: On the day when their faces shall writhe in the fire they shall say, ‘O, would that we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Apostle!’

See the explanation to v. 36 concerning the issue of having to obey Muhammad.

33:69: O ye who believe! be not like those who annoyed Moses; but Allah cleared him of what they said, and he was regarded in the sight of Allah.

As we have seen throughout this commentary, the Quran consistently fails to provide adequate details which would enable the readers to properly understand the meaning of specific passages, just as we find in this example. This means that we are again forced to turn to the ahadith and/or Muslim expositors in order to figure out what this text is trying to communicate. With that said, here is how Muhammad is reported to have explained this particular verse:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Apostle said, “(The Prophet) Moses was a shy person and used to cover his body completely because of his extensive shyness. One of the children of Israel hurt him by saying, ‘He covers his body in this way only because of some defect in his skin, either leprosy or scrotal hernia, or he has some other defect.’ Allah wished to clear Moses of what they said about him, so one day while Moses was in seclusion, he took off his clothes and put them on a stone and started taking a bath. When he had finished the bath, he moved towards his clothes so as to take them, but the stone took his clothes and fled; Moses picked up his stick and ran after the stone saying, ‘O stone! Give me my garment!’ Till he reached a group of Bani Israel who saw him naked then, and found him the best of what Allah had created, and Allah cleared him of what they had accused him of. The stone stopped there and Moses took and put his garment on and started hitting the stone with his stick. By Allah, the stone still has some traces of the hitting, three, four or five marks. This was what Allah refers to in his saying:– “O you who believe! Be you not like those Who annoyed Moses, But Allah proved his innocence of that which they alleged, And he was honorable In Allah’s Sight.” (33.69) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 616: http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=55&translator=1&start=0&number=616)

And:

Amongst the traditions narrated from Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah on the authority of Abu Huraira, the one is that Banu Isra’il used to take a bath naked, and they looked at the private parts of one another. Moses, however, took a bath alone (in privacy); and they said (tauntingly): By Allah, nothing prohibits Moses to take a bath along with us, but sacrotal hernia. He (Moses) once went for a bath and placed his clothes on a stone and the stone moved on with his clothes. Moses ran after it saying: O stone, my clothes, O stone, my clothes, and Banu Isra’il had the chance to see the private parts of Moses, and said: By Allah, Moses does not suffer from any ailment. The stone then stopped, till Moses had been seen by them, and he then took hold of his clothes and struck the stone. Abu Huraira said: By Allah, there are the marks of six or seven strokes made by Moses on the stone.  (Sahih Muslim, Book 003, Number 0669: http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=003&translator=2&start=0&number=0669)

Hammam b. Munabbih reported that Abu Huraira reported many ahadith from Allah’s Messenger and one, of them speaks that Allah’s Messenger is reported to have said: Banu Isra’il used to take bath (together) naked and thus saw private parts of one another, but Moses used to take bath alone (in privacy), and they said: By Allah, nothing prevents Moses to take bath along with us; but scrotal hernia. One day when he (Moses) was taking bath (alone) he placed his clothes upon a stone, but the stone began to move along with his clothes. Moses raced after it saying: My garment, stone; until (some of the people) of Banu Isra’il looked at the private parts of Moses, and they said: By Allah, there is no trouble with Moses. The stone stopped after he (Moses) had been seen. He took hold of his garments and struck the stone. Abu Huraira said: I swear by Allah that there were six or seven scars on the stone because of the striking of stone by Moses (peace be upon him). (Sahih Muslim, Book 030, Number 5849: http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=030&translator=2&start=0&number=5849#5849)

Finally:

O you who believe, do not behave, towards your Prophet, as did those who harmed Moses — when they would say, for example, ‘The only reason he does not wash with us is that he has an inflammation in his testicles’ — whereat God absolved him of what they alleged: when Moses placed his robe on a rock to go to wash, the rock hurtled away with it until it came to a halt amid a group of men from the Children of Israel. As Moses chased it and took his robe to cover himself, they saw that he had no such inflammation (udra is an inflammation of the testicle). And he was distinguished in God’s sight. An instance of our Prophet being subjected to hurt was when [on one occasion] while dividing up the spoils a man said to him, ‘This is a division that I do not want to please God!’, whereat the Prophet became angered and said, ‘May God have mercy upon Moses, for truly he was hurt with worse than this, but endured’ — reported by al-Bukhārī. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn: http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=33&tAyahNo=69&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2; bold emphasis mine)

What makes this rather ironic is that Muslim apologists often accuse the Holy Bible of containing pornographic language and/or highly unflattering depictions of God’s prophets, and use this objection as a reason for rejecting its inspiration. In light of this complaint one is left wondering why these same polemicists say very little concerning the pornographic imagery and shameful portrayal of the holy men of God found throughout their own sources. One would expect that these apologists would apply their objection consistently and therefore reject the Quran, along with the so-called sound narrations, for failing their own standard of decency and propriety. After all, there can’t be any thing more shameful and unflattering than asserting that one of the greatest prophets of God not only chased a stone, but did so while being completely naked in front of hundreds of thousands of individuals, including women and children—with Sahih Muslim making the explicit point of stating that these same people actually saw the private parts of Moses.

33:71: He will correct for you your works, and pardon you your sins; for he who obeys Allah and His Apostle has attained a mighty happiness.

See the note to v. 36 for a discussion concerning the problem with Muhammad linking obedience to him with obedience to Allah.

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