Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Christian Doctrine of Divine Sonship and Lahore Ahmadi Denial of Virgin Birth (Surah 6:101)

باسمك اللهم

اللهم صلى على سيدنا محمد

One of the objections against the Quran put forward by Christian apologists is that it has misrepresented the doctrine of the Trinity as taught by Christianity.

I have already answered, in a previous article, the objection that the Quran accuses Christians of believing that Mary is the third person of the Trinity.

Christians quote an Ayah of the Quran which according to them implies that they believe God has a wife:

بَدِیۡعُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ اَنّٰی یَکُوۡنُ لَہٗ وَلَدٌ وَّ لَمۡ تَکُنۡ لَّہٗ صَاحِبَۃٌ ؕ وَ خَلَقَ کُلَّ شَیۡءٍ ۚ وَ ہُوَ بِکُلِّ شَیۡءٍ عَلِیۡمٌ

The Originator of the heavens and the earth! How can He have a son when He has no consort, and when He has created everything and has knowledge of all things?

(Surah 6:101)

In light of this Ayah, it is also argued by some Christians that the Quran implies that the Christian doctrine of divine sonship of Jesus is biological or else such that it logically requires there to be a mother along with a father.

The simple answer to these objections is that the context of 6:101 clearly indicates that it is not a polemic against Christianity but against the Pagan Arabs. The preceding Ayah states:

وَ جَعَلُوۡا لِلّٰہِ شُرَکَآءَ الۡجِنَّ وَ خَلَقَہُمۡ وَ خَرَقُوۡا لَہٗ بَنِیۡنَ وَ بَنٰتٍۭ بِغَیۡرِ عِلۡمٍ ؕ سُبۡحٰنَہٗ وَ تَعٰلٰی عَمَّا یَصِفُوۡنَ

And they hold the jinn to be partners with Allah, although He created them; and they falsely ascribe to Him sons and daughters without any knowledge. Holy is He and exalted far above what they attribute to Him

(Surah 6:100)

The belief that the jinn are partners with Allah, and that He has sons and daughters, is specifically a Pagan Arab belief, so obviously the polemical refutation of this belief as it occurs in the proceeding Ayah is specifically a response to the Pagan Arabs and not necessarily the Christians. That the Pagans do ascribe a consort for Allah, and that their conception of God having sons and daughters is quite different from the standard Christian concept of the divine sonship of Jesus, must be acknowledged and therefore logically validates the answer given in 6:101 where children – sons and daughters – are negated for Allah because a female consort is negated for Allah.

Some misguided so-called Muslims who deny the virgin birth of Jesus, and assert that Joseph the Carpenter or someone else was Jesus’s biological father, also quote this Ayah to back up their argument. This is especially true of the Lahore Ahmadiyya sect, whose writers wrote books such as Birth of Jesus by Dr. Basharat Ahmad. In it he argues: “The absolute fixity of this particular law may be judged from the fact that the Qur’an advances it as a refutation against the Christian doctrine of the Divine sonship of Jesus: ‘How can there be a son to God while He has no mate?’ (6: 102). This again emphasises the law of procreation through pairs, so much so that even in the case of God it is not possible for a son to be born to Him unless He takes someone for His mate.” (p.2)

But as I have already demonstrated, 6:101 [which Dr. Basharat Ahmad references as 6:102 with the Basmalah numbered as an Ayah whereas I use the standard numbering system for the sake of convenience] is not, contrary to Dr. Basharat Ahmad’s premise, a refutation of the Christian doctrine of the divine sonship of Jesus. The fact is that the Pagan Arabs did ascribe a consort for Allah, and so 6:101 is a negation of that specific heresy and not a proof that there can be no exception to the general phenomenon that the birth of a human child requires the agency of both father and mother.

At most it could be argued based on 6:101 that children cannot be birthed through the agency of a father without a mother, and that is the polemic being employed against the Pagan Arabs who believed Allah had biological sons and daughters. If those Pagans said that Allah took a consort in order to have children, then it is denied that He has a consort, or if it is interpreted to mean that the Pagans ascribe such kind of children to Allah without Him having a consort, then it is rhetorically asked how He can have such kind of children without a consort.

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