Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Allah – The All Guessing and Hopeful One

Sam Shamoun

It is time to again to take a look at what the Quran really says about the nature of Allah, specifically his knowledge. In the following articles and blog post,

I took the common Muslim attacks against the Biblical depiction of God “repenting” or “changing his mind” and turned it against the Quran and ahadith to show the Islamic apologists what would happen if we were to apply their own criticisms against their respective beliefs. I therefore discussed some of the evidence from within the Quran which demonstrated that Allah doesn’t know everything and that he actually repents and changes his mind.

In this article I will seek to provide further proof that, contrary to the traditional Muslim view, the Islamic scripture does not portray the Islamic deity as an omniscient being in order to give these Muslim polemicists a taste of their own medicine.

To begin with, the Quran employs a specific term in regard to Allah’s knowledge of how the future will unfold which highlights his uncertainty and doubts concerning it:

 And when My servants question thee concerning Me -- I am near to answer the call of the caller, when he calls to Me; so let them respond to Me, and let them believe in Me; perhaps (laallahum) they will go aright. S. 2:186

And warn therewith those who fear they shall be mustered to their Lord; they have, apart from Allah, no protector and no intercessor; perhaps (laallahum) they will fear. S. 6:51

Say, 'He is able to send torment on you from above you and from beneath your feet, and to confuse you in sects, and to make some of you taste the violence of others.' See how we turn about the signs, that perhaps (laallahum) they may understand. S. 6:65

The righteous are not responsible for the utterances of those people, but it may help to remind them; perhaps (laallahum) they may be saved. S. 6:69 Khalifa

And We cut them up into nations in the earth, some of them righteous, and some of them otherwise; and We tried them with good things and evil, that perhaps (laallahum) they should return. S. 7:168

We provided them with the proofs and the scriptures. And we sent down to you this message, to proclaim for the people everything that is sent down to them, perhaps (laallahum) they will reflect. S. 16:44 Khalifa

And now verily We have caused the Word to reach them, that perhaps (laallahum) they may give heed. S. 28:51

Every sign we showed them was bigger than the one before it. We afflicted them with the plagues, perhaps (laallahum) they repent. S. 43:48 Khalifa

And verily We have destroyed townships round about you, and displayed Our revelation, that perhaps (laallahum) they might return. S. 46:27

If We had caused this Qur'an to descend upon a mountain, you verily have seen it humbled, rent asunder by the fear of Allah. Such similitudes do We coin for mankind that perhaps (laallahum) they may reflect. S. 59:21

Cf. Q. 2:187, 221; 6:154; 7:26, 94, 130, 164, 176; 8:57; 9:12, 122; 14:25; 20:113; 21:31, 58; 23:49; 28:43, 46; 30:41; 32:3, 21; 39:27-28; 43:28; 44:58.

In order to better appreciate the implications of this Arabic word notice how the following lexical source defines laallahum:

= Lam-Ayn-Lam = Perhaps; may be that; it is hoped; to be happy. It is used to denote either a state of hope or fear, whether that state pertains to the speaker or to the addressee or to someone else, expectation.   LL, V8, p: 265 (Project Root List)

The very fact that the author(s) would even use such a term to describe Allah’s wishes indicates that the s/he/they author(s) must have thought that Allah was actually uncertain about the future and could only hope that it would unfold according to his desires.

Moreover, that the author(s) felt that Allah could only hope and wish that things turned out his way also implies that s/he/they didn’t think that Allah really knows everything or that he has total control over the affairs of his creation.

To help the readers see how this word implies an imperfection in the knowledge of Allah here are a few verses which employ this term for others:

Joseph, you the always very truthful, give us your opinion/clarify for us in seven fat/fleshy cows, seven weak/bony/starved eat them (F), and seven green ears/spikes of wheat, barley etc. and others dry, maybe/perhaps I (la'alli) return to the people, maybe/perhaps (laallahum) they know. S. 12:46 Ahmed Ali

And he (Joseph) said to his youths/servants: "Put their (Joseph’s brothers) goods/merchandise in their packsaddles, maybe/perhaps (laallahum) they know (recognize) it when they returned to their family/people, maybe/perhaps (laallahum) they return." S. 12:62

And when a community among them said: “Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy or to punish with a severe torment?” (The preachers) said: “In order to be free from guilt before your Lord (Allah), and perhaps (laallahum) they may fear Allah.” S. 7:164 Hilali-Khan

Said they: Then bring him before the eyes of the people, perhaps (laallahum) they may bear witness. S. 21:61 Shakir

And they have taken besides Allah aliha (gods), hoping (laallahum) that they might be helped (by those so called gods). S. 36:74

No Muslim would deny that laallahum implies that the individuals in question were uncertain whether they would have their wishes and desires fulfilled. All of these folk could only hope that things would turn out the way they planned.  

And yet this is the very term which the Quran uses to describe how Allah hopes and wants!

Hence, the Islamic scripture likens Allah’s knowledge of the future to the knowledge possessed by imperfect finite beings since, much like them, Allah can only hope that events will unfold according to his will.

Does Allah know what he wills?

Another area in which Allah resembles finite creatures is in the use of the expression “if Allah/He wills.”

In the following verse Allah is supposedly speaking to his messenger, informing him that if Allah wills the latter will soon enter Mecca victoriously and securely:

Indeed Allah shall fulfil the true vision which He showed to His Messenger [i.e. the Prophet saw a dream that he has entered Makkah along with his companions, having their (head) hair shaved and cut short] in very truth. Certainly, you shall enter Al-Masjid al-Haram; if Allah wills (in shaa Allahu), secure, (some) having your heads shaved, and (some) having your head hair cut short, having no fear. He knew what you knew not, and He granted besides that a near victory. S. 48:27 Hilali-Khan

This verse was “revealed” in conjunction with Muhammad receiving a vision that he would enter Mecca to perform umra (lesser pilgrimage).

However, on their way there they were met with a Meccan deputation barring the Muslims from completing their journey. This meeting then led to the signing of the treaty of Hudaibiya.

The following is taken from Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 50, Number 891 (*):

“When Suhail bin Amr came, the Prophet said, ‘Now the matter has become easy.' Suhail said to the Prophet 'Please conclude a peace treaty with us.' So, the Prophet called the clerk and said to him, 'Write: By the Name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful." Suhail said, 'As for "Beneficent," by Allah, I do not know what it means. So write: By Your Name O Allah, as you used to write previously.' The Muslims said, 'By Allah, we will not write except: By the Name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.' The Prophet said, 'Write: By Your Name O Allah.' Then he dictated, 'This is the peace treaty which Muhammad, Allah's Apostle has concluded.' Suhail said, 'By Allah, if we knew that you are Allah's Apostle we would not prevent you from visiting the Kaba, and would not fight with you. So, write: 'Muhammad bin Abdullah.' The Prophet said, 'By Allah! I am Apostle of Allah even if you people do not believe me. Write: Muhammad bin Abdullah.' (Az-Zuhri said, 'The Prophet accepted all those things, as he had already said that he would accept everything they would demand if it respects the ordinance of Allah, (i.e. by letting him and his companions perform 'Umra.)') The Prophet said to Suhail, 'On the condition that you allow us to visit the House (i.e. Ka'ba) so that we may perform Tawaf around it.' Suhail said, 'By Allah, we will not (allow you this year) so as not to give chance to the Arabs to say that we have yielded to you, but we will allow you next year.' SO, THE PROPHET GOT THAT WRITTEN.

“Then Suhail said, 'We also stipulate that you should return to us whoever comes to you from us, even if he embraced your religion.' The Muslims said, 'Glorified be Allah! How will such a person be returned to the pagans after he has become a Muslim?’”

Needless to say, the Muslims were not happy with Muhammad’s actions:

“Abu Jandal had been tortured severely for the Cause of Allah. Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "I went to the Prophet and said, 'Aren't you truly the Apostle of Allah?' The Prophet said, 'Yes, indeed.' I said, 'Isn't our Cause just and the cause of the enemy unjust?' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Then why should we be humble in our religion?' He said, 'I am Allah's Apostle and I do not disobey Him, and He will make me victorious.' I said, 'Didn't you tell us that we would go to the Ka'ba and perform Tawaf around it?' He said, 'Yes, but did I tell you that we would visit the Ka'ba this year?' I said, 'No.' He said, 'So you will visit it and perform Tawaf around it?' " Umar further said, "I went to Abu Bakr and said, 'O Abu Bakr! Isn't he truly Allah's Prophet?' He replied, 'Yes.' I said, 'Then why should we be humble in our religion?' He said, 'Indeed, he is Allah's Apostle and he does not disobey his Lord, and He will make him victorious. Adhere to him as, by Allah, he is on the right.' I said, 'Was he not telling us that we would go to the Kaba and perform Tawaf around it?' He said, 'Yes, but did he tell you that you would go to the Ka'ba this year?' I said, 'No.' He said, "You will go to Ka'ba and perform Tawaf around it." (Az-Zuhri said, “'Umar said, 'I performed many good deeds as expiation for the improper questions I asked them.'”) (Ibid.)

The anger of the Muslims is justifiable when we realize that Muhammad promised that his followers would have access to Mecca that very same year. When that did not occur, Muhammad attempted to justify his failure to enter into the city by stating, “'Yes, but did I tell you that we would visit the Ka'ba this year?”

In other words, since he did not specify when they would enter Mecca this cannot be considered a false prophecy!

This is simply erroneous since the Muslim contingent was on their way to Mecca when a deputation from the pagan Arabs stopped them. In fact, one of Muhammad's demands in signing the treaty was that the pagans permit the Muslims to complete their journey to the Kaba in order to perform Tawaf. Suhail denied Muhammad's request and instead made an agreement that the Muslims could enter Mecca the following year. Noted Muslim expositor Ibn Kathir provides further confirmation in his commentary on Q. 48:27:

“In a dream, the Messenger of Allah saw himself entering Makkah and performing Tawaf around the House. He told his Companions about this dream when he was still in Al-Madinah. When they went to Makkah in the year of Al-Hudaybiyyah, none of them doubted that the Prophet's vision WOULD COME TRUE THAT YEAR. When the treaty of peace was conducted and they had to return to Al-Madinah that year, being allowed to return to Makkah the next year, SOME OF THE COMPANIONS DISLIKED WHAT HAPPENED. 'Umar bin Al-Khattab asked about THIS, saying, 'Haven't you told us that we will go to the House and perform Tawaf around it?'" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged: Surat Al-Jathiyah to the end of Surat Al-Munafiqun, Abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, London, Lahore; first edition, September 2000], Volume 9, p. 171; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Another renowned commentator and historian al-Tabari writes:

"While the Messenger of God was writing the document - he and Suhaly b. 'Amr - suddenly Abu Jandal, the son of Suhaly b. 'Amr, came walking with short steps in shackles. He had escaped to the Messenger of God. The companions of the Messenger of God had set out NOT DOUBTING that they would conquer, BECAUSE OF A VISION THE MESSENGER OF GOD HAD SEEN. Therefore, when they saw what they saw - the peace, the retreat, and the obligations the Messenger of God had taken upon himself - the people felt so grieved about it that they were close to despair. When Suhayl saw Abu Jandal, he went up to him, struck him on the face, and grabbed him by the front of his garment. "Muhammad," he said, "the pact was ratified between me and you before this fellow came to you." "You are right," he replied. Suhayl began pulling and dragging [his son Abu Jandal] by the front of his garment to return him to Quraysh. Abu Jandal began screaming at the top of his voice, "People of the Muslims, shall I be returned to the polytheists for them to torment me for my religion?" This made the people feel even worse. The Messenger of God said: "Abu Jandal, count on a reward, for God will give you and those who are oppressed with you relief and a way out. We have made a treaty and peace between ourselves and these people; we have given them and they have given us a promise, and we will not act treacherously toward them." (The History of Al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, translated by Michael Fishbein [State University of New York Press, Albany 1997], Volume VIII, pp. 86-87; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The following lengthy quotation, which is taken from the late Sunni Muslim scholar and commentator Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Muhammad mistakenly thought that he and his followers were going to definitely enter Mecca in order to perform the lesser pilgrimage:

“The events in connection with which this Surah was sent down began life this: One day the Holy Prophet saw in a dream that he had gone to Makkah with his Companions and had performed the umrah there. Obviously, the Prophet's dream could not be a mere dream and fiction for it is a kind of Divine inspiration as Allah Himself has confirmed in verse 27 below and said that He Himself had shown that dream to His Messenger. Therefore, it was not merely a dream but a Divine inspiration which the Holy Prophet had to obey and follow.

“Apparently, there was no possible way of acting on this inspiration. The disbelieving Quraish had debarred the Muslims from proceeding to the Ka'bah for the past six years and no Muslim had been allowed during that period to approach the Kabah for the purpose of performing hajj and umrah. Therefore, it could not be expected that they would allow the Holy Prophet to enter Makkah along with a party of his Companions. If they had proceeded to Makkah in the pilgrim garments with the intention of performing umrah, along with their arms, this would have provoked the enemy to war, and if they had proceeded unarmed, this would have meant endangering his own as well as his Companions' lives. Under conditions such as these nobody could see and suggest how the Divine inspiration could be acted upon.

“But the Prophet's position was different. It demanded that he should carry out whatever Command his Lord gave fearlessly and without any apprehension and doubt. Therefore, the Holy Prophet informed his Companions of his dream and began to make preparations for the journey. Among the tribes living in the suburbs also he had the public announcement made THAT HE WAS PROCEEDING FOR UMRAH and the people could join him. Those who could only see the apparent conditions thought that he and his Companions were going into the very jaws of death none of them therefore was inclined to accompany him in the expedition. But those who had true faith in Allah and His Messenger were least bothered about the consequences. For them this information was enough that it was a Divine inspiration and Allah's Prophet had made up his mind to carry it into effect. After this nothing could hinder them from accompanying the Messenger of Allah. Thus, 1,400 of the Companions became ready to follow him on this highly dangerous journey.

“This blessed caravan set off from Madinah in the beginning of Dhil Qa'dah, A. H. 6. At Dhul Hulaifah they entered the pilgrims robe WITH THE INTENTION OF UMRAH, took 70 camels with collars round their necks indicating that they were sacrificial animals; kept only a sword each in sheaths, which the pilgrims to the Kabah were allowed to carry according to the recognized custom of Arabia, but no other weapon. Thus, the caravan set out for the Ka'bah, the House of Allah, at Makkah, chanting the prescribed slogan of Labbaik, Allahuma Labbaik.

“… At last, after a great deal of confusion, perplexity and hesitation they [the Quraish] were overcome by their false sense of honor and for the sake of their prestige they took the decision that they would at no cost allow the caravan to enter the city of Makkah… They asked what he had come for. The Holy Prophet replied that he and his Companions HAD COME ONLY FOR THE PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOUSE OF ALLAH AND FOR GOING ROUND IT IN WORSHIP and not for war. The men of Khuza'ah went and told this to the Quraish chiefs and counseled them not to interfere with the pilgrims. But the Quraish were obstinate. They sent Hulays bin Alqamah, the chief of the Ahabish, to the Holy Prophet to persuade him to go back. Their object was that when Muhammad would not listen to Hulays, he would come back disappointed and then the entire power of the Ahabish would be on their side. But when Hulays went and saw THAT THE WHOLE CARAVAN HAD PUT ON THE PILGRIMS GARMENTS, HAD BROUGHT SACRIFICIAL CAMELS with festive collars round their necks, AND HAD COME FOR DOING REVERENCE TO THE HOUSE OF ALLAH and not to fight, he returned to Makkah without having any dialogue with the Holy Prophet and told the Quraish chiefs plainly that those people HAD NO OTHER OBJECT BUT TO PAY A VISIT KA'BAH; if they debarred them from it, the Ahabish would not join them in that, because they had not become their allies to support them even if they violated the sacred customs and traditions...

“At last, the Holy Prophet sent Hadrat Uthman as his own messenger to Makkah with the message that they had not come to fight BUT ONLY FOR PILGRIMAGE AND HAD BROUGHT THEIR SACRIFICAL ANIMALS ALONG, AND THEY WOULD GO BACK AFTER PERFORMING THE RITE OF PILGRIMAGE AND OFFERING THE SACRIFICE. But the Quraish did not agree and withheld Hadrat Uthman in the city. In the meantime a rumor spread that Hadrat Uthman had been killed; and when he did not return in time the Muslims took the rumor to be true. Now they could show no more forbearance. Entry into Makkah was different for there was no intention to use force. But when the ambassador was put to death, the Muslims had no alternative but to prepare for war. Therefore, the Holy Prophet summoned all his Companions together and took a solemn pledge from them that they would fight to death…

“Later it was known that the news about Hadrat Uthman was false. Not only did he return but under Suhail bin 'Amr from the Quraish also arrived a deputation to negotiate peace with the Holy Prophet. Now, the Quraish no more insisted that they would disallow the Holy Prophet and his Companions to enter Makkah. However, in order to save their face they only insisted that he went back that year but could come the following year to perform the umrah. After lengthy negotiations peace was concluded on the following terms:

1. War would remain suspended for ten years, and no party would indulge in any hostility, open or secret, against the other.

2. If any one during that period from among the Quraish went over to Muhammad, without his guardian's permission, he would return him to them, but if a Companion of Muhammad came oven to the Quraish, they would not return him to him.

3. Every Arab tribe would have the option to join either side as its ally and enter the treaty.

4. Muhammad and his men would go back that year and could come the following year for umrah and stay in Makkah for three days, provided that they brought only one sheathed sword each, and no other weapon of war. In those three days the Makkans would vacate the city for them (so that there was no chance of a clash), but they would not be allowed to take along any Makkan on return.

“When the conditions of the treaty were being settled, THE WHOLE OF THE MUSLIM ARMY WAS FEELING GREATLY UPSET. No one understood the expedience because of which the Holy Prophet was accepting the conditions. No one was far sighted enough to foresee the great benefit that was to result from this treaty. The disbelieving Quraish looked at it as their victory, and the Muslims were upset as to why they should be humiliated to accepting those mean conditions. Even a statesman of the calibre of Hadrat Umar says that he had never given way to doubt since the time he had embraced Islam but on this occasion he also could not avoid it. Impatient he went to Hadrat Abu Bakr and said "Is he (the Holy Prophet) not Allah's Messenger, and are we not Muslims, and are they not polytheists? Then, why should we agree to what is humiliating to our Faith?" He replied ‘O Umar, he is surely Allah's Messenger, and Allah will never make him the loser.’ UNSATISFIED he went to the Holy Prophet himself and put the same questions to him, and he also gave him the same replies as Hadrat Abu Bakr had given. Afterwards Hadrat Umar continued to offer voluntary prayers and give aims so that Allah may pardon his insolence that he had shown towards the Holy Prophet on that occasion.

Two things in the treaty were highly disturbing for the Muslims first, the second condition, about which they said that it was an expressly unfair condition, for if they had to return a fugitive from Makkah, why should not the Quraish return a fugitive from Madinah? To this the Holy Prophet replied: ‘What use would he be to us, who fled from us to them? May Allah keep him away from us! And if we return the one who flees to us from them, Allah will create some other way out for him.’ The other thing that was rankling in their minds was the fourth condition. The Muslims thought that agreeing to it meant that they were going back unsuccessful and this was humiliating. Furthermore, the question that was causing them feel upset wad that they had accepted the condition of going back without performing the pilgrimage to the Ka'bah, whereas the Holy Prophet had seen in the vision that they were performing tawaf at Makkah. To this the Holy Prophet replied that in his vision the year had not been specified (sic). According to the treaty conditions, therefore, they would perform the tawaf the following year if it pleased Allah.

“Right at the time when the document was being written, Suhail bin 'Amr's own son, Abu Jandal, who had become a Muslim and been imprisoned by the pagans of Makkah somehow escaped to the Holy Prophet's camp. He had fetters on his feet and signs of violence on his body. He implored the Holy Prophet that he help secure his release from imprisonment. The scene only increased the Companions' dejection, and they were moved beyond control. But Suhail bin 'Amr said the conditions of the agreement had been concluded between them although the writing was not yet complete; therefore, the boy should be returned to them. The Holy Prophet admitted his argument and Abu Jandal was returned to his oppressors.

"When the document was finished, the Holy Prophet spoke to the Companions and told them to slaughter their sacrificial animals at that very place, shave their heads and put off the pilgrim garments, BUT NO ONE MOVED FROM HIS PLACE. The Holy Prophet repeated the order thrice BUT THE COMPANIONS WERE SO OVERCOME BY DEPRESSION AND DEJECTION THAT THEY DID NOT COMPLY. During his entire period of apostleship ON NO OCCASION had it ever happened that he should command his Companions to do a thing AND THEY SHOULD NOT HASTEN TO COMPLY WITH IT. THIS CAUSED HIM A GREAT SHOCK, and he repaired to his tent and expressed his grief before his wife, Hadrat Umm Salamah. She said, ‘You may quietly go and slaughter your own camel and call the barber and have your head shaved. After that the people would automatically do what you did and would understand that whatever decision had been taken would not be changed.’ Precisely the same thing happened. The people slaughtered their animals, shaved their heads or cut their hair short and put off the pilgrim garb, but their hearts were still afflicted with grief…” (The Meaning of the Qur’an; bold and capital emphasis mine)

Pay careful attention to the fact that Muslims wore pilgrimage garb and brought animals for sacrifices. This irrefutably proves that they had every intention of entering Mecca to perform umra that year. After all, it makes absolutely no sense for Muslims to be wearing pilgrimage robes and to travel with sacrificial animals if they did not actually believe that they were definitely going to enter Mecca during their trip.

Also notice Maududi’s candid admission that the pagans stopped Muhammad from entering Mecca in order to save face, and that the Muslims were angry that Muhammad had agreed to their demands. In fact, when Muhammad commanded them to take off their pilgrimage garments and slaughter the animals as well as shave their heads none of the companions listened. Maududi is even honest enough to admit that this shocked Muhammad and that Umar was so enraged that he even doubted whether Muhammad was a true prophet.

This confirms that Muhammad actually believed he was going to enter into Mecca during that trip, a plan that never materialized. And in order to avoid humiliation he had to deny ever admitting that he had told his followers that they were all on their way to perform umra.

These were the circumstances which led to the so-called “revelation” of Q. 48:27:

Allah hath fulfilled the vision for His messenger in very truth. Ye shall indeed enter the Inviolable Place of Worship, if Allah will, secure, (having your hair) shaven and cut, not fearing. But He knoweth that which ye know not, and hath given you a near victory beforehand. Pickthall

In light of his failure to bring about what he had promised to his “messenger”, we see Allah being more cautious in what he tells Muhammad his plans are this time around. Instead of speaking with confidence, Allah is more careful in what he says now by informing his followers that they will only approach the Kaba if he so wills.

Yet herein lies the problem. Doesn’t Allah know what his will is? Is he actually uncertain whether his will is for the Muslims to enter Mecca? And if it is his will for them to enter there then is he unsure whether they will successfully do so?

However, if Allah really knows the future and truly has power over all things then he must surely know that they will definitely approach the Kaba in order perform the rites of pilgrimage. If so then why does he qualify his statements by saying “if Allah wills”?

Nor is this the only time that Allah uses this expression:

O ye who believe! The idolaters only are unclean. So let them not come near the Inviolable Place of Worship after this their year. If ye fear poverty (from the loss of their merchandise) Allah shall preserve you of His bounty if He will (in shaa). Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise. S. 9:28 Pickthall

Blessed is He who, if that were His will (in shaa), could give thee better (things) than those, - Gardens beneath which rivers flow; and He could give thee palaces (secure to dwell in). S. 25:10 Y. Ali

Among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with God: of them some have completed their vow (to the extreme), and some (still) wait: but they have never changed (their determination) in the least: That God may reward the men of Truth for their Truth, and punish the Hypocrites if that be His Will (in shaa), or turn to them in Mercy: for God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. S. 33:23-24 Y. Ali

This next example is rather interesting:

No! upon Him you will call, and He will remove that for which you call upon Him if He Will (in shaa), and you will forget that you associate with Him. Indeed We sent to nations before you, and We seized them with misery and hardship that perhaps (laallahum) they might be humble; S. 6:41-42

In the example the author(s) not only employ the phrase in shaa but also use(s) the word laallahum to describe Allah’s hopes and desires!

The Quran again speaks of Allah in the same manner that it does of imperfect creatures.

For instance, there are several instances in the Islamic scripture where individuals are said to have used this phrase due to being uncertain about what the future would bring:

They said: Pray for us unto thy Lord that He make clear to us what (cow) she is. Lo! cows are much alike to us; and Lo! if Allah wills (in shaa Allahu), we may be led aright. S. 2:70 Pickthall

They said: "O Nuh (Noah)! You have disputed with us and much have you prolonged the dispute with us, now bring upon us what you threaten us with, if you are of the truthful." He said: "Only Allah will bring it (the punishment) on you, if He will (in shaa), and then you will escape not. S. 11:32-33 Hilali-Khan

And when they came in before Joseph, he took his parents unto him, and said: Come into Egypt safe, if Allah will (in shaa Allahu)! S. 12:99 Pickthall

Musa (Moses) said: "If Allah will (in shaa Allahu), you will find me patient, and I will not disobey you in aught." S. 18:69 Hilali-Khan

Their father said to Moses, `I intend to marry to thee one of these two daughters of mine on condition that thou stay in my service for eight years. But if thou complete ten years, it will be of thine own accord. And I would not lay any hardship upon thee; thou wilt find me, if ALLAH wills (in shaa Allahu), of the righteous.' S. 28:27 Sher Ali

And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: "O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allah), so look what you think!" He said: "O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Insha' Allah (if Allah will), you shall find me of As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)." S. 37:102 Hilali-Khan

Now it is one thing for creatures that don’t know what the future will bring, or how it will turn out, to use this expression; it is quite another thing altogether for an omniscient being to do so. After all, doesn’t Allah know what he has willed? Doesn’t he have perfect knowledge of what the future will bring, especially when he supposedly has decreed everything that will take place? If so then why does Allah need to say, “if Allah wills”? Surely, if anyone knows what Allah’s will is it would certainly have to be Allah himself!

In conclusion, it is obvious from our examination of the Quran that it does not depict Allah as an all-knowing being who has the ability to bring about all that he desires. The Muslim scripture portrays Allah as an entity who can only hope that things will turn out as planned. This explains why the Quran has Allah qualifying his statements and has him repeatedly saying things such as “perhaps” or “if Allah(He) wills” (in shaa Allahu). 

So much for the Muslim assertion that their book describes the Islamic deity as an all-knowing and all-powerful being.

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