I recently published a two-part article (see here and here) comparing the God of the Bible with the God of the Quran, showing that Yahweh of the Bible seems more violent and warlike than Allah of the Quran.
The response from the anti-Muslim critics was minimal. Three very weak responses were provided by Halal Pork, Farlowe, and Nerses.
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Halal Pork replied as follows:
One of the names of Allah is Al-Mukkar-the Deceiver.Why is that not included in the list
I included the twenty-five most common names used for God in the Quran. The term khayru al-makireen is used in the Quran only twice. That’s why it wasn’t included in the list.
The fact that khayru al-makireen didn’t make the list says a lot. Consider that God is called Merciful over 300 times in the Quran, and the term khayru al-makireen is used only twice. I wonder which one Islamophobes will focus on?
Meanwhile, the name Lord of Armies is used in the Bible for God just under 300 times. The most common descriptive name for God in the Quran revolves around mercy, whereas the most common descriptive name for God in the Bible revolves around armies and war. This was the main point of my two-part article.
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The term khayru al-makireen is first used in verse 3:54 of the Quran:
And they schemed [against Jesus] and God schemed [against them], but God is the best schemer.
This is alternately translated as “deceiver” or “plotter”–the translation of “deceiver” is preferred by anti-Muslim elements, whereas “plotter” by Muslim apologists. I’ve chosen the more neutral “schemer.”
The context of this verse can be found in Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, as follows:
God says: And they, the disbelievers among the Children of Israel, schemed, against Jesus, by assigning someone to assassinate him; and God schemed, by casting the likeness of Jesus onto the person who intended to kill him, and so they killed him, while Jesus was raised up into heaven; and God is the best of schemers, most knowledgeable of him [Jesus].
Some killers schemed against Jesus, and so God schemed against the killers to fool them. God made someone else look like Jesus–a willing martyr, by the way–and the killers murdered him instead (don’t worry, he is promised heaven).
So, that is the context in which God “schemed.”
If Osama bin Ladin tried to kill the President of the United States, but the Secret Service used one of the President’s doubles to “deceive” OBL, would there be anything wrong with this? That’s the exact same situation as appears in the Quran.
The term khayru al-makireen is repeated in verse 8:30, again in the context of those who tried to assassinate one of God’s prophets, in this case Muhammad himself. The leaders of Mecca planned to assassinate him, “scheming” against him by deciding to do the ugly deed altogether as one so that nobody could assign blame to any one single tribe. This would prevent any possible retaliation. They also planned on killing Muhammad using the cover of darkness.
The Quran says that God “schemed” against these killers, and fooled the killers by making them think Muhammad was in his bed when in fact it was his younger cousin Ali. When the killers found out it was just Ali, they didn’t kill him since he was just an adolescent. In the meantime, Muhammad slipped away and fled to another city with his life.
So once again, God’s “scheming” involved fooling killers so that they could not murder.
How one could twist this into something negative, I don’t know…but I guess Islamophobes are very adept at twisting things.
But in any case, the attribute of “scheming” or “deceiving” has nothing to do with the context of war. Therefore, it has nothing to do with the topic of my article and Series, which is about whether Islam is more violent and warlike than Judaism and Christianity. What relevance does “scheming” have to do with that, except maybe that God schemes against killers to prevent them from killing?
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In any case, since this has nothing to with the topic at hand and is mostly a religious discussion more fit for Christian and Muslim apologists, I’ll just link to a Muslim apologist who responds to Christian polemicists:
In that link, Zawadi notes that the Bible contains numerous verses in it where God “deceives.” Once again, for me the interesting thing about it is the level of pure hypocrisy of anti-Muslim Jews and Christians who vilify Islam and the Quran for what is found in their own religion and holy book.
Zawadi points to the following verse of the Bible, for instance:
Jeremiah 4:10 Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, the people have been deceived by what you said, for you promised peace for Jerusalem. But the sword is held at their throats!”
Of relevance here is the fact that unlike the two Quranic verses–which show God stopping people from killing by deceiving murderers–the Biblical verse in which God deceives involves him tricking a population into thinking they would have “peace” when in fact “the sword is held at their throats!” The Bible says:
4:16 “Tell this to the nations, proclaim it to Jerusalem: ‘A besieging army is coming from a distant land, raising a war cry against the cities of Judah.'”
God deceived so that a “besieging army” could carry out its war of conquest. Similarly, God will delude people in 2 Thessalonians 2:11 so that Jesus can kill and destroy them.
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As for Farlowe’s response, this is perhaps the weakest and most desperate response of all. He writes:
Yahweh, God of War, yet the Jehovah’s (Yahweh’s) Witnesses (aka Watchtower Society) are a pacifist group who refuse to fight in armed forces in every country they live.
Why on earth would we restrict this to Jehovah’s Witnesses? All Jews and Christians believe that Yahweh is the name of God. This seems one last, desperate attempt to obfuscate the issue. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not even considered to be Christians by our Evangelical opponents; they are condemned as a deviant cult.
Although Christians might use the term “God” more often for God than “Yahweh,” they certainly believe Yahweh of the Bible to be God. But if one wants to play most common name associations, then Judaism would be most associated with the term Yahweh. And, traditional and Orthodox Judaism is certainly not pacifist–as my next article in the Series will clearly show.
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Nerses relies on a fall-back argument similar to the trite “But Jews and Christians don’t take the Bible literally like Muslims…!”, which I refuted in part 7.
My next article in the Understanding Jihad Series will be about Jewish law (Halakha) and will address the basic premise of Nerses’ argument. However, the entirety of his claims will take several articles to thoroughly refute. Nerses regurgitates the standard lies that are found in Robert Spencer’s book–lies that will be laid to waste over the course of this Series.
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Lastly, I have said it before and I’ll say it again: Muslims shouldn’t vilify other faiths because they have plenty of “tricky issues” in their own religion that they must deal with. Even if the Islamophobes could prove that the God of the Quran is very deceiving, how would that refute anything I’ve said? My point is not that Islam has no “tricky issues” to deal with–only that Judaism and Christianity do too (perhaps more so). Specifically, in the case of war and violence, the Quran pales in comparison to the Bible.