Volume 2: Surah Baqarah, Verses 116-117

And they say: "Allah has taken to himself a son". Glory be to Him; rather, whatever is in the heavens and the earth is His; all are obedient to Him (116). The Originator of the heavens and the earth; and when He decrees an affair, He only says to it, "Be", and it is (117).


*COMMENTARY * QUR'AN: And they say: 'Allah has taken to himself a son": Obviously the pronoun "they" refers to the Jews and the Christians; the former said that 'Uzayr was the son of God; the latter claimed the same thing for Jesus Christ. The verse takes the admonition of the People of the Book a step further.

The People of the Book initially used the phrase, son of God, for their prophets etc. as a mark of respect for them in the same way as they used the words, sons of God and His chosen people, for themselves. Gradually, the metaphorical sense gave way to the real one, and 'Uzayr and Jesus Christ were believed to be the sons of God in the real sense of the word.

Allah refuted their claim in these two verses. They contain two proofs against them.

The first proof is given in the words: "whatever is in the heavens and the earth is His; all are obedient to Him." How does one beget a son? A physical being removes some of his parts from himself and develops and nurtures it into another member of the species, similar to himself. Now, nothing can be similar to Allah He is far above such things; whatever is in the heavens and in the earth belongs to Him, is His property; every thing is made existent by Him, is managed by Him; it is by nature obedient to Him, subservient to Him. Things being as they are how can any thing be similar to Allah? Does God belong to a species? How can He beget someone of the same "species"?

The second proof is given in the second verse: "The Originator of the heavens and the earth; and when He decrees an affair, He only says to it, 'Be', and it is." "al-Badi (trans­lated here as the Originator) is used for the one who invents and originates a thing without any previous model, without any existing blue-print. Only Allah is the Originator in the true sense of the word. He originates every thing; no creature of His resembles any fellow creature. His creation is not like others' production inasmuch as He does not make any thing by imitation; He does not create gradually, nor with the help of the secondary causes; when He decides an affair, He only says to it, "Be", and it is - without any need of any previous model or gradual development. How can such an Originator be said to take to himself a son?

After all, begetting a son entails gradual development. These are the two incontestable proofs which expose the fallacy of the belief that God has begotten a son. The verses also prove the following two facts:

First: The command to obey Allah and to worship Him is all -pervading; it is binding to all that is in the heavens and in the earth.

Second: The actions of Allah are not gradual. It follows that every thing that comes into being gradually must have another non-gradual existence which emanates from the Divine Command. Allah says: His command, when He intends anything, is only that He says to it, 'Be” and it is (36:82). And Our command is but one, as the twinkling of an eye (54:50). A detailed discussion of this Qur'anic reality will be given, God willing, under the verse 36:82, quoted just above.

QUR'AN: Glory be to Him: "subhan" is an infinitive verb, synonymous to "at-tasbih" (glorification of God). It is always used as a first member of genitive construction - the second member always being the name, 'Allah' (or a pronoun referring to Him). Grammatically it is in accusative case pointing to a deleted verb. Orginally it was, sabbahtuhu tasbihan (glorified Him as He should be glorified); but the verb was deleted and the infinitive verb was joined to the pronoun 'Him' in genitive construction, to stand in place of the verb. By using this phrase here, Allah has taught the believers the manner of declaring His glory whenever something unworthy of His sacred name is ascribed to Him.

QUR'AN: all are obedient to Him: "al-Qunut" (= to worship; self- abasement).

QUR'AN: The Originator of the heavens . . . : Originating implies that the thing so created is not like any other thing.

QUR'AN: and it is: The sentence branches out from the word, "Be". The preceding clause is not a conditional one; that is why this verb is not in apocopate form, that is, its last vowel has not been cut off.

*TRADITIONS * Sudayr as-Sayrafi said: "I heard Humran ibn A'yan asking Abu Ja'far (a.s.) about the word of Allah: The Originator of the heavens and the earth. Abu Ja'far (a. s.) said: 'Verily Allah, Mighty and Great is He! originated all things by His (Own) Knowledge, without there being any previous model. So, He originated the heavens and the earth, and there were no heavens or earth before them. Do you not listen to His word, and His throne was on the water?' " (al-Kafi; Basa'iru 'd-darajat)

The author says: The tradition points to yet another fine point. It shows that "the water", mentioned in this verse, is something different from the water known to us. The Imam has quoted this verse to prove that Allah's creation is based on originality. And the Divine authority and power, before the creation of these heavens and this earth, was firm on the water. Obviously, the water mentioned here was not the water of this earth, or like this earthly water.

We shall explain it further under the verse: and His throne was on the water (12:7).