Though we Christians disagree with our Muslim friends regarding various things, we do have some very important common ground. Of course both oppose abortion, we both oppose immorality, and we both oppose the atheists who attempt to persuade us that there is no such thing as truth. Despite the fact that Muslims and Christians disagree about what the truth is, we both believe that there is such a thing as truth and that truth is important. I admire the fact that Muslims are known for a passionate resistance to any teacher who would dare to teach something that the Muslims believes to be false. Even though I might be the one that the Muslim is opposing, I have respect for the fact that the one opposing me at least cares about what he believes to be the truth. In this, I hope that Muslims and Christians can have a measure of respect for each other in our dialogues. Is it possible that the Muslim and the Christian who passionately disagree with one another are actually concerned about the fate of each others soul? Does that not reflect a loving concern for their fellow man? After all isn’t it the most loving thing you can do is warn someone not to follow something that is not true. It reflects a love for others who they believe are being deceived by a false teacher or a deceiver. Every honest man seeks to adamantly defend what they believe to be the truth. Indeed an honest man will consider it his moral obligation both to his fellow man and to the truth itself. It is the duty of every honest man to expose every deceiver, and encourage people not to believe or follow any deceiver. After all if you do not believe a deceiver, he cannot deceive you. Only those who follow a deceiver are deceived. This is a very important point and has to be emphasized. A deceiver only deceives those who follow him, and a deceiver cannot deceive those who do not believe him. This is not the mere opinion of a man it is a logical consequence of the definition of the word deceiver. Once someone admits or is shown to be a deceiver, then all their words should be called into question. This again is only logical.
Having stated our respect for our Muslim friends and in particular their love for what they believe to be the truth, we now seek to begin a dialogue concerning a particular passage of the Quran that many Christians find quite disturbing. We ask that our Muslim friends carefully consider our concerns and we welcome their response.
The passage Surah 3:54 is given below in Arabic.
It is important to note that Allah refers to himself as “Hayur Al-Makereen” which correctly translated means “Allah is the greatest of all deceivers.” This is easily verified by looking up the root letters (Meem, Kalf, and Rah) in an Arabic Dictionary such as Al-Mawrid (below left). If one is still in doubt as to the meaning of the term consider Abu Bakrs’ testimony to the deceptive character of Allah taken from the “Successors of the Messenger” by Khalid Muhammad Khalid p. 70 (below right). For those of you who don’t read Arabic Abu Bakr, though promised paradise by Allah and his apostle, in tears says “By Allah! I would not feel safe from the deception (same Arabic word ) of Allah, even if I had one foot in paradise.”
Because of the devastating implications of this phrase in the Quran one prominent Muslim apologist have tried to claim Makereen has a different meaning when applied to the divine. Below are a few problems with this position.
The passage in question says Allah is the greatest of all makereen, hence makereen describes all members of a class of which Allah is the greatest member. The laws of logic mandate that a single instance of a term have a single meaning, the word makereen cannot at one place and at one time have two different meanings. How can someone to be the greatest member of a set they must be a member of that set, thus due to the grammatical structure of the statement in the Quran this argument is not feasible.
Neglecting for a moment the grammatical impossibility of this explanation, let us consider the broader discussion of applying descriptive language to God. Typically adjectives change the strength of their character when applied to greater beings but not the basic character of the word, for example, the word “good” which might be applied as an adjective to a dog, a man, and God. Certainly one could understand that the word good got much stronger as it was applied to greater beings. None the less the word good did not have a transformation of its basic character when applied to different types of beings. Good may mean something different in each case but in each case it was something good. If the word like makereen becomes stronger in its meaning as applied to greater beings then the objection of the Christian becomes even stronger with that change.
Again neglecting for a moment the grammatical impossibility of the apologist’s explanation, let us consider the logical consequences of the claim that words have a different meaning when applied to Allah. If the word such as ,makereen is transformed from something horrible to something good when applied to Allah and there is no analogy with its usage as applied to men. Then how are we to understand other words which are also applied to Allah in the Quran? If this hermeneutical approach is correct then the words “no partners” when applied to Allah has a different meaning than its normal sense as well, and any different meaning results in the conclusion that Allah has partners. Thus shirk is a logical consequence of adopting this approach to interpreting the Quran.
If words are allowed to radically change the basic character of their meaning by the fact that they are associated with Allah then how could one ever have any revelation about Allah in human language? Before such a “revelation” could be understood it would be necessary that mankind would be given a new set of meanings for words when applied to Allah, and perhaps a new set of grammatical rules as well. Can one really call a book a “revelation” if the meanings of the words used in that book have no relation to their previously understood meanings? How is it that one would even know that a word applied to Allah has a radically different type of meaning that it has when applied to man? Could not such a bold assumption if not based in revelation, be considered an act of unbelief, an attempt to reject what Allah has revealed about himself? I know of no record of Muhammad telling us any secret new meanings of words. If one believes that these meanings were revealed after Muhammad then they are in effect saying that they believe in prophets after Muhammad with the authority to change the meanings of words in the Quran.
The character of Allah is inescapable, even the context of Surah 3:54 is Allah allegedly deceiving people to believe Jesus was crucified when according to Islam he wasn’t. We know from history that many of Jesus’ disciples and loyal followers were put to death for preaching that Jesus was crucified. Why would Allah deceive the loyal followers of Jesus, whom the Quran claims is a prophet of Allah? If Allah would deceive Jesus’ loyal followers, how can we be sure he didn’t deceive Muhammad’s loyal followers? How can this be? How could Muhammad claim he was confirming that which was before him when Allah in Surah 3:54 is called the greatest deceiver and the Bible says that God cannot lie?
Hebrews 6:18 “so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.”
Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
John 8:44 (Jesus speaking to the unbelievers) “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Please meditate on the statements presented in this paper. They are not intended as personal attacks but questions to consider. We know you want us to embrace Islam because you care for us and think it is good for us. But the Quran itself testifies that Allah as the greatest of all makereen (deceivers). If this verse is true, what hope do we have that the rest of the Quran can be trusted? We all know that a deceiver deceives only those who believe him. Why should anyone believe and follow a deceiver? Especially when the Bible tells us that Satan is the great deceiver. We love you, we want so badly to see you in heaven. Please do not follow a deceiver, but follow the God who cannot lie. Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me” We have all lied. We have all sinned. We are all guilty before God. We all deserve to be punished in Hell. But Jesus who never lied told us that we could be forgiven of our sins if we repent of our sins, believe the gospel and follow Him. Please follow Jesus He is not a deceiver but is the truth. We love you and long to see you in heaven. Abu Bakr didn’t even trust Allah would grant him paradise even though he was promised paradise directly by name. He knew Allah was a deceiver now you do also, wouldn’t you be better off to trust in the promise of forgiveness from the true God who cannot lie?