A reply to those who say, “If God can do anything, why can He not have a son?”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says His Book in surah al-Maa’idah:

لَّقَدْ كَفَرَ‌ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّـهَ هُوَ الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْ‌يَمَ ۚ قُلْ فَمَن يَمْلِكُ مِنَ اللَّـهِ شَيْئًا إِنْ أَرَ‌ادَ أَن يُهْلِكَ الْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْ‌يَمَ وَأُمَّهُ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ جَمِيعًا ۗ وَلِلَّـهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا ۚ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ‌

“They have certainly disbelieved who say that Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary. Say, “Then who could prevent Allah at all if He had intended to destroy the Messiah, the son of Mary, or his mother or everyone on the earth?” And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them. He creates what He wills, and Allah is competent  over all things.” [5:17]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, writes:

لما ذكر تعالى أخذ الميثاق على أهل الكتابين، وأنهم لم يقوموا به بل نقضوه، ذكر أقوالهم الشنيعة‏.‏

Allah mentioned when He took the covenant from the People of the two Books [i.e. Jews and Christians], and that they did not establish their part of it, but rather they negated it. He mentioned some of their outrageous statements.

فذكر قول النصارى، القول الذي ما قاله أحد غيرهم، بأن الله هو المسيح ابن مريم، ووجه شبهتهم أنه ولد من غير أب، فاعتقدوا فيه هذا الاعتقاد الباطل مع أن حواء نظيره، خُلِقَت بلا أم، وآدم أولى منه، خلق بلا أب ولا أم، فهلا ادعوا فيهما الإلهية كما ادعوها في المسيح‏؟‏

So He mentioned the statement of the Christians, the statement which no one other than them said, that Allah is the Messiah, [Jesus] the son of Mary, and their misconceived perception that he was born without a father, so they therefore believe in these false beliefs. [These beliefs are false because if that were so then] Hawa’ [Eve] would be his counterpart- she was created without a mother. And Adam was the first of them; he was created without a father or a mother. So then would they claim divinity for these two just as they have claimed it for the Messiah?

فدل على أن قولهم اتباع هوى من غير برهان ولا شبهة‏.‏ فرد الله عليهم بأدلة عقلية واضحة فقال‏:‏ ‏{‏قُلْ فَمَن يَمْلِكُ مِنَ اللَّهِ شيئًا إِنْ أَرَادَ أَن يُهْلِكَ الْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَأُمَّهُ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا‏}‏

This demonstrates that their statement is based upon desires, and not proof or [even] doubts. So Allah refutes them with clear intellectual proofs when He said, “Say, ‘Then who could prevent Allah at all if He had intended to destroy Christ, the son of Mary, or his mother or everyone on the earth?’

فإذا كان المذكورون لا امتناع عندهم يمنعهم لو أراد الله أن يهلكهم، ولا قدرة لهم على ذلك ـ دل على بطلان إلهية من لا يمتنع من الإهلاك، ولا في قوته شيء من الفكاك‏.‏

So the aforementioned people [those who claim divinity for Jesus] cannot deny that – if Allah wished – He could destroy them, and they have no power against that, showing the falsehood of their gods who cannot prevent their own destruction and who do not have any ability to escape.

ومن الأدلة أن ‏{‏لِلَّهِ‏}‏ وحده ‏{‏مُلْكُ السموات وَالْأَرْضِ‏}‏ يتصرف فيهم بحكمه الكوني والشرعي والجزائي، وهم مملوكون مدبرون، فهل يليق أن يكون المملوك العبد الفقير، إلها معبودا غنيا من كل وجه‏؟‏ هذا من أعظم المحال‏.‏

And this is one of the proofs that “to Allah” alone “belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth” to dispose of them without any restriction according to His universal wisdom, divine law and requital, while they are owned and under His care – so is it befitting for a god who is worshiped and free of all needs to be a servant who is owned and in need? This is one of the greatest impossibilities.

ولا وجه لاستغرابهم لخلق المسيح عيسى ابن مريم من غير أب، فإن الله ‏{‏يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ‏}‏ إن شاء من أب وأم، كسائر بني آدم، وإن شاء من أب بلا أم، كحواء‏.‏ وإن شاء من أم بلا أب، كعيسى‏.‏ وإن شاء من غير أب ولا أم ‏[‏كآدم‏]‏

And regarding their amazement at the creation of the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, without a father, then certainly Allah “creates what He wills“. If He wills someone with a father and a mother, like the rest of the children of Adam [then He can do that], and if He wills someone with a father and not a mother, like Hawa’ [(Eve) then He can do that], and if He wills someone with a mother and not a father, like Jesus [then He can do that], and if He wishes someone without a father or a mother, like Adam [then He can do that].

فنوع خليقته تعالى بمشيئته النافذة، التي لا تعصي عليها شيء، ولهذا قال‏:‏ ‏{‏وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ‏}‏

The varieties of His creation are from His will-power, which does not disobey Him at all, and about this He said, “And Allah is competent over all things.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman p. 248-249]

See also: A Principle to Dispel Specious Arguments and Doubts: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: Four categories of parentage and four categories of offspring: Tafsir ibn Kathir

See also: A response to those who say “We are the children of Allah”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: “Had Allah willed to take a son…”: Tafsir al-Sa’di and Tafsir ibn Kathir

See also: The Messiah was only a Messenger and his mother was a ṣiddīqah: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: The story of ‘Eesaa, his mother, Zakariyyah and Yahya – Imam al-Sa’di

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7 thoughts on “A reply to those who say, “If God can do anything, why can He not have a son?”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

  1. Pingback: A response to those who say “We are the children of Allah”: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The Messiah was only a Messenger and his mother was a ṣiddīqah: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: “Had Allah willed to take a son…”: Tafsir al-Sa’di and Tafsir ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: The story of ‘Eesaa, his mother, Zakariyyah and Yahya – Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: Imam al-Shawkani on the Gospels | Tulayhah

  6. Pingback: Blessed are those who read the Book of Allah and act accordingly | Tulayhah

  7. Pingback: Using truthful speech for false purposes: Imam al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

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