Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Moses Most High

Another Violation of Tauhid from the Quran

Sam Shamoun

We have seen in previous articles (*; *; *; *; *; *; *; *; *; *; *) how both the Quran and the ahadith expressly violate the doctrine of tauhid which was developed centuries after the death of Muhammad by later Muslim theologians. Here we provide another case where the Islamic scripture directly conflicts with this later Islamic teaching.

One of Allah’s names happens to be al-ala, or “the most high.”

Praise the name of your Lord the Most High (rabbika al-ala), S. 87:1

Except as seeking the face of his Lord Most High (rabbihi al-ala). S. 92:20

According to the doctrine of tauhid al-asma wa-sifaat none of the names of Allah can ever be attributed to any creature, no matter how exalted, in their definite forms, e.g., a person can never be called ar-Rahman with the definite article since this a characteristic which belongs exclusively to Allah. To do so would be to commit the unforgivable sin known as shirk, or of associating partners with Allah:

The Essence of Shirk in Tawheed al-Asma wa-Sifaat:

Shirk in Tawheed al-Asma wa-Sifaat is to give other than Allah, the qualities (Attributes), which are specific of Allah Alone. For example, amongst the Attributes of Allah is that He is the Knower of the Unseen (Ghayb) and He alone knows what the heart conceals. Allah says: "Say, ‘None in the Heavens and the earth know the Ghayb (Unseen) except Allah, nor can they perceive when they shall be resurrected."

Therefore, to consider someone other than Allah to have the knowledge of the past, future or the Unseen is Shirk (associating partners with Allah).

This concept of Tawheed distinguishes Islam from many other religions. Those who have studied comparative religion can very easily realize that, while the Jews made their Creator like the creation, the Christians make the creation like the Creator. (Sajid Abdul Kayum, The Jamaa'at Tableegh and the Deobandis, Chapter 2: The Islamic Concept of Tawheed (Monotheism); bold emphasis ours)

Islamic theology further teaches that the doctrine of abrogation does not apply to the names and attributes of Allah, i.e., the names of Allah are eternal and can ever be canceled out by another:

The phrase: ‘…of a ruling…’, implies that naskh is only valid in laws, and not in belief ('aqeedah). In other words, naskh cannot occur with regards to belief in Allah, His Names and Attributes, the Day of Judgement, and other matters related to the fundamentals of belief. It is concerning those non-abrogated beliefs that Allah says…

<<He has ordained for you the same religion which He ordained for Nooh, and that which We have inspired to You (O Muhammad), and that which we ordained for Ibraheem, Moosaa, and 'Eesaa, saying that you should establish religion and make no division in it>> [42:13] (Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan [al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, Birmingham UK, Second Print 2003], Chapter 13. Abrogation in the Qur’aan: An-Naskh Wa Al-Mansookh, I. The Definition of Naskh, p. 233; underline emphasis ours)

This means that the expression al-ala is a divine name which only applies to Allah and can never be canceled out.

Yet here is where the problem lies for the Muslims. The Quran says that Allah himself called Moses al-ala or the most high!

And Moses conceived a fear in his mind. We said: Fear not! Lo! you are the Most High (al-ala). S. 20:67-68

This means that Moses is Allah according to the Islamic scripture! Note how this works out logically:

  1. The most high is a divine title which belongs only to Allah.
  2. Moses is the most high.
  3. Therefore, Moses is Allah.

To put this in another way:

  1. Only Allah is the most high.
  2. Moses is the most high.
  3. Therefore, Moses is Allah.

Or the Muslims must accept the fact that their own god has committed shirk!

  1. Ascribing the exclusive names of Allah to a creature is to commit shirk, which is the unpardonable sin (cf. Q. 4:48, 116).
  2. Allah ascribes one of his unique names to Moses.
  3. Therefore, Allah is guilty of committing the unforgivable sin of shirk!

This wouldn’t be the only time where Allah committed shirk since he commanded his angels to worship Adam, thereby forcing all of them to violate tauhid al-uluhiyyah/ibaadah:

And when we said unto the angels, worship Adam; they [all] worshipped [him], except Eblis [who] refused, and was puffed up with pride, and became of the [number of] unbelievers. S. 2:34 Sale

[Remember] when we said unto the angels, worship ye Adam: And they [all] worshipped [him], except Eblis, [who] was [one] of the genii, and departed from the command of his Lord. Will ye therefore take him and his offspring for [your] patrons besides me, notwithstanding they are your enemies? Miserable [shall such] a change [be] to the ungodly! S. 18:50 Sale

For more on this topic please consult the articles and rebuttals found at the start of the article as well as the following rebuttals (*; *).

Now the Muslims must accept one of these two conclusions or admit that their own scripture does not teach the doctrine of tauhid as developed and articulated by later Islamic theologians. In this case they must choose between one of three options since the Quran will not allow for any other choice.

In other words, as unfortunate as this may be, the Muslims simply cannot have their cake and eat it too.