Dr. Zakir Naik
Author of the Quran does not know Mathematics
Is Allah Forgiving or Revengeful?
Question: According to Arun Shourie there is a mathematical error in the Quran. In chapter 4 verses 11 and 12 when you add up the different parts of inheritance given to the heirs, it is more than one. Therefore the author of the Quran does not know mathematics.
Answer: The Quran mentions about inheritance in many places, in
Surah Al Baqarah-Chapter 2 verse 180
Surah Al Baqarah-Chapter 2 verse 240
Surah Al Nisa-Chapter 4 verses 7 to 9
Surah Al Nisa-Chapter 4 verses19 and 33
Surah Al Ma’idah-Chapter 5 verses 105 and 108
Regarding the share of inheritance it is clearly given in Surah Nisa-chapter 4 verse 11, 12 and 176.
Let us examine the verses quoted by Arun Shourie, i.e. Surah Nisa chapter 4 verses 11 and 12:
“Allah (swt) (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females: if only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is a half.
For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies and debts. Ye know not whether your parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.”
“In what your wives leave, your share is a half, if they leave no child; but if they leave child, ye get a fourth; after payment of legacies and debts. In what ye leave, their share is a fourth, if ye leave no child; but if ye leave a child, they get an eighth; after payment of legacies and debts.” [Al-Quran 4:11-12]
Islam explains the law of inheritance in great detail. The broad and basic outline is given in the Quran and the minute details are given in the Ahadith i.e. the tradition and sayings of the Prophet (Pbuh).
A person can spend his full life only on the research of the Islamic law of inheritance with its various permutations and combinations. Arun Shourie expects to know the law only by superficially reading two verses of the Quran without knowing the criteria.
It is similar to a person who wants to solve a mathematical equation but does not know the basic rule of mathematics, i.e. BODMAS which says that in a mathematical equation, irrespective of which mathematical sign appears first, you will first solve BODMAS: 1st Brackets Off, 2nd Division, 3rd Multiplication, 4th Addition and 5th Subtraction. If Arun Shourie does not know mathematics and first does multiplication then subtraction, then brackets off, then division and finally addition, the answer that he will obtain is bound to be wrong.
Similarly, when the Quran mentions the law of inheritance in Surah Nisa chapter 4 verses 11 and 12, even though the children’s share is mentioned first and then that of the parents and spouses, according to the law of inheritance in Islam after paying off the debts and liabilities first, the share is given to the spouses and the parents depending on whether the deceased has left children or not, and whatever portion of wealth is remaining is divided between the sons and the daughters according to their respective shares.
So where does the question arise of the total coming to more than one? So it is not Allah who does not know mathematics but it is Arun Shourie himself who is ignorant about mathematics.
Question: The Quran says several times that Allah is most Merciful and Forgiving but also says many times that He gives severe punishment. Is He Forgiving or
1. Allah is most Merciful
The Quran says several times that Allah is the most Merciful. In fact all the 114 Surahs i.e. chapters of the Glorious Quran except for Surah Taubah chapter 9, begin with the beautiful formula, Bismillah-hir-Rahman-nir-Rahim, which means, “In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful”.
2. Allah is Forgiving
The Glorious Quran mentions in several verses including Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 25 and Surah Maidah, chapter 5 verse 74: “And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
3. Allah gives severe punishment to the deserving
Allah besides being Merciful and Forgiving is also strict in giving punishment to the deserving. The Quran mentions in several verses that Allah will give severe punishment to the unbelievers and rejecters of faith. He will give punishment to all those who disobey Him. Several verses of the Quran describe the various types of severe punishment that Allah will give in hell to all those who disobey.
“Those who reject our Signs, we shall soon cast into the Fire; as often as their skins are roasted through, we shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise”. [Al-Quran 4:56]
4. Allah is Just
The question is, whether Allah is forgiving or revengeful? An important point to be noted is that Allah besides being Merciful and Forgiving, He also has to give severe punishment to the deserving wicked or evil people, because He is also Just. The Quran mentions in Surah Nisa:
“Allah is never unjust in the least degree”. [Al-Quran 4:40]
It is further mentioned in Surah Al-Ambiya: “We shall set up scales of justice for the day of Judgement, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least. And if there be (no more than) the weight of a mustard seed, we will bring it (to account): and enough are we to take account”. [Al-Quran 21:47]
5. Example: Teacher forgives a student who copies in the examination If during an examination, a student copies and the teacher who supervises in the examination catches the student red-handed, the teacher says that he is very merciful and kind and forgives him and allows him to continue copying. Those students who have worked hard for the examination will not call the teacher merciful and kind but will call him unjust. This merciful act of the teacher will encourage the other students also to copy. If all the teachers are merciful and kind and allow the students to copy then no student will ever study for examinations and all will pass with flying colours by copying. The theoretical results of the examinations will be excellent in which all the students will pass with first class and distinction but practically these students will be a failure in life. The whole purpose of the examination would be defeated.
6. This Life is a Test for the Hereafter
The life in this world is a test for the Hereafter. The Quran says in Surah Al Mulk:
“He who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deed; and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving”. [Al-Quran 67:2]
7. If Allah forgives all and punishes none, who will obey him?
If Allah (swt) forgives each and every human being and punishes no one, then why should the human beings obey the command of Allah (swt)? I do agree that no one will go to hell, but this world would become hell to live in. If all human beings are going to go to heaven then what is the purpose and use of the human beings to come to this world, this life cannot be called a test for the hereafter.
8. Allah only forgives if a person who repents
Allah (swt) only forgives if a person repents. The Quran says in Surah Al-Zumar, chapter 39 verse 53-55:
“Say: ‘O my servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
“Turn ye to your Lord (in repentance) and bow to His (will), before the penalty comes on you - after that ye shall not be helped.”
“And follow the best of (the courses) revealed to you from your Lord, before the penalty comes on you - of a sudden, while ye perceive not!” [Al-Quran 39:53-55]
There are four criteria for repentance: First, agree that the act is wrong. Secondly, stop it immediately. Thirdly, never do it again in future. And lastly, compensate for the loss if caused to anyone.
The author is the President of Islamic Research Foundation, Mumbai,
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