How can Allah have a son without a consort?

What does it mean when the Qur’an says “how can Allah have a son without a consort”

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

The verse in question reads as follows:

بَدِيعُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلأَرْضِ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لَهُ وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ تَكُنْ لَّهُ صَٰحِبَةٌ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ وهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

“the Originator of the heavens and the earth! How could it be that He should have a child without there ever having been a mate for Him – since it is He who has created everything, and He alone knows everything?” (6:101)

Many detractors of Islam including Christian missionaries will usually claim that the above contradicts the story of Mary’s virginal conception whereby she conceives and gives birth to a son without a consort. If it is possible for Mary to have a son without a consort why would it not be so for Allah? The question might seem rather difficult for the uninitiated at first sight but upon further analysis the smokescreen disappears. Mary can have a son without a husband because Allah is the one who granted her that privilege and she was able to carry Jesus in her womb for nine months and thereafter gave birth to him which was a process that legitimately made him her son. How would Allah go through such a process when He has no partner to go through what Mary did and neither does He have the anatomical makeup which Mary as a human being did to have an actual ‘son’. Glory be to Allah and high above is He from such similitude. The Qur’an makes it perfectly clear that “there is nothing like unto Him”(al-Shura, chp. 40, verse 11). Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani in his commentary on the Qur’an writes:

“It is strange that the people devise sons for God without a consort. Even the Christians cannot dare say that Mary is the wife of God, though they believe that Jesus is the son of God.  When this is not the case then how that child, who is born of Mary’s body, became the son of God? Other children of the world are also created by God from the bodies of their mothers and those children are not called the progeny of God. The difference between methods of creation – that Jesus was created only by the breath of Gabraeel without the habitual means and other children come into this world under natural laws does not involve the problem of fatherhood or sonship. Whether causes and effects or miracles – all are creted by God, and He knows best how and when and where a certain thing should be created.” [1]

The clever Christian will say that they do not believe that Jesus is the ‘son of God’ just as John is the son of Elizabeth through birth. They will say that God did not conceive Jesus as how a man and a woman would conceive a son. Is that really true? Well, if it were true then what exactly does it mean to say that Jesus is ‘the Son of God’? Christians do not conceive it in natural terms? That is not exactly true as I have met many Christians who do conceive Jesus as ‘the Son of God’ in natural terms. Frequently I would come across the following reasoning for the alleged deity of Jesus: “The son of a horse is a horse. Thus the son of God must be God.” How is the son of a horse a horse if not through the natural process of conception? If that is how the son of God is God that would mean that Jesus is the son of God in natural terms i.e. sexually conceived. We should however grant the Christians that their creed does not allow this understanding as Jesus is supposedly ‘the Son of God’ since before time. Nevertheless, the question remains as to how can Jesus be ‘the Son of God’ if he existed with the Father since before time. Clearly, in Trinitarian theology the word ‘Son’ does not really mean ‘Son’. That is the problem with most terms used in Trinitarian formulations – they do not mean what they mean.

Jesus often becomes the focus of attention when discussing the verse in question even though he is not specifically the subject under discussion in the verse itself! Thus Dr. Louay Fatoohi states that “Interestingly, none of the verses (6.101, 72.3, 37.152, 112.3) that deny that God had a consort or begot offspring occurs in the context of talking about Jesus’ sonship of God.” [2] Mawlana Abdul Majid Daryabadi in his commentary writes regarding the verse:

“This refutes the polytheism of several peoples like the Hindus, the Babylonians, and the Egyptians, which maintained that each god had a female companion or consort. Indian polytheism wentstill further. ‘Even God’, according to the Upanishads, ‘had a desire for progeny and wanted a wife unto Himself for propagation.’ (Indra, Status of Women in Ancient India, pp. 129-133). See P. V, n. 513.” [3]

References:

[1] Shabbir Ahmed Usmani (1993). The Noble Quran: Tafseer-e-Usmani (Mohammad Ashfaq Ahmad, trans.). Lahore, Pakistan: Aalameen Publications. p. 608

[2] Louay Fatoohi (2010). Jesus the Muslim Prophet: History Speaks of a Human Messiah Not a Divine Christ. Birmingham, UK: Luna Plena Publishing.  p. 65

[3] Abdul Majid Daryabadi (n.d.). Tafsir-ul-Qur’an: Translation and Commetary of the Holy Qur’an. Islamabad, Pakistan: Islamic Book Foundation. pp. 64-65

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10 Responses to “How can Allah have a son without a consort?”

  1. Jesus says:

    Brother thanks for replying .Short but logical article

    My Question is brother Christians say ‘son of God’ is used in the Bible not in a natural way , but the Quran represents it in a natural way so Quran has misrepresented it.

    Please explain brother

    • Ibn Anwar says:

      Salam akhi. I believe I have clarified that in the article. The best way to refute the Christian allegation that you refer to is by pointing out that the verse in question does not specifically mention Jesus.

  2. john the baptist says:

    succinct and clear. You nailed it bro.

  3. rocky says:

    1- The term that is translated as son is WALAD. WALAD in Arabic actually means a “product of birth”. So, in this Aya it covers that Allah does not give birth, nor does he have a consort to give birth for Him. 2- The Aya does not actually say “When ” he has no consort. It Says “And” He has no consort. So, the absence of the consort is one of many reasons why Allah does not have a son and not the only reason. The other reasons are “innovator of the heavens and Earth”. “Creator of everything” and so on. For Mary, the only reason she could not give birth is the absence of the man and nothing else. 3- The word ANNA that was translated as How, carries many other connotations as well as in How and why together? So, it is not only how, it carries the other meaning of why should He?! There is no reason for Him to have a son.

    The ‘ana’ is also expressed in the fact that God has not taken a consort, because He has no need to, which the disbeliever’s themselves acknowledged. Companionship and ‘children’ fulfill needs of the human being, meaning they are a ‘weakness’. Such a thing finds no place for the Eternal One, who is beyond all needs. If the disbeliever’s acknowledge that God has no consort because it is against his majesty, than the very notion that He would have children is rendered absurd on the same premise.

    Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth! How could He have a son when He has no consort, and He (Himself) created everything, and He is the Knower of all things.

  4. Oro says:

    Short,incisive,interesting and thought provoking. JazakAllah khairan.

    Nice one Rocky. 🙂

  5. Oro says:

    First paragraph was for you(ofcourse) Akhee for the article and the other part(Nice one) was Rocky for is comment.

    Sorry for my not being precise like the article, i was also trying to make it short too. 🙂

  6. rocky says:

    brother oro, i think it is fair to say that two brothers from a discussion forum called ihsan and hussain tag teamed on a dumb a ss cross worshipping christian missionary. i kept their arguments and complimented ibn anwars response with thier arguments.

  7. IbnAbuTalib says:

    I suggest we look at it this way. Christians say Jesus is the son of God since he had no human father. The Quranic response is, how can God have a son when he has no consort?

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