Allah the Best Deceiver

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The Qur'an openly states many times that Allah is the 'best deceiver'. The root word used in these verses is Makr which means deception.

Introduction[edit]

The Qur'an openly states many times that Allah is the 'best deceiver'. The root word used in these verses is Makr which means deception. The literal translations presented here, referenced from a Muslim website, make this very clear. However, the majority of Qur'anic translations erroneously translate this term; as can be seen in the following quotes and analysis.

Although there are many places in the Qur'an that use the same word (makir) in reference to Allah,[1] this article will focus only on the verses in which Allah describes himself as the 'best deceiver'.

Definitions[edit]

de·ceive (dē sēv′, di-)

transitive verb deceived -·ceived′, deceiving -·ceiv′·ing

  1. to make (a person) believe what is not true; delude; mislead
  2. Archaic to be false to; betray
  3. Archaic to while away (time)

Etymology: ME deceiven < OFr deceveir < L decipere, to ensnare, deceive < de-, from + capere, to take.

intransitive verb to use deceit; lie

Related Forms:

deceivable de·ceiv′·able adjective
deceiver de·ceiv′er noun
deceivingly de·ceiv′·ingly adverb
Deceive definition
Webster's New World College Dictionary

Qur'an[edit]

In the following Qur'an verses, Allah reveals to us that he is the "best deceiver".

Qur'an 3:54[edit]

Arabic: ومكروا ومكر الله والله خير الماكرين

Transliteration: Wamakaroo wamakara Allahu waAllahu khayru almakireena

Literal: And they cheated/deceived and God cheated/deceived, and God (is) the best (of) the cheaters/deceivers.[2]

Qur'an 7:99[edit]

Arabic: افامنوا مكر الله فلايامن مكر الله الا القوم الخاسرون

Transliteration: Afaaminoo makra Allahi fala ya/manu makra Allahi illa alqawmu alkhasiroona

Literal: Did they secure God's scheme/deceit ? So no(one) trusts God's scheme/deceit except the nation the losers.[3]

Qur'an 8:30[edit]

Arabic: واذ يمكر بك الذين كفروا ليثبتوك او يقتلوك او يخرجوك ويمكرون ويمكر الله والله خير الماكرين

Transliteration: Wa-ith yamkuru bika allatheena kafaroo liyuthbitooka aw yaqtulooka aw yukhrijooka wayamkuroona wayamkuru Allahu waAllahu khayru almakireena

Literal: And when those who disbelieved deceive/scheme at you to affix/affirm you, or kill you, or bring you out, and they scheme/deceive , and God deceives/schemes and God (is) best (of) the deceivers/schemers.[4]

Qur'an 10:21[edit]

Arabic: واذا اذقنا الناس رحمة من بعد ضراء مستهم اذا لهم مكر في اياتنا قل الله اسرع مكرا ان رسلنا يكتبون ماتمكرون

Transliteration: Wa-itha athaqna alnnasa rahmatan min baAAdi darraa massat-hum itha lahum makrun fee ayatina quli Allahu asraAAu makran inna rusulana yaktuboona ma tamkuroona

Literal: And if We made the people taste/experience mercy from after calamity/disastrous distress touched them, then for them (is) cheatery/deceit/schemes in Our verses/evidences . Say: "God (is) quicker/faster (in) cunning/scheming , that Our messengers write what you cheat/ deceive/scheme."[5]

Qur'an 13:42[edit]

Arabic: وقد مكر الذين من قبلهم فلله المكر جميعا يعلم ماتكسب كل نفس وسيعلم الكفار لمن عقبى الدار

Transliteration: Waqad makara allatheena min qablihim falillahi almakru jameeAAan yaAAlamu ma taksibu kullu nafsin wasayaAAlamu alkuffaru liman AAuqba alddari

Literal: And those from before them had cheated/deceived/schemed, so to God (is) all the cheatery/deceit/scheme. He knows what every self gains/acquires , and the disbelievers will know to whom (is) the house's/home's end/turn (result).[6]

The word makir is always used disparagingly, and never in a positive context. It is often used to describe someone sly and dishonest. This is because of the way a makir deceives - they set out to cheat you by deception. It is highly inappropriate for Allah to use this word to describe himself; especially when two of his names are الحق (the truth) and الوكيل (the dependable).

Literal Meaning of Makr[edit]

This section quotes numerous academic sources to study the meaning of Makr.

Lane's Lexicon[edit]

From Lane's Lexicon (the full entry can be viewed here):

Miim-Kaf-Ra = To practice deceit or guile or circumvention, practice evasion or elusion, to plot, to excercise art or craft or cunning, act with policy, practice strategem.

makara vb. (1)
perf. act. 3:54, 3:54, 7:123, 13:42, 14:46, 16:26, 16:45, 27:50, 40:45, 71:22
impf. act. 6:123, 6:123, 6:124, 8:30, 8:30, 8:30, 10:21, 12:102, 16:127, 27:70, 35:10
n.vb. 7:99, 7:99, 7:123, 10:21, 10:21, 12:31, 13:33, 13:42, 14:46, 14:46, 14:46, 27:50, 27:50, 27:51, 34:33, 35:10, 35:43, 35:43, 71:22
pcple. act. 3:54, 8:30

LL, V7, p: 256

Hans Wehr[edit]

Hans Wehr dictionary also confirms the meaning of the term:

Arabic Lexicon[edit]

Miscellaneous Dictionaries[edit]

Meanings from other dictionaries and sources have been compiled below:

Dictionary Word Meaning
Google Translate ماكر (Makir) sly, cunning, deceitful (read more)
Babylon.com مكر (Makr) n. calculating, cunning, astuteness, craftiness, foxiness, craft, slyness, archness, deceit, double-dealing, artifice, deception, wiliness, artfulness, furtiveness, ploy, trick, guile, ruse, roguery
TranStar مكر (Makr) wiliness (means: "Full of wiles" Merriam-Webster)
ArabEyes.com المكر (Al-Makr) deception
Ibn Masr المكر (Al-Makr) deception
SYSTRAnet.com مكر (Makr) deception
Translated.net مكر (Makr) deception
ImTranslator.com المكر (Al-Makr) deviousness
ImTranslator.com مكر (Makr) wiliness
Ectaco مكر (Makr) deception

Deceptive Translators[edit]

The following are the English translations of the selected verses. As mentioned above, makir is never used in a positive sense - it denotes a shifty, sly person who uses deception as a means to their ends.

We see that most of the translators have taken makir (with one of its possible translations 'scheme') to mean 'a systematic plan of action', and have translated makir to mean 'planner' or 'plotter'. However this completely disregards the accepted connotations of the word and the context of the given verses. Makir does not mean planner. Just because makir can be translated as scheme, and scheme can mean plan/plot, this does not mean that you can translate makir as planner/plotter. This is dishonesty on the part of those translators.

Since the same word is used for both the unbelievers and Allah, in most cases the translators have opted for the more benign (and incorrect) translation in order to avoid revealing what Allah has truly said about himself, as this could cause fitnah.

Qur'an 3:54[edit]

Yusuf Ali: And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah. [7]
Pickthal: And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers.[7]
Arberry: And they devised, and God devised, and God is the best of devisers. [7]
Shakir: And they planned and Allah (also) planned, and Allah is the best of planners. [7]
Sarwar: The unbelievers plotted and God planned, but God is a much better planner;[7]
Khalifa: They plotted and schemed, but so did GOD, and GOD is the best schemer.[7]
Hilali/Khan: And they (disbelievers) plotted (to kill Iesa (Jesus) ), and Allah planned too. And Allah is the Best of the planners. [7]
H/K/Saheeh: And the disbelievers planned, but Allah planned. And Allah is the best of planners. [7]
Malik: The unbelievers among the children of Israel plotted against Jesus and Allah also devised a plan to raise him up, and Allah is the best in planning. [7]
QXP: The opponents made some plans, but so did Allah. And Allah is the Virtuous of planners. (They schemed to arrest and crucify Jesus but Allah assured him). [7]
Maulana Ali: And (the Jews) planned and Allah (also) planned. And Allah is the best of planners. [7]
Free Minds: And they schemed and God schemed, but God is the best schemer. [7]
Qaribullah: They devised, and Allah devised. And Allah is the Best Devisor. [7]
George Sale: And the Jews devised a stratagem against him; but God devised a stratagem against them; and God is the best deviser of stratagems. [7]
JM Rodwell: And the Jews plotted, and God plotted: But of those who plot is God the best. [7]
Asad: And the unbelievers schemed [against Jesus]; but God brought their scheming to nought: for God is above all schemers. [7]
Palmer: But they (the Jews) were crafty, and God was crafty, for God is the best of crafty ones! [8]

Qur'an 7:99[edit]

Yusuf Ali: Did they then feel secure against the plan of Allah?- but no one can feel secure from the Plan of Allah, except those (doomed) to ruin! [9]
Pickthal: Are they then secure from Allah's scheme? None deemeth himself secure from Allah's scheme save folk that perish. [9]
Arberry: Do they feel secure against God's devising? None feels secure against God's devising but the people of the lost. [9]
Shakir: What! do they then feel secure from Allah's plan? But none feels secure from Allah's plan except the people who shall perish. [9]
Sarwar: Did they consider themselves secure from the retribution of God? No one can have such attitude except those who are lost. [9]
Khalifa: Have they taken GOD's plans for granted? None takes GOD's plans for granted except the losers. [9]
Hilali/Khan: Did they then feel secure against the Plan of Allah. None feels secure from the Plan of Allah except the people who are the losers. [9]
H/K/Saheeh: Then did they feel secure from the plan of Allah? But no one feels secure from the plan of Allah except the losing people. [9]
Malik: Do these people feel secure against the plan of Allah? In fact, only those people feel secure from the plan of Allah who are doomed to destruction. [9]
QXP: Do they feel secure from the subtle progression of the Divine Laws? Do they think that the Divine Law grants them unconditional security? Only the losers feel secure from the subtle progression of Allah's Law of Requital. [9]
Maulana Ali: Are they secure from Allah’s plan? But none feels secure from Allah’s plan except the people who perish. [9]
Free Minds: Have they become sure about God's scheming? None are sure about God's scheming except the people who are losers. [9]
Qaribullah: (In reply to your devising) do they feel secure from the devising of Allah? None feels secure from the devising of Allah except the loosing nation. [9]
George Sale: Were they therefore secure from the stratagem of God? But none will think himself secure from the stratagem of God, except the people who perish. [9]
JM Rodwell: Did they, therefore, deem themselves secure from the deep counsel of God? But none deem themselves secure from the deep counsel of God, save those who perish. [9]
Asad: Can they, then, ever feel secure from God's deep devising? But none feels secure from God's deep devising save people who are [already] lost.' [9]
Palmer: were they secure from the craft of God? none feel secure from the craft of God except a people that shall lose. [10]

Qur'an 8:30[edit]

Yusuf Ali: Remember how the Unbelievers plotted against thee, to keep thee in bonds, or slay thee, or get thee out (of thy home). They plot and plan, and Allah too plans; but the best of planners is Allah. [11]
Pickthal: And when those who disbelieve plot against thee (O Muhammad) to wound thee fatally, or to kill thee or to drive thee forth; they plot, but Allah (also) plotteth; and Allah is the best of plotters. [11]
Arberry: And when the unbelievers were devising against thee, to confine thee, or slay thee, or to expel thee, and were devising, and God was devising; and God is the best of devisers. [11]
Shakir: And when those who disbelieved devised plans against you that they might confine you or slay you or drive you away; and they devised plans and Allah too had arranged a plan; and Allah is the best of planners. [11]
Sarwar: The unbelievers planned to imprison, murder or expel you (Muhammad) from your city. They make evil plans but God too plans and God's plans are the best. [11]
Khalifa: The disbelievers plot and scheme to neutralize you, or kill you, or banish you. However, they plot and scheme, but so does GOD. GOD is the best schemer. [11]
Hilali/Khan: And (remember) when the disbelievers plotted against you (O Muhammad SAW) to imprison you, or to kill you, or to get you out (from your home, i.e. Makkah); they were plotting and Allah too was planning, and Allah is the Best of the planners. [11]
H/K/Saheeh: And [remember, O Muúammad], when those who disbelieved plotted against you to restrain you or kill you or evict you [from Makkah]. But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners. [11]
Malik: Remember, how the unbelievers plotted against you. They sought to take you captive or kill you or exile you. They planned - and Allah also planned - Allah is the best planner of all. [11]
QXP: Remember (O Messenger), when the rejecters were making schemes to arrest you, slay you, or expel you. That was their plan, but Allah's Law of Requital is designed to work in a way unfailing. Allah is the Best of planners. [11]
Maulana Ali: And when those who disbelieved devised plans against thee that they might confine thee or slay thee or drive thee away -- and they devised plans and Allah, too, had arranged a plan; and Allah is the best of planners. [11]
Free Minds: And the rejecters plot against you to arrest you, or to kill you, or to expel you. And they plot, and God plots, and God is the best of plotters. [11]
Qaribullah: And when the unbelievers plotted against you (Prophet Muhammad). They sought to either take you captive or have you killed, or expelled. They plotted but Allah (in reply) also plotted. Allah is the Best in plotting. [11]
George Sale: And call to mind when the unbelievers plotted against thee, that they might either detain thee in bonds, or put thee to death, or expel thee the city; and they plotted against thee: But God laid a plot against them; and God is the best layer of plots. [11]
JM Rodwell: And call to mind when the unbelievers plotted against thee, to detain thee prisoner, or to kill thee, or to banish thee: They plotted-but God plotted: and of plotters is God the best! [11]
Asad: AND [remember, O Prophet,] how those who were bent on denying the truth were scheming against thee, in order to restrain thee [from preaching], or to slay thee, or to drive thee away: thus have they [always] schemed:'° but God brought their scheming to nought-for God is above all schemers. [11]
Palmer: And when those who misbelieve were crafty with thee to detain thee a prisoner, or kill thee, or drive thee forth; they were crafty, but God was crafty too, for God is best of crafty ones! [12]

Qur'an 10:21[edit]

Yusuf Ali: When We make mankind taste of some mercy after adversity hath touched them, behold! they take to plotting against Our Signs! Say: "Swifter to plan is Allah!" Verily, Our messengers record all the plots that ye make! [13]
Pickthal: And when We cause mankind to taste of mercy after some adversity which had afflicted them, behold! they have some plot against Our revelations. Say: Allah is more swift in plotting. Lo! Our messengers write down that which ye plot. [13]
Arberry: When We let the people taste mercy after hardship has visited them, lo, they have a device concerning Our signs. Say: 'God is swifter at devising; surely Our messengers are writing down what you are devising. [13]
Shakir: And when We make people taste of mercy after an affliction touches them, lo ! they devise plans against Our communication. Say: Allah is quicker to plan; surely Our messengers write down what you plan. [13]
Sarwar: When people are granted mercy after having suffered hardship, they begin to plot against Our revelations. Say, "God is the most swift in His plans." Our angelic messengers record all that you plot. [13]
Khalifa: When we bestow mercy upon the people, after adversity had afflicted them, they immediately scheme against our revelations! Say, "GOD's scheming is far more effective. For our messengers are recording everything you scheme." [13]
Hilali/Khan: And when We let mankind taste of mercy after some adversity has afflicted them, behold! They take to plotting against Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.)! Say: "Allah is more Swift in planning!" Certainly, Our Messengers (angels) record all of that which you plot. [13]
H/K/Saheeh: And when We give the people a taste of mercy after adversity has touched them, at once they conspire against Our verses. Say, "Allah is swifter in strategy." Indeed, Our messengers record that which you conspire. [13]
Malik: When We show mercy to mankind after some calamity had afflicted them, they begin to plot against Our revelations! Tell them: "Allah is more swift in plotting than you; indeed Our angels are recording all the plots you make." [13]
QXP: When We cause people to taste of Mercy after they have suffered a hardship, they start scheming to defy Our Commands. Say, "Allah is more Swift in planning. Our couriers write down what you plot." [13]
Maulana Ali: And when We make people taste of mercy after an affliction touches, lo! they devise plans against Our messages. Say: Allah is quicker to plan. Surely Our messengers write down what you plan. [13]
Free Minds: And if We let the people taste a mercy after some harm had afflicted them, they take to scheming against Our revelations! Say: "God is faster in scheming;" Our messengers record what you scheme. [13]
Qaribullah: When We let people taste (Our) mercy after they had been afflicted by hardship, they devise against Our verses. Say: 'Allah is more swift in devising. ' Indeed, Our Messengers (the angels) are writing down whatever you devise. [13]
George Sale: And when We caused the men of Mecca to taste mercy, after an affliction which had befallen them, behold, they devised a stratagem against our signs. Say unto them, God is more swift in executing a stratagem, than ye. Verily our messengers write down that which ye deceitfully devise. [13]
JM Rodwell: And when after a trouble which you befallen them, we caused this people to taste of mercy, lo! a plot on their part against our signs! SAY: Swifter to plot is God! Verily, our messengers note down your plottings. [13]
Asad: And [thus it is:] whenever We let [such] people taste [some of Our] grace after hardship has visited them-lo! they forthwith turn to devising false arguments against Our messages." Say: "God is swifter [than you] in His deep devising!" Behold, Our [heavenly] messengers are recording all that you may devise! [13]
Palmer: When we have let men taste of mercy after distress which has touched them, lo! they use a stratagem against our signs! Say, 'God is quicker at stratagem.' Verily, our messengers write down what stratagem ye use. [14]

Qur'an 13:42[edit]

Yusuf Ali: Those before them did (also) devise plots; but in all things the master-planning is Allah's He knoweth the doings of every soul: and soon will the Unbelievers know who gets home in the end. [15]
Pickthal: Those who were before them plotted; but all plotting is Allah's. He knoweth that which each soul earneth. The disbelievers will come to know for whom will be the sequel of the (heavenly) Home. [15]
Arberry: Those that were before them devised; but God's is the devising altogether. He knows what every soul earns. The unbelievers shall assuredly know whose will be the Ultimate Abode. [15]
Shakir: And those before them did indeed make plans, but all planning is Allah's; He knows what every soul earns, and the unbelievers shall come to know for whom is the (better) issue of the abode. [15]
Sarwar: Certain people who lived before plotted evil plans but God is the Master of all plans. He knows what every soul does. The unbelievers will soon learn who will achieve the blissful end. [15]
Khalifa: Others before them have schemed, but to GOD belongs the ultimate scheming. He knows what everyone is doing. The disbelievers will find out who the ultimate winners are. [15]
Hilali/Khan: And verily, those before them did devise plots, but all planning is Allahs. He knows what every person earns, and the disbelievers will know who gets the good end (final destination). [15]
H/K/Saheeh: And those before them had plotted, but to Allah belongs the plan entirely. He knows what every soul earns, and the disbelievers will know for whom is the final home. [15]
QXP: Now those who lived before these people, also devised schemes, but the most Subtle devising is that of Allah. He knows what every "Self" earns. The rejecters will soon find out as to whom belongs the Future. [15]
Maulana Ali: And those before them planned indeed, but all planning is Allah’s. He knows what every soul earns. And the disbelievers will come to know for whom is the (good) end of the Abode. [15]
Free Minds: And those before them have schemed, but to God is all scheming. He knows what every soul earns and the rejecters will come to know to whom is the better abode. [15]
Qaribullah: Those who have gone before them devised, but to Allah is the devising altogether. He knows what every soul earns. The unbelievers shall know without doubt for whom is the Ultimate Abode. [15]
George Sale: Their predecessores formerly devised subtle plots against their prophets; but God is master of every subtle device. He knoweth that which every soul deserveth: And the infidels shall surely know, whose will be the reward of paradise. [15]
JM Rodwell: Those who lived before them made plots: but all plotting is controlled by God: He knoweth the works of every one, and the infidels shall know whose will be the recompense of the abode. [15]
Asad: Now those who lived before these [sinners] did, too, devise many a blasphemy"-but the most subtle devising is that of God, who knows what each human being deserves :12 and the deniers of the truth will [in time] come to know to whom the future belongs." [15]
Palmer: And those who were before them were crafty too; but God's is the craft altogether! He knows what every soul earns; and the misbelievers shall know whose is the recompense of the abode. [16]

Analysis[edit]

The translations of Yusuf Ali, Sarwar Hilali/Khan and Malik have furthered their dishonesty in the translation of makir by translating the same word differently in two places (in the same verse). When referring to the unbelievers, they state that they 'plotted and planned' but that Allah only 'planned'. This implies that Allah's intentions and planning were completely benign, but that the unbelievers' intentions were not - as 'plotter' itself has negative connotations. This translation completely disregards the meaning and connotations of makir, but if they insisted in using the word 'plan', then they should have rendered both usages the same, or they should have used 'devious/deceitful planner' instead of just 'planner' in order to convey the intended meaning.

Arberry and Qaribullah use the word 'devised', Rodwell uses the word 'plotted', Sale uses 'devised a strategem' and Shakir, HK/Saheeh, QXP and Maulana Ali all use the word 'planned' in reference to both the unbelievers and Allah. As stated before, using any of these words (all synonyms for 'planner') is dishonest because the translators have completely disregarded the context and meaning of the word in question. Just because makir can mean scheme and scheme can mean plan/plot/devise, does not mean that you can translate makir as plan/plot/devise. This is a non-sequitor.

In this way, Pickthal, Khalifa, Free Minds and Shakir are the best translations here, because they have correctly translated makir - which can mean scheme. However they have left it a little open ended in that they have not conveyed the full meaning of the word. In English, although the word 'scheme' usually has a negative connotation, this is not always the case. Makir is always used in a negative context. Palmer's use of 'crafty' in this verse, although accurate, presents the same problem.

Apologetics[edit]

Jamal Badawi[edit]

Although Dr. Badawi admits that makir is a negative word with negative connotations, he seeks to justify its usage in the Qur'an when referring to Allah, by claiming that it has a different meaning than that which we mere mortals have assigned it when referring to each other. This is from a Live Q & A session held on the 16th of April, 2007, on the readingislam.com website. The question and answer are as follows:

Question: The quran refers sometimes to the MAKR of Allah. Hos [sic] is possible to desscribe [sic] God as MAKIR? Wa yamkuruna wa yamkuru Allah

Answer: The terms that we use in our human language do not necessarily have the identical meaning when referring to Allah. For example, terms such as “hear” and “see” have totally different meaning when we speak about Allah, as He does not have eyes or ears like ours (Qur’an 42/11).

Likewise, the Arabic term “makr” for humans refers to conspiracy; for Allah, however, in reverence to Him, to [sic] means “plan”. Therefore, it means then that they conspire, but Allah has his own plans to thwart their evil schemes.
Ask About Islam Q&A Session
Dr. Jamal Badawi, Reading Islam, April 16, 2007

Dr. Badawi's evidence for his claim is from Quran 42:11:

The Originator of the heavens and the earth; He made mates for you from among yourselves, and mates of the cattle too, multiplying you thereby; nothing like a likeness of Him; and He is the Hearing, the Seeing.

When reading this verse, it is immediately apparent that this verse is talking about physical characteristics; the Qur'an is saying that although we have been created in pairs (male and female), Allah is not like this as he has no partner. Reviewing the relevant portion of Kathir's Tafsir confirms this:

[فَاطِرَ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ]

(The Creator of the heavens and the earth.) means, the Maker of them both and everything in between.

[جَعَلَ لَكُمْ مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا]

(He has made for you mates from yourselves,) means, of your own kind. As a blessing and a favor from Him, He has made your kind male and female.

[وَمِنَ الاٌّنْعَـمِ أَزْوجاً]

(and for the cattle (also) mates.) means, and He has created for you eight pairs of cattle.

[يَذْرَؤُكُمْ فِيهِ]

(By this means He creates you.) means, in this manner He creates you, male and female, generation after generation of men and cattle.

[لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَىْءٌ]

(There is nothing like Him,) means, there is nothing like the Creator of these pairs, for He is the Unique, the Self-Sufficient Master, Who has no peer or equal.

Therefore Qur'an 42:11 is saying that Allah has no likeness to that which he has created on this Earth because Allah created everything in pairs. Since Allah has no equal, he has no partner. This is why among his creation he 'has no likeness'. Stating that "see" and "hear" have different meanings when referring to Allah, is, again referring to physical characteristics (the 5 senses in this case) and bears no relevance to the meaning of words.

It is therefore in error for Dr. Badawi to submit this verse as evidence that words have different meanings when referring to Allah, because it is clearly talking about physical creation and not the meanings of words as they should be defined when Allah uses them to describe himself.

Even though we see that Dr. Badawi has no legitimate basis for his claim, we shall humor him in order to ask some questions:

1. How many words have different meanings when referring to Allah? We've already seen that you've taken a word with a negative meaning and turned it into a positive, claiming 'reverence'. Does this mean that all negatively slanted words that Allah uses about himself must be turned into a positive, even if that means completely redefining the word in question? Isn't this a case of Special pleading? [17]

2. Who decides what words have a different meaning when referring to Allah? Scholars like you? Don't you think this is just a way to hide and excuse the negative attributes of Allah by way of misdirecting those who are not as knowledgeable about Islam, the Qur'an and the Arabic language?

3. The Qur'an tells us:
And certainly We know that they say: Only a mortal teaches him. The tongue of him whom they reproach is barbarous, and this is clear Arabic tongue.

Since the Qur'an says it is in clear Arabic, then this implies that the meaning of its words are as we understand them, and should not be applied in a different way to Allah. If makir has a different meaning when Allah uses it to refer to himself, then Qur'an 16:103 is obviously wrong. Is the Qur'an wrong here?

4. You have claimed that makir has a different meaning when referring to Allah - that the common Arabic meaning is not correct. However the Qur'an states:
He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the Book, and others are allegorical; then as for those in whose hearts there is perversity they follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to mislead and seeking to give it (their own) interpretation. but none knows its interpretation except Allah, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord; and none do mind except those having understanding.

The Qur'an says that some people seek to mislead by giving their own interpretation to portions. Are you doing this? If the "true" [when referring to Allah] meaning is unknown to most, what evidence do we have that you are being truthful in this matter?

Islam Q&A[edit]

Islam Q&A says that "plotting/deceiving" may be used to describe Allah, but only in a positive way:

Question: Can Allaah be described as plotting, deceiving and betraying as in the verses (interpretation of the meaning):

“they were plotting and Allaah too was plotting” [al-Anfaal 8:30] “Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allaah, but it is He Who deceives them” [al-Nisa’ 4:142]?.

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

The attributes of Allaah are all attributes of perfection, pointing to the best and most perfect of meanings. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and for Allaah is the highest description. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise”

[al-Nahl 16:60]

“His is the highest description (i.e. none has the right to be worshipped but He, and there is nothing comparable unto Him) in the heavens and in the earth. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise”

[al-Room 30:27]

Al-Sa’di said in his Tafseer (commentary) – p. 718, 1065:

The highest description means the most perfect attributes.

Attributes are of three types:

1 – Attributes of perfection – in which there is no shortcoming whatsoever. These attributes apply to Allaah in absolute terms and are not limited or restricted in any way. Examples of that include His knowledge, power, hearing, seeing, mercy, etc.

2 – Attributes which imply imperfection and shortcomings. These can never be ascribed to Allaah, such as sleeping, being unable, doing wrong or oppressing, betraying, etc.

3 – Attributes which may be perfect or imperfect, depending on the context. These cannot be ascribed to Allaah in absolute terms, and they cannot be denied in the case of Allaah in absolute terms. If the context implies perfection then they can be ascribed to Allaah; if it implies imperfection then they cannot be ascribed to Allaah. Examples include: plotting, deceiving and mocking.

Plotting against, betraying and mocking the enemy are attributes of perfection, because that is indicative of complete knowledge, power and might, and so on.

But plotting against the sincere believers is an attribute of imperfection.

Hence these characteristics are not ascribed to Allaah in absolute terms, rather they are mentioned in such a context as to indicate that these are attributes of perfection.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allaah, but it is He Who deceives them” [al-Nisa’ 4:142]

This is deceiving the hypocrites.

And He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And (remember) when the disbelievers plotted against you (O Muhammad) to imprison you, or to kill you, or to get you out (from your home, i.e. Makkah); they were plotting and Allaah too was plotting; and Allaah is the Best of those who plot”

[al-Anfaal 8:30]

This is a plot against the enemies of Allaah who were plotting against the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

Allaah says of the hypocrites (interpretation of the meaning):

“And when they meet those who believe, they say: ‘We believe,’ but when they are alone with their Shayaateen (devils — polytheists, hypocrites), they say: ‘Truly, we are with you; verily, we were but mocking.’

Allaah mocks at them and gives them increase in their wrong-doing to wander blindly”

[al-Baqarah 2:14-15]

This is mocking the hypocrites.

These attributes are to be regarded as indicating perfection in this context. Hence we say that Allaah mocks the hypocrites and deceives them, and that He plots against His enemies, and so on. But it is not permissible to describe Allaah as mocking or deceiving in absolute terms, because that does not indicate perfection.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: Can Allaah be described as plotting and named as such?

He replied:

Allaah cannot be described as plotting except in a limited sense; He cannot be described as such in absolute terms. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Did they then feel secure against the Plan of Allaah? None feels secure from the Plan of Allaah except the people who are the losers”

[al-A’raaf 7:99]

This verse indicate that Allaah has a plan or plot, which was to confound them without them realizing it. This is akin to the hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari: “War is deceit.”

If it is asked: How can Allaah be described as plotting when this seems to be something blameworthy?

The answer is that plotting in the right circumstances may be something praiseworthy that points to the strength of the plotter, and that he is superior to his enemy. Hence Allaah cannot be described as plotting in absolute terms, and we cannot say “Allaah is a Plotter.” Rather this attribute is mentioned in a context where it is positive, such as the verses (interpretation of the meaning):

“they were plotting and Allaah too was plotting”

[al-Anfaal 8:30]

“So they plotted a plot, and We planned a plan, while they perceived not”

[al-Naml 27:50]

And we cannot say in absolute terms that this cannot be ascribed to Allaah, rather in contexts where it is something positive it may be ascribed to Him, and in contexts where it is not something positive, it should not be ascribed to Him. So Allaah should not be called by a name which refers to this, so we cannot say that one of the names of Allaah is “the Plotter”. Plotting is one of His actions, because it has to do with the Will of Allaah.

Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 1/170.

He was also asked: Can Allaah be described as betraying, or as deceiving, as in the verse (interpretation of the meaning):

“Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allaah, but it is He Who deceives them” [al-Nisa’ 4:142]?

He replied:

With regard to betrayal, this is something that can never be ascribed to Allaah, because it is something shameful in all circumstances, and it is plotting at a time of trust, which is blameworthy. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“But if they intend to betray you (O Muhammad), they indeed betrayed Allaah before. So He gave (you) power over them. And Allaah is All-Knower, All-Wise”

[al-Anfaal 8:71]

And He did not say: So He betrayed them.

With regard to deceiving, it is like plotting. It may be ascribed to Allaah when it is something positive, but it cannot be ascribed to Him in absolute terms. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allaah, but it is He Who deceives them” [al-Nisa’ 4:142]

Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 1/171

And Allaah knows best.

As with Jamal Badawi's apologetics, this is again a case of Special pleading [17]. This is adding meaning to the text which is not there, but comes only from a certain set of beliefs that you hold: namely:

  1. that Allah is God
  2. that Allah is perfect
  3. that 'perfection' is synonymous with 'good'
  4. that 'perfection' is synonymous with 'truthful'
  5. that Allah never lies or deceives

However when we look at the verses in question, the same word is applied to the unbelievers and also Allah. So you must also accept that since Allah is perfect, the meaning of the word changes depending on who it's referring to. There is absolutely no evidence that this is the case. Nowhere does the Qur'an implicitly state or even imply that words mean different things when referring to Allah, nor are there any ahadith to this effect. This is a clear cut case of special pleading, invented by Muslims to excuse the fact that the exact words of their god state that he is the best deceiver.

If one who claims to be perfect, displays an imperfect trait (deception, plotting etc..) then we know two things:

  1. They are a liar
  2. They are imperfect

Allah has told us in his Qur'an that he is the best deceiver - we have his own admission that he is imperfect and a liar.

Harun Yahya[edit]

Harun Yahya includes Al-Makir in his listing of Allah's 99 names:

AL-MAKIR

The Planner

When those unbelievers were plotting against you to imprison you or to kill or expel you: they were plotting and Allah was plotting, but Allah is the Best of Planners . (Surat al-Anfal, 8:30)

Those who plotted against the just religion throughout history strove to distance people from it for their own selfish desires (e.g., greed for power, personal interests, and so on). In the Hereafter, they will be told: “No, it was your scheming night and day when you commanded us to reject Allah and assign equals to Him.” (Surah Saba', 34:33) Yet there is a very important point that we need to remember here:

Those before them plotted, but all planning belongs to Allah. He knows what each self earns, and the unbelievers soon will know who has the Ultimate Abode. (Surat ar-Ra‘d, 13:42)

As is related in the verse above, “all planning belongs to Allah.” Thus, against all of the unbelievers' plots, Allah devises the best plan. Allah calls attention to the deadlock facing unbelievers:

They concocted their plots, but their plots were with Allah, even if they were such as to make the mountains vanish. (Surah Ibrahim, 14:46)

As this verse relates, Allah protects all believers from these plots. This is very easy for Allah, Who turns all plots against His Messengers and believers into failures and makes unbelievers suffer the ensuing dire consequences, for “… Allah is swifter at planning...” (Surah Yunus, 10:21)

No doubt, Allah creates every incident with a purpose and for the ultimate good. He uses the unbelievers' plots against believers to test them. He then extends His help to those servants who can discern the good and beauties in the events He creates, and turns all of these to their benefit.

Like Dr. Badawi's apologetics regarding Makir, Harun Yahya attempts to spin the meaning of the word when referring to Allah. Rather disturbingly, the first verse quoted above (Qur'an 8:30) has actually been quoted incorrectly by Yahya on this portion of his website. The translation given, referring to people as plotters, but Allah as a planner, does not actualy exist. This is not an error or oversight by Yahya, because we find elsewhere on his website[18][19] that the verse has been quoted correctly; referring to both as 'plotters'. Again in his quote of Qur'an 13:42, Yahya has misquoted the verse - labelling the unbelievers as "plotters" but Allah as a "planner".

These misquotes have been deliberately presented on this page because Harun Yahya is attributing the name Al Makir directly to Allah, but claiming it simply means "The planner". In order to spin makir into having a positive connotation, translating the same word differently in Qur'an 8:30 and 13:42 was necessary in order to portray Allah as being righteous, and the non believers (referred to in the verses) as devious. If they had been presented correctly - in that 'plotter' is attributed to Allah as well as the unbelievers, then it implies that Allah is also plotting the same type of activities that the unbelievers were [allegedly] plotting. This would serve to cast Allah in a bad light, as well as Muslims - since they are the ones who carry out his wishes (as relayed through Muhammad).

Allah Only Deceives Enemies[edit]

While claims from Muslims such as 'you're taking it out of context' are usually not legitimate, on the face of this apologetic claim it appears to have merit. Given the context of the verses provided in the above article, it is clear that they discuss Allah deceiving his (perceived) enemies only. However, what the verses also contain is a definitive statement from Allah - Allah is the best deceiver. It does not state "Allah is better at deceiving than his enemies" Therefore, in these verses, we have the (supposedly) omniscient (all-knowing) being Allah, telling us outright that he is the best deceiver. Being all-knowing, he would be aware of anyone higher at deception than he is.

If someone who is all-knowing tells you he is the best deceiver, and you accept this (as Muslims) how can you say that you trust him not to deceive you as well? After all, since he is the self-admitted 'best' at deception, if he chose to deceive you, it would be highly unlikely that you would be able to detect such a deception if you are using solely his words as a guide to your life. Who's to say he is being truthful about anything else in the Qur'an? Even if he says he is being truthful to you, you already know that you cannot trust him because he has already admitted to being the 'best deceiver' - it could be another deception.

Furthermore, there are verses in the Qur'an that show us that Allah did not only confine his deception to his enemies, as in the above quoted verses.

Allah Deceives Muslims[edit]

When Allah showed them to you in your dream as few; and if He had shown them to you as many you would certainly have become weak-hearted and you would have disputed about the matter, but Allah saved (you); surely He is the Knower of what is in the breasts. And when He showed them to you, when you met, as few in your eyes and He made you to appear little in their eyes, in order that Allah might bring about a matter which was to be done, and to Allah are all affairs returned.

In the above verses, we can see that Allah admits to deceiving Muhammad himself, in a dream, by portraying the opposing forces as less than there actually were, in order to trick him into false confidence because he did not want the Muslims to become intimidated (and then back off from fighting). Here is Kathir's tafsir regarding this:

[إِذْ يُرِيكَهُمُ اللَّهُ فِى مَنَامِكَ قَلِيلاً وَلَوْ أَرَاكَهُمْ كَثِيراً لَّفَشِلْتُمْ وَلَتَنَـزَعْتُمْ فِى الاٌّمْرِ وَلَـكِنَّ اللَّهَ سَلَّمَ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ - وَإِذْ يُرِيكُمُوهُمْ إِذِ الْتَقَيْتُمْ فِى أَعْيُنِكُمْ قَلِيلاً وَيُقَلِّلُكُمْ فِى أَعْيُنِهِمْ لِيَقْضِىَ اللَّهُ أَمْراً كَانَ مَفْعُولاً وَإِلَى اللَّهِ تُرْجَعُ الأُمُورُ ]

(43. (And remember) when Allah showed them to you as few in your dream; if He had shown them to you as many, you would surely have been discouraged, and you would surely have disputed in making a decision. But Allah saved (you). Certainly, He is the All-Knower of that is in the breasts.) (44. And (remember) when you met, He showed them to you as few in your eyes and He made you appear as few in their eyes, so that Allah might accomplish a matter already ordained, and to Allah return all matters (for decision).)

Mujahid said, "In a dream, Allah showed the Prophet the enemy as few. The Prophet conveyed this news to his Companions and their resolve strengthened. Similar was said by Ibn Ishaq and several others. Allah said,

[وَلَوْ أَرَاكَهُمْ كَثِيراً لَّفَشِلْتُمْ]

(If He had shown them to you as many, you would surely, have been discouraged,) you would have cowardly abstained from meeting them and fell in dispute among yourselves,

[وَلَـكِنَّ اللَّهَ سَلَّمَ]

(But Allah saved), from all this, when He made you see them as few,

[إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ]

(Certainly, He is the All-Knower of that is in the breasts.) [8:43].

Allah knows what the heart and the inner-self conceal,

[يَعْلَمُ خَآئِنَةَ الاٌّعْيُنِ وَمَا تُخْفِى الصُّدُورُ ]

(Allah knows the fraud of the eyes, and all that the breasts conceal) [40:19].

Allah's statement,

[وَإِذْ يُرِيكُمُوهُمْ إِذِ الْتَقَيْتُمْ فِى أَعْيُنِكُمْ قَلِيلاً]

(And (remember) when you met, He showed them to you as few in your eyes) demonstrates Allah's compassion towards the believers. Allah made them see few disbelievers in their eyes, so that they would be encouraged and feel eager to meet them. Abu Ishaq As-Subai`i said, that Abu `Ubaydah said that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, "They were made to seem few in our eyes during Badr, so that I said to a man who was next to me, `Do you think they are seventy' He said, `Rather, they are a hundred.' However, when we captured one of them, we asked him and he said, `We were a thousand. Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir recorded it. Allah said next,

[وَيُقَلِّلُكُمْ فِى أَعْيُنِهِمْ]

(and He made you appear as few in their eyes,) Allah said,

[وَإِذْ يُرِيكُمُوهُمْ إِذِ الْتَقَيْتُمْ]

(And (remember) when you met. He showed them to you...), He encouraged each of the two groups against the other, according to `Ikrimah, as recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim.

Kathir claims it was 'compassion' on the part of Allah to show a 'few' to Muhammad when there were many more than that, but this does not negate the fact that Allah deceived the Muslims in this matter - it was deception plain and simple. If we say to you that you get 3 years in jail in return for your sworn testimony, but we know (and conceal) the fact that you will actually get 6 years, this is not compassion, it is deception. In the same way we can say that Allah has deliberately deceived the Muslims in these verses in order to get them to do what he wants (ie. fight). This example alone negates the apologetic claim that "Allah only deceives his enemies" as we can see that Allah deceived Muhammad - uswa hasana - so it is not unlikely that Allah will (and has) deceived other Muslims before and after this event.

Allah Created Christianity Through Deception[edit]

According to Islam, Jesus is not God, and he was not crucified, yet an entire religion sprung from Jesus' death on the cross and subsequent resurrection. This is the central focus of Christianity. Allah however, makes it clear in the Qur'an that Jesus was not crucified (died) and he is not God's son, meaning that Christian's are in error to follow these beliefs. But why do Christians think he was crucified? Because Allah admits that he made it appear so:

And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the messenger of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure. Nay! Allah took him up to Himself; and Allah is Mighty, Wise.

So we see that Allah admits to making it appear (to the people) that Jesus was crucified on the cross (and died), and that Allah then raised Jesus to himself (ascended him to heaven). Therefore Allah admits to deceiving the people. For the next 600 years, Allah sat back and watched all these people converting to, and following Christianity; a religion that was started by his deception, but he did not bother to lift a finger to correct anything until 600 years later, when he sent Muhammad with the Quran - to sort out the mess that he himself (Allah) had created.

Let's look at it from another point of view; Allah sent Jesus to 'fix' the errors that had crept into Judaism, but then undoes any corrections that were made from the intervention (and Jesus' message) by making it appear (in the end) that Jesus was crucified and then raised from the dead. This negates the entire purpose of sending Jesus. This leaves the people with not only one alternative to Allah's 'true' religion, but two; Judaism or Christianity which entails (among other things) following the message of Jesus, which Allah himself had corrupted by making it appear that he had risen from the dead. So for 600 years, Allah's pure religion was not to be found on this Earth and now (thanks to Allah's deception) had two competing faiths to deceive the people and tempt them away from the 'straight path'. This makes no sense.

Conclusion[edit]

In conclusion we can see that this objection (of context) is irrelevant because the statement in the verses is definitive (not dependent on context) and from the Qur'an itself we see that Allah has no problem deceiving:

  • "Enemies of Islam"
  • Muslims
  • Innocent people - who lived in the 600 years that it took Allah to send the Qur'an
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See Also[edit]

  • Lying - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Lying
  • Allah - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Allah
  • Mistranslated Verses - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Mistranslated Verses

External Links[edit]

Resources

References[edit]

  1. Quran root browser - م ك ر - m-k-r
  2. 3. Ali-Imran - The Family Of 'Imran (سورة آل عمران) - Revealed in Madinah (English: Literal) - IslamicNature, accessed August 25, 2011
  3. 7. Al-A'raf - The Heights (سورة الأعراف) - Revealed in Makkah (English: Literal) - IslamicNature, accessed August 25, 2011
  4. 8. Al-Anfal - Spoils Of War (سورة الأنفال) - Revealed in Madinah (English: Literal) - IslamicNature, accessed August 25, 2011
  5. 10. Yunus - Jonah (سورة يونس) - Revealed in Makkah (English: Literal) - IslamicNature, accessed August 25, 2011
  6. 13. Ar-Ra'd - The Thunder (سورة الرعد) - Revealed in Makkah (English: Literal) - IslamicNature, accessed August 25, 2011
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  8. Quran Browser - Quran 3:54
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  10. Quran Browser - Quran 7:99
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  12. Quran Browser - Quran 8:30
  13. 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 13.11 13.12 13.13 13.14 13.15 Islam Awakened - Qur'an 10:21
  14. Quran Browser - Quran 10:21
  15. 15.00 15.01 15.02 15.03 15.04 15.05 15.06 15.07 15.08 15.09 15.10 15.11 15.12 15.13 15.14 Islam Awakened - Qur'an 13:42
  16. Quran Browser - Quran 13:42
  17. 17.0 17.1 Special pleading (logical fallacy) - Wikipedia
  18. The School of Yusuf - Harun Yahya
  19. The Prophet Yusuf - Harun Yahya