Internal Errors Refutation of Qur'an Contradictions The Qur'an

Who Suf­fers the Con­se­quence of Sins ?

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The mis­sion­ar­ies have once again made an attempt to gen­er­ate a so-called con­tra­dic­tion” in the Qur’an. The gist of their claim is :

The Qur’an states that a per­son will only be respon­si­ble for his/​her actions.…17:13 – 15 Sher Ali ; S. 53:38 – 42 Sher Ali. Yet these state­ments are con­tra­dict­ed by the next set of passages.…S. 8:24 – 25 Sher Ali. Here, even the inno­cent will suf­fer the afflic­tion that will smite the wrongdoers.

As it turns out, an appeal to the time-test­ed method­ol­o­gy of the Qur’an explain­ing the Qur’an” would make this gen­er­at­ed error evap­o­rate” into thin air, as we shall soon find out.


Both Qur’an 17:13 – 15 and Qur’an 53:38 – 42 are talk­ing about the state of man on the Day of Res­ur­rec­tion, where­by man will face the judge­ment of God and there­fore no one is account­able for his deeds/​actions on earth except himself.

Qur’an 8:24 – 25, how­ev­er, is warn­ing about inter­nal dis­cord or tumult, and has noth­ing do do with one suf­fer­ing the con­se­quence of sin”.1 This is not­ed by A. Yusuf Ali in foot­note 1198 as :

Fit­na’ has many mean­ings : (1) the root mean­ing is tri­al or temp­ta­tion, as in ii. 102 and viii. 28 ; (2) an anal­o­gous mean­ing is tri­al or pun­ish­ment, as in v. 74 ; (3) tumult or oppres­sion, as i. 193 ; and here ; and in vii 39 ; (4) there is here (viii. 25) the fur­ther shade of mean­ing sug­gest­ed : dis­cord, sedi­tion, civ­il war.

This warn­ing against inter­nal dis­cord or tumult was very nec­es­sary in the Civ­il Wars of ear­ly Islam, and was nev­er more nec­es­sary than it is now. For it affects inno­cent and guilty alike.2

The above is fur­ther con­cured by the renowned Mus­lim schol­ar, the late Prof. Dr. HAMKA, in his famous exe­ge­sis (writ­ten in Indone­sian) on the inter­pre­ta­tion of Qur’an, 8:24 – 25. After giv­ing exam­ples of the civ­il wars in ear­ly Islam, he con­cludes as follows:}}

    Islam masih ada dan hidup. Al-Qur’an pun masih utuh. Kita akan mem­bangk­itkan Islam kem­bali. Maka ayat ini adalah pedo­man pent­ing bagi kita, yaitu awasi­lah bahaya fitnah.

    Trans­la­tion : Islam is still here and alive. The Qur’an has remains as it is. We will there­fore be able to restore Islam soon. There­fore this ayah serves as an impor­tant reminder for us, which is to be aware of the dan­gers of fit­na’ [inter­nal dis­cord or tumult])


As for where the vers­es that dis­cuss the wor­ship of the Gold­en Calf, the Qur’an does not cast blame on the present-day Jews or hold them account­able for the sin of their ances­tors. Rather, it warns them of the con­se­quences if they insist on repeat­ing the mis­takes of their fore­fa­thers. As Qur’an 8:24 – 25, as we had not­ed ear­li­er, is total­ly unre­lat­ed to the issue at hand, there is lit­tle to add from here.

Hence the mis­sion­ar­ies are guilty of propos­ing a red her­ring, i.e. going off the tan­gent by con­tra­dict­ing the under­stand­ing of renowned Mus­lim schol­ars, and their obvi­ous hatred, para­noia and xeno­pho­bia are mak­ing them dif­fi­cult” to under­stand such sim­ple pas­sages as the above.


It is clear from the above dis­cus­sion that the sup­posed con­tra­dic­tion raised by the mis­sion­ar­ies isn’t one when the vers­es are stud­ied in their con­text and with a prop­er under­stand­ing of their meanings.

The Qur’an, like any oth­er text, must be read holis­ti­cal­ly and not in iso­lat­ed pieces. It empha­sizes the prin­ci­ple of indi­vid­ual account­abil­i­ty for actions, but it also speaks of the poten­tial for soci­etal dis­rup­tion (fit­na) that can affect every­one, guilty and inno­cent. This is not a con­tra­dic­tion ; rather, it is an acknowl­edge­ment of the com­plex real­i­ties of both indi­vid­ual and col­lec­tive con­se­quences of actions.

Qur’an, 17:13 – 15 and Qur’an, 53:38 – 42 indeed con­firm the prin­ci­ple of indi­vid­ual account­abil­i­ty on the Day of Res­ur­rec­tion. At the same time, Quran 8:24 – 25 warns of soci­etal upheaval that can occur due to dis­cord, and such events inevitably impact every­one in a soci­ety, not just the indi­vid­u­als caus­ing the dis­cord. This does not mean the inno­cent are being held account­able for the guilty’s actions, but rather illus­trates the far-reach­ing con­se­quences of dis­cord with­in a society.

It is there­fore crit­i­cal to study the Qur’an with appro­pri­ate knowl­edge and respect for its holis­tic mes­sage, rather than selec­tive­ly choos­ing vers­es in an attempt to cre­ate per­ceived con­tra­dic­tions. Such an approach is disin­gen­u­ous and can lead to mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the text.

Final­ly, as with any reli­gious or philo­soph­i­cal dis­course, it is essen­tial to approach the Qur’an and Islam with an open and respect­ful mind. Any bias or prej­u­dice can cloud under­stand­ing and lead to mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tions. In dis­cus­sions of such nature, it is always cru­cial to pri­or­i­tize under­stand­ing and empa­thy over dis­cord and conflict.

We have used the tra­di­tion­al method of Qur’an­ic exe­ge­sis, i.e., al-Qur’an yufas­siru ba’­duhu ba’­dan (dif­fer­ent parts of the Qur’an explain each oth­er). What is giv­en in a gen­er­al way in one place is dis­cussed in detail in some oth­er place in the Qur’an. What is dealt with briefly at one place is expand­ed in some oth­er place. And indeed, only God knows best !Endmark

  1. The word fit­na’ here is trans­lat­ed as afflic­tion and tri­al” and/​or tumult”, oppres­sion”. This usage is con­sis­tent in A. Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an : Text, Trans­la­tion and Com­men­tary, Kitab Bha­van, India (1996) and Hilali & Khan, Inter­pre­ta­tion of The Noble Qur’an in the Eng­lish Lan­guage, Mak­ta­ba Dar-us-Salam, Sau­di Ara­bia (1994).[]
  2. A. Yusuf Ali, ibid., p. 421[]
  3. Prof. Dr. HAMKA, Tafsir Al-Azhar : Juzu’ 789 (1984), pp. 328 – 332.[]

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