Some verses of the Quran can be translated in such a way that, while not grammatically incorrect, turn out to be absolutely incorrect in meaning. A classic comical example of this is the following verse in Sura 9.

[9:3] A proclamation is herein issued from GOD and His messenger to all the people on the great day of pilgrimage, that GOD has disowned the idol worshipers, and so did His messenger. Thus, if you repent, it would be better for you. But if you turn away, then know that you can never escape from GOD. Promise those who disbelieve a painful retribution.

وَأَذَٰنٌ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦٓ إِلَى ٱلنَّاسِ يَوْمَ ٱلْحَجِّ ٱلْأَكْبَرِ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ بَرِىٓءٌ مِّنَ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَرَسُولُهُۥ فَإِن تُبْتُمْ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَإِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّكُمْ غَيْرُ مُعْجِزِى ٱللَّهِ وَبَشِّرِ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

If we just look at the phrase from the above verse:

ٱللَّهَ بَرِىٓءٌ مِّنَ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَرَسُولُهُ

11l-lahaٱللَّهَGod (is)
12barīonبَرِىٓءٌfree from obligations / disowns
14l-mush’rikīnaٱلْمُشْرِكِينَthe polytheists / idol worshipers,
15warasūluhuوَرَسُولُهُۥand His messenger.

If we translate this verse, we can understand it in one of two ways:

  1. God is free from the polytheists, and His messenger
  2. God is free from the polytheists, and so is His messenger

Notice that the first reading is completely against the sensibilities of the Quran as it implies that God disowns His messenger. Such an interpretation would be laughable and goes completely against the ethos of the passage and the Quran as a whole. Therefore, the second interpretation is understood despite what could be argued as the literal reading.

Another example is in Sura 43: Ornaments (Al-Zukhruf / سورة الزخرف) verse 43.

[43:81] Proclaim: “If the Most Gracious did have a son, I would still be the foremost worshiper.”

 قُلْ إِن كَانَ لِلرَّحْمَـٰنِ وَلَدٌ فَأَنَا۠ أَوَّلُ ٱلْعَـٰبِدِينَ

Below is the word by word breakdown.

3kānaكَانَ[He] had
4lilrraḥmāniلِلرَّحْمَـٰنِthat (the) Most Gracious
5waladunوَلَدٌa son.
6fa-anāفَأَنَا۠Then, I
7awwaluأَوَّلُfirst / foremost (of)
8l-ʿābidīnaٱلْعَـٰبِدِينَthe worshipers.”

The question one has to ask is based on the hypothetical posed who should one be the foremost worshiper to? God or His hypothetical son? Again it would be laughable that in such a hypothetical scenario, God would be advocating that we should be the son’s foremost worshiper as the entire message of the Quran is the devotion to God alone and the absolute worship of God alone.

[6:162] Say, “My Contact Prayers (Salat), my worship practices, my life and my death, are all devoted absolutely to GOD alone, the Lord of the universe.

(١٦٢) قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِى وَنُسُكِى وَمَحْيَاىَ وَمَمَاتِى لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ

Despite this obvious fact, many translators interpret this verse that in the case of such a hypothetical scenario, they would be God’s son’s foremost worshiper. Below are some examples, and note that the “his/him” is lowercase signifying that this is not in reference to God.

Sahih InternationalSay, [O Muhammad], “If the Most Merciful had a son, then I would be the first of [his] worshippers.”
Muhammad AsadSay [O Prophet]: “If the Most Gracious [truly] had a son, I would be the first to worship him!”
Safi KaskasSay, “If the Merciful-to-all had a son, then I would be the first to worship him.”
M. M. PickthallSay (O Muhammad): If the Beneficent One hath a son, then, I shall be first among the worshippers. (But there is no son)
Wahiduddin KhanSay, If the All Merciful had a son, I would be the first to worship him
T.B.IrvingSAY: “If the Mercy-giving had a son, I would be the first to worship [him].”
M. Farook MalikO Prophet tell the Christians: “If the Compassionate (Allah) had a son, I would be the first to worship him.”
Muhammad Sarwar(Muhammad), say, “Had the Beneficent God really had a son, I would certainly have been the first one to worship him
Shabbir AhmedSay (O Prophet), “If the Beneficent ever had a son, I would be the first to worship him.”
Aisha BewleySay: ´If the All-Merciful had a son, I would be the first to worship him.´
Ali Quli Qara’iSay, ‘If the All-beneficent had a son, I would have been the first to worship [him].
Hamid S. AzizSay, “If the Beneficent has a son, I am the foremost of those who serve him.”
A.L. Bilal Muhammad et al (2018)Say, “If God, the Merciful Benefactor had a son, I would be the first to worship him.
Musharraf HussainSay: “If the most Kind had a son, I would be his first worshipper.
MaududiSay: “If the Merciful One had a son, I would have been the first one to worship him.”
Mohammad ShafiSay, “If the Gracious One had a son, I would be the first to worship him.”

This shows the idol-worshiping tendencies of even some of the most esteemed translators of the Quran and that such translators have missed site of the entire essence of the Quran and the aspect of strict monotheism.

[12:106] The majority of those who believe in GOD do not do so without committing idol worship.

 وَمَا يُؤْمِنُ أَكْثَرُهُم بِٱللَّهِ إِلَّا وَهُم مُّشْرِكُونَ

2 thoughts on “Worship God or His hypothetical son?

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