The Prophet Lut (sws) and his Daughters
Question: I have a question regarding the biblical story of Sodom. I believe this incident might be in the Qur'an as well, when Lut (sws) tells the people that they may take his daughters but spare the two male guests (angels, in fact).
Now what did he mean by "take my daughters". Did he mean to present them in marriage or something else?
Answer: Mawlana Shabbir Ahmad 'Uthmani has explained verse 78 of the Surah Hud, which mentions this incident. I will just summarize it for you as follows.
Lut (sws) made all possible efforts within his means to save his guests from being harassed by the unscrupulous men of his nation. The last thing he did was to offer them the possibility of marrying his daughters and thus, satisfying their desires. In the opinion of most scholars, by "daughters", the prophet meant all the marriageable ladies of his nation, since as a spiritual father of the nation, he had a right to use the word "daughters" for them.
According to some others, he offered his own daughters as a final, desperate attempt to rescue his guests after having exhausted all other possibilities of bringing the perverted men of his nation to their senses. It was the very last attempt to prick their conscience.
I am personally inclined to accept the last opinion.
Selling Qur'anic Verses for a Meagre Price
Question: Please explain the following Qur'anic verse:
"...nor sell my revelations for a meagre price...." (2:41)
Answer: It basically warns against ignoring the verses of the Almighty for the petty reason of love of this world. In other words, the Qur'an is telling us that when the Almighty demands from us sacrifice for the sake of religion, like spending wealth in his way, or accepting the opinion of someone whom we otherwise don't like, we have to, indeed, sacrifice our wealth or pride. Those who don't respond to the Almighty's call, are, as if, selling the Almighty's verses and purchasing petty worldly gains in exchange. The Jews, who are the direct addressees of this verse, were especially guilty of this crime, when they refused to accept the Prophet Muhammad (sws) as the messenger of Allah. And this was for the petty reason that they did not want to accept a prophet from Banu Isma'il, who they thought was an inferior race to theirs.
Satan and Prostration
Question: The Qur'an says:
And surely, We created you [your father Adam] and then gave you shape [the noble shape of a human being], then We told the angels, "Prostrate to Adam", and they prostrated, except Iblis [Satan], he refused to be of those who prostrate. (7:11)
This is also the case in Surah Baqarah. Why was Iblis supposed to bow before Adam if he wasn't even an angel (even if he was given the status of an angel, he wasn't actually one)?
Answer: The idea was primarily to accept and bow before God's plan. Even though Iblis was a Jinn, he was a part of the assembly where this episode took place. It is part of the style of not just Arabic but many other languages that when a group of people are addressed, they are addressed by a title that takes into consideration the dominant representation of that group. That doesn't rule out the presence of minorities. Many verses of the Qur'an, if grammatically analyzed, are addressing men, but they are equally applicable to women as well.
Regarding the Use of Logic in Religion
Question: Since you base everything on logic, what evidence can you give me from the Qur'an or the Sunnah, which states that everything can be based on logic? Why should everything that appeals to logic be acceptable? There are so many verses in the Qur'an, which are beyond our logic. Why would you accept them, and how do you interpret them?
Answer: My simple question to you is this: On what basis does the Qur'an invite a non-believer to believe in the message of the Qur'an? The answer, according to the Qur'an, is this:
Surely, In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day, in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah sends down from the skies, with which He revives the earth after its death and spreads in it all kinds of animals, in the change of the winds and the clouds between the sky and the earth that are made subservient, there are signs for rational people. (2:164)
The expression used towards the end of this verse in Arabic is "liqawmin ya'qilun", which means those who use their intellect, those who are rational etc. This verb has been used in the Qur'an at least fifty times. There are several other verbs which mean much the same thing are in addition to it.
The Qur'an, while giving the rationale of belief in the Hereafter, gives the following argument:
Shall We treat the Muslims as We treat the guilty? What is the matter with you; what kind of judgement do you make? (68:35-36)
While mentioning one of the proofs of the truthfulness of the claim that Muhammad (sws) is the messenger of Allah, the book of Allah says:
O Muhammad, you have never read a book before this nor have you ever transcribed one with your right hand. Had you done either of these, the quibblers could suspect it. (29:48)
Which human faculty is the above verse appealing to? The fact of the matter is that the entire message of Islam is primarily addressed to human intellect. That's why I stress it so much.
In Ahadith, it is mentioned that "...there are three people whose actions are not recorded: a lunatic till he is restored to reason, a sleeper till he awakes, and a boy till he reaches puberty." (Abu Da'ud, No. 3823) In other words, we are responsible to follow the shari'ah only because we have intellect. The one who doesn't possess it is not even responsible for his actions.