Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Chapter 2, Verse 116
And they said ‘God has a child.’ May He be exalted! No! Everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him, everything devoutly obeys His will. (Chapter 2:Verse 116)
This verse refutes the absurd assertion of those who attribute partners to God. More specifically, those who claim that God has a son. Allah responds and questions why should He take a son? Doesn't absolutely everything in the heavens and earth belong to Him? The verse provides three reason of why Allah is free of the need for a son. The first reason: ‘exalted is He,’ in other words, He is far above from having a son. The second reason: ‘to Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth.’ And the third: ‘all are devoutly obedient to Him.’ Meaning, not only does everything belong to Him, but everything is also subservient to Him. Why then would He need a child?
This false claim is referred to in the Quran nineteen times, and every single time, it is accompanied by a response from God refuting it. Let's look at a few examples narrating what different groups say. Here is a statement from the polytheists:
No indeed! It is one of their lies when they say, 'God has begotten.’ How they lie! Did He truly choose daughters in preference to sons? (37:151-153)
and one from the Jews and the Christians:
The Jews said, ‘Ezra is the son of God,’ and the Christians said, ‘The Messiah is the son of God’: they said this with their own mouths, repeating what earlier disbelievers had said. May God confound them! How far astray they have been led! (09:30)
and in another verse:
As it is, some say: "The All-Merciful has taken to Himself a child." How terrible is this thing you assert: it almost causes the heavens to be torn apart, the earth to split asunder, the mountains to crumble to pieces, that they attribute offspring to the Lord of Mercy. It does not befit the Lord of Mercy to take to Himself a child. there is no one in the heavens or earth who will not come to the Lord of Mercy as a servant- (19:88-93)
Allah wants you to realize how serious, and egregious this claim is. Take note how the verses depict the reaction of every creation in the universe -other than humans and jinn- towards such claim. The heavens, the earth, and the mountains curse those attributing a child to God. The sky almost fell in chunks as it sensed the enormity of the crime. The earth almost split; the mountains nearly turned into dust; all as the result of the what was fabricated against Allah. It is worth noting that the above mentioned verses are part of Chapter 19 (Sura Mariam) which narrates the miracle of the creation of Jesus.
The question to ask here is: What made people say such a thing? What led them to fabricate that God has a son? Perhaps they looked at descriptions of Jesus -the son of Mary- as the word of God which was casted into Mary. We answer that we are all the result of the word ‘be’ from our Lord. Allah answers those with any doubt regarding Prophet Jesus:
In God’s eyes Jesus is just like Adam: He created him from dust, said to him, ‘Be’, and he was. (03:59)
Think about the miracle of creating Adam, and that of creating Jesus (peace be upon them). Which is greater? The miracle of Adam is far greater because Adam did not have a father nor a mother. Both elements -essential for reproduction- were missing. It would have made more sense to have attributed Adam as the son of God rather than Jesus. But surprisingly, people made no such claims in regards to Adam, yet when it came to Jesus who was only lacking the paternal element, they made-up a story.
God told Muhammad (peace be upon him) that the entire issue is a fabrication. It will not harm God to have a son but He has not taken one, rather, it was people who looked to worship something other than God. He says:
Say: ‘If the All-Merciful had a son, I would be the first to worship him.’ (43:81)
The verse continues with: ‘Everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him, everything devoutly obeys His will.’ indicating that God has true ownership of whatever exists in this universe, and ownership negates having a progeny. Why? Because it means that everything is God's creation, and if He is the creator and the inventor then -by definition- what He creates cannot be a part of Him. Have you ever seen someone create something from a part of his or her own? For example a car inventor or manufacturer does not create from his flesh or even the flesh of humans. Similarly, the chair, clock and television are all created from materials other than that of the people who made them. In fact, an inventor creates something that is lesser than him or her in status and element. Similarly, God says: ‘exalted is He’ because he is far above His creation.
Moreover, a son is taken for the continuation of linage and to preserve the father’s name. A son inherits his father after death, and keeps the father's memory alive. This continues through the son's descendants after his death and so on. So, having one son is not sufficient if you intend the continuation of linage. Let’s suppose - for argument sake- that God had a son. Some claimed Jesus to be that son, but Jesus had no children to carry the lineage. God existed without a beginning, He is one who created life and He is the one who grants it. Allah is the ever-living, and the ever-present.
Let's look at the issue from another angle. What was God doing before or at the time of taking a son? In other words, did something new happen in the universe that necessitated having one? Nothing in existence had changed. Having a son did not increase the Lord in power or benefit Him in anyway. Was taking a son intended to aid God? we answer that Allah has all the attributes of perfection and does not require the help of anyone. All things are subservient to Him and to His will. He Almighty was the creator before He created anything. He was the provider before He provided for anyone. He was the all merciful before the existence of those who sought His forgiveness. In other words, the entire universe did not add a single attribute to God. It did not benefit, or harm the Lord in anyway. God says in a sacred narration:
‘O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make requests of Me, and were I to give each one all that he or she requested, that would not decrease what I have, anymore than a needle decreases from the ocean if it is dipped into it’.
Let's look at the issue from yet another angle. If -for the sake of argument- God had a wife and a son then who existed first? If God existed first, this means that He created the wife and the son, then God would be the Creator and the two would be His creation. If, on the other hand, each one created themselves then all of them would be Gods, and there would be three gods, not one.
Allah is exalted far above any similarities or likeness with His creation, neither in His essence, attributes or actions. God is far beyond what you imagine or what may cross your mind. He says: ' Everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him, everything devoutly obeys His will.'