The Mutability of Allah

Exposing The Imperfection of Jalal Abualrub’s Deity

Sam Shamoun

Muslim propagandist Jalal Abualrub is at it again. He has produced another shoddy "reply" (*) to my article concerning the Incarnation of Jesus and the meaning of Divine immutability (*). As is his habit he doesn’t provide a link which would allow his readers to see how I have already thoroughly addressed all of his points.

Be that as it may, it is apparent that Jalal doesn’t have a clue as to what it means for God to be immutable. He erroneously assumes that God’s unchangeability somehow precludes his being able to enter time and space or from taking upon himself a genuine human nature without this affecting a change in his essential Divine nature. Such is not the Biblical understanding of Divine immutability, nor is it necessarily an Islamic one as we shall see shortly.

God’s true Word, the Holy Bible, is filled with examples of God entering time and space and assuming various forms in order to interact directly with his creation, e.g. God appearing as a man in order to speak directly with his prophet such as Abraham and eating food which the patriarch offered to him, wrestling with Jacob etc. (cf. Genesis 18; 32:24-30). The NT further teaches that the eternal Word of God, who is God in essence, became a man without ceasing to be God (cf. John 1:1-3, 10, 14).

What this indicates is that immutability doesn’t mean that God can’t do all of these things, or that he must somehow remain static and incapable of movement or direct interaction with his creatures. Rather, God’s unchangeability means that God’s essential attributes are not affected by such interaction or the acquisition of an additional nature, e.g. God still remains all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal etc., since these Divine characteristics do not increase or decrease in God but always remain complete.

What Jalal needs to prove, not merely assume, is that God is incapable of entering time and space without this affecting a change in his essence. Jalal needs to show, not merely use vain philosophical arguments that are based on imperfect fallible human reasoning, that if God chooses to enter time to become a man then this will somehow diminish some, if not all, of his essential attributes, i.e. God’s power will decrease, his knowledge will diminish etc.

In other words, Jalal needs to provide some type of evidence that God cannot take on a human nature in order to voluntarily experience human frailty without this causing some sort of change to occur to his Divine essence and characteristics.

Until he is able to do so we will simply have to accuse him of being dishonest for inconsistently applying standards against the Holy Bible and Christian theology which he has no hesitation condemning when it is applied to his own false religious beliefs.

For instance, this is what Jalal has to say in his biography on Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab to those who would seek to deny certain teachings concerning his deity which defy human comprehension and logic, such as Allah actually having body parts, i.e. eyes, hands, feet, shins etc., even though they are supposed to be unlike anything in creation!

L – Wahhabis Believe that Texts of the Quran and Sunna
Take Precedence Over the Mind

Samalley said that, ‘Wahhabis,’ do not allow freedom for the mind to answer religious questions, because human mind is incapable of finding correct solutions for matters pertaining to life and religion; they say that the answer to all this is found in the Quran and Sunna.


{It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision}; [33:36]."

Jalal has no hesitation suspending his intellect and human reasoning in order to stubbornly believe in such irrational and illogical conceptions of God such as Allah having a body of some kind (even though he will deny that it is an actual body despite also claiming that his god literally has a face, eyes, hands, a waist, feet etc. but then go on to qualify this by saying that they are unlike anything in creation!?!).

And yet this is the same gent who will mock Christians for believing in doctrines such as the Incarnation of the Son on the grounds that his limited finite mind is incapable of understanding such a revealed truth, but will then appeal to the Christian Bible to prove his own irrational beliefs in Allah’s body parts!

For example, in this very same book Jalal has the audacity to quote the "corrupted" Jewish and Christian Bible to prove his erroneous and irrational conception of Deity:

K – Wahhabis Literally Explain Texts Regarding Allah’s Hands and His Istiwaa,
Leading them to Tajseem

Samuel Zwemer said that Wahhabis commit Tajseem: they literally explain Texts of the Quran about Allah’s Hands and Istiwaa (rising above His Throne).

Comments: Believing in Allah’s Names and Attributes does not mean that one is attributing a specific nature for them (sic).


  1. In, Shar’h al-‘Aqeedah at-Ta’hawiyyah (Pg., 518), Imam Abu Jafar at-Ta’hawi said, "Islam is in the middle, between extremism and shortcomings, and between Tashbeeh and Ta’teel…"
  2. On page 520, Imam Ibn Abi al-‘Izz al-‘Hanafi commented on Imam Abu Jafar’s statement that Islam is, ‘…between Tashbeeh and Ta’teel’, by saying, "We previously stated that Allah, the Exalted, the Honored, should be described by what He described Himself with and by what His Prophet described Him with, without Tashbeeh. Consequently, it should not be said that Allah’s Hearing is similar to our hearing, or His Sight is similar to our sight. Also, Ta’teel should be avoided, and thus what He described Himself with and what the most knowledgeable person in Him (Prophet Muhammad [sic]) described Him with should not be denied, because this constitutes Ta’teel (circumventing the Text)… These meanings are found in Allah’s Statement, …

{There is nothing like Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer}; [42:11]"


  1. Christians are told in the Bible to recite this prayer; Matthew 6:7-13, …
  2. Centuries before Prophet Muhammad came, Prophet Jesus attested to Allah being in (above) heaven. Also, Psalm 11:4 states,

    "… the Lord’s throne is in heaven:"

  3. Also, Numbers 11:23 affirms Allah’s Hand and the fact that He spoke to Prophet Moses, …
  4. "And the Lord said to Moses, Is the Lord’s hand waxed short? Thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not."

    Of course, People of the Scriptures, especially Christians, have become experts at altering and circumventing their Word of God, explaining it by other than its apparent meaning and wishing that Muslims follow suit.

  5. Genesis 3:8-10 contains the following astonishing statement about Adam and Eve …

These verses claim that God was walking in the garden, in the cool of the day, and not knowing where Adam was [sic], calling him, saying, ‘Where are you, Adam?’ This is the exact Tashbeeh that Islam rejects. The only part of Genesis 3:8-10 that Islam upholds, is that stating that Allah speaks with whatever He will whenever He will. (Ibid., pp. 620-622)

Instead of trying to find an answer as to why Yahweh asked Adam concerning his whereabouts, Jalal can’t prevent himself from assaulting the Biblical depiction of God by accusing the Bible writers of impugning God with ignorance. Jalal has to automatically assume the worst case scenario when it comes to the inspired authors of Holy Scripture.

This passage is actually a key text in biblical theology. In the somewhat unlikely case that Jalal wants to actually understand these verses and their implications, he is invited to study Jay Smith's paper The Hermeneutical Key.

Let us see what happens when we turn the tables on Jalal’s own religious texts:

And when Abraham said, 'My Lord, show me how Thou wilt give life to the dead,' He said, 'Why, dost thou not believe?' 'Yes,' he said, 'but that my heart may be at rest.' Said He, 'Take four birds, and twist them to thee, then set a part of them on every hill, then summon them, and they will come to thee running. And do thou know that God is All-mighty, All-wise. S. 2:260 Arberry

Didn’t Allah know whether Abraham believed or not? If he really does know everything then why does he have to ask at all?

Here are some narrations from the so-called sound hadiths:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Allah created the creation, and when He finished from His creation the Rahm (womb) got up, and Allah said (to it). ‘Stop! What do you want?’ It said; ‘At this place I seek refuge with You from all those who sever me (i.e. sever the ties of Kinship.)’ Allah said: ‘Would you be pleased that I will keep good relation with the one who will keep good relation with you, and I will sever the relation with the one who will sever the relation with you?’ It said: ‘Yes, O my Lord.’ Allah said (to it), ‘That is for you.’" And then Abu Huraira recited the Verse:-- "Would you then if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship." (47.22) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 593)

Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Apostle said, "A man who never did any good deed, said that if he died, his family should burn him and throw half the ashes of his burnt body in the earth and the other half in the sea, for by Allah, if Allah should get hold of him, He would inflict such punishment on him as He would not inflict on anybody among the people. But Allah ordered the sea to collect what was in it (of his ashes) and similarly ordered the earth to collect what was in it (of his ashes). Then Allah said (to the recreated man), ‘Why did you do so?’ The man replied, ‘For being afraid of You, and You know it (very well).’ So Allah forgave him." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 597)

Again, didn’t Allah already know what the womb wanted and why the man cremated himself? Then why ask?

Jalal then asks me the following question:

Jalal Abualrub wrote: Did Prophets Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, or Jesus ever utter such words?  This argument truly supports the idea that God changes in various ways. This argument has no basis in the Scriptures.  Shamoun says that "unchangeability … is referring to God's essence, his attributes, his purpose, his decrees".  He then says that Jesus became flesh, became a real human being.  What does become entail? 

Had Jalal bothered to read our materials he would have easily found his answer. The following is just one example of a true prophet teaching that the Almighty God can and will become a man without ceasing to be God:

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this." Isaiah 9:6-7

Isaiah says that the child who is born is none other than the Mighty God coming to rule on David’s throne forever! This affirms that the true messengers believed and taught that God could become a man without ceasing to be fully Divine and that the Christ (who is Jesus) is God Almighty since the only One who will sit on David’s throne forever is none other than the Messiah. Lest Jalal claim that this is not a Messianic text and appeal to orthodox Jews to prove that it isn’t here are a couple of rabbinic quotes for good measure:

The prophet saith to the house of David, A child has been born to us, a son has been given to us; and he has taken the law upon himself to keep it, and his name has been called from of old, Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, He who lives forever, the Anointed One (or Messiah), in whose days peace shall increase upon us. (The Targum of Isaiah, J.F. Stenning, Editor and Translator [Oxford: Clarendon], p. 32; bold emphasis ours)

Another explanation: He said to him: ‘I have yet to raise up the Messiah’ of whom it is written, For a child is born to us (Isa. IX, 5). (Midrash Rabbah Deuteronomy, Rabbi H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, Editors; Rev. Dr. J. Rabbinowitz, Translator [London: Soncino Press], I.20, p. 20)

And just in case Jalal wants to run from this revealed truth by denying that Isaiah was actually calling the child God Almighty notice what Isaiah does with the very names given to the Messiah:

"In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God." Isaiah 10:20-21

"O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, For You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth." Isaiah 25:1 NKJV

"All this also comes from the LORD Almighty, wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom." Isaiah 28:29

"For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’" Isaiah 57:15 NKJV

"But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name." Isaiah 63:16

The blessed prophet applies every one of the Messianic titles of Isaiah 9:6 to the one true God Yahweh! This leaves absolutely no doubt that the inspired prophet was identifying this child who was born as the human appearance, the very incarnation of Yahweh God Almighty.

With the foregoing in perspective we now turn our attention to the primary Islamic source material to show how Jalal’s deity experiences changes.

1. Allah ascends and descends.

The Quran claims that Allah mounted the throne after creating the cosmos:

Lo! your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, then mounted He the Throne. He covereth the night with the day, which is in haste to follow it, and hath made the sun and the moon and the stars subservient by His command. His verily is all creation and commandment. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of the Worlds! S. 7:54 Pickthall

This assumes that he was in some other place besides the throne before creation and then changed his position afterwards.

The so-called sound hadiths confirm that Allah moves from one location to another since he is said to ascend and descend:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Apostle said, "Every night when it is the last third of the night, our Lord, the Superior, the Blessed, descends to the nearest heaven and says: Is there anyone to invoke Me that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone asking My forgiveness so that I may forgive him? (See Hadith No. 246,Vol. 2). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 586)

We, once again, find Allah needing to ask whether anyone is praying to him since he obviously didn’t know which explains why he descended in the first place… in order to find out!

These citations pose major problems for Jalal since the only way for his god to literally ascend or descend is if he is bound by space and time. Allah must be experiencing time and actual changes in location since there is no other way for him to shift from one place to another. After all, it is not possible for someone to actually move from one point to another unless s/he is a being that is limited by time, space and matter. No wonder Jalal believes that his god has a body with actual body parts! This leads us to the next point.

2. Allah appears in various shapes, sizes and forms.

According to the Islamic source material Allah is a shape shifter since he changes from one form to another:

When he saw a fire, and said to his family, 'Tarry you here; I observe a fire. Perhaps I shall bring you a brand from it, or I shall find at the fire guidance.' When he came to IT, a voice cried, 'Moses, I am thy Lord; put off thy shoes; thou art in the holy valley, Towa. I Myself have chosen thee; therefore give thou ear to this revelation. S. 20:10-13 Arberry

When Moses said to his people 'I observe a fire, and will bring you news of it, or I will bring you a flaming brand, that haply you shall warm yourselves.' So, when he came to IT, he was called: 'Blessed is he who is IN the fire, and he who is ABOUT it. Glory be to God, the Lord of all Being! Moses, behold, it is I, God, the All-mighty, the All-wise. S. 27:7-9 Arberry

Then, when Musa (Moses) had fulfilled the term, and was travelling with his family, he saw a fire in the direction of Tur (Mount). He said to his family: "Wait, I have seen a fire; perhaps I may bring to you from there some information, or a burning fire-brand that you may warm yourselves." So when he reached IT (the fire), he was called from the right side of the valley, in the blessed place FROM the tree: "O Musa (Moses)! Verily! I am Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)!" S. 28:29-30 Hilali-Khan

In all of the above examples Allah appears in the fire from the tree. And:

Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri:
When there remain only those who used to worship Allah (Alone), both the obedient ones and the mischievous ones, it will be said to them, ‘What keeps you here when all the people have gone?’ They will say, ‘We parted with them (in the world) when we were in greater need of them than we are today, we heard the call of one proclaiming, ‘Let every nation follow what they used to worship,’ and now we are waiting for our Lord.’ Then the Almighty will come to them in a shape other than the one which they saw the first time, and He will say, ‘I am your Lord,’ and they will say, ‘You are not our Lord.’ And none will speak: to Him then but the Prophets, and then it will be said to them, ‘Do you know any sign by which you can recognize Him?’ They will say. ‘The Shin,’ and so Allah will then uncover His Shin whereupon every believer will prostrate before Him and there will remain those who used to prostrate before Him just for showing off and for gaining good reputation. These people will try to prostrate but their backs will be rigid like one piece of a wood (and they will not be able to prostrate). Then the bridge will be laid across Hell." We, the companions of the Prophet said, "O Allah’s Apostle! What is the bridge?" … (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 532s)


Narrated Abu Huraira:
Some people said, "O Allah’s Apostle! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?" He said, "Do you crowd and squeeze each other on looking at the sun when it is not hidden by clouds?" They replied, "No, Allah’s Apostle." He said, "Do you crowd and squeeze each other on looking at the moon when it is full and not hidden by clouds?" They replied, "No, O Allah’s Apostle!" He said, "So you will see Him (your Lord) on the Day of Resurrection similarly Allah will gather all the people and say, ‘Whoever used to worship anything should follow that thing.’ So, he who used to worship the sun, will follow it, and he who used to worship the moon will follow it, and he who used to worship false deities will follow them; and then only this nation (i.e., Muslims) will remain, including their hypocrites. Allah will come to them in a shape other than they know and will say, ‘I am your Lord.’ They will say, ‘We seek refuge with Allah from you. This is our place; (we will not follow you) till our Lord comes to us, and when our Lord comes to us, we will recognize Him.’

Then Allah will come to then in a shape they know and will say, ‘I am your Lord.’ They will say, ‘(No doubt) You are our Lord,’ and they will follow Him. Then a bridge will be laid over the (Hell) Fire." Allah’s Apostle added, "I will be the first to cross it. And the invocation of the Apostles on that Day, will be ‘Allahukka Sallim, Sallim (O Allah, save us, save us!),’ and over that bridge there will be hooks similar to the thorns of As Sa’dan (a thorny tree). Didn’t you see the thorns of As-Sa’dan?" The companions said, "Yes, O Allah’s Apostle." He added, "So the hooks over that bridge will be like the thorns of As-Sa’dan except that their greatness in size is only known to Allah. These hooks will snatch the people according to their deeds. Some people will be ruined because of their evil deeds, and some will be cut into pieces and fall down in Hell, but will be saved afterwards, when Allah has finished the judgments among His slaves, and intends to take out of the Fire whoever He wishes to take out from among those who used to testify that none had the right to be worshipped but Allah…" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 577)

Jalal needs to explain how can Allah change shapes without this affecting a change in his nature. How can his deity appear as fire one moment and then change into another form the next moment without this causing a change in some of his attributes or without having his essence mix in with the nature of the objects whose shapes he assumes?

3. Allah created one of his essential attributes

This last one is the most problematic for Jalal since it proves that his god is imperfect whose essence changes over time:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
I heard Allah's Apostle saying, Verily Allah CREATED Mercy. The day He created it, He made it into one hundred parts. He withheld with Him ninety-nine parts, and sent its one part to all His creatures. Had the non-believer known of all the Mercy which is in the Hands of Allah, he would not lose hope of entering Paradise, and had the believer known of all the punishment which is present with Allah, he would not consider himself safe from the Hell-Fire." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 476)

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: When Allah created the creation, He ordained for Himself and this document is with Him: Verily, My mercy predominates My wrath. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037, Number 6628)

These narratives emphatically, unambiguously say that Allah created mercy, which means that Allah didn’t always exist with this specific attribute. And yet by adding this particular trait to his own being Allah must have undergone an actual change in his essence since he went from not having a specific characteristic to then having it. This further implies that Allah was imperfect since he lacked something essential which he then had to acquire by creating it.

For more on the imperfection of Jalal’s god we suggest the following articles and rebuttals:

In light of these facts will Jalal now reject the Islamic conception of deity since it impugns the perfection and immutability of God? Or will he act inconsistently by setting aside his imperfect human reasoning in order to stubbornly cling to this false notion of God, even though he won’t do so when it comes to the Biblical teaching regarding the Lord Jesus Christ (despite there being nothing irrational about the message of the Holy Bible concerning God’s eternal Son)? Will he continually believe in a false prophet who proclaimed a false message concerning a false god? Or will he turn to the only true God and eternal Life in order to be saved, namely, the Father and the Son (along with the glorious Holy Spirit):

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:1-3

"Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God… We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life… We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." 1 John 5:5, 9-13, 20

Responses to Jalal Abualrub
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page