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Bijla Singh is ‘Contradicting Allah’

INTRODUCTION

This is a response to Bijla Singh’s attempt at rebutting our article on the contradictory theology of Nirgun-Sargun in Sikhism. The author’s article, curiously titled Contradicting Allah, is another confused, jumbled and desperate attempt at defending the indefensible.

CONFUSION ABOUNDS

Bijla Singh begins with the claim that the “description of Waheguru (God) is so unique that for many it goes beyond understanding”. It certainly is unique; very unique in fact; straight into the realms of the weird and fantastic.

He cites a number of verses from SGGS [1] and follows this up by claiming:

There are many more quotes but the fact is that wherever Waheguru is mentioned as “Nirgun” word “Sargun” also appears. Both words appearing right after each other in the same line does not mean contradiction but a characteristic of Waheguru. Had the two words been separate one could raise doubts. (bold ours)

What is this strange principle/ rule which states that two juxtaposed terms cannot be contradictory? He then alludes to another equally absurd principle/ rule by asserting:

Any rational person can see that since Guru Sahib mentioned both words together there must be hidden meanings to it. (bold ours)  

Bijla Singh has a tendency of failing to define key terms of an argument; in this instance, he has again failed to define what he means by “hidden meanings”. Hence, it would be futile for us to respond by fallaciously reading into what this vague term could mean. Moreover, despite our best efforts, we too have failed in our search for a principle/ rule that not only holds that two juxtaposed words cannot be contradictory, but that such words “must” also contain “hidden meanings” (whatever that means). 

Not a good start on the part of Mr Singh; but let us move on to his explanation of the word Sargun and see if he fares any better:

Thus, it is clear now that the word Sargun refers to creation of Waheguru. When in Gurbaani it says “He Himself is formless and also formed”, “creating Himself” or “fashioning Himself” it refers to creation because He is the creator and resides within the creation.

It seems that Bijla Singh has failed to delineate an exhaustive explanation of Sargun and its relationship to Nirgun. He should have clarified that although Waheguru was Nirgun sans creation, i.e. was “formless and has no particular form of His own”, but then “manifested Himself from His Nirgun (invisible) form, which forever existed, to his Sargun (visible) form”, he still remained Nirgun following said manifestation. It is important to make this specific point crystal clear and not leave it ambiguous. Before we deal with this anomaly in detail, it is important to point out a red herring in Bijla’s suggestion that the words “Nirankar” and “Ik Oankar” are “not contradictory at all”. At no stage have we ever contended they are. The only reference we have made of said terms was in response to Saajan Sandhu, which Bijla has obviously overlooked, wherein we conspicuously stated:

[T]he Nirgun god was both Ekankar (Ek (1) Ank; singularity) and at the same time the negation of Ekankar, that is, Nirankar (Nir (none) Ank), what can be translated as formless. …

God manifested as Sargun, but the damning factor is that He still remained Nirgun. Hence, following Oankar, He is both Nirgun and Sargun at the same time.

Hence, as Nirgun, while He is both Nirankar and Ekankar – the formless and attributeless 1, He is also, at the same time, the opposite in the form of Sargun, or the one who is attributed and formed. Hence, in relation to the law of non-contradiction, no matter which way you look at the theology-proper of Sikhism, it is a classic contradiction in terms.  (bold, underline ours)

We have not claimed that Nirankar and Ekankar are contradictory terms, but that Sargun is contradictory to Nirgun under which these two terms happen to be associated to.

What is more, Bijla continues by giving the following etymological breakdown:

Nir (without) Akaar (form) – Waheguru is without any form. Ik (One) Oan (Brahm or God) Kar (without changes).

He then claims:

One God who has stayed the same, is the same and will always be the same. In other words, He doesn’t change over time. His powers, characteristics and existence are beyond time and forever and ever.

While again, it all depends on what Bijla means by the word “same”, which he has typically failed to define, what we can safely infer in this context is that when it comes to Waheguru and His relationship to creation, then three essential possibilities exist:

  1. Either Waheguru’s intrinsic nature, which includes his attributes, was the same sans creation as it has been since creation.
  2. Waheguru does not undergo relational change with the becoming of creation.
  3. Or both!

Bijla, however, certainly seems to acknowledge an intrinsic change when he states:

FIRST Waheguru was only Nirgun as there existed nothing but Him. THEN He created the entire creation i.e. solar systems, galaxies, planets, life forms, humans etc. In other words, anything to everything originated from Waheguru. (bold, underline, capital ours) 

The use of the adjective “first” with respect to time and order (by order we mean: Waheguru was Nirgun and not Sargun sans creation) followed by the conjunctive adverb “then” (grammatically speaking the full stop before the word “then” should, in actual fact, be a comma so as to join the two clauses separated by time) clearly point to the fact that a change certainly occurred: Waheguru cannot be what he is said to have been before, otherwise the use of the adjective “first” would be redundant and meaningless. According to Bijla, “Waheguru was only Nirgun” (bold ours) when there existed nothing, but “then” manifested as Sargun when “He created the entire creation”, while of course still fully remaining Nirgun. Since Nirgun and Sargun are descriptions of Waheguru’s intrinsic nature, i.e. his essence, thus Waheguru underwent an intrinsic change with the becoming of creation. To say otherwise is to deny the claim that Waheguru is Sargun, which he certainly was not sans creation.

In addition, there must have also been a relational change with the becoming of creation because Bijla Singh maintains that “He is within His creation and beyond” and “Waheguru is omnipresent and all pervading nothing in the creation is without Him”, and cites the following verses as evidence:

People, O Siblings of Destiny, do not wander deluded by doubt. The Creation is in the Creator, and the Creator is in the Creation, totally pervading and permeating all places. ||1||Pause|| (Ang 1349)

This whole world which you see is the image of the Lord; only the image of the Lord is seen. By Guru’s Grace, I understand, and I see only the One Lord; there is no one except the Lord. (Ang 922)

In this regard, we wish to ask: could Waheguru have been omnipresent, within His creation and beyond, and all pervading without the existence of the creation? Also, could an “image of the Lord” exist without the existence of “this whole world”? Since the answer to these questions is an obvious no, it is incorrect to claim absolutely that “He doesn’t change over time” when Bijla acknowledges the Sargun form of Waheguru as pervading through space, time and existence, which are a priori in a constant state of change and flux? Hence, there must have been for him a relational change with the becoming of creation. It is, therefore, apparent that Waheguru changed both intrinsically and relationally following creation. In failing to see this, Bijla is either incredibly confused or suffering from compounded ignorance.

Finally, returning to Waheguru being both Nirgun and Sargun with the becoming of creation, then in light of his obvious intrinsic change in this context, what he was sans creation, i.e. Nirgun, is not what he was thereafter. Yet, Sikhs still insist that what Waheguru was sans creation is what he is thereafter despite his obvious intrinsic and relational change vis-á-vis Sargun. This should, however, create a catch-22 situation for the Sikhs: either Waheguru is Nirgun and, thus, changeless; or he underwent a change with the becoming of creation to be what he was not sans creation, and that is, Sargun. They cannot have it both ways! However, since he is said to be both Nirgun and Sargun at the same time and in the same respect with the becoming of creation, the glaring contradiction still exists.

In spite of Bijla Singh’s valiant effort in trying to “explain this concept in details [sic] so that Muslims can see the truth and correctly understand who Waheguru really is”, we, who correctly understand and apply the a priori universal law of non-contradiction, are indeed finding this so-called “simple yet so elegant concept […] hard to grasp”.

The only thing we “Muslims are […] confused” over is how Sikhs, like Bijla, can delude themselves into believing that “Nirgun (without attributes) and Sargun (with all attributes) at the same time” is a rational and non-contradictory belief? Is it simply because “every word of Gurbani is directly revealed from Waheguru”? If so, then this blind following can only be accepted by rejecting rationality. This would in turn raise questions over the nature of God’s relationship with His creation where He would demand of His servants’ worship of Him through the acceptance of a mentally oppressive belief in His divine nature.

BIJLA PLAGIARISES THE CHRISTIANS

Following his desperately unsuccessful attempt at defending the indefensible, poor old Bijla Singh then turns his luck to the alleged contradictions in the Qur’an. In doing so, however, he ends up exposing his sheer and utter ignorance of what constitutes a contradiction. He states:

We shall also see in this section if the so-called ‘Universal Law of Non-Contradiction’ holds true in Islam.

His use of the adjective “so-called” is troublesome; is he, much like his fellow faithful I.S. Dhillon, who nonsensically called for a paradigm-shift by rejecting the use of this a priori law while simultaneously asserting truth claims, doubting or suspecting this law? Is he claiming that this law is incorrectly or falsely termed? It would not surprise us one iota if this turned out to be the case. Unlike Bijla, Dhillon was astute enough to realise the immediate pitfalls in attempting to defend the contradictory notion of Nirgun-Sargun through the use of the universal law of non-contradiction. He, therefore, took the line of argument adopted by some eastern religious scholars, and attempted to rubbish this law during his ill-fated defence. Bijla on the other hand has resorted to a more underhanded approach by committing red herring and suppressed evidence fallacies.

To continue, Bijla Singh attempts to turn the tide by plagiarising a number of contradictions originating from the Christians. Unfortunately for him, in doing so he also ends up repeating the same school boy blunders committed by said Christians by misapplying the law of non-contradiction, thus further exposing his neophytic nature.
Let us quickly expose his woeful attempts:

  1. According to Quran wine is haram i.e. forbidden. If this is the universal law of Allah then why is this haram served in heaven? Why do rivers of haram flow in heaven? If it is haram on earth then why is it permitted in heaven where one cannot go without giving up wine in the first place? Why does Allah require Muslims to believe in this ridiculous belief blindly?

Poor chap! The law of non-contradiction is: (A & ¬A) false, where A is a given proposition. Applying this to the above assertion we have: A = “According to Quran wine is haram [in this life only]”. But, the negation of this proposition is not that wine is forbidden in heaven, which shall be a different and separate life to the life of this world; thus, this is not a contradiction.

  1. Islam rejects the belief of reincarnation because events, memories and deeds cannot be passed on from one life to another. If this is true then how is it possible for a sin of Adam and Eve to be passed onto the entire humanity? It is ludicrous to propose that one person’s bad and good deeds cannot affect him in next life while one person’s bad deed is affecting the entire humanity and is the cause of suffering for the humans. How does universal law of non-contradiction apply here?

Embarrassingly terrible! Firstly, we do not believe in the Christian concept of inherited sin, which exposes Bijla’s utter lack of understanding of the very basics of Islaam. Rather we believe that all people are born upon al-Fitrah (a natural inclination in the belief in God and without sin). However, if, for arguments sake, we did believe this, why is Bijla Singh expecting us to show him how the “universal law of non-contradiction apply [sic] here”? Is he expecting us to do his work for him, or is it the case that this neophyte is incapable of applying this law correctly?

  1. According to verses 10:3 and 11:7 God created the creation in six days but according to 41:9, 41:10 and 41:12 the creation was created in eight days accumulatively. This is a clear contradiction. Little did Mohammad know that a day is a measurement of time. Day means the time this Earth takes to revolve around its axis. So when there was no Earth, how is possible for the creation to come into existence in 6 or 8 days? The concept of time came with the creation. Before creation, there can be no concept of time. Muslims sure have twisted the interpretations and have come up with obscure explanation to clear this ‘misconception’. However, since clearing up the contradiction requires human intervention it is reasonable to say that Quran is not explained in clear terms which directly contradicts with verse 11:1 according to which “A Book, its verses have been perfected and explained by One (who is) all-Wise, Well-Informed”. If the book is perfect and explained then it need not human intervention and man-made theories to make sense of what Allah is saying.

Before we refer to a refutation of this hackneyed accusation, we would like to say that such copying and pasting only exposes Bijla’s lazy approach to honest discourse and places a question mark over his ability to construct coherent and lucid arguments. In what way do verses 10:3 and 11:7 clash with 41:9-10 & 12? Is six and eight days specifically mentioned in said verses? Can Bijla show how these are contradictory by applying the law of non-contradiction? Just pasting verse numbers without making an internal critique of them followed by an honest attempt at constructing premises and drawing a conclusion does not prove anything. Further, Bijla should not expect his opponents to do his dirty work!
Following these friendly suggestions, we refer Bijla to: The Number of Days Taken to Create the Universe.

  1. According to verses 22:47 and 32:5 a day of Allah is equal to 1000 earth years but according to verse 70:4 it is equal to 50,000 earth years. Whereas Allah in Quran is not beyond time, God in Sikhi is called ‘Akal’ which means beyond time and physical world. Time applies to physical world only.

We refer Bijla to: On the Length of God’s Days.

  1. If we assume Allah created the creation in six days then whose day is it? Allah’s or man’s? According to Allah’s six days it adds up to 36000 earth years (1 day = 6000 years) or 300,000 earth years (1 day = 50,000 years). In either case, it is scientifically false. Since the message is not clear at all it contradicts with 11:1 verse which states that the “book” is “perfect and explained”.

On the Length of God’s Days clarifies that this has nothing to do with the period of time taken for creation, thus Bijla’s argument, which he lifted without referencing, is a strawman.

  1. In verses 39:73, 41:30 and 57:21 it is clearly stated that there is only one garden in paradise but verses 18:31, 22:23 and 78:32 mention many gardens in paradise. Clearly, Mohammad could not make up his mind and delivered a contradictory message.

We refer you to: The Number of Gardens in Paradise.

  1. On Judgment Day people will be divided into three classes according to verse 56:7. In 90:18-19 and 99:6-8 people will be divided into two groups. When will Judgment Day happen? What day and time? Keep in mind the time difference before addressing this point. If Muslims have no clear cut answers then obviously Quran’s message is really ambiguous.

Something being seemingly ambiguous does not make it false or contradictory. As for the number of classes, we refer Bijla to: The Number of Groups on Judgement Day.

  1. According to verse 32:11 angel of death takes the soul. According to 47:27 angels take the soul while in verse 39:42 it is suggested that Allah himself takes the soul. Which is it? If any one of these is correct then what about Judgment Day? Let’s assume Allah takes away the souls then who waits in the grave? Once soul is taken where does it go? It cannot go to hell or heaven since that will be determined on Judgment Day and clearly it cannot have another life form since reincarnation is not an accepted belief in Islam then what is the resting place of the soul?

We refer Bijla to: Who Takes the Soul at Death.

  1. Quran permits Muslim men to have up to four wives because it is the law of Allah then why is Mohammad made an exception who had 12 wives and many sex slaves and concubines? Why was he allowed to have unlimited number of wives and slaves? Does law of Allah not apply to Mohammad? If the prophet himself won’t follow the ‘divine’ message then how can one expect humans to follow it?

And how is this a contradiction? Is this another example of Bijla not knowing what a contradiction is? We wonder! Or is he just desperately clutching at straws by throwing out everything except the kitchen sink?

  1. Men have the right to beat their wives according to verse 4:34. Why is the same right not given to women? This cannot be a “universal law”.

And how is this a contradiction? As for “beat[ing] their wives”, refer to: Muslims “Beat” Their Wives – A Refutation.

  1. Why are women not given 72 virgin men in paradise? This is injustice of Allah.

Again, this is not a contradiction. If this is a case of Sikhism’s acceptance of blind equality, then Bijla is exercising double standards if he holds that Waheguru was not unjust in failing to appoint a single female Guru.

  1. Why doesn’t a woman have the right to say “talaq” three times? This is not a universal law.

We are certain Bijla meant “universal law of non-contradiction”, in which case this is not a contradiction. In addition, there exists an ancient legitimate difference of opinion over the triple pronouncement of divorce. The most correct opinion is that it only accounts for temporary separation that requires remedial arbitration; but we are not expecting Bijla Singh to know of such juristic nuances. Moreover, a woman can seek divorce through the process known as khulla.

  1. On one hand Allah is considered all loving and the creator and on the other hand is ordering Muslims to be ruthless and merciless to non-believers in verses 48:29, 2:193 and 9:73. Clearly Allah is full of hatred and does not have an iota of compassion or love for his own creation.

Proposition A: Allah is considered all loving; but, since Muslims being ruthless and merciless to non-believers is not the negation of proposition A, this is not a contradiction.
Although this is not the topic of debate, in response to this flawed argument, we will assist Bijla on the path of further study in the theology-proper of Islaam by pointing out to him that Allaah is al-‘Adl (the Most Just) and that His Love and Mercy are conditional to His obedience and worship.

  1. Allah is so full of hatred that he talks about “instilling terror into the hearts of the unbelievers” in verse 8:12. Therefore, Allah cannot be all loving and hateful at the same time. Some Muslims claim that this particular verse is applicable only when Muslims are fighting a defensive war. If this is true then two conclusions are drawn. First, Quran’s message is not applicable to all times, all situations and all places. Hence, Quran is only for some people on earth because many communities such as Buddhists do not believe in war and therefore the message of Quran cannot be applied to them. Second, if fighting defensive war is the case then what about Muslim invaders who attacked India numerous times and enslaved thousands of Hindu women? Their war was offensive. Did Allah instill terror into their hearts? If no because they were believer then clearly Allah doesn’t have a universal law. Instilling terrors only into the hearts of non-Muslims does not advocate universal law of non-contradiction.

Firstly, the following does not make sense: “Instilling terrors only into the hearts of non-Muslims does not advocate universal law of non-contradiction.” How does one advocate the law of non-contradiction in this respect? Also, pay attention Bijla: it is not a “universal law”, it is the “universal law of non-contradiction”, which is a priori.

Secondly, the problem for Bijla Singh is that he has tiresomely failed to define all-Loving. Does he mean by all-Loving that Allaah loves good equally as he loves evil? Does he mean by this that Allaah loves the pious and the sinner equally? Does Allaah love the Gurus for their barbaric Cruelty to Animals and the Muslims who are kind and compassionate to animals equally? Does Allaah love those who lie about Him by claiming He is Nirgun-Sargun? Is Allaah’s love unconditional? If this is how Bijla defines all-Loving, then again this is a strawman. We await his rectification of this fallacy before further exposing the Sikhi theology, insha’Allaah.

Bijla Singh finally says:

There are many more contradicting laws of Allah stated in Quran such as inheritance laws, inequality laws, numerical and scientific contradictions. The list is endless. Once the above questions are answered we shall list more.

If the endless list of alleged contradictions is anything like the above then what do Muslims have to fear?

CONCLUSION

In his defence of the notion of Nirgun-Sargun, Bijla resorted to a red herring in his allusion that we hold the terms “Nirankar” and “Ik Oankar” to be contradictory. He also seemingly attempted to suppress the evidence by failing to clearly mention, whether intentionally or inadvertently, the crucial point and crux of the debate that Waheguru was both Nirgun and its mutual opposite Sargun at the same time after creation.

As for the alleged Qur’anic contradictions, if Bijla is going to merely copy and paste tired and refuted attempts of the Christians and disingenuously pawn them off as his own, then he should know that these have already been thoroughly refuted. If on the other hand he wishes to be original and conduct his own research, then we suggest the following three prerequisites so as not to embarrass himself in the future:

  1. Learn the theology-proper of Islaam before attempting to construct and assert arguments because, rest assured, we shall demand definitions for key words used in an argument, as is our right in argumentation. A failure to define terms results in the freshman fallacy.
  2. Acquire sufficient understanding in how to comprehensively apply the law of non-contradiction.
  3. Learn to construct logically coherent and lucid arguments by making recourse to the above two prerequisites.

[1] saragun niragun nira(n)kaar su(n)n samaadhhee aap ||
He possesses all qualities; He transcends all qualities; He is the Formless Lord. He Himself is in Primal Samaadhi. (Ang 290)

niragun aap saragun bhee ouhee ||
He Himself is absolute and unrelated; He Himself is also involved and related. (Ang 287)

raaj joban prabh thoo(n) dhhanee || thoo(n) niragun thoo(n) saragunee ||2||
O God, You are my power, authority and youth. You are absolute, without attributes, and also related, with the most sublime attributes. ||2|| (Ang 211)

nira(n)kaar aakaar aap niragun saragun eaek ||
He Himself is formless, and also formed; the One Lord is without attributes, and also with attributes. (Ang 250)

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