Swear by an ant


(Extract from a 2014 conversation about Allah in the Qur'an and God in the 66 books of the Bible).


Well that's the case more often than not with the God of the Bible and Allah of the Qur'an. Since Mohammed claimed they are one and the same, so if they're the same I ought to be able to trace both God and Allah's shared character and behaviour over the history of Scripture. But no such thing exists, not only are Allah's choices often nonsensical and laced with boasts of being deceitful, he breaks from the God of the Bible in the fashion hereafter.

God speaking in the Jewish Torah said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son,” (Genesis 22:16). In this passage God swears by himself. Again God in the Torah: “I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow” (Isaiah 45:23).

Most people I've met understand the figure of speech where someone swears by something. For example someone might declare “I swear on my great grandfather's grave!” People used it so far back as 4000+ years ago, yet God using this expression swears by Himself alone. He can't swear by anything higher. This carries over into Christianity as well, since in the Christian New Testament it's explained:


“For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself.” (Hebrews 6:13).


“For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute.“ (Hebrews 6:16).


With this in mind God seems to have continued His revelation with Christ and his early followers. Jesus raises the standard further still, going above the idea of people settling their disputes by way of swearing an oath, since He commands faithful believers to avoid taking oaths altogether:


“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’


But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.


Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Matthew 5:33-37).


This revelation of God remains true to thousands of years of history. God swears by His name, His arm and Himself, since there's none greater. He's in control, for which faithful believers don't swear on anything in creation, everything belongs to God. Surely Allah will do likewise, not swearing by anything improper:


“I swear by the moon!” (Qur'an 79:32).


But it's not just that that's off putting, since I've read people say “oh, Allah stopped swearing by the greater because he was talking to Arabs.”

This is untrue, because Arabs knew how the saying “I swear by” was meant to be used in context, as the traditions demonstrate:


Sahih al-Bukhari 6108: Allah's Messenger said: Verily! Allah forbids you to swear by your fathers. If one has to take an oath, he should swear by Allah or otherwise keep quiet.


Sunan Abu Duwad 3242: The Apostle of Allah said: Do not swear by your fathers, or by your mothers, or by rivals of Allah; and swear by Allah only, and swear by Allah only when you are speaking the truth.


So, if you swear by anything other than Allan you're acting contrary to his will, in another passage you're also considered a polytheist, meaning you're setting up partners with the one and only deity. It's known as Shirk, an unforgivable crime.

Though there's an added issue, Allah swears by many different and even paltry things, yet both Christians and Muslims believe God to be the greatest conceivable being. But how can this be in Islam when god swears by the heavens and the “comer by night” (86:1), the pen (68:1), daybreak (89:1), Allah swears by the early hours of the day (93:1), a fig (95:1), an olive (95:1), runners breathing pantingly (100:1), time (103:1).

This list isn't exhaustive, but illustrative. So to swear by something in both Arab and Jewish culture is to assume the thing you're swearing by is somehow above you. Although this style of swearing by seemingly improper things continues on into an absurdity, since Allah is said to swear by everything that's seen and everything that's unseen:


“I swear by what you see and what you do not see.” (Qur'an 69:38).


And like in the case of everything I write, it's not my aim to offend but to persuade. Just consider the above, since if it's believed that God truly does swear by everything, things seen and things unseen, then as a consequence of this he has made these things he's sworn by his equal; ants, chickens, Satan, coco pops, chimps, chimps eating coco pops.

If Shirk is the great unforgivable sin of idolatry, associating partners with Allah, then surely there's none more guilty than Allah himself. He swears by and makes greater than God literally everything.

This isn't the situation in the earlier Bible material, nor is everything being equal to the Lord an idea that believers would entertain (even accidentally). Rather God is creator of the entire universe, making everything seen and the things unseen, making Jesus “the firstborn”, or hire of everything, how the firstborn son always inherited the estate or the birthrights ahead of all others:


The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn (primogenitus) over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.


And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy (primatus masculine noun supremacy; first place;). For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.


― Tyrone Cormack