Salam,

Surah 53:1 -18 By the Star when it goes down, Your Companion is neither astray nor being misled. Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him: He was taught by one Mighty in Power, Endued with Wisdom: for he appeared (in stately form); While he was in the highest part of the horizon: Then he approached and came closer, And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer; So did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His Servant- (conveyed) what He (meant) to convey. The (Prophet’s) (mind and) heart in no way falsified that which he saw. Will ye then dispute with him concerning what he saw? For indeed he saw him at a second descent, Near the Lote-tree beyond which none may pass: Near it is the Garden of Abode. Behold, the Lote-tree was shrouded (in mystery unspeakable!) (His) sight never swerved, nor did it go wrong! For truly did he see, of the Signs of his Lord, the Greatest!

Sam Shamoun claimed that the Quran suggests that Muhammad saw Allah, that he had a vision in which Allah appeared to him visibly as shown by the Surah 53:1-18 as stated above. He said the above verses referred to an unnamed comrade who has not gone astray and who does not speak out of caprice. Muslims unanimously take this to be an obvious reference to Muhammad. It goes on to say that he (Muhammad) was taught by one terrible in power, very strong (Allah), and that he (Allah) stood poised and drew near and revealed to his servant (Muhammad) the revelation. The expression “revealed to his servant” clearly shows that this is speaking of Allah and Muhammad, that Allah appeared to Muhammad in order to grant him revelation. The text cannot be saying that Gabriel appeared to Muhammad since this would imply that the latter is the servant of Gabriel.

Further Sam Shamoun added it is said in Surah 81:15-29 So verily I call to witness the planets – that recede, go straight, or hide; And the Night as it dissipates; and the Dawn as it breathes away the darkness.  Verily this is the word of a most honourable Messenger, Endued with Power, with rank before the Lord of the Throne, With authority there, (and) faithful to his trust. And (O people!) your companion is not one possessed; And without doubt he saw him in the clear horizon. Neither doth he withholds grudgingly a knowledge of the Unseen. Nor is it the word of an evil spirit accursed. When whither go ye? Verily this is no less than a Message to (all) the Worlds: (With profit) to whoever among you wills to go straight: But ye shall not will except as Allah wills, the Cherisher of the Worlds.

The above reference according to Sam Shamoun seems to be saying that Muhammad is the companion who is not possessed, the noble messenger having power who is secure with the Lord of the throne, i.e. Allah. There is even another text which identifies Muhammad as a noble messenger stated in Surah 69:40-47 That this is verily the word of an honoured apostle; It is not the word of a poet: little it is ye believe! Nor is it the word of a soothsayer: little admonition it is ye receive. (This is) a Message sent down from the Lord of the Worlds. And if the apostle were to invent any sayings in Our name, We should certainly seize him by his right hand, And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: Nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath). If this is the case Sam said then Surah 81:15-29 is another reference to Muhammad seeing Allah on a clear horizon. The Quran also says that no one can see Allah at Surah 6:102-103 That is Allah, your Lord! there is no god but He, the Creator of all things: then worship ye Him: and He hath power to dispose of all affairs. No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things. And in Surah 42:51 t is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil, or by the sending of a messenger to reveal, with Allah’s permission, what Allah wills: for He is Most High, Most Wise. Then Sam Shamoun concluded that In light of this plain denial of anyone being able to see Allah it is therefore not surprising to find conflicting views and narrations which deny that Muhammad saw his lord.

In response to the above, this is a clear case of a fabrication of an alleged contradiction which is against the basic principle of Islam which is brought by Muhammad the messenger of Allah. The basic principle of Islam is to believe in the Unseen God as stated in Surah 67.12 As for those who fear their Lord unseen, for them is Forgiveness and a great Reward. And it is also for Him to test His servants as stated in Surah 5.94 O ye who believe! Allah doth but make a trial of you in a little matter of game well within reach of game well within reach of your hands and your lances, that He may test who fear him unseen: any who transgress thereafter, will have a grievous penalty. It is the basic teaching that Muslims have been taught in the Quran in Surah 6:103 No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things. He is nearer than most people would have taught as in Surah 50:16 It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein.

With such a faith to believe in the unseen God, Sam Shamoun will only have falsehood by claiming that Muhammad have seen Allah in Surah 53:1-18 as being quoted above to support his argument. By putting it in the correct perspective below are the verses with the various entities inserted in brackets for all the pronouns so the message is understood to be more clear at Surah 53:4-18 It is no less than inspiration sent down to him (The Prophet): 5. He (The Prophet Muhammad) was taught by one Mighty in Power (Gabriel), 6. Endued with Wisdom: for he (Gabriel) appeared (in stately form); 7. While he (Gabriel) was in the highest part of the horizon: 8. Then he (Gabriel) approached and came closer, 9. And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer; 10. So did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His Servant- (conveyed) what He (Allah meant) to convey. 11. The (Prophet’s) (mind and) heart in no way falsified that which he saw. 12. Will ye then dispute with him (The Prophet Muhammad) concerning what he saw? 13. For indeed he (The prophet Muhammad) saw him (Gabriel) at a second descent, 14. Near the Lote-tree beyond which none may pass: 15. Near it is the Garden of Abode. 16. Behold, the Lote-tree was shrouded (in mystery unspeakable!) 17. (His) sight never swerved, nor did it go wrong! 18. For truly did he (The Prophet Muhammad) see, of the Signs of his Lord, the Greatest!

Similarly, in Surah 81:15-29 The Quran is not describing the Prophet Muhammad seeing Allah but he saw the angel Gabriel who is also a messenger of Allah for delivering the inspiration to the Prophet Muhammad as stated in Surah 2:97 Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel-for he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by Allah’s will, a confirmation of what went before, and guidance and glad tidings for those who believe. As such by putting the verses in its proper perspective with the entities inserted in the bracket this will be the correct message of the Surah 81:19-27 Verily this is the word of a most honourable Messenger (Gabriel), 20. Endued with Power, with rank before the Lord of the Throne, 21. With authority there, (and) faithful to his (Gabriel) trust. 22. And (O people!) your companion (The Prophet Muhammad) is not one possessed; 23. And without doubt he (The Prophet Muhammad) saw him (Gabriel) in the clear horizon. 24. Neither does he (The Prophet) withhold grudgingly a knowledge of the Unseen. 25. Nor is it the word of an evil spirit accursed. 26. When whither go ye? 27. Verily this is no less than a Message to (all) the Worlds:

Thus, to rebuff Sam Shamoun argument it is absolutely clear that none have seen Allah or will ever see Allah as the Quran is clear that He is an unseen God but He is presence whatever you may be as is stated in Surah 57:4 He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and is moreover firmly established on the Throne (of Authority). He knows what enters within the earth and what comes forth out of it, what comes down from heaven and what mounts up to it. And He is with you wheresoever ye may be. And Allah sees well all that ye do. In the final only He will prevail as in Surah 55:26-27 All that is on earth will perish: But will abide (forever) the Presence of thy Lord, full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour.

Asar