Contradictions in the Qur’an
There are three basic categories of contradictions in the Qur’an:
1. Internal contradictions: Verses contradicting each other or the laws of logic
2. External errors: Verses contradicting the facts of history or science
3. Verses contradicting the earlier revelations
# Who suffers loss if Muhammad was wrong? Sura 34:50 commands Muhammad to say, “If I go astray, I go astray only to my own loss,” which is a severe factual error in the Qur’an as well as contradicting the teaching of the Qur’an in a number of other verses.
# Allah, Adam, and the Angels. There are a great number of problems and inconsistencies between the several accounts of Adam’s creation, Allah’s command to prostrate before Adam, Satans refusal, etc.
# Who Was the First Muslim? Muhammad [6:14, 163], Moses [7:143], some Egyptians [26:51], or Abraham [2:127-133, 3:67] or Adam, the first man who also received inspiration from Allah [2:37]?
# Can Allah be seen and did Muhammad see his Lord? Yes [S. 53:1-18, 81:15-29], No [6:102-103, 42:51].
# Were Warners Sent to All Mankind Before Muhammad? Allah had supposedly sent warners to every people [10:47, 16:35-36, 35:24], Abraham and Ishmael are specifically claimed to have visited Mecca and built the Kaaba [2:125-129]. Yet, Muhammad supposedly is sent to a people who never had a messenger before [28:46, 32:3, 34:44, 36:2-6]. This article also raises other issues: What about Hud and Salih who supposedly were sent to the Arabs? What about the Book that was supposedly given to Ishmael? Etc.
# What will be the food for the people in Hell? The food for the people in Hell will be only “Dhari” [Sura 88:6], or only foul pus from the washing of wounds [S. 69:36], or will they also get to eat from the tree of Zaqqum [S. 37:66]? Together, these verses constitute three contradictions.
# Can Angels Cause the Death of People? The Qur’an attacks those who worship anyone besides God (e.g. angels or prophets) because those can neither create, nor give life, nor cause anyone to die. Yet, the Qur’an explicitly states that one angel or several angels are causing certain people to die [Sura 4:97, 16:28, 32, 32:11].
# Confusion Concerning Identity of the Spirit and Gabriel (a long discussion of dozens of references)
# ‘Iddah rules for divorced and widowed women appear to be arbitrary and inconsistent.
# Is there a minimum age of marriage for girls?
# To Marry or Not to Marry? The Qur’an forbids believers to marry idolatrous women [Sura 2:221], and calls Christians idolaters and unbelievers [9:28-33], but still allows Muslims to marry Christian women [5:5].
# Will it be accepted of them or not?
# Will Allah reward the good deeds of Unbelievers? S. 9:17 and 9:69 clearly say no. However, S. 99:7 implies yes. Moreover, S. 2:62 promises Christians reward for their good deeds. But S. 9:28-33; 5:17, 72-73 calls Christians idolaters, and S. 9:17 is very clear that idolaters will have no reward.
# Should Muslims Accept Peace or Not?
# Fighting All People Until They Do What?
# Compel them or Not?
# Can They Disbelieve in the Last Day and be Safe?
# Should Muslims show kindness to their parents? On the one hand, the Quran commands all Muslims to show kindness to their parents, even if they are disbelievers [17:23-24, 31:14-15, 29:8, etc.]. On the other hand, it demands not to show any love or friendship to those who oppose Muhammad, even if they are their parents [9:23, 58:22].
# Can one be a believer in God and oppose Muhammad at the same time?
# How many mothers does a Muslim have? Only one [58:2, the woman who gave birth and none else], or two [4:23, including the mother who nursed him], or at least ten [33:6]?
# And it just doesn’t add up: Sura 4:11-12 and 4:176 state the Qur’anic inheritance law. When a man dies, and is leaving behind three daughters, his two parents and his wife, they will receive the respective shares of 2/3 for the 3 daughters together, 1/3 for the parents together [both according to verse 4:11] and 1/8 for the wife [4:12] which adds up to more than the available estate. A second example: A man leaves only his mother, his wife and two sisters, then they receive 1/3 [mother, 4:11], 1/4 [wife, 4:12] and 2/3 [the two sisters, 4:176], which again adds up to 15/12 of the available property.
# How many angels were talking to Mary? When the Qur’an speaks about the announciation of the birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary, Sura 3:42,45 speaks about (several) angels while it is only one in Sura 19:17-21. (This article has received many Muslim responses which are quoted or linked and/or discussed at the end of the article.)
# Further numerical discrepancies Does Allah’s day equal to 1,000 human years (Sura 22:47, 32:5) or 50,000 human years (Sura 70:4)? — According to Sura 56:7 there will be THREE distinct groups of people at the Last Judgement, but 90:18-19, 99:6-8, etc. mention only TWO groups. — There are conflicting views on who takes the souls at death: THE Angel of Death [32:11], THE angels (plural) [47:27] but also “It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death.” [39:42] Angels have 2, 3, or 4 pairs of wings [35:1]; but Gabriel had 600 wings. [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 455]
# How many days did Allah need to destroy the people of Aad? One day [54:19] or several days [41:16; 69:6,7]
# Six or eight days of creation? Sura 7:54, 10:3, 11:7, and 25:59 clearly state that God created “the heavens and the earth” in six days. But in 41:9-12 the detailed description of the creation procedure adds up to eight days. (This topic also includes many Muslim responses and further discussion.)
# Quick or Slow Creation? Allah creates the heavens and the earth in six days [7:54] and many Muslims want to be modern and scientific, and make that six eons, but then again, He creates instantaneously [2:117], “Be! And it is”.
# Heavens or Earth? Which was created first? First earth and then heaven [2:29], heaven and after that earth [79:27-30].
# Calling together or ripping apart? In the process of creation heaven and earth were first apart and are called to come together [41:11], while 21:30 states that they were originally one piece and then ripped apart.
# What was man created from? A blood clot [96:1-2], water [21:30, 24:45, 25:54], “sounding” (i.e. burned) clay [15:26], dust [3:59, 30:20, 35:11], nothing [19:67] and this is then denied in 52:35, earth [11:61], a drop of thickened fluid [16:4, 75:37]
# What were jinn created from?
# The descent of the Quran: Piecemeal or all at once?
# Examining the inherent problems with the descent of the Quran
# Is half the Quran already fully detailed?
# Fully Detailed Or Incomplete? The Qur’an claims for itself to be (fully) detailed, that nothing is left out of the book [6:38, 6:114, 12:111, 16:89 etc.]. However there are plenty of important issues which are left unclear in the Qur’an. This article discusses the confusion found in the quranic statements on wine.
# Is the Quran Completely Clear or Not?
# The Perspicuity of the Quran and It’s Mysterious Letters
# Worshiping the Same or a Different God? Muhammad is commanded to speak to the disbelievers: … nor do you worship what I worship [109:3]. However, other verses in the Qur’an state clearly that those disbelieving his message are in fact worshiping the same God, Allah.
# Did the Meccan Polytheist Believe That Allah Was The Supreme Being?
# To Intercede or Not To Intercede? – That is the Question! The Qur’an makes contradictory statements whether on the Day of Judgment intercession will be possible. No: [2:122-123, 254; 6:51; 82:18-19; etc.]. Yes: [20:109; 34:23; 43:86; 53:26; etc.]. Each position can be further supported by ahadith.
# How the Islamic Doctrine of Intercession undermines Allah’s Omniscience
# Where is Allah and his throne? Allah is nearer than the jugular vein [50:16], but he is also on the throne [57:4] which is upon the water [11:7], and at the same time so far away, that it takes between 1,000 and 50,000 years to reach him [32:5, 70:4].
# The origin of calamity? Is the evil in our life from Satan [38:41], Ourselves [4:79], or Allah [4:78]?
# How merciful is Allah’s mercy? He has prescribed mercy for himself [6:12], yet he does not guide some, even though he could [6:35, 14:4].
# Does Allah command to do evil? No [7:28, 16:90]. Yes [17:16, ]. Two examples are also given, where Allah clearly commanded or permitted indecent actions [2:229-230, 2:187].
# Should Muhammad Get Paid Or Shouldn’t He?
# A Contradiction Regarding Muhammad’s Fatherhood
# Will there be inquiry in Paradise? “neither will they question one another” [23:101] but nevertheless they will be “engaging in mutual inquiry” [52:25], “and they will … question one another” [37:27].
# Are angels protectors? “NO protector besides Allah” [2:107, 29:22]. But in Sura 41:31 the angels themselves say: “We are your protectors in this life and the Hereafter.” And also in other suras is their role described as guarding [13:11, 50:17-18] and protecting [82:10].
# Is Allah the only Wali? On the one hand, Allah is supposedly the only wali (protector, helper, friend) [9:116, 17:111, 32:4, 42:28], on the other hand, the messenger and the believers are walis [5:55, 9:71], Allah has walis [10:62], and he raises walis [4:75].
# Does Allah Act Alone Or Does He Have Partners That Assist Him?
# Is Allah the Only Judge or Not?
# Is Allah the only sovereign or isn’t he?
# Are all obedient and prostrating to Allah? That is the claim in 16:49 and 30:26, but dozens of verses speak of the proud disobedience of Satan [7:11, 15:28-31, 17:61, 20:116, 38:71-74, 18:50] as well of many different human beings who reject His commands and His revelations.
# Does Allah forgive shirk? Shirk is considered the worst of all sins, but the author of the Qur’an seems unable to decide if Allah will ever forgive it or not. No [4:48, 116], Yes [4:153, 25:68-71]. Abraham committed this sin of polytheism as he takes moon, sun, stars to be his Lord [6:76-78], yet Muslims believe that all prophets are without any sin.
# Abraham and the Sun
# Abraham’s Monotheism
# Abraham’s Progeny? How the Qur’an messed up Abraham’s family tree
# Did All Prophets Receive the Same Book?
# The event of worship of the golden calf: The Israelites repented about worshipping the golden calf BEFORE Moses returned from the mountain [7:149], yet they refused to repent but rather continued to worship the calf until Moses came back [20:91]. Does Aaron share in their guilt? No [20:85-90], yes [20:92, 7:151].
# Was Jonah cast on the desert shore or was he not? “Then We cast him on a desert shore while he was sick” [37:145] “Had not Grace from his Lord reached him, he would indeed have been cast off on the naked shore while he was reprobate.” [68:49]
# Moses and the Injil? Jesus is born more than 1,000 years after Moses, but in 7:157 Allah speaks to Moses about what is written in the Injil [the book given to Jesus].
# Can slander of chaste women be forgiven? Yes [24:5], No [24:23].
# How do we receive the record on Judgment Day? On Judgement day the lost people are given the Record (of their bad deeds): Behind their back [84:10], or in their left hand [69:25].
# Can angels disobey? No angel is arrogant, they all obey Allah [16:49-50], but: “And behold, we said to the ANGELS: ‘Bow down to Adam’. And THEY bowed down, EXCEPT Iblis. He refused and was haughty.” [2:34]. This article includes links to answers to four Muslim responses.
# How many wings does an angel have? Angels have 2, 3, or 4 wings [35:1]; but Gabriel had 600 wings according to Sahih al-Bukhari.
# Is Satan an angel or a jinn?
# Three contradictions in 2:97 and 16:101-103 Who brings the revelation from Allah to Muhammad? The ANGEL Gabriel [2:97], or the Holy Spirit [16:102]? The new revelation confirms the old [2:97] or substitutes it [16:101]? The Qur’an is PURE Arabic [16:103] but there are numerous foreign, non-Arabic words in it.
# Do not say, “Three”!? It is impossible to recite Sura 4:171 without transgressing the command contained in it.
# The infinite loop problem Sura 26:192,195,196: “It (the Qur’an) is indeed a revelation from the Lord of the Worlds, … in clear Arabic speech and indeed IT (the Qur’an) is in the writings of the earlier (prophets).” Now, the ‘earlier writings’ are the Torah and the Injil for example, written in Hebrew and Greek. HOW can an ARABIC Qur’an be contained in books of other languages? Furthermore, it would have to contain this very passage of the Qur’an since the Qur’an is properly contained in them. Hence these earlier writings have to be contained in yet other earlier writings and we are in an infinite loop, which is absurd.
# Is the Torah like the Qur’an, or is it not? The Muslim claim of the corruption of the Bible leads to a contradiction between S. 2:24 and 17:88 on the one hand, and 28:49 and 46:10 on the other.
# Should Jews and Christians follow the Bible or the Quran?
# “An old woman” and God’s character About the story of Lot: “So we delivered him and his family, – all exept an old woman who lingered behind.” [Sura 26:170-171] And again: “But we saved him and his family, exept his wife: she was of those who lagged behind. [Sura 7:83]. Either this is a contradiction or if indeed Lot’s wife is derogatorily called “an old woman” then this does not show much respect for her as a wife of a prophet.
# More problems with the story of Lot “And his people gave NO answer but this: They said, “Drive them out of your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!” [Sura 7:82 & 27:56]. Yet: “But his people gave NO answer but this: They said: “Bring us the Wrath of Allah if thou tellest the truth.” [Sura 29:29]. Obviously these answers are different.
# The “pleasure” of Allah? Is God’s action of punishment or mercy and guidance or misguidance arbitrary?
# Did Abraham smash the idols? The accounts of Abraham, Suras 19:41-49, 6:74-83 differ quite a bit from Sura 21:51-59. While in Sura 21 Abraham confronts his people strongly, and even destroys the idols, in Sura 19 Abraham shuts up after his father threatens him to stone him for speaking out against the idols. And he seems not only to become silent, but even to leave the area (“turning away from them all”).
# What about Noah’s son? According to Sura 21:76, Noah and his family is saved from the flood, and Sura 37:77 confirms that his seed survived. But Sura 11:42-43 reports that Noah’s son drowns.
# Was Noah driven out? “Before them *the people of Noah* rejected (their messenger): They rejected Our servant and said, ‘Here is One possessed!’ And he was driven out.” [Sura 54:9] Now, if he is driven out [expelled from their country] how come they can scoff at him while he is building the ark since we read “Forthwith he (starts) constructing the Ark: Every time that the Chiefs of *his people* passed by him, they threw ridicule on him.” [Sura 11:38] He cannot be both: Driven out and near enough that they can regularly pass by.
# Pharaoh’s Magicians: Muslims or Rejectors of Faith? Did the Magicians of Pharaoh, Egyptians, become believers in the God of Moses [7:103-126; 20:56-73; S. 26:29-51] or did only Israelites believe in Moses [10:83]?
# How many gods did the Egyptians worship?
# Pharaoh’s repentance in the face of death? According to Sura 10:90-92, Pharaoh repented “in the sight of death” and was saved. But Sura 4:18 says that such a thing can’t happen.
# Abrogation? “The words of the Lord are perfect in truth and justice; there is NONE who can change His words.” [Sura 6:115] Also see 6:34 and 10:64. But then Allah (Muhammad?) sees the need to exchange some of them for “better ones” [Sura 2:106, 16:101]. And it is not for ignorant people to question Allah because of such practices!
# Guiding to truth? “Say: ‘God – He guides to the truth; and which is worthier to be followed …?” [Sura 10:35] But how much is left over of this worthiness when we also read: “Allah leads astray whom he pleases, and he guides whom He pleases, …” [Sura 14:4]. And how do we know in which of Allah’s categories of pleasure we fall? How sure can a Muslim be that he is one of those guided right and not one of those led astray?
# What is the punishment for adultery? Flogging with a 100 stripes (men and women) [24:2], “confine them to houses until death do claim them (lifelong house arrest – for the women) [4:15]. For men: “If they repent and amend, leave them alone” [4:16]. 24:2 contradicts both the procedure for women and men in Sura 4. And why is the punishment for women and men equal in Sura 24 but different in Sura 4?
# How are the sexually immoral supposed to be punished?
# The Problem of Divine Sovereignty, Predestination, Salvation and Human Free Will
# Who suffers the consequence of sins? The Qur’an declares that everyone will be held responsible only for his own sins [S. 17:13-15, 53:38-42]. Yet, the Qur’an accuses the Jews of Muhammad’s day for the sins committed some 2000 years earlier by other Jews, e.g. worshipping the Golden Calf idol.
# Will Christians enter Paradise or go to Hell? Sura 2:62 and 5:69 say “Yes”, Sura 5:72 (just 3 verses later) and 3:85 say “No”.
# God alone or also men? Clear or incomprehensible? The Qur’an is “clear Arabic speech.” [16:103] Yet “NONE knows its interpretation, save only Allah.” [3:7]. Actually, “men of understanding do grasp it.” [3:7]
# Was Pharaoh Drowned or Saved when chasing Moses and the Israelites? Saved [10:92], drowned [28:40, 17:103, 43:55].
# When Commanded Pharaoh the Killing of the Sons? When Moses was a Prophet and spoke God’s truth to Pharaoh [40:23-25] or when he was still an infant [20:38-39]?
# When/how are the fates determined? “The night of power is better than a thousand months. The angels and spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees.” [97:3,4] “Lo! We revealed it on a blessed night.” [44:3] To Muslims, the “Night of Power” is a blessed night on which fates are settled and on which everything relating to life, death, etc., which occurs throughout the year is decreed. It is said to be the night on which Allah’s decrees for the year are brought down to the earthly plane. In other words, matters of creation are decreed a year at a time. Contradicting this, Sura 57:22 says, “No affliction befalls in the earth or in your selves, but it is in a Book before we create it.” This means it is written in the Preserved Tablet, being totally fixed in Allah’s knowledge before anyone was created. All of the above is contradicted by “And every man’s fate We have fastened to his own neck.” This says that man alone is responsible for what he does and what happens to him. [17:13]
# Wine: Good or bad? Strong drink and … are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. [5:90, also 2:219]. Yet on the other hand in Paradise are rivers of wine [47:15, also 83:22,25]. How does Satan’s handiwork get into Paradise?
# Good News of Painful Torture? Obviously, announcing torment and suffering to anyone is bad news, not good news. However, the Qur’an announces the good news of painful torment [3:21, 4:138, 9:3, 9:34, 31:7, 45:8, and 84:24].
# Jinns and men created for worship or for Hell? Created only to serve God [Sura 51:56], many of them made for Hell [Sura 7:179].
# Preferred for Hell? S. 17:70 says that Allah prefers (all) the children of Adam over many of his creatures, but S. 98:6 declares the majority of men to be the worst of creatures, many of them being even created specifically for Hell (S. 7:179).
# Will people stay in Hell forever, or not?
# Will all Muslims go to Hell? According to Sura 19:71 every Muslim will go to Hell (for at least some time), while another passage states that those who die in Jihad will go to Paradise immediately.
# Will Allah disgrace Muslims? On the day of judgment Allah will not humiliate or disgrace the Prophet and those who believe in him [S. 66:8]. However, 19:71 says that everyone will enter Hell, and 3:192 states that whomsoever Allah sends to Hell, is disgraced thereby.
# Will Jesus burn in Hell? Jesus is raised to Allah, [Sura 4:158], near stationed with him [Sura 3:45], worshiped by millions of Christians, yet Sura 21:98 says, that all that are worshiped by men besides Allah will burn in Hell together with those who worship them.
# Is Jesus God or Not? In Sura 16:17, 20-21 and S. 25:3 we find a criterion to distinguish the true God from false gods. Yet, according to S. 3:49, 55, 4:157-158, 5:110, 6:2, and 38:71-72 Jesus satisfies the definition and should be considered true Deity.
# Is Jesus Like Adam? S. 3:59 makes this claim, but how many aspects of likeness are there really?
# Can there be a son without a consort? Allah cannot have a son without a consort [Sura 6:101], but Mary can have a son without a consort because that is easy for Allah [Sura 19:21].
# Who is the father of Jesus? A more involved argument that is difficult to summarize in one sentence.
# Begetting and Self-sufficiency A self-contradiction on account of confused terminology.
# Could Allah have a son? Sura 39:4 affirms and Sura 6:101 denies this possibility.
# Did Jesus Die already? Sura 3:144 states that all messengers died before Muhammad. But 4:158 claims that Jesus was raised to God (alive?).
# One Creator or many? The Qur’an uses twice the phrase that Allah is “the best of creators” [23:14, 37:125]. What other creators are in mind? On the other hand, many verses make clear that Allah alone is “the creator of all things” [e.g. 39:62]. There is nothing left for others to be a creator of.
# From among all nations or from Abraham’s seed? Sura 29:27 states that all prophets came Abraham’s seed. But 16:36 claims that Allah raised messengers from among every people.
# Marrying the wives of adopted sons? It is important that Muslims can marry the divorced wives of adopted sons [Sura 33:37], yet it is forbidden to adopt sons [Sura 33:4-5].
# Messengers were never sent to other than their own people? So it is claimed in Sura 14:4 and 30:47. However, the Bible and the Qur’an, and the Muslim traditions confirm that Jonah was sent to a different nation.
# Messengers Were Sent Only to Their Own People? Sura 14:4 states that never was a messenger sent except in the language of his own people. Yet, the Quran itself claims that Jesus is supposed to be a sign to all people, that the Torah and Gospel are for all people, that Moses was sent to Pharaoh of Egypt, and that Muhammad is sent to all of mankind. The hadith also claim that Noah was sent to “the inhabitants of the earth”.
# Did Allah give a Greek Injil to the Jews?
# What kind of book is the Injil?
# Messengers Amongst the Jinns and Angels? Allah sent only men as messengers [Suras 12:109, 21:7-8, 25:20-21] but there seemingly are messengers from Jinns and Angels [6:130; 11:69,77; 22:75; etc., see article for details].
# Do all of God’s messengers eat food?
# A Messenger from among the beasts? Allah sent only men as messengers [Suras 12:109, 21:7-8, 25:20-21]. Yet, the Qur’an also speaks about a beast that is a messenger from Allah to men [S. 27:82].
# Is Muhammad Only A Warner or a Prophet/Messenger?
# Did the Messengers Perform Miracles?
# Divinely Inspired Ignorance?
# Which Prophets Did the Jews Kill?
# Another eleven contradictions…
# Solomon listening to ants? In Sura 27:18-19 Solomon overhears a “conversation of ants”.
Is this possible based on our knowledge about the mode and complexity of ant communication?
# The stars and the moon The Qur’an teaches that there are seven heavens one above the other [67:3, 71:15], and that the stars are in the lower heaven [67:5, 37:6, 41:12], but the moon is depicted as being in/inside the seven heavens [71:16], even though in reality the stars are much further away from the earth than the moon.
# Qur’an and Science: Section Four in Dr. Campbell’s book
# Qur’an and Embryology
# Can non-living matter think, feel and have a will?
# The human embryonic development
# The place of Sun rise and Sun set
# The Seven Earths
# Stars created to be thrown at devils?
# Sun and moon are subject to man?
# Mountains and Earthquakes
# The impossible conversation
# Solomon and the animals…
# Allah’s forgotten creatures
# Shaking the trunk of the palm tree?
# Thinking with the breasts?
# All things are made in pairs? Sura 51:49 claims that everything is created in pairs. But this is not true! There are quite a number of things that have no counterpart and species where only one gender exists.
# Are Fruits Male and Female?
# The Qur’an Attacks … Christianity?
# Selling Joseph for a few Dirhams? (before coins were even invented)
# Moses and the Samaritan?
# The farthest Mosque?
# Alexander the Great, a Muslim?
# None else was named “John” before John the Baptist?
# Two Pharaohs who crucified?
# Burnt bricks in Egypt?
# How many gods did the Egyptians worship?
# Israel, the Quran and the Promised Land
# Were they utterly destroyed?
# What kind of book is the Injil?
# Jesus was not crucified?
# The anachronistic title al-`Aziz given to Potiphar
(Here is an important question. Muslims affirm that the Qur’an / Islam encourages to seek knowledge. What happens if that knowledge doesn’t match what the Qur’an teaches? I strongly believe that “all truth is God’s truth.” That also means that God will not contradict himself in the “natural” revelation of history and science and in the “special” revelation of his written word. But if the Qur’an contradicts what we so clearly know from history or science, does this indicate that maybe the author of truth in the natural realm and the author of the Qur’an might not be the same? )
The Qur’an in Contradiction to the Earlier Revelations:
Ultimately, the strongest, most serious problem of the Qur’an is that it affirms the scriptures of the Jews and the Christians as authentic and true revelation from God (cf. what the Qur’an says about the Bible), while radically denying central aspects of their message, e.g. the core themes of sacrifice and atonement in the Torah, the crucifixion of Jesus, the deity of Jesus and even the mere messianic title “Son of God” for Jesus, the very nature of God, the fall and the sinfulness of man, necessity and means of salvation, etc. For this reason Muslims had to invent the unwarranted theory of corruption of the earlier scriptures, even against the clear testimony of the Qur’an itself.
In the following some smaller discrepancies between the Qur’an and the scriptures it supposedly confirms.
1. Historical Compressions: Saul, David, Gideon and Goliath
2. A Samaritan tempting the Israelites in Moses time?
3. Prophets and Kings in Israel before the time of Moses?
4. Moses and the Gospel?
5. Punishment for future disobedience?
6. Mary, the sister of Aaron?
7. Pharaoh and Haman?
8. A Pharaoh Who Forgot to Die in Time?
9. Was there a second period of slaying the sons of the Israelites?
10. Moses or Jacob?
11. Did Joseph’s parents go to Egypt?
12. Abraham’s name
13. Abraham and Solomon
Other contradictions in comparison to the Bible:
14. Did God teach Adam the names of the animals?
15. Noah’s Age
16. Were Believers Really Called Muslims Before the Time of Muhammad?
17. The Quran’s Mistakes regarding the Biblical Patriarchs
18. Who Adopted Moses: Pharaoh’s Daughter or Pharaoh’s Wife?
19. Adoption by Adaption analyzes various discrepancies inf the quranic version of the stories of Moses and Joseph.
20. A Flood in the time of Moses?
21. Israel, the Quran and the Promised Land
22. The Quran, Moses and the Tablets of Stone
23. Solomon Working with Demons
24. Israel’s Response to the Covenant: ‘We Obey’ or ‘We Disobey’?
25. Where is the Blood?
26. Divinely Inspired Ignorance?
27. Which Prophets Did the Jews Kill?
28. What kind of book is the Injil?
29. Animal sacrifices for Christians?
30. Why did the Queen of Sheba come to Solomon?
31. Ezra the Son of God?
32. Jesus reached old age?
33. Did the golden calf say ‘Moo’?
34. Did disobedience result in extra commandments?
35. How many messengers were sent to Noah’s people?
Further discussion: Who are those messengers that were rejected by Noah’s people?
36. The Progeny of Abraham?
37. Two young men?
38. How many wings does an angel have?
# More contradictions between Qur’an and Bible
Do they not ponder on the Qur’an?
Had it been from other than Allah,
they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.
— Sura 4:82
Since this verse is claiming that there is “no contradiction / discrepancy” in the Qur’an, therefore itself has to be part of the list of contradictions because it contradicts the existence of the above listed contradictions. Or would you say because it says “much” and the above aren’t “enough of them” yet to qualify for “much”, all is actually fine?
CONTRADICTIONS WITHIN THE QURAN
“Do they not consider the Quran? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancies.” (Sura 4:82).
This verse is further amplified by the already quoted texts:
“No change can there be in the Words of Allah (Sura 10:64)
“There is none that can alter the Words of Allah (Sura 6:34)
We Christians believe this too. Let us assume for a moment that there is no discrepancy between the message of the Bible and the Quran, which, as we have seen, is not the case, and consider the Quran on its own.
The problem of abrogation.
“When We substitute one revelation for another, – and Allah knows best what He reveals, – they say ‘Thou art a forger: But most of them understand not. Say, the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in truth.”
“None of our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar–Knowest thou not that Allah hath power over all things?….Would you question your Apostle as Moses was questioned of old?” (Suras 16:101 and 2:106,108).
We should like to find out how a divine revelation can be improved. We would have expected it to have been perfect and true right from the start. Yusuf Ali tries to explain:
“….it means that God’s message from age to age is always the same, but that its form may differ according to the needs and exigencies of the time. Some commentators apply it also to the Ayat (revelation) of the Quran. There is nothing derogatory in this if we believe in progressive revelation.
In Sura 3:7 we are told distinctly about the Quran, that some of its verses are basic and fundamental, and others are allegorical, and it is mischievous to treat the allegorical verses and follow them (literally).” (comm 107).
This is fully acceptable. God has revealed His Word progressively, the revelation being levelled at the comprehension and culture of the people to whom it was first given. Everybody will agree that an allegory should not be taken literally. But what about the law of ‘mansukh’ (=abrogated verse; please note Sura 2:106 does not speak of intellect, culture or progressive revelation with reference to scriptures given prior to Mohammed, but to Quranic verses only!) and ‘nasikh’ (=the verses that take the place of the mansukh verses)? .
We must recognize one important principle: If we want to know what a certain passage really means we have to make a proper exegesis. We have to establish what exactly the text in question was intended to say to the original hearers. How did they understand it? Only having done that can we interpret a text in today’s situation without distortion. There are various possible ways of establishing the original meaning, but one should also look at the very old commentaries and see how they understood and interpreted the text.
The “Tafsir-i-Azizi” explains three kinds of abrogations (=cancellations):
i) where a verse has been removed from the Quran and another given in its place;
ii) where the injunction (command) is abrogated and the letters of the verse remain; !
iii) where both the verse and its injunction are removed from the text
Jalalu’d-Din, says that the number of abrogated verses has been variously estimated to range from 5 to 500 (“Dictionary of Islam”, page 520)
In his ‘Itqan’ he furnished a list of 20 verses, which are acknowledged by all commentators to be abrogated (“Dictionary of Islam”, page 520).
Just a few be mentioned here:
The Qibla (prayer direction) was changed from Jerusalem to Mecca (Sura 2:142-144);
The division of inheritance left by parents or other relatives according to Sura 4:7 had to be equal (a share and a share which has to be determined). This was abrogated and replaced by verse 11, where it is commanded that males must get double the share of females.
The night prayer performed by reciting the Quran ought to be more or less half the time of the night (Sura 73:2). This was changed to as much as may be easy for you (verse 20).
The treatment of adulteresses is to be life imprisonment (Sura 4:15), which was changed to flogging with 100 strokes (Sura 24:2). This despite the leniency prescribed for homosexuals (Sura 4:16) on repenting.
The retaliation in cases of crime, particularly murder, was to be confined to people of equal rank (slave for slave, free for free etc.) (Sura 2:178) This is in disagreement with Sura 5:48 and Sura 17:33 where retaliation is allowed against the murderer only.
The Jihad or Holy War was forbidden in the sacred months (Sura 9:5) but is allowed, even encouraged in verse 36 which replaces the former.
“Sura 2:106 occurs immediately before a series of sweeping changes, or rather modifications, introduced by Muhammad in both the ritual and the legal spheres.The verse thus precedes a change in the Qibla (vss. 115,177,124-151); in the pilgrimage rites (vs. 158); in the dietary laws (vss. 168-l74); in the law relating to talio (vss. 178-179); in bequests (vss. 180-182); in the fast (vss. 182-187); and again in the pilgrimage (vss. 191-203).
Similarly, Sura 16:101 is followed by allusions to modifications in the dietary laws (vss 114-119), and in the Sabbath laws (vs.124)” (“The Collection of the Quran” by John Burton).
Elaborating on this we note that the fast is compulsory “but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (with hardship) is a ransom, the feeding of one, that is indigent.” (Sura 2:184).
“‘Here one can hardly escape the conclusion that the first verse (i.e. 184) allows a rich man to buy himself out of the fast.” (“Islam” by A. Guillaume). The next verse is said to replace the former. It allows no compensation of any kind for the fast.
In verse 180 of the same Sura “it is prescribed, when death approaches any of you, if he leaves any goods, that he make a bequest to parents and next of kin….”. This is said to be replaced by Sura 4:11, according to which a double portion of inheritance falls to males compared to that of females.
The much discussed “verses of the sword”: “….fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them and seize them, beleaguer them and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (or war).” (Sura 9:5) and “….when you meet the unbelievers (in fight) cut off their necks…” (Sura 47:4) are “said to have cancelled no less than 124 verses which enjoined toleration and patience.” (A. Guillaume).
To us it is surprising to find the mansukh and nasikh verses often near to each other. We judge these to be cases of interpolation.
As stated earlier, we do believe in progressive revelation. The Old Covenant of the Law, as given to Moses, was superseded by the New Covenant of grace, which Jesus introduced. But these developments took place over a considerable time (1 500 years) with many prophetic warnings and predictions in between, so that no arbitrary action may be assumed on the side of God. In the light of this we find it unacceptable that within a space of 20 years a need for change or correction can become necessary. This surely suggests that God is either not all-knowing or else the recorder made a correction.
There are other verses which further add to the confusion:
“If we wished, we could make away with what we have revealed to you!” (Sura 17:86). “We shall teach you to recite it (i.e. the Quran) and you will not forget – except that Allah wills (Sura 87:6-7).
Why should anything be forgotten of an eternal revelation? To “substitute for it something better”? We do admit that an inspired man can err at times, but an inspired book (nazil) cannot!
Zarkasi explains the above concept more deeply. He states (vol. I p. 235):
“The ‘naskh’ (sic) of the wording and recital occured by means of God’s causing them to forget it. He withdrew it from their memories, while commanding them to neglect its public recital and its recording in the mushaf. With the passage of time, it would quite disappear like the rest of God’s revealed Books which He mentions in the Quran, but nothing of which is known today. This can have happened either during the Prophet’s life so that, when he died, the forgotten material was no longer being recited as part of the Quran; or it might have happened after the death of the Prophet. It would still be extant in writing, but God would cause them to forget it. He would then remove it from their memories. But, of course, the naskh of any part of the revelation after the death of the Prophet is not possible.” (“The Collection of the Quran” by John Burton p.97).
We suggest that Allah could have spared us a lot of confusion, doubt and explaining, had He given the better text right from the beginning.
“There was a series of Hadiths designed expressly to give the impression that Muhammad had forgotten part of the revelations. The reports were specific and detailed enough to identify the actual wording of the verses in question. Anas is reported in the two Sahih’s (i.e. al-Bukhari and Muslim) as declaring: There was revealed concerning those slain at Bi’r Ma’una a Quran verse which we recited until it was withdrawn: “Inform our tribe on our behalf that we have met our Lord. He has been well pleased with us and has satisfied our desires.’ (“al-Itqan by Jalal al Din).
‘Abdullah b. al Zubair therefore asked ‘Uthman what had possessed him to include Sura 2:240 in the ‘mushaf’ (document or canon), when he knew it to have been abrogated by Sura 2:234. ‘Because’, he replied ‘Uthman, ‘I know it to be part of the Quran text.’ ‘(ibid.). (“The Collection of the Quran” by John Burton).
A further problem arises from the fact that there is by no means any certainty which verses are mansukh and which nasikh, since the order in which the Quran was written down is not chronological, but according to the length of the Suras. However, even the Suras were not necessarily given in one piece. It happened that a certain portion of a Sura was given, and the next given text would be directed by Mohammed to be added to another Sura, and later again another addition was made to the first again, etc. The Hadis gives no conclusive information about the chronological order either, so that strictly speaking, there is no means of determining which of two disagreeing texts is mansukh, and which nasikh.
In any case we Christians see in this whole subject just a theological gimmick to “explain” contradictions. The quotation:
“No change can there be in the Words of Allah” and “There is none that can alter the Words of Allah. Already hast thou received some account of those Apostles.” or “the other Apostles also said so.” (Suras 10:64 and 6:34).
is contradicted by all those Muslims who claim that the Bible which is admitted to be a revealed book, has been altered and corrupted.
To underline our point let us just look at two passages of the Quran that have not been reconciled in terms of the law of abrogation.
In Sura 41:9-12 we read that the world was created in eight days, in Sura 7:54 we are told it were six days. It is, we suppose, up to the believer to make up his mind which of the two he will accept.
QUESTION: Must we assume that God is inconsistent? Knowing all things, such contradiction surely does not originate from God?
Problems regarding the consistency of Revelation.
The Quran is inconsistent regarding commitments on the part of Allah on which the believer can reckon or on which he can build his life. Commitments that are given are contradicted elsewhere:
“Allah has inscribed for himself (the rule of) mercy”
“Allah has prescribed for himself as law to act merciful” (Sura 6:12).
is contradicted in the same Sura: (verses 35-39):
“If it were Allah’s will, he would gather them into true guidance…. Whom Allah willeth he leaves to wander, whom he willeth, he placeth on the way that is straight”.
As we shall see (pp 21ff.), the Muslim’s hope rests on that despairing word:
“IF it pleases Allah.”
This is striking, for even in the Old Testament the believer was aware of the Law of cause and Effect. Once a believer broke any of God’s Laws he was cut-off from God, and was lost and perishing. But if he atoned therefor in repentance according to God’s prescribed ordinance (the sacrifice) his sin was forgiven. God had committed Himself to it. This is even further elaborated in the New Testament:
“If we confess our sins (while we have fellowship with God: vs. 6), He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9).
We see a definite regression from this standard in the Quran.
We also find it strange to read:
“Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, ‘we are Christians’.” (Sura 5:85)
This is supported to some extent by an explanatory note in the “Mishkat” (IV page 103, note 2380) where we are told that “nearly two-thirds of paradise” will be filled with “the followers of the Holy Prophet and the followers of other prophets will form one-third.” In strange contrast to this are the words of Sura 5:51
“Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends.”
What about being together in Paradise? The reason is just as strange:
“They (Jews and Christians) are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.
It can hardly be said that Jews and Christians have ever protected each other, except that they agree on the authenticity of the Old Testament.
It is said of Mohammed that he was the first to bow down to Allah (in Islam) (Sura 6:14, 163, 39:12). But it is also said of Abraham, his sons and Jacob that they were Muslims (Sura 2:132), and of all earlier prophets who brought ‘books’ (i.e. Moses, David and Jesus) (Sura 28:52-53). Again it is reported of the disciples of Jesus that they were Muslims (Sura 3:52).
All these we view as contradictions. Some would not be of a serious nature, were it not for the claim that the Quran is “nazil” or “brought down” from heaven to Mohammed without the touch of human hand – except for the act of writing itself.
QUESTION: Is there any uncontradicted statement in the Quran on which a Mulsim can rely to have eternal life in heaven?
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