Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Contradictions in the Qur’an; Part I

To find some contradictions in the “Word of God”…is major flaw…to the whole complex…

Qur'an is not to be rejected because of this list of contradictions. There are many reasons of much more substantial nature why it is not believable that the Qur'an comes from the one true God. You will find those discussed on other pages here: (e.g. [
1], [2]). This is not intended as an attack on the Qur'an. Many Muslims have become unnecessarily aggravated because they did not understand the purpose of this collection.

Many have made the experience, that many Muslims try to evade a discussion of the real issues regarding the truth of Islam and Christianity by pushing "101 Bible Contradictions" (or similar compilations) into face. Muslim web sites abound in articles and collections attacking the integrity of the Bible via “contradiction lists”. Many have the attitude that "because the Bible is riddled with contradictions, errors, absurdities and problems, there is no need for me to make the effort to understand it." With such an attitude no real dialog can develop. Our goal is to get beyond superficial word games to discussing the relevant core issues over which we differ.

It has mostly proven useless to explain one set of contradictions because there is always another one that can be added to the list. It is important to be able to give explanations of the difficult Biblical passages including those that seem contradictory. There are sites, that work hard to provide good answers to honest questions, like here (
Bible Commentary) or here: (alleged Bible contradictions). However, most Muslims' rejection of the Bible is not based on such contradiction lists. For most Muslims this rejection is an integral part of their faith long before they have ever seen any such "contradictions". These lists are usually only used as a convenient means to justify a rejection of the Bible which would otherwise be very difficult to explain rationally.

Counteracting this evasive or even hostile attitude is the purpose of this page. If both sides can come to the recognition that their own book, the scripture which is the basis of their faith, be it the Bible or the Qur'an, contains some very difficult passages which might even look like plain errors or logical contradictions (depending on the level of hostility employed when looking at it), then we might be more forgiving towards the other and be motivated to not judge prematurely but to make a serious effort to understand each of the books and the essential teachings of the respective faith in a deeper way before we come to a decision why we do or do not believe them.

Debates about contradictions are rarely fruitful because people tend to insist reading the texts of the opponent in the most rigid and literal manner to make it look bad, while being very lenient with their own book, allowing extra assumptions, metaphorical interpretations and other means to somehow explain how this can be understood without being a contradiction.

Some Muslims have proven by their provided responses that they possess a quite ingenious and creative mind. It is for our readers to decide whether or not the provided answers are fully satisfactory for them.

Having clarified the purpose of this page we now challenge our Muslim friends with the following compilation to rethink their approach for determining the truth of scripture.


Because the Bible seemingly contains errors therefore the Bible is not God's word. The Qur'an on the other hand is free from discrepancies and this is proof that the Qur'an is from God since Surah 4:82 states: Do they not ponder on the Qur'an? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.

See also this Muslim presentation:
The no-contradiction challenge of the Qur'an.

But reality is not as simple as many would want us believe. There are three basic categories of contradictions in the Qur'an:

- Internal contradictions: Verses contradicting each other or the laws of logic
External errors: Verses contradicting the facts of history or science
Verses contradicting the earlier revelations

Contradictions between Muslim Traditions and the Qur'an

Other web web sites with pages on errors, contradictions or problems in the Qur'an.

For your convenience:
Download all contradictions in a .zip format.

If you are able to resolve to your own satisfaction the Qur'an problems presented here, then probably you will be able to understand that Christians can with a similar effort explain to their own satisfaction most of the difficulties in the Bible. Try to be fair and evaluate the Bible with an equal standard as the Qur'an. Don't judge it with harsher criteria than you are ready to use when reading the Qur'an. Even better, read the Bible to understand its meaning and message and not to find fault with it on such superficial levels.

Think about this: Errors in the Bible prove that the Qur'an is not from God. [“174 contradictions of verses in Bible”. was the header of a recent newsgroup posting. Please see what the Qur'an says:

Surah 6:115:
The words of thy Lord are perfect in truth and in justice; NONE can change His words: For He is the one who heareth and knoweth all.

Surah 6:34:
There is none that can alter the words of Allah. Already hast thou received some account of those messengers.

Surah 10:64: There is no changing the words of God; that is the supreme triumph.

Further in Surah 3:3 and others, the Qur'an confirms that Torah, Zabur and Injil are words of God. Do you believe the Qur'an is true in its statement that NOBODY can change the words of God? Something to ponder for you. Every time you dig out an "error" in the
  [Torah/Gospel], you confirm that the Qur'an is WRONG and prove that the very foundation of Islam is faulty. The Qur'an states this at least three times to make sure you don't overlook it.

If you think the Bible is wrong BECAUSE of some contradictions you have piled up, then think about the contradiction between the Qur'an and your confidence in this "proof". This s a serious logical problem for Islam). Here you have a very detailed discussions on the issue "
What the Qur'an says about the Bible". Is the Quran Preserved? examines another problem that results from the Muslim claim of Bible corruption in connection with Qur'an preservation.]

Important notice: This is an overview page which only gives short summaries of the observed contradictions.

Internal Contradictions:

Who suffers loss if Muhammad was wrong? Surah 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" [Surah 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 [Surah 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 [Surah 2:221], and calls Christians idolaters and unbelievers [9:28-33], but still allows Muslims to marry Christian women [5:5].

Will deed be accepted 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: Surah 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, Surah 3:42,45 speaks about (several) angels while it is only one in Surah 19:17-21. (There are 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 (Surah 22:47, 32:5) or 50,000 human years (Surah 70:4)? --- According to Surah 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? Surah 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]

The descent of the Quran: Piecemeal or all at once?

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?

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 Surah 41:31 the angels themselves say: "We are your protectors in this life and the Hereafter." And also in other Surahs is their role described as guarding [13:11, 50:17-18] and protecting [82:10].

Is Allah the only Wali (protector)? 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?

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 Surah 4:171 without transgressing the command contained in it.

The infinite loop problem Surah 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." [Surah 26:170-171] And again: "But we saved him and his family, exept his wife: she was of those who lagged behind. [Surah 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!" [Surah 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." [Surah 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, S. 19:41-49, 6:74-83 differ quite a bit from S 21:51-59. While in S 21 Abraham confronts his people strongly, and even destroys the idols, in Surah 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 Surah 21:76, Noah and his family is saved from the flood, and Surah 37:77 confirms that his seed survived. But Surah 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." [Surah 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." [Surah 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 Surah 10:90-92, Pharaoh repented "in the sight of death" and was saved. But Surah 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." [Surah 6:115] Also see 6:34 and 10:64. But then Allah (Muhammad?) sees the need to exchange some of them for "better ones" [Surah 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 ...?" [Surah 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, ..." [Surah 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 Surah 4. And why is the punishment for women and men equal in Surah 24 but different in Surah 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? Surah 2:62 and 5:69 say "Yes", Surah 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, Surah 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]

To be continued on Part II


No comments:

Post a Comment