Monday, 3 August 2009

Did All Prophets Receive the Same Book?

”Qur’an: One Verse; three Contradictions”

Surahh 6:74-90 is full of factual errors, logical contradictions and other problems.

part, 6:74-82, narrates how Abraham became a believer. Abraham and the Sun, discusses a number of problems found in that section.

The main topic of the second section, 6:83-90, is that Allah gave Abraham righteous descendents, many of them also being prophets. It presents a list of 17 names of descendants about whom certain statements are made. A first group of problematic aspects in this second part is discussed in the article, Abraham's Progeny?

There is no doubt that the statement "Those are they to whom We gave the Book (al-kitab)" (6:89) refers to the names listed in verses 83-86.

This statement, however, poses serious problems for the credibility of the Qur’an because this claim is wrong, and it is wrong for several reasons.

Summary of the problems:

All the prophets are claimed to have received "the book", i.e. the same book. This claim contradictis not only common sense but also a numberr of other statements found in the Qur’an:

) Most of the above people did not get any book at all.

) Some of them were not even prophets

In this article we will present a detailed discussion of these three errors:

1) The first problem and obvious error is the definite article. It says "THE Book". The Qur’an does not say that "those are they to whom We gave (various) books" or "to each of them We gave a book", i.e. diff books of revelation. It says al-kitab ("the book"), which means that the author of the Qur’an is thinking of only one book, one specific book, called "THE book", and the claim is that all of these people received this same book. That is wrong and contradicts both the Bblei and the Qur’an.

Looking at the Bible, we see that the Torah of Moses is very different from the Psalms of David. These two books are not opposed to each other. They clearly speak of the same God, and their message agrees, but these books are very different in many ways. Just read them. [1 major difference: The Torah consists mostly of historical narrative and legal texts. The Psalms are a collection of prayers.]

Muslims believe that Allah gave the Torah to Moses, the Zabur (Psalms) to David and the Injil (Gospel) to Jesus, and these books have different names, because they are different books. The following verses from the Qur’an also establish that the Torah and the Injil are different:

 “…We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein is guidance and a light, confirming that which was (revealed) before it in the Torah - a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off (evil). 5:46;

“…the Torah and the Gospel; 5:110;

Jesus Christ was taught the Torah AND the Gospel, an expression that would make little sense if the two are identical. It does not say, he was taught the Torah which is also called the Gospel. It says the Torah and the Gospel, because it assumes these two to be different books.

Moreover, 5:46 claims that one of the functions of the Gospel is to confirm the teaching of the Torah. However, only an independent witness can confirm. Bringing a second copy of the same is not a confirmation. According to the Qur’an, the Torah and the Injil are different books. This becomes even more obvious in another verse speaking of Jesus Christ (S. 3:50).

This means: Although, in principle, the message of Jesus Christ (the Injil, the Gospel) is confirming the Torah, it also has differences. Some things that were forbidden before are now lawful. Therefore, the Injil is different from the Torah. It is not the same book.

These are two books, not one book that is known by two different names. This establishes a logical contradiction in the Qur’an.

6:83-86 and 89 speaks of Moses and Jesus Christ (and many more prophets) receiving "the book", i.e. the same book. On the other hand, several other passages of the Qur’an testify to the fact that the Torah and the Injil are different books. Yet another verse makes clear that the book (allegedly) given to Abraham is understood to be different from the Torah and the Gospel:

when the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him. 3:65;

The Qur’an also states:

All food was lawful to the Children of Israel save what Israel forbade for himself before the Torah was sent down' S.3:93.

There are plenty of laws in the Torah which make certain foods unlawful to the people of Israel. This verse says that no such laws existed before the Torah was given. This means, these laws were not part of the (alleged) book(s) given to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Thus, the Torah is different than all those books given before the time of Moses. Nevertheless, let's ponder this issue further:

Would Noah have received a book of which a large part consisted of stories of people that had not yet lived? It makes sense that the book contains stories of former prophets, so that believers may learn lessons from how God dealt with people in the past. The Bible contains many prophecies, but it does not contain life stories of future believers the same way it contains the stories of past believers, and neither does the Qur’an. Common sense demands to conclude that all these prophets, living more than 2’000 years apart, could not possibly have had the same book. As it stands, the statement in 6:89 makes no sense.

Could we understand this as referring to different books for different prophets?

This is not the end of problems with this passage. Even if Muslims could somehow fudge the issue of the definite article, turning "the book" into "many different books" — "a book" for each of the people listed in those verses — they still have to deal with the following difficulty: There is simply no record that Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Aaron, Zachariah and John, Ishmael or Lot received any book at all. All of these people are mentioned in various books of the Bible, but these people were not recipients of books.

An additional problem is that Ishmael and Lot are not even prophets; they did not receive "the prophethood", another false statement made in 6:89. The claim that all these people received a book, let alone all of them receiving the same book, is a further a contradiction to the Bible. However, the Qur’an is not only at odds with the Bible. As far as known, there is no mention of books of Ishmael or Lot or Zachariah outside of the Bible either — at least not before the time of Muhammad.

A possible objection considered: Some Muslims may want to claim that since the Qur’an speaks of those books, they certainly existed although they were apparently lost. Having no knowledge of these books does not mean they never existed. That is hardly credible. Such a theory may be possible if we were talking about only one or two prophets whose book was lost, but we are talking about a lot of books here — regardless of whether they are all identical or different. How can they all have disappeared without a trace? Such a desperate attempt at defending the teaching of the Qur’an is also destroyed by further statements made in this very passage. How could these books get lost? If the people to whom they were given were not interested in them, or even opposed to their teachings.

However, in 6:89-90, the verses following directly after the problematic claim about "the book", the Qur’an says explicitly that knowing full well that there may be disbelievers, people who reject the message and people who simply do not care, Allah tells Muhammad (and all of us) that he has taken care of the problem: he already entrusted the book to a people who do not disbelieve in it, i.e. who believe in it, and would therefore not loose it. Note also the pronoun "it". The second part of verse 89 again speaks of the book in the singular, not of a multiplicity of books. The theory that "the book" simply got lost a long time ago is very much at odds with 6:89-90 and must be abandoned.

Rescuing the Qur'an by corrupting its text?

Muslims will respond: The explanation is very easy. There is only one book with Allah, that is why it is called "THE Book". All of these prophets received various parts of this one book. Each prophet simply received those parts that were necessary for him and the community which he was sent to. These parts differed among each other — as one would expect. At first glance, that explanation sounds good, and would make sense in regard to some of the issues involved. The problem is, that is not what the text says. It does not say, "Those are they to whom We gave PARTS OF the Book". The Qur’an does not speak of parts or portions or pieces or sections or fragments or excerpts here. It says that Allah gave them "the book", and since no qualification is attached to it, that means the whole book. If the author meant "a part of the book" but said "the book" then he failed to communicate, and his message cannot be called "most eloquent".

However, the Qur’an insists to be a miracle of eloquence (discussed in these articles). This claim of unsurpassed and even miraculous eloquence also demands to take the text serious as it is, and not to assume we can improve on it or need to add words to it in order to make it better understood.

In effect, these Muslims want to replace the actual text with this new version of verse 89: Obviously, there are plenty of passages where the author of the Qur’an speaks of a part or a portion of a book. There is no reason that he could not have used a similar formulation in 6:89 if that had been his intention.

Side note: Though the Qur’an is said to have been revealed in parts, it is never said that the complete Qur’an is only a part of "the book", but the Qur'an itself is also called "the book" in many places (example: Surahh 3:3);

Books for Noah, Lot and Zachariah?

Back to the problem that most of the people whose names are listed in 6:83-86 never got any book at all. This list is too long to discuss every name. For the purpose of this article, we will look at only three of them. According to the Bible there is no question that Noah, Lot and Zachariah did not receive books of revelation.

What about the Qur’an? The stories of Noah, Lot and Zachariah (and his son, John the Baptist) are told in various places in the Qur’an. Do the passages that report their stories make any mention of a book? Without question, when God gives a book of revelation, that is a matter of utmost importance. Under that premise, it is no surprise that the Qur’an repeats again and again that Moses was given "the book" (al-kitab). This is stated in at least these verses: 2:53, 87, 6:91, 154, 11:110, 17:2, 23:49, 25:35, 28:43, 32:23, 37:114-117, 41:45.

Moreover, "the book of Moses" or "the Torah" is referred to in many more passages: 11:17, 40:53, 46:12, 3:3,48,50, 5:43-44,66,68, 7:157, 9:111, 48:29, 61:6, etc.

What about Zachariah? Apart from the mere inclusion of his name in the above passage (in verse 85), the Qur’an narrates the story of Zachariah in 3:37-41, 19:2-15, and 21:89-90. None of these three passages mentions that Zachariah was given a book from God. Recognizing the Qur’anic’s great emphasis upon "the book" that was given to Moses, this is rather astonishing if Zachariah was also given "the book". If "the book" is so important, why does it not play any role in the reports about Zachariah's life?

A similar observation can be made about Lot. Lot's story is narrated in multiple versions and in many more passages than the story of Zachariah. Moreover, it is said about Lot that he actually sent to and preached to his people, something that is not mentioned in regard to Zachariah. Nevertheless, none of these passages mention that he received a book. Here are the passages about Lot: 7:80-84, 11:70-83, 15:57-77, 21:74-75, 26:160-175, 27:54-58, 29:26-35, 37:133-138, 51:31-37, 54:33-39, 66:10.

Jesus Christ was given the book:

He said: Surely I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet; S 19:30

Thus, the Book is given to both Moses and Jesus Christ individually, not only collectively

And with that observation we are back to the various problems dealt with in this article.

Moreover, the family of Abraham was given the book (S. 4:54). What does that mean? How far does "family" extend? His immediate household, i.e. those who lived with him, like his son Isaac and grandson Jacob? All of his descendants throughout history?



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