Thursday, 26 January 2012

Islam's Dark Past; Part I

"The Qur'an escapes from the hearts of men faster than a runaway camel." (Prophet of Doom)

Islam provides only one prime source of information on Muhammad and the formation of Islam written within two centuries of the time he lived and it was conceived. Ishaq's Sira, or Biography, stands alone - a singular and tenuous thread connecting us to a very troubled man and time. Over the next two hundred years, other Hadith Collections were compiled by the likes of Tabari, Bukhari, and Muslim. Their assemblages of oral reports, or Traditions, were said to have been inspired by Allah. They purport to convey Muhammad's words and example. They also explain the Qur'an - a book so deficient in context and chronology, it can only be understood when seen through the eyes of the Sunnah writers.

Throughout Prophet of Doom, I have been less concerned with the validity of these sources than with what they have to say. Their message is all Muslims have. Together, the Sunnah and Qur'an are Islam. Therefore, I was willing to take them at face value.

But you don't have to dig very deep to find the truth. Even a cursory reading of the Qur'an is sufficient to prove that it is a fraud. There is no way the creator of the universe wrote a book devoid of context, without chronology or intelligent transitions. Such a creative spirit wouldn't need to plagiarize. He would know history and science and thus wouldn't have made such a fool of himself. The God who created man wouldn't deceive him or lead him to hell as Allah does. Nor would he order men to terrorize, mutilate, rob, enslave, and slaughter the followers of other Scriptures he claims he revealed, wiping them out to the last. One doesn't need a scholastic review of the Qur'anic text to disprove its veracity. It destroys itself quite nicely.

While that remains true, I believe that I owe it to readers, especially Muslims, to explore the textual evidence for the Sunnah and Qur'an. I'll start with what the Hadith has to say about the Qur'an's origins, but I'm going to dispense in short order with the circular reasoning Islamic scholars use in that they all quote the Sunnah. While there are Hadiths that say Bakr tried to assemble the Qur'an and others that credit Uthman, Muhammad's third successor, it's like using the results of Carbon-14 dating to prove the validity of Carbon-14 dating. The source is the same.

In Bukhari's Hadith Collection alone we find a sea of disturbing and contradictory claims regarding the compilation of Allah's book. There were differing versions, even in Muhammad's day: "Ibn Abbas asked, 'Which of the two readings of the Qur'an do you prefer?' The Prophet answered, 'The reading of Abdallah ibn Mas'ud.' Then Abdallah came to him, and he learned what was altered and abrogated." This is reasonably clear. The Hadith says that portions of the Qur'an were conflicting, changed, and cancelled.

Tradition tells us that Muhammad had not foreseen his death, and so he had made no preparations for gathering his revelations
. He left it up to his followers to sift through the conflicting versions. That's astonishing. Islam's lone "prophet" left his Qur'an as vapour, sound waves that had long since faded.

Bragging one day, the imposter called his surahs a miracle: Bukhari:V6B61N504 "Muhammad said, 'Every Prophet was given miracles because of which people believed. But what I have been given is Divine Inspiration which Allah has revealed to me. So I hope that my followers will outnumber the followers of the other Prophets.'" If the Qur'an was his only "miracle," why would he leave it in such horrid condition? I believe the answer is clear. Muhammad knew his recitals had been nothing more than a figment of his less-than-admirable imagination, situational scriptures designed to satiate his cravings. Preserving these recitals would only serve to incriminate him, as this Hadith suggests. Muslim: C24B20N4609 "The Messenger said: 'Do not take the Qur'an on a journey with you, for I am afraid lest it would fall into the hands of the enemy.' Ayyub, one of the narrators in the chain of transmitters, said: 'The enemy may seize it and may quarrel with you over it.'"

A number of Bukhari Hadith suggest that Muhammad's companions tried to remember what they could of what he had said, but there was a problem. Like today, those who knew the Qur'an were militants. So Abu Bakr feared that large portions would be forgotten. The best Muslims were dying on the battlefield subduing fellow Arabs. In one battle alone, most of the Qur'an's most knowledgeable reciters were lost, and many Qur'anic passages along with them. Bukhari:V6B60N201 "Zaid bin Thabit, the Ansari said, 'Abu Bakr sent for me after the (heavy) casualties among the warriors (of the battle) of Yamama (where a great number of Muhammad's Companions were killed). Umar was present with Bakr. "The people have suffered heavy casualties at Yamama, and I am afraid that there will be more casualties among those who can recite the Qur'an on other battlefields. A large part of the Qur'an may be lost unless you collect it." I replied to Umar, "How can I do something which Allah's Apostle has not done?" Umar kept on pressing, trying to persuade me to accept his proposal.' Zaid bin Thabit added, 'Umar was sitting with Abu Bakr and was speaking (to) me. "You are a wise young man and we do not suspect you of telling lies or of forgetfulness. You used to write the Divine Inspiration for Allah's Apostle. Therefore, look for the Qur'an and collect it (in one manuscript)." By Allah, if Abu Bakr had ordered me to shift one of the mountains (from its place) it would have been easier for me than the collection of the Qur'an. I said to both of them, "How dare you do a thing which the Prophet has not done?"

Zaid declared that collecting the Qur'an's surahs would be an impossible task. He said that it would be easier to move mountains than to turn Muhammad's string of oral recitals into a book. The reason for this rather troubling statement is obvious: Zaid's search for Qur'anic passages forced him to rely upon carvings on the leg or thigh bones of dead animals, as well as palm leaves, skins, mats, stones, and bark. But for the most part, he found nothing better than the fleeting memories of the prophet's Companions, many of whom were dead or dying. In other words, the Qur'an, like the Hadith, is all hearsay.

There were no Muslims who had memorized the entire Qur'an, otherwise the collection would have been a simple task. Had there been individuals who knew the Qur'an, Zaid would only have had to write down what they dictated
. Instead, Zaid was overwhelmed by the assignment, and was forced to "search" for the passages from men who believed that they had memorized certain segments and then compare what he heard to the recollection of others. Therefore, even the official Islamic view of things, the one recorded in their scripture, is hardly reassuring.

Worse still, the Muslim chosen for this impossible task was the one in the best position to plagiarize the Torah and Talmud. Moreover, it's obvious he did. Remember: Tabari VII:167 "In this year, the Prophet commanded Zayd bin Thabit to study the Book of the Jews, saying, 'I fear that they may change my Book.'"

As is typical of the Islamic Traditions, the more one digs, the worse it gets. Bukhari: V6B61N511 "Zaid bin Thabit said, 'I started searching for the Qur'an till I found the last two Verses of Surat At-Tauba with Abi but I could not find them with anyone other than him. They were: 'Verily there has come to you an Apostle from amongst yourselves.'" [Qur'an 9:128] This is incriminating. The 9th surah was the second to last revealed. If only one person could remember it, there is no chance those revealed twenty-five years earlier were retained. Furthermore, this Tradition contradicts the most highly touted Islamic mantra: Most Muslims contend Uthman, not Bakr, ordered the collection of the Qur'an a decade later.

And who knows what version they finally committed to paper, if in fact they ever did? Bukhari: V6B61N513: "Allah's Apostle said, 'Gabriel [whom Muhammad said had 600 wings] recited the Qur'an to me in one way. Then I requested him and continued asking him to recite it in other ways, and he recited it in several ways till he ultimately recited it in seven different ways.'" So there were at least seven Qur'ans.

That wasn't the end of the confusion. In version two of the angelic recital, Muhammad was the reciter, not Gabriel. Bukhari: V6B61N519: "In the month of Ramadan Gabriel used to meet Muhammad every night of the month till it elapsed. Allah's Apostle used to recite the Qur'an for him." Then, we go from every night to once a year. Bukhari: V6B61N520: "Gabriel used to repeat the recitation of the Qur'an with the Prophet once a year, but he repeated it twice with him in the year he died."

No wonder they couldn't remember who said what to whom.
Bukhari: V6B61N549 "Allah's Apostle said, "The example of the person who knows the Qur'an by heart is like the owner of tied camels. If he keeps them tied, he will control them, but if he releases them, they will run away." To release something you have memorized you would have to share it. So this Hadith is apparently telling Muslims not to recite surahs for fear of losing them. And speaking of losing it: Bukhari: V6B61N550 "The Prophet said, 'It is a bad thing that some of you say, "I have forgotten such-and-such verse of the Qur'an." For indeed, I have been caused to forget it. So you must keep on reciting the Qur'an because it escapes from the hearts of men faster than a runaway camel.'"

This frivolity is important because it exposes a lie that sits at the heart of Islam. It's irrational to think God would shift from a reliance on literate Jewish prophets to an illiterate Arab. The foundation of Islamic teaching is based upon the notion that God chose Arabs because they had good memories. Therefore, they reason, the Qur'an wouldn't be changed the way the Bible was corrupted. All Islamic schools from Al Azahr to Pakistan are centred around this obvious lie. The Qur'an was forgotten; it was changed and recited by so many people it was corrupted beyond hope before it ever found paper. And since the Bible started out as words on a page, it has remained true to its initial inspiration.

But it's worse than that. Muslims insist on confining the Qur'an to Religious Arabic - a language which is so hard to learn with its complex grammar and antiquated vocabulary, it's ranked second by linguists after Chinese, as the world's least hospitable communication medium. Worse still, even in Arabic much of the Qur'an cannot be understood because many words are missing and others are nonsensical. It's not rational to think that God would choose illiterate people and such a difficult language if he wished to communicate his message to the whole world.

But there is a method to their madness. By confining the Qur'an to Religious Arabic, Islamic clerics and kings can say whatever they want - and they do. An Egyptian doctor who edited Prophet of Doom wrote: "You would be amazed how they can distort facts to deceive others."

In keeping with the camel theme, Allah's divinely inspired messenger announced: Bukhari: V6B61N552 "The Prophet said, 'Keep on reciting the Qur'an, for Qur'an runs away (is forgotten) faster than camels that are released from their tying ropes.'" In the interest of full disclosure, I present: Bukhari: V6B61N559 "The Prophet said, 'Why does anyone of the people say, "I have forgotten such-and-such Verses (of the Qur'an)?" I am, in fact, caused (by Allah) to forget.'" It's a wonder anyone takes Islam seriously.

Continuing to cripple its own claim that the Qur'an was retained as Allah's Pen wrote it: Bukhari: V6B61N561 "Umar bin Khattab [the second Caliph] said, 'I heard Hisham bin Hakim bin Hizam reciting Surat Al-Furqan ["Al-Furqan," the title of the 25th surah, has no meaning in any language.] during the lifetime of Allah's Apostle. I listened to his recitation and noticed that he recited it in several ways which Allah's Apostle had not taught me. So I was on the point of attacking him in the prayer, but I waited till he finished, and then I seized him by the collar. "Who taught you this Surah which I have heard you reciting?" He replied, "Allah's Apostle taught it to me." I said, "You are lying. Allah's Apostle taught me in a different way this very Surah which I have heard you reciting." So I led him to Muhammad. "O Allah's Apostle! I heard this person reciting Surat-al-Furqan in a way that you did not teach me." The Prophet said, "Hisham, recite!" So he recited in the same way as I heard him recite it before. On that Allah's Apostle said, "It was revealed to be recited in this way." Then the Prophet said, "Recite, Umar!" So I recited it as he had taught me. Allah's Apostle said, "It was revealed to be recited in this way, too." He added, "The Qur'an has been revealed to be recited in several different ways, so recite of it that which is easier for you." If Muhammad were alive today and made this statement, he would be branded an apostate, hunted down and murdered. As we shall soon discover, he just contradicted Islam's holy grail.

Examining these Hadith we discover that the first "manuscript" wasn't even in Muhammad's tongue, requiring it to be translated. Bukhari: V4B56N709 "Uthman called Zaid, Abdallah, Said, and Abd-Rahman. They wrote the manuscripts of the Qur'an in the form of a book in several copies. Uthman said to the three Quraishi persons, 'If you differ with Zaid bin Thabit on any point of the Qur'an, then write it in the language of the Quraysh, as the Qur'an was revealed in their language.' So they acted accordingly." Because there was such confusion, Uthman ordered competing versions to be burned. But by destroying the evidence, he destroyed the Qur'an's credibility. Now all Muslims have is wishful thinking.

Since "wishful thinking" isn't sufficient, and since the Islamic Hadith is more conflicting than helpful, I am going to turn to reason and fact to determine what is true and what is not.

First, let's establish what Muslims believe so that we can direct our attention to determining whether or not it is accurate, or even reasonable. As evidenced by the official Islamic introduction to the Qur'an, Islamic scholars contend: "The Qur'an is one leg of two which form the basis of Islam. The second leg is the Sunnah of the Prophet. What makes the Qur'an different from the Sunnah is its form. Unlike the Sunnah, the Qur'an is quite literally the Word of Allah, whereas the Sunnah was inspired by Allah but the wording and actions are the Prophet's. The Qur'an has not been expressed using any human words. Its wording is letter for letter fixed by Allah. Prophet Muhammad was the final Messenger of Allah to humanity, and therefore the Qur'an is the last Message which Allah has sent to us. Its predecessors, such as the Torah, Psalms, and Gospels have all been superceded." Funny thing, though, the Allah-inspired Sunnah just confirmed that the Qur'an used "human words" and that it wasn't "fixed letter for letter by Allah." Muslims ought to read their own scriptures.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, including their own, Islamic scholars contend that today's Qur'an is an identical copy of Allah's Eternal Tablets, even so far as the punctuation, titles, and divisions of chapters are concerned
. Maududi, one of the most esteemed Qur'anic scholars said, "The Qur'an exists in its original text, without a word, syllable nor even letter having been changed." (Towards Understanding Islam, Maududi) Abu Dhabi, another leading Muslim said, "No other book in the world can match the Qur'an. The astonishing fact about this Book of Allah is that it has remained unchanged, even to a dot, over the last fourteen hundred years. No variation of text can be found in it." That's factually untrue, every word of it.

The Qur'an says of itself: "Nay this is a glorious Qur'an, (inscribed) on a Preserved Tablet." (85:21) "A Scripture Book, whereof the verses are explained in detail; a Qur'an in Arabic." (Qur'an 41:3) "We have coined for man in this Qur'an. (It is) a Qur'an in Arabic, without any crookedness (therein)." (39:27) Richard Nixon tried that line too. It didn't work any better for him than it does for Allah. Over the course of these pages you'll discover why.

This appendix follows twenty-five chapters of Islamic scripture, all punctuated by my analysis, so I thought you'd be best served if this section was driven by most qualified Islamic scholars. While their findings are shocking, don't say you weren't warned. I dedicated the opening of the "Heart of Darkness" chapter (pages 115-8) to this very problem.

The best-researched scholastic analysis of the validity of the Qur'an and Sunnah was presented in 1995 by Jay Smith. In his debate at Cambridge University, he said, "Most Westerners have accepted Islamic claims at face value. They have never had the ability to argue their veracity, because the claims could neither be proved nor disproved, as their authority was derived solely from the Qur'an itself. There has also been a reticence to question the Qur'an and the prophet due to the adverse response directed upon those who were brave enough to attempt it in the past. [Muslims kill their critics.] So Westerners have been content to assume that Muslims have some evidence to substantiate their beliefs." We are about to discover that they have no such data. And what little exists serves only to destroy Islam's credibility.

According to Wansbrough, Schacht, Rippin, Crone, and Humphreys: "Almost universally, independent scholars studying the Qur'an and Hadith, have concluded that the Islamic scripture was not revealed to just one man, but was a compilation of later redactions and editions formulated by a group of men, over the course of a few hundred years. The Qur'an which we read today is not that which was in existence in the mid-seventh century, but is a product of the eighth and ninth centuries. It was not conceived in Mecca or Medina, but in Baghdad. It was then and there that Islam took on its identity and became a religion. Consequently, the formative stage of Islam was not within the lifetime of Muhammad but evolved over a period of 300 years." While these are strong words, rest assured: the scholars prove their case.

What's interesting here is that apart from the Islamic Hadith, virtually nothing is known about the formation of Islam and the creation of the Qur'an. The scholars agree: "Source material for this period is sparse. The only manuscripts available to historians are Muslim sources. What is more, outside the Qur'an, the sources are all late. Prior to 750 A.D., and Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, we have no verifiable Muslim documents which can provide a window into Islam's formative period. Even then, his manuscript has been lost so we are dependent upon those who wrote fifty to one hundred years thereafter. And no independent secular document exists with which to corroborate any Hadith," says Smith on behalf of Crone, Humphreys, Schacht, and Wansbrough.

"During the ninth century, Islamic sages in Baghdad attempted to describe Islam's beginnings from their viewpoint. But much like an adult writing about their childhood, the account is colored and biased. The picture that Islam was fully developed religiously, politically, and legally by an illiterate man in one of the most primitive places on earth isn't feasible," Smith claimed in his Cambridge debate.

Sure, Muhammad's scripture was feeble - equal parts delusional, dim-witted, and demented, regurgitated, plagiarized, and twisted - but there was too much of it to have been compiled and retained in the vacuum of the Hijaz. Central Arabia wasn't part of, or even known to, the civilized world at the time. And the Islamic Traditions themselves refer to this period as Jahiliyyah, or Period of Ignorance, implying its backwardness. "Arabia did not have an urbanized culture, nor could it boast of having the sophisticated infrastructure needed to create, let alone maintain the scenario painted by the later Traditions. There is no historical precedence for such a scenario."

Fortunately, historical experts have recently converged on Islam. They include: Dr. John Wansbrough of the University of London, Michael Cook, Patricia Crone of Oxford, now lecturing at Cambridge, Yehuda Nevo from the University of Jerusalem, Andrew Rippin from Canada, and others, including Joseph Schacht. They sought out, examined, and probed every source concerning the Qur'an and Sunnah to ascertain clues as to their origins.

In his debate, Smith said, "In order to critique the Qur'an we must go back to the beginning, to the earliest sources which we have at our disposal, to pick up clues as to its authenticity. One would assume that this should be quite easy to do, as it is a relatively new piece of literature, having appeared on the scene, according to Muslims, a mere '1,400 years ago.'"

However, the first century of Islam is dark, a veritable black hole from which nothing emerges. "The primary sources which we possess are 150 to 300 years after the events which they describe, and therefore are quite distant from those times and characters," say Nevo, Wansbrough, and Crone. "For that reason they are, for all practical purposes, secondary sources, as they rely on hearsay material. The first and largest of these sources is what is called the 'Islamic Traditions' or 'Hadith.'"

Jay Smith was kind enough to publish his research in advance of his Cambridge debate. So as not to turn this appendix into a book, I have elected to abridge his findings. While I have come to the same conclusions, the words that follow are either his or quoted from cited sources. "Islamic Traditions comprise writings which were compiled by Muslims in the late eighth to early tenth centuries concerning what the prophet Muhammad said and did back at the dawn of the seventh century. There is also one early commentary on the Qur'an. These make up the sole body of material which we have on Islam's formation. The Qur'an by itself is difficult to follow, as it leaves readers confused while it jumps from story to story, with little background narration or explanation. So the Traditions are critical as they provide the context of place, circumstance, and time which otherwise would be lost.

"In some instances the Hadith prevails over the Qur'an. For example, the Qur'an refers to three daily prayers (surahs 11:114, 17:78, 30:17). The Hadith demands five. Muslims prostrate themselves in accordance with Muhammad's Sunnah orders rather than Allah's Qur'anic command.

"A number of genres exist within the Islamic Traditions. Their authors were not writers themselves, but were compilers and editors who drew together information passed to them. There were many compilers, but the four who are considered by Muslims to be the most authoritative in each genre lived and assembled their material between 750-923 A.D. (or 120-290 years after Muhammad's death). Here is a list of their works, along with their dates: The Sira (Arabic for "Biography") is an accounting of the life of the prophet, including his raids. The earliest and most comprehensive Sira was composed by Ibn Ishaq, who died 765 A.D. His manuscript has been lost. Consequently, we are dependent on the Sira of Ibn Hisham, who died in 833. He edited Ishaq, and by his own admission, he omitted Hadith which he thought might have caused offense."

While Smith quoted Crone as his source, I'd like you to read what Hisham wrote. Ishaq: 691 "For the sake of brevity, I am confining myself to the Prophet's biography and omitting some of the things which Ishaq recorded in this book in which there is no mention of the Apostle and about which the Qur'an says nothing. I have omitted things which are disgraceful to discuss, matters which would distress certain people, and such reports as al-Bakkai [Bukhari?] told me he could not accept as trustworthy - all of these things I have omitted." Since the character, deeds, and words of Muhammad presented in Hisham's edits of Ishaq are revolting, I can't imagine what would have been too "disgraceful to discuss." And in case you're wondering, the "matters that would distress certain people" comment speaks volumes. Hisham is telling us that Wansbrough, Cook, Crone, Humphries, Rippin, Margoliouth, and Muir are right. The Hadith that make up the Sunnah were composed and compiled in a highly politicized environment 200 years after Muhammad's death. A compiler's life was dependant upon not offending the cleric-kings.

While the Sira is nothing more than a collection of Hadith arranged in chronological order, the most "official" Islamic Hadith collection was compiled by al-Bukhari, who died in 870 A.D. "These include two thousand short reports or narratives (akhbar [news]) on the sayings and deeds of the prophet. Of the six most famous collections of Hadith, those of al-Bukhari and Muslim are considered to be the most authoritative.

"The Ta'rikh (which means "History" in Arabic) provides chronologies of the prophet's life and the formation of Islam. The earliest and most famous was written by al-Tabari, who died in 923 A.D." Some portions of Ishaq's original manuscript, discarded by Hisham, were retained by Tabari. Of particular interest is Ishaq's recording of Muhammad's Islamic creation accounts and his entanglement in the Quraysh Bargain and Satanic Verses. As such, the Ta'rikh, or History of al-Tabari is the oldest surviving uncensored account of Muhammad and Islam.

According to the Islamic scholars, "The Tafsir [which means explanation or interpretation in Arabic] comprise the fourth most reliable Islamic source documents. They are commentaries and exegesis on the Qur'an. The earliest, most universally respected, and best known was also written by Tabari."

As an interesting aside; I am routinely threatened by Muslims who assail my character in colorful ways. They claim that I know nothing about Islam and that my words are offensive, repulsive, disgraceful, bigoted, hateful, intolerant, mean spirited, and #%$&*. But little do they know, they are not my words. All I have done is report what Islam has to say about itself. Apart from the Sira-Ta'rikh-Hadith collections of Ishaq, Tabari, Bukhari, and Muslim, nothing is known about Muhammad or Islam. The Qur'an literally disintegrates without them, since without context and chronology, it is gibberish.

This puts Muslims in a hellish predicament. If the Hadith compilations of Ishaq, Tabari, Bukhari, and Muslim are true, their prophet was the most evil man who ever lived - a bloodthirsty pirate, a ruthless terrorist, and a sexual pervert. His Islam was nothing more than the Profitable Prophet Plan. Allah was just one of many moon rocks. That's not good. But if the Hadith compilations of Ishaq, Tabari, Bukhari, and Muslim are not true, Islam evaporates.

Returning to Smith's debate paper, we find: "Obviously, the first question which we must ask is why these Traditions were written so late, 150 to 300 years after the fact? We simply do not have any account from the Islamic community during the initial 150 years or so. Not a single document has been found that can be traced to the period between the first Arab conquests of the early seventh century and the appearance of the Sira-Ta'rikh-Hadith collections of Ishaq, Tabari, and Bukhari towards the late eighth and ninth century. 'As historians and scholars, we would expect to find, in those intervening two centuries, at least remnants of evidence for the development of Islam; yet we find nothing,' say Nevo, Crone, and Wansbrough. And that means the totality of the Islamic conquests from Spain to India were complete before the first verse of Islamic scripture was written or retained.

"A few Muslims disagree, maintaining that there is evidence of an earlier Tradition called the Muwatta by Malik ibn Anas. He died in 795 A.D. Yet even a cursory review shows this collection consists of 'schooled texts,' transmitted and developed over several generations. More incriminating still, they follow 'Shafi'i's law' which demands that all Hadith be traced to Muhammad by way of isnad. Yet the law and its observance did not come into effect until after 820 A.D."

Shafi'i was one of four Islamic Imams, who along with Malik Ibn Anas, Abu Hanefa, and Ibn Hanbul, was credited with creating Islamic Law, or Feqh
. Each had their own interpretation of the Qur'an and Hadith. The most extreme, militant, and radical was Ibn Hanbul, nicknamed Hunbali. In the Middle East, his name is used to describe a highly religious or obsessed person. The Hunbali School, which is similar to that of Ibn Taymea, forms the basis of Saudi Arabian Wahabism.

The Oxford accredited curator of Ancient Islamic Manuscripts for the British Museum, Martin Lings, a devout Muslim, confirmed in his Muhammad, His Life Based Upon the Earliest Sources, that Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah was Islam's earliest and most reliable accounting of Muhammad's life. His "Key References" list the books upon which Prophet of Doom was based: "The Qur'an, the Ta'rikh of al-Tabari, and the topical Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim." Lings does, however, acknowledge two additional sources. The first is Waqidi's Kitab al-Maghazi, a compilation of Muhammad's raids. While interesting, Waqidi doesn't help explain Islam as he focused on battles and invasions. He doesn't even venerate Muhammad as a prophet. Lings also referenced Ibn Sa'd's Kitab at-Tabaqat al-Kabgir, even though its portrait of Islam's prophet was especially vulgar.

Sir John Glubb has written eleven books on Islam and lived among Muslims for the better part of his life. Under the heading "Sources" in his The Life and Times of Muhammad, he wrote: "There are three sources for the life of Muhammad: the Qur'an, the biographies and the traditions." Glubb said, "The Qur'an's value as a source is limited for it was not intended to be a narrative of events." Glubb's next assertion is also universally acknowledged: "The second source at our disposal is the biographies and histories of the first Arab writers. The earliest of these is Muhammad ibn Ishaq, who wrote his Life of Allah's Apostle, the Sirat Rasul Allah, about 120 years after the prophet's death. The only edition of Ibn Ishaq which has survived is that edited by Ibn Hisham, who died some 200 years after Muhammad. Another early narrative is the Al Mughazi of Waqidi, who died 197 years after the prophet." A "mughazi" is an Islamic raid or invasion inspired by Muhammad, so Waqidi's work is only valuable if one is looking to judge Muhammad's skill as a combatant, not a prophet. "The third source of information on the life of Muhammad is the traditions, called in Arabic Hadith. This word really means a conversation or verbal report. After the death of Muhammad, his companions took great pleasure in describing him, recounting his sayings and sharing their experiences in his company. New converts listened to these stories and passed them on, until an immense quantity of such anecdotes was in circulation. The two most reliable and famous tradition collectors are Bukhari and Muslim. Bukhari compiled his massive work The True Traditions which consists of ninety-five books or sections, about 220 years after the death of Muhammad. Muslim published his Hadith collection some five or six years later."

The 20th century's most universally respected Islamic scholar is Dr. Arthur Jeffery. He headed the Department of Middle East Languages at Columbia University and taught linguistics at the School of Oriental Studies in Cairo. He wrote: "The briefest investigation suffices to reveal that the problem of Islamic sources is relatively simple, for most volumes represent little more than the working over (with fabulous and irrelevant additions and modifications) of perhaps half a handful Arabic texts of primary importance. The earliest Life of Muhammad of which we have any trace was written by Muhammad Ibn Ishaq, who died in 768 C.E. i.e., 130 years after the death of the prophet. The Sirat Rasul Allah of Ibn Ishaq, however, has perished, and all we know of it is what is quoted from it (and these quotations are fortunately considerable) in the works of later writers, particularly Ibn Hisham and al-Tabari. This work of Ibn Ishaq, in addition to being the earliest known attempt at a biography, has a further importance in that, whether because the writer was somewhat of a free thinker, or because he had not come under the influence of later idealizing tendencies, his work contains very much information of a character that is distinctly unfavorable to Islam's prophet."

To validate his point, Jeffry quotes Dr. Margoliouth's review of Muhammad's character from the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (Volume 8, p. 878) that I have shared with you twice before. It begins: "The character attributed to Muhammad in the biography of Ibn Ishaq is exceedingly unfavorable." Moving on, Arthur Jeffry concludes his review of Islamic source material by confirming the validity of what we have read from others. In his The Quest of the Historical Muhammad, he writes: "The first important source that has actually come down to us, therefore, is Waqidi's Kitab al-Maghazi, or Book of the Raids. Al-Waqidi died 822 C.E. and his book may best be consulted in the translation of the important parts of it given in Wellhausen's Muhammad in Medina (Berlin, 1882). Waqidi's work, however, has the serious limitation that it deals only with Muhammad's campaigns.... Later Arabic biographies are of very secondary value as compared with these. And even these works are not primary sources, as they are themselves based on two sources, Tradition and the Qur'an. The most important collections of Tradition are those of Bukhari (who died in 870 C.E.), and Muslim (who died in 874 C.E.). What value can be placed on the Traditions is questionable because the dates of the Hadith collections are even later than those of the biographies."

For a little more contemporary view, let's review the sources used by F. E. Peters, as he is considered to be one of today's most learned scholars on the subject of early Islam. He is Professor and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages, Literature and History at New York University and has authored four insightful books on Islam. Recognizing that the process of defining the sources define Islam is less than inspiring, Peters put his source evaluation in an appendix at the end of his, Muhammad and the Origins of Islam. In it we read: "The earliest integral example we possess of a biography is the Life of the Apostle of Allah composed out of earlier materials [Hadith, or oral traditions] by the Muslim scholar Ibn Ishaq (d. 767). In some ways this, by now standard Muslim Life, looks like a Gospel, but the appearance is deceptive. Ibn Ishaq's original, before a certain Ibn Hisham (d. 833) removed the 'extraneous material' from the work, was more in the nature of a 'world history' than a biography. The story began with Creation, and Muhammad's prophetic career was preceded by accounts of all the prophets who had gone before him. This earlier, 'discarded' section of Ishaq's work can to some extent be retrieved." Ishaq's discarded Hadith depicting Islamic Creation and Muhammad's presentation of Biblical patriarchs was retained in Volumes I-V of The History of al-Tabari.

Speaking of the Qur'an's deficient presentation of Muhammad, Peters said: "We do not have material in the Qur'an to compose a biography of Muhammad because the book is a disjointed discourse, a pastiche [imitation, spoof, parody] of divine monologues that can be assembled into a homily [lecture, sermon] or perhaps a catechism [snippets of dogma] but that reveals little or nothing about the life of Muhammad and his contemporaries.... The Qur'an give us no assurance that its words and sentiments are likely to be authentic in the light of the context they were delivered and in the manner of their transmission. There are no clues as to when or where or why these particular words were being uttered.... The Qur'an is of no use whatsoever as an independent source for reconstructing the life of Muhammad. The Qur'an is not terribly useful even for reconstructing the Meccan milieu much less the life of the man who uttered its words; it is a text without context."

Peters debunks the myth that "the formation of Islam was played out in the clear light of history." He writes: "For Muhammad, unlike Jesus, there is no Josephus to provide a contemporary political context, no literary apocrypha for a spiritual context and no Qumran Scrolls to illuminate a sectarian milieu. From the era before Islam there is chiefly poetry whose contemporary authenticity is suspect, but was nevertheless used as the main vehicle of Arab history in the pre-Islamic and early Islamic periods. The fact remains that between the contemporary Greek and Roman sources about Arabia and the later Islamic Traditions about the same place, there is a total lack of continuity. Despite volumes of information supplied by later [9th and 10th century] Muslim literary [and thus not historic] sources, we know pitifully little for sure about the political or economic history of Muhammad's Mecca or of the religious culture from which he came."

F.E. Peters acknowledges, as do all serious scholars, that "the earliest 'biographers' of the Prophet, whose work is preserved by Ibn Ishaq and Tabari, were little more than collectors of oral reports or Hadith on the raids conducted by or under Muhammad. Yet, despite these obvious and serious disabilities, Ibn Ishaq's Biography of Allah's Apostle, is on the face of it a coherent and convincing account and gives the historian something to work with, particularly if the latter closes his eyes to where the material came from."

Continues on Part II



Sunday, 8 January 2012

Contradictions in the Qur'an The purpose of this page

A detailed list

We do not reject the Qur'an because of this list of contradictions. There are many reasons of much more substantial nature why we do not believe the Qur'an to be from the one true God. You will find those discussed on other pages of this web site (e.g. [1], [2]). This page is not intended as an attack on the Qur'an. Sadly, many Muslims have become unnecessarily aggrevated because they did not understand the purpose of this collection. It is my 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 our face.

Muslim web sites abound in articles and collections attacking the integrity of the Bible by means of 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. We are working hard to provide good answers to honest questions in our Bible Commentary and the section on 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. It is not for me to make that decision on their behalf. This is one reason that I will not remove even those contradictions that I find answered to my personal satisfaction. A second reason is that keeping the effectively answered contradictions on this site will help Muslims and Christians who don't know the possible responses to contradictions they encountered elsewhere, to find them here. As such this page can be a valuable resource for both Christians and Muslims, similar to various Christian pages about seeming Bible contradictions. To compare like with like, I will make the strongest possible case for something being contradictory and wrong, similar to the Muslim attacks on the Bible. The difference to Muslim web sites is that we give the right of response. It is our prayer that even this page may help Muslims and Christians to make progress in mutual understanding, to come to a proper perspective regarding the "contradictions issue" and to a realization what the real issues are which we need to concentrate on in our dialogs and debates. 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 Sura 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

Further: 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.

To several of the presented problems Muslim responses are available on our site. Links to the individual responses will be given usually at the bottom of the pages dealing with the specific issue. If you want to contribute your personal response to one of the topics below I need to insist that you do this in
this format also outlining my policy on linking or displaying Muslim responses, as well as the issue of using English translations of the Qur'an. But some think my offer is dishonest. There are further Muslim responses to this summary page available.

Important notice:
This is an overview page which only gives short summaries of the observed contradictions. Before you respond to any of them, first click on the link to the detailed discussion of the individual contradiction!

Internal Contradictions:

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.

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)? --- How many gardens are there in paradise? ONE [as stated in 39:73, 41:30, 57:21, 79:41] or MANY [18:31, 22:23, 35:33, 78:32]? --- 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.

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]

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 Qur’anic statements on wine.

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.

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.

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].

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 everything devoutly obedient to Allah? That is the claim in 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.

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].

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.

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.

"An old woman" and God's character About the story of Lot: "So we delivered him and his family, - all except an old woman who lingered behind." [Surah 26:170-171] And again: "But we saved him and his family, except 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!" [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, Surahs 19:41-49, 6:74-83 differ quite a bit from Surah 21:51-59. While in Surah 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 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." [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]?

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 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." [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" [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 ...?" [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?

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? Surha 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]

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].

Will all Muslims go to Hell? According to Surah 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 Jesus burn in Hell? Jesus is raised to Allah, [Surah 4:158], near stationed with him [Surah 3:45], worshiped by millions of Christians, yet Surah 21:98 says, that all that are worshiped by men besides Allah will burn in Hell together with those who worship them.

Jinns and men created for worship or for Hell? Created only to serve God [Sura 51:56], many of them made for Hell [Surah 7:179].

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? Surah 39:4 affirms and Surah 6:101 denies this possibility.

Did Jesus Die already? Surah 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 [Surah 33:37], yet it is forbidden to adopt sons [Surah 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 Amongst the Jinns and Angels? Allah sent only men as messengers [Surahs 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].

Another eleven contradictions...


Examples of
conflicting versions of the same story in the Qur'an; Contradictory Grammar;
and more ...

Further pages with Muslim responses:

A summary response to (some of items) above Responses by Ishak Mermerci Adnan Khan also collects responses to contradictions on this sub site of "Answers to Polemics against Islam". That is also the place where I first found Misha'al Al-Kadhi's response titled "Does the Word of God in the Noble Qur'an Contain Contradictions?" He never informed me that he was writing about me ... Maybe he hoped that as long as I don't know about it he will not be refuted? Carefully compare my reasoning and his reply, since many times he only responds to the short abstract given on this page, without paying any attention to the detailed discussion of each of these contradictions, found when one follows the given links. The same approach was taken by Laaman Ball in his Response to Internal Contradictions which prompted my question in return. Some interesting responses from the sectarian Qur'an Only camp: [*, *, *] Osama Abdallah also put together a number of responses [*, *] Answering Islam's Critics is Shabir Ally's new page in response to the Qur'an Contradictions. Having just written a response to only the first entry above, he already claims they are all invalid. That seems somewhat premature to us.

External Contradictions:

Introductory question

Solomon listening to ants? In Surah 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...
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.

The Qur'an Attacks ... Christianity?
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?
Were they utterly destroyed?
Jesus was not crucified?

The anachronistic title al-`Aziz given to Potiphar [with special gratitude to Islamic Awareness for making such a big deal about a minor point on a defunct web page, and forcing the issue into public attention.]

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.

Historical Compressions:
Saul, David, Gideon and Goliath
A Samaritan tempting the Israelites in Moses time?
Prophets and Kings in Israel before the time of Moses?
Moses and the Gospel?
Punishment for future disobedience?
Mary, the sister of Aaron?
Pharaoh and Haman?
Abraham's name
Abraham and Solomon

Other contradictions in comparison to the Bible:
Introductory remark
Did God teach Adam the names of the animals?
Animal sacrifices for Christians?
Israel's Response to the Covenant: ‘We Obey’ or ‘We Disobey’?
Where is the Blood?
How many messengers at Noah's time?
Why did the Queen of Sheba come to Solomon?
Ezra the Son of God?
Jesus reached old age?
Did the golden calf say 'Moo'?
Did disobedience result in extra commandments?
How many messengers were sent to Noah's people?
The Progeny of Abraham?
Two young men?

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. -- Surah 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?

If you want to use these contradictions when talking to your Muslim friends, then
read this.

A book on this topic, listing several hundred difficult issues in the Qur'an is:

`Abdallah `Abd al-Fadi; Is the Qur'an Infallible? Order Number VB 4009 E; available from:
Light of Life, P.O.Box 13, A-9503 Villach, Austria also available in Arabic.

Other Pages on these topics:
Contradictions in the Qur'an Chapters 6 - 11 in the book "Behind the Veil" Errors in the Qur'an A Partial List of Problems and Contradictions in the Qur’an Qur’an Contradictions

If you know of another contradiction or error I have missed so far, I would appreciate a message informing me about it.

The reason for this page...

If you have browsed the contradictions page and have the feeling this is a really mean, disrespectful and distasteful attack on the Qur'an, ... and Muslims would never do things like that to the Bible ... maybe you would like to have a look around some Muslim sites: The Bible Criticism Page [
1], [2], [3], [4] is copied and displayed on many Islamic sites and often one of the first links that you see when entering these Islamic pages: [1], [1a], [2], ... [3], and a similar page is here. What do you think about Muslims using Atheist material? I take no joy in this approach. Muslims have forced it on me with their pages. Please read the purpose statement for this page to understand my motivation better. Furthermore, there are "genuinely" Muslim pages, that are not just relying on the atheists, but they have their own Bible contradictions. I am giving again several locations of the identical text, to show how important these books are to Muslims and how often they are used. Shabir Ally's "101 Clear Contradictions in the Bible" are quite popular, but it is interesting to note that none of the Muslim pages is willing to link to the Christian response to their attack on the Bible. What is the fear? Why do Muslims demand that we link to their responses on the Qur'an contradictions but they are not willing to link to the Christian response to Bible contradictions?

Abdul Rahman Dimashkiah presents "Let the Bible Speak" ([
1], [2], [3], [4], [5])
Dr. Norlain Dindang Mababaya's "God: Is not the Author of Confusion" is
responded to on our site 101 Questions About Christianity ([1], [2], [3])
Bible Contradictions
Mistakes & Contradictions in the Bible