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The Manifold Contradictions of the Quran

The Quran challenges unbelievers to find many contradictions within it in order to disprove its alleged divine origin:

Do they not then consider the Qur’an carefully? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much contradictions. S. 4:82 Hilali-Khan

I have therefore chosen to do just that, namely, provide a list of just some of the many egregious mistakes of the Quran. The following is taken from ‘Abdallah ‘Abd al-Fadi’s monumental book, Is the Qur’an Infallible?, Part Nine: Lexical Questions, pp. 301-309, published by Light of Life, P.O. Box 13, A-9503, Villach, Austria.

  1. Contradictory Accounts

Question 201: We read in Sura al-Nisal 4:82: “What, do they not ponder the Quran? If it had been from other than God surely they would have found in it much inconsistency.”

The problem is, we find much contradiction within the Quran’s pages. Consider the following:

Do the Words of Change?

No Change: “There is no changing the word of God” (Sura Yunis 10:64); “No man can change His words” (Sura al-Kahf 18:27); “It is We who have sent down the Remembrance, and We watch over it” (Sura al-Hijr 15:9).

Change: “And when We exchange a verse in place of another verse – and God knows very well what He is sending down – they say, ‘Thou art a mere forger!’ Nay, but the most of them have no knowledge” (Sura al-NahI16:101); “And for whatever verse We abrogate or cast into oblivion, We bring a better or the like of it; knowest thou not that God is powerful over everything?” (Sura al-Baqara 2:106); “God blots out, and He establishes whatsoever He will; and with Him is the Essence of the Book” (Sura al-Ra’d 13:39).

How Long Is One Day?

One Thousand Years: “He directs the affair from heaven to earth, then it goes up to Him in one day, whose measure is a thousand years of your counting” (Sura al-Sajda 32:5).

Fifty thousand Years: ”To Him the angels and the Spirit mount up in a day whereof the measure is fifty thousand years” (Sura al-Ma’arij 70:4).

Does God Permit Intercessors?

Intercessors Permitted: “Surely your Lord is God, who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then sat Himself upon the Throne, directing the affair. Intercessorthere is none, save after His leave [i.e., except by His permission]. That then is God, your Lord; so serve Him. Will you not remember?” (Sura Yunis 10:3).

Intercessors Not Permitted: “Say: ‘To God belongs intercession altogether. His is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; then unto Him you will be returned’” (Sura al-Zumar 39:44); “God is He that created the heavens and the earth, and what between them is, in six days, then seated Himself upon the Throne. Apart from Him you have no protector neither mediator [i.e., intercessor]; will you not remember?” (Sura al-Sajda 32:4).

How Many Muslims in Paradise?

Few Muslims: “A throng of the ancients and how few of the later folk” (Sura al-Waqi’a 56:13,14).

Many Muslims: “A throng of the ancients and a throng of the later folk” (Sura al-Waqi’a 56:39,40).

Who Will Be Saved?

Muslims and Others: “Surely they that believe, and those of Jewry, and the Sabaeans, and those Christians, whosoever believes in God and the Last Day, and works righteousness – no fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow” (Sura al-Malida 5:69).

Muslims Only: “Whoso desires another religion than Islam, it shall not be accepted of him; in the next world he shall be among the losers” (Sura AI Imran 3:85).

Is Pardoning Sanctioned?

Pardon: “Surely the hour is coming; so pardon thou, with a gracious pardoning” (Sura al-Hijr 15:85).

Do not Pardon: “O Prophet, struggle with the unbelievers and hypocrites, and be thou harsh with them; their refuge is Gehenna – and evil homecoming!” (Sura al-Tawba 9:72).

Is Indecency Permitted?

Forbid It: “And whenever they commit an indecency they say, ‘We found our fathers practising it, and God has commanded us to do it.’ Say: ‘God does not command indecency; what, do you say concerning God such things as you know not?’” (Sura al-A’raf 7:28).

Allow it: “And when We desire to destroy a city, We command its men who live at ease, and they commit ungodliness therein, then the Word is realised against it, and We destroy it utterly” (Sura al-Isra’ 17:16).

Is Hypocrisy Alright?

Prohibit it: “Give thou good tidings to the hypocrites that for them awaits a painful chastisement. Those who take unbelievers for their friends instead of believers – do they seek glory in them? But glory altogether belongs to God” (Sura al-Nisa’ 4:138,139); “The hypocrites, the men and the women, are as one another; they bid to dishonour, and forbid honour; they keep their hands shut; they have forgotten God, and He has forgotten them. The hypocrites -they are the ungodly. God has promised the hypocrites, men and women, and the unbelievers, the fire of Gehenna, therein to dwell forever. That is enough for them; God has cursed them; and there awaits them a lasting chastisement” (Sura al-Tawba 9:67-68); “Hast thou not regarded those who have taken for friends a people against whom God is wrathful? They belong neither to you nor to them; and they swear upon falsehood, and that wittingly. God has made ready for them a chastisement terrible; surely they – evil are the things they have been doing. They have taken their oaths as a covering, and barred from God’s way; so there awaits them a humbling chastisement” (Sura al-Mujadila 58:14-16).

Al-Baidawi said, “They have taken their oaths, which they made known, as covering, that is as your action against [the shedding of] your blood and [the forfeiting of] their possessions.”

Allow It: “The Jews say, ‘Ezra is the Son of’; the Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the Son of God.’ That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assail them! How they are perverted!” (Sura al-Tawba 9:30); “So the last remnant of the people who did evil was cut off. Praise belongs to God the Lord of all Being” (Sura al-An’am 6:45); “O believers, shall I direct you to a commerce that shall deliver you from a painful chastisement? You shall believe in God and His Messenger, and struggle in the way of God with your possessions and yourselves. That is better for you, did you but know. He will forgive you your sins and admit you into gardens underneath which rivers flow, and to dwelling-places goodly in Gardens of Eden; that is the mighty triumph” (Sura al-Saff 61:10-12); “And struggle for God as is His due, for He has chosen you, and has laid on you no impediment in your religion, being the creed of your father Abraham; He named you Muslims aforetime and in this, that the Messenger might be a witness against you, and that you might be witnesses against mankind (Sura al-Hajj 22:78).

Is Caprice Permissible?

Forbid it: “But as for him who feared the Station of his Lord and forbade the soul its caprice, surely Paradise shall be the refuge” (Sura al-Nazi’at 79:40,41).

Allow it: Muhammad permitted his followers to launch religious raids and have sex with female captives without their being divorced from their husbands. The Qur’an says therefore, “And married women, save what your right hands own” (Sura al-Nisa’ 4:24).

Al-Baidawi said, “‘Save what your right hands own’” of the women that were taken as captives having unbelieving husbands; these are lawful to the captors. And marriage is annulled by captivity, for Abu Sa’id, may God be pleased with him, said, ‘We fell upon some women captives on the Day of Awtas who were married to unbelieving husbands, and we were averse to have sex with them. So we asked the Prophet, and this verse was revealed! We, therefore, took them as lawful together with him.’ By ‘him’ he meant al-Farazdaq, for he said, ‘And a married woman whom we married by our swords… she is lawful to whoever enters upon her being not divorced.’”

Muhammad made his marriage to any woman who desired him, or any woman he desired, categorically and unconditionally permissible. This was in addition to his harem and concubines. For he said, “And any woman believer, if she give herself to the Prophet and if the Prophet desire to take her in marriage, for you exclusively, apart from the believers” (Sura al-Ahzab 33:50). Moreover, Muhammad made sexual relationships with women the future hope in Paradise, for he said, “huris [white youthful maidens], cloistered in pavilions… untouched before them by any man or jinn… reclining upon green cushions and lovely druggets” (Sura al-Rahman 55:72,74,76)

Is Wine Allowed?

Forbid It: “O believers, wine and arrow-shuffling, idols and divining-arrows are an abomination, some of Satan’s work; so avoid it, haply so you will prosper” (Sura al-Ma’ida 5:90).

Allow It: “This is the similitude of paradise which the godfearing have been promised: therein are rivers of water unstaling, rivers of milk unchanging in flavour, and rivers of wine- a delight to the drinkers”(Sura Muhammad 47:15); “They are given to drink of a wine sealed whose seal is musk – so after that let the strivers strive” (Sura al-Mutaffifun 83:25,26).

What to Do with Unbelievers?

(1) Do not strive against them:

Heed not the hurt: “And obey not the unbelievers and the hypocrites; heed not their hurt, but put thy trust in God; God suffices as a guardian” (Sura al-Ahzab 33:48).

No compulsion in religion: “No compulsion is there in religion. Rectitude has become clear from error. So whosoever disbelieves in idols and believes in God, has laid hold of the most firm handle, unbreaking; God is All-hearing, All-knowing” (Sura al-Baqara 2:256).

Extend money to them: “Thou art not responsible for guiding them; but God guides whomsoever He will. And whatever good you expend is for yourselves, for then you are expending, being desirous only of God’s Face; and whatever good you expend shall be repaid to you in full, and you will not be wronged” (Sura al-Baqara 2:272).

Leave them alone: “And say to those who have been given the Book and to the common folk: ‘Have you surrendered?’ If they have surrendered they are right guided; but if they tum their backs, thine it is only to deliver the Message; and God sees His servants” (Sura Al-Imran 3:19); “Had God willed, they were not idolaters; and We have not appointed thee a watcher over them” (Sura al-An’am 6:107); “And thy Lord had willed, whoever is in the earth would have believed, all of them, all together. Wouldest thou then constrain the people, until they are believers? It is not for any soul to believe save by the leave [i.e., permission] ofGod; and He lays abomination upon those who have no understanding” (Sura Yunis 10:99,100).

Calling them with goodwill: “Call thou to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and good admonition, and dispute with them in the better way. Surely thy Lord knows very well those who have gone astray from His way, and He knows very well those are guided” (Sura al-Nahl 16:125).

(2) Strive against them:

Kill them: “Urge on the believers to fight. If there be twenty of you, patience men, they will overcome two hundred” (Sura al-Anfal 8:65).

Fight for the sake of religion: “Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is God’s” (Sura al-Baqara 2:193).

Exact money from them: “Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and [who] do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden – such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled” (Sura al-Tawba 9:29).

Persecute them: “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them; until they emigrate in the way of God; then, if they tum their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves anyone of them as friend or helper” (Sura al-Nisa’ 4:89); “When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then, when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds” (Muhammad 47:4); “O Prophet, struggle with the unbelievers and hypocrites, and be thou harsh with them; their refuge is Gehenna- evil homecoming!” (Sura al-Tawba 9:71).

Call them with the sword: “So do thou fight in the way of God; thou art charged only with thyself. And urge on the believers” (Sura al-Nisa’ 4:84). In line with this verse, Muhammad butchered his opponents; such as Ka’b Ibn al-Ashraf, Abu ‘Afk al-Shaikh, and Abu Rafi ‘Ibn Abi ‘Aqiq. The blood of these men will testify against him until the Day of Judgment!

What Happened to Pharaoh?

He was delivered: “And We brought the Children of Israel over the sea; and Pharaoh and his hosts followed them insolently and impetuously till, when the drowning overtook him, he said, ‘I believe that there is no god but He in whom the Children of Israel believe; I am of those that surrender.’ ‘Now? And before thou didst rebel, being of those that did corruption. So today We shall deliver thee with thy body, that thou mayest be a sign to those after thee’” (Sura Yunis 10:89-92).

He was drowned: “‘And, Pharaoh, I think thou art accursed.’ He desired to startle them from the land; and We drowned him and those with him, all together” (Sura al-Isra) 17:102,103); “Therefore We seized him and his hosts, and cast them into the sea; so behold how was the end of the evildoers!” (Sura al-Qasas 28:40).

Was Earth or Heaven Created First?

Earth was first: “Say, ‘What, do you disbelieve in Him who created the earth in two days, and do you set up compeers to Him? That is the Lord of all Being. And He set therein firm mountains over it, and He blessed it, and He ordained therein its diverse sustenance in four days, equal to those who ask. Then He lifted Himself to heaven when it was smoke, and said to it and to the earth, “Come willingly, or unwillingly!” They said, “We come willingly.” So He determined them as seven heavens in two days, and revealed its commandment in every heaven.’ And We adorned the lower heaven with lamps, and to preserve; that is the ordaining of the All-mighty, the All-knowing” (Sura Fussilat 41:9-12).

Heaven Was First: “What, are you stronger in constitution or the heaven He built? He lifted up its vault, and levelled it, and darkened its night, and brought forth its forenoon; and the earth after that he spread it out, therefrom brought forth its waters and its pastures, and the mountains He set firm” (Sura al-Nazi’at 79:27-32).

What Is the Language of the Qur’an Like?

Clear language: “And We know very well that they say, ‘Only a mortal is teaching him.’ The speech of him at whom they hint is barbarous; and this is speech Arabic, manifest’ (Sura al-Nahl 16:103).

Ambiguous language: “It is He who sent down upon thee the Book, wherein are verses clear that are the Essence of the Book, and others ambiguous. As for those in whose hearts is swerving, they follow the ambiguous part, desiring dissension, and desiring its interpretation; and none knows its interpretation, save only God. And those firmly rooted in knowledge say, ‘We believe in it; all is from our Lord’; yet none remembers, but men possessed of minds” (Sura Al lmran 3:7).

Further Reading

Contradictions in the Qur’an (https://answeringislam.net/Quran/Contra/index.html)

Contradictions in the Qur’an (http://carm.org/contradictions-quran)

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