Qur'an Contradiction

Does Allah Command Evil and Abomination or Doesn’t He?

The Quran says that Allah doesn’t command indecency and abomination:

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?' S. 7:28

Surely God bids to justice and good-doing and giving to kinsmen; and He forbids indecency, dishonour, and insolence, admonishing you, so that haply you will remember. S. 16:90

In fact, the Quran says it is Satan who does:

O men, eat of what is in the earth lawful and good; and follow not the steps of Satan; he is a manifest foe to you. He only commands you to evil and indecency, and that you should speak against God such things as you know not. S. 2:168-169

The Quran further says that Allah does not destroy any city unjustly:

That is because thy Lord would never destroy the cities unjustly, while their inhabitants were heedless. S. 6:131

Yet we are told elsewhere that Allah does indeed command wickedness and indecency:

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 realized against it, and We destroy it utterly. S. 17:16

Carefully notice the wording of the text; Allah commands and the people commit ungodliness. In other words, it is Allah’s command that leads the people to commit indecency which then results in their destruction!

Egyptian Christian writer and scholar, Dr. Labib Mikhail, commented on the theological ramifications of the above text and shows how the literal meaning is that Allah is commanding the people to commit evil in order to destroy them:

I have to mention, as one who mastered the Arabic as my first language and who has read the different versions of the Koran, that some of who translated the Koran into English were not honest; they tried to deceive the English speaking reader. Here are a few examples of their deception.

(4) In Surat Al-Isra we read this Arabic verse in the Koran, where Allah is saying:

Wa eza aradna an nohlika kariatan amarna motrifiha fafasako feha fahaqa Alliah alkowl fadamarnaha (Surat Al-Isra 17:16)

The correct translation of this verse should be:

And when we (Allah) decide to destroy a village, we send a definite command to those who lead a life of luxury in it to commit lewdness, and thus the word of torment is justified against them. Then we destroy it with complete destruction.

This means that when Allah wants to destroy a village that he will command the elite of that town to commit gross sins. Then after that he will punish them because they obeyed his commands. (Mikhail, Islam, Muhammad and the Koran: A Documented Analysis [Blessed Hope Ministry, Springfield VA; Second edition, Revised and Expanded 2002], pp. 111, 112-113; online edition)

Another Christian writer, the late ‘Abdallah Abd al-‘Fadi, said in reference to these passages:

Does God desire to destroy the people he created? Would He really command people who live at ease in a certain place to commit ungodliness, so that they would be worthy of punishment, together with the poor who live among them? Is this compatible with God’s justice, holiness and faithfulness? How could anyone ascribe to God such infamy, injustice and ungodliness?

Besides, the Qur’an contradicts this statement in many other places… (Al-‘Fadi, Is the Qur’an Infallible? [Light of Life, P.O. Box 13, A-9503 Villach, Austria], p. 131)

Al-‘Fadi proceeded to quote the very same texts cited above. Since both these gentlemen are/were Arab Christians and know/knew Arabic, one cannot accuse them of failing to understand or properly exegeting the Arabic text of the Quran.

The Quran does not provide specific examples of the particular sins or ungodliness that Allah would command people to perform if he wants to destroy a city. Nevertheless, the above is a clear contradiction on an abstract level. Does God command indecency or does he not? The Quran makes both statements.

Two further observations:

First, one perverse consequence of S. 17:16 is that the people in that city are ultimately punished and destroyed for obeying Allah’s commands given to them, not for disobedience to the commands that they had received.

Second, looking at the Torah in comparison to the Quran, there is at least one behavior that the Holy God of the Bible has forbidden explicitly, which he even called detestable, but which Allah has made an explicit command for the Muslims. This is what the Bible says:

"If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance." Deuteronomy 24:1-4

"God says, 'If a husband divorces his wife and she goes from him and belongs to another man, will he still return to her? Will not that land be completely polluted? But you are a harlot with many lovers; Yet you turn to Me,' declares the LORD. Lift up your eyes to the bare heights and see; Where have you not been violated? By the roads you have sat for them Like an Arab in the desert, And you have polluted a land with your harlotry and with your wickedness." Jeremiah 3:1-2

Here, the God of the Holy Bible prohibits a man from remarrying a divorcee who has remarried and either been divorced again or widowed. Contrast this to the following Quranic command:

Divorce is twice; then honourable retention or setting free kindly. It is not lawful for you to take of what you have given them unless the couple fear they may not maintain God's bounds; if you fear they may not maintain God's bounds, it is no fault in them for her to redeem herself. Those are God's bounds; do not transgress them. Whosoever transgresses the bounds of God -- those are the evildoers. If he divorces her finally, she shall not be lawful to him after that, until she marries another husband. If he divorces her, then it is no fault in them to return to each other, if they suppose that they will maintain God's bounds. Those are God's bounds; He makes them clear unto a people that have knowledge. S. 2:229-230

Muslim tradition even goes so far as to say that the woman must engage in sexual intercourse with the man before she can return to her former husband:

Narrated 'Aisha:
Rifa'a Al-Qurazi divorced his wife irrevocably (i.e. that divorce was the final). Later on 'Abdur-Rahman bin Az-Zubair married her after him. She came to the Prophet and said, "O Allah's Apostle! I was Rifa'a's wife and he divorced me thrice, and then I was married to 'Abdur-Rahman bin AzZubair, who, by Allah has nothing with him except something like this fringe, O Allah's Apostle," showing a fringe she had taken from her covering sheet. Abu Bakr was sitting with the Prophet while Khalid Ibn Said bin Al-As was sitting at the gate of the room waiting for admission. Khalid started calling Abu Bakr, "O Abu Bakr! Why don't you reprove this lady from what she is openly saying before Allah's Apostle?" Allah's Apostle did nothing except smiling, and then said (to the lady), "Perhaps you want to go back to Rifa'a? No, (it is not possible), unless and until you enjoy the sexual relation with him ('Abdur Rahman), and he enjoys the sexual relation with you." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 107)

Yahya related to me from Malik from al-Miswar ibn Rifaa al-Quradhi from az-Zubayr ibn Abd ar-Rahman ibn az-Zubayr that Rifaa ibn Simwal divorced his wife, Tamima bint Wahb, in the time of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, three times. Then she married Abd ar-Rahman ibn az-Zubayr and he turned from her and could not consummate the marriage and so he parted from her. Rifaa wanted to marry her again and it was mentioned to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he forbade him to marry her. He said, "She is not halal for you until she has tasted the sweetness of intercourse." (Malik's Muwatta, Book 28, Number 28.7.17)

Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said from al-Qasim ibn Muhammad that A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said when asked whether it was permissible for a man to marry again a wife he had divorced irrevocably if she had married another man who divorced her before consummating the marriage, "Not until she has tasted the sweetness of intercourse." (Malik's Muwatta, Book 28, Number 28.7.18)

The man who makes the woman lawful for her former husband is called Muhallil:

Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that when asked whether it was permissible for a man to return to his wife if he had divorced her irrevocably and then another man had married her after him and died before consummating the marriage, al-Qasim ibn Muhammad said, "It is not halal for the first husband to return to her."

Malik said, about the muhallil, that he could not remain in the marriage until he undertook a new marriage. If he had intercourse with her in that marriage, she had her dowry.

(Malik's Muwatta, Book 28, Number 28.7.19)

Allah calls permissible what Yahweh calls shameful and abominable.

Here is another instance of Allah permitting indecency, lewdness:

Permitted to you, upon the night of the Fast, is to go in to (alrrafathu) your wives; -- they are a vestment for you, and you are a vestment for them. God knows that you have been betraying yourselves, and has turned to you and pardoned you. So now lie with them, and seek what God has prescribed for you. And eat and drink, until the white thread shows clearly to you from the black thread at the dawn; then complete the Fast unto the night, and do not lie with them while you cleave to the mosques. Those are God's bounds; keep well within them. So God makes clear His signs to men; haply they will be godfearing. S. 2:187

The word alrrafathu, which comes from rafath, refers to obscene, immoral behaviour and conduct. The word is used in this manner in the following citation:

The pilgrimage is (in) the well-known months, and whoever is minded to perform the pilgrimage therein (let him remember that) there is (to be) no lewdness (rafatha) nor abuse nor angry conversation on the pilgrimage. And whatsoever good ye do Allah knoweth it. So make provision for yourselves (Hereafter); for the best provision is to ward off evil. Therefore keep your duty unto Me, O men of understanding. S. 2:197 Pickthall

... Let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Hajj ... Y. Ali

... abstain from lewd speech, from all wicked conduct, and from quarrelling ... Asad

Renowned Sunni expositor Ibn Kathir commented on the meaning of Rafath in Sura 2:197:

Prohibition of Rafath (Sexual Intercourse) during Hajj

Allah said: ...

<He should not have Rafath>

This Ayah means that those who assume the Ihram for Hajj or `Umrah are required to avoid the Rafath, meaning, sexual intercourse. Allah's statement here is similar to His statement:

<It is made lawful for you to have Rafath (sexual relations) with your wives on the night of the fast.> (2:187)

Whatever might lead to sexual intercourse, such as embracing, kissing and talking to women about similar subjects, is not allowed. Ibn Jarir reported that Nafi` narrated that `Abdullah bin `Umar said, "Rafath means sexual intercourse or mentioning this subject with the tongue, by either men or women." `Ata' bin Abu Rabah said that Rafath means sexual intercourse and foul speech. This is also the opinion of `Amr bin Dinar. `Ata' also said that they used to even prevent talking (or hinting) about this subject. Tawus said that Rafath includes one's saying, "When I end the Ihram I will have sex with you." This is also the same explanation offered by Abu Al-`Aliyah regarding Rafath. `Ali bin Abu Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said, "Rafath means having sex with the wife, kissing, fondling and saying foul words to her, and similar acts." Ibn `Abbas and Ibn `Umar said that Rafath means to have sex with women. This is also the opinion of Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Mujahid, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Abu Al-`Aliyah who narrated it from `Ata' and Makhul, `Ata Al-Khurasani, `Ata' bin Yasar, `Atiyah, Ibrahim, Ar-Rabi`, Az-Zuhri, As-Suddi, Malik bin Anas, Muqatil bin Hayyan, `Abdul-Karim bin Malik, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak, and others. (Source; italic and underline emphasis ours)

The late Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote:

197b. Three things are prohibited in pilgrimage, rafath, fusuq and jidal. Rafath means foul, unseemly, immodest or obscene speech (LL). Fusuq, according to a saying of the Prophet, signifies abusing (Rz). Jidal signifies contending in an altercation or disputing or litigating (LL). The pilgrimage represents the final stage of spiritual progress, and hence the pilgrim is enjoined not to speak words which should be a source of annoyance to anybody. Perfect love of God requires perfect peace with man; hence no offence should be caused to any man. The doing of good to others is recommended instead in the words whatever good you do, Allah knows it. (Source: *, *)

Now intercourse itself is obviously not obscene or lewd when done within the confines of marriage between a husband and wife. God is the one who created us as sexual beings and sanctioned sexual intimacy in the first place. It is therefore obvious that the Quran is referring to and sanctioning obscene sexual acts, lewd sexual behavior, acts that are unnatural and abnormal. In this verse, the Quran does not use the common word for intercourse, nikkah (e.g. S. 2:230, 4:22, 33:53; cf. this article), but rafath. In other words, Allah is explicitly permitting Muslim men to commit obscene, lewd conduct with their wives!

As the following source says:

The Arabic word rafath is defined by Abu Ubaida and other reliable Arabic commentaries as "behaving in an obscene manner". But translators of the Quran into English have been biased. The original Arabic verse does not just use the expression, "go unto your wives," but succinctly and explicitly states: "go and behave in an obscene manner with your wives." (The True Guidance: Commentary on Quranic Verses [Light of Life, P.O. Box 13, A-9503 Villach, Austria], part 5, pp. 40-41)

[All Quranic quotations are taken from A.J. Arberry's translation unless noted otherwise.]

Sam Shamoun

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