The Qur'an says that the calf worshipped by the Israelites at mount Horeb was molded by a Samaritan (Sura 20:85-87, 95-97). Yet the term `Samaritan' was not coined until 722 B.C., which is several hundred years after the events recorded in Exodus. Thus, the Samaritan people could not have existed during the life of Moses, and therefore, could not have been responsible for molding the calf.

It is interesting to notice that while Yusuf Ali attempts to change this word to "Samiri" and Pickthall to "As Samirii." Arberry in the English, and Kasimirski in the French both correctly translate it "Samaritan." Yusuf Ali, in his footnotes, "bends over backwards" to explain his choice by suggesting that the name could mean "Shemer," which denotes a stranger, or "Shomer," which means a watchman, the equivalent of "Samara" in Arabic, which he implies is close enough to the Samari he is looking for. But the Arabic simply does not give Ali the leeway to concoct other meanings for this word. To be consistent with the Arabic he should keep his translation consistent with the text, as Arberry and Kasimirski have done.

More details on this.

Contradictions in the Qur'an
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