IS THE QURAN THE WORD OF GOD?
The following is an outline highlighting the difficulties in the Muslim belief that the Quran is the Word of God. We will basically be using the very same methodology that Shabir Ally uses throughout his debates to prove that the Holy Bible is not the Word of God.
Shabir's attack on the Holy Bible falls under several different categories, some of which include:
Instead of dealing with specific charges made by Ally against the Holy Bible, we will employ his very own method against the Quran and see if it passes Ally's test. We would like to state that the allegations against the Holy Bible have been answered and will provide links documenting this point.
We would further point out that Shabir's method against the Holy Bible serves to disprove the Quran as a credible witness. The reason being is that the Quran as well as the early Islamic traditions affirm the purity and preservation of the Bible. Hence, if Shabir thinks he has proven that the Bible is not the pure unadulterated Word of God, then he must also reject the Quran as a revealed text since it bears testimony that the Holy Bible is something that it actually is not, namely the preserved Word of God. For more on this subject, please read this article.
With this brief introduction, we proceed to the arguments.
Textual Variants of the Quran
Much like the Bible, the Quran has thousands of variants distributed throughout the extant MSS. This is a point that is admitted by Orientalists and Muslims alike. Muslim translator Muhammad Hamidullah states in the introduction to his French translation of the Quran:
Noted Eurpoean archaeologist Arthur Jeffery wrote a book, Material for the History of the Text of the Qur'an, documenting the variant readings between the competing codices in circulation prior to the Quran's standardization under Uthman. Jeffery claims that "when we come to the accounts of 'Uthman's recension, it quickly becomes clear that his work was no mere matter of removing dialectal peculiarities in reading [as many Muslims claim], but was a necessary stroke of policy to establish a standard text for the whole empire."
He continues, "there were wide divergences between the collections that had been digested into Codices in the great Metropolitan centres of Madina, Mecca, Basra, Kufa and Damascus." Thus, "Uthman's solution was to canonize the Madinan Codex and order all others to be destroyed." Jeffery then states, "there can be little doubt that the text canonized by 'Uthman was only one among several types of text in existence at the time." (Jeffery, pp. 7-8)
He concludes that "it is quite clear that the text which 'Uthman canonized was only one out of many rival text... [and] there is grave suspicion that 'Uthman may have seriously edited the text he canonized." (Ibid. ix-x)
The well-known scholar W. Montgomery Watt, commenting on the variant readings between the codices of Abdullah Ibn Masud and Ubay Ibn Kab, writes:
British Scholar Sir Norman Anderson states:
Islamicist Alfred Guillaume notes that:
L. Bevan Jones sums it up:
1. Quran Is Incomplete
According this source, portions of the Quran that had been memorized by those slain in the battle vanished, never to be found again.
'Umar said, Ubai was the best of us in the recitation (of the Qur'an) yet we leave some of what he recites.' Ubai says, 'I have taken it from the mouth of Allah's Apostle and will not leave for anything whatever.' But Allah said: None of Our revelations do we abrogate or cause to be forgotten but We substitute something better or similar (2.106)" (Bukhari Volume 6, Book 61, Number 527)
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
Umar said, "Our best Qur'an reciter is Ubai and our best judge is 'Ali; and in spite of this, we leave some of the statements of Ubai because Ubai says, 'I do not leave anything that I have heard from Allah's Apostle while Allah: "Whatever verse (Revelations) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten but We bring a better one or similar to it." (2.106) (Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 8)
These missing verses cannot be referring to abrogated parts of the Quran which were no longer essential since even the abrogated parts still form part of the text today.
This is why Ibn Umar would say:
2. Suras Added or Deleted
The Islamic traditions agree that certain Muslim reciters included extra suras not found in the present text of the Quran. For instance, Ubay Ibn Kabb was considered one of the best Muslim reciters, being dubbed "the Master of the Quranic Reciters." Yet, interestingly Kabb included two extra suras, which he claimed were part of the revelation:
Here are the two suras in their entirety:
Interestingly, Ubay was not the only one who included these suras into his codex. According to al-Suyuti, both Ibn Abbass and Abu Musa also included them as part of their text. (Al-Itqan, p. 154)
QUESTION FOR SHABIR
Why are these suras not part of the Quran today seeing that Muslim reciters such as Ubay claimed that God revealed them as part of the text?
Another Muslim considered an authority in Quranic recitation was Abdullah Ibn Masud:
'Abdullah bin 'Amr mentioned 'Abdullah bin Masud and said, "I shall ever love that man, for I heard the Prophet saying, 'Take (learn) the Qur'an from four: 'Abdullah bin Masud, Salim, Mu'adh and Ubai bin Ka'b." (Bukhari Volume 6, Book 61, Number 521)
Yet, in spite of his claiming to know the exact place each Sura and verse was revealed, Masud not only rejected the two extra suras of Kabb but omitted three additional chapters from his codex as well!
"... Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani however, in his commentary on the Sahih of al-Bukhari (his famous Fath al-Baari), accepted these reports as sound, quoting authorities who stated that Ibn Mas'ud would not include the two "charm" surahs in his manuscript as Muhammad had, to his knowledge, only commanded that they be used as incantations against evil forces. He regarded the isnad (the chain of transmitters) for this record as totally sound and attempted to harmonise the conflicting records instead, suggesting that Ibn Mas'ud accepted the Fatiha and "charm" surahs as genuinely revealed but was reluctant to inscribe them in his written text." (John Gilchrist, Jam' Al-Qur'an: The Codification of the Qur'an Text, p. 68)
Hence, Masud excluded three Suras from his codex, implying that Masud's Quran only included 111 Suras. Interestingly, Bukhari records that Masud and Kabb were in disagreement over this very issue:
I asked Ubai bin Ka'b, "O Abu AlMundhir! Your brother, Ibn Mas'ud said so-and-so (i.e., the two Mu'awwidh-at do not belong to the Quran)." Ubai said, "I asked Allah's Apostle about them, and he said, 'They have been revealed to me, and I have recited them (as a part of the Quran)," So Ubai added, "So we say as Allah's Apostle has said." (Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 501)
QUESTION FOR SHABIR
Whose testimony should we accept, that of Masud or that of Kabb? Do we agree that Allah only revealed 111 chapters or do we accept the 116 chapters of Kabb's codex? Furthermore, why is it that the Uthmanic text contains 114 chapters, three more than that of Masud and two short from that of Kabb?
3. Missing Verses
The hadiths also supply us with evidence that there are missing verses:
Missing Part On The Fatherhood Of Muhammad:
Yusuf Ali records that S. 33:6 in the text of Ubay read differently from the Uthmanic text. The Uthmanic text presently reads:
Yet Ubay's codex read:
Hence, Yusuf Ali states:
Missing Part On Asr Prayer
Compare it with today's present text:
Missing Verse On Suckling
It had been revealed in the Qur'an that ten clear sucklings make the marriage unlawful, then it was abrogated (and substituted) by five sucklings and Allah's Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) died and it was before that time (found) in the Qur'an (and recited by the Muslims). (Sahih Muslim, Book 8, Number 3421)
Missing Verse On Stoning
'Umar said, "I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, "We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book," and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession." Sufyan added, "I have memorized this narration in this way." 'Umar added, "Surely Allah's Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him." (Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 82, Number 816; See also: Vol. 8, No. 817 and Vol. 9, No. 424)
Malik had a shorter explanation for the absence of this bismillah. The beginning of Bara'a fell out and its bismillah fell out with it. (p. 164-165, Jalal al Din `Abdul Rahman b. abi Bakr al Suyuti, al Itqan fi `ulum al Qur'an, Halabi, Cairo, 1935/1354, pt 1, p. 65)
Missing Part On "Valley of Riches"
Anas b. Malik reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: If there were two valleys of gold for the son of Adam, he would long for another one, and his mouth will not be filled but with dust, and Allah returns to him who repents. (Sahih Muslim, Number 2284)
Ibn'Abbas reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: If there were for the son of Adam a valley full of riches, he would long to possess another one like it, and Ibn Adam does not feel satiated but with dust. And Allah returns to him who returns (to Him). Ibn 'Abbas said: I do not know whether it is from the Qur'an or not; and in the narration transmitted by Zuhair it was said: I do not know whether it is from the Qur'an, and he made no mention of Ibn 'Abbas. (Sahih Muslim, Number 2285)
In light of the preceding evidence, can Shabir honestly claim that the Quran has been completely preserved?
4. Traditions Which Show Muslims Accusing Each Other Of Tampering With The Quran
Interestingly, both Muslims of the past and present have accused each other of adding or omitting portions from the Quran:
Accordingly Othman sent to Hafsa, saying, "Send us the sheets that we may copy them into the volumes. Then we shall return them to you." Hafsa therefore sent them to Othman. Then he commanded Zaid ibn Thabit and Abdullah ibn al Zubair and Said ibn al As and Abdullah ibn Harith ibn Hisham, and they copied them into the volumes. And Othman said to the company of the three Quraishites, "When you differ, you and Zaid ibn Thabit, in any portion of the Qur'an write it in the dialect of the Quraish, for verily it came down in their dialect." And they did so until, when they had copied the sheets into the volumes, Othman restored the sheets to Hafsa. And he sent to every region a volume from what they had copied, and commanded regarding everything of the Qur'an besides it, in every sheet and volume, that it should be burned. (Mishkat al-Masabih, trans. James Robson [Ashraf Lahore, 1963], p. 185 Bukhari transmitted from Anas bin Malik)
These traditions clearly affirm that the Syrians had readings not known to the Iraqis and vice-versa. These readings had nothing to do with dialectal variations since variations in dialect would not result in the parties not having heard verses contained in the other codices. Furthermore, who gave Uthman the right to burn codices written by eye and ear witnesses of Muhammad? One Muslim who refused to submit his codex to burning was Abdullah Ibn Masud:
"The people have been guilty of deceit in the reading of the Qur'an. I like it better to read according to the recitation of him (Prophet) whom I love more than that of Zayd Ibn Thabit. By Him besides Whom there is no god! I learnt more than seventy surahs from the lips of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, while Zayd Ibn Thabit was a youth, having two locks and playing with the youth". (Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p. 444)
Interestingly, the charge that Muslims have tampered with the text is not limited solely to the past. There are certain Shiite Muslims who hold to the belief that Uthman omitted portions of the Quran that spoke favorably of Ali. (W. St. Clair-Tisdall, A Manuel of the Leading Muhammedan Objections to Christianity [London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1904], p. 59; B. Todd Lawson, "Notes for the Study of a Shi'i Qur'an," in Journal of Semitic Studies [Autumn 1991], vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 279-96)
Furthermore, even today there are some Shiite Muslims that claim to have two genuine suras that forms part of their Quranic text:
Source: Mohammad Azat Darwaza, Al-Qur'an al-Majid, page 60 and Mohammed Ahmed Maal Allah, Al Shi'a wa Tareef Al Quran; also see Theodor Nöldeke: Geschichte des Qorans Zweite Auflage, völlig umgearbeitet von Friedrich Schwally, Zweiter Teil: Die Sammlung des Qorans, Leipzig [Dieterich'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung] 1919, Seiten 102-103 (see also this article)
On the name of the all merciful God
You who are believers, believe in the prophet and the saint (patron, God-man) "which is Ali Bin Abi Taleb, Mohammed cousin" which we sent, they will guide you to the strait path.
A prophet and a saint "belong to" each other, and I am the all knowing, the experienced.
Those who do (obey) God's covenant they "deserve" comforting paradises.
And those who if it read to them our verses, they contradict it.
[Meaning: If somebody (unknown) were to read the verses (from the Qur'an) to them, they reject would it.]
They have a great (big) place in Hell, if they called in the day of judgement: where is the unfair, the contradictory for the messengers?!
The messengers don't leave them "without" the truth, and God "will not allow them" to win (appear, show) till a short time.
Praise your lord "and" thank "him", and Ali "Ali Bin Abi Taleb, Mohammed cousin" "one" from the witnesses.
Source: "ALThWRh AL'YARANYh FY MYzAN AL'sLAM" (The Iranian revolution in the balance of Islam), published in Egypt (see also this article )
The issue of whether these two suras are authentic is immaterial to our discussion. What is relevant to our discussion is the fact that these two suras prove that Muslims are not in agreement over the issue of whether the Quran has been perfectly preserved down through the ages without any omissions or additions.
Finally, Muslim followers of Rashad Khalifah claim that Sura 9:128-129 was not originally part of the Quranic text. This is why in their version of the Quran these two verses have been omitted. (See related articles:  and .
5. Some More Examples of Variant Readings
We present some more variant readings between the codices extant today:
Sura Hafs Warsh 2:132 wawassa wa'awsa (Al-Dani mentions that Abu `Ubayd saw wa'awsa in the imam, the mushaf `Uthman) 3:133 wasari'u sari'u 5:54 yartadda yartadid (Al-Dani quotes that Abu `Ubayd saw yartadid in the imam) 3:81 ataytukum ataynakum 2:259 nunshizuha nunshiruha 2:140 taquluna yaquluna 2:125 wattakhidhu wattakhadhu 2:9b yakhda'una yukhadi`una 2:214 yaqula yaqulu 3:37 wakaffalaha wakafalaha 20:63 In hazayni Inna hazani (Reference)
6. The Myth Of Memorization As A Means Of Preservation
Ally assumes that memorization was the chief means of preserving the Quran. We have already seen how memorizers of the Quran were in disagreement over the contents of the Quran and that some memorizers died, taking with them portions of the Quran that only they had known.
Furthermore, the hadith provides evidence for the faulty memories of both Muhammad and his companions:
Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas'ud: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) offered prayer. The version of the narrator Ibrahim goes: I do not know whether he increased or decreased (the rak'ahs of prayer).
When he gave the salutation, he was asked: Has something new happened in the prayer, Apostle of Allah? He said: What is it? They said: You prayed so many and so many (rak'ahs). He then relented his foot and faced the Qiblah and made two prostrations. He then gave the salutation. When he turned away (finished the prayer), he turned his face to us and said: Had anything new happened in prayer, I would have informed you. I am only a human being and I forget just as you do; so when I forget, remind me, and when any of you is in doubt about his prayer he should aim at what is correct, and complete his prayer in that respect, then give the salutation and afterwards made two prostrations. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 3, Number 1015)
Narrated Abdullah: I recited before the Prophet 'Fahal-min-Mudhdhakir'. The Prophet said, "It is Fahal-min Muddakir." (Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 397)
Abu Harb b. Abu al-Aswad reported on the authority of his father that Abu Musa al-Ash'ari sent for the reciters of Basra. They came to him and they were three hundred in number. They recited the Qur'an and he said: You are the best among the inhabitants of Basra, for you are the reciters among them. So continue to recite it. (But bear in mind) that your reciting for a long time may not harden your hearts as were hardened the hearts of those before you. We used to recite a surah which resembled in length and severity to (Surah) Bar'at. I have forgotten it with the exception of this which I remember out of it: "If there were two valleys full of riches, for the son of Adam, he would long for a third valley, and nothing would fill the stomach of the son of Adam but dust." And we used so recite a surah which resembled one of the surahs of Musabbihat, and I have forgotten it, but remember (this much) out of it: "O people who believe, why do you say that which you do not practise: (lxi 2.) and "that is recorded in your necks as a witness (against you) and you would be asked about it on the Day of Resurrection" (xvii. 13) (Sahih Muslim, Book V, Number 2286)
Contradictions In The Quran
Before proceeding into this section, we again need to reiterate the point made earlier. We use this critical approach for the sole purpose of demonstrating the faulty methodology of Shabir Ally. As we had stated earlier, the very method of criticism employed by Shabir against the Holy Bible can be used more forcefully against the Quran. With that just said, let us proceed into the Quranic errors.
1. Geographical Errors
Olive Trees in Sinai
As the late Christian scholar 'Abdallah 'Abd al-Fadi rightly pointed out:
"Commentators said that the tree refers to olives, and the seasoning refers to the food eaten with bread (al-Tabari, Jami' a-Bayan 18:13).
We ask: Wouldn't it have been more appropriate to refer to Canaan, which is known for olives, and not Sinai, where God had to provide manna for the Israelites, owing to the barrenness of the land? In other words, the Sinai Desert is not know for its olives." (Al-Fadi, Is the Qur'an Infallible? [Light of Life PO Box 13 A-9503, Villach, Austria], p. 28)
So obvious is this error that Muhammad Asad tries to cover it up:
Abdullah Yusuf Ali notes:
It seems to not have dawned on Ali that an olive tree round about Sinai is not the same thing as saying that the tree is from Sinai. Hence, the error remains.
Rain In Egypt
The context of the passage deals with the famine that was to hit Egypt during the time of Joseph. Al-Fadi comments:
2. Historical Errors
We had previously mentioned that the Quran affirms that the Holy Bible is the uncorrupt Word of God. This entails the fact that whenever there is disagreement between the two Books the Quran is wrong by virtue of it testifying to the authority and trustworthiness of the Holy Bible. With that in mind let us proceed to some of the historical problems of the Quran:
Abram or Abraham
The Holy Bible teaches that Abraham was originally called Abram. This name remained until he was 99 years old when God then changed his name to Abraham:
Yet, according to the Quran even while a youth Abraham's name remained the same:
John the Baptist's Name
According to S. 19:7, the name John was given to none before the Baptist:
However, we read of a John (Hebrew- Johanan) in 1 Kings 25:23, 1 Chronicles 3:15, 24, 6:9, 10, Ezra 8:12, etc. In fact, there are 27 instances of the name "Johanan" mentioned in the Old Testament. The Hasmonean Dynasty ruled Palestine in the century before John the Baptist appeared on the scene. Palestine at that time was very Hellenized and Greek became the main language. One of the priest-king of the Hasmonean Dynasty was John Hyrcanus, well attested to in many historical and classical sources. Josephus talks about a John the Essene who served as a general of the rebel force in Timna (Jewish War, 2.125). 1 Maccabees 2:1 tells us of "Mattathias son of John son of Simeon". Mattathias also has a son called John (1 Maccebees 2:2). John's brother, Judas, led the Jews in rebellion against Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Simon also has a son named John (1 Maccebees 16:19). All these Johns lived before John the Baptist. John was indeed a very common name.
One Muslim apologist, Dr. Jamal Badawi, attempts to cover up this error by suggesting that the Quran is not emphasizing the uniqueness of the name per se, but that name here implies there would be none like John in his prophetic qualities. But even this won't work, since we discover that there is one exactly like John, namely Elijah. This is due to the fact that the Baptist came "in the spirit and power of Elijah," being the Elijah of Jesus' first coming. (Cf. Luke 1:17; Matthew 17:10-13)
Sacrifices Commanded Upon All?
The Quran claims that all believers were commanded to offer animal sacrifices:
There is only one problem, namely that Christians have never been commanded to offer sacrifices. Jesus is the Christian's only perfect and final sacrifice, having been delivered up for our sins once, never to be repeated.
Messengers to all Nations or from Abraham's Seed?
According to the Quran, God sent messengers to every nation:
Yet, this contradicts two other references, which seemingly imply that prophethood was placed solely amongst the seed of Abraham and that God has not willed that everyone should receive the guidance:
Queen of Sheba and Sun Worship
The Quran claims that the Queen of Sheba and her people were sun worshipers:
Yet, archaeology has proven this to be incorrect since moon worship was prevalent in this particular region:
(The Lunar Passion and the Daughters of Allah)
3. Fables As History
According to the Quran, Solomon had animals under his control and actually would have conversations with them much like the way humans do:
Muhammad Asad must allegorize this passage since he was seemingly aware of the difficulty in viewing this historically:
Now compare this fable with the credible historical version of the Holy Bible:
The Quran even claims that both the winds and jinns (demons) were subservient to Solomon:
"So, We subjected to him the wind, it blew gently to his order whithersoever he willed, And also the Shayâtin (devils) from the jinns (including) every kind of builder and diver, And also others bound in fetters. [Saying of Allâh to Solomon]: 'This is Our gift, so spend you or withhold, no account will be asked'." S. 38:36-39
Ibn Kathir in his commentary on Solomon's control over the winds states that Solomon was using the wind to travel by a flying carpet!
Muslim Alhassan Albasri claimed:
Another Quranic fable includes S. 18:9-23, 25-26 and the Story of the Sleepers of the Cave. According to this tale, several youths and their dog fled to a cave where according to one version of the story they slept for 309 years.
Once again, here is Asad:
Need we say more?
4. Parallel Accounts that Conflict
Shabir often complains that the parallel accounts of the Gospel often conflict in wording and detail. Yet, interestingly we find this same problem in the Quran. The Quran often retells the same story but with different wording and detail. One such example includes:
Of particular interest is A. Yusuf Ali's footnote:
One Muslim historian noted:
(For more examples of conflicting parallel accounts see this article)
5. Scientific Errors
According to S. 41:9-12 God created the heavens and the earth in eight days. Yet, suras 7:54, 10:3, 11:7 and 25:59 state that it took God six days to create the universe.
In order to resolve this contradiction, Shabir assumes that the first two days of S. 41:9 are concurrent with the four days of 41:10 that it took God to create its nourishment. This would then total up to exactly six days.
The problem with Shabir's interpretation is that it neglects the earliest Muslim interpretation of these passages. When we look at these early traditions, some of which are attributed to Muhammad, we find that the contradiction sticks. Hence, it is the interpretation of Muhammad that leaves us with a contradiction. Muhammad personally believed that the heavens and the constellations were created after the earth had already been formed. The following traditions are taken entirely from The History of al-Tabari, Volume 1- General Introduction and from the Creation to the Flood (trans. Franz Rosenthal, State University of New York Press, Albany 1989), pp. 187-193:
According to this tradition from Ibn Abbas, Muhammad believed the earth and everything within it were created on the first four days whereas the heavens and the constellations were created afterwards on Thursday and Friday. This seems to agree with Shabir that the two days God fashioned the earth are concurrent with the four days it took God to supply its nourishment. Yet, we are still left with the problem of the heavens and constellations being created after the earth. This fact contradicts the following Sura which places the creation of the heavens before the formation of the earth:
Tabari comments on those who would try to translate the word ba'da to mean other than "after that":
This tradition has Adam being created before God had even created food and vegetation. We also have the earth being formed on Sunday, whereas its provisions were only created a couple of days later on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Hence, it is both Muhammad's and the early Muslim writers' interpretations of the Quran which leads to internal contradictions as well as conflict with modern scientific views on the origins of the universe.
Finally, the fact of the matter is that Shabir must presuppose that the Quran has no contradictions and therefore interprets every discrepancy in light of this belief. Hence, the real question is not whether if the Quran contains contradictions, but whether Shabir's presuppositions will allow him to admit that it does.
Shabir claims that the Quran is a scientific miracle, foretelling modern scientific facts that were only discovered recently. One such example is the Quran's alleged accurate description of the fetus' development in its different stages. He cites Dr. Keith Moore, former Professor of embryology at University of Toronto, as his authority.
We will examine the alleged scientific accuracy of the Quran and demonstrate that the description of the developing embryo is a gross scientific error. We will even appeal to Moore for proof!
Some Muslims see in the phrase, "three darkness," an allusion to: (l) the anterior abdominal wall; (2) the uterine wall; and (3) the amniochorionic membrane.
Besides this being a seemingly forced interpretation of the text, the fact is that this passage refers to the stages in which the developing embryo goes through. Yet, according to Dr. Moore's textbook, The Developing Human, there are thirteen stages, not three, in the development of the embryo. Why did the Quran not mention these other stages as well?
The other alleged miracle stems from the following Sura:
According to one Muslim article:
In order to arrive at the conclusion that the Quran accurately depicts the developing embryo, the author must propose a new meaning for the term Nutfah. Yet, even the author admits that the phrase has been interpreted as sperm or spermatozoon. This perhaps best demonstrates the willful attempts of Muslim apologists to devise entirely new meanings to already established Arabic words in order to arrive at their conclusions that the Quran is scientifically accurate. The late Muslim translator, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, noted:
"(1) Arabic words in the Text have acquired other meanings than those which were understood by the Apostle and his Companions. All living languages undergo such transformations. The early Commentators and Philologists went into these matters with a very comprehensive grasp, and we must accept their conclusions. Where they are not unanimous, we must use our judgment and historic sense in adopting the interpretation of that authority which appeals to us most. We must not devise new verbal meanings." (Yusuf Ali as cited by Dr. William Campbell, The Qur'an and the Bible in the light of History and Science [Middle East Resources PO Box 96 Upper Darby PA 19082), pp. 9-10)
Furthermore, here is a sampling of Quranic verses in which the term Nutfah is used:
16:4 He created man from a drop of fluid (Pickthall)
16:4 He has created man from a sperm-drop
32:8 He made his seed from a quintessence of despised fluid
35:11 ...then from a little fluid (Pickthall)
53:46 (he created) from a drop of seed when it is poured forth (Pickthall)
53:46 From a sperm-drop when lodged (in its place)
56:58 Have ye seen that which ye emit (Pickthall)
56:58 Do you then see? The (human Seed) that ye emit
75:37 Was he not a drop of fluid which gushed forth (Pickthall)
75:37 Was he not a drop of sperm emitted (in lowly form)?
76:2 We create man from a drop of thickened fluid (Pickthall)
76:2 We created Man from a drop of mingled sperm
80:19 From a sperm-drop He hath created him
86:6-7 He is created from a drop emitted - proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs.
Dr. Lactantius notes:
The Islamic article goes on to say:
The word alaqa is only appropriate if one already presupposes that the term can carry the meaning of "leech." Yet, as we shall see this is another time where Muslims must give a completely different definition from the established meaning of the specific term in question. Notice the following meanings given by the following Islamic translations:
- un grumeau de sang (a small lump of blood) -- Kasimirski, 1948 (last Ed. during life of author was 1887)
- a leech-like clot -- Yusuf Ali, (translation of 1938) 1946
- a clot -- Pickthall, (translation of 1940) 1977
- a clot -- Maulana Muhammad Ali, 1951
- un caillot de sang -- Masson, 1967
- a clot -- Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, 1971
- de caillot de sang (clot of blood) -- Hamidullah, 1981
Hence, these Muslims understood the term nutfah to mean the water gushing from the male (i.e. sperm) and alaqa to mean clot or congested blood. Yet, these established meanings leave gross scientific problems since at no point in time is the fetus a blood clot.
The Qamus al-Muheet, one of the most important Arabic dictionaries ever compiled, by Muhammed Ibn-Yaqub al-Firuzabadi (AD 1329-1415, Al Munjid fil Lugha wala'aam [Dar Al Mashreq sarl, Lebanon, 1987]) states alaqa has the same meaning as a clot of blood.
Dr. William Campbell comments:
Continuing further into the Muslim arguments, we are told:
'Then We made out of the chewed lump, bones, and clothed the bones in flesh.'"
At the surface, these statements seem to be scientifically correct. Yet, when we go to the earliest Muslim sources, we find that Muhammad's interpretation leaves us with serious scientific errors:
"Anas b. Malik reported directly from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) that he said: Allah, the Exlated and Glorious, has appointed an angel as the caretaker of the womb, and he would say: My Lord, it is now a drop of semen; my Lord, It is now a clot of blood; my Lord, it has now become a lump of flesh, and when Allah decides to give it a final shape, the angel says: My Lord, would it be male or female or would he be an evil or a good person? What about his livelihood and his age? And it is all written as he is in the womb of his mother." (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6397)
Hence, Muhammad believed that the fetus went from a drop of sperm for the first forty days to a clot for an additional forty days. It then becomes chewed meet from day 80 till the 120th day.
These statements are in clear contradiction to what modern gynecological studies tell us:
'This description of embryonic evolution does not agree with modern data.'" (Campbell, p. 191)
In fact, these statements from Muhammad contradict Keith Moore's book as documented in the very same Islamic article cited above! For instance, Moore claims that the fetus resembles a "leech" (i.e. clot) at the seventh day of post-fertilization and remains such until the 24th day. After that it starts to resemble chewed flesh from days 26-27. Hence, either Moore is right and Muhammad and the Quran is wrong or Keith Moore is wrong. Either way, we are left with difficulties.
Furthermore, the Hadith claims that the fetus' gender is only determined after the 120 days of its post-fertilization when it goes from sperm to clot to chewed flesh. This again is a gross error.
Finally, the talk of embryology is nothing new since discussion on the development of the embryo spans centuries before Muhammad ever came unto the scene. For instance, Greek physician Galen had written on the fetus long before the birth of Islam:
"...The time has come for nature to articulate the organs precisely and to bring all the parts to completion. Thus it caused flesh to grow on and around all the bones, and at the same time... it made at the ends of the bones ligaments that bind them to each other, and along their entire length it placed around them on all sides thin membranes, called periosteal, on which it caused flesh to grow." (Corpus Medicorum Graecorum: Galeni de Semine [Galen: On Semen] Greek text with English trans. Phillip de Lacy, Akademic Verlag, 1992 section I: 9:1-10 pp. 92-95, 101)
Dr. Lactantius comments:
Basim Musallam, Director of the Centre of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge concludes
Hence, if anything, all this proves is that the one inspiring Muhammad was not God, but Greek physicians whose works had been translated into Arabic by Christian Nestorians. These writings were taught at Christian schools throughout Arabia during the time of Muhammad.
Muslims fast annually during the month called Ramadan. The fast entails that Muslims refrain from eating or drinking from the time of sunrise all the way till sunset:
Narrated 'Adi b. Hâtim: I said: 'O Allah's Apostle! What is the meaning of the white thread distinct from the black thread? Are these two threads?' He said: 'You are not intelligent, if you watch the two threads'. He then added, 'No, it is the darkness of the night and the whiteness of the day'. (Reference)
The major problem with this command is that there are certain regions where the sun does not set at all. As Dr. Campbell points out:
"'That's not true,' you will say. 'Anyone can be a Muslim. All he has to do is believe and say the shahada-the statement of faith.'
"'Wrong,' I say. 'He has got to keep the fast of Ramadan, and during the arctic summer he will starve to death because there is no sunset to mark the end of the fast. While waiting several weeks for a sunset he will have to fast and fast and fast until he's dead."
"'Well then', you answer, 'Let him fast according to the hours of the Muslims in Stockholm or Mecca.'
"Yes that is a possibility, but many Muslims won't agree that this type of 'original thinking' is valid. Every year there is a big uncertainty in Morocco as to whether the new moon to end the fast of Ramadan will be seen on the 29th day of the lunar month or the 30th. In addition to the question of whether one must fast an extra day or not, people can't make a plane reservation because they don't know when their holidays start, etc. Seeing this inconvenience year after year I said to one friend, 'But this is the 20th century and we can calculate the time of the new moon. Why don't they calculate it and be done with all this uncertainty?' He replied, 'because the Qur'an says, "when one of you witnesses (personally) the new moon", and he pointed to his eye to emphasize that a human must see it.
"Tunisia does go by astronomical calculations, and if some of the Laplanders become Muslims, some type of decision will have to be made about when and how they will fast.
"A second example of this type of problem is the recent space voyage of a Saudi Arabian astronaut. At an altitude of 200 km (125 miles), the orbital velocity of the space craft is 29.000 km (18,000 miles) per hour and the period of orbit around the earth is 90 minutes. So now 20th century questions must be asked.
"Of the 18 daily voyages around the earth, each with a sunrise and sunset, which entrance into the earth's shadow should be used for the 'sunset' prayers? And how can the astronaut pray toward Mecca when, except for the rare course straight toward that town, the angle of direction would continually change even during the few minutes necessary for four rak`as of prayer?
"The Saudi Arabian religious leaders decided that the astronaut should attach his feet to the space ship and pray three times during a 24 hour day. This is a perfectly logical decision, but there is no place that prophesies this in the Qur'an." (Campbell, pp. 197-198)
In light of the above, we ask Shabir was God not aware of the fact that in certain regions the sun does not set at all? If so, then why command a fast that revolves around the rising and setting of the sun? Furthermore, did God not realize that praying five times a day towards Mecca would be an inconvenience for space travel? If so, then why command prayers directed towards Mecca? Was God unaware of the fact that in the future man would travel in space?
"We have indeed decked the lower heaven with beauty (in) the stars, (for beauty) and for guard against all obstinate rebellious Satans. (So) they should not strain their ears in the direction of the Exalted Assembly but be cast away from every side." S. 37:6-8 (see also Suras 15:16-18, 55:33-35 etc. which seem to speak about the same thing)
Are we to really believe that Allah created the stars/meteors as missiles to throw at the devils, preventing them from eavesdropping on the heavenly council? Does Shabir expect us to accept such statements as examples of scientific fact?
The Quran gives conflicting accounts on how man was created:
From the earth
Out of dry clay (Arabic Salsaal)
17:61 ... Thou didst create from clay
32:7 He began the creation of man from clay
23:12 Man We did create from a quintessence (of clay)
38:71 I am about to create a mortal out of mire
Out of dust
30:20 He created you from dust
35:11 Allah did create you from dust...
Out of dead persons
39:6 He created you from a single Person (see also 4:1)
In his article, Dr. Lactantius makes the following observation:
The Quran contains many numerical discrepancies. This point is interesting since Shabir questions the integrity of the biblical text due to its alleged numerical discrepancies.
Yet, Shabir finds no problem with the Quranic text in spite of the fact that it also contains numerical errors! Some of the numerical errors contained in the Quran include:
Does Allah's day equal to 1,000 (Sura 22:47, 32:5) or 50,000 years (Sura 70:4)?
Observe how similar 32:5 and 70:4 are worded' "ascend unto him in a day the measure whereof is [fifty] thousand years [of your reckoning]."
This is due perhaps to the fact that the verses originally read "fifty thousand" in both and "fifty" dropped out during the transcription of the MSS? Or is the discrepancy possibly due to the work of corrupt scribes? Or does God just not know how to relate the length of days to human years?
Even Ibn Abbas, a Sahabah and Muhammad's cousin, was at a loss for words in trying to reconcile these conflicting accounts:
Few of the Latter Believers or Many?
How many Muslims does it take to defeat an army?
Yet the verse following immediately after contradicts the above given estimates:
Let us break this down:
v. 65: Twenty Muslims can overtake two hundred of the opposition.
v. 66: A hundred Muslims can overtake two hundred of the opposition.
v. 65: A hundred Muslims can overtake a thousand of the opposition.
v. 66: A thousand Muslims can overtake two thousand of the opposition, which means it will now take five hundred Muslims, as opposed to the one hundred of v. 65, to overcome a thousand of the opposition.
How many gardens are there in paradise?
ONE: 39:73, 41:30 [the Garden], 57:21 [a Garden], 79:41 [the Garden], or
MANY: 18:31, 22:23, 35:33, 78:32 [each time: "Gardens"]?
The plural "Gardens" has to refer to at least three because if it/they were two, then the Arabic would use the dual form of the noun. Therefore this is a discrepancy of at least 200% from "one" to "several".
How many groups appear on the Judgment Day, 3 or 2?
S. 56:7 mentions three distinct groups of people for judgment. But 90:18-19, 99:6-8, etc. mention only two groups
There are conflicting views on who takes the souls at death.
S. 32:11 reads:
S. 47:27 says:
This again presupposes their specific identity and a greater number than one. But then S. 39:42 doesn't speak of angels anymore at all:
"It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death."
Messengers sent to Pharaoh, 1 or 2?
S. 73:15-16 says that one messenger was sent to Pharaoh, while S. 10:75 speaks of two (Moses and Aaron).
In S. 73:15 we are told that only "a" (not a stress on "one") messenger has been sent to Pharaoh. The comparison of this messenger to Muhammad, who is sent just in the same way makes a strong point for the "one", since Muhammad undoubtedly was only one in his time. And verse 16 affirms this by saying "the" messenger. S. 73:15
S. 7:103 also speaks only of sending Moses.
Angels and Wings
The Qur'an states:
According to Sura 35:1 angels have 2, 3, or 4 pairs of wings. This is contradicted by several hadith which state that Gabriel had 600 wings. Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 455:
I asked Zir bin Hubaish regarding the Statement of Allah: "And was at a distance Of but two bow-lengths Or (even) nearer; So did (Allah) convey The Inspiration to His slave (Gabriel) and then he (Gabriel) Conveyed (that to Muhammad). (53.9-10) On that, Zir said, "Ibn Mas'ud informed us that the Prophet had seen Gabriel having 600 wings." (See also Volume 6, Book 60, Number 379 & 380)
(Note- For more on contradictions and errors of the Quran please click on this link)
Shabir claims that the Holy Bible contains false prophecies. The reality is that it is not the Holy Bible that contains false predictions, but rather it is Ally's erroneous understanding of the nature of prophecy that is faulty. Using Shabir's fallible understanding of how prophecy works, we can demonstrate that both the Quran and Hadiths contain false prophecies as well.
As the prophecy states the Romans did become victorious over the Persians who had at first defeated them. Yet again we are confronted with several problems:
This fact is solidified by Muslim commentator al-Baidawi. C.G. Pfander mentions Baidawi's comments on the variant readings surrounding this passage:
"But Al Baizawi shatters the whole argument of the Muslims by informing us of certain varied readings in these verses of Suratu'r Rum. He tells us that some read (Arabic text appears here) instead of the usual (Arabic text appears here) and (Arabic text appears here) instead of (Arabic text appears here). The rendering will then be: 'The Byzantines have conquered in the nearest part of the land, and they shall be defeated in a small number of years,' &c. If this be the correct reading, the whole story about Abu Bakr's bet with Ubai must be a fable, since Ubai was dead long before the Muslims began to defeat the Byzantines, and even long before the victories which Heraclius won over the Persians. This shows how unreliable such Traditions are. The explanation which Al Baizawi gives is, that the Byzantines became conquerors of 'the well-watered land of Syria' (Arabic text appears here) and that the passage predicted that the Muslims would soon overcome them. If this is the meaning, the Tradition which records the 'descent' of the verses about six years before the Hijrah must be wrong, and the passage must belong to A.H. 6 at earliest. It is clear that, as the vowel points were not used when the Qur-an was first written down in Cufic letters, no one can be certain which of the two readings is right. We have seen that there is so much uncertainty about (1) the date at which the verses were 'sent down', (2) the correct reading, and (3) the meaning, that it is quite impossible to show that the passage contains a prophecy which was fulfilled. Hence, it cannot be considered to be a proof of Muhammad's prophetic office." (C. G. Pfander, Mizan-ul-Haqq- The Balance of Truth, revised and enlarged by W. St. Clair Tisdall [Light of Life P.O. Box 18, A-9503 Villach, Austria], 279-280) [emphasis ours]
Another false prophecy includes the following:
According to Muhammad's interpretation of the preceding passage, there are five things man will never know:
The Prophet said, "The keys of the Unseen are five." And then he recited:
'Verily, the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone).' (31.34)" (Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 301)
Narrated Ibn Umar:
Allah's Apostle said, "The keys of Unseen are five which none knows but Allah: None knows what will happen tomorrow but Allah; NONE KNOWS WHAT IS IN THE WOMBS (A MALE CHILD OR A FEMALE) BUT ALLAH; none knows when it will rain but Allah; none knows at what place one will die; none knows when the Hour will be established but Allah." (See The Quran 31:34.)" (Bukhari, Volume 6. Book 60, Number 219)
Besides the rest of the difficulties, the statement that none will know what is in the mother's womb is false since we now are able to tell whether a child will be male or female long before the time of delivery.
Shabir also complains against the fact that certain Bible writers spoke of Christ as descending during their lifetime. Failing to appreciate the fact that Christ's return could transpire at any moment, Shabir presumes that this is an error in the Holy Bible.
Yet, Shabir forgets to mention the fact that Muhammad uses similar language when speaking of Christ's return. Seeing that the Quran has little to say about the manner in which Christ will return, we turn to the Muslim traditions for the details:
Narrated Abu Hurayrah:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus (peace_be_upon_him). He will descent (to the earth). When YOU see him, recognise him: a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizyah. Allah will perish all religions except Islam. He will destroy the Antichrist and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 37, Number 4310)
Using Shabir's logic, we are forced to conclude that Muhammad is a false prophet since the latter claimed that Jesus would descend during the lifetime of his companions and they would be able to recognize him. Nearly 14 centuries has transpired since then and the companions have died and Christ still has not returned.
Useless Words Of The Quran
We believe that God's Word should benefit mankind and have meaning behind it. We believe that it should be relevant either for the specific communities to which a specific revelation was given, as well as having meaning for the world today. It should not contain any useless aspects to it. Yet, we find that the Quran contains useless words that have no bearing on the life of a Muslim. They are:
The late Christian writer, 'Abdallah 'Abd al-Fadi, wrote:
A. Yusuf Ali comments on Sura 10 and the meaning of Alif Lam Ra:
We are also told in Ali's footnote 25, p. 17, that the meaning A.L.M.:
Muslim translator, Muhammad Asad, has a whole appendix that deals with this issue:
"The significance of these letter-symbols has perplexed the commentators from the earliest times. There is no evidence of the Prophet's having ever referred to them in any of his recorded utterances, nor any of his Companions having ever asked him for an explanation. None the less, it is established beyond any possibility of doubt that all the Companions- obviously following the example of the Prophet- regarded the muqatta'at as integral parts of the suras to which they are prefixed, and used to recite them accordingly: a fact which disposes effectively of the suggestion advanced by some Western orientalists that these letters may be no more than the initials of the scribes who wrote down the individual revelations at the Prophet's dictation, or of the Companions who recorded them at the time of the final codification of the Qur'an during the reign of the first three Caliphs.
"Some of the Companions as well as some of their immediate successors and later Qur'anic commentators were convinced that these letters are abbreviations of certain words or even phrases relating to God and His attributes, and tried to 'reconstruct' them with much ingenuity; but since the possible combinations are practically unlimited, all such interpretations are highly arbitrary and, therefore, devoid of any real usefulness..." (Asad, The Message of the Qur'an [Dar al-Andalus Limited, 3 Library Ramp Gibraltar, rpt. 1993], App. II, p. 992)
After summarizing several different interpretations, Asad concludes:
QUESTION FOR SHABIR
Since Asad admits that there is no report suggesting that Muhammad spoke about these mysterious letters in his recorded utterances, where did the Companions come up with such a practice especially since these letters left them perplexed as to their meanings? Yet, no report has come down to us indicating that the Companions had inquired Muhammad on the meaning of these mysterious letters. This is indeed strange since had these letters been part of the original revelation why would the Companions not have asked about their meaning? This seems to suggest that scribes added these letters much later and hadiths were then forged to establish their authenticity.
"All the Muslim scholars have indicated that they do not know the meanings of the names of these chapters. God only knows (refer to the Jalalan). On the other hand, the meanings of the names of the rest of the chapters are understood and familiar although there are very strange names linked to a mythical episode which is meaningless, as we will see.
"It should be noted that some of the Qur'anic chapters carry the names of insects or animals such as the chapters of the Cow, Ants, Spider, Elephant, Bee and the Cattle. We do not find in the Bible, for example, books with such names as 'The Book of the Lion' or 'The Bat' or 'The Buffalo' or 'The Book of the Serpent'. We also find in the Qur'an some chapters entitled, 'Chapter of the Afternoon', or 'The Dawn', or 'The Night', or 'Morning'."
"Moreover, there are strange stories which were the reasons behind these given names. Also, we are going to relate some stories recorded in the Qur'an which are only fit to be narrated by grandparents to children as part of folklore." (Behind the Veil, p.215-217 also found on the web here.
The authors produce an example of why some of these chapters were titled after insects and the like:
"'And there were gathered together unto Solomon his armies of the Jinn and humankind and of the birds and they were set in the battle order. Till, when they reached the valley of the Ants, an ant exclaimed, "O Ants! Enter your dwellings lest Solomon and his armies crush you." And Solomon smiled, laughing at her speech.'
"This is the reason why this chapter is entitled, 'The Ant'. All scholars (without exception) present this episode as it is recorded. They acknowledge that it is supernatural, yet it truly happened with Solomon, the Wise (refer to Baydawi, page 501; the Jalalan, p. 316, 317).
"When Qatada, one of Muhammad's companions, came to Iraq, he was surrounded by some Muslims who inquired of him about this episode. The Imam Abu Hanifa who was still a lad, asked him, 'Was the ant of Solomon male or female?' He answered, 'It was a female.' This is what Zamakhshari has recorded. He even mentioned that the ant which warned its friends was called Tahina and Solomon heard her when he was still three miles away." (Ibid. 216)
Perhaps Shabir can explain to us why he chooses to believe in the Quran in light of such stories.
Questionable Language Of The Quran
Another area of criticism against the Holy Bible is its metaphorical references to Israel as adulteresses who lusted after the genitalia of its lovers (Ezekiel 23), or the Song of Solomon and its constant references to the physical stature and shape of Solomon's lover etc. Despite the fact that these are poetic and metaphorical statements illustrating spiritual truths, Muslims still find offense with these writings.
The problem with such arguments is that it fails to note that the Quran itself speaks in similar language. Yet, the major difference between the Holy Bible and the Quran is that the latter is not speaking metaphorically or poetically, but literally. For instance, Quran teaches that men will be granted access to a paradise that is purely carnal:
Even more astonishing is this description:
Ibn Kathir, one of Islam's premiere commentators, notes:
To imagine that God would reveal such a verse, wherein he would actually say that in paradise one will find women who literally have firm breasts is incredulous.
The idea of having sexual relations in Paradise has led some Muslims to interpret these passages metaphorically. This in turn has prompted the assumption that the description is merely a poetic attempt to describe that which is indescribable.
Unfortunately for these scholars, Muhammad will not allow for such an interpretation. In Sahih Muslim, no. 6793 and 6794, we are told:
According to Ibn Kathir's commentary on S. 56:35-37, a Muslim will be given seventy specially created females with two of his earthly wives, for a total of seventy-two maidens in Paradise.
In Mishkat Al-Masabih, Muhammad indicates:
Even more amazing is this statement from Muhammad:
An editorial footnote to Ibn Kathir’s translation indicates that the word dahman means intercourse done with such "shove and disturbance." (Ibid.)
In fact, according to some Muslim scholars homosexuality will also be permitted in heaven! :
"Abul-Ala al-Maari said that homosexuality will be permissible in paradise. He based this opinion on Sura al-Waqi’a 56:17-23: ‘Round about them ARE MALE YOUTHS OF FRESHNESS... and there will be huris ("beautiful companions with large and lustrous eyes, like pearls well-guarded").’
"Abul-Ala said: ‘If wine is prohibited in this world and allowed in paradise, the same will happen with homosexuality’ (Risala al-ghufran by al-Maarri and Khawater Muslim fi al-mas’ala al-Jinsiyya by Muhammad Jalal Kishk)." (True Guidance, pt. 4, p. 122)
To say that this is incredulous would be a wild understatement!
Finally, the Quran speaks of women as tillage that one can plow into anyway they choose:
"Your women are a tillage for you, so go to your tillage as you will." S. 2:223
According to some Muslim sources, this verse was revealed to condone anal sex:
Jews used to say: "If one has sexual intercourse with his wife from the back, then she will deliver a squint-eyed child." So this Verse was revealed:-
"‘Your wives are a tilth unto you; so go to your tilth when or how you will.’ (2.223)" (Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 51)
"Ibn Abbas said, in question with this verse, that the Muslims from Medina had previously practiced a type of sexual relationship between husband and wife which they had learned from the Jews, in which the husband honours his wife with respect. When the Muslims from Mecca arrived, they brought a different standard of behaviour with them. This created a severe tension in the Islamic community. Muhammad answered it with the above verse and allowed men to behave as they wished. He allowed his followers anything that would satisfy their beastly lusts. (The full text of this hadith is not translated out of spiritual reservations).
"Ibn Abbas said: ‘Umar came to Muhammad and said: "I have perished." "Why?" Muhammad asked. "It is because I have altered the normal position of sex tonight."’ He meant to say that he had sexual intercourse away from his usual place. At first, Muhammad gave no reply, then he claimed that Allah gave him license. Muhammad and Umar were shameless and immodest. Muhammad should have guided Umar to God’s holiness and purity.
"Al-Bukhari narrated after Ibn Umar that al-Baqara 2:223 was revealed on the issue of having anal intercourse with women. Al-Tabarani narrated in Al-Aswat, with a reliable chain of traditions, that ‘Your women are a tillage for you’ was only revealed to license anal intercourse (Asbab al-Nuzul by al-Suyuti on Sura al-Baqara 2:223)." (True Guidance, pt. 5, pp. 48-49)
Interestingly, we find Bukhari’s Hadith on Ibn Umar’s comments to S. 2:223 yet with one added twist:
Whenever Ibn 'Umar recited the Qur'an, he would not speak to anyone till he had finished his recitation. Once I held the Qur'an and he recited Surat-al-Baqara from his memory and then stopped at a certain Verse and said, "Do you know in what connection this Verse was revealed?" I replied, "No." He said, "It was revealed in such-and-such connection." Ibn 'Umar then resumed his recitation. Nafi added regarding the Verse:--"So go to your tilth when or how you will" Ibn ‘Umar said said, "It means one should approach his wife in..." (Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 50)
According to Muhsin Khan the reason for the break in the quotation is due to the fact that, "Al-Bukhari left a blank space here because he was not sure of what Ibn ‘Umar had said." (Khan, Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, p. 39)
We are left wondering as to why Bukhari decided to leave a blank space precisely at the point when Umar was about to explain S. 2:223? Could it be that Ibn Umar had in fact justified anal sex, leaving Bukhari too embarrassed to include this in his collection?
Interestingly, Ibn Kathir indirectly affirms that certain Muslims had concocted hadiths justifying anal intercourse:
"... However, is forbidden to have sex with one’s wife in the anus... Quoting his father, from his grand father, Amru Ibn Shu’aib narrated that the Prophet said: ‘Having sex with one’s wife in the anus is minor sodomy.’213 On the authority of Ali Ibn Talq, Imam Ahmad narrated: ‘’The Prophet has forbidden sexual intercourse with one’s wife in the anus, for Allah is not ashamed of the truth.’214 Quoting Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet said: ‘Allah will not look at whoever has sex with his wife in the anus.’215 Also, it was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said: ‘Cursed is he who has sex with his wife in the anus.’ 216 Any Ahadith which allow such act are considered incorrect and they were all examined by our Sheikh al-Hafidh Abu Abdullah adh-Dhahabi in a volume which he compiled, and proved weak and false.
"It was narrated on the authority of IBN UMAR, Malik, ash-Shafi’i and at-Tahawi THAT IT IS LAWFUL but it is untrue. An-Nasr as-Sabbagh said: Ar-Rabi’ used to swear by Allah that Ibn Abdul Hakam had lied, when he had made allegations against ash-Shafi’i concerning the lawfulness of having sex with one’s wife in the anus. On the contrary, ash-Shafi’i mentioned the unlawfulness of having sex with one’s wife in the anus in six of his books, and Allah knows best. Also, Ibn Umar forbade it. On the authority of Sa’id Ibn Yasar abu al-Habbab, ad-Darami narrated: ‘I said to Ibn Umar: "What do you think of having sex with one’s wife in the anus?" Ibn Umar said: "Does anyone of the Muslims do that?"’ This is a good Isnad, and explicitly reveals the unlawfulness of such act, and anything attributed to him is rejected on the ground of the above Hadith.
"Ma’mar Ibn ‘Isa narrated that Malik considered having sex with one’s wife in the anus is unlawful. Quoting Isarel Ibn Rawh, Abu Bakr Ibn Zayyad an-Nisaburi narrated: ‘I asked Malik Ibn Anas’s opinion on having sex with one’s wife from the back, he said: "You are but Arabs, and can sowing be in a place other than that which has been ploughed? Do not go beyond the vagina." I said: "People claim that you say that?" He said: "It is a lie, it is a lie."’ Thus, this is what has been attributed to them, and it involved Abu Hanifa, ash-Shafi’I, Ahmed Ibn Hanbal and their companions, followers and other scholars from the Salaf. They entirely denied the allegation and some of them even believed that having sex with one’s wife in the anus is Kufr." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir-Part 2 Sura Al-Baqarah, ayat 142-252, Abridged By Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rifa’i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London 1998], pp. 191-192)
Ibn Kathir acknowledges that Muslims were circulating hadiths permitting anal sex, even appealing to the authority of Ibn Umar as evidence.
What is even more amazing is that one modern Muslim source has discredited the hadiths forbidding anal sex. According to the Learner, the hadiths that claim that anal sex is forbidden are questionable and do not conclusively disprove having sex in the anus.
After commenting on the said hadiths with their chains of transmission and the opinions of hadith Scholars, the article states:
Keeping in view the condition of these narratives, it should be quite obvious why I have not based my argument on these narratives. Though the referred narratives have been reported in some of the collections of hadith, yet I cannot call the contents of these narratives "directives of the Shari`ah". There are two reasons for this. Firstly because, as is pretty obvious from the discussion above that the sanad (chain of narrators) of these narratives is not reliable to qualify for ascription of the saying to the Prophet (pbuh). This weakness in sanad is actually a hindrance for me in ascribing something to the Prophet (pbuh) which has not reached us through unquestionably reliable sources. Secondly, because in my opinion, the nature of Khabr-e-wahid (hadith) is such that it does not allow us to base the directives of Shari`ah on it alone. It seems that even if the Prophet (pbuh) had said something about the prohibition of anal sex, it should be placed as a natural prohibition (as I have done in my referred answer) rather than a prohibition of the Shari`ah. Prohibitions mentioned in khabr-e-wahid (hadith) are those that are either natural prohibitions or clear corollaries of prohibitions mentioned in the Qur'an (Shari`ah). Unless a prohibition mentioned in a khabr-e-wahid (hadith) clearly relates to a natural prohibition or is clearly related to a prohibition mentioned in the Qur'an, the ascription of such khabr-e-wahid (hadith) to the Prophet (pbuh) becomes quite questionable.
In the referred case, although it is quite clear that prohibition of anal sex is a natural prohibition but the reason that I avoided quoting these narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) was that, in my opinion, the sanad of these narratives is not reliable enough to ascribe these to the Prophet (pbuh).
Moreover, we see that none of the three most accepted collections of the sayings ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh), that is the Sahih Bukhari, the Sahih Muslim and the Mu'atta Imaam Malik contain any of these narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh). This fact obviously, creates serious doubts regarding the ascription of such narratives to the Prophet (pbuh). (http://www.understanding-islam.com/rb/mb-061.htm)
Hence, we find arguments on both sides of the fence on whether anal sex is permitted or prohibited.
Another attack on Scripture relates to the biblical usage of "dogs" and "swine" in describing unbelievers and Gentiles (Cf. Matthew 7:6, 15:26; Philippians 3:2). Muslims claim that it is offensive to insinuate that prophets would actually use such descriptions in describing human beings. Hence, to ascribe such terminology to prophets is to accuse them of sin.
It is obvious to anyone reading the Bible that such terms are used metaphorically to show how depraved and corrupt man can be, and is, without the grace of God. Without the guidance of God, man is totally corrupt, doing things that even animals would not do.
Furthermore, the Quran itself uses such metaphors to describe evildoers:
Relate to them the story Of the man to whom We sent Our Signs, But he passed them by: So Satan followed him up and he went astray. If it had been Our Will, We should have elevated him With Our Signs; but he Inclined to the earth, And followed his own vain desires. His similitude is that of a dog; if you attack Him, he lolls out his tongue, or if you leave him alone, He (still) lolls out his tongue. That is the similitude of those who reject Our Signs; So relate the story; Perchance they may reflect. S. 7:175-177
The similitude of those Who were charged With the (obligations of the) Mosaic Law, But who subsequently failed in those (obligations) is That of an ASS which carries huge tomes (But understands them not). Evil is the similitude of the people who falsify The Signs of God: And God guides not people who do wrong. S. 62:5
In light of these passages, will a Muslim now assume that God sinned (God forbid!) by using such metaphorical expressions to describe evildoers? If not, then to attack the Bible for using such metaphors is unwarranted.
Shabir also complains against the NT authors paraphrasing Old Testament passages. Shabir insists that if it is not a literal quote then it must be considered an error. Using Ally's method, the Quran is also guilty of misquoting the OT as the following examples prove:
"Anyone who takes the life of someone's animal must make restitution - life for life. If anyone injures his neighbor, whatever he has done must be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. As he has injured the other, so he is to be injured. Whoever kills an animal must make restitution, but whoever kills a man must be put to death." Leviticus 24:18-21
"Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." Deuteronomy 19:21
"But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace... the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever." Psalm 37:11, 29
We are forced to conclude that because the Quran does not literally quote the OT word for word, but paraphrases it, it is therefore in error. Would Shabir accept this? He must if he is to remain consistent in his critical approach to the Holy Bible.
Claiming Statements and Prophecies In The Holy Bible That Do not Exist
The Quran asserts certain biblical facts and prophecies that do not exist in the Holy Bible. For instance, the Quran claims that it is IN the previous scriptures:
We challenge Shabir to show us one place where the Quran is mentioned or where the Quran exists within previous scriptures.
The Quran also claims that there are prophecies of Muhammad when in reality there are absolutely none:
"The Munahhemana (God bless and preserve him!) in Syriac is Muhammad; in Greek he is the paraclete." (Ishaq, Life Of Muhammad, trans. Alfred Guillaume, pp. 103-104)
First, it should be noted that this particular citation is taken from John 15:23-16:1. This implies that the Gospel of John was believed to be that Gospel conveyed by Jesus to his disciples. Secondly, Ishaq affirms that the apostle John wrote the fourth Gospel, debunking Shabir's attempts of trying to appeal to liberal scholarship to deny Johannine authorship. This indicates that Shabir is not even faithful to the testimony of his own Muslim sources that agree with conservative Biblical scholarship and the early Church on the authorship of certain NT books.
For instance, not only do the early Islamic traditions consider the Gospel of John to be authentic but certain statements made by the Apostle Paul are considered revelation from God as well. In fact, Paul is considered a legitimate representative of the teachings of Christ!:
"God has sent me (Muhammad) to all men, so take a message from me, God have mercy on you. Do not hang back from me as the disciples hung back from Jesus son of Mary. They asked how they hung back and he said, 'He called them to a task similar to that which I have called you. Those who had to go a short journey were pleased and accepted. Those who had a long journey before them were displeased and refused to go, and Jesus complained of them to God. (Tabari. From that very night) every one of them was able to speak the language of the people to whom he was sent.' (T. Jesus said, 'This is a thing that God has determined that you should do, so go.'
"Those whom Jesus son of Mary sent, both disciples and those who came after them, in the land were: Peter the disciple AND PAUL WITH HIM, (PAUL BELONGED TO THE FOLLOWERS AND WAS NOT A DISCIPLE) to Rome. Andrew and Matthew to the land of the cannibals; Thomas to the land of Babel, which is in the land of the east; Philip to Carthage and Africa; John to Ephesus the city of the young men of the cave; James to Jerusalem which is Aelia the city of the sanctuary; Bartholomew to Arabia which is the land of Hijaz; Simon to the land of Berbers; Judah who was not one of the disciples was put in place of Judas" (Guillaume, p. 653)
Furthermore, Bukhari even quotes a passage from a letter written by Paul and attributes it to God:
the Prophet said, "ALLAH SAID, 'I have prepared for My righteous slaves (such excellent things) as no eye has ever seen, nor an ear has ever heard nor a human heart can ever think of.'" (Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 589)
According to this Hadith, Muhammad purportedly claims that Allah is the author of the preceding quotation. Compare what Allah is supposed to have revealed to Muhammad with what Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians:
Paul paraphrases the following citation from Isaiah:
Hence, the Hadith implicitly affirms that the One who inspired Paul's saying, which Muhammad quotes virtually verbatim, is God Almighty!
This basically means that Shabir's liberal position against the conservative views of the Holy Bible cannot be maintained without this debunking both the Quran and the early Muslim sources. Seeing that Ibn Ishaq and Bukhari affirm that both John's Gospel and Paul's work originate from God and Christ, Shabir must either toss out his methodology or drop his belief in the Quran and Sunna.
QUESTION FOR SHABIR:
Since the earliest Muslim sources on Muhammad's life document that Paul was a legitimate messenger of Christ's teaching and a companion of the Apostle Peter, how could you even question Paul's integrity when neither Muhammad nor his followers did so? Can you please provide documentation where Muhammad and his followers attacked Paul's integrity? Furthermore, can you document from the earliest traditions and biographies where anyone of the Sahabah questioned the Gospels as they existed in their time? I have quoted one Islamic source that claims the opposite of what you have tried to demonstrate in your writings and debates on the Apostle Paul and the conservative view on the authorship of certain NT books.
Returning back to our main argument, we provide the following links for the proof that Muhammad is not mentioned in the Holy Bible: , , .
Documentary Hypothesis And The Quran
Shabir also embraces the Liberal Documentary Hypothesis view on the origins of the Torah-Pentateuch. This view claims that four independent sources were compiled together to form the Pentateuch. These documents have been classified as J (Yahwist), E (Elohist), D (Deuteronomists), P (Priestly Editors).
The problem with this view is that both archaeology and the majority of biblical scholars have thoroughly debunked the Documentary Hypothesis completely.
Instead of quoting scholars and their evidence for debunking this theory, we will apply this method to the Quran and see how this also serves to discredit Shabir's methodology:
Sura Date of Times Number Times per Times Times Number Sura Allah used of Verses Verse Rabb Used per Verse 48 6 AH 19 29 .65 0 0. 49 9 AH 27 18 1.50 0 0. 50 Early Meccan 1 45 .02 2 .04 51 Early Meccan 3 60 .05 5 .08 52 Early Meccan 3 49 .06 6 .12 53 Early Meccan 6 62 .10 7 .11 54 Early Meccan 0 55 0. 1 .02 55 Early Meccan 0 78 0. 36 .46 56 Early Meccan 0 96 0. 3 .03 57 8 AH 32 29 1.10 3 .10 58 5-7 AH 40 22 1.81 0 0. 59 4 AH 29 24 1.21 1 .04 60 8 AH 21 13 1.61 4 .31 61 3 AH 17 14 1.21 0 0. 62 2-5 AH 12 11 1.09 0 0. 63 4-5 AH 14 11 1.27 1 .09 64 1 AH 20 18 1.11 1 .06
"When we look at this information we see that in Sura 55 the word Rabb was used 36 times - 31 of them along with the word `favors' (al-ala'). This word ala' is a rare word in the Qur'an being found only three other times - once in the Early Meccan Sura 53 and twice in the Late Meccan Sura 7. Furthermore, when we examine Sura 53:19-20, we find that it is the only Sura which mentions the three Goddesses Al-Llat, and Al-`Uzza, and Manat.
"A higher critic who believes in the `documentary hypothesis' would now say, `We see here that Allah is used much less often during the Meccan period, never more than once in every 10 verses. While in the Medina period this name is used at least once a verse except for Sura 48. In addition, the word ala' and the three idol goddesses are found only in these Meccan Suras. Therefore there must have been an early Meccan writer called `R' because he used `Rabb' as the name for God, but who was still interested in idols. Later there was a second writer called `A' who used `Allah' and wrote when pure monotheism had developed. It is true, of course, that in Sura 53, Manat, Al-Llat and Al-`Uzza are mentioned with disapproval, so these disapproving words must have been added at a later date by `Q' which stands for editing done by the `Qurra'.
"Next we find that there are four accounts in the Qur'an telling how the honored guests came to inform Abraham that he would have a son in his old age. The Early Meccan Sura 51:24-30 mentions how Abraham's wife didn't believe and said `a barren old woman'. This was obviously done by `R'. The Late Meccan Sura 15:51-56 tells how Abraham didn't believe the news and said, `Do you give me glad tidings that old age has seized me?' Since this is Late Meccan the `A' writer was starting to have an influence. In the Late Meccan Sura 11:69-74 the two stories have been worked together by one of the `Q' editors and the fact is added that Abraham's wife laughed.
Finally there is the early Mid-Meccan account in Sura 37:99-103 which is really concerned with Abraham's sacrifice of his son. Since sacrifices are mentioned this represents another document which we will call the `D' document for (al-dabiha) sacrifice. As the reader can see we easily made up a new four document theory for the origin of the Qur'an. We could call it the R,A,Q,D theory. Though this R,A,Q,D theory is completely fictitious it demonstrates the type of arbitrary reasoning used by the authors of the `documentary hypothesis', and shows what would have happened if they had applied the same type of analysis to the Qur'an. (Campbell, pp. 84-86)
If Shabir wants to embrace the critical results of liberal scholars, he must remain consistent and also accept the implication such theories have on the authenticity of the Quran.
This concludes our debate material. We dedicate this to the glory and honor of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ, our risen Lord of eternal Glory. May he be praised and highly exalted forever. Amen, Come Lord Jesus. We Love You.
Recommended Books And Web Links
For the serious student who wants to examine the thousands of variant readings between the different codices of the Quran we highly recommend the following colossal work available on the net titled:
A 'Perfect' Qur'an OR "So it was made to appear to them"?
We also highly recommend the following books and links:
Dr. William Campbell
The Qur'an and the Bible in the Light of History & Science
343pp., Middle East Resources 1992
When Critics Ask - A Popular Handbook On Bible Difficulties
Norman Geisler & Thomas Howe
Victor Books, 1992 by SP Publications, Inc.
Hard Sayings Of The Bible
Walter C. Kaiser Jr. & Peter H. Davids & F.F. Bruce & Manfred T. Brauch
InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, ILL.
Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties
Dr. Gleason L. Archer
Zondervan Corporation, 1982, Grand Rapids
True Guidance - 5 Part Series
Light of Life - P.O. BOX 13
A-9503 Villach, Austria
(Note - These series of books were written to refute two Islamic writings against the Bible. One is titled Izhar ul-haqq [The Revelation of the Truth], a book that was written to refute C. G. Pfander's Mizan ul-Haqq. And the other being titled al-Sayf al-Hamidi al-Saqil [The Furbished Hamidi Sword]. Highly recommended.)
Answering Islam (http://answering-islam.org)
The most comprehensive web site dealing with Muslim issues. Do a web search for Bible contradictions and you will find some great answers and links to alleged biblical contradictions. Also see Answering-Islam's Bible section
Debate Site - 101 Cleared Up Contradictions
A paper responding to Muslim Apologist Shabir Ally's 101 Clear Contradictions of the Bible. It is both excellent and scholarly.
A Christian Think Tank
A site respected even by atheists. Perhaps the most comprehensive answers ever compiled on Bible difficulties. The answers are based primarily on a superb exegetical understanding of scripture, as well as an amazing knowledge of archaeology. Fantastic.
Another fantastic site refuting alleged Bible contradictions and arguments from Atheists.
Further articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page