Qur'an Contradiction

Do not say, "Three"!?

The following "contradiction" is dedicated to the eminent Muslim scholar and top apologist of Islam, Osama Abdallah, who loves to understand statements only in a hyperliteral way, to the point of the ridiculous. The reason for the publication of this little gem — sufficient to invalidate the whole Qur'an all by itself — will be readily apparent to anyone who has read this article.

In the Qur'an, we find the following command:

... So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not "Three" - Cease! (it is) better for you! ... S. 4:171 Pickthall

The Qur'an is very clear: People should believe in Allah and His messengers and not say the word "three." More specifically, they should not say the Arabic word for three.

On the other hand, Muslims are expected to recite the Qur'an in Arabic. Traditionally, at least during Ramadan, the complete Qur'an is recited in most mosques. That is impossible to do without also reciting the word for three in this verse (and plenty of other verses as well, cf. S. 2:196, 228, 3:41, 4:3, 19:10, 24:58, 56:7, 77:30, etc.).

In a nutshell: It is impossible to recite S. 4:171 without being disobedient to the command it contains.

This must be the shortest contradiction or logical problem contained in the Qur'an.

Jochen Katz

P.S. I agree that this problem can be resolved when taking the context into account, but that would clearly be against the rules in the discipline of hyperliteral interpretations, see the above mentioned article.

Contradictions in the Qur'an
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