Muslims place much emphasis on the Qur'an as Muhammad's sole miracle, because an illiterate man could not have produced such a magnificent piece of literary excellence without divine inspiration. But is the Qur'an really an example of literary excellence? More important, is the Qur'an the Word of God? If so, we should expect it to be completely accurate in every aspect. Here are just a few things to consider about the Qur'an.
1. The Qur'an is a literary nightmare.
- It changes subjects within a chapter with no transitional phrases or coherence of thought
- It often uses a singular verb with a plural subject or vice versa
- Uses many difficult words whose precise meanings are uncertain; many ambiguities
- It is written in a form of Arabic that even highly educated Arabic scholars have difficulty fully understanding
German Scholar Salomon Reinach notes, "From the literary point of view, the Koran has little merit. Declamation, repetition, puerility, a lack of logic and coherence strike the unprepared reader at every turn. It is humiliating to the human intellect to think that this mediocre literature has been the subject of innumerable commentaries, and that millions of men are still wasting time in absorbing it." (Orpheus, Salmon Reinach, 1932. See page 175 of the book here)
2. The Qur'an contains many contradictions.
Here is just a small sample:
- Sura 39:30 says all people die, including prophets. But Sura 4:157 says Jesus did not die but God took him up, even though Jesus is only a prophet in Islam.
- Sura 7:54 says the heavens and earth were created in six days, but in Sura 41:912 it took eight days (2+4+2)
- Sra 5:82 says Christians are closest in love to Muslims because they are devoted to learning, have renounced the world and are not arrogant. Yet Sura 5:51 instructs Muslims to not take Christians as friends.
- Sura 2:256 says there is no compulsion in religion, yet Sura 9:29 instructs Muslims to fight those who do not believe in Allah and his messenger.
3. The Qur'an is scientifically inaccurate.
Here are just a few examples.
- In Sura 86:5-7 semen is described as a gushing fluid that originates from an area between the backbone and ribs, not from the testicles.
- Sura 16:12 and 14 says the sun, moon, stars, and sea are all subject to man
- Sura 31:10 and others says Allah put mountains on the earth to keep it from shaking. In reality, mountains are CAUSED by the earth shaking (earthquakes, plate tectonics).
- Sura 13:3, 15:19, 20:53 and others describe the earth as spread out like a carpet -- a flat earth.
4. The Qur'an is historically inaccurate
Again, just a sample of the historical problems of the Qur'an.
- Sura 12:20 tells of Joseph (of the Genesis account) being sold into slavery for a few dirham coins. Joseph lived in the 19th century B.C.; coins were not invented until around the 7th century B.C., some 1,200 years after Joseph.
- Sura 20:85-87 describes the golden calf at the base of Mt. Horeb (Exodus 32) was built by a Samaritan. The exodus is dated to around 1450 B.C., while Samaritans did not come on the scene until at least 722 B.C., some 700 years later.
- Sura 7:109-126 recounts the dramatic story of Moses and Pharoah's sorcerers. Because of Pharoah's anger toward his sorcerers for being unable to match Moses' miracles, Pharoah orders the sorcerers executed on a cross in verse 124. Crucifixion as a form of punishment did not exist at the time of the exodus in 1450 B.C. but was invented no earlier than the 6th century B.C., hundreds of years later than Exodus.
5. The Qur'an was for Muhammad specifically.
The Qur'an, rather than being a universal message from God that applies universally to all mankind, seems to have much material that carves out special privileges to Muhammad himself and nobody else. This seems to be a rather odd use of Muhammad's revelations from Allah. A few examples:
- While the Qur'an allows a Muslim man to marry up to four wives, an exception was carved out for Muhammad to marry as many as he wanted in Sura 33:50.
- Tradition records an episode where Hafsa, one of Muhammad's wives, had to visit a sick relative when it was her turn to be visited by Muhammad. Upon returning, Hafsa found Muhammad in bed with Mary, a coptic slave. When Hafsa chastised Muhammad for this illicit behavior, he received a verse from Allah exonerating him - Sura 66:1. Further, when Hafsa, Aisha, and Muhammad's other wives began complaining about this behavior, he received another revelation in which Allah chastises the women and has Muhammad threatening them with divorce for speaking against him - Sura 66:3-5.
- Muhammad at times substituted a scheduled night with a certain wife and instead visited another wife. When Aisha asked about this, Allah gave Muhammad a specific revelation permitting him to visit whichever wife he so chose and to set aside the time with the scheduled wife (Sura 33:51). Aisha even commented that Muhammad seemed to receive revelations just to fit Muhammad's personal needs: "I said to the Prophet: 'I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires.'" (Sahih al-Bukhari Vol.6, Book 60, Number 311)
For a book written by God, the Qur'an seems to contain many errors that God would not have allowed, if indeed God is all powerful, all knowing, creator of everything. Indeed, the author of the Qur'an does not know biology, geology, or history; nor can he write in a fashion that is gramatically correct and has a coherent train of thought. What's more, the author of the Qur'an carved out exceptions to Muhammad alone, a rather interesting phenomenon for a book that is supposed to be a universal message for all people yet in many cases applies to one man only.
If you want to read a message from God that passes all these tests and more, come to the Bible! The Bible is accurate in every way: historically, scientifically, without contradiction, a consistent and coherent story from end to end: just what we would expect from an all knowing and perfect God. Moreso, the Bible has verifiable, specific prophecy that has never been proven inaccurate; knowledge of the future can come only from God. The Bible is God's message to mankind. Come home to the real revelation from God.