Does the word of God in the noble Qur'an contain contradictions?
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Muhammad: The last messenger of God to all mankind. He was the seal of the prophets of God, who included prophets Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus, and many others.
Islam: The last message of God to all mankind. It was sent down upon prophet Muhammad (pbuh), recorded in broad outlines in the Qur'an, and described in detail in the Sunnah. Islam is an Arabic word which means "Submission to God".
Qur'an: The holy book of the Muslims. It consists of 100% the word of God and no words of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh), his companions, or any human being.
Sunnah/Hadeeth:The title given to the collection of recorded words and actions of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Most of what he said or did throughout his lifetime is recorded in the Sunnah.
pbuh: Means "Peace Be Upon Him". Used most often in reference to prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and also in reference to the many other prophets of Allah, such as Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, etc.
pbut: Means "Peace Be Upon Them". Same as above, but used in reference to more than one.
s.a.w./s.a.s.: Same as "pbuh". It is an abbreviation of the original Arabic words "Salla Allahu alaihi Wa Sallam", which are translated as "peace be upon him" in English.
OT: Old Testament. The portion of the Bible transmitted by the Jews.
NT: New Testament. The portion of the Bible specific to the Christian faith.
People of the Book: This is the term used by God in the noble Qur'an to refer to the Jews and Christians. It is also sometimes translated as "People of the Scripture"
The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):64
"The lies which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammad) are disgraceful to ourselves only"
Heroes and Hero Worship and the Heroic in History, Thomas Carlyle, p. 57.
"The use of false evidence to attack Islam was all but universal…"
Islam and the West, Norman Daniel, p. 267.
"I have read in Moslem (sic) writings such deep and tender expressions of respect and reverence for Jesus that for the time I almost forgot, I was not reading the words of a Christian writer. How different, it is sad to say, has been the way in which Christians have spoken and written of Muhammad. Let us put it down to its true cause, ignorance"
Reverend R. Maxwell King
It was originally hoped that in simply quoting Christian clergymen and trinitarian references with regard to the Church's tampering with the text of the Bible, and refraining from quoting Muslim scholars in this regard, that it might be possible to try and remain objective in this matter and avoid the accusation that this is simply Muslim propaganda as well as avoiding the resultant ill will and desire for retribution. However, this sadly does not seem to be the case. In any case, the point-by-point response to his claims shall be presented at the end of this article
The alegations found in the following list were a result of a joint effort of a number of men including our current author. One of the major references referred to in this attempt appears to be the book "Answering Islam" which is a joint effort by Mr. Norman Geisler and a man who goes by the pseudonym of "Abdulsaleeb" ("slave of the cross")(1). This was not a random occurrence since he has in the past sought the assistance of Mr. "Abdulsaleeb" in other similar situations. Therefore, it is understandable that he should do so again now.
When I was first repeatedly challenged by this author years ago to a debate on any topic related to the Bible (through multiple messages to my personal email mailbox) I finally agreed to participate in this discussion and specified the topic I would like to discuss. The topic, in brief, was:
"Did Jesus (pbuh) ever explicitly of implicitly say 'I am a god' or 'I am 'God' or 'worship me' any other words to that effect?. Further, did anyone at all, anywhere in the Bible, from cover to cover, ever say that God is triune, a trinity, three, or three-in-one?"
To this day, every time anyone ever asks me to discuss this matter the discussion starts with "Yes! Of course! Jesus said all of this clearly!" The claim then moves on to "No, he did not say it in so many words, however, he implied it in many places." Then finally we arrive at "Well, he does not need to say any of it. It is clear to anyone who has faith. You just do not have any faith."
In all cases I would respond to all quoted verses from the Bible itself or from the words of highly respected Biblical dictionaries, Catholic encyclopedias, or members of the Church. I can appreciate that this is a touchy subject and I can appreciate that it is human nature for the first knee-jerk reaction to be "kill the messenger." However, I am indeed only a messenger and my words are not to be accepted simply because I say so, rather because the Church and Christian scholars do. I shall be providing a small taste in the following quotations and all those who would like to read the details can then get a copy of the book "What Did Jesus Really Say?". I wish that if someone were going to demand that I debate them on any topic that they would then indeed answer my question and not a question I never asked. However, it looks like this is simply not going to happen.
In my original question I drew attention to the fact that Jesus (pbuh) said in many places in the Bible that it is his words which the faithful must follow in order to receive salvation. For example, we read:
John 14:23: "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
Luke 6:46: "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
I made this issue as clear as I possibly could, over and over again, every time I asked this question. I repeated it to the point that I hoped that it would be next to impossible to misunderstand what I had asked for. I just have only one simple rule which I ask all those who challenge me to debate to abide by: To place Jesus' (pbuh) words FIRST and then place the words of everyone else in second place AFTER his words, not the other way around. Is this such an evil request? Is this what makes me so totally faithless, perverse, and unable to love Jesus (peace be upon him)? Strangely, in each case, it is everyone BUT Jesus (pbuh) himself who is quoted. Why? Was my question not clear? Have I still not placed enough emphasis on WHO is to be quoted first? How do I make it any clearer than this? And despite all of this, we still can not find these claims anywhere in the Bible.
Why is it important to start with the words of Jesus (pbuh) first and then place everyone else's words in second place? Well, let us have a look at a simple example:
If my father's name is Frank, and Joe comes to me and says "your father, Frank, wants you to give me all your money and the deed to your house," would it then be unreasonable for me to ask for proof? In a matter of such profound importance, if I asked him to produce a signed document, a cassette tape, or a video tape proving this statement and verifying that it indeed came from my father, would this be such an unreasonable request?
If I ask Joe for such proof directly from Frank himself, would it be acceptable for him to reply "Yes, well, Jim says so" or "Henry says so" or "Roger says so"? Am I to understand from Joe that my father considered the handing over of my house and all of my money such a trivial matter that there would be no need for him to hand over to Joe any kind of verification of this command? Is it acceptable for Joe to tell me: "well, your father may not have said it in so many words, but he 'hinted' at it, and I 'gathered' that I should now come and take over your house and bank account"? If in addition to all of the above, if I then find that the words of Jim, Henry and Roger were further such "hints" which were all taken out of context, should this increase my faith in this claim?
This man is asking that I hand my whole life savings and my very home over to him and claims that my father wants me to do this yet he wants me to understand that it is not necessary for him to produce any proof directly from my father himself, rather it is only necessary for him to make the claim and then claim that my father "hinted" that I should do this, or that he "gathered" that my father wanted me to do this. Would anyone in their right mind accept such a statement? Why then when we now are dealing with our ultimate salvation, a commodity which is more valuable than any conceivable wealth or property, is it no longer necessary for Jesus (peace be upon him) himself to teach any of the fundamental doctrines, rather it is entirely appropriate to claim that he spent his life "hinting" at these doctrines not willing to openly commit himself to them in clear words and statements and that the only time he was clear and direct was when he was endorsing what the Qur'an told us he said?
Why is it that when God tells us in the Qur'an that Jesus (pbuh) never made a given claim, like endorsing the 'trinity' or claiming to be a god (or God, or part of God, or one of three forms or faces of God), why only now do we suddenly need to understand that he only 'hints' at it in the Bible and then leaves it up to us to "gather" that he wanted us to adopt such beliefs? Why do so many highly respected Christian scholars and Biblical references confirm the words of God in the Qur'an by admitting that the "trinity" doctrine can not be found anywhere in the Bible?
Everybody and his uncle can claim to be able to receive direct inspiration from Jesus and be able to tell us what Jesus "wants," however, does this mean that every single one of these people really do have a direct hotline to him and are daily receiving direct inspiration from him? Just because someone says he said something should I simply have faith and not bother to read his actual words? Trinitarian Christians claim that Jesus is God. Unitarian Christians say that he is not. Muslims say that he was a very pious and elect messenger of God. In the first three centuries CE Christians were even further split on exactly who he was, who his mother was, who God is, what their relationship to one-another is, how many gods there are, were all three of them gods?, was only two or one of them a god?, etc. (see quotations below). So who is telling the truth? Are all of these people receiving "inspiration" from Jesus? This is indeed why I asked that Jesus (pbuh) himself be quoted, just as he asked us to do in so many places in the Bible. If he makes a given statement just once then it shall be acceptable for others to repeat it a thousand times. However, it has to start with him.
No sooner do I ask this very simple and direct question than what do I get? Everyone once again reverts to quoting everyone but Jesus (pbuh) himself. A catch 22. An unending loop. And still they can not find it in the Bible. We are only told that everyone implied it. Everyone says that Jesus (pbuh) say, no one to be able to show us where. Others are alleged to have implied it, so obviously Jesus "must have" said it. Yet they can not show us where. If someone wants to challenge me to a debate then I would appreciate it if they would simply answer this one question clearly and directly while keeping an open mind and heart. Otherwise please do not demand that I debate you.
In the end the only alternative for them is to tell us that Jesus (pbuh) does not need to say it, but he "implied" it in many places. When we study the verses where he is claimed to have "implied" it we find that they are all cases of false and unfaithful translation by the Church where the words are conveniently made to say in English what they do not really say in Greek, while when others in the Bible use the exact same words Jesus is just quoted to have used, now the very same words wherein Jesus is claimed to be "implying" to be God, these very same words are now translated completely differently when they come out of the mouths of others. The Church has not told us to worship these other people so they "translate" these very same words differently when others say them so that we will not get "the wrong impression" from their words. In a similar manner, when a given word is used to describe Jesus (pbuh) in the Bible it is translated completely differently than when that exact same word is used to describe everyone else. This is how Jesus (pbuh) is made to "imply" divinity. And the loop continues. In order to exhibit that these claims are not my own but are well known to the Church, I quoted the Bible and Christian clergymen in all cases so that I would not be accused of perverting the meanings of the verses or forcing my own beliefs upon the words of the Bible.
Strangely, after all of this, the impression is once again made that any and all refutations are all an outcome of ignorance and faithlessness of hateful Muslims. They completely disregard the fact that the whole refutation was based upon what Christian Bishops, ministers, priests, Doctors of Divinity, scholars, and Trinitarian Biblical references admit in this regard. Sadly, it is all just depicted as ignorant Muslim propaganda. Very highly respected and revered men of the Church who were so well acquainted with the Bible, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, Syriac and Latin including many other disciplines that they slowly rose through its ranks to finally be appointed Christian Roman Catholic Bishops, such people are simply depicted after their demise as very ignorant people who did not know what they were talking about and their level of understanding of Greek, Hebrew, etc. did not rise to the level of the current speaker. What a truly sad way to treat one's own scholars and clergymen. They are only revered and esteemed so long as they say what they are supposed to. Once they find the truth after many many years of study, service to the Church, missionary work and propagation of the faith, and then convert to Islam, now they are beneath contempt.
Another popular trend is to distance oneself from any Christian scholars or Bishops, etc. who recognize the evidence of Church tampering with the Bible. The interesting response to the increasing number of Christian scholars and clergymen who are accepting this matter as basic fact is that those who defend the trinity, such as Mr. Abdulsaleeb, simply claim that Muslims are unable to appreciate the higher levels of Biblical criticism that the truly believing apologists have reached? Look, if your policy is that if someone being Muslim automatically makes them genetically ignorant then that is your choice. I prefer not to continue down this path. However I am hoping that it does not take an IQ of 1000 to understand the implication when Trinitarian Christian clergymen and scholars officially declare that the Bible contains such severe errors that it is literally riddled with, by the most conservative estimates, 2000 errors. Am I to understand that because I am a Muslim, that my Muslim mind is too ignorant to recognize that this is simply a developed sense of perfect faith and belief which hopefully we can, a few centuries from now, crawl out our caves, recognize as true enlightenment and be saved? These people are indeed to be commended for standing up for the truth, however, I would like to hope that my inferior Muslim mind, limited as it may be, is capable of grasping the implication of their findings.
These gentlemen go on to object to our using these Trinitarian Church references and Bishops as references and inform us that these people in addition to recognizing the falseness of the trinity doctrine, also do not believe in issues that Muslims consider to be historical fact and which God confirmed in the noble Qur'an, such as the virgin birth of Jesus (pbuh) and his miracles. In other words, Muslims should not point to these Bishops increasing discovery of Church tampering and their own attempt to try and recover the truth since these Bishops have not yet become Muslims and embraced 100% of the religion of Islam. If they have only come part way towards Islam and have themselves admitted that the Church had made very severe and deliberate changes to the Bible, and they are trying to strip away these changes in order to uncover the original message of Jesus (pbuh), then these men should simply be regarded as an embarrassment to Muslims and Christians alike and should not be given the time of day. Well, although they may not have found the whole truth, at least they are trying. At least they are willing to admit that the Church has intentionally tampered with the Bible and they shall not sit still and remain quiet even if it does mean that this shall infuriate those who have not studied their evidence, nor do they have any interest in doing so.
The final attempt of such men is to then simply apply to all Muslims such words as: "Muslims are very fond of quoting critical scholars conclusions (only those that agree with Islam) without the slightest realization of the presuppositions of such scholars that led them to these conclusions in the first place." Such men completely side-step all of the quoted official Church encyclopedias, Biblical dictionaries, official Church proclamations, and even public admissions of very highly respected Trinitarian scholars (such as Tischendorf who could himself not understand how the Church could make so many thousands of changes to the Bible and "allow themselves to bring in here and there changes, which were not simple verbal ones, but materially affected the meaning" or why they "did not shrink from cutting out a passage or inserting one.") These quotations are forgotten, the references brushed aside, and a generic catch-all answer of "Muslim backwardness and ignorance" is applied to all cases.
Are we now to understand that, as Muslims, our mental capacity is so severely limited that we are not able to realize that these officially sponsored Church encyclopedias and Biblical references as well as all of these very highly respected Trinitarian scholars and clergymen all based their "presuppositions" on corrupt foundations (see some quotations below)? Who then is left who is not corrupt or has based his opinions on corrupt foundations?. If we can not even accept Trinitarian scholars, Bishops, ministers, Catholic encyclopedias, and Biblical commentaries, then who can we accept? Are the "presuppositions" of all of these people questionable?
Mr. "Abdulsaleeb" would like to refer to me as a "king of language" in an attempt to make it seem like these are my own. I you Mr. Abdulsafor your exhalation, however, I can in no way claim credit for what your own Trinitarian scholars have written and what I am simply reproducing. If you do not like what they are saying then that is regrettable, and I am sorry you feel that way. However, this in no way makes the words my own. This is indeed the very mindset of the Church in the Dark Ages which drove them to withhold the Bible from the masses and make it the exclusive property of the Church. The great unwashed masses were far to "ignorant" and "backward" to have any dealings with God's holy word. It was reserved for higher Biblical criticism and neo-Platonic philosophy, and all those "enlightened" minds which were receiving direct inspiration from Jesus to "clarify" the Bible and "fix" it. They couldn't have all of these "common people" running around touching the scriptures, reading them and defiling them with their unwashed hands. They were too "holy." They could never "comprehend" them. They needed the Church to "explain" them. Right?
Another problem with such lines of logic is that in many cases the refutation of a given author's evidence is simply based upon slander and character assassination. They don't say, for example, let us take their evidence and study it, reproducing every one of their arguments word-for-word and then refuting them point-by-point and leaving no question unanswered and no allegation unrefuted, rather, they simply tell everyone that the author simply does not have enough faith or the higher degrees of enlightened thought which they themselves have achieved and wish to bestow upon the masses so that they too will be able to achieve the perfection of belief which allows them to simply disregard the vast majority of the contradictions and variations of text in the Bible, to soar high above such "petty" concerns in elevated levels of spiritual ecstasy unfettered by such stone age issues as whether or not the Church tampered with the Bible and whether or not the Bible they have in their hands has any relationship whatsoever to anything the apostles of Jesus (pbuh) actually wrote. For them these are all trivial issues. They love Jesus (pbuh) too much to worry themselves about what he actually said or whether or not the Church has warped his message. Such matters have no bearing on their all-encompassing love for Jesus.
Well guess what? Muslims love Jesus (pbuh) too. We regard him as one of the highest examples of human excellence and service to the Almighty that a Muslim can ever find or follow. This is a fundamental pillar of our belief, without which we would not be Muslims. However, Muslims feel that it is the obligation of those who love Jesus to not allow those who would injure him or warp his words to go unchallenged. Muslims recognize that there is no such thing as "insignificant" tampering with the words of Jesus or "unimportant" changes to his preaching.
If I tell you: "I would like to cut a few small pieces from your body. Not a lot. Just about thirty or forty pieces." Would you then say: "Fine, as long as they are not 'big' pieces, or 'important' pieces"? Sadly, when the Church tampers with the words of Jesus, making many 'thousands' (see below) of changes, now it is entirely ok for them to cut away with abandon. Get out the chain-saws and crank them up, what do we care?. We love Jesus too much to worry ourselves about their surgery on him. We are flying around on enlightened spiritual planes and can't be bothered with such petty stone-age issues, right?
For example, many such authors mention names of books. But names of books can do us no good if we can not put the information found therein to good use in providing physical and tangible evidence. I too could quote reams and reams of books. All authored by Christians. Christians who would not sit still for the Church tampering nor allow themselves to simply look on with delight as the Church cut away and tampered with the message of Jesus. For example, I have yet to see any of the apologists attempt to challenge the evidence of David Friedrich Strauss in his 800 page book "The Life of Jesus Critically Examined." A book which was written in the early eighteen hundreds and which to this day has yet to find an apologist capable of facing it head on, point by point, toe-to-toe, rather than the conventional method of "He has no faith, his foundations are not good, forget his evidence. Have faith and don't read his book."
But now we return to the present and the current author's claims regarding God's words in the noble Qur'an. He has spent a long time searching the text of the Qur'an looking for contradictions and has done his utmost to build a counter case of contradictory verses against the noble Qur'an in retribution against what these Christian scholars have said regarding the Bible. His list which shall be studied a little further down is a collection of all of the examples he has been able to put together over the last couple of years and the strongest case he has been able to build against the word of God, the noble Qur'an. It shall be dealt with shortly, by the will of Allah, and we shall have a look at what his efforts have produced for us. Please note in all that follows that when Muslims point to contradictory verses in the Bible they produce their evidence from the writings of Christian Bishops, Reverends, priests, Biblical encyclopedias, Biblical dictionaries, Doctors of Divinity and the like, all of whom readily admit that the Bible was exposed to continuous tampering from the Church during the "Dark Ages" when it completely withheld the Bible from the masses and prevented anyone from reading it. We will see that he, however, when attempting to do the same with regard to God's words in the Qur'an also points to either his own personal conclusions or to those of other Christians. Let us start with a couple of examples of the former case. Let us read for example:
So, is Peake's commentary written by "critical scholars" who based their conclusions upon corrupt foundations? Do ignorant Muslims not understand the "presuppositions" which the authors of Peake's commentary based their conclusions upon? What about some other quotations:
"Yet, as a matter of fact, every book of the New Testament with the exception of the four great Epistles of St. Paul is at present more or less the subject of controversy, and interpolations (inserted verses) are asserted even in these." Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 12th Ed. Vol. 3, p. 643
After listing many examples of contradictory statements in the Bible, Dr. Frederic Kenyon says:
"Besides the larger discrepancies, such as these, there is scarcely a verse in which there is not some variation of phrase in some copies [of the ancient manuscripts from which the Bible has been collected]. No one can say that these additions or omissions or alterations are matters of mere indifference" Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, Dr. Frederic Kenyon, Eyre and Spottiswoode, p. 3
Is the trinitarian apologist, Mr. Kenyon, basing his comments on corrupt foundations? Do ignorant Muslims simply not comprehend the complex nuances of his elevated Biblical criticism? "In any event, none of [the original manuscripts of the books of the Bible] now survive. What do survive are copies made over the course of centuries, or more accurately, copies of the copies of the copies, some 5,366 of them in the Greek language alone, that date from the second century down to the sixteenth. Strikingly, with the exception of the smallest fragments, no two of these copies are exactly ain their particu. No one how many dif, or variant readings, occur among the surviving witnesses, but they must number in the hundreds of thousands." The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, Bart Ehrman, pp. 27
"It is highly probable that not one of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) was in existence in the form which we have it, prior to the death of Paul. And were the documents to be taken in strict order of chronology, the Pauline Epistles would come before the synoptic Gospels." History of Christianity in the Light of Modern Knowledge, Rev. Charles Anderson Scott, p.338
In the latter part of the second century, Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth says:
"As the brethren desired me to write epistles (letters), I did so, and these the apostles of the devil have filled with tares (changes), exchanging some things and adding others, for whom there is a woe reserved. It is not therefore, a matter of wonder if some have also attempted to adulterate the sacred writings of the Lord, since they have attempted the same in other works that are not to be compared with these."
"We know already to what degree imposture and credulity went hand in hand in the primitive times of the Christian Church, the last being as ready to receive as the first was to forge books, this evil grew afterwards not only greater when the Monks were the sole transcribers and the sole keepers of all books good or bad, but in process of time it became almost absolutely impossible to distinguish history from fable, or truth from error as to the beginning and original monuments of Christianity. How immediate successors of the Apostles could so grossly confound the genuine teaching of their masters with such as were falsely attributed to them? Or since they were in the dark about these matters so early how came such as followed them by a better light? And observing that such Apocryphal books were often put upon the same footing with the canonical books by the Fathers, and the first cited as Divine Scriptures no less than the last, or sometimes, when such as we reckon divine were disallowed by them. I propose these two other questions: Why all the books cited genuine by Clement of Alexander. Origen. Tertullian and the rest of such writers should not be accounted equally authentic? And what stress should he laid on the testimony of those Fathers who not only contradict one another but are also often inconsistent with themselves in their relations of the very same facts?"(emphasis added). The Nazarenes, John Toland, pp. 73 (From: Jesus Prophet of Islam).
"Nonetheless, there are some kinds of textual changes for which it is difficult to account apart from the deliberate activity of a transcriber. When a scribe appended an additional twelve verses to the end of the Gospel of Mark, this can scarcely be attributed to mere oversight" The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, Bart Ehrman, pp. 27-28
Peake's Commentary on the Bible records;
"It is now generally agreed that 9-20 are not an original part of Mk. They are not found in the oldest MSS, and indeed were apparently not in the copies used by Mt. and Lk. A 10th-cent. Armenian MS ascribes the passage to Aristion, the presbyter mentioned by Papias (ap.Eus.HE III, xxxix, 15)."
"Indeed an Armenian translation of St. Mark has quite recently been discovered, in which the last twelve verses of St. Mark are ascribed to Ariston, who is otherwise known as one of the earliest of the Christian Fathers; and it is quite possible that this tradition is correct" Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, F. Kenyon, Eyre and Spottiswoode, pp. 7-8
"…The gospel of Mark ends abruptly, at 16.8, and early attempts to add an ending show that it was felt to be incomplete. It is possible that the book was never finished or that it was damaged at an early stage. Yet it may be our knowledge of the other Gospels that makes us expect this one to end with appearances of the risen Lord. Certainly, it ends in an appropriate way for Mark - with fear, human failure, and the call to discipleship …" The Oxford Companion to the Bible, Bruce Metzger and Michael Coogan, p. 496
Notice how this is by far not a new trend with the Church. Indeed, as we can see, the very first Church Fathers themselves freely allowed themselves to insert whole passages made up of no less than twelve verses when they felt like it, allowing the reader to believe that their words were the words of the apostles of Jesus. In the light of such Church policies, would it be so hard to imagine them making smaller "corrections" here and there to the text?
Well, did all of this Church tampering end with the demise of the first Church Fathers or did their students learn these techniques from them? As it happens, Victor Tununensis, a sixth century African Bishop related in his Chronicle (566 AD) that when Messala was consul at Costantinople (506 AD), he "censored and corrected" the Gentile Gospels written by persons considered illiterate by the Emperor Anastasius. The implication was that they were altered to conform to sixth century Christianity which differed from the Christianity of previous centuries (The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gospel of Barnabas, and the New Testament, by M. A. Yusseff, p. 81)
Sir Higgins confirms that this practice did not even end in the sixth century, rather it continued on into the eleventh and twelfth:
"It is impossible to deny that the Bendictine Monks of St. Maur, as far as Latin and Greek language went, were very learned and talented, as well as numerous body of men. In Cleland's 'Life of Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury', is the following passage: 'Lanfranc, a Benedictine Monk, Archbishop of Canterbury, having found the Scriptures much corrupted by copyists, applied himself to correct them, as also the writings of the fathers, agreeably to the orthodox faith, secundum fidem orthodoxam." History of Christianity in the light of Modern knowledge, Higgins p.318
In other words, the Bible was re-written in order to conform to the doctrines of the eleventh and twelfth centuries and even the writings of the early church fathers were "corrected" so that the changes would not be discovered. Sir Higgins goes on to say:
"The same Protestant divine has this remarkable passage: 'Impartiality exacts from me the confession, that the orthodox have in some places altered the Gospels."
Well, how seriously was the text of the Bible affected by so many centuries of such practices? Is it true that all of the changes made by the Church are all "unimportant" and that all Christians should simply "disregard" them all as having no effect on the message of Jesus (pbuh) or his apostles? Well, once again, in order that it not be said that this is simply Muslim propaganda, therefore let us hear from Dr. Lobegott Friedrich Konstantin Von Tischendorf, one of history's most adamant conservative Christians and the man who single-handedly discovered one of the two most ancient copies of the NT available today. He himself was driven to admit after his study of these most ancient copies of the Bible available today that:
"[the New Testament had] in many passages undergone such serious modification of meaning as to leave us in painful uncertainty as to what the Apostles had actually written" Secrets of Mount Sinai, James Bentley, p. 117
In all, Tischendorf uncovered over 14,800 "corrections" to just one ancient manuscript of the Bible, the Codex Sinaiticus (one of the two most ancient copies of the Bible available to Christianity today), by nine (some say ten) separate "correctors," which had been applied to this one manuscript over a period from 400AD to about 1200AD. Tischendorf strove in his dealings with his holy texts themselves to be as honest and sas humanly possible. Fothis reason hcould not understahow the scribes could have so continuously and so callously,
"allow themselves to bring in here and there changes, which were not simple verbal ones, but materially affected the meaning"
or why they "did not shrink from cutting out a passage or inserting one."
In the introduction of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible by Oxford press we read:
"Occasionally it is evident that the text has suffered in the transmission and that none of the versions provides a satisfactory restoration. Here we can only follow the best judgment of competent scholars as to the most probable reconstruction of the original text" (emphasis added)
Are the authors of the RSV Bible "critical scholars" whose "presuppositions" are above Muslim understanding? Please note that not a single one of the above quotes came from a Muslim. Are the words of God in the Qur'an, which these Christian scholars are slowly confirming, are they really just an outgrowth of Muslim propaganda and unsubstantiated lies by Muslims? Why then are the most knowledgeable among Christian scholars yearly confirming more and more of the words of God found in the Qur'an? Why? Are Muslim minds simply genetically inferior? When a Christian missionary, priest or Bishop converts to Islam do they automatically lose all ability to reason? Come on, let us be reasonable.
Even Anglican Bishops confirm this basic truth of the Qur'an. In the British newspaper the "Daily News" 25/6/84 under the heading "Shock survey of Anglican Bishops" We read
"More than half of England's Anglican Bishops say that Christians are not obliged to believe that Jesus Christ was God, according to a survey published today. The pole of 31 of England's 39 bishops shows that many of them think that Christ's miracles, the virgin birth and the resurrection might not have happened exactly as described in the Bible. Only 11 of the bishops insisted that Christians must regard Christ as both God and man, while 19 said it was sufficient to regard Jesus as 'God's supreme agent'"
It is further interesting to note that even the most adamant defenders of the Trinity do not refute the fact that the Bible contains many thousands of contradictions or discrepancies between its verses and versions, which they refer to as "variant readings," as a result of their Church's attempts to insert verses validating their doctrines into the Bible (such as the very famous case of 1 John 5:7 among many others and which continues to cause them unending embarrassment and has been removed from all modern Bibles such as the RSV, the NIV, the ASV, etc.), rather, the most they ever do is to try and "trivialize" these errors and sweep them under the rug. For example,
"...the rare parts about which there is still uncertainty do not affect in any way any doctrine" Bible Translations, R.L. Sumner
In the book "The Story of the Manuscripts" by Rev. George E. Merrill, the good Reverend quotes Prof. Arnold as stating:
"there are not more than fifteen hundred to two thousand places in which there is any uncertainty whatever as to the true text.."
As we can see, they do not challenge the fact that the Bible contains many thousands of errors (a result of Church tampering during the Dark Ages), rather they only try to reduce them in number, trivialize them and disregard them. Thus, we have returned to the "how many 'small' pieces will you allow me to cut from your body?" question.
The noble Qur'an, Al-Nissa(4):171
In "The New Catholic Encyclopedia" (Bearing the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, indicating official Church approval) we get a glimpse of how the concept of the Trinity was not introduced into Christianity until close to four hundred years after Jesus (pbuh):
"...It is difficult in the second half of the 20th century to offer a clear, objective and straightforward account of the revelation, doctrinal evolution, and theological elaboration of the Mystery of the trinity. Trinitarian discussion, Roman Catholic as well as other, present a somewhat unsteady silhouette. Two things have happened. There is the recognition on the part of exegetes and Biblical theologians, including a constantly growing number of Roman Catholics, that one should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament without serious qualification. There is also the closely parallel recognition on the part of historians of dogma and systematic theologians that when one does speak of an unqualified Trinitarianism, one has moved from the period of Christian origins to, say, the last quadrant of the 4th century. It was only then that what might be called the definitive Trinitarian dogma 'One God in three Persons' became thoroughly assimilated into Christian life and thought ... it was the product of 3 centuries of doctrinal development" (emphasis added). The New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV, p. 295.
They admit it!. Jesus' twelve apostles lived and died never having heard of any "Trinity" ! So did their children! So did their children's children! They are slowly facing the facts and accepting the truth of God found in the Qur'an. The only problem is that they are dragging their feet and insist on finding it all out by themselves and independent of God. They do not imagine that perhaps God may have relieved them of this task and may have fixed the tampering Himself by sending a new messenger.
If the "Trinity" is the true nature of God, then why did Jesus (pbuh) leave his closest and dearest followers so completely and utterly baffled and lost that they never even realized the "true" nature of God? Why did he leave them steeped in such black darkness that neither they nor their children, nor yet their children's children would ever come to recognize the "true" nature of the One they are to worship? Do we really want to allege that Jesus was so thoroughly incompetent in the discharge of his duties that he left his followers in such utter chaos that it would take them fully three centuries after his departure to finally piece together the nature of the One whom they are to worship? Why did Jesus never, even once, just say "God, the Holy Ghost and I are three Persons in one Trinity. It is a mystery. Worship all of us as one and have blind faith"? Couldn't it possibly be that he didn't say it nor did he teach it BECAUSE IT ISN'T TRUE?!
Some people try and make the case that Jesus (pbuh) taught the disciples the concept of the "trinity" in secret and that these "secret" teachings were then made public knowledge many years later. However, in advancing this unsubstantiated claim these people forget Jesus' explicit refutal of this claim. He publicly announced:
"Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing." John 18:20
If Jesus (pbuh) had only chosen to make just one such explicit statement to them he could have relieved Christianity of centuries of bitter disputes, division, and animosity, and the later "official" Church would not have needed to make so many thousands of "corrections" and "clarifications" to the text othe Bible over so many centuries until this doctrin finally became "clear" to the reader, nor would it have needed to hold tens upon tens of councils, spanning many centuries, to define, redefine, and constantly fine-tune their definitions of the nature of God in their "official creeds." A job which they found to be of the utmost importance, yet Jesus (pbuh) himself found no need to do himself. Perhaps Jesus (pbuh) did not have the required levels of "Biblical criticism" and neo-Greek philosophy needed to do the job "right."? Perhaps he did not have the necessary understanding to realize the importance of this issue, a matter which the Church "councils" would later find to be of such dire and crucial importance that they needed to spend literally many centuries debating, defining, quarreling over, and condemning other Christian sects and killing them because they did not convert to these new "official" definitions of the nature of God.
As Muslims, we do not subscribe to the belief that Jesus (pbuh) was incompetent in his duties nor that he would neglect to teach his followers the most major issue of his religion, the issue of "Who is God," preferring to leave that up to the Church councils and their notorious inquisitions. If we do not know who God is then we know nothing. This is the hand-down most important issue of any religion. If it was true that God is a trinity then Jesus (pbuh) would have said so clearly, just as he did so when he clearly told us that God is ONE (i.e. Mark 12:29-32, etc.) How many millions of Christians and non-Christians died in these Inquisitions and Crusades? Just one single clear statement from Jesus clearly confirming that God is a trinity, and that he is "part of" God, could have prevented all of this spilt blood.
"The horrors of the Crusades and the notorious Inquisitions are all but a small part of this tragic tale." For Christ's Sake, Tom Harpur.
If God is a trinity then God Himself would have told us so clearly, directly, and without beating around the bush, just as He clearly tells us that He is One in so many places in the Bible, for example:
"Ye [are] my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I [am] he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, [even] I, [am] the LORD; and beside me [there is] no savior." Isaiah 43:10-11
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD:" Deuteronomy 6:4
"Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament. Likewise, the developed concept of three coequal partners in the Godhead found in later creedal formulations cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the canon (Bible)." The Oxford Companion to the Bible, Bruce Metzger, pp. 782-783)
Tom Harpur, a former minister and the religion editor of the Toronto Star, writes in his book "For Christ's Sake":
"What is most embarrassing for the church is the difficulty of proving any of these statements of dogma from the new Testament documents. You simply cannot find the doctrine of the Trinity set out anywhere in the Bible. St. Paul has the highest view of Jesus' role and person, but nowhere does he call him God. Nor does Jesus himself anywhere explicitly claim to be the second person in the Trinity, wholly equal to his heavenly Father. As a pious Jew, he would have been shocked and offended by such an Idea ...(this is) in itself bad enough. But there is worse to come. This research has lead me to believe that the great majority of regular churchgoers are, for all practical purposes, tritheists. That is, they profess to believe in one God, but in reality they worship three..."
In "The Dictionary of the Bible," bearing the Nihil Obstat, Imprimatur, and Imprimi Potest (official Church seals of approval), we read:
"the trinity of God is defined by the Church as the belief that in God are three persons who subsist in one nature. That belief as so defined was reached only in the 4th and 5th centuries AD and hence is not explicitly and formally a biblical belief."
The Dictionary of the Bible, John L. McKenzie, S.J., p. 899
In spite of all of this, the apologists insist on making it all out to be a result of Muslim ignorance and misunderstanding. Further, in spite of this, I continue to find many people who insist on telling everyone that any claims that the doctrine of the trinity was not arrived at until at least 400 years after Jesus (pbuh) is all simply Muslim propaganda and a result of Muslim ignorance and slander. Even after they are quoted such statements as these they then turn around and go back to telling all those who did not read these statements that it is all untrue and simply Muslim distortion of the facts. Is this how we are to search for the truth of God? Is this how we open our minds and hearts to His truth?
"And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." Mark 12:29-30.
"According to orthodox Christian doctrine, God is one nature in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. No one of them precedes or created the others or stands above them in power or dignity. In precise theological terms, they are one in substance (or essence), coeternal, and coequal. The doctrine so stated does not appear in Scripture, ... The orthodox doctrine of the Trinity was hammered out gradually over a period of three centuries or more...Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the coeternity and coequality of the divine persons remained a matter of theological dispute, and so are frequently discussed in the context of heresy... In 381 the bishops convened again at Constantinople and set forth the orthodox doctrine in its final form" A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature, David Lyle Jeffrey, p. 785
"In the Old Testament, the Unity of God was clearly affirmed. The Jewish creed, repeated in every synagogue today, was 'Hear, 0 Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord (Deut. 6:4). This was the faith of the first Christians, so Paul writes, 'There is one God and Father of all, Who is above all and through all and in you all" (Eph. 4:6). But gradually some addition or modification of this creed was found necessary. Christians were fully persuaded of the Deity of Jesus Christ and later of the Deity of the Holy Spirit, and they were compelled to relate these convictions with their belief in the Unity of God. During many years, the problem was discussed and many explanations were attempted. One advanced by Sabellius, that became fairly popular was that Christ and the Holy Spirit were successive manifestations of the Supreme Being, but finally, the belief prevailed that the words Father, Son, Spirit, declared eternal distinctions in the Godhead. That is, that the Trinity of Manifestation revealed a Tri-unity of Being. In other words,' that Christ and the Holy Spirit were coeternal with the Father. With the exceptions of the Unitarians, this is the belief of Christendom today" Christadelphianism, F. J. Wilkin, M.A., D.D, The Australian Baptist, Victoria.
Amazing! In spite of his belief in the doctrine of the "trinity," Mr. Wilkin has just himself admitted that the doctrine should not be sought after in the Bible, nor did the disciples of Jesus preach it, and that those who accepted it did not get it from the Bible, rather they started out with their own preconceived concepts and then did their best to make the Bible endorse their preconceptions, and finally, that it was only "adopted" by the Church after many years of contention and experimentation, because members were "fully persuaded of the Deity of Jesus Christ, and later of the Deity of the Holy Spirit." When Jesus was on earth, Judaism was the only purely monotheistic religion in the region, having become surrounded by endwaves of "trinities" from the sunations of the Ro, Greeks, Babylonians and Egyptians (see chapter 3 of "What Did Jesus Really Say"). So, why did Jesus (pbuh) choose to allow the very first generations after him to remain steeped in ignorance and division, to live and die never having heard of any "trinity," and only choose to bring enlightenment to the creed-writers and neo-platonic philosophers of the fourth century CE?
Why was it that only after the Romans, who themselves worshipped pagan trinities, celebrated the 25th of December as the birthday of their supreme god of the sun, celebrated Easter as the festival of the return of power to the earth, used the "cross of light" as their official symbol, and believed in the death and resurrection of their gods in atonement for their sins, why was it only after these pagan Romans officially "sponsored and protected" the church that the Trinitarians finally gained the upper hand over all of the other Christian sects and suddenly everyone "recognized" the "true" nature of God as being a trinity similar to that of the surrounding pagan nations and "recognized" that all of these other Christian sects needed to be converted or killed and their gospels destroyed?
"Christianity in the second and third centuries was in a remarkable state of flux. To be sure, at no point in its history has the religion constituted a monolith. But the diverse manifestations of its first three hundred years -- whether in terms of social structures, religious practices, or ideologies -- have never been replicated. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the realm of theology. In the second and third centuries there were, of course, Christians who believed in only one God; others, however, claimed that there were two Gods; yet others subscribed to 30, or 365, or more. Some Christians accepted the Hebrew Scriptures as a revelation of the one true God, the sacred possession of all believers; others claimed that the scriptures had been inspired by an evil deity. Some Christians believed that God had created the world and was soon going to redeem it; others said that God neither had created the world nor had ever had any dealings with it. Some Christians believed that Christ was somehow both a man and God; others said that he was a man, but not God; others claimed that he was God but not a man; others insisted that he was a man who had been temporarily inhabited by God. Some Christians believed that Christ's death had brought about the salvation of the world; others claimed that his death had no bearing on salvation; yet others alleged that he had never even died. Few of these variant theologies went uncontested, and the controversies that ensued impacted the surviving literature on virtually every level ... The New Testament manuscripts were not produced impersonally by machines capable of flawless reproduction. They were copied by hand, by living, breathing human beings who were deeply rooted in the conditions and controversies of their day. Did the scribes' polemical contexts influence the way they transcribed their sacred Scriptures? The burden of the present study is that they did, that theological disputes, specifically disputes over Christology, prompted Christian scribes to alter the words of Scripture in order to make them more serviceable for the polemical task. Scribes modified their manuscripts to make them more patently 'orthodox' and less susceptible to 'abuse' by the opponents of orthodoxy" The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, Bart Ehrman, pp. 3-4
"The reign of Constantine marks the epoch of the transformation of Christianity from a religion into a political system; and though, in one sense, that system was degraded into idolatry, in another it had risen into a development of the old Greek mythology. The maxim holds good in the social as well as in the mechanical world, that, when two bodies strike, the form of both is changed. Paganism was modified by Christianity; Christianity by Paganism. In the Trinitarian controversy, which first broke out in Egypt -- Egypt, the land of the Trinities -- the chief point in discussion was to define the position of 'the Son.'" History of the Conflict between Religion and Science, Prof. John Draper, pp.52-53
The great luminary of the Church, Saint Augustine (354-430 C.E.), is quoted to have said "The same thing which is now called CHRISTIAN RELIGION existed among the ancients. They have begun to call Christian the true religion which existed before."
"Our love for what is old, our reverence for what our fathers used, makes us keep still in the church, and on the very altar cloths, symbols which would excite the smile of an Oriental, and lead him to wonder why we send missionaries to his land, while cherishing his faith in ours" James Bonwick
The Encyclopedia Britannica states under the heading "Trinity":
"... in Christian doctrine, the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament,... The Council of Nicaea in 325 stated the crucial formula for that doctrine in its confession that the Son is 'of the same substance [homoousios] as the Father,' even though it said very little about the Holy Spirit. Over the next half century, Athanasius defended and refined the Nicene formula, and, by the end of the 4th century, under the leadership of Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus (the Cappadocian Fathers), the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since."
The noble Qur'an Al-Bakarah(2):79
"Do you covet that they will believe in you when [in fact] a party of them used to hear the Word of Allah then they would distort it knowingly after they had understood it?"
The noble Qur'an Al-Bakarah(2):75
"The text about the three heavenly witnesses (I John 5:7 KJV) is not an authentic part of the NT" The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 4, p.711, Abingdon Press.
"1 John 5:7 in the KJV reads: 'There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one' but this is an interpolation of which there is no trace before the late fourth century." The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 4, p. 871, Abingdon Press.
"1 John 5:7 in the Textus Receptus (represented in the KJV) makes it appear that John had arrived at the doctrine of the trinity in explicit form ('the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost'), but this text is clearly an interpolation since no genuine Greek manuscript contains it" The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, Edited by Allen C. Myers, p.1020
The great luminary of Western literature, Mr. Edward Gibbon, explains the reason for the discardal of this verse from the pages of the Bible with the following words:
"Of all the manuscripts now extant, above four score in number, some of which are more than 1200 years old, the orthodox copies of the Vatican, of the Complutensian editors, of Robert Stephens are becoming invisible; and the two manuscripts of Dublin and Berlin are unworthy to form an exception...In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Bibles were corrected by LanFrank, Archbishop of Canterbury, and by Nicholas, a cardinal and librarian of the Roman church, secundum Ortodoxam fidem. Not withstanding these corrections, the passage is still wanting in twenty-five Latin manuscripts, the oldest and fairest; two qualities seldom united, except in manuscripts....The three witnesses have been established in our Greek Testaments by the prudence of Erasmus; the honest bigotry of the Complutensian editors; the typographical fraud, or error, of Robert Stephens in the placing of a crotchet and the deliberate falsehood, or strange misapprehension, of Theodore Beza." "Decline and fall of the Roman Empire," IV, Gibbon, p. 418.
Peake's Commentary on the Bible says:
"The famous interpolation after 'three witnesses' is not printed even in RSVn, and rightly. It cites the heavenly testimony of the Father, the logos, and the Holy Spirit, but is never used in the early Trinitarian controversies. No respectable Greek MS contains it. Appearing first in a late 4th-cent. Latin text, it entered the Vulgate and finally the NT of Erasmus."
It was only the horrors of the infamous Church inquisitions which held back Sir Isaac Newton from openly revealing these facts to all:
"In all the vehement universal and lasting controversy about the Trinity in Jeromes time and both before and long enough after it, the text of the 'three in heaven' was never once thought of. It is now in everybody's mouth and accounted the main text for the business and would assuredly have been so too with them, had it been in their books… Let them make good sense of it who are able. For my part I can make none. If it be said that we are not to determine what is scripture and what not by our private judgments, I confess it in places not controverted, but in disputed places I love to take up with what I can best understand. It is the temper of the hot and superstitious part of mankind in matters of religion ever to be fond of mysteries, and for that reason to like best what they understand least. Such men may use the Apostle John as they please, but I have that honor for him as to believe that he wrote good sense and therefore take that to be his which is the best" Jesus, Prophet of Islam, Muhammad Ata' Ur-Rahim, p. 156
In spite of this universal realization, the Church insists on keeping the wool pulled over the eyes of the masses of Christendom by refusing to remove it from the last holdout, their famous "King James" Bible, and this is how they force words into the mouths of Jesus (pbuh) and his disciples so that it may become "clear" to us that Jesus is God and God is a "trinity." Once this contradictory and illogical doctrine becomes "clear" in the Bible then they will no longer have to defend it or explain it. They can simply demand "blind faith" in it and insist that God wants us to believe it without understanding it. This is why they can't get rid of it even though it has been exposed as a fabrication of the 4th century Trinitarian Church. You see logic dictates that if a verse is a fabrication then you must remove it from the "word of God." You must remove it, that is, if your goal is indeed to spread the word of God and you do not have another agenda. Many a gullible soul did indeed predict the imminent removal of this verse once it became so widely recognized to be the fabrication that it is. Sadly, this would not prove to be the case.
For example, Mr. Edward Gibbon was one of the first men to recognize this fabrication and to heroically and selflessly expose it in front of all. Today, as we have seen, it has become too widely recognized as the fabrication that it is, and removed from too many reputable Bibles, for anyone to say otherwise if he wishes to retain any shred of his credibility. During his time, Mr. Gibbon was defended in his findings by his contemporary, the brilliant British scholar Richard Porson who also proceeded to publish devastatingly conclusive proof that the verse of 1 John 5:7 was only first inserted by the Church into the Bible in the end of the 4th century. (Secrets of Mount Sinai, James Bentley, pp. 30-33). Regarding Porson's most devastating proof, Mr. Gibbon later said
"His structures are founded in argument, enriched with learning, and enlivened with wit, and his adversary neither deserves nor finds any quarter at his hands. The evidence of the three heavenly witnesses would now be rejected in any court of justice; but prejudice is blind, authority is deaf, and our vulgar Bibles will ever be polluted by this spurious text."
You see Mr. Gibbon was a man ahead of his time. He recognized the underlying motives and interests of his contemporaries. These motives and interests had been cultivated and nurtured for too many centuries to simply admit the truth, accept defeat, seek God's forgiveness and remove the interpolation. Not everyone, however, had Mr. Gibbon's foresight. For example, in commenting on the above statement, Mr. Bentley responds:
"In fact, they are not. No modern Bible now contains the interpolation."
Mr. Bentley, however, was mistaken. Indeed, just as Mr. Gibbon had predicted, the simple fact that the most learned scholars of Christianity now unanimously recognize this verse to be a later interpolation of the Church has not prevented the preservation of this fabricated text in our modern Bibles. To this day, the Bible in the hands of the majority of Christians, the "King James" Bible, still unhesitantly includes this verse as the "inspired" word of God without so much as a footnote to inform the reader that all scholars of Christianity of note unanimously recognize it as a later fabrication.
Prejudices die hard. Religious prejudices die the hardest.
What does God Almighty have to say to these people and their tampering fingers? Well we can read His condemnation of their actions in the noble Qur'an. He says:
"Then woe to those who write the Scripture with their own hands and then say: 'This is from Allah', to traffic with it for a miserable price. Woe to them for their hands do write and for the gain thmake thereby" The noble Qur'an, Al-Bakarah(2):79
"O People of Scripture! Why do you reject the Signs of God, when you [yourselves] bear witness [to their truth]?. O People of the Scripture! Why do you clothe Truth with falsehood, and conceal the Truth, while you have knowledge?" The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):70-71
"Say: 'O People of the Scripture! Why do you reject the Signs of God, when God is Himself witness to all you do?' Say: 'O People of the Book! Why do you obstruct those who believe from the path of God, Seeking to make it crooked, while you were yourselves witnesses? But God is not unaware of what you do'" The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):98-99
"[And remember] When Allah (God) took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture: You shall make it known and clear to mankind, and you shall not hide it; but they flung it behind their backs, and purchased with it a miserable gain! How evil was that which they purchased!" The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):187
"Say: 'O people of the Scripture! exceed not in your religion the bounds [of what is proper], trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the vain desires of people who went astray in times gone by, who misled many, and strayed [themselves] from the straight path.'" The noble Qur'an, Al-Maida(5):77
"And when Allah said: O Jesus, son of Mary! Did you say unto mankind: Take me and my mother(2) for two gods beside Allah? he said: Be You glorified. It was not mine to utter that to which I had no right. If I used to say it, then You knew it. You know what is in my [innermost] self but I know not what is in Yours. Truly! You, only You are the Knower of things hidden. I spoke unto them only that which You commanded me, (saying): Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord, and I was a witness over them while I dwelt among them, and when You took me You were the Watcher over them, and You are Witness over all things." The noble Qur'an, Al-Maidah(5):116-118
"And from those who said: "We are Christians," We took their covenant, but they forgot a good part of the message which was sent to them. Therefore We have stirred up enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection, and Allah will inform them of what they used to do. O people of the Scripture! Now has Our messenger (Muhammad) come to you, explaining to you much of that which you used to hide in the Scripture, and forgiving much. Indeed, there has come to you a light from Allah and a plain Scripture. Wherewith Allah guides him who seeks His good pleasure unto paths of peace. He brings them out of darkness by His will into light, and guides them to a straight path. They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. Say : Who then has the least power against Allah, if He had willed to destroy the Messiah son of Mary, and his mother and everyone on earth? And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He creates what He will. And Allah is Able to do all things. The Jews and Christians say: We are sons of Allah and His loved ones. Say; Why then does He punish you for your sins? No, you are but mortals of His creating. He forgives whom He will, and punishes whom He will. And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, and unto Him is the return (of all). O people of the Scripture! Now has Our messenger (Muhammad) come unto you to make things plain after a break in (the series of) the messengers, lest you should say: There came not unto us a messenger of cheer nor any Warner. Now has a messenger of cheer and a Warner come unto you. And Allah is Able to do all things." The noble Qur'an, Al-Maidah(5):14-19
"The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam, he created him from dust, then said to him: 'Be' and he was" The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):59.
"They say: Allah has taken a son. Glorified be He! He has no needs! His is all that is in the heavens and that is in the earth. You have no warrant for this, do you say regarding Allah that which you know not?" The noble Qur'an, Yunus(10):68
"The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) had passed away before him. And his mother was a saintly woman. They both used to eat (earthly) food. See how we make the signs clear for them, then see how they are deluded!" The noble Qur'an, Al-Maidah (5):75.
Indeed, Jesus (pbuh) is quoted in the Bible as having confirmed all of the above:
"And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3. Notice that Jesus (pbuh) did not say "Us the only true God"
He did not say "Me the only true God"
He only said what Allah Almighty confirmed in the Qur'an that he said, namely, "YOU the ONLY true God"
Notice the word "ONLY." If he did not use this word then we could imply that he had left the door open for someone else to be God or "part of God" in addition to God Himself. However, Jesus (pbuh) made sure to close that door and lock it tight. He did so by using the explicit word "ONLY." How could he possibly make it any more clear than that? How much more evidence do we need to accept his words, recognize the truth, and follow the truth of Allah?
"Jesus saith unto her, ...I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." John 20:17
Once again remember the confirmation of Jesus' words as confirmed by God in the noble Qur'an: "…I (Jesus) spoke unto them only that which You commanded me, (saying): Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord, and I was a witness over them while I dwelt among them, and when You took me You were the Watcher over them, and You are Witness over all things…" The noble Qur'an, Al-Maidah(5):118
"Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?" Isaiah 29:15-16
Now, if our current authors object to all of this evidence showing the Bible to have been the object of continuous and unrelenting tampering by the Church in its attempts to make such doctrines as the trinity "clear" to mankind, and if they continue to maintain that this is all simply Muslim propaganda, if this is still the case, and they would like to prove their case quite conclusively while also collecting an easy $2000 in the process, then they are invited to take the "Easter challenge" found close to the end of this article.
As just observed, when the author of this list tries to find contradictions in God's words in the noble Qur'an he either uses personal opinions or else Christian references to do so. It is interesting that the contradictions in the Bible are recognized by its own foremost scholars but not seen by him, while the claimed contradictions in the noble Qur'an appear very clear to him while he can not produce a single well known or respected Muslim scholar who endorses his claimed contradictory verses. The most that he might be able to say in this regard is that some "Shiite" Imams of Iran think that there might be more books to the Qur'an, however, whenever you openly ask any Shiite if he can produce these missing books he very strenuously stresses that they do not believe that the Qur'an is missing a single verse, that the claim that they say this is false and a fabrication, and that anyone who claims that they say this is a liar
There is a very big difference between:
a) one group who's own scholars and most respected clergymen say that they have in their hands thousands of officially recognized physical and tangible ancient manuscripts of their holy scripture containing discrepancies between o"numbering in the hundreds of thousands," andbetween,
b) another group who claimed by others to believe that are some missing verses in their holy scripture, but which they themselves claim they never said but are all propaganda, lies and fabrications against them. (The Shia have also written some books defending themselves against this claim, such as "Adam Tahreef Al-Quran.")
Perhaps this is why we find so many learned teachers of Christianity converting to Islam such as Bishops priests and ministers (i.e. Bishop David Benjamin Keldani, Bishop John Jacob, Rev. R. J. Flowers, Anselm Turmeda, Rev. Prof. Abraham Filibus, or father Marino, etc.), to say nothing of more contemporary Christian scholars such as Gary Miller (who now goes by the name Abdulahad Omar), or father Norman, the 19th century Christian priest who went to Turkey to preach Christianity to the 'heathens' and came back to America in order to convert the Christians to Islam. On the other hand any claims of conversion from Islam to Christianity can not point to a single famous or reputable Muslim teacher who was sought after by Muslims during his lifetime to teach them Islam and who spent many years of his life strongly espousing Islam and teaching others to uphold it. This is to say nothing about Christian kings who converted to Islam, such as the Anglo-Saxon king Offa (757-796 CE) who converted from Christianity to Islam, or Russell Webb the American Consul in Manila Philippines who converted to Islam, resigned his job, went to India to learn more about Islam and came back to the US to teach it, in addition to many others from Lord Headley to Schoun, since in spite of their being kings, Lords, high officials and diplomats, in all fairness, some of them can not be considered to have previously been missionary scholars of Christianity and teachers of the Bible. This is also why world famous athletes, musicians, or celebrities who convert to Islam too are not emphasized here (i.e. Mike Tyson, Cat Stevens, Jemima Goldsmith etc.)
In our one small mosque in Central New York, we have close to three thousand Muslims. Of these three thousand I would estimate that perhaps one thousand were previously Christians. Of this number quite a few were very active and energetic members of their local Churches and denominations and openly abusive of Islam and all Muslims before they themselves willingly embraced Islam. They studied the Bible, read many Christian publications, prayed daily, attended the Church daily, and were even quite active in missionary and evangelical work. Some were even considered the most active members of their Churches before their conversion. A recent U.S. pole on this very issue informs us that there are 120,000 converts to Islam within the USA every year. Most of them profess to have been previously Christian (to hear from some of them go to this site or this site). A sizable number of these were very active and devoted Christians strongly involved in very diligent missionary work. This is to say nothing about converts to Islam in other countries. The reason why these people, their numbers and activities are usually not quoted by Muslims is not because they are regarded as small in number or unimportant in their persons, neither is it because many of them did not have extensive schooling in Christian theology (since many of them did), rather it is because it is felt that in order to try and remain as objective and unbiased as humanly possible it is important to restrain ourselves only to those Christians who combined knowledge, high authority and respect within their community, in addition to very active preaching and missionary work in support of Christianity (or even abuse of Islam) before their conversion to Islam.
Perhaps this is also why ever so slowly but surely, the most knowledgeable scholars of Christianity are year by year slowly finding evidence of Church tampering and as they slowly strip away the changes they are discovering the exact message God told them, in the noble Qur'an, that they would find. Specifically, that Jesus was not God, that God is not a Trinity, that Muhammad (pbuh) was expected by both the Jews and Christians as the last prophet, and that there is no such thing as an "original sin," an "atonement," or "belief without faith." Rather, every single human being is responsible for himself alone and can never be held accountable in any way, shape or form for what anyone else did or did not do. Further, Islam emphasizes that God is a very merciful God who can forgive any sin no matter how tremendous very trivially simply by willing it. Indeed, Allah delights in forgiving human transgressions and in expiating the sins of all those who turn to Him in sincere repentance, however, He first requires faith to be supplemented by works and that either one by itself shall never suffice.
As we have seen, it is only those who are extremely unfamiliar with their Bible who claim that it contains no contradictions, "variant readings," or evidence of deliberate Church tampering. The scholars of Christianity including Trinitarian Bishops, ministers, priests, Doctors of Divinity, and official Trinitarian Biblical references all agree that the evidence of tampering is far too extensive to ignore or to attribute to mere "slips of the pen," etc. These Christians only differ on how many thousands of errors are contained in the Bible and how serious they are, with some of them claiming that there are only about two thousand errors and that they are all "not very important," while others insist that they are over one hundred thousand in number and that a large portion of them are extremely serious, intentional, and malicious.
Again, although some apologists would like to depict such statements as being an outgrowth of despicable Muslim propaganda since they all hate Jesus (peace be upon him) so very much and are faithless, still, the truth is far different from their claims. Every single Christian who has converted to Islam whom I have spoken to has informed me that he or she only converted because of their faith and love of Jesus (pbuh) and not in spite of it. Indeed it is usually the most knowledgeable of Christian scholars who are the most likely to openly admit these facts. For example, in 1881, the scholars of Christianity got together to study the King James Bible (based upon the Greek Textus Receptus), the version of the Bible which the Church has been pushing upon the masses for roughly four centuries, the version of the Bible which the Church depicted as being so utterly perfect and faultless as to literally consider it to be direct from 'the mouth of God,' the version of the Bible which the Church considered it a heresy to consider anything less than 100% perfect and the undying unfailing word of God, these same thirty two Trinitarian scholars and fifty cooperating Christian denominations got together to expose the Church's "King James Bible," their ultimate achievement, and declare the following:
"...Yet the King James Vehas GRAVE DEFECTS.." (From the preface of the RSV 1971)
They go on to caution us that:
"...That these defects are SO MANY AND SO SERIOUS as to call for revision"
The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible by Oxford Press has the following to say in its preface:
"Yet the King James Version has serious defects. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the development of biblical studies and the discovery of many biblical manuscripts more ancient than those on which the King James Version was based made it apparent that these defects were so many as to call for revision."
Who says so? Who are these people who claim that the Bible in the hands of the majority of today's Christians contains "many" "grave defects" which are so "serious" as to require a complete overhaul of the text? Are they, as our current authors would have us believe, all people of questionable 'preconceptions' which backwards Muslims gleefully quote out of ignorance? Well, we can find the answer in the very same RSV Bible. In it, the publishers themselves (Collins) mention on page 10 of their notes:
"This Bible (RSV) is the product of thirty two scholars assisted by an advisory committee representing fifty cooperating denominations"
Let us see what is the opinion of Christendom with regard to these scholars and their work in the revision of the Bible (revised by them in 1952 and then again in 1971):
"The finest version which has been produced in the present century" - (Church of England newspaper)
"A completely fresh translation by scholars of the highest eminence" - (Times literary supplement)
"The well loved characteristics of the authorized version combined with a new accuracy of translation" - (Life and Work)
"The most accurate and close rendering of the original" - (The Times)
In the beginning, when the Gutenburg printing press was first invented and the masses finally succeeded in forcing the Bible out of the hands of the Church and out into the open, those who studied it and found numerous problems in it simply attempted to 'fix' the errors and tampering in the KJV (of 1611 C.E.) as they were slowly exposed by the discovery of more and more ancient copies of the Bible. However, it was not long before the errors which they discovered became so many and so serious that any amount of 'fixing' would no longer do. The text needed a complete overhaul. The whole KJV needed to be tossed out, the ancient manuscripts needed to be reassessed, and a completely new version needed to be compiled. This is how such Bibles as the Revised Standard Version, the New International Version, the American Standard Version, etc. (based upon the Westcott-Hort) were born. However, even this effort was found to be seriously lacking in total honesty of translation and reproduction of the original and in unbiased objectivity. For more on this issue please download the second edition of the book "What Did Jesus Really Say?". and read chapter 2.1 The information contained therein is too extensive to reproduce here.
On the other hand Muslims remain resolute that God's words in the noble Qur'an, which He sent down in order to rectify mankind's tampering with the previous Scriptures, this final Book of God does not contain "only a 1500-2000 errors." It does not contain "only errors which do not affect in any way any doctrine." Rather, the Qur'an contains exactly ZERO errors and exactly ZERO contradictions. God has not left it up to mankind to preserve the scripture this time. This time He has preserved it Himself.
In what follows I shall be reproducing the original author's arguments verbatim without removal of a single word, or correcting a single spelling error, in order to ensure that the reader can indeed read both party's points of view completely and faithfully. Simply removing all of my comments from this article will result in a complete and faithful reconstruction of his original article. I shall further only be placing emphasis on responding to all questions which he has marked as "unanswered." Although I have not yet read the complete texts of the questions marked by him as "answered," still, I am assuming that they have been dealt with sufficiently so I shall only deal with them in brief. However I shall try to find the time in the near future to scan through the provided answers and verify this assumption. If my assumption proves to be incorrect then I shall, by the will of Allah, answer those questions in more detail, updating this file as needed. So let us see what he has to say:
Do they not ponder on the Qur'an? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy. -- The Qur'an, Sura 4:82
And it just doesn't add up: Sura 4:11-12 and 4:176 state the Qur'anic inheritance law. If a man dies and leaves three daughters, his two parents and his wife then they will receive the respective shares of 2/3 for the 3 daughters together, 1/3 for the parents together [both according to verse 4:11] and 1/8 for the wife [4:12] which adds up to more than the estate available.
A second example is, that when a man leaves only his other, his wife and two sisters, then they receive 1/3 [mother, 4:11], 1/4 [wife, 4:12] and 2/3 [the two sisters, 4:176], which again adds up to 15/12 of the available property.
These verses were revealed by God to Muhammad at a time when the people of Arabia (and even many of the surrounding nations, such as the Romans, the Hindus, the Persians, etc.) gave very little heed to the rights of women. Many of them, such as the Christian Romans, would continue for many more centuries debating whether or not women even had souls. It was not until very recently that Western women actually achieved the right to inherit at all. A right which was established for them by God in the Qur'an 1400 years ago. Even such "modern" rights as pre-nuptial agreements were firmly established in Islam 1400 years before they showed up in the West. During that age, women in many of these surrounding nations were simply property of the men to be inherited with his other material belongings by his male heirs. In the Arabian peninsula, this very same attitude was held and the common law was that the male children receive the inheritance and the father receives inheritance conditional upon explicit verbal bequeathal. All others got nothing. When Islam came, God commanded Muhammad (pbuh) to return to women their fair share of the inheritance and to further establish the rights of the other relatives in the family of the deceased to receive their just share according to their relationships.
The verses dealing with inheritance are not as our current author may imagine only these couple of verses. There are many other verses in different locations throughout the Qur'an dealing with this issue. They range over the chapters of Al-Baqarah(2), Al-Nissa(4), Al-Maidah(5), Al-Anfal(8), etc. This is to say nothing about the many multiples of that in the Sunnah (Sayings of the prophet, pbuh). Out of these many verses and sayings of the prophet has been developed the science of "Al-Fara'id" which is a very vast issue and which can not be collected in a single paragraph. Suffice it to say that the question appears to display a complete unawareness of any aspects of the discipline of Al-Fara'id, its basis, its subdivisions, its special cases, the rules of "Awl" and "Usbah," the laws of "Usool" of the Fara'id, the laws of "Hajb wa Hirman," and many other issues relating to this matter. This particular example falls under the laws of "Awl" which regulate the cases when the inheritor's shares exceed or "overshoot" the sum of the total inheritance, and in which case the inheritance is recalculated according to the laws of Awl and redistributed. In the above cases, the distribution would be "Parents: 4/27 each, wife:1/9, daughters:16/27" and for the second case, "Mother:4/15, Wife:3/15, Sisters:8/15." The books of Fiqh contain specific examples of Awl, such as the Awl of Umar ibn al-Khattab, however, the interested reader can study this issue further by referring to any number of references on Islamic Fiqh.
There are yet other cases when the number of inheritors and their shares do not sum to a whole 100%, in which case the laws of "Usbah" come into play in order to distribute the unclaimed shares which have no corresponding people to receive them. Then there are the laws of "Hajb wa Hirman," which encompass still other special cases of inheritance and block normally deserving relatives from inheriting in special extraordinary cases.
Our current author objects to Islamic law and wishes it to conform to his tastes. Christians officially have only one reference; the Bible. This is why he and some of his friends at times try to force this same system on Muslims. They insist that Islamic law come only from the Qur'an, thus effectively blotting out roughly one half of Islamic law.
Islamic law is based upon two references, the Qur'an (sayings of God) and the Sunnah (sayings and actions of the prophet). These two are then narrated and interpreted by the Companions through their consensus and their narrations of when and how a given verse or Hadeeth was revealed (it's context) and how the Prophet (pbuh) taught these issues to them or how he interpreted a given verse or applied it. All of this information is vital to the interpretation of a given Islamic law and none of it can be taken in a vacuum of the rest, based upon personal whims. At times the Qur'an contains a given law, at others the law is found in the Hadeeth, and in still other cases the broad outlines of a given law are presented in the Qur'an and the details are explained in the Hadeeth. For example, the Qur'an only commands Muslims to "pray." The details of how to pray are found in the Hadeeths of the prophet (pbuh) and described by the companions who saw him teach it and were themselves taught by him directly. If a non-Muslim does not like this system and rejects it then this in no way makes it any less the law of Islam or the command of God. Indeed this system itself is taught by God in the Qur'an. Examples of God commanding Muslims to obey the prophet and abide by the laws of the Sunnah and Hadeeth in interpreting the Qur'an are:
"He who obeys the messenger has indeed obeyed Allah ..." Al-Nissa(4):80
"And We (God) have sent down unto you (Muhammad) the Reminder (Qur'an), that you might make clear to mankind that which was sent down unto them and perchance they might reflect." Al-Nahil(16):44
"And We (God) have not sent down unto you (Muhammad) the Book (the Qur'an) except that you might make clear to them that in which they differ, and [as] a guidance and a mercy for a folk who believe" Al-Nahil(16):64
"And whatsoever the Messenger gives you take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain [from it]. And guard yourselves from Allah, verily Allah is severe in punishment" Al-Hashr(59):7
"... And if you should differ in anything among yourselves then refer it to Allah and His messenger if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better for you and best in interpretation" Al-Nissa(4):59
A messenger of God is not simply a tape recorder that records everything that is spoken into it an then regurgitates it without explanation. Far from it. A messenger of God is a teacher whose job it is to not only pass out the textbook but to also explain the text itself, teach it, answer the student's questions regarding it, and clarify all passages wherein they find difficulty.
Similarly, the command to interpret the Qur'an and the Hadeeth only as expressly understood by the Companions due to their companionship of the prophet and their discipleship directly under his command and watchful eye can be found in quite a number of hadeeth, such as the hadeeths of "La tajtami ummati ala dhalal" and "Alaikum bi sunnati wa sunnat al-Khulafa..." among countless others.
What the "Islam bashers" do is that they take a Biblical yardstick and attempt to force it upon the Qur'an. For Christians there is only one divine reference; the Bible. In Islam there are two; the Qur'an and the Sunnah (or Hadeeth). The Qur'an can not be interpreted by Muslims based upon their personal desires. It has to be done in the light of how the prophet (pbuh) taught it. This is indeed the system which Allah commands us to follow in the above verses. Authors of such lists as this, however, prefer to take the short route of simply reading the Qur'an and then applying to it the meaning they chose, in spite of what the Prophet (pbuh) had to say in this regard and in spite of what the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) had to say regarding the contexts of the verses, the times of their revelation, and the situations associated with each one, and the intended meanings or interpretations.
How many angels were talking to Mary? When the Qur'an speaks about the announciation of the birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary, Sura 3:42,45 speaks about (several) angels while it is only one in Sura 19:17-21.
Actually, the author's unfamiliarity with the Arabic language, its grammar and usage, is one of the main reasons for his objection. Indeed, one of the major problems with the Bible as it stands today as so graciously demonstrated by him for us in this example, is that our current Bibles force us to study ancient Hebrew and Aramaic scriptures through Greek and Latin glasses as seen by people who are neither Jews, Greeks, nor Romans. Such practices (as demonstrated in the book "What Did Jesus Really Say?"), have seriously handicapped any attempts to faithfully translate the original author's intended meanings. This problem, all thanks be to the Almighty, has been completely avoided in the Qur'an, since it has remained from the time of its inspiration to the present day in the same language it was originally revealed in, the language has remained a living language from that day to this, and the book itself has always been in the hands of the people and not "the elite."
The foremost miracle of the Qur'an is in its text. The text of the Arabic language. You can not translate a miracle no matter how you may try. The Arabic language can not be compared to any other language in its intricate complexity, diversity of form, richness of meaning, brevity of parlance, beauty of construct and power of delivery. To give an example of this let us look at the most basic of measures, that of dictionaries:
A fairly comprehensive and authoritative reference on the English language would be the "Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary" tenth edition, in 1500 pages. On the other hand, a common Arabic dictionary is "Lisan Al-Arab" in 18 volumes, each averaging about 650 pages, or about 11700 pages in all. In other words, even if we were to disregard all of the other aspects of the Arabic language, such as its grammar, we would still be faced with a language which is about eight times as complex as the English language. It is not at all uncommon in the Arabic language to find over one hundred words that refer to the same entity, each one of them giving a slightly different detailed description than all of the others. This has resulted in a language which can translate complete English sentences into only one Arabic word.
But the Arabic language is not simply a list of words. Far from it, it is a very complex collection of literary sciences which have been developed, refined, and fine-tuned for generations and millennia beyond counting. The end result of this is a group of literary sciences which literally have no parallel whatsoever in the English language, such as the science of "Sarf" or the multifarious sciences of "Balaghah," among others. Even when the English language can lay claim to a parallel science to that of the Arabic language, such as forexample the science of "grammar," even in this case anyone who has thslightest understanding of the Arabilanguage finds that even these equivalentsciences fade nearly into oblivion when faced with the tremendous complexities and inestimable attention to the minutest detail in Arabic grammar which can literally reverse the meanings of a sentence simply by changing a single squiggle (diacritic) above the last letter of only one word in that sentence (Imagine being able to reverse the meaning of an English sentence by removing the dot over one "i" in that sentence).
William Shakespeare was considered to be one of the leading masters of English literature known to date. However, he never had to deal with the Arabic language. Now, taking into consideration that the Arab nation was one obsessed with literary perfection and refinement of prose, it becomes apparent that what we had here was a nation of literally hundreds of "William Shakespeares." Indeed an individual's mastery of the Arabic language was considered one of the primary distinguishing criteria in selecting tribal leaders. Just as in the wild west people used to have public shoot-outs at high noon, so too did the ancient Arabs have public face-downs in literary composition. These public confrontations could at times be so scathing and destructive as to totally destroy a given individual or tribe and cause them to disband in shame and humiliation, erased from the pages of history (such as happened with the tribe of "Numair"). The greatest of these literary masters had their compositions transcribed and hung up on the walls of the noble Kaaba as a badge of honor and an example for future generations. These compositions which were regarded the "best of the best" where given the name of "Al-Muallaqat" (the hanging poems). These were the people whom God sent Muhammad (pbuh) to, and these are the people whom prophet Muhammad (pbuh) repeatedly challenged, over 23 years, to produce a work similar to the Qur'an, standing alone with no tribe to support him and no ally to defend him but God Almighty. In other words he was challenging them in a field which they were the world's foremost authorities in and the source of their greatest strength and pride. Indeed all of God's prophets throughout history have been sent with miracles in the very fields which that prophet's people excelled in so that they might fully comprehend the magnitude of that miracle and have no excuse in ignorance.
These people whom prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stood alone against and challenged to face the Qur'an were no timid sheep. They were men of great pride, misdirected as it may have been, who would rather go to war and die a slow and torturous death rather than allow the slightest indignity to be attached to their names or the most trivial challenge go unanswered. These were people who would go to war at the drop of a hat or the slightest disrespectful word. In spite of all that, when prophet Muhammad (pbuh) brought them the word of God in the noble Qur'an they suddenly fell silent and refused to face its challenge. God continued to reduce the challenge to them, from challenging them to produce a book like the Qur'an, to challenging them to produce a single surah (chapter) like it, to finally challenging them to produce even a few verses like it. And still, no one was able to face the challenge. On the contrary, those who were the best versed in these issues were among the first to convert to Islam and accept God's message. Some of them even went so far as to completely give up altogether on their previous literary work and to publicly declare that faced with the utter perfection and completion of this book that there was nothing left to say and nothing left to compose. Perfection had already been achieved (3).
Why did I get into all of this?. Well it is in order to make it easier to understand some of the reason why the noble words of God in the Qur'an can never be faithfully translated into English and why the first thing most converts to Islam do is to learn Arabic.
For example, as seen in chapter 14 of the book "What Did Jesus Really Say?," we find that many people when reading the Qur'an mistakenly understand the plural references to God through the use of the words "We" and "Us" to mean that God is "many" or "triune" etc. As seen in that book, this has indeed been the very reason why some people of little knowledge of ancient Hebrew even go so far as to claim that the OT Bible's use of such constructs implies a similar "plurality" of God in a "Trinity." Our current author himself at one time defended this belief. However, as seen in that book, this is far from the true meaning. Informed Christian scholars and dictionaries readily recognize the plurals used there as being plurals of respect reverence and exaltation, not plurals of multiplicity. For example, one of the quotes presented in that book is quoted from the Eerdmans Bible Dictionary where we read the following explanation of the word "Elohiym" (God):
"As a name or designation of the God of Israel, the term is understood as a plural of majesty or an intensive plural, indicating the fullness of the supreme (or only) God ... the canonical intent is clearly monotheistic, even where the accompanying verbs or adjectives are grammatically plural (e.g. Gen. 20:13, Exod. 22:9 [Mt 8])
Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, edited by Allen C. Myers, William B. Eerdmans Publishers, p. 331
This is why to this day we find the Queen of England, French dignitaries, and most Arab leaders referring to themselves, or referred to by others in the plural sense. When the Queen of England refers to herself in her official speeches as "we" does this mean that she too is "a Trinity"? Sadly, even to this day we still can find people of little experience in these issues continuing to insist on their personal forced interpretations of these matters in spite of what they truly mean and in spite of what those who speak the language, or their own scholars, say they mean.
A similar case to the above is the one presented by our current author. The first three verses (Aal-Umran(3):42-45) do indeed use the word "angels." However, this plural form of the word is used to describe only one angel, specifically, angel Gabriel. Such constructs are used in the Arabic language as a symbol of dignity and respect for that person. This is a popular Arabic grammatical construct called "al-majaz al-mursal" which falls under the subheading of Arabic grammar titled "Balaghah" and which we can not get into here since it requires a basic knowledge of the Arabic language and its grammar. Suffice it to say that there are at least two quick clues to this matter which even non-Arabic speaking people can appreciate. The first one is that in the first set of verses, verses 46-48 say: "The angels said... Mary said... HE replied" meaning that we are speaking about an angel designated as "he" and not "they," in the same very verses themselves.
Secondly, a similar construct can be found elsewhere in the Qur'an which can hopefully clarify this construct to non-Arabic speakers. For example, in Al-Nahi(16):120 we read: "Verily Abraham was a nation obedient to Allah and he was not of the polytheists."
We notice here that prophet Abraham (pbuh) is described as a "nation." Does this mean that he is literally a few hundred thousand people? No. This is an Qur'anic term of exaltation and elevation for Abraham above all humans such that he is higher in regard and reward with God than an entire nation of mortals. In the same manner, the status of the angel Gabriel with God is of a similar stature among the angels. There are many other similar constructs in the Arabic language, many of which are applied to angel Gabriel in more than one location in the Qur'an to set him apart from all other angels. These examples include special grammatical constructs as well as special title (such as the title of "Holy Spirit").
For example, president Clinton is a Washington politician. No one doubts this fact. However, have you ever heard someone say: "President Clinton has just concluded a meeting with senior advisors and other Washington politicians"? Obviously this is a "contradiction" right? If we refer to these other men as "Washington politicians" then we can not then claim that president Clinton too is a "Washington politician." That would contradict this statement. He must be something "other than" a Washington politician, right?
Obviously this is faulty logic. Such constructs are used even in the English language to "set apart" or "dignify" a given individual of special importance over a group of his peers. The fact that President Clinton was mentioned separately from the other Washington politicians is only intended to convey a special status for him over and above "run or the mill" Washington politicians. He is the "President." He is "special." This and other similar constructs are used numerous times in the Qur'an in reference to Angel Gabriel in order to set him apart as a very special and highly esteemed angel with God. For example, in Al-Nahil(66):4 we read: "If you both repent unto God then your hearts have indeed heeded. But if you assist one-another against him (Muhammad, pbuh) then verily Allah is his Patron, and Gabriel, and the righteous believers, and the angels after that shall come to [his] aid."
And in Al-Baqarah(2):98: "Whosoever is an enemy to Allah, His angels, His Messengers, Gabriel, Michael (the angel of the rain), then verily, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers."
Here we see angel Michael too set apart with a special status and mention. Angel Gabriel is an angel. So is angel Michael. Muslims have no doubt about that. However, Gabriel is not just any angel. He is a special angel. An angel with a special purpose, unique titles, high stature with God and the patron of the prophets. This is how God dignifies and exalts those who serve Him in truth, integrity, and sincerity.
Similar to these examples, we find in the Qur'an that not all prophets are alike. For example, some prophets have been given distinction over others and are mentioned in isolation from the rest as a sign of exaltation for them. For example, God says in the Qur'an in Al-Baqarah(2):253:
"Those messengers! We preferred some of them over others. Some were those who were spoken to by God, others He raised by degrees. And unto Jesus the son of Mary We bestowed the clear proofs and assisted him with the holy Spirit (Gabriel)..."
And in Al-Israa(17):55:
"And your Lord knows best who are in the heavens and the earth. And indeed, We have preferred some of the prophets above others, and to David We gave the Psalms."
Also, in A'al-Umran(3):84:
"Say: 'We believe in Allah and in that which was sent down upon us and that which was sent down upon Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the sons of Jacob, and that which was given unto Moses, Jesus, and the prophets from their Lord..."
Does this mean that Moses, Jesus, Abraham, etc. are not "prophets"? No. This is simply the nature of the language of the Qur'an and one of the methods used to distinguish them above the rest.
Getting back to our current example, we find that in both of the quoted verses angel Gabriel is referred to through popular Arabic constructs of respect and exaltation. In the first it is demonstrated in the use of the plural construct, in the second it is demonstrated in the use of his official title of "Holy Spirit," where we see that the verse says that "We (God) sent unto her (Mary) Our Spirit (Gabriel)..."
Even in English is not too much of a stretch to understand the intent. If a president has a highly esteemed ambassador whom he has entrusted with a significant task, and this president wishes to bestow upon this ambassador and his message an air of importance, then he would not say "I have sent some guy...." or "I have sent one of my people..." since this would reflect badly on that ambassador as someone who is not even worthy to remember his name or his service. It would also reflect badly on the message itself since it would imply that the message was of such little importance that it was entrusted to someone of such little merit. Rather, one way to convey an air of dignity and importance to the messenger as well as the message would be to mention the man's office, such as to say "I sent my ambassador..." Another way would be to directly exalt him such as saying "I sent my most trusted and faithful aid..." And finally, in Arabic one could use the plural form such as to say "I sent THEM (him)..."
Actually, I believe that this might even answer another question I seem to remember being presented a little farther down as another "contradiction." In any case, we can deal with that as we reach it, by the will of Allah.
For more on this issue you can read "Safwat Al-Tafaseer," by Al-Sabooni, "Rooh Al-Maani fi tafseer Al-Qur'an al-Adheem wa al-Sab'a al-Mathani," by Abi Al-Fadhil Al-Aloosi, "Aldur Al-Manthoor fi Al-Tafseer bilmathoor" by Abdulrahman Al-Suyooti, or "Tafseer Al-Manar" by Muhammad Rasheed Ridha, among others.
Now, the author also draws attention in his commentary that some Muslims have pointed to the various accounts of "how many angels" were present at the alleged resurrection of Jesus (pbuh) in the various narrations of the four Gospels of the Bible. He attempts to reduce the tens upon tens of discrepancies which Christian scholars have discovered in this story to only one and then to quickly explain it away by giving his example of one who meets the President and Vice President and only says: "I met the President." Rather than getting into the further details of the many additional problems with only this one story, I shall simply leave it up to him to resolve this issue quite thoroughly by claiming the $2000 "Easter Challenge" prize and posting the check on his "Answering Islam" web page. Since the issue of the resurrection in so critical to trinitarian Christianity (I Corinthians 15:14-15) but at the same time directly flies in the face of everything God has said in the noble Qur'an, therefore, his complete harmonization of these narrations, and his claiming of this prize, shall indeed constitute a substantial step forward towards exonerating the Church from all claims that they fabricated this story as part of their continuous campaign of tampering with the text of the Bible.
Further numerical discrepancies: Does Allah's day equal to 1,000 human years (Sura 22:47, 32:5) or 50,000 human years (Sura 70:4)? ---
Now here we once again find a case containing multiple errors. First of all, what does "Yawm" in Arabic mean. Well, in English it is translated as "day," however, the Arabic word "Yawm" is more comprehensive than that. "Yawm" is used in Arabic to signify either "day" or "span of time." Now although the English language does not have a directly equivalent parallel to this Arabic word, still, even in English it is possible to see an example of such a construct. For example, if one of us were to go sit down with our grandfather and he were to tell us about how the world has changed since he was a little boy he might start with the words: "In my day..."
So, if someone's grandfather were to say "In my day we didn't have running water, rather we had to go down to the stream and fill a bucket" does this mean that there was a SPECIFIC day in his life when he did this and then he didn't do it any more? Should we then ask him "Grandpa, which 'day' was that? Was it the 15th of January 1927, or the 4th of August 1908, etc.?"
Similarly, in the English language people use the word "age" to mean "period of history." For example, they might say: "the Stone Age" or "the Computer Age." However, at times we find people saying: "I waited for you for ages and you did not show up so I left." Does this mean that that person wait for the "Stone Age" to come to an end before leaving, or does it mean that he until the "Bronze Age" ended before getup and leaving? Obviously his words are cont, right? It is impossible for him to say "Bronze Age" and then to say "I waited for ages," right?
In each one of these cases we see that the words "age" and "day" were given a meaning appropriate to their context, so in order to be fair we should allow the same flexibility in meaning which we use freely in the English language with their equivalents in the Arabic language.
Now that we see the usage of the words "day" and "age" and how even in the English language they can be used to mean "span of time," now we need to study the verses presented and notice how they too each refer in each case to different contexts and situations. Let us look at each individual context in isolation:
The first one, Al-Hajj(22):47 describes the polytheist's taunting of Muhammad (pbuh) and their demand that he hurry up and bring the torment of hellfire if he is truthful. The verse goes on to describe God's patience in the face of such arrogance and goading and how a "day" with our Lord is like a thousand years with us. In other words, God does not need to be in a hurry to take them in their sins "right now," rather he gives the transgressor more and more rope and more and more chances to repent not needing to follow the human desire of "get revenge NOW or he might get away." For our Lord to wait for a thousand years is like our waiting for one day. He knows that no one shall escape Him no matter how they may delude themselves.
The second verse, Al-Sajdah(32):5 speaks about the decree of our Lord descending to earth and our deeds being raised up to Him through all of the many light-years of distance across the heavens in a period, or distance, which in our estimation is equal to one thousand years, but which takes less than the blink of an eye.
The third and final verse, Al-Maarij(70):4 speaks about the Day of Judgment (as seen in Musnad Ahmed 5642, in the saying of the prophet narrated by ibn Omar) and describes it as "a day the span of which is fifty thousand years." This is part of the torment of the evil and sinful people of earth. They are taken on that day to a long and drawn-out judgment which is in and of itself a horrendous punishment. However, as narrated in Musnad Ahmed (3/75), the prophet (pbuh) informed the believers that that day shall be made lighter upon the believers than a single prayer which they used to pray in this life.
As we can see, the contexts and topics in each one are different. Three different contexts, three different spans of time. Thus, just as in English is it entirely acceptable to refer in one case to 24 hours as a "day" and in another case to refer to many years as a "day," and just as in English it is possible to refer in one case to many centuries as an "age" and in another case to one or two hours as "ages," all depending on the context, similarly, this same flexibility should not be refused the Qur'an simply because the author does not like Muslims.
Now, if the objection is not due to the flexibility of the words "day" and "age" themselves, rather, it is against God having a different criteria and yard stick for "how long" a day should be then we need to realize that the Bible itself quite explicitly endorses the words of God in the Qur'an in this regard. For example, in 2 Peter 3:8 we read:
"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
So do the verses still contradict one-another?
How many gardens are there in paradise? ONE [as stated in 39:73, 41:30, 57:21, 79:41] or MANY [18:31, 22:23, 35:33, 78:32]?
This one is really reaching. For example, in the Bible we read in Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the HEAVEN and the earth."
While in Genesis 2:1 the Bible says: "Thus the HEAVENS and the earth were finished, and all the host of them."
Similar examples in the Bible are unending. They would take at least five pages to list. So if this is a contradiction in the Qur'an then the same person who makes this claim will have to also claim that this is a contradiction in the Bible as well. The gardens of paradise are many, and different levels, however, this does not mean that at times they could not be referred to as a single entity rather than by the constituent parts.
As a general rule, he who believes and does good deeds will enter paradise. The specific level of paradise he will enter depends on his faith and deeds. Similarly, he who disbelieves and does evil deeds will enter a level of hellfire appropriate to his actions. Regular believers will not be equal to prophets such as Moses, Jesus, or Muhammad etc. in reward, and regular disbelievers will not be equal to Pharaoh in punishment. This can be seen in many places throughout the Qur'an or the Hadeeth (sayings of the prophet, pbuh).
For example, in Al-Anaam(6):132 we read about how mankind shall be rewarded in levels or ranks according to their faith and deeds. Similarly, in A'al-Umran(3):162-163 we read about how mankind receive reward in different "levels." We also find the same concept in Al-Nissa(4):95-96. In Al-Nahil(16):88 we read about how retribution and punishment shall also be many levels, and so forth throughout the Qur'an.
"Whosoever desires the quick reward of this world, We [readily] hasten unto him what We will for whom we desire, then We have appointed for him Hell. He shall dwell therein disgraced and rejected. And whosoever desires the hereafter and strives for it with its just due while he believes, for those their striving shall be thanked and rewarded. To each, those as well as those, We bestow from the bounty of Your Lord. And the bounties of your Lord can never be forbidden. See how We preferred some of them over others (in this life), and verily, the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preference. Set not up with Allah any other gods lest you sit reproved and forsaken [in Hellfire]" The noble Qur'an, Al-Israa(17):18-22
Is all of this "contradictory"? No, it is simply the nature of the language. For example, in English words such as "land" can either mean pieces of land owned by individuals or else it can refer to a much larger "land" which contains these smaller "lands" such as saying "In the land of Egypt many people own their personal pieces of farm land." The word "land" is used twice in this sentence, in each case it conveys a different meaning. This does not make them "contradictory."
So, do the verses really "contradict" one-another?
--- According to Sura 56:7 there will be THREE distinct groups of people at the Last Judgment, but 90:18-19, 99:6-8, etc. mention only TWO groups.
This one too is an interesting interpretation. The verse of Al-Waqia(56):7 states than on the day of judgment there shall be three groups, they are: (1)Those who receive their books of deeds in their right hands (the people of paradise), (2)those who receive their books in their left hands (the people of hellfire), and (3)those who excelled in the cause of their Lord and raced all others to His good will. Most other verses of the Qur'an only classify mankind on the day of Judgment as being "people of the right" and "people of the left." Is this really a contradiction?
This is similar to saying: "In 1995, 200 people graduated from our local high school. 20 did not graduate, and 13 people were on the honor role."
Is it a contradiction to claim that these 13 people who were on the honor role were ALSO "graduates"? Does their being outstanding students mean that they can no longer be called "graduates"? The verses simply conveys distinction and honor upon those who set a higher standard for the rest of mankind and bestows upon them their well deserved recognition.
In Acts 9:27 we read: "But Barnabas took him (Paul), and brought [him] to the apostles..."
According to the above logic, it would now be a contradiction to say that Barnabas was an apostle of Jesus since the verse clearly mentions three distinct parties, Barnabas, Paul, and the apostles.Right?
Do the verses really contradict one another? One wonders why such "contradiction" are clear only to such authors while no Muslim have managed to discover them in over 1400 years?
--- There are conflicting views on who takes the souls at death: THE Angel of Death [32:11], THE angels (plural) [47:27] but also "It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death." [39:42]
(Note: This is the first of two places where he attempts to drive a wedge between the will of God and the will of his agents, the angels. In these two places he does not allow the angels to simply be the tools of God's will, rather, they are forced to be independent of God in their actions so that he can generate a "contradiction." However, at the end of this list he switches tracks making a complete 180 degree about face. In that one he needs to accept this basic fact in order to attempt to generate a third "contradiction.")
It is beginning to look like all of these claimed contradictions are going to follow the same general theme. Once again we find here an objection to verses which describe stages or degrees of participation. This issue is resolved quite completely in the long sermon of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) wherein he gave the details of how mankind die and then are taken to judgment. That hadeeth can be found for example in the collections of hadeeth by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Abu Dawud, or Ibn Majah, who narrate upon the authority of Al-Bara' ibn 'Aazib the sermon of the prophet (pbuh) which, to make a long story short, tells us about how when a person appointed time of death arrives, God sends the Angel of Death with two other angels to take his soul. The Angel of Death will extract the soul and then hand it over to the other two angels who will, within the blink of an eye, wrap it in a shroud and embalment. They then ascend with it up into the sky then returned it to earth in its grave in time to hear the footsteps of those who buried him as they are leaving. The soul will then be taken to trial and asked four questions and based upon the answers a window either to heaven or to hell will be opened upon it in the grave and it will be left there to wait for the Day of Judgment. In this manner it is God who initiates the command, the Angel of Death who fulfills the first part of the process of death, and the other two angels who fulfill the second part.
Once again, to use "everyday" terms, if a man's car falls into a river and the chief of police arrives with some police officers, divers and paramedics, and if the chief coordinates the effort by issuing the necessary commands while the divers pull out the driver of the car and then hand him over to the paramedics in order to perform CPR, who then actually "SAVED" the driver? Can we say that the chief had nothing to do with the rescue operation? Can we say that they divers are not responsible for saving the man? Can we say that the paramedics had nothing to do with saving the man's life? They may differ in the "degree of participation," however, this does not mean that only one of them did indeed "SAVE" the man.
If all three of these groups then receive "medals of valor" for their actions then is this a "contradiction"? Does only one of them really DESERVE the medal while the other two don't?
According to this logic, if a crime kingpin were to send a hitman to kill someone then it would be unjust to say that they "both" killed the man or to attempt to prosecute both of them since it is "obvious" that only one of them could possibly be responsible for killing the man. Right?
If a man strikes another man over the head with a lead pipe and kills him, then according to the author of this list I could not say both "the man was killed by a fatal blow to the head" and "the man was killed by an intruder," Since, for him, either the lead pipe did it or the killer did it, but not both. That would be a contradiction.
The angels can not disobey God, differ with Him in will, or do evil. One good summary of the relationship of the angels to God in their wills in found in the following Hadeeth Qudsi:
"If Allah has loved a servant [of His] He calls Gabriel (pbuh) and says: I love So-and-so, therefore love him. He (the Prophet pbuh) said: So Gabriel loves him. Then he (Gabriel) calls out in heaven, saying: Allah loves So-and-so, therefore love him. And the inhabitants of heaven love him. He (the Prophet pbuh) said: Then acceptance is established for him on earth. And if Allah has abhorred a servant [of His], He calls Gabriel and says: I abhor So-and-so, therefore abhor him. So Gabriel abhors him. Then Gabriel calls out to the inhabitants of heaven: Allah abhors So-and-so, therefore abhor him. He (the Prophet pbuh) said: So they abhor him, and abhorrence is established for him on earth."
Further, once prophet Muhammad (pbuh) asked Gabriel why he did not come more often to visit him. God responded in the Qur'an on behalf of all angels with the following verse with neatly sums up the relationship of the will and actions of the angels with regard to the will of God:
"And we (angels) descend not except by the command of your Lord. To Him belongs what is before us and what is behind us and [all] that is in-between that. And your Lord is never forgetful." Mariam(19):64
Numerous other verses or Hadeeth may be found in this regard for those who which to research this issue further. It is clear from the above that the angels are submissive to God in both will and deed, living only to serve Him and carry out His commands. In Islam there is no such thing as "fallen" angels who disobey God. All angels obey God faithfully and fully in spite of themselves.
So, do the verses really contain a contradiction?
Angels have 2, 3, or 4 pairs of wings [35:1]. But Gabriel had 600 wings. [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 455]
One wonders with regard to such examples if the author actually even bothered to read the verse itself? The verse clearly states that God gives the angels two, three, and four wings, and that He then increases his creation over and above that as He wills. The verse says:
"Praise be unto Allah, the Originator of the Heavens and the earth. Who made the angels messengers with wings, two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Verily Allah is able to do all things." Fatir(35):1
For some reason the author of this list chose to not read the rest of the verse. I wonder why?
Once again, are his examples really contradictions?
* Six or eight days of creation? Sura 7:54, 10:3, 11:7, and 25:59 clearly state that God created "the heavens and the earth" in six days. But in 41:9-12 the detailed description of the creation procedure adds up to eight days.
They were six. The verses of 41:9-12 speak of overlapping actions in spans of four and two days each. The adverbs are the keys to understanding this. The verses of 11 and 12 use the adverbs "thummah" and "fa" which imply consecutiveness of action. Neither of these two, however, are used in verse 10 (the only one which mentions four days) which instead uses the adverb "wa" implying parallel, or "overlapping" actions. In other words, the grammar tells us that the four days mentioned in 10 are a continuation of the two mentioned in verse 9. The four days of "measuring the earth's sustenance" refers to the two days of the creation of the earth in addition to the two days of the "spreading out of the earth's features" (see next question).
For example, the world renown track and fielder Carl Lewis might say "I am now 32 years old. I started elementary school when I was 6, then I spent 12 years studying for my high-school diploma and I spent 24 years training to be the world's best long-jumper. Then I settled down and have spent the last two years taking care of my family." Does this mean that he was 18 years old when he started training for the long jump? Did he continue till he was 42 years old? If we add 6 + 12 + 24 + 2 we get 44. How then can he be "32 years old" now?. To understand this we need to notice that he did not say that he started training when he was eighteen. He did not say "then" I trained for 24 years. We now realize that he started training at the same time he started elementary school, when he was 6. He went to school and trained for track and field at the same time. After he graduated from high-school he continued to train for 12 more years. They were "overlapping" actions.
Now, if someone wishes to claim that Carl Lewis' statement is contradictory since he says that he is 32 years old but "the detailed description of the breakdown of the years" works out to 44 years, and that this is a "contradiction," then that is their choice.
* Heavens or Earth? Which was created first? First earth and then heaven [2:29], heaven and after that earth [79:27-30].
The earth was created first, as mentioned in the first verse of Al-Baqarah(2):29. The first verse uses the word "Khalaqa" (created). The second set of verses only say that God "Daha" (spread out and gave features) the earth after the creation of the heavens, not that he "Khalaqa" (created) it. Please verify my claims by referring to any convenient dictionary, such as "Lisan Al-Arab." In other words, God created the earth, created the heavens, and then gave the earth its features and spread them out. This is explained in sufficient detail by the Companion of the Prophet Ibn Abbas who's words in this regard have been recorded in Sahih Al-Bukhari. The very verses themselves even explain it for those who would like to read the very next verse. The verses say "And the earth He "daha" after that; He extracted from its water and its fodder, and the mountains He planted firmly..." Thus, it is quite clear from the verses themselves what is meant by this word. It simply means "to spread out and give features, such as streams, mountains, plants, etc."
It is very possible that what is meant by "spreading out and giving features" in this verse is the well known "continental drift" theory. In the early 20th century a German meteorologist by the name of A. L. Wegener, after studying numerous scientific indications suggested that the continents had started out as a single unified continent millions of years ago when the earth was first formed. These continents then split apart, and like a giant jigsaw puzzle they moved apart to form the continents we know today as Europe, Asia, Australia, the Americas, etc. This splitting of the continents is postulated to have begun in the Mesozoic Era and is continuing in the present era.
Originally, a huge primeval supercontinent that Wegener called Pangea (Greek, "all land") had rifted and the pieces had separated to form the present continents. According to Wegener, South America and Africa began to separate about 100 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, as did North America and Europe, thereby creating the Atlantic Ocean. The Indian Ocean began to open up during the Jurassic Period. The principal movement, however, occurred during the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods, when the Indian subcontinent moved north and collided with Asia, and Australia became separated from Antarctica, driving into the Indonesian Archipelago. The westward drift of the American continents generated the compressive forces that produced the western Cordilleran mountain ranges, and the northward drift of India crumpled a large area, thus forming the Himalaya mountain range. Similarly, the Alpine mountain ranges were the result of north-south compression between Africa and Europe.
Wegener supported his hypothesis by producing evidence from various fields. Wegener did not base his theory simply on the celebrated "jigsaw fit" of the Atlantic continents, rather, much more convincing were the numerous indications evident in the geographic distribution of distinctive types of fossils. The conventional "stabilist" interpretation rejected continental drift and favored transoceanic land bridges that had sunk, such as the fabled Atlantis. Wegener showed, however, that this interpretation was geophysically implausible. Other evidence supporting Wegener's hypothesis came from a comparison of the rocks on both sides of the Atlantic, which seems to indicate that the continents had been closely connected in the past, as well as from a study of ancient climatic zones and a series of late Paleozoic sedimentary deposits known as tillites.
Although Wegener's hypothesis originally received a generally hostile reception, recently, new geophysical evidence tends to support the hypothesis of drifting continents. Convection cells, plate tectonics, and seafloor spreading are three new sciences which have recently combined to support the continental drift theory.
It is interesting to note that in the Qur'an God ties the "spreading out" (Daha) of the earth with the formation and "planting" of the mountains. An issue which Wegener has confirmed and considers to be an integral part of this theory as seen above. It is also interesting that this matter is only just beginning to receive wide-spread acceptance in the scientific community in this century. One wonders, if prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not receive his message from God, then where did he get the theory that the earth was "spread out" long after its creation and that this spreading out is related to the creation of the mountains among other issues?
Further, it is also strange that in spite of the fact that the Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the Marmaduke Pickthall, and the Hilali and Khan translations of the meanings of the Qur'an all translate the second verse as "spread out" or "extended," still, in order to generate a "contradiction" the author of this list managed to change this word to "create" in order that it might support his allegations. A strange way to 'prove' one's case.
* Calling together or ripping apart? In the process of creation heaven and earth were first apart and are called to come together [4:11], while 21:31 states that they were originally one piece and then ripped apart.
This is another strange one. First of all, I am assuming that you mean [41:11] not [4:11]. The verse of Fussilat(41):11 says that God commanded the heavens and the earth to submit to Him. The command to "come" unto God in this verse is equivalent to such verses as:
Al-Saffat(37):83-84: "And verily, among those who followed his (Noah's) path was Abraham. When he came to his Lord with a pure heart. When he said to his father ..."
So how exactly did Abraham "come" to his Lord? Did he physically come to Him? This is equivalent to many similar verses in the Bible. For example:
Luke 17:4 "And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him."
What is meant here by "turning to God"? Does the man turn "left" or does he turn "right"? Which direction should he face from now on? Should he spend the rest of his days facing North or South? Is this what the verse means?
Similarly, in Ezekiel 14:6 we read: "Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn [yourselves] from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations."
So which direction should mankind "face" in order to have "turned away their faces" from their "abominations"? In which direction do their "abominations" reside? Are they in the South and we should face North?
(Also read Jeremiah 3:21-22, etc.)
God created the heavens and the earth and then commanded them while they were still in a simple gaseous form ("when it was smoke") to submit to His will either voluntarily or involuntarily so that He would fashion them as He wished. How did He command them and how did they answer? That is beyond our understanding. Indeed we are told in the Qur'an in Al-Isra(17):44: "The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein glorify Him, and there is not a thing but glorifies His praise, yet you understand not their glorification. Truly, He is Ever-Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving"
Now, after the heavens and the earth were first created as a "smoke," and after He commanded them to submit to his will, and after they submitted to His will, now we are told that God extracted from that smoke the features of the heavens and the earth which we today. Actually, this is indeed one of the scientific miracles of the Qur'an, as it describe issues which are known by astronomers today as being fact. Today, through the development of twentieth centradio telescopes, mankind has actually photographed this process in action and recognize that planets are created from the condensation of spiraling celestial "mists."
It is further interesting to observe the precise term use by God in his description of this phenomenon. He did not say "mist" as current scientific terminology would have it, and which implies a spray of cool water, rather He described it as a "smoke," which implies a hot gas with airborne particles. This is exactly what scientists have been photographing for a couple of decades now, specifically, a tremendously hot cauldron of spiraling celestial gasses and other suspended matter which condense at the center of the spiral into a molten core which then cools down to form a star, and from them, planets. This planet, after many centuries of cooling down may then develop an atmosphere and other detailed features such as streams and valleys, etc.
M100 again. The distance to the swirling grand design spiral M100 is causing quite a stir among astronomers. Many believe that the Hubble Space Telescope's recent distance measurement to this galaxy accurately calibrates the "Hubble's constant."
This once again appears to conform exactly to current scientific understanding. As seen in much more detail in chapter 13 of "What Did Jesus Really Say?," currently, as discovered by the renown 20th century physicist Stephen Hawking, the universe is not static rather it is expanding. The rate of expansion of the universe is measured by a constant termed "the Hubble constant." This is part of the evidence that has led them to conclude that the most likely origin of the universe was in a condensed state of matter which then "expanded" or "exploded," forming our current "expanding universe." This is known as the "big bang" theory. And this indeed appears to be what the verse is saying. It appears to claim that the heavens and the earth were once a single mass then were "ripped asunder," The exact root words used in the Qur'an are the words "ra-ta-qa" and "fa-ta-qa," or "the heavens and the earth were 'ra-ta-qa' then we 'fa-ta-qa' them"
"Ra-ta-qa" is an Arabic word which has the general meaning of "to fuse, to sew, to mend, to patch up, to repair." ("Lisan Al-Arab," by Ibn Mandoor, Vol. 10, Dar Al-Fikr, p. 114, and also "A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic," Hans Wehr, Librairie du Liban, p. 325)
Similarly, "fa-ta-qa" has the general meaning of "To rip, to undo sewing, to unstitch, to tear apart, to rend, to rip open." ("Lisan Al-Arab," by Ibn Mandoor, Vol. 10, Dar Al-Fikr, p. 296, and also "A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic," Hans Wehr, Librairie du Liban, p. 695)
Amazing how science tends to support the words of God in the Qur'an so strongly wouldn't you agree? Isn't it interesting that although no one knew these facts until the discovery of radio telescopes in 1937 CE, and it is impossible to see these things with the naked eye, still, God has told us about them in the noble Qur'an over 1400 years ago?
Since Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was an Arab from the middle of the desert, and since neither he nor any of his countrymen new the first thing about radio telescopes or planetary development, or space travel, and the neighboring Greeks were still philosophizing in theories which would only be exposed as erroneous by nineteenth and twentieth century scholars, still, in spite of this he has managed to prove us with such a detailed and accurate description of these matters. Did the "Martians" come down and take Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on a tour in their space ship?
"And those who have been given knowledge know that that which has been revealed to you from your Lord is the Truth"
The noble Qur'an, Saba(34):6
"Do they not consider the Qur'an (with care) or are there locks upon their hearts?"
The noble Qur'an, Muhammad(47):24
For more on the issue of extremely high-profile Christian Western scientists readily admitting that the Qur'an must be the work of God, please read the following question and answer.
For a more in-depth analysis of these matters including video tapes containing interviews with over ten of the worlds leading non-Muslim pioneering Western scholars, all of whom affirm the accuracy of the scientific statements of the Qur'an, contact the following address and ask for the video tape titled "It is the Truth" from:
The Islamic Academy for Scientific Research. 8150 West 111 Street Palos Hills, IL 60465 U.S.A. Phone: (708) 974-9151
ICNA Sound Vision 843 W. Van Buren, suite 411 Chicago, IL. 60607 Phone: (800) 432-4262
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) P.O. Box 38 Plainfield, Indiana, 46168 U.S.A. Phone: (317) 839-8157
The Islamic Society of Central New York 925 Comstock Avenue Syracuse, NY 13210 Phone: (315) 471-3645.
* What was man created from? A blood clot [96:1-2], water [21:30, 24:45, 25:54], "sounding" (i.e. burned) clay [15:26], dust [3:59, 30:20, 35:11], nothing [19:67] and this is then denied in 52:35, earth [11:61], a drop of thickened fluid [16:4, 75:37]
I wonder, if three bakers were to come visit the author of this list and one were to say: "Bread is made from flour," the next were to say "bread is made from dough" and the third were to say: "Bread is made from wheat," if he would consider this a "contradiction" too?
If two physicists now came along and one said "bread is made from atoms" and the other said "bread is made from molecules," would this be an even further "contradiction"?
The blood of all living creatures is composed of 55 percent plasma, which in turn is composed of more than 90 percent water. As opposed to 1400 centuries ago when the Qur'an was first revealed by God, today it is a well known fact that the major "ingredient" in the human body is water (a matter emphasized ONLY in the Qur'an and not in the Bible). It is further very well known that mankind is made from "dust" (when you place his body in the grave and leave it for a number of years, and the water evaporates, what form does his body revert to? Further, what is "clay"? Is it not a special form of water and dust? It is equally obvious that if God created everything then there must have been a time when everything we see was "nothing," including humans.
However, our current author severely dislikes all Muslims and is bent on discovering "contradictions." The irony of the matter is that although he has no formal knowledge of these matters but manages to brand all of these statements to be "contradictory," in spite of that, when truly objective and unbiased Christian scholars who are world renown specialist in this field are presented with the very same verses and many more, and spend over three years studying them in detail, we find these world renown Christian scholars so totally amazed at their accuracy in matters which were only scientifically proven in the last twenty years that they found no recourse but to admit that it must have come from God and even to go so far as to suggest the total replacement of current scientific terminology with that used by God in the Qur'an. But they are saying this with regard to the Muslim Qur'an and not their own Christian Bible. Who are so of these men? Among them are Prof. Keith Moore, Prof. E. Marshall Johnson, Prof. Joe Leigh Simpson, Prof. T.V.N. Persaud, Dr. Maurice Bucaille, and Dr. Tejatet Tejasen to name but a few. Let us learn a little more about these men and then hear what they have to say in this regard:
Dr. Keith L. Moore is a Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. He is a world renowned scientist and a distinguished researcher in the fields of anatomy and embryology, he has published more than 150 research articles, chapters and books in this field. He is the author of several medical textbooks, such as the widely used and acclaimed "The Developing Human: Clinically oriented Embryology" (now in its fifth edition, translated into eight different languages, and the standard textbook on this science in many countries), "Before We Are Born" and "Clinically Oriented Anatomy." He has also recently co-authored "Qur'an and Modern Science, Correlation Studies." Dr. Moore is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including, in 1984, the J.C.B. Grant Award, which is the highest honor granted by the Canadian Association of Anatomists. He has served in many academic and administrative positions, including the President of the Canadian Association of Anatomists, 1968-1970. Let us see what Dr. Moore's opinion is on the scientific statements regarding embryology to be found in the Qur'an:
Dr. Moore was contacted by a Muslim scholar by the name of Abdul-Majeed Azzindani. He was asked to participate in a three-year study of around twenty-five verses of the Qur'an and the Sunnah (sayings of Muhammad, pbuh) which speak about embryology, and to determine the degree of their correspondence to modern scientific discoveries. Dr. Moore's conclusion regarding this matter was:
From the forward of "The Developing Human: Clinically oriented Embryology," third edition, by Dr. Keith L. Moore.
The author of this list and his friend Dr. Campbell have done their best to try and claim that the Qur'an contains scientifically incorrect information and to attempt to convince the reader that they know what they are talking about and should be considered authorities in this matter. They attempt to convince the reader that Al-Alaq(96):2 which mentions that one of the microscopic stages of development of the human embryo is in the form of "Alaq," a clinging leech-like entity (4), is wrong.
Now it may indeed be possible that all of these world renown Christian scientists who are defending the Qur'an are all mistaken and that only the author of this list and his friend, Dr. Campbell, are able to see the truth. However, I shall leave it up to them to first convince these scholars of what is or is not "clearly" or "obviously" scientifically incorrect. With regard to this specific verse, it is suggested to them both to please read page 56 of the third edition of "The Developing Human" with its accompanying pictures and then to please contact Prof. Moore (or any of the other award winning, world renown, Christian Professors of embryology we shall be hearing from soon) and explain to him how they would like to show him how he is propagating such clearly incorrect and scientifically unsound information in his textbooks in his defense of the Islamic terminology and staging.
The reader is encouraged to study Fig. 4-3 of page 56 of Prof. Moore's textbook which contains a microscopic representation of the human embryo in the stages from 15-21 days and notice the unmistakable physical similarity it bears with common leeches. Further, the reader is encouraged to note that this similarity is not only in appearance, rather it is also a similarity of function. Just as leeches attach themselves to a host organism and feed off of the blood supply of that host, so too does the human embryo mimic this exact same action. Were it not for the fact that the human embryo is many orders of magnitude smaller than a real leech and imperceptible by the naked eye, then both entities would be all but indistinguishable.
Note the leech-like appearance of the human embryo at this stage in both physical appearance as well as in function (The human embryo, however, is many orders of magnitude smaller than the leech and can not be seen by the naked eye).
Before this period, theories on human reproduction ran rampant. Some scientist believed that the menstrual blood itself developed into the fetus. Later on, a new theory was developed wherein the sperm drop was popularly believed to contain a completely developed miniature human (homunculus) which later grew to the size of a baby. The science of embryology as we know it today did not discover many of the detailed aspects of human development which are taken for granted today until only about twenty years ago, or 1972 to be precise.
Now we must ask the question: where did prophet Muhammad (pbuh) get such detailed knowledge of the microscopic development of the human embryo in the 6th century AD without a microscope, technical training, or a laboratory of any kind? The only logical conclusion is that it came from exactly where he claimed it did. From the one who created mankind, God Almighty!
Prof. Moore has since given numerous lectures on the topic of embryology in the Qur'an. He is quoted in one of these lectures as saying:
"It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from God, or Allah, because most of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad must have been a messenger of God, or Allah." (As mentioned before, tone Christians refer to as "God the Father" is known in Islam as "Allah.")
Prof. Moore was so impresse with the Qur'anic classification of the stages of development of the human embryo, the suggested the adoption of the Qur'anic system in place of the system currently in use by scientists today. Prof. Moore said:
"Because the staging of the human embryo is complex owing to the continuous process of change during development. It is therefore suggested that a new system of classification could be developed using the terms mentioned in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. The proposed system is simple, comprehensive, and conforms with present embryological knowledge."
When Dr. Moore first presented his findings in Toronto it caused quite a stir throughout Canada. It was on the front pages of some of the newspapers across Canada. One newspaper reporter asked Professor Moore,
"Don't you think That maybe the Arabs might have known about these things - the description of the embryo, its appearance and how it changes and grows? Maybe there were not scientists, but maybe they did some crude dissections on their own - carved up people and examined these things."
Professor Moore immediately pointed out to him, however, that he had missed a very important point. All of the slides of the embryo that Dr. Moore had based his study upon had come from pictures taken through a microscope. He said,
"It does not matter if someone had tried to discover embryology fourteen centuries ago, they could not have seen it!." Dr. Moore taunted, "Maybe fourteen centuries ago someone secretly had a microscope and did this research, making no mistakes anywhere. Then he somehow taught Muhammad and convinced him to put this information in his book. Then he destroyed his equipment and kept it a secret forever?. Do you believe that? You really should not unless you bring some proof because it is such a ridiculous theory."
When he was asked "How do you explain this information in the Qur'an?" Dr. Moore's reply was, "It could only have been divinely revealed."
Prof. Keith Moore is not the only scholar who has been presented with such verses of the Qur'an. Many other scholars from all over the world have been presented with similar statements from the Qur'an in their field of expertise. Only a few of these people are:
1) Dr. E. Marshall Johnson, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, and the Director of the Daniel Baugh Institute, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA. Author of over 200 publications. Former President of the Teratology Society among other accomplishments. After studying the verses of the Qur'an he came to the following conclusion:
"The Qur'an describes not only the development of external form but emphasizes also the internal stages - the stages inside the embryo of its creation and development, emphasizing major events recognized by contemporary science... If I was to transpose myself into that era, knowing what I do today and describing things, I could not describe the things that were described... I see no evidence to refute the concept that this individual Muhammad had to be developing this information from some place... so I see nothing in conflict with the concept that divine intervention was involved..."
2) Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson. Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor Collage of Medicine, Houston, Texas. He is the President of the American Fertility Society, and has served in many other professional, national, and international organizations. He has received numerous awards including Association of Professors of Obstetrics and Gynecology Public Recognition Award in 1992. He has published more than 400 chapters and articles in journals and books. He says:
"... these Hadeeths (sayings of Muhammad) could not have been obtained on the basis of the scientific knowledge that was available at the time of the writer'... It follows that not only is there no conflict between genetics and religion (Islam) but in fact religion (Islam) may guide science by adding revelation to some of the traditional scientific approaches... There exist statements in the Qur'an shown centuries later to be valid which support knowledge in the Qur'an having been derived from God."
3) Dr. T.V.N. Persaud. Professor and Head of the Department of Anatomy, Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health, and Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is the author and editor of 25 books, has contributed 31 chapters to publications, and has published over 180 scientific papers. In 1991 he received the most distinguished award presented in the field of anatomy in Canada, the J.C.B. Grant Award from the Canadian Association of Anatomists. He says:
"Muhammad was a very ordinary man, he couldn't read, didn't know how to write, in fact he was an illiterate... were talking about 1400 years ago, you have some illiterate person making profound statements that are amazingly accurate, of a scientific nature... I personally can't see how this could be mere chance, there are too many accuracies and like Dr. Moore, I have no difficulty in my mind reconciling that this is a divine inspiration or revelation which lead him to these statements."
4) After a study which lasted ten years, the famous French physician Dr. Maurice Bucaille addressed the French Academy of Medicine in 1976 and expressed the complete agreement of the Qur'an and established findings of modern science. He presented his study on the existence in the Qur'an of certain statements concerning physiology and reproduction. His reason for doing that was that
"our knowledge of these disciplines is such, that it is impossible to explain how a text produced at the time of the Qur'an could have contained ideas that have only been discovered in modern times."
Based upon his extensive study of these issues over many years, Dr. Bucaille later converted to Islam.
5) Dr. Tejatet Tejasen, Head of the Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chiang Mai, Thailand. After his study on the Qur'an passages dealing with embryology:
"From my studies and what I have learnt at this conference I believe that everything that has been recorded in the Qur'an 1400 years ago must be true. That can be proved the scientific way."
6) Dr. Arther J. Alison. head of the Department of Electronical and Electronics Engineering in a British University after researching the field of Parapsychology and spiritual treatment of man in the light of the Qur'an and current scientific knowledge was so completely amazed at the scientific accuracy of the statements he found in the Qur'an in this regard that he converted to Islam and is now named Abdullah Alison. He urges all Western scientists to get acquainted with Islam which "addresses both intellect and sentiments at the same time." Dr. Alison worked for six years as the chairman of the British Parapsychology and Spiritual Studies Society. This position, led him to deeply study different religions and philosophies, including Islam. Dr. Alison placed special emphasis in his study on the relationship between death and sleep, and the conformance of scientific data to the claims he later found in the Qur'an were the reason for his final conversion. Dr. Alison exclaimed "my joy knew no bounds as the results of my study were so convincing and, thus I discovered Islam." he added. He regretted that the West is totally ignorant about the scientific approach of Islam. "During our discussion at this conference (in Cairo), we have arrived at conclusive evidence that Islam does not contradict science, and plan to do further research on parapsychology in the light of the Qur'an."
The list is constantly growing. Others such non-Muslim scientists include:
7) Dr. Gerald C. Goeringer. Professor and Coordinator of Medical Embryology in the Department of Cell Biology in the Georgetown University school of Medicine. Washington, D.C. He has published numerous articles dealing mainly with the study of teratogenesis.
8) Dr. Alfred Kroner, Professof Geology, Germany.
9) Dr. Yoshiodi Kozan, Director of the observatory of Tokyo, Japan.
10) Dr. William Hay, Professor of Oceanography, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.
11) Dr. PePalmer, Professor of Geology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.
12) Dr. Sayawida, Professor of Marine Geology, Japan.
13) Dr. Armstrong, Professor of Astronomy, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
14) Dr. Draga Persaud Rauw, Professor of Marine Geology, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
15) Dr. Schroeder, Professor of Oceanography, Germany.
The response of these scholars when presented with verses of the Qur'an in their field of specialization, varied. One thing however was always constant. They all confirmed the accuracy of the scientific statements made in the Qur'an, and they all could not explain how Muhammad (pbuh) could have known with such accuracy the scientific claims to be found in the Qur'an so many centuries before mankind discovered them to be scientific truths.
So how have the apologists and the "Islam bashers" responded to such statements from so many leading world renown non-Muslim scientists? Well, to take one example, the very best that the authors of "Answering Islam" have managed to come up with is such revelations as: "...even if the Qur'an were proven to be scientifically accurate, it would not thereby make it divinely authoritative. All it would prove is that the Quran made no scientific blunders…" (p. 200)
Ahh, so here we have world renown Christian and other non-Muslim scholars publicly admitting that the words of God in the noble Qur'an are completely scientifically accurate in matters which were not found to be scientifically true until many centuries later. They go on to declare that this degree of accuracy is of such an unprecedented degree as to have been literally impossible to achieved by the people of that age even if they were the most learned specialists in these fields, since the very tools necessary of these discoveries would not be invented for many more centuries. They then go on to tell us that these descriptions are far too numerous and too detailed to have been arrived at by mere chance or stabs in the dark, especially by an unlettered Arab sheep-herder who was making these comments almost as secondary remarks in a book which was never meant to be taken as a scientific textbook. And finally, these scientists even go so far as to suggest the total replacement of current scientific terminology with the superior terminology provided by God in the Qur'an. After all of this the response is "… all it would prove is that the Qur'an made no scientific blunders." … Problem solved. I suppose that by the same token these authors will then assert that the fact that Jesus (pbuh) raised the dead and cured diseases which to this day remain incurable, that in their words "even if this is true" then this does not prove that Jesus (pbuh) was sent by God, but it only proves that "Jesus made no errors in his medical prescriptions"?
Allah Almighty tells us in the Qur'an:
"Allah did not create (all) that except in truth. He details the signs for people of knowledge." The noble Qur'an, Yunus(10):5
"And those who were given knowledge see that which was sent down upon you by your Lord is the truth and guides to the path of the 'Exalted' (in Might) the 'worthy of all praise'." The noble Qur'an, Saba(34):6.
"Had We sent down this Qur'an upon a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rending asunder for fear of Allah. Such are the parables We put forth for mankind that they may reflect." The noble Qur'an, Al-Hashr(59):21
"Verily! this Qur'an guides to that which is most upright, and gives glad tidings to the believers who work deeds of righteousness that theirs will be a great reward" The noble Qur'an, Al-Isra(17):9
"And We have indeed simplified [the comprehension of] this Qur'an for remembrance, so is there any that will remember and be admonished?" The noble Qur'an, Al-Qamar(54):17
So do the examples presented in this list really contain "contradictions" or could there possibly be some other reason why matters described by God in the Muslim's Qur'an are recognized by world renown Christian specialists to be of such unparalleled accuracy as to leave them at a loss for words and only able to attribute it to God, these very same verses appear to the author of this list to be "obvious" contradictions and "clearly" scientifically incorrect?
* Will there be inquiry in Paradise? "neither will they question one another" [23:101] but nevertheless they will be "engaging in mutual inquiry" [52:25], "and they will ... question one another" [37:27].
23:101 is speaking about the Day of Judgment when the trumpet is blown for the second time and the judgment is just getting under way. At this time, while they are being judged by their Lord, they do not speak to one-another but shall be totally mesmerized and humbled before Him, awaiting His judgment. On the other hand 52:25 is speaking about the actions of those who have entered into paradise after the Day of Judgment and after the judgment has been rendered in their favor. Similarly, 37:27 is speaking about the dwellers of the Hellfire who after the judgment has been completed and they are sentenced to Hellfire, as they are being herded and shoved towards it they are stopped and then rebuked. This is when they ask one-another. Once the judgment is over.
But these are very basic and fundamental concepts in Islam. These are concepts which Muslims learn in grade school. Anyone who knows the first thing about Islam knows that humanity passes through three stages; life on earth, Judgment Day, and life in the Hereafter. One wonders why the author of this list is so openly disregarding them and trying to merge them into only two stages? Is the discovery of contradictions that important to him, or could it be that he really has no knowledge about even such basic and fundamental concepts of Islam as this?
* Are angels protectors? "NO protector besides Allah" [2:107, 29:22]. But in Sura 41:31 the angels themselves say: "We are your protectors in this life and the Hereafter." And also in other suras is their role described as guarding [13:11, 50:17-18] and protecting [82:10].
(Note: This is the second of two places where he attempts to drive a wedge between the will of God and the will of his agents, the angels. In these two places he does not allow the angels to simply be the tools of God's will, rather, they are forced to be independent of God in their actions so that he can generate a "contradiction." However, at the end of this list he switches tracks making a complete 180 degree about face. In that one he needs to accept this basic fact in order to attempt to generate a third "contradiction.")
As seen in the above question of "who is responsible for death," God is ultimately responsible for all decrees, however, He sometimes performs His decrees directly through a direct command, such as to create something simply by commanding it to "BE!." At other times He uses his creation as tools to carry out His decrees, such as using the angels to guard those whom He chooses. This can be seen for example in Al-Anaam(6):61 where we are told that God protects mankind by sending "hafadhah," (or "protecting angels"). They can not undertake any action except through His will and command. This is similar to saying that the head of the secret service has sent five "agents" to protect the president. The head of the secret service might say "I am responsible for protecting the president." The agent's too will say "we are responsible for protecting the president." Yes, the agents are responsible for protecting the president, however, this is only true because the head of the secret service assigned this job to them. If he wished he could find a different way to protect the president, such as with an armored car, or even assign different agents to him. As seen in the reply to the author's first attempt in this regard, the Qur'an says the following regarding the will and actions the angels: "And we (angels) descend not except by the command of your Lord. To Him belongs what is before us what is behind us and [all] that is in-between that. And your Lord is never forgetful." Mariam(19):64. For more on this issue please read my comments on his first attempt in this regard.
* Is everything devoutly obedient to Allah? That is the claim in 30:26, but dozens of verses speak of the proud disobedience of Satan [7:11, 15:28-31, 17:61, 20:116, 38:71-74, 18:50] as well of many different human beings who reject His commands and His revelations.
The word used in 30:26 is "Qanitoon," meaning subservient or "under the mercy of." This can be verified very easily by reading any number of references such as the 18 volume encyclopedia of Arabic language, "Lisan Al-Arab," Vol. 2, p. 73. The verse does not use the word "aabidoon" or "mo'minoon" meaning "worshipful, believing, or devout." The difference is that 30:26 only claims that all of God's creation are under His mercy unable to escape Him, and ultimately shall be brought to judgment. No one can chose to rise above the need for God's continuing sustenance, to refuse to be taken to judgment, or to decree for themselves a matter which God does not allow to happen. This is similar to saying that someone who lives in a given country is "subservient and under the mercy of" their law, however, he may not necessarily do so willingly or approvingly. If I say "everyone is under God's mercy unable to escape," does this contradict the claim that "not everyone believes that they are under His mercy nor do they all worship Him"?
* Does Allah forgive shirk? This is the worst sin and Allah can't really decide if he will ever forgive it or not. No [4:48, 116], Yes [4:153, 25:68-71]. And Abraham committed this sin of polytheism as he takes moon, sun, stars to be his Lord [6:76-78] and still Muslims believe that all prophets are without any sin.
Abraham's actions were a stage play for the benefit of his people, the worshippers of planets, in order to get them to thinking about what they were worshipping and realize the fallacy of their actions. This is made clear from the proceeding two verses of 74-75 which clearly state that not only was prophet Abraham (pbuh) already worshipping God and reproaching his father for worshipping his people's planet-idols, but God had already shown Abraham (pbuh) such signs in heaven and in earth as to establish his faith with certainty. Only after confirming these two facts do the verses of 76 onwards begin to describe how he used his wisdom to think up this ruse in order to draw his people towards the same truth which he had been guided to. And yes, Muslims do insist that all the prophets are unerring in their preachings.
How confident would you be with a prophet who told you "God want's you to give away all of your belongings" and then after you have done so comes a little later on and says "oops, I made a mistake. That was not really necessary" What if he said: "God commands that you go to war," then after many of them die in battle he says "Oops, God did not really want that," etc. God does not make mistakes, and He protects His messengers from delivering incorrect messages or ever erring in their preaching or belief.
As for shirk, or polytheism, God does not forgive it if a person dies upon it, however, He may or may not, at His discretion, forgive all other sins which a person dies upon. Nevertheless, even polytheism is forgiven those who repent before their death. This is explained in sufficient detail below and in the various hadeeths of the prophet such as the one narrated by Anas in the Musnad of Al-Hafid Abu-Bakr, or the one narrated by Abu-Tharr in Musnad Ahmad, or the one by Jabir in the musnad of Al-Hafid abu-Yala, or the one narrated by ibn Abbas by way of Al-Tabari, etc. all of which explain that the boundary condition, or requirement for shirk to be forgiven is for the person to repent before death, otherwise even though he may be forgiven all other sins which he did not repent from before his death, still, his polytheism shall not be forgiven him if he died upon it. This is also held out by the very examples presented by the author of this list.
For example he presents the example of the Jews who worshipped the calf but were forgiven their polytheism in 4:153. But why was their polytheism forgiven them? The reason for this, as stated above, is that they had already repented from this sin before their death and had not died upon it, as seen for example in Al-Aaraf(7):149.
Actually, Al-Furqan(25):68-71 itself expressly spells out this boundary condition in no uncertain terms. He has managed to read in these verses the promise of God that He shall forgive this sin, however, he has not chosen to read the condition which Allah has presented for forgiveness of this sin. This condition is so critical that it is repeated twice in these verses. Once in verse 70 and then in verse 71 it is repeated again in detail and spelled out quite clearly. Indeed, ibn Juraij narrated upon the authority of the Companion ibn Abbas that these very verses were revealed by God with regard to a tribe of men who had spent their lives in idol worship and adultery. When they asked prophet Muhammad (pbuh) whether it was possible for them to repent after their lifetime of polytheism, this is when God revealed to them these verses, from 68 onwards, informing them that repentance before death can even erase polytheism. After mentioning polytheism as a sin worthy of hellfire the verses then go on to say: "..and he (the sinner) will abide therein (hellfire) disgraced, EXCEPT those who repent, believe (in Islam), and did righteous deeds, for those Allah will change their sins to good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And whosoever repents and does good deeds, then verily, he repents towards Allah with a sincere repentance."
God also says in this regard in Taha(20):82 "And indeed I excel in forgiveness towards he who repents, believes (in Islam), does righteous deeds, then is guided."
In Al-Nissa(4):110 we read "And he who commits evil or is unjust against himself but then seeks God's forgiveness, He will find God Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
So what is meant by a man "being unjust against himself"? To learn the answer we need to read Lukman(31):13:
"And (remember) when Lukman said to his son when he was advising him: 'O my son! Join not partners with Allah in worship. Verily, joining partners in worship with Allah is a great injustice indeed!"
All Muslims are required to explain the Qur'an using the Qur'an itself or else the explanation of the verse which was given to us by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). So if we go to the book "Sahih Al-Bukhari" we will find that the prophet (pbuh) is quoted in a number of his Hadeeth teaching us the above concept. For example:
The verses of Al-Anaam(6):82 says: "Those who believed and did not clothe their belief in injustice, for them shall be security and they are [rightly] guided,"
The Prophet's Companion Abdullah narrated that when the Companions first heard this verse they began to fear for themselves (since none of them were perfect humans) and they asked the Prophet (pbuh) 'Who among us has not been unjust against himself?" The Prophet (pbuh) replied "It is not as you think. Do you not read: 'Verily, joining partners in worship with Allah is a great injustice indeed!' (Lukman(31):13)?
From these verses we see that the greatest injustice is associating partners with God in worship, since it attempts to refuse God His foremost right and results in severe retribution from Him. However, the God of Islam as not only Just, however He also excels in mercy such that not only does He forgive all regular sins at His discretion even if the person did not repent before death, however, He even forgives the most major sins if the stated condition of "repenting and seeking God's forgiveness before death" is fulfilled. This is all verified in the Hadeeth of the prophet (pbuh) many times, for example:
1) Jabir narrated in Sahih Muslim:
"A man came to the prophet (pbuh) and asked, what are the 'mujibatan'(two co)?. The prophet (pbuh) replied: 'He who dies not associating partners with Allah shall enter Heaven and he who diassociating partners with Allah shall enter Hellfire'"
2) Jabir also narrated:
"I heard prophet (pbuh) saying: 'He who meets Allah not associating partners with Him shall enter heaven and he who meets Him associating partners with Him shall enter Hellfire.'"
3) The scholar of the Qur'an and Companion of the prophet Abdullah ibn Masoor said:
"The Prophet (pbuh) said: 'He who dies while associating partners with Allah shall enter Hellfire' and I say, He who dies not associating partners with Allah shall enter Heaven." Narrated by Al-Bukhari.
Anas ibn Malik narrated in Mishkat Al-Masabih the following:
"Allah's Messenger (pbuh) stated that Allah said, "O Son of Adam, as long as you supplicate to Me and have hope in me I will pardon you in spite of what you have done, and I do not care. O Son of Adam, if your sins were so numerous as to reach the lofty regions of the sky, then you asked My forgiveness, I would forgive you, and I do not care. O Son of Adam, if you were to meet Me with enough sins to fill the earth, then met Me, not associating anything with Me (in worship), I shall greet you with its equivalent in forgiveness.'" Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi. And Ahmad and Al-Darimi transmitted it from AbuTharr.
So is there still a "contradiction"?
* The event of worship of the golden calf: The Israelites repented about worshipping the golden calf BEFORE Moses returned from the mountain [7:149], yet they refused to repent but rather continued to worship the calf it until Moses came back [20:91]. Does Aaron share in their guilt? No [20:85-90], yes [20:92, 7:151].
The Israelites did not repent until Moses came back. The verse uses the term "falamma suqita fi aydeehim" which is a construct used in cases when people are openly exposed and faced with utter ruination. They did not listen to Aaron when he rebuked them, they claimed that Moses had lost his way up into the mountain and that God had come down to them in the form of the calf. This error was only exposed when Moses returned, rebuking them and exposing their error. Even Arabic grammar supports this fact. The verse describing the return of Moses does not use the words "Fa" or "Thumma" which imply that he returned after this happened, rather, it uses the conjunction "wa" implying concurrence of action. In other words, the use of the conjunction "wa" implies that the return of Moses and the repentance of the Jews happened concurrently. This is basic grammar.
Further, how anyone could read into the verses a claim that Aaron 'shared in the guilt' is truly intriguing. 20:92 only says that Moses rebuked Aaron for not coming to fetch him when the Israelites refused to obey him. Aaron explained that he only did this out of fear that Moses would accuse him of being unfaithful to his charge, so he stayed behind and tried to reason with them. The verse of 7:151 only says that Moses asked God for forgiveness for himself and his brother Aaron out of fear that there might have been some deficiency on their part in exhausting all possible avenues to prevent this occurrence. If Moses' asking God for forgiveness for his brother means that Aaron 'shared in their guilt' then does Moses' inclusion of himself in this same request mean that he too 'shares in this guilt' even though he was not even present but was in the mountain speaking to God at the time? A complete study of this issue would require a study of the Islamic concept of God's unlimited and continuous blessings towards mankind and our inability to repay God for even a small portion of these blessings through our own works or worship. This issue is dealt with for example in the hadeeth of the man who's deeds are weighed against the single blessing of 'eye-sight' on the Day of Judgment. But that is a topic for another day.
* Moses and the Injil? Jesus is born more than 1,000 years after Moses, but in 7:157 Allah speaks to Moses about what is written in the Injil [the book given to Jesus].
In 7:156 one topic has been concluded, and in 7:157 a new one has begun. They are speaking about two different time periods. The new topic has moved from the time of prophet Moses (pbuh) to the time of prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and is describing those who "follow the unlettered prophet (Muhammad, pbuh) whom they find written in the Torah and the injeel that is with them." Many stories related to this verse and the Jews of the time of Muhammad (pbuh) could be narrated here confirming how they did indeed recognize him, however, due to a lack of time and space the interested reader is encouraged to read the chapter on the life of Muhammad (pbuh) in "What Did Jesus Really Say?" Neither is God speaking to Moses in this verse nor is it even addressed to those who lived in that age. If so, then how can they be expected to "follow" prophet Muhammad (pbuh) if he has not even been born yet? In order to generate a contradiction, this address is redirected by the author of this list from the Jews and Christians of the time of Muhammad (pbuh) and directed towards Moses (pbuh) and then forced to be a continuation of a previous topic. The verses narrate the story of the Jews in the time of Moses (pbuh) and then move a few centuries into the future in order to display their situation at and after the time of prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
I suppose that according to this logic that it shall be acceptable to claim that Deut. 18:18-19 is commanding prophet Moses (pbuh) and the Jews that are with him to follow a new prophet who is present in their time? Similarly, according to such logic, should we insist that Acts 3:24-26 is a continuation of the words of Moses (pbuh) in Acts 3:22-23? Should we then insist that Acts 2:24-26 claims that prophet Moses (pbuh) spoke of Samuel's future confirmation of his prophesy? Are the verses of Acts 2:24-26 the words of Moses? Should we force them into his mouth just because the previous two verses of Acts 2:22-23 were his words?
* Can slander of chaste women be forgiven? Yes [24:5], No [24:23].
The general guideline is that Allah, who excels in mercy and forgiveness, does forgive all sins with repentance, as a general rule. This is the rule specified in Al-Noor(24):5 and which was revealed by God in relation to Hilal ibn Umayyah who discovered his wife in bed with Shuraik ibn Sahma'. A witness needs to bring three other witnesses of this act before his claim regarding the chastity of a chaste woman shall be accepted. Otherwise the witness shall be whipped eighty lashes for this testimony if he can not corroborate it with three other witnesses. If the witness happens to be the woman's husband then his witness will count as four witnesses, then the process of "mulaanah" (oath-taking) by both parties begins. If the witness(es) bore false witness then this is considered to be a very major sin in the sight of God and worthy of severe punishment. However, Allah excels in mercy and this is displayed in most aspects of Islam. Even this tremendous sin can be forgiven if the person sincerely repents and turns to God in penitence before death. This is the general rule. However, there is an exception to this rule and this is found in the second set of verses a little further down this same chapter.
In the second set of verses we are dealing with a completely different context and situation. This set of verses was revealed regarding a group of hypocrites lead by Abdullah ibn Ubai ibn Salool who tried to frame Aisha the wife of the prophet (pbut) and cast doubt on her integrity and chastity by alleging infidelity with a Muslim by the name of Safwan ibn Al-Muattal. Safwan had been charged as a look-out behind the Muslim's caravan. During their travel Aisha (pbuh) withdrew away from the caravan to relieve herself and while she was out of sight the carapicked up and left. Some hours later Safwan came up behind the caravan and foher stranded in the desert after the caravan had left. He coaxed his camel down, she got up on it, and he guided it back to caravan. When she arrived Abdullah ibn Ubai wasted no time in starting an unfounded rumor agatheir chastity. This was a time of severe discord and tribulation and was not resolved until God revealed their innocence in this set of verses. The difference is that in this case the sin shall not be forgiven since it was directed at the prophet's wife in an attempt to destroy both their reputations. This is a special case of a general rule and similar to cases found in the Bible where similar special cases are excepted from general rules. For example, in the Bible we read:
Matthew 12:31-32 "Wherefore I (Jesus) say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy [against] the [Holy] Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the [world] to come."
Here we have a general rule: "All sins and blasphemy are forgiven." However, a certain class of sin and blasphemy is not forgiven, namely, that directed at the Holy Ghost. Similarly, slander of chaste women is forgiven with sincere repentance and penitence except when it is directed at the wives of the prophet (pbuh). How do we know this? We know if from the context of the verses which we get from the Hadeeth and which inform us who each set of verses was revealed in regard to, when and why.
"And We (God) have sent down unto you (Muhammad) the Reminder (Qur'an), that you might make clear to mankind that which was sent down unto them and perchance they might reflect." Al-Nahil(16):44
"And We (God) have not sent down unto you (Muhammad) the Book (the Qur'an) except that you might make clear to them that in which they differ, and [as] a guidance and a mercy for a folk who believe" Al-Nahil(16):64
For example, in these very same verses we read the words "And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear never to render [aid] to the their kinsmen, the poor, and the emigrators in the cause of Allah. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not covet that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful." Al-Noor(24):22
At first glance this verse appears to be quite general and we do not learn its true meaning until we study the words of the prophet (pbuh) and his companions in the Hadeeth in order to find its "context." This verse was revealed as part of the previous story. When Abdullah ibn Ubai first started to spread this rumor a poor man by the name of Mustah ibn Uthata who was a close kin of Aisha's father, Abu-Bakr, this man propagated the rumor and spread it causing severe injury to both Aisha and her father even though Abu-Bakr had always in the past done good by him and had been providing for him. When the verses were revealed confirming her innocence her father Abu-Bakr swore to never again give him a red cent. This is when God revealed the above verse, gently encouraging Abu-Bakr to forgive and relent, and reminding him that God forgives those who forgive others.
When Abu-Bakr heard these verses being recited and God said "... do you not covet that God should forgive you?..." Abu-Bakr broke down in tears and began weeping bitterly while exclaiming, "Yes my Lord, I do covet Your forgiveness. I forgive him and shall never withhold from him whatever I have."
This is why Muslims recognize the title "those among you blessed with graces and wealth" to be specific to Abu-Bakr in this specific case even though the title is quite general and this general attitude is recommended for all Muslims as a whole, as seen for example in the more comprehensive verse which commands all Muslims:
"Whether you disclose a good deed or conceal it or pardon an evil, verily, Allah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, All-Powerful" Al-Nissa(4):149
Similarly, what is meant by "chaste women" in the second set of verses is the prophet's wives since they were the context within which the second set of verses were revealed.
In this manner, we see that it is necessary to know a little about the contexts of the verses, the hadeeth related to them, and at least a basic smattering of the history of Islam in order to be able to understand the intent of a given verse. Simply disregarding all of this information, who the verses relate to and why, or what the prophet (pbuh) or his companions said in this regard, is a sad way to cut corners in search of quick "contradictions."
* How do we receive the record on Judgment Day? On Judgment day the lost people are given the Record (of their bad deeds): Behind their back [84:10], or in their left hand [69:25].
It is handed to the evil doers in their left hands behind their backs. For example, in Sahih Al-Bukhari, in the chapter of "Tafseer Al-Qur'an," regarding Al-Inshiqaq(84):10: "But whosoever is given his book in his left hand..." Al-Bukhari narrates that Mujahid explained "...in his left behind his back" The are also other hadeeths of the prophet in this regard such as the one narrated by the prophet's wife Aisha (pbut) in Musnad Ahmad, chapter of "Al-Sunnah." The interested reader may look up the other references.
* Can angels disobey? No angel is arrogant, they all obey Allah [16:49-50], but: "And behold, we said to the ANGELS: 'Bow down to Adam'. And THEY bowed down, EXCEPT Iblis. He refused and was haughty." [2:34].
Satan is not an angel, rather he is of the Jinn as stated in Al-Kahf(18):50. Why then did he need to obey the command which was directed to the angels? Because he was raised with them from childhood and required to obey the laws applied to them while in their company. This is similar to requiring that a foster son obey the rules of his foster father while living within his house. It is not necessary for the foster father, whenever he commands his sons to do something, to follow up with an explicit "and my foster son too must do this," rather, it is implicitly understood that so long as the foster son lives in this house he shall follow the same rules and commands as apply to the other sons.
If a politician declares that "any American who drinks and drives shall be thrown in jail," then does this mean that any non-American who is visiting the USA then drinks and drives shall be immune to this law? No. The law includes him by default, however, they are the minority so the command is issued to the majority with the implication being that anyone in their company is implicitly included.
For example, in the Bible we are told that prophet Abraham was given a covenant of "circumcision" for himself and his family, however, fulfillment of circumcision was required not only of all of his family but also of all those who happened to be in his house at the time, even if they were slaves purchased with his money. This is how all laws work. They are required of all those who abide within the confines of a given nation even if they are not officially considered one of them. A diplomat from the republic of Georgia recently got drunk in Maryland and ran down a young girl. His home government did not invoke 'diplomatic immunity' for him, rather, he was allowed to be held accountable under US law even though he was not one of them. This is basic justice and common sense. If you live in someone's house you follow their rules.
* Three contradictions in 2:97 and 16:101-103 Who brings the revelation from Allah to Muhammad? The ANGEL Gabriel , or the Holy Spirit [16:102]? The new revelation confirms the old [2:97] or substitutes it [16:101]? The Qur'an is PURE Arabic [16:103] but there are numerous foreign, non-Arabic words in it.
The title given by God to angel Gabriel within his capacity as the conveyor or the message and the patron of the prophets is "Holy Spirit." "Gabriel" is his name and "Holy Spirit," "Trustworthy Spirit," or "Spirit" is his title. This can be seen in many places, such as in Al-Shuara(26)19, where he is described as the "Trustworthy Spirit." Further, the noble Qur'an only cthe ancient scriptures in THEIR ORIGINAL FORM. This is made clear in for example the following verse:
"And unto you (O Muhammad) have We revealed the Scripture (Qur'an) with the truth, confirming that which was before it of Scripture, and a watcher/warden/corrector over it. So judge between them by that which Allah has revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which has come unto you..."
The noble Qur'an, Al-Maidah(5):48.
The actual word used in this verse was the Arabic word "Muhaimin" which means "Guardian/warden/overseer/watcher/protector." The job of a warden is to watch the actions of those he has been charged to observe, permitting legal words and deeds and correcting illegal ones. This is indeed the job of the Qur'an, namely, to sift out the human tampering in the Bible and only leave the original teachings of God. The closest English equivalent to this Arabic word in my estimation is "warden" or the similar one chosen by Gary Miller, namely "quality control." For this reason, prophet Muhammad (pbuh) commanded the Muslims to accept only that which is verified by the Qur'an recognizing it as authentic and to reject that which contradicts the Qur'an recognizing it as a later outgrowth of Church tampering.
Further, the original Arabic does not say "pure Arabic" rather, it says "clear Arabic." The actual words are: "wa hatha lisanun arabiyyun mubeen" or "and this is a clear Arabic tongue." This verse was revealed regarding a man by the name of Jabr al-Roomi. When he passed through the land the polytheists quickly jumped at the opportunity to claim that he was the one who was teaching Muhammad the Qur'an and this is why they could not replicate it, since this man was a foreigner with a different background and culture. God replied in these verses that if this claim were true then the Qur'an would not have been revealed in "clear Arabic" since that man had a very heavy foreign accent and could in no way produce such a work.
Finally, as for the claim that Arabic contains non-Arabic words in it, then that depends entirely on the criteria used to judge what is or isn't "Arabic." In English we find such words as "Algebra" which is corruption of the Arabic word "Al-Jabr," (Arabic: "the re-unification") a Muslim science which the West adopted by way of Italy. However, this does not mean that "Algebra" is not an English word. It has been assimilated into the language and is in this age considered to be an authentic part of it. Similarly, words such as "bordello" were transmitted from German (borde) to French (Bordel) to Italian (bordello) and finally to English. So does this mean that this word should not be included in an "English" dictionary or a French or German one? Through usage and acceptance foreign words are subjected to cultural assimilation till they slowly cease to be "foreign words" any more becoming an authentic part of the host language. This is especially the case with regard to countries such as the USA which are "melting pots" of numerous cultures, languages, and traditions. There are many other examples in the English language such as "Bouquet" from the French "Bosquet," itself adopted from the German "Bosc" forest. Once again, the examples number literally in the hundreds. This is also how a few words of non-Arabic origin were later assimilated over the centuries into the Arabic language until after a number of centuries they came to be regarded as "Arabic." Such examples are quite few and far between when compared to English since the Arabian peninsula was so barren, harsh and desolate a land that there never was any real reason for anyone to migrate to it, and thus, this inhospitality of the climate and land contributed greatly towards the preservation of the purity of the language.
The infinite loop problem Sura 26:192,195,196: "It (the Qur'an) is indeed a revelation from the Lord of the Worlds, ... in clear Arabic speech and indeed IT (the Qur'an) is in the writings of the earlier (prophets)." Now, the 'earlier writing' are the Torah and the Injil for example, written in Hebrew and Greek. HOW can an ARABIC Qur'an be contained in a books of other languages? Furthermore, if would have to contain this very passage of the Qur'an since the Qur'an is properly contained in them. Hence these earlier writings have to be contained in yet other earlier writings and we are in an infinite loop, which is absurd.
This one has a number of interesting claims. The verses speak about the Qur'an and describe it as being revealed by the Lord and it being in Arabic, however, the verses only say that the Qur'an was mentioned, or prophesied, in the "Zubr" (etchings/scripture) of the ancients. Some translators have understood the reference to "scripture" in this context to mean the scriptures of the prophets, while others have understood it to refer to the scriptures of the angels (i.e. Al-Qamar(54):52). Regardless, this does not mean that the Qur'an as a physical entity is to be found in that scripture, rather, what is to be found therein is mention of the Qur'an or a prophesy of it. This is indeed similar to such verses as Al-A'araf(7):157:
Those who follow the Messenger (Muhammad), the unlettered Prophet whom they find written in the Torah and the Gospel with them... "
According to the author of this list, does this mean that prophet Muhammad (pbuh) too was physically present, in flesh and blood, within the pages of these books? Maybe this is yet another "contradiction" since nowhere in the Bible can we find prophet Muhammad (pbuh) present in flesh and blood?
"An old woman" and God's character About the story of Lot: "So we delivered him and his family, - all exept an old woman who lingered behind." [Sura 26:170-171] And again: "But we saved him and his family, exept his wife: she was of those who lagged behind. [Sura 7:83]. Either this is a contradiction or if indeed Lot's wife is derogatorily called "an old woman" then this does not show much respect for her as a wife of a prophet.
One tends to wonder, even if this sort of logic were defensible, how it would be a contradiction for her to be Lot's wife as well as for her to be an old woman? Is she required to remain young forever in order to satisfy your standards?
In any case, this is yet another example of how he knows very little about the teachings of Islam or the Qur'an and then bases his objections on this same ignorance of its teachings. Even a very cursory study of the Qur'an or even any basic Qur'anic reference would have shown him that the Qur'an labels the wives of both prophets Noah and prophet Lot as disbelievers who betrayed their husbands, died as disbelievers to enter Hellfire, and their husbands could avail them for naught. It also gives the example of the wife of Pharaoh as a believing woman who could not be misguided by her evil husband. This fact is stated quite clearly in the verse of Al-Tahreem(66):10-11. So even though it would not be a "contradiction" to claim that she was Lot's wife and "at the same time" she was an old woman, still, as we can see, it is quite appropriate to refer to her derogatorily since she refused to believe in her husband, prophet Lot (pbuh), and died a disbeliever to be sent to hellfire.
Once again, do the verse really contradict one-another?
More problems with the story of Lot "And his people gave NO answer but this: They said, "Drive them out of your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!" [Sura 7:82 & 27:56]. Yet: "But his people gave NO answer but this: They said: "Bring us the Wrath of Allah if thou tellest the truth." [Sura 29:29]. Obviously these answers are different. They are two different questions asked at two different times, and thus, the answers too are different. We will study the evidence of this below. It appears that the author of this list is attempting to make the case that the word "no" in the first two verses implies that the people of prophet Lot (pbuh) never said any other words to him but those found in the first two examples. However, this is a false argument fortwo reasons:
First of all: We need to notice that the first verse presented by the author, Al-A'araf(7):82, is one verse in a group of five (verses 80-84) which are intended to summarize the whole ministry on Lot in only fiveverses. It is one in a list of very short stories, narrated one after the other, each one giving broad summary of the life of a given prophet, the major sin of his people, and how God dealt with each one. The general theme is one of a list of major sins and how God dealt with each people. Noah, Hood, Salih, Lot, Shuaib.., each one's story is run off in rapid-fire succession in only a few verses, each one dealing only with the broadest possible summary of their ministry and their people's response.
Similarly, the second verse presented by him, Al-Namil(27):56, is once again a five verse summary of the whole mission of Lot (verses 54-58). Once again, it is part of a list of extremely short summaries of the ministries of a list of prophets, their people's major sins, and how God dealt with them. Of the prophets mentioned in this list is Lot. In both of these cases the moral is to notice how these people's arrogance and rejection was stamped out quite effortlessly by God, one after the other, till they became naught but tales told to others in a couple of pages. Thus can we too have our arrogance and evil just as quickly stamped out by Allah if we follow in their footsteps.
In both cases the theme is the same throughout. They both deal with very briefly casting light on the most major sin of a given people, their prophet's admonition of them in this major sin, their response, and how God dealt with them. Both of the first two examples do not concern themselves with many side-issues such as these people's secondary sins or vices. In both of these cases the question presented by prophet Lot (pbuh) was the same. It only dealt with their "major" sin, their sodomy. Fittingly, in both cases the answer is exactly same.
Now let us look at a different case. The third verse selected by this author, Al-Ankaboot(29):29, is part of a slightly longer narration of the whole ministry of Lot in only seven verses (verses 28-35). In this case the life of prophet Lot is taken up in a little more detail and closely intertwined with the even longer story of prophet Abraham (pbuh) which itself starts way back at verse 16. In this case more of the side issues and lesser sins of his people are dealt with. In this case we also notice that the question asked by prophet Lot is different than in the first two cases. This time it is a little more comprehensive. Fittingly, in this new situation the answer too is different in some of its details.
What does this all mean? Well, hopefully it will not be considered assuming too much to presume that we can agree that Lot's ministry and preaching to his people consisted of more than two minutes and one sentence which he said only once. It would then be logical to assume that he might have met with his people on many occasions, that he might have spoken to them in the market places, in the streets, in their homes, and in their meeting places. None of the accounts listed by this author specifies a well defined date, occasion, or event, such as saying for example "This is what prophet Lot said on the 16th of January 502 BC while in the town hall and during his one and only trial in front of the governor of that town," etc. or to mention that the person he spoke to was a very specific member of Lot's people, such as a mayor or Governor, whom he is know to have never met nor spoken to except on one very specific and restricted occasion. This is the first major piece of evidence we must notice and it is indeed an important one, as shall be expounded upon shortly by the will of Allah.
Continuing, hopefully we can further agree that the words of admonition prophet Lot spoke to his people during all of these visits and continuous preaching might exceed a one line sentence. And hopefully we can further agree that this would especially be the case with regard to his tribe's "major" sin. In other words if a given tribe is well known for murder but has also been known on occasion to lie, then it would be natural to assume that their prophet would admonish them at times for their lying and at times for their murder, however, his admonition in murder would be much more continuous, diverse, frequent, and varied in nature. When we look at the verses selected by this author we find that this is indeed held out by the text.
In the first two verses the author has chosen, the verses only deal with the most major aspects of Lot's ministry. If one of us were asked to summarize the ministry of Lot in three sentences, then obviously we would scan the whole life of Lot for the specific occasions which best embodied the broadest possible summary of his mission. Similarly, for this very same reason, the specific admonition of Lot (pbuh) to his people which was selected by God is one where he only mentioned to them their sodomy, their "major" or most well known sin. However, in the third verse he has selected (the longer narration), God is giving us a little more insight into some of the secondary details of Lot's ministry, and for this reason, He chose to present Lot's words on a different occasion wherein he admonished his people not only in their major sin, but also in their other sins which they used to commit. In this case the admonition of Lot (pbuh) mentions three vices: (1)Their sodomy, (2)their banditry (their robbery of travelers), and (3)their further evil over and above these two which they used to practiced in their gatherings. So this implies a different admonition in a different time and place. Fittingly, the answer too is different in its details, but the same as the first two in its general attitude towards his advice. In other words, the author of this list is comparing two different questions to one another and requiring that the answer to both be exactly the same, otherwise he shall consider them a "contradiction."
Secondly: The Arabic construct "fama kaana jawaba qaumihi illa an qaloo" ("but the reply of his people was naught but that they said..") is a popular construct used to imply someone snubbing or looking down upon someone else when spoken to. It is used to imply that the speaker did not want to give the person the time of day. It implies a restricted answer to a specific question, otherwise, if his claims were true then the verse would not have said "but their reply (to that specific question) was naught but to say," rather, it would have said "but they never spoke to him but to say."
We need to notice that the first two verses say that their "REPLY" was naught but to say… But their "reply" to what? The answer is "the reply to the STATED QUESTION." But the stated question is NOT THE SAME in both cases. In the absence of the text of both verses restricting both questions to having occurred in a specific time, place and occasion, then the only way to force the two questions to be one is to force Lot's ministry to be restricted to only one question and one answer which they said to one-another only once in passing. In other words, the only way he can have his desired "contradiction" is for him to allege that Lot got up one day, said one sentence to his people, they replied with one sentence, and then God killed them all. In this manner he can obtain his desired "contradiction" by forcing both questions and both answers to be the same ones, despite their obvious textual differences.
Such concise narrations are indeed a hallmark of the noble Qur'an. In many places throughout the Qur'an God very briefly narrates the story of a given prophet in only a few verses while placing emphasis on a given aspect of that prophet's ministry as the topic at hand requires. For example, Al-Thariat(51):38-40 contains a three-verse summary of whole mission of Moses (pbuh). It says:
"And in Moses too [there is a portent] when We sent him to Pharaoh with a manifest authority. But he turned away along with his hosts and said: 'A sorcerer or a madman.' So We tookhim and his hosts and discarded them in the sea while he was blameworthy."
However, in Al Muminoon(23)"45-49 we find another similar very concise narration of the ministry of prophet Moses (pbuh). In this one the verses say:
"Then We sent Moses and His brother Aaron with Our signs and manifest authority. To Pharaoh and hichiefs, but they scorned and were arrogant, They said: 'shall we believe in two men like ourselves and their people are servile to us?' So they denied them both, therefore they became of those who were destroyed. And indeed we gave Moses the Scripture so that they might be guided."
So now, according the current author's logic, do these two passages too "contradict" one another?
These first three verses sum up the whole ministry of Moses (pbuh) in about one paragraph, however, does this mean that it all occurred in a couple of minutes while Moses was standing before Pharaoh? Of course not. For the details of what happened in-between we need to go to other verses which fill in the picture more completely. This is actually part of the beauty and miracle of the noble Qur'an in that it only presents in each case just enough detail in each case in order to get the intended point across without getting into useless "trim." When a different issue is discussed then the details related to that issue are then presented clearly, directly, and only in as far as is pertinent to the topic at hand. There are no frivolous details in the Qur'an that have no use to the reader such as describing fifty generations of ancestors for a given obscure person, or what colors a given obscure engraver used to embroider his work in, etc.
Would it then be a contradiction if the Qur'an were to after recounting the above three verses of the ministry of Moses to then narrate in a different set of verses (like Al-Muminoon(23)"45-49) more details of a given occurrence in his ministry which "fill out" the picture a little and, for example, describe in more detail how exactly the "manifest authority" of Moses (pbuh) was displayed to Pharaoh through his many miracles?
There is a distinct difference between this situation and between saying that on a very specific and well defined time, date, and location a person said two different things. For example, in the Bible, we find two different version of one story that occurred in a very "specific" time and "specific" place, specifically the trial of Jesus before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. In Matthew 27:11-14 Mark 15:1-5 and Luke 23:1-4 Jesus said "Thou sayest" and NOTHING ELSE and he adamantly refused to answer any more of the governor's questions. Jesus refusal to answer the questions even went so far as to cause Pilate to "marvel." However, in John 18:33-38 we are told that in this very same trial, on this very same day, in front of the very same person, and in the very same room, Jesus (pbuh) said many things and answered more than one question in detail, responding to all of the questions of the governor and refusing to answer none. No "marveling" by Pilate. No refusal of Jesus (pbuh) to answer. Same time, same place, same people, different claims.
What this author has just attempted to do is to generate a case where, in order to be fair, it will then be permissible to generalize the specific contradiction between Matthew 27:11-14 Mark 15:1-5, Luke 23:1-4, John 18:33-38 to now also include any instance where Jesus (pbuh) is claimed to have said anything at all to the Jews without it being restricted to differing claims regarding matters which occurred on a specific time, place, occasion, and in front of a specific person.
* The "pleasure" or Allah?
The Qur'an says in the original Arabic "Allah wishes" not "Allah pleases." As for the description of whom it is who Allah guides or misguides, that shall be been dealt with in detail in the "guiding to the truth" question a little further down. In brief, God misguides those who start the process of misguidance and He guides those who start the process of guidance. Anyone who insists on refusing any and all signs from God and insists on finding a way out of any evidence or signs which God has left for him on earth, in Islam, or in the Qur'an, continually trying to find some way to reject all of it, for these people God does not force them to believe, rather He gives them rope in this life to continue along this path as long as they like. This is how they are "misguided" by God. By Him not forcing them to accept the truth against their free will. As for those people who pray to God to show them the truth, in all sincerity while no one sees them but Him, and they sincerely are willing to accept the truth no matter where they may find it or what their pride may tell them, and in spite of what is popular, doing all of this sincerely seeking God's good will and His pleasure, then God guides them to find the truth so long as they continue to accept it and do not let their personal whims or pride get in the way of the truth of the Qur'an and Islam. The verses associated with this issue shall, by the will of Allah, be presented in the aforementioned question which is coming up soon.
Did Abraham smash the idols? The accounts of Abraham, Suras 19:41-49, 6:74-83 differ quite a bit from Sura 21:51-59. While in Sura 21 Abraham confronts his people strongly, and even destroys the idols, in Sura 19 Abraham shuts up after his father threatens him to stone him for speaking out against the idols. And he seems not only to become silent, but even to leave the area ("turning away from them all").
Note: It is truly saddening to find people using such expressions as "shuts up" in reference to a messenger of God. Even if that person does not like Muslims, still, that is no excuse to display disrespect to God's messengers. This is especially so with regard to a messenger whom God named "Friend of God" (In Islam: "Khaleelullah," also see James 2:23). If one does not wish to refer to them with the words "peace be upon them" then at least do not use vulgar language when referring to them. Basic respect of God requires that we at least guard ourselves in how we refer to those whom He personally selected and preferred from among His creation to receive His Words, Scriptures, Revelation and Message.
By now the general theme of these objections is beginning to become clear and quite repetitive. The Qur'an repeats a number of stories of the prophets throughout its text, in many cases very briefly, and each time emphasizing a specific aspect of the ministry of that prophet. For the author of this list this is objectionable. He requires that the whole story be narrated in one location, all together, or else if it is ever mentioned again in a different location then it must be repeated word for word with no additional details nor any details of the previous narration left out. In this manner, if I were to ask him to tell me the story of Jesus (pbuh) raising Lazarus, he shall be required to recount in very great detail to me the complete ministry of Jesus (pbuh) from birth to ascension, leaving out no details. Similarly, if I ask him to tell me the story of Jesus' purification of the Temple, then he shall similarly be required to recount every single detail of the story of the ministry of Jesus (pbuh) from birth to ascension. Only in this fashion, according to his chosen criteria can he avoid falling into a "contradiction."
Prophet Abraham (pbuh) was granted wisdom and guidance from a very young age. He migrated with his father at a young age to Harran in northern Sham (the land of the Kildaniyeen). The people worshipped the planets and had set up at each entrance to the city of Damascus an idol representing their seven "planet gods" whom they would worship and present their sacrifices to. Abraham (pbuh) was guided from young age to worship Allah (God) alone and did his best to guide his father and the people of the land. At one point, he used his wisdom to display the truth to them through logic. He began with a planet, then moved up to the moon, then moved up to the sun, and then showed the superiority of God oveall of them. One day he was discussing this matter with some of them and they refused to lito reason or logic, so he vowed to place them in a position where they would be forced to recognize the truth. He stayed behind after theleft town in order to celebrate their yearly festival and he destroyed all of their idols except tbiggest one. He placed the ax in the hands of the biggest idol to make it look like it had destroyed all of the smaller idols and this might get them to thinking whether they could really talk or move. When they returned they were furious and bound Abraham. They asked him if he had destroyed the idols and he told them to ask the "grand" idol for the answer. They recognized their error and that these idols could not speak nor act, however, they quickly made an about-face and returned to their previous stance. They decided to burn prophet Abraham in a tremendous fire in retribution for their gods. They collected wood for many weeks in a very large valley and then lit it and threw Abraham (pbuh) into it. Allah commanded the fire to not harm Abraham (pbuh) and he remained in it for many days with no ill effects while those outside watched but could not approach him from the tremendous heat.
Abraham continued to try and guide his father and show him the error of his ways, however, his father refused to believe him and finally got fed up with him ordering him away. Abraham (pbuh) spoke kind words to his father and departed. He would continue to ask God for forgiveness for his father for a very long time after that and up until his father's death. Abraham (pbuh) decided to flee the land of evil and "migrate unto his Lord" who would guide him. It is assumed that his famous exchange with Al-Namrood, the king of Babylon occurred during this period. This is when Al-Namrood claimed to have the power of life and death by killing one of his slaves and not killing the other. Abraham (pbuh) replied to him: "Allah brings the sun from the East, so bring it from the West!" Al-Namrood was flabbergasted and could not respond. This was another manifestation of the wisdom of the "Friend of God," Abraham (pbuh).
Now, let us assume that one were to ask about prophet Abraham's relationship to his father, which has no bearing on the story of Al-Namrood or that of the smashing of the idols. In this case it would be completely appropriate to say: "Prophet Abraham spoke to his father and tried to convince him to see reason and to stop worshipping his idols. His father refused to listen to reason and after some time he got so fed up with Abraham's advice that he told him he did not want to see him again. Prophet Abraham (pbuh) responded kindly to his father, departed, and continued to pray for him until he passed away."
On the other hand, if one were to ask for a more general narration of the life prophet Abraham and his ministry then additional details could be included as necessary.
Indeed, the moral of one story in the Qur'an is to teach all Muslims how to be respectful of their parents even in the worst of situations and to speak kindly to them and pray for them. It also teaches Muslims that one should not pray for those who die upon disbelief after their death, if they knew about the truth but refused it. It is all about parents and family and relationships.
The second story is more general than that and teaches wisdom and courage in the call to the path of God and His salvation. For this reason, those aspects of the life of prophet Abraham related to this issue are now recounted.
So, is this a contradiction?
The "Easter Challenge" and a $2000 reward:
There is a difference between a set of stories, each of which describe a different occurrence in the life a given person and thus, can be harmonized together into one narration without contradiction, and between a case where a set of narrations claim that a specific occurrence happened two or more different ways and can in no way be harmonized together. One example of the later case is presented by a former Christian priest and "The Skeptical Review" of Canton, IL. After many years of sermons and study of the Bible, Mr. Dan Barker (email@example.com), a former Christian priest and author of many books and musicals such as "Mary had a little lamb" and "his fleece was white as snow" etc., after many years of trying, this man finally gave up on ever trying to harmonize the conflicting narrations in the Bible, abandoned his preaching and turned atheist. He has since had numerous debates with many Christians and clergymen and has recently offered a $1000 reward supplemented by a further $1000 from "The Skeptical Review" (for a total of $2000) to anyone who can present them with a complete chronological narration of the "resurrection of Jesus" which includes all verses of the Bible related to the resurrection, in any order, and leaves out none. The challenge can be found in his book "Losing Faith In Faith: From Preacher To Atheist." It is as follows:
"And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not." I Corinthians 15:14-15
The conditions of the challenge is simple and reasonable. Take the narrations of the resurrection in each of the four Gospels. In each one, begin at Easter morning and read to the end of the book: (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21. Also read Acts 1:3-12 and Paul's tiny version of the story in I Corinthians 15:3-8). These 165 verses can be read in a few moments. Then, without omitting a single detail from these separate accounts, write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the resurrection and the ascension: what happened first, second, and so on; who said what, when; and where these things happened. Send them to "The Skeptical Review" at P.O. Box 717, Canton, IL 61520-0717. If anyone is able to do this then they shall receive $2000 dollars.
I suggest that the author of this list and all of his friends who maintain that the Church has never tampered with the Bible please send Mr. Barker a complete and detailed answer and then kindly post a photocopy of the $2000 reward check on his same "Answering Islam" homepage. Before anyone reverts to accusing Muslims of backwardness, faithlessness, and ignorance, they are asked to please keep in mind that Mr. Barker is not a Muslim. He is a former Christian priest turned atheist with many years experience in the study and preaching of the text of the Bible. Since our current authors maintain the position that any contradiction in the Bible is only an outgrowth of Muslim propaganda and inferior understanding and that all contradictions can be harmonized, therefore this should be a golden opportunity for them to pick up a quick $2000 dollars. Obviously neither one of these men shall wish to stoop to answering this challenge only to increase their bank accounts, however, I am sure that they shall be able to put it to good use in the charity of their choice, since obviously this sum would go a long way to feeding many needy people or clothing them and it might also go a long way to guiding an atheist back to Christianity. A win-win proposition. I encourage them to keep us apprised of their progress.
What about Noah's son? According to Sura 21:76, Noah and all his family is saved from the flood. But Sura 11:42-43 reports that Noah's son drowns.
First of all the author of this list manages to add the word "all" to the word "family," even though the word "all" is nowhere to be found in al-Anbia(21):76, either in the original Arabic or in the Yusuf Ali, the Pickthall, or the Hilali and Khan English translations of the meanings of the Qur'an.
Secondly, this is yet another example of how little he has actually studied the Qur'an. Once again, even a very cursory study of the Qur'awould have revealed to him that in the very same chapter he has just quoted (Hood(11)), only tw verses after the ones he has just quoted, he can find the answer to his question. After only three more verses (specifically, Hood(11):45-47)we read:
"And Noah called unto his Lord saying: 'O my Lord, my son is of my family and your promisis true. Truly, You are the Most Just of judges.' He (God) said: 'He is not of your family, verily, his work is unrighteous, so ask not of Me that which you have no knowledge. I admonish you lest you be of the ignorant.' Noah said: 'O my Lord, I seek refuge in You that I should ask You that of which I have no knowledge, and unless you forgive me and have mercy upon me I will indeed be among the losers...."
The family of the prophets are the righteous people, not, as human intellect would imagine, a simple blood relationship. Where else can we find confirmation of this fact? Well, let us read the Bible:
"There came then his (Jesus') brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother." Mark 3:31-35
Wouldn't it have been better to first read the Qur'an, or even the Bible, before crying "contradiction"?
So, do the verses still contradict one-another?
Was Noah driven out? "Before them *the people of Noah* rejected (their messenger): They rejected Our servant and said, 'Here is One possessed!' And he was driven out." [Sura 54:9] Now, if he is driven out [expelled from their country] how come they can scoff at him while he is buiding the ark since we read "Forthwith he (starts) constructing the Ark: Every time that the Chiefs of *his people* passed by him, they threw ridicule on him." [Sura 11:38] He cannot be both: Driven out and near enough that they can regularly pass by.
No, he wasn't driven out. I am assuming that you got the impression that prophet Noah (pbuh) was "driven out" from the Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation, which is known to be faulty in a number of places. The original Arabic uses the word "Wazdujir" meaning "and he was rebuked/threatened" not that "he was driven out." The word is derived from the root word "za-ja-ra" which means "to reprimand and threaten with such force as to repulse." The respected Abdullah Yusuf appears to have understood this to mean "drive out" which is incorrect. Indeed, he himself appears to have realized the true meaning of the word in his translation, for example, of Al-Naziat(79):13 where he translates "zajratun wahidah" as "a single compelling cry" in his translation of how on the Day of Judgment a single forceful cry will "awaken" the dead to judgment. A derivation of this word, "Zajiran" used to be used to describe fortune tellers because they used to raise their voices in warning of impending peril to their clients, by rising their voices in grim foreboding of terrible danger. In this manner they would "rebuke" their clients into taking preventative measures in order to avoid the claimed foreseen fate. In a similar manner the people of Noah (pbuh) would raise their voices against him in threats of terrible retribution and bodily harm to him if he did not immediately cease and desist from his preaching.
* Pharaoh's repentance in the face of death? According to Sura 10:90-92, Pharaoh repented "in the sight of death" and was saved. But Sura 4:18 says that such a thing can't happen.
10:90-92 says that when Pharaoh was actually drowning and his soul was now being taken, NOW he said "NOW I repent and believe." However, the verse does not say that "Pharaoh was saved" rather it says that Pharaoh's BODY was saved and made a sign and warning for future generations. Further, 4:18 does not say "that such a thing can not happen," rather what it says is that forgiveness from Allah shall not be given to those who wait until their soul is coming out of their body and only then say "NOW I repent" (like Pharaoh did). Forgiveness is only for those who repent before death comes upon them. The verses are:
"....till when drowning overtook him (Pharoah) he said 'I believe that there is no god but the One whom the children of Israel believed in and I have submitted.' What, now? After you had refused to believe before, and were of the corrupters? So this day shall We deliver you in your body that you may be a sign (admonition) to those after you. And verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our signs." Yunus(10):90-92
(Note: Dr. Maurice Bucaille has found salt water embedded in the skin of one of the mummies in Egypt, suggesting that this may indeed be the body of the Pharoah who drowned in the sea but whose body was saved by God and left for us by God as a sign.)
Quite the opposite to his claims, the above verse regarding Pharoah is confirmed, not refuted, by the other verses he has selected which states:
"But repentance is not for those who commit evil till when death comes upon one of them he says 'Now I repent,' nor for those who die while disbelievers. And for those We have prepared a painful torment." Al-Nissa(4):18
Abrogation? "The words of the Lord are perfect in truth and justice; there is NONE who can change His words." [Sura 6:115] Also see 6:34 and 10:65. But then Allah (Muhammad?) sees the need to exchange some of them for "better ones" [Sura 2:106, 16:101]. And it is not for ignorant people to question Allah because of such practices!
Actually, if someone were to own a very valuable piece of land and someone were to ask him to sell it to them, even implying that he might be able to force him to sell it. He might say: "I have made up my mind not to sell!. No one can force me to change my mind!"
Now if another person were to attempt to do the same thing, he might answer him: "I shall not sell! No one can make me sell unless I myself choose to do so." Is this a contradiction? In one place he said that "No one" can make him sell, however in another he said that "he himself" can do so. Is this a contradiction?
Secondly, the issue of abrogation is not reflective of an indecisiveness of God, rather, it is a matter of mercy to mankind. As mentioned in the hadeeth of the prophet's wife Aisha (pbut), had God started out with the command to not drink, not kill, not commit adultery, not steal, not lie, not eat pork, pray five times, fast the month of Ramadan, perform pilgrimage, etc. then not too many people would have accepted His command and most of them would have been destined for the fire. However, out of His mercy He presented them with these regulations gradually.
The marines have a lofty goal they have set for themselves; to build strong men of discipline and strength. They do this by gradually increasing the pressure of training they apply to their men with each passing day until they are able to perform tasks they would have considered impossible at the start. Had the recruits been required to pass all of their tests on the first day then the vast majority of them would fail. This is exactly how we raise our children and teach them; out of mercy we do so gradually, building them up slowly until they are able to handle the difficult tasks. We do not start by overloading our children with the most difficult obligations and tasks and then reduce them as they grow older and become adults, if their backs have not been broken first, till in the end we require nothing of them at all.
This is indeed the goal of Islam; to generate a nation of men and women who discipline themselves continuously throughout the day and year to worship God, improve themselves, improve their communities, and have faith in God to assist them in their efforts. Indeed, God tells us in the Qur'an to look at the signs He has left for us in the earth and which guide us to recognize these basic facts. If someone wants to increase their, strengthen their bodies, lose weight, attain a raise or promotion, or achieve any other useful then they need to
1) work for it,
2) increase one's efforts gradually so as to build up tolerance and willpower,
2) have patience to contiand never give up,
3) never let their efforts end or else their achievements will stagnate and reced.
Now, if the actual concept of abrogation is the issue that is troubling this author then one needs to know how he shall resolve all the issues of abrogation in the Bible. For example, in the Bible we read:
Psalm 19:7-8: "The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD [are] right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD [is] pure, enlightening the eyes." and Deuteronomy 5:29: "O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!" or Isaiah 24:5: "The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant." And Genesis 17:13-23: "He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. ... And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him." and 1 Chronicles 16:16-17: "[Even of the covenant] which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, [and] to Israel [for] an everlasting covenant,"
Jesus (pbuh) did himself confirm the continuation of this law of Moses(pbuh) till the end of time. In Matthew 5:17-19 we read:
"Think not that I (Jesus) am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
This is confirmed in Luke 16:17:
"And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail." ..etc.
All of this was later abrogated by Paul with Galatians 3:13 "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us" and Hebrews 8:13 "In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old [is] ready to vanish away." and Romans 3:28 "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." And Romans 3:1 "What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit [is there] of circumcision?" etc.
Note: All of the words of Paul (who never met Jesus in the flesh) are refuted by James (who did meet him) in favor of the words of Jesus (pbuh) as seen in James 2:14-26
To actually list all of the issues of law in the OT which were abrogated in the NT would literally take many pages just to list. Jews consider circumcision, the Sabbath, refraining from non-Kosher food, etc. all capital issues in their religion. Forsaking a single one would be equivalent to corruption and heresy. Jesus (pbuh) himself confirmed the continuation of their law and practices. So did James. Jesus observed them steadfastly during his life on earth. After he was raised up, Paul claimed to be receiving visions from Jesus (pbuh), claimed to have converted from persecuting the followers of Jesus to joining them (i.e. Galatians 1:13), and then removed all of the law and commandments (i.e. Romans 1:3), in spite of the fact that which Jesus (pbuh) described anyone who would dare to do so as being called "the least in the kingdom of heaven." In spite of this most people today follow the words of Paul and not those of Jesus (pbuh). Was Paul mistaken? Is abrogation wrong?
Dr. Arnold Meyer says: "If by Christianity we understand faith in Christ as the heavenly Son of God, who did not belong to earthly humanity, but who lived in the divine likeness and glory, who came down from heaven to earth, who entered humanity and took upon himself a human form through a virgin, that he might make propitiation for men's sins by his own blood upon the cross, who was then awakened from death and raised to the right hand of God, as the Lord of his own people, who believe in him, who hears their prayers, guards and leads them, who will come again with the clouds of heaven to judge the world, who will cast down all the foes of God, and will bring his own people with him unto the home of heavenly light so that they may become like His glorified body - if this is Christianity, then such Christianity was founded by St. Paul and not by our Lord"
Dr. Arnold Meyer, Professor of Theology, Zurich University, Jesus or Paul, p. 122
Grolier's encyclopedia has the following to say under the heading "Christianity": "After Jesus was crucified, his followers, strengthened by the conviction that he had risen from the dead and that they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, formed the first Christian community in Jerusalem. By the middle of the 1st century, missionaries were spreading the new religion among the peoples of Egypt, Syria, Anatolia, Greece, and Italy. Chief among these was Saint Paul, who laid the foundations of Christian theology and played a key role in the transformation of Christianity from a Jewish sect to a world religion. The original Christians, being Jews, observed the dietary and ritualistic laws of the Torah and required non-Jewish converts to do the same. Paul and others favored eliminating obligation, thus making Christianity more attractive to Gentiles."
Abrogation according to Islam follows the general guideline of "the only person who can abrogate a text is the original speaker himself or one who is higher in authority." This is the attitude of the Qur'an in this regard. Thus:
- Only the Qur'an can abrogate the Qur'an. In other words, since no one is higher in authority than God Himself, therefore, He is the only one who can abrogate His words.
- The Qur'an and Sunnah can abrogate the Sunnah. In other words, the only one who would be allowed to abrogate the words of the prophet of God is either the prophet of God or else the only one higher in authority than him, namely, Allah Himself.
Guiding to truth? "Say: 'God - He guides to the truth; and which is worthier to be followed ...?" [Sura 10:35] But how much is left over of this worthiness when we also read: "Allah leads astray whom he pleases, and he guides whom He pleases, ..." [Sura 14:4]. And how do we know in which of Allah's categories of pleasure we fall? How sure can a Muslim be that he is one of those guided right and not one of those led astray?
This issue has already been touched upon in a previous question. The concept of guiding and misguiding in Islam is as follows: God guides to the truth. He presents the signs of His presence and sends messengers to guide mankind. He also is patient, merciful and forgiving. Anyone who sins but repents before his death is forgiven and his sins passed over. Allah also does not take people in their sins right away, rather He provides sustenance and provisions for them in this life in spite of their transgression and continues to allow them to seek forgiveness or repent. Now, as we can see, if someone in spite of all that insistson disbelieving then in this case God gives him rope in order to do as he wishes and transgress as he wish. He then imagines that God can not take him, is unable to exact retribution, or does not exist. He mistakes patience for weakness and this causes hto emerse himself in further evil out of arrogance. This is how God "misguides" him.
This is why we read the Qur'an such words as those found in Al-Baqarah(2):26: "Verily, Allah is not ashamed to set for a parable even of a mosquito or above it. As for those who believed they know that it is the Truth from their Lord. And as for those who disbelieved, they say: 'What did God mean by this parable'? He misguides by way of it many and guides by way of it many. And He misguides by it none but those who have deviated(turned away)"
The actual word used is "Fasiqoon" meaning "trespassers" in the sense of "one who has chosen to leave the straight path which is lawful for him preferring to trespass beyond the command of God." These are the people whom God misguides by leaving them to become as immersed in misguidance as they wish. Further detail of this process is given in a number of verses, such as:
"Say: 'Whosoever is [immersed] in misguidance, the Most Beneficent will extend [the rope] for him, until, when they see that which they were promised, either the torment or the Hour, then they shall know who is worst in position and weakest in forces.'" The noble Qur'an, Mariam(19):75
Since God guides whom He wills and misguides whom He will, therefore we need to read more of the Qur'an in order to find the criteria He uses to either guide or misguide. For example:
"..and Allah does not guide those who disbelieve." Al-Maidah(5):91
"..and Allah does not guide the transgressing liers." Ghafir(40):28
"..and Allah does not guide the unjust folk." Al-Bakarah(2):258
"..and Allah does not guide those who deviate." Al-Maidah(5):108
"..and Allah does not guide those who are lying disbelievers." Al-Zumar(39):3
"..Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills and guides unto Himself he who is penitent." Al-Shura(25):13
"..As for those who strive hard in Us (Our cause), We will surely guide them to Our paths. And verily, Allah is with those who excel in good." Al-Ankaboot(29):69
From all of this we see the that the criteria God has set for Himself either to guide or to misguide is for the human to start the process he or she chooses, then He facilitates the completion of that person's choice. The basic message of Islam is that Allah has placed us on this earth and given us a free will in order that we can select for ourselves the path which we choose. No one can force anyone else to be guided and Allah does not force people to enter into heaven. He could if He wanted to, just as He is able to force us to come to judgment in the Hereafter. However, this life is a test, and in all tests one needs to choose their own destiny. He says:
"There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, guidance is henceforth distinct from misguidance. Whosoever disbelieves in all that is worshipped other than Allah, and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold, there is no detachment for it. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower." Al-Baqarah(2):256
So here we have a detailed description of how He misguides them. He does not start the process, however, he gives them their free will and the freedom to chose their destiny. If they chose to turn away then He does not force them back to the truth, rather He allows them to transgress as far as they wish against themselves, giving them as much rope as they want. This is how He "misguides" them. Indeed this is mentioned again, for example in Al-A'araf(7):179 where we read the description of them who were misguided and entered Hellfire:
"they have hearts wherewith they understand not, they have eyes wherewith they see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle, rather they are further astray; those! They are the heedless ones."
A similar process is employed by the Almighty with those who seek guidance. He does not force them into guidance, however, if they start the process and follow the signs He has sent down then He increases them in guidance. He says in Muhammad(47):17:
"As for those who accept guidance, He increases their guidance and bestows upon them their piety."
Other similar verses can be researched by the interested student.
What is the punishment for adultery? Flogging with a 100 stripes (men and women) [24:2], "confine them to houses until death do claim them (lifelong house arrest - for the women) [4:15]. For men: "If they repent and amend, leave them alone" [4:16]. 24:2 contradicts both the procedure for women and men in Sura 4. And why is the punishment for women and men equal in Sura 24 but different in Sura 4?
Al-Noor(24):2 is the punishment for unwed adulterers (men and women both). If someone is unwed and performs adultery then they are whipped 100 lashes and banished for one year. This is described in detail by the prophet (pbuh) himself in, for example, the Hadeeth of Abu-Hurairah and Zaid ibn Khalid Al-Juhani (in the Sahihs of Bukhari and Muslim). On the other hand, the verses of Al-Nissa(4):15-16 were an early revelation in the early years of Islam and contain an explicit condition at the end. They say "...until death comes unto them or God ordains for them a [different] path." This indeed occurred a number of years later when God revealed this "other path" with the new regulation of Al-Noor(24):2. This issue too can be studied in the Hadeeth of the prophet (pbuh) narrated by Ubadah ibn Al-Saamit (in the Musnad of Ahmad, 5/318). Further, contrary to his claim, Al-Nissa(4):16 is speaking about both men and women, not as he claims, only men. The "dual" form of all verbs are used throughout. It says:
"And the two among you who are guilty thereof, punish them both. But if they both repent and mend [their ways] then leave them both alone. Verily! Allah is Oft-Relenting, Most-Merciful."
A minority of commentators have suggested that this verses applies to sodomites as suggested by Mujahid, and this opinion appears to have been adopted by Yusuf Ali in his translation. However the consensus in this matter is that it refers to the adulterous partners, man and woman. Nowhere in the original Arabic verse does the word "man" or "men" appear. It only repeats the word "both" as seen in the above translation. For more on this issue you may read "Safwat Al-Tafaseer" by Muhammad Al-Sabooni.
* Will Christians enter Paradise or go to Hell? Sura 5:69 says "Yes", Sura 5:72 (just 3 verses later) says "No".
The first says that those who "believe in Allah," i.e. became Muslims, shall be saved. This is explained in sufficient detail by the proceeding verse, verse 68, which requires them to first accept the Qur'an and "stand straight" (Arabic: "Tuqeemoo") the Bible before they shall be considered in possession of any portion of guidance. Strange how the author of this list managed to side-step the requirements that are presented and which first must be present in them in order for them to be saved. All he reads is the word "saved." The stipulation that they must first follow the Qur'an is for some reason conveniently disregarded.
So, what is meant by the condition "those who believed"? Well, in case it is not obvious, it simply means to submit to Allah and obey the commands of His messenger Muhammad (pbuh). We find this spelled out in, for example, Al-Hujurat(49):14 where we read:
"and the bedouins said: 'we believe.' Say [unto them]: You have not yet believed, but say: We have submitted. But belief has yet to enter into your hearts. But if you obey Allah and His messenger (Muhammad) he will not withhold from you aught of your deeds. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful."
So belief is the following of Allah and His messenger Muhammad (pbuh).
The second verse presented, that of 5:72, contrasts those who followed Muhammad (pbuh) and obeyed Allah with those who did not believe in Allah, rather they said that Jesus (pbuh) was a god, part of God, or in any way more than human. And thus, thshall not be saved.
* God alone or also men? Clear or incomprehensible? The Qur'an is "clear Arabic spe." [16:103] Yet "NONE knows its interpretation, save only Allah." [3:7]. Actually, "men of understanding do grasp it." [3:7]
The short quotation from3:7 is not speaking about the Qur'an in general, rather it is speaking about a special class of verses, those that are deeper in meaning than most and require deeper knowledge in Arabic speech and the contexts of the verses than commonly available. Even at that, the punctuation which is added to the English translation of the meanings of the Qur'an is not present in the original Arabic. A closer translation of the verse of 3:7 without the modern punctuation would be "yet none knows its interpretation save Allah and those firm in knowledge they say ..." Further, the fact that the Qur'an is in clear Arabic does not require that all people who may read it be proficient in Arabic, that their speech be uncorrupted by slang or colloquialisms, that they all be scholars of the language, or that they be familiar with the contexts within which each verse was revealed. Those of knowledge in these issues are the ones who can explain them best.
Was Pharaoh Drowned or Saved when chasing Moses and the Israelites? Saved [10:93], drowned [28:40, 17:103, 43:55].
Pharaoh died in the sea. The verse of Yunus (10):92 says that Pharaoh's BODY was saved and extracted from the water so that it might be a sign for future generations to the power of God. It seems strange how the author of this list managed to skip the very word that explains the verse and only narrate the portion of the verse which will facilitate a desired "contradiction." Also, I seem to remember this same author having some comments in the past in one of the articles on his "Answering Islam" homepage (I believe authored by Dr. Campbell whose opinions we have already studied in the above question on embryology) about the alleged unreliability of The French physician, Dr. Maurice Bucaille's book "The Bible, the Qur'an, and Science," and how it is supposedly so full of errors. Anyone who had indeed read Dr. Bucaille's book would have known what this verse says since Dr. Bucaille goes into so much detail about this very issue and places so much emphasis on the Qur'an's claim that the body of Pharaoh was recovered and not left in the sea. This was a key issue with him in his comparison of this statement with the conditions of the mummified bodies of various pharaohs which have been preserved in Egypt.
In any case, another "contradiction" down.
When Commanded Pharaoh the Killing of the Sons? When Moses was a Prophet and spoke God's truth to Pharaoh [40:23-25] or when he was still an infant [20:38-39]?
Pharaoh issued this decree twice. The first decree was issued by him in an effort to try and prevent the birth of the one who would cause his downfall. The second decree was issued for a completely different reason after Moses (pbuh) grew up, became a messenger, and then showed Pharaoh the signs of Allah. The slave workers, the Jews, began to rally around him. In order to prevent a revolt he ordered a mass slaughter of their children in order to bring them back in line and, as he saw it, to put them back in their place.
What do we expect from Pharaoh? He was a tyrant. This is how he dealt with his problems, by killing people. Why is it so hard to believe that he might have done this more than once? In the Bible we read in Matthew 8:6-13 that Jesus (pbuh) cured a centurion's servant who was sick with the "palsy." However, in Matthew 9:2-7 we read that he cured a completely different man from the "palsy" in a completely different location. Obviously this is a "contradiction," right? Jesus can't possibly have performed such a wondrous miracle TWICE.
In the Qur'an we read that Moses (pbuh) brought no less than nine signs before Pharaoh, however, each time Pharaoh would say: "pray to your lord to lift this plague and I shall submit and deliver the Jews to you." However, each time Moses (pbuh) would do so he would go back on his word. Obviously, according to the above logic, Pharaoh could not have done this nine different times. They must be nine "contradictions," right?
When/how are the fates determined? "The night of power is better than a thousand months. The angels and spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees." [97:3,4] "Lo! We revealed it on a blessed night." [44:3] To Muslims, the "Night of Power" is a blessed night on which fates are settled and on which everything relating to life, death, etc., which occurs throughout the year is decreed. It is said to be the night on which Allah's decrees for the year are brought down to the earthly plane. In other words, matters of creation are decreed a year at a time. Contradicting this, Sura 57:22 says, "No affliction befalls in the earth or in your selves, but it is in a Book before we create it." This means it is written in the Preserved Tablet, being totally fixed in Allah's knowledge before anyone was created. All of the above is contradicted by "And every man's fate We have fastened to his own neck." This says that man alone is responsible for what he does and what happens to him. [17:13]
You have managed to mix two different topics together. First of all, Al-Dukhan(44):3 speaks about the descent of the Qur'an, not about God's decrees. It is well known to all Muslims that the Qur'an was sent down to the lowest heaven (sky) in "Bayt Al-Izzah" on the "Night of Decree" (not "the night of power" as it is often erroneously translated). From there it was revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) piecemeal, a bit at a time, as the situation warranted. This continued until it was completed. Anyone who would simply back up to the previous verse would see that this verse is speaking about the Qur'an since that verse says: "[God swears by] the manifest book (the Qur'an) that makes things clear. Indeed We sent it down in a blessed night...."
This is once again confirmed in Al-Baqarah(2):185: "The month of Ramadan in which was sent down the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind ......"
The Qur'an was revealed a piece at a time in response to the allegations and challenges of the disbelievers and in order to strengthen the Prophet (pbuh). The Qur'an says in Al-Furqan(25):32: "And those who disbelieved said: 'Why is not the Qur'an revealed to him all at once?' Thus, that we may strengthen your heart thereby, .."
In other words, this method is more conducive of your experiencing the support of your Lord for you so that you can be confident of your message. When you need His support He brings it to you at that time and He is always close by. This method is a little more intimate and closer in support to the prophet (pbuh) than to simply hand him the Qur'an and say "You are on your own. If they ask you something then look it up."
The next verse continues in this theme with the words: "...and they do not bring you a similitude but We reveal to you the Truth and a better explanation thereof."
This issue is dealt with in sufficient detail in such books as "Tafser ibn Katheer" with the relevant supporting sayings of prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in this regard, so there is no need to get into further detail here.
Once again, in Al-Qadar(97):1, the verse is speaking about the descent of the Qur'an to "Bayt Al-Izzah" in the lowest heaven, from where it was later slowly revealed to the prophet. All of this is very basic information which can be found in any number of fundamental Islamic references. They do not require a whole lot of searching.
Now, regarding a Muslim's belief with regard to God's decrees, they are as follows:
A Muslim is told that God forces no one to do anything. They are given a free will as well as the faculties and facilities needed to implement that will. Thus, they are the only one's responsible for their actions. However, God is also Omniscient. He knows everything before it happens and He forgets nothing. He has complete and perfect knowledge. "Anwith Him are the keys of the unknown, none knows them but He. And He knows what is in the land and the seas, ano leaf falls but He knows it, nor is there a grain in the darknesses of the earth nor anything fresh nor dry but is in a Clear Record" Al-Anaam(6):59
T, just as one of us, if he were able to go back in time, would be able to write about the future exactly as it would occur but without himself having forced anyone iany action, similarly, God knows everyone and everything perfectly and has recorded all things but without having Himself forced anyone to perform actions of belief or disbelief.
Now, after God wrote all things in the Preserved Tablet, then He gave all human two angels to accompany them throughout their lives. These two angels were given this man's book of deeds and decrees. In it is written his provision, and his life span, etc., and then his deeds too are recorded as he performs them. The book of deeds continues to be updated until this human dies. It is then closed and on the day of Judgment it is handed to him so that he can see the complete record of his actions, however, God's perfect knowledge as preserved and recorded in the Preserved Tablet never changes.
Wine: Good or bad? Strong drink and ... are only an infamy of Satan's handiwork. [5:90, also 2:219]. Yet on the other hand in Paradise are rivers of wine [47:15, also 83:22,25]. How does Satan's handiwork get into Paradise?
The reward of paradise contains rewards the like of which no eye has seen not has any ear heard not has ever occurred upon the hearts of humanity (Hadeeth Qudsi. Also read Al-Sajdah(32):17).
In the face of such bliss, how do you tell people what awaits them? You give them descriptive terms that bring the issues closer to their understanding. For example, Muhammad(47):15 describes the water of Heaven as never putrefying, the milk as never changing in taste (going sour), etc. In a similar fashion, the wine of Paradise does not contain the very ingredient which has made it prohibited in this life. Specifically, intoxicants. You can read the confirmation of this, for example, in Al-Saffat(37):45-47, or Al-Wakiah(56):19.
In the USA it is a crime to drink beer then drive. The wisdom behind this law is that it impairs judgment. Does this mean that if one were to drink "rootbeer" or "ginger ale" then the law will stand? Of course not. Why? Because they are not "intoxicants." The prohibition in Islam is because of the "intoxicating" action and not because of the name. If someone were to create a new kind of beer and choose not to call it "beer" but to name it "Zima," would this make it lawful to drink it then drive? No, the name has no bearing on the law, it is only the intoxicating action which is at issue. If it is present then it is unlawful, if it is not then it is lawful, regardless of the name. This is the same as the law of Islam. In Islam the name does not matter, it is the intoxicants which make it prohibited, be it named "beer," "wine," "alcohol," "heroin," "whiskey," "marijuana," or whatever.
Will all Muslims go to Hell?
Mariam(19):71 is described by the prophet (pbuh) and also by the companions ibn Masood and Sulaiman ibn Murrah among others. The verse is a description of how all mankind shall have to pass over Hellfire upon the "sirat" (path) in order to reach Heaven. Only the pious make it across. The prophet (pbuh) was quoted by the Companion Sulaiman ibn Murrah as saying that for the pious this traversal shall not harm them since God shall make it safe for them just as He made the fire of earth safe for prophet Abraham (pbuh). This traversal shall be at speeds directly proportional to that person's piety and obedience on earth, with some of them passing as fast as lightning, some as fast as a swift wind, some running, some walking, some crawling, etc. All of this information can be found in various hadeeths of the prophet.
Who is the father of Jesus?
The author of this list attempts here to piece together a claim from the Qur'an that even though God specifically declares many times throughout it that Jesus (pbuh) is not His son and that this claim is a blasphemy of the worst kind, still, he thinks that if he tries heard enough he might be able to claim that through implication it might be possible for the dedicated student to make the Qur'an "hint" at endorsing what it explicitly refutes and warns against in many places. But he is measured in his approach. He covers all bases first. He starts by saying "Is Jesus the son of Allah? The Qur'an says no." which he then follows up with his implication that in spite of this, still, the Qur'an might still leave the door open for the exact opposite of its explicit claims to be true. In this manner, he attempts to leave himself the room he shall need to maneuver if anyone simply points to God's continuous and repeated explicit refutations of the claim that Jesus (pbuh) is his son. In this case, he can simply say "I already said that the Qur'an says 'no'." However, he then goes on to imply that such a simple matter as the God's explicit condemnation does not necessarily mean that He really means it. He attempts to justify this position with the following words:
"1) Allah caused Mary to become pregnant with Jesus.
2) Allah determined some of the physical characteristics of Jesus
3) All of the genetic characteristics of Jesus were determined by just two parties: Allah and Mary"
From these claims he manages to convince himself that he has managed to make the Qur'an hint at endorsing what it explicitly condemns.
It is interesting to notice that in two previous question he objected very strenuously to any claims where the angels are described as being responsible for "taking a person's soul" or "protecting humans." In those cases he insisted that the angels themselves must be responsible for this act in total independence of God and would not allow their simply being vicegerents of God or tools of God in the implementation of His will. That was the only way he could generate a "contradiction" in those two cases. By making their wills independent or above that of God rather than being a result or outgrowth of God's command and will. However, in this case, suddenly he is fully able and willing to understand and even accept the fact that angels are only the tools of God which He uses to implement His will, since his insistence on his previous stance would have required that in this case he would need to claim that it was "angel Gabriel and Mary" who were responsible for the birth of Jesus (pbuh) and not his current claim of "God and Mary." This is because the Qur'an tells us that it was the angel Gabriel who "blew" into Mary (pbuh). I suppose that he could probably fix this problem by claiming that angel Gabriel is Jesus' father and that this will now prove another "contradiction" with any verses which claim that God created Jesus (pbuh) without any father whatsoever.
According to such "logic," we need to wonder that since God "determined all of the physical characteristics" of Adam (pbuh) and that "All of the genetic characteristics" of Adam were also determined by only one party, God, therefore, does the Qur'an also "hint" that Adam is God's son? Does the Qur'an now contain claims that are "entirely consistent" with God being both Adam's father and his mother? It appears that this would be an entirely acceptable and logical way to prove this claim in this author's eyes. It does not matter what the verses explicitly say, those claims are far to uncomfortable and hindersome to the desired goal. Far better to try and give them "hidden" meanings so that they can be bent and tortured into endorsing his preconceived beliefs regardless of what they explicitly say.
It is strange that this is indeed the very way he attempts to prove that the Bible claims that Jesus (pbuh) is God. Through "hints" and "implications." Indeed, he is incorrect in assuming that God only determined "some of" the genetics or characteristics of Jesus (pbuh). The fact of the matter is that God determines ALL of the genetics acharacteristics of ALL humans. Read for example A'al-Umran(3):6, Al-Infitar(82):8, Ghafi(40):64, Al-Wakiah(56):58, or Fatir(35):11.
If I design and build a car, this means that I have determined its "characteristics" or "genetics," that they were all determined by m, and that I am responsible for causing the plant to produce (become "pregnant with") this car. If I then proclaim many times quite explicitly that "I am not the fatherof this car, rather, I simply designed and built it. It and the plant which produced it are both vastly inferior to me," then will the author of this list manage to completely side-step my explicit words to manage to "imply" that in his view it is "entirely consistent with these words to consider the designer of the car to be the car's father"? But if someone is bent on making a book say the exact opposite of what it explicitly declares then I suppose such a small issue as its explicit wording shall not be a big hindrance to the attainment of that goal. Oh well.
Contradictions in the Qur'an
Christian Answers to Islam home page
Last edited: November 30, 1996
On other occasions the very Christians who have set out to discover contradictions in the noble word of God, the Qur'an, have in the end been influenced exactly opposite to their original expectations. For example, the Christian Professor Abraham Filibus had managed to cultivate such severe disdain and hatred for all Muslims over his lifetime that he resolved to study the Qur'an in detail and publish an all-inclusive list of contradictions that would be the be-all end-all word on this issue. He had in the past had strong ties to the American military in World War II and had written a number of books critical of Islam. This final project was to be the crowning achievement of his career. Unlike our current author, this man was very well acquainted with the Arabic language and did his utmost to apply this knowledge towards his desired end. Within his capacity as representative of the Church of England, a missionary to the Muslims of Egypt, and in association with the coordinated efforts of the American, Swiss, and German Churches, he dedicated himself to this task for a full five years beginning in 1955 through 1959. Five years later, after continuous and dedicated study of this issue he converted on Christmas day of 1959 to Islam and changed his name to Ibraheem Khaleel Ahmed. He has since published over fifteen books on this topic of the true prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) and the evidence of Church tampering with the Bible. He has also held numerous debates with many Christian missionaries and clergymen on this and other topics over the last few decades. When people are balanced and objective in their study of God's words in the noble Qur'an God guides them to it's truth, extinguishing the hatred they find in their hearts with the light of guidance and virtue.
".. Say: It (the Qur'an) is a for those who believe a guidance and healing. And as for those who disbelieve it is a heaviness (deafness) in their ears, and it is a blindness upon them. They are those who are called from a place far removed (so they neither hear nor understand)" The noble Qur'an, Fatir (41):44.
By the will of the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, this article has been completed. In it every one of the claimed contradictions in the words of God has been refuted. The criteria and guidelines followed in this refutation were the following:
- All claims were answered and not only "one or two" or "most" of them.
- The reader was not told "there is a book out there that has the answer, go find it and read it." If one can not put the information found in a given book to good use in providing concrete answers then simply quoting titles of books will not do us much good.
- All replies were based upon information which can be found in the sources of Islamic law, the Qur'an and the Hadeeth.
- No baseless suppositions were adopted by adding narrative details which were not found in the text simply based upon "MAYBE if I add the following details not found in the text then I can try and harmonize the issue." The only time any assumptions were made was when they were obvious and warranted due to the fact that those assumptions were the norm and to be expected, such as assuming that prophet Lot's ministry lasted more than a few minutes.
The other type of assumption is the "exception to the rule." So if I am told that someone is walking and I "assume" that he is ALSO eating an ice-cream bar then I have made an unwarranted assumption based upon no other evidence but my own personal whims.
Contrast this with one who tries to harmonize the many and varied problems with the conflicting accounts of the resurrection by saying:
"It is quite possible that much of the confusion about these trivial facts stems from the fact that many women went to the tomb that morning (Luke 24:10). its possible, at the very least, that a group of women came to the tomb, and saw that the stone had been rolled away. Some women went inside, but the more timid remained outside. Those inside saw the vision of the two angels, while those outside saw the angel on the stone."
In this manner, we make it possible for one Gospel to claim that only one woman went (John 20:1), but another to claim that three went (Mark 16:1) and another to claim that two went (Matt 28:1), and for one to claim that one angel was present (Matt. 16:2), while another claims that two were present (Luke 23:4), and another claims that initially there were no angels but a trip to Peter was first pand only upon the return were two angels found and they were seen by threcompletely different people (John 20:1-6), and also to claim that the women were afraand spoke to no one (Mark 16:8), while the women were at the same time not afraid and spoke openly (Luke 23:9), while it was only one woman who spoke but in this case thangel had still not been seen (John 20:2), and in one there is an earthquake, the descent of an angel from heaven and the rolling of the stone all in the presence of the women, and all of which terrified them (Matt 16:2-7), while in another the angel was already there and sitting on a rock when they came in and there is no mention of any earthquakes etc., the women simply found the stone moved and walked right in(Mark 16:5), and in one the angel is sitting on the stone outside the sepulcher(Matt. 28:2), while in another two angels are sitting not on the stone outside but inside the sepulcher where the stone would not fit (John 20:12) while in yet another the angel is once again sitting inside the sepulcher but now there is only one angel not two sitting inside (Mark 16:5) and finally in yet another version there are two angels but now they are not sitting but standing outside (Luke 24:4) ....etc. All of this is done by adding details not found anywhere in the text and which can by no stretch of the imagination be considered to be "obvious assumptions" and still, the explanation does not sit well. Why? Let us only look at only one basic problem with the above attempts:
Let us take the example of the OJ Simpson trial where one reporter was allowed in the court room and all of the others had to get their "feeds" or information from him. Let us then assume that the cameras went out and all of the reporters had to get their accounts of what happened today from this one solitary reporter. Four newspaper reporters will then come to a joint conference and ask this one witness what happened. After this conference is over then all four will go write their stories.
Now let us compare this with the narrations of the Gospels. All four of the Gospel writers were not present at the alleged resurrection. All four of them allegedly got their information through the Holy Ghost who was theoretically guiding the hands of each Gospel writer in writing their accounts of the exact same occurrence. However, this one witness, the Holy Ghost, appears to have found it necessary to give each author he "inspired" a different version of many of the details of the same story. Keeping in mind that in the first three centuries C.E. there was no such thing as the "New Testament" we have today (Read chapter two of "What Did Jesus Really Say?"), and all Christians simply followed their one "gospel," such as the "the Gospel of Thomas," or "the Gospel of John" or "the Shepherd of Hermas," etc. then we begin to see how these very first Christians would have each had a vastly different account of exactly what happened in a given situation. It was only after the Church finally selected which "Gospels" it wanted to include in its list of "inspired" books and destroyed the rest, at the same time "fixing" their chosen texts, only then did we get the book we know today as the New Testament which still needs a broad measure of latitude in adding details and disregarding "difficulties" in order to harmonize the conflicting accounts which the original authors never intended to be placed on the same footing as anyone else's writings.
Groliers encyclopedia says under the heading "New Testament, canon":
"The process by which the canon of the New Testament was formed began in the 2d century, probably with a collection of ten letters of Paul. Toward the end of that century, Irenaeus argued for the unique authority of the portion of the Canon called the Gospels. Acceptance of the other books came gradually. The church in Egypt used more than the present 27 books, and the Syriac-speaking churches fewer. The question of an official canon became urgent during the 4th century. It was mainly through the influence of Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, and because Jerome included the 27 books in his Latin version of the Bible called the Vulgate, that the present canon came to be accepted.."
Now, it may indeed be possible for someone to narrate the conflicting accounts in such a sequence as to make them harmonize with one-another without contradiction. If someone could do that then they can claim the $2000 "Easter Challenge" prize. However, far too many well known Christian scholars have tried to explain away the discrepancies and failed for me to hold out any great hope of anyone coming up with anything new. Actually, Mr. Barker has gone out of his way to make confronting this challenge as simple as possible by even allowing the respondent to add additional narrative details to the story which can not be verified from the text of the Bible. In any case, the door is not closed and all that is needed is to fit the pieces together in such a way as to generate a non-contradictory narrative. The author of this list is encouraged to muster all of his friends and then collect all his explanations into one narrative with their assistance, submit their answer and then post the reward check on his web site, thus forever silencing all tongues and exonerating the Church from the affirmation that they have extensively tampered with this story (among many others).
We are constantly told by the apologists that "there are many books out there that have completely resolved all contradictions in the Bible, their titles are..." And then the reader is comforted by the fact that although we still do not have the answers, still, it "must" be out there and "someone" appears to have answered it. They want us to believe that they Church at no time ever intentionally tampered with the Bible or ever intentionally changed it's text, resulting in the side effect of discrepancy. Even when they do tackle the problem with concrete explanations, even then, the method employed is to reduce every ten discrepancies to only one or two, and then quickly "explain" these hoping that the reader does not know about the other eight which contradict this explanation. In reality however, when someone is actually courageous enough to try and quote these explanations we find them to be anything but convincing. I do not mean to be disrespectful, however, one can not defend the indefensible. Many very highly respected and esteemed members of the Church have publicly admitted that the Church has changed the text of the Bible, many times, and many Christians openly admit this fact. Some of these men were quoted in the beginning of this article. The evidence is simply to overwhelming to ignore. Unless one is simply willing to blindly trust the Church, blindly curse all Muslims, blindly label any and all Christian scholars or clergymen who admit Church tampering as despicable lowly heathen, and blindly continue to repeat a given excuse even when it is shown to be unworkable, then it is necessary to begin to try and move on, accept this basic fact, and try and find out the reasons why the Church felt it necessary to tamper with the text of the Bible in order that we might be able to distill the original message of Jesus (pbuh) from all of the "trim" added by the Church during the "Dark Ages." This is the only way one can truthfully claim to have indeed searched for the truth of God and His guidance and not allowed the blind pursuit of what is "popular" to cloud their judgment.
Muslims are told in the Qur'an that Jesus never claimed to be God, divine, or destined to die and be resurrected for the sins of mankind. On the other hand, we are told in the Bible that Jesus (pbuh) issued an "ultimate challenge" to the Jews which would be his be-all end-all proof of truthfulness to them. We are told that He told them that he would only be showing them the "three days and three nights" miracle (Matthew 12). We are also told in the Bible that after Jesus (pbuh) was claimed to have been in the ground and then came back to life after three days then he could no longer die or be killed by the Jews. He no longer had anything to fear from them(Romans 6:9). Yet he still refused to show himself to him to establish the validity of this claimed greatest challenge and he only showed himself to his closest disciples. Church scholars have struggled with this conundrum for many centuries. One of the theories put forth is that Jesus' refusal to show himself to his enemies in fulfillment of his ultimate challenge was "so that they would not be smitten with blindness.."? etc. However, this is not the only problem with this picture.
It is an accepted fact with the Church that Jesus (pbuh) was crucified on "Good Friday" (i.e. Mark 15:42). It is further an accepted fact with them that this was done very late on Friday just before nightfall since the Jews were in a great hurry to break his legs so that he would die quickly from suffocation and they could take his body down before the night of the Sabbath (Friday night) would fall (John 19:31). Their frantic race against time in this regard tells us that night fall was so close upon them that they didn't know if they would be able to kill him and get him down off the cross before God's curse fell upon them and their land (Deut. 21:22-23). So in the best of situations Jesus was taken down just before nightfall on Friday. He still needed to be properly buried. We also read in the Bible that when the woman (or women) came to the sepulcher early Monday morning while it was still dark (John 20:1), the tomb was already empty and the stone rolled away. This means that Jesus (pbuh) left sometime before dawn on Saturday. This sums up to two nights and one day. Even if we were to be generous and consider the last remnants of Friday to be a "full" day, and we consider his being "off the cross" equivalent to being "in the ground," then this still only works out to two days and two nights.
This problem is resolved, as seen above, by strange and torturous manipulations first by completely "forgetting" the number of nights altogether, then by trying to make this period "a few minutes on Friday and all of Saturday" to be three days. Why then, if parts of a day can be considered a whole day, do we not claim that Jesus (pbuh) was actually in the ground for four or five or even six days? If a part of a day is the exact same thing as a day, and we are given the freedom to manipulate time as we see fit then let us make this one day and two nights "forty days and forty nights" by splitting Saturday into forty parts. Why not? There is nothing in the text to prevent it. Notice how the text is tortured through bending and warping to submit to the teachings of the Church while kicking and screaming?
Further, notice that we are speaking about what is claimed to be Jesus' greatest, and only, challenge to the Jews for all time (Matt. 12:39-40). If Jesus (pbuh) had indeed issued this challenge and it was not a later insertion of the Church then would we not expect Jesus (peace be upon him) to go out of his way to establish it as completely and fully as possible so that his enemies would have no excuses or room to maneuver in rejecting him?
Assume that I challenge my life-long rival to a "pumpkin-pie and turkey eating contest" and tell him "I can eat three pumpkin pies and three turkeys in three minutes." Further assume that my rival tells me "If you can do that then I shall pay you $10,000 and admit in front of everyone that you are a better man than me." Now, if I am truly able to fulfill my promise, and it did indeed come from me and was not a fabrication which I did not say, then would it be logical to assume that I would then be happy to only eat "two turkeys, one pie, and perhaps one bite from the other two pies"? Would my rival happily accept "one bite" as being equivalent to "a whole pie"? Would he consider two turkeys the same as three? Would he pay the money and admit defeat? If I was "able" to eat the whole of the first and last pies and the third turkey would I not do it? Further, if in addition to not eating all of first and last pies and the third turkey, I also hid in my home while eating the ones which I was indeed able to eat and did not let my rival see me then would this not be defeating the purpose?
According to Islam, Jesus (pbuh), like all prophets before him, was very pious and dedicated to his task. He was very keen on getting all of his followers (in this case the Jews) to accept his message and follow him in the obedience of God. If he had any tool which he could use towards this end he would not hesitate to use it completely and fully in order to ensure their repentance and salvation. Any claim to the contrary would not be accepted by a Muslim. Any claim that he was untruthful would not be accepted by us. Why then, if he is the one who said these words and not the Church, did he not simply wait a little longer in his grave in order to not leave any way out for his enemies? Why also did he not even show himself to them after leaving the sepulcher but only showed himself to his own disciples?
Indeed these very problems have driven some members of the Church to come up with a new theory. That of "Good Wednesday." But even this theory does not fix the problem, it only generates a set of new ones in place of the old ones, such as the opposition of this theory to all of the verses which display the Jew's eagerness to get Jesus (pbuh) off the cross before the Sabbath, etc.
- Islam is a universal message to atheists, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, and all of the rest of mankind. To attempt and make one of these groups central to the call of Islam and more important than the rest is to display severe ignorance of its teachings. To give just one example, atheism is far more a central issue in the Qur'an than is Christianity. Does this mean that Christianity is not important? No. It only means that one should try and display a degree of objectivity and restraint before trying to restrict Islam to being a message to his solitary group and no one else. "We (Allah) have not sent you (O Muhammad) but as a universal [Messenger] to all mankind, giving them glad tidings, and warning them, but most of mankind understand not." The noble Qur'an, Saba(24):38
- It is also far from true that Islam's message to Christianity is simply based upon claims of corruption. While this may indeed be an important consideration and should not be disregarded since so many Christian scholars, Doctors of Divinity, Dictionaries, Church proclamations, and official Church encyclopedias all admit this fact and admit quite openly that the Church had been tampering quite extensiveand contwith the Bible over the last few centuries, still, it is very deceptive to try and claim ththis is the main issue that Muslims contend with their Christian neighbors. The real issue is that of monotheism, the "oneness of God." Indeed, when my personal email mailbox first was flooded with challenge after challenge to debate this author on any topic, this was indeed the very topic I chose. I did not demand that he prove that the Church has never tampered with the Bible, rather my request was much simpler than that. I very simply asked him to prove from anywhere in the Bible that Jesus (pbuh) ever said "worship me" or "I am God" or where anyone at all in any verse of the Bible from cover to cover ever taught the concept of the Trinity. If this concept came from Jesus (pbuh) or from God and not from the Church then it would not be asking too much to ask that he simply show me where the Bible says this and then I shall be satisfied that the one who is propagating this belief is indeed more devoted to the following of Jesus (pbuh) and God than the men of the Church. Further, I never refused to accept even "implicit" quotations in this regard where Jesus (pbuh) might happen to be "hinting" that he is God or that he want's to be worshipped, or where God is "hinted" at being a Trinity. Indeed, the vast majority of the verses presented by him in this regards were all of this "implicit" nature. To now come back, after all that has transpired, to claiming that the whole message of Islam is based simply upon a search for "corruption in the Bible" is highly deceptive.
- I have seen many of these men when they read that the Qur'an says "they have indeed disbelieved who say God is the third of three.." they then go on to try and claim that they did not say this. First of all, we need to remember that when the Qur'an refers to "God" it is referring to the one whom the Christians refer to as "the Father." The apologists try and maneuver around this by trying to make the word "Allah"(God) in the Qur'an refer to a "Trinity" so that they can make their claims. This is quite obvious to anyone who has the slightest knowledge of the teachings of the Qur'an since they will know that it condemns as blasphemy any and all claims that anyone else is a god, or that God has a son, or that anyone else is a god "with" God ..etc. The Qur'an also repeats many times not only that "God" is "Wahid" (English: One), however, it also tells us that he is "Ahad" and "Fard" meaning that He is indivisible and not consisting of sub-parts, or sub-gods making up a single God. As we shall in the next point, the Church did indeed make this claim and those who wish to challenge Muslims to a debate on this issue should at least first be willing to be honest in this regard and debate that which is "different" between the two beliefs rather than trying to force the Qur'an to teach Church beliefs while at the same time backing out of their own official definition, and then base all arguments on this unsound ground.
- Secondly, now that we see what the Qur'an means by "God" and we are ready to understand any and all references to "God" in the Qur'an to mean in Christian terminology "the Father" now we need to study the claim of these apologists that they do not say that "the Father is the third of three" etc. They tell us that they do not say this and that Muslims simply do not understand "who" God is or what their mental picture of God is, and so forth. In actuality it is the Christians I have spoken to who display the severest dismay at this concept and can not fathom its illogical nature. But in order to remain objective when claiming that something is a belief of Christianity I have always done my best to always quote the Church or leading Christian scholars in this regard. So let us do so again. The very first official Church definition of "God" as being a "Trinity" was weaved together in the council of Nicea in the year 325 C.E. For those who claim that it is Muslims who lyingly say these things let us simply quote from this official definition. It reads: "Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic faith. For unless a person keeps this faith whole and entire he will undoubtedly be lost forever. This is what the Catholic faith teaches: we worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity. We distinguish among the persons, but we do not divide the substance. For the Father is a distinct person; the Son is a distinct person; and the Holy Spirit is a distinct person. Still the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have one divinity, equal glory, and coeternal majesty. What the Father is, the Son is, and the Holy Spirit is. The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated. The Father is boundless, the Son is boundless, and the Holy Spirit is boundless. The Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, and the Holy Spirit is eternal. Nevertheless, there are not three eternal beings, but one eternal being. Thus there are not three uncreated beings, nor three boundless beings, but one uncreated being and one boundless being. Likewise, the Father is omnipotent, the Son is omnipotent, and the Holy Spirit is omnipotent. Yet there are not three omnipotent beings, but one omnipotent being. Thus the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. But there are not three gods, but one God. The Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Spirit is Lord. There as not three lords, but one Lord. For according to Christian truth, we must profess that each of the persons individually is God; and according to Christian religion we are forbidden to say that there are three gods or lords. ... But the entire three persons are coeternal and coequal with one another .... So that, as we have said, we worship complete unity in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity. This, then, is what he who wishes to be saved must believe about the Trinity .... This is the Catholic faith. Everyone must believe it, firmly and steadfastly; otherwise He cannot be saved. Amen." So, now we need to ask, does Christianity, as God said in the Qur'an, say that God (Christianity: "Father") is the "third of three"? I challenge anyone to re-write the above statement without (1) using the word "three" or (2) using the "three" names. If anyone can write the above definition without either mentioning three names or using the word "three" then I will admit that their claim that Muslims are simply too backward to understand the truth is based upon more than simple misrepresentation of the truth. In actuality, objective and honest Christian ministers, such as Tom Harpur, have the following to say in this regard: "What is most embarrassing for the church is the difficulty of proving any of these statements of dogma from the new Testament documents. You simply cannot find the doctrine of the Trinity set out anywhere in the Bible. St. Paul has the highest view of Jesus' role and person, but nowhere does he call him God. Nor does Jesus himself anywhere explicitly claim to be the second person in the Trinity, wholly equal to his heavenly Father. As a pious Jew, he would have been shocked and offended by such an Idea....(this is) in itself bad enough. But there is worse to come. This research has lead me to believe that the great majority of regular churchgoers are, for all practical purposes, tritheists. That is, they profess to believe in one God, but in reality they worship three.."
All praise be to Allah (God)the Almighty and all thanks. I ask your forgiveness and I repent unto you. And Peace be unto God's messenger Muhammad (pbuh), upon his companions and the prophets of God from thbeginning of time.
If we were speaking about sincere questions or real issues then that would be a different story. However, if we are to be reduced to partial quotations, withholding evidence, and selective re-interpretation, etc. then one begins to question the motives of the author of these questions. In any case, eighty pages of claims and refutations in my estimation is sufficient for anyone who is searching for the truth. For those who still insist on coming up with new "contradictions" every time the old ones are refuted that is their choice. The truth is now clear for those who are searching for it.
In the new version of this list, posted a couple of days ago, he has chosen to add an invitation from him to post any and all replies on his web page if they are in html format. He says:
"My special offer: I will link to any answer to any of these above listed contradiction, if you want to display a discussion of them on a web site. If it is impossible for you, I even will display it myself but I ask you to produce the file with HTML formatting for it. This is part of my policy of integrity(5), even though no Muslim site has ever offered to link to any Christian answers to their Bible contradiction lists. Attention: But be careful what you send in for display. If it is up it is there to stay. You can add to it but not retract from it. So don't give too hasty answers you haven't really made sure are solid."
In the face of such words it is very tempting to drudge up some historical facts from the text of previous debates, however, I will let this comment slide. In any case, I thank you for your offer. You may post this reply.
Can non-living matter think, feel and have a will?
How can mountains both be able to "refuse the trust" and "feel fear" as Sura 33:72 says?
Well, if you object to God being able to communicate with His creation then for regular humans to do this with inanimate objects and to be anointed by them should really offend you. How then will you regard the following words of the Bible?:
Judges 9:7-15 "And when they told [it] to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you. The trees went forth [on a time] to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, [and] reign over us. But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, [and] reign over us. And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, [and] reign over us. And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, [then] come [and] put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon."
How about another example:
Isaiah 29:15-16: 5"Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?"
The Islamic concept of this matter is that God, unlike humans, is Omnipotent and can do anything He chooses making anything He wills answer Him. Do they all generate sound to communicate? Not necessarily. Some humans communicate by sound, others by sign, some animals communicate by smell, etc.. The Qur'an says:
"And (remember) the day (of Judgment) that the enemies of Allah shall be gathered to the Fire so that they will (all) be collected there. Till, when they reach it, their hearing and their eyes and their skins will testify against them as to what they used to do. And they will say to their skins 'Why did you testify against us?' They will say: 'Allah has caused us to speak, [for He is] the One who caused all things [which He willed] to speak, and He created you the first time, and unto Him you are returned." The noble Qur'an, Fussilat(41):19-21.
Once again, let us have a look at another attempt at the system of partial-quotations in an attempt to generate "contradictions." He says:
Muslim Traditions in contradiction to even the Qur'an:
Abraham's sacrifice: Isaac or Ishmael?
"Many Muslims allege that one indication that the Bible has been altered to discredit Islam is the story of Abraham and the divine command to sacrifice his son. Most Muslims insist that this son was Ishmael. The Bible, however, claims that the son was Isaac (Genesis 22:9, Hebrews 11:17, and James 2:21). There is only one reference in all the Qur'an that relates this incident and it begins with Abraham making this request: "O my Lord, grant me a righteous (son)!" So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear. Then when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said, "O my son, I see in a vision that I offer thee in sacrifice. Now see what is thy view!" (The son) said, "O my father, do as thou art commanded. Thou will find me if Allah so wills one practicing patience and constancy!" So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah) and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice), We called out to him, "O Abraham, thou hast already fulfilled the vision!" Thus indeed do we reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial -- and We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice. -- Surat-us Saffat (37):99-107 Notice carefully in this passage, which is the only one dealing with the sacrifice, that the name of the son is not given! It does indicate, however, that this was the boy whose birth was foretold as "good news." If one searches the whole Qur'an, he will find nothing menthe birth of Ishmael. In fact very little is said about Ishmael, and absolutely nothing is said about thidentity of his mother or his sons. It is from the Bible that we learn that Ishmael's mother was named Hagar, and that Ishmael had twelve sons (Gen. 25:12-17)."
Notice where he quoting the verses; at verse 107. Why is that? It is because if we stop here then we still have not read either the name "Ishmael" or "Isaac." Actually, his arguments might even be quite convincing if the reader were willing to trust his claims and not bother to go back to the original text of the noble Qur'an. The issue which will destroy his hypothesis is that continuing on reading the next five verses we will read "....and We (God) left for him (Abraham) in the latter [generations] the salutation 'peace be upon Abraham.' Thus do We reward those who excel in good. Verily, He was one of Our believing servants. And We gave him glad tidings of Isaac, a prophet of the righteous."
This is why he stopped at verse 107, so that we would not read that after this trial Isaac was born as a reward for Abraham's sincerity. If he does not quote these verses then he is able to generate doubt that maybe Muslims do not know their Qur'an and that maybe it was Isaac that was to be sacrificed. It saddens me that this is the way he chooses to manifest his "policy of integrity."
He also insists on trying to restrict Muslims to only one half of Islamic law and tradition, that found in the Qur'an. If he can not find something in the Qur'an then he automatically insists that it must have come from the Bible. He does not allow for the possibility that it may have come from the other source of Islamic law, the Sunnah (or "Hadeeth"). But he only does this when it suites him. When he was speaking about "the number of wings" question he readily accepted the Sunnah and tried to make it contradict the Qur'an. But let us be generous and assume that nowhere in the Qur'an or in the Sunnah is Hagar (pbuh) referred to by name and that she is only referred to as the "mother of Ishmael." Then what? Does it make the Qur'an any less the words of God or the Sunnah any less the words of His prophet if this were the case? How will the knowledge of her proper name enhance how I perform my daily prayers? How will it increase my obedience to God? What about all of the countless other men and women in the Qur'an whose proper names are not mentioned? For example "Pharaoh." How will the knowledge of his proper name increase my worship of God?
But he is not the only person obsessed with bashing Islam to find it necessary to employ such regrettable techniques in an attempt to propagate their agenda. Indeed, he has even provided us with pointers to yet other examples of some Christians who employ the very same techniques. For example, through his pointers we arrive at another similar page where the author points to the verse of the Qur'an, Merriam(19):33 and which conveys peace upon Jesus (pbuh) both in this life and in the hereafter when we shall all be raised back to life. The verse says regarding Jesus "And peace be upon me (Jesus) the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I shall be raised to life." Such men then zealously reinterpret this verse to mean that Jesus was crucified, died and was resurrected, in blatant defiance of numerous verses of the Qur'an which insist that Jesus (pbuh) did not die on the cross, such as:
"And because of their saying (in boast): We killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah, but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but a similitude of that was shown to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, except the following of conjecture. For surely; they killed him not. But Allah raised him up unto Himself, and Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise" The noble Qur'an, Al-Nissa(4):157-158.
What these authors neglect to tell their readers in their "lists" is what the Qur'an actually means by this term. Indeed, the exact same formula is repeated again this time in relation to prophet John the Baptist in Mariam(19):15. This verse says "and peace be upon him (John) the day he was born and the day he dies and day he is raised to life." However, this time none of these authors of "contradictions lists" try to claim that prophet John the Baptist died and was resurrected for the sins of mankind. That would not fit their personal agendas. Rather than allowing both verses their intended meaning, that Jesus (pbuh) did not die on the cross and that both John and Jesus (pbut) are held in honor in life and in the hereafter, instead, these men insist on giving the verse which speaks about Jesus (pbuh) a completely different meaning than when the exact same words are applied to John in the Qur'an. Once they have forced their chosen meaning on the verse (only in the case of Jesus and not John, usually not even quoting the verse applied to John at all) then they go on to declare that they have just managed to make the Qur'an contradict itself since now the meaning they have created for this verse contradicts the many verses of the Qur'an which affirm that Jesus (pbuh) was not killed. Notice how the intricate web is weaved by withholding evidence, selective personal interpretation, and then, magically..... contradictions are born.
1) Mr. Abdulsaleeb is the co-author of the book "Answering Islam" with Mr. Norman L. Geisler. Mr. "Abdulsaleeb" refers to his co-authorship of this book in his articles. I have had occasion to browse through his book in the hope that these two might be the ones to break the mold and try and present compete quotations and an honest representation of the teachings of Islam or the verses of the Qur'an in their commentaries. I was quite saddened to find that this is indeed not the case, as they both appear to have succumbed to the sad trend of misquotation and partial-quotation which sadly is becoming the norm with their colleagues. Let us take a look at one quick example. On page 148 of their book they say:
"Fifth, the Qur'an itself states that the prophetic line came through Isaac, not Ishmael 'And We bestowed on him Isaac and Jacob, and We established the Prophethood and Scripture among his seed' (29:27). The Muslim scholar Yusuf Ali adds the word 'Abraham' and changes the meaning as follows: 'We gave (Abraham) Isaac and Jacob, and ordained among his progeny Prophethood and revelation' by adding Abraham, the father of Ishmael, he can include Muhammad, a descendant of Ishmael, in the prophetic line! But Abraham's name is not found in the Arabic text of the Qur'an, which Muslims consider to be perfectly preserved."
These authors object to the pronoun "him" being replaced by the bracketed name "(Abraham)" by some translators. The sad method employed by these two men is to assume that the reader can not read Arabic nor will he actually go back and verify these two author's claims from an English translation of the meanings of the Qur'an (a fair assumption), and then based upon this assumption they "tell" the reader what the text of the Qur'an says.
The truth of the matter is that these two authors are objecting to the translation of verse 27, however, they chose not to quote the previous verses 16 through 26 which are all speaking about prophet Abraham, about how he called upon his people to believe in God, to submit to His will, to forsake their idols, and to worship God alone. The verses go on to describe how his people responded by saying 'kill him or burn him..etc.' but that prophet Lot (pbuh) believed in him and followed him. It is only NOW that we get to the quoted verse, that of 29:27 where we read that after all of this abuse and rejection God says "So We gave him Isaac and Jacob and we placed in his progeny the Prophethood and the Scripture and we bestowed upon him his reward in this life, and verily, in the Hereafter he is among the righteous."
What these two men have done is to quote onthe laverse in a long story relating to prophet Abraham and discard the rest. Once the reader does not know who the story ispeaking about, since these two authors have not bothered to mention it, then it becomes possible for them to try and make this one verse an independent topic. The problem with thiis that even if we take this verse in isolation it will not make sense without knowing the context of the previous verses. The reason why it will not make sense in isolation is because then the verse only says "and We gave him Isaac and Jacob and placed in his progeny..." So the obvious question becomes who is this 'him' and 'his' whom God gave Isaac to?" The verse does not say "and we gave Isaac the prophethood..." Both of these men (Isaac and Jacob) as well as the prophethood were given to this 'him.' So who is this 'him'? Who did God give Isaac, Jacob, the Prophethood and Scripture to? This is why we need to back up and read the previous verses in order to realize that they are all speaking about prophet Abraham (pbuh). This verse is narrated at the end of the story and contains a description of the reward God gave to prophet Abraham (pbuh) because of his service to God.
Here is the complete text which these two authors chose not to quote. Let us read it together and then see for ourselves who the last verse is speaking about. Is it Isaac, as they allege, or is it Abraham as conferred by Yusuf Ali?:
"And [make mention of] Abraham when he said to his people: Worship Allah [alone] and guard yourselves from Him. That is better for you if you but knew. You worship besides Allah [naught] but idols, and you invent only falsehood. Verily, those whom you worship besides Allah possess no provision for you. So seek your provision from Allah [alone], worship Him [alone], and be thankful to Him. To Him is your return. And if you deny me then nations before you have denied (their messengers). And the duty of the messenger is only to convey[the message] clearly. Do they not see how Allah originates the creation then repeats it? Verily that is easy for Allah. Say: Travel throughout the land and see how Allah originated creation, then Allah will bring forth the creation of the Hereafter. Verily, Allah is able to do all things. He punishes whom He wills and shows mercy to whom He wills, and to Him you will be returned. And you shall not overcome [the will of Allah] in the earth nor in the heaven. And besides Allah you have no Guardian nor any Aid. And those who disbelieve in the signs of Allah and in the meeting with Him [in the Hereafter], it is they who have no hope in [attaining] My mercy and it is they who will have a painful torment. But the reply of his people was naught but to say: Kill him or burn him!. So Allah saved him from the fire. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who believe. And he said: You have taken [naught] but idols instead of Allah, and the love between you is only in this world, but on the Day of Resurrection you shall disown one-another and you shall curse one-another, and your abode will be the Fire, and you shall have none to help you. So Lot believed in him and said: I shall migrate unto my Lord. He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. And We bestowed upon him Isaac and Jacob, and placed in his progeny the Prophethood and the Scripture, and We bestowed upon him his reward in this life, and in the Hereafter he is among the righteous." Al-Ankaboot(29):16-27
Once we are able to read the whole text of this story, now we are able to realize that prophet Abraham was indeed the one intended, and not his son Isaac, nor even his grandson Jacob (peace be upon them all). It is true that all of these three men are held in the highest regard in the noble Qur'an and by all Muslims, however, this fact in no way makes it necessary for all verses which relate to prophet Abraham (pbuh) to be forced to apply to his son Isaac. It is saddening that these two authors would employ such methods as this in order to attempt to slander Yusuf Ali and make him out to be a liar in his translation of the verses. It is really too bad that they would find it necessary to employ such methods in their "Answering Islam" book, in their attempt to attack God's words in the noble Qur'an.
The other issue which these two authors neglected to mention in their claims in this regard is that contrary to their claims, there is yet another verse which is even more explicit in this regard. It is Al-Hadeed(57):26 which says "And We sent Noah and Abraham and We placed in their progeny the Prophethood and the Scripture..."
If these two authors object to the use of the pronoun "him" in the above verses and wish, by the above methods, to force all of the pronouns in the verse to refer to prophet Isaac rather than his father, prophet Abraham (peace be upon them both) then in this case one needs to wonder what further "interpretations" they shall apply to the above more explicit verse?
Now that we see that both verses are referring to prophet Abraham either explicitly by name or through the use of the pronoun 'him', now all that is left is personal bias which can restrict this promise to Abraham's (pbuh) second son (Isaac the father of the Jews) and not his first (Ishmael the father of the Arabs, including prophet Muhammad). In this case, one needs to read such verses of the Qur'an as "And make mention in the Scripture of Ishmael. Verily, he was truthful in promise, a was a messenger, a prophet." Mariam(19):54. For someone to say that he personally does not like Ishmael (pbuh) and does not want God to include him in His Covenant and Promise is one thing. To employ partial quotation of the text of the Qur'an in order to try and force the Qur'an to endorse their beliefs is a completely different matter. How much worse to unjustly slander Yusuf Ali through such regrettable techniques.
The sad fact of the matter is that I seriously doubt that Mr. Geisler or Mr. "Abdulsaleeb" would sit still for such gross and blatant misquotation of the Bible from a Muslim. Undoubtedly they would jump upon any such similar attempt with glee and venom. Yet they do not scruple to employ such methods with their readers since they know that the vast majority of them will never have occasion to doubt them or actually go back and read the text of the Qur'an. To better drive this point home, let us indeed employ these two author's methods. Let us take for example the verse of Mark 5:41 and do exactly what they have done making the exact same case. Assume a Muslim were to quote that verse and say:
"Mark 5:41 says: 'And he [Jesus] took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.'
This verse contains a miracle performed by this damsel where she commands a dead person to 'arise.' The Christian translators have dishonestly inserted the word 'Jesus' in this text and made Jesus the one who performed this miracle even though the original Greek text does not contain his name anywhere in this verse."
If someone has not memorized the text of Mark 5 then it would be a knee-jerk natural reaction to go back and read the previous two or three verses in order to find out who is this "he" who took the hand of the damsel. Upon reading the previous verses we would find that the story is speaking about Jesus and his actions. Now we know who the "he" is. It is not necessary to remove all pronouns from a given scripture replacing them with proper names in order to avoid claims of unfaithful translation. If this were the case then notice how easy it would then be in our brief example to just as easily quote a verse of the Bible in isolation and out of context and hope that the reader does not refer to the original text? The end does not justify the means. A person's zeal to get someone to convert to Christianity or to bash Islam does not give him the right to misrepresent the truth. I had hoped that these two author's comments would simply involve honest misunderstanding of the Qur'anic text and not go to such extremes of blatant misquotation, withholding of evidence and unwarranted slander. That is indeed saddening.
Sadly, this not the place in their "Answering Islam" book where these two authors have stooped to such tactics in order to achieve their end. However, we can not get into the other examples here due to a lack of time and space. Perhaps in the near future if Allah wills. In any case, the author of the list we are currentlstudying appears to have copied much of their claims into this list. Responding to this list will therefore, by the will of Allah, have the added side-benefit of answering much of the claims made by these two authors.
Actually, I have seen much worse examples than this with some missionaries and evangelists. One very glaring example that comes to mind is that of one of the leaders of the nineteenth century Christian missionary efforts in India, namely D.D. Pfander. In Mr. Pfander's book I have seen examples of such blatant misquotation as to literally reverse the meanings of the original Arabic words written by the authors "quoted" by him. This is clearly demonstrated for example on page 77 of his book in his quote of "Al-Bazawi" where he actually reproduced in his own book the original Arabic words of the author he claims to be "quoting," but he only translated into English part of the text such that his English "translation" actually reverses the original Arabic meaning. Thus, magically, Muslim authors are made to support his claims. I suppose that if one were to take into consideration such regrettable measures as this, then by such standards the words of today's authors become almost palatable.
2) The beliefs and claims of the various sects of the Christians in the first three centuries C.E. (and even long after) were many and varied. The specific sect which held this belief are known in Arabic as the "Barbaraniyya," "Reemitieen," or "Maryania" sect. They are responded to in the noble Qur'an in Al-Maidah(5):75.
3) The examples of this are numerous. One example from the time of the prophet (pbuh) was a pagan from Quraish by the name of Labeed ibn Rabeeah. He had managed to make a name for himself among the men of Quraish as a leader among them in poetic composition and the various sciences of the Arabic language. When it came to his attention that there was a man in his city by the name of Muhammad who was challenging the pagans to produce a work similar to that which had been revealed to him in the noble Qur'an, Labeed decided to answer this challenge. Without bothering to listen to the Qur'an he immediately set about employing his considerable skills towards composing a complex work which he then hung on the door of the Kaaba in the middle of the city. It must be observed that the privilege of hanging one's literary works on the door of the Kaaba was considered the most eminent of honors and a supreme testimony to that person's ability and accomplishment which was reserved only for the chosen few. It could be compared to today's "halls of fame," or "purple hearts."
When Labeed had completed his work and hung it up on the door of the Kaaba for all to admire in awe and reverence, a Muslim from the city saw it and a passion was kindled in his heart to defend the word's of God. During this period the Muslims were still being severely persecuted and tortured by the pagans and could not openly speak out without fear of severe retribution or much worse. Despite this fact he was able to transcribe some verses of the noble Qur'an onto a parchment and steal into the holy mosque to hang it up next to Labeed's work. The next day when Labeed passed by the Kaaba he saw this parchment and read it. This was his first exposure to the words of the Qur'an and he was awe-stricken by what he read. Such was the impression that these verses had upon him that he immediately proclaimed: "By Allah! This is not the work of man, and I submit." In spite of this testimony, Labeed did not accept Islam right away. Rather, his acceptance of these words as being the words of God did not in his mind automatically nullify his own beliefs or make them invalid. That realization would take a little longer to sink in. However, when Labeed finally did come to embrace Islam, so indelible was the effect that the words of God upon him that he altogether gave up on any further literary composition. Some years later, Umar ibn Al-Khattab addressed him with the request: "O Abu-Aqeel, recite for us a portion of your poetry." Labeed responded by reciting some verses of the chapter of Al-Baqarah (from the noble Qur'an). He then said "How shall I ever again recite [human] poetry after Allah has taught me Al-Baqarah and Aal-Umran?"
A second similar occurrence occurred roughly a century later when a group of agnostics and atheists culled their resources in order to have another stab at answering the challenge of the Qur'an. Towards this end they enlisted the aid of one of the most prominent men of Arabic literature of that age. That man's name was Abdullah ibn Al-Muqaffa. Abdullah accepted this challenge and informed them that this task would require of him a full year's dedication, during which he would require them to provide for all of his material needs and provision. After six months had passed the men returned to him to check on his progress only to find him sitting in the middle of the room, pen in hand, caught up in deep thought, his room littered with various crumpled half written pieces of paper strewn throughout, and Abdullah himself sitting in the middle of this chaos in utter disarray. When they inquired after his progress he was forced to admit that during the last six months he was unable to come up with a single verse equal to the verses of the Qur'an. He then concede defeat and terminated his attempts.
4) The English translation of this verse (Al-Alaq(96):2) has become a popular issue of contention with many Christian evangelists, with most of them attacking this verse and its translators with all manner of accusations, including allegations of ignorance, scientific inaccuracy and worse. Mr. "Abdulsaleeb" and his friend Mr. Geisler too have snapped up this issue on page 199 of their book in their attempt to try and accuse Muslims of manipulating verses and altering meanings simply based upon personal whims. They give the reader the impression that Muslims are simply changing verses at random in an attempt to fix errors and incorrect information as it is exposed. This even though even they themselves point to the English Translation in their objections and not the original Arabic text which remains exactly the same in every single copy. In order to study such men's claims we need to study the details of the original Arabic meaning of this word and a little of the history of how the translators came to translate this verse into English as they did.
In many English translations of the noble Qur'an, such as the nineteenth century translations of Yusuf Ali or Marmaduke Pickthall, the verse is translated as "(God) created humanity from a blood clot." Recently, Muslims have more correctly begun to translate this verse as "(God) created humanity from a leech-like entity." Those who have dedicated themselves to attacking the words of God in the noble Qur'an have snapped this up as a prime opportunity to accuse Muslims of altering verses and changing their meanings without justification simply to maneuver around incorrect claims. The truth, however, is quite different than that and has nothing whatsoever to do with what they claim. But in order to understand this matter better we need to back up a little and start at the beginning.
The actual word "Alaq" has a dual meaning in Arabic. Depending on the context it can either mean "clump of blood" or "leech." This can be seen for example in the Arabic-English Dictionary "A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic" By J. Milton Cowan. On page 634, this word is translated into English as "medicinal leech; leech, blood, blood clot." To find a much more comprehensive and authoritative study of this word we need to go to the 18 volume encyclopedia of Arabic language, Lisan Al-Arab. In volume 10, pages 261-270 we can find a detailed treatment of this word, its ro, its deriv, its usage, its various permutations, and their meanings. In these ten pages we are presented with roughly 160 different perof this word. Each differing only very slightly from the others in written or pronounced form, and with all of them being united by the common theme of different ways of "clinging or " Let us have a look at a couple of examples:
The root word from which this word is derived is the word "Aa-la-qa." It has the general meaning of "to hang" or "to cling." By employing various grammatical manipulations on this word we come up with the aforementioned 160 derivations each of which is closely associated with the concept of "clinging or hanging." For example, one derivation has the general meaning of "devotion" (to cling to with love), another has the general meaning of "hanger" (to hang up clothes), a third conveys the meaning of "dowry" (the money paid to the woman in order to cause the couple to "cling together" in marriage), a fourth form of this word has the general meaning of "lust" (to cling to something with desire and lust), a fifth form has the general meaning of "to ensnare" (an animal gets hung up in a net), a sixth form has the general meaning of "to cling to by your nails," etc.
Now, when looking for the meaning of the precise form of the word at hand, "Aa-la-qu" (For those who speak Arabic "fatha-fatha-dhammah") we find the aforementioned two meanings; leech or clump of blood. So which one was the meaning intended by God in this verse? To better study this word and its dual meaning let us start with a similar example from the English language:
In English we find a number of words with two or more meanings, the correct one of which is chosen based upon the context of the text. For example, the word "right" can have one of more than ten different meanings depending on the employed context. Among these meanings are:
- Conforming with or conformable to justice, law, or morality: do the right thing and confess.
- In accordance with fact, reason, or truth; correct: the right answer.
- Fitting, proper, or appropriate: It is not right to leave the party without saying goodbye.
- Most favorable, desirable, or convenient: the right time to act.
- In or into a satisfactory state or condition: put things right.
- In good mental or physical health or order.
- Intended to be worn or positioned facing outward or toward an observer: the right side of the dress; made sure that the right side of the fabric was visible.
- a. Of, belonging to, located on, or being the side of the body to the south when the subject is facing east. b. Of, relating to, directed toward, or located on the right side. c. Located on the right side of a person facing downstream: the right bank of a river.
- Often Right Of or belonging to the political or intellectual Right.
- Mathematics a. Formed by or in reference to a line or plane that is perpendicular to another line or plane. b. Having the axis perpendicular to the base: right cone.
- Straight; uncurved; direct: a right line.
However, there are other cases when the selection of the correct meaning is not so clear cut. For example, if one were to say "I struck him by my right" then this could be interpreted either to mean that "it was my legal right to do so" or it could mean "my right hand, or right side." Now the meaning is not so clear. Indeed, one example of this in the noble Qur'an can be found in Al-Saffat(37):93, where based upon the nature of the Arabic word "bilyameen" the verse can be translated into English in one of two ways; either "So he (Abraham) attacked them (the idols), striking them with his right hand" or it could be translated into English as "So he (Abraham) attacked them (the idols) striking them in fulfillment of his oath (which he made in verse 21:57)." Since there is no way to translate this word into English without preferring one meaning over the other, therefore the first was chosen by many translators and the English translation thus becomes more restricted in meaning than the original Arabic.
Now, if we were to come to a high-school dropout who has no experience in computers, and we were to give him the operation manual for an IBM compatible Pentium computer, and this manual were to contain references to the computer having "bits" "bytes" and "nibbles" of memory, or having "bugs" in some programs, or "viruses" in its software, then what will this person think? If this person did not know the first thing about operating a computer, and he was asked to read the manual and to explain the operation of a computer without actually having been given access to a physical computer or the tools necessary to dissect it, then this lack of knowledge will indeed influence his "explanation" of what he read in the manual.
Assume that this person were then to read that the computer has a "hard drive." Is it not then possible that he may come away thinking that the computer "is driven to do a good job"?
We begin to see that a person's background and understanding are central to how he "interprets" or "understands" a given text. His understanding in no way alters the intended meaning as found in the manual or conveyed by the language, however, that is the only meaning his mind can comprehend at that time based upon his current level of knowledge.
Now assume that this same person went back to school, got his high-school diploma and perhaps a bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering. Now he will begin to have doors of understanding opened up to him which he never before imagined. The meanings begin now to make much more sense and take on broader implications. He now understands that a computer "nibble" does not mean that it bites something, a computer "bug" is not a mosquito, and a computer "virus" is not influenza.
This is indeed what happened with the words of God in the noble Qur'an. Muslims were presented with a book from God which told them that "He (God) created humanity from an Alaq." Those who read this verse "interpreted" it based upon the meaning they felt most appropriate. Humans have blood in them so the verse must mean "blood clot." How could a person be created from worms, they reasoned? However, the verse remained in Arabic and the text retained its dual meaning despite how humanity had tried to understand the meaning. When some people chose to translate the meanings of the Qur'an into English they were faced with a situation where they had to chose one or the other. Unlike the original Arabic, the English language would not allow for a dual meaning. Thus, the translators looked at both meanings, "clump of blood," and "leech" and tried to reason, "Which one appears to my intellect to be the intended meaning, for humans to have been created from a blood clot or for them to have been created from leeches?" Obviously, just as humans would have a hard time imagining "bugs" flying around in their software, so too did they have a hard time imagining "leeches" transmuting into humans, so the verse was translated as "blood clot."
Now that scholars of embryology have begun over the last twenty years to discover the staging of human development through microscopic study of human embryos in their various stages, now they began to see that one of the very first stages of human development (in the third and fourth weeks) is in a form very similar to a common leech. This similarity is in both form and in function. Now humans began to understand the verse more fully and began to understand what was meant by "leech" in the noble Qur'an. It was God's way of telling humanity, using terms which laypeople could understand, how He had created them from a form very similar to a microscopic worm.After He ordafor them to become fully developed into a complete human being then they become arrogant and haughty and think themselves above Hiscommand and above His obedience. They forget that He who created them from mere microscopic worms can indeed very trivially transmute them into whatever other form He wishes. Now the closed dooare beginning to open up and the meanings begin to take on spectacular new details.
Indeed, Mr. "Abdulsaleeb" appears to know Arabic well enough to restrain himself and Mr. Geisler from claiming that either English translation of this verse is incorrect since he knows full well that they are both correct from a linguistic viewpoint. However, the most he and Mr. Geisler do is to use carefully worded gymnastics in order to imply something which is not explicitly said. They only say that it is "questionable" simply because many "English translations" word it as "blood clot." Thus the blame is placed not on the meaning of the word itself, rather it is only the "English translations" which they attack. In this manner they do not commit to accusing either translation of being "wrong" since that would be a grave error on their part and easily refuted, however, they simply "imply" to their non-Arab readers that it is wrong.
This is why in the Qur'an we read such verses as:
"We (God) shall show them (humanity) Our signs on the horizons and within themselves until it will become clear to them that it is the Truth. Does it not suffice that your Lord is Witness over all things?" The noble Qur'an, Fussilat(41):53.
"He is the One who sent down upon you the book (the Qur'an), of it are verses which are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the book, and others are 'mutashabihat' (not entirely clear, or of multiple meaning). As for those in whose hearts is perversion, they follow that which is not entirely clear thereof, seeking discord and seeking to interpret them. But none knows its interpretation except Allah and those firm in knowledge they say 'We believe in it. The whole of it is from our Lord' Yet none are admonished [thereby] except those of understanding" The noble Qur'an, Aal-Umran(3):7
"Allah did not create (all) that except in truth. He details the signs for people of knowledge." The noble Qur'an, Yunus(10):5
"And those who were given knowledge see that which was sent down upon you by your Lord is the truth and guides to the path of the 'Exalted' (in Might) the 'worthy of all praise'." The noble Qur'an, Saba(34):6.
"And We have indeed simplified [the comprehension of] this Qur'an for remembrance, so is there any that will remember [and be admonished]?" The noble Qur'an, Al-Qamar(54):17
This is also why the prophet of Islam, Muhammad (pbuh) told us in part of one of his Hadeeth: "…It (the Qur'an) contains the report of what was before you, the news of what will be after you, and a the ruling in matters between you. It is the distinguisher and not a jester. If any tyrannical person abandons it Allah will break him, and if anyone seeks guidance elsewhere Allah will lead him astray. It is Allah's stout rope. It is the wise reminder. It is the straight path. It is that by which the desires do not swerve nor the tongues become confused, and the learned never become filled in [learning from] it. It does not become worn out by repetition, and its wonders never cease…." (Narrated by Al-Tirmathi and Al-Darimi)
This is why Muslims have been promised that God's word in the noble Qur'an shall never grow old, nor its teachings stale. Rather its guidance shall remain appropriate for all times and people, and its marvels shall continue to renew themselves in new unexpected ways until the coming of the hour.
For more on the issue of the meaning of this word, please read "Safwat Al-Tafaseer" by Muhammad Al-Sabooni.
5) It is interesting that this "policy of integrity" emphasizes the inclusion of all points of view. I seem to remember a certain someone, who shall remain nameless, who first made himself known to me by flooding my personal email mailbox with challenge after challenge to debate him on any issue related to the Bible. I finally responded and agreed to participate in this debate with the stipulation that I would be able to publish the text wherever I chose. After the debate concluded I began to take steps towards publishing it on the web but was immediately lambasted up one side and down the other for attempting to do so. I did not publish it and a second debate was then begun on the public news group soc.religion.islam on the same original topic of "Did Jesus ever ask to be worshipped or claim to be God, and can the trinity be found anywhere in the Bible, from cover to cover?." This second debate spanned about 60 pages and contained detailed refutations of all of the presented verses and a complete reproduction of his entire original arguments, word for word, so that I would not 'forget' to respond to a single one. The claim was made that Muslims had no leg to stand on, that all they could do was twist verses, etc. and that the truth was clear to anyone with eyes. Upon this note an attempt was made to publish this new debate and once again, common courtesy required that I ask permission to do so, regardless of whether he could legally prevent me from publishing this public discussion or not. Once again, this permission was withheld and he made no effort whatsoever to publish it himself on his own page. Rather than choosing to start a war by publishing this public debate on the web regardless of his consent, it was presumed that he had received the answers he had so energetically requested of me and I chose to drop the matter and move on to other concerns. It has recently come to my attention, however, that from his side, over the last two years, the closest he ever came to publishing either debate himself was to collect his original arguments (which were refuted in detail in the original discussions) into one file and publish them on his web page without including in it a single one of my original counter-arguments. Instead he has redirected his efforts to bashing the words of God in the Qur'an. Oh well.
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