Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

The Koran

Claim 2 of Islam is that the Koran is God's revelation to mankind, handed to Muhammad. When the Koran is examined however, it has several features that prove this claim to be false.

Muslims, and everyone else, please note that I mean no offense. I believe that it is in your interest to turn to leave your faith and turn to Jehovah, because He alone is the true God. That's my only intention in mentioning these things. The choice, of course, is yours. It would still be yours even if I was dictator of your country - something that I wouldn't get in Saudi Arabia and other countries. If you find something factually incorrect, contact me.

The following are some features of the Koran that prove that it is not divine revelation.

Dubious origins

When Muhammad began receiving his revelations, he was terrified, fearing that he was being deceived. His wife tested the spirit that supposedly visited him by checking whether the spirit remained when she stripped (Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, p107). The visions caused Muhammad to go into depression and he even attempted suicide. 

Some of Allah's choices in delivering the final, incorruptible revelation seem difficult to understand:- 

Not all Arabs were illiterate. Then why did Allah choose only Muhammad who was, as far as we know, illiterate? Because of this choice, Muhammad had to rely on scribes whose honesty was difficult for him to check!
  1. Why did he choose a largely illiterate people (the seventh century Arabs) who did not have a single major book before the Koran? (compare this with the Greeks, Hindus and Jews!) 
  2. Not all Arabs were illiterate. Then why did Allah choose only Muhammad who was, as far as we know, illiterate? Because of this choice, Muhammad had to rely on scribes whose honesty was difficult for him to check!
  3. Why did Allah choose a language (Arabic) whose script was not fully developed at that time? 
  4. Why did he choose a people who had little skill with writing materials? The Mesopotamians had clay tablets, the Jews animal skins, and the Egyptian Copts papyrii. The Arabs specialized in none of these! 

All the above cast serious doubts as to whether the Koran came to Muhammad from the True God. 

Faulty preservation

When Muhammad spoke, his words were copied out by others on palm leaves, sticks, pieces of bark - anything available at the moment. 

Muhammad was too busy fighting (about 70 wars in his last 10 years) to certify any copy of the Koran as authentic. About two decades after his death Caliph Uthman Ibn Affan, a son-in-law and third successor of Muhammad noticed discrepancies within the various copies. So he tried to burn all copies except the five that he possessed - they became the "standard" Koran. Uthman's actions prove that the discrepancies were major and there was no way to tell which copy was genuine. Of course, some Muslims refused to surrender their copies. 

The oldest Koran manuscripts today are the ones at Sanaa (in Yemen), Tashkent and Istanbul. All of them are forbidden to researchers and the public, for obvious reasons: when they were first investigated, major discrepancies between them and the modern Koran were noticed.

Thus, Muhammad's revelations are all but lost. The Koran we have today has an unknown amount of content from Muhammad and his contemporaries. Further discussion

Faulty terminology

The Koran presents Muhammad as a prophet just as there were prophets mentioned in the Jewish scriptures. This is full of confusion and misrepresentation:-

  1. The Koran conveniently refers to various Bible characters such as David, Solomon, Adam, etc. as prophets. But they are never called prophets in the Bible; the Jews (who met these people long before Muhammad was born) never referred to them as prophets. 
  2. Most Biblical prophets never gave any fundamentally new revelation; they admonished the people and only elaborated on earlier revelation. Thus Muhammad (who claimed lots of new revelation) bears no resemblance to them - the Koran glibly clubs Muhammad and them together with the term "prophets".
  3. The only Biblical prophets who (like Muhammad) gave fundamentally new revelation were Moses and Jesus. Being self-consistent, the Bible presents them as unique prophets. There are profound differences between Moses/Jesus and Muhammad. Firstly, unlike Moses and JesusMuhammad is not authenticated. Secondly, the new revelation given by Moses and Jesus did not contradict earlier revelation in the Bible, while Muhammad's new revelation completely contradicts that which was delivered earlier. Thirdly, unlike Muhammad, Moses and Jesus never forced themselves on others.
  4. The Koran casually refers to Jesus as a prophet, ignoring that he has other roles as well.
  5. The Koran reports Bible characters as Muslims - if they were Muslims, they would have worshiped Allah and expected Muhammad as a future prophet. Instead, the Bible shows them worshiping JEHOVAH, and anticipating Jesus Christ. Thus, Bible characters had the same faith as disciples of Jesus Christ do today.

Factual Errors

Most people think that the Koran has lots of similarities with the Bible. The reality is that while the Bible has detailed historical narratives, the Koran has isolated statements about the same events and people. If two books report about the same thing but differ in the details, at least one of them is surely wrong. The following are the reasons to conclude that when the Koran and Bible differ, it is the Koran and not the Bible that is wrong:-

  1. An account written by eye witnesses shortly after the events transpired is more reliable than claims made thousands of years later by someone living a thousand miles away (in Arabia) from the place where the events took place (Israel).
  2. Although the Bible stresses its divine origin, it also pays attention to ordinary tests of authenticity, such as the use of competent witnesses, but the Koran doesn't. For example, Jesus was condemned to die as a criminal under Roman law. Therefore the death certificate of the Roman centurion in charge of the execution (Mark 15:44-45) is more reliable than the claim of an Arabian trader.
  3. We believe that the Bible comes from God because no one would produce such a book even if he could and no man could produce such a book even if he wanted to. The Koran does not have such qualities that signal divine origin.

Here then is a list of some factual errors in the Koran:-

Moses told the Israelites that if they kill those who had forsook Allah, then Allah will relent and forgive them (2:54). “Allah, through Moses, commanded the Israelites that they should sacrifice a cow to him” (2:67). “The Israelites asked Moses to show them Allah, and lightning consumed them. At Sinai, they were asked to enter the gate prostrate” (4:153-154). A mountain crashes down when Moses wants to see God (7:143); the golden calf made a lowing sound (7:148). All the things/places/people are correct. All the events mentioned are wrong. The Biblical account starts from Exodus 19:1.

Cain threatens to kill Abel who explains to Cain why his sacrifice was rejected. Cain repented after seeing a raven (Surah 5:27-31). Both Cain and Abel offered sacrifices and Cain killed Abel; the other details are false (Genesis 4:1).

“Allah appointed Abraham as a leader of mankind” (2:124). No he didn't. Moreover, 630 AD is too late to announce an appointment made in 2000 BC!

“[Samuel said that] The token of Saul’s kingdom is that you will get a remnant of what the house of Moses and Aaron left behind, the angels bearing it” (2:248). Samuel anointed Saul as king of Israel but said no such thing (1 Samuel 9:1).

“Saul tested the Israelites by asking them to cross a river” (2:249). He never did so. Muhammad seems to be confusing Saul for Gideon, who gave the Israelites another test near a water body (Judges 7:5)

“Abraham and Noah were descendants of each other” (3:33-34). No. See Luke 3:23 onward.

“All food was lawful to the Israelites except that which they forbid themselves” (2:93). No. See Leviticus 11:1 onward.

“The Jews claim to have slain Jesus but they didn't” (4:157). No they did. Here the Koran is in conflict with not just the Bible, but with the scholarly consensus of secular historians.

The hoopoe (a bird!) told Solomon that the queen of Sheba worshiped the sun instead of Allah. Solomon threatened to destroy her; then she became a Muslim (27:23). There was a queen of Sheba who visited Solomon (1 Kings 10:1), but these details are false. Notice how Muhammad tries to "force-fit" jihad into the Bible.

“When Jesus' disciples asked for a feast miraculous, he warned them of severe punishment if they do not believe after seeing it.” (5:114). There were miraculous feasts, and belief on the basis of miracles. But the details given here are wrong.

Jesus preached from his cradle (5:110). No he didn't. When he was 12, he demonstrated his commitment to obeying God (Luke 2:49).

The explanation of these errors is simple: Muhammad had heard Bible stories before, but he did not bother to check the details while he was composing the Koran. To defend these Koranic errors, Islamic apologists have no option but to make unsubstantiated claims that the Bible was corrupted. 

Unsubstantiated, fanciful claims

Just because something appears fanciful, it does not mean it is false. Even the truth may seem absurd at first sight to us. But stories that involve the supernatural or are fanciful need extra authentication. However, the Koran contains such stories without any context or authentication:-

“Jews violating the Sabbath were turned into apes” (2: 65, 5:60). When? How? Where? Who were those Jews? If Allah is the same as Jehovah who ordained the Sabbath, why did Muhammad not prescribe it for Muslims?

An ant told the other ants to flee lest they be stamped by Solomon's army, which included birds and spirits (27:17-18)

“Allah caused to die and brought back to life thousands of them of old…Allah kept a man dead for 100 years and then raised him from the dead...he resurrected four birds for Abraham” (2: 243-260)

“The first sanctuary appointed for man was at Mecca” (3:96). Compare this one-line claim with the ten chapters of details that the Bible gives regarding the first sanctuary (Exodus 25:1 onwards).

Allah punished the elephant owners by sending winged creatures against them that pelted baked clay stones at them (105:1)

Surah 27 is titled The Ant

More fanciful stories

False, slanderous claims about others

“And the Jews and Christians say: None enters paradise except he be a Jew or Christian” (2:111)

“Among Christians and Jews there is a group of people falling prostrate before Allah in the night” (3: 113, 199)

"The Jews say that Ezra (Uzair) is Allah's son" (9:30)

Faulty theology

The Koran leaves some crucial questions unanswered:-
  • Allah commanded his people to sacrifice an animal (Surah 2:67). Why? See the Biblical significance of sacrifices
  • Jesus had a virgin birth (Surah 3:47). Why? The Biblical reason does not fit the Koran.
  • Why did Allah design marriage, the family, sexual reproduction, etc. for human beings? Why didn't he instead create human beings to reproduce asexually, and children to be capable of managing on their own shortly after birth? Contact me for the Biblical answer (which does not fit the Koran).
  • Some verses in the Koran are annulled and superseded by others that were "delivered" a few years later (this is called the law of abrogation). Why does a supposedly divine and perfect book need such a provision?!

Stories without proper context and detail

Let us understand the superiority of the Biblical narratives over those in the Koran with a couple of examples:-

Example 1:
“Allah taught Adam all the names” (2:31). Then the Koran reports Allah showing “these” to the angels and asking them if they know the names.

The Koran does not say names of what! Compare these vague details with the Biblical account:

“These –ARE– the records of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah God was making the earth and the heavens…Out of the ground Jehovah God formed every living thing of the field and every flying creature of the heavens, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.” (Genesis 2: 4, 19)

Example 2:
"And Korah, Pharaoh and Haman! Moses came unto them with clear proofs (of Allah's sovereignty), but they were boastful in the land. And they were not winners (in the race). So We took each one in his sin; of them was he on whom We sent a hurricane, and of them was he who was overtaken by the (Awful) Cry, and of them was he whom We caused the earth to swallow, and of them was he whom We drowned." - Surah 29:39-40

Muhammad is writing in the 7th century about events more than a thousand years earlier. Evidently, he heard the stories of Korah and others from Jews and Christians, but he had a pathetic memory.

About the only thing he gets correct is that all three, Korah, Pharaoh and Haman, were "bad guys". Here's the truth:

  • In the Bible, we read in detail (Exodus 5:1 onwards) about how Moses approached Pharaoh, proving Jehovah's sovereignty. By correlating secular history with information in the Bible, we learn that this took place in ~1500 BC. The Bible informs us in great detail (Exodus 14:1) how God drowned Pharaoh's army (not Pharaoh) in the Red Sea.
  • Moses did have a confrontation with Korah but it was Korah who approached Moses, not the other way round. The issue was not Jehovah's sovereignty but Moses' leadership. Korah was swallowed up in the earth (see Numbers 16:1 onwards).
  • What about Haman?!! He lived more than a thousand years after Moses! He was a courtier of the Persian emperor Artaxerxes Mnemon who tried what Hamas is trying today: annihilating the Jews. He was hanged. The Biblical book of Esther contains the story in detail.

So there you are: A single one-liner in the Koran. When we compare it with the detailed accounts in the Bible, we are forced to ask: Is the Koran divine revelation or something copied without attention to detail?!

Example 3:
"And verify We sent Noah (as Our messenger) unto his folk, and he continued with them for 950 years; and the flood engulfed them" (Koran 29:14)

Really? Compare this brief claim with the Biblical account:-

  1. God gave a time of 120 years for people to turn to him (Genesis 6:3) at the preaching of Noah (2 Peter 2:5)
  2. God warned of a flood and asked Noah to build a boat (ark) to survive in it. The dimensions of this boat are given (Genesis 6:15)
  3. Noah entered the ark in the 17th day of the second month of his 600th year.
  4. It rained for 40 days (Genesis 7:17)
  5. The earth was inundated for 150 days.
  6. The ark rested on the seventeenth day of the seventh month.
  7. After 40 days, Noah sent out a raven and dove, and another dove a week later, and a week after that (Genesis 8:10,12).
  8. In his six hundredth and first year, on the first day of the first month, he saw that the ground was dry (Genesis 8:13)
  9. He came out on the seven and twentieth day of the second month (Genesis 8:14)
  10. He lived 350 years after the flood (Genesis 9:28).
  11. His total lifespan was thus 950 years (Genesis 9:29).

950! Indeed!! Dear reader, do you see the difference? A detailed eye-witness account, written by the protagonist himself (see Genesis 6:9) versus a single line written 3000 years later with details mixed up!!

Example 4:
“Abraham and Ishmael prayed and purified the sanctuary at Mecca” (2:124-125)

The Bible records Abraham’s travels in detail, from Ur to Harran to Hebron to Egypt to Beersheba to Philistine country and back to Hebron (see Genesis 12:1 onwards). Before Ishmael became an adult, he and his mother separated from Abraham’s household. Why should Abraham go with Ishmael all the way to Mecca when God had promised him that his destiny lay in Canaan (Genesis 13:14)? Why should Abraham go and purify a shrine that was to become a headquarters of idolatry till Muhammad and his hordes killed the idolaters? If the Bible spends so much time telling us about Abraham’s travels, why should it omit this journey? If Allah makes a claim about an event in 2000 BC in 620 AD, why did he not include some citation in the Koran?

Plagiarism

A lot of the stories and teachings in the Koran are pulled out from other books:-

Things pulled out from pre-Islamic pagan Arabic religion and folklore:

  1. The tribe of Thamud who ham-strung the she-camel (Surah 91:14)
  2. The monthly fast, Kaaba as a sanctuary in Mecca
  3. Allah himself: Will Durant in his classic, The Story of Civilization, writes,

    "Within the Ka’aba, in pre-Moslem days, were several idols representing gods. One was called Allah; three others were Allah’s daughters, al-Uzza, al-Lat, and al-Manat. We may judge the antiquity of this Arab pantheon from the mention of Al-il-Lat (Al-Lat) by Herodotus [fifth century b.c. Greek historian] as a major Arabian deity. The Quraish paved the way for monotheism by worshipping Allah as chief god…."

Things pulled out from the Bible:

  • The following characters and the stories associated with them: Adam, Cain, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Jonah, Samuel, Saul, David, etc
  • Dietary restrictions (Surah 5:3), copied from Leviticus 11:1 onwards
  • Monotheism, final judgment and resurrection from the dead

Predictions gone wrong

“Follow Allah and there will arise out of you a good nation” (3:103-104)

So Saudi Arabia is a good nation! Sorry, we disagree!! Even Muslims –love– to immigrate to “immoral” Western countries that offer opportunities for growth due to their structure, which is based on the Judeo-Christian ethic they formerly followed. 

“Those who ascribe partners to Allah will not be pardoned. They're actually worshiping women and Satan. Allah told Satan that he'd drive Satan’s followers crazy so that they cut their cattle's ears.” (4:116-119)

Koran: "Exhort Muslims to fight; a hundred steadfast Muslims will defeat a thousand non-Muslims, since non-Muslims are not intelligent" - Surah 8:65

Bible: "In that day (the end times) I [Jehovah] will make the governors of Judah (Israel) like a hearth of fire among the wood, and a torch of fire in a sheaf to devour their enemies around them" – Zechariah 12:6

Israelis are non-Muslims and the Arabs surrounding them are Muslims. So the Bible and Koran have opposite things to say about any war that breaks out between Arabs and Israelis. Go ahead. Find out what happened in 1948 and 1967. Decide for yourself whether the Bible or the Koran is true.

Conclusion

The Koran is not divine revelation. It is the composition of Muhammad or his early followers.