Internal contradictions in the Qur'an!
How many Angels were talking to Mary?
Allah's day equals to 1,000 or 50,000 human years?
How many Gardens are there in Paradise?
2 or 3 Distinct Groups of people at the last judgment?
Who takes the soul at Death?
How many wings Angles have?
6 or 8 days of Creation?
Which was created first, Heaven or Earth?
Calling together or Ripping Apart?
What was Man created from?
Will there be inquiry in Paradise?
Are angels protectors?
Is everything devoutly obedient to Allah?
Does Allah forgive shirk?
The event of worship of the golden calf
Moses and the Injil?
Can slander of chaste women be forgiven?
How do we receive the record on Judgement Day?
Can angels disobey?
Who brings the revelation from Allah to Muhammad?
The new revelation confirms the old or substitutes it?
Quran, pure Arabic?
Quran contained in books of other languages?
Prophet Lot's wife called an old woman?
What did Lot's people answered him?
Pleasure of Allah?
Did Abraham smash the idols?
Prophet Noah's son drowned or saved from Flood?
Was Noah driven out?
Pharaoh's repentance in the face of death?
Allah guides whom He pleases?
What is the punishment for adultery?
Will Christians enter Paradise or go to Hell?
NONE knows Quran's interpretation, except Allah?
Was Pharaoh Drowned or Saved?
When Commanded Pharaoh the Killing of the Sons?
When/how are the fates determined?
Wine: Good or bad?
Will all Muslims go to Hell?
Here is the collection of alleged internal contradictions:
And it just doesn't add up: (*) Surah 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 mother, 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.
The shares referred to have always been understood as relative shares rather than absolute shares. Consequently calculation is done by proportions. For example we may have relative shares that add up to more than one 1/3 +2/3 +1/8 =9/8. If that happens then that estate is divided appropriately as 1/3*8/9 , 2/3*8/9 , 1/8*8/9. For situations where the proportions add up to less than 1 they get a proportionate increase. The diminutions as well as the additions are well recognised and have been easily understood since the beginning of Islam. There are two technical terms for them ‘awl and radd.
How many angels were talking to Mary? (*) When the Qur'an speaks about the annunciation of the birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary, Surah 3:42,45 speaks about (several) angels while it is only one in Surah 19:17-21.
Firstly Surah 3:42,45 refers to angels and Surah 19:17-21 refers to ‘ruh’. ‘ruh’ is understood to be Gabriel from Hadith and other parts of Qur’an. A simple explanation is that a group of angels came and a their spokesman announces the good news.
Further numerical discrepancies (*) Does Allah's day equal to 1,000 human years (Surah 22:47, 32:5) or 50,000 human years (Surah 70:4)?
Firstly, these numbers are allegorical and meant to impress on the reader a great length of time, they are not meant to be mathematically exact. Secondly the last reference refers specifically to the day of judgement whereas first two references don’t and so they are talking about different things. (There may be some confusion about 32:5 since Yusuf Ali adds details that aren’t there in the Arabic)
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]?
The Garden is the name of the entire abode of the blessed. Inside this there are smaller gardens and individuals may have one or more of them. This has been covered by Professor Abdel Haleem in "Context and Internal Relationships - Keys to Qur’anic Exegesis" in Hawting & Sherrif Approaches to the Qur’an 1993.
According to Surah 56:7 there will be THREE distinct groups of people at the Last Judgement, but 90:18-19, 99:6-8, etc. mention only TWO groups.
One group are the 'Kafirun' (disbelievers) and then there are two classes of believers, those who are brought near to God and the ordinary believers. The first verse cited defines the groups and the latter verses merely mention two of the groups. For an in depth explanation see the article mentioned above (Approaches to the Qur’an).
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]
Using this type of reasoning one would have to conclude that King James wrote the King James Version of the Bible! The references given clearly mean the Angel of Death or Angels of Death who are acting under orders of Allah.
Angels have 2, 3, or 4 pairs of wings [35:1]. But Gabriel had 600 wings. [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 455]
Verse 35:1 goes on immediately to say that ‘ He increases in His creation whatever he wishes’ this implies that number of pair of wings is as many as Allah wishes. There is no contradiction.
Six or eight days of creation? (*) Surah 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.
This is only if you add the different references to days. There are many ways in which these days could be overlapping. I could for example say "I built a house in 2 days and I completed the roof in a day." To insist that these things took 3 days is forcing a contradiction which simply isn’t implied.
Heavens or Earth? Which was created first? (*) First earth and then heaven [2:29], heaven and after that earth [79:27-30].
Verse 2:29 does not refer to creation as such but the process of proportioning it. Nor does 79:27-30 refer to creation. Moreover, in neither verses is there any clear indication of chronological ordering.
Calling together or ripping apart? (*) In the process of creation heaven and earth were first apart and are called to come together [41:11], while 21:30 states that they were originally one piece and then ripped apart.
Verse 41:11 does not imply come together. The word together simply isn't there and isn't implied by the Arabic. The phrase is perfectly well rendered in English with ‘come into being’. More generally there are several stages to creation, the big bang and the formation of galaxies and planets are two processes. First there is the ripping apart and then there is the coming together.
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]
The word translated as 'created' is misunderstood here. It is better to translate khalaqa as ‘made’ in many instances. There are several stages to creation (71:14) through which man went and still goes through in the womb. It is well understood that one stage of creation of man follows another. The stages are well recognised in the sciences of embryology and evolution. (N.B. Reference to ‘nothing’ is more clearly put as ‘when you did not exist’.)
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].
Verse 23:101 refers to Judgement day when people have been resurrected and are waiting for Judgement. They are too occupied with there own fate to question one another. Read verse 23:102.
Are angels protectors? (*) "NO protector besides Allah" [2:107, 29:22]. But in Surah 41:31 the angels themselves say: "We are your protectors in this life and the Hereafter." And also in other Surahs is their role described as guarding [13:11, 50:17-18] and protecting [82:10].
Angels protect us as a means by which Allah protects us since they can only do as Allah commands. This reminds me of the joke where a person is falling off a cliff and prays " Oh God save me!". The person then passes a branch on the cliff side which he could grasp to stop his fall but he doesn't do so. He then sees a rescue helicopter above which calls out to him to grab the rope and he says "No! God will save me." He then dies on the rocks below - and God is not pleased.
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.
This is a question of free will.
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.
Shirk (associating partners with God) is essentially different from all other sins in that all other sins can be forgiven without even repentance. For example many small sins in life are forgiven simply through the performing the daily prayers and more generally good deeds erase the bad (e.g. returning stolen property). Allah forgives shirk only if the person sincerely repents and changes his ways. In repenting for shirk you must have stopped committing this sin, because the very act of repentance itself, if true, is a rejection of shirk. As such it is only the sin of shirk which absolutely requires repentance. As regards Abraham he became a prophet only following his rejection of shirk. I'm not sure where you get the idea that all prophets are without any sins. The Qur'an makes clear that at least some of them have committed some small sins.
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].
Verse 20:91 is a statement of intent by the Israelites, it is not an historical event. Aaron [20:85-90] tried to prevent the idolatry (which you interpret as demonstrating his innocence) and then Moses thinks that Aaron has not done enough to prevent it. There is no contradiction here!
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].
The Qur’an switches from Allah speaking to Moses to a general statement for all people. To insist that the general statement is also part of the statement given to Moses is simply contrived.
Can slander of chaste women be forgiven? (*) Yes [24:5], No [24:23].
Verses 24:4-5 declares forgiveness for those who have repented and changed their ways. Verse 24:23 is referring to those who haven’t repented. It is well understood in interpreting Arabic texts generally that an unqualified statement should be understood in the same way as a qualified statement dealing with the same subject. This is a rule in Islamic jurisprudence and this issue is a case in point. I might say "Theft is wrong" and most people would agree with this. I might also say "Theft is wrong except when it is the only way to avoid starving" and again most people would agree with me. The first is a general statement and the second adds an exception. There could only be a contradiction if the first statement had ruled out all exception by saying explicitly "All theft is wrong". For anyone who doesn't understand this I suggest you read any elementary book on logic.
How do we receive the record on Judgement Day? (*) On Judgement 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 can easily be given in their left hand and behind their back. Can anyone see a contradiction here???
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].
Iblis was not an angel. This follows a principle in classical Arabic for which there is a well established grammatical category on ‘exceptions’. For example it is possible to say something like " All the people left except a dog". This verse employs a use of the Arabic word translated as ‘except’. It would be more suitable in English to translate this as a new sentence: "All the people left. Only a dog remained".
Three contradictions in 2:97 and 16:101-103 (*) Who brings the revelation from Allah to Muhammad? The ANGEL Gabriel [2:97], or the Holy Spirit [16:102]?
The ‘ruh’ or holy spirit is known from Hadith to be Gabriel. They are not 2 separate entities.
The new revelation confirms the old [2:97] or substitutes it [16:101]?
The word used in 2:97 means the whole of revelation in general which is confirmed, whereas the word in 16:101 refers to specific verses or stages of revelation suitable to the developing circumstances. For instance the Muslims were at one time ordered to be patient in the face of oppression and at another time they were ordered to defend themselves.
The Qur'an is PURE Arabic [16:103] but there are numerous foreign, non-Arabic words in it.
The Qur’an does not say ‘pure Arabic’ it says ‘clear Arabic’. All languages include imported words. For a trivial example "I’ve studied algebra." uses the Arabic word algebra - this is never the less an English sentence.
The infinite loop problem (*) Surah 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.
It’s the general meanings that are in the previous writings : God, Judgement, prophets, not lying about others, not speaking from ignorance etc. - These principles are in previous writings as well as in the Qur’an
"An old woman" and God's character (*) About the story of Lot: "So we delivered him and his family, - all except an old woman who lingered behind." [Surah 26:170-171] And again: "But we saved him and his family, exempt his wife: she was of those who lagged behind. [Surah 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.
Unfortunately the translation as ‘old woman’ coupled with disrespect for elderly people common these days give the phrase in English a derogatory sense. This is not at all implied in the Arabic - rather it implies experience through which she should have known better. It is therefore a form of compliment similar to the word ‘Sheikh’ which literally means old man but has come to mean someone who is has good knowledge of Islam.
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!" [Surah 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." [Surah 29:29]. Obviously these answers are different.
There could be more than one person responding with these phrases and there could be several instances where they talked. Why do you insist on only one event and one phrase spoken?
The "pleasure" of Allah? (*) Is God's action of punishment or mercy and guidance or misguidance arbitrary?
This is due to mistranslating the word sha’Allah as ‘ (as)Allah pleases’ whereas it means ‘(as) Allah wills’.
Did Abraham smash the idols? The accounts of Abraham, Surahs 19:41-49, 6:74-83 differ quite a bit from Surah 21:51-59. While in Surah 21 Abraham confronts his people strongly, and even destroys the idols, in Surah 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").
These are two separate events.
What about Noah's son? According to Surah 21:76, Noah and all his family is saved from the flood. But Surah 11:42-43 reports that Noah's son drowns.
It doesn’t say all his family but simply ‘his family’. The detail that his son was not saved is tackled in the longer more detailed passage ; this is hardly a contradiction. Here again the principle of the unqualified statement being qualified in other parts of the Qur’an. See the answer to the point above on "chaste women" Please also note that if you had read just a few verses further, the verses 11:45-46 strongly assert that the 'family' of Noah doesn't include his son because of his behaviour. These verses emphasise that the concept of 'family' is not narrowly defined as all those with blood relations.
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." [Surah 54:9] Now, if he is driven out [expelled from their country] how come they can scoff at him while he is building 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." [Surah 11:38] He cannot be both: Driven out and near enough that they can regularly pass by.
Verse 54:9 says that Noah was spoken to harshly or scorned. He was not ‘driven out’ and there is no way you an can reasonably understand this verse to mean ‘driven out from their country’.
Pharaoh's repentance in the face of death? (*) According to Surah 10:90-92, Pharaoh repented "in the sight of death" and was saved. But Surah 4:18 says that such a thing can't happen.
Repentance at the point of death is not accepted. Pharaoh was not forgiven. His body was preserved - nothing more than that.
Abrogation? "The words of the Lord are perfect in truth and justice; there is NONE who can change His words." [Surah 6:115] Also see 6:34 and 10:65. But then Allah (Muhammad?) sees the need to exchange some of them for "better ones" [Surah 2:106, 16:101]. And it is not for ignorant people to question Allah because of such practices!
The verses talk about different things. Verses 2:106 and 16:101 talk about ‘Ayah’ which means messages or signs. In contrast to this 6:34, 10:64 (your verse number is wrong here) and 6:115 all talk about ‘Kalimaat’ or literally the word or words which means what Allah decrees which none can change.
Guiding to truth? "Say: 'God - He guides to the truth; and which is worthier to be followed ...?" [Surah 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, ..." [Surah 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 is firstly NOT whom He pleases but rather whom He wills. This also has to be read in conjunction with verse 2:26: " ...But He leads astray only the wicked. Those who break God’s covenant after it is ratified and break apart what God has ordered to be joined and do mischief on the earth."
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 Surah 4. And why is the punishment for women and men equal in Surah 24 but different in Surah 4?
Surah 4 is talking about something different from Surah 24. There is a difference between ‘Zina’ which means adultery and ‘fahisha’ which means gross indecency (e.g. stripping naked or 'being lewd' in public)
Will Christians enter Paradise or go to Hell? (*) Surah 5:69 says "Yes", Surah 5:72 (just 3 verses later) says "No".
Verse 5:69 refers to those Christians who believe in God and the day of judgement and do good deeds. Anyone who ‘believes’ means believe without associating partners with God. Verse 5:72 clearly talks about those who associate partners with Allah.
God alone or also men? Clear or incomprehensible? (*) The Qur'an is "clear Arabic speech." [16:103] Yet "NONE knows its interpretation, save only Allah." [3:7]. Actually, "men of understanding do grasp it." [3:7]
Verse 3:7 is talking only about the allegorical verses whose ultimate (t’aweel) meaning None knows but Allah. The verse goes on to say: Men of firm understanding say not that they know this ultimate meaning but rather ‘We believe in it. It is all from our Lord’.
Was Pharaoh Drowned or Saved when chasing Moses and the Israelites? Saved [10:93], drowned [28:40, 17:103, 43:55].
His body was preserved (saved). see above
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]?
These are two separate events. It was his habit and he did it more than once.
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, Surah 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]
This idea of fate being decreed yearly may be popular culture in some parts of the Muslim world but it cannot be derived from the Qur’an. Everything is known beforehand to Allah.
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?
Wine in paradise need not be anything like the wine we have here. You cannot compare the two. In paradise the drink which people have does not intoxicate. See verse 37:47 ‘Free from headiness nor will they suffer intoxication from it.’
Will all Muslims go to Hell? According to Surah 19:71 every Muslim will go to Hell (for at least some time), while another passage states that those who die in Jihad will go to Paradise immediately.
Verse 19:71 says that every human being (not just Muslims) will pass over Hell (meaning over the bridge above Hell). The good ones will be saved while the others will fall into Hell. There is no part of the Qur’an that says that Martyrs go immediately to Paradise.