For muslims, the Qu’ran (Koran) is the Word of God. It is considered to be a miracle of inspiration such as only God could produce. For muslims, the Qu’ran is so holy that it cannot be truly translated. Only the original in arabic is considered to be truly the Qu’ran. When an arabic scholar does his very best to “translate” the Qu’ran, what he actually produces, in the minds of muslim scholars, is an “interpretation”. Since I myself don’t speak arabic and have no plans to at the moment, I will limit my evaluation of the Qu’ran to the best available “interpretations”.
I’ve met muslims who don’t understand arabic but who nevertheless “read” it in the original arabic. I’m not sure what is gained by following the form and perhaps the sounds of words one has no understanding of, but there it is. Of course, there are many who take the time to learn arabic that they might read the Qu’ran in its original language. Whilst in Turkey I read some Islamic literature in English written to explain to non-muslims the merits of the muslim faith. This book mentioned one Turkish man who not only learned arabic but, out of respect for the Qu’ran, refused to speak with his non-arabic speaking family in anything but arabic. This man was held up as a good example of a very pious man in the islamic faith. Such is the reverence which exists for the Qu’ran and by extension, the arabic language.
If the Qu’ran is a true miracle of God, then surely it can stand up to close scrutiny and investigation. Emotions have a place in all religious issues, but we must not allow hot emotions to cloud our thinking or to cover otherwise glaring weaknesses should they become apparent. God gave us a mind – let us use it. In these questions of evaluation and investigation is not enough to simply chant, “There is but one God, Allah and Mohammed is His prophet.”, “these are the teachings from your Lord” or any other muslim slogan. It is not enough to fiercely affirm what needs to be first tested.
Contradictions with the Bible
Say: “We believe in God, and that which has been sent down on us, and sent down on Abraham and Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob, and the [Jewish] Tribes, and in that which was given to Moses and Jesus, and the Prophets, of their Lord; we make no division between any of them…“. Arberry, Interpreted p.85.
Mohammed had obviously heard some Bible stories, but he seems to have got them confused and mixed up when it came out in his prophetic utterances. The stories in the Qu’ran relating to events described in the Bible contradict the Bible in many points, on historical, not so much doctrinal details. In Sura 2:241 Muhammed confuses the persons of Saul and Gideon. In Sura 2:55-60 the Israelites were said to be “a scanty band” vastly inferior to the Egyptians. But in Exodus 1:7-10 the Egyptian king said to his people that the Israelites had become “more and mightier than we”. There are many other historical discrepancies.
The Qu’ran contradicts every existing manuscript we have of the Bible texts, yet the Qu’ran tells muslims to believe these earlier scriptures and “make no division between them”. Is there a muslim alive who takes this to heart, and has seriously researched to find out what the Scriptures written before the time of Mohammed actually contained? Or was this verse only uttered in the beginning to bolster credibility for Mohammed’s utterances, by making out that they belonged to a long and ancient tradition of true prophetic utterances which God gave to Moses, David and other prophets?
The Qu’ran itself does not directly imply that the Christian and Jewish scriptures had been corrupted at that time, but merely that the Christians and Jews had been hiding some of the truth. It is true that the Orthodox church was hiding a lot of the truth of the gospel by that time, but not the things which Mohammed was claiming! By the seventh century the Orthodox church was already way off course with its system of priestcraft, and was so corrupt in many places that people gladly renounced this corrupt system to embrace the new religion of Islam. Apparently the previous Scriptural truth had been so well hidden by Christians and Jews that Mohammed himself never had a chance to read the Bible for himself.
In practice, Mohammed never encouraged his followers to check out the previous Scriptures, even when they became available. One time someone came with a copy of the Jewish Torah and presented it to Mohammed. This man was quickly “put in his place” with words to the effect that there was no need to even look at it, since Mohammed’s revelations were better.
Could it be that the spirit inspiring Mohammed was truly afraid that the mere quotation of the writings of Moses would reveal serious holes in Mohammed’s own history and doctine?
This practical repudiation of the Scriptures in Islam helps to explain why there are so many contradictions between the Bible and the Qu’ran on even historical details. Neither Mohammed nor his followers bothered to check out the Scriptures. This isn’t surprising, since Mohammed was illiterate and not even the Orthodox church leaders of that day (7th century) were really Scripturally based anyway. They had already begun to revert to priestcraft and idolatrous practices – the worshipping of the Queen of Heaven and icons, for example. In fact, I believe that it was the corruption of the so-called Orthodox church in those days which made the rise of Islam possible. If the Christians had been living, proclaiming and teaching the Bible in Arabia in the days of Mohammed, Islam would simply never have been able to take root. The “Orthodox” church of that time was indeed weak and corrupt and replete with heresies, making it an easy target for a new religion such as Islam.
When we come to doctrinal issues, especially in the New Testament, the contradictions between the Bible and the Qu’ran are even more evident. The New Testament repeatedly declares that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that he was crucified and resurrected to pay for our sins and make possible our salvation, but the Qu’ran expressly denies all these things. The New Testament was written by people who walked with Jesus. Mohammed, however, only heard about him six centuries later and even what he heard he seems to have gotten confused. A muslim may argue that Mohammed got the truth directly from God, or through the angel Gabriel, and didn’t need to be an eyewitness of any events concerning Christ. But why someone coming to the Qu’ran for the first time believe this? Is there any evidence? Apart from an appeal to blind faith in Mohammed, what external evidence exists to suggest that the Qu’ran truly is the Word of God?
The muslim may argue that the Bible was corrupted by Christians, but where is the solid evidence for this? The textual evidence for the New Testament is outstanding! Let a muslim tell me when the Bible was corrupted, by whom, and why it is that there is such overwhelming agreement between the different texts found in different places, many of which are dated to before the time of Mohammed. If Allah knew the texts were corrupted, why did he say “we make no division between” the former Scriptures and the revelations of Mohammed?
If you take the parts out of the New Testament which contradict the revelations in the Qu’ran, almost nothing would be left! In practice muslim apologists never tell us exactly which parts of the New Testament they believe to be corrupted. Like other non-Christians, muslims only take the occasional verse from the Bible out of context in order to prove their points.
The Proof offered by the Qu’ran of its own Divine Inspiration
The proof offered by in the Qu’ran for its inspiration is this: no one can make a verse like one of the Suras. Well, I think I can, quite easily. The way we can test it is this. Find me a group of muslims who have read just part of the whole Qu’ran. I will present them each with two verses. One will be from the Qu’ran, and one from my own imagination, imitating the style of the Qu’ran. Each one will be asked to decide which is the true Surah. If my verse get the same number of votes as the verse from the real Qu’ran or more, then I suggest, I have succeeded in making a verse like one of the Suras. Is that fair?
If it is impossible to conduct some kind of scientific experiment on this point, then the claim of the Qu’ran is simply not falsifiable. As far as I am concerned, that kind of claim has no value at all as evidence. It should be possible to devise an experiment, the results of which either confirm or reject the hypothesis in question. And who is better qualified to define what “the like of” means than a muslim? But if the proposition is true by definition, then I suggest it doesn’t count as evidence. It would be like saying: “The article you are now reading is inspired by God. The proof? Can you make a sentence like one of the sentences in this article? You think you can? Ah, but your sentence is not in my article! It is a cheap imitation, not really like any sentence in my article at all! Oh, your sentence is in my article? Excuse me, then you copied it, didn’t you? You have not made a different sentence, “like” mine! So you see, my article IS inspired!”
In Sura 11, the Qu’ran teaches that “Noah’s Son was drowned” in the Flood. The Qu’ran itself contradicts this statement in Sura 21, where it declares that “we saved him [Noah] and all his kinfolk from the great calamity…”. Is it possible that Noah’s sons were all saved from the great calamity, yet one drowned in flood? What does “the great calamity” in Noah’s day refer to, if not to the flood which wiped out all the rest of mankind?
Does Allah change his mind about he is sending down?
In Sura 2:100 the Qu’ran teaches, “And for whatever verse We abrogate or cast into oblivion, We bring a better or the like of it; knowest thou not that God is powerful over everything?”
Apparently then, the Qu’ran teaches that some verses that Allah has brought down have been abrogated – that is, they are no longer binding or applicable. Apparently, Allah changed his mind about some of the verses he gave through his prophet. In this Allah is different to the God of the Bible, “with whom there is no shadow of turning” (James 1:17), who is “the Lord, who changeth not” (Malachi 3:6), whose Word “endureth forever”.
Allah may have found it necessary to abrograte some of his own verses. But what does this say about his ability to communicate His Word? Why couldn’t he get it right the first time? Is it possible that the being which inspired the Qu’ran was less than perfect?
Some of Mohammed’s contemporaries, noting these changes, charged the prophet with tampering with the message. But they are then charged with ignorance! “And when We exchange a verse in the place of another verse – and God knows very well what He is sending down – they say, ‘Thou art a mere forger!’ Nay, but most of them have no knowledge”.
Allah may know best what he reveals, but how are mere mortals supposed to sort out the meaning? How does a muslim decide which verse is “exchanged” or now preferred by Allah?
Incapable of interpretation?
In addition to all this, the Qu’ran describes itself as having some parts which are clear – the essential parts – and other parts ambiguous, incapable of interpretation. Only God is supposed to know the interpretation of the ambiguous parts. But how does a muslim know which parts are essential and which parts are ambiguous? If there is no fundamental guiding principle on this issue, then a muslim can never be sure which parts of the Qu’ran he is supposed to understand!
Two Different Pictures of God
Modern archeology has proven that “Allah” (originally “Al-illah”) was one of the gods in the arabic pantheon of deities. His symbol was the crescent, which is of course found on the majority of mosques today. Allah is in fact the Mesopotamian “moon-god” that was worshipped in Ur of the Chaldees at the time of Abraham. All Mohammed did was take this deity and make out that he was the “only true God”.
The picture of Allah as revealed by the Qu’ran is quite different to the one of God revealed in both the Old and New Testaments. The Qu’ran teaches that Allah is not only utterly transcendant but also the author of evil. “God is the best of devisers”, “my guile is sure” are quotes from the Qu’ran concerning Allah! Mohammed said, ” My sincere counsel will not profit you, if God desires to pervert you; He is your lord ….” (Arberry, Interpreted pgs 200, 193, 243 quoted in ‘The Facts on
Islam” by John Ankerberg and John Weldon).. The Qu’ran frequently refers to “the man whom Allah deliberately misleads”.
If a man had the character of Allah, as described in the Qu’ran, no one in their right mind would want to do business with him! For Allah is apparently a god who misleads, perverts people, changes his mind and encourages polygamy, concubinage, wife-beating, slavery and “holy” war on the enemies of islam. The more serious people are about following Allah and the Qu’ran, the more social wreckage they will create both in the home and in the international arena.
As examples of this, we can take the country of Sudan, where muslims from the north come south to the Christian areas, and, with government sanction, take people as slaves, kill, loot and burn villages. Or how about Indonesia, where muslim mobs chanting “God is great” kill, loot and rape their Christian compatriots? What about muslim terrorist groups which consider innocent citizens as legitimate targets? All this activity can easily be justified by the Qu’ranic concept of Jihad, or Holy War.
If Allah misleads people, why should we trust him? And if he predestines what people believe and our faith or unbelief is utterly determined by Allah, then why does he continually threaten unbelievers with endless burnings? To what end?
The God of the Bible is revealed as a faithful Father, a God of love, of truth and of justice. The God of the Bible is “too pure to look upon sin” and is “not willing that any should perish, but desires that all men come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). God “has no pleasure in the death of a sinner” and according to the Bible even sent Jesus, His Son into the world to pay the price of our sins so that we COULD be forgiven, despite the just penalty of death that sinners such as you and I deserve.
The Spiritual Power behind Islam is Demonic
What sort of being could be the inspiration behind the revelational utterances of Mohammed recorded for us in the Qu’ran?
Actually, the Qu’ran shows every sign of being a spiritistic revelation, similar to those coming out of modern-day New Age channellers. Even Mohammed himself thought at the beginning that he may have been possessed by a jinn (a demon). His fits, foamings at the mouth and other manifestations certain fit in with that idea. This is how demon possessed people behave. The Hebrew prophets, and Jesus Christ never behaved like this. But all over the world where demons are listened to, you will find this kind of behaviour.
If this is the case, then those who follow the Qu’ran have been deceived by a demon pretending to be God. Muslims need our prayers because a mere intellectual argument will not be enough to set them free. Only the Holy Spirit of God moving in response to our prayers can reveal to them the truth, which is in Jesus. Only by a revelation of Jesus Christ himself can muslims come out of the bondage to sin that is the islamic religion.