Replies to the Claims of Contradiction in the Quran
By : A. Muhammad
This page is solely concerned with exposing the false claims of contradiction in the Quran, as found on various anti-Quranic sites (e.g. the site 'Answering Islam').
This paper is not in defence of the personal interpretations of any Muslim scholar or another, such as Ibn Kathir, Ibn Abbas or Al-Suyuti, nor is it in defence of the behaviour of certain Muslims, their traditions or their cultures, for all these fields are not free from errors. This report is only in defence of the Quran, for only the Quran, being the true word of God, is free of error.
Another matter that needs clarification is concerned with the issue of Abrogation in the Quran. Although this issue was originally invented by corrupt Muslim scholars, it is apparent that their fabrication has now back fired on them. The lie of Quranic Abrogation is the prime tool used by non Muslims on their attack on the Quran.
Genuine believers in the Quran reject the concept of Quranic abrogation, since God describes the Quran as perfect and free from contradictions.
It is true that verses 3:42-45 speak of several angels, while 19:17-21 speak of only one (Gabriel), however by reading these verses carefully we note that they speak of different events that took place at different times.
A- We read in 3:44:
"……..when they drew their raffles to select Mary's guardian. You were not present when they argued with one another"
These words confirm that the timing of verses 3:42-45 is related to the time when a guardian was chosen to look after Mary, and thus a time when Mary was still a child and at an age where a guardian was needed. This was thus a time well before the actual conception and birth of Jesus. At that time, we are told that the angels (in plural) foretold Mary the good news about the future birth of Jesus.
"The angels said, "O Mary, God gives you good news: a Word from Him whose name is `The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary. He will be prominent in this life and in the Hereafter, and one of those closest to Me" 3:45
However, in 19:17-21 , we are told of the specific time of the conception of Jesus inside Mary's womb. At that time Mary was no longer a child but grown up and at an age where conception and child bearing was possible. The role of announcing the conception to Mary was specifically asigned to Gabriel, and thus we read in 19:19 how Gabriel told Mary that he was sent specifically by Almighty God to grant her a pure child:
"He (Gabriel) said, "I am the messenger of your Lord, to grant you a pure son"
After reading these verses it becomes evident that the assumed contradiction is a direct result of the author's poor understanding of the Quran.
This claim is based on poor understanding of 6:22-24 …….. these 2 verses say:
"On the day (Day of Judgment) when we summon them all, we will ask the idol worshipers, "Where are the idols you set up?"
Their disastrous response will be, "By GOD our Lord, we never were idol worshipers."
Note how they lied to themselves, and how the idols they had invented have abandoned them" 6:22-24
The words: "By God our Lord, we never were idol worshipers" and also the words "Note how they lied to themselves" are of great significance to the meaning of these verses. These words do not mean that the idol worshippers are hiding their sin from God! These words confirm that the idol worshippers, now and forever, will genuinely and vehemently deny that they are idol worshippers!!! They are entrapped in their sin to the extent that they cannot see that they have committed idol worship! They are not at all hiding anything, they are actually ignorant that they are committing any sin!
Having made this point, reading 4:42 does not present any contradiction.
"On that day, those who disbelieved and disobeyed the messenger will wish that they were level with the ground; not a single utterance will they be able to hide from God" 4:42
There is no doubt that the idol worshippers are not able to hide anything from God on Judgment Day, for everything they have done and every "single utterance" is recorded and written.
To expose this false claim it is necessary first to state that the name of Muhammad is not mentioned in this Surah at all. How the inventors of this claim related the matter to times before and after Muhammad is unjustified.
These verses (from 7 to 56) state that on Judgment Day people will be stratified into three groups.
A- The Elite …. Who are many of the early generations, and few from the later generations, (verses 13-14).
This verse confirms that the early generations who are the contemporary followers and supporters of every messenger (not only Muhammad) have a special place reserved for them in heaven, that is because they are the ones who suffered persecution from the traditionalists and adherents of the corrupted religion.
B- Those of the right side …….. the rest of the believers who could be from any era, thus their distribution is evenly spread over all eras. In (verses 39-40) we are told that they are many of the early generations as well as of later generations.
C- Those of the left ……… disbelievers and idol worshippers who will dwell in hell.
The assumed contradiction between verses 13-14 and between 39-40 is non existent since these two pairs of verses speak of different groups of people.
To demonstrate this naive claim of the author, consider the following example:
Suppose we are given some information in two sentences:
1st Sentence : There are three cars in the garage, one on the right, one on the left and one in the front.
2nd Sentence: The one on the right is green, the one on the left is black.
Can we say that since the 2nd sentence speaks only of two cars , then there is only 2 cars in the garage? Can we say that there is a contradiction between the 2 sentences? Obviously not……
When we examine the verses in the Quran that are subject to this false claim, we read a similar example to that of the three cars. First we read 56:7-10
7. You will be stratified into three kinds.
8. Those who deserved bliss will be in bliss (described in verse 27 as the ones on the right)
9. Those who deserved misery will be in misery (described in verse 41 as the ones on the left)
10. Then there is the elite of the elite.
Now when we read 90:17-20:
17. And being one of those who believe, and exhorting one another to be steadfast, and exhorting one another to be kind.
18. These have deserved bliss.
19. As for those who disbelieved in our revelations, they have incurred misery.
20. They will be confined in the Hellfire.
We note that verse 18 here speaks of the group described in 56:8……….while verse 19 speaks of those described in 56:9
Nowhere do we read in this Surah that these two groups will be the only groups on the day.
Furthermore, when we read to the other verses that are referred to and are supposed to be in contradiction to 56:7 , and they are 99:7-8 , we see that they do not talk of any groups as such. These are the words:
7. Whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it.
8. And whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it.
These words say on Judgment Day we will be accountable for everything that we have done, there is no mention of any groups of people here.
Let us first read 4:18
"Not acceptable is the repentance of those who commit sins until death comes to them, then say, "Now I repent" 4:18
In other words, if one repents just because one feels that he/she is dying it will not be acceptable of them. We are given a whole life time to submit to God Almighty. Repentance at the time of death is nothing more than fear, for at death we are made to know instinctively that God ALONE is Lord. But by then it is too late!
Consequently, when Pharaoh was drowning and he repented, it was not accepted from him.
The claim of the author that in verses 10:90-92 Pharaoh was forgiven is again based on very poor understanding of Arabic, or due to the acquisition of a poor translation. Let us read these verses:
"We delivered the Children of Israel across the sea. Pharaoh and his troops pursued them, aggressively and sinfully. When drowning became a reality for him, he said, "I believe that there is no god except the One in whom the Children of Israel have believed; I am a submitter"
"What! Now ? For you have rebelled already, and chose to be a transgressor.
"Today, we will preserve your body, to set you up as a lesson for future generations." Unfortunately, many people are totally oblivious to our signs"
Here God asserts that the body of Pharaoh (and not his life) was preserved to be set as an example for future generations. We do know that at that time, the Egyptians were endowed with the exclusive knowledge of mummification. Today, Pharaoh's mummified body is on display at the Cairo Museum.
When we read 2:69 and also 5:69 we see that only the Christians who believe in God are saved. Here, it must be stressed that belief in God means very clearly belief in the ONE God who is not a third of a trinity and who is not Jesus Christ. Therefore, whoever believes that Jesus is God in the flesh does not really believe in the real God who created the heavens and the earth, and who incidentally created Jesus as well. Whoever believes that God is a Tri figure-head, as per the trinity, does not believe in the ONE God either.
This is exactly what 5:72-73 states,
"Pagans indeed are those who say that God is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah himself said, "O Children of Israel, you shall worship God; my Lord and your Lord." Anyone who sets up any idol beside God, God has forbidden Paradise for him, and his destiny is Hell. The wicked have no helpers.
Pagans indeed are those who say that God is a third of a trinity. There is no god except the one god. Unless they refrain from saying this, those who disbelieve among them will incur a painful retribution"
According the Quran God is ONE not three in one. Jesus is the messenger of God and not His son. Therefore those among the Christians who worship God ALONE and are certain that He ALONE is the true God will be in heaven.
We are asserted in the Bible, as well as the Quran that God Alone is the true God:
"And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (New Testament, John 17:3)
These words of Jesus make a very clear distinction between God, the only true God, and between himself, plus the fact that he was sent by God.
We also read the words of Jesus that confirm that it is written that we should all worship God ALONE:
"You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone you shall serve" Luke 4:8
Now let us read the second verse quoted by the author:
"Anyone who accepts other than Submission as his religion, it will not be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter, he will be with the losers" 3:85
Submission to Almighty God and obeying His Law is the teaching of all Scripture and not only the Quran. The Old Testament, New Testament, and the Quran all confirm this truth. Those who have reduced Submission to be the religion of the Quran only have not grasped the message of truth from God Almighty.
We read in 21:98:
"You and the idols you worship besides God will be fuel for Hell; this is your inevitable destiny"
This has prompted the author, in haste, to claim that since Jesus is worshipped by millions of Christians, therefore according to the Quran all those millions, plus Jesus will burn in hell! What a miserable man this author is!! For had he read only three verses later he would have realized that his claim is hasty and false. Verse 101 reads:
"As for those who deserved our magnificent rewards, they will be protected from it (hell)"
In other words, all the good servants of God, who were worshipped against their wishes (like Jesus and Mary…etc), are protected from hell fire, for they have already earned God's magnificent reward and thus abide forever in heaven.
In essence, verse 98 speaks of the idols who misled the people into corrupt religion. To quote examples from every religion, we have the case of the Rabbis in the Jewish religion who set up a new man made law in the Mishna and Gemarah, in spite of God's clear commands to the people of Israel not to follow any law other than the law of God (see Leviticus 18:4).
In the Christian faith we have the case of idols like Paul who was the corrupter of the message of Jesus, for although Jesus stated that it is written that everyone should worship and serve God alone (see Luke 4:8), and that God alone is Lord (see John 17:3), yet we find Paul creating a new religion through his vision of Jesus as a divine figure who died to save humanity, consequently leading the millions to worship Jesus as their Lord and Saviour instead of God.
In the Muslim faith, there are the examples of those who collected a whole bunch of fabricated lies against the prophet 200 years after he died, which is known as hadith, and which 99% of Muslims follow today in spite of God's clear commands that they should follow the law of God in the Quran alone, since it is fully detailed (see Quran 6:114). The prophet himself commanded his followers not to write his hadith and only follow the Quran, (this is documented in Muslim and other hadith collections).
The author of this claim again shows his very poor knowledge of the Quran. The Quran makes the point very clear that any sin can be forgiven, even idolatry, if one repents and becomes a believer during his/her life time. On the other hand, idolatry is not forgiven if maintained till death.
After death, or at the time of death repentance is too late and idolatry is not forgiven.
"Nor is it (repentance) acceptable from those who die as disbelievers" 4:18
The example of Abraham which was given by the author, is a good example to demonstrate this Quranic truth. We are told in 6:76 how Abraham, in search of God, first mistakenly thought that a planet, the moon and then the sun to be God, which is an act of idolatry, yet we are told in 6:79 that Abraham repented and submitted to the One God who created everything, and was thus forgiven and appointed a prophet of God.
"When the night fell, he saw a shining planet. "Maybe this is my Lord," he said. When it disappeared, he said, "I do not like (gods) that disappear."
When he saw the moon rising, he said, "Maybe this is my Lord!" When it disappeared, he said, "Unless my Lord guides me, I will be with the strayers."
When he saw the sun rising, he said, "This must be my Lord. This is the biggest." But when it set, he said, "O my people, I denounce your idolatry."
"I have devoted myself absolutely to the One who initiated the heavens and the earth; I will never be an idol worshiper" 6:76-79
On the other hand, those who die as idol worshippers, are not forgiven. The claimed contradiction is non existent.
Furthermore, the author makes the following claim:
"Muslims believe that all prophets are without any sin."
As made clear at the beginning, what Muslims think or do is not the subject of this work, they may be right or wrong. This is a reply to the claims of contradiction in the Quran, it is not a defence of Muslim non-Quranic beliefs. With this in mind, the Quran does not make any such claim (that all prophets are without sin). The Quran confirms that all messengers of God are human beings, who are able to do good or wrong. They are not infallible. We are given various examples of messengers who committed sins. The following are examples:
1- We are told that Moses committed a sin of murder
"Once he (Moses) entered the city unexpectedly, without being recognized by the people. He found two men fighting; one was (a Hebrew) from his people, and the other was (an Egyptian) from his enemies. The one from his people called on him for help against his enemy. Moses punched him, killing him. He said, "This is the work of the devil; he is a real enemy, and a profound misleader" 28:15
In verse 16 we are told that he then repented and implored God for forgiveness which was granted to him.
2- We are also told of the sin of Noah when he disobeyed God's command and then repented :
"And Zan-Noon (Jonah), abandoned his mission in protest, thinking that we could not control him. He ended up imploring from the darkness (of the big fish's belly): "There is no god other than You. Be You glorified I have committed a gross sin" 21:87
Once again, and because he implored God for forgiveness he was forgiven.
"We responded to him, and saved him from the crisis; we thus save the believers" 21:88
The author claims that according to 33:5 it is forbidden to adopt sons, well let us read this verse:
"You shall give your adopted children names that preserve their relationship to their genetic fathers. This is more equitable in the sight of GOD. If you do not know their fathers, then, as your brethren in religion, you shall treat them as members of your family. You do not commit a sin if you make a mistake in this respect; you are responsible for your purposeful intentions. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful"
God is approving adoption in this verse and not prohibiting it.
The words: "You shall give your adopted children names that preserve their relationship to their genetic fathers" indicate God's approval of adoption.
The words "you shall treat them as members of your family" once again confirm God's approval, rather than prohibition of adoption.
The verse stipulates that adopted children should be given their real fathers surname, but there is nothing in the verse to prohibit adoption.
We are told in 26:171 that Lot's wife (who was doomed because she was a disbeliever) was old in age. The author seems to have a problem with someone being described as old !! If the author is affected by the slang language of describing someone you don't like as "the old woman" then it is his problem. God uses the language in factual manner and not in slang. The wife of Lot was old, that was what the verse said. There is nothing disrespectful in being old. The reason Lot's wife was doomed was because she was a disbeliever and not because she was old !!!
Unlike current Christian belief, the Quran teaches that the Holy Spirit is Gabriel, who is an angel, who is subordinate to God and who is not a third of the trinity! It is worth mentioning here that up to two centuries after the death of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was still understood to mean a superior angel, not of one substance with God. There is good evidence in the Bible to support this view, the following is one example:
"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit" (Mathew 1:18)
Now consider the following verse:
"Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man called Joseph of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary" (Luke 1:26-27)
From these verses we see that the Holy Spirit and Gabriel are used interchangeably.
A- The words of 19:71 are as follows:
"Every single one of you must pass by it and see it; this is an irrevocable decision of your Lord"
This verse indeed confirms that all humans will pass by Hell and see it, yet we immediately note an important use of words between this verse and other verses that speak of the disbeliever's entry into Hell.
In 19:71 the Arabic word (Waredha) is used, which means (pass by and see). However, in the verses that speak about the disbelievers entry into Hell, we note the word (Dokhool) is used which means (entering), as opposed to passing by:
"Your Lord says, "Implore Me, and I will respond to you. Surely, those who are too arrogant to worship Me will enter Hell, forcibly" 40:60
In spite of the believers passage through Hell, yet they will be shielded from its suffering, this is confirmed in the words:
"On the Day of Resurrection you will see the faces of those who lied about God covered with misery. Is Hell not the right retribution for the arrogant ones?
And God will save those who have maintained righteousness; He will reward them. No harm will touch them, nor will they have any grief" 39:60-61
This could be compared to someone travelling through the blistering heat of the open desert in an air-conditioned car. Although he is in the middle of the desert yet he is shielded from its heat and enjoying the cool air-conditioned drive.
Further confirmation of this meaning is indicated in the Quran in reference to the story of Abraham:
"They said, "Burn him and support your gods, if this is what you decide to do." We said, "O fire, be cool and safe for Abraham" 21:68-69
He we are told that although Abraham was literally thrown into the fire by his idolatrous countrymen, yet he was not harmed by it.
The wisdom to be attained from this event taking place on Judgment Day (the passage of the believers by Hell) is truly of great importance.
To the believers, upon their passing by Hell and seeing all the suffering within, they will indeed realise the great victory they have attained by avoiding Hell:
"Every person tastes death, then you receive your recompense on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever misses Hell, barely, and makes it to Paradise, has attained a great triumph" 3:185
Upon seeing Hell the believers are also assured that God's promise of Heaven and also of Hell were fulfilled. Again, this will make them praise Almighty God :
"They will say, "Praise be to God, who fulfilled His promise to us, and made us inherit the earth, enjoying Paradise as we please." What a beautiful recompense for the workers!" 39:73-74
In 32:11 we are told that for each individual there is an angel placed in charge of when the appointed death time comes.
"Say, 'You will be put to death by the angel in whose charge you are placed, then to your Lord you will be returned"
However, when we read 47:27, we note that it speaks about the disbelievers in plural. This is indicated by the word 'them' in the verse.
"How will it be for them when the angels put them to death? They will beat them on their faces and their rear ends"
Since verse 47:27 speaks of the disbelievers in plural, thus the word 'angels' is used in plural.
Finally, in 39:42, we are told that it is God who takes our souls.
"God puts the souls to death when the end of their life comes …………. "
To demonstrate that the author is presenting pathetic arguments just to conjure up any contradiction, let us consider the following example of the following two statements:
'In the beginning of the World War the German forces invaded Poland."
'In the beginning of the World War Hitler invaded Poland."
Can we say that there is a contradiction between these two statements? Obviously not, for although it is obvious that Hitler did not go personally with a gun and invade Poland, it is understood that the German forces were acting upon Hitler's commands when invading Poland. Consequently, it is correct to say both sentences without having any contradictions.
Similarly, and although it is the angels who are in charge of putting people to death, yet they are acting upon the commands of Almighty God, and in that sense our lives are terminated in accordance with God's will.
To expose this false claim of contradiction, let us analyse the 3 verses.
1- "When the horn is blown, no relations among them will exist on that day (Day of judgment), and they will not ask about one another" 23:101
What this verse is saying is that when the horn is blown to signal Judgment Day, all blood relations of this world be will meaningless, the verse is also speaking about the disbelievers (see 23:99-100) and that their grave misfortune on that day will mean that the last thing on their minds will be to inquire about their relatives or their next of kin. The time spoken of in this verse is the time just after resurrection and prior to the delivery of Judgment.
2- "They will come to each other, questioning and blaming one another" 37:27
The timing spoken of in this verse is the same as the timing of the previous verse (23:101). It is the time just before the delivery of Judgment. This is confirmed by verse 20 of the same Sura :
"They will say, "Woe to us; this is the Day of Judgment"
Here, we are told that the disbelievers will go about blaming one another for the miserable misfortune they find themselves in on the Day of Judgment (see verses 27-33).
This kind of questioning and blaming is quite different in meaning to the meaning of 23:101 where we are told that the disbelievers will be overwhelmed by the awesome impact of Judgment Day, and the grave misfortune that awaits them, that the last thing on their minds then will be to ask about their relatives.
3- "They will meet each other and reminisce among themselves" 52:25
The subject, the time and the place spoken of in this verse are quite different to the previous verses. While as the previous verses speak about the disbelievers (awaiting Judgment), this verse speaks about the believers who are already in heaven (see verses 17-18). They ask one another and reminisce about their life on earth. This in indicated by verses 26-28:
"They will say, "We used to be kind and humble among our people.
"GOD has blessed us, and has spared us the agony of ill winds.
"We used to implore Him; He is the Most Kind, Most Merciful"
The claim of contradiction is a result of a very superficial insight into the Quran, which is undoubtedly a result of the naive and biased mentality of the author.
Whether you read the Quran or the Bible, you will know that the angels are commissioned by God to execute various matters for mankind, they do nothing of their own, they only carry out God's commands. This petty claim is indeed quite futile! We are told repeatedly in the Quran that the angels are commissioned by God to assist and protect the believers. Whatever work they are doing for man, they are doing in accordance with God's will ………
To question whether they are the protectors or God is thus quite futile.
The confusion of the author stems from a wrong interpretation of 41:9-12 , these verses read:
"Say, "You disbelieve in the One who created the earth in two days, and you set up idols to rank with Him, though He is Lord of the universe."
He placed on it stabilizers (mountains), made it productive, and He calculated its provisions in four days, to satisfy the needs of all its inhabitants.
Then He turned to the sky, when it was still gas, and said to it, and to the earth, "Come into existence, willingly or unwillingly." They said, "We come willingly."
Thus, He completed the seven universes in two days, and set up the laws for every universe. And we adorned the lowest universe with lamps, and placed guards around it. Such is the design of the Almighty, the Omniscient" 41:9-12
What these verses are saying is that the physical universe (the word earth is used in the Quran either to mean the planet earth, or as in this case to represent the physical universe) was created in two days and that the setting up of all the provisions necessary for life was completed inside four days. To put it in different words, the physical universe was created and its provisions set up inside four days.
The error of the author is that he added 2 plus 4 , whereas the wording of the verse indicates that the four days include the two days of its creation.
Then we are told that the completion of the creation of all seven universes (where our physical universe is the innermost) required two extra days, for a total of six days.
Moreover, it must be noted that the 'days' of creation are only used as a yardstick, they do not mean 24 earthly hours.
"He is the One who created for you all that's inside earth (Matter), then turned to the sky and perfected seven universes therein,* and He is fully aware of all things"2:29
Verse 2:29 is of remarkable scientific significance. More than one verse in the Quran confirm the theory of the Big Bang. Verses 2:29 is one of those verses. This verse states that all physical matter was created before the creation of the universe (space).
The theory of the Big Bang confirms that all matter that comprises the universe (and of which earth is formed) was once concentrated in a very small area. When this extremely dense concentration of mass exploded outwards it signalled the birth of time and space.
If we read 2:29 we note that it does not say that earth was created before the universe, but in accordance with the theory of the Big Bang, it confirms that all matter which the earth is made of (elements) was created before space…….
The very accurate and indeed scientific wording of this glorious verse obviously went unnoticed by the evidently unscientifically minded author of this false claim.
The Arabic words (ma fee Al-Ard) literally mean 'what is INSIDE the earth'. Thus God is saying that He has created all matter (of which earth is made of) first then He created space. This is in total agreement with the theory of the Big Bang which states that all matter was confined in an extremely dense singularity, and that space was created after the explosion of this infinitely dense singularity.
"Do the unbelievers not realize that the heavens (space) and the earth (matter) used to be one solid mass that we exploded into existence?" 21:30
"Then He turned to the sky (space), when it was still smoke, and said to it, and to the earth (matter), "Come willingly or unwillingly." They said, "We come willingly" 41:11
Immediately we are given various accurate scientific indications that these two verses speak of two completely different events.
These indications are:
1- The word 'exploded' in 21:30 confirms the original moment of the Big Bang when time, space and matter were all one unit of creation that exploded outwards.
2- The command from God to space and matter to 'come willingly (into existence)', in 41:11 implies that space and matter were already in existence. This confirms that this verse speaks of an event subsequent to the initial moment of creation.
3- The word 'smoke' in 41:11 is very accurate in describing the hot gases that formed after the Big Bang explosion, and which condense under their gravitational pull to form stars and galaxies.
It becomes obvious thus that 21:30 speaks of the outward explosion of the Big Bang , while 41:11 speaks of the subsequent inward condensation of clouds of gas and matter under their gravitational force, to form stars and galaxies.
Those who describe the Arabic impersonal word 'Ma' (what) in 91:5 a grammatical error because it is the impersonal , while God should be referred to in the personal .......... are most probably Christians who cannot get away from their image of God as a "person"!! ........ In truth God is not a PERSON ......... whatever God is, is a matter far beyond our understanding......... whatever God is, God is not "A Person" !!!
What is for sure is that there is no word in Arabic, or in any language, will ever be accurate in referring to God. For that reason, both personal words such as 'Howa' (He), or impersonal words such as 'Ma' (what) are used in the Quran without preference in reference to God, since non of the two is more accurate than the other in reference to God.