The Qur’an Cannot Be A Text of Divine Origin

According to the criteria of Muslim Dawagandists

Sam Shamoun & Jochen Katz

Hesham Azmy has written a short response (*) to Christians who object to the Quran being a divinely revealed text on the basis of its contents. He has chosen to deal with this issue by mockingly referring to some "questionable aspects" of the Holy Bible.

In the main part of this article, we will interact with his points by raising similar problems with the Quran in order to show that, if he is consistent, he must reject the Quran as a flawed book and Muhammad as an immoral person and false prophet.

However, it may be helpful to step back and begin our reply with some general comments on Azmy’s methodology. A couple of lines from his article are sufficient to analyze it:

The Christian missionaries tend to make the general conclusion that the Qur’an cannot be a text of divine origin because of the unacceptable meanings included in it. Perhaps they are correct in this conclusion and we may be inclined to agree with them due to the following reasons, which are:

1. The Qur’an does not say a prophet slept with his daughters.

2. The Qur’an does not say a prophet slept with his neighbour’s wife and plotted to kill him

… For all the above reasons, we conclude that the Qur’an, unlike the Bible, cannot be a text of divine origin.

Note that the purpose of this Muslim article is to deal with the charge that the Quran is not of divine origin. Although we give this Muslim polemicist some credit for a creative idea, a closer look at his approach reveals that his argument is actually

  1. irrelevant and illogical – it does not achieve what it is supposed to do.
  2. incriminating – if one accepts the criteria employed by the author, then the Quran is in trouble. Or, in question form: Is the Quran really so far away from what is allegedly unacceptable?

Three questions will guide our investigation:

1. Did Azmy prove the divine origin of the Quran?

2. Did Azmy disprove the divine origin of the Bible?

3. Or did he perhaps disprove the divine origin of the Quran?

First, the many and specific errors, contradictions, and questionable claims in the Quran that are the basis of the Christian rejection of the Quran as divine revelation cannot be undone by a list of statements (erroneous or not) that the Quran allegedly does not contain.

One can easily draw up a number of supposedly bad or unacceptable statements that are not contained in any particular book. To be specific, I don't know any math text book that contains any of the statements listed by Hesham Azmy. Does my old freshmen calculus book therefore become the word of God? That would be a ridiculous conclusion. A book has to be judged on the basis of what it contains, not on the basis of what it does not contain. Therefore, Azmy’s article is irrelevant; it does not in any way address the problems in the Quran. To repeat, on a logical level, this list is utterly useless as a defence of the Quran.

Disregarding the element of sarcasm, Azmy’s argument has the structure:

The Quran is not the word of God because it does not contain statement 1, statement 2, etc.

Or, formulated as implication:

If statement 1 is not found in the Quran, then the Quran is not a text of divine origin.

Inverting the implication, we get the logically equivalent statement:

If the Quran is from God, then statement 1 must be contained in it.

Obviously, that is not what the author wanted to say. He uses these statements sarcastically, and intends them to be understood in the opposite sense, i.e.

If a revelation contains statement 1, then it is not from God.

Or, equivalently,

If it is from God, then it will not contain statement 1.

No matter how many times we turn and reformulate it, the Quran is at the wrong end of the implication. The structure does not yield: "…, then the Quran is the Word of God." Therefore, no matter what statements are in Azmy’s list, they cannot counter or refute the Christian argument that Azmy supposedly responds to.

Could it be that Azmy’s motto is: If I can’t defend the Quran, then let me at least attack the Bible? Maybe, if I do it well, the readers will simply forget about the problems with the Quran?

Responding to the problems in the Quran, he provides a list of "problems" in the Bible. Basically he says: "Your book has problems too." That is nothing else than the tu quoque fallacy.

Thus, to answer our first question: No, Azmy has done nothing at all to prove the divine origin of the Qur’an

What about the second question? Did he manage to disprove the divine origin of the Bible?

No, with his article Azmy simply follows the tradition of other Muslim polemicists who over and over make the mistake of assuming that just because a story happens to be mentioned in the Holy Bible that this somehow means that God approves of it. As we have constantly been saying the Holy Bible accurately reports events as they transpired without necessarily approving of them; much like news reporters or anchorpersons often refer to atrocities and evils that occur every day without this implying that they condone such actions. After all, is it really appropriate for God to hide, or even deny, historical truth in his revelation? Is it not rather the right thing to expose it?

The way to determine whether a statement, action or event has God’s approval is by judging it in light of God’s revealed will. Thus, we know that actions such as Solomon multiplying wives and worshiping their foreign gods are clearly condemned by God since his Law clearly speaks out against such atrocities.

Thus, Azmy also failed in the task to disprove the divine origin of the Bible.

The reader is invited to judge whether the third question needs to be answered in the affirmative when we now turn to the main part of this article, interacting with his points by raising similar problems with the Quran. Azmy’s arguments will be displayed in red.

1. The Qur’an does not say a prophet slept with his daughters.[1]

It rather claims that Azmy’s prophet, Muhammad, lusted after his daughter-in-law Zaynab bint Jash and married her (1, 2, 3).

Moreover, the Quran asserts that Lot was willing to give his daughters over to be raped by a mob in order to protect his angelic guests from being molested (*). It seems that Azmy is alright with Lot’s willingness to have his daughters raped by perverts, since the Quran mentions it, just as long as Lot himself didn’t sleep with them.

2. The Qur’an does not say a prophet slept with his neighbour’s wife and plotted to kill him

We fully agree that failing to mention an important fact regarding the life of David, even if it is a negative one, is certainly not a recommendation for the truthfulness of the Quran. However, taking Azmy’s perspective on those issues, doesn’t the Quran refer to the fact that Muhammad stole his neighbor’s wife, specifically his adopted son’s wife? He then went on to abolish adoption altogether in order to save face since the unbelievers kept taunting him that he had married his son’s wife. In fact, at one time Zayd, Zaynab’s husband, was called ibn ("son of") Muhammad, that is until the Quran’s prohibition of adoption! See the above links for the details.

3. The Qur’an does not say a prophet worshipped the Golden Calf.

It erroneously claims that a person from a community that did not exist at that time, specifically the Samaritans, fashioned the golden calf (1, 2). Worse still, it can’t get its facts straight whether the Israelites repented of their sin before Moses returned or after! (1, 2)

Moreover, it slanders the father of the faithful, Abraham, by accusing him of worshipping celestial bodies:

And when Abraham said to his father Azar, 'Takest thou idols for gods? I see thee, and thy people, in manifest error.' So We were showing Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and earth, that he might be of those having sure faith. When night outspread over him he saw a star and said, 'This is my Lord.' But when it set he said, 'I love not the setters.' When he saw the moon rising, he said, 'This is my Lord.' But when it set he said, 'If my Lord does not guide me I shall surely be of the people gone astray.' When he saw the sun rising, he said, 'This is my Lord; this is greater!' But when it set he said, 'O my people, surely I am quit of that you associate. I have turned my face to Him who originated the heavens and the earth, a man of pure faith; I am not of the idolaters.' His people disputed with him. He said, 'Do you dispute with me concerning God, and He has guided me? I fear not what you associate with Him, except my Lord will aught. My Lord embraces all things in His knowledge; will you not remember? S. 6:74-80 Arberry

And of being a liar (*).

It goes so far as to claim that another prophet lusted after a married woman and would have sinned with her had it not been for Allah:

And she, in whose house he was, asked of him an evil act. She bolted the doors and said: Come! He said: I seek refuge in Allah! Lo! he is my lord, who hath treated me honourably. Lo! wrong-doers never prosper. She verily desired him, and he would have desired her if it had not been that he saw the argument of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might ward off from him evil and lewdness. Lo! he was of Our chosen slaves. S. 12:23-24 Pickthall

Moreover, according to the so-called sound narratives Muhammad kissed a black stone, an idolatrous act that even perplexed one of his closest companions:

Narrated Az-Zubair bin ‘Arabi:
A man asked Ibn 'Umar about the touching of the Black Stone. Ibn ‘Umar said, "I saw Allah’s Apostle touching and kissing it." The questioner said, "But if there were a throng (much rush) round the Ka'ba and the people overpowered me, (what would I do?)" He replied angrily, "Stay in Yemen (as that man was from Yemen). I saw Allah's Apostle touching and kissing it." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 680)

Narrated 'Abis bin Rabia:
'Umar came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said "No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen Allah's Apostle kissing you I would not have kissed you." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 667)

Narrated Zaid bin Aslam from his father who said:
"Umar bin Al-Khattab addressed the Corner (Black Stone) saying, ‘By Allah! I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit nor harm. Had I not seen the Prophet touching (and kissing) you, I would never have touched (and kissed) you.’ Then he kissed it and said, ‘There is no reason for us to do Ramal (in Tawaf) except that we wanted to show off before the pagans, and now Allah has destroyed them.’ 'Umar added, ‘(Nevertheless), the Prophet did that and we do not want to leave it (i.e. Ramal).’" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 675)

If this weren’t bad enough, it claims that Allah commanded angels to worship Adam, a creature, thereby causing them to commit idolatry (1, 2, 3), and that Adam and his wife were actually idolators since they ascribed partners to Allah! (*)

4. The Qur’an does not say a prophet changed his religion, worshipped idols and built them temples.

It only says that Muhammad was inspired by Satan, with Muslim sources admitting that Satan caused him to praise the goddesses of the pagans which Allah had to erase from the Quran in order to save his "prophet" from humiliation and embarrassment (1, 2).

5. The Qur’an does not say a prophet told lies and God deceived and destroyed another prophet.

But claims that Allah is the best liar and deceiver of them all, even better than Satan himself, and that Muslims can lie to unbelievers as well as break their oaths (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

6. The Qur’an does not say David, Solomon and Jesus were originally bastards from the seed of Pharez, son of Judah.

Yet it permits Muslims to father bastards by commissioning them to rape married female slaves and by allowing a form of prostitution known as Muta or temporary marriages (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).[2]

7. The Qur’an does not say the firstborn of the Great Prophet who was the firstborn of God slept with his stepmother.

But it says that the final prophet married his daughter-in-law and that Muslim men can sleep with children who haven’t even menstruated (1, 2, 3).

8. The Qur’an does not say the second son of the same Great Prophet (firstborn of God) slept with his daughter-in-law.

See the above discussion of Muhammad sleeping with his own daughter-in-law.

9. The Qur’an does not contain lurid details and explicit pornography involving men of Assyria and whores from Egypt.

Yet it contains graphic details of women with big breasts for men to rape in paradise:

Wherein both will be those (maidens) restraining their glances upon their husbands, whom no man or jinn yatmithhunna (has opened their hymens with sexual intercourse) before them… Houris (beautiful, fair females) restrained in pavilions; Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (jinns and men) deny? Whom no man or jinn yatmithhunna (has opened their hymens with sexual intercourse) before them. S. 55:56, 72-74 Hilali-Khan

Surely for the godfearing awaits a place of security, gardens and vineyards and maidens WITH SWELLING BREASTS, like of age, and a cup overflowing. S. 78:31-34 Arberry

The renowned Sunni exegete Ibn Kathir said of the above reference:

<And vineyards, and Kawa'ib Atrab,> meaning, wide-eyed maidens WITH FULLY DEVELOPED BREASTS. Ibn 'Abbas, Mujahid and others have said,…

<Kawa'ib> "This means ROUND BREASTS. They meant by this THAT THE BREASTS OF THESE GIRLS WILL BE FULLY ROUNDED AND NOT SAGGING, because they will be virgins, equal in age…" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), (Surat At-Tagabun to the end of the Qur'an), First Edition: September 2000, Volume 10, pp. 333-334; Source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The famous commentator ar-Razi stated in his Tafsir (Volume 8, p. 311) that:

"The kawa`ib are the buxom girls (nawahid) whose breasts have become FULL (taka``abat) and ROUND (tafallakat)." (Bold and capital emphasis ours)

This helps explain the reason why following versions translated Q. 78:33 the way they did:

And young full-breasted (mature) maidens of equal age; Hilali-Khan

maidens with pears-shaped breasts who are of equal age (to their spouses) Muhammad Sarwar

and girls with swelling breasts of the same age as themselves, Palmer

And damsels with swelling breasts, their peers in age, Rodwell

and [damsels] with swelling breasts, of equal age [with themselves], Sale

Ibn Kathir also said this regarding Q. 55:56:

<Qasirat At-Tarf> chaste females, wives restraining their glances, desiring none except their husbands, seeing them as the most beautiful men in Paradise. This was said by Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, `Ata' Al-Khurasani and Ibn Zayd. It was reported that one of these wives will say to her husband, "By Allah! I neither see anything in Paradise more handsome than you nor more beloved to me than you. So praise be to Allah Who made you for me and made me for you.'' Allah said,…

<whom never deflowered a human before nor Jinn>

meaning they are delightful virgins of comparable age who never had sexual intercourse with anyone, whether from mankind or Jinns, before their husbands. This is also a proof that the believers among the Jinns will enter Paradise. Artat bin Al-Mundhir said, "Damrah bin Habib was asked if the Jinns will enter Paradise and he said, `Yes, and they will get married. The Jinns will have Jinn women and the humans will have female humans.’" Allah's statement, …

<whom never deflowered a human before nor Jinn. Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you both deny>

Then Allah describes these women for the proposed…

<they are like Yaqut and Marjan.>

Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Ibn Zayd and others said, "They are as pure as rubies and white as Marjan." So here they described Marjan as pearls… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), (Surat Al-Jathiyah to the end of Surat Al-Munafiqun), First Edition: September 2000, Volume 9, pp. 400-401; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

He also wrote in reference to Q. 56:35-37 that:

Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that Anas said that the Messenger of Allah said…

<In Paradise, the believer will be given such and such strength for women.>

Anas said, "I asked, 'O Allah's Messenger! Will one be able to do that? He said,

((He will be given the strength OF A HUNDRED (MEN).))

At-Tirmidhi also recorded it and said, "Sahih Gharib." Abu Al-Qasim At-Tabarani recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah was asked, "O Allah's Messenger! Will we have sexual intercourse with our wives in Paradise?" He said…

((The man will be able to have sexual intercourse WITH A HUNDRED VIRGINS IN ONE DAY.))

Al-Hafiz Abu 'Abdullah Al-Maqisi said, "In my view, the Hadith meets the criteria of the Sahih, and Allah knows best." (Ibid., pp. 429-430; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The two Jalals noted in reference to Q. 56:36 that,

and made them virgins, immaculate - every time their spouses enter them they find them virgins, nor is there any pain [of defloration] - (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

And regarding Q. 36:55 they say:

Indeed today the inhabitants of Paradise are busy (read fi shughlin or fi shughulin), [oblivious] to what the inhabitants of the Fire are suffering, [busy] delighting in pleasures such as deflowering virgins - not busy with anything wearisome, as there is no toil in Paradise - rejoicing, blissful (fakihuna is a second predicate of inna, the first being fi shugulin, 'busy'); (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Here is what the hadith compiler Ibn Majah stated about the sexual organs of the men and the maidens of paradise:

4337. Abu 'Umama (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Allah will not admit anyone in the Paradise but Allah, the Mighty and Glorious, will marry him with seventy two wives: two will be from virgins (haurine) with big eyes and seventy will be his inheritance from the people of the Hell-Fire (1). Everyone of them will have A PLEASANT VAGINA and HE (the man) WILL HAVE A SEXUAL ORGAN THAT DOES NOT BEND DOWN (during sexual intercourse)."

Hisham b. Khalid says, "The words 'out of his inheritance (due) from the denizens of the Fire', many men who will enter the Fire and the inmates of the Paradise will inherit their wives just as Faraoh's[sic] wife will be inherited (by the believer)."

According to al-Zawa'id, its isnad has some controversy. Al-'Ajali has declared Khalid b. Yazid b. Abi Malik reliable while Imam Ahmad, Ibn Mu'in, Abu Dawud, Nasa'i, Ibn Jarud Sahi, 'Uqail etc., have declare[sic] Ahmad b. Salih al-Misri da'if. (Sunan Ibn-I-Majah (Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad b. Yazid Ibn-I-Maja Al-Qazwini), English version by Muhammad Tufail Ansari [Kazi Publications, Lahore (Pakistan), 1st edition 1995], Chapter NO. XXXIX, "The Description of the Paradise", Volume V, p. 546; capital and underline emphasis ours)

In light of such graphic, pornographic language does it come as a surprise that the following Islamic source asserts that the reading or reciting of Q. 78:33 can arouse a person sexually?

We do not know with certainty that there will be such a restriction on women even if the reverse would hardly be mentionable to a decent woman. A woman in the traditional world would and does consider it a horrible thing to say to her that "You can have all the men you want"! The Qur'an would never use inappropriate language. However, the Qur'an does mention that for the inhabitants of Paradise - male and female - {There wait on them immortal youths} (56:17), {There serve them youths of everlasting youth, whom, when you see them, you would take for scattered pearls} (76:19). If this does not make a believing woman happy then, as Imam al-Shafi`i said to the one WHO IS NOT MOVED BY EROTIC POETRY, "You have no feelings." As for the believing men, as one of the Awliya said, some of them will need GHUSL just FOR HEARING THE VERSE {Same-age young-bosomed girls} (78:33). As for us hard-hearted analphabets we may read it and read it without effect. (G.F. Haddad, Sex with slaves and women's rights; source; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Ghusl refers, in this specific context, to the ritual bathing of the body that a Muslim must perform after sexual intercourse or because of a seminal discharge. What the author is essentially saying is that Q. 78:33 can cause a person to be aroused to such an extent that he ends up having an emission!

The Quran also mentions young boys in paradise who are there to please Muslims (*).

It further uses graphic language to describe how Allah breathed into a maiden’s vulva (*).

10. The Qur’an does not say John the Baptist, who was the greatest Israelite Prophet ever according to Jesus — though the least in the kingdom of God was greater than him! — failed to recognize his second lord on earth although this lord followed him and got baptized by him until he saw the third god descending on this second god as a pigeon.

However, the Quran does say that prophets doubted their god even after receiving revelations from him:

And when Abraham said, 'My Lord, show me how Thou wilt give life to the dead,' He said, 'Why, dost thou not believe?' 'Yes,' he said, 'but that my heart may be at rest.' Said He, 'Take four birds, and twist them to thee, then set a part of them on every hill, then summon them, and they will come to thee running. And do thou know that God is All-mighty, All-wise. S. 2:260 Arberry

While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: "God doth give thee glad tidings of Yahya, witnessing the truth of a Word from God, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a prophet, - of the (goodly) company of the righteous." He said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son, seeing I am very old, and my wife is barren?" "Thus," was the answer, "Doth God accomplish what He willeth." S. 3:39-40 Y. Ali

Behold! the disciples, said: "O Jesus the son of Mary! can thy Lord send down to us a table set (with viands) from heaven?" Said Jesus: "Fear God, if ye have faith." S. 5:112 Y. Ali

It also teaches that the Spirit is a God/god, since it ascribes to him all of the characteristics of Deity (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).

This means that there are at least two gods according to Islam.

Moreover, Azmy’s god appeared as a burning bush to Moses:

When Moses said to his people 'I observe a fire, and will bring you news of it, or I will bring you a flaming brand, that haply you shall warm yourselves.' So, when he came to it, he was called: 'Blessed is he who is IN the fire, and he who is about it. Glory be to God, the Lord of all Being! Moses, behold, it is I, God, the All-mighty, the All-wise. S. 27:7-9 Arberry

Now when Moses had fulfilled the term, and was travelling with his family, he perceived a fire in the direction of Mount Tur. He said to his family: "Tarry ye; I perceive a fire; I hope to bring you from there some information, or a burning firebrand, that ye may warm yourselves." But when he came to the (fire), a voice was heard from the right bank of the valley, from a tree in hallowed ground: "O Moses! Verily I am God, the Lord of the Worlds…." S. 28:29-30 Y. Ali

So we have one of Azmy’s gods descending in the form of fire and becoming part of a plant!

Worse still, Azmy’s god has no shame exposing his shin!

(Remember) the Day when the Shin shall be laid bare (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) and they shall be called to prostrate (to Allah), but they (hypocrites) shall not be able to do so, S. 68:42 Hilali-Khan

The ahadith explain this text:

Narrated Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri:
... Then the Almighty will come to them in a shape other than the one which they saw the first time, and He will say, ‘I am your Lord,’ and they will say, 'You are not our Lord.' And none will speak: to Him then but the Prophets, and then it will be said to them, ‘Do you know any sign by which you can recognize Him?’ They will say. ‘THE SHIN,’ AND SO ALLAH WILL THEN UNCOVER HIS SHIN whereupon every believer will prostrate before Him and there will remain those who used to prostrate before Him just for showing off and for gaining good reputation... (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 532s)

Allah having a shin makes us wonder whether he has hair on his legs, and if so, whether this means that Allah has to shave occasionally in order to make sure that his shins don’t get too hairy since it may scare people off on the day of judgment.

Just in case Azmy wants to deny that his god has shins, whether they are hairy male shins or hairless female shins, we will let his fellow Muslims set him straight:

[1] All that has been revealed in Allah's Book [the Qur'an] as regards the [Sifat…] Qualities of Allah… the Most High,- like His Face, Eyes, Hands, Shins, (Legs), His Coming, His Istawa (rising over) His Throne and others; His Qualities or all that Allah's Messenger qualified Him in the true authentic Prophet's Ahadith (narrations) as regards His Qualities like [Nuzul…] His Descent or His laughing and others etc. The religious scholars of the Qur'an and the Sunna believe in these Qualities of Allah and they confirm that these are really His Qualities, without Ta'wil… (interpreting their meanings into different things etc.) or Tashbih… (giving resemblance or similarity to any of the creatures) or Ta'til… (i.e. completely ignoring or denying them i.e. there is no Face, or Eyes or Hands, or Shins etc. for Allah). These Qualities befit or suit only Allah Alone, and He does not resemble any of (His) creatures. As Allah's Statements (in the Qur'an): (1) "There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer" (V.42:11). (2) There is none comparable unto Him (V.112:4). (Al-Imam Zain-ud-Din Ahmad bin Abdul Lateef Az-Zubaidi, The Translation of the Meanings of Summarized Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English, Translated by: Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan [Maktaba Dar-us-Salam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh Saudi Arabia], p. 842; bold and underline emphasis ours)

11. The Qur’an does not say the apostle of this god, Judea[sic] the Iscariot, who performed many miracles in his name and was among the disciples who were greater than Moses and other Israelite Prophets according to Jesus, delivered his god to the hands of his enemies for 30 pieces.

Rather the Quran says that Allah lied and duped everyone by making it seem to them that Jesus was crucified, thereby foisting biblical Christianity upon the world! (1, 2, 3).

12. The Qur’an does not say Caiaphas, the high priest — who was a prophet according to John the Baptist[sic] — rejected, insulted and made a verdict to kill his god.[3]

The Quran makes the assertion that the Jews bragged of how they killed their own Messiah:

And because of their saying (in boast), "We killed Messiah 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah," - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of 'Iesa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e. 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)]: S. 4:157 Hilali-Khan

Imagine that, the Jews confessed that Jesus is an Apostle of God and the Messiah and yet still went ahead and killed him. What’s more, they even went around boasting about killing God’s Messiah! It is rather strange that the Bible writers got this wrong since they actually claim that the Jews who instigated Jesus’ death didn’t believe he was the Messiah, but erroneously thought that he was a false Christ. We are really happy that the Quran came to correct this mistake by setting the record straight since we would have never known that the Jews who played a hand in the death of Jesus actually went around admitting that they killed their Messiah.[4]

Nevertheless, Hesham Azmy was correct in one thing, i.e. when he concluded – although sarcastically – that the Qur’an, unlike the Holy Bible, cannot be a text of divine origin. Rather, it is a satanic counterfeit aimed at preventing men from embracing the light of God’s true revelation.


[1] Hesham Azmy operates under the false assumption that just because the Quran doesn’t refer to a specific sin or crime committed by a biblical character this somehow means that it is denying that the person in question performed these transgressions. Azmy is doing nothing more than to argue from silence, which is a faulty way to reason. After all, the Quran’s silence doesn’t mean that its author didn’t believe that these events occurred; it simply shows that s/he was either unaware of them or that he wasn’t interested in mentioning these narrations. One can just as well argue that the author’s silence actually proves that he did accept these reports, otherwise he would have objected against and corrected them if he didn’t.

In fact, we have documented from Islamic sources written by some of the leading Muslim exegetes and historians that Muslims have accepted the veracity of the biblical material regarding the sins of the prophets, e.g. David’s adulterous relation with Bathsheba, and even refer to them in their discussions and explanations. See the links provided throughout this paper for the documentation.

What this essentially shows is that there is absolutely nothing within the Quran which leads a person to necessarily conclude that prophets cannot commit such heinous sins, since if there is then the Muslim scholars which we cited would not have endorsed or quoted these biblical stories.

Azmy is reading into the Quran a later Islamic doctrine, namely the doctrine of asma, which refers to Allah protecting prophets from committing major sins. The problem with this position is that the Quran does not support this doctrine, but candidly admits that prophets can and do commit gross sins (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).

Moreover, even if the Quran had denied the veracity of the reports of prophets sinning this still wouldn’t mean that the prophets hadn’t committed these transgressions. The most this would prove is that the Quran is wrong for contradicting sources which were written closer to the time the events in question took place. To argue otherwise, as Azmy has done, is to commit circular reasoning since one has to assume that the Quran is completely correct since it is the word of god, which would therefore imply that the Holy Bible is wrong whenever it disagrees with the Quran.

Unfortunately for Azmy, the Quran actually confirms the historical veracity and authority of the Holy Bible, which means that the Quran is wrong any and every time it disagrees with God’s true Word (*)

Now watch how Azmy & Co. will call into question their very own Islamic sources by claiming that they are weak, forged, or materials adopted from Israelite sources etc., anything to deny the overwhelming data which exposes their inconsistent methodology. Yet all this will do is merely prove what we have always known, specifically that Islam is built on questionable materials, as well as lies and deceptions. As a result of its shaky foundation, and by the grace of the risen and immortal Lord Jesus, Islam is about to come crumbling down.

[2] It is utterly ridiculous to call these people bastards due to having a "bastard" in the family tree, some 10 or 30 generations before. That is mere slur and slander. Maybe that is the Islamic way, but that is not the biblical way. In fact, the story makes it clear that the guilt is on Judah (Genesis 38:24-26), and he explicitly confesses this (verse 26). He carries the stigma, not Tamar or Perez, and nowhere in the Bible are the descendents of Perez judged or condemned because of the circumstances of Perez’ birth.

On the contrary, it is Islam that insults Jesus by calling him "the son of Mary". In Middle Eastern culture, only illegitimate children, i.e. "bastards", whose fathers are not known, are named after their mother. As one source states in reference to Mark 6:3:

d. The Son of Mary: This also was not a compliment. "The additional phrase 'the son of Mary' is probably disparaging. It was contrary to Jewish usage to describe a man as the son of his mother, even when she was a widow, except in insulting terms. Rumors to the effect that Jesus was illegitimate appear to have circulated in his own lifetime and may lie behind this reference as well." (Lane)

i. "How much of suspicion and contempt may have lurked behind that particular description of Him?" (Morgan) (David Guzik's Commentaries on the Bible; source)

This next commentary concurs:

6sn The reference to Jesus as the carpenter is probably derogatory, indicating that they knew Jesus only as a common laborer like themselves. The reference to him as the son of Mary (even though Jesus’ father was probably dead by this point) appears to be somewhat derogatory, for a man was not regarded as his mother’s son in Jewish usage unless an insult was intended (cf. Judg 11:1-2; John 6:42; 8:41; 9:29). (NET Bible; source)

During his life on earth, Jesus was known as the son of Joseph, his adoptive father:

"Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?" Matthew 13:55

"Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli," Luke 3:23

"All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘Isn't this Joseph's son?’ they asked." Luke 4:22

"They said, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, "I came down from heaven"?’" John 6:42

And he was known as the Son of God. Both of these are honorable names. It is only when the crowds wanted to insult Jesus did they call him the "son of Mary," the very epithet that Muhammad chose for him! Despite the claim to honor him, it is Islam that insults Jesus by using the derogatory Jewish remark, "son of Mary", and turning it into an essential part of his name:

Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to God; S. 3:45 Yusuf Ali

And when We exacted a covenant from the prophets, and from thee (O Muhammad) and from Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus son of Mary. We took from them a solemn covenant; S. 33:7 Pickthall

And We made the son of Mary and his mother as a Sign: We gave them both shelter on high ground, affording rest and security and furnished with springs. S. 23:50 Y. Ali

And when the son of Mary is quoted as an example, behold! the folk laugh out, S. 43:57 Pickthall

See also Q. 2:87, 253, 4:157, 171, 5:17, 46, 72, 75, 78, 110, 112, 114, 116, 9:31, 19:34, 57:27, 61:6, 14.

[3] Azmy can’t even get his facts correct since he mistakenly claims that John the Baptist identified the high priest Caiaphas as a prophet. In the first place, it wasn’t John the Baptist but John the Evangelist! Secondly, and more importantly, John didn’t say that Caiaphas was a prophet, but that he prophesied:

"Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, ‘You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.’ He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one." John 11:49-52

"Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people." John 18:14

John didn’t say he was a prophet, but because he was the high priest God moved him to predict that Jesus would die for God’s children as a ransom. Azmy erroneously assumes that God can only cause prophets to speak or announce his word, whereas the Holy Bible shows that God is sovereign enough to use evil spirits and even false prophets to accomplish his purpose (cf. Numbers 22-24; 1 Kings 22:19-24).

Azmy shouldn’t have a problem with this since his god also uses the devils for his purposes (Q. 6:112; 19:83). In fact, Allah included the words of a group of devils or jinns as part of the Quran!

Say (O Muhammad SAW): "It has been revealed to me that a group (from three to ten in number) of jinns listened (to this Qur'an). They said: 'Verily! We have heard a wonderful Recital (this Qur'an)! 'It guides to the Right Path, and we have believed therein, and we shall never join (in worship) anything with our Lord (Allah). 'And exalted be the Majesty of our Lord, He has taken neither a wife, nor a son (or offspring or children). 'And that the foolish among us [i.e. Iblis (Satan) or the polytheists amongst the jinns] used to utter against Allah that which was wrong and not right. 'And verily, we thought that men and jinns would not utter a lie against Allah. 'And verily, there were men among mankind who took shelter with the masculine among the jinns, but they (jinns) increased them (mankind) in sin and disbelief. 'And they thought as you thought, that Allah will not send any Messenger (to mankind or jinns). 'And we have sought to reach the heaven; but found it filled with stern guards and flaming fires. 'And verily, we used to sit there in stations, to (steal) a hearing, but any who listens now will find a flaming fire watching him in ambush. 'And we know not whether evil is intended for those on earth, or whether their Lord intends for them a Right Path. 'There are among us some that are righteous, and some the contrary; we are groups each having a different way (religious sect, etc.). 'And we think that we cannot escape (from the punishment of) Allah in the earth, nor can we escape (from the punishment) by flight. 'And indeed when we heard the Guidance (this Qur'an), we believed therein (Islamic Monotheism), and whosoever believes in his Lord shall have no fear, either of a decrease in the reward of his good deeds or an increase in punishment for his sins. 'And of us some are Muslims (who have submitted to Allah, after listening to this Qur'an), and of us some are Al-Qasitun (disbelievers those who have deviated from the Right Path)'. And whosoever has embraced Islam (i.e. has become a Muslim by submitting to Allah), then such have sought the Right Path." Surat al-Jinn 72:1-14 Hilali-Khan

Here, the jinn speak in the same exact manner as the Quran. If the Quran is a miracle, as Muslims like Azmy erroneously believe, then these jinn must have been inspired by Allah to speak his revelations. Otherwise, Azmy would have to conclude that the theology and eloquence of the Quran have been matched by a group of spirit beings that weren’t inspired, thereby falsifying the Quran’s assertion that neither jinn nor men can duplicate the Quran (Q. 17:88).

[4] Hesham Azmy may wish to say that the Jews weren’t acknowledging Jesus to be an Apostle or Messiah but that they were mockingly addressing him as such. Yet the plain reading of the text of the Quran nowhere states that the Jews were mockingly calling Jesus the Messiah, the Apostle of Allah, but reads as a confession on the part of the Jews that they killed the One whom they knew was their Messiah. At the least, the text doesn’t say EXPLICITLY that the Jews were calling Jesus the Messiah in a mocking way.

There is further evidence that the author of the Quran erroneously assumed that the Jews did believe that Jesus was the Messiah, despite their boasting to have killed him, since he quotes them as identifying Jesus as the Son of Mary:

"And because of their disbelief and of their speaking against Mary a tremendous calumny; And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger - they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain." S. 4:156-157 Pickthall

Now, the Jews obviously believed it when they called Jesus the Son of Mary, and didn’t simply use this expression as a way of mocking him. They knew that his mother was Mary and their statement is an endorsement of that fact, which in turn supports the position that they were also affirming that he was the Messiah. Hence, despite their confessing that they killed him, the Jews were admitting that even though Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the Son of Mary, they still didn't want to have anything to do with him. After all, didn’t the Jews also do the same thing to Moses according to the Quran?

And (remember) when Moses said unto his people: O my people! Why persecute ye me, WHEN YE WELL KNOW THAT I AM ALLAH'S MESSENGER UNTO YOU? So when they went astray Allah sent their hearts astray. And Allah guideth not the evil-living folk. S. 61:5 Pickthall

The Quran states that Moses was persecuted by the Israelites EVEN THOUGH THEY KNEW he was God's prophet. Note for instance:

And when Musa said to his people: O my people! remember the favor of Allah upon you when He raised prophets among you and made you kings and gave you what He had not given to any other among the nations. O my people! enter the holy land which Allah has prescribed for you and turn not on your backs for then you will turn back losers. They said: O Musa! surely there is a strong race in it, and we will on no account enter it until they go out from it, so if they go out from it, then surely we will enter. Two men of those who feared, upon both of whom Allah had bestowed a favor, said: Enter upon them by the gate, for when you have entered it you shall surely be victorious, and on Allah should you rely if you are believers. They said: O Musa! we shall never enter it so long as they are in it; go therefore you AND YOUR LORD, then fight you both surely we will here sit down. He said: My Lord! Surely I have no control (upon any) but my own self and my brother; therefore make a separation between us and the nation of transgressors. He said: So it shall surely be forbidden to them for forty years, they shall wander about in the land, therefore do not grieve for the nation of transgressors. S. 5:20-26 Shakir

Now, after having seen God miraculously deliver them from Pharaoh through signs and wonders, they still refuse to enter the land and give Moses a hard time to the point of telling him that he and his Lord should go and fight. They obviously knew that Allah was God and Moses was his prophet despite their unwillingness to go and fight the giants of the land.

Thus, Israel’s persecution of Moses, even though they knew that he was God’s prophet, supports the view that the Quran's author erroneously assumed that the Jews believed Jesus was in fact the Messiah, the Apostle of Allah, despite their killing him.

This is similar to Muhammad’s view of his status among the people of the book, i.e. just as he could not imagine anyone believing him to be a false prophet, but all must know he is a true prophet, but they reject him anyway, so he projects that understanding upon the earlier prophets. He assumes and claims that the Jews know him like their own sons etc. For more details see the article, I am ALL the Prophets.

In support of our exegesis we cite the late Muslim scholar Sayyid Abu A’la Mawdudi who wrote in reference to Sura 4:157:

191. Their criminal boldness had reached such proportions that they attempted to put an end to the life of the one THEY THEMSELVES KNEW TO BE A PROPHET, and subsequently went around boasting of this achievement. The least reflection on the incident of Jesus talking in his cradle (see the preceding note) makes it clear that there was no strong reason to doubt his prophethood. Moreover, the miracles of Jesus which they themselves witnessed (see Sura Al ‘Imran 3:49) had firmly established his claim to prophethood. Thus, whatever treatment they meted out was not based on any misconception, for they were FULLY AWARE that the person whom they were subjecting to criminal treatment had been appointed by God as the bearer of His message.

It seems strange that a people should recognize a man to be a Prophet in their hearts and still try to assassinate him. The ways of degenerate nations are indeed strange. Such people are absolutely unprepared to tolerate the existence of those who reproach them for their corruption and seek to prevent them from evil. Hence the reformers, including Prophets, who arise among corrupt nations are always persecuted; they are imprisoned and even put to death. The Talmud mentions that:

Nebuchadnezzar laid waste the land of Israel … when the city had been captured, he marched with his princes and officers into the Temple … on one of the walls he found the mark of an arrow’s head, as though somebody had been killed or hit nearby, and he asked: ‘Who was killed here?’ ‘Zachariah, the son of Yohoyadah, the high priest’, answered the people. ‘He rebuked us incessantly on account of our transgressions, and we tired of his words, and put him to death.’ (The Talmud Selections by H. Plano, London, Frederick Warne & Co.)

The Bible also mentions that when the corrupt practices of Israel exceeded all limits, and Jeremiah warned them that God would have them overrun by other nations in punishment for their wickedness, his warning was greeted by the Jews with the accusation that he was a collaborator with the Chaldeans and hence a traitor. And under that pretext Jeremiah was sent to prison. In the same manner, about two and half years before Jesus’ crucifixion, John the Baptist suffered a cruel fate. On the whole the Jews knew him to be a Prophet, or at least acknowledged him to be on of the most religious people in the nation. But when he criticized the royal court of Herod, the King of Judah, he was first thrown into prison, and then, in response to the demand of a dancing girl, who was Herod’s favourite ‘mistress’, his head was cut off.

If this record of the Jews is kept in mind, it does not seem surprising that, after having subjected Jesus – according to their belief – to crucifixion, they might have been overcome by jubilation and in a fit of self-congratulation might have boastfully exclaimed: ‘Yes, we have put a Prophet of God to death!’ … (Mawdudi, Towards Understanding the Qur’an: English Version of Tafhim al-Qur’an, translated and edited by Zafar Ishaq Ansari [The Islamic Foundation, Leicestershire, United Kingdom, Reprinted 2004], Volume II, suras 4-6, pp. 106-107; capital emphasis ours)

Apart from his desperate, but valiant, effort to explain away this gross Quranic error Mawdudi’s comments clearly demonstrate that the plain reading of this text is that the author of the Quran truly believed that the Jews knew Jesus was their Messiah but decided to kill him anyway.

Besides all of this, Azmy, if he did use this argument, would be assuming that the Quran is an accurate record, so that the Quran cannot be erroneously suggesting that the Jews believed that Jesus was the Messiah whom they killed. But, as has been shown over and over again, the Quran is often mistaken about the claims and beliefs of groups such as Jews and Christians (1, 2).

Those examples support the interpretation that this is just another instance of the author of the Quran mistakenly assuming that the Jews would have admitted to killing their Messiah, with the obvious intention of trying to portray them in the worst possible light.

In fact, Muhammad was bothered that the Jews and Christians resisted his message, and rejected his claim to be a prophet of God in the same tradition as the prophets of their scriptures. As in many other quranic passages, the author of the Quran is responding here to one of the troubling claims of the Jews that contradicted his own message. In this case, they probably said (as some do to this day): We killed Jesus, this imposter and false Messiah, i.e. the Quran answers an obstacle for the credibility of Muhammad’s message.

It would have made sense if he had quoted some Jews as saying boastfully:

We killed Jesus, this imposter and false Messiah,


We killed Jesus, who falsely claimed to be the Messiah and messenger of Allah.

However, since Muhammad’s message contained the claim that Jesus was a true messenger of Allah, and the Messiah, and in this passage he was only concerned with the issue of whether Jesus was crucified or not, he simply replaced their accusation (that he was a false Messiah) by his own conviction (that he is the Messiah, and Messenger from Allah), which resulted in a statement that is impossible to have been uttered by the Jews of Muhammad’s day, or indeed of any time.

In light of the above, the burden of proof is upon Azmy to show that the Quran isn’t mistaken here, and that the Jews were indeed mocking when they boasted in killing the Messiah. He can’t do so by appealing to the Bible since he has tried to argue, quite unsuccessfully, that it is a corrupted text.

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