Response to Zakir Naik's Claims for the Quran

Sam Shamoun

The following series of articles are a response to the claims set forth by Dr. Zakir Naik regarding the Quran. In his lecture titled Is the Qur'an God's Word?, Dr. Naik set forth a series of propositions to demonstrate that the Quran could not have been authored by a human being but was in fact a revelation from God.

It should be noted that most of the arguments set forth by Naik are the ones originally made by Dr. Gary Miller in his writings and lectures. In the following, we highlight most of the propositions set forth by Naik, but in no particular order:

  1. All the prophets, who were sent only to their own people, and proclaimed the religion of Islam. Yet Muhammad was sent to all mankind with a lasting message, the Quran.
  2. Muhammad performed many miracles as documented in the Islamic traditions such as the Hadith. Yet Muhammad's ultimate and lasting miracle was the Quran.
  3. Only three possible sources for the Quran:

    A) Quran authored by Muhammad consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously.

    B) Obtained it from earthly, human sources and/or previous scriptures.

    C) Does not have a human source.

Naik proceeded to address the preceding propositions. As far as 3.A) is concerned Naik asserted that Muhammad denied personal authorship. Naik claimed that such a denial is abnormal if in fact Muhammad wrote the Quran, since the normal thing to do is to take credit for producing a work of such magnitude.

Naik also claimed that history testifies that Muhammad never told a lie, even before prophethood. In fact, Muhammad was given the title Al-Amin, "the Trustworthy." Naik then asked the question why would such an honest person lie by claiming prophethood?

Naik asserted that Muhammad's motives could not have been for material benefit since he was richer before prophethood and suffered much loss for claiming apostleship. For instance, Muhammad married a rich merchant named Khadijah at the age of twenty-five, fifteen years before his call to prophethood. After his call to prophethood, Muhammad at times would go without a cooked meal for one to two months. During those times his diet consisted mainly of dates and water.

Naik highlighted the fact that Muhammad would distribute his wealth to the poor and needy, and listened to peoples from every class. Cf. S. 9:61

Muhammad even refused to accept the offer of the pagans to make him a king and rich. This demonstrates his humbleness and sincerity.

Naik went on to say that some Orientalists asserted that Muhammad suffered from mythomania. According to Naik, mythomania is the condition where a person lies yet is convinced that he is actually speaking the truth. Naik argued that it was not possible for Muhammad to be a mythomaniac since a mythomaniac cannot recall facts accurately and often changes his mind. This is not the case with Muhammad since he was able to recall facts accurately and remained consistent throughout his prophetic ministry.

In fact, Naik asserted that the way to cure a mythomaniac is to ask him questions that will lead the person to realize that he is lying. Yet in the Quran we find questions addressed to the unbelievers in order to expose their lies.

Naik claimed that some writers accused Muhammad of being crazy or subconsciously deranged. Naik said that this was not possible since the revelation lasted twenty-three years. A crazy or deranged man couldn't keep going for such a long period of time. Besides, the Quran denies that Muhammad was crazy. Cf. S. 7:184; 68:2; 81:22

Naik went to deny 3.B) by stating that Muhammad was illiterate and could not have copied from previous sources. Cf. S. 29:48; 32:1-3

Naik also stated that there was no Arabic translation of the Holy Bible during the time of Muhammad. The Old Testament wasn't translated into Arabic until 900 AD. by Rabbi Saadia Gaon. The New Testament was only translated into Arabic in 1616 AD.

Naik claimed that the Quran agrees with reason and logic. Cf. S. 16:125

The Quran also claims to be the word of God. Cf. S. 6:19, 92; 12:1-2; 20:113; 27:6; 32:1-3; 36:1-5; 39:1; 40:2; 45:2; 55:2; 56:77-80; 76:23

These factors clearly affirm that Muhammad could not have written the Quran.

To convince both skeptics and atheists that the Quran does not have any human source, but is actual revelation from God, Naik offered several lines of evidence.

First, Naik applied the falsification test to the Quran. This method is employed by scientists to see if a position can be falsified. The Quran offers several such tests:

  1. The Quran in S. 111 predicted that Abu Lahab would die as an unbeliever. All Abu Lahab had to do was to embrace Islam, thereby falsifying the Quran. Yet history records that Lahab died an unbeliever, just as the revelation stated.
  2. The Quran in S. 2:94-95 challenged the Jews to seek death if they believed that Allah's abode was their eternal home. None took up the challenge.
  3. The Quran challenges mankind to produce a chapter like the Quran. Even till this day no one has been able to produce something even similar to it. Cf. S. 52:34; 17:88; 11:13; 10:38; 2:23-24
  4. The Quran claims that it contains no discrepancies. To find one discrepancy would falsify the Quran. Till now no one has been able to produce a single bonafide contradiction. S. 4:82

Second, Naik claimed that the Quran is compatible with scientific facts and modern discoveries some of which include:

  1. The Quran alludes to the Big Bang. Cf. S. 21:30
  2. The Quran teaches that the earth is spherical in shape, something taught by Sir Francis Drake in 1597. Cf. S. 31:29; 39:5
  3. The Quran teaches that the moon reflects light. This is due to the Arabic terms used to describe the moon's light, munir and nur. Cf. S. 25:61
  4. The Quran teaches that the orbits such as the sun and the moon travel on a fixed course. Cf. S. 21:33
  5. The Quran claims that there is an invisible barrier called barzakh that prevents sweet and salt water from mixing. Cf. S. 55:19-20
  6. The Quran accurately refers to the healing properties of honey, as well as the place of milk production within cows. Cf. S. 16:66, 68-69

These are some of the many claims made by Naik in his lecture.

In the following series we will respond to the issues raised by Naik, yet not necessarily in the same chronological sequence found in this article.

Before doing so, we would first like to acknowledge our debt to both Silas and the team of M. Rafiqul-Haqq and P. Newton. Much of what will be said comes from their writings, which can be read on-line here: [1], [2], [3].

The reason why we chose to adapt their material is that these men have already addressed and refuted most of the claims made by Naik. This being the case, we felt that there was no reason to "reinvent the wheel" so to speak.

The only thing that will be different is that we will be responding to issues that these men have not addressed, combining our material with theirs. This serves to save our readers a lot of time otherwise wasted in trying to search different articles or locating different web sites for the answers to Naik.

With that just said, we now begin our journey. As always, we will be relying completely on the grace of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to carry us through.

Responses to Zakir Naik
Further articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page