Answering Dr. Jamal Badawi:

A Christian Response to Dr. Jamal Badawi's "Seven Wonders of The Quran"

Sam Shamoun

Considered to be North America's leading Islamic Apologist, Halifax Nova Scotia's Dr. Jamal Badawi is perhaps the most active Muslim as far as inter-Faith dialogue is concerned. Dr. Badawi has debated some of the world's finest Christian scholars on issues as diverse as the authority of the Quran and the divinity of Jesus.

To support the contention that the Quran is inspired and that Muhammad is God's prophet, Dr. Badawi offers seven lines of evidence. They are presented as follows:

  • I. The Internal Evidence

  • II. The Truthfulness and Integrity of The Recipient

  • III. The Literary Challenge

  • IV. No Internal Contradictions

  • V. The Hundred Percent Accuracy of Prophecies Made

  • VI. No Scientific or Historical Errors

  • VII. The accurate description of embryology

    The last three are further evidence of Divine inspiration since Muhammad, an illiterate man, could not have possibly known these facts and compose such a book.

    It is our intention in this study to take each of the propositions presented by Dr. Badawi and present evidence to the contrary. We will offer a rebuttal of the arguments, thus exposing the weaknesses of Dr. Badawi's attempt to prove the authority of the Quran.

    Issue I : The Internal Evidence : The Quran claims to be the word of God.

    To argue that a book which claims to be from God is proof enough for its inspiration is fallacious. After all any writer can write a book and make similar claims. Further, there is evidence within the Quran which indicates multiple authorship:

    "I have been commanded to serve the Lord of this city, Him who has sanctified it and to whom all things belong. S. 27:91 (read vv. 83-93 for context)

    The question begs to be asked if God is speaking who then is the Lord that he serves? If it is the angels or Muhammad speaking, then the Quran cannot be considered 100% the word of God.

    Other examples are:

    We come not down save by commandment of thy Lord. Unto him belongeth all that is before us and all that is behind us and all that is between these two, and thy Lord is never forgetful. S. 19:64

    Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the Dawn. S. 113:1

    Say: I seek refuge with the Lord and cherisher of mankind. S. 114:1

    Obviously, God could not possibly be the speaker within these passages. This is the reason why Abdullah ibn Masud, one of Muhammad's closest companions, refused to include Surahs 113, and 114 into his reading of the Quran. His refusal was based on the notion that these Surahs were revealed as human prayers to be addressed to God, not God's words addressed to mankind.

    Issue II : The Truthfulness and Integrity of The Recipient:

    Even before prophethood Muhammad was called Al Amin, "The Trustworthy", owing to his outstanding integrity.

    To demonstrate Muhammad's integrity Muslims often cite passages within the Quran which often rebuke Muhammad for sins he has committed. If the Quran was a concocted scripture why would he portray himself in such a bad light? Why not glorify himself to the extent that Christians glorified Jesus as a divine being? This indicates the truthfulness of the inspiration which he received from God, regardless of whether the message was beneficial or not.

    Again the Muslim contention is erroneous since we would have to accept the claims of all the religious leaders and founders who were also honest enough to admit their human weaknesses and limitations (i.e., Buddha). This, in essence would make Buddhism, Hinduism and all these other "isms" divine revelations from God, opening the door for religious pluralism. What Christian or Muslim would accept this?

    Secondly, if this contention were true then the Muslim assertion that the Bible has been corrupted is equally false due to the fact that from the beginning to the end the Jews are portrayed in such a negative light that it is inconceivable to comprehend the notion of their willingness to corrupt the Scriptures without ever omitting one single negative reference made about them. Why would they concoct Scriptures portraying them as wicked, idolatrous, blasphemers? That the Bible does contain such passages points to its sacredness and authenticity and the Jews extreme honesty in preserving the Scriptures word for word, irrespective of their position within them.

    Furthermore, the evidence within the Quran and the Hadiths exposes the ulterior motives behind the revelations. For instance, the Quran states:

    "Did He not find you as an orphan and give you shelter? Did He not find you wandering about and give you guidance? And did He not find you in need AND MAKE YOU RICH?" S. 93:6-8 Muhammad Sarwar

    In agreement, the Hadith declares that "Allah made the Prophet wealthy through conquests." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 3:495)

    The late Christian writer 'Abdallah 'Abd al-Fadi quotes the following Islamic Tradition:

    "It has been told that al-Aqra' ibn Habis al-Tamim and 'Uyaina ibn Hisn the Fazarite came to Muhammad and found him seated with Suhaib, Bilal, 'Ammar and Khabab along with a group of the other lowly believers. When those men saw the poor people around him, they despised them and said to Muhammad, ‘Why don't you sit here in front of the people and banish those men and the stench of their garments; then we would follow you. We would prefer it if you took your seat among us as a sign of our superiority over the Arabs. Arab delegations will come to you and we will be ashamed to be seen with those [black] slaves. So when we come to you, banish them from our presence, and when we finish [talking with you] you can seat them wherever you want.’ HE AGREED, and they said, ‘Then write us a contract in this respect.’ So he brought a sheet and asked 'Ali to write, but on second thought he perceived it was a trap, so he claimed that Gabriel forbade this.

    Ibn 'Abbas states: Some poor folk were with the Prophet. Some of the nobility said, ‘We believe in you, but when we come to pray, put those men behind us.’ HE WAS NEAR TO AGREE TO THEIR REQUEST, but when he perceived the injustice in it, he said that God forbade him from doing this." (Abdallah 'Abd al-Fadi, Is the Quran Infallible? [Light of Life, PO Box 13, A-9503 Villach, Austria], p. 363; bold and capital emphasis ours)

    Hence, Muhammad was willing to banish the downcast and the poor in order to please the Arab nobles and only changed his mind when he realized that it might have been a ploy on the part of the nobles to trap him. We ask, did Moses ever cast people away to please the Pharaoh? Did the Lord Jesus ever think even for a moment to banish the lepers, the poor and the downcast from his presence so that the Pharisees might find favor with him?

    When Muhammad needed justification for taking his daughter-in-law's hand in marriage or to increase the number of his wives, "revelations" were conveniently sent down. (S. 33:37-38, 50-51)

    At another time, verses were "sent" down freeing Muhammad from an oath which he had made to Hafsah when she found him sleeping with his slave-girl, Mary the Copt, in her own house. Muhammad promised Hafsah that he would never come into Mary again, if only she would not disclose the matter to anyone. Yet rather than honoring this commitment, Hafsah related the story to Aisha, Muhammad's youngest wife, who in turn brought it up to Islam's Prophet. Thus, S. 66:1-3 was brought down, freeing Muhammad from the oath allowing him the justification he needed for coming into any of his wives as it pleased him.

    Some commentators have attempted to make these verses refer to a different situation of a less serious nature. Yet, the internal evidence strongly suggests that this could only be referring to the above incident, since the Quran proceeds to threaten the wives with being replaced with better wives, if they persisted in annoying Muhammad [vv. 4-5]. One commentator, although non-committal, is honest enough to say:

    There are several essentially conflicting - and, therefore, in their aggregate, not very trustworthy - reports as to the exact reason or reasons why, at sometime during the second half of the Medina period, the Prophet declared on oath that for one month he would have no intercourse with any of his wives. Still, while the exact reason cannot be established with certainty, it is sufficiently clear from the above mentioned hadith that this emotional, temporary renunciation of marital life was caused by a display of mutual jealousy among some of the Prophet's wives. In any case, the purport of the above Qurannic allusion to this incident is not biographical but, rather intended to bring out a moral lesson applicable to all human situations: namely the inadmissibility of regarding forbidden (haram) anything that God has made lawful (halal), even if such an attitude happens to be motivated by the desire to please another person or other persons. Apart from this, it serves to illustrate the fact repeatedly stressed in the Quran - that the Prophet was but a human being, and therefore subject to human emotions and even liable to commit an occasional mistake (which in this case, however, was invariably pointed out to him, and thus rectified, through divine revelation.) (Muhammad Asad, The Message of The Quran, p.875, f.1)

    Hence, in spite of the differences of opinion or Asad's assumption that these verses have no biographical value in relation to Muhammad's life, one thing that cannot be denied is that this passage was "revealed" to assist Muhammad out of a difficult situation. We then ask, what significance do these verses have outside of helping Muhammad in his time of need? Are we to assume that this passage was preserved in tablets in heaven before the creation of time?

    In another situation, believers were rebuked by Allah for overstaying their welcome at Muhammad's home. (S. 33:53)

    In Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 8, Bk. 73, #59O, we are told by Aisha:

    A man asked permission to enter upon the Prophet. When the Prophet saw him, he said, "What an evil brother of his tribe! And what an evil son of his tribe!" When the man sat down, the Prophet behaved with him in a nice and polite manner and was completely at ease with him. When that person had left, Aisha said (to the Prophet): "O Allah's Apostle! When you saw that man, you said so-and-so about him, then you showed him a kind and polite behavior, and you enjoyed his company?" Allah's Apostle said, "O Aisha! Have you ever seen me speaking a bad and dirty language? (Remember that) the worst people in Allah's sight on the Day of Resurrection will be those whom the people leave (undisturbed) to be away from their evil (deeds)."

    In spite of Muhammad's explanation, to say that someone is evil and then sit with him without ever exposing his wickedness is hypocrisy at best.

    Finally, at the signing of Hudaibiya Muhammad agreed with the Meccans to return to them those who had converted to Islam while at the same time bowing to their demands of replacing his signature of "Muhammad, Messenger of God" to "Muhammad, son of Abdullah" in order that he might be allowed to make pilgrimage to Mecca the following year.

    One of those who were forced to return to Mecca with the pagans was Abu Jandal. In the Sirat Rasulullah, p. 505, we read:

    "When Suhayl (the Meccan representative and the treaty's compiler) saw Abu Jandal he got up and hit him in the face and took hold of his collar, saying, 'Muhammad, the agreement between us was concluded before this man came to you.' He replied, 'you are right.' He began to pull him roughly by his collar and to drag him away to return him to Quraysh, while Abu Jandal shrieked at the top of his voice, 'Am I to be returned to the polytheists that they may entice me from my religion O Muslims?' and that increased the people's dejection."

    Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 3:891:

    "Abu Jandal said, 'O Muslims! Will I be returned to the pagans though I have come as a Muslim? Don't you see how much I have suffered?' Abu Jandal had been [previously] tortured severely for the cause of Allah."

    Would Moses have ever thought of doing such a thing, returning a convert (especially one who was an Egyptian) back to the pagan Pharaoh in order to please the latter in obtaining what he wanted? Did Jesus ever compromise the truth of God by agreeing with the Pharisees in turning back all gentile seekers in order to be accepted by the Jewish ruling council?

    As one would expect, the Muslims were enraged, especially Umar al-Khattab who rebuked Muhammad:

    Umar bin al-Khattab said, "I went to the Prophet and said, 'Aren't you truly the messenger of Allah?' The Prophet said, 'Yes, indeed." I said, 'Isn't our cause just and the cause of the enemy unjust?' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Then why should we be humble in our religion?' He said, 'I am Allah's messenger and I do not disobey Him, and He will make me victorious...'" Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 3:891

    The anger of the Muslims is justifiable when we realize that Muhammad promised his followers access to Mecca that same year. When that did not occur, Muhammad attempted to justify his statement by stating, "Yes, did I tell you that we would go to Ka'ba this year?'" (Ibid.)

    In other words, since he did not specify when they would enter Mecca this cannot be considered a false prophecy! Again, this is erroneous due to the fact that the Muslim contingent were on their way to Mecca when they were stopped by a deputation from the pagan Arabs. This implies that Muhammad actually believed he was going to enter into Mecca, a plan which never materialized. To make matters worse, Muhammad broke the treaty with the Meccans by refusing to return a Muslim convert from the Quraysh, something stipulated in the very document which Muhammad had agreed to sign:

    "Umm Kulthum Uqba b. Mu'ayt migrated to the apostle during this period. Her two brothers 'Umara and Walid sons of 'Uqba came and asked the apostle to return her to them in accordance with the agreement between him and Quraysh at Hudaybiyya, but he would not. God forbade it." (Sirat Rasulullah, p. 509; italic emphasis ours)

    Hence, Muhammad justified the breaking of his oath by claiming it to be a command from God to do so. Unfortunately for Muslims, this would prove that Muhammad's God is not the God of the Holy Bible since breaking one's oath is strictly forbidden. (c.f. Num. 30:1-2)

    We are then compelled to ask the question, did Moses ever bow down to Pharaoh's requests in order to bring Israel out of bondage from Egypt? Did Jesus ever deny his Messiahship to gain access to the Temple? Did any true prophet of God ever compromise with the unbelievers in order to fulfill the will of God? This leads us to conclude that Muhammad's motives in concocting revelation were power, money and fame.

    Issue III : The Literary Challenge

    To say that the Quran is a literary masterpiece and hence inspired, is illogical since this would imply that the writings of Shakespeare or the epics of Gilgamesh are also inspired. This would make the blind Greek writer Homer a prophet since he produced two literary masterpieces, Iliad and Odyssey. These classics have stood the test of time putting them on the same level with the Quran, yet no one has ever taken Homer or Shakespeare as prophets.

    The problem is further contrasted by the Muslim insistence that the miracle of the Quran lies in its Arabic recital and cannot be comprehended otherwise. Hence, we are left with a revelation from God whose miracle can only be appreciated in Arabic; limiting God's ability to express his will in only one language, a language which is virtually incomprehensible to the great majority of humanity. This is far from miraculous.

    Issue IV : No Internal Contradictions

    There are many contradictions within the Quran, contradictions that are not easily reconciled. Several examples will substantiate this:

    A. The account of man's creation:

    Behold, thy LORD said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Will Thou place therein one who will make mischief and shed blood? Whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not." And He taught Adam the nature of all things: then he placed him before the angels and said: "Tell Me the nature of these if ye are right." They said: "Glory to Thee: of knowledge we have none, save what Thou hast taught us: In truth it is Thee who art perfect in knowledge and wisdom." He said: "O Adam! Tell them their natures." When he had told them God said: "Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of heaven and earth, and I know what ye reveal and what ye conceal?"And behold , We said to the angels:

    "Bow down to Adam:" and they bowed down: not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: he was of those who reject faith. We said: "O Adam! Dwell thee and thy wife in the Garden; and eat of the bountiful things therein as (where and when) ye will; but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression." S. 2:30-35

    Behold! Thy LORD said to the angels: "I am about to create man, from sounding clay and from mud moulded into shape; when I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him." S. 15:28-29

    Several theological problems arise from these passages. First, how did the angels know what the condition of man would be prior to his creation, a fact obviously not known by God since he rebukes them for their statements by declaring his omniscience; and yet still the angels were correct. Are the angels also omniscient? Secondly, was it not unfair for God to teach Adam the name of all things then proceed to challenge the angels to do likewise knowing full well they could not do so, and then have Adam name them in order to prove that the angels were wrong in questioning God? This portrays God as a deceiver.

    Thirdly, why would God command the angels to bow down to Adam, a creature, when it is absolutely forbidden to do so in Islam? If it is argued that the prostration signified respect and not worship, then why is it forbidden to do so now? God does not change and must remain consistent.

    Further, the verses state that man was created from mud and was to be God's viceroy on earth. This suggests that both Adam and his wife were in a garden located on earth. Yet S. 2:36 suggests otherwise:

    Then did Satan make them slip from the (Garden), and get them out of the state (of felicity) in which they had been. We said: "Get ye down, all (ye people). With enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling place and your means of livelihood for a time."

    This places the Garden in heaven above. But again we are confronted with the problem of Adam being created from mud in heaven when he was to be the vicegerent on earth. Are we to assume that heaven, a spiritual realm, contains mud? And why was Adam in heaven when God created him to dwell on earth?

    B. How many days of Creation?

    According to S. 7:54, 10:3, 11:7, and 25:59 the heavens and earth were created in six days.

    Yet, in S. 41:9-12 the length of time is listed as eight days:

    Say: Is it that ye deny Him who created the earth in Two Days and do ye join equals with Him? He is the Lord of (all) the worlds. He sat on the (earth), mountains standing firm, high above it, and bestowed blessings on the earth, and measure therein all things to give them nourishment in due proportion, in Four Days in accordance with (the needs of) those who seek (sustenance). Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: "Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly." They said: "We do come (together), in willing obedience." So He completed them as seven firmaments in Two Days, and He assigned to each heaven its duty and command. Yusuf Ali

    Hence according to this passage we arrive at this calculation: 2 + 4 + 2 = 8. Yusuf Ali indicates in his footnote that, "this is a difficult passage..." and tries to reconcile the difficulties by inferring that the four days of filling the earth includes the two days of creating it in the previous verse (9).

    The only difficulty with this interpretation is the fact that v.10 mentions formation of mountains and its nourishment taking place concurrently within four days, an impossibility had the earth's structure not been created beforehand.

    Another possibility that the Muslims use is the notion that the initial creation of the earth in its pre-biotic state took place at the same time that the heavens were formed, since both constituted one gaseous mass, making the two days of vv. 9 and 12, parallel times.

    Once again, we are left with two problems. First, if the passage is speaking of a parallel action, then the ayat would read, "Then He turned to the heavens and the earth, when they were only smoke," as opposed to saying, "He turned equally to the heaven when it was smoke," since both were part of that smoke. Yet, the verse indicates that the earth was formed already when the heavens were still smoke, a clear error.

    Secondly, The word translated by Ali as "moreover" in v.11, is thumma. This word is often used to imply sequential time and is translated "then" by Muslims such as Pickhtall and Shakir. Hence, according to the Quran, the heavens were fashioned after the earth, a fact affirmed by another Quranic passage:

    "He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth. Then He turned to the heaven, and fashioned it as seven heavens." S. 2:29

    No matter how one attempts to translate thumma, whether "then", "moreover" or "furthermore" the phrase "He turned to the heaven" indicates clearly a sequence of time i.e., that after the earth had been formed God then turned to the heavens.

    It should be noted as well that within the Quran itself the word thumma almost always refers to sequence, not to parallelism, as is the case with S. 102:3, 4, 6, and 7 where it is used as a repetitive sequence as opposed to a parallel one.

    Even if the Muslims were to ignore all these factors and deny any difficulty in reconciling these contradictions, they are still left with the problem of the Hadith. In Sahi Muslim chpt. MCLV, Hadith No. 6707 we are told:

    Abu Huraira reported that Allah's Messenger (mpbuh) took hold of my hands and said: Allah the Exalted and Glorious, created the clay on Saturday and He created the mountains on Sunday and He created the trees on Monday and He created the things entailing labour on Tuesday and created light Wednesday and He caused animals to spread on Thursday and created Adam (pbuh) after Asr on Friday; the last creation at the last hours of Friday i.e., between afternoon and night.

    Hence, Muhammad believed it took seven days to create the earth and all that is in between, contradicting the four days + two of S.41:9-10 and the six days of S. 7:54, 10:3, 11:7 and 25:59. This Hadith also destroys both Badawi and Bucaille's claim that "days" in Arabic actually refers to long periods or eons, since Muhammad took these days literally.

    Therefore we ask, which is it: six days of creation or seven days or eight days?

    C. How many angels were there?

    According to S. 3:42 and 45, there were at least two angels who announced the birth of Christ to Mary:

    Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah has chosen thee... Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah gives thee glad tidings..."

    Yet, S. 19:17-18 implies that there was but one angel present:

    Then We sent to her our Angel (Arabic: Ruh- Spirit) and he appeared before her as a man in all respects. She said: "I seek refuge from thee to (Allah) Most Gracious: (come not near) If thou dost fear Allah."

    Some have tried to reconcile the accounts by stating that Mary could have been the recipient of two separate visitations. Again, this leaves us with the problem of unbelief on Mary's part, since in both occasions she remarks, "How can this be, having never been with a man." (c.f. S. 3:47; 19:20) Are we to assume that Mary doubted her Lord the first time, needing to be convinced by a second visitation?

    A further attempt to harmonize the contradictions is the assumption that "angels" is the majestic plural of respect, a "royal" way of addressing the angel Gabriel, just as the Queen of England refers to herself as "We, the Queen." This logic is faulty since the plural adressal of respect is used in conjunction with a plural verb, never a plural noun, a fact of both the Arabic and English languages. For instance, when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's granddaughter was born she declared, "We are a grandmother"; she did not say, "We are grandmothers."

    Furthermore, if it is true that nouns such as angels can be used in a majestic way in relation to only one person/entity, then it is equally true to translate the following verse in this manner:

    Say: He is Gods, the One and Only; Gods, the Eternals, the Absolutes. They begetteth not, nor are They begotten; And there is none like unto Them. S. 112

    Behold! Gods said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself..." S. 3:55

    "...To Jesus the Son of Mary we gave clear (signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirits. S. 2:87, 253

    Hence, the Quranic usage of the plural noun form "angels" implies more than one.

    It is also inferred that the plural usage is correct since it falls under the Arabic grammatical construct called al-majaz almursal which is a subheading of the Arabic grammar called Balaghah. Again, this is fallacious for the reasons noted by Christian apologist Jochen Katz:

    "Al majaz almursal" means, "A word used in a different way than its original; like saying "the fire has eaten the wood." The word "eaten" here is not in the normal use as eating is for human and animals but not for fire..."

    According to Rajee al Asmar's Student Reference in the Arabic Language [Beirut 1995], p.381, there are two kinds of Majaz:

    1. Majaz aqli - 'logical metaphor.'
    2. Majaz lughawi - 'linguistic metaphor.'

    The above mentioned type falls under the second category, which has nothing to do with the usage of plural of respect.

    To further justify the plural usages in these passages, Muslims quote A. Yusuf Ali's translation of S. 16:20 where, "Abraham was indeed a nation obedient to Allah..." Obviously, Abraham was not a nation, hence the exaltation type of language which the Quran uses for prestigious personalities is a common literary device used within its pages which does not necessarily imply plurality of persons.

    This would seem to answer the apparent contradiction until one takes into account the word used for angel in S. 19:17. The word used in that passage is Ruh, which is more accurately translated as Spirit, not angel. Hence, instead of an angel(s) appearing to Mary, S. 19:17 states that it was the Spirit. It will not do to say that the Spirit is another name for Gabriel since nowhere in the Quran does it say that Gabriel and the Spirit are one and the same. In light of this fact, we are forced to conclude that the contradiction still stands.

    This is perhaps the most intriguing discrepancy since Muslims are often quick to point out alleged contradictions within the resurrection accounts which they feel are irreconcilable. For instance, it is assumed that Matthew and Mark know of only one angel at the tomb, whereas Luke and John mention two.

    Yet, upon examining the text itself one finds that the Muslim often inserts the word only into the documents when that word is never used. Hence, Matthew and Mark do not state that there was only one angel, but mention the angel that was the more prominent of the two with Luke and John giving us the actual number of the angels.

    Another alleged contradiction implied by Muslims is that the synoptic gospels (i.e., Matthew, Mark and Luke) indicate that there were several women present that first Easter morning with John assuming that only Mary Magdalene had gone.

    Again, a careful reading of the passages indicates that the reason why John mentioned Mary only was due to the fact that she was the one who had first informed Peter and John of the empty tomb. In fact, John clearly indicates that there were several others present with Mary at the empty grave:

    "Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, 'They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb and WE do not know where they have laid him." John 20:2 N.K.J.V.

    The "we" clearly implies the fact that there were several women present, hence there is no contradiction.

    But with these Quranic accounts the contradiction remains.

    D. To forgive or not to forgive?

    According to S. 4:48, 116, God will not forgive shirk (i.e., worshiping others beside God):

    "Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin most heinous indeed... Allah forgiveth not (the sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth whom He pleaseth other sins than this: one who joins other gods with Allah, hath strayed far, far away (from the right)."

    Yet, in 4:153 God does forgive shirk:

    "...yet they [the Israelites] worshipped the calf even after clear signs had come to them; even so We forgave them; and gave Moses manifest proofs of authority..."

    To those who might suggest that shirk was not applicable at the time of Moses, and was forgivable, let them be reminded of S. 6:88 where after speaking of Abraham (v.83), Isaac and Jacob (v.84), Moses, Job, Jesus, Joseph, Noah, David, Solomon etc. God states that, "Had they served other gods besides Him, their labours would have been vain indeed."

    E. Believers or Muslims?

    Believers, Jews, Sabeans and Christians - whoever believes in God and the Last Day and does what is right - shall have nothing to fear or regret. S. 5:69


    If anyone desires a religion other than Islam never will it be accepted of him; and in the hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost. S. 3:85

    F. Lot's wife - an old woman?

    He [Lot] said [to the evil people around]: "I detest your doings." "Oh my Lord! deliver me and my family from such things as they do!" So We delivered him and his family, - all except an old woman who lingered behind. S. 26:168-171

    But We saved him [Lot] and his family, except his wife: her We destined to be of those who lagged behind. S. 27:57 (see also 11:81)

    Here we find two foundational problems. First, who was it that lagged behind; an old woman or Lot's wife? If they are one and the same, is it not unbefitting to God to assume that He would actually call her "an old woman"? The other problem a Muslim faces is that God desired Lot's wife to perish for no apparent reason other than the fact that it was His set purpose for it to happen. This is in total contradiction with the Bible, where it was Lot's wife's disobedience to the angel's command to not look back that caused her to perish, -- since it is the specific will of God that all should come into repentance and not be destroyed. (c.f. Genesis 19:12-29; Ezekial 18:23-32, 33:11)

    G. Noah and the Flood

    According to S. 25:37, Allah sent Noah's people many messengers:

    And the people of Noah, - When they rejected the apostles, we drowned them, and We made them as a Sign for mankind; And We have prepared for (all) wrong-doers a grievous penalty.


    The people of Noah rejected the apostles. S. 26:105

    We must ask what happened to these messengers when the flood came upon the people of Noah, since S. 21:76 indicates that only Noah and his family were saved?:

    (Remember) Noah, when he cried (to us) aforetime: We listened to his (prayer) and delivered him and his family from great distress.

    Are we to assume that these messengers were drowned as well? This verse also contradicts S. 11:42-43 where it indicates that one of Noah's sons was drowned:

    So the Ark floated with them on the waves (towering) like mountains, and Noah called out to his son, who had separated himself (from the rest): "O my son! Embark with us, and be not with the unbelievers!" The son replied: "I will betake myself to some mountain. It will save me from the water..." Noah said: "This day nothing can save, from the command of Allah, any but those on whom He hath mercy!" And the waves came between them, and the son was among those overwhelmed in the flood.

    In response, Muslims assert that the Quran already solves this problem when in verse 46 Allah, responding to Noah's cry, states: "O Noah! He is not of thy family. For his conduct is unrighteous. So ask not of Me that of which thou hast no knowledge."

    We will present two responses to this. First, We read in S. 37:77:

    "And made his seed the survivors..."

    Although one can possibly disown a child or deny him his rights as a son, he cannot undo the fact that the child is still biologically his seed. And yet, the above quoted verse states that the seed of Noah survived, which by necessity would include the son who allegedly drowned.

    Secondly, in S. 11:46 we are told that the son was rejected as part of Noah's family due to his unrighteous conduct. But in S. 11:40 we read:

    At length, behold! There came Our command, and the fountains of the earth gushed forth! We said: "Embark therein, of each kind two, male and female, and your family - except those against whom the word has already gone forth, - and the believers." But only a few believed with him.

    This poses two additional problems:

    Overall, the story of Noah leaves many more problems than solutions.

    H. The length of a day.

    "... a Day, the space whereof will be (as) a thousand years of your reckoning." S. 32:5

    "... a Day the measure whereof is (as) fifty thousand years." S. 70:4

    To avoid any contradiction, it is assumed that these days are speaking of two different issues, i.e., judgment on the one hand and ascension of affairs and angels on the other. Yet, here the Day is the measurement of the person being addressed, in this case Allah, since one speaks of unbelievers hastening to him and the other speaks of affairs or angels ascending to him (c.f. 32:5; 70:4)

    Hence, the Day here is being equated with God's time, hence the error remains since it is either/or, it cannot be both. Simply put, we have one "Day of Allah" equaling 1,000 human years, and one "Day of Allah" equaling 50,000 human years, an obvious contradiction.

    Which is it then, fifty thousand or one thousand years? It is obvious that the Quran does contain contradictions.

    Issue V : The Hundred Percent Accuracy of Prophecies Made

    The claim that the Quran contains dozens of prophecies is based purely on wishful thinking since none of the so called proof texts presented are convincing when taken within the context of the passage in question. The only one which can be considered prophetic is S. 30:2-4:

    "The Roman Empire has been defeated - in a land close by: But they, (even) after (this) defeat of theirs, will soon be victorious - within a few years."

    As the prophecy stated the Romans did become victorious over the Persians who had at first defeated them. Yet again we are confronted with several problems:

    1. According to Yusuf Ali the Arabic word for "a few years," Bidh'un, signifies a period of three to nine years; yet according to some scholars the victory did not come until nearly twelve years later. The Persians defeated the Romans and captured Jerusalem at about A.D. 614 or 615. The Roman counter-offensive did not begin until A.D. 622 and the victory was not complete until A.D. 625, making it a period between ten to eleven years, not "a few years" alluded to in the Quran.
    2. The original Quranic text had no vowel marks. Thus, the Arabic word Sayaghlibuna, "they shall defeat," could easily have been rendered, with the change of two vowels, Sayughlabuna, "they (i.e. Romans) shall be defeated." Since vowel points were not added until some time after this event, it could have been quite possible for a scribe to deliberately tamper with the text, forcing it to become a prophetic statement.
    3. It amazes us that a prophecy from God would not specify the exact time of the victory, seeing that God is all-knowing and all-wise, declaring the end from the beginning. For God to guess that the Romans would win in "a few years" as opposed to specifying the exact year, is inconsistent with the belief in an Omniscient, Omnipotent Being. Hence, it is unlikely that the true God would actually make such a prophecy.

    Another alleged prophecy concerns Abu Lahab, one of Muhammad's uncles and fiercest persecutors:

    Perish the hands of Abu Lahab! Perish he! No profit to him from all his wealth; and all his gains! Burnt soon will he be in a fire of blazing flame! His wife shall carry the (crackling) wood - as fuel - a twisted rope of palm-leaf fiber round her (own) neck! S. 111:1-5 (Early Meccan surah)

    Presumably, this prophecy could not have been within the grasp of Muhammad's foresight, seeing that Lahab died in unbelief sometime thereafter. All Lahab had to do in order to destroy Muhammad's credibility as a Prophet was to embrace Islam hypocritically, turning it (the passage in question) into a false prophecy.

    There are five fundamental problems with this assertion:

    There will be no one of you who will not enter it (Hell). This was an inevitable decree of your Lord. Afterwards he may save some of the pious, God-fearing Muslims out of the burning fire. S. 19:71-72

    Arberry's translation reads:

    No one of you there is, but he shall go down to it. That for thy Lord is a thing decreed, determined. Then We shall deliver these that were God-fearing; and the evildoers We shall leave there, hobbling on their knees.

    Other translations include:

    "There is not one of you who shall not pass through the confines of Hell..." N.J. Dawood

    "No one is there of you who shall not go down unto it..." J.M. Rodwell

    To circumvent this, it is alleged that the passage is speaking about a Muslim passing over hell via the bridge Sirat, and will not actually go down to the flames. Unfortunately, this again is unsubstantiated for the three reasons listed below:

    "Ibn Masud said that the Prophet of Islam said: All people shall enter hell. Then they will come out of it according to their works. Those who will come out first will do so like a flash of lightening, the next like a gaze of wind, then like a horse at full speed, afterwards like a swift rider, then like a man springing, and, finally, like the walk of a man." (transmitted by Tirmidhi and Darimi)

    Hence, Abu Lahab perishing in hell is not prophetic at all, because even Muslims shall enter into the fiery flames with no assurance of ever coming out, since no one ever knows if his works will suffice for his exiting hell.

    While on the subject of Abu Lahab and hell, it is interesting to note that it is Allah's foreordained will that hell should be filled with both jinn (spirits) and men:

    And if your Lord had so willed, He could surely have made mankind one nation but they will not cease to disagree - Except him on whom your Lord has bestowed His mercy and for that did He create them. And the word of your Lord shall be fulfilled: "Surely, I shall fill Hell with jinns and men together." S. 11:118-119

    Also in S. 32:13 we read:

    If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: But the Word from Me will come true, "I will fill Hell with jinns and men all together."


    "Many are the jinns and men We have made for Hell..." S. 7:179

    This is in direct contrast with the Holy Bible where the Lord Jesus indicates that Hell was created originally for Satan and his angelic host, not for humanity. (c.f. Matthew 25:34, 41)

    Issue VI : No Scientific or Historical Errors

    Within the Quran we find gross errors of both history and science, mistakes ranging from creation to historical personalities. The following list of examples will verify this:

    (a) The Quran states that Alexander the Great, called Zul-Qarnayn ("the two-horned one"), is a Muslim (S. 18:83-98). This is in contrast with historical writings that say Alexander was a polytheist who believed he was the son of Amman, an Egyptian deity. The discovery of coins portraying Alexander with two horns refutes any Muslim attempt to deny these verses as references to him. (see A. Y. Ali's The Holy Quran, Appendix VII, pp. 760-765)

    In fact, the very title Zul-Qarnayn ("Two Horned One") was given to Alexander by both the Jews and Christians prior to the birth of Muhammad. According to "The Christian Legend Concerning Alexander," Alexander allegedly prayed to God asking, "O God...Thou hast made me horns upon my head." (The History of Alexander the Great Being the Syriac Version of the Pseudo-Callisthenes, Trans. E.A.W. Budge, 1889, p.146) The Ethiopian version reads, "Alexander is always referred to as, 'the two horned.'" (Ibid.) Al-Baidawi in his commentary Anwar al-Tanzil wa Asrar al-Ta'wil states the following in reference to Zul-Qarnayn: "The Jews asked Muhammad about Dhu al-Qarnain (Alexander the Great), and he said to them that God established him in the land so that he could reach the place where the sun sets (alluding to S. 18:86)..."

    Ibn Hisham concurs:

    "Dhu al-Qarnain is Alexander the Greek, the king of Persia and Greece, or the king of the east and the west, for because of this he was called Dhu al-Qarnain [meaning, 'owner of two horns']..." ('Abdallah 'Abd al-Fadi, Is the Quran Infallible, p.85)

    Al-Tabari also agrees:

    "Christians used the period of Alexander Dhul Qarnayn [as the beginning of their era. I still think they use that era till today.]" (al-Tabari, vol. 1 [General Introduction and from the Creation to the Flood, Trans. Franz Rosenthal], p.371) (Others who agree include al-Jalalan, p.251; al-Zamakhshari, al-Kashshaf, p.743)

    (b) According to S. 18:88, the sun was found setting in a muddy spring. Muhammad believed that this verse was to be taken literally, not metaphorically. (see al-Zamakhshari's Kashshaf, vol. 2, p.743; third edition printed in 1987)

    (c) The Quran also indicates that the sun travels (cf. S. 36:38; Sahih al-Bukhari 4:421). Taken in conjunction with the preceding verse, we are left with the problem of the sun traveling to its resting place within a muddy spring, and returning back to its course.

    (d) Jews were transformed into apes and swine in Surahs 2:65, 5:59-60, and 7:166. Muhammad also taught that the Jews were changed into rats. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 4:524)

    (e) The Quran holds a Samaritan responsible for fashioning the Golden Calf during Israel's forty years in the Sinai Desert at the time of Moses (S. 20:87,94). The only problem with this is that the Samaritans did not come into being until after the sixth century B. C., centuries after Moses. So embarrassing is this fact, that Yusef Ali translates the word Samariyyu as "stranger, foreigner" or "watchman." Yet, the word "Samaritan" appears in standard Arabic dictionaries as Samariyyun, the same exact term used in this Surah. In fact, Baidawi concurs that, "as-Samari" in S. 20:87, refers to Musa ibn Zafar, of the tribe of Samaritans! (T. P. Hughes, Dictionary of Islam, p.564)

    (f) In S. 7:124, the Exodus Pharaoh threatens to crucify his magicians by placing them on the cross: "Be sure I will cut off yours hands and your feet on opposite sides, and I will cause you all to die on the cross." The problem arises when one realizes that this form of punishment did not come into existence until two-hundred years before Christ.

    (g)Abraham was thrown into the fire by Nimrod, the king of Babel (Shinar). This error is obvious, since Nimrod lived seven generations before Abraham. (cf. Genesis 10:8-11; S. 21:68-69 and Ali's footnotes 2725, 6055)

    (We should point out that the name Nimrod does not appear in the Quranic text, but is inferred from Muslim traditions that specifically mention him by name. This is evidently taken from the Talmud where it also mentions Abraham being tossed into the fire by the King Nimrod)

    (h)Seven heavens and earths:

    "It is God who created seven heavens, and of earth their like." S. 65:12

    "We set up the heaven as a roof well-protected; yet still from our signs they are turning away." S. 21:32

    "Hast thou not seen how that God... holds back heaven lest it fall upon the earth, save by his leave? Surely God is All-Gentle to men, All-Compassionate" S. 22:65

    "What, have they not beheld heaven above them, how we have built it, and decked it out fair, and it has no cracks?" S. 50:6

    These verses give the impression that the heavens above is a solid surface which can either crack or fall upon the earth. Further, to say there are seven heavens and earths is fallacious since if by heavens one means space, it is a fact that space is continuous.

    Furthermore, there are no other planets within our galaxy identical to the earth in its perfect life-permitting structure. On the other hand, if a Muslim insists that by earth is meant planets this is still wrong since there are nine, not seven, planets in our solar system; only the superstitious in the time of Muhammad believed there were seven planets.

    Another suggestion given to reconcile these difficulties is that the term heaven actually refers to galaxies; thus the Quran alludes to six other earth-like planets located within six different galaxies similar to ours. This seems to be wishful thinking since S. 71:15-16 locates the moon and the sun within these seven heavens:

    "Do you not see how God has created the seven heavens one above the other, and made the moon a light in their midst, and made the sun as a lamp?"

    Even worse is the fact that S. 37:6 places the stars in the lower heavens, solidifying the fact that the seven heavens are located within our solar system:

    "We have indeed adorned the lower heaven with an adornment, the stars."

    This once more causes a problem since the moon is closer to earth than the stars. How then can the stars be located lower than the moon within the seven heavens?

    Furthermore, there are more than seven galaxies within the universe, making it highly improbable that the term "heaven" refers to galaxies. Indeed, the Quran presents more questions than answers.

    (i) According to the Quran, cow's milk issues from between the blood and feces:

    And behold, in the cattle [too] there is indeed a lesson for you: We give you to drink of that [fluid] which is [secreted from] within their bellies between that which is to be eliminated [from the animal's body] and [its] life blood: milk pure and pleasant to those who drink it. S. 16:66 M. Asad

    "... between excretions and blood ..." Yusuf Ali

    "... from betwixt the feces and the blood ..." M. M. Ali-

    "... from between excretions and blood ..." M. Taqi-ud Din Al-Hillali - M. Muhsin Khan

    (j) S. 17:1 indicates that Muhammad was taken to Masjid al-Aqsa i.e., the Temple of Solomon at Jerusalem. A problem naturally arises when we realize that the Temple had been demolished by Titus, the Roman general in A.D. 70, nearly six centuries before this supposed event took place. Furthermore, the Temple which eventually became Masjid al-Aqsa did not come into existence until A.D. 691 under the supervision of Amir Abd-ul-Malik. This strongly suggests that this portion of the Quran could have only been written sometime after the erection of this shrine, a fact further substantiated by the inscriptions contained within this mosque since there are no early references to the supposed journey by night to Jerusalem; a strange omission indeed since Muslim claim that this Mosque was erected in commemoration of this alleged event. The inscriptions that do mention the night journey are later additions made by Abdul Hamid II in 1876, nearly eleven centuries later.

    (k) The Quran states that the name Yahya (John the Baptist) was not known or used before by anyone else (S. 19:7). Yet, we find this name mentioned hundreds of years before the Baptist's birth in 2 Kings 25:23. To circumvent this problem, it is alleged that the meaning of the verse is that there was none like John in his prophetic qualities. Even this interpretation is wrong noting that there was one exactly like John, Elijah the Prophet, since the former came "in the spirit of Elijah," a fact confirmed by Gabriel and the Lord Jesus Christ. (cf. Luke 1:13-17; Matthew 11:13-14)

    (l) Perhaps the worst error of all is the identification of Jesus' mother, Mary with Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron, the daughter of Amram (cf. Exodus 15:20; Numbers 26:59; 1 Chronicles 6:3; S. 3:35; S. 19:28; S. 20:25-30; S. 66:12). It is alleged that "the daughter of Imran" and "the sister of Aaron" refers to Mary's lineage just as Elizabeth is called one of "the daughters of Aaron" in Luke 1:5. The only problem with this line of reasoning is that whereas Elizabeth was a descendent of Aaron and of the tribe of Levi, Mary was not. Her lineage was of the tribe of Judah, making her a daughter of David. (cf. Luke 3:23-33; Hebrews 7:11-14). Hence, the error remains!

    (m) Mistaken notions on Jewish beliefs:

    " ... on the Day of Resurrection, a call-maker will announce, 'Let every nation follow that which they used to worship.' Then none of those who used to worship anything other than Allah like idols and other deities but will fall in Hell (fire) ... Then the Jews will be called upon and it will be said to them, 'What did you used to worship?' They will reply, 'We used to worship Uzair (Ezra), the Son of Allah.' It will be said to them, 'You are liars, for Allah has never taken anyone as a wife or a son...' Then they will fall into the fire." The Jews have never worshiped Ezra as God's Son in either a metaphorical way or in the Christian sense, making this a gross error of the historical-religious understanding of the Jewish belief. This Hadith is significant in that it also exposes Muhammad's understanding that to say God had a son meant that he also had a wife with whom he had carnal relations to beget a son.

    (n) The Quran indicates that everything within creation is in pairs:

    "And of everything we have created pairs: That ye may receive instruction." S. 54:19

    Yusuf Ali Indicates,

    "All things are in twos: sex in plants and animals, by which one individual is complementary to another: in the subtle forces of nature Day and Night, positive and negative electricity, forces of attraction and repulsion: and numerous other opposites, each fulfilling its purpose, and contributing to the working of God's universe..." (Holy Quran, f. 5025)

    At the surface level, this seems accurate until one discovers the following:

    1. Chemidophoras lizards are asexual reproduction organisms.

    2. Fungi imperfecti do not practice sex. They are a group of mushrooms which do not produce gamets and therefore cannot be put in a certain taxon.

    3. Finally, the European population of Elodea plants which are of the same set and only use vegetative amplification, having no pairs.

    (o) In S. 19:33 Jesus is reported to have said the following:

    "Peace is upon me the day of my birth, and the day of my death, and the day of my being raised up alive." George Parrinder

    The common interpretation given is that the death and raising of Jesus is referring to his second coming when he will live for forty years, die and then be raised to life at the Day of Resurrection. Muslims insist, based on S. 4:157-159, that Christ was not crucified but was taken alive into heaven without dying.

    Once more we are faced with problems. First, the same statement is made about John the Baptist in 19:15:

    "And peace was on him on the day he was born, and the day of his death, and on the day when he shall be raised to life. Rodwell

    It is generally agreed upon that John died and will eventually be raised alive. Yet, Muslims have Jesus ascending alive to heaven before dying, destroying the sequence of events listed in the passages. Hence either Christ, like John, died within his first appearance and then was the first to be raised alive or the Quran's chronology is wrong.

    Secondly, Christ supposedly states in 19:31, "And He hath made me blessed wherever I may be and hath enjoined me prayer and almsgiving so long as I shall live." (Rodwell)

    If Christ has not died it must mean he is still paying alms in heaven and yet to whom? The verse is quite clear, Christ will continue paying alms as long as he lives which he has been doing for nearly twenty centuries, if Muslims are correct in stating that he did not die!

    This verse (19:33) has caused even Yusuf Ali to be at a loss for words:

    Christ was not crucified (iv 157). But those who believe that he never died should ponder over this verse. (Ali, The Holy Quran, p.774, f. 2485)

    To further solidify the fact that Christ did die, we read in S. 3:144:

    "And Muhammad is only an Apostle; all the [other] apostles HAVE passed away before him..." Muhammad Asad

    "verily all messengers have passed away before him." Maulvi Sher Ali

    "messengers have already passed away before him." Maulani Muhammad Ali

    The literal Arabic term al-russul, i.e., the messengers, is inclusive due to the definite article and includes all the messengers. This is clear proof that Jesus has died. Muhammad Ali concurs:

    "... This verse affords a conclusive proof that Jesus Christ was also dead..." (Ali, Holy Quran [Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam Lahore, inc. U.S.A., 1995], pp. 168-169, f. 496)

    (p) The myth that Ishmael is the father of the Arabs who settled in Mecca.

    Even more intriguing is the fact that the sound Hadith contradicts the Quranic assertion that Abraham and Ishmael actually built Ka'abah:

    Narrated Abu Dharr:

    I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Which mosque was built first?" He replied, "Al Masjid-ul-Haram (i.e., Ka'abah)." I asked, "Which was built next?" He replied, "Al-Masjid-ul-Aqsa (i.e., Jerusalem)." I asked, "What was the period in between them?" He replied, "Forty years." He then added, "Whenever the time of the prayer comes upon you, perform the prayer, for all the earth is a place of worshipping for you." Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 4, Bk. 55, no. 636

    This would place the erection of the Ka'abah at approximately 998 B.C., since the construction of the Solomonic Temple was not completed until B.C. 951. (c.f. 1 Kings 6:1-7:51)

    This becomes a foundational problem for Muslims, since this Hadith makes it impossible for Abraham and Ishmael to be the original designers of the Meccan shrine. Hence, either the Quran is correct and Muhammad is wrong, or the Hadith is at fault. If the Hadith is erroneous, the entire credibility of Islam is crippled, since it is incumbent upon all Muslims to follow both the Quran and the Sunnah of Muhammad (i.e., his lifestyle). Yet, the Sunnah itself is to be found in the Hadith collection, a collection diametrically in contradiction with the Quran.

    Therefore, Muslims such as Badawi can give no concrete evidence to prove that Abraham and Ishmael were at Mecca. Until this is accomplished, both the Quran and Hadith will remain in error!

    Issue VII The accurate description of embryology

    Finally, the notion that the Quran foretells or foreknew the formation of the embryo prior to the electronic microscope is supposedly documented by two specialists in the field, Dr. Keith Moore of Toronto, and Dr. Maurice Bucaille, the author of Bible, Quran and Science. According to these two gentlemen, the Quran correctly describes the stages that the fetus goes through within the womb of its mother, a fact which could not have been known in the seventh century. This, they declare, is proof of the Quran's divine inspiration.

    Upon examining these claims, we find a tendency amongst these writers (i.e. Bucaille, Badawi) to mistranslate the Arabic in order to avoid the scientific errors contained within the passage in question. Here is the passage:

    "Was he (man) not a drop of sperm ejaculated. Then he became 'alaqa and God shaped and formed of him a pair, the male and the female." (S. 75:37-39; see also 22:5, 23:12-14, 40:67)

    The word 'alaqa has been consistently translated as "leech-like clot," "a small lump of blood," "a clot," or "a clot of blood." This has been noted by Christian Apologist and M.D., Dr. William Campbell:

    "The Arabic word 'alaqa in the singular (five times); or 'alaq as the collective plural (one time), is indicated as a stage in the development of the fetus in five different Quranic verses, and it is translated by the word 'clot' in almost every Quran which I have examined." (Campbell, The Quran and the Bible in Light of History and Science, p. 184)

    Maulana Muhammad Ali agrees,

    "'Alaq signifies a clot of blood as well as attachment and love. The former significance is the one generally adopted, because of the mention of 'alaqa in the process of the creation of man in the other places in the Holy Quran, and it indicates the insignificance of man's origin." (Ibid., p. 186)

    Muslims who concur with both Campbell and Ali are:

    "a clot"- Muhammad Zafrulla Khan

    "clot of blood"- Muhammad Hamidullah

    "leech-like clot"- Yusuf Ali

    "a clot"- Muhammad M. Pickhtall

    "clot" and "leech"- Abdel-Nour and Wehr

    (Ibid., pp. 184-185)

    "clots of blood"- N. J. Dawood (The Koran, 1993 Edition)

    "blood-clot"- A. J. Arberry (The Koran Interpreted, First Touchstone Edition 1996)

    "clots of blood" - J. M. Rodwell (The Koran, Reprint 1996)

    "a clot"- T. B. Irving (Al-Hajj Talim Ali - The Quran The Noble Reading [1991])

    "a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood)"- Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hillali, Ph.D. (Berlin) (Professor of Islamic Faith and Teachings, Islamic University Al-Madina Al-Munawwara) and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan (Interpretation of The Meanings of The Noble Quran)

    Furthermore, according to one of the most important Arabic dictionaries ever compiled, Qamus el Muheet, by Muhammad Ibn Yaqub al-Firuza-badi, the word alaqa has the same meaning as a clot of blood.

    Finally, according to professor Hassanein Muhammad Makhloof's book, Dictionary of the Meanings of the Words of Koran, 'alaq also means "frozen blood." (p.508)

    All these definitions given by Muslims who have studied the Arabic and know its meaning leave us with a gross error:

    "As every reader who has studied human reproduction will realize, there is no stage as a clot during the formation of a fetus, so this is a very major scientific problem. (Campbell, p. 185)

    Bucaille himself admits that to translate the word alaq as "clot" or "adhesion" is a scientific error:

    "... In fact there are still many translations and commentaries in circulation today that can give a completely false idea of the Quranic Revelation on this subject to the scientist who reads them. The majority of translations describe, for example, man's formation from a 'blood clot' or an 'adhesion.' A statement of this kind is totally unacceptable to scientists specializing in this field.." (Bucaille, Bible, Quran and Science, p.200) [emphasis ours]

    (Note - Bucaille admits that the consensus of Muslims correctly translate the Arabic word alaq as clot or adhesion, nullifying his entire premise!)

    Knowing this, Muslims such as Bucaille have deliberately mistranslated the Arabic in order to avoid and hide the mistakes in these verses. Bucaille proposes the translation "something which clings" in place of "clot," making it a reference to the fetus being attached to the uterus through the placenta. (Ibid., pp. 186-187)

    Yet Bucaille provides no documentation from either Muslim or Arabic writings from the seventh century or even now to confirm his definition. This exposes the weakness of his position and the willingness of certain Muslims to tamper with the words of their own Book in order to rectify the severe scientific problems of the Quran. Hence, the Quran presents a mistaken structure of the fetus' development within the womb, nullifying the notion of divine inspiration. (For more information on this subject consult the book by Dr. William Campbell, The Quran and the Bible in Light of History and Science and Norm Geisler/Abdul Saleeb's book Answering Islam, The Crescent in the Light of the Cross)

    Even the Hadiths of Bukhari and Muslim, considered to be the two greatest and most reliable collections of Tradition, contain gross errors of embryology. The following Tradition is narrated by Abdallah ibn Masud who quotes Muhammad as saying:

    "The creation of anyone of you is accomplished in various stages in the abdomen of your mother; 40 days a drop of sperm; then he will be ('alaqa) a clot for the same period, then chewed meat for the same period..." (An-Nawawi, Forty Hadiths, citing Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, pp.28-29)

    Dr. Campbell states:

    "The drop of sperm remains a drop of sperm 40 days, then an 'alaqa' 40 days for a total of 80 days, then 'chewed meat' for 40 days for a total of 120 days. Modern gynecological studies have shown that sperm remain alive less than a week inside the female genital tract, and that at 70 days organ differentiation and maturation are well advanced, except for the brain and bones. This Hadith says that it doesn't even become 'chewed meat' until 80 days, a clear error..." (Campbell, The Quran, Bible in Light of History and Science, p.191)

    That this is true is confirmed by Bucaille himself, "This description of embryonic evolution does not agree with modern data." (Bible, Quran and Science, p.245)

    Even more amazing is the fact that this Hadith contradicts the very source Dr. Jamal Badawi uses to acknowledge the so-called Quranic description of the developing embryo, Dr. Keith Moore's The Developing Human (3rd Ed. With Islamic Additions, p. viiic)

    According to Moore, the embryo tends to resemble chewed meat or flesh at the 26-27th day of its development. Yet, this Hadith indicates that the stage of chewed meat occurs at the 80th day and lasts till the 120th day of its post-fertilization, a gross error! Hence, the very source endorsed by Badawi is the very one which exposes the gross scientific errors of the Quran and Hadith.

    To make matters even worse, the Quran indicates that the semen which fertilizes the ovaries issues from the kidney area (between the back and ribs!):

    "Now let man think from what he is created! He is created from a gushing fluid that issues from between the loins (sulb) and ribs (tara'ib)." S. 86:5-7

    Other translations read:

    "He is created from a drop emitted - proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs." Yusuf Ali, 1946 edition.

    "He is created from a gushing fluid that issued between the loins and ribs." Muhammad Marmaduke Pickhtall, 1977

    "He is created from a fluid poured forth, which issues forth from the loins and the breast bones." Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, 1971

    "He was created from a spurt of water coming out between the loins and ribs." Muhammad Hamidullah, French, 1981 (10th edition, revised)

    "He was created from a drop of spread out water coming out between the loins and the ribs." D. Masson, French 1967 (Campbell, Q. B. H. S., pp.182-183)

    "He is created from a fluid drop poured forth - proceeding from between the back-bones and the ribs." Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali - Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, 1994

    "He was created from water pouring forth, coming from between the back and the ribs." T. B. Irving, 1993 (Revised Edition)

    "He is created from a spurting fluid that issues forth from between the backbone and the breastbones." S. Abul A'la Maududi - (The Meaning of the Quran, vol. XV, p.353 7th Edition 1994)

    "He is created from water pouring forth, coming from between the back and the ribs. Maulana Muhammad Ali - (Holy Quran; Second Revised Edition Reprint, 1995)

    "He is created from an ejaculated fluid that issues from between the loins and the ribs." N. J. Dawood

    "He was created of gushing water issuing between the loins and breast-bones." A. J. Arberry

    "He was created of the poured-forth germs, which issue from the loins and breastbones." J. M. Rodwell

    Even Bucaille is at a loss for words when attempting to reconcile these errors: "This would seem more to be an interpretation than a translation. It is hardly comprehensible." (Bucaille, B.Q.S., p.208)

    To avoid any problems, Badawi must assume that "gushing fluid poured forth" refers to the aorta which according to a book cited by him, Clinical Anatomy, supplies the testes and ovaries with the necessary nutrients and this is what the Quran refers to. Again, we find this to be more of a desperate attempt to explain irrational scientific statements than a true translation, since Dawood's translation clearly indicates that it is an "ejaculated fluid" i.e., sperm, not the aorta, which the Quran is speaking of.

    Here is a list of other Quranic passages that refer to this subject and invite the reader to decide whether "sperm" is being indicated:

    16:4 He created man from a sperm-drop. (Drop of fluid, Pickthall)

    32:8 He made his seed from a quintessence of despised fluid.

    53:46 (He created) From a drop of seed when it is poured forth. (Pickthall)

    56:58 Have ye seen that which ye emit. (Pickthall)

    75:37 Was he not a drop of sperm emitted (in lowly form)?

    76:2 We create man from a drop of thickened fluid

    80:19 From a sperm-drop He hath created him.

    Furthermore, if as Badawi assumes, the blood supply is what is meant, the Quran would not refer to it as "fluid", "water" etc. as the translations correctly indicate but would instead use the Arabic word for blood or the equivalent thereof, in order to avoid any confusion.

    Finally, it should be noted that the talk of embryology is not altogether new since there is evidence of a pre-Islamic influence by Grecian and Indian writers. For example, the different stages as described by the Quran and commentators ar-Razi and al-Quff, is similar (in fact identical) to Galen who wrote in A.D. 150 in Pergamum of the four embryonic developmental stages:

    1. Genitune, an unformed white conceptus like semen
    2. A bloody vascularised foetus with brain, liver and heart
    3. Other mapped but unformed features
    4. Puer, the stage when all the organs were well formed and joints were freely movable.

    Muslim Scholar Basim Musallam notes, "The stages of development which the Quran and Hadith established for believers agreed perfectly with Galen's scientific account...There is no doubt that medieval thought appreciated this agreement between the Quran and Galen, for Arabic science employed the same Quranic terms to describe the Galenic stages." (Sex and Society in Islam, p.54 [Cambridge, 1983])

    In another illustration of pre-Islamic embryological influence, one can cite Muhammad's belief that, "If a male's fluid prevails upon the female's substance, the child would be a male by Allah's decree, and when the substance of a female prevails upon the substance contributed by the male, a female child is formed." (Muslim cxxv - "The characteristic of the male reproductive substance and the female reproductive substance, and that of the offspring is produced by the contribution of both")

    This echoes Hippocrates' incorrect belief that both men and women produce male and female sperm, with the child's characteristics being influenced by which sex sperm is the dominant one:

    "...both partners alike contain both male and female sperm (the male being stronger than the female must originate from a stronger sperm). Here is a further point: if (a) both partners produce stronger sperm then a male is the result, whereas if (b) they produce a weak form, then a female is the result. But if (c) one partner produces one kind of sperm, and the other another then the resultant sex is determined by whichever sperm prevails in quantity. For suppose that the weak sperm is much greater in quantity than the stronger sperm: then the stronger sperm is overwhelmed and, being mixed with weak, results in a female. If on the contrary the strong sperm is greater in quantity than the weak, the weak is overwhelmed, it results in a male." (J. Needham, A History of Embryology, [Cambridge, 2nd edition 1959], p.320-1)

    Another even more obvious case of borrowing, is the tradition taken from Muslim, reported by Ibn Masud where Muhammad taught: When forty nights pass after the semen gets into the womb, Allah sends the angel and gives him the shape. Then he creates his sense of hearing, sense of sight, his skin, his flesh, his bones, and then says: My Lord, would he be male or female? And your Lord decides as he desires and the angel then puts down that also..." (No #6393, see also 6395).

    As was noted, this Hadith is grossly wrong since the sex is determined at the moment of conception according to whether the first cell contains two X chromosomes (female) or an X and Y chromosome (male), not forty days later. Yet, we find Hippocrates teaching that it took 30 days for the male genitals to form and 42 for the female. (Ibid., p.329)

    The similarities are obvious.

    This led J. Needham, a historian on the development of embryology, to conclude that the Quranic verses on embryological development are nothing more than "a Seventh-century echo of Aristotle and the Ayer-veda." i.e., a mixture of both Greek and ancient Indian ideas. (Needham, op, cit, p.82)

    Furthermore, another fact which Badawi does not care to mention is that the Quranic injunction about the sperm originating from the backbone and the ribs, again stems from the Hippocratic teaching. Hippocrates and his followers taught in the 5th century B.C. that semen comes from all the fluid in the body, diffusing from the brain in the spinal marrow, before passing through the kidneys via the testicles into the male area, a well-known fact in Muhammad's day. (Hippocratic Writings [Penguin Classics, 1983], p.317-8)

    After examining Dr. Badawi's evidence for the inspiration of the Quran, we are left with the notion that either Badawi chooses to ignore the gross mistakes of history and science contained within the Islamic Scripture or is ignorant of its content. The former seems more probable since Dr. Badawi is hailed as one of Islam's most knowledgeable spokespersons and defenders.

    We conclude by saying that the Muslim contention that the Quran is the word of God simply cannot be defended since the evidence offered in support of it crumbles upon closer analysis. Hence, we are forced to state that there are simply no worthwhile reasons for believing that the Quran is true, or that Muhammad is a true Prophet and that the Islamic concept of God is wholly adequate.


    The Quran's scientific problems do not end quite yet. The Quran also holds to a mistaken view of the earth's structure. It seems that based on the evidence within the Quran, Muhammad believed that the earth was flat and that mountains were placed as stakes to prevent it from shaking. Yet amazingly, these same verses are applied by Muslims as indications of Quranic prescience and Divine authorship.

    For instance, Dr. Mustafa Mahmoud in his book, Dialogue With An Atheist, offers the following verses as evidence for inspiration:

    "Consider also in the same connection the verse which speaks about the 'spreading' of the earth where the verb dahaha is used to express this fact: 'After that, He spread the earth (dahaha) (The soul-snatchers, 20). Dahaha is the only word in Arabic that means to spread something and to make it oval at the same time. The earth, as it is well-known appears to those who lived on it spread flat but it is, in reality, round or, to be exact, oval in shape." (p.114)

    Speaking about mountains, he goes on to say, "We read, in the Quran, another clear hint to the mountains 'swim' in space which, consequently, implies that the earth moves in space since both it and the mountains are one mass:

    'You see the mountains deeming them firm while they pass away like clouds.' The Ant, 88

    "This means that the mountains which appear solid and inert really 'float' in space." (pp. 114-115)

    At the surface level, this seems very impressive but is this representing what the Quran actually teaches? Upon examining the text, we find that the author is guilty of quoting verses out of context. For example, the above passage on "mountains passing away" has nothing to do with scientific foreknowledge, but deals with God's Judgment in the latter days:

    "And on that Day the trumpet [of judgment] will be sounded , and all [creatures] that are in the heavens and all that are on earth will be stricken with terror, except such as God wills [to exempt]: and in utter lowliness all will come in to Him. And thou wilt see the mountains, which [now] so firm, pass away as clouds pass away: a work of God, who has ordered all things to perfection!" S. 27:87-88 Asad

    Hence, what was offered as scientific fact turns out to be an event that takes place on the Judgment Day. In fact, this verse implies that the mountains do not move at all, and will only do so at the end-time as one of God's signs!

    This idea is supported by other passages:

    "And the earth - We have spread out. (like a carpet); set thereon mountains firm and immovable..." S. 15:19 Y. Ali

    "And he has cast onto the earth firm mountains lest it should shake with you..." S. 16:15

    "And [are they not aware that] we have set up firm mountains on earth, lest it sway with them..." S. 21:31 (Asad)

    "O you servants of Mine who have attained to faith! Behold! wide is Mine earth..." S. 50:7

    "Have we not made the earth as a bed and the mountains as pegs." S. 78:6-7 (Al-Hillali-Khan)

    "... and at the mountains how they are fixed firm? - and at the earth how it is spread out?." S. 88:19-20 (Y. Ali)

    Dr. Gary Young, Professor of Geology at Calvin College, Grand Rapids Michigan, comments on these verses:

    "While it is true that many mountain ranges are composed of folded rocks (and the folds may be of large scale) it is not true that the folds render the crust stable. The very existence of the folds is evidence of instability in the crust." (Dr. William Campbell, The Quran And The Bible In Light Of History And Science, pp. 170-171)

    In other words, the very existence of mountains proves that the earth's crust is unstable since the formation of mountains is caused by the colliding and buckling of plates underneath the earth. Examples of this method of mountain formation can be found in the middle east where the plate shifting of Arabia toward Iran resulted in the Zagros range. The mountains in Morocco and the Alps provide further evidence of the earth's instability. Furthermore, certain geologists believe that the separation of plates is what caused North and South America to break away from Europe and Africa.

    As Dr. Campbell declares:

    "We can conclude from this information that mountains were formed originally with movement and shaking; and that now, in the present, some earthquakes are caused by their continued formation. When the plates buckle over each other there are earthquakes. When the volcanoes erupt there can be earthquakes." (Ibid., p.173)

    Hence, the Quran is wrong in stating that mountains render the earth stable. Furthermore, the idea that the earth is a wide, spread-out expanse would, contrary to Mahmoud's statements, strongly suggest that the earth is flat! This has been the conclusion of one of Islam's premiere commentators, Al-Jalalan:

    "In his phrase, 'how it is spread; he denotes that the earth is flat. All the scholars of Islamic law agree upon this. It s not round as the physicists claim." (Al-Azhar, p.509)

    It should also be pointed out that there is a disagreement as to whether dahaha actually does mean "to make oval," as Dr. Mahmoud indicates. It is often suggested that this word comes from same root used for egg, duhia, hence the allusion to the egg shape or oval structure of the earth.

    Yet, according to one former Muslim, "the word 'Dahaha' and 'Duhia' are not the same." (Walid, Dear Muslim: Let Me Tell You Why I Believe)

    In fact, the consensus of translations render the verb as "extended." For example, both Ali and Rodwell translate the verse as, "And afterward stretched forth the earth."

    Finally, the assumption that the Quran correctly knew that the earth's shape was oval is not so much of a scientific miracle, since the Bible indicated this fact nearly 1300 years prior:

    "It is He who sitteth upon the circle (Heb. Khug, sphere, disk, compass, circle) of the earth." Isaiah 40:22, 700-750 B.C.

    In conclusion, we once again find that a thorough scientific examination of the Quran leaves more problems than it solves. This leads Muslims such as Badawi to deliberately misinterpret, misquote and mistranslate the Quran in order to avoid the gross errors contained in it. We submit that the evidence presented by Dr. Jamal Badawi and others leaves a lot to be desired and actually works against them, refuting the very propositions which they present in defense of Islam.

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