Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

A Muhammadan Polemicist Disproves the Quran Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

Continuing from where we left off, here is another quotation where the unbelievers accuse the Quran of being nothing more than a lie that Muhammad concocted by writing down some of the ancient fables circulating during that time with the help of others, and then passing them off as revelations from God:   

Moreover, those who are bent on denying the truth are wont to say, “This [Qur’an] is nothing but a lie, which he [himself] has devised with the help of other people, who thereupon have perverted the truth and brought a falsehood into being.” AND THEY SAY, “FABLES OF THE ANCIENTS WHICH HE HAS CAUSED TO BE WRITTEN DOWN, so that they might be read out to him at morn and evening!” Say [O Muhammad]: “He who knows all the mysteries of the heavens and the earth has bestowed from on high this [Qur’an upon me]! Verily, He is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace!” S. 25:4-6 Muhammad Asad 

The interpretation of this passage by the late Muslim scholar Maududi is rather interesting:

12 THIS IS THE SAME OBJECTION WHICH THE MODERN ORIENTALISTS HAVE RAISED AGAINST THE QUR’AN, but strange as it may seem, no contemporary of the Holy Prophet ever raised such an objection against him [sic]. Nobody, for instance, ever said that Muhammad as a boy had met Buhairah, the monk, and had attained religious knowledge from him, nor did anybody claim that he had obtained all that information from the Christian monks and Jewish rabbis during the trade journeys in his youth. In fact, they knew that he had never traveled alone but in the caravans and if they said such a thing, it would be refuted by hundreds of their own people from the city. 

Then, one could ask, if he had gained all that knowledge from Buhairah when he was about 12, and during trade journeys when he was 25, why did he keep it secret from the people till he became 40? whereas he did not leave his country even for a single day, but lived for years among his own people in the same city. That is why the people of Makkah dared not bring such an impudent and baseless charge against him. Their objections related to the time when he claimed to be a Prophet of Allah and not to the time preceding that claim. Their argument was like this: “This man is illiterate and cannot obtain any knowledge through books. He has lived among us for forty years, but we have never heard from him anything that might have shown that he had any acquaintance with what he is preaching; therefore he must have had the help of other people who copied these things from the writings of the ancients for him: he learns these things from them and recites them as Divine Revelations: this is a fraud.” So much so that according to some traditions, they named some of his “helpers”, who were the people of the Book, were illiterate and lived in Makkah. They were: (1) Addas, a freed slave of Huvaitib bin `Abdul `Uzza (2) Yasar, a freed slave of ‘Ala bin Al Hadrami, and (3) Jabr, a freed slave of `Amir bin Rabbi`ah

APPARENTLY THIS IS A WEIGHTY ARGUMENT. FOR THERE CAN BE NO GREATER PROOF OF THE “FRAUD” OF PROPHETHOOD THAN TO SPECIFY ITS SOURCE. But it looks strange that no argument has been put forward to refute this charge except a mere denial, as if to say, “YOUR CHARGE IS AN IMPUDENT LIE: you are cruel and unjust to bring such a false charge against Our Messenger; for the Qur’an is the Word of Allah Who knows all the secrets in the heavens and the earth. ” Had their charge been based on facts, it would not have been rejected with contempt, for in that case the disbelievers would have demanded a detailed and clear answer. But they realized the strength of the arguments and did not make such a demand. Moreover, the fact that the “weighty” argument failed to produce any doubt in the minds of the new Muslims, was a clear proof that it was a lie. (Maududi, Q. 25:4-6; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours) 

Maududi’s admission here is spot on, since there is no greater proof that Muhammad was a fraud than by identifying the people and the fairy-tales from which he derived the material that he used to compose the Quran. Interestingly, as Maududi himself acknowledged, and as the late Christian scholar of Islam E. M. Wherry noted, 

(6) These charges were never fairly refuted. The only answer is the assertion of the following verse. (Wherry, Q. 25:6

The Quran doesn’t even bother to refute the accusation that it is nothing other than a compilation of myths. It only denies the assertion that Muhammad got these fables from a human source, arguing instead that it was Allah who revealed these fairy-tales to his “messenger”! 

With that said, we will allow the Muslim expositors to identify the source of Muhammad’s fraud: 

(Those who disbelieve) the disbelievers of Mecca (say: This) Qur’an (is naught but a lie that he hath invented) that Muhammad has invented, (and other folk) Jabr, Yasar and Fukayhah al-Rumi (have helped him with it) to invent it, (so that they have produced a slander and a lie. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs, Q. 25:4; bold and underline emphasis ours) 

And they) al-Nadr Ibn al-Harth and his host (say: Fables of the men of old) THIS QUR’AN IS NOTHING BUT THE TALES AND LIES OF THE PEOPLE OF OLD (which he hath had written down) which Muhammad copied from Jabr and Yasar (so that they are dictated to him) to Muhammad (morn and evening) in the morning and the evening. (Ibid., Q. 25:5; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours) 

And here is what the late Iranian Muslim scholar Ali Dashti wrote: 

A process of this kind had begun in Mohammad's mind during his childhood and had prompted him to meet and talk with Christian monks and priests on his Syrian journey instead of spending all his time on commercial business. On his way back, through the lands of Medyan and the Ad and Thamud, he had heard the legends of the local people. In Mecca itself he had exchanges and visits with followers of the scriptural religions. He had sat for hours in Jabr's shop near the hill of Marwa, and had been in constant touch with Khadija's cousin Waraqa b. Nawfal, who is said to have translated a part of the New Testament into Arabic. All these experiences are likely to have turned the ever-present disquiet in his inner mind into turmoil. 

There is a reference in the Qoran to Mohammad's long and frequent talks with Jabr. The Qorayshites alleged that Mohammad had learned the words of the Qoran from Jabr, who was a foreigner. The answer is given in verse 105 of sura 16 (on-Nahl): "And We know that they say, ‘It is only a human who is teaching him.’ The speech of the person at whom they hint is outlandish whereas this is clear Arabic speech." The biographies of the Prophet mention several other followers of the scriptures and possessors of knowledge with whom he exchanged visits before the start of his mission, e.g. Aesh, the sage of the Howayteb tribe, Salman ol-Farsi, and Belal the Abyssinian. Abu Bakr also had discussions with him at that time and agreed with him. (Dashti, 23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad [Mazda Publishers, Costa Mesa CA, 1994], pp. 21, 22; bold emphasis ours)  

Therefore, since the names of Muhammad’s informants have been identified this establishes per Sami’s challenge and Maududi’s admission that Muhammad was an imposter, a false prophet raised up by the enemy to allure people away from the truth of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. This brings me to my next point. 


Since Zaatari asked for a specific example of Muhammad borrowing a fable that he heard orally, we are only too glad to oblige. The following verses which mention some of the miracles of Jesus, 

And will make him a messenger unto the Children of Israel, (saying): Lo! I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird, by Allah's leave. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by Allah's leave. And I announce unto you what ye eat and what ye store up in your houses. Lo! herein verily is a portent for you, if ye are to be believers. S. 3:49 Pickthall 

When Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember My favour unto thee and unto thy mother; how I strengthened thee with the holy Spirit, so that thou spakest unto mankind in the cradle as in maturity; and how I taught thee the Scripture and Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and how thou didst shape of clay as it were the likeness of a bird by My permission, and didst blow upon it and it was a bird by My permission, and thou didst heal him who was born blind and the leper by My permission; and how thou didst raise the dead by My permission; and how I restrained the Children of Israel from (harming) thee when thou camest unto them with clear proofs, and those of them who disbelieved exclaimed: This is naught else than mere magic; S. 5:110 Pickthall 

Were “borrowed” from Muhammad’s disputation with the Arabic Christians from Najran. The following is taken from Muslim scholar, Dr. Mahmud M. Ayoub, who quotes al-Tabari’s explanation of Q. 3:59: 

In a somewhat longer version of the second account related by Wahidi, Tabari reports on the authority of Ibn Jurajy that the two monks angrily said to the Prophet, “If you tell the truth, then show us a servant who revived the dead, healed the one born blind, AND COULD FASHION OF CLAY THE FORM OF A BIRD AND BREATHE INTO IT, AND IT BECAME A BIRD [cf. verse 49, above]. Rather, Jesus is God.” The Prophet said nothing until Gabriel came to him and said, “O Muhammad, ‘They have indeed rejected faith who say that God is Christ, the son of Mary’ [Q. 5:17 and 72].” The Messenger of God said, “O Gabriel, they asked me to inform them of another example like that of Jesus.” Gabriel answered, “The example of Jesus with God is like that of Adam. He created him of dust, then said to him: Be! and he was.” When the men returned next morning, the Prophet recited to them these verses (Tabari, VI, pp. 467-71). (Ayoub, The Qur’an and Its Interpreters: The House of ‘Imran [State University of New York (SUNY) Press, Albany, NY 1992], Volume II, p.184; bold and capital emphasis ours) 

Christian scholar Gordon Nickels mentions another version of this story, which is derived fromTafsir Muqatil ibn Sulayman

Muqatil’s version of the encounter, whether it be seen as interfaith conversation, heated dispute, or threat of force, follows the main lines of the more familiar sira accounts.21 However, it contains some unique features as well. Notably, in Muqatil the discussion begins with a question from the Najran delegation, “O Muhammad, why do you abuse (shatama) and dishonor (‘aba) our master (sahib)?”22 The prophet of Islam answers, “What master of yours?” and the Christians say, “‘Isa son of Mary the virgin.” The Christians pursue their request: “Show us a servant like him in what Allah has created. He gives life to the dead and heals the blind and the leper AND CREATES A BIRD FROM CLAY.”23 Muqatil comments at this point that the Christians did not say “by leave (idhn) of Allah.” This is the phrase which repeats in the Qur’anic accounts of the miracles of ‘Isa at 3.49 and 5.110. The Christians continue, “While every human has a father, ‘Isa had no father. So agree with us that ‘Isa is the son (ibn) of Allah and we will follow you.”24 (Nickels, The Christians of Najran in Muqatil's Tafsir; bold and capital emphasis ours) 

The above reports confirm that Muhammad heard this fairy-tale story of Jesus fashioning a bird from clay and then breathing life into it from the Christians of Najran, which he then added word for word into the Quran. And this is simply one of several dozen examples we could have mentioned from the Muslim scripture, showing that the unbelievers were right to accuse Muhammad of doing nothing more than parroting the fables of the ancients as revelations that God had given him. 

In light of the foregoing, Sami’s challenge has been thoroughly met. We have answered Zaatar’s who, when and where, i.e. Muhammad learned many of the fables of the Quran from various individuals during his stay at Mecca both before and during his supposed prophetic calling. Therefore, it is time for Zaatari to come to grips with reality and accept the fact that Muhammad was a fraud, a false prophet who was duped by the spirit which came over him to adopt many of the legends and myths that he heard orally and add them to the Quran as a way of enticing Jews, Christians, and the pagans into embracing his false religion. Little did Muhammad and his spirit realize that this would come back to prove that the Quran is a lie and that Muhammad was a false prophet. Muhammad’s spirit had him include fairy-tales and absurdities into a book which Muhammad claimed was sent down by him who knows all things. Surely, an omniscient being would know better than to try to pass off such lies and silly stories as actual history. 

Further Reading 

Sources of the Quran

On The Bible Borrowing Theories Of The Qur'ân: An Authoritative Refutation

Muhammad the Borrower Debate With Saifullah: 1, 2 

Muhammad the Borrower Still! [Part 1], [Part 2]