By Bob Pulliam
In the Quran and Hadith we find the sacred writings of Islam. The Quran is the highest, and Hadith is second only to the Quran (obviously leaving the Bible far behind). And it is these writings that prove to be the weakest link in Islam’s claims of divine origin. If the Quran is from a divine source, we can expect it to be free from the errors seen in the works of men. Lofty claims are made regarding these to vindicate the religion of Allah. But alas, to claim success and prove such are two very different matters.
When the Bible is put to the test, it passes with flying colors (when examined objectively). One of the greatest tributes to the Bible is the amount of time spent by humanistic critics attacking it. They consume very little time attacking the Quran, Hadith, Book of Mormon, Watchtower publications, Christian Science writings, etc. The power of “Bible followers” is not the only reason for this. The critic attacks that which he sees as threateningly believable. It can truly be said that the truth of the Bible scares critics to their typewriters.
The Muslim will acknowledge the Bible to be an inspired writing. Truly, a good bit of the Bible is in the Quran. But which is to be accepted above the other? Many never think about it, but the Bible is actually supposed to be the basis for believing the Quran. After all, how do Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus become known as historical characters to be accepted and believed? The Bible is the source for such faith. Since the Bible is a basis for believing the Quran; the Bible should be preferred and accepted above the Quran. The Quran itself calls upon the reader to inquire of the “people of the Book” (Bible), to determine whether its contents are accurate (e.g. Sura 10:90-96, for “the Book” see Sura 5:70). Let’s examine the Quran and see how it compares with the Bible.
Conflicts with the Bible
The Bible clearly tells us that God took six days for creating the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:3.; Exod. 20:11). Such is confirmed by Jesus in Luke 13:14 when he pointed out that there were six days to work (leaving one for the Sabbath); and we clearly acknowledge such by the number of days in the week on our calendars. The Quran tells us that the world was created in eight days (Sura 41:9- 12). Now you can believe Moses, Jesus, and the calendar; or you can believe the Quran.
The Bible tells us that Noah and his three sons were saved in the ark; and that it came to rest on Mt. Ararat. The Quran tells us that one of Noah’s sons was lost in the flood (taking refuge in a mountain), and that the ark came to rest on EI-Judi (Sura 11:32 – 48).
The Quran conflicts with the Bible on several points concerning Abraham. The Bible cites Abraham’s father as Terah, but the Quran names Azar. The Bible tells us that Abraham settled in Canaan (Hebron), whereas the Quran would have us believe that he traveled as far as Mecca, over 700 miles southeast of Hebron! The Quran has Abraham sacrificing Ishmael rather than Isaac (which makes no sense inasmuch as Ishmael was the son of the handmaid). Muhammad only recalls the existence of two sons, whereas the Bible clearly tells us that Abraham had a grand total of eight sons. Several other discrepancies exist, but these suffice to show the Quran’s blatant inaccuracy regarding one of the best known figures of the Bible.
Nimrod is said to have thrown Abraham into a fire (Sura 21:680. Abraham was not yet born when Nimrod walked the earth (Gen. 5 & 11). Muhammad had the common seventh century Arabian trouble of keeping people in chronological order, and separated by the proper restraints of time (and the fire here is probably from Daniel 3:19-30, which occurred over fifteen hundred years after Abraham). Along this line, the Quran commonly has people, who lived thousands of years apart, interacting as if they lived together. A divinely inspired work should not be this difficult to swallow.
Names are commonly incorrect in the Quran. John the baptist is called Yahya. Saul is called Talut, and Goliath is called Jalut. The best reason given would seem to be the memory of the one writing the Quran: Muhammad. He obviously had many stories and legends mixed together in his mind. He could not read, so even if he had the reference material, he could not research such matters. Many Jewish and gnostic legends had reached Arabia by the time of Muhammad. It is interesting to note that some of Muhammad’s misconceptions can be traced to these extra-biblical sources, and help us to understand why the Quran contains some of its errors.
Three Truly Great Errors
There are three errors that should especially be pointed out to the Muslim. The first concerns Moses, Haman and the tower of Babel. Did Haman live in Egypt building the tower of Babel for Pharaoh? This is what the Quran would have us believe (Sura 27:4ff; 28:38; 29:39; 40:23-37). Actually Haman served King Ahasuerus in Persia (Esther 3); and the tower of Babel was two thousand years earlier in Babylon (Gen. 11).
A Mistake In Bible and Secular History
The second error is the use of the term Samaritan in Sura 20:87 & 95. This reference says that the golden calf was built at the suggestion of a Samaritan. This would have been hard to accomplish, since the Samaritans did not exist until after the captivity had commenced, hundreds of years after the incident of the golden calf. At the time the calf was constructed, the Israelites had not even possessed the land out of which they would be taken captive! (Exod. 32)
The third error has Alexander the Great living to a ripe old age (Sura 18:89-98). Secular history is very clear and trustworthy on the youthful demise of Alexander (see Encyclopedia Britannica 15:479 . . . see also The Concise Dictionary of Islam 229).
An Argument that Backfires
The Quran condemns Christians and Jews alike as not being of God (Sura 30:30 – 32 and 42:130. On what basis? Because they were divided from each other, and could not agree. Since they were “at war” with one another, neither could be of God.
Consider for a moment the number of sects into which Islam has been divided. I do not have a total count, but here are a few who have graced the pages of history:
Sects of Islam
(which gave rise to Nusayris, Yezidis and Druses)
(which gave rise to Nizaris and Musta’lis)
(which are not in any way accepted by Arab Muslims)
The pot loves to call the kettle “black,” and here is an excellent case. The truth is, mankind will never unite under truth, or any other banner, because mankind has other selfish interests at heart.
The Wives of Muhammad
The Quran allows a man to have no more than four wives. Yet it is very clear that Muhammad had 22 wives. This would clearly make Muhammad a sinner. But not just any sinner. He was “a spokesman” for Allah while he was practicing his sin! Some would deny that Muhammad ever sinned, but the Quran clearly indicates such. Muhammad was told to repent of his sin in Sura 40:55. Sura 48:lf speaks of Muhammad’s sins, past and future!
It is not necessary that a prophet never have sinned. But that a prophet would receive divine messages for others while he himself is involved in open, reprehensible sin is absurd.
A Terrible Confession
Also considered inspired is the Hadith. The Hadith gives much information about the Quran. It tells us that the Quran was written on odds and ends of materials (Vol. 6, # 509), and gathered into book form by Caliph Uthman (all after Muhammad died). When Uthman had completed his version, he destroyed all of the Qurans (he could find and possess) that were in conflict with his version (Vol. 6, #510). One historian writes of Uthman, “His major achievement was the commissioning of a group of experts to collect all the known copies and variants of the Quran and establish a standard text …” (Frederick M. Denny, Islam, 33).
Think of the field-day the Bible critic would have if the Bible said such about itself! Religious scholars have spent hundreds of years comparing the thousands of ancient manuscripts of the Bible. There has been no need of paper shredders, or incinerators, for conflicting versions.
Very serious problems in the Quran must be reconciled before one could even begin to believe it possible that divine revelation had produced such a work. I do not find it incredible that so many millions of people believe and follow the sacred writings of Islam. If I did, I would have to find it incredible that so many people profess a belief in the Bible; but clearly violate its pure, concise pattern.
Islam is not difficult to “see-through,” and it is possible to convert a Muslim. To do so, we must arm ourselves as we do against other systems of error with which we are more familiar: Learn their weaknesses, and be relentless with the truth.
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 9 p. 10-11
May 4, 1995