The Quran is regarded as the word of God by Muslims. It’s a book having 114 chapters (called suras) and 6263 verses believed to be revealed to Muhammad from heaven. Of its 114 chapters, 86 were revealed in Mecca while 28 were revealed in Medina. Muslims point at several proofs of the Quran’s divine origin, many of which are desperate claws at reason. To show why such efforts are self-refuting, I will be briefly responding to an online article penned by a Muslim
The word Quran means continuous recitation. It is so-called because of its inimitable origin which makes it a compelling daily reading throughout the world.
Yes, the Quran means “recitation.” Two things here. First, the Quran is not beyond imitation, because most of its contents are not original to start with. Many of its stories were borrowed from Jewish, Christian and pagan legends and beliefs. Even the pagans of Mecca accused Muhammad of plagiarism: “Tales of the ancients, which he has had written down; and they are dictated to him morning and evening” (25:5) “…the Unbelievers say ‘these are nothing but tales of the ancient” (6:25).
Second, the Quran is a rather tedious book to read. It has been observed that most Muslims are more interested in memorising it than reading or understanding it. Scottish scholar, Thomas Carlyle wrote that the Quran is “a toilsome reading as I ever undertook, a wearisome, confused jumble, crude, incondite. Nothing but a sense of duty could carry an European through the Koran.” German scholar, Salomon Reinach explains why: “From the literary point of view, the Koran has little merit. Declamation, repetition, puerility, a lack of logic and coherence strike the unprepared reader at every turn.”
It [the Quran] is the unsurpassed word of Allah, not only in the grandeur of its diction and splendour of its rendition, substance and profundity.
This rhyming prose may mislead the naive Muslim at the foot of the minbar (pulpit), but not the informed. The rendition, diction and substance of the Quran rather heavily militate against its divine origin. Islamic scholar, Abul A’ala Maududi admits that in the Quran “one topic follows the other without any apparent connection. Sometimes a new topic crops up in the middle of another without any apparent reason. The speaker and the addresses, and the direction of the address change without any notice” (The Holy Quran: Text, Translation and Commentary, Introduction, p 5).
Ali Dashti said there are “more than one hundred Quor’anic aberrations from the normal rules and structure of Arabic [that] have been noted.” (23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, 50). Why would God be making grammatical blunders or write awkwardly? Apart from the fact that the diction or rendition of a book is subjective and can’t be a valid criteria of truth, if the Quran actually possessed these qualities, only the Arabs would be able to see them. So why God would require everyone in the world to become an Arab in order to know His word?
The revelation of this Book to mankind through an unlettered Arab, Muhammad.
Exactly. The fact that the Quran is majorly preoccupied with the personal and political affairs of an unlettered Arab man and his companions at a particular stage of history without having much value to any other generation after then proves it’s not a message for mankind.
If the Quran is God’s revelation to man then what is its core message? To believe in one God, prophets, angels, jinns and the last day? Judaism, Zoroastrianism and even Christianity have believed and taught about these for centuries. Every book has a message. The Bible is about salvation and it hinges on the Person of Christ. But where is the message of salvation in the Quran? When some Muslims are asked this question, they quote verses about “guidance.” Guidance is not salvation. A person can be guided and still be unsaved. Actually, the word “salvation” appears only once in the Quran:
“God will say: ‘This is a day on which the truthful will profit from their truth, theirs are gardens, with rivers flowing beneath- their eternal Home: God well-pleased with them, and they with God: That is the great salvation, (the fulfillment of all desires)” (5:119)
The Arabic word translated “salvation” is fauz which means “triumph” i.e the fulfillment of all carnal desires. What a strange concept of salvation. If salvation is not Allah’s prerogative, then what is the essence of his revelation? Apparently he’s more interested in receiving worship and in jihad than in saving mankind from sin.
Although the Quran was revealed orally, its writing began almost immediately the revelations started…it was only much later after the demise of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), that these writings were rendered into a book form.
This statement was carefully worded to hide the ugly facts. The writer didn’t clue his readers in on exactly when the Quran was penned down or put into a book form. This has been addressed elsewhere. The Quran was originally intended to be an oral recitation, not a written document. It was when Muslims who had memorised it were dying that attempts were made to collect it into writing.
“O]ne of the wonders of recording the Quran is the classification of those revelations into chapters and verses by the Prophet himself despite his illiteracy
How could he have divided it into chapter and verses when the original materials on which his recitations were recorded were barks of wood, rocks and ribs of animals? Can you see how this point contradicts the previous one? If the Quran wasn’t in a book form until after Muhammad’s death, then there were no chapter and verse during his lifetime. Period.
In fact, the Quran wasn’t classified with any sense of logic. For example, sura 114, the last sura, has 6 verses. Sura 113 has 5 verses, sura 112 has 4, sura 110 has 3 while sura 109 has 6 verses. If the suras were arranged according to their lengths (as Muslims claim), sura 110 ought to be the last sura, but even the longest sura is sura 2. This is not a “wonder,” it’s what you get when an illterate arranges a book.
Its main appeal is to man’s intellect, feelings and imaginations
Actually, the Quran appeals more to human feelings and imaginations than to the intellect. For example:
“You [Muslims] are the best nation brought out for Mankind commanding what is righteous…” (3:111). This is an appeal to false superiority and prejudice.
“Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion…” (2:120). An appeal to false martyr complex.
“But if any turn away and reject Allah, Allah will punish him with a mighty punishment” (88:23-24). An appeal to fear of leaving Islam.
“…And indeed there are rocks which fall down for fear of Allah” (2:74). This is an insult to the human intellect.
“At length, when they came to the valley of ants, one of the ants said ‘O ye ants get into your habitation lest Solomon and his hosts crush you (underfoot) without knowing it” (27:18). This is a fairy tale for children.
“Lo! Allah commandeth you that ye sacrifice a cow…They said pray for us unto thy Lord, that he make clear to us what colour she is. (Moses) answered. Lo! He saith: Verily she is a yellow cow. Bright is her colour, gladdening beholders” (2:67, 69). What golden cow? This is another Arabian night tale.
“It does not only touch the anecdotes of Prophets of different ages and nations as well as the accounts of earlier revelations
The only “earlier revelation” that contains the accounts of the Jewish prophets is the Bible. The Quran not only distorts its stories, but also accuses its characters of sins they never committed. Few examples are in order:
1. Abraham – He is presented as an idolater who worshipped the sun, moon and stars, calling them “This is my Lord.” (6:76-78) In another place, the Quran attributes the story of Gideon who destroyed his family idol to Abraham who died centuries before (21:58-63).
2. Job – Allah told him: “And take in your hand a green branch and beat her with it and do not break your oath…” (38:41-44). The hadiths explained that the whipped woman was his wife.
3. Moses – There are 3 different versions of his call in the Quran. In the first, Allah says:
“Moses, I, even I am your Lord, take off your shoes for Lo you are in the holy valley of Towa. There is no other god but Allah, so serve me, worship me regularly” (20:19)
In the second, Allah says “blessed is whoever is in the fire and whatever is around it” (27:7-10). In the third, the narration and the geographical location changes:
“We called him from the right side of the mountain; and we made him draw nigh unto us to commune with him.” (19:52) The Quranic account of Moses is a big can of worms.
4. Solomon – In the Quran, his well-trained horses hindered his prayer to Allah “so he began to slash (their) legs and necks.” (38:33) That’s not all, Solomon also had demons working for him: “And of the evil ones (subdued We unto him) some who dived (for pearls) for him and did other works, and We were warders unto them” (21:38).
Al-Quran also gives insight into some natural phenomena like sphericity and revolution of the earth (Q 39:5), the formation of rain (30:48), the fertilization of the wind (15:22); the revolution of the sun, moon and the planets in their fixed orbits (36:29-38), the aquatic origin of all creatures (21:30); the duality of the sex of plants and other creatures (30:35), the collective life of animals (6:38).
Let’s take them one by one
1. Sphericity of the earth. The verse says in part: “he has subjected the sun and moon each one running its course.” The sun and moon do not swim around! Nothing about sphericity of the earth here.
2. The formation of rain. “Allah is He Who sendeth the winds so that they raise the clouds and spreadeth them along the sky…and causeth them to break and thou seest the rain drop down from within them. And when He maketh it to fall on…His bondmen, lo! They rejoice.”
This is a layman’s observation of rainfall and it adds nothing to human knowledge. Obviously, the author of the Quran was someone restricted to the harsh Arab desert where there’s rejoicing whenever it rains.
3. Fertilization of the wind. “And We send the winds fertilising, and cause water to descend from the sky, and give it you to drink…”
We don’t need a prophet to know this.
4. Revolution of the sun and moon. “And the sun runneth unto a resting place for him…” How absurd. The sun doesn’t revolve around the earth! Everyone ought to know this by now.
5. The aquatic origin of all creatures? Man wasn’t created from water! Either Allah or the Muslim writer didn’t know this.
6. The duality of sexes. “Glory to God, Who created in pairs all things that the earth produces, as well as their own (human) kind and (other) things which they have no knowledge.”
Allah probably didn’t know about the lizard Cnemidophoras which is asexual. All members of the kingdom Monera reproduce asexually. Fungi imperfecti reproduces asexually. The same goes for single-celled organisms. An all-knowing Allah should have known this.
7. The collective life of animals. “There is not an animal on the earth, nor a being that flies on two wings but forms communities like you.”
Wrong. Spiders kill their partners after mating. An old lion is often chased off by a young new lion who takes over the lioness and kill his cubs. Bees throw out the male drones till they die. Dogs, lizards and several species of birds are territorial animals that fight off their kinds. The desperate attempts to find science in the Quran is a hogwash.
In conclusion, all the claims presented to extol the Quran as divine are like bombs strapped unto the Muslim arguments which goes up in flames on closer examination.