Mohammad Shaheer Khan
Recently, in my search for books on Christianity, I stumbled upon a book entitled “The Quran Unveiled” written by a Christian apologist who goes by the name of Dave Miller. The title as it seemed really intrigued me to go ahead and give this book a read. Since I stumbled upon it on an apologetics website. I had a certain picture in my mind about this book and I must say, as I skimmed through it, I was not disappointed.
In his introduction to the Book, the author writes:
“I have,to the best of my ability, made every effort to be objective,honest,and unprejudiced in my attempt to examine the holy book of Islam with a view toward determining whether it comes from God.I have approached the Quran with a desire to examine its contents and attributes in a sincere desire to know the truth.” (pp.ii)
Interesting Impression indeed. The author gives forth the impression that he is brushing aside his bias unlike the ones which I have read like Robert Spencer, Ali Sina etc. as it would seem after reading the first few pages, but after proceeding further, I really started to think about if the author really has done his homework or not and the answer was a BIG NO. It seemed like the author has not even done any effort to check the reliability of his source materials. Giving a brief introduction to the life of Prophet Mohammad (p), the author discusses the story of His marriage with Zaynab b. Jahsh and writes:
“It happened one day that Muhammad went to visit his adopted son.Some thirty five years earlier, Muhammad’s first wife,Khadijah,had been given as a gift a slave named Zayd ibn Harithah. Muhammad had set the fifteen-year-old Zayd free, and then adopted him as his own son,changing his name to Zayd ibn Muhammad.When Muhammad arrived at Zayd’s house,Zayd’s wife, Zaynab, greeted the Prophet at the door,informed him that her husband was not at home,but that Muhammad was welcome to enter. A look passed between them that both interpreted as strong feelings of romantic love. He declined her invitation to enter,so surprised was he at the strength of his feelings for her,and turning to leave,he uttered a glorification of Allah, noting how Allah exposes human hearts.When Zayd returned home, Zaynab informed her husband of the visit and Muhammad’s utterance. Zayd immediately visited the prophet, offering to release his wife so that Muhammad could marry her”. (pp.19-20)
Not only is the story itself is fabricated as it comes from Waqidi who has been abandoned by Majority of scholars but the author tries to present it in really abhorrent way. The story itself has been refuted by the likes of:
1 – Syed Abul Ala Maududi (Tafhim ul Quran, Ch.24)
2 – The Life Of Muhammad by Muhammad Husayn Haykal, page 338
3 – The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: Their Strives and Their Lives, by Muhammed Fathi Mus’a, page 134 -135
4 – Safiur Rehman Mubarakpuri – The Sealed Nectar, page 487 – 490
5 – Sirat-Un-Nabi (The Life Of The Prophet) by Shaykh Allama Shibli Nu’mani, volume 2, page 128 – 129
6 – Imam Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi, Ahkam al-Qur’an, volume 3, page 1543
You can also read the following articles on this matter, here, here and here.
After then quoting sources filled with half truths, the author then moves on to the second chapter of his book ‘Central Tenets’ where he discusses the early Islamic history after the death of Prophet Mohammad (P), The early caliphate, Shia and Sunni split and in the end, introduces the basic tenets of Islamic faith. (pp. 39-50)
As much as the author professed to brush aside his personal bias and pursue with objectivity, the author starts to bring up the same old rehashed arguments about Prophet’s Polygamy (pp.53-55), Marriage with Aisha (pp. 55) and again the Issue of Zaynab and Zayd (pp.56) and after quoting some of the passages from Old and New Testament, the author writes:
“The God of the Bible simply would not grant special dispensation to one man over others” (pp.56)
I personally find it quite astonishing that the People who attack the Prophethood and moral comportment of Mohammad (p) are not even familiar with their own scripture. for example in 2 Kings 5:15, it reads:
“So, coming back with all his retinue, he stood there in the presence of God’s servant; I have learned, he said, past doubt, that there is no God to be found in all the world, save here in Israel.”
Why granting special dispensation to only Israel, one might ask? does God of the Bible has certain bias for the house of Israel? Also in Mark 7:24-27, when a Gentile women comes to Jesus (p) seeking help as her daughter was possessed by an evil spirit, Jesus responded:
“Let the children have their fill first; it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
same story is also narrated in Matthew 15:24-26. And it doesn’t stop there, in Matthew 7:6 Jesus is reported to have said:
“You must not give that which is holy to dogs. Do not cast your pearls before swine, or the swine may trample them under foot, and then turn on you and tear you to pieces.”
Who are the dogs and Who are the swine? The Gentiles.
Now the author in Chapter 3 raises some issues concerning some Hadiths, even after being a believer in Bible, the author takes an atheistic approach towards the Miraculous aspects in the Quran and Hadith concerning Prophet’s bewitchment and it’s treatment and the Night Journey of the Prophet (p). After calling the above mentioned events bogus and nonsense (pp.61), The author seems to have no problems with miraculous aspects present in the Bible because according to the author they have plausible purpose and meaning attached to them (pp.69). This is where inconsistency kicks in on the part of the author.
Chapter 4 of the Book is entitled ‘Jewish Origins’ where he basically puts forth the same rehashed arguments by Geiger and Tisdall of Quran being borrowed from Judaic Talmudic writings (pp.79-121). The author fails to bring forth any new argument and any solid evidence to prove his assertions. There were only four noted Hanifs in pagan Makkah before the time Prophet (p) and one of them i.e. Waraqa testified to his prophethood as a messenger foretold in the previous scriptures (Deut. 18:18, Songs 5:16, Isaiah 29:12, John 16:7, John 15:26) died after a few days Prophet (p) received his first revelation. The author also failed to answer the following Questions.
1. There is nothing concealed of the life of Prophet Muhammad (p), not even his private life, how is that there is no mention of any of his mysterious teachers in any historical record?
2. Muhammad (p) was persecuted, ridiculed and opposed for 13 years in Makkah and in later 10 years in Madinah he was busy forming a new state and was also involved in many expeditions. How was it not possible for them to retrieve the source material from where he was getting the Quran? Even some of his adversaries who accused him later changed their minds and accused him of being a magician or possessed by devil instead.
3. As pointed out by the author himself on pp.3, Muhammad was known among his people for truthfulness and trustworthiness, how was it that even after opposing his message, they still believed in his truthfulness if they had suspected him of borrowing from extra Biblical sources?
4. What kind of teachers taught Muhammad (p) a coherent religion that changed the history and did not take any credit or speak against the student who learned it from them and claimed the source to be divine?
The author tries to put forth a supposition on pp.4 and writes:
“Uncle Abu (Talib) allowed his nephew, perhaps as early as the age of nine, to accompany him on his merchant journeys to Syria and beyond. Many biographers note that these excursions would have brought the young Muhammad into contact with Jewish and Christian influences.In fact, one Christian monk in particular, Bahira, who lived at Bostra, informed AbuTalib that great things lay in store for his nephew-son, and that he should take great care to protect him from the Jews.”
But this supposition is hard to contemplate because all historical sources available show that Muhammad (p) made only three trips outside of Makkah before his Prophetic career. Between the ages of 9 and 12, he accompanied Abu Talib to Syria and at the age of 25, he lead Khadija’s caravan to Syria. It would be an absurd statement to make that Muhammad made the Quran out of some occasional meetings with Jews and Christians on these trips.
Another fact which disproves the borrowing theory is that Prophet (p) did not know how to read and write as the Quran itself mentions it in Surah 29:48, 7:157 and 62:2. Any similarity if occurs is due to the fact that there was one common source i.e. God. And if the similarities imply borrowing then does that mean that Crucifixion tale was borrowed from pagan legends because there had been crucified saviours before Jesus (p).
“Tammuz was a god of Assyria, Babylonia and Sumeria where he was known as Dumuzi. He is commemorated in the name of the month of June, Du’uzu, the fourth month of a year which begins at the spring equinox. The fullest history extant of this saviour is probably that of Ctesias (400 BC), author of Persika. The poet has perpetuated his memory in rhyme.
Trust, ye saints, your Lord restored,
Trust ye in your risen Lord;
For the pains which Tammuz endured
Our salvation have procured.
Tammuz was crucified as an atonement offering: “Trust ye in God, for out of his loins salvation has come unto us.” Julius Firmicus speaks of this God rising from the dead for the salvation of the world. This saviour which long preceded the advent of Christ, filled the same role in sacred history.” (“Crucifixion of Sun Gods as Atoning Saviours”, online source, http://askwhy.co.uk/christianity/0310SunGod.php )
The theories of borrowing have all soundly been refuted here:
1. “Refutation Of The Borrowing Theories Of The Qur’an“
2. Biography of Prophet and Orientalists by M. Mohar Ali.
3. Quran and Orientalists by M. Mohar Ali.
4. The Life of Muhammad in British Scholarship by Jabal Muhammad.
5. The Lies About Mohammad by Imam Moustafa Zayed.
Then the author moves on to Chapter 5 titled ‘Internal and Historical inaccuracies’. At first I had thought that this book will at least be original when it comes to criticising Islam but I simply marvelled at the author quoting from a well known anti-Islamic website (pp.125) in the section ‘Inheritance Laws’. It seems like all the missionaries have ran out of the arguments against Islam and resorted to consult the work done by some jokers on the internet. One would simply laugh at anyone reading this book and saying it to be a piece of scholarly work. The author brings up verses 4:11-12 and Verses 4:176 and draws the following conclusion:
“These problematic verses have forced Muslim scholars to postulate tortuous explanations and, ultimately, to introduce their own rules by which to settle inheritance issues. But the rules,by definition, must simply dismiss one aspect of the Quran’s directives in order to comply with another” (pp.125)
I don’t know what scholars the author is referring to. Muslim Scholars have yet to find an internal discrepancy among the verses. The problem lies within the conclusion of the author. The author relies upon the faulty translation by A.J. Arberry. And since the author has no basic knowledge of the Arabic language, the argument itself falls apart.
On pp.126, the author imposes his own interpretation to the text taking it out of it’s context to generate a contradiction between the narratives in Quran 6:107-109, 53:19-23 and 71:22-24. If only the author had checked commentaries on these passages. On pp.128, the author critiques some passages from the Quran regarding punishment for adultery and false witness because it did not seem to resonate with the teachings of the Old Testament. On the same page the author seems to find another contradiction and writes:
“An adulterer may only marry another adulterer or an unbeliever (24:3). But this injunction clashes with the Quran’s insistence that believers are not to marry unbelievers (Surah 2:221; 60:10). So the Quran requires a believing adulterer to marry an unbeliever(or another believing adulterer),but also forbids the believing adulterer to marry an unbeliever.”
This statement clearly shows the lack of knowledge on the part of the author. Muslims men are allowed to marry faithful women from among people of the book as stated in 5:5. Quran on another place makes a distinction between people of the book and Idolaters e.g Surah 98:6, 2:221 and 60:10 refers to the idol worshippers only. Contradiction appears from the lack of familiarity with the original language of the text. On pp. 130, the author states the Quran contradicts itself concerning the faith of Pharoah’s magicians which has been debunked before. The author then moves on the alleged historical inaccuracies present in the Quran. On pp. 131, the author brings forth a supposed anachronism in the Quran when it describes the Kings and Prophets in Israel. The author proceeds:
“The Quran also contains anachronisms, historical compressions, and garbled chronology. For example, observe the following allusion to the Israelites in relation to the appointment of kings:
The Jews and Christians say: We are sons of Allah and His loved ones. Say: Why then doth He chastise you for your sins? Nay, ye are but mortals of His creating. He forgiveth whom He will, and chastiseth whom He will. Allah’s the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them,and unto Him is the journeying. O people of the Scripture! Now hath Our messenger come unto you to make things plain after an interval(of cessation) of the messengers, lest ye should say: There came not unto us a messenger of cheer nor any Warner. Now hath a messenger of cheer and a Warner come unto you. Allah is Able to do all things. And (remember) when Moses said unto his people: O my people! Remember Allah’s favour unto you, how he placed among you Prophets, and He made you kings, and gave you that (which) He gave not to any(other)of (His)creatures. O my people!Go into the holy land which Allah hath ordained for you. Turn not in flight,for surely ye turn back as losers (Surah 5:18-21, emp. added). Anyone familiar with the history of the Jews knows that their first king was Saul. But Saul was appointed king some 500 years after Moses.” (pp.131-132)
The author has picked up the translation of Abdullah Yusuf Ali but has ignored the short comment in the note section. The word used is ‘Malik’ which does not necessarily refer to the Kingship of sort. Yusuf Ali comments:
“722. From the slavery of Egypt the Children of Israel were made free and independent, and thus each man became as it were a king, if only he had obeyed Allah and followed the lead of Moses.” (Meaning of the Holy Quran, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, page 69, online source http://www.qurandownload.com/english-quran-with-commentaries(yusuf-ali).pdf).
Saheeh International translation of the given passage reads:
“And [mention, O Muhammad], when Moses said to his people, “O my people, remember the favor of Allah upon you when He appointed among you prophets and made you possessors and gave you that which He had not given anyone among the worlds.” Surah 5:22
Muhammad Asad translation renders the word:
“And, Lo, Moses said unto his people:” “O my people! Remember the blessings which God bestowed upon you when he raised up prophets among you, and made you your own masters, and granted unto you [favours] such as He had not granted to anyone else in the world.” Surah 5:22
Some translators did render the word ‘Malook’ as King but they do not mean it to be monarchs. The author further comments:
“The same may be said of prophets” (pp.132).
Muhammad Asad refutes the supposed anachronism present in the text in his commentary and writes:
“48 – This passage obviously refers to a later phase of Jewish history. That the Jews actually did kill some of their prophets is evidenced, for instance, in the story of John the Baptist, as well as in the more general accusation uttered, according to the Gospel, by Jesus: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee” (Matthew xxiii, 37). See also Matthew xxiii, 34-35, Luke xi, 51 – both of which, refer to the murder of Zachariah – and I Thessalonians ii, 15. The implication of continuity in, or persistent repetition of, their wrongdoing transpires from the use of the auxiliary verb kanu in this context.” (The Message of the Quran by Muhammad Asad, page 31. online source, https://asadullahali.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/the-message-of-the-quran.pdf).
Another example which the author gives is on pp.133 of Pharoah’s advisors and the Tower. The author then again accuses Prophet Muhammad (p) of borrowing from Jewish sources and the Old Testament without any provided evidence. The writing revolves around a circular argument as it contradicts the account in Genesis 11, it must be false and the one in the Bible is true. Again, no attempt has been made to prove the given assertion.
The author then moves on the attack the integrity of the Quranic text and it’s transmission relying mostly on the material from anti-Islamic websites and the writings of western orientalists like David Morgouliath etc. (pp. 137-149). The author makes an odd statement on pp.140 which made me question his knowledge (again) concerning the Quran. He writes:
“…the Bible was written down by inspiration i.e. by divine guidance (1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:15). No such claim is made for the Quran.”
If only the author had read Quran 15:9 where it clearly reads:
“It is We who sent down this Message and We will surely guard it.”
Now what is the Message mentioned in the verse. It is obviously the Quran and the ‘We’ here is God himself speaking. So the statement that the ‘author of the Koran’ did not make claims of Quran not being divinely inspired seems quite misleading. The author further proceeds with his incoherent approach:
“..the fact that Abu Bakr even felt compelled to produce a single volume of the Quran is proof that one did not exist previously.” (pp.141)
This statement of the author directly conflicts with some Hadith reports which indicate that Companions had written complete or incomplete volumes of Quranic text. Here’s a report:
“Narrated Abdullah bin Umar: “Allah’s Messenger forbade the people to travel to a hostile country carrying (copies of) the Quran.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book 52, Hadith 233. https://sunnah.com/bukhari/56/199)
The author then presents the narration which details the event of Yamama and writes:
“If the Quran had been already committed to writing and collated, the deaths of reciters would not have been the great concern that it obviously was to Caliph Bakr. Second, with the allusions to “memories,” “fragments,” “date leaves,” “the breasts of men,” “one of Muhammad’s widows,” “disputes between the faithful,” “three to twelve colleagues,” “previously existing copies were committed to the flames”—the reader is surely surprised that the transmission of the textual integrity of the Quran was dependent upon such problematic circumstances.” (pp.142)
Well, if one is not learned concerning the textual history of the Quran then he would obviously question the textual integrity of the text but it renders no such problems for the scholars. As mentioned before that the companions had written during the lifetime of Prophet (p), the disputes among the companions were concerning the authoritative recitations and were resolved by Prophet (p) himself as tradition of Prophet records as such:
“Narrated Umar bin Al-Khattab: I heard Hisham bin Hakim reciting Surat-al-Furqan during the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle, I listened to his recitation and noticed that he was reciting in a way that Allah’s Apostle had not taught me. I was about to jump over him while he was still in prayer, but I waited patiently and when he finished his prayer, I put my sheet round his neck (and pulled him) and said, “Who has taught you this Sura which I have heard you reciting?” Hisham said, “Allah’s Apostle taught it to me.” I said, “You are telling a lie, for he taught it to me in a way different from the way you have recited it!” Then I started leading (dragged) him to Allah’s Apostle and said (to the Prophet), “I have heard this man reciting Surat-al-Furqan in a way that you have not taught me.” The Prophet said: “(O ‘Umar) release him! Recite, O Hisham.” Hisham recited in the way I heard him reciting. Allah’s Apostle said, “It was REVEALED like this.” Then Allah’s Apostle said, “Recite, O ‘Umar!” I recited in the way he had taught me, whereupon he said, “It was REVEALED like this,” and added, “The Quran has been REVEALED to be recited in seven different ways, so recite of it whichever is easy for you.” (See Hadith No. 514, Vol. 6) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 640. https://sunnah.com/bukhari/97/175 )
The copies which were committed to flames had dialectal differences which were approved by Prophet (p). Since the topic is too vast to cover in this small review, I would simply state the ten irrefutable arguments as stated in the Book, Hunting for the Word of God by Sami Ameri, on why the Quranic text is superior to the text of the New Testament.
1. It was recited by Muhammad, as the overwhelming majority of non-Muslim scholars believe. while the majority of academic scholars admit that most of the New Testament books were written by unknown authors. There is near unanimity that the authors of the four Gospels are unknown.
2. It was memorized and transmitted orally from the first Muslim generation until today. On the other hand, No oral preservation of the text of the New Testament exists.
3. We have manuscripts from the first century of the Hegira that cover the whole text. On the other hand, No manuscript of the New Testament from the first century exists today.
4. .Muslims from the first century after the Qur’ān was revealed used to read the whole text periodically as was commanded by their Prophet, and they listened to the recitation of its whole text at least once a year in the month of Ramaḍān. Children were taught to memorize it at the beginning of their academic career. On the other hand, We have no idea about the attitude of the Christians toward the New Testament in the first century. And there is strong evidence that the New Testament’s books were not collected in one authoritative book in that century.
5. The official copy was agreed upon and established in the era of the Companions of the Prophet. The Gospels were written by unknown authors. There is no historical proof to prove that the disciples knew these books.
6. The official copy was approved by thousands of the Companions; many of them accepted the official version (which differed from theirs) because they saw the need for a unified copy that preserved the original text. On the other hand, There is no official copy of text of the New Testament.
7. The sectarian schism in the first centuries did not result in the emergence of different Quran’s, even though some of the conflicts were bloody. On the other hand, Sectarian schism was the main reason for the creation of huge number of books which claim that they are the word of God, or to which the new sects attribute a divine source.
8. Muslims have their Holy book in its original language. Jesus spoke Aramaic (or maybe Hebrew), but the New Testament books were written in Greek, a language most likely not known to Jesus.
9. We have even the smallest details of the history of the Quran. On the other hand, The first hundred years after the writing of the autographs is an obscure zone.
10. There does not exist any dogmatic issue behind the variants as reported by the Companions. On the other hand, Dogmatic was behind putting part of the oral tradition into written form and also the emergence of what later were called “canonical” and “non-canonical” writings. Later on, dogmatism was behind the corruption of some passages of the canonical books.
The Quran as it is today in our hands is the same as it was at the time of compilation during the era of caliph Uthman. The Different recitations were all divinely stipulated and what Uthman did was provide a single authoritative text after burning the other recitations because of the possibility of it confusing the Public and Muslims do have that authoritative text. So whether it is ‘Maliki Yaumiddin’ or ‘Maaliki Yaumiddin’ does not make much difference to Muslims as these all readings were approved by Prophet Mohammad (p).
More information on Preservation of the Quran and Multiple Readings can be found:
7. Usool at- Tafseer by Abu Ameena Bilal Philips
8. Introduction to the Sciences of Quran by Abu Amaar Yasir Qadhi.
9. An Approach to Quranic Sciences by Mufti Taqi Usmani
10. Hunting for the Word of God by Sami Ameri.
11. Variant Readings of the Quran: A Critical Study by Ahmed Ali al Imam
12. The History of the Quranic Text: from Revelation to Compilation by M.M.Al Azami.
13. Quran and The Orientalists by M. Mohar Ali.
14. Ulum Al-Quran by Ahmed Von Denffer.
15. The Sublime Quran and Orientalism by Muhammad Khalifa.
The author then proceeds to Chapter 7 of his Books discussing the conflicting central doctrines of Quran and The New Testament such as the person of Jesus, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, the Doctrine of God and Trinity (pp. 151-175). The author firstly discusses the person of Jesus and writes:
“The New Testament is very, very clear: the heart, core, and soul of the Christian religion is allegiance to Jesus Christ as God, Lord, and Savior.” (pp.155)
The statement is quite odd to the Muslim who study the Bible as there is not a single explicit reference to the deity of Jesus, or to the Doctrine of Trinity. Instead Jesus is reported to have said “The Father is greater than I” (John 14:28, 10:29), “Jesus said to him, Why dost thou call me good? None is good, except God only.” (Mark 10:18),
“Eternal life is knowing thee, who art the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)
Also, New Testament records in Acts of the Apostles:
“Men of Israel, listen to this. Jesus of Nazareth was a man duly accredited to you from God; such were the miracles and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves well know.” (Acts 2:22)
There is no unequivocal statement in the Bible where Jesus claimed “I am God” or where he said “Worship me”.
The author does allude to passages like John 1:1, John 8:58, John 14:6 which have all been refuted by Christian scholars themselves.
There is one passage which I will concentrate on is from John 20:28 which the author has referred to on pp.156, where Thomas calls Jesus “My Lord and My God”. The passage sure is adored by Christian as Thomas’ proclamation alludes to ‘deity’ of Christ. However, There are several problems which trinitarians have to deal with. In Luke 24:33-34, When Jesus appeared to his disciples after his alleged resurrection, ALL disciples including Thomas were present and the same day Jesus ascends to heaven.
“Rising up there and then, they went back to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven apostles and their companions gathered together, 34 now saying, The Lord has indeed risen, and has appeared to Simon.”
If Luke is correct then how is it possible for John to be correct when in John 20 we read:
“There was one of the twelve, Thomas, who is also called Didymus, who was not with them when Jesus came. 25 And when the other disciples told him, We have seen the Lord, he said to them, Until I have seen the mark of the nails on his hands, until I have put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, you will never make me believe. 26 So, eight days afterwards, once more the disciples were within, and Thomas was with them; and the doors were locked. Jesus came and stood there in their midst; Peace be upon you, he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, Let me have thy finger; see, here are my hands. Let me have thy hand; put it into my side. Cease thy doubting, and believe. 28 Thomas answered, Thou art my Lord and my God.” John 20:24-28.
Were all the disciples present or were they not? According to Luke, Thomas was present with all other disciples after Jesus resurrection but according to John, Thomas was not present. So it is a fabricated story and not reliable at all.
On pp.158, the author starts discussing the death and resurrection of Jesus, concept of atonement and sin and refers to the prophecy of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah in Isaiah 53:10-11 and writes:
“The primary reason Jesus came into the world was to carry out the absolutely necessary plan of salvation, the means of atonement that makes it possible for God to forgive sin.”
The problem is that the suffering servant mentioned in the Isaiah 53 refers to the Israel as a whole not Jesus. Jews interpret it as the prophecy referring to the restoration of Israel to the position of prominence and vindication as God’s chosen people. So it is prophecy which addresses Israel not the future Messiah to come. For further information in regards to this please see the following articles, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Also the Bible rejects sins offering (Psalms 40:6, 51:16) and states unequivocally that the soul that sinneth that shall die (Ezekiel 18:4, 18:21, Deuteronomy 24:16). So that fact that Jesus coming to the world for the atonement for our sins is not only a logical absurdity but also contradictory to teachings of the Old Covenant. The author then goes on to say:
“…the Quran..denies the historicity of the crucifixion of Christ.” (pp.158)
If that crucifixion event was attested historically, then no one would have questioned Jesus’ existence itself. Many Scholars and Skeptics have argued against the existence of Jesus.
“…scholars are not agreed even on the question of the existence of Jesus. Several important scholars have argued that Jesus of the Gospels and epistles is a purely mythical character. They point out that testimony other than Christian to the existence of Jesus is wanting in the first century, that the second century evidence cannot be shown to be independent of Christian sources, that Christian literature is so abound in forgeries that none of it can be taken to trust.” (Ulfat Aziz, The Mystery of Jesus, page 2)
Also, There is no historical document that testifies to the alleged crucifixion of Jesus Christ (p). The attestations by Flavious Josephus and Tacitus to which Christians appeal are forgeries.
“..there exists, outside of the New Testament, no evidence whatever, in book, inscription, or monument, that Jesus of Nazareth was either scourged or crucified under Pontius Pilate. Josephus, Tacitus, Plinius, Philo, nor any of their contemporaries, ever refer to the fact of this crucifixion, or express any belief thereon.” (T.W.Doane, Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, page 516)
See the following articles for more information on this matter: here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
Also there are no prophecies of Crucifixion in the old Testament, rather the Old Testament testifies to the fact that God does not ignore his anointed ones:
Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. (Psalms 20:6)
“Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.” (1 Chronicles 16:22)
LORD God, do not reject your anointed one. Remember the great love promised to David your servant.” (2 Chronicles 6:42)
“1 Content if thou be to live with the most High for thy defence, under his Almighty shadow abiding still, 2 him thy refuge, him thy stronghold thou mayst call, thy own God, in whom is all thy trust. 3 He it is will rescue thee from every treacherous lure, every destroying plague. 4 His wings for refuge, nestle thou shalt under his care, 5 his faithfulness thy watch and ward. Nothing shalt thou have to fear from nightly terrors, 6 from the arrow that flies by day-light, from pestilence that walks to and fro in the darkness, from the death that wastes under the noon. 7 Though a thousand fall at thy side, ten thousand at thy right hand, it shall never come next or near thee; 8 rather, thy eyes shall look about thee, and see the reward of sinners. 9 He, the Lord, is thy refuge; thou hast found a stronghold in the most High. 10 There is no harm that can befall thee, no plague that shall come near thy dwelling. 11 He has given charge to his angels concerning thee, to watch over thee wheresoever thou goest; 12 they will hold thee up with their hands lest thou shouldst chance to trip on a stone. 13 Thou shalt tread safely on asp and adder, crush lion and serpent under thy feet. 14 He trusts in me, mine it is to rescue him; he acknowledges my name, from me he shall have protection; 15 when he calls upon me, I will listen, in affliction I am at his side, to bring him safety and honour. 16 Length of days he shall have to content him, and find in me deliverance.” (Psalms 91:1-16)
He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever. (Psalms 18:50)
“For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off;” (Psalms 37:28)
Muslims accept that when Jesus prayed “When he had gone a little further, he fell upon his face in prayer, and said, My Father, if it is possible, let this chalice pass me by; only as thy will is, not as mine is.” in Matthew 26:39, God accepted his prayer. If we were to contend that Jesus did actually die on the cross, then it makes Jesus a false Messiah and a false Prophet as Jesus said that it is not for a Prophet to perish outside of Jerusalem. He was referring to himself in Luke 13. We read:
“It was on that day that some of the Pharisees came to him and said, Go elsewhere, and leave this place; Herod has a mind to kill thee. 32 And he said to them, Go and tell that fox, Behold, to-day and to-morrow I am to continue casting out devils, and doing works of healing; it is on the third day that I am to reach my consummation. 33 But to-day and to-morrow and the next day I must go on my journeys; there is no room for a prophet to meet his death, except at Jerusalem.” (Luke 13:31-33)
Jesus was taken to a place called Golgotha (Matthew 27:32-33) to be crucified and it was outside of city gate (Hebrews 13:12). So Muslims would definitely stick to their own belief and happily testify to Messiah-ship of Jesus, rather to the contention of him being a false Prophet.
On pp.167-168, the author proceeds to discuss the stories of Jesus fashioning the Bird out of the clay and speaking in the cradle which are mentioned in the Quran in 5:110 and 19:27-34 respectively and accuses Prophet (p) of plagiarising these stories from the infancy Gospel of Thomas without any evidence and proposition of how Muhammad had acquired these stories and from where? The author contends these stories to be mythical and says
“the author of the Quran mistook them as authentic and legitimate representations of the New Testament.” (pp.169)
One question that needs to be asked is that if Quranic depiction of Jesus speaking from the cradle is mythical, then how was Maryum (Mary) exonerated from the charge of fornication? living in a Jewish society, she would’ve been stoned to death according to Leviticus 20:10 but that certainly was not the case. The fact is the Quran solves this problem but the Bible does not.
The author then discusses the trinity and triune nature of God in the Old Testament and attributes of God of the Bible with Allah (pp.170-176).
The author moves on Chapter 8 comparing ethics of Quran with the Bible focusing mostly on New Testament while ignoring all the horrendous mass murders, rape, approval of slavery in the Old Testament. The author critiques the issue of Polygamy, status of Women in Islam, Violent nature of the Quran, beating of wives and alleged approval of slavery in the Quran (pp.177-197). Filled with half truths. The author takes a complete Black and White approach as we are right and you are wrong. Since each topic on it’s own is vast, one cannot simply respond to such issues in a few lines or words as each topic requires explanation.
The author then discusses some additional conflicts of Quran with the New Testament in Chapter 9 of his book (pp.199-231). The Quranic depiction of afterlife, Heavens, Hell, roles of miracles, Noah’s ark and creation of human etc. The author takes issue on Islamic concept of marriage in heaven (pp.205) as many critics of Islam do. What they fail to understand is that the fact Muslims will have spouses in paradise keeps us from having women outside of the marriage in this world and those who don’t believe this are ones having it here. In fact when Jesus spoke about Kingdom of God, it somehow resembles our Islamic concept of heaven and if sons of God in heaven do not have marriages, then what were they doing in Genesis 6:2,
“And now the sons of God saw how beautiful were these daughters of men, and took them as wives, choosing where they would.” Genesis 6:2
These sons of God were meant to be angels as it says here.
The author does not seem to miss any chance to accuse the author of the Quran of borrowing from Judaic Talmudic writings without any evidence and again accuses Quran of borrowing the concept of hell from earlier writings (pp.207). He also mentions the same old polemic of Muhammad not being able to perform miracles and thus inferior to Jesus (pp.209-218). The author also claims that Quran contradicts itself concerning creation of human (pp.227-228). The logic goes like this:
1. There is vanilla extract in Coca Cola.
2. There is Sugar in Coca Cola.
3. There is Citric Acid in Coca Cola.
4. There is Lime Juice in Coca Cola.
5. Coca Cola can’t have all these at once.
The logic itself is absurd. Quran nowhere does say that man was only created from water, or it was only created from clay, or only created from dust. Thus there is no contradiction among the passages but rather a contradistinction.
The author proceeds to chapter 10 (pp.233-252) accuses Muhammad of making stuff all up (pp.234), says that Quran is man-made book obsessed with it’s own defense (pp.235), says that it too much focuses on Muhammad without mentioning under what context (pp.236-238), seems to have problem with about everything in the Book whether it is addressing Jews and Christians, it mentioning creation as signs, Polytheism or Punishment (pp.239-244). pp.244-247 revolve around the circular reasoning and Muhammad’s ignorance of Biblical and Historical facts as if he was borrowing from the text of the Old Testament. The author persists that since the historical events in the Quran differ from the Bible, the Quran is in ignorance of history and the Bible is accurate. Entire argument goes around with circular reasoning with no historical evidence provided at all. The author then goes so bankrupt in his criticism of Quran that he resorts to atheistic arguments and makes a mockery of the Quranic story of Ashab Kahaf. The author writes:
“For the Quran to dignify such outlandish tales is to disprove its own inspiration.” (pp.247)
To quote James White, Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument. If miraculous aspects disprove a book of it’s claim of inspiration then the Bible should be the first book to be taken out. Let’s look at some of the fables and absurdities in the Bible.
“It would be well, they said, to build ourselves a city, and a tower in it with a top that reaches to heaven; we will make ourselves a great people, instead of scattering over the wide face of earth. 5 But now the Lord came down to look at the city, with its tower, which Adam’s children were building; 6 and he said, Here is a people all one, with a tongue common to all; this is but the beginning of their undertakings, and what is to prevent them carrying out all they design?” (Genesis 11:4-6)
“Hard times, when the Lord will be hiring mercenaries from beyond Euphrates, the king of Assyria’s men, and will leave you quite bare, hair of head and legs shaved close with this hired rasor of his, and the beard too!” (Isaiah 7:20)
“By the seventh day, God had come to an end of making, and rested, on the seventh day, with his whole task accomplished.” (Genesis 2:2)
“And all the while I am the Lord thy God… from the land of Egypt; God thou shalt own no other, other deliverance is none; 5 out in the desert, out in the parched wastes, owned I thee. 6 Fatal pasturing! With food came satiety, and with satiety pride, and with pride forgetfulness of me! 7 Now their way lies to Assyria, and on that road I will meet them again, their enemy now, watchful as lion or leopard; 8 bear robbed of its young should not tear open breast more cruelly, lion devour more greedily; they shall be a prey, now, to the wild beasts.” (Hosea 13:4-8)
“And I saw an angel standing in the sun’s orb, who cried aloud to all the birds that hovered in mid-air, Come and gather at God’s great feast” (Revelation 19:17)
And one can go on and on with many more verses.
On pp.249-250, the author takes issue of the doctrine of abrogation and says,
“The explanation offered (to substitute the one with better) to justify changes is self-evidently insufficient and lacks credibility.” (pp.250)
What the author fails to realize is that one simply can not have a rule that is for a 6 years old and apply it to the one who 60 years old. There is a ruling ordained upon by Allah for one time and other ruling for the other time in different context. It does not imply any inconsistency on Quranic part. There are two interpretations of 2:106 and 16:101, one is that ‘Ayah’ referred to in both these passages mean previous Biblical dispensation as Muhammad Asad points out. Some suggest that it is one verse abrogating another verse. Scholars accept both interpretations. Quran was revealed in a period of 23 years and reforms were made according to the conditions. One example is Quranic dealing with intoxicants. First verse which is revealed addressing intoxicants was 2:219 which reads:
“They ask thee concerning wine and gambling say: ‘In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit.”
The next verse to be revealed was 4:43 which stated:
“O ye who believe! approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say.”
The last verse was to be revealed was 5:90 which put forth the final prohibition of intoxicants and stated:
“O ye who believe! intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork; eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.”
Some of the early scholars didn’t know how to reconcile these verses; hence they ruled that one verse refuted another verse. Some scholars had counted up-to 200 cases of abrogation, Suyuti counted 21 cases and Waliullah counted only 5 (one of them is the above one) which have also been answered.
The author then in conclusion to his book says “The Quran lacks…heavenly manifestation of inspiration.” (pp.254)
The author in his ‘unbiased’ research failed to provide any coherent argument so far and failed to provide any contradiction or anachronism in Quran. The supposed ‘anachronism’ only contradicted what the Bible had to say about any historic event. The author deliberately brushed aside the ‘Bogus’ Challenge of the Quran where it says “Bring something like it” e.g. 2:34,11:13,10:38 (pp.210). Although challenge has been attempted multiple times by the likes of Anish Shurrosh etc. nobody could replicate the literary style of Quran. The author also seems to be unaware of the fact that Quran made a prophecy in 30:1-4 which goes as:
“The Romans have been defeated in the lowest land, but after their defeat they will themselves be victorious in a few years’ time. The affair is God’s from beginning to end.”
After seven years of the revelation of these verses in 627 A.D, Romans fought against the Persian empire and were defeated by them. A few months later, the Persians had to make an agreement with Byzantium, which obliged them to return the territories they had taken from it. The crucial stages of the war fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Persians, when the Byzantines were defeated and lost Jerusalem, had really taken place at the lowest point on earth. This specified region is the Dead Sea basin, which is situated at the intersection point of the lands belonging to Syria, Palestine, and Jordan. The dead sea being approximately 413 meters below sea level is the lowest dry region on earth.
The Quran also makes historically accurate references to different Egyptian rulers of different Egyptian dynasties i.e. ‘Pharoah’ from the 18th Dynasty and on during the time of Moses and ‘King’ before the 18th Dynasty during the time of Joseph.
The Quran also makes another prophecy in 111:1-5, which reads:
“Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab, and perish he! Neither his wealth benefited him, nor what he earned. He will soon enter a Fire, full of flames. And his wife as well, the wicked carrier of the firewood. Around her neck there is (a collar of iron, like) a well twisted rope.”
Ten years after, Abu Lahab died as an unbeliever in the Battle of Badr. All Abu Lahab had to do to disprove Quran on it’s authenticity was to say “I believe you now” and Quran would have been proven wrong. Abu Lahab lived for Ten years after the prophecy but he never even thought of becoming a Muslim.
The fact that Quran is the word of God can easily be established and one does not need a scientific yardstick to prove this point. Now let’s move on to the Bible. The author after his conclusion and final word (pp.255-260) moves on to Appendix I of his book, discussing the reliability of the Bible (pp.261-271). The Author first went on discuss the textual integrity of the Old Testament (pp.262-264). The Oldest Manuscript of the Hebrew Bible, the Masoretic Text, that dates to 10th-11th Century C.E. That is approximately 5000 years after Moses. How does one verify that it accurately reflect that it was actually inspired to Moses? The author never answered it. Also, the Earliest Manuscripts i.e. The Dead Sea Scrolls date around 250 B.C.E. If we consider that Moses lived around 1300 or 1400 B.C.E. then we have at least a 1000 years with no manuscripts. Also the proof of corruption of the text comes from the Bible itself.
“What, still boasting that you are wise, that the Lord’s law finds its home among you? Nay, but the scribes, with their false penmanship, have construed all amiss.” (Jeremiah 8:8)
Here is a detailed article on the above verse: “An examination of Jeremiah 8:8“
The author maintained his concentration on New Testament as Jesus supposedly preached from what there was. Five books of Moses are generally attributed to Moses but there is no certain verification of it.
“The Bible, thus called, is a compilation, or gathering into one volume, of sixty-six separate “little books,” or fragmentary “sacred” writings, from Genesis to Revelation. These sixty-six little books were written, or edited and compiled, in very different ages of the world, by wholly different, and mostly unknown persons, in different countries and languages, Hebrew and Greek principally; but, as is commonly supposed, by Jews invariably. Together they form the “sacred writings” of the later Hebrews and of the early Jewish and Pagan Christians-the name given, first at Antioch (Acts 11: 26 ), to the followers of the Jewish Jesus Christ.” (Is it God’s Word, Joseph Wheless)
“There is not existent in the world a single original book or manuscript of Hebrew or Christian Scriptures, containing the inspired Word of Yahveh. The most ancient manuscripts of the Hebrew texts date only from the eighth century of the era of Christ; while of the Christian books, said to have been written by the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost within the first century of the era, all, all are lost, and the oldest “copies” bear the marks of the fourth century.” (ibid.)
“The first and most obvious proof that the so-called ‘Five Books of’ Moses were not written by Moses, but date from a time many centuries after his reputed life and death, is very simple and indisputable. This proof consists of very numerous instances of what are called post-Mosaics, or “after-Moses” events, related in those books under the name of Moses as their inspired author events of which Moses of course could not have known or written, as they occurred long after his death.” (ibid.)
Also the Roman Catholic Bible contains 66 Books, Protestant Bible contains 73 Books, Canon of Greek Orthodox Church contains 77 Books, Canon of Coptic Church contains 29 Books, Canon of Ethiopic Church contains 81 Books. One asks, whose canon is divinely inspired?
The author then moves on to the text of the New Testament (pp.264-268). After discussing the Manuscripts and Variations, the author reaches to the conclusion and says:
“Indeed, again in the words of textual scholar F.F. Bruce: “By the ‘singular care and providence’ of God the Bible text has come down to us in such substantial purity that even the most uncritical edition of the Hebrew or Greek…cannot effectively obscure the real message of the Bible, or neutralize its saving power” (pp.268)
But that conclusion does not corroborate with conclusion that other scholars have reached. One of the such is contemporary Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman who writes:
“I studied the surviving Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. It is one thing to say that the originals were inspired, but the reality is that we don’t have the originals—so saying they were inspired doesn’t help me much, unless I can reconstruct the originals. Moreover, the vast majority of Christians for the entire history of the church have not had access to the originals, making their inspiration something of a moot point. Not only do we not have the originals, we don’t have the ﬁrst copies of the originals. We don’t even have copies of the copies of the originals, or copies of the copies of the copies of the originals. What we have are copies made later—much later. In most instances, they are copies made many centuries later. And these copies all differ from one another, in many thousands of places….these copies differ from one another in so many places that we don’t even know how many differences there are. Possibly it is easiest to put it in comparative terms: there are more differences among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.” (Bart Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus, page 10)
Even the early Church Fathers failed to reach the holy original text. The reasons were because on many occasions they defended the originality of the forged texts and could not tell which of the variant readings was original. Another author after studying the history of the text and efforts of the Church Fathers concludes:
“At the end of this survey, we will inevitably reach the conclusion that we have actually lost the words of the original authors of the New Testament, perhaps forever. And this means that we have lost confidence in these scriptures to tell us exactly what their authors wrote. We are left in the darkness, in the middle of a wilderness, with unending inquiries and innumerable hypotheses. There is no latitude for guessing what the authors wrote, because we cannot conjecture about the sayings of God, especially when studying a religious history so full of troubles and mysteries, and when the text acquired its authority from outside and changed in word and meaning as the society diversified into many varying religious affiliations.” (Sami Ameri, Hunting for the Word of God, page 93)
Sami Ameri further comments on the apologists’ assertion that the text does not detract the Message and writes:
“The apologists’ assertion that the new critical texts did not affect any element of the core of the Christian faith is too vague to be considered when we discuss the effect of the New Testament revolution in the field of textual criticism.” (Sami Ameri, Hunting for the Word of God, page 95)
Assertion that texts did not affect the core beliefs is entirely misleading. Addition of a few passages had turned an absolute Monotheistic faith which was propagated by Jesus into a Trinitarian Monotheistic dogma which is too much similar to the pagan doctrines of Hinduism and Greek Mythology.
“The term “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” was added to Matthew 28:18-20 at the end of the Fourth Century in order to establish compatibility with the idea of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity, which was made official in the Fourth Century, was added to the text written in the First Century. In this way, this text was made compatible with the order of the council. With these subsequent additions, a text which originally espoused monotheism, was turned into one pointing to the doctrine of the Trinity.” (Harun Yahya, Christians Must Heed Jesus, page 51)
Also Scholars contend that out of 400,000 variants, 90% of them are irrelevant. Thus, we are now left with 40,000 variants in the New Testament Greek Manuscripts which were important and could affect the core beliefs of Christian dogma.
“How important are the 5-10% of the textual variances in the NT? Some of them are giant! Here are a few examples:
1) Is the doctrine of the Trinity found in 1 John 5:7-8? It depends on which manuscript you read.
2) Did Jesus appear to any of his followers after the resurrection in the book of Mark? It depends on which manuscript you read. None of the earliest manuscripts have any appearances. The last 12 verses of the book of Mark (16:9-20) were inserted by later scribes who were disappointed that the apostles didn’t encounter Jesus following his resurrection according to this account.
3) Was Jesus so distressed in the Garden of Gethsemane that he sweats blood? It depends on which manuscript you read. Some later scribes were concerned that Jesus showed little passion in Luke’s Passion Narrative so they inserted into the Garden prayer a scene where Jesus sweated blood. (Luke 22:43-44)
4) In the Book of Luke, did Jesus say to God that the Jews should be forgiven? Did Jesus request, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34)? It depends on which manuscript you read. Early Christians interpreted this as a prayer of forgiveness for the Jews, ignorant of what they had done. No wonder some scribes deliberately deleted the verse in the second and third centuries, when many Christians believed that Jews knew exactly what they were doing and that God had in no way had forgiven them.
5) Did Jesus have an encounter with an adulterous woman and her accusers in which he told them, “Let the one without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her,” and in which he told her, after all her accusers had left, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more”? It depends on which manuscripts of John you read in chapter 7-8! The oldest manuscripts don’t have it. It was added later.
6) Did Luke understand that Jesus’ death was an atonement for sin? It depends on what you do with Luke 22:19– 20. Everywhere else in Luke and Acts, the author eliminated Mark’s references to Jesus’ death as an atonement. The only remnant of that teaching is in some manuscripts of the Lord’s Supper, where Jesus says that the bread is his body to be broken “for you” and the cup is his blood poured out “for you.” But in the earliest and best manuscripts, these words are missing (much of v. 19 and all of v. 20). Scribes have added them to make Luke’s view of Jesus’ death conform to Mark’s and Matthew’s. In other words, Luke disagreed with Mark and Matthew on one of the most important theological claims of the other gospels and Paul.
This variant questions whether Luke (whoever he was) believed that Jesus dies as a sacrifice for sin. It is not that Luke didn’t think that Jesus’ death was important. But he believed that if you think about Jesus’ death, you will repent. Thus, according to Luke, it is the repentance, NOT the sacrificial death of Jesus that atoned for sin. Meaning, without that later scribe addition, the author of Luke and Acts did not believe that Jesus died as an atoning sacrifice for your sins! Anyone would say that these variances are terrifically important for knowing what traditions about Jesus were in circulation among the early Christians.
7) After his resurrection, did Jesus tell his disciples that those who came to believe in him would be able to handle snakes and drink deadly poison without being harmed? It depends on which manuscripts of Mark you read.
8) Paul’s injunction to women to be “silent” in the churches and “subordinate” to their husbands was not originally part of 1 Corinthians 14:34– 35, but was added by later scribes intent on keeping women in their place. Is that significant error or not?” (“400,000 Variants in the NT Greek Manuscript”, online source, https://outreachjudaism.org/400000-variants-in-the-nt-greek-manuscript/ )
More info on Textual History of The Bible can be found at:
1. Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman
2. The Historical Introduction to the writings of the New Testament by Bart D. Ehrman
3. Hunting for the Word of God by Sami Ameri
4. Forged by Bart D. Ehrman
5. The Text of the New Testament by Bruce Metzger.
Coming back to our book review, the author then contends to another idiotic missionary argument that “the Quran itself offers both implicit and explicit endorsement of the integrity of the biblical text—at least in its condition at the time the Quran arose in the early seventh century.” (pp.269). The author then quoting some passages from 2:41-42, 46:8-12, 5:59, 5:66-69, 10:95 erroneously assumes that Quran is speaking of Gospel attributed to Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John and Biographical accounts of Prophets presented in the Old Testament. What the Quran actually points to what is revealed there in. Quran in no equivocal terms asserts that Bible has been a victim of corruption (2:79, 4:157). What the Islamic position is that Bible may contain the words of God but it is not 100% accurate. There remain only remnants of what might have been originals.
The author then moves on to Appendix II of the book regarding the inspiration of the Bible (pp.273-283) and approaches historically, archaeologically and scientifically. I will not delve into everything which the author brings up and succinctly deal with the main contentions.
First Proof that the Author brings up is
“First, the Bible does not contradict itself. No genuine error or discrepancy has ever been sustained, though critics have tried for centuries. The fact that the Bible, in its original autographs, is errorless proves its divine origin and places it in a class by itself, since the written productions of mere humans often contain errors.” (pp. 274)
Long ago, Muslim Scholar Shabir Ally had produced a booklet ‘101 Contradictions in the Bible’. In response Jay Smith and 3 other missionaries had written a joint reply to these discrepancies and while doing so, contradictions were admitted to have been there in the Bible. What the missionaries did was place them in the category of “copyist errors”. The Missionaries had tried long and bizzare explanations to overcome these contradictions but response was not satisfactory at all. Here are these nine undeniable contradictions in the Bible.
How old was Ahaziah when he began to rule over Jerusalem?
(a) Twenty-two (2 Kings 8:26).
(b) Forty-two (2 Chronicles 22:2).
How old was Jehoiachin when he became king of Jerusalem?
(a) Eighteen (2 Kings 24:8).
(b) Eight (2 Chronicles 36:9).
When David defeated the King of Zobah, how many horsemen did he capture?
(a) One thousand and seven hundred (2 Samuel 8:4).
(b) Seven thousand (1 Chronicles 18:4).
How many stalls for horses did Solomon have?
(a) Forty thousand (1 Kings 4:26).
(b) Four thousand (2 Chronicles 9:25).
In what year of King Asa’’s reign did Baasha, King of Israel die?
(a) Twenty-sixth year (1 Kings 15:33 – 16:8).
(b) Still alive in the thirty-sixth year (2 Chronicles 16:1).
Solomon built a facility containing how many baths?
(a) Two thousand (1 Kings 7:26).
(b) Over three thousand (2 Chronicles 4:5).
Ezra 2:64 and Nehemiah 7:66 agree that the total number of the whole assembly was 42,360. Yet the numbers do not add up to anything close. The totals obtained from each book is as follows:
(a) 29,818 (Ezra).
(b) 31, 089 (Nehemiah).
How many singers accompanied the assembly?
(a) Two hundred (Ezra 2:65).
(b) Two hundred and forty-five (Nehemiah 7:67).
Who killed Goliath?
(a) David (1 Samuel 17:23, 50).
(b) Elhanan (2 Samuel 21:19).
The accounts of Crucifixion also contradict each other. In the relevant passages from Mark 15:25, Matthew 27:45-46, Luke 23:44-46 and John 19:14-15 the time of Jesus’ (pbuh) supposed crucifixion differs from one another.
“It was nine in the morning when they crucified him.” (Mark 15:25)
“It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “My Lord, into Your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.” (Luke 23:44-46)
There is also contradictory information in the four Gospels about the last words of Jesus during his supposed crucifixion. Mark 15:34-37 and Matthew 27:46-50 say that Jesus called out:
“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”
In the Gospel of Luke, the supposed last words of Jesus are cited differently:
“Jesus called out with a loud voice, “God, into Your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.” (Luke 23:46)
In the Gospel of John, the statements on this subject are completely different:
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30)
Another Contradiction is in the chronological order regarding incident where Devil led Jesus upto the mountain and showing him kingdoms of the world,
“Next, the devil took him into the holy city, and there set him down on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 saying to him, If thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down to earth; for it is written, He has given charge to his angels concerning thee, and they will hold thee up with their hands, lest thou shouldst chance to trip on a stone. 7 Jesus said to him, But it is further written, Thou shalt not put the Lord thy God to the proof. 8 Once more, the devil took him to the top of an exceedingly high mountain, from which he shewed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, 9 and said, I will give thee all these if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:5-9)
“And the devil led him up on to a high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time; 6 I will give thee command, the devil said to him, over all these, and the glory that belongs to them; they have been made over to me, and I may give them to whomsoever I please; 7 come then, all shall be thine, if thou wilt fall down before me and worship. 8 Jesus answered him, It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God; to him only shalt thou do service. 9 And he led him to Jerusalem, and there set him down on the pinnacle of the temple; If thou art the Son of God, he said to him, cast thyself down from this to the earth.” (Luke 4:5-9)
There are more but these are sufficient for now. The Author then moves on to prove the Bible through a historical and Geographical lens (pp.275-277). The main contention is that the Bible does not make any error concerning History, Geography. However, This is not quite true.
The Bible refers to the King who reigned during the time of Joseph as ‘Pharoah’ about 90 times. Following is the example from Genesis 41:
“to eat up the fair promise of the other seven. Pharaoh, then, awoke from his dream, 8 and as soon as it was daylight, he sent in great confusion of mind for all the diviners and all the wise men of Egypt. When they answered his summons, he told them of his dream, without finding anyone who could interpret it.” (Genesis 41:7-8)
“So Pharaoh described what he had seen..” (Genesis 41:17)
More about historical errors in the Bible can be read here, here, here, here, and here.
The Third proof of Bible’s authenticity which the author brings up is ‘Predictive Prophecy’ (pp.277-278). The author writes “..prophecies were literally filled with minute detail, and their predictions often pertained to events far removed from themselves by hundreds of years.” (pp.277). There are several problems with these prophecies. The author brings about dozen of prophecies from the Old Covenant which were allegedly fulfilled by Jesus. I will respond to few of these prophecies here. First Prophecy which the author brings up appears in Genesis 22:18 and the author states that it predicts the upcoming of Jesus but when read in context, it doesn’t appear so. The context makes it clear that since Abraham had obeyed the command to sacrifice his son, God would bless his descendants.
“..they reached the place God had shewn him. And here he built an altar, and set the wood in order on it; then he bound his son Isaac and laid him down there on the altar, above the pile of wood. 10 And he reached out, and took up the knife, to slay his son. 11 But now, from heaven, an angel of the Lord called to him, Abraham, Abraham. And when he answered, Here am I, at thy command, 12 the angel said, Do the lad no hurt, let him alone. I know now that thou fearest God; for my sake thou wast ready to give up thy only son. 13 And Abraham, looking about him, saw behind him a ram caught by the horns in a thicket; this he took, and offered it as a burnt-sacrifice, instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that spot, The Lord’s Foresight; and the saying goes to this day, On the mountain top, the Lord will see to it. 15 Once more the angel of the Lord called to Abraham out of heaven; and he said, 16 This message the Lord has for thee: I have taken an oath by my own name to reward thee for this act of thine, when thou wast ready to give up thy only son for my sake. 17 More and more will I bless thee, more and more will I give increase to thy posterity, till they are countless as the stars in heaven, or the sand by the sea shore; thy children shall storm the gates of their enemies; 18 all the races of the world shall find a blessing through thy posterity, for this readiness of thine to do my bidding.” (Genesis 22:9-18)
Another reason that this Genesis 22:18 can not be referring to Jesus because the passage in Genesis says that all races of the world shall find a blessing through thy posterity, but Jesus rejected that notion and stated that he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24).
Second Prophecy the author brings up is of Genesis 49:10 which reads:
“Juda shall not want a branch from his stem, a prince drawn from his stock, until the day when he comes who is to be sent to us, he, the hope of the nations.”
The Problem with this prophecy is that Jesus was born of a blessed virgin, and lineages of Jesus’ ancestry in both Luke 3:23-38 and Matthew 1:1-17 trace through his father Joseph. Also, since Jews do not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, their tradition mentions that Jesus was fathered by a Gentile. Thus this prophecy cannot allude to Jesus.
Another Prophecy mentioned by the author is mentioned in Isaiah 7:14 where it states that a maid shall bear a son whose name shall be Immanuel. The author says that it refers to the virgin birth of Jesus but the difficulty with this is that Jesus is never called Immanuel in the New Testament. Neither did he make any claim to be Immanuel. The context of Isaiah 7 shows that sign shall be born as a sign to King Ahaz and this prophecy was fulfilled in Isaiah 8:3-4 where a prophetess conceived and bore a son. Jesus was born some seven centuries later. Also, the Hebrew word used in Isaiah 7 is ‘almah’ which means young woman. The word for virgin is ‘Bethula’. For detailed articles on Isaiah 7, please click on the following two articles, here, and here.
Next Prophecy which the author mentions is in Micah 5:2 where Micah supposedly predicted the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem Ephrathah which did occur when we read Matthew 2:5-6 but Jesus did not fullfill this prophecy as Micah 5:2 states that the Prince shall rule over Israel. Jesus never ruled over Israel.
Another Prophecy is of Jesus betrayal for thirty pieces mentioned in Zechariah 11:12 which was supposedly fulfilled in Matthew 26:15. But Matthew makes an error when quoting the passage from Zechariah and quotes Jeremiah 32:9 instead in the next chapter.
“And so the word was fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet Jeremy, when he said, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of one who was appraised, for men of the race of Israel appraised him.” (Matthew 27:9)
But here is what Jeremiah actually says:
“and buy it I did, this field at Anathoth, from Hanameel, that was son to my uncle Sellum. I paid him the price, that was but seventeen pieces of silver.” (Jeremiah 32:9)
Narratives of betrayal are not consistent at all.
The last main prophecy the author brings is the missionary’s favourite Psalms 22:16 (pp.278) which supposedly said that his hands and feet would be pierced. This is the Crucifixion account which is supposedly predicted in Psalms 22. However, The problem lies with the Hebrew wording of the text. Christians deliberately mistranslated the text in Psalms 22:16 and made out of it something like this:
“For dogs have compassed me, the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.”
But the Hebrew word used in the text is ‘Kaari’ which simply means ‘like a lion’ and the correct translation of the text renders as such:
“For dogs have encompassed me; a company of evildoers have enclosed me; like a lion, they are at my hands and my feet.”
Christians deliberately mistranslated the text as ‘they pierced’ to render it as prediction of crucifixion of Jesus but the text when translated correctly comes nothing close to mentioning the Cruci-Fiction event. For further information on this, see the following articles, here, here and here.
The Author then moves on to his fourth contention of Bible containing Scientific Marvels in the Bible. The knowledge that couldn’t have found it’s way into the text unless guided by the Divine inspiration. One doesn’t help but simply be astonished by the naive approach which the author has taken in this section. First supposed Marvel which the author finds in the Bible is mentioned in pp.278. The author writes:
“How did Moses (Genesis 15:5) and Jeremiah (33:22) know that the stars are literally innumerable— like the grains of sand on the sea shore?For most of the world’s history, astronomers came up with figures ranging from the hundreds to about a thousand (Hipparchus—150 B.C.—1,026 stars; Ptolemy—A.D.150— 1,056 stars; Kepler—A.D.1600—1,005 stars). All of these men lived prior to the invention of the telescope, and so relied upon human eyesight. Astronomers now know that there are billions of stars(and the counting continues). How could the writers of the Bible have known the number of stars to be innumerable?”
The Argument itself is laughable as Genesis 15:5 and Jeremiah 33:22 mention nothing of stars “literally” being innumerable. This is the kind of deceptive approach that Christian and even some of the Muslim apologists use to impress the gullible audience who are unaware even of basics of science. Even a 9 years old kid who looks it into the sky at night would think of the stars as innumerable. That wouldn’t mean that the kid is guided by divine wisdom. Also, Moses and Jeremiah were not astronomers who had spent their lives exploring the stars and galaxy. Not to mention that the mentioned passages in Genesis 15:5 and Jeremiah 33:22 use the term ‘as innumerable as stars’ in a poetic fashion talking about the prospering of the descendants of Abraham and the Levites respectively.
“Whereupon the Lord sent word to him, This man shall not succeed thee; thou shalt have an heir sprung from thy own body. 5 Then he took him out of doors, and said to him, Look up at the sky, and count, if thou canst, the stars in it; thy race, like these, shall be numberless. 6 So Abram put his faith in God, and it was reckoned virtue in him.” (Genesis 15:4-6)
“My servant David, the Levites that wait on me, these shall have a posterity countless as the stars of heaven, measureless as the sea-sand.” (Jeremiah 33:22)
Where does it prophecies a scientific fact which was to be established later on? These are simply hyperbolic verses meant to exaggerate the importance of Abrahamic and Davidic families. Also the stars are not innumerable in the visible universe. A study done by Astrophysicists Pieter Van Dokkum and Charles Conroy suggests that there are 300 Sextillion. A 3 that is followed by 23 zeroes or 3 trillion times 100 billion.
So if we take Biblical passages literally, it fails here. The author then moves on to use Physics as a yardstick to prove the authenticity of the Bible. The author writes:
“In the field of physics, Bible writers referred to both the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics.The First Law states that matter is neither being created nor destroyed.This fact is so affirmed in Genesis 2:1,which notes that God “finished” His creative activity (i.e.,completed it once and for all).The Second Law of Thermodynamics (or the Law of Entropy) states that the Universe is running down and that energy is being converted into less-usable forms.But passages like Isaiah 51:6, Psalm 102:26, and Hebrews 1:11 long ago indicated that the Earth and the heavens are wearing out. The verses liken the process to clothing that wears out.While the scientific community has only recently recognized these two laws,the writers of the Bible reported these facts long ago.” (pp.279)
The Author reads in to the Biblical verses to find about any thing to prove Bible as authentic. When we read Genesis 2:1, it simply states that God finished designing of heavens and the earth in seventh day. There’s no reference to the first law of thermodynamics. The second passage where he finds ‘Second Law of Thermodynamics’ is from Psalm 102:26. But when we read it contextually, the Psalmist simply compares the frailty and mortality of everything existing with the all powerful God. Psalms 102 reads:
“See how this life of mine passes away like smoke, how this frame wastes like a tinder! Drained of strength, like grass the sun scorches, I leave my food untasted, forgotten; I am spent with sighing, till my skin clings to my bones. I am no better than a pelican out in the desert, an owl on some ruined dwelling; I keep mournful watch, lonely as a single sparrow on the house top. I shrink before thy vengeful anger, so low thou hast brought me, who didst once lift me so high. Like a tapering shadow my days dwindle, wasting away, like grass in the sun! What, my God, wilt thou snatch me away, my life half done? Age after age thy years endure; it was thou, Lord, that didst lay the foundations of earth when time began, it was thy hand that built the heavens. They will perish, but thou wilt remain; they will all be like a cloak that grows threadbare, and thou wilt lay them aside like a garment, and exchange them for new.” (Psalms 102:3-6,11-12,25-28)
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Entropy is defined as:
“the measure of a system’s thermal energy per unit temperature that is unavailable for doing useful work. Because work is obtained from ordered molecular motion, the amount of entropy is also a measure of the molecular disorder, or randomness, of a system.” (Encyclopedia Britannica – “Entropy” by Gordon W.F. Drake, online source, https://www.britannica.com/science/entropy-physics )
How is any of that is found in Psalms 102:26? At most, it is saying that sometime in future earth shall perish and that is sound to be a prophetic insight to a scientific phenomena mentioned in Psalms. But there are other passages that contradicts the one given by the author.
“never will I be guilty of unfaithfulness, never will I violate my covenant, or alter the decree once spoken. 36 Pledged stands my inviolable word, I will never be false to David; 37 his posterity shall continue for ever, 38 his royalty, too, shall last on in my presence like the sun; like the moon’s eternal orb, that bears witness in heaven unalterable.” (Psalms 89:35-37)
“And there he built his sanctuary, immovable as heaven or earth, his own unchanging handiwork.” (Psalms 78:69)
“The earth thou hast planted on its own firm base, undisturbed for all time.” (Psalms 104:5)
“Those who trust in the Lord are strong as mount Sion itself, that stands 2 unmoved for ever.” (Psalms 125:1)
“Praise him, you highest heavens, you waters beyond the heavens. 5 Let all these praise the Lord; it was his command that created them. 6 He has set them there unageing for ever, given them a law which cannot be altered.” (Psalms 148:4-6)
“Age succeeds age, and the world goes on unaltered.” (Ecclesiastes 1:4)
There are too much contradictions in Psalms and obviously, no such allusion to Second Law of Thermodynamics is made.
The author then moves on to field of medicine and writes “In the field of medicine, the Bible long ago affirmed that,
“the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11-14).Yet,for centuries, the medical world practiced “blood-letting” on the theory that ailments and sickness are the result of “humors” in the blood…. In emergency situations, medical personnel immediately insert an I-V and take measures to bolster the condition of the blood. How did Moses know that blood is the key to life?” (pp.279)
The author here portrays Moses as some kind of illiterate person who didn’t know about the significance of the blood in human body. To know that blood is vital to health in such an ancient time is not a marvel. If one has an arm chopped off his body and lost too much blood, it’s obvious that he’s going to die. It was something observable. Also to say that blood-letting was practiced through ignorance is as further from the truth as it could get. The practice of blood letting actually proves that ancient people were just as curious as we are. They were not as primitive and simple-minded as many people think of them to be. This practice led to the decline of a more ancient belief that evil spirit was the cause of sickness and ailments. A belief which has depictions in the text of the New Testament of Jesus casting out demons.
“And when evening came, they brought to him many persons who were possessed; and he cast out the evil spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick.” (Matthew 8:16)
“And he healed many that were afflicted with diseases of every sort, and cast out many devils; to the devils he would give no leave to speak, because they recognized him.” (Mark 1:34)
The author then provides some more irrelevant arguments (pp.280-283) to prove the Bible’s inspiration concerning it’s supposed internal unity and alleged stylistic commonalities which can all be easily refuted.
In the end, it was another cheap polemical piece of work with most of the arguments plagiarized from anti-Islamic websites. All black and white arguments under the cloak of ‘Unbiased’ research. Nothing new was presented. Simply put, a waste of 290 pages.
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