Preposition Errors in the Qur'an

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A preposition links nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence. The word or phrase that the preposition introduces is called the object of the preposition. A preposition usually indicates the temporal, spatial or logical relationship of its object to the rest of the sentence as in the following examples:

  • The book is on the table.
  • The book is beneath the table.
  • The book is leaning against the table.
  • The book is beside the table.
  • She held the book over the table.
  • She read the book during class.

In each of the preceding sentences, a preposition locates the noun "book" in space or in time.[1]

Propositional (Symbolic) Logic

Propositional (symbolic) logic is a statement that affirms or denies something using formal symbolic language. The affirmation is often an inference of a fact based on pre-existing prepositions (assumptions).

The most common symbols used are:

  • Conjunctive symbol: and
  • Disjunctive symbol: or
  • Implication symbol: then

Predicate (Prepositional) Logic

Predicate (prepositional) logic is a subset of propositional logic. When you make an assumption (a predicate or a preposition) and infer new predicates out of existing predicates.

  • If one says: "Take the orange and the apple", it means take both the apple and the orange.
  • If one says: "Take the orange or the apple", it means take one or the other or both.
  • If one says: "Take the orange then the apple", it means take both, but take the orange first, or take the apple last.

Propositional Logic and Qur'an 4:3

How does the Quran handle predicates? If it is the grammatically perfect miracle that apologists claim, then it should have no logic errors within it.

Transliteration: "fainkihoo ma taba lakum mina alnnisa-i mathna wathulatha warubaAAa"

Yusuf Ali: .. marry women of your choice, Two or three or four;..

Pickthal: .. marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four;

Shakir: .. marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four;
  • Yusuf Ali and Pikthal are both using "or". Shakir is using "and".
  • The Arabic version is using "and" (the transliteration of 4:3 is using the conjuntive symbol wa (and)).
  • Thus this verse is telling men that they can marry two and three and four women. The total happens to be nine women, whereas Islamic law allows maximum four.
  • A grammatically correct verse should be using the disjunctive symbol aw (or); "Marry two or three or four."
  • If one were to re-write 4:3 and correct the logic mistake, then the Qur'anic challenge to write a 'better verse' would be met.


  • It is a common occurrence to find propositional errors in the writing of humans
  • but the Qur'an should contain no such errors.

These types of errors can be readily used against the perfection of the Qur'an.

  • They can be used against anyone challenging others to present a better verse.
  • This is a major problem that apologists face. They claim the Qur'an is exactly the same as the day it was revealed; every sentence, every letter. Because of this, the grammatical and factual errors of the Arabic Qur'an cannot be ignored.
  • English translators can correct the Qur'an author's mistakes, but the original Arabic remains; disproving the claim of a "perfect Revelation".

See Also

  • Misinterpreted Verses - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Misinterpreted Verses
  • Polygamy - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Polygamy


  1. Heather MacFadyen, "What is a Preposition?", University of Ottawa, accessed January 7, 2014 (archived),