WikiIslam:Sandbox/Logical Errors and Other Issues in the Qur'an

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That Book

Arabic: ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ
Arberry translation: That is the Book, wherein is no doubt, a guidance to the godfearing
Word to word: That (is) the book no doubt in it, a Guidance for the God-conscious.

The most trusted translators have rendered the first two words of surah 2 verse 2 (ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ) incorrectly as "This book" instead of "That book". The reason is obvious; the Qur'an confuses the reader if it refers to itself as "that" book. One may wonder which book the Qur'an is trying to refer to.

Tense: Allah will teach Jesus

She said: My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal hath touched me? He said: So (it will be). Allah createth what He will. If He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is.
And He will teach him the Scripture and wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel,
And will make him a messenger unto the Children of Israel, (saying): Lo! I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird, by Allah's leave. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by Allah's leave. And I announce unto you what ye eat and what ye store up in your houses. Lo! herein verily is a portent for you, if ye are to be believers.

This is either a tense error or lack of clarity due to absence of inverted commas/quotes.


Lo! Allah preferred Adam and Noah and the Family of Abraham and the Family of 'Imran above (all His) creatures. They were descendants of each other. Allah is Hearer, Knower.

Four people or families cannot be descendants of each other. An ascendant has a descendant and vice versa. Adam cannot be anybody's descendant.

Revelations for whom?

And those who have no knowledge say: Why doth not Allah speak unto us, or some sign come unto us? Even thus, as they now speak, spake those (who were) before them. Their hearts are all alike. We have made clear the revelations for people who are sure.

Why does Allah need to make his signs clear to people who are sure/believers/Muslims? Is'nt he supposed to give proofs to those who are unsure and to non-Muslims?

Many prophets fought for Allah's cause

How many of the prophets fought (in Allah's way), and with them (fought) Large bands of godly men? but they never lost heart if they met with disaster in Allah's way, nor did they weaken (in will) nor give in. And Allah Loves those who are firm and steadfast.

There is no historical basis for the claim that many prophets (from the Jewish and Christian scriptures) fought for Allah's cause. They were never associated with warfare, jihad or forced conversion of others to their own religion. They never raised armies as this verse claims.

Also notice that "in Allah's way" is not in the original Arabic text. So the verse may have referred to some other form of fighting, but what form of fighting it describes is unclear.

Jesus talking from his Cradle

(And remember) when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a word from him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah). He will speak unto mankind in his cradle and in his manhood, and he is of the righteous.

Pure spouses

Witness for a Will

O ye who believe! When death approaches any of you, (take) witnesses among yourselves when making bequests,- two just men of your own (brotherhood) or others from outside if ye are journeying through the earth, and the chance of death befalls you (thus). If ye doubt (their truth), detain them both after prayer, and let them both swear by Allah: "We wish not in this for any worldly gain, even though the (beneficiary) be our near relation: we shall hide not the evidence before Allah: if we do, then behold! the sin be upon us!" But if it gets known that these two were guilty of the sin (of perjury), let two others stand forth in their places,- nearest in kin from among those who claim a lawful right: let them swear by Allah: "We affirm that our witness is truer than that of those two, and that we have not trespassed (beyond the truth): if we did, behold! the wrong be upon us!"

The first verse is fine as far as swearing is concerned but the next assumes that the witnesses' lies are caught before the person dies. If they are caught after the person's death, replacing them is pointless and the will also cannot be supported by a true witness.

All-Knowing Allah asks questions

And when Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst thou say unto mankind: Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah? he saith: Be glorified! It was not mine to utter that to which I had no right. If I used to say it, then Thou knewest it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know not what is in Thy Mind. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Knower of Things Hidden?

An all knowing-deity asks a question but he needs to be reminded by Jesus that he already knows the answer.

The only purpose of prophets

Pickthall: We send not the messengers save as bearers of good news and warners. Whoso believeth and doeth right, there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.
Yusuf Ali: We send the messengers only to give good news and to warn: so those who believe and mend (their lives),- upon them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

This limitation contradicts our knowledge of Muhammad. He grabbed political and military power in Arabia.

Having a Son Without a Wife

To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: How can He have a son when He hath no consort? He created all things, and He hath full knowledge of all things.

An almighty God who is capable of doing anything can logically have a son without a consort. He may also define a "son" in his own sense. But this verse compares him with the human way of reproduction (the need of an opposite sex) in order to rule out Allah having a son.

From among you


"O ye Children of Adam! whenever there come to you messengers from amongst you, rehearsing My signs unto you,- those who are righteous and mend (their lives),- on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve."

Allah's use of prepositions

This is a subtle error but it shows that Allah is far from being an all-knowing god.

Remember how the Unbelievers plotted against you [Muhammad], to keep you in bonds, or slay you, or get you out (of your home). They deceive, and Allah too deceives; but the best of deceivers is Allah.”

Allah should have used "and" instead of "or" if the Meccans really plotted such punishments for Muhammad. With the two uses of "or" it appears as if he is guessing what the Meccans had plotted.

Change of the listener

He said: Be gone! for whoever of them will follow you, then surely hell is your recompense, a full recompense.
And beguile whomsoever of them you can with your voice, and collect against them your forces riding and on foot, and share with them in wealth and children, and hold out promises to them; and the Shaitan makes not promises to them but to deceive.

The listener suddenly changes from Satan to probably his followers. The second "them" is unclear and disputed among classical Islamic scholars. This is also a possible taqiyya verse.

Dhul Qarnin and the people who hardly understood words

Till, when he came between the two mountains, he found upon their hither side a folk that scarce could understand a saying. They said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Lo! Gog and Magog are spoiling the land. So may we pay thee tribute on condition that thou set a barrier between us and them? He said: That wherein my Lord hath established me is better (than your tribute). Do but help me with strength (of men), I will set between you and them a bank. Give me pieces of iron - till, when he had levelled up (the gap) between the cliffs, he said: Blow! - till, when he had made it a fire, he said: Bring me molten copper to pour thereon. And (Gog and Magog) were not able to surmount, nor could they pierce (it). He said: This is a mercy from my Lord; but when the promise of my Lord cometh to pass, He will lay it low, for the promise of my Lord is true.

Dhul Qarnain meets a tribe that hardly understands a word. Yet, a long conversation with them follows and it is well-understood.

All other gods will burn in Hell

Lo! ye (idolaters) and that which ye worship beside Allah are fuel of hell. Thereunto ye will come. If these had been gods they would not have come thither, but all will abide therein.

This verse can have two meanings. One is that other gods exist (in contradiction to monotheism, the main argument of Islam). If this is not true then the other meaning is that the idols of these false gods will burn in hell which is an absurdity. What if someone worships a formless god but does not call him Allah? How can that god be burnt in hell?

Infinite Loop

Pickthall: And lo! it is a revelation of the Lord of the Worlds, Which the True Spirit hath brought down Upon thy heart, that thou mayst be (one) of the warners, In plain Arabic speech. And lo! it is in the Scriptures of the men of old.
Shakir: And most surely this is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds. The Faithful Spirit has descended with it, Upon your heart that you may be of the warners in plain Arabic language. And most surely the same is in the scriptures of the ancients.

The Qur'an says that it is in the ancient scriptures. That means this verse (26:196) should also be present in the scripture sent by Allah before the Qur'an. Then in that book, it means the Qur'an and verse 26:196 should be present in the previous book too. And so on and so forth. We enter an infinite loop that goes back in time forever. This is itself an impossibility.

Jesus pays Alms till he is Alive but he is never Crucified

And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger - they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise.
He spake: Lo! I am the slave of Allah. He hath given me the Scripture and hath appointed me a Prophet, "And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live;

These two verses have a humorous consequence. Jesus starts talking while in his cradle that he will pay alms till he is alive. Taking this and verse 4:157 into consideration, Jesus is still paying alms in heaven. We must wonder who is getting these alms. It is clear that Jesus has been paying for nearly 2000 years if Muslims are correct in claiming that he did not die.

Lot's Wife or an Old Woman

They said: "If thou desist not, O Lut! thou wilt assuredly be cast out!" He said: "I detest your doings." "Oh my Lord! deliver me and my family from such things as they do!" So We delivered him and his family, - all except an old woman who lingered behind. But the rest We destroyed utterly.
But We saved him [Lot] and his family, except his wife: her We destined to be of those who lagged behind.

Firstly, there is a contradiction about who lagged behind, an old woman or Lot's wife. If they are one and the same, it is not befitting for Allah to call her "an old woman." The other issue is that Allah wanted this woman to die for no apparent reason other than it being her predestination.

Cause of Lightning

And among His Signs, He shows you the lightning, by way both of fear and of hope, and He sends down rain from the sky and with it gives life to the earth after it is dead:

The Quran claims that Lightning is a sign of Allah, it frightens people and gives them hope. But lightning is a complex electrical phenomenon and only somebody without this knowledge would simply attribute it to Allah.

Trees-Pens analogy

And if all the trees on earth were pens and the ocean (were ink), with seven oceans behind it to add to its (supply), yet would not the words of Allah be exhausted (in the writing): for Allah is Exalted in Power, full of Wisdom.

In such a case, it is difficult to understand why Allah stops after just 6000 verses and gives them as the last revelation to mankind through the last prophet.

Solomon's death

Then, when We decreed (Solomon's) death, nothing showed them his death except a little worm of the earth, which kept (slowly) gnawing away at his staff: so when he fell down, the Jinns saw plainly that if they had known the unseen, they would not have tarried in the humiliating Penalty (of their Task).

The Jinns are working for Solomon and obeying his orders but he dies standing. They dont know it for a long time, even though he stopped talking. Both of these claims are unbelievable.

Rainfall and Resurrection

The author of the Qur'an claims several times that rainfall brings trees of a dead land to life, so in the same way, people will be brought back to life. This is a non-sequitur fallacy. One is a natural process; the other is not possible, hence it cannot be deduced from the first.

It is Allah Who sends forth the Winds, so that they raise up the Clouds, and We drive them to a land that is dead, and revive the earth therewith after its death: even so (will be) the Resurrection!
That sends down (from time to time) rain from the sky in due measure;- and We raise to life therewith a land that is dead; even so will ye be raised (from the dead);-
And among His Signs in this: thou seest the earth barren and desolate; but when We send down rain to it, it is stirred to life and yields increase. Truly, He Who gives life to the (dead) earth can surely give life to (men) who are dead. For He has power over all things.


Nothing is said to thee that was not said to the messengers before thee: that thy lord has at his Command (all) forgiveness as well as a most Grievous Penalty.

Freudian slips

First person/third person

Confusion over the identity of the speaker

And in whatsoever ye differ, the verdict therein belongeth to Allah. Such is my Lord, in Whom I put my trust, and unto Whom I turn.

That which covered them

Pickthall: And Al-Mu'tafikah He destroyed. So that there covered them that which did cover.

Shakir: And the overthrown cities did He overthrow, So there covered them that which covered.

Arberry And the Subverted City He also overthrew, so that there covered it that which covered.
Quran 53:53-54 See also:

Mesenger or Messengers?

And Pharaoh and those before him, and the communities that were destroyed, brought error. And they disobeyed the messenger of their Lord, therefore did He grip them with a tightening grip.

50,000 Year Journey

The angels and the spirit ascend unto him in a Day the measure whereof is (as) fifty thousand years:

Many apologists claim that this verse is about the day of judgement like its preceding and succeding verses but it is written in the present tense. Others assume that it is a miracle predicting the theory of relativity and differences in timeframes etc. Even if it is a miracle, its only meaning can be that angels take 50,000 human years to reach God, which is very slow, given he is omnipresent.


Other than the proven historical errors, the Qur'an makes many claims about people and events from pre-Islamic narratives. It simply presumes or asserts that all of them were real historical figures and events. A few examples are: souls of Adam's descendants came out of his loins before their earthly birth,[1] Abraham initially built the Ka'aba in Mecca,[2] Moses rescued his followers from a hostile pharaoh in Egypt, Satan inflicted Job (Ayub) with many punishments until Allah came to his rescue,[3] Allah gave some Psalms to David,[4] Jinns accepted Islam after listening to a Quranic recitation,[5] and so on.

Modern historians have rejected some of these stories outright; the rest of the stories either lack evidence and consensus to be accepted as truth or are dubbed as exaggerations (e.g. Moses). The burden of proof is on Allah, the Qur'an and Muslims in the light of making such claims. Unfortunately, they have been unable to provide any satisfactory proof for the same.