Why I am not a Muslim
When considering the proposition ‘The Quran cannot be the word of God’ we must found our rejection of Islam as a whole on purely rational grounds and not emotional of psychological reasons. The question is simply whether the Quran is a revelation of God. So while it may be true the conservative Muslim (https://www.jihadwatch.org/islam-101 ) believes in Jihad, Sharia law and the union of ‘church & state’ and that the use of violence (in connection with a caliphate https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/03/what-isis-really-wants/384980/; note the offensive and defensive view of Jihad https://www.brookings.edu/articles/isis-vs-al-qaeda-jihadisms-global-civil-war/ ) is a good and intregal tool to bring about this subjugation of unbelievers. And that to be nice and friendly (Surah 3:28 http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=3&verse=28 ) to Jews and Christians in such a time that violence is not the best tactic is only to allow for the promulgation of Islam until violence and force can be exacted successfully upon the public (see Muhammad in Mecca versus in Medina). Or whether the Quran is a violent book teaching violence toward non-Muslims (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVh_GlM2tro ; https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-09-02-0315 ). This is not a rational basis to reject Islam. Moral objection to the Quran’s polygamy and beating 1 of your 4 allowed wives (Surah 4:3, except for Muhammed Surah 33:50 who was allowed, by revelation 11-15 some sources have 9 at once one of which was nine years old when the marriage was consummated- Aisha) as necessary to punish them (4:34), is not evidence against Islam’s truthfulness. Or that Muhammad’s revelations seem self-serving- such as while it was not culturally accepted in that day to marry a divorced wife of an adopted son, when Muhammad lusted after Zaynab the wife of Zayd his adopted son Zayd agreed to divorce her so Muhammad could add her to his harem. It was then revealed to Muhammad that he should marry her to show that it was ok because an adopted son is not a real son (33:37-8; Apparently that region suffered from a scourge of men unnecessarily afraid to marry divorced wives of their adopted sons?) This action permanently damaged adoption as a practice in Islamic society (James White- What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an pg.40-4). Another example of apparent self-serving prophecies is the eternal revelation from Allah for guests to Muhammad’s house not to overstay their visit lest they annoy the Prophet (33:53). To the contrary if the Quran is the word of God then these things are good and morally acceptable and should not be questioned.
Likewise if we are being asked to believe Muhammad we should have valid reasons. Some people are enchanted by numerical miracles in the Quran as confirmation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–L_tQDQdcc; http://www.quranspeaks.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Number-19-in-the-Quran.pdf ; others are not impressed- https://www.scribd.com/doc/24959698/The-Miracle-of-19-Debunked ), and while this may indicate a supernatural involvement with the revealing of the Quran it does not indicate what supernatural influence or the purpose behind a miracle (choosing a delusion-2 Sam.24:1, 1 Chr.21:1, Mt.24:24). This is why rational thoughts and ideas must be examined. Being asked to believe the Quran because it is clear and perspicuous (Surah 11:1, 12:1, 15:1, 24:46, 26:2, 27:1, 28:2, 57:9) is not an adequate reason to believe it is divinely inspired. I don’t personally find this to be the case; which is not uncommon and apparently why those Muslims holding to a ‘Quran Only’ form of Islam are considered heretics by the majority of Muslims through history (http://www.themodernreligion.com/misc/cults/anti_muslim_hadithrejectors.html ). They believe the Hadiths are necessary to interpret the Quran correctly- https://wikiislam.net/wiki/Qur%27an_Only_Islam_-_Why_it_is_Not_Possible, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quranism . Many Muslims seem to think that proof of Islam is demonstrated from an attack on Christianity. They usually try to point out errors in bible transmission copies over millennia, difficulties in the bible, the problem understanding the Trinity and the incarnation of the Lord Jesus as somehow proving Islam by default.
Neither are inconsistencies by Muslims evidence against the Quran. For example, when Muslims appeal to secular naturalistic scholars to attack the New Testament while not applying these same arguments to the Quran- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMJRsd8SrhU ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-q68jSZRrs; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlGZdiSnuxU ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2VIboXzlfM. Or when Muslims cast aspersion upon the gospel writers because of the possibility of embellishment over time, but accept Hadith literature subject to the same criticism (e.g. Bukhari wrote more than 200 years after Muhammad- https://wikiislam.net/wiki/Sahih_Bukhari but is considered authoritative- https://wikiislam.net/wiki/Hadith_(definition) .
What we should do as Christians in pointing out the reasons for belief in Christ as the Son of God (Jn.20:31, Lk.1:3-4,1 Jn.5:13) and casting down all imaginations against him (2 Cor.10:5) is not slander (e.g. straw man fallacies, logical errors, double standards) the enemies of the cross of Christ and bring reproach upon his name; rather let us suffer his reproach, not as evil doers (1 Pt.4:14-16). And speaking the truth in love (Eph.4:15) not deceitfully (Jer.48:10, Job 13:7, 2 Cor.4:2).
There are several reasons why Islam should be rejected as irrational, and that it does not provide us with the preconditions for intelligibility, suffering from contradictions. In other words, it gives us reasons to not trust reasoning itself. For example, in the Quran is the view that Allah is entirely merciful (Surah 1:1 http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=1&verse=1 ) because he has “decreed upon Himself mercy” or “prescribed for Himself mercy” or “He has ordained mercy on Himself” or “decreed upon Himself mercy” (6:12 http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=6&verse=12 ). He is merciful because he so decided, not that he decided because he is merciful. This would indicate that his mercy is not eternal if he decreed or prescribed it, which involves time. This voluntaristic view of God (also leads to Occasionalism which destroyed scientific study in Islamic history -History of Western Philosophy, Russel- Pg.419-20) is further confirmed by the fact the if Allah so willed he could destroy Jesus and Mary both honored and righteous people (Surah 3:45-8) already in paradise with Allah (5:116). Consider this passage- Surah 5:17 in these seven English translations:
Sahih International: They have certainly disbelieved who say that Allah is Christ, the son of Mary. Say, “Then who could prevent Allah at all if He had intended to destroy Christ, the son of Mary, or his mother or everyone on the earth?” And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them. He creates what He wills, and Allah is over all things competent.
Pickthall: They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. Say: Who then can do aught against Allah, if He had willed to destroy the Messiah son of Mary, and his mother and everyone on earth? Allah’s is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He createth what He will. And Allah is Able to do all things.
Yusuf Ali: In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: “Who then hath the least power against Allah, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all every – one that is on the earth? For to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For Allah hath power over all things.”
Shakir: Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely, Allah– He is the Messiah, son of Marium. Say: Who then could control anything as against Allah when He wished to destroy the Messiah son of Marium and his mother and all those on the earth? And Allah’s is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and what is between them; He creates what He pleases; and Allah has power over all things,
Muhammad Sarwar: Those who have said that the Messiah, son of Mary, is God, have, in fact, committed themselves to disbelief. (Muhammad), ask them, “Who can prevent God from destroying the Messiah, his mother and all that is in the earth?” To God belongs all that is in the heavens, the earth, and all that is between them. God creates whatever He wants and He has power over all things.
Mohsin Khan: Surely, in disbelief are they who say that Allah is the Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary). Say (O Muhammad SAW): “Who then has the least power against Allah, if He were to destroy the Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary), his mother, and all those who are on the earth together?” And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them. He creates what He wills. And Allah is Able to do all things.
Arberry: They are unbelievers who say, ‘God is the Messiah, Mary’s son.’ Say: ‘Who then shall overrule God in any way if He desires to destroy the Messiah, Mary’s son, and his mother, and all those who are on earth?’ For to God belongs the kingdom of the heavens and of the earth, and all that is between them, creating what He will. God is powerful over everything.
Here the point is made that Allah can do what he wills and no one can stop him even destroying Jesus and Mary and everyone on earth if he chose. What also would follow is that if Allah could prescribe for himself mercy then likewise he could prescribe for himself justice (even inventing what that is). For if he could destroy the righteous from Paradise were he to so choose then, there would be no just reward (Surah 18:30-31, 11:23, 35:7) or expectation of him to keep his word rather than changing it. Which is in line with Muslims never knowing if they will be forgiven ultimately (Who could know? If Allah can choose to destroy the most righteous, what hope have we?). However, if we grant a more Christian view of God we might argue that the verse just means that since everyone is a sinner, God showing mercy to anyone is an act of his freewill, He only being obligated to judge sin. But Islam denies men are born sinners and they believe all of the prophets of Allah are sinless (http://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-scholar/muslim-creed/are-all-prophets-infallible/; http://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/muslim-belief-jesus-sinless/ ; study Ismah- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ismah ). Taking the view that Allah was saying that he could destroy Jesus while he was on earth (or in heaven) even though he was a sinless and righteous man, we have problems with justice and Allah destroying the righteous for no reason other than his will. You can’t know what Allah might do. Even changing his will may not be a lie, although the effect is the same. By contrast in Christianity God cannot do certain things because of his nature- such as lie or change (Heb.6:18, Mal.3:6). You might say Allah is known as ‘I WILL’ where Jehovah in scripture is known as I AM- Ex.3:14.
Allah will make known what is within men’s hearts and ‘bring them into account for it’ or “shall make reckoning with you for it”and then “He will forgive whom He will and He will punish whom He will. Allah is Able to do all things” (Surah 2:74 http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=2&verse=284 ). However, if we assume that Allah’s nature is merciful (see Muslim addressing Euthyphro dilemma- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-VH060CeZM ) and that he is not declaring in 5:17 that he could actually destroy Jesus (i.e. choose to change his nature and his word), then what is the verse saying? If it ‘were possible for Allah to disannul his word no one could stop him’? This is a rather perplexing statement for Allah to be revealing about himself. ‘I can’t, but if I could you couldn’t stop me’. And it appears to conflict with the reaffirming close of the verse “Allah is Able to do all things”. It is misplaced and misleading to indicate he is able to do all things after giving an example of something that he couldn’t do. It would seem in this passage that whatever God wills is good simply because he wills it and he could will otherwise thus removing any reference to his nature as the basis of goodness and justice. If Allah “had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: but the Word from Me will come true, “I will fill Hell with Jinns and men all together.” (Surah 32:13, 2:7) Allah “destined” or “created” or “made” “Many… Jinns and men… for Hell” (7:179 http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=7&verse=179). Again, “had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed – all of them entirely… And it is not for a soul to believe except by permission of Allah, and He will place defilement upon those who will not use reason.” (Surah 10:99-100 http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=10&verse=99 ) Allah if he so wills can cause everyone on earth to be Muslim, even those who will not use reason; but he chooses to fill hell with them. Naturally the question arises, does he mean that he could have caused them to use reason instead of coerced them? (http://www.academia.edu/902712/The_Quran_Determinism_and_Free_Will ) It appears the distinction makes no difference.
If Allah could have, but chose not to force belief upon people then Muhammad was not to do it- “Wouldst thou then constrain the people, until they are believers?” (10:99, Unless Surah 9:29 abrogated this.) “But those who deny Our verses are deaf and dumb within darknesses. Whomever Allah wills – He leaves astray; and whomever He wills – He puts him on a straight path.” 6:39 The idea of free will seems to be indicated here- 18:29, 13:11, 8:53; but yet nullified here- “For whoever wills among you to take a right course. And you do not will except that Allah wills…” (81:28-9) “And if Allah willed, He could have made them [of] one religion, but He admits whom He wills into His mercy. And the wrongdoers have not any protector or helper.” (42:8) This sounds like determinism. The idolaters seemed to think so and argued similarly against Muhammad- “The pagans will say, “Had God wanted, we would not have worshipped idols, nor would our fathers, nor would we have made anything unlawful” (6:148 http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=6&verse=148 ) Muhammed responds “So did their ancestors argue falsely, until they tasted of Our wrath.” (I’m assuming he means this argument has already been addressed and he is not using the fallacy of an appeal to force – Argumentum ad baculum). He is then instructed to “Say: “Have ye any (certain) knowledge? If so, produce it before us. Ye follow nothing but conjecture: ye do nothing but lie.” He then appears to agree with the pagans “Say: Then Allah’s is the conclusive argument; so if He please, He would certainly guide you all.” (v149). If Allah pleases or wills he could have guided them. Notice that Muhammad believes he is using argumentation although there is no argument here. The next verse states “Say: “Bring forward your witnesses to prove that Allah did forbid so and so.” If they bring such witnesses, be not thou amongst them: Nor follow thou the vain desires of such as treat our signs as falsehoods, and such as believe not in the Hereafter: for they hold others as equal with their Guardian-Lord.” (v150) He seems to be arguing here that these pagans who claim Allah forbade certain things and would bring witnesses to testify, are obviously wrong as they associate partners with Allah (Ad homenim fallacy). He doesn’t provide a refutation of determinism in the face of criticism from idolaters, instead he seems to confirm it.
To sum up this deterministic view, if the only concepts we were dealing with were the standard sovereignty of God and the freewill of man, we would only have the same paradox that Christians and Jews wrestle with. But these ideas along with the idea that Allah could destroy Jesus and Mary (Surah 5:17) adds an additional element to the sovereignty of God pushing the idea into determinism. Determinism destroys epistemology. Determinism and occasionalism were the traditional view in Islam (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xC1gY0-Zcc; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbvG4KffgSI ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdzU4ZuaYI8). The point is succinctly if Allah determines every event or idea and can destroy the righteous if he so wills then you could never actually know the truth. Only what was made to appear that way to you. And further, no rational argument to the contrary can convince for “Allah’s is the conclusive argument; so if He please, He would certainly guide you all.” Now it might be contended that Allah would be unjust to punish someone for something he made them do (Surah 4:49, 45:22). To say, ‘God will not punish someone wrongfully’ would be to say ‘God will do what he will do’. If he defines what is just then the only thing to do is submit and not reason about it. ‘Islam’ means submit by the way.
This supreme essence of his volition even over any nature he may have would also make sense as to how Allah can absolve sins by an act of will (Surah.2:25, 8:38, 29:7, 39:53, 46:16) causing the good deeds to remove the evil deeds (Surah 11:114) even changing the evil into good deeds (Surah 25:70). (In contrast to Christianity where an eternal God who doesn’t change can only be appeased by an eternal propitiation which he himself provided through the eternal person the Lord Jesus Christ, who indeed came in the flesh for this selfsame thing. In Christianity this is the reason behind eternal torment in hell- because God cannot change.) In Islam apparently, Allah could absolve everyone by an act of pure volition but doesn’t.
It would follow necessarily that Allah could change his own words (destroying Christ) in the case of the 2nd coming of Jesus (Surah 43:61). And by destroying everyone on the earth he would obviously change any Islamic eschatology (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_eschatology#Signs_of_the_End_time ) if he so willed. This would seem to cast away any idea of an eternal Quran since Allah could change it. It would also dovetail nicely into the issue of abrogation. Although many Muslims might say abrogation is progressive revelation similar to God changing how he dealt with man over time transitioning from the Old to the New Testaments. Yasir Quadhi explains that no theology is changed only certain societal laws, such as drinking wine (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSOneNzShwY ). Others explain that the ‘dwell peacefully with unbelievers’ (Surah 2:256, 109:6) instruction of Muhammed when he was outnumbered in Mecca was abrogated by the ‘dominate them with force’ passages (Surah 9:5, 8:12, Sahih Muslim Book 32 Hadith 75) when he had dominion in Medina (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXWHDRogBNY , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgKarDCo6bY )
It would also appear completely rational to conclude that Allah could just change a law by an act of will. He declares that he could make Muhammad forget things (87:6-7). A voluntaristic interpretation would fit with this verse (Surah 2:106); notice the point being made here- “Allah is able to do all things”:
Sahih International: We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent?
Yusuf Ali: None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things?
Muhammad Sarwar: For whatever sign We change or eliminate or cause to recede into oblivion, We bring forth a better sign, one that is identical. Do you not know that God has power over all things?
Mohsin Khan: Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is able to do all things?
Arberry: And for whatever verse We abrogate or cast into oblivion, We bring a better or the like of it; knowest thou not that God is powerful over everything?
See again here- Surah 16:101
Sahih International: And when We substitute a verse in place of a verse – and Allah is most knowing of what He sends down – they say, “You, [O Muhammad], are but an inventor [of lies].” But most of them do not know.
Pickthall: And when We put a revelation in place of (another) revelation, – and Allah knoweth best what He revealeth – they say: Lo! thou art but inventing. Most of them know not.
Yusuf Ali: When We substitute one revelation for another,- and Allah knows best what He reveals (in stages),- they say, “Thou art but a forger”: but most of them understand not.
Shakir: And when We change (one) communication for (another) communication, and Allah knows best what He reveals, they say: You are only a forger. Nay, most of them do not know.
Muhammad Sarwar: When God replaces one revelation with another, He knows best what to reveal. But they say, “(Muhammad), you have falsely invented it.” Most people are ignorant.
Mohsin Khan: And when We change a Verse [of the Quran, i.e. cancel (abrogate) its order] in place of another, and Allah knows the best of what He sends down, they (the disbelievers) say: “You (O Muhammad SAW) are but a Muftari! (forger, liar).” Nay, but most of them know not.
Arberry: And when We exchange a verse in the place of another verse and God knows very well what He is sending down — they say, ‘Thou art a mere forger!’ Nay, but the most of them have no knowledge.
So this voluntarist view of God where he can change his promises and revelation (like from Jesus to Muhammed) undermines trust in logic and science. An example of this might be where the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ is denied by Muslims which are arguably the most well documented facts in ancient history. Even agnostic historians who deny the supernatural and would therefore deny the resurrection of Christ believe that he was crucified. James White details in his book (What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an pg.131-142) that early historians (such as Josephus, Tacitus), modern secular historians and textual scholars (such as Crossan, Erhman), the gospels as historical accounts, early generations of Christians and non-Christians all affirm the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Only historically in the early 2nd century do we find records of anyone denying the crucifixion of Jesus and not based upon scientific and historical reasons, but Gnostics who were polytheists (who Allah hates, by the way) and denied the crucifixion based upon philosophical reasons, that they believe matter is evil and Jesus wouldn’t have had a body (contrary to what the Quran states by the way). Many Muslims using double standards point to these heretics as evidence against the crucifixion. But Muslims deny the crucifixion for one single ambiguous verse (Surah 4:157 http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=4&verse=157 ), which very easily could mean that the Jews thought they killed Jesus (“but so it was made to appear to them”) but actually no man took his life, he gave himself (Jn.10:17-18) and was “delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” (Ac.2:23).
White sums up the case succinctly here “Forty Arabic words written six hundred years after the events they describe, more than seven hundred miles from Jerusalem. Forty Arabic words that are not clear, not perspicuous, and yet this is the entirety of the foundation upon which the Islamic faith bases its denial of the crucifixion, and hence, resurrection of Jesus Christ” (pg.142). If the majority view of Muslim on this is correct then Allah deceived everyone even to this day who believe Jesus died on the cross. (Also making the Jesus of the Quran non-sensical. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSpCU8UIl38 ) Indeed “Allah is the best of schemers” (Surah 3:54, 7:99, 8:30).
If we hold to this voluntarist view of Allah in the Quran we can make sense out of the confusing ideas that the words of Allah which ‘cannot be altered’ (Surah 15:9, 6:34, 114-5, 10:64, 18:27) apparently were according to Muslims, by the very ‘people of the book’ that Allah told Muhammed to look to for evidence of his revelation. It is observed that the same word nazzal for ‘sent down’ in 15:9 and 6:114 is used of the Torah and the Gospel (5:44, 46-7- James White pg.174) The Quran contains ‘light and guidance’ just as the Torah and Gospel (compare 2:2, 4:174 with 5:44, 46). No one can alter his words apparently… except Allah. Either Allah is deceiving everyone or there is a contradiction in the Quran. Either conclusion is bad for the Muslim. If you salvage the Quran you destroy the certainty of logic and science and morality and can’t trust your own mind to believe the Quran. If you accept a contradiction with the Quran you destroy Islam (Surah 4:82, 15:9, 85:22).
Consider this dilemma more closely. A scan of these verses reveal that the Torah of the Jews and the gospel of the Christians were originally given by Allah and contained his words- even to the very time of Muhammed. Consider that Jews and Christians are called the ‘people of the book’ (Surah 3:3-4, 69-72, 3:84-5, 3:113-6, 199, 5:15, 29:46-7, 98:1-6). The book (Torah, Psalms, Gospel) was something that they still had and still contained Allah’s revelation in the time of Muhammed (Surah 16:43, 21:7, 48, 105, 40:53-4, 2:41,89,91,97,101, 3:3, 81, 4:47, 10:94, 53:36, 28:48-9, 35:31). For example Surah 5:42-48, 65-8
5:43 But how is it that they come to you for judgement while they have the Torah, in which is the judgement of Allah? Then they turn away, [even] after that; but those are not [in fact] believers. v47 And let the People of the Gospel judge by what Allah has revealed therein. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are the defiantly disobedient. – Sahih International
The Christians and the Jews in Muhmmad’s day can trust their book wherein is judgment and revelation preserved by Allah since none can alter his words, and this revelation confirms Muhammad’s revelation in the Quran (Muhammad himself was instructed by Allah to look at the Jew’s and Christian’s scripture for his truth- 10:94). Except anyone reading the New Testament gospels will conclude God came in the flesh in the person of his Son the Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose again the third day. And this is exactly what the Quran denies. So, if you believe the Quran you should believe the Christians. And if you believe Christians you should not believe the Quran. Therefore, you should not believe the Quran.
Continuing in the voluntarist approach, if none can alter the words of Allah except he himself, perhaps Allah is deceiving the Muslims through the Quran regarding what Christians believe about Jesus Christ. The Quran tells us that Jesus could not be the Son of God because “Had Allah wished to take to Himself a son, He could have chosen whom He pleased out of those whom He doth create: but Glory be to Him! (He is above such things.) He is Allah, the One, the Irresistible.” (Surah 39:4- http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=39&verse=4) This is an absurd idea indeed for “[He is] Originator of the heavens and the earth. How could He have a son when He does not have a companion and He created all things? And He is, of all things, Knowing.” (Surah 6:101- http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=6&verse=101 ).
So the Quran argues that God could not have a son without a wife (consort or companion). And if he wanted a wife he could have created one. But the problem is no Christian believes nor does their book teach such things. Yet the Quran declares that this is the only way God could have a Son is through a physical relationship. So, no Christian view of Sonship (eternal or incarnation) is even considered much less refuted here. The Quran basically refutes a strawman. And doesn’t really refute it because it says had “Allah wished to take to Himself a son, He could have”. Apparently, he “could have” because as we already learned “Allah is able to do all things”. Just to interject here, most Muslims I’ve heard argue against the Incarnation of Jesus, say that for God to become a man would be a logical impossible for he would not be God anymore. Like a square becoming a circle- it could not be both. And yet here if Allah wanted to he could have had a son with a wife- apparently implying an incarnation.
The Quran further deceives the Muslim into thinking that Christians believe in a polytheistic trinity of gods consisting of Allah, Mary and Jesus. Not even Catholics, some who arguably worship Mary (cult of Mary), believe Mary is part of the Trinity, and that Jesus who was created in her womb was elevated as a creature to be worshipped alongside God. This is such an absurd belief that no Christian has ever believed anything remotely close to this and yet the Quran makes Muslims think that this is what Christians believe and that Allah will punish them for believing this (which they do not believe). Consider these passages:
Yusuf Ali: 5:116 And behold! Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah’?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say)…
Shakir: 5:116 And when Allah will say: O Isa son of Marium! did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah he will say: Glory be to Thee, it did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to (say);
Sahih International: 5:73 They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allah is the third of three.” And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment.
Yusuf Ali: 5:73 They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them.
Shakir: 5:73 Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three; and there is no god but the one Allah, and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve.
Sahih International: 4:171 O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.
Yusuf Ali: 4:171 O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.
Shakir: 4:171 O followers of the Book! do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa son of Marium is only a messenger of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Marium and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allah and His messengers, and say not, Three. Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one Allah; far be It from His glory that He should have a son, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His, and Allah is sufficient for a Protector.
Sahih International: 9:30 The Jews say, “Ezra is the son of Allah “; and the Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allah.” That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?
Yusuf Ali: 9:30 The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!
Shakir: 9:30 And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!
As you can see the Quran attributes to Christians doctrines about Jesus and the Trinity that they have not and do not believe. Either Allah was not well versed on Christian teachings or he chose to delude Muslims into believing a slander against Christians. Either way if you believe the Quran you can’t know if you are being deceived.
Another indication that the Quran cannot be the word of God is that it is not sufficient to explain itself and is in need of the Sunnah. The Sunnah means ‘a path’ or ‘way’. It is what the Prophet did daily based upon narrated records in the hadiths (or the Arabic ahadith the plural of hadith). It refers to the ‘corpus of traditional social and legal practice of the Islamic community, based on the verbally transmitted record of the teachings, deeds and sayings, tacit approvals, of Muhammad, and various reports about his companions. The sunnah and Quran make up the two primary sources of Islamic theology and law.’ In other words, most Muslims believe that you need non-inspired records (although they try to argue for inspiration based upon the Prophets documented actions- everything he said and did was inspired… except the Satanic verses probably – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijuMRAsanNk ) of fallible men with the earliest records 200 plus years after the Prophet’s death, to understand properly the infallible word of Allah. Clearly the Sunnah are not inspired (2nd hand) in the same way as the Quran. Yet the Quran declares that it is clear and perspicuous (6:55, 97-8, 9:11, 114; 11:1; 12:1; 15:1; 16:89; 18:54, 22:72; 24:1, 34, 46; 26:2; 27:1; 28:2; 36:69; 41:3; 57:9; 65:11; 44:2- http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=22&verse=72). (Muslims will argue that ‘it only works in Arabic’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE3GQFpaFEM ) Check out a few of the passages:
6:55 Yusif Ali “We explain the signs in detail”, 6:97 Shakir “truly We have made plain the communications for a people who know” v98 Sahih “We have detailed the signs for a people who understand” 9:11 Yusif Ali “We explain the Signs in detail, for those who understand” Pickthall “We detail Our revelations for a people who have knowledge” 11:1 Sahih International: “Alif, Lam, Ra. [This is] a Book whose verses are perfected and then presented in detail from [one who is] Wise and Acquainted.” Yusuf Ali: “A. L. R. (This is) a Book, with verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning), further explained in detail,- from One Who is Wise and Well-acquainted (with all things):” 12:1 Sahih International: “Alif, Lam, Ra. These are the verses of the clear Book” Pickthall: “Alif. Lam. Ra. These are verse of the Scripture that maketh plain.” Yusuf Ali: “A.L.R. These are the symbols (or Verses) of the perspicuous Book.” 15:1 Sahih International: “Alif, Lam, Ra. These are the verses of the Book and a clear Qur’an.” Shakir: “Alif Lam Ra. These are the verses of the Book and (of) a Quran that makes (things) clear.” Yusuf Ali: “A. L. R. These are the Ayats of Revelation,- of a Qur’an that makes things clear.” 16:89 Sahih International: “And [mention] the Day when We will resurrect among every nation a witness over them from themselves. And We will bring you, [O Muhammad], as a witness over your nation. And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims.” Yusuf Ali: “One day We shall raise from all Peoples a witness against them, from amongst themselves: and We shall bring thee as a witness against these (thy people): and We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy, and Glad Tidings to Muslims.” Shakir “bring you as a witness against these– and We have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything, and a guidance…”, Muhammad Sarwar “We have sent you the Book which clarifies all matters. It is a guide…” Mohsin Khan “We have sent down to you the Book (the Quran) as an exposition of everything, a guidance…” Arberry “We have sent down on thee the Book making clear everything, and as a guidance and a mercy..” 18:54 Sahih International: And We have certainly diversified in this Qur’an for the people from every [kind of] example; but man has ever been, most of anything, [prone to] dispute. Pickthall: And verily We have displayed for mankind in this Qur’an all manner of similitudes, but man is more than anything contentious. Shakir: And certainly We have explained in this Quran every kind of example, and man is most of all given to contention.
Since the vast majority of Muslims for 1400 years have followed the Sunnah, they believe that anyone who denies the Sunnah and follows the Quran only is heretical. Yasir Qadhi explains that it is impossible to follow the Quran without the Sunnah because the Quran is inadequate and unclear; Allah failing to mention many things, forcing you to go to the hadiths and study. Qadhi explains that if you deny the Sunnah you are not a Muslim. The most ardent of defenders of Islam tell us that the Quran is not clear and inadequate despite its own claims to the contrary. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX33vuY-Io8&list=PL281444F1A93308EB ). Allah again appears to be deceiving his own devout proponents. And who can say that if he so wills that he can’t; “Allah is able to do all things”.
Even with the most basic understanding of the Quran being ‘clear’ and ‘plain’ ‘making clear everything’, you would think it applies to salvation at least (Surah 4:55, 3:85). But the Quran only mentions praying 3 times a day not 5 as one of the pillars of Islam. The Shahadah (There is no God but Allah, and Muhammed is his messenger) is not mentioned in the Quran and some Muslims would consider it Shirk (idolatry) to associate him with Allah- see Surah 4:48, 6:1, 31:13. For this reason also, these Muslims reject the Sunnah. The pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj), details about fasting in Ramadan and when to pray, also missing in the Quran (praying at sundown creates a problem for northernmost peoples, who live without sunset for months). Qadhi explains further in the lecture above, ‘the Quran is sufficient in and of itself although it told you to go to the Sunnah’. Apparently, it is sufficient enough to tell you it isn’t sufficient enough (Really! Start around the 53 min. mark). Often you find Muslims quoting certain hadith to explain the Quran, when the Quran seems to contradict itself. While other Muslims quote alternate hadiths to explain the Quran in another way; e.g. the Western peaceful Islam versus the Eastern violent Islam (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgKarDCo6bY ).
The hadith themselves are considered to be varying degrees of strong and weak in authenticity, some contradicting others because ‘people make mistakes’ (a claim denied with regards to the Quran). The Shia (Shiites) reject some of the narrators of Hadith that are considered reliable by Sunni Muslims. (https://books.google.com/books?id=wRlI0nJp5mEC&pg=PA59#v=onepage&q&f=false ) Shabir Ally explains that the hadiths have become over emphasized to some and others had rejected all hadiths and become Quran-onlyist. He explains that this is historically irresponsible. However, the hadiths need to be studied and examined for authenticity. An average preacher can’t tell which hadith is authentic, a deep level of scholarship is needed to decide an authentic hadith from a non-authentic- (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuPESzRm3ug ). I can’t just go to the hadith -online for example https://sunnah.com/, look for explanations of what the Quran means, and expect to understand the hadith. There is an entire ‘science’ of authenticating hadiths (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YfDdA2_HPo&list=PL281444F1A93308EB&index=3 ). Yasir Qadhi explains there are 5 conditions to qualify hadiths- 1. Lineage or chain of narrators, no missing or unidentified sources 2. all narrators are known to be honest with integrity and of good reputation (from 14 centuries ago) 3. precise memory of the narrator (again from 14 centuries ago) 4. trust the more trustworthy narrators, give them precedence 5. no defects or discrepancies. There is a whole science studying the lives of the narrators of the hadith. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YfDdA2_HPo&list=PL281444F1A93308EB&index=3 ; http://www.thefullwiki.org/Biographical_evaluation ) So I need the hadith to understand the Quran properly; but I need the biographies of the hadith narrators to authenticate strong hadith; and a good grasp of modern medicine and science will assist. All of this is needed to support the clear and perspicuous Quran. I could not expect to understand the Quran without experts telling me what it teaches. It totally subjugates its followers. And which experts, modern liberal Western scholars? Traditional conservative Middle Eastern Sunni or Shia? Sufi, Wahhabi? The Sunnah can’t be as sure as the Quran as it was given differently- secondhand accounts of a revelation are not equal to direct revelation. Where exactly does the Quran tell you to go to the Sunnah or that it will be preserved from error? Supposedly here:
33:21 Sahih International: There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often. Yusuf Ali: Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah. Shakir: Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much.
So, the Quran says Muhammed was an excellent example. Thus the argument goes like this- the Quran says Muhammed is a good example to follow, therefore mimic all the details (because they are all inspired) that were written by others about him during his life and after he died, by a host of narrators with varying degrees of credibility and for good measure study their lives and examples as well, because a lot of people made up hadiths to justify any number of things. I’m not an Islamic scholar but that’s quite a leap. Is there anything clearer in the Quran pointing us to the Sunnah? Let’s consider these:
33:36 Sahih International: It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error. Yusuf Ali: It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path. Shakir: And it behooves not a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he surely strays off a manifest straying.
4:59 Sahih International: O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger… Pickthall: O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those of you who are in authority; and if ye have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to Allah and the messenger… Yusuf Ali: O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger… Shakir: O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger…
3:32 Sahih International: Say, “Obey Allah and the Messenger.” But if they turn away – then indeed, Allah does not like the disbelievers.
3:132 Yusuf Ali: And obey Allah and the Messenger; that ye may obtain mercy.
24:54 Pickthall: Say: Obey Allah and obey the messenger. But if ye turn away, then (it is) for him (to do) only that wherewith he hath been charged, and for you (to do) only that wherewith ye have been charged. If ye obey him, ye will go aright. But the messenger hath no other charge than to convey (the message) plainly. (v56) obey the Messenger – that you may receive mercy.
47:33 Shakir: O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and do not make your deeds of no effect.
64:12 Yusuf Ali: So obey Allah, and obey His Messenger… 8:1 Pickthall: …The spoils of war belong to Allah and the messenger, so keep your duty to Allah, and adjust the matter of your difference, and obey Allah and His messenger, if ye are (true) believers. 8:46 Sahih International: And obey Allah and His Messenger… 58:13 Yusuf Ali:…obey Allah and His Messenger
8:20 Shakir: O you who believe! obey Allah and His Messenger and do not turn back from Him while you hear. Sahih International: O you who have believed, obey Allah and His Messenger and do not turn from him while you hear [his order]. Pickthall: O ye who believe! Obey Allah and His messenger, and turn not away from him when ye hear (him speak). Yusuf Ali: O ye who believe! Obey Allah and His Messenger, and turn not away from him when ye hear (him speak).
Again, the clearest passages I can find to follow the Sunnah are these which say obey the Messenger. Muslims claim that this must be the Sunnah found in the hadiths for they contain what Muhammad said and did and allowed. The Quran doesn’t even indicate which are hadiths are strong and which Sunnah we are to follow. This is what Islamic scholars tell us. We are forced to validate the veracity of the hadiths by examining their narrator’s memory and character through biographies about them while they lived over twelve hundred years ago. So, if we are to believe Muslim scholars, the Quran by instructing us to obey Muhammad not only refers to what he said in the Quran but whatever anyone remembered him saying or doing- after validating the authenticity of the records. I think Muslims see the Sunnah in these verses because they have nothing else to support it. Not to mention the fact again that Allah said none can alter his words and yet Muslims believe that the Torah and gospel are indeed corrupted. These were his direct revelations too, not 2nd hand accounts as the hadiths.
I would hope for more ‘clear’ and convincing evidence before I burn someone to death and their house down for being negligent to prayer (https://muflihun.com/bukhari/11/626 ; wait- I thought he prohibited burning people- https://muflihun.com/bukhari/84/57 ); or kill former Muslims, or drink camels urine for medicine (https://muflihun.com/bukhari/71/590 ); or assume black cummin heals all diseases (https://muflihun.com/bukhari/71/591 ). I suppose modern science must inform us as well which hadiths are weak. How can the Quran be presupposed as providing the preconditions of intelligibility- thus history and science, when you can’t even expect to understand it properly apart from history and science?
Perhaps the Quran can by itself demonstrate that it is the word of God by the impossibility of the contrary- that is providing the basis for logic, reasoning, science and morality. Is the Quran self-authenticating? Let’s forget for the moment that the bible is and was self-authenticating apodictically for 600 years before Muhammad was even born. Islam teaches that the Quran is in line with the Old and New testaments. We have been considering that reasoning is undermined by the Quran, but what do Muslims tell us is evidence that the Quran is the word of God? After listening to many hours of elite Islamic debaters and scholars (e.g. Shabir Ally, Yasir Qadhi) we have several evidences.
Yasir Qadhi gives us several reasons he believes the Quran is from God (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjiRtTGl6z8 ). He mixes a bit of subjective experience in saying things like ‘it doesn’t need external evidence- it provides internal evidence, you can experience it yourself’. This is something the Quran seems to indicate- its ‘clear’ verses are subjective proof (Surah 29:49-51). Mormons claim the same thing about the Book of Mormon- see the “burning in the bosom” (Doctrine & Covenants 9:8-9). Subjective experiences cannot provide objective proof of any particular point. The Quran challenges us as if to vindicate it’s claims, to provide a book ourselves without “much contradiction” (Surah 4:82). I’m sure mathematicians and engineers can provide such material without “much” discrepancy. It is claimed that because the Quran provides converts is evidence that it is from God. But again, this is a claim every religion with a holy book could argue- Christians more so.
Qadhi points to the Quran where it rhetorically claims that none can produce a Surah like what’s in the Quran (2:23-4, 10:38, 11:13, 52:34). He makes the point that the Quran lends itself to memorization and recital also indicating the divine origin of it. This is indeed an interesting practice amongst Muslims of reciting the Quran in Arabic while having no idea what they are saying, but not very convincing as evidence from God, as the Quran indicates (34:43). It seems to me like Muhammad lived amongst unlearned people to whom he could issue this challenge and have it function as an effective rhetorical device against his authority (as well as threats of hell- 2:24). I dare say that most high school and college educated people could produce something like Surah 109:1-6
(Yusuf Ali) Say: O ye that reject Faith! I worship not that which ye worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. To you be your Way, and to me mine.
Or any educated occultist who believes God is ‘source energy’ could anthropomorphize and say Surah 112:1-4
(Yusuf Ali) Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.
I would say there are hundreds maybe thousands of poets and writers that could produce more eloquent chapters than the Quran (http://www.famouspoetsandpoems.com/ ). Some might say that of the bible, but the truth of scripture provides the basis for beauty and literature. And the bible doesn’t challenge its opponents to write something like it. It does challenge false gods by offering prophecies as an indication of divine origin (Isa.41:21-24); as well as providing many examples (Like calling Cyrus by name over a century before he was born- Isa.44:28-45:1, Ezra 1:1-2 for starters).
Some atheists took up the challenge to produce something like a Surah in Arabic here- https://www.skeptical-science.com/religion/quran-challenge/ .
But these are very weak arguments even that the Quran is the best book ever written, much less that it is the word of God. But Qadhi continues arguing also that the most amazing prophecy is that the Quran will remain uncorrupted until the end of time- all other holy books are doubted. I think there are obviously reasons to doubt the Quran as any amount of research would demonstrate. Another alleged miracle is that what the Quran teaches- theology, the detailed laws, was from someone uneducated. Maybe this is proof that Muhammad was literate by claiming that he wrote the Quran; instead of that the Quran is miraculous because he was illiterate. But the contents and detailed laws are all challenged some even saying the inheritance laws fail mathematically (https://www.exmuslimsofnorway.com/single-post/2018/04/04/Who-Taught-Allah-Math; http://www.billionbibles.org/sharia/mathematics-in-quran.html; https://wikiislam.net/wiki/Scientific_Errors_in_the_Quran#Mathematical_Error_in_Hereditary_Laws ), and some scientific claims are absurd as the sun setting in murky water (Surah 18:85-6, as well as the hadith Sunan Abu Dawud 3991 https://muflihun.com/abudawood/32/3991 ; there are dozens of websites devoted to this topic of errors in the Quran beyond our scope here). And others will dispute the claims that the Quran is without corruption claiming that there are at least 26 Arabic versions- (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcoMB8nJWmw ). This would make sense given the Islamic account of how the Quran was written down. Originally the Quran was recited and was memorized but not written down nor instructed by Muhammad to be written down; the word Quran means ‘the recitation’ (34:43). According to Muslims when the Quran was originally compiled into a text by Uthman he proceeded to burn all the fragments and everything that was not officially sanctioned from the state. Uthman gathered all the Surahs from everywhere he could find them to make an official copy after many who had memorized it from Muhammad died in battle; they were concerned the Quran would be lost (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJPYYqnbd9k ). There are reports that all of it was not preserved (James White- pg.268-276) Obviously, errors and variants occurred which would explain burning everything afterward (James White- pg.254-262; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBxN3iwF9YE). Muslims see the preservation of the Quran as miraculous, where others see the state control of the text with the threat of death as less than miraculous (Surah 10:15). Either way as interesting as it all is none of this evidence is compelling as being incapable of coming from God. Even the argument that it must be understood only in Arabic as evidence seems weak. David Woods explains the reason for Arabic according to the Quran is not because it is such a rich language, but because it was the last people to whom a prophet was sent- 16:36 and Muhammad was the last prophet 36:2-6, 34:43-4, 32:3, 35:24, 42:7, 46:12, 6:155-157- so they would have had it Arabic and have no excuse in judgment (not because Jews and Christians corrupted his words https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE3GQFpaFEM).
Even the alleged miraculous number of words and appearance of the number 19 which to me would be the most fascinating (others are not so impressed- http://skepdic.com/lawofnumbers.html ). Apparently the number 19 anomaly was discovered by a guy who a majority of Muslims would consider heretical thinking himself as another messenger after Muhammad (a Quran-onlyist, denied the hadith, removed a couple verses from Surah 9 so the 19 phenomena could work and thereby nullifying Allah’s claims to preserve the Quran from corruption, http://www.masjidtucson.org/submission/faq/rashad_khalifa_summary.html ). But even if he is correct and this proved a supernatural influence in the Quran, it could be simply material worthy of an episode of ‘Ancient Aliens’ on the History channel. It would not prove what higher intelligence was behind it. For Jews and Christians, the higher intelligence would be Satan. Some have pointed out similarities between Muhammad receiving revelation from the angel (Gal.1:8) and spirit possession- https://answering-islam.org/authors/thompson/demonic_influence.html.
(Problems with the Quran- https://www.jihadwatch.org/; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99Gq4EFQjUE&list=PLC5E3C8316C338F01&index=4 ; http://www.answeringmuslims.com/p/quran.html ; http://answeringislam.org/PQ/index.htm)