In evaluating the Quran, as with any other book which purports to be God’s word, we must be very meticulous and have an open mind and open heart. We have to correctly understand the historical context (audience, contemporary cultural values and standards), original language, author’s intent, and the phraseology. We must read the surrounding text, recognize mere copyist errors (which do not nullify inerrancy), correctly quote the text, and thoughtfully and open-mindedly consider ways in which two seemingly contradictory passages might be compatible with each other and ways to alleviate possible difficulties a passage has with external evidence. Original inerrancy is all that is necessary; not having inerrant copies encourages freely made decisions and critical and independent thinking, and mankind could not logistically handle inerrant copies due to the chaos they would cause. Original inerrancy (including the complete absence of false prophecies and presence of true ones), perfect morality, and miracles corroborated by compelling internal and external evidence are necessary to establish divine inspiration; eloquence is not evidence of inspiration.
That being said, the Quran, while an extremely intriguing book, is most certainly not the word of God.
Let us look at contradictions which are not plausibly deniable. Q.YA= Quran, as translated by Yusuf Ali. S=Sura. SAB = Sahih al Bukhari hadith. SAD = Sunan Abu Dawud hadith.
One of them is the food in Hell. S69.36 says, “Nor hath he any food except the foul pus from the washing of his wounds.” S88.6 says, “No food will be there for them but a bitter Dhari.” According to S88.6n, Dhari “is a plant, bitter and thorny, loathsome in smell and appearance, which will neither give fattening nourishment to the body nor in any way satisfy the burning pangs of hunger.” According to S37.62-68, the damned in Hell will eat fruit from the Tree of Zaqqum. Now, it might at first seem that this can be harmonized with S88.6, but the fruit is not the same as Dhari, as S37.66 shows: “Truly they will eat theirof and fill their bellies therewith.” So, the Quran says that foul pus is the ONLY food in Hell, that Dhari is the ONLY food in Hell, and that there is ALSO fruit from the tree of Zaqqum.
Allah is said to be the ONLY wali (protector) [S9.116; 17.111; 32.4; 42.28], but then the messenger and those who believe in him are walis [S5.55; 9.71] and Allah has [S10.62] and raises [S4.75] walis. So the Quran says Allah is and is not the only Wali.
The Quran contradicts itself about marrying Christians. It calls Christians infidels [S9.28-33] and prohibits Muslims from marrying idolatrous women [S2.221], yet says it is OK for Muslims to marry Christian women [S5.5]. This is not merely a rule for one time and a superseding rule for a different time; both are meant to be permanent. Thus the Quran says Muslims may marry Christian women and that they may not marry Christian women.
The Quran contradicts itself about the identity of the first Muslim. It names Muhammad [S6.14,133], some Egyptians [S26.51], Adam [S2.37], Moses [S7.143], and Abraham [S2.133-137; 3.67].
The Quran says that a Samaritan made the Golden Calf during the 40 years Moses and the Israelites were in the Sinai Desert [S20.87,94]. This purports to be a literal, factual, historically accurate narrative but contains a falsehood; this is an anachronism. In the same way, the Quran errs when it says (according to the earliest and most reliable tradition) that King Nimrod threw Abraham into the fire, since Nimrod lived seven generations before Abraham. This is not e.g. a deliberate anachronism so that later readers can understand the message, as in the case of David’s payment for the altar. King David paid 50 shekels of silver [1 Sa 24:24] but 1 Chr 21:25, written in the Persian period 600 years later, gives the equivalent 600 shekels of gold so the audience can better understand.
The Quran condemns lust [S79.40-41], and yet permits divorce, polygamy, and concubinage for all times. Most importantly, there is the reward of boundless lust in Paradise [S55.46-78; 56.11-39]. The Quran bans wine on earth [S5.91], calling it Satanic, but says there are rivers of wine in Paradise [S47.15; 76.5; 83.25].
Continued in next post…