Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Minefields in the Quran

The Quran asks Muslims to follow the guidance of some verses and avoid the others!

When you watch Muslims as they read the Quran, you notice how they keep swaying their heads sideways, which is about the only use for those heads during the recitation (performing tilawa). There is nothing surprising in this observation because Muslims read the Quran just for the sake of reading rather than understanding, because they get rewarded (in hasanat) per reading, whether they understand it or not. Muslims usually read the Quran loudly to conform to the required musical tune known as tajweed. Once they start reading the Quran, Muslims do not like to be interrupted by having to look at the tafseer, or interpretation, which is time consuming and is bound to spoil the recitation. Therefore, studying the interpretation of the Quran is a task that is left for the schools’ or mosques’ lessons. As it turned out, such practice is easier for Muslims and better for the Quran as it keeps Quran away from the critical eye.

Like most Muslims, I also practiced reading the Quran for the sake of reading and earning more hasanat, which are the Islamic coupons that improve the Muslim’s chances to go to paradise. However, I had to stop occasionally at some verses to make some sense out of them.

One of the verses that caught my eyes was verse 4:82 “.. Had it been from other than Allâh, they would surely have found therein much contradictions”. The words ‘much contradictions’ may not be the best translation for the Arabic words ‘ikhtilafan katheera’ used in the verse, a more appropriate translation would be ‘too many variations’ or too many inconsistencies’, but this doesn’t affect the main issue. What matters here is that the Quran claims in the verse that it contains no contradictions and that it maintains consistency throughout. This is taken as evidence that it is from Allah. The logic is bizarre and hard to comprehend. It implies that Allah believes that books written by humans are filled with contradictions and that Allah is proud for writing a book with no contradictions! Mohammed’s reason for putting such verse was that he did not read many other books to see how they all have no contradictions, but unfortunately for him, the verse also incorporates the evidence of the falseness of the Quran.

Most books contain no contradictions, but the Quran is peculiar in that it is replete with contradictions. In fact, the only thing consistent about the Quran is its contradictions and absurdities. The Quran is divided into two groups of verses, the Meccan verses, which were revealed in Mecca and the Medina verses, which were revealed in Medina. Each group has distinctive features in style and contents. The differences between the two groups are so remarkable that some take it as evidence that the Quran was not authored by the same person. This is glaringly true for verse 4:82, which reads “.. Had it been from other than Allâh, they would surely have found therein much variations”

But there are dozens of other occasions when the Quran contradicted itself. This proves that the Quran is not from Allah. Here are two sample verses to demonstrate the contradictions in the Quran:

Example 1: In verse 6: 131 Allah says,“…This is because your Lord would not destroy the towns for their wrongdoing while their people were unaware…”, In this verse, the Quran describes a kind god who would not destroy towns, However, in verse 17:16, the Quran describes in detail how Allah goes about destroying towns. This verse (17:16) reads:“ And when We decide to destroy a town, We send a definite order to those among them who are given the good things of this life. Then, they transgress therein, and thus the word is justified against it. Then We destroy it with complete destruction”.

Example 2: In verse 5:69 and in a moment of good mood, the Quran assures the Christians and the Jews that they have nothing to worry about “5: 69. Surely, those who believe, those who are the Jews and the Sabians and the Christians, - whosoever believed in Allâh and the Last Day, and worked righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve” Unfortunately, the good mood didn’t last for long as it all changed in verse 3:85 which describes them as losers. Read this: “3: 85. And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers” then it orders Mohammed to fight them harshly: “9: 73. O Prophet! Fight hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be harsh against them, their abode is Hell...”

Did the Arabs notice any of the contradictions in the Quran?

There is evidence from the Quran that the Arabs confronted Mohammed with some or all of his contradictions, and that Mohammed struggled to explain it to no avail. Let us first establish that the Quran repeatedly describes itself as a clear book (alkitab almubeen) in all of the following verses:

12:1 these are the Verses of the Clear Book…

26:2 these are the Verses of the Clear Book…

28:2 these are the Verses of the Clear Book…

And 16:103 this (the Quran) is a clear Arabic tongue..

Just for the record, the Arabic word ‘mubeen’ means something clear or apparent that does not require effort to see or understand. The above verses say something to those Muslims who, in their desperate efforts to rescue the Quran from its blunders, twist the Arabic language to the extreme to avoid the embarrassing meanings.

After the above emphasis on its clarity, the Quran suddenly makes a U-turn and states that it does not only lack clarity, but it also contains many ambiguous and confusing verses that can lead to fitna, which is an elastic term used to describe anything considered awfully un-Islamic.

Let us read this verse:

“3: 7 .. In it (the Quran) are Verses that are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the Book and others ambiguous ones. So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation they follow the ambiguous ones, seeking fitnah, and seeking for its meanings, but none knows its meanings save Allâh. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge …..”

The above verse is a despicable statement since it asserts that Allah has deliberately included in the Quran some ambiguous verses mixed with clear ones. The above verse means the following:

The Quran is not clear after all, and we can ignore all the emphasis in verses 12:1, 26:2, 28:2 and 16:103 about its clarity.

The Quran doesn’t only lack clarity, but also contains ambiguous and confusing verses that lead to fitna, which is a major sin. The Quran then asks Muslims not to follow the guidance of those confusing verses.

The Quran leaves it to the Muslims to find out which verses to follow, although the task is not easy because it is only Allah and the people with firmly grounded knowledge who know the meaning of the Quran.

The Quran doesn’t say a word about who are those people with firmly grounded knowledge. Most probably they are the Muslim scholars. The Quran doesn’t say what Muslims should do when their scholars disagree, as they usually do.

I went through the very extensive and exhaustive interpretations of this verse in the Arabic tafseer books, especially the ones written by Al Tabari and Ibn Katheer. The number of the possible interpretations suggested overwhelmed me and made me wonder if the verse itself is one of those ambiguous and confusing ones that it describes!

Many Islamic scholars suggested that the clear verses are those of the obligatory duties and legal laws (furud and hudud). I find this bizarre since the Quran is particularly ambiguous in those areas, and Muslims are forced to refer to the ahadith to learn about things like how to perform their prayers or their hajj.

It is outrageous that almighty Allah inserts confusing verses in the Quran, and still asks Muslims to follow its guidance. Following the guidance of such a confusing book is like walking in a minefield when it is only a matter of time and luck when disaster strikes. It is also outrageous to send a book to mankind knowing they will never understand it. The Quran claims in verse 75:19 that Allah promises to explain the Quran ‘Its explanation is upon Us’, in other words that the Quran is self explanatory because Allah speaks only through the Quran. This promise is contradicted by the claim that only some people with ‘firmly grounded knowledge’ know the meaning of the Quran.

The only logical explanation for the verse 3: 7 is that some Arabs pointed out to Mohammed that some of his sayings or actions contradicted verses he released in earlier years, so he brought the verse as a defense. Mohammed used the Quran to justify actions that otherwise would be unjustifiable. The Quran was his final weapon to silence the others and put an end to debates he would otherwise certainly lose. The Quran’s only function was to serve Mohammed’s interests, which changed over the years. At times he wanted to befriend the Jews, but at other times he wanted to kill them. At times he enjoyed wine, but at other times he hated it. At times he did not find the slim figure of Zainab sexually attractive, but later he found her rounded full figure rather irresistible. In moments of happiness or anger, in moments of love or hate, Mohammed’s Quran was always there and ready to help.

No body knew Mohammed better than his wife Aysha. She famously commented to him “ I can see that your god is quick to answer your desires” when she noticed that the Quran always endorsed her husband’s desires.

Mumin Salih is a Middle Eastern ex-Muslim.

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