Contradictions in the Qur'an

By Daniel Scot Sept. 2008

Click here to get this in Tract form as a Word doc



Sura 'Al-Fatihiah' (The Opening) 1:1-7

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, The Beneficent, the Merciful. Master of the Day of Judgment, You (alone) we worship; You (alone) we ask for help. Show us the straight path, The path of those whom You have favoured; Not the (path) of those who earn Your anger nor of those who go astray.

Jesus said: "...and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)

Warning—This pamphlet contains words of the Qur'an in Arabic and English. Please use appropriately.

NOTE: Authoritative Islamic texts are the Qur'an and Hadith. Muslims believe that the Qur'an is the revealed word of Allah (verse numbers differ slightly in different versions). Sura always stands for a chapter in the Qur'an. Islamic belief is that Muhammad is the perfect example to be followed by all Muslims. Whatever he said, practiced or approved is called Hadith. There are six different sets of authentic ahadith (Hadiths): Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmizi, Sunnan Ibn Majah and Sunnan Nasa'i. This pamphlet is intended to show the teachings and examples of Muhammad, and is not intended to be offensive to Muslims; many Muslims may have little real knowledge of what their god, Allah and their prophet has said on this topic.

Islam teaches that the Qur'an is perfect in every respect. Muslims believe that Muhammad was illiterate (Sura 7:157) and that it was therefore not possible humanly speaking for him to produce such a work. Moreover, Allah teaches that it contains no contradiction, and that these facts prove that the Qur'an is of divine origin (Sura 4:82).

This tract aims to provide a small selection of verses (due to the limited space) to challenge the assumption that the Qur'an is perfect.

Special note: Within Islam, there is a doctrine called Abrogation (substituting one teaching for another); but even abrogated verses are, in our view, still examples of contradictions. For more information on Abrogation in Islam and its contrast with the Old and New Testaments please refer to our tract Authenticity of the Bible.

Since Muslims the world over consider the Qur'an their book from Allah we need to check out its claims.

The numerous contradictions it contains can be categorized into six (6) groups:

  1. Scientific Contradictions
  2. Historical Contradictions
  3. Geographical Contradictions
  4. Theological / Ethical Contradictions
  5. Contradictions with the Biblical statement
  6. Internal Contradictions

Scientific Contradictions

Sura 27:18-19 records that King Solomon overheard a conversation between ants. This is scientifically impossible as ants use smell, not sound, to communicate and the context of the story indicates that this is not a miracle of Allah!

Sura 51:49 reveals that everything was made in pairs. Whilst there are many things that are made in pairs, there are many that have no counterpart, and there are species where there is only one gender such as starfish and sea anemones.

Sura 18:85-86 reveals that the Sun sets in a muddy pool.

Historical Contradictions

Sura 20:85-87, 95-97 reveals that a Samaritan molded the calf that the Israelites worshiped in Moses' time. This is an historical impossibility as Samaritans wouldn't exist for another 500-700 years.

Sura 28:38 states that Haman was a chief minister of Pharaoh in Egypt. Historically, Haman was the minister of a Persian King, Ahasuerus, called King Xerxes I by the Greeks. He lived about a thousand years after the time of Moses, but the Qur'an says this Persian minister, Haman, lived in Egypt at the time of Moses.

Sura 66:12 reveals that Mary [the Biblical Miriam and sister of Aaron and Moses] is the same as the virgin Mary [the mother of Jesus]. Some Muslim scholars try to explain that Mary was only a sister/daughter in a figurative sense because Aaron and Mary were both saints. To the ill-informed, it sounds plausible, but in fact this is not the case at all. Sura 3:32-35 relates that Imran's [the father of Aaron] family was one of the preferred above all creation. Imran's wife fell pregnant and gave birth to Mary, who became mother of Jesus. More than 1500 years separated Mary the mother of Jesus, and Miriam [Aaron and Moses' sister].

Geographical Contradictions

Sura 36:37/38 reveals that the sun goes to a place of rest at night. Baidawi said that the phrase, 'the sun runs to a fixed resting place', means to a certain limit at which its daily cycle comes to an end. Sura 18:86 Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. Even school children know that it is the earth that moves, not the sun. Sura 2:187 commands Muslims to fast between sunrise and sunset. How is this possible near the North and South Poles when the sun doesn't go below the horizon for months at a time?

Theological/Ethical Contradictions

Sura 5:116; 4:171 and 5:73 reveal that Christians allegedly believe that there are three gods: God, Mary and Jesus. Consequently, Muhammad repeated over and over that God is one. However, no Christian believes that there are three Gods. In fact, they expressly deny it, while affirming their belief in the Trinity. Sura 6:12 reveals that people are to be blamed for belief and disbelief but, in Sura 10:100, Allah is responsible.

In Sura 31:15, a Muslim is permitted to keep some sort of kindly relation with non-Muslim parents. However, in Sura 9:23, a Muslim is not allowed to befriend unbelieving parents.

Sura 4:78 reveals that both good and evil come from Allah; but in Sura 4:79 only good comes from Allah.

Adultery is forbidden in Sura 25:68 and 60:12. But in Sura 24:33, Allah allows non-forced prostitution and concubines in Sura 70:29-32.

There is no compulsion in Islam according to Sura 2:256; but in Sura 9:5, 8:39, 65, and 67, Allah commands Muslims to fight against unbelievers until they either convert or die.

Murder is forbidden in Sura 5:30 etc, but murder for the sake of Allah is permitted against unbelievers, e.g. Sura 9:5; 8:39, 65, 67; 2:191, 217

Contradictions with the Bible

Because Muslims believe that the Christian Bible is corrupt, they have no problem with the Qur'an contradicting the Bible - but this denies that Allah is capable of protecting his word.

Internal Contradictions

Muhammad claimed to be the first Muslim (Sura 6:14, 161-164; 39:11-12). But in Sura 30:30 and 7:172 everyone is born a Muslim and many people are described as Muslims: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (2:127-133;3:67); Jesus (Sura 3:52); the disciples of Jesus (3:52; 5:110-111); Solomon (27:30-31, 42-44); Moses the first of believers (7:143); Moses' mother (28:7); Aaron (7:121-122); others at the same time as Moses and Aaron (40:28-35, 36-38) and all Jews before they went astray (22:78) etc. In fact, all the prophets were Muslims (see Sura 2:140; 3:81).

On the one hand there is a minimum age of marriage (Sura 4:6) [usually regarded as puberty or 15 years of age], but Sura 65:4 contains directives for the divorce of girls who are too immature to menstruate. Sura 2:221 forbids Muslims marrying non-Muslims but Sura 5:5 allows it.

According to Sura 2:106 and 16:101, Allah changes his revelations with something better; but in 10:65, there is no change in the word of Allah. Sura 2:106 teaches that Allah causes people to forget his commandments/revelation whereas Sura 6:68 says the devil causes them to forget Allah's command not to sit with disbelievers.

In Sura 2:122; 2:47; 44:30-32; 45:16; Allah prefers Jews above all people, but in 62:6, it appears that he disapproves of them, threatening them with death and turning them into pigs and monkeys (Sura 5:60; 2:65; 98:6 etc).

Sura 3:55 teaches those who follow Jesus [Christians] are above those who disbelieve till the Last Day and 2:62 teaches that Christians will not grieve on the Day of Judgment—but in 98:6 Allah reveals that Christians are the worst of all creatures and abide in hell.

In Sura 4:48, 116 teaches that Allah can forgive every sin except ascribing a partner to him; but in 6:76-78 Abraham ascribed a star, the moon, and the sun to Allah, but Allah still forgave him. Moreover, in 4:153, the Israelites worshiped the calf and Allah forgave them.

Muslims are to get truth and wisdom confirmed from Christians and Jews (Sura 10:94 and 5:47), but in Sura 9:30; 2:65; and 98:6, Christians and Jews are deluded!

The Qur'an claims that none can change the Word of God. (Sura 6:115-116; 10:65; 18:27-28; 48:23). However, as seen earlier, the Qurán teaches that the Jews corrupted the words of the Scriptures (Sura 2:41/42; 3:71, 3:78, 4:46) and even Allah needed to change his words (Sura 2:106; 16:101) Sura 22:52 admits that Satan sometimes influences the content of the revelation, but Allah abolishes it.


These are just some of a plethora of internal contradictions. If God can so change his mind, his promises cannot be trusted with certainty. The God of Christians, however, cannot lie (Titus 1:2 etc.) and promises eternal life (Titus 1:2 and others). More than that, he promises that you can become a child of His (John 1:12). God makes many promises throughout Scripture, and asks to be held to them.

The most important promise in Scripture is that "all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved." (Acts 2:21).

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Mizan ul Haqq


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