For Muslim men and women,- for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s remeberance,- for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.
Is the Koran divinely inspired or are there errors in it?
Though Muslims often argue for the divine origin of the Qur’an on grounds that ‘no error, alteration, or variation’ has touched its copies since its inception, such a view does not accurately represent the facts. While it is indeed correct to say that the Qur’an of today is a nearly perfect copy of its seventh century counterpart, the notion that these copies reflect the exact words as handed down by Muhammad is becoming increasingly problematic.
Historical sources prove that there were several different texts circulating in Syria, Iraq and Armenia prior to the final revision produced by Uthman. Zaid, Muhammad’s long-time secretary, was called in by Uthman to oversee the final and definitive authorized version of the Qur’an. All other copies of the Qur’an were then burned so that there could be no challenge to the authorized text. It remains to be answered why Uthman would have had to produce an authorized version of the Qur’an, if indeed the Qur’an had been perfectly preserved from the beginning!
To quote Alfred Guillaume, one of the best known non-Muslim scholars on Islam:
When one compares the different transmitted versions of the Qur’an, it becomes evident that there are in fact variants between them. While these variants are usually involving differences in individual letters, vowels or diacritical marks, the Muslim claim of perfect unity in the copies of the Qur’an is incorrect.
Moreover, since part of the Islamic claim is that God has been giving revelations to mankind throughout history, including the Psalms of David and the four Gospels, one wonders why it is claimed that Allah miraculously preserved the Qur’an in infallible copies, whereas Allah was apparently singularly incapable of accomplishing the same feat with the previous revelations.
Let us weigh the validity of the claim at hand. Just how excellent is the literary quality? In his book, Jesus Among Other Gods, well-known Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias, argues:
In the book which Zacharias cites above, Dashti writes:
Are there errors in the Qur’an? – What about fulfilled prophecy? Islamic apologists make the claim that the Qur’an predicts Muslims would be victorious at home and abroad (Surah 30:1-5). But this can hardly be utilized as an argument for a divine origin. The prediction that Muslims would be militarily victorious (especially when one considers Muhammad’s overwhelming military force) is not very impressive.
Not only is the time between these predictions and their subsequent fulfillment almost nil, but some argue the prediction of Islamic victory is better understood as a pre-battle victory speech from Muhammad to boost the morale of his troops.
Islamic prophecy does not even come close to the level of the prophecies in the Bible, many of which are written hundreds of years in advance, such as the prediction that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
Are there errors in the Qur’an? – What about scientific insights? In A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, Islamic apologist I.A. Ibrahim argues:
How valid is this claim? First, conformity to science is not proof of divine inspiration. As modern scientists will tell you, scientific models are constantly changing, so they are not an absolute gauge for what is true or false. Second, there are some highly suspect scientific statements in the Qur’an which are ignored by modern Islamic apologists. For example, Surah 23:14 makes the claim that human beings are formed from a clot of blood. Surah 18:86 claims that the sun sets in a spring of murky water. Clearly, even if the claims with respect to scientific insights were valid, the above statements would immediately falsify any such notion of divine inspiration.
Are there errors in the Qur’an? – Are there historical inaccuracies? While the list of historical inaccuracies and anachronisms is vast, one has been selected for discussion here. Surah 20 relays the incident of the golden calf. In Surah 20:85-88, 95 we read:
Now, let us consider this for just a moment. How can a Samaritan have led the Israelites astray at the time of Moses (approx 1400 BC) when the city of Samaria was founded by King Omri in about 870 B.C? The Samaritans did not exist until after the exile of the Northern kingdom of Israel and the resettlement of the area under king Sargon II in 722 B.C. with non-Israelites who then adopt a syncretism [mixture] between the religion of the Jews and their own polytheistic background. The Samaritans did not exist until 530 years after Moses. By this mistake alone, the Qur’an can be rendered unreliable and certainly not an inerrant work of God.
Are there errors in the Qur’an? – Conclusion Having outlined just a handful of many problems and difficulties pertaining to the Qur’an as a divinely inspired work, one is all but forced to reject the Islamic claim that the Qur’an represents an error-free word of God to humanity. When a similar standard is applied to the Bible, the result is self-vindicating, for the Bible arrives high and dry as compared to the Qur’an. God bless you! <3