Introduction to Quran Contradictions

The Qur'an states that it is a perfect book preserved on tablets in heaven (Surah 85:21-22).  If the Qur'an is a perfect book from Allah, then there shouldn't be any contradictions in it.  Of course, the Muslims will deny any contradictions exist in the Qur'an, but they do.  Some of the contradictions below could be debated, but some of them are clearly contradictions.

A contradiction occurs when one statement on a subject excludes the possibility of another.  The first one here is a good example.  In Surah 19:67, it states that man was created out of nothing.  In 15:26, man is created from clay.  Since clay is something, we have a contradiction since "nothing" excludes the possibility of "clay."  Both cannot be true.

All quotes from the Qur'an, unless otherwise specified, are from Yusuf Ali and can be found at the Qur'an online.

Section 1

  1. And it just doesn't add up: Sura 4:11-12 and 4:176 state the Qur'anic inheritance law. When a man dies, and is leaving behind three daughters, his two parents and his wife, they will receive the
    respective shares of 2/3 for the 3 daughters together, 1/3 for the parents together [both according to verse 4:11] and 1/8 for the wife [4:12] which adds up to more than the available estate. A second example: A man leaves only his mother, his wife and two sisters, then they receive 1/3 [mother, 4:11], 1/4 [wife, 4:12] and 2/3 [the two sisters, 4:176], which again adds up to 15/12 of the available property.
  2. How many angels were talking to Mary? When the Qur'an speaks about the announciation of the birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary, Sura 3:42,45 speaks about (several) angels while it is only one in Sura 19:17-21.
  3. Further numerical discrepancies Does Allah's day equal to 1,000 human years (Sura 22:47, 32:5) or 50,000 human years (Sura 70:4)? --- How many gardens are there in paradise? ONE [as stated
    in 39:73, 41:30, 57:21, 79:41] or MANY [18:31, 22:23, 35:33, 78:32]? --- According to Sura 56:7 there will be THREE distinct groups of people at the Last Judgement, but 90:18-19, 99:6-8, etc. mention only TWO groups. --- There are conflicting views on who takes the souls at death: THE Angel of Death [32:11], THE angels (plural) [47:27] but also "It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death." [39:42]
    Angels have 2, 3, or 4 pairs of wings [35:1]. But Gabriel had 600 wings. [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 455]
  4. Six or eight days of creation? Sura 7:54, 10:3, 11:7, and 25:59 clearly state that God created "the heavens and the earth" in six days. But in 41:9-12 the detailed description of the creation procedure adds up to eight days.
  5. Quick or Slow Creation? Allah creates the heavens and the earth in six days [7:54] and many Muslims want to be modern and scientific, and make that six eons, but then again, He creates instantaneously [2:117], "Be! And it is".
  6. Heavens or Earth? Which was created first? First earth and then heaven [2:29], heaven and after that earth [79:27-30].
  7. Calling together or ripping apart? In the process of creation heaven and earth were first apart and are called to come together [41:11], while 21:30 states that they were originally one piece and then ripped apart.
  8. What was man created from? A blood clot [96:1-2], water [21:30, 24:45, 25:54], "sounding" (i.e. burned) clay [15:26], dust [3:59, 30:20, 35:11], nothing [19:67] and this is then denied in 52:35, earth [11:61], a drop of thickened fluid [16:4, 75:37]
  9. Where is Allah and his throne? Allah is nearer than the jugular vein [50:16], but he is also on the throne [57:4] which is upon the water [11:7], and at the same time so far away, that it takes between 1,000 and 50,000 years to reach reach him [32:5, 70:4].

Section 2

  1. The origin of calamity? Is the evil in our life from Satan [38:41], Ourselves [4:79], or Allah [4:78]?
  2. How merciful is Allah's mercy? He has prescribed mercy for himself [6:12], yet he does not guide some, even though he could [6:35, 14:4].
  3. Will there be inquiry in Paradise? "neither will they question one another" [23:101] but nevertheless they will be "engaging in mutual inquiry" [52:25], "and they will ... question one another" [37:27].
  4. Are angels protectors? "NO protector besides Allah" [2:107, 29:22]. But in Sura 41:31 the angels themselves say: "We are your protectors in this life and the Hereafter." And also in other suras is their role described as guarding [13:11, 50:17-18] and protecting [82:10].
  5. Is everything devoutly obedient to Allah? That is the claim in 30:26, but dozens of verses speak of the proud disobedience of Satan [7:11, 15:28-31, 17:61, 20:116, 38:71-74, 18:50] as well of many different human beings who reject His commands and His revelations.
  6. Does Allah forgive shirk? Shirk is considered the worst of all sins, but the author of the Qur'an seems seems unable to decide if Allah will ever forgive it or not. No [4:48, 116], Yes [4:153,
    25:68-71]. Abraham committed this sin of polytheism as he takes moon, sun, stars to be his Lord [6:76-78], yet Muslims believe that all prophets are without any sin.
  7. The event of worship of the golden calf: The Israelites repented about worshipping the golden calf BEFORE Moses returned from the mountain [7:149], yet they refused to repent but rather
    continued to worship the calf until Moses came back [20:91]. Does Aaron share in their guilt? No [20:85-90], yes [20:92, 7:151].
  8. Was Jonah cast on the desert shore or was he not? "Then We cast him on a desert shore while he was sick" [37:145] "Had not Grace from his Lord reached him, he would indeed have been cast off on the naked shore while he was reprobate." [68:49]
  9. Moses and the Injil? Jesus is born more than 1,000 years after Moses, but in 7:157 Allah speaks to Moses about what is written in the Injil [the book given to Jesus].
  10. Can slander of chaste women be forgiven? Yes [24:5], No [24:23].
  11. How do we receive the record on Judgment Day? On Judgement day the lost people are given the
    Record (of their bad deeds): Behind their back [84:10], or in their left hand [69:25].
  12. Can angels disobey? No angel is arrogant, they all obey Allah [16:49-50], but: "And behold, we said to the ANGELS: 'Bow down to Adam'. And THEY bowed down, EXCEPT Iblis. He refused and was haughty." [2:34].
  13. Three contradictions in 2:97 and 16:101-103 Who brings the revelation from Allah to Muhammad? The ANGEL Gabriel [297], or the Holy Spirit [16:102]? The new revelation
    confirms the old [2:97] or substitutes it [16:101]? The Qur'an is PURE Arabic [16:103] but there are numerous foreign, non-Arabic words in it.
  14. The infinite loop problem Sura 26:192,195,196: "It (the Qur'an) is indeed a revelation from the Lord of the Worlds, ... in clear Arabic speech and indeed IT (the Qur'an) is in the writings of the
    earlier (prophets)." Now, the 'earlier writings' are the Torah and the Injil for example, written in Hebrew and Greek. HOW can an ARABIC Qur'an be contained in books of other languages? Furthermore, it would have to contain this very passage of the Qur'an since the Qur'an is properly  contained in them. Hence these earlier writings have to be contained in yet other earlier writings and we are in an infinite loop, which is absurd. 
  15. "An old woman" and God's character About the story of Lot: "So we delivered him and his family, - all exept an old woman who lingered behind." [Sura 26:170-171] And again: "But we saved him
    and his family, exept his wife: she was of those who lagged behind. [Sura 7:83]. Either this is a contradiction or if indeed Lot's wife is derogatorily called "an old woman" then this does not show much respect for her as a wife of a prophet.
  16. More problems with the story of Lot "And his people gave NO answer but this: They said, "Drive them out of your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!" [Sura 7:82 & 27:56].
    Yet: "But his people gave NO answer but this: They said: "Bring us the Wrath of Allah if thou tellest the truth." [Sura 29:29]. Obviously these answers are different.
  17. The "pleasure" of Allah? Is God's action of punishment or mercy and guidance or misguidance arbitrary?
  18. Did Abraham smash the idols? The accounts of Abraham, Suras 19:41-49, 6:74-83 differ quite a bit from Sura 21:51-59. While in Sura 21 Abraham confronts his people strongly, and even
    destroys the idols, in Sura 19 Abraham shuts up after his father threatens him to stone him for speaking out against the idols. And he seems not only to become silent, but even to leave the area ("turning away from them all").
  19. What about Noah's son? According to Sura 21:76, Noah and his family is saved from the flood, and Sura 37:77 confirms that his seed survived. But Sura 11:42-43 reports that Noah's son drowns.
  20. Was Noah driven out? "Before them *the people of Noah* rejected (their messenger): They rejected Our servant and said, 'Here is One possessed!' And he was driven out." [Sura 54:9] Now,
    if he is driven out [expelled from their country] how come they can scoff at him while he is buiding the ark since we read "Forthwith he (starts) constructing the Ark: Every time that the Chiefs of *his people* passed by him, they threw ridicule on him." [Sura 11:38] He cannot be both: Driven out and near enough that they can regularly pass by.
  21. Pharaoh's repentance in the face of death? According to Sura 10:90-92, Pharaoh repented "in the sight of death" and was saved. But Sura 4:18 says that such a thing can't happen.
  22. Abrogation? "The words of the Lord are perfect in truth and justice; there is NONE who can change His words." [Sura 6:115] Also see 6:34 and 10:65. But then Allah (Muhammad?) sees the
    need to exchange some of them for "better ones" [Sura 2:106, 16:101]. And it is not for ignorant people to question Allah because of such practices!
  23. Guiding to truth? "Say: 'God - He guides to the truth; and which is worthier to be followed ...?" [Sura 10:35] But how much is left over of this worthiness when we also read: "Allah leads astray
    whom he pleases, and he guides whom He pleases, ..." [Sura 14:4]. And how do we know in which of Allah's categories of pleasure we fall? How sure can a Muslim be that he is one of those guided right and not one of those led astray?
  24. What is the punishment for adultery? Flogging with a 100 stripes (men and women) [24:2], "confine them to houses until death do claim them (lifelong house arrest - for the women) [4:15].
    For men: "If they repent and amend, leave them alone" [4:16]. 24:2 contradicts both the procedure for women and men in Sura 4. And why is the punishment for women and men equal in Sura 24 but different in Sura 4?

Section 3

  1. Will Christians enter Paradise or go to Hell? Sura 2:62 and 5:69 say "Yes", Sura 5:72 (just 3 verses later) and 3:85 say "No".
  2. God alone or also men? Clear or incomprehensible? The Qur'an is "clear Arabic speech." [16:103] Yet "NONE knows its interpretation, save only Allah." [3:7]. Actually, "men of understanding do grasp it." [3:7]
  3. Was Pharaoh Drowned or Saved when chasing Moses and the Israelites? Saved [10:92], drowned [28:40, 17:103, 43:55].
  4. When Commanded Pharaoh the Killing of the Sons? When Moses was a Prophet and spoke God's truth to Pharaoh [40:23-25] or when he was still an infant [20:38-39]?
  5. When/how are the fates determined? "The night of power is better than a thousand months. The angels and spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees." [97:3,4] "Lo! We revealed it on a blessed night." [44:3] To Muslims, the "Night of Power" is a blessed night on which fates are settled and on which everything relating to life, death, etc., which occurs throughout the year is decreed. It is said to be the night on which Allah's decrees for the year are brought down to the earthly plane. In other words, matters of creation are decreed a year at a time. Contradicting this, Sura 57:22 says, "No affliction befalls in the earth or in your selves, but it is in a Book before we create it." This means it is written in the Preserved Tablet, being totally fixed in Allah's knowledge before anyone was created. All of the above is contradicted by "And every man's fate We have fastened to his own neck." This says that man alone is responsible for what he does and what happens to him. [17:13]
  6. Wine: Good or bad? Strong drink and ... are only an infamy of Satan's handiwork. [5:90, also 2:219]. Yet on the other hand in Paradise are rivers of wine [47:15, also 83:22,25]. How does Satan's handiwork get into Paradise?
  7. Will all Muslims go to Hell? According to Sura 19:71 every Muslim will go to Hell (for at least some time), while another passage states that those who die in Jihad will go to Paradise immediately.
  8. Will Jesus burn in Hell? Jesus is raised to Allah, [Sura 4:158], near stationed with him [Sura 3:45], worshiped by millions of Christians, yet Sura Sura 21:98 says, that all that are worshiped by men besides Allah will burn in Hell together with those who worship them.
  9. Jinns and men created for worship or for Hell? Created only to serve God [Sura 51:56], many of them made for Hell [Sura 7:179].
  10. Who is the father of Jesus? A more involved argument that is difficult to summarize in one sentence.
  11. Begetting and Self-sufficiency A self-contradiction on account of confused terminology.
  12. Could Allah have a son? Sura 39:4 affirms and Sura 6:101 denies this possibility.
  13. Did Jesus Die already? Surah 3:144 states that all messengers died before Muhammad. But 4:158 claims that Jesus was raised to God (alive?).
  14. One Creator or many? The Qur'an uses twice the phrase that Allah is "the best of creators" [23:14, 37:125]. What other creators are in mind? On the other hand, many verses make clear that Allah alone is "the creator of all things" [e.g. 39:62]. There is nothing left for others to be a creator of.
  15. From among all nations or from Abraham's seed? Surah 29:27 states that all prophets came Abraham's seed. But 16:36 claims that Allah raised messengers from among every people.
  16. Marrying the wives of adopted sons? It is important that Muslims can marry the divorced wives of adopted sons [Sura 33:37], yet it is forbidden to adopt sons [Sura 33:4-5].
  17. What was man created from: blood, clay, dust, or nothing?
    1. "Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood," (96:2).
    2. "We created man from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape, (15:26).
    3. "The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was," (3:59).
    4. "But does not man call to mind that We created him before out of nothing?" (19:67, Yusuf Ali). Also, 52:35).
    5. "He has created man from a sperm-drop; and behold this same (man) becomes an open disputer! (16:4).

These are logical contradictions. These are not the same as the Bible's apparent ones. Paradox is two truths into one; thats not the case with the Quran.

RC