Historical, Scientific, Logical and Prophetic
By Keith Thompson
According to Islam the Koran is infallible, that is, it is free from error (Koran 53:3-4). Moreover, Islam teaches Muhammad’s Sunnah, that is, his sayings and deeds in the authentic hadith literature are to be followed by Muslims. This presupposes they are accurate and thus worthy to be followed. For example, Muhammad said “keep to my Sunnah” (Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadith, Number 28) and there are many references in the Koran ordering Muslims to obey and emulate Muhammad’s teaching and example (Koran 4:59, 65; 8:24; 24:63). Thus, if there are historical, scientific, logical and prophetic errors in the Koran and authentic hadith material, this proves Muhammad was a false prophet and that Islam is false.
The sun’s movement
Muhammad believed the reason the sun appears to move in the sky is because of the sun’s movement and not the earth’s rotation. In Koran 36:38 we read, “And the sun runs his course for a period determined for him: that is the decree of (Him), the Exalted in Might, the All-Knowing” (Koran 36:38).
In the hadith literature Muhammad explains this verse leaving no doubt this is what he believed. In Sahih Bukhari we read,
“Narrated Abu Dhar: The Prophet asked me at sunset, ‘Do you know where the sun goes (at the time of sunset)?’ I replied, ‘Allah and His Apostle know better.’ He said, ‘It goes (i.e. travels) till it prostrates Itself underneath the Throne and takes the permission to rise again, and it is permitted and then (a time will come when) it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course but it will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return whence it has come and so it will rise in the west. And that is the interpretation of the Statement of Allah: ‘And the sun Runs its fixed course For a term (decreed). That is The Decree of (Allah) The Exalted in Might, The All- Knowing’ (36.38)” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 54, Hadith 421).
Thus, it is clear Muhammad believed the reason it looks like the sun is moving in the sky is because of its movement and not the earth’s rotation around the sun as science proves. This is a clear scientific error in the Koran. As the following modern science book confirms, “The real reason behind the apparent motion of the Sun through the daytime sky is the rotation of the Earth. . . . the Earth orbits the sun” (Stuart Clark, The Earth, Sun and Moon, [Folens Limited, 2004], p. 11).
Alexander the Great
Muhammad taught Alexander the Great was a righteous Muslim who believed in and obeyed Allah. In Surah 18 of the Koran Dhu'l-Qarnayn, which means “two horns,” is said to be a man who had Allah’s support (Koran 18:84-86), was holy and righteous (Koran 18:87-88), and believed in, worked with, and obeyed Allah (Koran 18:87, 95, 98).
That the author of the Koran viewed this Dhu'l-Qarnayn as Alexander the Great is greatly evidenced.
First, many of Islam’s greatest commentators of the Koran affirm these verses are about Alexander the Great: Tafsir al-Jalalayn, al-Razi, al-Kindi, al-Farabi, Daryabadi, Yusuf Ali, etc.
Second, on ancient coins there are drawings of Alexander the Great with “two horns” on his head (Vincent Barletta, Death in Babylon: Alexander the Great and Iberian Empire in the Muslim Orient, [University of Chicago Press, 2010], pp. 183-184) which is significant since, again, Dhu'l-Qarnayn means “two horns.”
Third, Arabs like Al-Asha who was a poet living shortly prior to Muhammad and Hassan Ibn Thabit who was contemporary with Muhammad called Alexander the Great Dhu'l-Qarnayn (Richard Stoneman, Alexander the Great, eds. Stelios Panayotakis, Maaike Zimmerman, Wytse Hette Keulen, The Ancient Novel and Beyond, [BRILL, 2003], p. 8).
Thus, the expert on Alexander the Great, Richard Stoneman, affirms
“. . .the two names [Alexander the Great and Dhu'l-Qarnayn] were already synonymous when Muhammad came to compose this sura of the Qur’an” (Richard Stoneman, Alexander the Great, eds. Stelios Panayotakis, Maaike Zimmerman, Wytse Hette Keulen, The Ancient Novel and Beyond, [BRILL, 2003], p. 8 parenthesis mine).
Surah 18 also proves the Koran is historically inaccurate for claiming Alexander the Great was a righteous man who believed in and obeyed Allah. For, the historical evidence concerning Alexander the Great shows he was actually an unrighteous, polytheistic pagan.
The two earliest, extant and most reliable biographies of Alexander the Great were written by Arrian and Plutarch. According to Arrian, “Alexander offered sacrifice on the following day to the gods who had revealed the signs and assured him” (Arrian, The Anabasis of Alexander, Book. II, [Butler & Tanner], pp. 83-84). Similarly Plutarch relayed, “. . . the empire of the Persians was thought to be utterly dissolved, and Alexander, proclaimed king of Asia, made magnificent sacrifices to the gods. . .” (Plutarch, Life of Alexander, 34). Arrian also reported, “I pity Alexander for his mishap, because on that occasion he showed himself the slave of two vices, anger and drunkenness” (Arrian, The Anabasis of Alexander, Book. IV, [Butler & Tanner], p. 221). Finally Plutarch relayed Alexander engaged in drunken homosexual acts, “. . . he [Alexander] was once viewing some contests in singing and dancing, being well heated with wine, and that his favourite, Bagoas, won the prize for song and dance, and then, all in his festal array, passed through the theatre and took his seat by Alexander's side; at sight of which the Macedonians clapped their hands and loudly bade the king kiss the victor, until at last he threw his arms about him and kissed him tenderly” (Plutarch, Life of Alexander, 67).
Mountains as pegs placed onto earth
The Koran claims Mountains were placed down onto earth as pegs. Koran 31:10 says, “He has created the heavens without any pillars that you can see, and he has placed in the earth firm mountains that it may not quake with you. . .” (Koran 31:10). Koran 78:6-7 also says, “Have we not made the earth as a bed, And the mountains as pegs?” (Koran 78:6-7). Daryabadi translates the last Arabic word as “stakes” (Maulana Daryabadi, Tafsir-Ul-Qur’an, Vol. 4, [Academy of Islamic Research and Publications, 2004], p. 403).
These texts teach the way mountains appeared was that God placed them down onto the Earth from the sky like pegs or stakes. The scientific problem is mountains are actually formed by tectonic plates colliding together, not by God placing them down in this way. As we read in the science book Physical Geography: “The world’s highest mountains, the Himalayas, were formed when the Indian plate collided with Eurasia. The Alps were formed in a similar manner in a collision between the African and Eurasian plates” (Physical Geography, [Cengage Learning, 2008], p. 368).
Lastly, Koran 41:10 says at the time of creation, earth’s mountains were placed on earth by God during a span of four days (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, on Koran 41:10). However, mountains were not placed on earth as pegs at the time of creation. They, again, formed over a long period of time after creation due to tectonic plates colliding together.
Diseases and cures on the wings of flies
Muhammad taught it is okay to drink water diseased from a fly since its wing supposedly has the cure for the disease. In Bukhari we read, “Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said ‘If a house fly falls in the drink of anyone of you, he should dip it (in the drink), for one of its wings has a disease and the other has the cure for the disease’" (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 537).
This is a scientific error proving Muhammad to be a false prophet. According to the World Health Organization diseases flies carry and transmit include typhoid. The consensus of the medical community is that flies contaminate water sources with the disease typhoid which causes those who drink from such water to get sick with typhoid fever. This should not even happen according to Muhammad since the cure for the disease should be on the very same fly’s wing that infected such water. But, it does happen thereby refuting Muhammad.
That flies do spread typhoid through water resulting in people getting sick or dying, the Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary ofMedicine notes, “When sewage and sanitation systems are poor, the organisms may enter the water supply. They can also be spread to food and water by flies that have been in contact with body waste." This should not happen according to Muhammad.
With regards to the death rates this causes, the McGraw-Hill ConciseDictionary of Modern Medicine notes: “Oral, via contaminated food, drink, or water . . . 16 million non-US new cases of typhoid per year with 600 thousand deaths." Thus, Muhammad was incorrect since such deaths occur.
Traits of Children
Muhammad taught traits of children are determined by which parent climaxes first during sexual intercourse. Muhammad said,
“As for the resemblance of the child to its parents: If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife and gets discharge first, the child will resemble the father, and if the woman gets discharge first, the child will resemble her” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 55, Hadith 546).
This is a serious scientific error proving Muhammad was a false prophet. A child’s traits are determined by genes inherited by the mother and father and it has nothing to do with who climaxes first during sexual intercourse. As one modern science text-book on heredity points out:
“Every person has two copies of most genes in their genome. One copy of the gene comes from their mother, and the other one comes from their father. The two copies of the genes are not exactly the same. They contain small changes in the sequence of DNA bases. These two different versions of the same gene are called alleles. The small differences in the alleles cause offspring to resemble their parents without looking exactly the same as either parent” (Kristi Lew, Heredity, [Infobase Publishing, 2011], p. 10).
Was Virgin Mary the sister of Aaron?
The Koran falsely teaches the New Testament Virgin Mary was the sister of the Old Testament figure Aaron (Koran 19:28) and that she was the daughter of Imran who was Aaron’s father (66:12). The reason the Koran made this serious mistake was because Aaron’s sister was also called Mary (1 Chronicles 6:3) just like Jesus’ mother was, and Muhammad therefore confused the two. The historical fact of the matter is there was a long period of time between the lives of Mary sister of Aaron and Mary the mother of Jesus. This historical error shows the Koran is not inspired by God.
Muslims offer different unconvincing responses to this but the Muslim scholar Muhammad Asad claims the Koran only referred to Mary’s ancestral relationship to Aaron when it called her the “sister of Aaron” (Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Koran, Vol. 2, [The Book Foundation, 2003], p. 514, n22). However, this response won’t work because Koran 3:35-36 clearly teaches the wife of Imran, i.e., Aaron’s mother, literally gave birth to Mary the mother of Jesus. So there is no question the Koran falsely teaches the Virgin Mary was Aaron’s literal brother, not merely his ancestor. The text says,
“35When the wife of Imran said, 'Lord, I have vowed to Thee, in dedication, what is within my womb. Receive Thou this from me; Thou hearest, and knowest.' 36And when she gave birth to her she said, 'Lord, I have given birth to her, a female.' (And God knew very well what she had given birth to; the male is not as the female.) 'And I have named her Mary, and commend her to Thee with her seed, to protect them from the accursed Satan’” (Koran 3:35-36).
Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir affirms this is about the birth of the Virgin Mary and that the offspring of this female child is Jesus (Ibn Kathir, Commentary on Koran 3:36).
The sun sets in water
The Koran and hadith teach the sun sets in water. In Koran 18:86 which, as we noted, concerns Alexander the Great, we read, “Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it he found a People” (Koran 18:86). This is clearly a scientific error since the sun does and is not small enough to set in a spring of water.
In response, Islamic commentator Maulana Daryabadi argues the Arabic word for “found” here (wajada) should be taken in a subjective sense meaning “he perceived it setting in water,” even though he admits the word can have an objective meaning corresponding to fact, i.e., “he found it setting in water” (Maulana Daryabadi, Tafsir-Ul-Qur’an, Vol. 3, [Academy of Islamic Research and Publications, 2004], p. 67 n. 27).
However, Daryabadi is mistaken because right after this verse says Alexander “found” the sun setting in water, it then continues and says he also “found a people” using the same Arabic word for “found” (wajada). Thus, according to the Koran the same way Alexander literally found a people, he literally found the sun setting in water.
And lastly, in a sound hadith in Sunan Abu Dawud Muhammad affirmed the sun literally sets in water, not that its only perceived to do such: “Narrated Abu Dharr: I was sitting behind the Messenger of Allah who was riding a donkey while the sun was setting. He asked: Do you know where this sets? I replied: Allah and his Apostle know best. He said: It sets in a spring of warm water (Hamiyah)” (Sunan Abu Dawud, 3992, Ahmad Hasan Translation, Vol. 3, p. 1120).
So, it’s not that Alexander only perceived the sun to set in water. According to the Islamic sources both Alexander and Muhammad literally believed the sun set in a pool of murky water. This is scientifically absurd.
Muhammad said Muslims eat with one intestine and Non-Muslims eat with seven. This is reported in Sahih Muslim: “Ibn Umar reported Allah’s messenger as saying that a non-Muslim eats in seven intestines whereas a Muslim eats in one intestine" (Sahih Muslim, 5113, Abdul Siddiqi Translation, Vol. 3, p. 1367).
This is scientifically inaccurate. Human bodies only have a small and large intestine, and they are both used by all people after they eat (Anna Claybourne, The Human Body, [Evans Brothers, 2006], p. 17).
The Koran says stars are missiles God shoots as devils. This is found in Koran 67:5: “And we have, (from of old), adorned the lowest heaven with Lamps, and We have made such (Lamps) (as) missiles to drive away the Evil Ones, and have prepared for them the Penalty of the Blazing Fire” (Koran 67:5). This is another absurd scientific inaccuracy. Stars are not missiles God shoots at devils.
Muhammad’s cousin Ibn Abbas explains the science of Muhammad in this verse, “. . . (and We have made them) i.e. the stars (missiles for the devils) such that some of them become bewitched, some are killed while others are burnt” (Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs, S. 67:5).
Muhammad taught unsanitary insanity. In Sunan Abu Dawud Muhammad washed his face with the filthiest water imaginable:
“I heard that the people asked the Prophet of Allah: Water is brought for you from the well of Buda’ah. It is a well in which dead dogs, menstrual cloths and excrement of people are thrown. The Messenger of Allah replied: Verily water is pure and is not defiled by anything” (Sunan Abu Dawud, 67, cf. 66).
This is a scientific error since water does get polluted. Moreover, Muhammad said it is safe to drink water with dead animal carcasses in it: “It was narrated that Jabir bin Abdullah said:
“We came to a pond in which there was the carcass of a donkey, so we refrained from using the water until the Messenger of Allah came to us and said: ‘Water is not made impure by anything.’ Then we drank from it and gave it to our animals to drink, and we carried some with us” (Sunan Ibn Majah, 520).
Moreover, Muhammad would wash his face with his wife’s bath water after sexual intercourse,
“Ibn Abbas reported: One of the wives of the Prophet took a bath from a large bowl. The Prophet wanted to perform ablution or take a bath from the water left over. She said to him: O Prophet of Allah, verily I was sexually defiled. The Prophet said: Water is not defiled” (Sunan Abu Dawud, 68).
This is a scientific disaster.
Logical errors in the Koran
The Koran is full of serious contradictions or logical errors.
Did creation take Allah eight days as Koran 41:9-12 clearly shows, or six days as Koran 25:59 clearly says?
Is it possible for Muslims to treat their four wives “justly” (taʿdilū) as Koran 4:3 indicates, or is it not possible to treat them “justly” (taʿdilū) as Koran 4:129 indicates? It depends which verse you read.
Are Muslims not to marry idolatrous women (Koran 2:221) including Christian women because they’re idolaters as Koran 9:28-33 says, or is it permitted for Muslims marry Christian women as Koran 5:5 says, thus indicating they are not idolaters?
Will the food for people in hell be from a tree with fruit-stalks like the heads of devils as Koran 37:62-66 says? Or will it only be foul pus as Koran 69:36 says? Or will it only be bitter Dhari' as Koran 88:6 says?
Will there be no questioning and inquiry of earthly acquaintances on “that day” (i.e., the day of judgement) as Koran 23:99-101 clearly says, or will such questioning and inquiry indeed take place on “that day” as Koran 37:26-28 clearly says it will? Again, it depends on which verses you read.
Did Allah create the earth first and then the heavens second as Koran 2:29 says? Or did he create the heavens first and then the earth second as Koran 79:27-32 says?
While Christian scholars successfully reconcile alleged Bible contradictions in a truthful and convincing manner, the Muslim attempt at reconciling such Koranic contradictions is laughable at best.
Because Muhammad was a false prophet, he therefore produced many false prophecies. Deuteronomy 18:22 says “when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:22). We will test Muhammad with this criterion.
In Koran 30:2-4 Muhammad taught the Byzantines would defeat the Persians within three to nine years after the Persians first defeated them. It says, “The Byzantines have been defeated in the nearest land. But they, after their defeat, will overcome. Within three to nine years” (Koran 30:2-4 Sahih International). That the Arabic phrase fī biḍ'ʿi sinīna does indeed refer to “three to nine years” is evidenced by many sources.
As quoted, the Sahih International translation of the Koran renders the phrase as “three to nine years,” as do the Mushin Khan and Pickthall translations.
Moreover, Abdul Mannan Omar’s Dictionary of the Holy Qur’an affirms the word means “Few: range between 3 and 9” (Abdul Mannan Omar, Dictionary of the Holy Qur’an, [NOOR Foundation, 2012], p. 54). Also, the Islamic scholar Allam Usmani confirms, “. . . in lexicon and in the Tradition the word biḍ'ʿi is applied to a period ranging from three to nine years” (Allama Usmani, Tafseer-E- Usmani, Vol. 3, [Islamic Book Service, 2004], p. 1768 n. 2). Moreover, the commentator Yusuf Ali also confirms “biḍ' in the text means a short period – a period from three to nine years” (Yusuf Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an, [Amana Publications, 2009], p. 1008 n. 3507). So there is no question.
However, the first battle Muhammad talked about was in A.D. 614 when the Persians shockingly conquered Jerusalem and defeated the Byzantines who were led by Emperor Heraclius (Irfan Shahîd, Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, [Dumbarton Oaks, 2002], p. 232). Then the Byzantines did defeat the Persians afterwards, but it was thirteen years later in A.D. 627 at Nineveh (Cyril Mango, The Oxford History of Byzantium, [Oxford University Press, 2002], p. 308), not three to nine years later as Muhammad falsely prophesied. This is a major false prophecy proving Muhammad was a false prophet.
It’s not surprising Muhammad predicted the Byzantines would beat the Persians after first being defeated in a battle. That would be like someone today saying if North Korea won a battle against the United States in Afghanistan, the United States would then beat North Korea in a second battle. Anyone could guess that. But the fact is the Koran got the time of the future battle wrong.
Next, in Koran 3:150-151 Muhammad predicted the Muslims would be victorious in the Battle of Uhud with the Meccan pagans:
“Nay, God is your protector, and He is the best of helpers. Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with God, for which He had sent no authority: their abode will be the Fire: And evil is the home of the wrong-doers!” (S. 3:150-151).
So according to Muhammad, God would protect the Muslims in this battle, terror would be cast into the hearts of the opposing army, and the abode of the opposing army would be hell. This indicates the Muslims would win the battle. Indeed, the commentator Ibn Abbas explained this was a prophecy of triumph regarding the battle of Uhud” (Tafsir Ibn Abbas, on Surah 3:150-151).
However, the Muslims went on to lose this battle in a devastating fashion. As Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir affirmed, “As-Suddi said, "When the disbelievers attacked Muslim lines during the battle of Uhud and defeated them, some Muslims ran away to Al-Madinah” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, on Sura 3:153). This is a major false prophecy. Later Muhammad then came up with the excuse that they lost the battle because the Muslims didn’t follow Muhammad’s war plans or orders correctly and also because they coveted war booty. Thus, Muhammad said that the war defeat was their punishment (see S. 3:152). What a great way to blame others for his false prophecy.
Now, in Sahih Muslim Muhammad falsely predicted the last hour would happen during the lifetime of a young boy who was present with him:
“Anas reported that a person asked Allah’s messenger as to when the Last Hour would come. He had in his presence a young boy of the Ansar who was called Muhammad. Allah’s messenger said: If this young boy lives, he may not grow very old till (he would see) the Last Hour coming to you” (Sahih Muslim 7051, Abdul Hamid Siddiqi translation, [Kitab Bhavan, 2012], p. 1840).
Moreover, Muhammad predicted the end of the world would happen very shortly after his life:
“Anas reported Allah’s messenger as saying: I and the Last Hour have been sent like this and (while doing it) joined the forefinger and the middle finger” (Sahih Muslim, 7049, Abdul Hamid Siddiqi translation, [Kitab Bhavan, 2012], Vol. 4, p. 1840).
Muhammad said this about 1400 years ago which is clearly incorrect. Also, Muhammad predicted
“The Last Hour would come (when) the Romans would form a majority amongst people” (Sahih Muslim, 6925, Abdul Hamid Siddiqi translation, Vol. 4, [Kitab Bhavan, 2012], p. 1810).
However, the largest people group in the world is by far the Han Chinese who have over a 1.2 billion person population (Steven L. Danver, Native Peoples of the World: An Encylopedia of Groups, Cultures and Contemporary Issues, [Routledge, 2015], p. 590). Thus, Muhammad was wrong since the Han Chinese far supersede any ethnic group including Romans in terms of population number and growth. Clearly, Muhammad wrongly assumed the world at the time of the last hour would look like it did at his time in the 7th century.
Finally, in Sahih Muslim Muhammad predicted,
“The Last Hour would not come until there would arise about thirty impostors, liars, and each one of them would claim that he is a messenger of Allah” (Sahih Muslim, 6988, Abdul Hamid Siddiqi translation, Vol. 4, [Kitab Bhavan, 2012], p. 1820; cf. Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 5, Book 36, Hadith 3952).
By claiming to be prophets, Muhammad said these people would be lying against him and Allah since he (that is, Muhammad) was the supposed seal or final prophet (Sunan Abu Dawud Book 38, Hadith 4320; Book 36, Hadith 4239).
However, there have been way more than thirty self-proclaimed prophets who say they are messengers of God in the 1400 years since Muhammad’s time. One could think of people like Nostradamus, Mirzā Ghulām Ahmad, Báb, Bahá'u'lláh, William Miller, Ellen G. White, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Joseph Smith and the other 15 Mormon false-prophets since his death, Elijah Muhammad, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, Sun Myung Moon, Shoko Asahara, Rael, David Berg, David Icke, Jeffrey Don Lundgren, Marshall Applewhite, Sergey Torop, Wayne Bent, Apollo Quiboloy, Inri Cristo, The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Aum Shinrikyo, Benjamin Creme, etc.
These are but a few and they number well over thirty. By claiming to be prophets or messengers of God they implicitly called Muhammad a liar for claiming to be the final prophet. Yet, even though well over thirty false prophets and messengers like these have come and gone, the end of the world did not yet happen. Thus, we can add Muhammad to this list of false prophets.