Some Contradictions in the Quran
This is a partial list of problems found in the Quran, which to the best of our knowledge remain unanswered. Your thoughts, comments, or explanations of any of the below are welcomed.
1. Creation: The biblical Genesis account says God created all in six days (see Genesis 1:1 - 2:2). The Quran, however, has a real problem here as Surah 41:9, 10, 12 have a total of eight days of creation (4+2+2=8) Meanwhile, Surah 10:3 gives the total number of days of creation as six. This is a problem of self-contradiction.
2. Pharaoh: According to the Quran (Surah 7:120-125) Pharaoh used crucifixion in dealing with the sorcerers - a practice which historical evidence gives no precedent to before the Babylonian Empire. This is once again a problem of historical compression.
3. The Golden Calf: According to the Quran (Surah 20:90-100)a Samaritan helped the Israelites build the golden calf, and it mooed after coming out of the fire. In reality, Samaritans did not exist as a people until at least 1000 years after the time of the Moses and the Israelite exodus from Egypt. Again a problem of historical compression.
4. Judaism: According to the Quran (Surah 9:30) the Jews believe that Ezra is the Son of God - the Messiah. This never has been a tenet of Judaism. This is a clear problem of distorted knowledge of other religions and historical fact.
5. Alexander the Great: According to the Quran (Surah 18:89-98) Alexander the Great was a devout Muslim and lived to a ripe old age. Historical records however show that Alexander the Great died young at 33 years of age (b. 356 B.C. - d. 323 B.C.), and believed he was divine, forcing others to recognize him as such. In India on the Hyphasis River (now Beas) Alexander erected twelve altars to twelve Olympian gods. Once again the Quran shows errors in historical and religious fact.
6. The Trinity: According to the Quran (Surah 5:116, 5:73-75) the Christians believe in "three Gods" - Father, Mother, and Son. This shows the influence of heretical 'Christian' sects in central Arabia at the time of Muhammad. In contrast, Christianity has always distinctly stated that the Trinity is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The teaching of the Quran on the Trinity has undoubtedly led to confusion among many Muslims on what the Bible (and thus Christianity) teaches about the Triune God.
7. Mary: According to the Quran (Surah 19:28, 3:33-36), Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the daughter of Imran or Amram, the father of Moses and Aaron. Mary is also said to be the sister of Moses and Aaron. Clearly Muhammad confused Mary with Miriam.
A second interesting point about Mary is the story of the date palm speaking and offering its fruit to her (Surah 19:23). This legend is easily traced to similar legends found in the apocryphal "Protoevangelium of James" the "Pseudo-Matthew" and "the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary" all of which have been dated to the fourth to sixth centuries, and were again believed by the sects found in Arabia. (More indepth information on Quranic sources may be found in Rev. W. St. Clair Tisdall's The Religion of the Crescent).
8. Textual Variants in the Quran: Many Muslims claim that the Quran today is identical to the revelations received by Muhammad. However, there is overwhelming unanswered evidence to the contrary. This includes evidence of variations both prior to, and after Uthman.
How do we view and respond to these unresolved problems of logic, history and religious knowledge? While they do not serve as the basis for our belief that the Quran is not the revelation of God (as there are issues of far greater consequence between the message of the Bible and the message of the Quran), they do show us that there are legitimate problems with the belief that the Quran is God's revelation to man, as God who is all knowing and infallible could not give statements of error, and then claim them as His Truth. As Christians we find the answer in the Bible. Numbers 23 tells us,
God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent. Has He said, and He will not do? Or has He spoken, and He will not make it good? (vs.19)
God, who is all knowing and all powerful, cannot be errant in His revelation to man. The problems in the Quran and differences between the Bible and Quran are numerous, leaving an unresolved difficulty for Islam which claims to be a fulfillment of the Bible.