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We’re getting down to the most interesting passages in the Qur’an. It’s tough to decide because there are a lot of them—the Qur’an is about twenty percent shorter than the New Testament (all quotations are taken from Quran.com).

#4 No Paternity Tests for Allah

O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs. (Sura 4:171 )

One of the most important elements of Islamic theology is the denial of Jesus’ divinity. When Muslims hear Christians say that Jesus is the “Son of God,” they are taught to interpret this as, “God came down and had filthy, illicit sex with a human woman.” That’s not what the New Testament teaches, but it doesn’t matter since that is what Qur’anic scholars teach. And if it’s based on the Qur’an, it’s true—because the Qur’an is the eternally true and perfect word of Allah. Because it says it is. It’s a circular argument, but logic is just brain magic used by infidels, anyway.

The idea that Jesus is the Son of God is particularly offensive to Muslims, and many Christian apologists and evangelists wisely warn against using this phrase to refer to Jesus because of the unnecessary offense it could cause. Sadly, using one of the terms by which we know Jesus best is so offensive to Muslims that imams warn that even saying, “Merry Christmas”—the use of which is taken to imply that the birth story of Jesus in the Gospels is true—has been described as a crime worse than adultery, lying, murder, and every other major sin combined. I wonder what they would say about saying, “Happy holidays”?

On a final note, the unauthorized WSV of the Qur’an (Word on the Street Version) really gets to the heart of this passage. It paraphrases the verse as, “Allah ain’t nobody’s baby daddy.” So true.

#3 Allah Loves Revisionist History

And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. (Sura 4:157)

It seems Muhammad just couldn’t get his mind around the concept of the Trinity, meaning that he described it as a trio of deities rather the one God in three persons (his followers continue this practice today). With Jesus being demoted to the status of a fully human prophet, he couldn’t possibly be divine, even though he maintains a position of honor in the Muslim faith.

A second problem for Muslims is the fact that such an esteemed prophet of Allah couldn’t possibly have died as shameful a death as Roman crucifixion. Consequently, Muhammad denied the execution of Jesus, as well as ancient historical records stating the contrary. While the Qur’an states Jesus was never crucified, this claim is refuted by ancient history.

The Roman historian and senator Tacitus stated that “Christus” (a Latinized form of the Greek Christos) had “suffered the extreme penalty” at the hand of Pontius Pilatus during the reign of Tiberius (Annals 15.44). He does not mention the word “crucifixion” because the practice was so horrific that Roman writers avoided using it as a matter of practice—the famed orator Cicero once said that it shouldn’t even be mentioned. The basic chronological details Tacitus presents match what we find in the New Testament.

Suetonius, another Roman historian, wrote that Claudius expelled a group of Jews from Rome because of a figure named “Chrestus” (Claudius 25) Again, this name appears to be a variant form of the Greek title Christos (the difference between the i and e in the spellings is explained by the fact that some early references to believers appear variously as both Chrestians and Christians). This detail lines up perfectly with both a reference to Aquilla and Priscilla in the New Testament (Acts 18:2) and the general chronology of Paul’s ministry.

The Jewish Roman historian Josephus penned two references to Jesus (Antiquities 18.3.3; 20.9.1), that included other figures such as John the Baptist and James, the brother of Christ. The first passage, called the Testimonium Flavianum, has three small sections whose authenticity is rejected by virtually all scholars. However, the overwhelming majority of experts consider the reference itself to be authentically Josephan. This includes the statement that leading public figures leveled accusations against Jesus, resulting in Pilate condemning him to die by crucifixion. Again, these extrabiblical details line up with what we find in the biblical text.  Additional evidence for a crucified Jesus includes a reference made by the Greek satirist Lucian of Samosata (The Death of Peregrine 11) and the Alexamenos Graffito.

Muhammad simply could not accept a crucified Jesus. He rewrote the historical record to shape the figure of Jesus according to his designs. Middle Eastern caliphs and dictators have been rewriting history since forever. Why stop now?

#2 Know Your Role, Woman!

O you who have believed, when you contract a debt for a specified term, write it down. And let a scribe write [it] between you in justice. Let no scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him. So let him write and let the one who has the obligation dictate. And let him fear Allah, his Lord, and not leave anything out of it. But if the one who has the obligation is of limited understanding or weak or unable to dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate in justice. And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses – so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her. And let not the witnesses refuse when they are called upon. And do not be [too] weary to write it, whether it is small or large, for its [specified] term. That is more just in the sight of Allah and stronger as evidence and more likely to prevent doubt between you, except when it is an immediate transaction which you conduct among yourselves. For [then] there is no blame upon you if you do not write it. And take witnesses when you conclude a contract. Let no scribe be harmed or any witness. For if you do so, indeed, it is [grave] disobedience in you. And fear Allah. And Allah teaches you. And Allah is Knowing of all things. (Sura 2:282)

This is the longest verse in the Qur’an. However, it’s infamous for another reason: it teaches that the testimony of women is only half as valuable as that of men. It also fits in with other verses in the Qur’an and other passages attributed to the Prophet that describe women as deficient in both mental ability and religious devotion (Sahih al-Bukhari 1:6:304). It also states that their stupidity (and their monthly cycle) resulted from Eve’s sin in the Garden in Eden.

It’s almost impossible to imagine a more nakedly misogynistic viewpoint than this. Oh, and some of the aforementioned passages also indicate that hell will be populated mostly by women (Sahih al-Bukhari 4:54:464; Sahih Muslim 36:6597), in part because they are ungrateful to their husbands (Sahih al-Bukhari 1:2:28). Sorry ladies, but wanting to be treated as anything more than a bunch of cursed, hellbound idiots really is asking too much. At least, according to Muhammad.

Passages like this comprise a disgusting corpus of Islamic texts virtually sanctioning the poor treatment and even abuse of women. Although many in the West try to put a positive spin on the Islamic view of the feminine, it is impossible to do so and remain honest with the sacred text or with the hadiths (the recorded sayings of Muhammad considered authoritative). The Qur’an states that men are a degree above women in their rights (Sura 2:228), that daughters receive only half of the inheritance of a son (Sura 4:11), and allows men to marry pre-pubescent girls (Sura 65:4). The last point is particularly disturbing but stems from an incident involving Muhammad himself. He married a six-year-old girl named `Aisha, and they consummated the marriage when she was nine (Sahih al-Bukhari 5:63:3896). This practice still occurs in Islamic countries like Iran, where nine is the legal age for marriage for girls. The UNICEF 2007 Photo of the Year brought this practice to light when photographer Stephanie Sinclair photographed an engaged Afghani couple. The husband was forty but looked older. The bride was eleven.

We’ve got one more post to go. Next is our top verse in the Qur’an.

Image courtesy of Tayeb Mezahdia / Pexels.com