We’ve finally arrived at my number one verse in the Qur’an. There are a lot of juicy passages to choose from, but this one isn’t scandalous so much as it is theologically implosive for the Muslim faith. While other texts present a violent, misogynistic, radically intolerant perspective, this one undermines one of the most fundamental tenets of Islam (quotation taken from Quran.com).
#1 Don’t Make Me Repeat Myself
And recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord. There is no changer of His words, and never will you find in other than Him a refuge. (Sura 18:27)
According to the Qur’an, Allah guaranteed the preservation of his word (Sura 15:9). One of the greatest problems in Islam is that Muslim scholars cannot adequately reconcile the oft-repeated claim that the Qur’an is the eternally perfect word of God with the fact that numerous manuscripts with textual variations exist. One modern scholar has even devoted a YouTube channel to exposing the many variants of the Qur’an. Naturally, he has met significant pushback from Muslims, who have been brainwashed into thinking that the Qur’an is perfect in every way.
Denial of this belief—even if it happens to come from a devout scholar who professes Muslim faith—is met with swift reprisal. We see an example in the case of the late Dr. Nasr Abu Zayd, an internationally-respected professor at Cairo University who questioned the standard narrative about the Qur’an’s textual perfection. He also stated that passages requiring Jews and Christians to pay the jizyah (a tax allowing them to practice their religion in Islamic territory) and permitting Muslims to own sex slaves represented a backward step for humanity. For his work, a council declared Zayd an apostate and dissolved his marriage, forcing him to flee the country.
Added to this problem is that dozens of verses in the Qur’an have gone missing. We have references in the hadiths that refer to passages not found in modern copies of the Qur’an, meaning that this material was lost at some point. Muslim scholars today frequently claim that not a single word of the Qur’an has been altered in over fourteen centuries. These two positions cannot be reconciled, thus demonstrating it to be a flawed book.
We have a particularly interesting case in Sura 33, which is missing over half its original content. Originally, the chapter consisted of about 200 verses (as stated by a passage in the hadiths); currently, it has only 73. According to Muhammad’s wife `Aisha, a section of the Qur’an went missing when a sheep ate part of it when everyone was busy weeping over the Prophet’s death (Sunan Ibn Maja 3:9:1944)—which sounds about as believable as “the dog ate my homework.” Notably, this occurred after Allah said he would protect the Qur’an.
The missing material in Sura 33 originally prescribed a brilliant solution to ward off any inappropriate sexual activity between an unmarried couple behind closed doors: the woman simply needs to breastfeed the man ten times. You read that correctly: to prevent illicit sexual activity between a man and a woman, she needs to take off her shirt and press his face against her bare chest repeatedly. What could possibly go wrong?
This material seems to have “disappeared” by `Aisha’s design. I’m sure it had absolutely nothing to do with Muhammad requiring her to breastfeed strange men.
Another thorny problem for Islam is the assertion that no one can alter Allah’s words (Sura 6:115), but Muslims claim that Jews and Christians corrupted the biblical text. The Qur’an never says that the “People of the Book” ever corrupted the Bible—this claim is made by Muslim apologists. Yet the Qur’an states that Allah gave “the Torah and the Gospel” (Sura 3:3; 7:157)—elsewhere referred to as “the Scripture” (Sura 6:114)—as revelations to prophets other than Muhammad. So, which is it? Here Islam makes two mutually-exclusive claims (1) Allah revealed the Bible, and (2) his words cannot be altered.
There we have it—our top ten verses in the Qur’an. Sadly, many good-natured, well-meaning people in our world today consider it to be the fully authoritative, eternally perfect word of Allah. They have listened to biased imams and agenda-driven scholars who don’t know the meaning of the word “objective” and frequently make outrageous claims that cannot be supported by their religious texts and are even contradicted by history and archaeology.
Our Muslim neighbors need concern and prayer. That they are religious is without question. That they seek to do the will of the divine is clear. But they have pledged their spiritual allegiance to a divine pretender instead of the one true God. They are not the enemy – they are victims of the Enemy, who used a fanatical, warmongering, sex-obsessed false prophet 1400 years ago to dupe billions of people.
Image courtesy of Jawad Jawahir / Unsplash.com