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A recurring criticism of the Quran is that it contains contradictory pronouncements, as is argued of many other religious scriptures. The occurrence of these contradictions, critics argue, is particularly problematic in the case of the Quran because the Islamic tradition holds it to be the direct, unmediated word of Allah, or God. Indeed, Quran 4:82 makes the confident assertion: "Then do they not reflect upon the Qur'an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction."
Critics hold that at least some of these contradictions are irresolvable through any reasonable interpretation and that, to resolve them, exegetes must resort to incredible interpretations. While some of the proposed contradictions, critics admit, may be resolved through the doctrine of abrogation, whereby Allah is said to override his previous instructions (through, for instance, permitting alcohol at one point and prohibiting at another), many other contradictions are not resolvable in this manner. Indeed, the Islamic tradition holds that the doctrine of abrogation is only applicable in cases of law and not theology - what Allah says at any point with regards to the divine, the hereafter, history, the day of judgement, or other such non-legal matters, must (and, the tradition holds, does) always hold true. Critics, however, have stated that many, including some of the most problematic, of the proposed contradictions are precisely of the theological, and not legal, variety.
A similar discussion exists between critics and Islamic scholars surrounding supposed contradictions contained in the hadiths.
Parallel narrative passages
Many stories in the Quran are repeated in other surahs. This risks ample opportunity for a human author or editor to unwittingly introduce contradictions between the parallel narratives. Indeed this is the case. Most of the examples in this section are from the Quran Variants website where they are discussed in more depth, with further insights and examples.
Narrative Contradictions in the Quran (pdf)
Due to the columns, if viewing on a mobile phone this section is best viewed by clicking desktop mode at the bottom of the page.
The forgiveness of Adam
Academic scholars have noticed that the author or editor of the Quran appears to have combined in verses 2:36-39 the stories of Adam in 7:22-25 and 20:121-124, with the awkward result that Allah tells Adam and company to go down from paradise twice, in verses 2:36 and 2:38.
Moreover, a contradiction was thereby created regarding the timing of Adam's forgiveness by Allah. In Surah 20, Adam is forgiven before the command to descend from paradise (part of a longer section narrated chronologically). In Surah 7 Adam requests forgiveness from Allah, but it does not say whether Allah did forgive him. Instead, it immediately proceeds to the command to descend in 7:24. Surah 2 appears to fix the ambiguity in surah 7 by inserting the descent command seen in surah 7:24 into 2:36 (the whole verse is used word for word by 2:36 in the Arabic text) before Allah's forgiveness which "Then" follows immediately afterwards (Arabic: fa). However, the first part of the command, to descend as enemies of one another is also in 20:123 where the forgiveness has already occurred in the previous verse.
|2:36 But Satan caused them to slip out of it and removed them from that [condition] in which they had been. And We said, "Go down, [all of you], as enemies to one another, and you will have upon the earth a place of settlement and provision for a time."
2:37 Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.
2:38 We said, "Go down from it, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance - there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.
2:39 And those who disbelieve and deny Our signs - those will be companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally."
|7:22 So he made them fall, through deception. And when they tasted of the tree, their private parts became apparent to them, and they began to fasten together over themselves from the leaves of Paradise. And their Lord called to them, "Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you that Satan is to you a clear enemy?"
7:23 They said, "Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers."
7:24 [Allah] said, "Descend, being to one another enemies. And for you on the earth is a place of settlement and enjoyment for a time."
7:25 He said, "Therein you will live, and therein you will die, and from it you will be brought forth."
|20:121 And Adam and his wife ate of it, and their private parts became apparent to them, and they began to fasten over themselves from the leaves of Paradise. And Adam disobeyed his Lord and erred.|
20:122 Then his Lord chose him and turned to him in forgiveness and guided [him].
20:123 [Allah] said, "Descend from Paradise - all, [your descendants] being enemies to one another. And if there should come to you guidance from Me - then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray [in the world] nor suffer [in the Hereafter].
20:124 And whoever turns away from My remembrance - indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind."
Timing of Allah's instructions to Noah
Two passages telling the story of Noah disagree as to when he was given the instructions about who and what to save in the ship. In 11:40, he receives the instructions when the flood is commanded. In 23:27, instead he receives these instructions earlier, at the same time as he is instructed to build the ark.
|11:37 And construct the ship under Our observation and Our inspiration and do not address Me concerning those who have wronged; indeed, they are [to be] drowned."
11:38 And he constructed the ship, and whenever an assembly of the eminent of his people passed by him, they ridiculed him. He said, "If you ridicule us, then we will ridicule you just as you ridicule.
11:39 And you are going to know who will get a punishment that will disgrace him [on earth] and upon whom will descend an enduring punishment [in the Hereafter]."
11:40 [So it was], until when Our command came and the oven overflowed, We said, "Load upon the ship of each [creature] two mates and your family, except those about whom the word has preceded, and [include] whoever has believed." But none had believed with him, except a few.
|So We inspired to him, "Construct the ship under Our observation, and Our inspiration, and when Our command comes and the oven overflows, put into the ship from each [creature] two mates and your family, except those for whom the decree [of destruction] has proceeded. And do not address Me concerning those who have wronged; indeed, they are to be drowned.
Abraham and the idols
Quran 37:87-97 contains a simpler version of the story in which Abraham smashes the idols in Quran 21:57-68. The two versions conflict in terms of where the events take place. In surah 37, everything takes place at the location of the idols. After some dialogue, we see in verse 90 “Then they turned away from him, departing” (fatawallaw ʿanhu mud'birīna); Abraham then smashes the idols; and “Then they came toward him, hastening” (fa-aqbalū ilayhi yaziffūna). Lane's Lexicon entry for the conjunction fa used at the start of 37:94 explains that in such usage as we see here, fa conveys proximate and uninterrupted succession.
In contrast, the longer surah 21 version has the people return to find the smashed idols but Abraham is no longer present there. They send a party to bring him, and then back amidst the idols he shows them the folly of their ways. So in that version it is Abraham who comes to them.
|21:57 And [I swear] by Allah, I will surely plan against your idols after you have turned and gone away."
21:58 So he made them into fragments, except a large one among them, that they might return to it [and question].
21:59 They said, "Who has done this to our gods? Indeed, he is of the wrongdoers."
21:60 They said, "We heard a young man mention them who is called Abraham."
21:61 They said, "Then bring him before the eyes of the people that they may testify."
21:62 They said, "Have you done this to our gods, O Abraham?"
21:63 He said, "Rather, this - the largest of them - did it, so ask them, if they should [be able to] speak."
21:64 So they returned to [blaming] themselves and said [to each other], "Indeed, you are the wrongdoers."
21:65 Then they reversed themselves, [saying], "You have already known that these do not speak!"
21:66 He said, "Then do you worship instead of Allah that which does not benefit you at all or harm you?
21:67 Uff to you and to what you worship instead of Allah. Then will you not use reason?"
21:68 They said, "Burn him and support your gods - if you are to act."
|37:87 Then what is your thought about the Lord of the worlds?"|
37:88 And he cast a look at the stars
37:89 And said, "Indeed, I am [about to be] ill."
37:90 So they turned away from him, departing.
37:91 Then he turned to their gods and said, "Do you not eat?
37:92 What is [wrong] with you that you do not speak?"
37:93 And he turned upon them a blow with [his] right hand.
37:94 Then the people came toward him, hastening.
37:95 He said, "Do you worship that which you [yourselves] carve,
37:96 While Allah created you and that which you do?"
37:97 They said, "Construct for him a furnace and throw him into the burning fire."
Abraham and the Angels
The parallel Guests of Abraham stories in the Quran have been analysed in depth in a paper by Joseph Witztum in order to determine the relative chronology of the parallel passages. Four contradictions between them are particularly notable here and discussed below.
|Quran 11:69-79 (see also Quran 29:31-32
|11:69 And certainly did Our messengers come to Abraham with good tidings; they said, "Peace." He said, "Peace," and did not delay in bringing [them] a roasted calf.
11:70 But when he saw their hands not reaching for it, he distrusted them and felt from them apprehension. They said, "Fear not. We have been sent to the people of Lot."
|15:51 And inform them about the guests of Abraham,
15:52 When they entered upon him and said, "Peace." [Abraham] said, "Indeed, we are fearful of you."
15:53 [The angels] said, "Fear not. Indeed, we give you good tidings of a learned boy."
|51:24 Has there reached you the story of the honored guests of Abraham? -|
51:25 When they entered upon him and said, "[We greet you with] peace." He answered, "[And upon you] peace, [you are] a people unknown.
51:26 Then he went to his family and came with a fat [roasted] calf
51:27 And placed it near them; he said, "Will you not eat?"
51:28 And he felt from them apprehension. They said, "Fear not," and gave him good tidings of a learned boy.
|11:71 And his Wife was standing, and she smiled. Then We gave her good tidings of Isaac and after Isaac, Jacob.
11:72 She said, "Woe to me! Shall I give birth while I am an old woman and this, my husband, is an old man? Indeed, this is an amazing thing!"
11:73 They said, "Are you amazed at the decree of Allah? May the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you, people of the house. Indeed, He is Praiseworthy and Honorable."
|15:54 He said, "Have you given me good tidings although old age has come upon me? Then of what [wonder] do you inform?"
15:55 They said, "We have given you good tidings in truth, so do not be of the despairing."
15:56 He said, "And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord except for those astray?"
|51:29 And his wife approached with a cry [of alarm] and struck her face and said, "[I am] a barren old woman!"|
51:30 They said, "Thus has said your Lord; indeed, He is the Wise, the Knowing."
|11:74 And when the fright had left Abraham and the good tidings had reached him, he began to argue with Us concerning the people of Lot.'
11:75 Indeed, Abraham was forbearing, grieving and [frequently] returning [to Allah].
11:76 [The angels said], "O Abraham, give up this [plea]. Indeed, the command of your Lord has come, and indeed, there will reach them a punishment that cannot be repelled."
|15:57 [Abraham] said, "Then what is your business [here], O messengers?"
15:58 They said, "Indeed, we have been sent to a people of criminals,
15:59 Except the family of Lot; indeed, we will save them all
15:60 Except his wife." Allah decreed that she is of those who remain behind.
|51:31 [Abraham] said, "Then what is your business [here], O messengers?"|
51:32 They said, "Indeed, we have been sent to a people of criminals
51:33 To send down upon them stones of clay,
51:34 Marked in the presence of your Lord for the transgressors."
Various contradictions are apparent in these parallels (the first 3 discussed by Witztum in his paper).
1) In Surah 11 and Surah 51 Abraham's fear comes after the angels do not take the food and it is at that point that they reassure him of their mission (either to the people of Lot or to bring him the good tidings). In surah 15 however, Abraham expresses his fear as soon as they arrive exchanging greetings of peace.
2) Abraham's wife receives the good tidings either directly (Surah 11) or indirectly, having overhead the tidings given to Abraham (Surah 51). Her immediate reaction is the same in both versions.
3) In 51:28 (and 15:53) Abraham is only given tidings of a learned boy (singular), which his wife overhears, whereas in 11:71 his wife is directly given tidings both of Isaac and of Jacob. Again, it is notable that her same immediate reaction is given in 51:29 and 11:72, so these are portraying the same moment.
4) In 11:70 the angels calm Abraham's fear by telling him that they have been sent to the people of Lot. Later, in verse 74, he argues with them on behalf of the people of Lot (qawmi lūṭin, again) perhaps having already understood their intention earlier. In surahs 15 and 51 the angels instead respond to Abraham's fear by giving him the good tidings, and it is only later in 15:57 and 51:31 that he seems to learn of their mission to the people of Lot when he asks “Then what” (famā) is their next business.
Lot and the angels
After the business with Abraham and his wife, the angels visit Lot and his family to save them from the destruction coming to the people there.
|15:61 And when the messengers came to the family of Lot,
15:62 He said, "Indeed, you are people unknown."
15:63 They said, "But we have come to you with that about which they were disputing,
15:64 And we have come to you with truth, and indeed, we are truthful.
15:65 So set out with your family during a portion of the night and follow behind them and let not anyone among you look back and continue on to where you are commanded."
15:66 And We conveyed to him [the decree] of that matter: that those [sinners] would be eliminated by early morning.
15:67 And the people of the city came rejoicing.
15:68 [Lot] said, "Indeed, these are my guests, so do not shame me.
15:69 And fear Allah and do not disgrace me."
15:70 They said, "Have we not forbidden you from [protecting] people?"
15:71 [Lot] said, "These are my daughters - if you would be doers [of lawful marriage]."
15:72 By your life, [O Muhammad], indeed they were, in their intoxication, wandering blindly.
15:73 So the shriek seized them at sunrise.
15:74 And We made the highest part [of the city] its lowest and rained upon them stones of hard clay.
|11:77 And when Our messengers, [the angels], came to Lot, he was anguished for them and felt for them great discomfort and said, "This is a trying day."|
11:78 And his people came hastening to him, and before [this] they had been doing evil deeds. He said, "O my people, these are my daughters; they are purer for you. So fear Allah and do not disgrace me concerning my guests. Is there not among you a man of reason?"
11:79 They said, "You have already known that we have not concerning your daughters any claim, and indeed, you know what we want."
11:80 He said, "If only I had against you some power or could take refuge in a strong support."
11:81 The angels said, "O Lot, indeed we are messengers of your Lord; [therefore], they will never reach you. So set out with your family during a portion of the night and let not any among you look back - except your wife; indeed, she will be struck by that which strikes them. Indeed, their appointment is [for] the morning. Is not the morning near?"?
11:82 So when Our command came, We made the highest part [of the city] its lowest and rained upon them stones of layered hard clay, [which were]
11:83 Marked from your Lord. And Allah 's punishment is not from the wrongdoers [very] far.
Three contradictions are evident in these parallel passages.
1) In surah 15, the angels tell Lot when they first arrive that they are there to save him and his family from the punishment to come. A mob arrives trying to take the visitors and Lot attempts to placate them by offering his daughters. In Q. 11, the sequence of events is very expressly the other way around: the mob events occur first, which leads to the angels explaining how they will save Lot and his family. Although 15:67 starts with the "And" conjunction (like some of the previous verses), the suspicion of contradiction in Q. 15 is well justified from the textual sequence of the elements (this is, after all, a narrative), and from what naturally reads like the angels explaining themselves upon their arrival in the first few verses. This is even apparent from the way Lot addresses them as "people unknown" (qawmun munkarūna) in 15:62, mirroring the way Abraham addressed the angels when he greeted them in 51:25 (see above).
2) Another contradiction concerns the context in which the angels tell Lot of their mission to save him and his family. In 15:61-66, the angels reveal this in response to Lot addressing them as people unknown / strange when they first arrive, alluding in verse 63 to Lot's pleadings to the people in other passages. In surah 11, instead the angels reveal this in order to ease the fear he expresses about the mob.
3) Finally, the accounts conflict in sequencing the elements of Lot's appeal to the mob. In 11:78 he says “these are my daughters” then asks them to “fear Allah and do not disgrace me”. In 15:68-71 instead he asks them to “fear Allah and do not disgrace me”, the mob responds, and then comes the “These are my daughters” element.
Response from Lot's people
Two passages make exclusive statements about the response of Lot's people to his arguments before the visit of the angels. Both verses come across as sweeping statements on the response of Lot's people to his pleadings, perhaps reflective of Muhammad's own experiences, except that each uses categorically exclusive language ("the answer of his people was not but they said...").
|27:54 And [mention] Lot, when he said to his people, "Do you commit immorality while you are seeing?
27:55 Do you indeed approach men with desire instead of women? Rather, you are a people behaving ignorantly."
27:56 But the answer of his people was not except that they said, "Expel the family of Lot from your city. Indeed, they are people who keep themselves pure."
27:57 So We saved him and his family, except for his wife; We destined her to be of those who remained behind.
|29:28 And [mention] Lot, when he said to his people, "Indeed, you commit such immorality as no one has preceded you with from among the worlds.|
29:29 Indeed, you approach men and obstruct the road and commit in your meetings [every] evil." And the answer of his people was not but they said, "Bring us the punishment of Allah, if you should be of the truthful."
Moses meets Allah at the fire
In this example, three accounts of Moses talking with Allah at the fire bear only a passing resemblance to one another. It is worth noting that Quran 4:164 says regarding the nature of the interaction “And Allah spoke to Moses with [direct] speech". Al-Razi notes in his commentary for 20:12 that the Mu’tazilites, Al-Ash’ari and al-Maturidi had different theological views on whether the words of Allah came from via the bush itself, and whether they were audible.
All three versions have “O Moses, Indeed, I am Allah” (or "your Lord") as a common element in the Arabic. However, there is otherwise little attempt at consistency in the variant stories. In surah 27, Allah is introduced as “Lord of the worlds” in the 3rd person and introduces himself with the common element along with another title. In surah 28 we see the opposite sequence with the “Lord of the Worlds” title used in the 1st person after the common introduction.
|20:10 When he saw a fire and said to his family, "Stay here; indeed, I have perceived a fire; perhaps I can bring you a torch or find at the fire some guidance."
||27:7 [Mention] when Moses said to his family, "Indeed, I have perceived a fire. I will bring you from there information or will bring you a burning torch that you may warm yourselves."
||28:29 And when Moses had completed the term and was traveling with his family, he perceived from the direction of the mount a fire. He said to his family, "Stay here; indeed, I have perceived a fire. Perhaps I will bring you from there [some] information or burning wood from the fire that you may warm yourselves."
|20:11 And when he came to it, he was called, "O Moses,
20:12 Indeed, I am your Lord, so remove your sandals. Indeed, you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa.
20:13 And I have chosen you, so listen to what is revealed [to you].
20:14 Indeed, I am Allah. There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance.
20:15 Indeed, the Hour is coming - I almost conceal it - so that every soul may be recompensed according to that for which it strives.
20:16 So do not let one avert you from it who does not believe in it and follows his desire, for you [then] would perish.
|27:8 But when he came to it, he was called, "Blessed is whoever is at the fire and whoever is around it. And exalted is Allah, Lord of the worlds.
27:9 O Moses, indeed it is I - Allah, the Exalted in Might, the Wise."
|28:30 But when he came to it, he was called from the right side of the valley in a blessed spot - from the tree, "O Moses, indeed I am Allah, Lord of the worlds."
Moses expresses his fears and asks Allah about Aaron
In this sequence contradiction, Allah has revealed himself at the fire to Moses, who expresses his worries and makes a request. In the surah 26 version, Moses expresses his fear that the people of Pharaoh will deny him; he requests that he be assisted by his brother, Aaron; and finally, Moses mentions that the Egyptians want revenge for someone he had killed. However, in the surah 28 version, these three elements occur in the reverse order.
Regardless of differences that could be simply put down to the vagaries of translation from ancient languages or alternative paraphrases and shortening for brevity, the information content and sequencing is more fundamental and susceptible to contradiction, particularly when the Quran claims that such and such was said by a person on a particular occasion.
|26:10 And [mention] when your Lord called Moses, [saying], "Go to the wrongdoing people -
26:11 The people of Pharaoh. Will they not fear Allah?"
26:12 He said, "My Lord, indeed I fear that they will deny me
26:13 And that my breast will tighten and my tongue will not be fluent, so send for Aaron.
26:14 And they have upon me a [claim due to] sin, so I fear that they will kill me."
26:15 [Allah] said, "No. Go both of you with Our signs; indeed, We are with you, listening.
26:16 Go to Pharaoh and say, 'We are the messengers of the Lord of the worlds,
26:17 [Commanded to say], "Send with us the Children of Israel."'"
|28:33 He said, "My Lord, indeed, I killed from among them someone, and I fear they will kill me.|
28:34 And my brother Aaron is more fluent than me in tongue, so send him with me as support, verifying me. Indeed, I fear that they will deny me."
28:35 [Allah] said, "We will strengthen your arm through your brother and grant you both supremacy so they will not reach you. [It will be] through Our signs; you and those who follow you will be the predominant."
How should Moses describe Allah to Pharaoh?
Quran 20:47-49 narrates Allah's instructions to Moses at the fire and his first encounter with Pharaoh, ending with a display of miracles and Pharaoh's subsequent scheming. In this passage, Allah tells Moses to say that he and Aaron are "messengers of your Lord" and the account of their first encounter begins with Pharaoh asking, "So who is the Lord of you two, O Moses?". However, in Quran 26:16-23 Allah instructs them to use a different title, "Lord of the worlds", which Pharaoh then enquires upon at the start of the narration of their first encounter, again before the display of miracles and Pharaoh's subsequent scheming. Similarly, Quran 7:104 narrates "And Moses said, "O Pharaoh, I am a messenger from the Lord of the worlds" on their first encounter.
|20:47 So go to him and say, 'Indeed, we are messengers of your Lord, so send with us the Children of Israel and do not torment them. We have come to you with a sign from your Lord. And peace will be upon he who follows the guidance.
20:48 Indeed, it has been revealed to us that the punishment will be upon whoever denies and turns away.' "
20:49 [Pharaoh] said, "So who is the Lord of you two, O Moses?"
|26:16 Go to Pharaoh and say, 'We are the messengers of the Lord of the worlds,|
26:17 [Commanded to say], "Send with us the Children of Israel."'"
26:23 Said Pharaoh, "And what is the Lord of the worlds?"
Pharaoh and his Chiefs
Coming after Moses has impressed Pharaoh with the miracles of the serpent and white hand, both surah 7 and 26 immediately then describe a discussion between Pharaoh and his chiefs. In surah 7, Pharaoh asks his council what do they instruct/advise (famādhā tamurūna?), but in surah 26, the same question is transferred from his mouth to the council, apparently asking themselves (in both versions the addressee of the question is plural, and the addressee of the answer is singular i.e. Pharaoh).
|7:109 Said the eminent among the people of Pharaoh, "Indeed, this is a learned magician
7:110 Who wants to expel you from your land [through magic], so what do you instruct?
7:111 They said, "Postpone [the matter of] him and his brother and send among the cities gatherers
7:112 Who will bring you every learned magician."
|26:34 [Pharaoh] said to the eminent ones around him, "Indeed, this is a learned magician|
26:35 He wants to drive you out of your land by his magic, so what do you advise?
26:36 They said, "Postpone [the matter of] him and his brother and send among the cities gatherers
26:37 Who will bring you every learned, skilled magician."
The whole dialogue is identical in Arabic, except for the addition of "by his magic" (bisiḥ'rihi) in verse 26:35 and "send" (ib'ʿath) instead of its synonym (arsil) in 26:36.
This contradiction (and the awkwardness of the surah 7 version) has attracted the attention of numerous academic scholars. Joseph Witztum notes that Muslim exegetes proposed that both Pharaoh and his chiefs asked the same question in the same way despite it being portrayed at the same place in the same dialogue in both versions. Judging the attempted harmonization attempt to be "far from compelling", instead he observes that the mala (chiefs) are a theme of surah 7, mentioned eight times (three of which are in an Egyptian context) and speaking in all but one of them. That compares with this one time in surah 26. It is then easy to see how dialogue could accidentally be transferred into their mouths at some point during composition, editing or transmission. Indeed, it is not uncommon for small details to be merged, transferred or substituted between repeated narratives.
Who believed in Moses?
Some days later, Moses defeats the magicians at the arranged contest by performing the snake miracle again. Three surahs narrate that the magicians then professed their belief in Moses, even defying threats made towards them from Pharaoh. However, surah 10 narrates the same occasion but only mentions the tricks by the magicians without a miracle from Moses. It says that then none believed Moses except for youths/offspring from his people.
There was some discussion by exegetes as to whether “his people” in 10:83 refers to the people of Moses or (awkwardly as al-Tabari notes, since he is only named subsequently) the people of Pharaoh. Regardless, it contradicts the other surahs in which the magicians now believed in him.
|Quran 26:38-51 (see also Quran 7:113-129 and Quran 20:60-76)
|26:38 So the magicians were assembled for the appointment of a well-known day.
26:39 And it was said to the people, "Will you congregate
26:40 That we might follow the magicians if they are the predominant?"
26:41 And when the magicians arrived, they said to Pharaoh, "Is there indeed for us a reward if we are the predominant?"
26:42 He said, "Yes, and indeed, you will then be of those near [to me]."
26:43 Moses said to them, "Throw whatever you will throw."
26:44 So they threw their ropes and their staffs and said, "By the might of Pharaoh, indeed it is we who are predominant."
26:45 Then Moses threw his staff, and at once it devoured what they falsified.
26:46 So the magicians fell down in prostration [to Allah].
26:47 They said, "We have believed in the Lord of the worlds,
26:48 The Lord of Moses and Aaron."
26:49 [Pharaoh] said, "You believed Moses before I gave you permission. Indeed, he is your leader who has taught you magic, but you are going to know. I will surely cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and I will surely crucify you all."
26:50 They said, "No harm. Indeed, to our Lord we will return.
26:51 Indeed, we aspire that our Lord will forgive us our sins because we were the first of the believers."
|10:80 So when the magicians came, Moses said to them, "Throw down whatever you will throw."|
10:81 And when they had thrown, Moses said, "What you have brought is [only] magic. Indeed, Allah will expose its worthlessness. Indeed, Allah does not amend the work of corrupters.
10:82 And Allah will establish the truth by His words, even if the criminals dislike it."
10:83 But no one believed Moses, except [some] youths among his people, for fear of Pharaoh and his establishment that they would persecute them. And indeed, Pharaoh was haughty within the land, and indeed, he was of the transgressors
10:84 And Moses said, "O my people, if you have believed in Allah, then rely upon Him, if you should be Muslims."
10:85 So they said, "Upon Allah do we rely. Our Lord, make us not [objects of] trial for the wrongdoing people
10:86 And save us by Your mercy from the disbelieving people."
Were Pharaoh's army covered by or thrown into the sea?
In the verses shown on the left column, particularly 10:90, we are told that the Egyptians pursued the Israelites across the sea “until when” (ḥattā idhā) they were drowned. They had pursued them across a "dry path through the sea" (20:77), “Then” (fa - see Lexicon note above) the sea covered them (20:78) which had towered on each side (26:63).
However, verses 28:40 and 51:40 on the right column state instead that Allah took (akhadhnāhu) Pharaoh and his army then threw them (fanabadhnāhum) into the sea (fī l-yami).
|And We took the Children of Israel across the sea, and Pharaoh and his soldiers pursued them in tyranny and enmity until, when drowning overtook him, he said, "I believe that there is no deity except that in whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am of the Muslims."
||So We took him and his soldiers and threw them into the sea. So see how was the end of the wrongdoers.
|20:77 And We had inspired to Moses, "Travel by night with My servants and strike for them a dry path through the sea; you will not fear being overtaken [by Pharaoh] nor be afraid [of drowning]."
20:78 So Pharaoh pursued them with his soldiers, and there covered them from the sea that which covered them,
|So We took him and his soldiers and cast them into the sea, and he was blameworthy.
26:63 Then We inspired to Moses, "Strike with your staff the sea," and it parted, and each portion was like a great towering mountain.
26:64 And We advanced thereto the pursuers.
26:65 And We saved Moses and those with him, all together.
26:66 Then We drowned the others.
This contradiction has a parallel in the Biblical book of Exodus, which is discussed in detail by Pamela Barmash. Exodus 14:23-28 contains a prose narrative of the episode, considered by academic scholars to be composed of a number of sometimes contradictory sources. The Egyptians follow the Israelites into the midst of the sea. God “shakes off” (naar) the Egyptians in the midst of the sea as they flee the returning waters. Then it says the returning waters cover their chariots, horsemen and all the forces of Pharaoh. The next chapter, Exodus 15, contains the poetic “Song of the Sea”, in which the piled up waters return and cover the Egyptians in verses 8-10, but elsewhere employs a repeated refrain that God has hurled them into the sea as well as other poetic imagery of shattering them with his fist and of burning them like straw. These images combine to give a metaphor of God as a warrior. Barmash observes that “A historical account is replaced by poetic articulation of religious exuberance”.
Moses berates Aaron about the golden calf
After the golden calf incident, Aaron makes two very different pleadings in surahs 7 and 20 after Moses grabs him. It is possible with some awkwardness to harmonise that he gave the two different excuses, one after the other, though it is further worth noting that in both accounts Aaron's protest begins with the common address “O son of my mother” as Moses grabs him.
|And when Moses returned to his people, angry and grieved, he said, "How wretched is that by which you have replaced me after [my departure]. Were you impatient over the matter of your Lord?" And he threw down the tablets and seized his brother by [the hair of] his head, pulling him toward him. [Aaron] said, "O son of my mother, indeed the people oppressed me and were about to kill me, so let not the enemies rejoice over me and do not place me among the wrongdoing people."
||20:90 And Aaron had already told them before [the return of Moses], "O my people, you are only being tested by it, and indeed, your Lord is the Most Merciful, so follow me and obey my order."|
20:91 They said, "We will never cease being devoted to the calf until Moses returns to us."
20:92 [Moses] said, "O Aaron, what prevented you, when you saw them going astray,
20:93 From following me? Then have you disobeyed my order?"
20:94 [Aaron] said, "O son of my mother, do not seize [me] by my beard or by my head. Indeed, I feared that you would say, 'You caused division among the Children of Israel, and you did not observe [or await] my word.' "
20:95 [Moses] said, "And what is your case, O Samiri?"
Command to the children of Israel upon reaching a town
In very similar passages in which Muhammad is asked to mention an episode occurring some time after the exodus from Egypt, parallel verses invert the order in which Allah quotes himself telling the children of Israel to enter a city gate bowing humbly and request relief of their burdens. Ironically, the next verse in each case complains about Allah's words being changed.
|2:58 And [recall] when We said, "Enter this city and eat from it wherever you will in [ease and] abundance, and enter the gate bowing humbly and say, 'Relieve us of our burdens.' We will [then] forgive your sins for you, and We will increase the doers of good [in goodness and reward]."
2:59 But those who wronged changed [those words] to a statement other than that which had been said to them, so We sent down upon those who wronged a punishment from the sky because they were defiantly disobeying.
|7:161 And [mention, O Muhammad], when it was said to them, "Dwell in this city and eat from it wherever you will and say, 'Relieve us of our burdens,' and enter the gate bowing humbly; We will [then] forgive you your sins. We will increase the doers of good [in goodness and reward]."|
7:162 But those who wronged among them changed [the words] to a statement other than that which had been said to them. So We sent upon them a punishment from the sky for the wrong that they were doing.
The destruction of Thamud
In 54:26, Allah tells the prophet Salih that tomorrow the people of Thamud will know he is not a liar. If this refers merely to the sending of the she-camel the next day, that would contradict other parallel passages where the she-camel does not lead to them accepting Salih as truthful. See 91:11-14 also shown below, where the same root for liar appears as a verb (kadhabūhu) in “But they denied him and hamstrung her” after Salih presents the she-camel, and at the end of 11:65 where it appears as a noun (makdhūbin). Tommaso Tesei has noted that 91:13-14 is likely a later editing or interpolation, the long sentences breaking the metre of the otherwise short verses in that surah and turning verse 15 into theological nonsense (who could think Allah would fear anything?).
"They will know tomorrow who is the insolent liar" could instead mean that the people of Thamud are to be destroyed that next day and thereby learn that Salih is not a liar. However, according to verse 65 of the surah 11 story, their destruction will instead come three days after they hamstrung the she-camel.
|54:23 Thamud denied the warning
54:24 And said, "Is it one human being among us that we should follow? Indeed, we would then be in error and madness.
54:25 Has the message been sent down upon him from among us? Rather, he is an insolent liar."
54:26 They will know tomorrow who is the insolent liar.
54:27 Indeed, We are sending the she-camel as trial for them, so watch them and be patient.
54:28 And inform them that the water is shared between them, each [day of] drink attended [by turn].
54:29 But they called their companion, and he dared and hamstrung [her].
54:30 And how [severe] were My punishment and warning.
54:31 Indeed, We sent upon them one blast from the sky, and they became like the dry twig fragments of an [animal] pen.
|11:64 And O my people, this is the she-camel of Allah - [she is] to you a sign. So let her feed upon Allah 's earth and do not touch her with harm, or you will be taken by an impending punishment."
11:65 But they hamstrung her, so he said, "Enjoy yourselves in your homes for three days. That is a promise not to be denied."
11:66 So when Our command came, We saved Salih and those who believed with him, by mercy from Us, and [saved them] from the disgrace of that day. Indeed, it is your Lord who is the Powerful, the Exalted in Might.
11:67 And the shriek seized those who had wronged, and they became within their homes [corpses] fallen prone
11:68 As if they had never prospered therein. Unquestionably, Thamud denied their Lord; then, away with Thamud.
|91:11 Thamud denied [their prophet] by reason of their transgression,|
91:12 When the most wretched of them was sent forth.
91:13 And the messenger of Allah [Salih] said to them, "[Do not harm] the she-camel of Allah or [prevent her from] her drink."
91:14 But they denied him and hamstrung her. So their Lord brought down upon them destruction for their sin and made it equal [upon all of them].
91:15 And He does not fear the consequence thereof.
Al-Razi and Al-Qurtubi mention a view that “tomorrow” is just a turn of phrase to indicate the future. Such an explanation is very dubious given that the next verse promises a specific event (the sending of the she-camel) and given that a clearly literal timescale is given to the same people in 11:65.
The destruction of Aad
In a remarkably careless mistake, 41:13 warns that not only Thamud, but both Aad and Thamud were destroyed by a thunderbolt. The next few verses mention a screaming wind sent to Aad over a number of days as a punishment (though without stating that this wind ultimately destroyed them), and goes on to mention the thunderbolt which seized the people of Thamud.
Thamud's sudden destruction by a thunderbolt is narrated also in Quran 51:44, where the thunderbolt seized Thamud as they looked on. The word thunderbolt in these verses is sa'iqatan, which can refer to the sound of a thunderbolt or the lightning bolt itself. Similarly, the instantaneous death of the people of Thamud by a thunderous blast (ṣayḥatan) appears in surah 11 and surah 54 quoted above in the previous section, and by a single blast (ṭāghiyati) in Q. 69:5. They were killed by an earthquake in Q. 7:78, though the word l-rajfatu, needn't mean a literal earthquake, and can mean a convulsion or jolting according to Lane's Lexicon. Thus with some harmonising effort we have a story of sudden thunderous death for the people of Thamud.
However, all other descriptions of Aad's destruction except for 41:13 say that it was by means of a violent wind over a day or number of days, which uprooted its people like trees and left only ruined homes.
In an attempt to rescue the contradiction, Al-Tabari in his tafsir for 41:13 claims that sa'iqatan (thunderbolt) is a catch all term for anything that destroys something, while al-Qurtubi claims that the wind was the sa'iqatan.
|41:13 But if they turn away, then say, "I have warned you of a thunderbolt like the thunderbolt [that struck] 'Aad and Thamud.|
41:14 [That occurred] when the messengers had come to them before them and after them, [saying], "Worship not except Allah." They said, "If our Lord had willed, He would have sent down the angels, so indeed we, in that with which you have been sent, are disbelievers."
41:15 As for 'Aad, they were arrogant upon the earth without right and said, "Who is greater than us in strength?" Did they not consider that Allah who created them was greater than them in strength? But they were rejecting Our signs.
41:16 So We sent upon them a screaming wind during days of misfortune to make them taste the punishment of disgrace in the worldly life; but the punishment of the Hereafter is more disgracing, and they will not be helped.
41:17 And as for Thamud, We guided them, but they preferred blindness over guidance, so the thunderbolt of humiliating punishment seized them for what they used to earn.
|46:24 And when they saw it as a cloud approaching their valleys, they said, "This is a cloud bringing us rain!" Rather, it is that for which you were impatient: a wind, within it a painful punishment,|
46:25 Destroying everything by command of its Lord. And they became so that nothing was seen [of them] except their dwellings. Thus do We recompense the criminal people.
|51:41 And in 'Aad [was a sign], when We sent against them the barren wind.|
51:42 It left nothing of what it came upon but that it made it like disintegrated ruins.
51:43 And in Thamud, when it was said to them, "Enjoy yourselves for a time."
51:44 But they were insolent toward the command of their Lord, so the thunderbolt seized them while they were looking on.
51:45 And they were unable to arise, nor could they defend themselves.
|54:18 'Aad denied; and how [severe] were My punishment and warning.|
54:19 Indeed, We sent upon them a screaming wind on a day of continuous misfortune,
54:20 Extracting the people as if they were trunks of palm trees uprooted
|69:4 Thamud and 'Aad denied the Striking Calamity.|
69:5 So as for Thamud, they were destroyed by the overpowering [blast].
69:6 And as for 'Aad, they were destroyed by a screaming, violent wind
69:7 Which Allah imposed upon them for seven nights and eight days in succession, so you would see the people therein fallen as if they were hollow trunks of palm trees.
69:8 Then do you see of them any remains?
There is possibly a second contradiction concerning the destruction of Aad. Some point to the fact that whereas 41:16 says the wind was sent in "days of misfortune" and 69:7 says the wind was imposed for "seven nights and eight days in succession", 54:19 says it was sent on a "day [singular] of continuous misfortune". Exegetes discussed the word "continuous" in 54:19. Al-Tabari and al-Zamakhshari said the misfortune continued until they were destroyed. Al-Razi mentioned the relevant verses and in order to harmonize them, interpreted "continuous" as indicating further days. He considered two views, that "continuous" relates to the word day or to the word misfortune, preferring the former. The verse itself mentions a "day" singular and the preceding Arabic about when the wind was sent is the same in this verse as in Q. 41:16, which then instead says "days":
arsalnā ʿalayhim rīḥan ṣarṣaran fī yawmi naḥsin mus'tamirri
We sent upon them a screaming wind in a day of continuous misfortune
arsalnā ʿalayhim rīḥan ṣarṣaran fī ayyāmin naḥisātin
We sent upon them a screaming wind in days of misfortune
Lane's Lexicon has some discussion of the word mus'tamirrin ("continuous") as it is used in this verse and in Q. 54:2 where it is used in the phrase (“passing magic”) in the same grammatical form.
Zechariah expressing his doubts
Amidst a dialogue with the angel bringing good tidings of John, Zechariah answers that his wife is barren and he is too old in 19:8, but answers the opposite way around in 3:40. The passages then resume in close parallel.
|He said, "My Lord, how will I have a boy when my wife has been barren and I have reached extreme old age?"
||He said, "My Lord, how will I have a boy when I have reached old age and my wife is barren?" The angel said, "Such is Allah; He does what He wills."
Where is Allah?
Verses such as 2:255 (the famous throne verse) and other anthropomorphic verses have long been a topic of controversy and debate as to what extent they should be taken metaphorically. For the Asharis they were beyond human understanding. To critics, this lack of clear resolution is unsurprising given the apparent contradiction between verses that describe Allah in a location and those that imply he is everywhere.
Upon a throne (arsh and kursi)
Allah - there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth
, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.
He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days; then He mounted the Throne. He knoweth all that entereth the earth and all that emergeth therefrom and all that cometh down from the sky and all that ascendeth therein; and He is with you wheresoever ye may be. And Allah is Seer of what ye do.
And He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days - and His Throne was upon the water - that He might try you, which of you is best in conduct. Yet if thou (O Muhammad) sayest: Lo! ye will be raised again after death! those who disbelieve will surely say: This is naught but mere magic.
To Allah belong the east and the West: Whithersoever ye turn, there is the presence of Allah. For Allah is all-Pervading, all-Knowing.
His home, the Ka'bah
O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Thy Sacred House; in order, O our Lord, that they may establish regular Prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with fruits: so that they may give thanks.
When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.
We verily created man and We know what his soul whispereth to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein
Can Allah be seen?
No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things.
It is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil, or by the sending of a messenger to reveal, with Allah's permission, what Allah wills: for He is Most High, Most Wise
I swear by the star when it goes down.Your companion does not err, nor does he go astray; Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed, The Lord of Mighty Power has taught him, The Lord of Strength; so he attained completion, And he is in the highest part of the horizon. Then he drew near, then he bowed. So he was the measure of two bows or closer still. And He revealed to His servant what He revealed. The heart was not untrue in (making him see) what he saw. What! do you then dispute with him as to what he saw? And certainly he saw him in another descent, At the farthest lote-tree; Near which is the garden, the place to be resorted to. When that which covers covered the lote-tree; The eye did not turn aside, nor did it exceed the limit. Certainly he saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.
Could Allah have a son?
If Allah had willed to choose a son,
He could have chosen what He would of that which He hath created.
Be He Glorified! He is Allah, the One, the Absolute.
Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth;
How can He have a son when He has no consort?
He created all things, and He hath full knowledge of all things
Is it possible to have a son without a consort?
She said: "How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?" He said: "So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, 'that is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us':It is a matter (so) decreed."
To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: How can He have a son when He hath no consort? He created all things, and He hath full knowledge of all things.
Can only Allah see the unseen?
They say: "Why is not a sign sent down to him from his Lord?" Say: "The Unseen is only for Allah (to know), then wait ye: I too will wait with you."
No, Solomon can too
Said an 'Ifrit, of the Jinns: "I will bring it to thee before thou rise from thy council: indeed I have full strength for the purpose, and may be trusted."
Is Allah kind and merciful?
Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.
Does Allah forgive everything?
Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Allah forgiveth not (The sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth whom He pleaseth other sins than this: one who joins other gods with Allah, Hath strayed far, far away (from the right)
Does Allah forgive worshipping other gods/shirk?
Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed.
Allah forgiveth not (the sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth whom He pleaseth other sins than this: one who joins other gods with Allah, Hath strayed far, far away (from the right).
The people of the Book ask thee to cause a book to descend to them from heaven: Indeed they asked Moses for an even greater (miracle), for they said: "Show us Allah in public," but they were dazed for their presumption, with thunder and lightning. Yet they worshipped the calf even after clear signs had come to them; even so we forgave them; and gave Moses manifest proofs of authority
Unless he repents, believes, and works righteous deeds, for Allah will change the evil of such persons into good, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful,
Angels and demons
How many angels helped Muhammad at Badr?
Remember thou saidst to the Faithful: "Is it not enough for you that Allah should help you with three thousand angels (Specially) sent down?
Remember ye implored the assistance of your Lord, and He answered you: "I will assist you with a thousand of the angels, ranks on ranks."
Some claim that one of these could refer to the battle of Uhud, but that was a defeat for the Muslims.
Allah only sends angels with a message
We send not down the angels save with the Fact, and in that case (the disbelievers) would not be tolerated.
Who could Allah send as messengers (rasulan)?
Say, "If there were settled, on earth, angels walking about in peace and quiet, We should certainly have sent them down from the heavens an angel for a messenger."
Only men from amongst a community
Nor did We send before thee (as messengers) any but men, whom we did inspire,- (men) living in human habitations. Do they not travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those before them? But the home of the hereafter is best, for those who do right. Will ye not then understand?
Both angels and men
Allah chooses messengers from angels and from men for Allah is He Who hears and sees (all things).
Which was created first; the Heaven or Earth?
Are you a more difficult creation or is the heaven? Allah constructed it. He raised its ceiling and proportioned it. And He darkened its night and extracted its brightness. And after that He spread the earth. He extracted from it its water and its pasture, And the mountains He set firmly As provision for you and your grazing livestock.
Say, "Do you indeed disbelieve in He who created the earth in two days and attribute to Him equals? That is the Lord of the worlds." And He placed on the earth firmly set mountains over its surface, and He blessed it and determined therein its [creatures'] sustenance in four days without distinction - for [the information] of those who ask. Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, "Come [into being], willingly or by compulsion." They said, "We have come willingly." And He completed them as seven heavens within two days and inspired in each heaven its command. And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps and as protection. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.
He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth. Then turned He to the heaven, and fashioned it as seven heavens. And He is knower of all things.
How long did it take Allah to create heaven and earth?
Verily your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and is firmly established on the throne (of authority), regulating and governing all things. No intercessor (can plead with Him) except after His leave (hath been obtained). This is Allah your Lord; Him therefore serve ye: will ye not receive admonition?
Say: Is it that ye deny Him Who created the earth in two Days? And do ye join equals with Him? He is the Lord of (all) the Worlds.
He placed therein firm hills rising above it, and blessed it and measured therein its sustenance in four Days, alike for (all) who ask;
Then He ordained them seven heavens in two Days and inspired in each heaven its mandate; and We decked the nether heaven with lamps, and rendered it inviolable. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Knower
What was the first man created from?
The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was.
We created man from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape;
How long does it take Allah to create?
A long time
Your Guardian-Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and is firmly established on the throne (of authority): He draweth the night as a veil o'er the day, each seeking the other in rapid succession: He created the sun, the moon, and the stars, (all) governed by laws under His command. Is it not His to create and to govern? Blessed be Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds!
The Originator of the heavens and the earth! When He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is.
Day of Judgement (Qiyamah)
How long will the unbelievers think they remained on Earth?
An afternoon or morning
It will be, on the Day they see it, as though they had not remained [in the world] except for an afternoon or a morning thereof.
And the Day the Hour appears the criminals will swear they had remained but an hour. Thus they were deluded. But those who were given knowledge and faith will say, "You remained the extent of Allah 's decree until the Day of Resurrection, and this is the Day of Resurrection, but you did not used to know."
The Day the Horn will be blown. And We will gather the criminals, that Day, blue-eyed. They will murmur among themselves, "You remained not but ten [days in the world]." We are most knowing of what they say when the best of them in manner will say, "You remained not but one day."
A day or part of a day
[Allah] will say, "How long did you remain on earth in number of years?" They will say, "We remained a day or part of a day; ask those who enumerate." He will say, "You stayed not but a little - if only you had known.
Will disbelievers speak on Qiyamah?
And the Word will be fulfilled against them, because of their wrong-doing, and they will be unable to speak
Woe, that Day, to the deniers. This is a Day they will not speak, Nor will it be permitted for them to make an excuse. Woe, that Day, to the deniers. This is the Day of Judgement; We will have assembled you and the former peoples.
Not willingly, their body parts will speak the truth
That Day shall We set a seal on their mouths. But their hands will speak to us, and their feet bear witness, to all that they did.
Yes, and they can speak lies. Various verses describe dialogue taking place between disbelievers and believers or Allah or angels on the day of resurrection. For example:
And [mention, O Muhammad], the Day We will gather them all together; then We will say to those who associated others with Allah, "Where are your 'partners' that you used to claim [with Him]?" Then there will be no [excuse upon] examination except they will say, "By Allah, our Lord, we were not those who associated." See how they will lie about themselves. And lost from them will be what they used to invent.
They will say, "O woe to us! This is the Day of Recompense." [They will be told], "This is the Day of Judgement which you used to deny." [The angels will be ordered], "Gather those who committed wrong, their kinds, and what they used to worship Other than Allah, and guide them to the path of Hellfire And stop them; indeed, they are to be questioned." [They will be asked], "What is [wrong] with you? Why do you not help each other?" But they, that Day, are in surrender. And they will approach one another blaming each other. They will say, "Indeed, you used to come at us from the right."
Will the disbelievers be blind on the day of resurrection?
And whoever turns away from My remembrance - indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind." He will say, "My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was [once] seeing?"
And when those who associated others with Allah see their "partners," they will say," Our Lord, these are our partners [to You] whom we used to invoke besides You." But they will throw at them the statement, "Indeed, you are liars."
When we have died and become dust and bones, are we indeed to be resurrected? And our forefathers [as well]?" Say, "Yes, and you will be [rendered] contemptible." It will be only one shout, and at once they will be observing. They will say, "O woe to us! This is the Day of Recompense."
Where do disbelievers receive their record book on Judgment day?
On their back
Then as for he who is given his record in his right hand, He will be judged with an easy account And return to his people in happiness. But as for he who is given his record behind his back, He will cry out for destruction And [enter to] burn in a Blaze.
On the left hand
And he that will be given his Record in his left hand, will say: "Ah! Would that my Record had not been given to me!
What happens to mountains on Qiyamah?
Become like wool
And the mountains will be like wool
They will disappear
And the mountains are removed and will be [but] a mirage.
They will be lifted and levelled
And the earth and the mountains are lifted and leveled with one blow
Does evil come from Allah?
.... If some good befalls them, they say "This is from Allah". But if evil, they say "This is from thee" (O prophet). Say: "All things are from Allah....
Whatever good, (O man!) happens to thee, is from Allah. But whatever evil happens to thee, is from thyself. But what has come to these people. That they fail to understand a single fact
Heaven and Hell
When do people come back to life?
On the appointed Hour (Day of Judgement)
And verily the Hour will come: there can be no doubt about it, or about (the fact) that Allah will raise up all who are in the graves.
Immediately after their death
Think not of those, who are slain in the way of Allah, as dead. Nay, they are living. With their Lord they have provision.
Is there a fate other than Heaven or Hell?
Verily Allah will admit those who believe and do righteous deeds, to Gardens beneath which rivers flow; while those who reject Allah will enjoy (this world) and eat as cattle eat; and the Fire will be their abode.
Yes, there exists purgatory too
Between them is a veil. And on the Heights are men who know them all by their marks. And they call unto the dwellers of the Garden: Peace be unto you! They enter it not although they hope (to enter).
Is intercession possible?
Then guard yourselves against a-Day when one soul shall not avail another, nor shall compensation be accepted from her nor shall intercession profit her nor shall anyone be helped (from outside).
O children of Israel! call to mind My favor which I bestowed on you and that I made you excel the nations. And be on your guard against a day when one soul shall not avail another in the least, neither shall intercession on its behalf be accepted, nor shall any compensation be taken from it, nor shall they be helped.
On that Day shall no intercession avail except for those for whom permission has been granted by (Allah) Most Gracious and whose word is acceptable to Him.
Verily your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and is firmly established on the throne (of authority), regulating and governing all things. No intercessor (can plead with Him) except after His leave (hath been obtained). This is Allah your Lord; Him therefore serve ye: will ye not receive admonition
Will non-Muslims go to hell forever?
One day will He gather them all together, (and say): "O ye assembly of Jinns! Much (toll) did ye take of men." Their friends amongst men will say: "Our Lord! we made profit from each other: but (alas!) we reached our term - which thou didst appoint for us." He will say: "The Fire be your dwelling-place: you will dwell therein for ever, except as Allah willeth." for thy Lord is full of wisdom and knowledge.
Those who are wretched shall be in the Fire: There will be for them therein (nothing but) the heaving of sighs and sobs: They will dwell therein for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure, except as thy Lord willeth: for thy Lord is the (sure) accomplisher of what He planneth. And those who are blessed shall be in the Garden: They will dwell therein so long for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure, except as thy Lord willeth: a gift without break
Not eternal (Huqb is seventy or eighty years, and every day of it is like one thousand years according to your reckoning in this life—Ibn Kathir)
They will dwell therein for ages.
And those who followed shall say: Had there been for us a return, then we would renounce them as they have renounced us. Thus will Allah show them their deeds to be intense regret to them, and they shall not come forth from the fire
Such is the requital of the enemies of Allah,- the Fire: therein will be for them the Eternal Home: a (fit) requital, for that they were wont to reject Our Signs
What will be the food in hell?
Only thorns, or dhari
"No food will there be for them but a bitter Dhari"
Nor hath he any food except the corruption from the washing of wounds
Also zaqqum, hell fruit (see also in Quran 44:40-46 and Quran 56:41-52)
Is Paradise a better accommodation or the tree of zaqqum? Indeed, We have made it a torment for the wrongdoers. Indeed, it is a tree issuing from the bottom of the Hellfire, Its emerging fruit as if it was heads of the devils. And indeed, they will eat from it and fill with it their bellies.
Could someone bear another's burden?
Say: "Shall I seek for (my) Cherisher other than Allah, when He is the Cherisher of all things (that exist)? Every soul draws the meed of its acts on none but itself: no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another. Your goal in the end is towards Allah: He will tell you the truth of the things wherein ye disputed."
Nor can a bearer of burdens bear another's burdens if one heavily laden should call another to (bear) his load. Not the least portion of it can be carried (by the other). Even though he be nearly related. Thou canst but admonish such as fear their Lord unseen and establish regular Prayer. And whoever purifies himself does so for the benefit of his own soul; and the destination (of all) is to Allah.
On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Pray:) "Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden Like that which Thou didst lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; Help us against those who stand against faith."
Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger.
Yes (notice how directly this contradicts the previous example, 17:15)
Let them bear, on the Day of Judgment, their own burdens in full, and also (something) of the burdens of those without knowledge, whom they misled. Alas, how grievous the burdens they will bear!
When it is said to them, "Believe in what Allah Hath sent down, "they say, "We believe in what was sent down to us:" yet they reject all besides, even if it be Truth confirming what is with them. Say: "Why then have ye slain the prophets of Allah in times gone by, if ye did indeed believe?"
Allah has certainly heard the saying of those who said: Surely Allah is poor and we are rich. I will record what they say, and their killing the prophets unjustly, and I will say: Taste the chastisement of burning.
They will bear their own burdens, and (other) burdens along with their own, and on the Day of Judgments they will be called to account for their falsehoods.
Who takes people's souls?
Say: "The Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls: then shall ye be brought back to your Lord."
But how (will it be) when the angels take their souls at death, and smite their faces and their backs?
It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep: those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He keeps back (from returning to life), but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed verily in this are Signs for those who reflect.
Who was the first Muslim?
Muhammad (the square brackets is a commentary not present in the Arabic)
No partner has He. And this I have been commanded, and I am the first [among you] of the Muslims."
And if you turn away [from my advice] then no payment have I asked of you. My reward is only from Allah, and I have been commanded to be of the Muslims."
Lot and his family
And We found not within them other than a [single] house of Muslims.
During the time of Abraham
And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. Allah named you "Muslims" before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give zakah and hold fast to Allah. He is your protector; and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper.
The disciples of Jesus
And when I inspired the disciples, (saying): Believe in Me and in My messenger, they said: We believe. Bear witness that we have surrendered (unto Thee) "we are muslims"
How strong is a believer?
One Muslim is more powerful than 10 non-Muslims
If there be of you twenty steadfast they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be of you a hundred (steadfast) they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve
One Muslim can overcome two non-Muslims
So if there be of you a steadfast hundred they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be of you a thousand (steadfast) they shall overcome two thousand by permission of Allah.
Can you eat non-halal meat?
This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time,- when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues if any one rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good).
So eat of (meats) on which Allah's name hath been pronounced, if ye have faith in His signs.
How bad is drinking wine?
These verses are traditionally explained as gradual abrogation, while critics see a contradiction as a result of the author changing his mind over time.
It is a wholesome drink
And from the fruit of the date-palm and the vine, ye get out wholesome drink and food: behold, in this also is a sign for those who are wise
No prohibition on getting drunk as long as you're not praying
O ye who believe! Draw not near unto prayer when ye are drunken, till ye know that which ye utter, nor when ye are polluted, save when journeying upon the road, till ye have bathed. And if ye be ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or ye have touched women, and ye find not water, then go to high clean soil and rub your faces and your hands (therewith). Lo! Allah is Benign, Forgiving.
It is Satan's handiwork, leave it aside
O ye who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan's handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed.
It is a severe sin
They question thee about strong drink and games of chance. Say: In both is great sin, and (some) utility for men; but the sin of them is greater than their usefulness. And they ask thee what they ought to spend. Say: that which is superfluous. Thus Allah maketh plain to you (His) revelations, that haply ye may reflect
How many sacred months are there?
The number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year)- so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are sacred: that is the straight usage. So wrong not yourselves therein, and fight the Pagans all together as they fight you all together. But know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.
O ye who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the symbols of Allah, nor of the sacred month, nor of the animals brought for sacrifice, nor the garlands that mark out such animals, nor the people resorting to the sacred house, seeking of the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord. But when ye are clear of the sacred precincts and of pilgrim garb, ye may hunt and let not the hatred of some people in (once) shutting you out of the Sacred Mosque lead you to transgression (and hostility on your part). Help ye one another in righteousness and piety, but help ye not one another in sin and rancour: fear Allah: for Allah is strict in punishment.
Can people be compelled to follow Islam?
There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.
Unto you your religion and unto me my religion
And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
Yes, unless the disbelievers pay you.
Fight those who (do) not believe in Allah and not in the Day the Last, and not they make unlawful what Allah has made unlawful and His Messenger, and not they acknowledge (the) religion (of) the truth, from those who were given the Scripture, until they pay the jizyah willingly, while they (are) subdued.
Will Allah reward the good deeds of everyone?
It is not for such as join gods with Allah, to visit or maintain the mosques of Allah while they witness against their own souls to infidelity. The works of such bear no fruit: In Fire shall they dwell.
And whoso doeth good an atom's weight will see it then
Who sends disbelievers astray?
Of them there are some who (pretend to) listen to thee; but We have thrown veils on their hearts, So they understand it not, and deafness in their ears; if they saw every one of the signs, not they will believe in them; in so much that when they come to thee, they (but) dispute with thee; the Unbelievers say: "These are nothing but tales of the ancients."
Then is one to whom the evil of his deed has been made attractive so he considers it good [like one rightly guided]? For indeed, Allah sends astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. So do not let yourself perish over them in regret. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of what they do.
No soul can believe except by the will of Allah
(Iblis) said: "O my Lord! because Thou hast put me in the wrong, I will make (wrong) fair-seeming to them on the earth, and I will put them all in the wrong
Who whispereth in the hearts of mankind
I will mislead them, and I will create in them false desires....
Hath not the story reached them of those before them?- the People of Noah, and 'Ad, and Thamud; the People of Abraham, the men of Midian, and the cities overthrown. To them came their messengers with clear signs. It is not Allah Who wrongs them, but they wrong their own souls.
It is they who have lost their own souls, that they will not believe
It was not Allah who wronged them, but they wronged their own souls
For whom is salvation?
For all pious theists
Those who believe (in the Qur'an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness,- on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
For all pious theists
Verily! Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
For Muslims only
If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).
For Muslims only
Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ except, out of mutual jealousy, after knowledge had come to them. And whoever disbelieves in the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, then surely, Allah is Swift in calling to account..
How should unbelievers be treated?
Tell those who believe, to forgive those who do not look forward to the Days of Allah: It is for Him to recompense (for good or ill) each People according to what they have earned.
The worshipers of the Most Gracious are those who tread the earth gently, and when the ignorant speak to them, they only utter peace
They must be attacked
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
How to deal with an infidel in the family?
And if they contend with you that you should associate with Me what you have no knowledge of, do not obey them, and keep company with them in this world kindly, and follow the way of him who turns to Me, then to Me is your return, then will I inform you of what you did
O ye who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoso of you taketh them for friends, such are wrong-doers.
People of the Book
Should Muslims have Christians for friends?
Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, "We are Christians": because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant.
We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and we ordained in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy.
O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.
Will Jews and Christians be saved from hell?
Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
Those who believe (in the Qur'an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness,- on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ except, out of mutual jealousy, after knowledge had come to them. And whoever disbelieves in the Ayah (proofs, evidences, verses, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, then surely, Allah is Swift in calling to account.
If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).
Is incest okay?
Prohibited to you (For marriage) are:- Your mothers, daughters, sisters; father's sisters, Mother's sisters; brother's daughters, sister's daughters; foster-mothers (Who gave you suck), foster-sisters; your wives' mothers; your step-daughters under your guardianship, born of your wives to whom ye have gone in,- no prohibition if ye have not gone in;- (Those who have been) wives of your sons proceeding from your loins; and two sisters in wedlock at one and the same time, except for what is past; for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful;-
Adam's children did it
And (remember) when thy Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their reins, their seed, and made them testify of themselves, (saying): Am I not your Lord? They said: Yea, verily. We testify. (That was) lest ye should say at the Day of Resurrection: Lo! of this we were unaware;
Can multiple wives be dealt with justly?
Both verses use the word "justly" (taʿdilū).
if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.
Ye will not be able to deal equally between (your) wives, however much ye wish (to do so). But turn not altogether away (from one), leaving her as in suspense. If ye do good and keep from evil, lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.
Who brought revelation to Muhammad?
The Holy spirit
Say, the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in Truth, in order to strengthen those who believe, and as a Guide and Glad Tidings to Muslims
Say (O Muhammad, to mankind): Who is an enemy to Gabriel! For he it is who hath revealed (this Scripture) to thy heart by Allah's leave, confirming that which was (revealed) before it, and a guidance and glad tidings to believers;
Is the Quran clear?
(This is) a Book, whose verses are made decisive, then are they made plain, from the Wise, All-aware:
And [mention] the Day when We will resurrect among every nation a witness over them from themselves. And We will bring you, [O Muhammad], as a witness over your nation. And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims.
[Say], "Then is it other than Allah I should seek as judge while it is He who has revealed to you the Book explained in detail?" And those to whom We [previously] gave the Scripture know that it is sent down from your Lord in truth, so never be among the doubters.
There was certainly in their stories a lesson for those of understanding. Never was the Qur'an a narration invented, but a confirmation of what was before it and a detailed explanation of all things and guidance and mercy for a people who believe.
He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.
No, letters such as those at the start have an incomprehensible meaning
How long does it take to wean?
30 months (perhaps including 9 months pregnancy)
We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents: In pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth. The carrying of the (child) to his weaning is (a period of) thirty months. At length, when he reaches the age of full strength and attains forty years, he says, "O my Lord! Grant me that I may be grateful for Thy favour which Thou has bestowed upon me, and upon both my parents, and that I may work righteousness such as Thou mayest approve; and be gracious to me in my issue. Truly have I turned to Thee and truly do I bow (to Thee) in Islam."
And We have enjoined upon man concerning his partners - His mother beareth him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years - Give thanks unto Me and unto thy parents. Unto Me is the journeying
Are all Islamic prophets equal?
The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers. We make no distinction between any of His messengers. And they say: "We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys."
Those messengers We endowed with gifts, some above others: To one of them Allah spoke; others He raised to degrees (of honour); to Jesus the son of Mary We gave clear (Signs), and strengthened him with the holy spirit. If Allah had so willed, succeeding generations would not have fought among each other, after clear (Signs) had come to them, but they (chose) to wrangle, some believing and others rejecting. If Allah had so willed, they would not have fought each other; but Allah Fulfilleth His plan.
As is much discussed in some detail on external websites, the Quranic inheritance laws can in many situations result in the total shares being greater than 100 percent. This was so problematic that the 'awl system had to be created after Muhammad's death to work around the issue.
Allah chargeth you concerning (the provision for) your children: to the male the equivalent of the portion of two females, and if there be women more than two, then theirs is two-thirds of the inheritance, and if there be one (only) then the half. And to each of his parents a sixth of the inheritance, if he have a son; and if he have no son and his parents are his heirs, then to his mother appertaineth the third; and if he have brethren, then to his mother appertaineth the sixth, after any legacy he may have bequeathed, or debt (hath been paid). Your parents and your children: Ye know not which of them is nearer unto you in usefulness. It is an injunction from Allah. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise.
And unto you belongeth a half of that which your wives leave, if they have no child; but if they have a child then unto you the fourth of that which they leave, after any legacy they may have bequeathed, or debt (they may have contracted, hath been paid). And unto them belongeth the fourth of that which ye leave if ye have no child, but if ye have a child then the eighth of that which ye leave, after any legacy ye may have bequeathed, or debt (ye may have contracted, hath been paid). And if a man or a woman have a distant heir (having left neither parent nor child), and he (or she) have a brother or a sister (only on the mother's side) then to each of them twain (the brother and the sister) the sixth, and if they be more than two, then they shall be sharers in the third, after any legacy that may have been bequeathed or debt (contracted) not injuring (the heirs by willing away more than a third of the heritage) hath been paid. A commandment from Allah. Allah is Knower, Indulgent.
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- ↑ Witztum, Joseph. 2011. The Syriac Milieu of the Qur’ ̄an: The Recasting of Biblical Narratives Ph.D. thesis, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA. pp. 69-79
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 fa - Lane's Lexicon pp. 2321-2323
- ↑ Joseph Witztum. “Thrice upon a Time: Abraham’s Guests and the Study of Intra-Quranic Parallels”. In Holger Zellentin (ed.), The Quran’s Reformation of Judaism and Christianity: Return to the Origins. London: Routledge, 2019, pp. 277–302.
- ↑ Witztum, J. (2021) Pharaoh and His Council: Great Minds Think Alike Journal of the American Oriental Society, 139(4), 945–952. https://doi.org/10.7817/jameroriesoci.139.4.0945
- ↑ Another example of transferred dialogue relates to the one of the previous contradiction examples. In the quotes in the earlier section we see that Moses mentions to Allah that he killed a man in surahs 26:10-17 and 28:33-35. However, another version in Quran 20:24-47 lacks this element in the words of Moses and instead it is Allah who mentions in verse 40 "And you killed someone, but We saved you from retaliation and tried you with a [severe] trial."
- ↑ Pamela Barmash. 2017. Through the Kaleidoscope of Literary Imagery in Exodus 15: Poetics and Historiography in Service to Religious Exuberance. Hebrew Studies Vol. 58 (2017) pp. 145-172
PDF downloadable at 
- ↑ Tommaso Tesei, The Qurʾān(s) in Context(s) Journal Asiatique 309.2 (2021): 185-202 (open access; see pp. 198-200)
- ↑ sa'iqatan - Lane's Lexicon p. 1690
- ↑ mus'tamirrin - Lane's Lexicon p. 2702
- ↑ Stephen J. Vicchio, "Biblical figures in the Islamic faith", USA: Wipf and Stock, 2008, pp. 13-15