Questions About the Qur?an

Why does surah Fussilat say that the heavens and the earth were created in eight days whereas other surahs say six days?

  • It does not say eight days. The total days given is six when you realize that the heavens and the earth were created simultaneously during the first two days. These two days are mentioned twice. If you count them twice then you get eight days, but who wants to double count and count for a fool?

Why does surah Maryam say that Jesus died when Surah Nisa says he did not die?

  • Surah Maryam does not say he died. It says he will die. The fact is that he will die when he returns.

Do Surah Ale Imran and Surah Maidah say that Jesus died?

  • No. These surahs use a form of the verb tawaffa which means to recall. This verb is also used as a euphemism for death in the sense of God calling a person back. But note that God can call a person back in a special circumstance without killing the person, as he did with Isa alayhis salaam. Note also that Allah used the same verb to describe his taking of individual souls during sleep, retaining some in death and returning others.

Why does the Qur’an call Mary "sister of Aaron"?

  • Because she had a brother named Aaron. People in the middle east have a tradition of naming their children with the names of famous people. Since there were already a brother and sister named Aaron and Mary, people who respected them felt it an honor to name their sons and daughters with the same names.

Why does the Quran name Haman as the minister of the Pharaoh when Haman is from a different time?

  • First, the Qur’an does not call Haman a minister of anyone. Second, the fact that the another religious writing from a different faith names a Haman as living in a certain time does not preclude the Qur’an from naming a Haman as living in another time. Obviously there can be more than one human persons named Haman. Third, where the Qur’an appears to differ with another religious writing, the Qur’an should be taken as true. This is because more than any other writing the Qur’an is demonstrably the very word of God. When we have on the one hand the pure Word of God and on the other hand the Word of God mixed up with the words of men, the choice is clear.

Why does the Qur’an say that the sun sets in a muddy spring?

  • It does not actually say that if you read it carefully. It actually says that Dhul Qarnayn found it setting in a muddy spring. This is a statement not about how the sun sets but about how Dhul Qarnayn experienced the sunset. The question: "How did you find . . . ." is not a question about how things are but about how things are in your opinion. In a similar way the word see is often used. Notice at the beginning of surah Hajj, for example that it says that at the onset of the Day of Judgement you will see people drunk although they will not be drunk but they will behave so due to the terror of the Judgement. Obviously "see" here is used not to denote fact but to denote one’s perception of the facts. So too with Dhul Qarnayn. The Qur’an was describing his experience, not the motion of the sun.

Why does the Qur’an speak so well of Alexander the Great who was not a monotheist?

  • The Qur’an does not mention Alexander the Great. Unfortunately Yusuf Ali’s commentary on the Qur’an offered this name for possible identification with Dhul Qarnayn. If this identification is incorrect then it is a mistake in the commentary, not in the Quran itself.

Why does the Qur’an quote from apocryphal books?

  • First, the Qur’an does not quote from any book. The Qur’an is a direct revelation from God. The Qur’an may repeat what God already revealed to other prophets previously. Apocryphal means hidden. Hence apocryphal books are books which were meant to be kept hidden from the public. Some of what some religious authorities called apocryphal books may in fact contain some truth which initially came from God and eventually got mixed up with untruths from men. Whereas the Qur’an should be expected to disagree with the untruths, it should be expected to agree with the truths. Remember that apocryphal does not mean false. It simply means hidden. Nor does it mean forever forgotten. Some hidden and forgotten truths the Qur’an is now here to proclaim.



Questions About the Bible

Why does the Book of Moses describe the death of Moses and the mourning of the people long after him? Does this mean that the books of Moses were written by someone else after his death?

  • It would seem that at least a part of the book was written after his death. Today many commentaries on the Bible admit that the Books of Moses were written not by any one person. To account for duplications, contradictions, and peculiarities in the narratives scholars came up with the documentary hypotheses. This holds that the Books of Moses were put together from four strands of distinct traditions. The writing reached its final form in the sixth century B.C.E., more that six hundred years after Moses.
  • Some conservative scholars deny this hypothesis due to its implication for the status and authority of the books. However, they themselves fail to offer a convincing alternative explanation for the duplications, contradictions, and peculiarities in the narrative.

Why does the book of Jeremiah (8:8) say that the Torah is corrupt?

  • Because Jeremiah was aware that scribes had written things into the book without authority. Thus they have so changed the words of the Torah as to add substantial falsehood into the book.

What is the significance of Jeremiah’s’s statement?

  • The statement is very significant because it forms part of the Bible. Since the Torah is part of the Bible, and the book of Jeremiah is part of the Bible, and since the book of Jeremiah says that the Torah is corrupt, it follows that the Bible says that the Bible is corrupt.

Why does Paul say that a certain statement in the Bible is not from the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:12)?

  • Paul who wrote that into his letter knew that he was writing on his own authority. He was so sure that it is not a statement from God that he made sure to say exactly that.

What is the relevance of Paul’s admission for Muslim-Christian dialogue?

  • When some people think that the entire Bible is the Word of God it will be helpful to point out that according to the said verse (1 Corinthians 7:12) at least this verse is not from God. How much else is not from God the Bible does not say. But it remains that one should no longer say that the entire Bible is from God.

Why is the ending to Mark’s gospel so odd-looking?

  • Because the original ending of Mark’s Gospel is lost, torn off, or deliberately destroyed. What we have in its place are later writings which were appended to the gospel to end it off nicely. Different individuals composed different endings. This is why in some Bibles we have a long ending, in other Bibles we have a short ending, and in yet other Bibles we have more than one endings. But none of these endings is genuine.

Why was the original ending torn off?

  • It may have been torn off through use. Or it may have said something which someone saw fit to remove for the benefit of later readers.

Why is the Trinity verse (1 John 5:7) no longer in the Bible?

  • It was found that the said verse is a forgery worked into the Bible by later hands. The evidence against this verse was so compelling that every honest translation done in the present century had to remove it. Many translations, however, do not draw attention to the fact that the verse is now removed. Sometimes they split the previous verse to make two verses. In this way the total number of verses remain the same although the forged verse has been removed.